RELUCTANT VIRGIN SOLDIERS
World War II veterans welcome the respect that comes with their once having been a member of the armed forces. This is a normal but chances are they were hardly volunteers. Young conscripts, many of them in their teens, were press-ganged into the armed forces. If there was genuine enthusiasm for war then conscription would be neither necessary nor desirable.
Once upon a time, factories were built to produce arms when a country was drawn into war. Now, Capitalist wars are started to create orders for the arms industries, and for rapacious trade and asset acquisition. For this reason, the West to survive must live in a permanent state of war.
If the politicians are successful in starting conflicts and keeping wars going it is sometimes necessary to increase the size of the armed forces. This is when conscription is ushered in.
Of the 16 million American servicemen drafted into military service during World War Two less than 1/30 (600,000) actually volunteered. And, the majority of those who volunteered jumped before they were pushed.
The volunteers were smart enough to know that by stepping up they would be better considered and rewarded than those who waited for conscription. A volunteer had some choice as to what service branch he served in; conscripts had little or no choice.
Not all welcomed conscription: At the onset of America’s entry into World War II, conscripts discovered that bed-wetting earned them an honourable discharge. This is an unfortunate choice of words but that is how it was. After this ruse was discovered, the incidence of bed-wetting shot up by 1,200 per cent in one Texas training camp alone. It was only stopped when the War Department issued a circular removing it as a ‘psycho-neurotic discharge.’
The U.S. economy during World War II suffered more hours lost through desertion than it did through civilian strikes. During the American Depression, and leading up to the draft (conscription), the number of unemployed in the United States reached 11 million.
With no social security available each unemployed man was desperate for any work. Hardly surprisingly, the prospect of three meals a day, a clean bunk with shower facilities, sports facilities free healthcare, new clothes and shoes with no rent to pay, career opportunities, prospects of travel, free laundry and in the pocket $21 a month (a lot of money then) held irresistible appeal.
It gets better for American conscripts as there would be no fighting and no risks to be run. The American President at his election campaign in Boston declared on October 30, 1940: ‘I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.’
Narrative compare life in 1930s Germany, the Soviet Union, U.S. and Britain. The contrasts give you pause for thought.
They were hollow words for the president was part of a conspiracy to further tighten sanctions of Japan. This would leave America’s Asian trade rival no choice but to punch its way out of Washington death grip: hence Pearl Harbor. The usual Black Flag to turn the key in the door for war.
As Japan was a member of the Tripartite Act, an alliance with Italy, Germany, war with Japan would de facto be a war on the Third Reich and Italy yet neither presented a threat to the United States. It was also opportunity to give Britain and the USSR a no limit credit card issued by the Wall Street banking cartels. Wars don’t come cheap, especially those of Churchill and Joe Stalin.
Then and Now
Similar social deprivation existed in Britain. Millions of bread-winners were unemployed and unable to feed their families. There was no such thing as social security or benefits as we know them today.
There was a means test. This humiliating appeal for a few pennies meant you would have to sell all but essential furniture such as bed and table before the state would offer a meagre token of assistance. Many, including veterans of Britain’s colonial wars, openly begged on the streets.
When veterans occasionally parade why not respect the fact that most wore a uniform. But let us not delude ourselves: they did so not as a means of defending their country but as a means of feeding themselves and their families.
In which case, the enemy was not Germany, which never presented a threat to Britain. Their enemy was and still is an economic system that left them no choice but to climb into the uniforms of their country’s armed forces. Did they fight for their country in order to defend their way of life? Go look out of your window, you will find the answer there.
MICHAEL WALSH is a worldwide journalist, broadcaster and author of 64 book titles with 36 years experience. Like other journalists of integrity, he no longer writes for corporate media, opting instead for true journalism. Like this story? Share with friends!
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