HITLER’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust by Daniel J. Goldhagen

This book caused quite a sensation when it appeared a few years ago. In his analysis of the almost total destruction of European Jews by Hitler’s Nazi regime, an event known universally as the Holocaust, author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen articulated a startling thesis: many thousands of those who carried out the terrible “Final Solution” were not brainwashed ideologues but simply common representatives of a an entire nation that had embraced anti-Semitism as the cultural and social norm. Yes, he admits, SS and Nazi party members ran the camps and staffed the killing machines at Auschwitz and at so many other terrible places. Over the years they’ve received a great deal of attention. Yes, they were the leaders, the most visible, and perhaps the most fanatical of Hitler’s executioners.

The SS and their Nazi superiors were simply chips off of a larger German block. They’re only part of the picture. “Ordinary” Germans , thousands of people representative of a broad spectrum of German society, also became willing and enthusiastic supporters of and participants in, genocide. They did so because they, like their Nazi leaders, and most Germans of that generation, believed that Jews were a problem. Nazi leaders, regardless of their popularity, had finally come up with a solution to that problem. Goldhagen is adamant: the typical German during the Nazi era was thoroughly anti-Semitic. They embraced genocide and murder because they firmly believed that humiliating, torturing, starving, and finally killing Jews was the right thing to do.

Naturally, this analysis was controversial. This book has garnered great critical acclaim and numerous awards. But Mr. Goldhagen has his critics.

This is to be expected. In our time many Germans remain in a profound state of denial about the beliefs and attitudes of Germans during the Nazi era. Just after the war they were quick to distance themselves from Nazis and SS, from those on the dock at Nuremburg with the assertion that those people did not represent “ordinary” Germans. It was common for Americans and British in the postwar occupation to hear the locals talk about Nazis and the SS almost as if they had been agents of some other nation. The ordinary German, people like us, they told their conquerors, not only did not really know of the genocide occurring in the occupied nations other than by way of idle rumor, but ordinary decent Germans had no significant part in it. When they did, unfortunately, find themselves involved in genocide, ordinary Germans, they asserted over and over again, did so only because they had no choice. Like the defendants at Nuremberg) they were only following orders. The average German did not fret about a “Jewish Problem”, they insisted, that was a Nazi obsession. After the war, American authorities had a hard time getting anyone to admit that they had been members of the Nazi party. Hitler’s National Socialist Party, a group that had had a nearly eight million person membership at its height, seemed to have disappeared.

For many years this explanation has sufficed, not only for most modern Germans, but also for many Americans. The German people, it is widely believed, were simply manipulated, abused, and used by fanatical Nazis and their bizarre, bewitching Fuhrer. Anti-Semitism was mostly a Nazi invention, a thing embraced by ordinary Germans only for a brief, but tragic period of time. If the German people had really known of the terrible things being done to the Jews, they would have put a stop to it. Gosh, the ordinary German of the Nazi era was not so different from the average American. Or Englishman, etc.etc, They were just regular folks doing the best they could in a bad situation. And they paid dearly for their “mistakes.” So it is believed.

Mr. Goldhagen will have none of this. The Holocaust occurred , he contends, not just because the Nazis and the SS wanted it, but because the German people as a whole, a people with a long history of anti-Semitism, wanted it as well. They were in it together-up to their eyeballs. It was a joint effort. And when it came to exterminating Jews, ordinary Germans didn’t just look the other way, they did their part. And did so with great enthusiasm.

Goldhagen’s verdict is harsh: as to the Holocaust, few Germans of that generation can plead ignorance or innocence. The truly ignorant? Very, very few.. The truly innocent, those who had not embraced anti-Semitic views, but resisted Nazi ideology as well as Nazi power? Also few and far between. It is well known that many resisted the Nazi regime, especially late in the war when it became obvious that Germany was losing, but throughout the long, terrible drama, only a precious few protested Nazi anti-Semitic ideology. It is now astonishing to discover that even among Hitler’s most vocal and bitter critics, a “Jewish problem” was universally acknowledged.

The Nazi program, Goldhagen insists, was a German program. And vice versa. The two cannot be separated. When the murders are described, he identifies the murderers again and again not as Nazis but as “Germans.” He uses the word “Nazi” only when necessary. The Holocaust was a German national effort, not merely the enterprise of a fringe, special interest group. Yes, there were also collaboraters, local helpers in the occupied areas where the murders occurred, but they were minor characters in what was essentially a German drama.
The best evidence for his thesis is found in the work of the German police battalions in Poland. In chapters 7 and 8 Goldhagen gives us the story of battalion 101 from the Hamburg area, a critical examination both of their deeds and their motives. German police battalions (500-600 men) were NOT elite units but collections of local police quickly formed into military type units, put on trains and sent to the occupied zones to await further orders. Unlike the SS, they were given NO ideological training. Their superiors, it seems, were confident “special training” was not needed. The average policeman was older than the average German soldier (36.5 years old) Their backgrounds were the backgrounds of typical Germans. Most had wives and children. Though they had participated in rounding up German Jews in Hamburg and putting them on Eastbound trains, their duties in Hamburg prior to 6/42 had been “the normal, unremarkable duties of policemen.” (p. 204) These policemen, Godlhagen insists, were themselves unremarkable, ordinary Germans, “the man next door”, unlikely candidates for mass murder.

All this changed in the Summer of ‘42 when Battalion 101 arrived in the Lublin District of occupied Poland. The Holocaust was in its opening stages as they arrived. Jews were being rounded up and sent to the Warsaw and other urban ghettos. Deportations to death camps were just around the corner. But German authorities in Poland knew that they didn’t have them all. Across the countryside, in the woods and small towns, tens of thousands of Jews were avoiding the orders to leave home and head to the larger ghettos. Shorthanded, the military occupation forces needed help. From the Fatherland, the local police were sent over. They would locate these uncooperative Jews and deal with them.

And so they did. Sometime in late June or early July, (the postwar testimony was uncertain of the exact date) these police arrived in the village of Jozefow. As soon as they got out of their trucks, Major Trapp, the battalion commander, assembled his men and informed them of what was expected of them, that they would be shooting Jews. After going through the details of the operation the Major made a remarkable offer: those who were not “up to the task” would be allowed to avoid it. They would be assigned to other duties. A dozen men stepped forward, wanting no direct part in the gruesome business. Only a dozen out of approximately five hundred.
The next day the German police of battalion 101 began driving the Jews of Jozefow from their homes. Those who did not cooperate were shot on the spot. Jewish patients in a local hospital were shot in their beds. After sorting the able bodied men from the others and sending them elsewhere, the police transported hundreds of Jews, those who had survived the initial roundup, to assembly areas just outside town. One by one, old men, women, and children were taken into the woods, ordered to lie down and shot in the head. When the policemen returned to get their next victim, they were usually covered in human gore.

There was nothing impersonal about it. Each policeman was able to look his victims full in the face and hear their cries of anguish, their pleas for mercy before he killed them. “In this personalized, individual manner, each of the men who took part in the shooting generally killed between five and ten Jews, most of whom were elderly, women and children.” (p. 218) The victims lay on the ground unburied. They were not forced to undress nor were they searched for valuables and robbed. This sort of thing would come later.

Some of the victims that day were Jewish refugees from Germany. Many begged for their lives in a language and even in accents familiar to these policemen from Hamburg. One was a veteran of the First World War. None of this made any difference. They died alongside the Polish Jews. In the view of these “ordinary Germans”, a Jew was a Jew and needed to be exterminated.

Goldhagen is firm in one very important detail: the postwar transcripts from several participants in this grisly business,(men not aware of the party line) all agree that NO retribution was visited upon those who wanted no part in the killing, or upon those who wanted out of the business after having participated in it. In this way, most of the officers and NCO’s demonstrated a certain solicitude for the feelings of their men. They realized that they had pulled their men into a new moral universe, and that some of them simply didn’t have the stomach for it. They understood that these were not the sort of duties these policemen had signed on for when they had entered the police force. How touching.

Not long after this, on August 19, the battalion carried out a similar operation in the nearby town of Lomazy. Many of those ( the testimony reveals) who had been revolted and disgusted by what they had done in Jozefow, found a bit easier this time. A generous distribution of alcohol that evening helped. Some even took photographs of Jews assembled on an athletic field shortly before their execution (pp.224-225) Another photo shows Jews digging a mass grave (p. 226) On that day, battalion 101 murdered an estimated 1600 Jews at Lomazy.
Furthermore, it seems that many of the policeman enjoyed making their victims suffer for awhile before their execution. Forced to disrobe to the waist, many were badly sunburned as they died. Some of the old men were forced to undress completely and crawl toward their newly dug graves as the policemen beat them with clubs before shooting them. Hundreds of Jews were forced to watch in horror before they too, were shot. One can only surmise, Goldhagen insists, that these “ordinary Germans” were beginning to enjoy their work. Some of it was great fun. In candid photos taken after the massacre, the men seem in good spirits, almost as if they were on vacation.

Goldhagen concludes: “The years killing culminated in the November 1943 immense slaughter in Majdanek and Poniatowa..all told the men in Police Battalion 101( before returning home)participated in killing operations in which they, alone or together with others, shot or deported to their deaths well over eighty thousand Jews.” (p.233) The post-war testimony of various members of battalion 101 is simply staggering. They performed so many missions against their Jewish “enemies” in the Polish countryside that they lost count. Furthermore, if they suffered any casualties as they went after their Jewish enemies, they don’t mention it. Dangerous, courageous work indeed.

The Jewish community of Poland, numbering approximately three million, in 1939, was mostly eradicated. At the war’s end, less than a hundred thousand remained. German police battalions, ordinary men with no special ideological orientation, men with wives and children of their own back in Hamburg and other German communities, played a major role in accomplishing this, without a doubt, one of the most successful genocides in human history.

Though many of them were clearly haunted by their deeds in later years, men of the German Police Battalions, (#101 was but one of many) Goldhagen insists, willingly and enthusiastically participated in genocide not because they were forced to do so but because they thought it the right and proper thing to do. Their anti-Semitic view of things, their empathy with Nazi ideology, was a typical, not an atypical German view. The Jew was the enemy, they believed, and the good patriotic German did what had to be done to rid Europe of this enemy. Only when this was accomplished could Germany achieve its destiny and live in peace and prosperity.
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(more to come- an examination of the late war death marches and what they tell us of the typical German anti-Semitic impulse)

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PARKLAND

Finally..finally…a major motion picture that features real people and the hard facts surrounding the assassination of JFK. Since 11/22/63 we’ve been subjected to numerous flights of cinematic fantasy, journeys down the rabbit holes of various conspiracy theories where the viewer is never sure where the fact ends and the fiction begins. PARKLAND, a film named for the hospital in Dallas where Kennedy and (two days later) Oswald were taken and treated in late November,1963, deals only with the facts, depicting certain important characters in the assassination drama such as Abraham Zapruder, the amateur who filmed John Kennedy as he was shot and killed, James Hosty (of the FBI) , the medical personnel of Parkland, and Robert Oswald, brother to the assassin.
No, this film will likely not garner academy awards as did Oliver Stone’s JKF, a highly entertaining, but utterly exasperating film that focused on the successful efforts in 1967 of flamboyant New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison to bring to trial Clay Shaw, a local businessman, for the murder of the President . Shaw, of course, was acquitted. The jury deliberated for less than an hour and delivered its verdict having come to the conclusion that no hard evidence against Mr. Shaw (played beautifully by actor Tommy Lee Jones) had been presented. Mr. Garrison’s case had been dubious at best: hear-say, innuendo, and amateurish trips into the la-la –land of conspiracy theorists, a leaky vessel that would hold no water in a real court of law.
In spite of the failed outcome the grand-standing Mr. Garrison got most of what he wanted-lots of national attention, a sweet book deal, lots of support from fellow conspiracy theorists, and, most tragically, the utter ruination of Clay Shaw, an innocent man who probably couldn’t have been more confused and dumfounded at the incredible charges leveled against him. Many have speculated that Garrison found Shaw, a known homosexual, an easy target. Shaw, interestingly enough, was the only person ever brought to trial for the murder of JFK! The 1967 trial was a joke, a terrible publicity stunt that should never have been allowed. But it was enough to stimulate an academy-award winning film many years later.
The new film PARKLAND sticks to the facts, principally the whirlwind of the events of November 22-25. They happened so fast- JFK landed at Love Field in Dallas for a routine presidential visit to a major US city around noon on Air Force One, stepped into a vehicle with his wife and the Texas governor and his wife and began their trip through the city. An hour later he was pronounced dead at Parkland hospital. About an hour after that his body was whisked away to Washington DC leaving behind a city and a nation in a state of complete shock and confusion, with dozens of law enforcement agencies eager to get to the bottom of things and discover what had just occurred and who was responsible.
Fifty years later, it seems that LH Oswald, the young man that police officers surrounded at a Dallas movie theater later that day and placed under arrest, a man fitting the description of witnesses to the shooting at Dealy Plaza, is still the best and most reliable answer to the question: Who shot JFK? He was held for two days, questioned repeatedly (he never said anything of any use) until he himself was shot by Jack Ruby, an angry, grieving local businessman, as officials attempted to move Oswald the suspect to another location. This was witnessed on national television.
An especially memorable portrayal in PARKLAND is that of businessman, and amateur photographer Abraham Zapruder, (portrayed by actor Paul Giamati) a man who just happened to be “Johnny-on-the-spot” at the right place and the right time, giving us what is possibly the most famous and scrutinized bit of film in US history, about two-hundred or so frames of 8mm film, lasting only ten or fifteen seconds, recording the murder of a president. A stunned and distraught Zapruder was surrounded by secret service agents and forced to turn over his camera within an hour of the assassination. Those few seconds he recorded on his camera changed his life.
Another tragic character depicted is that of Robert Oswald, brother to the assassin, a sane, level-headed, decent man doomed to live as part of a tragically dysfunctional family, shackled to a criminally weird brother and a delusional, nutty mother who, to her dying day, maintained that her son Lee was an agent of the US government who had been framed for murder. Many conspiracy theorists believed her.
Then there is FBI agent James Hosty. LH Oswald had been on his case file, one of many. He never met Oswald, but in late October had been to his home on a routine visit and spoke to Marina, Oswald’s Russian born wife, for a few minutes. She didn’t and couldn’t say much. Sitting in his auto at the time he had simply made a notation in his file and moved on to the next subject. The next day another notation was made in that same file when an angry Oswald himself came to the FBI office and verbally threatened to blow up the building. Instead of arresting him, the office workers threw him out and warned him never to return. Hosty had not been there. No one at the office took Oswald seriously. He was just another delusional nut with a big mouth. They had seen his kind before. They would check on him later.
Later came much quicker than they could have ever guessed. Upon hearing of the arrest of Oswald, Hosty felt an alarm go off in his head. He dashed to the file cabinet and took out Oswald’s file collapsing into a chair, fearing that this might spell the end of his FBI career. He dutifully took it to his supervisor, who recoiled in horror at the thing and gave Hosty a tongue lashing unlike anything he had ever imagined. But the question was now paramount? Would they confess to the world and to their superiors that they had had the assassin under surveillance? Or would they destroy the evidence and assume their part of ongoing investigations assuming the same sort of shock and ignorance as their fellow law enforcement officers?
They did the latter. In PARKLAND the Dallas FBI supervisor orders agent Hosty to get rid of the file and pretend, like everyone else in the office, that the damned thing never existed. Hosty burns it and that is that. This writer has been led to believe that the destruction of the file was ordered by J. Edgar Hoover himself in an attempt to avoid embarrassment to his agency, a thing NOT depicted in this movie. There may be some controversy on this. No matter, the file was destroyed anyway. If Hoover had ordered it, he never would have admitted it. Hosty, in later years, did admit to doing it.
Conspiracy theorists over the years have gone crazy with this, sure that this destruction of evidence somehow had to be part of a large-scale government cover-up. Hosty himself always said that it was no such thing. It was simply an attempt to save the agency from scrutiny and embarrassment, to save his own job and likely that of his supervisor. Heads tend to roll when disaster strikes. That’s the way the world really works. But this obvious truth will never satisfy those in the conspiracy crowd.
PARKLAND, is not the best movie I’ve ever seen. It probably did not stay in the local theatres for long. The performances of the ensemble cast are solid. The performance of Zapruder, by Paul Giamati, is powerful. On the other hand, JKF, by Mr. Stone, with its well-executed forays into fantasy land and skillful performances by famous actors, is far more entertaining. Unfortunately, it will, for many millions, remain the best remembered cinematic statement on the subject.
As the fiftieth anniversary of this important event rolls around in a few days, PARKLAND is well worth viewing. It powerfully captures the spirit and mood of that unforgettable day, the 22nd day of November, 1963, when, as a nine-year old fourth grader sitting in class, our principal walked in and soberly gave us the terrible news. I remember it like it was yesterday.

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Nazis Invade Tennessee

In mid 1943 they came-Nazis, thousands of ‘em, to the great state of Tennessee. It was an invasion the likes of which Tennesseans had not seen since the 1860s.  It was an incredible sight, large groups of enemy soldiers walking through the streets of small towns like Lebanon, Tn where just a year before US soldiers had marched through by the thousands participating in mid state maneuvers and war games. Yes, in 1942 it had been merely a game, a training exercise. A number of men had been killed and injured,  but  this was due to accidents, not warfare. There were no real enemy soldiers, just US soldiers pretending to be the enemy. The real enemy was far away, appearing only in newsreels and newspapers.

 A year later this had changed. In a sense, the war had come home.  Now the soldiers climbing out of trucks and trains appearing in towns such as Clarksville, Lebanon, and Tullahoma looked a great deal like American soldiers but they spoke German and wore Wermacht, German army  uniforms.  No play-acting this time, they were the real thing.  I can only imagine the surprise and raised eyebrows of the old men gathered around the town square, sitting in their usual places whittling, playing checkers,  and chewing tobacco, when they caught their first glimpse of the enemy  on Tennessee soil.

The German soldiers were real enough but, in all honesty, not very frightening. They were unarmed POWs, the acronym for “prisoners of war.”  Tennessee was a world away from Frankfurt or Berlin.  Any attempt to escape was utterly futile. So the vast majority made the best of it. Under the watchful eyes of armed guards they were well behaved- courteous, friendly, and cheerful. Moreover, they were curious about their new surroundings and eager, when allowed, to fraternize with the natives. Many spoke English. For them, the death and destruction of the European war was a thing of the past. For them the war was over. And most of the prisoners couldn’t have been happier about it.

One of the reasons for their good cheer was this: every POW was acutely aware that he was among the fortunate.  In 1943 two of every three German soldiers fought on the Eastern front against the Russians. A German soldier did not want to be a POW in the East. To be a prisoner of the Russians was to be under a death sentence, a slow agonizing death in an ice-cold labor camp where food and medical aid was scarce. As POWs they had arrived in the promised land. For POWs, it was as good as it gets .

There was a simple reason for this. In 1929 United States delegates had agreed to and signed the regulations of the Geneva Convention pertaining to the humane treatment of prisoners of war. And they did so with every intention of following them to the letter. When the US entered the war in late 1941 it was believed that US personnel in German hands would fare much better if the US treated German prisoners according to the Geneva agreement, which, incidentally, Germany had signed as well.  They were right. Though not without many humiliations and hardships, US servicemen in German POW camps fared reasonably well.

All in all, the Geneva Agreements worked pretty well. Prisoners on both sides (US and Germany) throughout the war, fared well, for the most part, once they got away from the front lines and into semi-permanent confinement. But they had to get away from the front lines first. Many ugly incidents of angry combat soldiers murdering or abusing enemy soldiers are recorded. All too often our GIs would take a bunch of prisoners off to the woods and shoot them. All too often German soldiers did the same.

Downed American pilots and bomber crews were often threatened by mobs of angry German civilians. They weren’t safe until German service personnel arrived on the scene to rescue them. Sometimes they didn’t arrive soon enough. Such are the fortunes of war.

Unfortunately World War Two was a far bigger conflict than the US verses Germany. We were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Out there it was much different. In the Pacific things got ugly, real ugly, real fast. Especially regarding the treatment of US and allied POWs.

Reports of terrible Japanese abuses toward US and Filipino prisoners in the infamous Bataan Death March reached the US soon after the capitulation of General McArthur’s forces in April, 1942. Americans, already angry about the attack on Pearl Harbor became even more angry. The enemy they faced in the Pacific, many Americans concluded, was an uncivilized beast, and should not, therefore, be according anything but death and destruction. With each passing month, Americans in a tight spot became even more reluctant to surrender knowing the sorry fate that awaited them.

Japan had signed the Geneva Agreement in 1929 but made it known as soon as war erupted that they had not the slightest intention of abiding by it. In their “Bushido”, their belief as to the responsibilities of a warrior, surrender was not allowed. The true warrior fought to the death. In this creed any warrior who allowed himself to be captured was a disgrace to his uniform, to his family, and most of all, a disgrace to the emperor.  They felt perfectly justified when abusing and starving American or allied servicemen.  The result was an appalling death rate of POWs in Japanese hands and many highly publicized, humiliating trials of Japanese officers after the war , a legacy of shame for  the empire of Japan.  It took many years for Americans to forgive and forget. Many never did.

A few years ago I attended a graveside service near Danville, Ky. Walking amongst the tombstones I noticed one in particular with this inscription along the bottom: “I survived the Bataan Death March.” That occupant of that grave, Ernest Sampson, born in 1919 and died in 1990, never forgot, and probably never forgave the Japanese for what they had done to him and to his comrades.

Through the course of the Pacific conflict US servicemen in the Pacific conquered the Japanese in hundreds of places as they slowly but surely made their way toward the Japanese home islands. But they took few prisoners.  Here is an astonishing fact: Before the Emperor made his announcement calling for capitulation in August 1945, NO Japanese officer facing sure defeat or annihilation ever communicated with an American or allied officer in the field asking for surrender terms, a pretty common practice with German officers in similar circumstances.   In tough combat situations, when it was obvious that “the jig was up” and there was no hope for success or even survival, the Japanese officer would take out his Hara-Kara knife, do himself in, and expect the men under his command to either fight to the death or do themselves in as well. And they usually did.

This made a captured Japanese serviceman a rare and valued possession. Their captors, very interested in any valuable information or intel they might obtain from a prisoner, tended to treat him very well to induce his cooperation, a thing that aroused intense anger from front-line troops, men who knew very well that they would not be treated similarly if they fell into Japanese hands.

 US care of Japanese POWs was almost a non-issue.  Only a handful, about five thousand Japanese POWs, made it to the continental US, to camps in Iowa and Wisconsin.  Most of these had not actually surrendered in the field but had been overwhelmed or seized before they had had the chance to do themselves in.

 US care of German and Italian POWs was no small task. They began arriving in the US soon after US forces clashed with the enemy in the North Africa campaign. Their numbers grew  in the Summer of 1943, after the surrender of approximately three hundred thousand Axis forces at Tunis in May.  About half of these were sent to the US on “Liberty ships”, the same vessels that had brought GIs East simply turned around and brought Axis POWs West to their new wartime homes.  U-boats captains were quickly informed that a US ship headed West would probably contain POWs and that if they sent it to the bottom they would be killing their own. Consequently few US transport ships headed toward the US were attacked after mid- 1943.

In the volume entitled  PRISONERS OF WAR, part of the Time-Life series on World War Two, the chapter covering the US continental POW program is entitled “An Easygoing Custody.”   By war’s end, nearly half a million Axis POWs “did time” in the US.

Many of the first POWs to arrive in the US were sent to Camp Forrest, an enormous military installation and training center located just outside Tullahoma, TN. Before these veterans of the Africa campaign were shipped off to other camps by  late 1943, mostly in East Texas, their numbers swelled to nearly 24,000-a Nazi invasion of our fair state of Tennessee. After their departure the US army moved back into the formerly enemy-occupied areas and resumed its  own training activities there.

Another type of prisoner was kept at Camp Forrest (and at a smaller installation down the road near Crossville):  unhappy individuals and even some families, civilians all, newly classified officially as “enemy aliens”, persons rounded up in early and mid 1942 considered security risks and possible spies or saboteurs. Many were recent arrivals from Germany and Italy. The FBI was especially busy that year, knocking on doors and telling those inside, many of whom barely understood English, that they must pack their bags and report to internment centers where they would be held in custody until they could clear up certain questionable issues on their files-a sort of guilty status until they could prove their innocence. Over the next year or most of these persons were able to do so, especially since many were Jewish refugees from Nazism! Many of these, however, could never explain to the satisfaction of government authorities just why they had come to the US. They remained in custody until the end of war.

One of the prevalent myths of the WW II era goes something like this: ONLY Japanese-Americans were “rounded up and sent to concentration camps (not exactly the way it was even if that were true) and white people of German and Italian ancestry were left alone”-proof of just how racist the US was at the time.

The truth is that once war with Germany broke out in late 1941, the US government eagerly sought out suspicious persons regardless of color. “White people” were exempt? Nonsense. J. Edgar Hoover and his “G-men” loved to arrest white people!  Foreign born persons, especially those who had been active in the German-American Bund prior to hostilities, were under special scrutiny. They had some questions to answer. And if they could not offer the needed answers, off to the internment centers they went. Recent studies have revealed that as many as ten thousand persons of this sort were sent to dozens of internment centers across the US.  Two were here in Tennessee.

At Camp Forrest , named for General NB Forrest of Civil War fame,   and at many other similar installations across the US, the POWs were treated well.  Very well. So well in fact, that many US citizens complained to the government that the “enemy was being coddled.”  Let these Nazis suffer, so they said.

 The War Department thought otherwise. They defended themselves and their program not only on humanitarian grounds, but with the reasoning that if Axis prisoners received good treatment, they would be far more likely to surrender. Good conditions for Axis prisoners would shorten the war. And this would save American lives.

There is ample reason to believe that they were right. By the time allied forces crossed the Rhine into Germany in March 1945, their principal opposition was old men, convalescents, and boys. Crack  German combat units were a mere shadow of their former selves. They had surrendered by the hundreds of thousands.  The war lasted only another five or six weeks. Critics of the POW program were effectively silenced.

Over here, Axis prisoners  had it pretty good- plenty to eat, good housing, proper clothing (they were allowed to wear their own uniforms at all times) access to recreational facilities, libraries, movies,  and much more. Compared to their comrades in Russia, they were on vacation. Were they?

 Not exactly.  They were required, enlisted men in particular, to work up to ten hours a day, the limit established by the Geneva Convention, but  they could not be sent to work in war-related industries.  A few worked alongside US civilians in canneries and food processing plants, but most Axis POWs performed good old-fashioned farm work- baling hay, picking cotton, harvesting vegetables,  cutting and curing tobacco, feeding livestock, etc. With so many young men overseas, US farmers were glad for the help. The government and the many contractors supplying the armed forces were buying everything they could produce.

The Geneva Convention also stipulated that POW labor could not be slave labor. Workers had to be paid. But the pay rate was up to those in charge. Naturally they didn’t get much, on average about fifty cents a day, usually not in cash, but in certificates and coupons to be redeemed at the camp canteen for snacks, magazines, toiletries, and dozens of other items including that most prized commodity of all, cigarettes. American cigarettes were considered far superior to their European counterparts.  

Fifty cents a day was not a good wage, but it beat nothing by a long shot.  What would fifty cents buy in 1943? A bottle of Coca Cola was five cents.  A nice lunch at a café could be had for twenty-five cents.  A gallon of gas (purchased only with a ration book) was fifteen cents. Admission to a double feature at a movie theatre (sometimes POWs were allowed to go) was a dime. A standard postage stamp was three cents.  Fifty cents  is probably comparable to eight or ten dollars now. For the POW, whose room, board, medical care, and clothing was all provided, that fifty cents seems pretty fair in my estimation, as long as the prices at the prison commissary were not inflated.

It didn’t all go the “company store.” Sometimes the POWs were paid with real money, money they were eager to spend when passing through retail districts on their way to work sites. My father told me of seeing German POWs from Camp Forrest   performing work details near his home in Lebanon, TN. When word got out that the POWs had money, my enterprising father, who was fifteen years old in 1943 obtained  cartoons of cigarettes from his brother-in-law and did a brisk business with the “Krauts.”  They were, much to his surprise, polite, cheerful, and well behaved. He solicited their business at the local high school where they were putting up decorations in the gymnasium for an upcoming dance. Apparently the citizens of Lebanon were happy to employ these fellows in all sorts of jobs. Cheerful, intelligent, hardworking, and strong young men for only fifty cents a day?  Who would turn that down?

Years ago when visiting in the home of a friend I noticed an interesting framed document on his wall with a list of about a dozen Germanic names neatly scripted underneath an inscription, all done in  a beautiful Gothic script. My friend told me that this was presented as an official token of gratitude and appreciation to his father ( who lived near Camp Campbell) during the war by a group of German POWs who had worked on his farm for several months. War or no war, during the course of their employment they had become good friends. My friend said that this framed document had been one of his father’s most cherished possessions.

Arriving in the US, the POWs were astonished at what they found in their new home away from home. The vast richness of America overwhelmed them, a place untouched by the ravages of war, a nation where the average middle-class family owned a home and an automobile, a unified but diverse nation  where anyone who wanted to work could do so (at least during the war.) In Germany and Italy, only the well-to-do owned an auto.  Even under wartime rationing Americans lived better than Europeans. Upon their arrival they saw shiploads of troops and supplies headed to Europe. Moving into the interior, and it often took two or three days to arrive at their destination, they saw trainload after trainload of troops and supplies headed toward the East coast. They were impressed.   Americans were strong, prosperous, intelligent, and determined to win the war. They were not the stupid bumbling clods manipulated by greedy Jews portrayed in Nazi propaganda.  Even the fervent  Nazis among the POWs  saw enough to quickly come to the conclusion that declaring war on the US had been their Fuhrer’s biggest mistake. Better to have let that “sleeping dog lie.”

 The POWs were also allowed to correspond with loved ones back home. They had a lot to say. But many were afraid to send candid and honest letters home about their good treatment for fear that their letters would be regarded as propaganda and that they would be considered collaborators. Furthermore, since their letters were censored by their captors(like US service personnel) they could not write the opposite either, to lie about their situation and claim that they were being mistreated.  Mostly they wrote short letters letting their families know that they were OK which was, of course, the main thing.  Study POW letters written from the US during WW II and you will discover very little about their experience, a revelation not too different from a study of letters from our own GIs on the frontlines. Beyond “Hey Mom, I’m OK. Don’t worry ‘bout me” they couldn’t and didn’t say much.

An odd thing the POWs noticed about their new home was Jim Crow racism, a sad fact of life in the Southern US  where most POW camps were located. German and Italian POWs quickly saw the obvious failure of the US to live up to its ideals when they, the enemy,  could eat inside a nice diner or café with other white patrons while  their African-American guards had to wait outside or go around to the back door to be fed. They were impressed with the US but they realized in due time that despite its richness and strength, it was far from perfect.

The POW program had its problems. Early on, US authorities assumed that nearly all German soldiers were fervent Nazis. All had taken an oath to the Fuehrer. Those who were not so ideologically inclined were often subjected to abuse by fellow prisoners.  Well meaning prison officials sought to protect them by separating these men from their fellow prisoners and sending them to special camps.  Fearing that they would be considered collaborators, few wanted to leave their comrades. Most stayed put , even when, on occasion, it cost them their life.

There were few problems of this sort among the Italian prisoners. Very few had any love for Mussolini. They were especially happy to be out of the war and somewhere safe. Hard-core facists among the Italians were rare.

In assuming that most POWs were die-hard Nazis, the prison authorities had clearly been wrong. Yes, some were. But most wore their uniforms not so much out of a strong adherence to Nazi party ideology but out of a more commonplace, simple patriotism and a strong sense of duty.  Hard core Nazis among the POWs were a minority, albeit a powerful one in the POW hierarchy. In time prison authorities began to weed these men out and send them to special high security camps away from the rank and file. This worked much better.

It also helped in late 1944 when veterans of the fighting in France began arriving, men with a much more realistic view of Germany’s impending fate. When they told their stories, the old POW residents realized that the US newsreels of allied successes were not propaganda but the truth. By early 1945, the hard core Nazis among the POWs found that they no longer exerted much of an influence. Hitler and his Nazi disciples back home in Germany were clearly doomed. Hard-core Nazis among the POWs began to disappear, a situation not unlike Allied occupiers discovered after the war when civilian leaders were interrogated. Nazis, curiously enough, became hard to find. A man who admitted that he had enthusiastically supported Hitler  was a rare bird indeed.

In mid 1945 the European war drew to a close and the US began the enormous job of closing the camps and sending nearly a half-million Axis POWs home. It didn’t happen overnight. They had become an integral part of the US economy!  Nevertheless, by early 1947, the camps were all closed and the prisoners had all, except for a handful who awaited trial for their misdeeds during captivity (mostly murders of fellow prisoners) been sent back to Italy or Germany.  These homeward bound former POWs were nearly all healthy, well clothed, and the majority, I suspect, had money in their pockets. Furthermore, they felt pretty good toward the US.

By means of the POW program during WW II, the US government had gone a long way in slowly turning a bitter enemy into a friend, a friend we would need badly in the “cold war” that lay just ahead, a vital component of the allied victory planned, constructed, and executed by forward thinking officials.

The country the POWs found was a far different place than the one they had left behind. Dozens of major cities lay in ruins. Many POWs from East Germany had no desire to return home and live under Communism. A lucky few managed to go back to the US, a place they had grown to love, a place where they could make a new life. But the vast majority had no choice but to stay in Germany, roll up their sleeves and get to work rebuilding their nation. There was plenty to do.

 

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The “Scopes Monkey Trial”- What Really Happened

We’ve all heard about the so-called “Scopes Monkey” Trial. If asked in a trivia contest we might remember that this trial happened way back in the oh, uh,… nineteen twenties or thirties or sometime long ago when the state of Tennessee passed a dumb anti-evolution law and arrested a fellow who had dared to defy that law and teach Darwin’s then controversial theory to a group of high school students. He was put on trial and the whole thing became a big event in which two of the top lawyers in the US found their way to the rural Tennessee courtroom and had it out to the amusement and amazement of millions listening in on the radio. Then there was a play about it that we saw at the community theatre. Or was it a movie too? Yes there was. Oh..oh starring Spencer Tracy. For the average guy on the street, even the average educated guy, that’s probably about all he will know.

Most of what the average guy knows or rather, thinks he knows, will relate to the play: INHERIT THE WIND a compelling drama written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. Theatre enthusiasts will remember the play in more detail. Here’s the gist of it. As the play opens poor Cates (Scopes) is sitting in a Tennessee jail in great agony wondering if he’s gonna do time for the “crime” of teaching evolution. His situation is only made worse when famous lawyer and prosecuting attorney WH Brady (WJ Bryan) has come to town in a big parade surrounded by well wishers and admirers. He promises the enthusiastic crowd that he will nail Mr. Cate’s hide to the wall. By all appearances Cates doesn’t have a chance. Later, amidst no fanfare, the opposition, the defense lawyer Mr. Drummound, enters- a clear-headed stranger in a strange land of hard-core biblical fundamentalists and against all odds, armed only with a head full of common sense and a copy of the ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES, he must do battle in a hostile environment. He carefully builds his case, all the time watching Brady parade about as if he is God’s gift to the American courtroom. We all know what’s coming: Brady, that pompous fool, falls into Drummound’s trap and in the climactic scene of the show, goes down in utter humiliation. Reason and good sense triumph. Religious extremism collapses as it, by golly, should. The good guy wins. Stand up and cheer. But do so with this in mind and the message of ITW is clear: these religious nut-jobs are all around us. Be ever mindful and vigilant. Freedom of thought and the right to think independently are always under siege! Next time it could be YOU sitting in that cell awaiting trial. Don’t take your freedom for granted!

That’s the play. What about the real event? Most of us, with a shrug of the shoulders, will quickly admit that “Hollywood history” is usually unreliable and script writers will often take a few liberties with the facts. We know that ITW is based on a real event mentioned in history books. Why? The “Scopes Monkey Trial” was the biggest media event of the nineteen twenties and the first mass media event in US history. For the first time ever millions gathered around a mass communications device and listened in on something important AS it was occurring-an extremely important first. If then, our principal knowledge of such an important thing is based on a historically unreliable depiction of that event, maybe it’s time we discover what really happened.

First, the play has very little to say about the real event. No surprise here. Lawrence and Lee got a few things right. Yes, the state of Tenn did pass a law prohibiting the teaching of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. And yes there was a trial of a schoolteacher in a small town in Tenn on the matter. And yes, two famous lawyers, one for the defense, a feisty agnostic, and another for the prosecution, a Bible-believer, battled it out in a hot courtroom. A tiny bit of the dialogue was lifted from the actual transcript and place into the dramatic script. That, incredibly enough, is about it. Beyond these very basic facts, the play bears little resemblance to what really happened.

So, what really happened? As usual, the real story is far more interesting than the theatrical fiction. Here’s the short version. After hearing of the new law in Tenn prohibiting the teaching of evolution, the ACLU wanted to test it. But they needed someone, preferably a schoolteacher, to do so. That’s how things are done in our system (Roe vs. Wade, Brown vs. Board of Education, etc.)They placed an ad in several Tenn newspapers promising to provide legal aid to any school teacher willing to help. Seeing this a group of Dayton, TN businessmen , acting as a sort of ad hoc chamber of commerce, thought that a show trial held in their local Rhea county courthouse would be an excellent way to direct attention to their community. The approached a local high-school teacher and coach, John Scopes, and persuaded him to incriminate himself even though he had only been a biology substitute teacher for two weeks and couldn’t remember if, indeed, he had really broken the law! His decision to cooperate may have had something to do with the fact that breaking that law was not a serious affair. It was a mere MISDEMEANOR with a fine not to exceed $500. The local judge, a Mr. Raulston, had to be persuaded to convene a grand jury and bring charges. After some arm twisting, they convinced him to go along.
When the announcement was made that a trial would occur, the thing snowballed. A local Baptist church invited William Jennings Bryan, a famous three-time presidential candidate (on the Democrat ticket), to come to Dayton and lead the prosecution. He accepted. When word got out about this, famous defense attorney Clarence Darrow joined what was essentially an already ACLU stocked defense “dream team” and the trial date was set for mid-July, 1925. Momentum continued to build as journalists, both of the print and radio variety, boarded the trains and headed to Dayton, Tn- a place few had ever heard of. By the time of the opening gavel, millions of Americans were listening in and the wildest dreams of that tiny group of small town businessmen were realized. Across the nation, millions were locating Dayton, TN on their USA maps. It was a publicity stunt that exceeded all expectations.

The trial lasted eight days. It was unbearably hot. If air conditioning had existed then, or if the trial had occurred at a different time of the year, it might have gone on longer but judge Raulston, obviously fatigued with it all, brought the testimony to an end before Bryan had a chance to cross examine Darrow on the stand in the same way that he himself had been cross examined the day before by Darrow. The jury deliberated for only a few minutes before delivering the guilty verdict. No one was surprised at this.

Was the real WJ Bryan the narrow minded bigot portrayed by “Brady” in INHERIT THE WIND? Hardly. Of Darwin’s book, Brady says (in ITW) that he has never read it and has no intention of doing so. Not only is Brady ignorant but willfully so. Unlike Brady, WJ Bryan, the real man, was well acquainted with Mr. Darwin’s book and prior to his encounter with Darrow had debated learned men on many occasions and lectured widely on the Chautauqua Circuit.The famous trial wasn’t his first “monkey” rodeo.He was a veteran “evolution” debater who probably knew the Evolution business better than his opponent.

Was Clarence Darrow, the agnostic secularist, given the cold shoulder in Dayton as portrayed in the play? Negative. At the time he praised the people of Dayton for their hospitality. Later he said he enjoyed the thing immensely. Funny thing. People tend to be on their best behavior when invited company arrives. They also avoid behaving badly when the whole world is watching. Remember, it was a publicity stunt. All the out-of-town folk, spectators, journalists, radio folk, etc. were INVITED guests! By all reliable accounts, the people of Dayton were happy to see them and went to great lengths to show impartiality in the whole matter. Darrow had no complaints about his treatment in Dayton.

What about Scopes? Did he languish in jail, worried to death that he may have to “do time?” Worried that he may never get the dough to pay the huge fine? Was he afraid that he’d never work again in that town? None of the above. He never spent a second in jail. Not a second. He never paid a dime in fines. It was a publicity stunt. All his fees were paid. Scopes was fine and never fined. After the debut of the play in the early nineteen-fifties, he wrote his own account of the trial to set the record straight. Few read it. It is long out of print.

On the other hand millions have seen the play. As I write this, there is a pretty good chance that some school or community theatre somewhere in the US is in rehearsal for ITW, a play that ain’t likely to go away. As theatrical entertainment goes, it’s good stuff. As for me, I’d jump at the chance to do one of the leading roles!

Nevertheless ITW is still bad history. The big howler in ITW is, of course, when Brady, in utter humiliation, staggers off the witness stand mumbling incoherently, goes into an adjoining room and dies-a fate he, being the colossal bigot, richly deserves. Nothing of the kind happened. After the real trial, Bryan and Darrow shook hands, congratulated each other on a great performance and parted ways. Bryan died five days later. But he did so after a very active five days. And he died in his sleep due to complications from diabetes. No, he didn’t die of a “broken heart”, a broken spirit or anything like that-nothing so dramatic. He died of natural causes. The play is, I admit, far more entertaining.

In a play or movie we love a heroic principled good guy up against a devious, bigoted, narrow-minded bad guy. We like it straight and simple-good verses evil. In the real trial, did we have a good guy up against a bad one? Not really. No one walked away from that hot courtroom a clear winner or a clear loser. As to the public opinion of Darrow or Bryan nothing changed. Technically Scopes lost and got a $100 fine-the least the judge could do. Later, in the appeal, (yes the ACLU wanted to keep the thing going-imagine that), the Tenn court dropped all charges against Scopes on a technicality. They decided that Judge Raulston did not have the authority to issue fines over $50! That completely ended the matter (for the Tenn government anyway)and it wasn’t what the ACLU wanted to hear. They went away disappointed and the law, for the time being, stayed on the books. Why? No one else challenged it. At least no one that we know of.

INHERIT THE WIND is but a work of art. In the intro the authors of ITW unconvincingly deny any association of their play to “real events.” The problem is simply that the play is better known than the real event. Sure, it is a good thing when the movie or play is released and real-life bad guys, in a sense, finally get what’s coming to them. But the opposite can occur. Sometimes a good guy, a real guy, is a victim. Sometimes the good guy is caricatured and slandered with his reputation dragged through a dirty lowdown puddle of artistic mud. This is surely the case with ITW. If there is a worse case of a good man, possibly a great man, treated so unfairly in a prominent well-known work of drama I don’t know about it. William Jennings Bryan, a great American, a great progressive spirit, “the great commoner”, three-time candidate of the Democratic party for President, is viciously slandered in INHERIT THE WIND.The authors created a great play at his expense-plain and simple.

After the trial Tennessee lawmakers and law enforcers had had enough “Monkey business.” This law against the teaching of Evolution, a law favored by conservative fundamentalist Protestants, became one that they wished that they had never passed, more trouble than it was worth, but, being stubborn, (like most human beings) those who passed it refused to change it because that would have meant backing down to outside forces. They compromised by ignoring it. In a practical sense that law became merely a symbol, a bit of fundamentalist window dressing. Afterward, there was NEVER another prosecution of a teacher for violating this law. Finally, in 1967, in a little publicized move that barely made the back page of a newspaper, this long-ignored and unenforced law was removed from the legal code.

Once upon a time the state of Tennessee had a law forbidding the teaching of the theory of Evolution in public schools. For eight memorable days in July 1925 a titanic battle of ideas, science verses religion, took place in Dayton Tenn. That law supporting the religious side of the argument received national attention as it was attacked and defended and then enforced with a whooping $100 fine that was never paid. And for his misdemeanor misdeed, the defendant John Scopes became the most famous substitute teacher in history. And that folks, is what really happened.

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Tragedy in the Backcountry

When “experienced hiker” David DeCareaux and his two young sons, aged 8 and 10, ventured into the woods they intended only a pleasant walk in the woods to take advantage of an unseasonably warm day in mid January. A few hours later all three were dead. No wild beasts, crazy axe murderers, aliens, or zombies were involved. There was no foul play of any kind.  The tragedy was due to nothing more than the weather.  And poor planning on Mr. DeCareaux’s part.

It all seemed harmless enough when the a dad and his two sons set out into the Mark Twain National Forest near Black, Missouri on Jan 12 of this year for a short day hike. The weather was ideal.  Dad was dressed in a light jacket and his sons only slightly better: one in a sweater and in other in a “fleece” jacket. They had no rain gear or poncho-not even the cheap two dollar variety that will fit in the pocket. He carried only a flashlight, a cell phone and a snack. No map. When interviewed later, a park ranger said that because of poor  reception cell phones were of little use in that area. One good lightweight poncho (that all could have hovered under) and a whistle would probably have saved their lives.  In short, they weren’t prepared when the weather played a cruel trick on them.

Winter weather south of the Mason-Dixon line can be sneaky. I’m reminded now of the initial invasion of Tennessee by the army of U.S. Grant in February, 1862, early in the civil war.  On their march toward Fort Donelson, where the enemy awaited them (near the present Land-between the Lakes state park) the green, untested Union soldiers in the balmy warm weather  cast away their bulky overcoats. Now that they were in the “sunny South” , they were quite sure that they would have no need of them. Besides, many assumed, one big battle and the war would be over anyway. Huge mistake on both assumptions. Three days after their arrival in front of Fort DOnelson, the weather turned very nasty and thousands of Northern soldiers were very miserable indeed. And there were many more battles to go. They had underestimated both the Southerners and the Southern weather. Both could be deadly.

Many of the details about this recent tragedy we’ll never know. What we do know is this: A dad and his two young sons went out for an afternoon stroll in the woods, got lost, and died of “exposure” when the weather turned foul.  The initial search party had to be called off that evening due to the inclement weather, a cold, icy rain, plunging temperatures, and  very poor visibility in the deep forest. When the search resumed at daybreak a few hours later, they finally came upon a very sad sight, two shivering little boys, soaked to the skin, barely alive, lying close to their dead father.  The paramedics and doctors did what they could, but they were too late. Both boys died a few hours later at a nearby hospital. A family tragedy doesn’t get much sadder than this. Very tough indeed.

Another thing makes it even worse. Just before the weather turned bad, a park ranger passed them as they hiked along the road and offered them a lift to the ranger station. The dad refused the offer and they kept walking. I cannot help but wonder if the ranger forgot to mention the weather forecast. Maybe he didn’t know himself.

Somehow the trio took a wrong turn and literally got lost in the woods. This is very easy to do. In the deep forest trails are often poorly marked and the signs themselves can be a bit confusing, especially when three or more trails converge at an intersection.

Another aspect of life in the back country so often unappreciated by visitors from the city is the thick, deep darkness. Far away from ambient light, in cloudy weather or even during a “new moon” it is difficult to see your hand in front of your face after  the sun sets. It is much like being in a cave. For city or suburban dwellers this can be unnerving.  With a good flashlight finding your way on a trail at night is still difficult at best.  Camping in the forest, even when one is well prepared and has all needed supplies, can  still be downright scary. Wandering about lost in the deep woods, even in dry temperate weather, can be absolutely terrifying. To make matters even worse, this tragic trio was lost in the woods after dark in foul weather “not fit for man or beast.” And they were poorly prepared for it-a prescription for disaster.

Mr. DeCareaux was found wearing only a light jacket. Regrettable but understandable. Ours is an “indoor” culture. Americans habitually dress for the indoors, regardless of the outside weather. Time and again I see people running from a car to a building doing their Christmas shopping or simply going about daily routines in the cold weather months clad in short pants and tee-shirts as if it were July. I’ve heard men brag about never putting on a coat or sweater the entire Winter. Really. A friend of mine never wears long-sleeved shirts and wears cotton jeans year round. His closet is a colorful mass of short-sleeved shirts. He works indoors, of course, and never, to my knowledge, goes camping. Nowadays with ever present heated spaces in buildings and vehicles it is possible to ignore the outdoor temp  and never develop an appreciation for even moderately cold weather. As to weather people nowadays are far more concerned about driving conditions than dress. Spend some quality time out in the cold night air here in Tennessee in January and you’ll understand why our homeless friends go about 24-7 dressed like Eskimos. The habit of wearing light clothing in the winter is a modern habit, made possible only by ever present indoor heated space, something our grandparents didn’t experience,something our homeless friends even now cannot experience.

I don’t recall hearing the word “hypothermia” as a boy scout. The word “exposure” was, and still is, I suspect, more commonly used. Technically hypothermia is the gradual lowering of the temperature in the body core. Ordinarily our body temp is around 98.6. If conditions pull that down even one degree we start shivering. Two degrees and were in trouble. Three to four degrees and we are looking the grim reaper full in the face. Deaths from hypothermia, interestingly enough, rarely occur in extreme cold conditions. They almost always occur when the temperature suddenly changes from pleasant to cold-but not extreme cold. Add precipitation to the cold and it becomes much worse. This tragic trio perished in textbook “hypothermia” conditions. When they set out, all seemed well. But conditions deteriorated quickly. They didn’t exactly “freeze to death.” It wasn’t that cold. But, it was cold and wet enough to pull down their “core” body temp over the course of a few hours to kill them.

Another thing. When the body temp goes down, the mind is affected and poor decisions result. When a man is shivering uncontrollably, worried to death about the two sons at his side also scared and shivering, it really doesn’t matter about training and experience. The mental faculties are impaired. I suspect that instead of stopping in his tracks and finding or building shelter as soon as the cold rain hit, Mr. DeCareaux  kept moving. Big mistake. When lost, and I remember this from the old Boy Scout Handbook, it is imperative to STOP.  DO what you can to build a fire or somehow warm up. Construct a shelter, however crude. If you have a whistle, blow on it as much as possible while you work. Conserve energy and resources and wait as patiently as you can for rescue.  When a person keeps moving the resulting fatigue and stress is likely to lower body temp even more.

The deep woods nearby seem very friendly and inviting while standing in the parking lot of a state park on a sunny day.  But don’t be fooled.  As adult boy scout leaders* we continually impress upon our boys the need for preparation in the back country. We teach that when venturing off into the woods, never go it alone-always take a “buddy”, always take raingear and proper clothing, check the weather forecast, take a map and compass(even if you’re reasonably familiar with the area), a whistle, matches, a water bottle (especially in warm or hot weather), a flashlight, and a good dose of common sense. Understand how conditions can change quickly and become dangerous in the late Fall and Winter. It is very easy to get lost out there. And you sure don’t want to be lost in bad weather. It can be deadly.

*Mr. DeCareaux was, it seems, a cub scout leader. In the photo accompanying a recent article he and his two sons are dressed in CUB scout uniforms.  In cub scouting (ages 7-10) “tailgate” or “car” camping with youth accompanied by parents is the norm.  As a matter of official (BSA) policy concerning cub scout packs, forays into the back country far away from vehicles and shelter is discouraged.

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Stones’ River: Bloody Winter in Tennessee

One-hundred and fifty years ago today the eyes of the nation turned

Hazen Brigade Monument & cemetery, the oldest CW monument in the US

Hazen Brigade Monument & cemetery, the oldest CW monument in the US

upon the tiny Southern town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  There two great armies were engaged in a titanic struggle for the control of Middle Tennessee and the fate of the Southern Confederacy. The battle opened early in the morning of December 31, 1862 and wasn’t concluded until late in the day, three days later, Jan. 2, 1863. At the end of the first day of the battle the outcome seemed clear: the Confederate army was going to win.  And the formerly unknown town of Murfreesboro, regardless of the outcome, would find a place in the American history books.

It wasn’t  Murfreesboro’s first CW battle.  Earlier in the year, after occupying the town for several months, unsuspecting Union forces from far away Michigan and Minnesota awakened the morning of July 13 to the sound of gunfire to the East. A cavalry force under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest had fallen upon them.  They put up a good fight but after a few hours the Union forces surrendered to that man destined to become one of the great military legends of the war and the town returned to Southern control. Forrest and his men paroled their prisoners and moved on, but soon after other Southern units began arriving and more and more until by mid December, a major army of nearly forty thousand under the command of General Braxton Bragg was encamped in and around Murfreesboro.

It was a significant enough development to draw the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis away from Richmond to make the long journey by rail to Murfreesboro. Arriving in mid-December he was “wined and dined” and celebrated at one ball and celebration after another each evening after spending his daylight hours reviewing troops, meeting with the generals and giving speeches and pep talks to prepare the army for the big battle to come.  He left town with his entourage hoping to arrive back in Richmond before Christmas.

Thirty miles away in Nashville Union authorities, being well aware of all this, finished up their preparations for a renewed  Southern offensive. The army that had gathered there was christened the Army of the Cumberland, a force forty-thousand strong (mostly stout Midwesterners) under the command of General William S. Rosecrans.  Just after Christmas the great blue beast got moving.  Though their wagon train was harassed by the cavalry of the energetic, youthful General Joseph Wheeler, the Union army arrived in the Murfreesboro area on December 29-30 and went into camp with it’s adversary only a short distance away. The stage was set.

Unlike so many other Civil War battles that occurred when armies simply stumbled into one another bringing on a big fight (as at Gettysburg) or when one army made a surprise attack upon the other (as at Shiloh earlier in the year) this battle, both as to time and place, was anticipated by the men of both sides. On December 30, each army was well aware of the other. All eighty-thousand or so men knew that they would soon be locked in mortal combat. That night the brass bands of both sides played  a strange and unprecedented pre-battle concert, trading songs back and forth through the frosty night air, until  all joined in playing the familiar tune : “Home Sweet Home” drawing tears to the eyes of thousands of homesick men. Then it was silent and the men lay down on the cold hard ground to get what sleep they could knowing that  it might be their last night on earth. And for several thousand, it was.

The majority of the soldiers in both armies knew what was coming. The happy confidence of 1861, the innocent illusion that the war would be short and relatively bloodless was long gone, drowned in the bloodbaths of Shiloh and Antietam and Perryville. By late 1862 the “butcher’s bill” had already far exceeded even the most pessimistic expectations. With the  war now well into it’s second year,  the majority of the soldiers in both armies were grim veterans, men who had “seen the elephant”, men who would go into yet another battle hopeful against hope that this next fight would be the last, that it would settle things once and for all, at least things in the Western theatre, and that the outcome of this next big fight would make it possible to march in one last happy review,  get their discharges and return to home sweet home.

In the early morning of December 31, just before daybreak, Southerners under the command of William Hardee attacked  and drove in the Union pickets to their front not far from the spot along Highway 96 where , interestingly enough,  a Hardee’s restaurant now stands. Throughout the morning  Union forces, caught off balance by the furious Southern onslaught, stepped backwards, leaving dead, wounded, and a great deal of camp equipment baggage and wagons behind. Today this part of the battlefield is now largely obliterated by development. One can now drive, shop, and eat where thousands of men fought and died.

Throughout the day the Union army, with it’s headquarters well to the rear on the Nashville Pike was rolled back and bent like a “jackknife.”  Finally, after being forced back nearly two miles and with disaster looming, the men of Hazen’s Brigade made a firm “stonewall” type stand at a place on their left called the “Round Forest” and their line held firm hugging the Nashville road, a lifeline for supply and reinforcement.  The victorious Confederate forces, who had also suffered great losses in killed and wounded, ceased fire when darkness fell, confident that their foe could be finished off the next day. General Bragg dashed off a telegram to President Davis, their recent guest, that God had granted the Confederacy a great victory.

Yet many rebel soldiers were, no doubt, worried. They remembered how months earlier at Shiloh, the Union army, though clearly beaten the first day of the battle, had counterattacked the next day after receiving reinforcements and had then won the battle forcing the Southern army to abandon the field.

Curiously enough, very little happened on the second day of the battle of Murfreesboro, or Stones River. Both armies were exhausted and battered. And though the Nashville Pike remained in Union hands, no reinforcements (to speak of) arrived. The army of the Cumberland was on it’s on. Sporadic firing and occasional artillery rounds erupted but no major attacks occurred.

For most of the third day it appeared much the same. But a division under the command of John Breckenridge gathered on the Confederate right and began moving North toward a place on the Stones’ River called McFadden’s Ford, forces that were relatively fresh having seen little action on December 31  for a major blow against the Union left wing.  At first it went well, scattered Union forces were quickly driven back and forced to flee for their lives across the freezing cold river.

After being informed of what was occurring, Rosecrans, knowing how difficult it would be to get an adequate force of infantry to the spot, ordered every available piece of field artillery to the West side of McFadden’s ford. The efficient and highly mobile Union artillery rushed to where they were needed and fifty-eight guns lined up just in time, hub to hub, we’re told, and along with a brigade of infantry in support, unleashed a hail of fire upon the attacking Confederates that ripped their ranks apart and made the river run red with Southern blood. The handful of rebels who made it to the west side of the river were killed or captured. Breckenridge’s brave survivors, pursued now by victorious Union soldiers, pulled back and retired from the field. The Union pursuit stopped when they regained the ground they had lost two hours before and the battle of Stones’ River, one of the great battles of the American Civil War, and (arguably) the most costly battle to occur in the state of Tennessee, was over.

One of those rebel soldiers who retired from the field and lived to tell the tale was my great-great uncle, Logan Nelson, brother to my great-great grandmother. I have a photo of Logan taken around the turn of the century, an old soldier posing in front of the regimental flag he carried off the field that terrible day. Despite the hail of fire taking down his comrades all around him, he made sure that those colors stayed with his regiment, the 18th Tennessee. They had lost their flag at Fort Donelson the previous February to the enemy and had had to endure that humiliation throughout their months of captivity in Springfield, Ill. Only a few weeks before, the ladies of Murfreesboro had presented this flag to them. Keeping their flag was to them, a small victory in the midst of defeat.

Furthermore, for many of the men in the 18th, including Logan, Murfreesboro was home. A few of these men, mortally wounded that day, were able to take their final breath in their own bed at home surrounded by loved ones and laid in a family cemetery-the preferred way to die, for them another small victory. Surely better than dying far from home among strangers in a field hospital and laid in a mass grave- the fate of  many soldiers in that war, particularly Confederate soldiers.

Today thousands of people visit the Stones River National Battlefield. The park, roughly four hundred acres, covers only a fraction of the actual battlefield. One can visit the national cemetery (Union graves only), a modern visitor center, and tour that part of the battlefield that lies within park boundaries. One of the more interesting sights in the official park tour is the Hazen brigade monument located about a quarter mile East of the visitor center, a limestone monument and small enclosed cemetery established just after the battle by the survivors of the battle. This monument is unique, the oldest CW monument in the nation, as far as we know, and one of the few erected DURING the war.  There is nothing else like it in any battlefield park. Even the much larger Shiloh park in West Tennessee with its hundreds of fine monuments and markers has nothing like it.

From the standpoint of battlefield  preservation however, the Shiloh battlefield is the clear victor. Encompassing nearly four thousand acres, nearly all of the area where fighting occurred at Shiloh is now safely protected and preserved by the national park service. On the other hand, experts now assert that the Stones River battlefield is the most endangered major CW battlefield in the nation. The battlefield land surrounding the park is being developed and lost even as I write and the people of Murfreesboro have done almost nothing to stop it. It’s a shame.

Down the road in Franklin, interestingly enough, just the opposite is occurring; the battlefield of the 11/30/64 battle that happened there is being reclaimed. Money is being raised to purchase more historic property. Already key parts of the Franklin battlefield have been reclaimed, marked and preserved for future generations by forward-thinking citizens while short-sighted money-hungry citizens and developers thirty miles away, oblivious to the historical significance of the real estate to which they have regrettably been entrusted, have given us more places to shop in Murfreesboro.

There is some reason to be hopeful. In a fairly large area just south of the Stones River Park located between Asbury Lane and the new Medical Center parkway, there remains some, maybe two hundred acres, of undeveloped battlefield land. But this farm land and cedar glades will likely go under asphalt, brick and mortar like the rest. The National Park Service, now feeling the effects of nationwide budget cuts, can do little. It’s up to the people of Murfreesboro and Rutherford county. But I’m not optimistic. Their track record is abysmal.

On January the 3rd, 1863, the Confederate army struck their tents and pulled out of the Murfreesboro area leaving the place once again in Union hands. Most of the Confederate soldiers were angry about this, nearly as angry as they had been months before after the disaster at Fort Donelson, feeling quite sure that they had won the battle and yet again, were being “sold out.” But Braxton Bragg, after a brief consultation with his division commanders, had had enough and ordered the withdrawal. In the months to come the men of the Army of Tennessee would come to despise Bragg and he would be eventually replaced, but it would take another year, another hard year, for that to happen.

Later that year the same would happen to William Rosecrans, the Union commander at Stones River. After the disaster at Chickamauga, he lost his job and was effectively out of the war.

After the battle of Stones River, the war was by no means over. It would go on for another punishing two years and the body count would surpass even the wildest predictions. The South fought on. But, exhausted and, quite simply running out of men to fill the ranks, the South was forced to give up in the Spring of 1865. And our great US war, a war in which more men died than in ALL other US wars combined, was over.

How many died at Stones River? Probably more than died at any other Tennessee battle, so some experts have said, even Shiloh, a battle often compared to Stones River. About three thousand died on the field and in the weeks and months to come, it is safe to assume that about that many died from wounds or complications from wounds suffered at the battle. And for many who survived their wounds, such as those who lost limbs, they would return to their homes and carry for the rest of their days a grim reminder of  the horror of Stones River.

For men like my uncle Logan Nelson, even though he came through it physically unscathed,  the battle of Stones River would be the one that left the deepest scars. For him, it was the big fight seared with fire into his consciousness, even though he would see many other battles and, against all odds, surrender at war’s end with a tiny handful of his comrades of the 18th Tennessee Infantry after which he returned to Murfreesboro and lived out his days there. I’ve often wondered if he would ever wander out to McFadden’s Ford and relive in his mind the terrible sights and sounds of Jan.2. Did he then cross the river and stand again on the spot where he picked up the flag that had dropped to the ground after the last man of the color guard had gone down? Did he see again those faithful comrades dropping in the smoke and noise, men who he had come to love like brothers? Did he feel guilty that he had survived when they had not? I don’t know. But someday, I plan to speak with him about it. Bye and bye.

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Stone’s River: Bloody Winter in Tennessee

ushistorybuff:

One-hundred and fifty years ago today the eyes of the nation turned

Hazen Brigade Monument on the Stone's River Battlefield, the oldest CW monument in the US

Hazen Brigade Monument on the Stone’s River Battlefield, the oldest CW monument in the US

upon the tiny Southern town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  There two great armies engaged in a titanic struggle for the control of Middle Tennessee and the fate of the Southern Confederacy. The battle opened early in the morning of December 31, 1862 and wasn’t concluded until late in the day, three days later, Jan. 2, 1863. At the end of the first day of the battle the outcome seemed clear: the Confederate army was going to win.  And the formerly unknown town of Murfreesboro, regardless of the outcome, would find a place in the American history books.

It wasn’t  Murfreesboro’s first CW battle.  Earlier in the year, after occupying the town for several months, unsuspecting Union forces from far away Michigan and Minnesota awakened the morning of July 13 to the sound of gunfire to the East. A cavalry force under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest had fallen upon them.  They put up a good fight but after a few hours the Union forces surrendered to that man destined to become one of the great military legends of the war and the town returned to Southern control. Forrest and his men paroled their prisoners and moved on, but soon after other Southern units began arriving and more and more until by mid December, a major army of nearly forty thousand under the command of General Braxton Bragg was encamped in and around Murfreesboro.

It was a significant enough development to draw the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis away from Richmond to make the long journey by rail to Murfreesboro. Arriving in mid-December he was “wined and dined” and celebrated at one ball and celebration after another each evening after spending his daylight hours reviewing troops, meeting with the generals and giving speeches and pep talks to prepare the army for the big battle to come.  He left town with his entourage hoping to arrive back in Richmond before Christmas.

Thirty miles away in Nashville Union authorities, being well aware of all this, finished up their preparations for a renewed  Southern offensive. The army that had gathered there was christened the Army of the Cumberland, a force forty-thousand strong (mostly stout Midwesterners) under the command of General William S. Rosecrans.  Just after Christmas the great blue beast got moving.  Though their wagon train was harassed by the cavalry of the energetic, youthful General Joseph Wheeler, the Union army arrived in the Murfreesboro area on December 29-30 and went into camp with it’s adversary only a short distance away. The stage was set.

Unlike so many other Civil War battles that occurred when armies simply stumbled into one another bringing on a big fight (as at Gettysburg) or when one army made a surprise attack upon the other (as at Shiloh earlier in the year) this battle, both as to time and place, was anticipated by the men of both sides. On December 30, each army was well aware of the other. All eighty-thousand or so men knew that they would soon be locked in mortal combat. That night the brass bands of both sides played  a strange and unprecedented pre-battle concert, trading songs back and forth through the frosty night air, until  all joined in playing the familiar tune : “Home Sweet Home” drawing tears to the eyes of thousands of homesick men. Then it was silent and the men lay down on the cold hard ground to get what sleep they could knowing that  it might be their last night on earth. And for several thousand, it was.

The majority of the soldiers in both armies knew what was coming. The happy confidence of 1861, the innocent illusion that the war would be short and relatively bloodless was long gone, drowned in the bloodbaths of Shiloh and Antietam and Perryville. By late 1862 the “butcher’s bill” had already far exceeded even the most pessimistic expectations. With the  war now well into it’s second year,  the majority of the soldiers in both armies were grim veterans, men who had “seen the elephant”, men who would go into yet another battle hopeful against hope that this next fight would be the last, that it would settle things once and for all, at least things in the Western theatre, and that the outcome of this next big fight would make it possible to march in one last happy review,  get their discharges and return to home sweet home.

In the early morning of December 31, just before daybreak, Southerners under the command of William Hardee attacked  and drove in the Union pickets to their front not far from the spot along Highway 96 where , interestingly enough,  a Hardee’s restaurant now stands. Throughout the morning  Union forces, caught off balance by the furious Southern onslaught, stepped backwards, leaving dead, wounded, and a great deal of camp equipment baggage and wagons behind. Today this part of the battlefield is now largely obliterated by development. One can now drive, shop, and eat where thousands of men fought and died.

Throughout the day the Union army, with it’s headquarters well to the rear on the Nashville Pike was rolled back and bent like a “jackknife.”  Finally, after being forced back nearly two miles and with disaster looming, the men of Hazen’s Brigade made a firm “stonewall” type stand at a place on their left called the “Round Forest” and their line held firm hugging the Nashville road, a lifeline for supply and reinforcement.  The victorious Confederate forces, who had also suffered great losses in killed and wounded, ceased fire when darkness fell, confident that their foe could be finished off the next day. General Bragg dashed off a telegram to President Davis, their recent guest, that God had granted the Confederacy a great victory.

Yet many rebel soldiers were, no doubt, worried. They remembered how months earlier at Shiloh, the Union army, though clearly beaten the first day of the battle, had counterattacked the next day after receiving reinforcements and had then won the battle forcing the Southern army to abandon the field.

Curiously enough, very little happened on the second day of the battle of Murfreesboro, or Stones River. Both armies were exhausted and battered. And though the Nashville Pike remained in Union hands, no reinforcements (to speak of) arrived. The army of the Cumberland was on it’s on. Sporadic firing and occasional artillery rounds erupted but no major attacks occurred.

For most of the third day it appeared much the same. But a division under the command of John Breckenridge gathered on the Confederate right and began moving North toward a place on the Stones’ River called McFadden’s Ford, forces that were relatively fresh having seen little action on December 31  for a major blow against the Union left wing.  At first it went well, scattered Union forces were quickly driven back and forced to flee for their lives across the freezing cold river.

After being informed of what was occurring, Rosecrans, knowing how difficult it would be to get an adequate force of infantry to the spot, ordered every available piece of field artillery to the West side of McFadden’s ford. The efficient and highly mobile Union artillery rushed to where they were needed and fifty-eight guns lined up just in time, hub to hub, we’re told, and along with a brigade of infantry in support, unleashed a hail of fire upon the attacking Confederates that ripped their ranks apart and made the river run red with Southern blood. The handful of rebels who made it to the west side of the river were killed or captured. Breckenridge’s brave survivors, pursued now by victorious Union soldiers, pulled back and retired from the field. The Union pursuit stopped when they regained the ground they had lost two hours before and the battle of Stones’ River, one of the great battles of the American Civil War, and (arguably) the most costly battle to occur in the state of Tennessee, was over.

One of those rebel soldiers who retired from the field and lived to tell the tale was my great-great uncle, Logan Nelson, brother to my great-great grandmother. I have a photo of Logan taken around the turn of the century, an old soldier posing in front of the regimental flag he carried off the field that terrible day. Despite the hail of fire taking down his comrades all around him, he made sure that those colors stayed with his regiment, the 18th Tennessee. They had lost their flag at Fort Donelson the previous February to the enemy and had had to endure that humiliation throughout their months of captivity in Springfield, Ill. Only a few weeks before, the ladies of Murfreesboro had presented this flag to them. Keeping their flag was to them, a small victory in the midst of defeat.

Furthermore, for many of the men in the 18th, including Logan, Murfreesboro was home. A few of these men, mortally wounded that day, were able to take their final breath in their own bed at home surrounded by loved ones and laid in a family cemetery-the preferred way to die, for them another small victory. Surely better than dying far from home among strangers in a field hospital and laid in a mass grave- the fate of  many soldiers in that war, particularly Confederate soldiers.

Today thousands of people visit the Stones River National Battlefield. The park, roughly four hundred acres, covers only a fraction of the actual battlefield. One can visit the national cemetery (Union graves only), a modern visitor center, and tour that part of the battlefield that lies within park boundaries. One of the more interesting sights in the official park tour is the Hazen brigade monument located about a quarter mile East of the visitor center, a limestone monument and small enclosed cemetery established just after the battle by the survivors of the battle. This monument is unique, the oldest CW monument in the nation, as far as we know, and one of the few erected DURING the war.  There is nothing else like it in any battlefield park. Even the much larger Shiloh park in West Tennessee with its hundreds of fine monuments and markers has nothing like it.

From the standpoint of battlefield  preservation however, the Shiloh battlefield is the clear victor. Encompassing nearly four thousand acres, nearly all of the area where fighting occurred at Shiloh is now safely protected and preserved by the national park service. On the other hand, experts now assert that the Stones River battlefield is the most endangered major CW battlefield in the nation. The battlefield land surrounding the park is being developed and lost even as I write and the people of Murfreesboro have done almost nothing to stop it. It’s a shame.

Down the road in Franklin, interestingly enough, just the opposite is occurring; the battlefield is being reclaimed. As I write money is being raised to purchase more historic property. Already key parts of the Franklin battlefield have been reclaimed, marked and preserved for future generations by forward-thinking citizens while short-sighted money-hungry Murfreesboro citizens and developers, oblivious to the historical significance of the real estate to which they have regrettably been entrusted, have given us more places to shop.

In a fairly large area just South of the Stones River Park located between Asbury Lane and the new Medical Center parkway, there remains some, maybe two hundred acres, of undeveloped battlefield land. This land will likely go under the bulldozer like the rest. The National Park Service, now feeling the effects of nationwide budget cuts, can do little. Now it’s up to the people of Murfreesboro and Rutherford county. But I’m not optimistic. Their track record is bad, very bad.

On January the 3rd, 1863, the Confederate army struck their tents and pulled out of the Murfreesboro area leaving the place, once again, in Union hands. Most of the Confederate soldiers were angry about this, nearly as angry as they had been months before after the disaster at Fort Donelson, feeling quite sure that they had won the battle. And for the most part they had. But Braxton Bragg, after a brief consultation with his division commanders, had had enough and ordered the withdrawal. In the months to come the men of the Army of Tennessee would come to despise Bragg and he would be eventually replaced, but it would take another year, another hard year, for that to happen.

The same would happen to William Rosecrans, the Union commander at Stones River. After the disaster at Chickamauga, he lost his job and was effectively out of the war.

After the battle of Stones River, the war was by no means over. It would go on for another punishing two years and the body count would surpass even the wildest predictions. The South fought on. But, exhausted and, quite simply running out of men to fill the ranks, the South was forced to give up in the Spring of 1865. And our great US war, a war in which more men died than in ALL other US wars combined, was over.

How many died at Stones River? Probably more than died at any other Tennessee battle, so some experts have said, even Shiloh, a battle often compared to Stones River. About three thousand died on the field and in the weeks and months to come, it is safe to assume that about that many died from wounds or complications from wounds suffered at the battle. And for many who survived their wounds, such as those who lost limbs, they would carry for the rest of their days a grim reminder of  the horror of Stones River.

For men like my uncle Logan Nelson, even though he came  the battle physically unscathed,  the battle of Stones River would be the one that left the deepest scars. For him, it was the big fight seared with fire into his consciousness, even though he would see many other battles and, against all odds, surrender at war’s end with a tiny handful of his comrades of the 18th Tennessee Infantry after which he returned to Murfreesboro and lived out his days there. I’ve often wondered if he would ever wander out to McFadden’s Ford and relive in his mind the terrible sights and sounds of Jan.2. Did he then cross the river and stand again on the spot where he picked up the flag that had dropped to the ground after the last man of the color guard had gone down? Did he see again those faithful comrades dropping in the smoke and noise, men who he had come to love like brothers? Did he feel guilty that he had survived when they had not? I don’t know. But someday, I plan to speak with him about it. Bye and bye.

************************************************

Originally posted on ushistorybuff:

American naval personnel stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands on Sunday morning December 7,1941, were startled by the sound of dozens of aircraft. They looked up and were stunned by what they saw: the aircraft was not American, it was Japanese. Seconds later bombs began falling and Americans began dying and for the 100 million people of the United States, the world changed.

In the weeks and months previous, trouble had been brewing with the empire of Japan, but the US was still shocked that the attack came when and, where it did. If trouble with Japan was to come, so many experts at the time believed, it would come in the Philippines, not in Hawaii. The Japanese would never get lucky enough to get that far undetected with a task force big enough to do any real damage. The logistics and dependence upon pure luck would keep…

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