Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The War Letters

February 27, 1944

"Sunday has well arrived." Not sleeping as well as before. The church business is "quite a problem", having given instructions to be awakened in time for Mass, but then not being awakened until too late for 7 o'clock number - made the 9 o'clock instead. Library was closed, so no quiet place to study. The exams will be tricky because they're not given a lot of time per answer and some are put in to stall them and snap answers are required. Once the exams are over, he intends to catch up on his letter writing unless the go to the Rifle Range. He's looking forward to payday, getting low on cash. "Don't get the wrong idea. I have held on to a comfortable margin. Enough and to spare I think for round trip home in case I ever get a chance to take it. I want to leave this money strictly alone - aside from it I have enough - 33 cents I think but that's plenty. A show is only 15 and cigarettes 12." He'd like to exchange his blouses for ones that fit better but he's afraid he'll get second hand ones but "the Army is a great teacher and one of the biggest lessons is that here, as in life, generally you can't have all you want." Frank has some misgivings about how the Army training they are receiving may impact the men upon returning to civilian life. "I hope not but I fear that the same chaotic conditions that were attendant in the wake of the last war will manifest themselves here after this one. What then? American youth will find a new "enemy" in civilian life - one they can't see and have not been educated to understand. An enemy that will come close to home and affect all of them. How will they cope with it? The Army is teaching them to fight dirty - with no principle. It's teaching them to be completely ruthless. If you could see a couple of the movies I've seen about methods of close combat you'd understand just how close men are getting to savagery in the South Pacific. Let us hope these men will not try - even as a last effort, to apply these principles to civilian life when they return to it. What can we do about it? I don't know - it is the only way to fight the enemy we have at hand - I hope we won't see repercussions of this 'no quarter' training in civilian life in the next 10 years."

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