Go to one or two of the hour-long sessions at the History and American Studies Departmental symposium on Friday in the Great Hall and write up a 1 page summary of the session (or 2 page summary if you go to two sessions). Schedule for the day can be found here.
November 11th, 2010. Comments Off on HBO Documentary on PTSD.
If you have access to HBO you should check out the premiere of a new documentary about PTSD from 1861 to the present, called Wartorn, debuting on TH, November 11, at 9 PM. Bonus points if you watch it and blog about it in the next week or two.
December 3rd, 2010. Comments Off on Greatest Geneneration/Wages of War.
In this reading I found it interesting that Severo and Milford bring about the idea that Americans do not truly do not know war. It is easy for them to say what they want about wars and soldiers when they are on the outside looking in. They do not know the harsh reality which is war. The American citizens are not constantly being shot at, or watching their best friend beside them get killed. They are ignorant to the truth. Even through this, besides the Vietnam War you truly only hear of the positive sides of war.
They want you to know the great things that America has done. Yes, America has done some great things, but there are also negatives in which we have been apart of. It is interesting me how people always tend to be quick to point the good the happen, and quick to put the negatives in the closet so to say. I believe both the government and the citizen should be aware of what war is, and how it affected the soldiers lives.
In the Greatest Generation you see a different view of the veterans. You can see through the years how the relationship between veterans and government have approved as time as went on. Once starting at the bottom of the barrel when it came to their benefits, but now they can live off of their funds from their military service. It is good to see that the treatment of veterans have made a change for the better. Veterans deserve to be treated with kindness and respect because they have done a lot for us. Thanks to them we are able to live the lives we live now. We often take their sacrifice for granted. It is good to see them finally getting treated well.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on The Greatest Generation Comes Home Intro and Wages of War Epilogue.
The introduction of The Greatest Generation Comes Home by Gambone summarizes advancements in veteran’s benefits beginning with the militias before the Revolutionary War even started until after World War II. It briefly mentions most of the important legislation that has helped veterans over the years, such as the pension act for Revolutionary War veterans in 1832. This passage describes new veteran’s legislation as being “successful”. Overall, it has an optimistic tone as it discusses the advances in aid for veterans. This is in contrast to Wages of War, throughout which is a generally negative and often sarcastic tone. The epilogue was no exception and was nearly quite the opposite of the Gambone reading because it focused only on what wasn’t accomplished during our nation’s history with veterans. It is also revealing of what influenced Severo and Milford to write the book. It focuses mainly on Agent Orange and Vietnam, and this book was written as a response to that conflict. It is interesting to me that two passages on very similar topics, the history of American veterans, can have such drastically different viewpoints.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War Epilogue and Greatest Generations.
I thought that the authors of Wages of War brought up a very interesting point about the Vietnam war. They said that the Vietnam war was no different than any of the other wars, it just caused the nation to divide. In a way that’s true. Yes, American soldiers were not treated as hero’s, but the government still treated them the same way as any of the other veterans. I’m not putting down the Vietnam veterans sacrifice in any way. I just thought it was very interesting. I feel like it goes back to wars being Romanticized again.
I really did like the part about veterans being our teachers now and telling us those lost memories. I did get that feeling when I was talking to my veteran. He had all these stories and they changed his life, and he was willing to share that with me. I thought it was pretty cool!
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War epilogue.
The epilogue for the wages of war ties everything Severo and Milford had argued throughout the book together in one brilliant conclusion. They use the Vietnam war as an example of a war in which most believe returning veterans were treated poorly and then show that in fact most wars followed the same pattern of mistreatment of veterans as the Vietnam conflict. They compare Agent Orange to the yellow fever of the Spanish-American war and the experience of Vietnam soldiers with brutality towards civilians with the the U.S suppression of the Phillipine insurrection. While it does not reach the same level of bitterness and anger in its writing as we saw in some of the other chapters it does take all their points and condense them into one consensus: the government has continually failed veterans through our history.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War, Greatest Generation.
In the Epilogue of Wages of War, Severo and Milford really get at the heart of their argument. It is apparent that they believe that the Government should be fully aware of the consequences of war and be ready to handle that upon wars end. For most of the wars veterans have had negative homecomings, with the one exception of WWII. They talk about how people nowadays do not fully understand what it means to go to war. Many people only remember the positive sides to war, like in WWII. I think Severo and Milford are right about these people because Americans have chosen to only remember the good times of war. In the final paragraph Severo and Milford pose the idea that our Government should focus more on diplomacy instead of trying to instigate war. I agree with them to an extent. I agree that our Government should be aware of the consequences of war and they should try to make it a positive experience for veterans returning from war. On the other hand I think that most of our actions have been justifiable for declaring war.
In the Introduction of The Greatest Generation Comes Home it takes a different approach to describing veterans. In the early years of our country and still to this day, there is a certain respect for men or women that have served in the military. It talks about former president’s who use their service in the military to help them win elections. This introduction shows a trend that the treatment of veterans improves as we move from war to war. I definitely see a trend for the treatment of veterans. I think that presently, veterans are treated better than they used to be. Now, many people respect veterans and recognize them for their service.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Greatest Generation 3-14 and Wow Epilogue.
I think it’s quite interesting to read that at the beginning of American history, veterans were treated quite well and treated for life. Once the Revolution hit and the government realized they couldn’t afford it, the problems began. It was also interesting the favoritism that occurred. George Washington’s officers received full pensions while the majority of regular soldiers got next to nothing? Presidents were and still are for the most part ex-military men. I never fully understood this but the public loved that stuff. Maybe they thought military people would have more patriotism and less fear from opposition.
The epilogue of Wages of War really showcases the bias of Severo and Milford. Perhaps this is a good thing, we all know that not many other people called out the government in veterans’ affairs. There was a good point made that WWII veterans treatment was not the norm, this is important because its basically the only war in which veterans returned home to a friendly welcoming society. Vietnam veterans expected the same and why shouldn’t they? Who cares if we didn’t win, these men put their lives on the line just like WWII soldiers did. As pointed out in the epilogue most veterans were hesitant to ask for assistance even if they really needed it. That shows extremely good character and they should have been treated better.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Greatest Generation Introduction and Wages of War Epilogue.
These two excerpts, from opposites ends of their respective books, reflect on similar aspects of American veterans through out American history. The sad fact is that there are war time veterans from every generation, leading to the reality that there has been at least one war for every generation of Americans to have fought. In the Wages of War epilogue, Severo and Milford focus mainly on the oppression of veterans, in particular veterans who suffered from the adverse affects of Agent Orange and the hero of the book, Daniel Shays. Severo and Milford write about the overall oppression of veterans saying, “The tragedy of Agent Orange was not unique…If the soldiers of Vietnam thought that there had never been a group of veterans so ignored, abused and betrayed, it was not because they tried to rewrite history, but because they knew so little about it.” (Wages of War, pg. 419). Severo and Milford continue on describing the continual poor treatment of soldiers and veterans, emphasizing the way the government tried to brush off major health issues including Agent Orange and illnesses soldiers caught while fighting, in particular diseases caught in Cuba and the Philippines.
On the other hand, Michael Gambone, in The Greatest Generation Comes Home, talks more about the improvement, to some extent, of veteran treatment over the years. Gambone writes about the large amounts of money Congress ends up spending on veterans, writing, “Although Congress estimated that the 1862 law would cost the treasury $7 million per year, two years later the bufget for pensioners had almost doubled, to $13.4 million. By !874, it had increased to $30.5 million. By 1893, it had ballooned to a breathtaking $158.1 million.” (TheGreatest Generation Comes Home, pg. 8). In conclusion, veterans, while not necessarily receive all that they should in benefits, have at least made some progress and receive a large portion of the nations budget. Gambone states, “…by 1932, the year of the disastrous Bonus March on Washington, 12.8 percent of the total federal budget was dedicated to veterans.” (The Greatest Generation Comes Home, pg. 10).
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War and Greatest Generation.
Wages of War
Severo and Milford’s contempt for the United States government and how it treated its soldiers becomes even clearer in this chapter. An example of this is on page 322, when they describe the Veterans Administration’s mission (VA) “to limit the liability of government for the wages of war”. The authors’ contempt becomes clear a few sentences later when Severo and Milford claim the VA’s goals were no loftier than any other administration, but instead of being marked by indifference and waste, the VA was marked by scandal and corruption. (page 423) This seems very true, there is even evidence in the Greatest Generation reading which supports the hypothesis that the VA was corrupt from its founding.
I find it interesting, and nearly hypocritical that being a veteran is a redeeming quality in a political election yet, for the average man it was viewed as a negative trait for the longest time. Through time, beginning with the Founding Fathers and continuing currently, time served in a war was a positive trait in anyone running for political office. It proves the candidate is a brave leader. Yet, veterans treatment and importance has vastly fluctuated in our society over the years. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century veterans possessed a “dominant place in public policy” and it was common for “colonies to establish benefits for old soldiers and their families”. (page 6) So why the regression in the treatment of veterans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century? Perhaps because of the ballooning cost of providing benefits for them? By 1893 the cost of providing benefits to Civil War veterans and their families had exceeded $158 million. (page I also find it intriguing that in the twentieth century veterans were a strong, active group, yet they rarely managed to get their benefits. The power which the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars managed to rise to proves Gambone’s point. Veterans were “a powerful voting bloc” and a group big enough to maintain lobbyists and others representing their interests and pressuring politicians in D.C.. (page 9) However, even when they got the Veterans Administration (VA) reestablished, the VA still did not provide veterans with the benefits they needed and desired.
December 2nd, 2010. Comments Off on WOF and Gambone.
Wages of War was a basic summary of what happened through the wars with the veterans. Through the veterans hardships, their problems were constantly ignored . Many Americans were dillusional to this happening. Most of them only thought of the good post war years aka WWII, not the harsher ending for Vietnam Veterans and other wars. Agent Orange was brought up again and talked about how the the chemical industry believed this herbicide was harmless to the humans. The veterans dealt with a lot. Many of them found it hard to find the happy- medium in why they fought the war. For those who lost victories, they blamed themselves at first. I really enjoyed the last paragraph of the piece. It really came together with everything we had read in Wages of War.
In Gambones reading, to me I thought it was a pretty boring reading. It was very factual, which I guess is good to get information from. The book gave me great information about things like PTSD and how you knew when it began to appear. I read about a lot of important people like ALbert deutsch who talked about the awful hospitals and people like Pual H who wanted to help this problem. It was very informative about the training the soldiers went through and the post war situations with them going to school.