Greatest Generation 7 and Wages of War

by snoopy50 | November 23rd, 2010

Greatest Generation:

The main point of this chapter was the fact that America was not ready when the Korean war broke out.  It was expected that the military would cut back its budget after WWII ended, but they clearly cut back way to much.  Situations like the 8th army’s supplies with only 32% of their trucks operational and only 9% of the updated rifles they were supposed to receive had actually arrived.  The other story that surprised me was the lack of attention that deploying soldiers received.  When the Pennsylvania 28th national guard regiment left it was 15,000 men and the only media attention that it received was a story in the Reading Times on page 14 of the paper.

Wages of War:

6-  This chapter has jumped back in time to 1817 and is looking at the first real set of pensions issued by the government.  Offered to the aging Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans the bill was only expected to be giving out $500,000 a year but quickly grew to be more than 6 times that.  The total shot up largely because of the mass amounts of fraud that was occurring from the upper class members of society receiving pensions for soldiers that had never existed.  The bill met with a great deal of controversy that would continue up through WWII.

7-  This chapter is mostly about the ridicules was the congress got around paying pensions to Revolutionary Veterans.  They seem to have found any excuse that they could and yet they paid people like Von Steuben large extravagant pensions, with land grants, and re-payed him for what he had lost coming to America.

8- The focus on this chapter was on Irish and Catholic immigrants during the Mexican War.  What surprised me the most in this chapter was both the desertion rate in the American army and the existence of an American legion in the Mexican army.  During war there are always people who desert but during the Mexican war it approached 10% of the American army.  Catholics the most discriminated against group in the army at the time were considered to be the ones mostly deserting and yet they accounted for only 5.3% of those deserting.  The Battalion of St. Patrick caught me off guard because it has never before been mentioned and it would seem that a battalion of Americans fighting for the other side would have been mentioned when learning about the war.

13-  This chapter has moved from the Mexican war to the Spanish-American War.  The statistics following the Spanish-American war seem to be fairly consistent with most in that more people died of disease than actual fighting.  Extreme amounts of disease and disorganization seem to surpass even the Forbes that would come later with having lost over 250,000 pounds of food.

14-This chapter on the Philippine Insurrection makes me realize that Vietnam was not the first war America has fought but not been proud of.  The way that this war was carried out seems to be worse than Vietnam with the “water cure” and orders to kill anyone over the age of 10.  Villages were burned and Filipinos were shot out of cold blood while begging for their lives.

21-It is a rare occasion in this class now that I find myself surprised by the treatment that soldiers received, the treatment of Korean POWs however has managed to surprise me.  Normally when a POW returns they are greeted better than most returning soldiers due to the conditions that they had to endure during their imprisonment. The POWs from Korea however were treated as traitors.  With the VA benefits denied, they were publicly accused by releases from the Pentagon to have given into communism and therefor no longer be loyal to America.

22-This chapter seems to be comparable to the Agent Orange’s Dr. Orange.  Mayer with out evidence was able to say that 38% of veterans had fallen to communism and that it was the fault of the nation for raising weak men.  He also claimed that many of the deaths in the POW camps came not from the torture but from people just being to weak to keep going on and just giving up.  What is scary is that it seems most of the nation accepted this idea with out any problems, condemning the veterans to be considered weak.

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