Ruining the Army

Update, July 7: The A.P. appears to have got the story in the first paragraph below wrong. There is still a real problem, but of a different kind, which appears to be about the country’s confused imigration system: “No, President Trump Is Not Purging The Military Of Immigrants”.

“US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits” . . . Corrupting the army like this is bad for the immigrants affected, their fellow soldiers, all U.S. citizens and residents, not to mention our military readiness and national security. It’s also unconscionable.

This is just one of the ways the current administration is misusing and spoiling the army in the homeland itself. There is also this: “The U.S. Military Is Preparing to Hold 32,000 Immigrants in Detention Centers”.

The army—and the country—can do better (and did). In 2016, for example: “Immigrant to citizen: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Army work on naturalization”.

Image source: U.S. Army

Encouraging Immigrants to Buy into the War Effort

World War I poster advertising savings stamps for the war effort. Source: Library of Congress PPOC, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002712000/

I find this 1917 poster interesting because it seems to target urban, working-class immigrants. Besides the dress of the people waiting in line to lend Uncle Sam some money, there is the American flag held by the child, whose enthusiasm attracts the attention of the adults around her.

Children, whether immigrants themselves or native born, seem to have played a special role in immigrant families, mediating in different ways the adults’ encounter with the culture and institutions of the new country. Certainly the authorities saw such potential in these children.1


  1. See Simone Lässig, “The History of Knowledge and the Expansion of the Historical Research Agenda,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 59 (Fall 2016): 29–32, https://www.ghi-dc.org/fileadmin/user_upload/GHI_Washington/Publications/Bulletin59/29.pdf.

War, Gender, and Nation in 19th-Century Europe: A Preliminary Sketch

If military service had become a rite of passage for young men in much of Europe well before the mutual slaughter began in the summer of 1914, neither its ubiquity nor its meaning to those it embraced were foregone conclusions.1 To be sure, the fundamental challenge offered by the declaration of the levée en masse in revolutionary France in 1793 represented an important first step, as did monarchical Prussia’s turn in 1813 to the near-general conscription of those men considered young and fit enough to join the fight. Continue reading “War, Gender, and Nation in 19th-Century Europe: A Preliminary Sketch”

Duck and Cover: 1951 Civil Defense Film for Kids

Interesting to consider that this was a reality for school kids in the early days of the Cold War. By the 1970s, when I was in school and aware of such things, such an understanding of nuclear weapons would have seemed extemely naive.

In the mid-1980s, in the field artillery, we were taught to drop to the ground, asses to the blast and hands between our legs. That was for tactical nuclear artillery rounds, but it felt just as silly.

Source and further details: Prelinger Archives, https://archive.org/details/DuckandC1951.