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The ‘Greatest’ Generation’s Refusal to Fight the ‘Good War’

Jacob G. Hornberger
June 26th, 2020
Future of Freedom Foundation
Comments (22)

The most sacred shibboleth of US foreign interventionists is World War II. Whenever the issue of foreign interventionism arises, you can count on interventionists to raise what they call the “good war” and the “greatest” generation who fought it. If the “greatest” generation had not intervened in the “good war,” they exclaim, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan would have ended up conquering the United States and the rest of the world.Yet, there is an important oddity about World War II that is never raised in any discussions about the war. According to the website of the National WWII Museum, 38.8% (6,332,000) men were volunteers in World War II while 61.2% (11,535,000) were draftees.What’s up with that?Let’s keep in mind something important about the “draft” — or as it is also known, “conscription”: It’s not voluntary. Conscription or drafting people to fight a war means forcing them to do something that they are not willing to do voluntarily. If a man refused to comply with a draft order in World War II, the government sent armed agents to seize him forcibly, after which he would be criminally prosecuted and incarcerated.

When a free nation is being attacked and invaded, why would people have to be forced to fight? Wouldn’t you think that under that circumstance, you could count on at least 95 percent of men and women to come to the defense of their country, themselves, their families, and their liberty?

Yet, there is that glaring statistic: The US government had to force 61.2% of the “greatest generation” to fight in World War II.

Why?

Why didn’t those 11,535,000 men of the “greatest” generation immediately volunteer to fight after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? Why did they need to be forced to fight?

Reasons for refusing to volunteer

One possible explanation, of course, is that the many members of the “greatest” generation were scared to fight and just wanted other American men to do the fighting for them. Fear undoubtedly was a factor for a few American men to not volunteer to fight, but my hunch is that it was not why most of those 11 million American men had to be forced to fight.

My hunch is that most of the 11 million men who had to be forced to fight in World War II instinctively knew that (1) the war was a crock, just like World War I that preceded it; (2) that President Franklin Roosevelt had knowingly and deliberately provoked the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor with the aim of getting the United States embroiled in the war; and (3) that there was no possibility of a Japanese or German invasion and conquest of the United States.

In other words, by not volunteering to fight in the “good war,” those 11 million American men were essentially saying that they had no desire to give up their lives for what they considered was a nonsensical cause.

The ‘Great War’

Remember: Most Americans knew that World War I itself had been a crock. The United States had no business intervening in that war. But like so many other leaders in history, President Woodrow Wilson as well as other US interventionists felt that war was the way to national greatness. Wilson also maintained that US intervention into the “Great War” would make the world “safe for democracy” and, by bringing about the total defeat of Germany, make it the last war in history.

Within a relatively short period of time, however, brutal unelected dictators ruled in Germany, the Soviet Union, and Italy. So much for making the world safe for democracy. That was followed by the outbreak of war between the European powers in 1939. So much for the war to end all wars.

After World War I, Americans could easily see that that war had entailed a total waste of American life and treasure. 160,000 men had died for nothing. $32 billion had been wasted. Civil liberty had been quashed in the United States during the war.

Lesson learned

The American people were resolved to never let another US president do that to them again. When war broke out again in 1939 between England and France and Germany, the overwhelming sentiment of the American people was: Stay out. Don’t get us involved in this one.

But President Roosevelt, like Wilson, would have nothing of that mindset. While falsely paying lip service to non-interventionism during his 1940 campaign for an unprecedented third term as president (“I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”), the truth was that Roosevelt was doing everything he could to provoke first the Germans and then later the Japanese into attacking the United States.

Americans could see what Roosevelt was doing. Sending US warships to serve as escorts for British ships in the Atlantic. Giving money and armaments to Great Britain and the Soviet Union under so-called “Lend-Lease.” An oil embargo against Japan to paralyze its army in China. Freezing Japanese bank accounts in the United States. Imposing humiliating terms in pre-war negotiations with Japan. Leaving US troops and battleships vulnerable to attack in the Philippines and Hawaii.

Moreover, those 11 million American men could see that after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there was no attempt by the Japanese military to invade and occupy Hawaii, much less the United States. They could see that the Japanese aim was simply to knock out the US Pacific fleet so that it would be unable to interfere with Japanese efforts to secure oil in the Dutch East Indies.

They could also see that Germany lacked the military means and even the interest in crossing the Atlantic Ocean and invading and occupying the United States. Given that Germany was unable to even cross the English Channel to successfully conquer England, the chances of having a different result crossing the Atlantic and conquering the United States were nil.

Moreover, don’t forget that it wasn’t Nazi Germany that declared war on Great Britain. It was Great Britain that declared war on Nazi Germany. It was always clear that Nazi Germany was moving east, toward Hitler’s enemy the communist Soviet Union, which ironically would become America’s wartime partner and ally as well as its official postwar enemy.

Perverse consequences

Moreover, those 11 million men undoubtedly instinctively knew that the results of intervening in World War II were going to be just as perverse as the results after World War I: a complete 45-year-long communist takeover of Eastern Europe and half of Germany; a 45-year Cold War against America’s wartime partner and ally the Soviet Union; the Korean War; the Vietnam War; and the conversion of the US government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of totalitarian governmental structure to oppose communist totalitarian governmental regimes.

Those 11 million men who refused to volunteer for “service” in World War II and who had to be forced to fight a crock war knew what they were doing. That’s what made them great.

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Author: Jacob G. Hornberger
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Date: June 26th, 2020
Website: https://www.fff.org

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22 Comments...

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  1. Bill says:

    This article is spot on. Since the Spanish-American war the US has been in the empire business. Historically, most Americans were against intervening in foreign wars. Every entry into wars since the S-A war was contrived. The Lusitania was sunk because it was secretly carrying munitions – the Germans promised to leave all civilian ships unmolested so long as they did not contribute to any war effort, the incident was used to pull unwilling USA into WW I. There is now a lot of very credible information the US had cracked the Japanese code and knew in advance Pearl Harbor would be attacked – bringing the US into WW II against a majority of Americans will. The Gulf of Tonkin affair was an incident contrived to bring the US into Vietnam. The declaration of WMDs were used to bring us into Iraq – none ever found. The downing of the Towers brought us into Afghanistan though there is a vast amount of hard evidence showing that Americans may be grossly misled about what actually happened. Now we have soldiers in Syria, for absolutely no tangible reason except to help Israel do its dirty work.
    Creating empire, war-making, and a huge Mil. Ind. Comp. are some of the areas where Dems. and Reps. agree. It appears they also agree the lives of young Americans are disposable. If you want to understand who benefits from wars read about Gen. Smedley Butler. Only a very small few number of American people benefit, but the majority are the ones who always pays the price.
    Geo. Washington warned the country in his farewell address to avoid foreign entanglements. Now,TPTB/officialdom are constantly secretly plotting more wars and “interventions”. Financially, it is bankrupting the country. Our infrastructure is deteriorating and failing (Amer. Soc. of Civil Eng.s rates our infrastructure at a D-), we have a gigantic unplayable debt, there are a huge number of unmet needs in our country, but we have plenty of money to keep fighting wars, and for the Mil. Ind. Comp., and we can still give Israel over 10 million dollars a day. But we can’t ensure people up in Flint, Mich. and lots of other cities can get clean drinking water.
    American citizens are seen as nothing more than managed disposable resources.

  2. Andrea.Iravani. says:

    Not to mention the barbaric Japanese concentration camps in Ameriica, the savage nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that WW2 was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

    I am not an FDR fan because he was basically a fraud, but we did have 8 years of not being at war and that was a good thing.

    FDR should have repealed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and thrown JP Morgan in prison, as well as Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury in 1928 claiming that the economy was in excellent condition. All of the criminal bankers should have been prosecuted for running a Ponzi scheme.

    FDR pulled the wool over the nations most vulnerable people’s eyes in their hour of need.

    FDR was a wolf in sheeps clothing, beguiling, cunning, and deceptive.

    Andrea Iravani

  3. Sgt. Dale says:

    The ‘Greatest’ Generation’s Refusal to Fight the ‘Good War’
    They shouldn’t be fighting it. They did their job. It’s our turn now. My Nam generation. We are ready and willing. Its going to come down to this.
    I’m 66 years old and lived a long time. If I have to fight and die so be it. Just as long as my children and grandchildren are safe. Hell my kids will be fighting along side of me. Why do I know this, because I taught them that Freedom wasn’t free, and that when the wolf is at the door it’s time to turn the sheep dogs out, and attack. I pray that this doesn’t happen, but if it dose I’m ready for the fight.
    Aim Small Miss Small
    Sgt.

  4. Andrea.Iravani. says:

    We know who the government is willing to defend, what they are willing to fight for, and who they truly honor.

    Statues, being defended by 400 military troops, while the government is involved in attempting to passively murder at least me with Vault7 technology, and the population with lockdowns based on scientific fraud, and has killed many others in cold blooded murder.

    I oppose the destruction of the statues. It is just a destructive and pointless act of vandalism, but the fact that the government and 400 military troops are willing to defend statues over American citizens shows who they are loyal to, and who they think that their enemies are.

    Andrea Iravani

  5. DWEEZIL THE WEASEL says:

    The sad thing is these statistics and the analysis behind them will never see the light of day in the venues which matter-high school history/government classes. I drank the “Kill-a-Commie-for-Mommy” Kool-Aid, 1969-1971. If that wasn’t enough, I went back after a break in service and was an active Army Reservist from 1979-1986. My Epiphany took awhile.
    I have spent my time since 2002 as a school teacher and have tried to tell the truth about the way things were. When any student tells me: “Thank you for your service”, I acknowledge their sentiment but explain to them how, in 1969, your options were to enlist, get drafted, go to prison, or leave for Canada. Then I direct them to books and websites which expose the lies and scams connected with the “Vietnamese Police Action.” The corruption of the Banksters, the FEDGOV and the MIC needs to be constantly exposed and explained, or our young men and women will continue to be slaughtered to prop up the Amerikan debt buck.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes…and there are many others like you that also found the the lies that the government spreads to manufacture consent for war. This is why they draft 18yo men. They haven’t yet had the time to figure out the truth from the bullshit. Thanks for your excellent comment and efforts to educate our young men and women.

  6. Darth Skippy says:

    I spent some time, living crappily, with the first person officially wounded at Pearl Harbor.

    JGH said, “My hunch is that most of the 11 million men who had to be forced to fight in World War II instinctively knew…”

    There were absolutely rumors during war time. They lived at work. They talked work. What else was there to do.

    When you say *most of the 11 million men, they were probably just a cross section of the civilian population, at large.

    JGH said, “When a free nation is being attacked and invaded, why would people have to be forced to fight?”

    As one saying goes:
    3% revolt.
    7% grumble — very little.
    90% comply, even to the last. Willingly.

    Pearl Harbor knew every rumor — frontways, backways, sideways, and a hundred times over. It was verbalized, not just instinctual.

    Also, reminiscing of Smedley Butler, most would come home to low living standards and face starvation.

    They were resigned to it, as most people, today, are forever resigned to it. 90% of people are wired for rote compliance.

    Sending people into crossfires, on purpose, or just prolonging human misery, is not a literal strategy, except to make a mass sacrifice. They will go on, to use sanctimonious, religious language, as though they have consecrated holy ground.

  7. Andrea.Iravani. says:

    In the interest of national security, foreign banks should be prohibited from being Federal Reserve Member banks. The U.S. economy is held hostage to European bankers, which has become increasingly worse since the Clinton administaration allowed foreign banks to become Fed members and be bailed out and funded by American tax payers. The vast majority of income of European countries is through market manipulation in its finance sector, and in the oil markets. I really can’t blame Germany for wanting to use the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline rather than American Liiquified Natural Gas, but I can blame Germany and European countries for begging us to join NATO and be their lynch men against Russia, which America stands nothing to gain from doing. It is the EU countries as well as the Rockefellers that were pushing for the Paris Agreement based on scientific fraud because it would award them a free source of income to be paid for by Americans for reducing CO2, rather than CO, carbon monoxide, since CO is still produced in large quantities in manufacting whether non-nuclear renewable energy is used or not. It is also absurd infinitum that the Paris Agreement considers China to be an emerging market, since China is the dominant manufacturing country in the world, and is also the world’s largest polluter. India is another enormous polluter which would be exempt and also has a very large manufacturing base. The Paris agreement basically necessititates that Americans alone pay for everyone in the entire world, which is outrageous. The Paris Agreement is also supported by Wall Street, since carbon credits would be traded, and would tremendously raise the cost of living for Americans since it would raise production costs for ANY American manufacturers, and lower manufacturing costs for China and India. Canada also supports the Paris Agreement. It is all based on scientific fraud because CO2 results in global cooling rather than global warming. It is in America’s best interest to become more self-reliant. Imports should be limited to luxury items in tne interests of national security. It is against American’s best interests to be exporting natural resources. America must transition to renewable non-nuclear energy since it is limited in supply and destroys tbe environment by polluting and destroying the land, and polluting air, and water, not because of CO2, which is a scientific and financial fraud scheme, exactly like the Coronavirus is! It is all that they are capable of! They just refuse to admit the truth! They pretend that the facts do not exist! Of course, Russia would also benefit since its major source of income is oil and gas! I have had it with the Bullshit!
    The Emperors Have No Clothes!
    https://sputniknews.com/europe/202006261079729599-eu-abstains-from-comments-on-germanys-potential-countermeasures-against-us-nord-stream-2-sanctions/

  8. Andrea.Iravani. says:

    In the interest of national security, foreign banks should be prohibited from being Federal Reserve Member banks. The U.S. economy is held hostage to European bankers, which has become increasingly worse since the Clinton administaration allowed foreign banks to become Fed members and be bailed out and funded by American tax payers. The vast majority of income of European countries is through market manipulation in its finance sector, and in the oil markets. I really can’t blame Germany for wanting to use the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline rather than American Liiquified Natural Gas, but I can blame Germany and European countries for begging us to join NATO and be their lynch men against Russia, which America stands nothing to gain from doing. It is the EU countries as well as the Rockefellers that were pushing for the Paris Agreement based on scientific fraud because it would award them a free source of income to be paid for by Americans for reducing CO2, rather than CO, carbon monoxide, since CO is still produced in large quantities in manufacting whether non-nuclear renewable energy is used or not. It is also absurd infinitum that the Paris Agreement considers China to be an emerging market, since China is the dominant manufacturing country in the world, and is also the world’s largest polluter. India is another enormous polluter which would be exempt and also has a very large manufacturing base. The Paris agreement basically necessititates that Americans alone pay for everyone in the entire world, which is outrageous. The Paris Agreement is also supported by Wall Street, since carbon credits would be traded, and would tremendously raise the cost of living for Americans since it would raise production costs for ANY American manufacturers, and lower manufacturing costs for China and India. Canada also supports the Paris Agreement. It is all based on scientific fraud because CO2 results in global cooling rather than global warming.  It is in America’s best interest to become more self-reliant. Imports should be limited to luxury items in tne interests of national security. It is against American’s best interests to be exporting natural resources. America must transition to renewable non-nuclear energy since it is limited in supply and destroys the environment by polluting and destroying the land, and polluting air, and water, not because of CO2, which is a scientific and financial fraud scheme, exactly like the Coronavirus is! It is all that they are capable of! They just refuse to admit the truth! They pretend that the facts do not exist! Of course, Russia would also benefit since its major source of income is oil and gas! I have had it with the Bullshit!
    The Emperors Have No Clothes!
    https://sputniknews.com/europe/202006261079729599-eu-abstains-from-comments-on-germanys-potential-countermeasures-against-us-nord-stream-2-sanctions/

  9. Sir Poon says:

    Woefully inaccurate. Fortunately, the US entered the war and saved the UK, liberated Europe, and, most importantly, secured German scientists that gave the West a technological lead which kept it at the forefront of worldwide industry for hslf a century. Nazis with the atomic bomb, anyone?

  10. Andrea.Iravani. says:

    I think that the pressing question at hand is can we co-exist with the current governments that are in place in America, who have obviously declared war on American citizens and the constitution. They now only are willing to represent the corporations and statues. I am completely against the destruction of statues, however, I am even more against the destruction of the World Trade Towers, Pentagon, the Covid hoax, the lock down, and all of the medical and scientific fraud and Nazi Eugenics forced vaxxing and testing, and isolation policies that are being implemented on blatant fraud in yet another Wall Street scheme to support the tech companies, exactly like 9/11.

    The government has decided that it cannot co-exist with Americans, obviously! They really want all of us dead. There is no way to deny it. Depriving people of their livlihoods is passive murder. They are also trying to incite a civil war and race riots and race wars.

    Andrea Iravani

  11. Luke says:

    Had I been of draft age during the run up to WW2, I would have likely refused and sent to prison.

    Although, without the Internet as a very useful reference source to use to fact check our criminal ruling elites and to help expose their lies and treachery, it is possible that I might have been brainwashed sufficiently to believe the B.S. that was being fed by the jewish owned newspapers to the public and volunteered.

    This is a big reason why these conniving S.O.B’s are so hell bent on censoring the Internet. Its interfering with their ability to bullshit the goyim.

    • Darth Skippy says:

      Conscientious objectors would still get conscripted into slave labor, just without your finger on the trigger.

      As for me, I will believe in partisanship, when there is a party that lays no higher claim to my money, my property, or my life, than I do.

  12. Kevin2 says:

    That 61% was largely motivated by fear. The public was very trusting of FDR and damn few thought that Pearl Harbor was a scam. I had 7 uncles and my father that served in WWII and I asked every one why they did not enlist. The reply (in so many words) was I wasn’t looking to get killed. Two of them seen very nasty combat, one who landed at Utah Beach received a Bronze Star with V later in the war, the other a Purple Heart sufficient to send him home after a land mine in Italy, a third lost a ship in the Pacific. The other 5 had various degrees of safety.

    People started to distrust government after JFK but with a good economy they just went along with the program.

    • cranerigger says:

      Kevin2, thanks for sharing the family history. The oldest brother in my family joined the Army, was captured & lived through the Bataan Death March. The middle brother spent nearly 4 years fighting in the European theater. My Dad, the youngest brother, was assigned to Japan immediately after the war.

      The decision making context I understood from talking to many elders, was that they believed Rooseveldt & thought Japan was dastardly for attacking Hawaii without declaring war.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Two points:
    One: if the culture at the time of WW2 was anything like that of the Vietnam war, many of those who “volunteered” did so in the hopes of avoiding the Draft, thereby having some hope of being able to choose where/how they were assigned, and Two: many documents revealed after the end of WW2 clearly showed that Germany did in fact have plans to occupy North America after the war.
    As an honorable veteran of the Vietnam war era who supports other veterans, I feel that the “Greatest” moniker has been a grotesque mistake.

  14. You cannot compare this to a war, Vietnam or otherwise.Whether you trained in Dago or Fort Hood with an M-1 or M-16 you were not trained to hand out crackers in Louisiana.You were trained to kill the enemy and break his stuff.Now I know that volunteering in say militia is admirable but they are constrained for the most part. What are you going to do with that rifle!!!! If he/she hits you with a rock you gonna take a knee, how about unfriend them on Facebook, I know use harsh language. When the “answer” to beating innocent people, robbing local stores, defacing public property,tearing down statues and terrorizing American citizens starts coming at speeds greater than 2800 feet per second “count me in”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How about a simpler explanation. After the war started the economy was booming. Men were making a decent wage for the first time in their lives. I would venture that many just wanted to work their civilian job as long as possible, remain with families, and make money before they entered the military at the beginning salary of $50 per month. I knew a lot of WWII veterans, and I don’t recall any of them ever saying that the war was a crock. This article is what is a crock.

    • Kevin2 says:

      Anonymous

      “I knew a lot of WWII veterans, and I don’t recall any of them ever saying that the war was a crock. ”

      Agree 100%. I came from a blue collar family that was completely democrat because of FDR and looked at every subsequent democrat as some lighter reincarnation of him. They trusted their government having come home to plentiful jobs that paid good wages; thats the cornerstone of social stability.

  16. Darth Skippy says:

    Before Vietnam era hippies, were post WW2 beatniks. A shanty, where I was staying, had been made from repurposed highway signs, but you could hardly tell. They were surviving on (literal) peanuts, ducks, and restaurant leftovers, in un-incorporated desert, with starving artists, pimps, mountain men, and eccentrics.

    Either, you lucked out, or are trying to make it look good.

    I would orient later generations, returned home, to menial labor positions.

    Speaking of social stability (and they had none), you can still be dirt poor (sand in the drinking water) and not pull down any statues or set the city on fire.

    Capital usually fails it’s end of the social contract. You don’t have to be a domestic terrorist, to reach the conclusion that no toehold was ever made, in most of the country.

  17. Kevin2 says:

    One-third of Vietnam-era veterans entered the military through the draft, far lower than the 66 percent drafted in World War II.

    This fact shows the political naïveté of youth. Raised with patriotic ideals, trusting in government, they emulated their fathers who fought in WWII. The WWII generation, in overwhelming majority, bought every last thing Uncle Sam officially said and prided themselves in their conformity throughout their lives. It’s likely that their WWII military experience assisted in conformity. Governments depend upon this mindset for their existence.

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