MEMORIAL DAY 2015 II: Lychings, race riots, and segregated military forces characterized the 'greatest generation'....The recent 'Greatest Generation' bullshit is an attack on the generation that had to clean up the racist and imperialist messes left behind by the so-called 'Greatest'....

Everyone knows that the generation that fought in the U.S. military during World War II is the "Greatest Generation", and Tom Brokaw wrote a best seller just in case you didn't know. Really? Question: How many Black Americans were in the U.S. Marine Corps as it fought the battles of the Pacific from Guadalcanal through Okinawa during World War II? Question: How many race riots took place in the USA during the years America was at war with Nazism and Japanese imperialism (1941 - 1945)? Question: Why did Lean Horne refuse to perform at USO events during the Second World War?

When the United States finally entered World War II after the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, lynch law was still in place across the states of the former confederacy -- and the four main "border states." The U.S. military was completely segregated, so that Civil Rights leaders in Black America demanded that Black men have the right to fight and die alongside white fighters against the racist fighters of Nazism and Japanese imperialism.And this is what some propagandists for corporate America's version of history call "The Greatest Generation"? The verdict should be "Bullshit!" In fact, lynchings and KKK problems continued well into the 1970s, as the "Greatest Generation" finally was forced to end its segregationist and racist ways -- thanks to the maligned "Baby Boomers."

But it is difficult in 2015 to document that history accurately. "Greatest" has become the narrative, not reality.

Let's take one example: The U.S. Marine Corps. As everyone who paid attention to the histories of World War II in the Pacific knows, it was brutal. But as everyone who looked closely at those photographs if the men who suffered in those horrendous battles also knows, there were almost no Black people in the ranks at Pelalue, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. There were many Black soldiers in the two U.S. Army divisions that fought on Okinawa, but virtually none in the combat divisions of the U.S. Marine Corp. Despite a 1941 order to desegregate, the Marines stalled, then refused, in an act of uncivil disobedience which was overlooked in the desire to win the war.

As late as the late 1940s and early 1950s, the American ruling class had a policy of not reporting race riots as they broke out across America's cities, smaller towns, and, quite often, in the military bases where the so-called "Great Generation" was being organized to fight Nazism and Japanese imperial racism. When the propaganda to proclaim America's armed segregationists as the "Greatest Generation" began, I waited for the reply -- that a generation that segregated ruthlessly, lynched regularly, and enforced some of the most odious separate but equal policies of the previous century did not -- NOT -- deserve to be called the "Greatest" anything. But I waited for the correction in vain.

It wasn't until 1948, at the risk of his election, that Harry Truman as President of the United States ordered the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces. Although Truman had been part of an earlier, 1941, order to desegregate prior to Pearl Harbor, the resistance to including Black men in the U.S. Marines was successful until the late 1940s. Black Marines were segregated and kept in service units until late in the war, in a part of history that still needs to be fully written. The Marines accepts Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians but continued the racist exclusion of Black men until the late 1940s.It hasn't come because the propaganda on behalf of the so-called "Greatest Generation" came was poised against the reality of the so-called "Baby Boom" generation. It was up to us, the Baby Boomers, to end segregation and challenge, albeit imperfectly, the crimes (and they were crimes) of many of the heroes of the so-called "Greatest Generation." And the fight wasn't easy, as anyone trying to unearth the history knows.

The odious racism of the so-called "Greatest Generation" is a matter of record, but it has been obfuscated. So let's remind ourselves of a few highlights...


December 1, 2018 at 12:24 PM

By: Lawrence

"Greatest generation" really??

There were to Americas then and in many ways

has that not changed.

Japanese Americans in internment camps

Tuskegee experiment syphillus..segregation in public, public, pay equality,,parks

swimming pools, churches, military..lynchings

discrimination in housing and schools..hate crimes, disproportion in prison sentences, propoganda news and crime statistics skewed, riots and " a black guy did it defense" was pervasive and accepted.I am 62 year old black

man who saw all these things and experienced some of them first hand. 20 years in military

and saw a riot in service over pay, jobs and access to careers prohibited to blacks.I served 1979-1999 during Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, and Gulf war I, I was proud to do it and would do it again. I wonder if Brokaw gave any real thought to his book or just wistful inacurate nostalgia overwhelmed him.

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