Having just finished another book involving the WW2 generation I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Tom Brokaw is wrong.
The book I just finished was about deserters in the European Theater of Operations and there were over 50,000 of them.This doesn't include a large number of guys that sneaked out of their unit for a few days to get drunk or whore around. Generally if the guy was an otherwise good soldier good commanders covered for him and punished him 'in house'.
There were very few in the Pacific simply because there really wasn't any place to go.
Of course, many of these deserters were basically guys with battle fatigue that simply cracked and wandered off somewhere in a daze. The army was cruel to these people and many of them that deserved to either be reassigned or treated for battle fatigue wound up tried, convicted and given stiff sentences.
The other deserters were simply gangsters that deserted and headed to Paris or Rome and went into the black market stealing and selling government supplies.
While the troops on the front went without these thugs waxed fat in relative safety. The problem in Paris and Rome got completely out of hand and in Italy somewhere entire trains went missing.
There was actually a lot more draft dodging than we ever heard about, too. Draft dodging wasn't just a Vietnam era thing.
There was also a lot of manufacturing fraud, too and a lot of padding of expenses by manufacturers during the war.
In short I think that the so-called greatest generation has been put on a pedestal and been canonized.
This is not to say they were shirkers, thieves or cowards. There were an awful lot of damned good people in that generation.
I am simply saying that they were really no different than the generations preceding them or following them.
They were simply a generation that was dealt a different hand of cards and they played them as best they could.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this:
http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY