Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Journey into complete horror

Louis Fedinand' story Journey To The End Of The Night, is a French soldiers experience in the trench's of WWI. Ferdinand paints the picture for the reader by describing the worst horrors anyone could imagine. The young French man in this story, is thinking to himself "why am I here" and other thoughts about the war. At one point the man actually wishes he was in prison than in the war, his logic for this was, a man can walk away from prison with his life, but he cannot walk away from war with his life.

While reading this you really get a feel for the atmosphere of this war, from the horrors of combat all the way to the poor quality of food given to the soldiers. The Germans firing rounds upon rounds, the men's bones are shaking from the machine guns. The stench of sulfur, the smoke burning soldiers eyes for days, and the sheer terror that was felt by these brave young men. The Colonel barking orders at the men, while experiencing heavy fire, swearing at his men calling them "jerks" or "lugs". Also, you sense the total disregard for the fallen, when men died even high ranking officers were killed, it wasn't thought twice about, there was no room for sentiment. This story paints a very vivid picture of the horrors of war.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Conscription of Thought

John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American born philosopher, as well as, a psychologist and education reformer. His school of thought fell under the title of pragmatism which is a naturalistic approach to learning where knowledge is acquired from the environment in which the human lives. Dewey’s work was extensive and covered areas from philosophical concerns of the day to the social and political issues of the time.

After the beginning of World War One, a “substantial part of his published output consisted of commentary on current domestic and international politics, and public statements on behalf of many causes.” He was a believer in progressive social change and a supporter of American intervention in the war. Dewey saw the war as a necessary evil. He felt it was something that had to be dealt with and why not use it as an outlet for social reform if the opportunity arose. To quote him directly, “the future of our civilization depends upon the widening spread and deepening hold of the scientific cast of mind.”

“Conscription of Thought” can best be defined as a mandatory uptake of thought not just feeling and acting. The article discusses the argument that social cohesion “is best attained along with intellectual and emotional unity.” However, the effectiveness of the American intervention is “likely to be hampered by lack of those ideas.” Ultimately for Americans to be successful in their intervention, “participation should consist not in money nor in men, but in the final determination of peace policies which is made possible by the contribution of men and money.”

369th Infantry "Harlem Hellfighters"

"Harlem Hellfighters" the 369Th Infantry Regiment an all black military unit that fought with bravery and valor during World War I. The unit was first established in 1913 as the 15Th New York (colored) Infantry Regiment a unit of the National Guard. They were among the first 100,00 troops of the American expeditionary Force to arrive in France in 1918. This regiment was an important piece of the 4Th French Army and fought until Armistice during the Meuse - Argonne Offensive. They were the first American Unit to be awarded the French military highest honor the Croix de Guerre. The "Hellfighters" served 6 months at the front lines and suffered more then 1400 casualties. Germans gave the 369Th the nickname "Hellfighter" because in 190 days of duty at the front they never had any men captured or ground taken. Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson is one of the most famous soldiers of the regiment. Johnson while on sentry duty engaged a raiding group of 20 Germans in an intense skirmish that included hand to hand combat that included the use of Sergeant Lincolns bolo knife. He was severely wounded but also managed to rescue a fellow soldier who was being captured by the Germans. His actions were not recognised until he received posthumously the Purple Heart in 1996 and the military second highest honor in 2003 the Distinguished Service Cross.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

John Dewey "Conscience and Compulsion"

When World War I began in 1914, there were many mixed emotions about the war.

John Dewey, an American philosopher and educational theorist, supported the war. In the article "Conscience and Compulsion", Dewey explains that many people, mostly the youth of America, have felt moral strain since war was declared by the United States.

Dewey thought that the reason for the conflict of emotion in America's youth stemmed from religious sources, schools, and parent's values. America's youth were being taught morals (ie-not to kill) that could not be reconciled with President Wilson's decision to go to war.

While many people felt that peace was unattainable through conflict, Dewey states that in order to have peace for all, armed conflict is sometimes necessary. Dewey felt that the means should not justify the end, but the end should justify the means. In other words, the attaining of peace should not be as important as peace itself.