Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Saturday, September 26, 2009

War, etc

I see from Rick Atkinson's Army At Dawn; The War in North Africa, 1942-3 that
A conscript had to stand at least five feet tall and weigh 105 pounds; possess twelve or more of his natural thirty-two teeth; and be free of flat feet, venereal disease, or hernias.

Oh, and pass a psychological screening exam that asked "Do you like girls?"

Not tough criteria to meet. Dragging in contemporary relevance, it does set in perspective modern complaints about women in the military. They're notably larger and stronger than the soldiers of the Greatest Generation.

In passing, let me say that the book is very good indeed, inspiring me to buy the later volumes of his war trilogy. Doesn't skimp the utter shittiness of all aspects of the American Army so early in the war, and doesn't sugarcoat the politicians.

[President] Roosevelt [in town for the Morocco conference with Churchill] recieved General Nogues, still clinging to power as Moroccan resident-general. When Nogues complained that Jews in Morocco and Algeria were demanding restored suffrage, Roosevelt jauntily replied "The answer to that is very simple, namely, that there just aren't going to be any elections, so the Jews need not worry about the privilege of voting." The president also proposed restricting Jewish participation in law, medicine, and other professions to reflect Jewish percentages in "the whole of the North African population". This, he told nogues, would "eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany..."


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