Every Citizen a Soldier: The Campaign for Universal Military Training after World War II

By William A. Taylor | Go to book overview

10 The Normal Way of Life

Men must be trained for the future in accordance with individual aptitudes,
abilities, and skills. Bombs in any future war will not come marked for white or
for colored.

—Truman K. Gibson

We are launching in the Negro and liberal press a nationwide expose of
the race-minded UMT clique. Their hysterical campaign for a jimcrow bill is
threatening every substantial gain won by Negroes. We call upon responsible
leaders and liberals in both parties to crack down on this new-style lynch
party which would surrender Negro boys to Mississippi Army officers without
legislative safeguards.

—A. Philip Randolph

The leadership of the NAACP had held serious reservations regarding UMT for quite some time. There were two main reasons. One was that those leaders considered UMT ineffective. They claimed that not only would UMT contribute little to national security, but it would actually lessen security by promoting an international arms race. William H. Hastie represented the NAACP before the Woodrum committee and publicized the rationale for the group’s opposition to UMT. His testimony was “authorized by the Board of Directors” of the NAACP and represented their “formal resolution.” Hastie remarked that the group was not convinced of the need for such a drastic program and doubted its ability to make America more secure. He contended that UMT was “generally unsound in principle,” and he warned that the prospects of a future war were fearful, given the vast increase in the destructiveness of war evidenced during World War II. Hastie claimed that UMT would not alleviate the destructiveness of future war and that its only possible value and justification would be as a deterrent of future war. However, he flatly denied any such justification. As he pointed out, “It is our belief that it would have no such effect.” Instead of being a deterrent, UMT would actually lead to an arms race. Hastie compared the prospect of UMT in the postwar world to a Darwinian jungle in which each nation proclaimed its own preparedness measures were defensive in character but interpreted other nations’ preparedness measures as offensive. Hastie urged, “In my judgment we must make up our minds that there

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Every Citizen a Soldier: The Campaign for Universal Military Training after World War II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Trainee Comes Home vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustration x
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1- A Grave Decision 1
  • 2- The Spirit of 1920 13
  • 3- The Basis for All Plans 27
  • 4- Target No. 1- USA Target 33
  • 5- Preaching the Gospel 42
  • 6- A Pig in a Poke 67
  • 7- A Matter of Broad Policy 88
  • 8- The Fort Knox Experiment 103
  • 9- A Program for National Security 118
  • 10- The Normal Way of Life 132
  • 11- A Shock throughout the Civilized World 143
  • 12- The Paradox of Preparedness 161
  • Appendix A- Key Personalities 172
  • Appendix B- Timeline 175
  • Notes 177
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 219
  • About the Author 233
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