They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II

By Kathi Jackson | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
The European Theater

We saw it coming through the late 1930s. The reports from Europe were like bulletins from an operating table. Yet, America stayed in the waiting room, knowing that worse was yet to come, knowing we would be drawn into it. Closer and closer came the catastrophic crisis. Then, September 1, 1939, a time for beaches and vacation, it struck and the dagger blow was upon us with a terrifying swiftness that paralyzed the world's statesmen: War!

-- Harrison Salisbury

Foreword, World War II: A 50th Anniversary

Although Americans had watched Adolf Hitler's rise to power since the early 1930s, most were too preoccupied with surviving the Great Depression to worry about the ravings of a tyrant so far away. Besides, the story he told everyone outside of Germany was that he wasn't a "warmonger." 1

The story he told his people, however, was different.

The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, took territory away from Germany, restricted the growth of the country's land and sea forces, banned its air force, and forbade any expansion. The hardships of the years that followed--poor economy, high unemployment, and crowded conditions--made the Germans vulnerable to a leader who promised an end to all their ills, and Hitler did just that. The Treaty of Versailles and Jewish capitalism, said Hitler, were the roots of their problems. But they weren't to worry, for he had the solution: Build up arms and take, by force if necessary, the needed land--Lebensraum ("living space")--and use its current occupants for forced labor. As one author put it, "It seemed, to many Germans, to make sense."2

-65-

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They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Note xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Notes xx
  • Chapter 1 Uncle Sam Wants You! 1
  • Notes 6
  • Chapter 2 from Whites to Fatigues 7
  • Notes 15
  • Chapter 3 Following the Troops 17
  • Notes 21
  • Chapter 4 the Pacific Theater 23
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 5 the Mediterranean Theater 51
  • Notes 62
  • Chapter 6 the European Theater 65
  • Notes 82
  • Appendix 6a: Rain on A Tent in Normandy 85
  • Appendix 6b: China Doll 86
  • Appendix 6c: the Gardelegen Barn 88
  • Appendix 6d: Second Lieutenant Frances Y. Slanger 92
  • Chapter 7 the China-Burma-India Theater 93
  • Notes 97
  • Chapter 8 the United States and Western Atlantic Minor Theaters 99
  • Notes 106
  • Appendix 8a: Nursing in A Stateside Burn Ward 107
  • Chapter 9 Wild Blue Yonder 109
  • Notes 117
  • Appendix 9a: Tales of An Air Force Nurse 119
  • Chapter 10 Life at Sea 121
  • Notes 135
  • Chapter 11 Camaraderie and Romance 139
  • Notes 152
  • Chapter 12 Leaving a Legacy 155
  • Notes 169
  • Appendices 171
  • Notes 182
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 207
  • About the Author 213
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