Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WWII : high moral action forsaken for high morale puffery

High morals or High morale : diverse ways to win WWII

Where Henry Dawson and a few others differed most strongly from the mainstream of civilian thought in WWII was his concern that his side could best win the war with high morals --- rather than just with high morale.

Not that some very powerful people (like FDR) didn't think that lots of public talk about high moral vales wasn't important for high morale - they just didn't want to see too much explicit talk about details and about implementing those high moral values into low level practise.

Dawson was not black, but the idea of a need for V2 was obviously a big part of his emotional DNA : (1) a domestic Victory as necessary to ensure  (2) a quicker and less bloody military Victory overseas.

Was he right ?

Well, his opponents were obviously wrong : less high talk might have been more , not less , helpful to the war effort.

Because it was the disconnect between high talk and low reality that so depressed most citizens of the Allies, the Axis and the Neutrals.

"We're pretty bad, admittedly, but not quite as bad as their lot - so we need to remain free and they need to be defeated" might have played out better in Moscow, Berlin and New York.

The problem with genuine high moral action in the Allied world was that it would have produced a hot civil war internally as opposed to a lukewarm external war.

Most people , deep down, disliked the Nazis' actions far more than their views : they simply took commonly accepted social darwinism viewpoints too far, repressed weaker peoples too much , wanted colonies too badly.

Only if and when the general population in the Allied world changed this social darwinistic viewpoint , on their own ,would it be convincing to Allies, Neutrals and Axis alike.

Very slowly and very grudgingly allowing women to work and blacks to fight didn't really convince many that the Allies' war aims were much better than that of their opponents.

But look at the diverting of giant war bombers away from bombs to delivering instead  tiny handfuls of scarce drugs half way across the continent to save the lives of even smaller babies ... from no-account families .

The record suggests these acts was truly spontaneous and unexpected enough to be seen as truly heartfelt and as unmotivated by cynical high level 'morale' considerations.

In an Allied war that looks shabbier and shabbier the more the records are researched , spontaneously diverting war material penicillin to save the lives of no-account babies still looks to be the moral high point of the war....

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