Author James B. Simms
Book form: Softcover
Number of pages: 168 pages
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A soldiers armageddon
Some 20 years after the end of World War II, I became aware that many books had been written and movies made about generals, admirals, battles, tactics, politicians, and nations, but not much about the personal life of the U.S. wartime serviceman who disappeared overseas to surface again sometime later in one of four different forms: intact but changed, broken in mind, broken physically, or in a box. War is the method man devised in order to mass produce bitter grief, unbearable suffering, and total misery; but fight wars we must. For every noble humanitarian that is born there are 100 would-be Hitlers, and when a Hitler comes along we either have to pay the price of the installment on civilization or we can default and bankrupt civilization into the dark age, which is worse than war.
Sometimes, in war there is hope. I began this effort in the late 1960s but almost gave up because getting it typed, edited, and retyped was causing problems. Also, during the war in Vietnam, half the country was doing the wrong thing for the right reasons and the other half was doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Everyone was pursuing his own prejudices until I didn't think that anyone would be interested in the lives and efforts of the serviceman who mainly was just following orders as decreed by the President and Congress. In the 1980s I mentioned this book to Allan LeBaron, a retired U.S. Navy sailor, and he not only insisted that I finish it but typed the whole thing on his computer to facilitate the editing.
In April 1945, a 12-year-old Belgian boy, without any prompting, had told me the way the Cold War would develop. Remembering his account now in 1998 is almost like recalling a history that has been forgotten by a whole generation. The irony of this particular part of the book is that I finished my work at the very time the Berlin Wall was coming down.