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The Good Fight Continues

The Good Fight Continues: World War II Letters From the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Peter N. Carroll
Michael Nash
Melvin Small
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 300
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfqrd
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  • Book Info
    The Good Fight Continues
    Book Description:

    Written with passion and intelligence, the letters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in World War II express the raw idealism of anti-fascist soldiers who experienced the war in boot camps, cockpits, and foxholes, but never lost sight of the great global issues at stake.When the United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941, only one group of American soldiers had already confronted the fascist enemy on the battlefield: the U.S. veterans of the Lincoln Brigade, a volunteer army of about 2,800 men and women who had enlisted to defend the Spanish Republic from military rebels during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). They fought on the losing side.After Pearl Harbor, Lincoln Brigade veterans enthusiastically joined the U.S. Army, welcoming this second chance to fight against fascism. However, the Lincoln recruits soon encountered suspicious military leaders who questioned their patriotism and denied them promotions and overseas assignments, foreshadowing the political persecution of the postwar Red Scare. African American veterans who fought in fully integrated units in Spain, faced second-class treatment in America's Jim Crow army. Nevertheless, the Lincolns served with distinction in every theater of the war and won a disproportionate number of medals for courage, dedication, and sacrifice.The 154 letters in this volume, selected from thousands held in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives at NYU's Tamiment Library, provide a new and unique perspective on aspects of World War II.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7297-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VII)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. VIII-VIII)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. IX-XII)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. XIII-XIV)
    Peter N. Carroll, Michael Nash and Melvin Small
  6. CHAPTER ONE BEFORE PEARL HARBOR
    (pp. 1-41)

    The Lincoln Brigade volunteers were for the most part members of the generation that came of age during the Great Depression. Born in the years before World War I, these men and women grew up in the 1920s, the so-called decade of prosperity. During the 1930s they became involved in the labor movement and radical politics through the industrial union movement, civil rights activities, efforts to organize the unemployed, and participation in hunger marches that were often led by the Communist party. These were idealists whose radicalism was formed by hard times and class struggle. Many years later, veteran Milton...

  7. CHAPTER TWO AT WAR WITH THE ARMY
    (pp. 42-115)

    Since the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB) had been campaigning aggressively for U.S. entry into the war. In November, the organization published a pamphlet,Western Front Now!, written by National Commander Milton Wolff, advocating the invasion of Europe, perhaps as a way of liberating Spain from Franco’s dictatorship. Wolff urged President Roosevelt to declare war on Germany immediately. The Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor gave the Lincoln veterans what they wanted. On December 8, 1941, Wolff sent a one-sentence telegram to the president: “We who fought the Fascist...

  8. CHAPTER THREE PROBLEMS IN RED AND BLACK
    (pp. 116-150)

    “Spain was the first place that I ever felt like a free man,” remembered the African American veteran Tom Page, a native of New York City. “If someone didn’t like you, they told you to your face. It had nothing to do with the color of your skin.”¹ The southern-born Crawford Morgan explained that in Spain “people didn’t look at me with hatred in their eyes because I was black, and I wasn’t refused this or refused that because I was black. I was treated like all the rest of the people were treated, and when you have been in...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR IN THE COMBAT THEATERS
    (pp. 151-224)

    Although most Spanish Civil War veterans who entered the armed services after Pearl Harbor encountered considerable diffculty trying to transfer from stateside assignments, a significant number did eventually reach the war zones. In fact, a minority of those who were dispatched overseas slipped through the relatively loose and often ad-hoc screening as early as 1942, even before the 1943 Pearson exposé.

    Veterans served in all theaters: in the west from North Africa to Italy to France; in Asia, in the South Pacific and the subcontinent; and in the air and on the seas. Several, including Vincent Lossowski, Milton Wolff, Irving...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE PREMATURE ANTIFASCISTS AND THE POSTWAR WORLD
    (pp. 225-264)

    The Lincoln Brigade veterans, like most other Americans, looked forward to the postwar world with considerable optimism. By 1945, their fight against fascism that had begun nearly ten years before appeared to be won, a fact that eased some of the disappointment they had carried since leaving Spain in defeat. On the domestic front, many Lincolns hoped that the progressive movement that had made such great progress in the 1930s would be able to build upon the successes of the New Deal, strengthen the industrial union movement, and perhaps set the stage for socialist reform. Yet 1945 remained a year...

  11. APPENDIX: BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF LETTER WRITERS
    (pp. 265-274)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 275-276)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 277-289)
  14. ABOUT THE EDITORS
    (pp. 290-290)