Army GI, Pacifist CO: The World War II Letters of Frank Dietrich and Albert Dietrich

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Frank and Albert Dietrich were identical twins whose lives took very differentdirections during World War II. Drafted into the Army Air Corps and trained asa radio operator, Frank was shipped to the Philippines in 1945, where as a sergeantin the Fifth Air Force he prepared for the invasion of Japan. Albert, a pacifist,struggled mightily to become a conscientious objector and spent two yearsbuilding dams, saving farmland, and helping the poor at Civilian Service Campsin South Dakota, Iowa, and Florida.Raised in a...
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Overview


Frank and Albert Dietrich were identical twins whose lives took very differentdirections during World War II. Drafted into the Army Air Corps and trained asa radio operator, Frank was shipped to the Philippines in 1945, where as a sergeantin the Fifth Air Force he prepared for the invasion of Japan. Albert, a pacifist,struggled mightily to become a conscientious objector and spent two yearsbuilding dams, saving farmland, and helping the poor at Civilian Service Campsin South Dakota, Iowa, and Florida.Raised in a close, religious, Pittsburgh family, Frank and Albert were inseparable asboys, sharing a strong social conscience. Divided by war, they kept in touch bywriting hundreds of letters to each other. The correspondence concerns everythingfrom the daily drudgery of service-loneliness, lousy food-to heartfelt debatesabout war, peace, and patriotism.This absorbing selection of letters offers fresh perspectives on the Americanexperience during World War II. The first published correspondence betweenGI and CO brothers, the letters are an uncommonly articulate chronicle of militaryservice and life on the home front, including GI marriage and parenthood. Backand forth, Frank and Albert also argued about the uses of armed force and pacifistnonviolence in the face of fascism and Nazism.Frank Dietrich's letters from Manila are vivid descriptions of a liberated city underan uneasy occupation. Albert provides an insider's view of the pacifist experience,especially the protracted efforts pacifists often had to wage to obtain CO status.Together, the letters bring to life different ways Americans chose to serve theircountry during one of its most dangerous and demanding times.
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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 1939-42 : "aren't we faced with the choice of a lesser of two evils?" 47
Ch. 2 1943 : "crimes against humanity"? 89
Ch. 3 1944 : "camp life" 124
Ch. 4 1945 : "the devastation and destruction is positively staggering" 145
Ch. 5 1946 : "the FOR ... is realistic and activist" 283
App. A Albert G. Dietrich, sample form 47 309
App. B Albert G. Dietrich, request for presidential appeal by conscientious objector [June 1943] 317
App. C Daily schedule and rules for CPS camps administered by the Mennonite Central Committee 320
App. D Albert Dietrich to Frank and Christine Dietrich, 1986 324
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