Veterans of Future Wars

Veterans of Future Wars

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This book tells the story of The Veterans of Future Wars (VFW), a student movement that attracted widespread support in a short few months in 1936. Despite its short life, it was a successful movement that attracted wide support and caused serious discussion about the role of the federal government in providing bonuses to veterans. It focused American attention on the bonus issue, which had been a political issue for many years.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 212 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 073914829X
  • 9780739148297

Review quote

It began as college prank in 1936 when several Princeton students, mocking the demands of veterans for a bonus, founded an imaginary organization, Veterans of Future War, suggesting that youth get paid now for wars they'd be asked to fight in later. But almost overnight the organization took on a life of its own, with some 500 chapters and over 50,000 members on campuses from coast to coast. Though its founders did not seem motivated by antiwar sentiment the group's mockery of veterans and superpatriot organization tapped into youth's deep opposition to militarism and war. Donald Whisenhunt has given us the first study of the Veterans of Future Wars, a story that captures the political volatility of Depression America's college campuses. Grounded in careful research and narrated with clarity, candor, and humor, Whisenhunt's study has much to teach us about student politics and culture in the U.S. during the mid-1930s. -- Robert Cohen, New York University Donald Whisenhunt's book evocatively recounts the uproarious history of the Veterans of Future Wars, a satirical anti-war movement that enlisted tens of thousands of college students in the 1930s. As this book demonstrates, the VFW was not merely a hoax or silly college hijinx, but a potent example of student activism and the power of political satire. -- Chris Rasmussen, Fairleigh Dickinson University Until now, professors have mentioned the Veterans of Future Wars (VFW), created in March 1936, to liven up class lectures. In an engaging account, Whisenhunt (emer., Western Washington Univ.) provides the first serious, full-scale study of this admittedly ephemeral organization. Far from being organized by radical pacifists, the VFW was launched by a group of politically conservative undergraduates at Princeton University to satirize the effort to grant government bonuses to all veterans of WW I, irrespective of any overseas service. Skillful publicity inadvertently led to the formation of a genuinely intercollegiate body that, at the height of its growth, encompassed over 500 chapters and up to 60,000 members. On some campuses, women formed the Future Gold Star Mothers, a phenomenon followed by the establishment of such bodies as future chaplains, propagandists, profiteers, war correspondents, unknown soldiers, munitions makers, and venereal doctors. The VFW lasted only a few months, falling victim to lack of a general program, the distraction of forthcoming national elections, and congressional adoption of the bonus bill. Sources include the VFW papers at Princeton University, other manuscript collections, personal interviews, and the collegiate press. Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE Whisenhunt writes an interesting and enjoyable book. Military Review Whisenhunt does historians and general readers a favor by providing a description and analysis of this largely forgotten episode. Journal of American History
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About Donald W. Whisenhunt

Donald W. Whisenhunt is professor of history, emeritus at Western Washington University.
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Table of contents

1 Prologue Chapter 2 Chapter 1. A Bonus of Their Own Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Riding the Tiger Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Too Many Disciples Chapter 5 Chapter 4. A Plethora of Imitators Chapter 6 Chapter 5. The Political Game Chapter 7 Chapter 6. Too Many Enemies Chapter 8 Chapter 7. Neither Red nor Yellow Chapter 9 Chapter 8. The Demise 10 Afterword 11 Appendix 1. Manifesto of Veterans of Future Wars 12 Appendix 2. Manifesto of Future Gold Star Mothers 13 Appendix 3. Veterans' Preference Act 14 Appendix 4. By-Laws of the Veterans of Future Wars 15 Appendix 5. Act Introduced in Congress79 16 Bibliography
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