Historian says the US sexually stimulated its soldiers in World War I

(ORDO NEWS) — “In war, all means are fair,” goes the saying, and the Cambridge historian claims that 100 years ago, the United States of America demonstrated this clearly by using pent-up sexual energy to motivate soldiers.

From recruiting attractive canteen and first-aid post workers to banning prostitution, the Pentagon went to great lengths to incentivize soldiers to fight in a war on the other side of the world, the reasons and goals of which they did not even understand.

In the First World War , the United States initially took a position of neutrality, entering into a military conflict on the side of the Entente only in 1917.

For a year and a half of hostilities, they suffered considerable losses: according to various sources, from 53 to 114 thousand soldiers died, more than 200 thousand were injured.

Even when the first Americans landed in France in June 1917, many young soldiers had no idea what they were going to fight for.

Eric Wycoff Rogers , a historian at the University of Cambridge (UK), argues that the US government and military have massively used sexuality to motivate military recruits.

Since the war on the other side of the world was not perceived by young Americans as important as the Europeans, the Department of Defense simultaneously introduced a ban on prostitution and actively stimulated the soldiers sexually.

The purpose of this teasing was to evoke unsatisfied sexual desire that could be used as motivation to fight, especially through calls for chivalry and heroism.

The stimulation included various aspects of the daily life of soldiers: for example, only attractive, but quite mature white women, around the age of 30, were hired as canteen workers (it was believed that they would be better than young girls to be able to resist the temptation to enter into a sexual relationship with a soldier).

The same criteria were applied to the dancers who entertained the soldiers during their rest – attractive, white and wealthy enough not to be tempted by the soldier’s skinny purse.

By the way, since black male soldiers were considered “sexually promiscuous by default” by military leaders, they were assigned to non-combat units of the army.

Historian says the US sexually stimulated its soldiers in World War I 1

By the way, active work was also carried out with civilian women: American women living near the training camps of soldiers were urged to keep an eye on their daughters and prevent casual relationships. In some cases, women of reproductive age were simply taken out of the places that the soldiers visited most often.

It even came to the arrest of women – “sex criminals” (their number at the end of the war reached several thousand), who were convicted of extramarital affairs with soldiers of active military service.

Naturally, such actions were justified by preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and increasing morale in the army, but Rogers believes that the main reason was the control over the sexual energy of the soldiers.

Historian says the US sexually stimulated its soldiers in World War I 2
US military poster of 1917: America is depicted on it in full accordance with the canons of beauty of that time

And not only people, but newspapers, posters, radio messages everywhere used attractive female images and voices to motivate soldiers to fight in someone else’s war.

The Trench and Camp newspaper even published fictitious letters from a wife to her soldier husband, and real servicemen were encouraged to write more often to their beloved ones who remained at home, which stimulated them to exploits.

The whole system began to wind down only with the end of the war in 1918, although some of its effects for example, the arrests of women accused of spreading STDs were felt for decades to come.

“The idea that America’s progressive era reached its zenith in World War I and then followed in the 1920s by a completely different period of sexual liberalism is oversimplified,” Rogers said . In other words, even after the end of the war, government control over the privacy of Americans did not go anywhere.

Finally, it is worth noting that the idea of ​​using sexuality remains relevant today, because you can still often see images of sexually attractive women in advertisements for detergents or home furniture. Significantly, images of sexually attractive men are used much less frequently.


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