There is a curious problem with the 21st century progressive American historical approach. Part of the establishment is desperate to boost any contribution in the past by a non-white group or individual in the all in it together mode. The Hollywood part of the regime media is retconning the past to make films both portraying a segregated Army, while also portraying an integrated Army in other films. Individual minority groups also proudly celebrate feats of defiance as early signs of the struggle against the regime that holds them down while simultaneously depending on them for voting legitimacy. It makes for a mess of the official depiction of 20th century events with many primary sources available.
World War II holds a special place in American history not just as America’s ascendancy to global hegemon, but for the plethora of film and news artifacts. The image of Rosie the Riveter lives on for 21st century feminists to appropriate, despite the truth that she eventually quit the job because it was too hard. Everyone sacrificed. Everyone pitched in and pulled together to beat the Nazis and Japanese. Hushed up and mostly forgotten are black mutinies in the armed forces in World War II.
Pshaw, this is just hyperbole or exaggeration of blacks not taking any guff. Please read details in the links. White soldiers, black MPs, white officers all get attacked, shot at, and weapons are stolen. This report on the Camp van Dorn incident states there were 209 racial incidents, many of which were outright mutinies where soldiers used weapons against officers. Some of the odd behavior was political in nature. Black Seabees complained and even held a hunger strike until FDR’s federal bureaucrats made sure proper promotions were made and bad whites were disciplined. This is the same as modern political moves within the military that reward regime clients and punish white men.
This is not to say all of these incidents were without just cause. The Port Chicago mutiny was an act where sailors were right to be scared for their lives due to their orders. Noncoms and officers black and white played loose with men’s lives, if one reads the sources. The Agana race riot had a lot of back and forth between white and black soldiers prior to the full scale riot. The problem starts, though, as one looks through the many mutinies that surprisingly have not been collected in a book on World War II. A review of the Pacific theater only mentions friction between black and non-blacks, whether military or civilian, during the war.
These black mutinies did not have to be late in the war or in hot zones. In 1941, there was a mutiny at Fort Bragg and a shoot out at Fort Dix. Seventy-three troops were convicted for a mutiny in Hawaii. Fort Lawton had a riot, and please read some of these links to get the “hands up, don’t shoot” lies at the core of many of these events. Black soldiers magically get killed (they don’t), which then automatically inspires the other blacks to take up arms and attack the nearest whites, whether in the next barracks or the officers’ mess. There were shootouts at Mobile’s Brookley Field and Camp Claiborne. Similar to the Seabees, many of these men were in supply and logistics units. Many of these mutineers would also attack black MPs, who were often sent in first to reason with their fellow black soldiers.
Were some of these trial runs for the coming civil rights movement? Of course they were. There was the Freedom Field Mutiny in Indiana. This event was more political in nature and had to do simply with segregated social spaces. Considering all that had happened elsewhere with black units, segregation of black and non-black at the end of World War II might have looked more appealing, not less appealing. There was a mutiny in Florida, as black soldiers did not even deal well with locals. Note in this document, if you search, you will find accusations of communists brainwashing the black soldiers into asking for preferential treatment.
The trial runs were not just for spurring change, but for cover-ups, as well. The media and even the Secretary of Defense downplayed the mutiny at Claiborne. Note that Secretary Stimson denied that the punishment for the mutineers was being withheld until after the election to help FDR. If the mutiny was so mild, what would FDR and the Democrats have to fear? The Left controlled the bureaucracy and papers, though, so this was never questioned. If you read through all of these links, you will see men pardoned by President Truman and records cleaned decades later. Investigators go to great lengths to clear the men if they can, but many fail to do so. Some men even receive back pay.
No cover-up is as odd as the Townsville mutiny that happened in Australia in 1942. The mutiny, even given some slight justification by the modern reporter as the troops did “thankless” work, was so troublesome that future president LBJ went to investigate. A very lengthy report was sent to President Roosevelt, and this was all kept hidden for decades. As in many riots and mutinies listed above, black engineer corpsmen fired machine guns at white officers. These men did the construction work of airfields and bases. These were not the troops who stormed the shores of Okinawa. This only came to light in 2012. The only records of it were in LBJ’s personal files.
None of these events ever make it into movies, and many are scrubbed from records of war overviews, despite the hundreds of incidents. The perfect #BlackLivesMatter script is set, though, and could use the Hollywood favorite “based on a true story” tagline. Imagine Fred Johnson from Baltimore building airfields in Australia, far from the front, gets disrespected by some WASP officer, and that’s all he can stand. Machine guns a blastin’ he, and the righteous blacks that he inspires with a touching speech, strike for the oppressed! Some Uncle Tom black MP takes him in to be arrested. The Army, which fed him, sheltered him, and paid him, sends him to jail for 16 months for mutiny and attempted murder before President Truman pardons him. The final shot could be him crying, yet defiant, sitting in a jail cell, and the inconvenient pardon and pay could be a text screen after everyone is getting up to leave the theater.
This would be an excellent script, but might cause too much probing by movie reviewers and worse, casual movie goers. The patterns might be noticed and might trip over the same type of mutinies in World War I. He who controls the present controls the past, and those in control want this disturbing historical note stuffed away. These odd mutinies that peppered World War Two must be relegated to local history and the small printing run books that get published about Weird Florida or Forgotten New Jersey. These events must remain hidden history.