The Importance Of The Victory Book Campaign

793 Words 4 Pages
CONVALESCENCE THROUGH READING

Over fifteen million Americans served in the United States military during World War 2. But fewer than a million American soldiers experienced actual battle.
Consequently, the average soldier not engaged in battle would endure day to day activities that often consisted dull, repetitive duties. On the other hand, a soldier in the infantry was much more likely to encounter serious combat and would experience many perils that would subject these young men to horrors of war. No doubt, witnessing the deaths of the innocent civilians or their fellow soldiers, would be mentally exhausting or they could encounter personal injury and emotional devastation for which boot camp provided no preparation.

The American serviceman
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However, the biggest challenge would be keeping soldiers motivated and engaged.

It was determined that books could be instrumental to keeping soldiers happy. The primary challenge with books was the large expense of purchasing millions of books. Fortunately, American librarians rose to the challenge and founded the Victory Book Campaign (VBC). As the Nazi’s worked quickly to burn their books, these librarians worked hard to gain public assistance with supplying servicemen with quality reading materials.

The campaign helped build moral for the soldiers and it enlisted the help of almost all Americans: from the president himself to young boy scouts. The campaign lasted throughout the war and Americans supplied approximately ten million books annually. Another challenge was of the scope of the effort itself. Although, it was expensive to send out million books each year there was the matter of shipping and supplies and the quality of the reading material, so of the books being sent were of no interest to
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These books became a commodity to everyone involved and throwing away even a shredded and tattered book would surely subject any soldier to hazing from his peers.

In the end, the books were an introduction to higher education for some GI’s and many soldiers left the war deciding to go on to college and further their education.
The stories also had a gastronomic effect and encouraged weary soldiers who had to eat bland military rations. For example, reading books such as Chicken Every Sunday shifted soldiers minds from their insipid sustenance to thinking about good home cooking and provided a light at the end of their tunnel, supplying visions of going back home and eating meals they were used to eating with their families.

FDR created the New Deal which provided a future for returning Servicemen and after the war they returned to either enlist into vocational training or to go on to college. For many the opportunity to go to college was a social leap and solidified Americas Future by providing a way to leave possible unemployment and step up in society. These laws are likely responsible for the success of the would be baby boomers and provided the economic boom that would come in the 50‘s and

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