Monday, January 22, 2007

The Army of Freedom

During the Pacific War, the so called "Army of Freedom" of the United States showed enormous racial prejudices among its soldiers, as a direct consequence of the segregationism in the American society. Black soldiers were denied basic services, given not enough or null ammonition in the battlefield, or were even murdered by white military.

In 1941, the army of general McArthur established its headquarters in Queensland (Australia), where more than 50,000 soldiers arrived. And also in Australia, while white soldiers were received in open arms, the laborist Government of John Curtin did not allow to entry (aprox.) 12,000 black soldiers, strictly following an ancient Australian law for the white conservation of the continent (The White Australia Policy). Thousands of soldiers had to stay in their boats for weeks until the pressures of the American Government convinced Curtin. However, black soldiers were confined in the degradated suburb in the South of Brisbane, at the other side of the river. They were not allowed to cross to the North suburb and neither to go in dance places such as Trocadero Dance, under very hard punishments.

Australian population, however, never rejected these exotic soldiers, but on the contrary. They had specially success with Australian girls, so much that in the end, white American soldiers felt envious (never did Australian soldiers, their eternal party fellows). The American Military Police, formed by white men, made use of their power by putting lot of pressure on black soldiers, blaming them on false crimes, applying specially severe punishments and murdering several persons.

In March 1942, fights between these two groups made black soldiers to be moved out of the city, and installed in the forest near Townsville, living in subhuman conditions. In November the same year, serious confrontations arose again in Brisbane between the remaining white American soldiers and the Australian ones, which shows what was the source of the problem. However, black soldiers were not better treated from them on, and no war report ever mentioned the very serious facts that had happened.

No comments: