Citizens First & Soldiers Second: The January 1946 Army Mutinies
Author: Aaron Peterka, Northeastern University
Comment: Christopher Capozzola, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This is an online event.
This essay examines how U.S. soldiers, believing that the U.S. government violated its promise of rapid demobilization, rose up to protest the War Department’s demobilization reduction in early January 1946. Reflecting a “citizen-first, soldier-second” mentality, American troops engaged in global demonstrations, exercising citizenship rights like petitioning the government for redress, free speech and assembly, and the right to a free press, despite their presence in the armed forces. Therefore, the GI Mutinies of 1946 can be seen as soldiers reclaiming a sense of their citizenship in a republican society that had been reified as a result of their wartime service.
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