Video Review: The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It

Rick Tejada-Flores and Judith Ehrlich

This one-hour-long documentary is the story of the 42,000 Americans who were conscientious objectors during World War II - a hard war to oppose, since no one knew how to win it without violence or prevent it with justice. Some 12,000 men entered Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps; about 7,000 went to prison (where they successfully demanded racial desegregation); and others (such as the film star, Lew Ayres) went into the army as medics who never touched weapons.

Those in the CPS were disappointed because the work was meaningless. Requesting more constructive assignments, some became smoke-jumpers; others volunteered for dangerous medical experiments, such as being injected with live hepatitis virus.

Some 3,000 COs took jobs in mental hospitals, where conditions were appalling. Their actions led to the reform of the whole mental hospital system.

This engrossing videotape is available from Independent Television Service in San Francisco. Phone: 415/356-8383 or fax 415/356-8391.

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2002

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2002, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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