Yank Magazine Articles On The Net

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All those wishing to know more about World War Two and America in the 1940s will be happy to know that the magazine articles from Yank Magazine can now be read online.

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so terribly successful was the fact that the editors did not talk down to it's readers

[A website has appeared on the radar that will be of great interest to all readers of history: OldMagazineArticles.com is a free online archive of magazine articles that were published between the years 1860 and 1922. The editor of the site has recently enlarged the archive of articles to include the content of "Yank" magazine (1942 - 1945). For the contemporary reader and researcher, "Yank" (the U.S. Army weekly that was written by and for the men in the service) provides a unique window into the America of the 1940s as well as a viewpoint that is helpful for all those seeking a better understanding of that young generation who fought World War Two. Unlike military publications printed by the other Allied armies, "Yank" was not free; the G.I.s had to reach into their pockets to buy a copy (five cents) and the editors saw to it that the magazine offered more than the standard army clap-trap concerning shoe-lace regulations and chow-line etiquette. The magazine offered it's readers interviews with well-known writers (Margaret Mitchell, Dashiel Hammett), presidential advisors (Bernard Baruch) and sports stars (base ball legend Jackie Robinson and golf star John Byron Nelson); these editors also kept their readers abreast of Hollywood news and life on the home front (the articles concerning wartime Washington and New York are among the most popular). And when the war reached it's bloody end, the magazine was filed with information regarding demobilization, the benefits of the G.I. Bill, employment opportunities and the post-war trials in Germany and Japan.

As to whether or not the World War Two generation was the greatest generation, as so many have agreed -this is a matter that will be decided on other websites and blogs. However in order to better understand that generation, a reading of "Yank" is essential. It would be short-sighted to believe that the Second World War was the only experience that left it's mark on the men and women of this generation; the other remarkable event that they shared involved growing up in the Great Depression. It is seldom recalled that the economic deprivations created by the Depression had served to under-nourish so many children that the American war-time army found many in the draft-pool far too weak to serve in any capacity whatsoever -and that unfortunate percentage of the generation that was healthy enough to survive the Depression whole and intact would only live to meet their ends on sinking ships, burning aircraft, bloody atolls, European beaches or the deserts of North Africa. The blessed souls fortunate enough to make it through to the war's end, whether at the front, the rear or on the home front, would be able to usher in and enjoy the most remarkable economic boom in American history.

Matthew Jacobsen, the Editor of http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/ OldMagazineArticles.com, remarked, "What made "Yank" so terribly successful was the fact that the editors did not talk down to it's readers". Those who contributed to the magazine had a good deal of respect for their G.I. readership and provided them with the straight dope as much as possible. Although "Yank" was subject to the same war-time censorship as other U.S. periodicals, there were times when they did one thing the others didn't: they printed pictures of American dead. This act was in keeping with their policy not to patronize their readers by sugar-coating the grim business of war: all concerned knew that the stakes were high.

Anyone who has spent time reading "Yank" as much as the crew at OldMagazineArticles.com have will be able to tell you that the one seldom mentioned historic aspect of the World War Two generation is that they seemed to really be the first generation to recognize the injustice done to the non-whites in American society. While not editorializing or grandstanding, the editors of "Yank" had a number of articles that mentioned the fighting spirit of the Japanese-American infantry (the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Team) while also pointing out that their families on the home front were incarcerated; likewise, you will find that from time to time there appeared letters addressed to the editors from the G.I. readers who tended to believe that the war would bring an end to segregation at home. It was much to the credit of those "Yank" editors that such criticism of the sadder aspects of American culture was not left in the office waste can, but placed on the magazine pages for all to see.

"Yank" was a good magazine and it deserves a second life on the internet: OldMagazineArticles.com is proud to host it's second coming!


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Matthew Jacobsen

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