Waiting for Peace

The Journals and Correspondence of a World War II Combat Medic

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Standing in the panoramic window of The Berghof, Cpl. Richard Berkey surveys the bombed out ruins of Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat.

Photo by Norman Eliason

This is the story of one young man’s war experience. He was a combat medic. The stories come from his journals, the letters he sent home, and the letters sent to him.

Music by Kai Engel, Creative Commons

From 1939 to 1945 over 12 million United States citizens served in World War II. 400,00 were killed. 670,000 were wounded, and 73,000 went missing in action. More than 40 nations were involved and more than 60 million people were killed worldwide.

Together these journals tell a story of people behaving dutifully, unselfishly, and honorably in a world out of control.

These figures are staggering. They do not include the millions who suffered far from the battlefield from the loss or wounding of a family member or a loved one, people who suffered displacement or loss of their homes and their livelihoods, and children who were sent out of harm’s way. The statistics do not speak of the millions who contributed to the war machine by working in a multitude of needed industries. They manufactured aircraft, ships, tanks, military vehicles, munitions, garments, and medical supplies. They worked in agriculture, food processing, lumber, rubber, and the media industries that supplied propaganda and educational material. Virtually every American’s life was affected, from the man serving on the front lines to the grandmother sitting at home knitting bandages.

This is the story of one young man’s war experience. He was a combat medic. The stories come from his journals, the letters he sent home, and the letters sent to him. They come from his family – from two brothers and a sister in the Navy, from a sister away at college, from a youngest sister and parents at home, and from friends scattered by the forces of war. Together these journals tell a story of people behaving dutifully, unselfishly, and honorably in a world out of control.