Wartime Wednesday: Civilian Public Service
“I was young and I wanted to show that I was not a coward,” said conscientious objector Neil Hartman. “So when they offered me this chance of being a guinea pig, it fit right in with my scheme of things of proving that I was willing to take risks on my own body, but I just did not want to kill someone else.”
Neil was just one of nearly 12,000 men who were part of the Civilian Public Service, a program started to handle the thousands of men who objected to the war on religious or philosophical grounds. These men were given the opportunity to perform work of “national importance,” and served around the country doing soil conservation, forestry, fire fighting, agriculture, and social and mental health services.
Another area in which approximately men volunteered was that of being “guinea pigs,” subjects in various medical experiments conducting at universities and hospitals. Some of the studies included:
Hepatitis: The men were inoculated with infected blood plasma and drank contaminated water. As a result of the study, a vaccine was devised to combat the disease, but lives were lost in the process.
Malaria: The subjects allowed themselves to be bitten by malarial mosquitoes and when the fever reached its peak, were given experimental treatments. The research documented the effects of the disease and the time required for complete recovery.
Starvation Experiment: Conducted at the University of Minnesota, this study is perhaps the most famous of the research done during WWII. Thirty-six men were placed on a controlled diet. Initially provided with normal caloric intake for three months, they were then given a diet of 1,800 calories – fewer calories than experienced by the civilian population in wartime Europe. The study then followed the men’s long recovery as they returned to a normal died. The war was over by the time the experiment concluded, and it was a key component in helping shape European reconstruction through the Marshall Plan.
A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.
Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?
Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?
Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.
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