Roster of American Field Service Volunteers, 1939-1945.

World War II

  Experience

  Initiation

Had the Great War ended with the Armistice of November 11th, 1918? Certainly the struggle continued in non-military ways: financial strife, smoldering resentments, a great economic depression----all fuel for the fires of totalitarian solutions to social unrest: the forceful creation of Festung Europa, a revival of Charlemagne's empire, a safe, impregnable castle defended by armed knights.

Once again, across the Atlantic "moat", America watched Europe burst into flames as the pretendant to Charlemagne's throne invaded Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland and then turned towards France.

Our story is not about the war itself, but about the revival of the American Field Service, about its tiny part in that great conflagration---an involvement with the world that would not end with the armistices of the summer of 1945.

One might think of it as a play in six acts: first France, the Middle East, the Western Desert; then Italy, India-Burma and the end of the war along the Rhine. It began with the old AFS rallying cry: "Tous et tout pour la France!"

After a summer of increasing tension, Britain, and France declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 and World War II had begun. In the United States, lethargy, isolationism, and an attitude of nonintervention were very strong. However, within Field Service circles the determination once again to work for France had been steadily growing, and discussions were well under way before the actual declaration of war.

George Rock. Introduction History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York 1956

signing up

getting there

orientation

cast of characters


AFSops

AFS operations chart, 1939-1945
designed by William Wallace and Dunbar Hinrichs
published in the last issue of AFS Letters