AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Re: WWII - The 'Black Panther' Tank Battalion
In Response To: WWII - The 'Black Panther' Tank Battalion ()
Thanks for the article about the 761st Tank Battalion. Their contribution to the Allied defeat of the despicable and racist Nazi army is an important legacy in African-American military history. Most of these men were barely out of their teens. Some like Leonard "Smitty" Smith left high school to take part in the "Big Show" in Europe.
The article stresses their fight against racism on "two fronts". The German army and the American army. When foreigners learn about the history of the 761st they always ask why would they fight for a country that denied them full citizenship.
My response is why shouldn't they? It was their country. Their ancestors enslaved or free built America and for the most part, their ancestors had been in this country longer than most whites. They certainly knew that the Nazi's despised African-Americans. Jesse Owens' experience made that crystal clear.
Why did Native Americans go to war? Why did Nisei go to war for America? Like the 761st the Nisei distinguished themselves in battle during W.W.II. Like the 761st who liberated the concentration camp at Gunskirchen, the Nisei were at Dachau.
There is no question about the 761st and their role in spearheading the break through of the Seigfried Line. Had these black soldiers believed that they were the passive, abused victims of American injustice, then the evil Nazi regime would have continued way past 1945. Unfortunately Europeans still embrace the victimized slave and the angry -burn-down-America stereotypes. Neither one was present in the battlefields of Europe. The men of 761st, the Nisei, and Native Americans were joined in the battle against the evil Axis nations by people of color from "The Colonies" in the West Indies, Africa, India, and Canada.
For all of those who don't understand their patriotism and view it only as a strange irony, I've included a few url's below.
The legacy of the 761st should never be forgotten.
Bennie thanks again for your posting.
K Wyer Lane
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