Friday, February 8, 2013

Henry Dawson puts the Allied treatment of the weak and the strong to the "Acid Test"

This was Henry Dawson's Acid Test : during World War Two, did the treatment of the weak and the strong by the nations that ultimately made up the Allies differ in kind or only in degree from that of the Axis nations?

Any single individual - let alone a single dying individual - could not pose that question across a broad spectrum of issues and expect to force a response.

But in focussing tightly upon the Allies' differential medical treatment of the lightly wounded combat soldier and of his high school pal back home dying of endocarditis, Dawson did manage to hit a sore spot among the Allies --- across America and Britain in particular.

In late 1943 , Henry Dawson was able to make the Allied public realize that , on this issue,  their elite leaders differed far less in kind from the "the weak must die so the strong can flourish" philosophy of the Axis that anyone could have comfortably imagined back in 1939.

When the Allied public forced their leaders to alter course and provide penicillin, during wartime, for endocarditis patients, the whole of civilized thought shifted course --- permanently.

No mean response for a persistent little team locked away in a ward, a lab and a doctor's office ......

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