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tv   Reel America The Army Nurse - 1945  CSPAN  December 19, 2020 7:42pm-8:01pm EST

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exhibit, learning about his influence on generations of americans. at 8 p.m. on the presidency, a virtual tour of the george w. bush presidential library in dallas. showcasing a legacy of the nation's 43rd president. watch american history tv sunday on c-span 3. ♪ >> american history tv is on c-span 3 every weekend and all of our programs are archived on our website at you can watch lectures in college classrooms, tours historic sites, archival films, and see our schedule of upcoming programs. at warccording to the 1945 department film "the army nurse" 57,000 women served as nurses during world war ii.
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produced for the treasury and war departments, this 16 minute film was released at the end of 1945 to sell victory bonds to finance the care of wounded servicemen and show the critical role nurses play during the conflict. [video clip] ♪ ♪ explosions] >> summer, 1945. and the war was one million men old. [gunshots] hang on, kids. keep your eyes shut tight and drink.
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they're moving you back now. don't give up. just hang on. maybe the pain blurs your eyes. but listen. the sound of battle grows dim. and now, one question cuts clearly through the haze. which man will you be? the one who gets hurt and dies? or the one who gets hurt and lives? when the dizziness stopped, when the fog cleared, an army nurse was at your side. a woman who meant safety and comfort at home to thousands of men before you. a woman who meant all those things to you. a nurse brought another american's blood to your site to poor news -- side to pour new strength to your veins. a nurse prepared and administered the anesthetic, and watched you constantly for any
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telltale change in your breathing or blood pressure, all working with the same purpose, to ease the pain of war, to help save lives. the preparation for the moment that would bring the army nurse to your side before you can -- began months before. after three years of professional schooling, the nurses were given four weeks of basic training. in those early days, perhaps the nurse wondered why she would have to sit through seemingly endless classes and submit to richest supplant -- rigorous discipline. while muscles ached and groaned, she may have wondered why it was necessary to take those long hikes or grope her way through a guest area. -- through a gased area. yet there were demands that
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would provide her perfect physical health and stamina, four weeks of basic training finished, the army nurse was ready to serve wherever the army needed her most. she might have found herself stationed in a general hospital right here at home. or perhaps assigned to a mobile hospital unit overseas. after she arrived, she may have helped to build the very hospital in which she worked. for the field hospital, or the evacuation hospital, like a circus, had to be able to pack up and move on at a moments notice. its primary function was to offer immediate surgical treatment to the wounded. that meant following ever-changing battle lines. everyone pitched in and one a mobile hospital went up. enlisted men, doctors, and nurses. one instance where basic training paid off. those muscles, toughened and hearted during those four weeks hardened during those
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four weeks of basic back home, were equal to the job. in the field, the army nurse lived roughly and worked gently. there was no glamour and her life was far from spectacular. she slept under hastily pitched canvas on agi caught under g.i. blanket. a wasted moment might have meant a wasted life. she lived a life completely stripped of luxuries, and yet she asked for no more luxury than a patient's smile when his pain was eased. she ate regular g.i. rations, same as the rest of the army, and often at irregular times. the hours were long and the demands never ending. and as a result, the nurse used to write home in her off-duty time. she might not have chosen a g.i. helmet to wear to her kid sister 's wedding.
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it was a beauty parlor, laundry, cooking pot, washbasin all rolled up into one. a little community in size seven. she spent some of her time writing letters. not the having a wonderful time, wish you were here kind. but letters filled with all the drama of her days, with stories of her courage and the spirit of the men over whom she watched. a few moments could always be found for prayer. others for lounging about, talking of home. she may have longed to wear the evening dress sent from home, but probably only had the chance to talk about it. usually she wore olive drab or battle gray. her uniform was her badge of service. but however she spent her off-duty time, she was always
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eager to return to the hospital, where the wounded were fighting for her lives. for first and foremost, and at all times, she was the nurse, offering professional and skilled care to the sick and wounded. a nurse first, a woman second, and an officer third might well serve for a slogan for every woman of the nurses core. -- every member of the nurses' corps. complete recovery of the patient, and more or piece, depends not only on the use of drugs, but on the skill in which they are administered and the care that follows. the nurse must be capable of recognizing at once any symptoms in her patients which demand immediate treatment. because if serious consequences are to be avoided, medical treatment must be on hand the moment any symptoms appear. professionally skilled and capable, in her there is the tenderness of all women, of mother and sister and friend. her voice and touch land -- lend encouragement -- lend encouragement, instill hope. it's the surgeon that saves a man's life. it's the nurse whose tender care
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helps them to live. ♪ the crisis passed, patients begin to sleep again. the pain is just a bad memory. the field hospital, a stop over to give them immediate surgical treatment as soon as possible after they were booted, had done wounded had done its job. the evacuation hospital was another stopover on the trip back to the medical chain. here, facilities for treatment were more complete than those in the field hospital. and here too, the nurse played an increasingly important part in the vital period of convalescence.
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after three or four days, the patients were well enough for a trip to the hospital. trains waited for them. hospital wards on wheels. ♪ each train carried, in addition to medical officers and enlisted technicians, four surgical nurses and two medical nurses, all of whom were on duty from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and as far into the night as they were needed. when speed meant life, evacuation took place by plane. because of these field -- flying hospitals, men are alive today who otherwise would have died in the doubles of -- in the jungles of burma or the beaches of normandy. each nurse was checked before
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-- each patient was checked before takeoff and then watched over cautiously and checked again when the plane landed. while in the air, the flight nurse was in complete charge, ready to hand delivery emergency and doing everything a doctor would have to do except operate. air evacuation was difficult and required specialized skill and training. the flight nurse had to be prepared for the unexpected. for the next moment, it might have and often did happen. at the general hospital in the theater of operation, other skilled teams of nurses took over whether frontline hospitals -- where the frontline hospitals left off. whether a hospital is under canvas, on the field, or in a solid structure in the city, its routine, like the nurse's routine, doesn't vary, and the aim remains fixed: to offer the best medical care to the sick and wounded. nurses sterilize the operating
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equipment. the surgical gowns and gloves. prepare drugs, laid out the instruments which the doctor needed for his next operation. and kept accurate records of each patient's history and progress. well in the civilian hospital, -- while in the civilian hospital, the ratio is usually one nurse to every three beds. in an army hospital, it is always many times that number. to help lift the burden from the nurses shoulders, and listed technicians trained in special schools are assigned to work under her direct supervision. one of her biggest jobs is to teach these technicians, both in the classroom and in the hospital boards. -- hospital wards. this means added responsibility for the nurse. for although she has less personal contact with her patients, she has to direct the activities of the personnel assigned to her so that the treatment and well-being of her patients is assured. relaxation and entertainment are
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an important part of medical treatment. to this general hospital overseas came an all-star show, and the army nurse sure the fun -- shared the fun with her patients. to whom the sound of laughter from home often meant more than medicine. [applause] later on, she may have spent a few minutes with the star. and there were times when she herself was the star of the show, like this nurse, the first woman to land on bougainville. the umpire calls batter up, and the game is on -- army versus army. this infield will never play in the polo grounds. but one of their patients might. [applause] off-duty for a while, some nurses strode through the streets and buildings of ancient cities.
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others preferred a round of golf. or a swim somewhere if the weather was right. then it was back to duty, back to the sick and wounded, back to the hospital, around which the army nurse revolves. those patients scheduled for a trip back home for the final period of convalescence, traveled on a hospital ship as fully equipped as a stationary hospital. now as before, the army nurse stands by, ready to minister to every need. next stop, a demarcation -- a debarcation hospital.
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then a general hospital in the united states and complete recovery. and this is the end of the long chain of evacuation, the general hospital back home. here, the army nurse works patiently with her hands, her head, and her heart. here, she gently guides men back to the way of life they fought to protect. although she might have volunteered to serve overseas, although she might chafe at what she considered the inactivity of working at a hospital in united states or alaska or panama, the army nurse soon learned that a battle line was wherever a soldier was stationed. what words of praise could measure up to these women, who is very lives are given to nursing sick and wounded men? a million sick and wounded men, back to life and health. and yet, praise is offered. long hours of tireless service were remembered and recognized.
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the army nurse, decorated for bravery and valor, above and beyond the call of duty. and these nurses, imprisoned for three long years by the japanese, asked only that they be returned to duty, for they could never forget the faces of american men tortured and killed by the enemy. whenever transports took our soldiers, they also took the army nurse. to work a day, by night, on distant battlefields, to help make shattered bodies whole, to bring smiles to faces twisted with pain, to serve at the site -- the side of the american soldier during peace and war. this is the army nurse, usa, ready to serve anywhere under any circumstances in time of need. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its
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caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪ years,ng the past four 67 thousand graduate nurses have served with the department of the army. for us, the war is not yet over. many nurses are still being sent to overseas theaters to care for american soldiers. these are replacements for nurses who served overseas during the war. and the war is not yet over for many of our patients. more than 300,000 are in army hospitals in this country. many will be forced to remain there for a long time to come. these men are not asking for much. they have never asked for much. they are the most wonderful patients in the world. but the war has cost them much more than any of us have been asked to give. army nurses seldom ask for much, either, but today they are asking you to buy a bond.
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♪ ♪ >> if you like american history tv, keep up with us during the week on facebook, twitter and youtube. learn about what happened this day in history, and see preview clips of upcoming programs. follow us @c-span history. on lectures in history, flagler college professor michael butler teaches a class about music in the post-civil rights era, highlighting artists such as james brown, marvin gaye and george clinton. he describes how in the 1970's, african-american genres such as
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funk and soul emphasized black identity in their music. flagler college provided the video. at 9:15 eastern, 6:15 pacific, the early 17th century history of the puritan massachusetts bay colony, and when quaker missionaries arrived. p.m.:00 p.m. eastern, 7:00 pacific on eastern america, for four films the profile presidents who took office in unusual times or unusual sir stances. professor butler: welcome to the 336,t lecture in history rock 'n' roll history in the united states. i am dr. butler. today the topic we are going to address is black rock during the civil rights era. i will share my screen.


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