The two men in this photograph are Technical Sergeant William E. Thomas and Private First Class Joseph Jackson of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, but at the time of the photograph were part of the 969th Artillery Battalion. Scrawling such messages on artillery shells in World War II was one way in which artillery soldiers could humorously express their dislike of the enemy.
The 333rd Field Artillery Battalion suffered tremendous casualties in the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944, being overrun on December 17. The survivors ended up in the 969th Artillery Battalion for the rest of the battle, where they provided vital fire support for the 101st Airborne Division during the siege of Bastogne.
But there is sad part of the story, these two black soldiers were fighting for a country that was discriminating against them. The funny part of the history is that Hitler never treated black people badly as he did to Jews. However, these two young men were willing to die for their country, even though a huge chunk of their country was completely built against them. It’s ironic that US defeated NAZI Germany with segregated army.
Black troops were better accepted in towns liberated by allies in Germany by locals than in America.
There were alot of footage of them dancing and partying with locals. Some wrote letters describing their treatment by the Germans as better than people treated them in America. Some even wrote about how they wish Hitler had won the war.
They found it hard to return after getting the equality taste. Early civil rights leaders and prominent figures were veterans of World War II and the historians point out that the soldier’s overseas experiences set the stage for civil rights movement.