June 1813 it was suggested that thenLandwehr be integrated into the generalnarmy, and the suggestion was fladynrejected. The integrity of thenLandwehr, and the idea on which itnwas based — that a community is bestndefended by its own citizens — were tonbe preserved.nThis idea played no small role in thenmilitary superiority of the GermannArmed Forces (the Wehrmacht) ofnWorld War 11. As evidenced by rates ofncasualties, the Germans fought twicenas well as the Americans and thenBritish and four times better than thenRussians. This military tenacity hasnoften been attributed to the strongnpolitical convictions of the GermannArmy, to the power of the ideology ofnNational Socialism. But as many studiesnhave pointed out, particularlynEdward Shils and Morris Janowitz’sn”Cohesion and Disintegration in thenWehrmacht of WWII,” political ideologynactually played a minor role in thensolidarity of the German Army.nWhat the German Army realized isnthat a soldier’s loyalties belong first andnforemost to the immediate members ofnhis community. This was the reasonnfor Germany’s regional recruitment, orn”national units.” From divisions onndown the German Army was based onnhomogeneous, national groupings;nPrussians served with Prussians, Bavariansnwith Bavarians, Saxons with Saxons,nand so forth. There was a highndegree of cohesion in the national unitsnof the Wehrmacht, and desertions andnsurrenders were virtually unheard of.nDesertions and surrenders were quitencommon, however, in the Volksdeutsche,nthe ethnically heterogeneousnunits in which Austrians, Czechs, andnPoles were randomly mixed.nThis understanding of the importancenof community ties lay also at thenheart of Germany’s system of troopnrotation. In contrast to America’s system,nwhich undermined a unit’s sensenof community with the constant infusionnof replacements and raw recruits,nGermany rotated troops and reinforcednthe front by moving in entire divisions,nthus maintaining the camaraderie ofnthe units that had trained, fought, andnsuffered together. This system of rotationnprevented the Wehrmacht fromnexperiencing what became evidentnamong some American soldiers by thenend of WWII and became endemicnamong soldiers in Vietnam: the narcissisticnstate in which camaraderie isnsupplanted with the all-encompassingnconcern for “saving your own skin.”nA country that consciously disregardednthis appreciation of communitynwas Italy. Victor Emmanuel ll’s Ministernof War, General Manfredo Fanti,nsaw military recruitment as an opportunitynfor engineering a vast meltingnpot of cultures. As with the Americannmilitary draft of the 1950’s and 60’s,nwhich took a black car salesman fromnDetroit and a white miner from Appalachianand shipped them to Californianto serve alongside an American Indiannfrom Arizona, Fanti’s goal was to stripnindividuals of all personal identities andncommunity ties and to impose uponnthem a new and improved culturalnconsciousness. Recruits were yankednfrom their communities and forced tonserve in strange environments withnethnically mixed regiments. A successfulnamalgamation of cultures, however,nwas not the result. Cultural differencesnremained, and personal hatreds andnsectional discord were fueled rathernthan suppressed. As John Whittamnconcluded in his study of the ItaliannArmy, this experimentation with socialnengineering and indoctrination didnmore to hinder than to help the causenof Italian unification.nThe organization and administrationnof the German Army were clearlyndesigned to meet the social, cultural,nand psychological needs of the individualnsoldier. It was an understandingnand appreciation of the ideology ofnGemeinschaft — not the ideology ofnNational Socialism — that producednthe power, persistence, _ and perseverancenof the Wehrmacht.nThere are proponents of nationalnservice who would disregard thesenGerman lessons and opt instead tonfollow Italy’s lead. For the BenjaminnBarbers of the national service debate, annational purpose could be imposednfrom above. Through mandatory “citizenshipntraining” and “civic education”na new cultural consciousness could benconcocted for the creation of a kindernand gentler New American Man. But ifnwe walk down this road pioneered bynItaly, we should be prepared to pay thensame price. Italy is not, and never hasnbeen, a unified country, and its manynattempts at social, political and culturalnnnunification have exacerbated rather thannextinguished its national discord. A systemnof national service built on ideologicalnindoctrination would merely be thenlatest attempt to destroy and homogenizenlocal diversity and regional uniqueness.nManfredo Fanti, however, need notnbe our point of departure. Through anrespect for regional diversity and a cultivationnof community ties, a worthynsystem of national service might benpossible. What follows, therefore, is ansketch of what might be the least potentiallynharmful and the most potentiallynbeneficial plan of national service;nWe could call it YSCC, Youth innService to Community and Country. Itnwould be mandatory for all eighteenyear-oldnmales and voluntary for allnfemales. Such a program would avoidnthe blatant inequity of a voluntary systemnof national service tied to federalncollege aid, in which the burden ofnservice falls squarely on the middle classnand neither the rich nor the poor endnup serving: the former because theyndon’t need the money and the latternbecause college is alien to their socioeconomicnculture. Mr. Moskos has arguednthat tying national service to federalnfinancial aid would actually widennrather than restrict access to higherneducation, because currently “the prospectnof student-incurred debt is undoubtedlyna major factor in the decliningnnumber of poor youth entering andncompleting college.” But the duties andnresponsibilities of citizenship would stillnremain on the backs of those in ourncommunities who are most in need,nwhile no service would be requirednfrom the rich and privileged.nNational service could not, however,never be mandatory for women, unlessnwe as a country want the responsibilitynfor the care of the thousands of babiesnborn annually to unwed teen mothers.nBesides, considering our heightenednconcern for rape and sexual abuse ofnany kind, there is indeed somethingn’Trightening,” to quote MargaretnMead, about the “picture of girls atneighteen, lined up, stripped, weighed,nexamined, within the brutal disregardnof human dignity characteristic of thenboot camp.”nWhat would distinguish this programnfrom other proposals is the degreento which both compulsion andnautonomy are worked into the system.nNOVEMBER 1990/29n