By Philip Leon

While Oscar Booze entered West element in 1898, the older cadets determined that he didn't agree to their picture of what a cadet can be. After 4 months of continuous torment, together with a beating in an geared up boxing fit, ridicule for analyzing his Bible, and the compelled intake of sizzling sauce within the cadet mess corridor, he resigned. whilst Oscar died a yr and a part later from tuberculosis of the larynx, his family members claimed that the West element cadets had killed their son through scarring his throat and making a fertile box for the deadly an infection. this is often the tale of the resultant scandal that introduced West element lower than hearth within the press national. Investigations following Oscar's demise could exhibit a long-standing trend of cruelty that had develop into inextricably pointed out with the academy, concerning notions of social Darwinism and initiation rituals renowned on the time. either the home of Representatives and the Senate thought of ultimate the Academy in gentle of testimony by means of cadets in separate investigations that exposed merciless and sadistic practices. Distilling startling money owed from trial transcripts, modern newspaper tales, archival files and correspondence, this booklet exposes a little-known bankruptcy within the background of West aspect.

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Extra info for Bullies and Cowards: The West Point Hazing Scandal, 1898-1901 (Contributions in Military Studies)

Sample text

Ibid. 26. , p. 1474. This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 2 The Ordeal As to fighting, keep out of it if you can, by all means. . But don't say "No" because you fear a licking, and say or think it's because you fear God, for that's neither Christian nor honest. And if you do fight, fight it out; and don't give in while you can stand and see. —Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857) If a man fights until he cannot fight any more he shows he has nerve. —Cadet Paul Bunker, All-American football player, 19 January 1901 T HE OLDER MEN asked Booz how much he weighed because they intended to arrange for him to fight an upper class cadet.

But a distillation of the testimony of cadets and officers appearing before both investigative bodies reveals an astonishing variety of ingenious methods of torture at West Point in those days. THE INVESTIGATIONS BEGIN An interval of only three days elapsed between these two investigations, and the congressional committee had the full transcript of the military court's proceedings. While these two bodies conducted their hearings, members of the United States Congress began receiving criticisms of West Point from their constituents back home.

24 Birchie O. Mahaffey, a popular cadet from Texas, twice elected president of Booz's class of 1902, found himself one day alone with Booz in the bathroom and told him he should "brace up" and show some resentment of the cadets who were making belittling remarks. Booz told Mahaffey that he planned to call someone out soon, but this effort to redeem himself never came about. Booz felt isolated from the corps, even from his own classmates. Booz was at a low point when he wrote to his family on 7 August 1898, the day following the fight, and this important letter, giving his view of the events, also shows a desire to remain at West Point even as he pleads to be allowed to return home.

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