Tattoos During World War II


The various purpose of tattoos during World War 2 were very unique.  American soldiers used tattoos to be recognized as a "real" man or recognized for their rank.  Soldiers sometimes also got tattoos while they were drunk and didn't even remember getting them.  Nazis also used tattoos to identify their prisoners.  Instead of using their names, they tattooed numbers on their arms.

"When mechanical electrical tools were made for tattooing in the 40’s, men saw the permanent marks as a sign of their masculinity, or their role in a specific club. World War II servicemen were the first Western group to ritualistically commit to body modification via tattoos as a sign of solidarity to their outfit and country. Military men out having a good time on weekend leave would routinely take the new recruits to get them tattooed with American Eagles or the more scandalous pinup girls, discreetly placed on biceps and forearms."

You may have a grandfather or an uncle that served in World War II.  If they have a tattoo you've probably heard that it meant something more.  Did they know that their tattoos had a creative spark in all of them?  It may seem that since so many military men had tattoos, that they were all just jumping on the bandwagon.  This parallels the reasons why people get tattoos today.  So does that mean tattoos were just a fad back then?  Perhaps.  That may be why when we see those green tattoos on veteran's arms we don't exactly think of them as creative.  But when you see them, don't just think "blah," think, "ah."  The individuality, as in wanting to exhibit rank and masculinity, that came from wanting to get these tattoos stems from their creative unconscious.  The wanting to be identified and different makes these men creative. 

Tattoos were also used to identify their prisoners that were put in concentration camps by the Nazis.  The only way creativity can be defined in this sense is really sick, very politically incorrect.  So to avoid any remarks that may cause upheaval we'll just show you what the tattoos that were received look like.      

"The numbered tattoos that have today become an identifying mark of Holocaust survivors originated in Auschwitz, the largest Nazi concentration camp in Europe. There, incoming prisoners went through the infamous selektion (selection process).  [All prisoners were tattooed not just Jews]"




A clip of a World War II poster.






Dora and Abraham Hipler show the faded tattoo of Holocaust survivors.

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