The War in American Culture

Author: Lewis A. Erenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226215105
Format: PDF, ePub
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The War in American Culture explores the role of World War II in the transformation of American social, cultural, and political life. World War II posed a crisis for American culture: to defeat the enemy, Americans had to unite across the class, racial and ethnic boundaries that had long divided them. Exploring government censorship of war photography, the revision of immigration laws, Hollywood moviemaking, swing music, and popular magazines, these essays reveal the creation of a new national identity that was pluralistic, but also controlled and sanitized. Concentrating on the home front and the impact of the war on the lives of ordinary Americans, the contributors give us a rich portrayal of family life, sexuality, cultural images, and working-class life in addition to detailed consideration of African Americans, Latinos, and women who lived through the unsettling and rapidly altered circumstances of wartime America.

American Girls Beer and Glenn Miller

Author: James J. Cooke
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 0826272843
Format: PDF
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"Cooke's examination of the Special Services and PX System during World War II, a subject previously overlooked by scholars, shows that these goods and services kept the armed forces' spirits up under the alienating conditions of global war."—Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century As World War II dawned in Europe, General George C. Marshall, the new Army Chief of Staff, had to acknowledge that American society—and the citizens who would soon become soldiers—had drastically changed in the previous few decades. Almost every home had a radio, movies could talk, and driving in an automobile to the neighborhood soda fountain was part of everyday life. A product of newly created mass consumerism, the soldier of 1940 had expectations of material comfort, even while at war. Historian James J. Cooke presents the first comprehensive look at how Marshall’s efforts to cheer soldiers far from home resulted in the enduring morale services that the Army provides still today. Marshall understood that civilian soldiers provided particular challenges and wanted to improve the subpar morale services that had been provided to Great War doughboys. Frederick Osborn, a civilian intellectual, was called to head the newly formed morale branch, which quickly became the Special Services Division. Hundreds of on-post movie theaters showing first-run movies at reduced prices, service clubs where GIs could relax, and inexpensive cafeterias were constructed. The Army Exchange System took direction under Brigadier General Joseph Byron, offering comfort items at low prices; the PX sold everything from cigarettes and razor blades to low-alcohol beer in very popular beer halls. The great civic organizations—the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Jewish Welfare Board, and others—were brought together to form the United Service Organizations (USO). At USO Camp Shows, admired entertainers like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Frances Langford brought home-style entertainment to soldiers within the war zones. As the war heightened in intensity, the Special Service Companies grew to over forty in number, each containing more than one hundred enlisted men. Trained in infantry skills, soldiers in the companies at times would have to stop showing movies, pick up their rifles, and fight. The Special Services Division, PX, and USO were crucial elements in maintaining GI morale, and Cooke’s work makes clear the lasting legacy of these efforts to boost the average soldier’s spirits almost a century ago. The idea that as American soldiers serve abroad, they should have access to at least some of the comforts of home has become a cultural standard.

Books and Libraries in American Society during World War II

Author: Patti Clayton Becker
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135467722
Format: PDF
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World War II presented America's public libraries with the daunting challenge of meeting new demands for war-related library services and materials with Depression-weakened collections, inadequate budgets and demoralized staff, in addition to continuing to serve the library's traditional clientele of women and children seeking recreational reading. This work examines how libraries could respond to their communities need through the use of numerous primary and secondary sources.

Suburban Warriors

Author: Lisa McGirr
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400866200
Format: PDF, ePub
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In the early 1960s, American conservatives seemed to have fallen on hard times. McCarthyism was on the run, and movements on the political left were grabbing headlines. The media lampooned John Birchers's accusations that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist puppet. Mainstream America snickered at warnings by California Congressman James B. Utt that "barefooted Africans" were training in Georgia to help the United Nations take over the country. Yet, in Utt's home district of Orange County, thousands of middle-class suburbanites proceeded to organize a powerful conservative movement that would land Ronald Reagan in the White House and redefine the spectrum of acceptable politics into the next century. Suburban Warriors introduces us to these people: women hosting coffee klatches for Barry Goldwater in their tract houses; members of anticommunist reading groups organizing against sex education; pro-life Democrats gradually drawn into conservative circles; and new arrivals finding work in defense companies and a sense of community in Orange County's mushrooming evangelical churches. We learn what motivated them and how they interpreted their political activity. Lisa McGirr shows that their movement was not one of marginal people suffering from status anxiety, but rather one formed by successful entrepreneurial types with modern lifestyles and bright futures. She describes how these suburban pioneers created new political and social philosophies anchored in a fusion of Christian fundamentalism, xenophobic nationalism, and western libertarianism. While introducing these rank-and-file activists, McGirr chronicles Orange County's rise from "nut country" to political vanguard. Through this history, she traces the evolution of the New Right from a virulent anticommunist, anti-establishment fringe to a broad national movement nourished by evangelical Protestantism. Her original contribution to the social history of politics broadens—and often upsets—our understanding of the deep and tenacious roots of popular conservatism in America.

Buffalo Bill in Bologna

Author: Robert W. Rydell
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226732347
Format: PDF, Kindle
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When it comes to the production and distribution of mass culture, no country in modern times has come close to rivaling the success of America. From blue jeans in central Europe to Elvis Presley's face on a Republic of Chad postage stamp, the reach of American mass culture extends into every corner of the globe. Most believe this is a twentieth-century phenomenon, but here Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes prove that its roots are far deeper. Buffalo Bill in Bologna reveals that the process of globalizing American mass culture began as early as the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, by the end of World War I, the United States already boasted an advanced network of culture industries that served to promote American values. Rydell and Kroes narrate how the circuses, amusement parks, vaudeville, mail-order catalogs, dime novels, and movies developed after the Civil War—tools central to hastening the reconstruction of the country—actually doubled as agents of American cultural diplomacy abroad. As symbols of America's version of the "good life," cultural products became a primary means for people around the world, especially in Europe, to reimagine both America and themselves in the context of America's growing global sphere of influence. Paying special attention to the role of the world's fairs, the exporting of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show to Europe, the release of The Birth of a Nation, and Woodrow Wilson's creation of the Committee on Public Information, Rydell and Kroes offer an absorbing tour through America's cultural expansion at the turn of the century. Buffalo Bill in Bologna is thus a tour de force that recasts what has been popularly understood about this period of American and global history.

Japan s Contested War Memories

Author: Philip A. Seaton
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134150059
Format: PDF, Docs
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Japan's Contested War Memories is an important and significant book that explores the struggles within contemporary Japanese society to come to terms with Second World War history. Focusing particularly on 1972 onwards, the period starts with the normalization of relations with China and the return of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, and ends with the sixtieth anniversary commemorations. Analyzing the variety of ways in which the Japanese people narrate, contest and interpret the past, the book is also a major critique of the way the subject has been treated in much of the English-language. Philip Seaton concludes that war history in Japan today is more divisive and widely argued over than in any of the other major Second World War combatant nations. Providing a sharp contrast to the many orthodox statements about Japanese 'ignorance', amnesia' and 'denial' about the war, this is an engaging and illuminating study that will appeal to scholars and students of Japanese history, politics, cultural studies, society and memory theory.

Swingin the Dream

Author: Lewis A. Erenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226215174
Format: PDF, Docs
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Explores the cultural meaning of swing music to the people of the United States as they struggled through the Depression and World War II.

From Coveralls to Zoot Suits

Author: Elizabeth R. Escobedo
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469602067
Format: PDF
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During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of need and to pursue their own desires. But even after the war, as Escobedo shows, Mexican American women had to continue challenging workplace inequities and confronting family and communal resistance to their broadening public presence. Highlighting seldom heard voices of the "Greatest Generation," Escobedo examines these contradictions within Mexican families and their communities, exploring the impact of youth culture, outside employment, and family relations on the lives of women whose home-front experiences and everyday life choices would fundamentally alter the history of a generation.

The World War Two Reader

Author: Gordon Martel
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415224024
Format: PDF
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From highly respected field academic Gordon Martel, The World War Two Reader is a rare work that provides a complete and up-to-date overview of the recent historiography on World War Two. Huge in scope, both geographically and thematically, this excellent reader examines twenty-one articles by some of the best known and most innovative scholars in the field. Taking a global approach, Martel discusses all aspects of the war including: the military aspect the political and strategic backdrop ideology gender and women's roles the home front social aspects. Including a comprehensive introduction, chronology, guides to key terms and figures, and introductions to chapters providing context and historiographical background, The World War Two Reader provides wide ranging and innovative reading for all students of the history of the modern world.

How the War Was Won

Author: Phillips Payson O'Brien
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107014751
Format: PDF, ePub
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An important new history of air and sea power in World War II and its decisive role in Allied victory.