June 8th 2006, 07:48 AM #1
American Sentiment/Support during WW2
I'm reading the diaries of a woman whose son went to serve in WW2, right now. They were left in the old house my husband bought a few months ago. The one I am reading she penned 1945-1947, but the other one I have skimmed goes all the way back to 1941.
In it, I see what tasks she performs daily (hand washing clothes, sharing dinner with friends, growing gardens, etc.) but she also mentions her son, and frequently makes comments about politics and the war. Many times she wrote down a news headline or something the president announced, and then her emotional reaction to it as a mother, sometimes as a general average citizen. The diaries cover the time he was sent for a medical exam and called to duty, all the way to after his homecoming, and the deaths of other local boys who served, as she heard about it. It's a fascinating read. (Incidently, I have her son's entire military history, telegrams, medals, photographs, letters he wrote back and forth to his parents, and even some war ration coupons left over from WW2-- when I enter the basement it is like I've time-traveled. Further, HIS son fought in Vietnam, and I have all the same things from that period, too! But I haven't gotten that far yet.)
Anyway, some of her comments (especially when she speaks or reacts as a mother), are similar to things said today about the current war. Cynical about leaders/ men in positions of power, condemnation of war in general and what it does to the world, to just weariness from supporting a war after so long and trying to remain patriotic and upbeat. But she only goes so far in her words. There seem to be things she just won't say, even though she starts to, or it seems like she wants to. Almost like her mind won't let her speak them aloud, or write them on paper, if that makes any sense.
So I am asking, what was the attitude of the majority of people during WW2? Did they quickly become weary of the war, similar to this war in Iraq? Were there a lot of publicly-expressed emotions such as disgust, or a questioning if we were doing the right things?
Sometimes, like learning about it in school, it has given me a weird mental picture of the pearl harbor attack, a minority of isolationists who get upset, and the rest of the population gets up sort of like drones and just does what it has to do without question. And asking family members who served in WW2 is even worse, because they usually only remember certain things, like they "did what they had to do", etc. But this diary has given me a look into what was kinda going on internally in one woman during this time. I wish she had mentioned more, even going into more detail (she was a woman of few words to say the least).
So anyway, what was the sentiment really like during WW2 compared to the war in Iraq? What was different about it? If it was different, what kept people suppportive for so long? What was going on for the majority of Americans? What was going on in the opinion sections of local newspapers across the country? Feel free to even use personal anecdotes or passed down accounts, if you have any, especially if you were alive then.
September 24th 2006, 01:32 AM #2
Re: American Sentiment/Support during WW2
WW2 was the last war in which the public believed, at least generally, that their leaders weren't going to lie through their teeth about something as important as war. Hence they may have complained, but by and large they still trusted. They were wrong to trust. WW2 was started by lies just like every other major American war was started by lies. (Read Stinett's "Day of Deceit" or Buchanan's "A Republic, Not an Empire" or Veale's "Advance to Barbarism.")
The American public very briefly "grew up" during the Vietnam era. For awhile we realized that talk about politicians being lying bums and crooks wasn't hyperbole; they really are that bad. But we seem to have developed amnesia. The current decline in popularity for the Iraq War is not much of a cheerful sign; people are opposing it not because it was forged in intentional deceit and aggression, but because it didn't work. When I hear pandering cretins like Senator Kerry tell us that the problem with Iraq is that the President has mismanaged it, I want to slap him around a few times and say, "No, dolt. The problem with the war is that it happened."
We are a hopelessly gullible and amnesiac people and we get what we deserve once a generation it seems.
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