Wednesday, November 28, 2007

War's Shaping of US Culture

This post is from something that was brought up a little bit in class before Turkey Day break, but I kept blanking on posting it, sorry. Anyway, on Monday before the break professor Potter brought up how the wars the US has been involved has helped sculpt and re-sculpt the culture and identity of the US. It may just be me but I didn't realize it had such a big impact. For instance, the US' participation in WWII cemented its status as a (or the) world power. This resulted (most likely with the help of another force(s), possibly the US finally getting out of its depression) in a rise in US patriotism throughout the country that can be seen in how Kovic talks about crying when the US is losing the Space Race, or his paranoia of communists and communism in general, and how he glorifies being part of the military. The loss of the Vietnam War and the atrocities committed in it obviously helped the counterculture of the '60s and '70s. Whether by the counterculture or the terrible faults of the War (most likely a combination of the two), during and after the Vietnam there was a loss of faith in the Federal govt. and a loss of glory of the US soldier. However, this view may come from my not knowing enough soldiers or military personnel. Either way, it will be interesting to see how the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will shape the youth and culture of the US in the next 10-20 years. Lastly, on a side note I can't help but think that this partly war-changed culture idea eventually boils down to what and how much the media decides to cover about these wars. Not as detailed media accounts (or soldiers' accounts) of what happened in WWI and WWII led to a more honorable view of the US' actions in war; while, the more in-depth/on-site coverage of the Vietnam War showed a more disturbing picture war. Sorry if this was bit long.

Victor Cadilla

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