American Culture in the 1940s (Twentieth Century American by Jacqueline Foertsch

By Jacqueline Foertsch

This ebook explores the main cultural different types of Forties the USA - fiction and non-fiction; tune and radio; movie and theatre; severe and renowned visible arts - and key texts, developments and figures, from local Son to Citizen Kane, from Hiroshima to HUAC, and from Dr Seuss to Bob wish. After discussing the dominant principles that tell the Forties the e-book culminates with a bankruptcy at the 'culture of war'. instead of splitting the last decade at 1945, Jacqueline Foertsch argues persuasively that the Nineteen Forties can be taken as a complete, looking for hyperlinks among wartime and postwar American culture.

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The leading thinkers of the decade were less often philosophers and college professors and more often journalists, senators, and presidential advisers; the debates were joined in local papers and on ordinary street corners by average citizens of all social classes and racial or ethnic backgrounds, each of whom felt s/he had a stake in the vital decisions being made on a daily basis throughout the war and at the start of the cold war in the late 1940s. Since many of the major ‘isms’ of this decade – isolationism, interventionism, patriotism, nationalism – verged often into impassioned opinion and even irrational jingoism and paranoia, it is difficult to speak in terms of a calm and well-reasoned ‘intellectual’ history in this period; the bomb’s debut on the world stage elicited a similarly strong and diverse response – from patriotic support for atomic weaponry and energy, to existential cynicism, to anti-communist hysteria, to newly articulated fears of global destruction and urgent pleas for disarmament from the pacifist Left.

The Intellectual Context 5 Suppliers to the conflict may have preferred at least one customer base if not access to belligerents on both sides but, for the great majority of Americans, embargo against all war participants was deemed the more neutral stance, and this was the policy undertaken in the late 1930s. 9 And what specifically would be embargoed? Only munitions and warships? 10 A further step along the path to outright military intervention was embargo against the aggressor(s), who might again take offence; defending nation(s) might read it as a promise of continuing support.

He returned to the subject in greater detail in the autobiography he published in 1948, A Man Called White. In both texts, White refers to wounded African American support troops on Anzio Beach, whose willingness to run supplies under heavy fire, while unarmed themselves, proved their mettle and encouraged their commanders – all the way up to Truman – to integrate their abilities into the larger military effort. In his massive and influential study of black life in the United States, An American Dilemma (1943), Gunnar Myrdal outlines the potential at this historical juncture, even as he indicates the entrenched injustice threatening every hope: As he [‘the Negro’] finds himself discriminated against in the war effort, he fights with new determination.

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