Factorsthat Explain the Unprecedented Degree of Unity among Americans duringWorld War II
Thebrutal Second World War had far-reaching consequences beyond thedestruction, depression, and deaths. Following the Pearl Harborattack, Americans declared war on Japan. The confrontation hadtransformative effects, both negative and positive that profoundlyshaped the American identity.
Beforethe war, the American society was dominated by the individualism thatreduced national unity. However, after the Pearl Harbor attack, theybecame determined to defeat Nazism and dictatorship. Besides, thewidespread uncertainty about the outcome of the war produced a senseof belonging, cohesion, and membership. The conflict fostered anAmerican identity as people from diverse backgrounds lived and foughttogether for a common future. Practically, each American wanted toplay a part in winning the war (Neal, 1998).
Propagandais another driving force that unified the American society. Thegovernment used half-truths to gain public attention and support forthe war. The government endorsed the motion picture as the mosteffective media in the entertaining and informing the citizens.However, the government only used it as a tool for gaining publicity.Hollywood films produced movies presented a positive view of the war.Also, music featured on most radio stations heightened patriotism anda promise of a brighter American future. In short, propaganda wasefficient in building a great sense of nationalism (Neal, 1998).
Finally,the Americans purchased war bonds despite the depression-era tosupport the fighting. This demonstrated patriotism and loyalty totheir nation. Before the Second World War, citizens outsidegovernment did not pay any income tax. However, during the battle, anincome tax was imposed on every American to meet the expenses of thewarfare. The successful sale of these bonds reflected a nationalpurpose and patriotism (Neal, 1998).
Neal,A. G. (1998). Nationaltrauma and collective memory: Major events in the American century.Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe.