AMERICAN PACIFISM, THE
AND WORLD WAR II
Scott H. Bennett
During NBC’s coverage of the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, I was
asked by Tim Russert on Meet the Press my thoughts on what we
were witnessing. As I looked out over the assembled crowd of veter-
ans, which included everyone from Cabinet officers and captains of
industry to retired schoolteachers and machinists, I said, “I think
this is the greatest generation any society had ever produced.”
Why do we use the term “greatest generation” for the participants
in war? Why not for those who have opposed war, who have tried to
make us understand that war has never solved fundamental prob-
lems? Should we not honor, instead of parachutists and bomber pi-
lots, those conscientious objectors who refused to fight or the
radicals and pacifists who opposed the idea that young people of
one nation should kill young people of another nation to serve the
purposes of politicians and financiers?
Journalist Tom Brokaw has dubbed the citizen soldiers who endured the Great Depression, won the “good war,” and reformed postwar America, the “greatest generation.” Both in wartime and in peace, the greatest generation championed liberty, democracy, and progress—at home and abroad. Even though Brokaw stresses the courage, heroism, and sacrifice of the uniformed citizen soldier, he also celebrates civilian contributions
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The United States and the Second World War: New Perspectives on Diplomacy, War, and the Home Front. Contributors: G. Kurt Piehler - Editor, Sidney Pash - Editor. Publisher: Fordham University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2010. Page number: 259.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.