Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War

By Paul Fussell | Go to book overview

But people all over the world are waiting, praying for him to come.

And he will come, this kid in Upper 4.
With new hope, peace, and freedom for a tired, bleeding world.31

So acceptable were those sentiments that the same message could have been conveyed without variation by radio, popular song, or film, to be greeted by universal applause. As Eileen M. Sullivan has concluded, "There was no room in this war-culture for individual opinions or personalities, no freedom of dissent or approval; the culture was homogenous, shallow, and boring."32 And the main tonality of the wartime advertising voice has resonated for years now as the voice of society at large, with its "You've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania." and "Have a Nice Day."


14
Deprivation

For Americans emerging from the Depression assisted by their abundant accidental resources of oil, coal, iron, and other metals and their impressive manufacturing capacity, the "shortages" and deprivations occasioned by the war were a distinct shock. And they were shocking not just because of the accustomed milieu of easy excess but because the "frontier" aura of "freedom" had governed for so long most Americans' imaginative and psychological relations with their peers. Visible possession and conspicuous consumption had been the traditional signals of personal distinction and even satisfactoriness in America, and now to be told by the government that one could not buy and exhibit a new car or wear new shoes or silk stockings or have a new extension phone installed was a heavy blow to the psyche.

The American citizen was first denied rubber. The Japanese seizure

-195-

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Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Other Books by Paul Fussell *
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • 1: From Light to Heavy Duty 3
  • 2: "Precision Bombing Will Win the War" 13
  • 3: Someone Had Blundered 19
  • 4 - Rumors of Wa 35
  • 5 - School of the Soldier 52
  • 6 - Unread Books on a Shelf 66
  • 7 - Chickenshit, an Anatomy 79
  • 8 - Drinking Far Too Much, Copulating Too Little 96
  • 9 - Type-Casting 115
  • 10: The Ideological Vacuum 129
  • 11: Accentuate the Positive 143
  • 12: High-mindedness 164
  • 13: With One Voice 180
  • 14 - Deprivation 195
  • 15 - Compensation 207
  • 16 - Reading in Wartime 228
  • 17 - Fresh Idiom 251
  • 18: The Real War Will Never Get in the Books" 267
  • Notes 299
  • Index 321
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