The Home-Front War: World War II and American Society

By Kenneth Paul O'Brien; Lynn Hudson Parsons | Go to book overview
Save to active project

"My Children Are My Jewels": Italian-American Generations during World War II

George E. Pozzetta

Although historians have long recognized war as an "engine of social change," remarkably little is known about the impact of war on ethnicity and ethnic group development. Anthony D. Smith of the London School of Economics noted this fact some years ago when he observed that a vast literature existed on both ethnic groups and warfare, but very scant analysis of the interrelationships existing between them had taken place. 1 With some notable exceptions, Smith's lament could still be taken as valid today.

Most studies of America during World War II either ignore white ethnic groups altogether or approach their inquiries from limited perspectives, usually emphasizing the foreign policy and political implications of ethnic loyalties. 2 Works that do engage ethnicity more broadly tend to take the view that World War II was "the fuel of the melting pot" for ethnic Amricans. 3 This conception of the war's impact pictures white ethnics as succumbing to the inexorable pressures of the war crisis--which placed heavy demands on loyalty, conformity, and patriotism--by abandoning their ethnicity and embracing the dominant culture. Some authors have recognized that in pursuit of wartime unity, the nation did take steps toward "opening up American society to the ethnics in its midst" by supporting pluralism, but the standard narrative continues to depict social change and assimilation as being essentially unilinear in direction, with ethnics passively accepting directions from above while attempting to cope with the broader political, economic, and social changes wrought by the war. 4 Thus, few studies have looked within white ethnic groups to determine precisely how individuals responded to war conditions and, equally important, how they influenced the larger society by their actions.

This study explores the war's impact on one aspect of the Italian-American experience--the group's generational dynamics. It is part of a larger effort to understand how the Italian-American population confronted World War II and responded to its multifaceted demands. It adopts an internal view of the group


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Home-Front War: World War II and American Society


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?