By Jacqueline Foertsch
This booklet explores the most important cultural kinds of Forties the United States - fiction and non-fiction; song and radio; movie and theatre; severe and renowned visible arts - and key texts, traits and figures, from local Son to Citizen Kane, from Hiroshima to HUAC, and from Dr Seuss to Bob wish. After discussing the dominant rules that tell the Forties the booklet culminates with a bankruptcy at the 'culture of war'. instead of splitting the last decade at 1945, Jacqueline Foertsch argues persuasively that the Forties could be taken as an entire, searching out hyperlinks among wartime and postwar American tradition
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Additional info for American Culture in the 1940s
In a series of ‘War Monuments’, Geisel poked fun at ‘John F. Hindsight’, ‘Walter Weeper’ (who cried crocodile tears while others bled), and the ‘Wishful Listeners’ (who ‘spent the war listening for the sudden cracking of German morale’) among others. Geisel decried the congressional windbags who held up aid to Great Britain and direct action by the United States, as well as the red-tape bureaucrats and industrial foot-draggers who also slowed the war’s progress. He criticised early-victory sentiments, in-fighting, attacks against Roosevelt (even from the press), shirkers who never bothered to recycle their scrap metal, and hoarders of household goods.
53 Pells notes that Truman’s ‘Fair Deal’ programme, launched in 1949 and again probably inspired by the persuasive arguments of social activists such as White and Du Bois, was stalemated in Congress for seeming to threaten these ‘economic gains’, however unequally distributed they continued to be. 54 We might say that, following four years of unified total action, the nation was thrust back into modes of opinion, dissent, and debate as the war ended with the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, and on Nagasaki three days later (see the following case study).
Against Pearl Harbor’s 2,400 military casualties compare the 100,000 lives lost at the atomic ground zero and the tens of thousands more who succumbed in the months and years following, owing to radiation burns, radiation poisoning, and radiationinduced cancers and blood disorders. Even among the bomb’s most vigorous defenders, many came to regret the human toll that was taken. It was argued that the bomb spared the United States having to invade Japan, saving the lives of thousands of American and Japanese troops by bringing an immediate end to war.