History | From Combat Zones to Culture Wars: Militarization in Twentieth Century America
A379 | 11507 | Eberly


Above class open to undergraduates and EDUC MA's only

While war played an important role in eighteenth and nineteenth
century America, its influence on American politics and culture took
on new dimensions in the twentieth century. Beginning in the 1930s,
both the rhetoric and reality of war became more than a temporary
condition. Whether economic depression, fascism, communism, poverty,
drugs, or terrorism, the presence of “the enemy” became a permanent
part of American life. In fact, militarization became the backdrop
of an experience that transformed American life. The readily
apparent changes included an emphasis on national security, defense
spending, science, technology, and a globally deployed military.
Less apparent, but equally important, was the manner in which
militarization reshaped how Americans imagined themselves and their
nation. As a cultural influence, for instance, militarization shaped
television, film, music, fashion, toys, and video games. In this
sense, militarization became a significant, if often unrecognized
force in American life. But whether political or cultural,
militarization does not necessarily indicate a love of war. In fact,
anxieties regarding war shaped America as much as the experience of
military triumph. Keeping these effects in mind, we will explore how
militarization transformed American life by examining a variety of
secondary and primary sources including newspapers, novels, music,
and film. Coursework will include two exams and three response
papers.