Monday, August 8, 2011

WWII Quarterly Fall 2009

WHAT'S UP WITH THIS CONTINUING FASCINATION WITH WORLD WAR II? Why is it that, after 65 years, there seems to be no slackening of interest in that global conflict? Each year, hundreds of books on the topic are published, and filmmakers still use the war as a theme. Tour companies take tourists to tramp across long-silent battlefields, and new museums open every year. Millions of young people are well-schooled in the history of the war, thanks to World War II-themed video games. Reenactors dress up in old uniforms, climb into restored jeeps, trucks, and tanks, and relive a war they are too young to remember. World leaders still gather at places like Buchenwald and Omaha Beach. And magazines (such as this one) continue to explore the many facets of that war. So we must ask: Why is it that most of America's other wars haven't quite captured the public's interest the way that World War II has? Could it be that Americans, as citizens of a nation that today often seems to be adrift, are hungering to grasp those ideals that propelled us and our allies to victory in 1945? Are we wishing for a time when the issues were more clearly defined, our enemies all truly evil? Or are we longing for a unity of national purpose not seen or felt in 65 years?