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The War
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Is anyone else watching Ken Burn's "The War"?

I've been saving it on Tivo and am now up to the D-Day landings.

The stories are fascinating. I've been absolutely riveted by some of them. I believe his name was Edward Burke (well I know it was Burke but for some reason his first name has escaped me). He was a ball-turret gunner on a flying fortress. The descriptions of his experiences were the one's which hit most closely to home for me (at least so far). And the way he presented his story just resonated.

Why?

I think it was because he was able to relate his thinking at the time - "I was 19, so it sounded good to me" - and how casually he made decisions to take jobs which increasingly put his life in more and more jeopardy. That's what 19 year-olds do. They're immortal. Burke admitted that's how he felt. So wedging himself in a ball-turret? No biggie. Of course the least likely guy to be able to get out of a flying fort if its hit is the ball turret gunner.

And he was so matter of fact about getting wounded. A 20mm explosive shell blew through his turret, smashed his arm (smashed it, didn't puncture or break it, smashed it), ripped up through his flight jacket, out of the turret, hit the stauncheon of the .50 caliber of the waist gunner and killed him.

Burke, of course was bleeding and had to fly 4 1/2 hours back to base. He said his training as a Boy Scout saved his life because he knew how to tie a tourniquet. It was 35 to 40 below outside and he said the blood he lost froze and collected in the bottom of the ball turret where the drops sort of rolled around. He scooped it out and got rid of it because he said he didn't want someone else to have to clean it out when they got back.

His is one of many incredibly interesting stories told by the vets and folks on the home front in this film. Burns is unflinching in his look at the war and the society which existed in the US at the time. But I think his handling is pretty fair. I think such a look is important because I've noticed we are tending to ignore much of what wasn't good or right about that period in favor of emphasizing what was. Nothing wrong with emphasizing the good if we also acknowledge the not so good.

A couple of points I hadn't really considered before that I found interesting. One lady described the rationing that the war required as something that, just coming out of the depression, wasn't that big of an adjustment. I hadn't considered it that way before, but it is an interesting point.

Another factoid thrown in concerning rationing is that there was apparently a thriving black market. In fact the claim of the film was that "one of every four transactions made in the US during the war was illegal". Interesting.

Of course the other obvious thing (and it couldn't be more different than our war today) is the involvement of the entire country in the war. Everyone had someone "in it" and everyone participated and "did their part". And, of course, it made all the difference in the world.

And lastly, the story of Guadalcanal. That was really our first stab at an offensive ground operation in the Pacific. It was pretty poorly done. The Marines were put ashore with little food and minimal ammunition. And then their navy support was either sunk or run off by the Japanese. As one vet said, they almost starved to death twice during the time they were on the island. All that to say, few if any militaries are well prepared to fight its first battles.

And despite the fact that we eventually were victorious in WWII, Guadalcanal was not our finest hour in terms of fielding a prepared military in war. It was the grit and guts of those Marines (and capturing a rice cache) that eventually made it a victory. Another example of our lack of preparation was the Philippines. We simply weren't ready militarily for WWII even though we could see it coming miles off. According to the film, in 1939, we had a smaller army than Romania.

Thankfully the "arsenal of democracy" pulled our fat out of the fire. Another factoid presented was (and I think I remember this correctly) 80% of everything manufactured in the world for the war, once we were fully geared up, was manufactured here. We turned out one B-24 every 63 minutes and were able to build ships faster than they could be sunk.

OK, I'm rambling now ... its an excellent film and if you aren't watching it, you ought too. Well worth the time.
 
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I’ve watched a bit of the series. It’s very well done, but I found it overly cynical and fatalistic. It seemed to be one story after another all centering around the idea of hellish, gore-filled, gruesome sacrifice; and there never seemed to be a presentation of why these people went through what they did, or any presentation of why such monumental sacrifice was necessary or any good that came of it. Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of it, but the two or three hours I’ve seen the tone seemed jaded in that it communicated that post-modern "war is absolutely bad, all the time, no matter what" theme. (or maybe that’s just me being too cynical)
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
there never seemed to be a presentation of why these people went through what they did, or any presentation of why such monumental sacrifice was necessary or any good that came of it.
Because, gawd, there aren’t enough historical documentaries out there about what WW II was about.

I read this criticism yesterday, and am baffled by it. Ken Burns entire motivation for the series was to present first hand accounts of the war.
In the spring of 1945, as the war in Europe drew to a close, the CBS radio correspondent Eric Sevareid was troubled. He had been reporting on the fighting for four years, and had done his best to convey to his listeners back home all that he had seen and heard in Burma, France, Italy and Germany. But he was haunted by the sense that he had failed. He told his audience:

Only the soldier really lives the war. The journalist does not — war happens inside a man — and that is why, in a certain sense, you and your sons from the war will be forever strangers. If, by the miracles of art and genius, in later years two or three among them can open their hearts and the right words come, then perhaps we shall all know a little of what it was like — and we shall know then that all the present speakers and writers hardly touched the story.”

For the past six years we have striven to create a documentary film series about the Second World War in that spirit. Ours has been, in part, a humbling attempt to understand “the things men do in war, and the things war does to them” (as Phil Caputo so aptly noted). We chose to explore the impact of the war on the lives of people living in four American towns — Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; Waterbury, Connecticut; and Luverne, Minnesota. Over the course of the film’s nearly fifteen hours more than forty men and women opened their hearts to us about the war they knew — and which we, their inheritors, could only imagine.
WWII vets are dying at a rate of 1000 per day. That is an awful lot of history that is lost to us.

I found out the documentary is being released and ordered it yesterday. It will be a fine companion piece to other documentaries we have.
"war is absolutely bad, all the time, no matter what" theme. (or maybe that’s just me being too cynical)
I think you are missing the point.

WAR IS HELL

And nothing has changed about that since time immortal. They are talking about the business of warfare, not the justifications for going to war.

My wifes uncle was a bomber pilot out of England. Flew all his missions and never lost a single man of his crew. He still never talked about his experience willingly though. We lost him last year.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"And lastly, the story of Guadalcanal. That was really our first stab at an offensive ground operation in the Pacific. It was pretty poorly done."

I’ve been glued to the series. One thing I have gotten out of it is how things have changed. We did a lot back then that was poorly done from the stance that we just kept throwing soldiers at the enemy no matter what. The part about the Normandy invasion this was blatantly obvious. One of the beaches we didn’t pre-shell with the big guns from the battle ships so those that made it to the beach had no cover (divets from those big shells make good fox holes). Also, we lost many men that just drowned in deep water as they were carrying heavy gear. Tanks and their crews were lost right off the LSAT (?) due again to the deep water.

I too was impressed by how we could quickly switch from making cars to making airplanes, tanks, etc.. I knew we did it and it’s still impressive we did it. (I hope we don’t get in a position where we need to do that again...cause we no longer would be able to do that).

It IS amazing listening to the stories from the people who were there. Soon they will be gone. The greatest generation.
 
Written By: markm
URL: http://
Some of these guys, I’m amazed they can relive the experiences to relate them.
Hell, sometimes I’m crying too, and I’ve never been remotely close to circumstance like they experienced.
I can see why my Dad and other vets I knew just never talked about it.
The one thing he did tell me, and I’m sure it stands solid across all of his generation - he did it so I would never have to.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
McQ asks:
Is anyone else watching Ken Burn’s "The War"?
I started out watching it, the first night, with some enthusiasm, but lost most of my interest in it and only checked in here and there.

I’ve watched three of Burns’s documentary series all the way through: Civil War, Baseball, and Jazz. They all worked, in my opinion, but The War didn’t.

Perhaps it’s because as a single event, I’ve been immersed in WWII images and accounts my entire life. So Burns’s attempt to cut a fresh path didn’t work for me. Nor was I particularly enamored of the four towns/cities approach. And while I like Keith David as a narrator, I didn’t like him as a narrator for this documentary.

Needless to say there was a lot in The War that was worth the effort to stay with it, but I just didn’t find it that compelling a narrative.

I think that I’ve also grown a bit weary of Burns’s style, or at least didn’t find it a good match to a subject that has been relentlessly covered for nearly 70 years, from contemporary newsreels, movies, books, documentaries, and whatever.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I think you are missing the point.

WAR IS HELL
Because, gawd, there aren’t enough historical documentaries out there about war being hell!
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Everyone had someone "in it" and everyone participated and "did their part". And, of course, it made all the difference in the world.

I’ve always thought that the Islamists and their apologists should thank their lucky stars that they are as powerless as they are. The fact that they can’t strike America with impunity, a 9/11 every week, is the only thing keeping them alive as a movement. Even if they had ten times the power they have now, the optimal strategy is to just keep gently prodding the beast, from halfway around the world, and very rarely demonstrating the ability to strike with impunity, just to keep the pressure on.

Because God help the poor adversary who manages to bring this country together and feel the full force of unified wrath.

What we are doing to them today, we do with the cheapest war ever (by percentage of GDP), with a proportionally smaller army, with the country very divided about the whole idea, against a war method very hard to defeat and an ideology that when unchecked turns out dedicated soldiers (if not actually skilled soldiers) at a rate we can’t hope to keep up with. And we’re still giving them hell, and may yet win. Can you imagine what it would be like if all those disadvantages on our side were removed?

I truly hope never to have to see it.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri/
I’m watching it when I can, and I love it completely.

It really is a stunning bit on WWII. The one about the orison camp in the philines with all the families was particularly moving...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
It IS amazing listening to the stories from the people who were there. Soon they will be gone. The greatest generation.


Oh RLY? I’d kinda of vote for the Revolutionary War generation, or how about the generation that fought the Civil War, that war killed 5% of the North America population? Or how about the generation 1870-1913 that made America the largest, richest, most dynamic economy in the world? I have a hard time talking about A Greatest Generation? How about THIS one, you know the one that’s fighting to tranform the Middle East?

And the greatest generation soaks up a tremendous amount of cash in Social Security and the like and will not see it’s "teat" on the body politic reduced or changed in any way. Yeah they defeated Hitler and Tojo, but can I afford them any longer?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’d kinda of vote for the Revolutionary War generation, or how about the generation that fought the Civil War, that war killed 5% of the North America population? Or how about the generation 1870-1913 that made America the largest, richest, most dynamic economy in the world? I have a hard time talking about A Greatest Generation? How about THIS one, you know the one that’s fighting to tranform the Middle East?
Come on Joe, admit it ... you’re just looking for an argument.

See Monty Python for relief.

"This isn’t an argument, it’s a series of contradictions."

"No it isn’t."

"Yes it is."

"No it isn’t."

Etc. ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Not looking for a fight per se, just tired of this unquestioning assumption that having fought the Second World War makes you the GREATEST Generation. Just because Tom Brokaw discovered that his parents REALLY suffered in the Second World War, doesn’t make them the Greatest Generation, it just makes them a generation that got a lot of hype. MY parents were of the Greatest Generation.....I don’t see the need idolize their generation. They were the generation that also stood by whilst the totalitarians came to power and grew strong. IF they’d have stood up a little sooner they’d have avoided having to fight on Guadalcanal, ill-armed and undernourished.

My was a comment on a particular point being raised, the so-called Greatest Generation. On what basis would you grant them this sobriquet? They defended a nation made rich by their grand-parents and parents, without whose efforts they would have been unarmed; they fought for a nation that existed because something like 10% of the men in North America died preserving the Union, or opposing its preservation. They defended a nation that would not have existed at all were it not for one the greatest agglomerations of practical philosophic wit and grit the world has ever seen in the Founding Fathers. As Newton said, "If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." Greatest??? Great yes, the greatest come on...how can you measure that?

This whole thing, the Greatest Generation, came to a head with Manchester’s Goodbye Darkness and his elegiac to the Marines wading ashore at Tarawa and how ONLY his generation could have done it. Really Bill? So you’re saying that being dumped on a reef with the options of drowning, moving ashore or standing still and being shot, only YOUR generation would have moved ashore? D@mn dude, who knew only those born in the 1920’s would have chosen that option!? And then acting as if Tarawa/Betio was some penultimate sacrifice...unlike Antietam or Hue, where young Americans suffered and died, just as valiantly and just as brutally. I object to the hype, that’s all. Hitler was evilllllll, quite possibly the most evil person and regime the US ever faced, which is not to say that it represented the same threat as the less evil but much closer regime of Jefferson Davis. My parent’s generation defeated Hitler, good, my grandfather hid from Mosby’s Raiders, and conceivably my great-, great-, great-, great-grandparents would have cursed the Red Coats, but are my parents any more or less deserving of praise than my other predecessors?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
My was a comment on a particular point being raised, the so-called Greatest Generation. On what basis would you grant them this sobriquet?
Popular usage...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
My was a comment on a particular point being raised, the so-called Greatest Generation. On what basis would you grant them this sobriquet?
Popular usage...

Under the Limbaugh Formulation, "Words Mean Things" I am merely suggesting that popular usage is a bit off, here.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe writes:
Not looking for a fight per se, just tired of this unquestioning assumption that having fought the Second World War makes you the GREATEST Generation.
The "greatest generation" designation rests, to my mind, on three things: enduring the Great Depression, coming out of that to fight WWII (the most violent war in human history), and the gigantic post-war push to build new and better lives.

Depression, world war, economic achievment.

Now, let me cue the denouement to that: You take the most tested, most accomplished, hardest working generation and say, O.K., here’s what we’ll do, we’ll relieve you of the responsibility to take care of yourselves in old age and make your grandchildren pay for it. Of course, no one ever mentioned the grandchildren when Medicare came along, because the WWIIs would never have allowed that. But, at the very least, they allowed themselves to get hornswoggled out of their legacy of self-reliance. And that was a legacy passed on to them from their forebears.

So, I’ll grant them the "greatest" designation, right along with the "most hornswoggled."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Oh RLY? I’d kinda of vote for the Revolutionary War generation, or how about the generation that fought the Civil War, that war killed 5% of the North America population? Or how about the generation 1870-1913 that made America the largest, richest, most dynamic economy in the world? I have a hard time talking about A Greatest Generation? How about THIS one, you know the one that’s fighting to tranform the Middle East?
I’m rather fond of the 50,000 men or so who kicked Mexico’s ass and added California, Arizona, New Mexico and Navada to the US.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The "greatest generation" designation rests, to my mind, on three things: enduring the Great Depression, coming out of that to fight WWII (the most violent war in human history), and the gigantic post-war push to build new and better lives.
They are also the generation that almost voted us into fascism.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don writes:
They are also the generation that almost voted us into fascism.
I think that article is a reach. The sort of things that accompanied Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler’s version never caught on in the U.S. There was the Klan, though, but that was an artifact of the 19th Century, a strange sort of merger of the secret society concept and racial enforcement—night riders, in a phrase.

There was also Huey Long, a populist demogogue. And Father Coughlin, the radio priest, who was an ardent FDR follower until FDR didn’t go far enough for him. So he switched to Hitler.

I think, all in all, that FDR, while a master bullsh*tter heavily influenced by Marxists, was nonetheless not close to the sort of lunatic charismatic that Mussolini and Hitler were.

That said, the European fevers had found some swamps in which to propogate in the U.S.

But our racial problems got better, instead of worse, over time, and we solved the de jure aspect of them. We never descended into radical nationalism; we opted to exult freedom instead. Too bad we’ve gotten ourselves hooked into government in such an inextricable way.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"
So, I’ll grant them the ’greatest’ designation, right along with the ’most hornswoggled.’"
Oh, yes, and more deeply than a lot of people imagine. In evidence of the latter, I submit the facts of how their bloody kids turned out.

I can see objections to the "Greatest Generation" designation, and I for sure don’t need damned Tom Brokaw lecturing on the case. However, they met a martial challenge fairly unique in world history, and they did it by bringing a constant peak of technology to mass application. This is a really American story: in general, those people always knew what they were doing (even when things didn’t work, they took incisive notes and very rapidly solved problems of enormous scale), and they did it bigger than anyone ever imagined.

I watched most of a couple of episodes of Burns’ effort. I’d been suspicious of the thing going in, it’s true, but I just didn’t think he’d be able to get a proper grip on it, and I was not riveted by any of it.

I would still recommend the time and effort spent on Churchill’s six-volume history. Individual-soldier snapshots certainly have a valuable place, but they’re not enough on which to found any sort of big-picture take, and this was a very big-picture thing.

A perhaps tertiary point:
"According to the film, in 1939, we had a smaller army than Romania."
A lot of people might picture a sight like that, versus the mechanized Wehrmacht of the newsreels. In fact, throughout the war, nearly all Wehrmacht infantry were footborne, and nearly all artillery was horse-drawn into battle (not accounting for rail trans-shipment when possible). We were way behind in 1939, but anyone who understood America also understood that there was no way that it was going to stay that way, and Germany was just never going to keep up.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I would still recommend the time and effort spent on Churchill’s six-volume history. Individual-soldier snapshots certainly have a valuable place, but they’re not enough on which to found any sort of big-picture take, and this was a very big-picture thing.
If you’re watching this to get the big, big picture, or at least the chronology, it’s there.

If you’re interested in how the leaders saw and fought the war ... that’s been done to death.

I’ve read so much about WWII that I could probably populate a whole wall in a library with the books.

I like this view.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Depression, world war, economic achievment."

Gee, sort of sounds like a summary of human history.

I tend to agree with Joe on this one. WWII was, for millions of Americans, the best thing that ever happened to them. I will admit that that generation did have the Greatest Public Relations. They still do. As a matter of fact, my inlaws were instrumental in winning the war, and an endless source of information on the greatness of their generation. They also suffered mightily in the trenches of London, Paris, etc. Basically, though, it is a ridiculous argument; whose generation suffered and/or accomplished more.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual writes:
Gee, sort of sounds like a summary of human history.
No doubt, but not necessarily all in the lifetime of a single generation. I don’t think that the PR outstrips the reality, Tom Brokaw’s presence on the scene with the PR notwithstanding.

The Depression was extremely severe, especially in the context of 20th Century modernity; WWII was especially horrific; and the post-war boom was also a burden shouldered by real men.

I note the hornswoggling that befell them when the entitlement salesman came to the door and they made purchases with their legacy of self-reliance that never should have been made. They were weakened by their own prosperity, and bought a pretty common pack of lies. And here we are.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"I note the hornswoggling that befell them when the entitlement salesman"

Most of this hornswoggling of your naive and self-reliant innocents was done by The Greatest Generation themselves, and it didn’t require all that much effort.

" WWII was especially horrific;"

For who? I assume, therefore, that you are counting the citizens of other countries as part of The Greatest Generation, even though they seem to be getting no credit at all. It certainly wasn’t especially horrific for the majority of Americans. For many, it was, as I stated, the best thing that ever happened to them.

"The Depression was extremely severe, especially in the context of 20th Century modernity"

In the context of what? There was extensive poverty in the US(and the world in general) even before the depression. The depression was not the sole cause of all the ills that afflicted the US. And, once again, the citizens of other countries also had to cope with economic conditions at least as bad.

"and the post-war boom was also a burden shouldered by real men."

Sarcasm, I trust.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual writes:
"WWII was especially horrific;"

For who?
For the people who fought in it, and the people who loved them.
I assume, therefore, that you are counting the citizens of other countries as part of The Greatest Generation,
Isn’t this about the greatest American generation?
It certainly wasn’t especially horrific for the majority of Americans. For many, it was, as I stated, the best thing that ever happened to them.
World War II was especially horrific, in its depth, in its violence, in its threat, and in its comprehensiveness. Fighting in it was horrific. And having husbands, fathers, and sons fighting in it was horrific for families who remained stateside, many of whom didn’t get their men back, many of whom got them back in pieces.

If you mean that American towns and cities never came under artillery fire and got burnt to the ground, correct. We didn’t suffer in that way, but we didn’t ask for the war, either, and took reasonably happy lives and threw them into the cauldron, thinking about what would come next if we didn’t.
"The Depression was extremely severe, especially in the context of 20th Century modernity"

In the context of what? There was extensive poverty in the US(and the world in general) even before the depression.
In what context? In the context of massive economic failure, unemployment, and personal ruin, which threatened virtually everyone.
"and the post-war boom was also a burden shouldered by real men."

Sarcasm, I trust.
Not in the least bit sarcastic. Hard men who worked hard hours at hard jobs, raised their families, and made better lives for themselves.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Not in the least bit sarcastic."

Really? I have never thought of an economic ’boom’ as a burden.

Sarcasm is the wrong word, anyway. It should be irony.

"Hard men who worked hard hours at hard jobs, raised their families, and made better lives for themselves."

Once again, sounds like a summary of human history, nothing exclusive to The Greatest Generation, American or other.


"In what context?"

I was curious about what ’20th century modernity’ meant.


"For the people who fought in it, and the people who loved them."

All wars are ’horrific’ in that sense. What makes The Greatest Generation so special?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
did anyone else notice that he didnt show or mention the flag raising on Iwo Jima? i thought that was odd.
 
Written By: colleen
URL: http://
timactual writes:
"Not in the least bit sarcastic."

Really? I have never thought of an economic ’boom’ as a burden.
No? So, you think that an economic boom means that no one has to work?

Funny. I watched my father and my uncles during those years. They looked like they were working themselves to death.
Sarcasm is the wrong word, anyway. It should be irony.
Not really, because irony would imply that "booms" happen without anyone making sacrifices, as if automatically.
"Hard men who worked hard hours at hard jobs, raised their families, and made better lives for themselves."

Once again, sounds like a summary of human history, nothing exclusive to The Greatest Generation, American or other.
Really? You think that what happened in the U.S. in the 20th century sounds like a "summary of human history?" And that economic booms carry no burdens?

Nothing like what happened in the U.S. economy during the 20th century ever happend before in human history. In 1945, an economy that had fallen to pieces 10 years earlier was producing 50% of the world’s GDP. The post-war boom didn’t just change the U.S., it changed the world. It changed history.
"In what context?"

I was curious about what ’20th century modernity’ meant.
Mechanization, mass production, vast conversion of raw resources into instruments of production and products, telecommunications, automation, cybernetics, mass prosperity. People who are considered poor now have more than what wealthy people once could not have even dreamed of having.

Just the shift of population from farms to cities alone in the U.S. in the 20th century was remarkable, with farm production soaring as farming population plummeted, and the transformation of life through the mass production of durable consumer goods is mind blowing.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
" So, you think that an economic boom means that no one has to work?"
"And that economic booms carry no burdens?"


Once again, a summary of human history. What on earth is so remarkable about people working, even at hard jobs? So far, it seems you are congratulating The Greatest Generation(American only) for working hard, fighting a war, and generally doing what human beings have been doing since day one.


" Nothing like what happened in the U.S. economy during the 20th century ever happend before in human history"

Substitute any number you wish in place of ’20th’ and that sentence would still be generally true.

"Mechanization, mass production, vast conversion of raw resources into instruments of production and products, telecommunications, automation, cybernetics, mass prosperity. People who are considered poor now have more than what wealthy people once could not have even dreamed of having."

Right, mass prosperity, etc. That is quite a burden for The Greatest Generation to shoulder. You claim all that progress is due to The Greatest Generation?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual writes:
" So, you think that an economic boom means that no one has to work?"
"And that economic booms carry no burdens?"


Once again, a summary of human history. What on earth is so remarkable about people working, even at hard jobs? So far, it seems you are congratulating The Greatest Generation(American only) for working hard, fighting a war, and generally doing what human beings have been doing since day one.
Well, I’ve already answered your question as to what made this sequence of events for this American generation remarkable. But I wouldn’t hesitate to say that these achievments stand out in world history, because America stands out in world history, and the promise of America and the achievments of American society vis a vis that promise, and the achievments of that generation, I would suggest, cannot be a coincidence.

So, it is not simply "a summary of human history." It is something remarkable, and I don’t "seem" to be congratulating the "greatest generation" of Americans, I am congratulating them, for all of their remarkable sacrifices and achievments, precisely because they are not merely "a summary of human history," but far more a record of what can be accomplished with human freedom.
"Mechanization, mass production, vast conversion of raw resources into instruments of production and products, telecommunications, automation, cybernetics, mass prosperity. People who are considered poor now have more than what wealthy people once could not have even dreamed of having."

Right, mass prosperity, etc. That is quite a burden for The Greatest Generation to shoulder. You claim all that progress is due to The Greatest Generation?
You asked a question. The question was "what ’20th Century modernity’ meant." I gave that as the context in which the Great Depression took place, i.e., a plunge down from an already emerged and emerging world of unbridled technological and industrial capability. I gave that context to show why the Great Depression could be and was such a blow to Americans.

You take that and ask "You claim all that progress is due to The Greatest Generation?" You’re asking about an implication that you cannot find in anything I’ve written.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I think you are missing the point.

WAR IS HELL
Because, gawd, there aren’t enough historical documentaries out there about war being hell!
And the sad part is that, while we won the battles, we essentially lost the war itself by adopting so many collectivist/fasistic policies of our enemies.

So much bashing (rightfully) the Nazis and the holcaust and the SIX million, but virtually zero bashing the Soviets and China and their gulags and 80 MILLION dead.

Maybe that should be Burns next documentary.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://

 
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