chapter  1
32 Pages

World War II

Memory, Propaganda, and Nostalgia
ByJonathan M. Bullinger

Since World War II was truly a world war costing tens of millions of lives, it has already generated copious amounts of literature devoted to a myriad details and perspectives. As such, this chapter situates the war within the subject areas of memory, propaganda, and nostalgia. Here it covers Philip Beidler’s bifurcation of World War II memory as “the Good War” and “the Great SNAFU,” how remembrance of World War I influenced World War II’s remembrance, and how remembrance of Korea and Vietnam are different. Here it also defines the term “collective memory” and shows how Alison Landsberg’s metaphor of prosthetic memory is useful in understanding this particular type of U.S. World War II memory from 1984 through 2010. The chapter ends with a discussion of how World War I and World War II propaganda helps to construct myths and how these myths can eventually bleed into nostalgia. This nostalgia was then enthusiastically embraced by the early 1980s’ conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, leading to his 1984 fortieth anniversary of D-Day moment.