Tag Archives: WW2

Coffee Thoughts: Why do undergrads love WWII?

Why, academic historians ask, do undergrads love WWII so much? Aren’t there more interesting classes and more nuanced paper topics?

The answer is simple: moral clarity

Between all the HBO bodice rippers and the cynical histories with their complex grunge antiheroes… the undergrads are craving for a simple story with moral clarity.

You see, young people are willing to put up with hell, to suffer, to live when every day feels like a fight, if there is a point to it all. If there are forces of light and darkness, and the darkness does not prevail.

And they want stories that tell them that. Preferably true stories, that can promise them their life is part of the same.

Yes, the evolutionary psychologists can tell us that we humans just want impose order on chaos, it’s all contrived, our brains forcing patterns where there was none. Apparently we just desire it, to construct from the random facts of reality a “story” with a beginning, a middle, an end. Thus “history” is made.

But if that is all it is, then why do we want it so bad? Like the deep/universal grammar already in the newborn infant’s brain — doesn’t the desire alone indicate something?



Moping about “America”, especially that most Americans don’t define “America” the same way I do. OK. And I ran across these two images, and by golly, LOOK WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.

So here is the Soviet image celebrating the end of WWII (it’s a soldier raising the soviet flag over Germany).soviet_flag_on_the_reichstag_roof_khaldei



And here is the American image celebrating the end of WWII (it’s soldiers raising the American flag over a previously-Japanese-occupied Island).ap_marines_raising_flag_iwo-jima_alan_wood_130428_copy_6_v16x9_16x9_992

Do you see the similiarities and contrasts between the two ideologies? I feel like I see everything in these that I always felt about it. But obviously this is an inkblot test. Do you see it? Do you see what I see?