War is often seen in purely military terms; generals, battles, tactics weaponry. But a crucial part of any war is the home front.
Even though not participant civil populations form a mindset that promulgates war. This goes beyond psychological formation of enemy hate figures. Part of most modern wars has been identifying those supporting the war and vilifying those without identifiers.
In the first and second world wars this was done through war bonds. No matter what the practical economic purpoese war bonds served their sale was part of a patriotism mindset that drove the war.
Another identifier is the blue star. In the UK campaigns such as removing railings and taping up windows also served as identifiers. The railings were actually dumped as their scrap metal was inappropriate for the stated aim of manufacturing armaments. Likewise sticking paper tape in little 'X's on your windows did little against bomb blasts. But both served to show the occupants of the house were with the programme.
With war bond drives those who failed to buy had their windows smashed or yellow paint hurled at their door. This is why the sale of 'civilian bonds' that could be bought by those from churches that forbade purchase of 'war bonds' were vital.
When the memetic fever of war takes hold no maverick stance is tolerated and authority turns a blind eye to the victimisation of free-thinkers.
Posts: 743 | Registered: Sep 2005
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Sounds just like McCarthy and his campaign against perverts in government -- or the religious right and their campaign against sodomites!
You did see the recent PBS film on Dr Goebbels, I suppose? Here was a manic-depressive fully capable of believing his own propaganda -- and, using the term blatantly, convinced his radio audiences that his propaganda was a vital weapon in 'the defense' of the Fatherland. He thought British and American propaganda was unsophisticated, ill thought out, and would prove ineffective.
Rather, I think spending a winter in the Ardennes or on the Eastern Front without blankets was his undoing.
When I was a little kid I was yelled at because a little corner of a candy tinfoil was missing when I put it into the cigar box for the War Effort. At the age of 4 I was responsible (in this case completely and totally irresponsible) for jamming the enemy's radar in our bombing raids of the Ruhr. Some guys were blown up over Germany because I was 'completely and totally irresponsible!' We even had to use stones instead of metal nuts and washers to make our hanky parachutes!
Oh yes, war fever is like religious pyrexia. One doesn't have to question one's motivations, one's morality, or even one's reasons for doing what one is told to do. Thinking anything to the contrary is ... unthinkable! Treason! There is a wonderful sense of freedom when one knows that somebody up above somewhere is entirely responsible for your actions, your thoughts, and your morals. The Puritans had that elevated sense of themselves.
It's a religious experience, a veritable exhaltation of magpies.
Posts: 7866 | Registered: Apr 2004
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There is truth in this, but not utter truth. I am young, all the wars in my day have been rather unpopular. But then, I suppose the difference is that all the wars I have seen were fought on military resources alone, and the home front contribution was utterly unimportant. Therefore the propaganda mills did not produce, and the people here only got news of American deaths, or world wide scandals, which paints war negatively. It comes down to people believing what they hear, and acting as though it were true. When someone says war is good, it is good, when they say war is bad, bad it is. I think the mystique you were talking about is little more than the power of propaganda and suggestion. Very strong, but capable of working both ways.
Posts: 29 | Registered: May 2006
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