Warfare State World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-08-04
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Although common wisdom and much scholarship assume that "big government" gained its foothold in the United States under the auspices of the New Deal during the Great Depression, in fact it was World War II that accomplished this feat. Indeed, as the federal government mobilized for war it grew tenfold , quickly dwarfing the New Deal's welfare programs. Warfare State shows how the federal government, in the course of World War II, vastly expanded its influence over American society. Equally important, it looks at how and why Americans adapted to this expansion of authority. Through mass participation in military service, war work, rationing, price control, income taxation and ownership of the national debt in the form of war bonds, ordinary Americans learned to live with the warfare state. They accepted these new obligations because the government encouraged all citizens to think of themselves as personally connected to the battle front, and to imagine the impact of their every action on the combat soldier. By working for the American Soldier, they habituated themselves to the authority of the government. Citizens made their own counter-claims on the state--particularly in the case of industrial workers, women, African Americans, and most of all, the soldiers. Their demands for fuller citizenship offer important insights into the relationship between citizen morale, the uses of patriotism, and the legitimacy of the state in wartime. World War II forged a new bond between citizens, nation, and government. Warfare State tells the story of this dramatic transformation in American life.

Author Biography

James T. Sparrow is Associate Professor of History at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Introduction: War and the Mass Foundations of the Modern Statep. 3
Ideology, Political Culture, And State Formation
War Displaces Its Analogp. 19
Morale and the National Momentp. 48
Scapegoating the Statep. 78
Encountering The State In Everyday Life
Buying Our Boys Backp. 119
Work or Fightp. 160
Citizen-Soldiersp. 201
Conclusion: Legacies of the Warfare Statep. 242
Appendixp. 261
Abbreviations for Sources Consultedp. 265
Notesp. 271
Acknowledgmentsp. 319
Indexp. 324
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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