Political Indoctrination in the U.S. Army from World War II to the Vietnam War
University of Nebraska Press 2006
One of the greatest challenges American military leaders have faced since the American Revolution has been to motivate citizens to forego their own sense of private identity in favor of the collective identity needed to wage war effectively. This problem became more acute in the twentieth century, when mass conscript armies were raised from a disparate American landscape of ethnic enclaves and highly localized regional communities. These challenges, and the US Army’s response from the start of the Second World War through the Cold War until the end of the Vietnam War, are the subject of Christopher DeRosa‘s book Political Indoctrination in the U.S. Army from World War II to the Vietnam War (University of Nebraska Press, 2006). DeRosa investigates the cultures and mechanisms of creating political cohesion in the draftee army during the heyday of American conscription. Insofar as it focuses on the intellectual and cultural legacy of a military institution, DeRosa’s work is clearly identifiable as a contribution to the so-called “New Military History.” But the book also represents just the sort of synthesis of military and social history that is at the core of the “War and Society” approach, in that it places military institutions squarely within the context of the societies they serve.