In his introduction to “The Good War” Studs Terkel describes “the irony…in World War Two”:
It had been a different kind of war. “It was not like your other wars,” a radio disk jockey reflected aloud. In his banality lay a wild kind of crazy truth. It was not fratricidal. It was not, most of us profoundly believed, “imperialistic.” Our enemy was, patently, obscene: the Holocaust maker. It was a war that many who would have resisted “your other wars” supported enthusiastically. It was a “just war,” if there is any such animal. In a time of nuclear weaponry, it is the language of a lunatic. (Terkel 15)
Many Americans perceived World War II as fundamentally different from other wars, and in addition to seeing it as a “just war” many saw it as a “good war” because it transformed their lives and communities for the better. Many other Americans, however, experienced nothing but horror and loss as a result of the war.
In a 5-7 page paper (12-point Times New Roman font with one inch margins – around 1500-2100 words) answer the following question: Was World War II a good war, and if so, for who and why? If not, for who was it not good and why not? Draw evidence to support your argument from at least ten interviews in Terkel, “The Good War” as well as from one outside scholarly source, which can be an academic article or book. Look for book sources in the CSU East Bay library catalog at library.csueastbay.edu. Look for academic articles on the CSU East Bay library web site as well. I recommend beginning your search in one of a couple databases available there:
America: History and Life JSTOR
You may cite evidence with simple parenthetical citations as demonstrated above, and you should also provide full bibliographical information for your outside source at the end of your paper.
To do well on this paper, you’ll need to establish and pursue a clear argument that allows you to draw connections among the interviews and your outside source. Simplistic arguments, like that the war was good because people got jobs or that it was not good because people died, will not get you far. Instead, dig deeper and ask more probing questions of your sources.