Wednesday, May 04, 2011

G.I. Pamphlet Series

The U.S. government knew there would be lots of challenges to face for our military boys during and after the war. That's why, as early as 1943, the Army’s Division of Information and Education produced a series of pamphlets to help guide them.

The American Historical Association (of which I am a proud member!) has quite a few of these pamphlets in their online exhibit, Constructing a Post-War World: The G.I. Roundtable Series in Context. Since the Association itself was involved in the G.I. Roundtable Series, it offers a fascinating look at not only the preparation for a post-war world, but how the historical narrative was shaped by a leading historical organization.

For example, there are no pamphlets that discuss the new women's role in the work place. Instead, it was just assumed that they would return to their homes with nary a protest. African-Americans emerging role also wasn't discussed.

From the site:

However, as the background documents will attest, an important part of the way the topics were selected and the pamphlets were ultimately written was through the manipulation of historians’ ideals of objectivity. Not surprisingly, the “objective” norms the military advisors pressed on the authors of the series reflected their white upper-middle-class frame of reference. As we note in the larger analysis, the AHA tailored its pamphlets to paint an idealized image of a postwar world that was essentially free of minorities, where women happily moved out of the factories and back into the kitchen, and where America would largely dominate the world stage

Check out the pamphlets themselves as well as a detailed analysis of the program. Well worth a look!

4 comments:

Ron Scheer said...

Fascinating project. Thanks for the link. I dipped into the healthcare pamphlet and found that the issues dividing the country now were there 65 years ago.

Valerie said...

Thanks for the link too Melissa. It's always great to find another source of information!

Nicole said...

Thank you for posting this! These are fascinating!

Melissa Marsh said...

Glad you're all enjoying it! I wish I had more time in the day just to read everything I find...what a treasure trove of information the Internet provides.