Chapter 6 Pages (264-295)
From Total War to Total Living
- He describes the end of World War II as the ‘Golden Age’. Economic growth occurs from 1945 to
1950’s. The five major forces behind economic growth, building of urban societies, expansion of
mass production, the ‘baby boom’, American investment in rebuilding West Europe and the
implementation of Keynesian economic policies. After the war, male veterans and their partners
‘begin’ a family. For the people of that period, an ‘ideal’ family is when there is a male breadwinner
and a stay at home mom and also a detached house with a small yard. According to Hobshawm, the
period of 1950’s is full of promises and opportunities as leaders view freedom, democracy and well-
being as goals that can be turned into realities.
- As a result of all these changes, he argues that the ‘boomers’ should retrace history and discover
the great cultural war that expanded liberty. His study documents the ways that the ‘boomers’
renew institutions, rewrite norms and provide more freedom. Steinhorn believes that everyone is
deserving of dignity and worth and therefore should be entitled to equal opportunities.
- He argued that the Student Movement in the 1960’s is animated by a powerful sense of social
justice. The Student Movement is a ‘revolt of spirit, conscience and will’. Activists condemn the
pursuit of material privilege and view it as an obstacle to spiritual authenticity. Material privilege is
further criticized as the sacrifice of the powerless majority to a powerful few. In general, people
who worship material possession are not genuine. The statement of the Movement can be
summarized in the Port Huron Statement, ‘human relationships should involve fraternity and
honesty, the public should replace possession and privilege by love, reflectiveness and creativity.
- Keynes is a Cambridge-trained economist. His work takes into discussion the importance of
government in the economy and the promotion of different social programs. In his work ‘The
General Theory of Employment and Money’, Keynes stresses the importance of government
involvement in ensuring the smooth running of capitalist economies of the West. In short, the
government should implement taxation in boom periods and strategic investment in bust periods.
But beforehand, the shaping of governments and their policies has to be taken into political
considerations. Keynes provides an example of an economic downturn at the end of the 1960’s.
During this period, the government does not save tax revenues for an impending recession where
they could use the money to stimulate the economy, thus leading to an economic growth stall. The
social programs introduced by the government with intentions to cover recession backfired, and
instead led to a further increase in government debt. In short, government debt will continue to
grow without a reduction in social programs. The Vietnam War
- The Vietnam War is brought up in relation to Keynes theories because it is one of the most
expensive post World-War II programs. The main reason the US is involved with Vietnam is the fear
of Soviet-style communism. Western governments fear the Soviets attempt at expanding their
influence throughout the globe. The war is also recognized as a war for national independence
against different colonial regimes. During that period, Ho Chi Minh, who is a critical figure of the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, was inspired by Marxism and considering communism.
For the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), their main priority is national pride whereas for the French,
American and Western soldiers, they are mainly fulfilling orders to prevent the spread of
communism. In conclusion, the Vietnam War is merely a waste of government spending with a total
cost of 1.2 billion dollars. It emphasizes the imagery of war, heroism, death and destruction, which
shapes modern perceptions of the world.
KheSanh and the Tet Offensive
- In context with the Vietnam War, this section emphasizes the use of war as an instrument in
international relations. KheSanh is located in the north west corner of Vietnam and the siege of the
area is critical for president Johnson in an election year. The Tet Offensive is an attack launched by
the NVA upon KheSanh that coincides with the Vietnamese New Year - Tet. The aftermath of the
war sees Johnson stepping down as the Democratic nomination. The photographic images captured
are iconic in a way for portraying in what Walter Benjamin terms as ‘the age of mechanical
- There is a fundamental difference between the American’s and the Nazi’s military objectives. The
dominant military objectives in Vietnam are to defeat the entry of Communism from the North and
to display American military superiority. The main goal of the Nazis is to seize the territories of
Eastern Europe and repopulate the area with an Aryan population. Secondly, the dominant
ideological context of the two conflicts is very different. Nazi ideology focuses on Kampf, which is
the deeply racist notions of Aryan Supremacy, emphasizing the importance of battle and heroic
death. Conversely, the American ideology does not call for the elimination of a certain population
but to protect the south of Vietnam from the Communist north. Third, the Geneva Convention,
which establishes the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war, is not
suspended by the Americans in Vietnam. And fourth, the lack of precision in some orders within the
context of guerilla warfare leaves room for interpretation among officers and troops.
Discipline and Routinization
- Much of military life is reduced to routine, most significantly, routine preparations for battle. In
detail, beginning with the delivery of orders, preparation of field gear, the disassembly, lub