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American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film$
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Trevor McCrisken and Andrew Pepper

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748614899

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614899.001.0001

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Saving the Good War: Hollywood and World War Ii In the Post-Cold War World

Saving the Good War: Hollywood and World War Ii In the Post-Cold War World

Chapter:
(p.89) Chapter 4 Saving the Good War: Hollywood and World War Ii In the Post-Cold War World
Source:
American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film
Author(s):

Trevor B. McCrisken

Andrew Pepper

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614899.003.0005

World War II holds a celebrated position in the benign meta-narrative of American foreign relations. This narrative holds that the United States is a benevolent nation whose foreign policy is based not on pure self-interest but rather on the greater good of all humankind. Clearly this meta-narrative ignores, discounts or minimises the importance of a host of brutal episodes and self-interested policies that riddle American history. At least until the late 1960s, Hollywood films about World War II served the purpose of affirming the national perception that the war was the Good War. The moral certitude of the World War II era, and indeed the early Cold War, was thrown into disarray by America's first defeat in war: the Vietnam War. Between 1998 and 2001, four major-release films addressed various aspects of the American role in World War II. Saving Private Ryan (1998), The Thin Red Line, U-571 (2000) and Pearl Harbor (2001). This chapter explores the issues of gender and racism in World War II films.

Keywords:   World War II, Hollywood films, foreign policy, history, Good War, Vietnam War, gender, racism, Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor

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