2018-09-27Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21704
Playing on Uncle Sam's Team
American Childhoods During World War I
If World War I has interested historians of the United States considerably less than other major wars, it is also true that children rank among the most neglected actors in the literature that exists on the topic. This essay challenges this limited understanding of the roles children and adolescents played in this transformative period by highlighting their importance in three different realms. It shows how childhood emerged as a contested resource in prewar debates over militarist versus pacifist education; examines the affective power of images of children—American as well as foreign—in U.S. wartime propaganda; and maps various social arenas in which the young engaged with the war on their own account. While constructions of childhood and youth as universally valid physical and developmental categories gained greater currency in the early twentieth century, investigations of young people in wartime reveal how much the realities of childhood and youth differed according to gender, class, race, region, and age.
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This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.