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Old Yesterday, 10:48 AM
 
Location: San Diego CA
4,082 posts, read 3,036,286 times
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They were certainly a generation to be admired and remembered for going through the Great Depression as children and then as adults facing up to authoritarian governments in Germany and Japan that threatened world peace and humananity.

I suspect that the current and future generations of young Americans if faced with similar catastrophic economic problems and security challenges from hostile foreign enemies would rise to the occasion and face threats to our country with the same courage and dedication as their forebearers.
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Old Yesterday, 11:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
By the end of the WWII generation, the most virulent diseases had been defeated or put on the ropes.

Laws to end the effects of racism had been passed, and a nation had resolved not even to approach the brink of what the Nazis had committed.

Men had walked on the moon.

The following generation, my generation, we Boomers, has done nothing comparable, and our time is now at its twilight. If anything, we've slipped on all fronts.
In September, I will reach my 60th year. As a late baby boomer, I unfortunately share many of your sentiments. I am still hopeful we might be able to deal with the climate change problem before I wrap things up. However, it is not encouraging.

I will make this comment: My father felt that the civil rights laws grew directly out of the World War II experience. Growing up in Idaho, he was quite ignorant of anything outside his immediate community and that would have included Jim Crow and segregation. In the Navy, he was exposed to the discriminatory treatment of black sailors who were narrowly restricted to certain jobs. He was forced to listen to southern officers describe their feelings about black people. He believes many white veterans saw the same thing. When the civil rights movement came along in the fifties and sixties, many veterans were aware of the injustice in this country and sided with reform. The two things may have been tied together in a sense.
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Old Yesterday, 11:44 AM
 
965 posts, read 1,889,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
No, the cities weren't safe for women to walk around at night, they just didn't focus completely on not being victims of crime the way we do.

Rapes were something to be ashamed of, and weren't talked about when they happened, so the reputation of the woman wouldn't be ruined forever. Many young women were forced to marry their rapist if they got pregnant.

And they most certainly weren't clean!
I disagree. When I lived in Chicago in the 1980s I talked to elderly people who lived in the 1930s and they said that they never locked their doors day or night and even when they went out with no one home. No one was going to just walk into their house back then. And if they had a car they always left the keys in even at night with the doors of the car unlocked. Rapes were very rare back then. It was a different world.
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Old Yesterday, 11:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Yup...no crime in Chicago in the 30s........

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_in_the_1930s
Al Capone and his gang weren't picking on people in parks. They had bigger fish on the line like he was corrupting Cicero and east Chicago(which is gary Indiana).
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Old Yesterday, 11:50 AM
 
965 posts, read 1,889,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtab4994 View Post
Where did you get that idea? In the 1930's American cities were in upheaval as waves of migrants from rural areas sought economic relief from the Great Depression, with rampant poverty, unemployment, crime, gang violence, sweatshops, racism and other prejudices, and filthy tenements not to mention corrupt officials and police. The difference was that stuff was whitewashed, ignored, or shrugged off.





By the mid-1980's America had begun to reverse the decline of the inner cities. Mayor Giuliani in New York in the early 1990's really got a handle on crime and filth by using the so-called "broken windows policy", fixing broken windows in city-owned buildings so the neighborhood would not degrade, and arresting "turnstile jumpers" in the subways to indicate that petty crime would not be tolerated.


There's always a fine line between cracking down on crime and hassling decent but poor residents.
Oh yes and that is why our cities are so peaceful today full of well meaning people that would never do you harm. Is that why nearly a quarter of a million people are leaving Chicago each year now-a-days.
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Old Yesterday, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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It's like this: Tom Brokaw wanted a catchy title to sell books and so he came up with "the Greatest Generation", which appealed to the sentimentality that is so common in public life.

It's true that that generation produced such great leaders as JFK and Martin Luther King, and collectively accomplished some great things. It also produced monsters like Richard Nixon, Roy Cohn, Joe McCarthy, and George Wallace. It is foolish to tag that generation or any other (right now we're seeing attacks by older people against millennials and younger people against boomers) with any single positive or negative characterization.
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Old Yesterday, 11:52 AM
 
965 posts, read 1,889,123 times
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Originally Posted by msgsing View Post
They were certainly a generation to be admired and remembered for going through the Great Depression as children and then as adults facing up to authoritarian governments in Germany and Japan that threatened world peace and humananity.

I suspect that the current and future generations of young Americans if faced with similar catastrophic economic problems and security challenges from hostile foreign enemies would rise to the occasion and face threats to our country with the same courage and dedication as their forebearers.
Oh yes we faced up to the authoritarian governments of Germany and Japan but don't forget we sided with the communists and they were the biggest mass butchers of people last century.
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Old Yesterday, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
Tom Brokaw made up the name as a title for one of his books. Before that, they were called The Depression kids. That's what they were before and after the book. Their lives were formed by the Depression. WWII just piled onto that.
It is interesting that the Brokaw book seems to have established "they were the greatest generation" as the default position and all who are not like minded must try and dislodge this position. As you noted, it was just a book title, representing one writer's opinions, yet it has gained power and traction far beyond its origins.

This greatest generation showed no inclination at all to volunteer to stand up to the fascists, in fact isolationism was the dominant mentality of the day. Pearl Harbor changed all that, it forced the decision to go to war. Intervening to stop a bully who is beating someone else up is noble, standing on the sidelines watching until the bully comes after you, not so noble. And even among the volunteers we find various motivations. For example, my father enlisted in the Navy in 1940, but he wasn't doing so in anticipation of a war, he did it because he couldn't stand living at home with his crazy widowed mother and this represented an honorable out.

Further, while there were indeed millions who volunteered their services once the war began, 10.1 million, or 63%, a majority of those who served, did so because they were conscripted into the armed forces without choice. Compare that to the Civil War where draftees represented less than 8 % of those serving.

I don't highlight these things to denigrate the generation, they had a colossal task and they performed it well. However, that does not automatically mean that they were the greatest generation.
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Old Yesterday, 01:02 PM
 
2,445 posts, read 449,971 times
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Actually, "greatest generation" might apply more if we ever reached those found in the Star Trek franchise because we would have replicators that would help fill the necessities for so many less fortunate people. That, and an era where SJW-type issues are a lot less common.
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Old Yesterday, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Midwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
I had the privilege of being raised by two World War II vets. I know my father always had trouble with that "Greatest Generation" label before he died back in 2009. He did make several comments though late in his life that got my attention. He looked back on his service in the Navy which began at age 17 and he marveled at the amount of responsibility that he and so many young people were given. He wondered how they were able to do the things that were assigned them. Yet, most did. Another comment he made several times was that young people are picked to serve in the military because they lack fear (and often good judgment) and will do just about anything you order them to do.

There were some fundamental differences in life when my father grew up as a poor child in a large family in Idaho. First, was the lack of awareness of life outside of where they lived. Because of this there was a lack of resentment and envy of others (in most cases). Second, you could trust others because everyone knew who you were. You couldn't get away with anything. Third, children were parented in a very authoritarian way (which my dad disliked). You did what your father said to do OR ELSE. Fourth, history classes in school painted a rose-colored view of America. Fifth, children were taught not to question authority.

Because of all of this, young people who were drafted or who volunteered for the armed services could be counted on to follow orders and undertake about any hazardous thing.

I don't think this generation was unique. I think if the circumstances called for it, the people in this country today would find a way to prevail over their enemies as well. It would be done differently and undoubtedly with imaginative use of high technology. I do retain the view that Americans are "can do" people. When our backs are to the wall, we can solve just about any problem.
I believe Tom Brokaw fired up the "Greatest Generation" title for his TV specials and to sell books.

FWIW I didn't agree with his title, and if Brokaw knew or cared anything about history vs. selling books, he would not have used that title. The WWII was a great generation, but not the greatest.

IMO the Greatest Generation is the first, our Founders. FDR was not Washington, Ike was not Washington, Dulles was not Jefferson or Adams, ditto Truman. That war of independence was a gigantic eight-year effort.

And no, I doubt modern generations could equal that effort or the WWII effort. Patriotism is not taught in schools or colleges, the education establishment as a whole is radical anti-American, and generations have been brainwashed to look down on the USA and Western Civilization. I'm sure there are millions today who would welcome Hitler, Tojo, or Stalin with open arms, thinking their societies are morally superior to ours.

It's not that they don't know anything. It's just that so much of what they know is wrong.
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