Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
War and Society
Both the Second World War and the Korean War presented Hollywood with the opportunity to produce combat films that roused patriotic spirit amongst the American people. The obvious choice was to continue making the popular squad films that portrayed a group of soldiers working together to overcome a common challenge posed by the war. However, in the wake of various racial and ethnic tensions consistently unfolding in the United States from 1940 to 1960, it became apparent to Hollywood that the nation needed pictures of unity more than ever, especially if America was going to win its wars. Using combat as the backdrop, squad films consisting of men from all different backgrounds were created in order to demonstrate to its audiences how vital group cohesion was for the survival of the nation, both at home and abroad. This thesis explores how Hollywood’s war films incorporated racial and ethnic minorities into their classic American squads while also instilling the country’s inherent values of democracy.
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Jacobson, Lara K. Diversity and Democracy at War: Analyzing Race and Ethnicity in Squad Films from 1940-1960. 2019. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000068