Newscaster superstar Tom Brokaw’s book calling the World War II generation “The Greatest Generation” shows what a media elitist he is, even though he tries to portray himself as just an average “aw shucks” guy from the Midwest.
WW 2 is not the greatest generation, Tom, great, but not greatest.
I think Tom’s been riding around in a limousine too long.
The central, most basic fallacy yuppies believe in, is that if it didn’t happen to me, or isn’t part of my collective memory, it isn’t important.
The greatest generation is the Civil War generation, a half-point ahead of the second place Revolutionary War Founding Fathers. The WW2 crowd ranks a distant third.
I don’t want to make World War II vets angry, or minimize their achievement. They saved the democratic world from a brutal tyranny of the worst kind. But the Civil War vets prevented the breakup of the country. An internal war, brother against brother, is always the worst. American casualties in the Civil War far exceeded those of the Second World War.
There was no medicine back in those days, no aid stations. If you got a cut, and it got infected, you died (most Civil War casualties were non-combat). Soldiers often didn’t even have shoes. They freed the slaves, and preserved the union. We wouldn’t have a country to oppose Hitler if the Civil War generation hadn’t answered the call.
As great as our victory in World War II was, it must be understood that we had help from other countries, like Russia, a murderous dictatorship. The war didn’t end tyranny, and the Russians remained a threat until they fell apart 40 years later.
Approximately eight out of ten Germans killed in World War II were killed on the Eastern Front.
As for the Founding Fathers, their victory over the British was one of the greatest upsets in military history (even with French aid). A group of farmers beat the ranking world power of the day. Authorship of the Constitution alone, creating a country based on freedom, unlike anything that had gone before, qualifies them for greatness.
As great as the World War II generation is, they didn’t build something from nothing.
I consider the WW 2 guys far superior to my own whining, spoiled, TV-watching Howdie Doody generation. However, there is a special greatness that should be assigned to those who served during the Vietnam period, the least popular time to rally round the flag in the country’s history. Vets were reviled and spat upon as criminals.
Suddenly, today, patriotism has become the “in-thing.”
Brokaw apparently believes the Civil War and Revolutionary War crowd, being long dead, are irrelevant. In a way, I suppose they are. They’re not around to buy his book.