How special was World War II's 'Greatest Generation'?

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Thanks in part to Tom Brokow's 1998 book, the phrase "Greatest Generation" has entered popular culture as short hand for Americans who lived (and died) during World War II. By "greatest," we usually seem to mean that Americans in this period were exceptionally willing to sacrifice for the common good.

While discussions of sacrifice in World War II often focus on those in the military, this conversation will be about American civilians. What was asked of them during the war? How did they respond? Is it proper to regard them as somehow superior as the "Greatest Generation" tag implies, or were they just regular people doing what they had to.


The slides for this presentation are not available.