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Class Year

2017

Abstract

Emerging from a triumphant victory in World War Two, American patriotism surged in the 1950s. Positive images in theater and literature of America’s potential to bring peace and prosperity to a grateful Asia fueled the notion that the United States could be the “good Samaritan of the entire world.”[1] This idea prevailed through the mid-1960s as three-quarters of Americans indicated they trusted their government. That positive feeling would not last, and America’s belief in its own exceptionalism would begin to shatter with “the major military escalation in Vietnam and the shocking revelations it brought.”[2] The turmoil in social and economic spheres during the 1960s combined with contradictions about America’s role in Vietnam and realization of the government’s deception regarding the nature and progress of the war itself fueled the largest movement of servicemen and veteran dissent in this nation’s history.

[1] Christian G. Appy, American Reckoning (New York: The Penguin Group, 2015) 13.

[2] Appy, American Reckoning, xv.

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