The World At War
"Force is the only language they understand. They are like bullies."
~President Franklin D. Roosevelt
As America entered the 1940's, a large European conflict was brewing as Nazi Germany began to aggressively expand into surrounding territories such as the Sudetenland and the Rhineland. When Germany began to expand closer to England and France, the United States took a support role, lending the Allies with weapons and supplies without officially declaring war.
However, after December 7th, 1941, the previous American viewpoint of attrition shifted drastically after they declared war on Japan and consequentially Nazi Germany.
This had a direct effect on the youth of the United States. The majority of young men were drafted and sent overseas to fight in both the European and Pacific theaters. Many were excited and ready to fight for their country.
As a result of the war, the entire United States economy was geared to producing wartime goods for the conflict abroad. This, along with the millions of job openings left by draftees, young people, both male and female, became involved in the workplace at an early age.
When the war ended, veterans returned home to parades, eager to give back to the country they had fought for. In addition, the United States continued to flourish economically despite their transition back to a peacetime state of mind.
In conclusion, World War II not only brought the United States out of the Great Depression but kick-started youth involvement in the workplace and community on a national scale.
"America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad and increased vigilance at home."
~President George W. Bush
Beginning in the early 1990's, the United States has involved themselves in multiple world conflicts. Without ever officially declaring war on a country, the United States were involved in Somalia and Bosnia in 1993, Operation Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein in 1995 and Kosovo in 1999.
After 9/11, the president at the time, George W. Bush, declared a "War on Terror" instead of declaring formal war on a country which America hasn't done since the 1940's. This was geared towards defeating the terrorists in the Middle East and denying them support and sanctuary all while protecting American interests at home and abroad.
Eleven years later, the United States military still has troops stationed around the world keeping the peace in turbulent environments such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Libya.
As opposed to the World War II era, recent public opinion regarding the War on Terror has been fairly low. According to a recent Rasmussen poll from November 2012, only 49% of people surveyed believed that America was winning the War on Terror whereas 25% believed that the terrorists were winning.
Ever since Vietnam, youth in America have been against military intervention in military countries. However, without the presence of a wartime draft, young Americans have to register for a draft but in order to be deployed, they have to voluntarily enlist in the armed forces.
In sharp contrast to World War II, a wartime economy is no longer necessary due to our extreme economic diversity, and the youth today don't share the sense of patriotism that Americans had in the post WWII era. In fact, the war is commonly criticized, especially among the younger generations.