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The Politics of ConsolationMemory and the Meaning of September 11$
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Christina Simko

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199381784

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199381784.001.0001

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The War of Good and Evil

The War of Good and Evil

(p.44) Chapter 2 The War of Good and Evil
The Politics of Consolation

Christina Simko

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the growing significance of political consolation discourse during World War II. Addressing the American public over the radio, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt incorporated canonical texts from the American “civil scriptures” into a broad Manichean framework—a dualistic mode of political consolation. Roosevelt interpreted the struggle as a monumental battle between good and evil, civilization and savagery, that would move inexorably toward victory. Though this dualistic interpretation was vigorously contested during the war years, it generated remarkable consensus during the 50th anniversary commemorations of World War II in the 1990s, especially the elaborate ceremonies marking the anniversaries of Pearl Harbor and D-Day. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the continued resistance to engaging the difficult legacies of World War II that might complicate the dualistic narrative—especially the deployment of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki—at the level of official politics.

Keywords:   Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II, commemoration, Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Hiroshima, Nagasaki

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