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Return from the Natives$
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Peter Mandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300187854

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300187854.001.0001

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Culture Cracking for War: II. Enemies (1942–5)

Culture Cracking for War: II. Enemies (1942–5)

(p.123) Chapter 4 Culture Cracking for War: II. Enemies (1942–5)
Return from the Natives

Peter Mandler

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that it was right for Margaret Mead not to associate herself with the analysis of the national character of the enemies of the Allied forces: Germany and Japan. Her personal attraction to the national character was a means of building cultural consciousness for a postwar order. With this, Americans could learn to finally understand and accept many other, different kinds of cultures on the basis of equality. During the war, Mead showed Americans what their own culture looked like, and also showed them how it differed from other cultures, such as the British, which they thought they knew well. Depictions of Germans and Japanese in this manner were only bound to be tainted by ideological hostilities that led to the eruption of war in the first place, which would be counterproductive for any postwar efforts, as it would only have aggravated the ideological hostilities already felt among the combating countries.

Keywords:   cultures, ideological hostilities, national character, Germany, Japan

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