Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War

Fussell, Paul

Oxford University, 1989

p. 268

World War II troops knew that “optimistic publicity and euphemism had rendered their experience so falsely that it would never be readily communicable. They knew that in its representation to the laity what was happening to them was systematically sanitized and Norman Rockwellized, not to mention Disneyfied. The real was tragic and ironic beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest, but in unbombed America, especially, the meaning of the war seemed inaccessible. As experience, thus, the suffering was wasted. The same tricks of publicity and advertising might have succeeded in sweetening the actualities of Vietnam, too, if television and a vigorous uncensored moral journalism hadn’t been brought to bear.”