In analyzing Anne O'Hare McCormick's "Italian Ordeal Surprises Congress," what does the author say about the gap in understanding between American political leaders and society with the true nature of war? How might active citizenship help to bridge that gap?
The 2nd world war had dire consequences and took its toll on all forces in the war. In Italy, largely unfamiliar terrain despite winning the war in Sicily was key to how the war was viewed (Garland & Smyth 1965). This paper tries to evaluate the challenges as outlined by Anne O'Hare's article.
When the members of the military house committee visited the Italian front during the Second World War, they were astonished by the state of affairs they saw compared to other fronts in Europe that they had encountered, such as France. The terrain in Italy was rugged with a significant presence of natural obstacles and unrelenting enemy fire (Hogan 1992). The committee concluded that the situation on the ground not been adequately represented; this information happened to be flawed. According to Peter Barres's interview, he describes the general feeling while going to war and how a set of beliefs should be changed within a relatively short time.
Anne, reporting about the war described it as "articles were written and overwritten," is a general misunderstanding and misinformation about the state of the battlefield as experienced by the congressmen during their visit remained. The visit changed the congressmen's perspective and led to an inquiry on who was at fault of the whole situation. Anne points out that the congressmen were to blame, arguing they either did not read accounts of the Italian fronts, or they did not comprehend what they read ( Kennedy 1999). They had to experience the war to understand the scope of the challenge.
As the general state of the American public in getting the problem that the servicemen undergo. There is difficulty in trying to make an actual description in a newspaper, journal, or written article of the real situation. A significant disconnect occurs when soldiers return home unable to explain their experiences on the battlefield to those close to them since they deem this conversation out of context.
The author tries to explain how active citizenship is used, soldiers being actively involved in what the public understands of the war. Keeping the soldiers in the loop about what is happening back home through the provision of service newspapers or relaying news on the battlefield would go a long way in helping soldiers maintain morale. The congressmen in their assessment realized that the soldiers on battlefronts are eager to know what is happening back home and what people general attitude and thinking is. In his interview about how the war affected his way of thinking, Peter Barres admits that writing was essential in rehabilitation back to society, and writing about the state of the conflict helps the nation understand the scope of the challenge in itself from those who have experienced war first hand.
Garland, A. N., & Smyth, H. M. (1965). United States Army in World War II: The Mediterranean Theater of Operations, Sicily, and the Surrender of Italy. Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army. Pg 139- 140 doi:10.1086/ahr/72.1.336
Hogan, D. W. (1992). US Army special operations in World War II. Diane Pub Co.
Kennedy, D. M. (1999). Freedom from fear: The American people in depression and war, 1929-1945. Oxford University Press.
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