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World War II Uniforms—The Army’s Snooze Button to Stay in the American Dream

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In modern America, image is everything. Even war. Therefore, the United States Army is rolling out new uniforms reminiscent of something old—the iconic “pinks and greens” of the World War II “Greatest Generation.”

Probably not by coincidence,” The New York Times explained, “that’s what the Army was wearing the last time the nation celebrated total victory in a major war.” The hope is that it will help the service “stand out in a tough recruiting environment and polish the Army’s image after a generation of grinding and divisive wars.”

The former motivation makes sense. The United States Marine Corps’ “dress blues” has been one of the Leathernecks’ best recruiting tools. The competition is also fierce because there are so few candidates. An ever-increasing number of Americans are simply unable to meet the military’s standards, even if they want to.

Yet the fundamental difference between the USMC and the Army is that the former is almost a self-contained universe with its own identity, history, and mystique. The latter is identified more with the country. In Thomas Ricks’s Making The Corps, he notes that “rather than emphasize the culture of the service, as the Marines do,” buildings at the Army’s Fort Jackson “emphasize the United States, displaying the flags of the fifty states and portraits of the presidents.” The rifle ranges aren’t named after “great battles,” but states.

The Army isn’t just trying to recreate itself, but recapture a national mood, that of the “Good War” and the postwar period. In so doing, it’s inadvertently revealing the doublethink at the heart of contemporary America. To many Americans, midcentury was an idealized time of national unity before Vietnam and the divisions of the 1960s. Wages and living standards were high. One could support a family on a single income.

Conservatives celebrate the patriotism, moral rectitude, and religious faith (“In God We Trust” was added to the currency in 1956). Liberals toast the consolidation of the New Deal, the strength of unions, and the idealistic beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. There are some Boomers around who fondly recall the romantic aura around the “Camelot” of John F. Kennedy, and how America “lost its innocence” when he was slain in Dallas. Somehow, despite being gunned down by a Communist, JFK’s assassination is laid at the feet of the radical right and/or a conservative junta in public memory, thanks to people like Oliver Stone

Both liberals and conservatives celebrate the victory of World War II. The hard leftists conveniently forget their initial support for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Conservatives blank out the original “America First” movement.

In a viral clip passed around by liberals from HBO’s The Newsroom,
the protagonist complains America is no longer the greatest country in the world. However, it “used to be” because it reached for the stars, built wonders, conquered diseases, and had the world’s greatest economy.

Of course, you don’t see this clip much in the Trump Era. The heroic news anchor says we “acted like men,” which, in the Current Year, is a problematic statement.

This leads to the contradiction at the heart of midcentury nostalgia. Though World War II and its immediate aftermath was a time of victory, prosperity and success, it was also a time of “racism,” “sexism,” and “oppression.” (Professors and journalists hadn’t yet convinced people that some of the more exotic modern sins, like “transphobia,” even existed. But now we know those were around too.)

To the contemporary liberal mind, it was truly the best of times and the worst of times, mostly the latter for women, non-whites, and sexual minorities. Taken for granted in academia, this view is also propagated in movies like Pleasantville. There’s even the blink-and-you’ll miss it joke in Dodgeball to “Uber-American Films,” (“teaching America’s youth since 1938.”) The country that defeated the Nazis was, basically, Nazi-like.

This is also promoted in “conservative” National Review. “Until the civil-rights revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was a Herrenvolk democracy,” Michael Lind moans, “with the informal definition of the Herrenvolk broadening gradually from British-American Protestant to white Christian or white Judeo-Christian.” (As Ben Shapiro’s recent meltdown showed, that last term is a nonsensical invention, if not outright self-contradictory.)

All politics is an attempt to reconcile these clashing views on the “American Century.” We want a middle-class society that is prosperous, safe, and united. However, the elite wants this without the demographics that made such a society possible.

They want the 1965 Immigration Act, not Ike’s Operation Wetback. They want the middle-class Los Angeles of California’s true Golden State years, somehow functioning with today’s overwhelmingly Hispanic population. They want a well-adjusted, happy population with low social dysfunction. However, we also need (and must celebrate) no-fault divorce, libertine sexuality, abortion without restrictions, and “awareness” of new forms of mental illness seemingly invented by the day.

The role of race in America’s past success is simply ignored by liberals and conservatives. It’s even ignored when contemporary politicians point to examples overseas. Bernie Sanders rejects comparisons to Venezuela and Cuba, claiming he wants the socialism of Scandinavia. Yet he doesn’t seem to recognize what makes their unique societies possible. To preserve it, even the left-wing parties in some Nordic nations are becoming anti-immigration. (Maybe Bernie Sanders is secretly woke—after all, he represents a state that’s about 95 percent white.)

On a broader level, all American history is defined by this ideological whiplash. One moment, we’re told America was founded on equality and universal rights. This is usually the argument made to naïve conservatives to convince them to support some new progressive policy. The next moment, we’re told America was founded on white nationalism, religious fanaticism, and the genocide of the native population. This is what’s told to college students, young progressives, and resentful non-whites to keep the anti-white hatred strong enough to maintain the unwieldy leftist coalition.

A modern progressive can’t really take pride in any historic American leader. The Commander-in-Chief during World War II is no exception. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is a direct, nostalgic reference to FDR’s signature program. Yet Ocasio-Cortez also called the New Deal an “extremely economically racist program.” Franklin Roosevelt defeated the Axis, yet he was also the man who interned Japanese-Americans and celebrated how “Western Europe came to the New World” at a tribute to Virginia Dare, first English child born in North America. One suspects the Democrat party will be disavowing him at some point like they did Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.

The American Army that “beat fascism” was segregated. Even blood from the different groups was segregated. Polls from the time show that though there was some racial liberalization, there was a slight increase among those who reported they would be uncomfortable with a “Negro nurse” taking care of them. Troops saw no conflict in fighting the Nazis while waving the Confederate flag. Professor Steven White argues that World War II’s impact on white Americans’ racial attitudes “is more limited than often claimed.”

Just 26 percent of Americans wanted a desegregated military in 1948, when President Truman imposed it by executive order. This figure is quoted in a Washington Post story bragging: “Most Americans opposed integrating the military in 1948. Most Americans support transgender military service today.” Of course, all this proves is the ability of the mainstream media complex to convince most people of anything given enough time.

Japan and America are stalwart allies today (and most of us on the Dissident Right have great respect for Japanese history and culture). Yet the brutal fighting in the Pacific was something close to a pure race war. (Even Bugs Bunny cartoons dehumanized the enemy.)

Thus, the Army’s attempt to associate itself with past glories met not just with the usual Twitter snark, but accusations that the uniform of those who beat the Nazis was itself somehow Nazi-like.

But at least some of this isn’t wrong. As we are all learning from President Trump, you can’t Make America Great Again simply by wishing it so. There really is something almost compensatory about this, like the last Shah of Iran still calling himself “King of Kings.” It’s hard to imagine the World War II uniforms featuring a maternity option. Or the Army of General MacArthur gleefully promoting a female “beauty activist” who discusses “politics and diversity.” The days of Patton, Eisenhower, and Marshall are long gone, no matter how much we pretend they aren’t.

Yet some go further, arguing that wanting to make America great again is itself morally flawed. Masha Gessen calls the turn towards World War II uniforms “ominous.” She somehow manages to invoke the Holocaust, as if in her universe General Patton and the Red Army teamed up to liquidate the Polish ghettos.

Yet Gessen makes a profound point when she notes, “Nations devised stories about themselves in the aftermath of the war.” Gessen doesn’t mention him, but Charles de Gaulle would be one of the most powerful examples of this. Through sheer force of personality, he somehow enabled France to think of itself as a “victorious” nation after World War II and a great power, with a permanent seat on the Security Council to prove it.

More broadly, World War II is the creation story of our entire moral and political order. (The five members of the Security Council are still those same five major Allied nations from the war.) Nations in the past traced their beginnings to a hero or god, a legend, or a founding myth. Essentially, all white nations, even the neutrals and the Allies, were remade after World War II with the Holocaust as the new foundation. The anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and other black impulses that drove it are inherent within our race—and could lead to new Holocausts if we don’t battle them eternally. All of us—even the direct descendants of those who served in the Allied armies—are saddled with blood guilt.

Gessen argues that Russia’s national memory of World War II is disturbing because it focuses on sacrifice and victory, rather than the Holocaust. By bringing back World War II uniforms, Donald Trump is aping Russia and Putin by cultivating a culture of glory, rather than moral shame. “To be sure, America has always had the luxury of remembering the Second World War as its greatest triumph, but this historical narrative has always included the Holocaust, at least as a warning against anti-Semitism—in this, the American view of history was vastly different from the Russian one,” she writes. “But the Trumpian spin on the war is all MAGA, which makes it essentially the same as Putin’s.”

If World War II is remembered purely as “victory,” it becomes morally problematic because the “obsession with restoring military greatness” gets in the way of the guilt and shame engendered by reflection about “humanity’s darkest hour.” I suppose we need to be all more like postwar Germany, where outright self-hatred and even celebration of war crimes committed against you is something of a political movement. Russia’s memory of the “Great Patriotic War” is something of a heresy against the moral orthodoxy because it engenders pride, not shame. Besides, we (by which I mean journalists and politicians) need to weaponize that guilt and shame for contemporary political aims. As Gessen states, we must get people to care about climate change. Interestingly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made this same kind of comparison, calling climate change an existential threat analogous to World War II, also warranting a total societal effort.

Just like with a hypothetical “war” against climate change, in the contemporary elite imagination, World War II wasn’t against an external foe. It can’t be.

You can celebrate a victory over an external foe. There’s also a definite end to the war. But World War II, in an esoteric sense, never ended according to our media elite. It is a forever war. The real meaning of World War II was a victory over the darkness within ourselves. World War II wasn’t just against Adolf Hitler, it was against that inner Nazi which dwelled also within the racists Churchill, de Gaulle, and even Roosevelt. Stalin’s main flaw wasn’t that he murdered millions, it was that he was an anti-Semite. Now that Hitler is gone, we can also deconstruct those who defeated him, a process that is already well underway in the universities and in the media.

But that was only a temporary victory, because the evil is also within all of us. The war rages on, and will rage on forever. That’s why rather than celebrate victory, we should internalize shame. We must ward against “hate,” like medieval Christians warded against demons. That’s why the United Kingdom of today, which Churchill thought would proudly remember its “finest hour” standing alone against the Reich, is debating tearing down Nelson’s column and may destroy a park to build a Holocaust memorial. (Needless to say, the moral hypocrisy involved in FDR’s allying with the Communist dictator “Uncle Joe” Stalin in the cause of “freedom” does not trouble modern elites.)

Therefore, the “new” World War II uniforms, while certainly an improvement over the slovenly status quo, reek of desperation. Despite America’s unparalleled military power, there is a palpable sense of collapse. The uniforms are also trying to inspire a sense of moral righteousness that no longer exists—that American elites can’t permit to exist.

President Donald Trump ran on the promise of renewal, but his agenda on immigration has been stymied. There’s no wall, there’s no infrastructure, his supporters have been silenced, and many people doubt whether he ever meant to MAGA at all. Even if President Trump has done nothing to challenge the power structure, the Deep State certainly challenged him with an attempted (and still ongoing) coup. The result has been even further discrediting of American institutions.

The ethnic core that built the country and brought it to superpower status is being displaced, to the cheers of the elite and the disquiet of the population. Geopolitically, the world’s largest country (Russia) and most populous (China) are joining forces against the United States. No one believes American military interventions have anything to do with our own national interests anymore. Not that we can pull them off successfully—as Venezuela shows, we can’t even execute the lightning coups that John Foster Dulles could have handled before morning coffee.

Most importantly, America has all but lost its sense of identity, its sense of self. “The Good War” may be the last thing the country can cling to—and we can barely even manage that. <

This isn’t going to end well. We all sense it—Left and Right.

If our best days are behind us, why not dress like it? Even Captain America chooses to go back into the past in
Avengers: Endgame. If a fictional superhero can’t handle modern America, how can we?

Why not simply pretend that we are back in that Golden Age, when, at least at the time, we thought we knew there were Good Guys and Bad Guys. Why not just hit the snooze button and go back into that American Dream? Maybe, if we just stay in bed and ignore those increasingly loud noises we are starting to hear, the problems will just go away by themselves.

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13 Comments

  1. Ovidiu
    Posted May 17, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    –“the “new” World War II uniforms, while certainly an improvement over the slovenly status quo, reek of desperation.”

    Yes, it feels as a reaction against a sense of America coming apart. The US is really coming unglued, there’s just nothing resembling a society any more.

  2. Posted May 17, 2019 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Clothes do not make the man and the uniform does not make the soldier. With precious few white men available and willing to act as golems for the progressive hegemony, it’s doubtful that playing dress-up with the present mercenary force will make much of a difference.

  3. Jud Jackson
    Posted May 17, 2019 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    Mr. Hood, You are undoubtedly one of the finest writers on the alt-right. This is the first article you have written where I have found something I disagree with. I don’t believe the Oswald fired 3 and only 3 shots and is the sole murderer of JFK, although it is possible he was one of the shooters. There is a book called “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James Douglas which is the best book I have read on the assassination. He presents a very powerful, detailed case for a Conspiracy involving numerous people. For Oswald to have been the sole killer you have to believe in 1) the magic bullet which went all the way through Kennedy, the seat in front of him and ended up in Connelly and 2) that somehow the third shot fired from the rear made Kennedy’s head go backwards as is evident from the Zapruter film. These 2 propositions are very problematic.

    • Peter Quint
      Posted May 18, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Read it; good book! Have you ever watched the 1974 film “Executive Action,” starring Burt Lancaster. I believe it gives a plausible scenario of how the operation was carried out, only they should should have made the people behind the scenes pulling the wires jewish.

      • Jud Jackson
        Posted May 18, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I did see it. It was quite memorable for me as it was the first time I ever took a girl out on a date. But I haven’t seen it since. I will have to watch it again..

  4. Right_On
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    The vast majority of Brits and Yanks who fought flesh-and-blood Nazis in WWII would have had opinions about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gay adoption, transsexuals, crime and punishment, a woman’s place (the heart of a home and family), the yellow peril, black racial inferiority, and the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites that today would be regarded as “far-right”. They would have opposed multiculturalism, supported segregation and regarded miscegenation as indecent.

    A George Orwell article has this footnote : “As late as the autumn of 1945, a Gallup poll taken among the American troops in Germany showed that 51 percent ‘thought Hitler did much good before 1939’. This was after five years of anti-Hitler propaganda.”

    Got that? The very people who faced the business end of a Tiger tank when asked said: Hitler? Starting a war was seriously dumb. It’s a shame actually as he’d had some really good ideas before then.

  5. DrExCathedra
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    “Masha Gessen” just popped up in the middle of your article with a hyperlink under “ominous”. Since I hadn’t had the pleasure, I clicked to the The New Yorker article in question. I then clicked on the hyperlink under the name and found, beneath a weirdly androgynous avatar, that she is a Jew from Russia and a LGBTQ+ activist, etc. and thoroughly ensconced among the East Coast Masters. Or Mistresses. Or Mstrx?

    And from reading through as much of her article as I could stand, I once again learned that World War II was all about one thing…You Know What.

    God, I am so tired of this.

  6. LS
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The army they are fashioning will be mainly for domestic use–forced ideological correctness and white genocide–WWII’s second act.

  7. JC
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always hated the US Army’s new Service Dress uniform of blue with cavalry shoulder straps, denoting rank, which hearkens back to the US Cavalry but while having a modern style suit lapel and cut. They just look stupid. The US Marines always knew a good thing when they saw and wore it and, as far as I know, their OD Service Dress uniform has never changed.

    Of course somethings have to change, it’s impractical and unsafe to wear the old “crusher style” cap of the USAAF of WWII in modern jet planes rather than a crash helmet. It’s too bad that the modern US military helmet, which looks similar to Wehrmacht and SS helmets in shape, didn’t come out in recent years as there would no doubt have been an amusing SJW shit storm over that.

    It’s interesting just how particular soldiers can be about the uniforms and equipment they’re given to wear (and the Army will test all this equipment with common soldiers before deploying it). During the Vietnam War some busy body general was upset over the wearing of “boonie hats” outside of field use and he gave an order that they weren’t to be worn outside the field en lieu of whatever the sanctioned hat or cap was at the time at camp (the US Army had experimented with many caps over the years including “the Ridgeway” and a panel style baseball type cap) . Boonie hats were practical for the conditions and could be cut and shaped in different ways to suit the user’s preference. The famous sniper, Carlos Hathcock wore one with a white feather dashingly tucked into its sweat band.

    Another hat that can be seen in old photos is the French Chapeau de Brousse (jungle hat) in both plain and camo. It was a hat similar to an Aussie hat with a snap brim and chin strap. I had an OD version, kind of like a cowboy hat, when I was a kid and when we kids in the neighborhood played army I would don it. I also managed to get an OD type jacket or shirt which a local Army/Navy surplus was selling in kid’s sizes. Every kid had to have one.

    If you look at old photographs from the period, you’ll notice uniforms of different types, issued and bespoke (after all you were fighting in a land of Oriental tailors) and also differing types of camo being worn: “duck hunter”, plain OD and at one point the official “oak leaf” pattern as well as the famous “tiger stripe” that John Wayne wore in his movie “The Green Berets”. Tiger Stripe, from what I’ve read, seems to have derived from the French’s “lizard” pattern from their time in Indochina.

  8. Peter Quint
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    They did something like this back when I was in, over twenty years ago. They issued everybody cards, and tags for their dog tag chains listing desired traits, or morals (I can’t remember which, I’ll have to pull mine out of the drawer, and check them). We had to give classes on these traits, or morals to basic trainees (I was a drill sergeant then). What these (((people))) don’t understand is that parents are supposed to teach these traits, or morals to their children while they are growing up, they can’t be taught, and internalized through a cursory class. This is what happens when jews, and progressives are allowed to take over all the institutions, and organs of propaganda–moral rot!

  9. Bernie
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “Geopolitically, the world’s largest country (Russia) and most populous (China) are joining forces against the United States.”

    At least we have this going for us ….

    • Adrian
      Posted May 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      You have no idea what people have suffered under Russia and China- countries that have no remorse for their crimes. You are very lucky to not be born there, very lucky to not been under russification that Russians imposed in Soviet Union to smaller nations. These things still are prevalent in Eastern Europe to this day.
      Think more before you choose your sides.

  10. Scaevola
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    The US military has become a huge make work program for minorities; particularly women and sexual deviants. The number of people on limited duty “profile” is staggering. Being on profile basically means you’re excused from almost all physical training. Physical training aside, many of the women and minorities in the US military can’t or won’t do their jobs at a satisfactory level. Not to mention, it is almost impossible to enforce discipline these people wilth the politically correct environment at SJW generals have enforced.

    The US Army of today is full of people that would die if the US Army was placed in a situation like the retreat from Stalingrad, the Battle of the Bulge or the Chosin reservoir. The US Army of today would crumble under similar circumstances.

    You have two groups of people in the US military today. Those that do their jobs at a satisfactory level; basically white heterosexual males. Everyone else, is scanning the system.

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