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American War Narratives: An Analytic Study and Linkage to National Will

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph hypothesizes that effective American war narratives have consisted of components that are strongly associated with values that relate to American national identity at the time of a conflict. More specifically, this study examines the war narrative used to legitimize three different US wars using the aspects of desirability and feasibility in an effort to identify relevant war narrative components. Desirability is examined by analyzing two criteria what is at stake, and is war worth it Feasibility is examined by answering the questions who is the enemy, and how is war going to solve the problem This methodology is applied to studies of the American Revolutionary War, the Spanish American War, and the Korean Conflict. This monograph concludes that central to all American war narratives is an element that pertains to the lack of humane treatment of people. This element ultimately took different forms and covered a wide spectrum that stretches from denial of basic civil rights to torture and unjustifiable killings. Lastly, this monograph found that the historical context that led to war set the conditions that guided the development and dissemination of the war narrative in terms of substance and target audience, respectively.

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