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Broadway Goes to WarAmerican Theater during World War II$
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Robert L. McLaughlin and Sally E. Parry

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780813180946

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813180946.001.0001

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Anticipating the Postwar World

Anticipating the Postwar World

(p.132) 5 Anticipating the Postwar World
Broadway Goes to War

Robert L. McLaughlin

Sally E. Parry

University Press of Kentucky

Social anxieties about the war and about what it was doing to the country permeated America. What would happen when the war was over? The plays at the end of the war ask what kind of country the United States will be after the war is won, what form postwar democracy will take, and what the county's relationship with the rest of the world what will be. Taken together, the plays produced near and just after the end of the war spend little time celebrating the Allies' victory. Rather, they look at the challenges that returning servicemen will face in trying to reestablish family relationships and trying to heal from psychological wounds. They look at the difficulties families will face when their serviceman doesn't return home. They look at how those on the home front have had to remake their lives in ways that the returning serviceman will have trouble recognizing. They look at how old prejudices will create new social divisions as black and Jewish servicemen return home. They look at how selfish special interests, political naivete, and sheer love of power may undermine the democratic cause for which the nation had fought the war. While much of the country's popular culture was ringing victory bells, along Broadway, many playwrights were sounding alarms.

Keywords:   Postwar democracy, Returning servicemen, Black servicemen, Jewish servicemen, End of World War II, Allied victory, Psychological wounds, Postwar home front

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