Preferred Name

Rachel Childers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-7-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of History

Advisor(s)

Emily Westkaemper

Evan Friss

Gabrielle Lanier

Abstract

In post-Vietnam War popular culture, a fundamental shift in how Americans portrayed soldiers in media occurred. A new soldier archetype was created that allowed Americans to reintroduce patriotism and heroism into stories about a deeply controversial war. These fictional soldiers embodied the political and cultural turmoil of their time as well as America’s complicated relationship with Vietnam and its own self-image. This project looks at serialized media in the late 1960s-1980s, primarily utilizing popular television shows such as M*A*S*H, to follow the development of these characters, their part in shaping American memory of the war, and to understand why these characters continue to resonate with modern audiences.

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