"Nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer": Portrayals of Masculinity and Ideal Citizenship in World War II Combat Films, 1989-2001

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Traditional platoons of World War II combat films were visualizations of an America that could be, rather than a reflection of the America that was. One might assume that, had the trend toward inclusive representation continued, the World War II combat platoons of the films of the 1990s might have included women or homosexuals, since the military of the 1990s was fully integrated on a racial front. Instead platoons' compositions remained unchanged. And in this new context, rather than acting out of a desire to expand the terms of citizenship, these movies represent a closing off of the terms of citizenship. In the face of demands for a change in the terms of civic participation from women, from homosexuals, from disabled citizens, these movies represent a vision of a shared past that is easier than the one currently inhabited by viewers. What does it mean that this period, out of all the periods in the history of the United States is the one that is deemed most worthy of celebration?