International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Stories Lived, Stories Told: The Significance of Survivor Stories in our Populist World

Abstract

 

Although all stories of all our ancestors have significance, the stories of World War II have particular relevance in terms of understanding the mentality that has resulted in what seems to be blatant hatred for “the other.” All history, and especially the history that leads to the hatred causing wars, is significant; however, World War II has a particular unique significance related to the United States as we currently know it. It was the defining event of the Twentieth Century in terms of the values that many have embraced as particularly American (e.g., work ethic, coming together in patriotism, and a “fierce defence of freedom of democratic institutions”). It was also the defining mind-set of those who now are considered part of the Baby Boomer generation. Sadly, the world, which has never been free from war, is seeing a resurgence in the type of hatred that resulted in the existence of Hitler. This may be cyclical in nature for the very reason that the survivors and their stories are now leaving us. Not letting their stories go with them might give us our last and best chance to make sure that the worst that comes from extremist populism does not happen again, or is at least hindered.