World War II Debate Between Henry Luce & Vice President Henry Wallace Paper
For the second paper you will compare, analyze, and interpret a World War II debate between Henry Luce and Vice President Henry Wallace about America’s future in the world. Both of these texts are part of the reading assignment for week 10:
Henry R. Luce, “The American Century” (1941), in Foner, Voices of Freedom, 191-194.
Henry A. Wallace, “The Century of the Common Man” (1942), in Foner, Voices of Freedom, 194-196.
- Your task is to compare and contrast the sources, and formulate your own interpretation of the issues presented in this debate between the authors. You do not necessarily have to agree or disagree with one side or the either. A very good paper, for instance, will formulate an interpretation that shows how these debates fit into the broader global political context, not only about America’s relation to totalitarianism generally, but also of the changing role of the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, from being allies during World War II to enemies during the Cold War.
Here are some questions to help you think about the two sources:
- Luce wrote his piece in 1941; Wallace his in 1942. Both writers think the role of the US will change after the War. How does each writer imagine the changed role of the United States in the world once the War is over? What events or circumstances lead the writers to rethink America’s role?
How did Luce and Wallace each characterize the threat of totalitarianism? What do they think is the relation between the global threat of totalitarianism and American interests?
Who are their audiences? What is the message each writer is trying to convince their readers? Are they effective? Why or why not?
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