Wartime Prejudices-Ian Hawkes

During WWII, prejudices ran wild. Though the most apparent and horrific of these was the ethnocentric attitude of the Third Reich which lead to the slaughter of millions, it is notable to mention that America played its role in dehumanizing the Germans. This scene is from Band of Brothers, and depicts a U.S. Army private reading a newspaper which informs him, in short, that the Germans are ‘bad’.

This is an excellent example of prejudice being enforced through institutions. Though the average American was probably not racist towards Germans, the media was overloaded with anti-German messages. Thus those soldiers fighting against the Germans developed strong prejudices towards them, though they had most likely never met any of them personally. This strong stereotype changed their attitudes, which also led to different decisions on the battlefield than they might have exhibited if they had no such prejudice towards the Germans, and instead knew them on a personal and individual level.

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