- Fellowship year:2016-2017
- University: Columbia University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: United States
- Dissertation Title: The Youth Problem: Military Mobilization, Citizenship, and Democratic Governance in the United States, 1917-1945
This dissertation shows how Americans in World War II justified the nation's military reliance on young men, ultimately redefining the relationship of military service to U.S. citizenship. Historians have associated youth mobilization for World War II primarily with the Axis powers, but American youth in their late teens and early twenties also figured disproportionally in the U.S. armed forces. My study explores how diverse factors such as memories of World War I, cultural perceptions of youth, youth unemployment during the Great Depression, and American efforts to draw a clear line between American democracy and dictatorships elsewhere shaped U.S. youth mobilization policies for World War II and invented a new conception of democratic citizenship that established educational opportunity as the prime reward for military service. By doing so, this study revises twentieth-century U.S. history in three significant ways. First, it challenges the assumption that civilian mobilization for World War II in the United States was a four-year anomaly. Second, it sheds new light on the relationships between war and social policy in the United States. Finally, it brings U.S. history into dialogue with studies of civilian mobilization in other counties that explore how World War II signified the culmination of the long-term growth of state power.