American Exceptionalism

by Devanshu Mehta

A bit of 1940s truth-telling, as my meditation for this 4th of July, from Ernie Pyle after the US Armys humiliating loss to Rommels army in Tunisia:

Personally, I feel that some such setback as that — tragic though it was for many Americans, for whom it would always be too late — was not entirely a bad thing. It was all right to have a good opinion of ourselves, but we Americans were so smug with our cockiness. We somehow felt that just because we were Americans we could whip our weight in wildcats. And we had got it into our heads that production alone would win the war.

Ernie Pyle Death PhotoHe goes on:

As for our soldiers themselves, you need not have felt any shame or concern about their ability. I saw them in battle and afterward and there was nothing wrong with the American soldier. His fighting spirit was good. His morale was okay. The deeper he got into a fight the more of a fighting man he became.

Ernie Pyle was an American journalist, who later died of sniper fire in Japan and is one of the few civilians killed during the war to win the Purple Heart.
[via Armchair Travel]

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