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Historical Analogies, Generational Effects, and Attitudes Toward War

Howard Schuman and Cheryl Rieger
American Sociological Review
Vol. 57, No. 3 (Jun., 1992), pp. 315-326
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096238
Page Count: 12
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Historical Analogies, Generational Effects, and Attitudes Toward War
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Abstract

Debates over initiating war with Iraq turned to a considerable extent on which of two analogies from the past were most relevant: World War II or the Vietnam War. Along with three other theoretical conditions, the debate provided an unusual opportunity to develop and assess important implications of Mannheim's theory of generational effects. National data gathered before the war and during the war indicate that generational experience had a significant effect on which analogy was chosen as more relevant and that the analogy chosen had, in turn, a strong relation to support for or opposition to the war. However, the translation of generational experience into final support for or opposition to the war was weak. Reasons for the weak relationship are discussed.

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