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Billy Yank and G. I. Joe: An Exploratory Essay on the Sociopolitical Dimensions of Soldier Motivation

Thomas E. Rodgers
The Journal of Military History
Vol. 69, No. 1 (Jan., 2005), pp. 93-121
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3397044
Page Count: 29
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Billy Yank and G. I. Joe: An Exploratory Essay on the Sociopolitical Dimensions of Soldier Motivation
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Abstract

This article provides an explanation of how Union soldiers could fight so effectively in the Civil War with so little training by comparing their prewar socialization experiences with those of infantrymen in World War II. Billy Yank's society inculcated concepts of masculinity, patriotism, and citizenship that were major factors in his ability to function under fire. G. I. Joe's society instilled different concepts of masculinity, patriotism, and citizenship that could not provide him with the same ability as Billy Yank to function on the battlefield. Extensive training and unit cohesion were necessary to compensate for what socialization did not provide G. I. Joe.

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