Social history highlights the account of societal groups whereas cultural history identifies the behavior and cultural outlooks of certain groups or individuals. Social and cultural history is connected based on strategic perspectives, although they have endorsed diverse elements of the past. Notably, social history is based on the identification of a central issue and it promotes the understanding of social experiences in different settings. In addition, it assumes that certain theoretical frameworks allow individuals to reason using organized forms of evidence. Conversely, cultural history evaluates the practices through which individuals are acculturated by political power. It also disputes the existence of reality; hence, allowing for the liberation of mental envisage of certain situations. While seeking to describe the military history, social historians tend to give privilege to the ‘normal’ behavior, categorize individuals in preset groups, and over rely on the static structures that create the military histories. Contrary, cultural historians emphasize on the awareness of issues relating to the eccentric, the personal, and the contingents of a military history. For instance, while focusing on the U.S. Civil War, social historians such as Eric Foner would want to understand the based on the centrality of the black experience which was shown by African Americans in the war which aided the country towards the path of emancipation. Further, social historians would state that the quest for community and individual autonomy among the Africans Americans was pivotal in motivating them to be active agents in attaining Reconstruction.
Social and Cultural Lens
As Citino writes, the military history in America is popular among the masses and limited across the academic circles. Social lens is highly significant in military history since led to what Citino referred to as the ‘new military history’. In this, the military history is understood by addressing a narrow battlefield analysis in order to create room for interface between the society and war. The social lens provides exciting views relating to military history such as the relations between civil and military, impact of the war on gender, class, and race, and the social compositions of the officer corps and armies. This provides an interesting perspective of military histories which would not have been achieved under the cultural history alone. For instance, focusing on the Civil War, social history provides the current readers with the racial compositions of the armies. Understanding the role of African Americans in the war creates stronger national ties and creates a ground for deep patriotism. Cultural history, on the other hand, is important in understanding the traditions of civic militarism. For instance, the dominance of the West in global conflicts and resolutions can be understood from the free market capitalism and democracy.
Over the past decades, military history has changed due to the rise of social and cultural history. Although historians have exemplified that the changes are negligible, there are modifications in the assertions of the rationality and dignity of past military activities. Moreover, there have been alterations in the social privileging of influential elites due to equal protection of all individuals. Military history marks a unique platform where all past conflicts in the local, or global level receive an extensive form of articulation. Ultimately, in the U.S., the elites’ class do not determine the legislation or laws pertaining to military activities. Instead, they are influenced by social ideologies, cultures, and ideas of military bodies from below.
Perspective on the Final Proposal
Overall, the analysis of military history is important as it offers a framework for the final proposal. Through the identification of the past trends of military histories in the U.S. and the Great Britain, the analysis offers an understanding of the reactions of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill on the Holocaust. Additionally, it will offer a comprehensive guide on how social history and cultural history have continued to influence military history since the Holocaust event. Overall, as a historian, the analysis spotlights the current developments of military history and offers a platform to irradiate the public on the influence of social and cultural lens on military events.
- Citino, R. M. “Military Histories Old and New: A Reintroduction”. The American Historical Review 112, no. 4 (2007): 1070-1090.
- Fass, P. S. “Cultural History/Social History: Some Reflections On A Continuing Dialogue”. Journal Of Social History 37, no. 1 (2003): 39-46.
- Leff, Mark H. “Revisioning U.S. Political History”. The American Historical Review 100, no. 3 (1995): 829.