History involves acknowledging the past events and experiences in human affairs. The importance of history is that: it helps us understand the cause of the change, help people to get to –know their origin and gives a sense of identity, it inspires us and helps us identify the warning signs in cases where history could repeat itself. It also creates a better understanding of the world on how it turned to be what it is currently. Memory is how an individual, community, society or state chooses to remember or retrieve past events, experiences or certain memories. For memory to exist, it must be reinforced, and this can be done through; statues, monuments, holidays on memorial days amongst others and memory is a sound evidence that something was appreciated (Piehler & Pash, 2010). There is a strong connection between history and memory; memory is necessary for history to exist (if a community chooses to ignore the past, maybe by not documenting anywhere or making an effort not to reinforce memory the history ceases). The difference is that a history advances through hypothesis while memory evolves in the sense that the history can be proved by testing while memory can be subjected to bias.
The World War II in United States that ended in 1945 left different history and memories behind and was viewed as the cause of the United States prosperity and popularity (it made the United States, the most powerful nation). The public memories that are identified with the war is the atomic bomb, the most powerful military force of twelve million and great economic power, which made history (Piehler & Pash, 2010). The memories of the war were perceived differently. Some of the other memories associated with the war included; massive population shift to defense industries. It was the foundation to women's visibility in that it was due to the war that women were included in decision making panels. Women's involvement in military (statistics have it that about 333,000 women joined forces) leads to complete alteration of American life because unlike the past wars, the second world war was all inclusive women participated and led to the reduction of racism 405,000 people dead 291,557 in combat. The difference between history and memory in this war is that the histories of this war tend to portray the achievement and superiority of the United States. Meanwhile, the memories left behind encompass the horrible experiences as well, such the negative impact the war initiated into the process.
The perception of the succeeding generation of the war was not in line with those who fought it. As the atomic bomb made the history of superiority, the generation viewed it as an atrocity that was the cause of their horrible lives and as an abuse of power in the name of fighting to save. The generation after the war saw it that the other party - the counterpart of the United States were not well trained and armed as they were. It led to changes in a sexual division of labor in the sense that women were no longer viewed as mothers and housewives, but they also participated in the income generating activities, which lead to so many changes in the society. For instance, women were also a bread winner just as men and men as well would also participate in the reproductive roles. The war also led to individualism and not communal that they had always advocated for, but only portrayed the aggressive definition the policy makers have for security.
I tend to agree with the Stoler’s analysis because it was an abuse of power they ended up viewing the world in terms of Manichaean. As a result of that, in the 1960 United States also was a victim of abuse of power in the Global war against the Soviet Union. They equated their own interest with the universal values for their hidden motives. The fighters of the Second World War focused much attention in achieving superiority of the universal superpower and economic giants without putting into consideration the aspect of sustainable development. The way the war is presented in television and movies, which tend to honor the man who participated in the war, but completely fails to acknowledge the men. The ways they present the incident in films are inappropriate for an international history.
History establishes an explanation to the origin of some attributes and ideologies, understanding of the changes that have occurred. Our memory of historical events can initial different perception of an ideology and as well be understood differently as generation changes. The participation of the United States in the Second World War against Germany apart from facilitating the aspect of it being super power it triggered a diverse perception of the succeeding generation. It can be evident as it is said that the generation after the war will recognize and respect its parents for what they did without accepting idealized memory of what took place or what it meant.
Peeler, G. K., & Pash, S. (2010). The United States and the Second World War: New
perspectives on diplomacy, war, and the home front. New York: Fordham University Press.