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America, Here's My Boy: Gender in American Popular Music during World War I: Case 4

Case 4- Militaristic Masculinity

Case 4 photo

These pieces depict a version of masculinity that is directly tied to militarism. They illustrate the immense pressure on men to serve overseas. Serving one’s country was not only a way to prove one’s masculinity, but also a requirement in order to affirm one’s loyalty to the nation and one’s stance against the perceived threat to ideals such as liberty and democracy.

Wilson, Jack and Ben Bard, and M. K. Jerome. Victory. Illus. Alvin C. Hadley. New York: Waterson Berlin & Snyder, 1918.

Victory cover art

This piece equates war with gallantry and honor, as well as connecting masculinity with militarism and sacrifice. Furthermore, the piece firmly attests that the American war cause is just, with lines such as “right is might” and “America…your cause is always right!”

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Foster, Fay, and Elizabeth A. Wilbur. The Americans Come! New York: J. Fischer and Bro., 1918.

The Americans come

The lyrics of this piece present American soldiers as the saviors of a blind and crippled Europe. It tells the story of a child and his blind father witnessing the coming of the American troops to their town in France.

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Vandersloot, Carl D., and J. R. Shannon. The Fight Is On. Williamsport, PA: Vandersloot Music Publishing, 1918.

The fight is on, cover art

This piece is one of the few that link masculinity directly to violence, however the violence is still in the name of a just cause, protecting freedom and democracy from tyranny and autocracy.

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Gonzaga Students Army Training Corp, c. 1918.

Gonzaga student army traninig corp 1918

Gonzaga’s Students Army Training Corp Marching through Downtown Spokane, c. 1918. Photograph by C.A. Libby.

Student Army Training copr, marching downtown

Von Tilzer, Albert, Lew Brown, and Charles R. McCarron. What Kind of American Are You? New York: Broadway Music, 1917.

What kind of an American are you? cover art

This piece directly implies that to be a good American and a good man, one must serve one’s country overseas.

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