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Grant number like: FT-56513-09

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Laura Mary McEnaney
Whittier College (Whittier, CA 90601-4446)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 9/30/2009

World War II's "Postwar": A Social and Policy History of Peace, 1944-1953

This book project explores how Americans encountered World War II's messy aftermath, a period of both great promise and uncertainty. While the military triumph was certain by August 1945, the home front meaning of peace was not. My study of World War II's urban demobilization, the first of its kind, shows that peace is not merely war's postscript but rather an intensely political process in which citizens struggle with one another and their government about war's meanings and rewards. I will explore demobilization's policy and grass-roots urban history to reveal how ordinary people and policymakers grappled with the myriad challenges of peace: urban housing, veterans benefits, military readiness, shifting race and gender relations, and the proper role of government in daily life. Just as Americans had debated the meanings of sacrifice and citizenship during World War II, peace introduced another era of political conflict over the spoils of that war.