This is my first post for my new blog, Americans in WWII. I work in the history field and have had a lifelong fascination with the war. I wanted to discuss the label that has been bestowed upon the guys that fought in the war, perpetuated mostly by Tom Brokaw and Stephen Ambrose, that the Americans that fought WWII were the “Greatest Generation.” I have had a long-continuing conversation with a colleague about this topic. We both are of the opinion that labeling any generation “the Greatest,” is simply a marketing gimmick to sell books. I’m not saying the men and women that worked, fought, suffered, or paid the ultimate price were not exceptional people. Most of them were. But in all armies, in all branches of the armed forces, just as in every segment of society, you had your shitbags and your cowards and liars, crooks, and sociopaths. You had officers that got many men killed as sure as you had your young Corporals and Machinist Mates that suddenly found themselves in positions of leadership and got the job done. We often idealize those that have come before us, and occasionally forget that historical figures were just people like us. While I grew up with a hero-worship of all veterans of World War II, I didn’t realize until I was older that my grandfather and the people of his generation were human. They made mistakes, hurt people close to them, screwed up. They swore, spit, lied, cheated, and stole. They killed, often because they had too, but one has to also recognize that there were those that enjoyed it to some extent, while the majority had that most human of instinct when it boiled down to survival: Better him than me. Greatest Generation? Maybe. Maybe not. There are arguments that could be made for other generations of Americans just as noble, just as heroic, and just as human. But this is why I love history-because the debate can never be settled, but only go on and on, and nobody knows all the answers.