Great-Great Grandfather Knows Best: Democracy, 1945

In traditional cultures the elder functions as a source of wisdom
and folk history.

Our elders, the visionaries who wrote and passed so many of the laws and public services  that made American Democracy the most prosperous democracy in human history used film to teach their children what they had learned from the Great Depression and the horrors of fascism.

This ten-minute film includes a brief discussion of feudalism; the film analyses why Germany, one of Europe’s great democracies , succumbed to fascism.

Democracy, released in 1945 was made by Encyclopedia Britannica for high school civics classes.

Screenshot from Democracy 1945 that illustrates that two signs of a healthy democracy are shared respect between citizens and shared power
Two signs of a healthy democracy are shared respect between citizens and shared power in decisions that affect everyone, This requires the ability to compromise.
Screenshot from democracy_1945 discussing the need to verify that the news one reads and hears is credible
When you read a paper or listen to a news program look for balanced presentation, disclosure of sources, and the competence of the staff. Make sure that opinions are clearly stated as such and kept on the opinion pages.

Found on the Internet Archives
All material in the Public Domain

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Great-Great Grandfather Knows Best: It’s Your America, 1945

It’s Your America (Part 2)  1945
U.S. War Office

An American soldier puzzles over what it means to be an American as he observes the enemy and interacts with the other men in of his platoon.

“When we were kids we never thought much about freedom or liberty, maybe that’s because we had so much of it.”

Released in 1945 but made while U.S. Forces were still in combat,An American soldier, realizes the greatness of his country and determines to assume the share of responsibilities of good citizenship upon his return to civilian life.

The U.S. War Department

“The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party,
or one nation…it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of
the whole world.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt  March 1, 1945

 

Norman Rockwells Four Freedoms, Freedom of Worship
Each according to the dictates of his own Conscience.

 

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Great-Great Grandfather Knows Best: Who Are the People of America?

A film made in 1953 that explains how the United States came
to be a culturally diverse nation going back to the founding.

The film is not without problems: there is no mention of the
horrors of slavery or the slaughter of indigenous people.

The film was made for children in elementary school who
watched it in an auditorium and returned to their classes
for discussion.

These discussions often included the American Civil War and
America’s struggle to expand the scope and inclusiveness of
civil rights.

This is another film designed to prevent the rise of fascism, which
relies heavily on successfully demonizing immigrants and people
of color.

Published 1953 Usage Public Domain
Found at the Internet Archives

Don’t Be a Sucker

This film short is an example of why we call the generation that came
of age in the 1930’s and 1940’s the Greatest Generation.

They were horrified by fascism so they used education to prevent
it from happening in the United States.

Were they a perfect generation without prejudices?

No.

But they never questioned the need for a fully funded system of
public education

Did they make a perfect democracy?

No.

But they paid their taxes and they used those taxes to
create the largest Middle Class in human history.

They tried to be the best people they could be and the standard
for the best was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

They were as vulnerable to corruption as all people are but because
they set high standards for themselves as a people and for the people
they elected to their government; for this reason the United States
was one of the most trusted and respected Nations in the World.

Watch the people of West Berlin cheer John Kennedy on June 26, 1963:

 

“All — All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.
And, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words –Ich bin ein
Berliner.”

John Kennedy, June 26, 1963

A scan of Norman Rockwell's Freedom of Specch
A scan of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech

Video and Rockwell poster found on the Internet Archives

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