6 June 2013
“War” Relates to History
In the history of the United States, fighting for the nation was considered a badge of honor. However, in the late 1960’s the United States was divided into two opposing parties; those who supported the war, and those who opposed it. In 1964, the U.S. declared open conventional warfare against North Vietnam. Many Americans could not understand how or why we became so involved in Vietnam, and many began protesting through music. For instance, Edwin Starr chants, War, a strong, soul rock anthem that expresses the intense emotions Americans fought during this time. War not only reminds listeners of the history during this time-period, but also symbolizes the social and cultural evolution America underwent during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
War was released in 1969, a time where U.S. protests began to climb and Americans did not fear voicing their opinions. Edwin Starr took a stand against U.S. involvement in Vietnam and publicly called out the credit of the Vietnam War. Along with War, many other events helped play a role in changing the public’s opinion. For instance, the My Lai Massacre was a major contribution to the anti war movement. The My Lai Massacre was an atrocity where U.S. soldiers were ordered to destroy an entire village. More than 400 Vietnamese innocent civilians were coldly murdered. This event is exactly what Edwin Starr sang about when he sang, “Cause it means destruction of innocent lives.” This line in War really struck home to many families who were awe struck by the horrible event. War also preaches peace when it sings, “Peace love and understanding tell me, Is there no place for them today, They say we must fight to keep our freedom, But Lord knows there's got to be a better way.” An event that supports this policy of peace was the musical festival, Woodstock. Woodstock was a 3 day event where peace supporters gathered and lived as one for days on end. Most of the people who attended this event were labeled as “Hippies.” Hippies practiced peace and voiced their opinions by denying government reliance and detaching themselves from material objects. As a result, American culture and social norms began to transition into its new identity.
“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”-Thomas Paine. Yet, those who opposed the war were still labeled unpatriotic and weak. During the anti war movement, those who opposed the war were called doves, and instantly condemned to a weak, feminine role. War by Edwin Starr tackles these critics by creating such a muscular tone to his tune. Edwin helps motivate those who feared their parents old-fashioned ways and inspired them to take action against the government. There is nothing more American than fighting for change from government yet, Americans had not argued with the government like they did in the 60’s and 70’s. The anti war movement