Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Being Dutch American during the Vietnam War

Department

History Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

By the second half of the 20th century, Dutch-American ethnic identity continued to matter for people even though its exact meaning had undergone a number of transitions as a result of both internal and external changes. People who claimed a Dutch-American identity during the Vietnam War era negotiated how their ethno-religious identity just as they had done in response to other major events during the twentieth century. This negotiation occurred at the individual soldiers level as he or she joined the armed services and interacted with a variety of new people and situations. Oral histories of veterans provide an excellent source for understanding how these soldiers experienced the period through the lens of their ethnic identity. Negotiating an ethnic identity also occurred on the homefront in the pews of the churches and the pages of the periodicals that served the institutions of the group. The Vietnam War era forced Dutch Americans to come to terms with being part of a country and national culture that some fully embraced while others held at arms length. Long existing divisions coalesced as fissures again showed themselves even within the sub-culture.

Conference Name

Dutch-American Involvement in War: U.S. and Abroad

Conference Location

Pella, Iowa

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