Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Stephen Fritz

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

John Rankin, Henry Antkiewicz


This thesis is an analysis of the World War II television drama COMBAT!, which ran from 1962 to 1967, and how this program dealt with and addressed the national memory of the Second World War. The way in which the “Good War” is remembered has changed over time. In the years of the conflict and immediately following its conclusion, there was a sense of zealous patriotism surrounding the war, but as our culture changed, a more critical approach was taken.

This paper examines the way in which the show deals with its two main subjects – the American forces and the Germans which opposed them. This depiction is analyzed and deconstructed through the lens of historical or collective memory, a concept which deals with how a group of people view their past. Particularly, COMBAT! uses an air of complexity and nuance in how the combatants are treated that was not found in many earlier depictions of the war.

It is important for the reader to understand the thinking behind the way in which this program deals with the memory of World War II. This thesis dissects the intended messages that arise from the show’s portrayal. The paper concludes with an examination of how this more critical view can be applied to the portions of the war outside of COMBAT’s scope. Attention is also paid to the way in which this attitude of remembrance has continued on into future works that deal with both World War II and the wars that followed.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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