Talk:Greatest Generation

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Removed chart[edit]

I’ve removed the Strauss and Howe chart, which belongs only on the Strauss and Howe page. By putting that chart on each generation page, it gives a false impression to readers that that chart represents an official or widely-accepted list of generations, which is certainly not the case. While Strauss and Howe have contributed to our knowledge about generations, their theories are still very controversial, and have become very discredited in some circles. Many generations experts, for example, strongly disagree with the long length of their generational constructs. In any event, it was very misleading to put that chart on other pages than theirs.Wendy 2012 (talk) 02:56, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Man on the moon[edit]

Mention of putting a man on the moon as a contribution to this generation? - Unsigned noted on 09:03, 19 July 2006 by user:

No. No applicability to the meaning and purpose of the term, which really only reflects their war stamina and dedication. Softlavender 03:04, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


I thought the term really applied to anyone who was old enough to serve in WWII. Since you could legally enlist at 18 anyone born prior to 1927 fits the bill. I think all the combat veterans born in 1925, 1926 and 1927 would be surprised to realize they're not considered part of this generation. Was the year 1924 actually suggested as a bound by one of the sources? Or was this just someone's back-of-a-napkin math? 1945 - 21?? I read Brokaw's book years ago, but I'm fairly certain it would certainly apply to any combat veteran. --JayHenry 17:06, 8 May 2007 (UTC)


Was this referred to as "Greatest Generation" before Brokaw's book? If not, what was the terminology used for this generation before then? --Logotu (talk) 20:13, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Good question. I did a little Googling on "greatest generation ambrose" to see if maybe Stephen Ambrose had used the term. Also tried to see if texts from Ambrose's books about it were online at Amazon. They are not. According to this article Ambrose had the idea, but not the phrase: "It was Brokaw, however, who christened the men and women who experienced World War II as The Greatest Generation." I'd suggest looking in the indexes of Ambrose's books or otherwise researching it, though, to confirm that. Or maybe a big dictionary like Oxford that gives first use citations. Colfer2 (talk) 05:14, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Mmm - Andy Rooney's "My War" (1995) predates Brokaws book (1998), though I think the term was already running around in the mid-90's era theme of Gen X and Y and Z. Think Rush Limbaugh was using it in early 90s. It seems to have had some use as a general term of opinion e.g. a 1951 book that used it to applaud post-war the couple of decades accomplishments just past and late-60s the term was used for the Boomers. And I've seen someone say that in the Generation#List_of_generations that Lost Generation and Silent Generation both had names significantly before the Baby Boomers got named so this one seems like would have had a name too. I think I'll post and edit wording a bit. Markbassett (talk) 17:56, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

World POV[edit]

Is this neccessarily only US citizens from that era? Many people from other countries would consider the people who faught in both world wars to be their greatest generation, it's a term I've heard numerious times to refer those from my country at that time. Especially since many other countries faught in WW1 and WW2 twice as long (from the beginning of the wars) than most US soldiers Thoughts?-- (talk) 16:39, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Why only Carter's WWII service?[edit]

I may be missing something, but the "US Presidents" section goes like this:

Seven consecutive U.S. presidents were from this generation: George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, and John F. Kennedy. President Jimmy Carter was a midshipman in the United States Naval Academy during the war.

They all served in WWII except for Johnson. Why mention only Carter's naval service?Originalname37 (talk) 18:30, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

O.K. I fixed that, but I put them in chronological order by date of presidency. Wowest (talk) 15:23, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


Now that the article is just about Brokaw's term, does he define year parameters? I see some reviewers give 1900-1920 and some give 1910-1925. I don't have access to the book though so I don't know if he ever proposes specifics. Sylvain1972 (talk) 17:06, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

People born in 1901-09 (1900 was the tail end of the Lost Generation) are an odd kettle of fish. They were neither Lost Generation or Greatest Generation, but a transitional group. (talk) 20:02, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Eisenhower mentioned on page[edit]

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a hero of World War II, but he was born in 1890. Wouldn't that make him a member of the Lost Generation instead of this one? ---Eman91

Correct. He was a member of the Lost Generation just like MacArthur, Patton, and most of the other WWII generals. (talk) 19:57, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Recruits section[edit]

I am struggling a little to understand the purpose or intent of the "Recruits" section. It consists of only two quotes without explanation. It seems like it might be intended to act as a sort of criticism of the "greatest generation" terminology, but it doesn't really make this clear. Anthropoidape (talk) 04:03, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Famous members[edit]

Which people did Tom Brokaw cite? Is Cyd Charisse part of the cohort or just someone who tookthe trouble to be born aound that time. This comment is in no way meant to downplay or belittle the tremendous skill, dedication, and hardwork Ms. Charisse showed during her hoofing career. Stikko (talk) 19:16, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

@Stikko, since you obviously haven't read the book, or even the quote "Greatest Generation" within the context of the book, now would be a good time to stop editing the article regarding it. Thanks. --A2fwiki (talk) 22:53, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Howe and Strauss references[edit]

It was mentioned that Howe and Strauss used the term G.I. generation for a British group of cohorts. However, their book on generations uses the term "G.I. Generation" for american cohorts born 1901 to 1924. I made changes to reflect this and included citations.Corenabh (talk) 19:37, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

What's so great about them?[edit]

WP:NOTFORUM --NeilN talk to me 13:49, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Americans today work harder for less, are better educated, have better personal hygiene, heck we even smoke less then the so called "Greatest Generation". (talk) 11:21, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I'll tell you what's so great about them. Raised in dire economic straights, they never fell for self-pity. Asked to fight against the two greatest and most brutal military machines in history, they put down their plows and tools of their trade, traveled half-way around the world and beat both the Nazi war machine and the Empire of Japan, two forces which had been terrorizing the world. They did so under the most brutal conditions, without complaint. Not only did the greatest generation fight, but on the home front they created an industrial giant, whose unbelievable productivity supplied other countries, such as the Soviet Union, with the means to fight, without which their willingness to fight would have meant nothing. It was the generation which came home from the war not whining about "post traumatic stress syndrome," but ready to get back to work and make this country the world's leading industrial and business leader it became.
The new generations are soft, cowardly, lazy, and self-entitled. When you see an old, bent-over man somewhere, shuffling along on painful legs, don't make fun of him. Remember this, in his prime, he stood fire. Could you? (talk) 23:23, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
The concept of a "greatest generation" of any sort is a social construction based on personal opinion and non-objectivity, I think we can only relay the impressions of others in regards to this topic. It's impossible to measure your standard of "greatness" because of the emotionality attached to the subject. Nathanaelbassett (talk) 16:03, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
The "Greatest Generation" is just more of Tom Brokaw's hyperbole. Also, is pitifully ignorant if he thinks the USA supplied a significant portion of the Soviet Union's military. Finally, his comment that they fought in WWII without complaint is laughable.TL36 (talk) 04:35, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't think they were so great. All they did was blow up and destroy everything their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had built. Today, we called that stupid, selfish, and spoiled. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, to call this generation 'the greatest' would include everyone of that generation, including all the people in Germany that followed Hitler's nationalistic diatribe, as well as everyone in Italy, and Japan, and Russia that did likewise to jingoist rhethoric and lies. This generation includes not just Americans, but the whole generation around the world. When viewed in this context... looking at photos of concentration camps, pictures of the Einsatzgrupen in action, and so on... you see its actually the worst generation ever, that industrialized death factories that produced nothing but corpses. And even the Allies were no saints, not by a wide margin. The fire storm bombings of Hamburg, Dresden, Nagasaki, Hiroshima... etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Brokaw was clearly referring to Americans in the generation only (although I think it's fair to include Britain, Canada, Australia, and the Soviet Union's people in the generation as well), not the people of the Axis nations who believed the big lies. Revisionists like to look at things in a way that makes them feel superior, hence "Why are they so great?" Americans and their allies were up against opponents that were waging total war. The Allies were responding in kind. If they hadn't built that industrial base, filled the ranks of armies and embarked upon that great crusade, we'd live in a very different world. So degrade their accomplishments all you like. Those that degrade the GI Generation do so from behind the comfortable lifestyle and personal liberties their labors secured. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Typical glorification of the past and of suffering, which does a disservice both to the young and the old. Many (to say the least) soldiers returned profoundly broken and injured both in body and spirit; they were victims, not heroes. There's nothing "great" about being a veteran; it means nothing but to be the refuse that the ghastly machine of war spits out. Post-traumatic stress disorder existed at all times, it was just known under different names, such as shell shock or battle fatigue. That said, the young are now victims of a quite different machine, although under the surface it is the same. The machine that is always driven by the callous powerful who see people as material and couldn't care less about individual fates. The worst you can do is to glorify your victimhood as heroism and your silence in the face of injustice as strength. Warand suffering are always rationalised as just and necessary, and those who speak up and complain dismissed as soft and whiny, those who expose the rationalisation as the deception it is. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thousands of times, how dare you call me a fool! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 13:45, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Delete "Famous Members" Section?[edit]

It's a bit much. And none of the other generations contain such a list. Est300 (talk) 01:06, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

agreed. The list is either going to be arbitrary or thousands of names long. I will be bold.Wormcast (talk) 01:04, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Disagree. An incomplete and arbitrary list still has educative value, as a jumping off point for further investigation. Please consider restoring it. Regards --Greenmaven (talk) 04:13, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I think Wormcast makes a good point; such lists tend to fill up with unmanageable cruft. bobrayner (talk) 21:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Ok. Letting it go. Thanks for responding --Greenmaven (talk) 23:33, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Need for a section about population still alive[edit]

In 2013, as I read the data on [[1]], some 5,493,433 Americans over the age of 85 were still alive. I'm wondering how many of those remaining served in the military in WWII. Can someone put a better estimate together? Terry Thorgaard (talk) 13:26, 17 April 2015 (UTC) In Military history of the United States, it is stated that 11% of the population served, so mutliplying 5.5 million by 11 % gives me the figure of about 600,000 left (in 2013). How close is this? Terry Thorgaard (talk) 18:52, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


This article does not even define its topic in a way that is understood immediately even by readers who are not American, and not for want of possibility. I am very well aware that sociological generations cannot be delimited sharply, so I do not insist on a definition such as "born between 1901 and 1924", but an observation along the lines of "there is no precise widely agreed-upon definition, but it can generally be said to refer to the generation born in the early 20th century (or: at the beginning of the 20th century, roughly in the first quarter of the 20th century)" should be possible without problem. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:17, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

Inappropriate cite and .., origin vice popularized[edit]

The origin statement of the first line is not supported by the cite. The cite says only he wrote a book by that name. "Brokaw went on to chart their personal narratives of sacrifice, friendship and small-town heroism in his best-selling work, The Greatest Generation."

This is not saying that he made the term as the line says "The Greatest Generation is a term created by journalist Tom Brokaw". I'll move the cite down to External links. Since the List of generations seems to be long standing, and there is no support to indicate origin with him ... I'm also going to alter the phrasing to Brokaw made it currently popular instead. Markbassett (talk) 18:11, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Birth years needed for this article & image of depression[edit]

What birth years does the "Greatest Generation" fall into? There is currently no birth range given. It says they grew up during the depression, but according to the dates given on our Wikipedia article for the Silent Generation (mid 20s to mid 40s), the Silent Generation were the young children of the depression. Seems we need additional sources and text to clarify this. I recently removed an image which said they were the children of the depression, because it seemed inaccurate, but I actually have no objection to an image of the depression being in this article, if it's clarified where the Greatest Generation falls into the depression (perhaps they were older children and adolescents during the depression while the Silent Generation were young children and/or born during the depression). Rough dates for this generation would help clarify things and make it easier to accurately illustrate. --DynaGirl (talk) 13:26, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

I found this which lists the Greatest Generation as those born between 1901-1924. These dates would help clarify that the greatest generation were children or young adults during the great depression which occurred between 1929-1939, but I'm not sure if it's a good enough source for wikipedia. Does anyone have any objection to adding the dates 1901-1924 with this source? --DynaGirl (talk) 13:51, 13 April 2016 (UTC)