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In Time of WarUnderstanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq$
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Adam J. Berinsky

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226043586

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226043463.001.0001

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The Myths and Meaning of Public Opinion and World War II

The Myths and Meaning of Public Opinion and World War II

(p.33) Chapter Three The Myths and Meaning of Public Opinion and World War II
In Time of War
University of Chicago Press

From December 31, 1944, until January 4, 1945, the American Institute of Public Opinion (AIPO) conducted a survey asking, “If Hitler offered to make peace now and would give up all land he has conquered, should we try to work out a peace or should we go on fighting until the German army is completely defeated?” Seventy-two percent of the public expressed support for the stated U.S. policy of unconditional surrender; the American people wanted to continue fighting until victory was complete. Aside from the work of a handful of historians, public opinion during World War II has gone largely unexamined. As a result, modern treatments of public opinion and war have almost completely ignored World War II. This chapter discusses the myths and meaning of public opinion in connection with World War II. It first looks at opinion polls in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s and the birth of survey research, before turning to the myths of World War II.

Keywords:   World War II, public opinion, United States, opinion polls, survey research

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