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Eastwood's Iwo JimaCritical Engagements with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima$
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Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165655

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165655.001.0001

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To Sell a War

To Sell a War

Flags, Lies, and Tragedy

(p.247) To Sell a War
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Vibeke Schou Tjalve

Columbia University Press

This chapter challenges the modern Western assumption that to “sell a war” the public opinion must be fed flags, lies, and idealizations and places World War II films within contemporary politics. Focusing on Clint Eastwood’s 2006 film Flags of Our Fathers, it argues that unifying narratives are typical of political leadership. The essay first investigates the history of political communication before discussing Flags of Our Fathers, interpreting it as a critique of the American war machine. It rejects the notion that people want to be lied to. It also suggests that Flags of Our Fathers portrays political propaganda as an evil, but a necessary evil. Finally, it considers the dualism between the “noble lie” needed to gain unity and confidence and the tragic language of truth allowing for dilemmas and doubt.

Keywords:   war, public opinion, flags, lies, war film, politics, Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers, war machine, political propaganda

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