Before FDR was elected, I heard in neighborly conversation, "Do you think he will get us in Europe's war?" The answer took until December 1941 to arrive. I was a sophomore in college. Because I took graduate work and worked half time as Foreign Student Adviser at the University, I stayed at Iowa until the end of WWII. When that August arrived I was simply waiting for my ticket to take effect to visit family and then go to my first real job in DC, where I would teach English and do orientation work for professional foreign nationals.
It being August the only students on site were Latin Americans who, like me, were killing time for a new chapter. All of a sudden one sunny afternoon the whistle on the Engineering Building let go with a blast unlike anything it normally did to announce our eight o'clocks. Los estudiantes came running to me, saying that the secret place in their building was where engineers had been working on a new calculator to devise bombs. In one sentence they introduced me to the twin drivers of technology--cybernetics and nuclear energy.
I would not be swayed by the enormity of the times. I had a full time job, and boarded a train from Gillette, Wyoming which was headed for Washington, DC. There I found government employees equally interested in getting reassigned to a safe position and in having time off for parades of returning generals. By the time I realized that the House American Activities Committee had more press coverage than programs to promote civilian reorientation, the nation's capital seemed like a study in broken civility. So I fled to New York City where I was lucky enough to work with the American-Scandinavian Foundation. That time, I lucked out. When shipping became available I sailed for Copenhagen to see how housing, healthcare, and government worked. This pivotal year of 1950 gave me perspective which I would sorely need by the time I returned to the ruckus of whether a general (MacArthur) could tell a civilian commander-in-chief (President Truman) what to do. To this day I never really understood why Korea was in American sights for well over a half century. The Danes complied to UN requests for reinforcements by sending their now-famous hospital ship called HOPE.
"Culture." What's that? Monkey see, monkey do is hardly a tenet for achievement. There's a lot to learn once we stop haranguing against militarism and start studying Peace. Give peace a chance.