Name Games

We live in an age when bumper sticker memes are familiar rallying points. From “Make America Great Again” to the partisan connotations of “socialist” and “Obamacare.” But we’ve been here before with politically preferred labeling–and relabeling.

In fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt preferred referencing “The Survival War” instead of “World War II.” He thought the latter might connect too many to Woodrow Wilson’s “World War I” venture that a lot of Americans were never on board with. While addressing the Pan American Union in 1942, he explained: “That is what it comes pretty close to being–the survival of our civilization.” Gallup later determined that very few Americans favored this wording. “The War of Freedom” or the “War of World Freedom” had much more appeal.

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