When we look at our Postmodern Era's military and see the revolting Political Correctness and utter lack of morality or professionalism inherent throughout the entire organization, it is difficult to imagine a time when conditions were the exact opposite. The US military once prided itself on turning boys into men; building character through discipline and taking responsibility and initiative. But that, of course, was an era when the military was still comprised of actual men.
This weekend's entertainment recommendation is another late-Golden Age WW2 series: 12 O' Clock High. The series ran from 1964 to very early 1967 on ABC, and was based on the Academy-Award winning 1949 feature film of the same name. It follows the exploits of the 918th Bomber Squadron in the years prior to the Normandy Invasion. Like many wartime dramas of this period, the producers sought realism, and the series contains extensive WW2 footage filmed from actual B-17 bombers in combat.
The lead character in the series was the squadron commander, General Frank Savage; and later in the series, his protégée Colonel Joe Gallagher. This was an interesting component of this series: in an early episode Gallagher was a failing pilot whom Savage mentored into one his best crewmen---and ultimately the Squadron Commander.
Redemption and character-building are fairly common dramatic themes in 12 O' Clock High. The commanders are frequently faced with moral and ethical challenges in the course of executing their duties; not infrequently they are called upon to lead their subordinates into the right path. Unlike subsequent wartime dramas, this series does not glamorize or disguise the realities of actual warfare. It fairly accurately depicts the wartime pressures men and women faced---from civilian levels to high command.
In our effete era, the idea of personal sacrifice for a higher good and becoming an integral part of a social structure working toward that end is a notion looked upon with horror. The military is, in a society, a microcosm of masculine duty and responsibility which in peacetime translates into the obligation of building civilization as part of a greater whole. This is why in the past fathers were also generally the community leaders---united with other fathers and men in overseeing the security and affairs of their given residences. As our culture began to decline into narcissism and escapism, this infrastructure broke down radically.
As mentioned in other articles, there are many in the Manosphere who talk about reclaiming masculine leadership roles. Yet their attitude is entirely wrong. They fail to understand that male leadership is not simply a matter of posing as an Alpha; it requires an ability to empathize with other men and help groom them into better men. The Game Cultists simply consign those whom they deem non-Alphas to various levels of inferiority to themselves. In 12 O' Clock High, even the lead characters like General Savage had older generals above him who often counseled him. There is a Biblical proverb about "iron sharpening iron" which seems to be a recurrent theme among the men of the 918th. In fact, in one episode Savage supports a bereaved Jewish sergeant who is losing his Faith in God.
Contrary to what these Gamers teach men, a masculine does not simply affect leadership by setting himself apart from and above other men. The genuine leaders of men are those willing to put their skills and words to actual deeds. Savage and Gallagher both lead every mission personally, although technically exempt by military regulations. That's a genuine form of masculine confidence, which the Gamers distort into mere posturing. True masculine confidence is a willingness to take risks and stake one's own life and reputation on the outcome. That obviously involves commitment; another concept the Gamers especially disavow.
12 O' Clock High is available on DVD and for free viewing on Youtube. This series is one of the better WW2 dramas produced. It follows tightly-drawn character profiles, without losing sight of the background of war. Most importantly, it shows men that a moral and ethical code can be maintained even against such a background, if men are willing to work as a team.