History Today subscription

Gone With the Wind

Mark Juddery examines the impact and appeal of the film that has sold more tickets at the US box office than any other.

1939 US poster for Gone with the WindEven compared with other military conflicts, the American Civil War of 1861-65 tends to inspire particular obsession. The conflict, which divided a nation and led to 600,000 deaths, holds a special place in US folklore. The Civil War nostalgia becomes stronger as you go south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the symbolic border between the northern states and the former Confederate states of the south. Visit any souvenir store in Virginia or Georgia, and you can buy a Confederate flag, toy soldiers in Confederate army uniform, or T-shirts depicting generals Robert E. Lee and ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, remembered as loyal heroes and southern gentlemen. The South flaunts its Civil War heritage with patriotic fervour, which seems peculiar as it was the losing side of the conflict, and moreover, its soldiers were fighting for the right to own slaves – a practice that, today, most southerners would consider morally repugnant.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.

 

X

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week