In 1941, in the background of World War II, Henry Luce stated in his essay that it was a time for the U.S. to embrace its leadership over the whole world. He discusses the idea of American internationalism, stating reasons for the U.S. to choose this course of action. To make his vision of internationalism viable, however, there is also a need for means through which it would travel worldwide; in this context, mass media become a crucial factor.
The best way to understand something is to compare it with something analogical. Following this idea, Luce first states England’s reasons for being involved in the ongoing war – to protect their homeland, their territory (Luce 160). However, in the case of America, this argument will not work since war is happening on a different continent. It does not mean there is no reason to be involved, though, because the leitmotif of this war is protecting freedom and democracy against dictatorship.
There are several ideological, economic, and cultural indicators of the balance change. Firstly, the ideals of freedom that served as a foundation of the U.S. are being looked upon worldwide (Luce 171). Secondly, a free-market trade prospers in the country, and the U.S. could become its guarantor (Luce 170). Lastly, the culture in the U.S. produces unique, recognizable features, such as jazz and movies (Luce 169). These indicators serve as a solid foundation for American internationalism that is utterly different from anything else.
At this moment, the crucial role of mass media comes into play. In the conference about the role of the media, McLuhan states that its influence is strong enough to change the opinion of an entire population (McLuhan). He compares the media to a revolver – pulling the trigger would directly affect only one person. In the case of mass media, however, its trigger would affect every individual who came into contact with it.
To conclude, the American version of internationalism mentioned in Luce’s article possesses all prerequisites and means for its application. There is a reason to be involved in world affairs – protecting the ideals supported by the country. There is also a solid basis of internationalism, including the political, economic, and cultural visions. In addition, mass media can provide a reliable way of its worldwide spread. The last decision that has to be made is a decision of the American people to embrace the leadership and not look back afterward.
Luce, Henry Robinson. “The American Century.” Diplomatic History, vol. 23, no. 2, 1999, pp. 159-171.
“Marshall McLuhan – The Medium Is The Message  (Media Savant).” YouTube, uploaded by NotPercy203, 2016, Web.