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This afternoon someone wrote, then deleted, a very good diary on the idea of a "Good War".  This diary is a based on a comment I posted there.

In our political mythology, World War II was the "Good War".  Hitler's threat to the world was so overwhelming and his evil in Germany itself was so poisonous, that the Allies had to act.  WWII was a rare case of black and white, pure good vs. pure evil.

But was that really the case?

History says WWII may have been unavoidable, neccessary, inevitable or the best of a bunch of bad options.  But it was not "Good".

World War II's Legacy
50 to 60 million people died saving Western Europe from Nazi totalitarianism, just to condemn Eastern Europe and most of Asia to Communist totalitarianism.  

Britain and France declared war on Germany for the noble cause of freeing Poland from Nazi occupiers.  But at the end of WWII, the Allies happily gave Poland, East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe over to Russia occupiers.

We sided with Stalin, who had already killed at least 10 million of his own people, to defeat Hitler, who had not yet embarked on his genocide.

Even if the Hiroshima bombing was militarily justified, in Nagasaki Truman killed almost 75,000 people just to show the Russians we had more than one bomb.  To this day, the US is the only country to ever use nuclear weapons and we used them on civilian targets.  Our enemies still use that to justify their terror and attacks.

"We had to fight!"
Before WWII, Germany and Russia had been playing high-stakes brinksmanship games for years.  Hitler wanted more Lebensraum (living space) for the Germany race and he was looking east to get it.  Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany, simply to buy Russia time to prepare for war.  Germany was also buying time, building their strength for the coming war.

Left to themselves, Germany and Russia likely would have fought each other to exhaustion.  That would have devastated the region but there would have been no need to take the whole world to war.  The Communist takeover of Eastern Europe and Asia would never have happened.

Saving The Jews
We like to talk about the Holocaust as a justification for WWII.  But the truth is that before and during most of the war, none of the Allied powers gave a damn about the Jews.  If WWII was about saving the Jews, it was too little, too late.  Most of European Jewry was already dead by the end.

Alternative Histories
You can prove anything you want by spinning alternative histories. But there is a strong case that we could have avoided decades of meddling in the Middle East, South America and Africa. Those people would be much better off today if they had just been left alone.

There may have been no Cold War.  Without the Cold War there would have been no Operation Ajax.  Without Operation Ajax, Iran would have been a Western-leaning democracy.  That means no hostage crisis, no Iran/Iraq War, no key shaped birthday cake for Saddam, no Gulf War I and no Gulf War II.  No Osama and no Global War on Terror.

I'm not saying the world would be a perfect place today if we had let Germany and Russia duke it out.  We certainly would have faced a totally different set of crises.  But given how recent history has played out, it's easy to imagine better worlds.

Originally posted to VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:14 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Really Big Disclaimer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlene, samantha in oregon

    I'm not denying the Holocaust or trying to excuse Hitler's evil here.

    Just pointing out that WWII was not as black and white as we were taught in grade school and asking if there were better non-military options that Roosevelt and Churchfill ignored.

    Results count for more than intentions do.

    by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:16:13 PM PST

  •  Sorry, but no. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fickle, AmbroseBurnside

    Germany (and Japan) launched a war of conquest.  There's no peaceful way out of that.

    "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jrooth on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:20:43 PM PST

  •  Great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    WWII came about because of centuries of racism and nationalism.  It was after 6 million Jews were murdered we got involved.  America was for the most part anti-Semitic.  We had had our eye on the Pacific for decades (Brooks Adams).  If it had been a good war we would have prevented if from happening in the first place following World War I.

    •  It isn't really a very good diary. (4+ / 0-)

      It's filled with quite a variety of assertions that are, at the very least, open to considerable debate.

      Starting with, "the Allies happily gave Poland etc. etc. etc."

      I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many among the Allies who were happy about the way things turned out in Eastern Europe. Yes, it's ironic that what dragged Britain and France into the war was the aggression in Poland. But by the end of the war, that was fait accompli. There was no way to drive the Russians back out, though some among the Allies (for some reason, Curtis LeMay comes to mind) advocated attacking them.

      I've no problem with raising the questions of America's imperialist agenda when discussing our involvement in World War II, but reducing the whole thing to, "Well, France and Britain should have just stayed out of it, and then Russia and Germany would have gone after each other," makes some pretty extraordinary assumptions about, first, what Russia and Germany would really have done, and second, what a British or French government minister would have known with any confidence.

      I don't know what to say.

      by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:39:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, your view of history is pretty warped... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, Fickle

    in Nagasaki Truman killed almost 75,000 people just to show the Russians we had more than one bomb.

    Actually, Truman ordered the second bomb used because Japan had not surrendered following the Hiroshima attack.  Killing another 75,000 saved us from having to send our army into Japan, which would have caused a lot more than 75,000 casualties.

    Left to themselves, Germany and Russia likely would have fought each other to exhaustion.  That would have devastated the region but there would have been no need to take the whole world to war.  The Communist takeover of Eastern Europe and Asia would never have happened.

    What about the German invasion of Western Europe?  We all know France rolled over as they tend to do, but should Churchill have said "eh, we're not going to bother fighting back, we'll just let the Russians and Germans fight each other to exhaustion."

    You also conveniently forget to talk about Japan, ya know, those guys that attacked Pearl Harbor?

    •  Everybody has their own warpage. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VA Classical Liberal

      "France rolled over as they tend to do."

      You mean, the way they did from 1812-1815? Or the way they did from 1914 to 1918? Or the way they did at Dien Bien Phu? (Well, I'll grant you that most of the dead at DBP weren't actually French.)

      I don't know what to say.

      by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:32:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong on both counts. (7+ / 0-)

      Re: Nagasaki - Turman killed 75,000 civilians.  By what moral theory is that just?

      Also, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were less than 3 days apart.  If you're going to kill another 75,009 people, shouldn't you give the first 250,000 dead a chance to sink in.

      Regarding Germany's invasion of Western Europe, that only occured after Britan and France entered the war.

      Finally, do you know why Japan bombed Pearl Harbor?  That's an honest question, because when I was a kid we were taught it was because Japan was the bad guys.  Literally.  That's all most Americans know about Pearl Harber.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:35:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well ... the Japanese WERE bad guys. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, VA Classical Liberal, Alec82

        And they wouldn't have bombed Pearl Harbor if they hadn't been. But I agree, that overlooks the subtle questions concerning America's strategic meddling in the Pacific.

        I don't know what to say.

        by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:41:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd agree they were the bad guys. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samantha in oregon

          The question is why did they attack Pearl Harbor?  Why did they deliberatly drag us into the war knowing they were waking the sleeping giant?

          To do that just because you're "bad" would be very, very stupid.  Yet the hagiography we all learn in grade school says they had no more motivation than that they were evil.

          We need to know our own history better.

          Results count for more than intentions do.

          by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:51:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our kids in general are stupid, (0+ / 0-)

            but that doesn't mean all of us are ignorant when it comes to history.

            They also weren't trying to "awaken a sleeping giant," they were trying to nip a sleeping giant in the bud before he could awake on his own.  If our fleet hadn't just set sail and they had successfully destroyed our Pacific fleet to the point that we couldn't have even responded to them, well, my God, this world might just look a hell of a lot different.

            •  Not stupid, poorly educated. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              haruki, halef, samantha in oregon

              When I was in school, we studied American history from Columbus through WWII.  We never talked about Viet Nam.  I only knew about Korea because of watching M*A*S*H.

              I didn't know about the Holocaust until well into college.  Somehow that never came up in high school.

              Nor did all the things the US was doing around the world prior to WWII.  Things which pulled us as predictably as the Sun rises.

              Results count for more than intentions do.

              by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:19:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Japan was militaristic... (0+ / 0-)

          ... but there is a more complicated story behind the start of the Pacific War.  It's a mug's game speculating about what could have been done to forestal it, if anything, and at what point, if ever.

          But just because Japan's reasons for war were unreasonable doesn't mean they didn't have some rationalisation for going to war.

          γνωθι σεαυτόν

          by halef on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:52:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think that's sort of what I said. (0+ / 0-)

            Japan was beyond "militaristic". Nanking. 'nuff said.

            I don't know what to say.

            by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:11:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't disagree, but what does that have to do (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VA Classical Liberal

              with the attack on the US.  One reason Japan attacked was because the US was hamstringing Japanese industry (including of course the armaments industry) by blocking scrap exports.

              I'm not saying the US was wrong to stop scrap exports, or that Japan was justified in its response.  Just that there's a history, not a completely unmotivated action.

              I have a prurient (though hopefully not debilitating) interest in historical conspiracy theories - one of them being the question whether Roosevelt was anticipating an attack and hence arranged for the aircraft carriers not to be at Pearl Harbor at the time of the Japanese attack.

              γνωθι σεαυτόν

              by halef on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:23:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It has to do with the extent to which somebody (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dRefractor, halef

                is willing to do something unethical and immoral in order to satisfy their interests/desires.

                Again: Japan's government did have reasons for attacking Pearl Harbor.

                However: If Japan's government had been run by decent human beings, they wouldn't have done so.

                But in fact: Japan's government was run by murderous, arrogant, racist bastards, who viewed the rest of the humanity with a level of contempt comparable to that with which the French aristocracy circa June 1789 viewed anybody who wasn't a French aristocrat.

                I don't know what to say.

                by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:31:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I don't believe Roosevelt knew about PH. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                samantha in oregon

                in advance.

                But the evidence is strong that he knew the Japanese were planning something and he withheld important intelligence from Kimmel and Short, the commanders in charge of Pearl Harbor.

                Results count for more than intentions do.

                by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:15:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I maintain that you're wrong. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        palantir

        Turman killed 75,000 civilians.  By what moral theory is that just?

        Also, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were less than 3 days apart.  If you're going to kill another 75,009 people, shouldn't you give the first 250,000 dead a chance to sink in.

        If you remember the conduct of the Japanese army ie. never surrendering, fighting to the death or committing suicide in lieu of getting captured, this was an ideal instilled in the "civilian" population as well.  There were anti-aircraft guns and machine gun nests manned by "civilians" in case of an enemy invasion.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have wanted to send a million US troops into Japan.

        Also, Truman gave the Japanese government plenty of warnings that a second bomb would be dropped if they did not surrender immediately.  The Japanese chose not to surrender, so they got a second bomb, which thankfully did the trick.

        And of course I know why Japan attacked us.  We had an embargo on oil and scrap metals.  But we had good reason to do so.  So yes, Japan was the bad guy here.

        •  Oh, and blaming the Axis' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          arielle, fizziks

          assault on Western Europe on France and Great Britain declaring war on them is asinine.

        •  long ago, i wondered about the accounts of (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frostbite, palantir, halef

          japanese civilians killing themselves, rather than being captured. i suspected they were apocryphal.

          and then i saw the films of women jumping from the cliffs.

          unbelievable.

          I don't know what to say.

          by UntimelyRippd on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:48:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The power of propaganda n/t (0+ / 0-)

            γνωθι σεαυτόν

            by halef on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:56:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'd also be very confident in saying that if we (0+ / 0-)

            had been forced to invade Japan, there would have been at least three times the amount of Japanese "civilian" casualties as we were forced to cause by dropping the two nukes.

            •  Again not true. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samantha in oregon

              After the war Truman justified the bombings by saying it would have cost 500,000 American casualties to invade the Japanese mainland.

              But contemporary planning documents put that figure at 75,000 casualties with 10,000 to 15,000 dead.

              That's one fifth the dead in Nagasaki alone and less than 1/20 the combine dead for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

              Results count for more than intentions do.

              by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:08:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think so, (0+ / 0-)

                Links to the 'contemporary plans'? Please convince with some documentation.

              •  Ha, who made these "comtemporary plans?" (0+ / 0-)

                You?

                •  The DOD made these plans. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  samantha in oregon

                  Based on real casualties taken in previous island operations like Kyushu.  The DOD (actually called the War Department then) knew what it would cost to invade the mainland.

                  Also remember, we had already broken most of the Japanese military codes by that point in the war (we had broken their diplomatic codes before Pearl Harbor but that's a different matter).  We knew what their defense plans were and what they had left with which to fight.

                  Given that, were 75,000 civilian deaths justified?

                  Results count for more than intentions do.

                  by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:27:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are wrong about the potential casualty (0+ / 0-)

                    figures.  But let's say for a second that you're right.

                    Given that, were 75,000 civilian deaths justified?

                    Yes, I'll take 75,000 Japanese civilian deaths over 75,000 American casualties every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

                  •  We never invaded Kyushu... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AmbroseBurnside

                    What are you talking about? BTW Okinawa is not Kyushu.

                    Losses on Okinawa:
                    From Wiki
                    US: 12,513 killed in action,
                    38,916 wounded,
                    33,096 non-combat losses

                    Japan:
                    94,136 to 131,303 killed,
                    7,400 to 10,755 captured
                    Okinawan civilian losses in the campaign were estimated to be between 42,000 and 150,000 dead

                    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                    by Boisepoet on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:32:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  You haven't read much about Okinawa or Iwo Jima (0+ / 0-)

                have you. This is just ridiculous to think that an invasion of Honshu would only result in 75k casualties...just ridiculous.

                Or are you thinking they would have greeted us as liberators!?!?!?!?

                "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

                by Boisepoet on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:27:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You're talking US casualties (0+ / 0-)

                There's an argument to be made that US casualties would have been more like tens than hundreds of thousands.

                But you're doing applies to oranges.  AmbroseBurnside said that more japanese civilians would have died without the bomb.  Your figures in response concern American soldiers.

                Had the war progressed we would have continued firebombing Japanese cities.  With the demands of the European theater reduced, we were shovelling resources at the Pacific.  There were lots, lots more B29s and the rate of bombing would have ramped up considerably in the six months after August.  Keep in mind that the conventional firebombing of Tokyo killed more than Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

                Then there are all the civilians that would have been killed bombings to prepare for landings, the actual assaults, etc.  Not to mention the possibilty of the Japanese military driving civilians to kill themselves too as they did on some islands.

                Another month or two of firebombing alone would have killed more than were killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even without considering civilian deaths during an invasion.

                •  Don't get me started on firebombing. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  samantha in oregon

                  Yes conventional bombing killed many more civilians than nuclear.  But that's not a justification for either.

                  My point remains that we engaged in terrible actions directed against purely civilian targets.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and much of Germany, with Dresden being the most well known example.

                  Results count for more than intentions do.

                  by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:21:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Everyone is a history expert on Kos? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skrekk, pico, VA Classical Liberal, Alec82

          If you remember the conduct of the Japanese army ie. never surrendering, fighting to the death or committing suicide in lieu of getting captured, this was an ideal instilled in the "civilian" population as well.

          This kind of thinking is dangerous to your health. If you or anyone really believe the  above, why did Japan surrender after the second bomb? Obviously most of the population was still alive at that point. If they were all as completely fanatic as your suggest, why did they ever surrender. I mean, it  probably would have taking us probably about another 50 atomic bombs to kill all of the fanatics.

          After the destruction of the Japanese fleet in the Philippines, Japan had no way to resupply any of its military, and the country was ready to surrender.

          Also the Russians were moving quickly through Manchuria and Korea and we wanted to be first in Japan, hence the atomic bombings. While a case can be make for the first bomb, the second bomb was completely criminal.

          War is costly. Peace is priceless!

          by frostbite on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:02:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The famous interrogator Sherwood Moran (0+ / 0-)

          would dispute your characterization of the Japanese.

          Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

          by skrekk on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:35:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Nagasaki (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fizziks

        Prevented there being a second front of the cold war.  If Russia had time to take significant territory, we'd have had to split Japan into two, and split Tokyo as well.  It would have been a nightmare.  The war had to end immediately, not following two months of starving japanese under embargo, with the red army moving south.

  •  Roots of war went deep (6+ / 0-)

    By the time Hitler came along and remilitarised the Rhineland, "integrated" Austria and annexed the Sudetenland, and especially annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia (thus giving Hitler the Skoda Works and doubling Germany's armour) it was probably too late to stop WWII - and I don't agree that, as far as Germany was concerned, there were options for the Western Allies.

    The seeds for WWII were firmly planted in WWI: if the belligerents in WWI had seriously engaged in even discussing their war aims (which neither side ever did); if Wilson's principles had been given play, if the Allies had not insisted on the reparations (and hence precipitated hyperinflation in Germany), if, if if - maybe WWII could have been avoided.

    You are right about the concern about Jews; the US borders were firmly shut to Jews, unless they qualified for the German immigration quota and could submit police reports (from the Nazi police!) attesting to their good character.  More German gentiles entered the US (legally) than Jews.  US intransigence at the Evian Conference essentially sealed the fate of many of Europe's Jews.

    War sometimes does become necessary and inevitable.  But it's never ab initio inevitable.

    γνωθι σεαυτόν

    by halef on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:34:29 PM PST

  •  Though I disagree on some specifics, (4+ / 0-)

    there's a particular point in here I think is excellent and ought to be highlighted: that our justifications for war are often made post facto, and that the moral righteousness we sometimes project onto our past can be a product of this.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:41:34 PM PST

    •  Have I got a book for you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skrekk

      Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:53:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  With WWII I don't believe the justificaion was (0+ / 0-)

      post-facto. I was touring a local museum dedicated to military flight, with WWII having the most space. A lot of artifacts from the 'home front' adorned the walls and filled the cases. It seems to me that everyone knew what they were fighting against and that it was a worthy fight.

      "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

      by Boisepoet on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:17:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would you good deeper? (0+ / 0-)

        I certainly agree that the American people as a whole made incredible sacrifices during WWII.  Almost every family in America lost some one.

        But sacrifice doesn't mean there wasn't a better way.  That was one of the original diarist's points.  That we judge WWII as a "good war" but we never look at the non-military options that were available, at least at the start of the conflict.

        To use an example most Kossacks will understand, Pat Tilman made an incredible scarifce.  But Bush's wars are still cluster fucks.

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:32:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We didn't have any non-military options (0+ / 0-)
          after Dec 7. Japan attacked the US, its' territories and military installations, and Germany/Italy declared war on us.

          If you think there were options after that, I can't help you.

          Oh, look up Neville Chamberlin for options exercised before Dec 7.

          "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

          by Boisepoet on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:37:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not after. Before. (0+ / 0-)

            Roosevelt could have not embargoed Japan.

            He could have not run on a platform of keeping us out of European wars while promising Churchhill we'd fight on their side.

            After, he could have not sided with a mass murderer like Stalin and agree at Yalta to split the world with him.  Despite his flaws, Truman was at least realistic enough to see Stalin for what he was.

            Results count for more than intentions do.

            by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:24:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure I entirely agree - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VA Classical Liberal

        I mean, I do think the home front had a good idea of what kind of geopolitical danger Hitler posed, but a lot of what constituted Hitler's worst side involved things that we didn't find out later, and were occasionally complicit with (denying Jewish refugees).  And given our involvement didn't stop until our business interests with Nazi Germany were no longer profitable, it's hard to say that our decision to enter the war was quite as pure as all that.  

        Again, I'm not disagreeing that 1. Hitler had to be stopped, and 2. we ultimately made the right decision to enter the war.  But there's also this retrospective hagiography that seeks to deny our baser instincts, and I think that gives us an incomplete picture of the history.  

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 06:48:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You share some ideas with Pat Buchanan... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, VA Classical Liberal

    and this isn't meant to be a rap on you.  Buchanan can have interesting slants on issues, and just as he was against the Iraq war, he felt the title of his book, "Churchill FDR, and the Unnecessary war," makes just this case.

    I didn't read any reviews before I finished the book, and then I explored his failures in thinking.

    Nazism wouldn't have been destroyed without the U.S. participation.  And Buchanan's argument that Hitler did not want to conquer the word because he didn't have a unifying ideology like Stalin, misses the point.

    Hitler's racism was just such an ideology.  I read most of Kissinger's book, "Diplomacy" which is a more serious study of the choices that had to be made.

    But keep on thinking outside of the truisms that are foisted upon us.  We at Dkos will keep you in the realm of reality.

  •  This is disgraceful (3+ / 0-)

    Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan should not and could not have been "left alone" to fight it out against Russia and all of Asia.  

    First of all, I am not aware of any serious historians who believe that there is a scenario where Germany would not have invaded France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, and so as they did.  They were on a quest to dominate Europe.  Please recall that the Nazis invaded all of these countries before the eastern front with Russia was opened.

    Japan was hell bent on domination of Asia and the Pacific.  You are saying that the end products of WW2 led to China being under communism, but do you honestly think they would have fared better under Japanese military rule?  You should check out the Rape of Nanking.

    Imagine a world where Nazi Germany controlls all of continental Europe, and Britain hangs on starving under a blockade.  That would allow Germany to move into the middle east and own all the oil.  Meanwhile Japan has a brutal occupation of much of Asia and the pacific.  Who would the US trade with?  What democracies are left?  We would either have to except a tri-polar world consisting of us and two violent genocidal fascist regimes, or decide to go it alone.  And if we tried to go it alone, don't you think that Germany or Japan would set their sights on getting a fascist Franco-like regime in Mexico in order to harass and control the US?  They tried to do that anyway.

    I could go on but the point is that a world where Germany and Japan went unchallenged would be unimaginably bad.  Instead, their defeat brought about the emergence of Western Europe, and even Germany and Japan themselves as peaceful social democracies that are a model for the future of humanity.

    All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

    by fizziks on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:55:32 PM PST

    •  Japan vs. Russia? You are trading two evils. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm asking how was it our responsibility to make that choice?

      And disgraceful?  Perhaps wrong, if you can argue it.  But disgraceful to raise the question?  That's Repub thinking.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:28:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Germany declared war on the US on Dec 8, 1941 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks, palantir

    Not the other way around. US could not say, no thanks Hitler, we don't have a quarrel with you.

    Although you allude to it, your analysis misses one big point on the effect of WWII; it made the US the defacto western superpower, which did lead to our enlarged role, for good and bad.  

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

    by Boisepoet on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:10:57 PM PST

    •  What good is being a super power? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samantha in oregon

      If we weren't the only super power would we have invaded Iraq?

      Would Bush have been able to convince us to go to that war if he hadn't had the world's largest armed force waiting and ready to go?

      Is it a good thing for us to literally out-spend of the rest of the world combined on defense?

      Personally, I don't think being a super power is all it's cracked up to be.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:13:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Soviet Union saved the world (0+ / 0-)

    Hitler's childhood friend said Hitler thought 'we must tear the world down to its roots and build it up anew'; there was no limit to his dream. I'd say it was a good war because it redefined us as standing opposed to the tide of arrogance and aggression that dates back to the first patriarchies; the tide that built to hurricane force and then broke on the rock of Red Army courage.

    •  And AmbroseBurnside said I had warped history! (0+ / 0-)

      In what world is Stalin better than Hitler?

      Having the Red Army win WWII is no better than having the Nazis win.

      I'd rather they chewed each other up and spit each other out.  It would have been hell for the people caught between them, but it won't have inflamed the whole world.

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:36:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is the framework you are looking for (0+ / 0-)

    This is the first of 9 bits....

  •  well for instance, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    suppose you wanted to convince Russia to let go of Chechnya, or stop dicrimination against non-Russians, you know, all that Great Russian chauvinism that makes Poland and everybody feel threatened, how would you do it? You wouldn't have to convince them of anything, just call their attention to what they're rightfully proud of, their sacrifice and heroism in fighting just that sort of thing. Or the other example is, this Damien Dempsey cd I have called 'To Hell or Barbados' mentions that the English of Cromwell's time spoke of the Irish in the same terms in which the Nazis spoke of the Jews and Slavs; they still had that same flaw in 1940, but by fighting against it they redefined themselves into something that I, part English and part Irish, can be proud of. It seems to me a path to progress generally, to appeal to what is highest in our hearts; like didn't Obama mention something about 'our better history'? Not to ride any coattails here!

  •  The only 'good war' is the one that isn't fought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Classical Liberal

    In my experience, most wars are fought because of wounded egos, pride and stupidity. If the 'leaders' actually cared about their people - care the way they are supposed to care - then war would never happen because those leaders would understand that their pride is not a reason to destroy generations of their people, not to mention the land, their history and their future. I'm a history buff and if I can look at the history books and say 'why didn't they do this?' and find alternate solutions to armed conflict, then so can The Powers That Be.

    I'm not talking about hindsight, being able to look back and see the solution, I'm talking about seeing the only solution as being peace instead of death.  I'm also not saying anyone should lay down and let someone walk all over them, I'm a pacifist, not an idiot, but there are ways to 'win' that do not involve violence.

    What I am saying is that there is never a justification for full-scale armed conflict. Never a justification for the cost, for the trauma, for the damage done to everyone, combatants as well as civilians and future generations that grow up on blood-soaked ground.

    There is no such thing as a 'good war'. Call it what you will, it's all the same. Failure.

    •  oh you're exactly right FeDhu (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VA Classical Liberal

      I'm justifying fighting by saying it's fighting against fighting... but that only perpetuates fighting... mookins has headache now, is nap time.

    •  "War is the health of the State." (0+ / 0-)

      That's the biggest reason the Constitution seperates the power to declare war from the power to wage it.

      Unfortunately, presidents since Truman have ignored that article and Congress has had no interest in enforcing it.

      I disagree with you on one point.  A purely defense war could in theory be just.  But purely defense wars are hard to come by, so it's hard to tell judge in real life.

      Of course if we were only arming ourselves for a purely defense war, we'd just need some nuclear deterance and a big enough Army to keep the Canadians from getting ideas :-)

      Results count for more than intentions do.

      by VA Classical Liberal on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 06:01:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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