Axis initiative and Allied reaction The outbreak of war By the early part of the German dictator Adolf Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy Poland. Poland, for its part, had guarantees of French and British military support should it be attacked by Germany. Hitler intended to invade Poland anyway, but first he had to neutralize the possibility that the Soviet Union would resist the invasion of its western neighbour. In a secret protocol of this pact, the Germans and the Soviets agreed that Poland should be divided between them, with the western third of the country going to Germany and the eastern two-thirds being taken over by the U.
It brought profound and permanent social, governmental and cultural changes in the United States, and has had a great impact on how Americans regard themselves and their country's place in the world.
This global clash -- with the United States and the other "Allies" on one side, and Nazi Germany, imperial Japan and the other "Axis" countries on the other -- is routinely portrayed in the US as the "good war," a morally clear-cut conflict between Good and Evil.
Whatever doubts or misgivings Americans may have had about their country's role in Iraq, Vietnam, or other overseas conflicts, most accept that the sacrifices made by the US in World War II, especially in defeating Hitler's Germany, were entirely justified and worthwhile.
For more than 60 years, this view has been reinforced in countless motion pictures, on World war ii vs world war, by teachers, in textbooks, and by political leaders. The reverential way that the US role in the war has been portrayed moved Bruce Russett, professor of political science at Yale University, to write: Whatever criticisms of twentieth-century American policy are put forth, United States participation in World War II remains almost entirely immune.
According to our national mythology, that was a 'good war,' one of the few for which the benefits clearly outweighed the costs. Except for a few books published shortly after the war and quickly forgotten, this orthodoxy has been essentially unchallenged.
As we shall see, it does not hold up under close examination. First, a look at the outbreak of war in Europe.
When the leaders of Britain and France declared war against Germany on September 3,they announced that they were doing so because German military forces had attacked Poland, thereby threatening Polish independence.
In going to war against Germany, the British and French leaders transformed what was then a geographically limited, two-day-old clash between Germany and Poland into a continental, European-wide conflict. It soon became obvious that the British-French justification for going to war was not sincere.
When Soviet Russian forces attacked Poland from the East two weeks later, ultimately taking even more Polish territory than did Germany, the leaders of Britain and France did not declare war against the Soviet Union. And although Britain and France went to war supposedly to protect Polish independence, at the end of the fighting in — after five and a half years of horrific struggle, death and suffering — Poland was still not free, but instead was entirely under the brutal rule of Soviet Russia.
Sir Basil Liddell Hart, an outstanding twentieth-century British military historian, put it this way: The immediate purpose was to fulfill their promise to preserve the independence of Poland. The ultimate purpose was to remove a potential menace to themselves, and thus ensure their own security.
In the outcome, they failed in both purposes. Not only did they fail to prevent Poland from being overcome in the first place, and partitioned between Germany and Russia, but after six years of war which ended in apparent victory they were forced to acquiesce in Russia's domination of Poland — abandoning their pledges to the Poles who had fought on their side.
In his famous "Blood, Sweat and Tears" speech, the great British wartime leader said that unless Germany was defeated, there would be "no survival for the British empire, no survival for all that the British empire has stood for Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire.
Even though Britain supposedly "won," or at least was on the winning side in the war, the once-mighty British empire has vanished into history.
No British leader today would dare defend the often brutal record of British imperialism, including killing and bombing in order to maintain exploitative colonial rule over millions in Asia and Africa.
Nor would any British leader today dare to justify killing people in order to uphold "Christian civilization," not least for fear of offending Britain's large and rapidly growing non-Christian population. Americans like to believe that "good guys" win, and "bad guys" lose, and, in international affairs, that "good" countries win wars, and "bad" countries lose them.
In keeping with this view, Americans are encouraged to believe that the US role in defeating Germany and Japan demonstrated the righteousness of the "American Way," and the superiority of our country's form of government and society.
But if there is any validity to this view, it would be more accurate to say that the war's outcome showed the righteousness of the "Soviet Way," and the superiority of the Soviet Communist form of society and government.
Indeed, for decades that was a proud claim of Moscow's leaders. As one official Soviet history book, published in the s, put it: The war further demonstrated the social and political unity of the Soviet people Once again it underscored the significance of the guiding and organizing role of the Communist Party in socialist society.
The Communist Party consolidated millions of people in their fight against the fascist aggressors The selfless dedication demonstrated by the Communist Party during the war years further solidified the trust, respect and love it enjoys among the Soviet people.
Some percent of German combat forces were destroyed by the Soviet military on the Eastern front. The D-Day landing in France by American and British forces, which is often portrayed in the United States as a critically important military blow against Nazi Germany, was launched in June -- that is, less than a year before the end of the war in Europe, and months after the great Soviet military victories at Stalingrad and Kursk, which were decisive in Germany's defeat.
In President Franklin Roosevelt, together with British prime minister Winston Churchill, issued a formal declaration of Allied war aims, the much-publicized "Atlantic Charter. At the outbreak of war inBritain ruled over the largest colonial empire in history, holding more millions of people against their will than any regime before or since.
America's other great wartime ally, the Soviet Union, was, by any objective measure, the most tyrannical or oppressive regime of its time, and a vastly more cruel despotism than Hitler's Germany.Subscribe and save!$ $ World War II magazine covers every aspect of history's greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists.
Feb 25, · Two political events, World War I from to and World War II from to are so far the largest military conflicts in the history of the world, and their consequences decisively scripted the political and military balance of power in Europe and the world at large respectively.
Both the /5(2). World War II summary: The carnage of World War II was unprecedented and brought the world closest to the term “total warfare.”On average 27, people were killed each day between September 1, , until the formal surrender of Japan on September 2, World War II (often abbreviated to WWII or WW2), also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from to The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than million people from over 30 countries.
World War II The war ended with the total victory of the Allies over Germany and Japan in The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers.
Although the totalitarian regimes in Germany, Italy, and Japan were defeated, The European economy had collapsed with 70% of the industrial infrastructure destroyed. The 'Good War' Myth of World War Two. By Mark Weber.
World War II was not only the greatest military conflict in history, it was also America's most important twentieth-century war.