Comparative History World War II By Guy Heffernan
An Ocean Apart <ul><li>1930-The world economy collapsed into depression, threats to peace were apparent. </li></ul><ul><li>1931-Japan expands and invades Manchuria. </li></ul><ul><li>1933-Hitler takes control of Germany, and prepares for war, and a vast Aryan empire. </li></ul><ul><li>1935-Mussolini, impressed with Hitler's early success, invades Ethiopia. </li></ul><ul><li>America and Britain watch events in Europe and Africa, but are involved in recovery from depression. </li></ul><ul><li>1937-President Roosevelt believes the U.S. should use it’s influence for world peace. “I’ve seen war, and I hate war”. </li></ul><ul><li>Britain wants peace, but lacks the means to deter world aggression. British leaders try to buy off political foes. The British Dominions were isolationist, France and Russia were in turmoil. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1938-Hitler invades Austria, and threatens Czechoslovakia. Britain begins to pressure the U.S. for rearmament. </li></ul><ul><li>1939-Hitler takes Czechoslovakia, and invades Poland, and Britain and France declare war on Germany. The U.S. still remains neutral, but amends the Neutrality Act to trade with belligerent nations, except for arms. Britain could now rely on the U.S. and their vast industrial resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Poland was dismembered by Germany and Russia, who Hitler had signed a nonaggression pact with. </li></ul><ul><li>1940-Germany invades Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and northern France. The British Prime Minister resigns and Winston Churchill takes over. Within weeks German troops reach the English channel, and 330,000 British and French troops evacuate Dunkirk. In June France surrenders. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Churchill asks Roosevelt for help, but military strength in the U.S. was weak, ranked 20 th among world powers, with a small army and outdated equipment. The navy didn’t have enough ships to defend both coasts. </li></ul><ul><li>In September the “destroyers for bases” was signed, which allowed the U.S. to support Britain while remaining neutral. In the states, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding Allies was formed to aid Britain. And the America First committee was formed to keep the U.S. out of the war. Charles Lindbergh spoke for America First, believing England had no chance in a war with Germany. The isolationists believed the U.S. was safe from German invasion because it was an ocean away. </li></ul><ul><li>Roosevelt on B ritain, “ The best defense of the U.S. is the defense of itself”. </li></ul><ul><li>The Lend Lease bill was signed to do everything we can do, short of war, to aid Britain. </li></ul>
<ul><li>1941-German sinking's of merchant ships had topped 1 million tons. At that rate Britain could loose a quarter of her merchant fleet in one year. Roosevelt issued secret orders to the U.S. Navy to be ready to escort Allied convoys across the Atlantic, but drew back in response to the America First campaign against “convoying”. Churchill needed more, with setbacks in No. Africa and Greece, he pleaded with Roosevelt to enter the war. </li></ul><ul><li>Hitler attacks Russia in June, and Russia puts up a strong defense, with this Churchill gains temporary breathing room. Roosevelt proposed a statement of joint war aims, confirming Americas will to see Hitler defeated, but exacted a price on Britain’s expanding empire. </li></ul><ul><li>In September, a German u-boat attacked the U.S. destroyer Greer, and Roosevelt used this to announce a state of virtual war, and U.S. warships began escorting British and Canadian convoys across the Atlantic. </li></ul><ul><li>Japan takes Singapore and Malaya, then the remainder of Indochina. The U.S. reacts by imposing an oil embargo and strengthening their forces in the Philippines. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Sunday Dec. 7 th 1941, Japan launches a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, sinking and immobilizing 8 U.S. battleships, and killing 2,400 U.S. sailors and solders'. </li></ul><ul><li>America declares war on Japan, and Hitler declares war on the U.S. Churchill was jubilant saying, now were all in the same boat. That night he slept the sleep of the saved and thankful. </li></ul>
American and Japanese Perceptions of the Enemy <ul><li>The enemy that America thought of as most atrocious was not the Germans, but the Japanese. The racial issues that provoked these feelings were associated with the war in Asia. As horrible as the Germans were, they were still human, but the Japs. were looked upon as sub-human. And they felt the same about us. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the many popular songs after Perl Harbor was titled, “There’ll Be No Hitler or Yellow Japs to Fear”. </li></ul><ul><li>Dehumanization of the enemy is desirable among men in combat. It eliminates hesitation from killing. </li></ul><ul><li>In the U.S. signs appeared in windows saying “Open Season on Japs” and “ Jap hunting licenses”. </li></ul><ul><li>Among political cartoonists, the ape was the most popular caricature for the Japanese. </li></ul>
<ul><li>President Roosevelt was informed by an anthropologist that the Japanese skulls were “ some 2,000 years less developed than ours”. Such contempt led to a pervasive underestimation of Japanese capabilities by British and American observers even at the highest levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Americans were shocked after Perl Harbor, not only that they could plan and carry out such a mission, but the effectiveness of the Zero, and the skill of the pilots, and the discipline of their troops in their multipronged assault. </li></ul><ul><li>Admiral Halsey later claimed that he deliberately belittled the Japanese as “monkey men” to discredit the myth of Japanese invincibility (after their initial success) to boost the morale of his men. </li></ul><ul><li>These uneducated opinions and fear led to the internment camps, where many good Japanese Americans were locked up for most of the war. </li></ul>
<ul><li>To the Japanese we were impure, foul, and polluted. </li></ul><ul><li>The Japanese soldier believed that his Emperor was God on earth, and to give his life for the rising sun was an honor. </li></ul><ul><li>Most Americans believed God to be an entity, a supernatural being, although much loved, the American solider, wanted to keep on living, and fight another day. </li></ul>
The Cold War in Europe and Asia <ul><li>The end of WWII brought the Cold War. Lasting for 50 years, the tension between the U.S. and Russia affected the whole world. Some believe it started with the division of Berlin when Eisenhower let the Russians into the city before the U.S. troops. He did this because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis when they invaded Russia. He was a smart man, everyone was weary after the long deadly struggle of the war. This cold attitude between the 2 great world powers, spilled into other conflicts around the world like China, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cuban missile crises. Tensions began to ease some after the removal of the Berlin Wall and the dismantling of the U.S.S.R., maybe some can see that while democracy isn’t perfect, it’s better than most. </li></ul>
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