Discomforting Facts about World War II
Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation
(June 6, 2019) — Given the predictable accolades regarding the 75th anniversary of D-Day in World War II — it’s important for Americans to keep in mind some discomforting facts about the so-called good war:
- Prior to US entry into World War II, the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entering the conflict. That’s because of two things: (1) the non-interventionist foreign policy that was the founding policy of the United States and that had remained the foreign policy of the United States for more than 100 years; and (2) the horrible waste of men and money that had been expended on America’s intervention into World War I, not to mention the massive destruction of liberty that came with that war.
- It was only because President Franklin Roosevelt intentionally provoked and maneuvered the Japanese into attacking at Pearl Harbor, where US destroyers were conveniently based (FDR had wisely removed the carriers), that the US ended up entering the conflict. Even many Roosevelt apologists now acknowledge what he did but defend it by arguing that his actions were for the greater good, i.e., preventing the Nazis from supposedly conquering the world. But what does it say about a democratic society in which people are overwhelmingly opposed to entering a particular war and in which their president circumvents that will by provoking and maneuvering a foreign regime into attacking the United States?
- Hitler never had the ability to conquer the United States, much less the world. After all, his forces proved unable to cross the English Channel to conquer England. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it would have been militarily impossible for Hitler’s forces to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and successfully invade and conquer the United States.
- Mainstream historians and newspapers have long pointed out that defeating Germany saved Europe from Nazi control. But it was always clear from the beginning that Hitler was moving east, not west — toward the Soviet Union, whose communist regime he considered the real enemy of Germany (just as the US would consider the Soviet Union to be the real enemy of the United States after the war was over). It was England and France that declared war on Germany, not the other way around. If England and France had not declared war on Germany, it is a virtual certainty that the war would have been between Germany and the Soviet Union — i.e., Nazism versus communism, while the Western powers stood aside and let them fight it out among themselves.
- The reason that England declared war on Germany was to honor the guarantee that England had given to Poland. But it was an empty guarantee because England knew that it lacked the military capability to free the Poles from German control. At the end of the war and ever since, mainstream historians and newspapers have waxed eloquent about how “we” defeated the Nazis. The operative word, however, is “we” because “we” included the Soviet Union, which was ruled by one of the most brutal communist regimes in the world. It was the Soviet Union that ended up controlling Poland … and Czechoslovakia … and all of Eastern Europe … and also the eastern half of Germany. So, yes, the Poles were freed from Nazi tyranny at the end of the war, only to be made to suffer for the next 45 years under communist tyranny. US officials and mainstream historians and commentators have always called that a “victory” for freedom. The Poles and Eastern Europeans have always felt differently about such a “victory.”
- Virtually no Jews were saved by the war. By the time the war was over, almost all of them were dead. Of course, it should be kept in mind that when Hitler offered to let German Jews leave Germany in the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration, like all other nations around the world, said that they could not come to the United States. The reason? Anti-Semitism, the same anti-Semitism that afflicted Nazi Germany. Google “Voyage of the Damned” for more information.
- After the war was over, US officials immediately converted Hitler’s enemy (and America’s wartime partner), the Soviet Union, into America’s new official enemy, which, Americans were told, was an even bigger threat to the US than Hitler had been. The fierce anti-communist mindset that had driven Hitler was now adopted by US officials. Their Cold War against their wartime partner and ally was used to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of totalitarian structure that brought coups, assassinations, regime-change operations, alliances with dictatorial regimes, installation of dictatorial regimes, and ever-increasing budgets and power to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. In fact, the national-security branch of the federal government ultimately became the most powerful branch. Additionally, there was the entire anti-communist crusade engaged in by US officials and the mainstream press against anyone who had socialist, communist, or even leftist leanings. (“Have you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”)
- The Cold War brought US interventions in North Korea and Vietnam, which cost the lives of more than 100,000 American men as well as countless injuries, not to mention the massive death and destruction that US forces wreaked on the people of North Korea and North Vietnam. US officials claimed that absent intervention, the dominoes would fall to the Reds, with the final domino being the United States. Despite the stalemate in Korea and the total defeat of US forces in Vietnam at the hands of the communists, the dominoes never fell and the United States is still standing.
- Mainstream historians and newspapers claim that Hitler would have ultimately conquered the United States and the world had he not been stopped. Of course, that’s impossible to say but it’s a problematic assertion given that Germany would have been just as weak and devastated as the Soviet Union was by the end of the war. War makes a nation weaker, not stronger. What we do know is that after the war, US officials said that the Soviet Union, Hitler’s enemy and America’s wartime partner, was hell-bent on conquering the United States and the world. They never succeeded or even came close. If the United States could survive the communist Soviet Union, there is no reason to conclude that it couldn’t have survived a Nazi Germany.
A US president surreptitiously embroils the country in a war that the American citizenry overwhelming opposed, a war that left Eastern Europe and half of Germany under communist control for 45 years and that also gave us the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well as the conversion of our government to a totalitarian-like national-security state, along with the anti-communist crusade, assassination, coups, regime-change operations, and alliances with dictatorial regimes. That’s quite a “victory.”
For more discomforting facts about World War I, World War II, and America’s other foreign wars, read FFF’s book The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars, edited by Richard Ebeling and Jacob Hornberger.
American Soldiers Did Not Die Defending Our Freedom
(May 27, 2014) — I was at the Washington Nationals baseball game yesterday. Whenever I attend a Nats game, there is an air of militarism surrounding the game, but attending on Memorial Day helps to remind us what a truly militarized society America has become.
After all, what in the world does baseball, a quite peaceful and enjoyable pastime, have to do with America’s countless foreign wars, which have killed, tortured, and maimed millions of people?
One of the most fascinating aspects to US militarism is the bromide that has infected the minds of so many Americans: that US soldiers have sacrificed their lives or limbs in foreign wars to “defend our freedom” here at home. Not surprisingly, it was repeated at the Nationals game yesterday. People who came to watch a baseball game were asked to remember the sacrifices, including deaths, that American servicemen have made in the “defense of our freedom.”
Why do I find that fascinating?
Two reasons: first, The bromide is palpably false, and, second, it is a testament to the power of state to indoctrinate the citizenry.
This is a bromide that is inculcated into every child, from the time he reaches six years of age and heads into the public (i.e., government) school system. By the time the kid reaches his teen years, the indoctrination is taking hold.
By the time he becomes an adult, the indoctrination is complete. In fact, the indoctrination is so perfect that actually it doesn’t matter what the troops are doing overseas. Whatever they are doing is automatically considered to be “defending our freedom.”
Consider a hypothetical. Suppose there is some country thousands of miles away that is minding its own business. There are no attacks on the United States or even threats to attack the United States. The only problem is that the regime is not sufficiently submissive to the US government.
The US government decides to invade the country and install a pro-US regime. The troops are sent into battle. Some are killed. Countless more people are killed on the other side.
There is no doubt that millions of Americans will automatically conclude that those US troops killed and died “defending our freedom,” notwithstanding the fact that our freedom was never at risk. Remember: that hypothetical country never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
Yet, many Americans will nonetheless honor their brave and courageous soldiers who died or lost arms or legs while “defending our freedom.” It is how the indoctrinated mind works.
How can I be so certain that that’s the way many Americans would react to that hypothetical situation?
Because that’s what happened with Iraq, a country whose government never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Thus, not one single US soldier died in Iraq “defending our freedom” because our freedom was never threatened by Iraq.
The same holds true for the 58,000 plus American soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. North Vietnam was engaged in a civil war against South Vietnam. At no time did North Vietnam attack or invade the United States. It had no interest in doing so and, anyway, it lacked the military capability to do so.
The US government invaded Vietnam and embroiled itself in its civil war. At no time were the freedoms of the American people threatened by the North Vietnamese. The American troops who were sent to the deaths in Vietnam did not die in the defense of our freedom here at home.
The same is true for the tens of thousands of American men who were sent to their deaths in the Korean War. North Korea never attacked or invaded the United States or even threatened to do so. American freedom here at home was never threatened. Thus, those US soldiers in Korea did not die defending our freedom.
What about the soldiers who died in the US invasion of Panama or Grenada? Again, Panama and Granada never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. Those troops did not die in the defense of our freedom.
World War I? At no time did Germany or Austria-Hungary attack the United States or even threaten to do so. The Great War was a war between empires, one that never endangered the freedom of the American people. The US government simply chose to intervene in that conflict in the hopes of “making the world safe for democracy” and to “end all wars.” Those US soldiers who died in World War I did not die defending our freedom.
What about the so-called “good war”—World War II. While Japan attacked US forces at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, the attack was a direct consequence of President Roosevelt’s repeated attempts to induce Japan to attack the United States to fulfill his wish to get the United States into the war.
FDR had imposed an oil embargo on Japan, frozen Japanese bank accounts in the United States, and imposed humiliating terms in pre-war negotiations with Japan, all with the aim of getting Japan to “fire the first shot” so that the United States could get into the war. Japan never had the aim or the military means of invading and occupying the United States and depriving the American people of their freedom.
What about Nazi Germany? It desired to avoid war with the United States, which is why FDR used Japan as a “back door” to war. The only reason Germany declared war on the United States after Pearl Harbor was to fulfill its treaty obligations to Japan.
Before England declared war on Germany, it was clear that Hitler was moving east toward the Soviet Union, not west toward the United States. Moreover, since Germany lacked the military means to cross the English Channel and invade England, how in the world would it cross the Atlantic Ocean and invade the United States?
Moreover, consider the aftermath of World War II: East Germany and Eastern Europe and China all under communist control. Isn’t that what American soldiers actually died for—so that the communists, rather than the Nazis or Japanese, could control those parts of the world? Even if one finds that a worthy thing to die for, it’s a far cry from dying in the defense of our freedom here at home.
Oh, I almost forgot Afghanistan. No, al-Qaeda was never going to invade and occupy the United States and take away our freedom. Neither was the Taliban. The 9/11 attacks were retaliation for actions taken by the US government in the Middle East prior to 9/11. The Taliban government never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
The truth, as discomforting as it is, is that the many U.S soldiers who have been sacrificed in America’s countless foreign wars did not die defending our freedom. That’s nothing more than a false bromide used to justify America’s never-ending foreign wars.
When enough people break through the indoctrination, as libertarians have, the bromide will no longer have the power it does over people’s minds. At that point, maybe Americans will be free to enjoy baseball games and other sporting events without all the militarism attached to them.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics.
In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.
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