World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

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Gary Childress
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World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:30 pm

I saw this post in another thread. Instead of hijacking the other thread further, I'd like to discuss the topic in a new thread.
Philosophy Explorer wrote:
bobevenson wrote:Please, we dropped atomic bombs on two cities, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and maiming the same quantity of others!
Now you're talking about WWII where we were at war with Japan. Remember Pearl Harbor, the Bataan death march, the atrocities the Japanese committed? If the bombs weren't dropped, the war would have been prolonged with many more deaths and casualties.

PhilX
I'm sort of wondering if the pursuit of "unconditional surrender" wasn't an evil end in itself. We had Japan thoroughly beaten before the two bombs were dropped. Maybe it would have been just as well to have worked out a negotiated surrender or armistice. Spare us from invading Japan and spare a lot of civilians their lives.

To push alternative historical possibilities even further, what if the United States had let the Soviets settle things in the European theater as well. America probably didn't have any real business being in Europe (at least in terms of self preservation). The Soviets had things mostly under control on their own by 1943. Sure, that would probably mean a more Sovietized Europe in the end but as long as we didn't bother them they may not have bothered us. Maybe world history would be radically different. What are the thoughts of others regarding such scenarios?

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by bobevenson » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:52 pm

Excellent argument, but unfortunately, I'm afraid we're the only members in this forum who understand it.

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Gary Childress
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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Gary Childress » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:02 pm

bobevenson wrote:Excellent argument,
Much thanks, Bob! :D

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Impenitent » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:15 am

going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...

holocaust here, purge there...

why haven't you defected yet?

-Imp

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Gary Childress
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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Gary Childress » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:07 am

Impenitent wrote:going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...

holocaust here, purge there...

why haven't you defected yet?

-Imp
Is it our concern, though? Should we engage in wholesale destruction to save someone else from their problems? I mean the tactics of the Western Allies in the extensive use of artillery and air bombardment to win the war may have made a bigger mess of Europe than the original German invasions did. At least the Soviets had a direct stake in the game. They were fighting for survival. The Germans were monsters to them. The US was probably fighting to preserve the colonial interests of countries like France, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well create a few politically advantageous results for our own political elite.

I mean, did our political leaders really fight the war in Europe to help the Europeans free themselves from the evil Nazis? The US could have bombed the railways to the Nazi death camps, but we apparently didn't. Were we really that concerned about the Jews and other victims of the Nazis? Maybe our leaders were just being opportunistic. There was plenty of noise over how bad Saddam Hussein was in Iraq. We invaded for what were apparently unrelated reasons and caused all manner of evil in the Middle East.

I really do question whether the use of military force is ever justified outside of self preservation. And it's not clear to me that Europe was a case of self preservation for the US.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Dubious » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:35 am

Gary Childress wrote: I really do question whether the use of military force is ever justified outside of self preservation. And it's not clear to me that Europe was a case of self preservation for the US.
You address a huge subject amenable to many different and conflicting views. The only thing I'd like to point out at this time is that self-preservation includes the preservation of friends, allies and trading partners not to mention the cultural and racial propinquities between Europe - especially Western Europe - and Americans from the very beginning.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Impenitent » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:26 am

Gary Childress wrote:
Impenitent wrote:going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...

holocaust here, purge there...

why haven't you defected yet?

-Imp
Is it our concern, though? Should we engage in wholesale destruction to save someone else from their problems? I mean the tactics of the Western Allies in the extensive use of artillery and air bombardment to win the war may have made a bigger mess of Europe than the original German invasions did. At least the Soviets had a direct stake in the game. They were fighting for survival. The Germans were monsters to them. The US was probably fighting to preserve the colonial interests of countries like France, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well create a few politically advantageous results for our own political elite.

I mean, did our political leaders really fight the war in Europe to help the Europeans free themselves from the evil Nazis? The US could have bombed the railways to the Nazi death camps, but we apparently didn't. Were we really that concerned about the Jews and other victims of the Nazis? Maybe our leaders were just being opportunistic. There was plenty of noise over how bad Saddam Hussein was in Iraq. We invaded for what were apparently unrelated reasons and caused all manner of evil in the Middle East.

I really do question whether the use of military force is ever justified outside of self preservation. And it's not clear to me that Europe was a case of self preservation for the US.
you realize that the use of military force allowed you this opportunity to ask the question in the first place...

condemning the conqueror in his language says more about the conquered ...

-Imp

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Post by henry quirk » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:19 pm

"Should we engage in wholesale destruction to save someone else from their problems?"

When their problems can turn into our problem, absolutely.

U.S. involvement denied the Soviets a great deal.

Our not being involved would, I think, have resulted in a U.S.S.R. that didn't falter and collapse but instead steamrolled across Europe.

Best case: the U.S. would be -- today -- in an economic box, beleaguered.

Worst case: today, we'd all be 'comrades'.

I'm a 'mind your own business and keep your hands to yourself' kinda guy, but that street runs both ways (which is to say I'm also a 'do unto the son of a bitch befores he does unto you').

If the U.S. erred it was in our not marching into Moscow.

Intervention is usually a crappy idea, but not always.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:25 am

Impenitent wrote:going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...
But that's not why the US went to war in Europe. You came because Jap attacked you otherwise you would have kept right on trading with those tyrannical Nazis.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:29 am

Gary Childress wrote:...
I'm sort of wondering if the pursuit of "unconditional surrender" wasn't an evil end in itself. We had Japan thoroughly beaten before the two bombs were dropped. Maybe it would have been just as well to have worked out a negotiated surrender or armistice. Spare us from invading Japan and spare a lot of civilians their lives. ...
There has been a lot of revisionist history about this and it might well be the case but it ought to be remembered that at the time the US military experience of clearing the islands was pretty brutal as near enough no Japanese surrendered and they tended to fight to the death so there was little hope that the mainland would be any different.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Impenitent » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:46 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Impenitent wrote:going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...
But that's not why the US went to war in Europe. You came because Jap attacked you otherwise you would have kept right on trading with those tyrannical Nazis.
don't bite the hand that feeds...

-Imp

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:14 am

Impenitent wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Impenitent wrote:going to war to liberate Europe from tyrannical Nazis only to surrender it to tyrannical soviets...

holocaust here, purge there...

why haven't you defected yet?

-Imp
Is it our concern, though? Should we engage in wholesale destruction to save someone else from their problems? I mean the tactics of the Western Allies in the extensive use of artillery and air bombardment to win the war may have made a bigger mess of Europe than the original German invasions did. At least the Soviets had a direct stake in the game. They were fighting for survival. The Germans were monsters to them. The US was probably fighting to preserve the colonial interests of countries like France, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well create a few politically advantageous results for our own political elite.

I mean, did our political leaders really fight the war in Europe to help the Europeans free themselves from the evil Nazis? The US could have bombed the railways to the Nazi death camps, but we apparently didn't. Were we really that concerned about the Jews and other victims of the Nazis? Maybe our leaders were just being opportunistic. There was plenty of noise over how bad Saddam Hussein was in Iraq. We invaded for what were apparently unrelated reasons and caused all manner of evil in the Middle East.

I really do question whether the use of military force is ever justified outside of self preservation. And it's not clear to me that Europe was a case of self preservation for the US.
you realize that the use of military force allowed you this opportunity to ask the question in the first place...

condemning the conqueror in his language says more about the conquered ...

-Imp
I never 'get' that particular argument. How do you or anyone else know what the world 'might' have looked like? The Soviet Union fizzled in the end.
Why did England declare war on Germany? Supposedly to 'free' Poland. What happened to Poland? The Nazis murdered the people it wanted to murder there, and the English threw it under the bus to Stalin. The Poles must have been thrilled.

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Impenitent » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:58 am

vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Impenitent wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Is it our concern, though? Should we engage in wholesale destruction to save someone else from their problems? I mean the tactics of the Western Allies in the extensive use of artillery and air bombardment to win the war may have made a bigger mess of Europe than the original German invasions did. At least the Soviets had a direct stake in the game. They were fighting for survival. The Germans were monsters to them. The US was probably fighting to preserve the colonial interests of countries like France, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well create a few politically advantageous results for our own political elite.

I mean, did our political leaders really fight the war in Europe to help the Europeans free themselves from the evil Nazis? The US could have bombed the railways to the Nazi death camps, but we apparently didn't. Were we really that concerned about the Jews and other victims of the Nazis? Maybe our leaders were just being opportunistic. There was plenty of noise over how bad Saddam Hussein was in Iraq. We invaded for what were apparently unrelated reasons and caused all manner of evil in the Middle East.

I really do question whether the use of military force is ever justified outside of self preservation. And it's not clear to me that Europe was a case of self preservation for the US.
you realize that the use of military force allowed you this opportunity to ask the question in the first place...

condemning the conqueror in his language says more about the conquered ...

-Imp
I never 'get' that particular argument. How do you or anyone else know what the world 'might' have looked like? The Soviet Union fizzled in the end.
Why did England declare war on Germany? Supposedly to 'free' Poland. What happened to Poland? The Nazis murdered the people it wanted to murder there, and the English threw it under the bus to Stalin. The Poles must have been thrilled.
simple cause and effect - if history did not happen as it did, we would not be where we are now

go back further- what if Napoleon won? or the Algonquin?

-Imp

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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:08 pm

Impenitent wrote:
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Impenitent wrote:
you realize that the use of military force allowed you this opportunity to ask the question in the first place...

condemning the conqueror in his language says more about the conquered ...

-Imp
I never 'get' that particular argument. How do you or anyone else know what the world 'might' have looked like? The Soviet Union fizzled in the end.
Why did England declare war on Germany? Supposedly to 'free' Poland. What happened to Poland? The Nazis murdered the people it wanted to murder there, and the English threw it under the bus to Stalin. The Poles must have been thrilled.
simple cause and effect - if history did not happen as it did, we would not be where we are now

go back further- what if Napoleon won? or the Algonquin?

-Imp
Silly comment.

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Arising_uk
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Re: World War II and Aftermath: Mistakes?

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:34 pm

Impenitent wrote:
don't bite the hand that feeds...

-Imp
We paid back the 'food' that you lent us along with the interest.

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