Patriot's History: World War 2, 1945 (Chap 17)

Grand Old Flag, George M. Cohan
Proud to be an American, Bill Pitts and Choir
America the Beautiful, Bill Pitts and Choir
God Bless America, Kate Smith

What won the war? Our discipline, free enterprise,
and will to win. But communism's spread, the size
of Roosevelt's government, the Bomb, the Holocaust -
they all remind us of the war's unending cost.

What won the war? Our individuality,
unlike Japan, along with discipline, would be
the key. And liberty! For we were even free
to hold elections during war (in Germany
it took a bomb attempt on Hitler). Industry
was also key, as Kaiser's "Ships for Liberty"
delivered goods; and business, with the guarantee
of War Bonds stirring even greater energy
among a patriotic public, would produce
supplies for Europe, and for Russia. So profuse
the output even FDR had sense to leave
free enterprise alone, as business would achieve
what socialism couldn't (though the income tax
was raised to unseen heights, as FDR's attacks
on innovative rich would last for many years).
Some liberties were sacrificed amidst the fears
produced by war: surveillance by the FBI
was status quo. The propaganda blitz would buy
another term for Roosevelt (over Dewey, '44).
And overseas, with Patton in the Europe war,
we won the Battle of the Bulge; but in a sense
we lost, as Russia took advantage of events
to take Berlin. As Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt planned
(at Yalta) Europe's fate, the West rejoiced in grand
displays of victory (although the Holocaust
and Soviet expansion - much of Europe lost
to Communism - tempered this). The atom bomb
(Manhattan Project) surfaced now, the desert calm
demolished in New Mexico, its power felt
a hundred miles away. And soon a bomb would melt
Hiroshima (Paul Tibbets, the Enola Gay);
and then at Nagasaki, with Japan's delay
in their surrender. Truman didn't hesitate
to seek an end to war. We still deliberate
about the so-called "arsenal of righteousness"
that spawned this force. Historians assess
the reasons: first, the other option, to invade
Japan, would kill a million people. To persuade
Japan to quit was, secondly, impossible -
their citizens were clinging to a fanciful
allegiance to the Emperor. They'd even kill
their children and themselves in order to fulfill
their duty. Third, like Nazis, many Japanese
were brutal, evil, with an eagerness to seize
the chance to torture prisoners. Reflect, instead,
upon the Holocaust, the seven million dead
as Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Eichmann shaped the rite
of slaughter: "Judenfrei" -- remove the "parasite"
from Deutschland; FDR deciding to ignore
the issue in his zealous quest to win the war.

Return to