Being a member of the Endangered Generation, nearing extinction, most of my conversations are with people much younger than me. I answered my call from the draft board and spent my required time in the Military, but have since become a Pacifist.
A few months ago in a discussion I revealed my protest of entering the war in Europe; just before Germany invaded Poland in 1938.The response was; “that must have been an unpopular protest”. I was surprised they weren’t aware the American public was against getting involved in another war with Germany. The adult population remembered the 350,000 casualties in WW1, the war to end all wars, and weren’t ready to sacrifice any more young people and money for another war. President Woodrow Wilson promised to stay out of this war, but like many Presidents broke his promise.Germany declared war against us for the same reason we became entangled in WW1, shipping supplies to the Allies. The public’s major concern was the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. One might connect our blockade of oil to Japan while they were at war with China for this bombing. We moved our fleet to Pearl Harbor in anticipation of a Japanese attack somewhere. If Roosevelt had met with the Japanese leader and halted our oil embargo, as suggested, this bombing might have been avoided.
Roosevelt promised the public neutrality and to assure his reelection wanted a reason to enter the war without breaking his promise, plus the Depression was still unsolved. Our entry into the wars with Germany and Japan solved his problems. The draft took thousands of unemployed workers into the military and factories were turned into defense plants. Whether these two events could have been avoided is worth pondering. The defense industries prospered, similar to today’s military complexes, as they were paid a percentage over cost. I was amazed at the waste used to increase costs; similar to all wars. I graduated from High School in January 1942 while the draft age was 21 and worked in a defense plant until the draft age was lowered to 18.
Many think we entered the war because of the Holocaust, but this is far from true. “The United States and Great Britain as well as other nations outside Nazi Europe received numerous press reports in the 1930s about the persecution of Jews. By 1942 the governments of the United States and Great Britain had confirmed reports about “the Final Solution” — Germany’s intent to kill all the Jews of Europe. However, influenced by anti-Semitism and fear of a massive influx of refugees, neither country modified their refugee policies. Their stated intention to defeat Germany militarily took precedence over rescue efforts, and therefore no specific attempts to stop or slow the genocide were made until mounting pressure eventually forced the United States to undertake limited rescue efforts in 1944.” Don’t have room to discuss the role of the Christian Church in this genocide.
Will Rogers: “If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership”.
Roosevelt vetoed a bill to admit 20,000 refugee Jewish children from Germany and President Truman refused giving Jews refuge in our country after the war, so most of the Jews moved to Israel. This resulted in their moving into Palestinian territory, causing many Palestinians to move to other countries. They are still fighting over ownership of the land today. Similarly, of the two million Iraq refugees we created in Iraq, we have admitted around 5000 to Norway’s 40,000.
Today’s history students must remember the overt anti-Semitism and racism during this period. American’s Japanese citizens were sent to internment camps and the military was segregated. We must apologize to them and people like Judith Kenedi, from Lake Wildwood, for being ignored by everyone, including the church and the rest of the world.
Racism and anti Semitism is still rampart in our country; not by mouth but in the heart. The printed and visual media is one culprit. They were instrumental in getting us into the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and are presently destroying a black Presidential candidate over a trivial matter. The childish president we had in the White House defeated Mc Cain in 2000 using a racist lie about Mc Cain’s illegitimate black baby.
This is an edited answer to my grandchildren’s request about my remembrances of American history and may be opinionated and controversial, but obdurate to any criticisms.