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Re: More history (on meaning of Pearl Harbor) [OT]

  • From: Steven M. Bellovin
  • Date: Sat Sep 15 23:35:01 2001

In message <[email protected]>, Va
dim Antonov writes:

>If whoever bothered to invent that pseudo-quotation bothered to learn
>hitory of WWII, he'd know that most military action had seen no American
>involvement at all.  The widely regarded as the turning point of WWII was
>Stalingrad battle, after which Red Army began the advancement on all
>US become involved in the continental WWII to prevent Soviets from
>occupation of the entire Europe, not to win the war with Germany.  It was
>already going to be defeated (and it was the Red Army which took Berlin).
>>From the point of view of saving Europe from communism it was a brilliant
>move - wait for both sides to become exhausted before getting in.  By that
>time the Red Army had no resources to fight both desperate Nazi and Allied
>Forces (Japanese were no threat at all to USSR because it was protected
>by huge very sparsely inhabited landmass, so they could be safely
>ignored for a while), and this is how the modern political map of Europe
>came to be.
>Of course, American school textbooks forget those small details and make
>it look like that US nearly single-handedly defeated fascism.  It didn't.

Some of us have read a fair amount of history, and carefully check the 
footnotes to learn the sources of interesting statements.  (Anything 
without footnotes isn't a serious history book.)

You're certainly correct that Stalingrad was a major turning point.  
Your assertion about U.S. motives for invading Europe is rather more 
doubtful.  Stalin was begging Churchill and Roosevelt to move on 
Western Europe, to take pressure off the Soviet Union.  (References 
available upon request.)  He was rather annoyed at how long it took the 
U.S. and Britain to act.  The reasons for the delay are many, including 
a shortage of landing craft.  (Churchill wanted more troops in Italy, 
to invade from the south of Europe after the collapse of Mussolini's 
regime; Eisenhower wanted the troops -- and landing craft -- to be 
ready for Normandy.)
>To get a sense of what was going on and who was fighting whom see
>And if you ever wondered why America dropped A-bomb on Japan - it was to
>prevent imminent occupation of Japan by the Red Army.  After Germany
>capitulated the Soviet armies were quickly shipped eastward, and were
>quickly advancing (this you can also see on the world political map,
>especially if you compare pre-war and post-war boundaries).  The only way
>to prevent People's Republic of Japan was to scare s*t out of Japanese to
>force them to capitulate to Americans.

That's an interesting statement.  Another reading is that Stalin declared
war on Japan because he knew that the U.S. was about to drop the atomic 
bomb.  Apart from any espionage, Truman told Stalin just after the 
Trinity test, in July 1945.  I haven't seen any history books that 
discuss your theory with references to documents from the former Soviet 
archives -- it would be interesting to look for such.  As I recall (and 
I'd have to dig a bit to find citable sources for this assertion), the 
U.S. had been pressuring the USSR to participate in the war against 
Japan, but Stalin had refused.  While it's certainly clear that 
defeating Germany was the priority -- in fact, that was the explicit 
agreement between the U.S. and the U.K. -- and no one could have 
expected the Soviet Union to intervene in the East before matters were 
under control in the West -- the war against Japan went on for 2.5 
years after the battle of Stalingrad ended.

We can certainly discuss whether or not the U.S. was justified in using 
the bomb against Japan -- that's been debated endlessly since the war 
-- but it's rather indisputable that the bomb was used as soon as it 
was ready.  Hiroshima was hit less than a month after the Trinity test.
>The myth that American involvement in WWII made a significant difference
>from the point of view of defeating fascism is just a myth.  What US
>involvement did is to check advancement of communists, not Nazis. 

Excluding, I assume, U.S. industrial production.
>No wonder, US immediately took place of the main enemy of the Soviet
>Union. It still was worth it, Stalin was no better than Hitler.
>Sorry, fellow Americans, you _are_ brainwashed if you believe the drivel
>they teach you as "history".  "Fascist powers were doomed" because of
>Pearl Harbor, sure.  Until you check the figures and actually think for a
>second or two.

Educated Americans know about the relative casualty figures, I assure 

		--Steve Bellovin,