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World War II Turns 80 Today. The Aftermath Changed America Forever.

September 1, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Eighty Septembers ago the world plunged into the abyss of World
War II. The worst conflict in human history began with Nazi
Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. It was a horrid,
murderous conflict which started at terrible and only got

Adolf Hitler’s attack on Poland, a state resurrected by the
Versailles Treaty two decades before, was but the first act. Having
signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union, the Nazi
dictator next turned his attention to France, Great Britain, and
assorted countries nearby and in between. Achieving less
battlefield success, Italy plunged the Balkans into war. In June
1941 Germany invaded the USSR, triggering the largest and most
brutal combat of modern history. In December 1941 Japan, deeply
engaged in China for a decade, expanded the battle to the United
States and much of East Asia. Then the world truly was at war.

The consequences of the global conflagration were profound.
Thirty countries were involved and as many as eighty-five million
people died. Germany, Russia, and Japan suffered especially heavy
destruction. The conflict was horrid all around, especially between
Germans and Soviets and between Japanese and both Chinese and
Americans. Anti-Semitism turned genocidal through the Holocaust.
Other groups, including Slavs, Roma, and gays, also were targeted
by the Nazis for murder.

The United States and Soviet Union emerged as the world’s
premier military powers, two contending poles around which other
nations circled. Europe, historically home to the world’s
wealthiest and most influential states, was ravaged. Pre-war
colonial empires survived on life-support, as local residents saw
their one-time overlords humbled. Japan essentially disappeared as
a geopolitical factor while the Chinese Communist Party seized
control of a nation short on power but long on potential.

Korea was divided, triggering an extended civil war. After the
war Jews fled Europe for the lands of the ancient Hebrew Kingdom,
triggering a religious and historic clash which destabilized the
region that became the world’s most important energy source. The
newly created United Nations fell victim to the emerging Cold

The American republic
disappeared long ago, leaving a half-hearted, bungling semi-empire
which views the entire world as its sphere of interest.

Impacts of the war radiated outward. During the fighting in the
British colony of Burma, now Myanmar, Burmans and ethnic minorities
split, backing the Japanese and British, respectively. Japanese
rule spurred nationalist sentiments in such colonies as India,
Vietnam, and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Moscow, which
had largely retreated from Asia after its defeat in the
1904–1905 Russo-Japanese war, regained its lost influence and
more. In the United States the conflict brought women into the
workplace, highlighted discrimination against African-Americans,
and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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