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Our Perceptions of World War II

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Since as far back as I can remember, there has been a certain "popular memory" of World War II in the United States: Outnumbered and outmatched by a technologically superior German Army or Japanese Navy, the scrappy Allies unite to achieve a victory "against the odds" for freedom around the world.

While the last phrase about destroying an evil for the good of humanity is true, the idea that the German Reich or Imperial Japan ever stood a snowflake's chance in hell of winning World War II is where things get mixed up: at no point after Winston Churchill was made PM could Germany have won, and at no point after Pearl Harbor could Japan have won.  (This is assuming no implausible scenarios about Churchill surrendering or the US agreeing to a negotiated peace with Japan that let them keep Manchuria).

At least two individual states, Texas, California and I believe a few others produced more than the total Axis oil production individually.  The USA produced Japan's annual oil consumption every twelve hours.

Tanks don't roll, ship's don't steam and airplanes don't fly without fuel.  Germany was in a fuel crisis as early as 1941, and actually considered reducing its number of motorized divisions from 10 to (i believe) 6 due to lack of fuel, and this was after the Battle of France where the German armored/motorized arm of the Wehrmacht shined brightest.  The Romanian Oil fields could only produce about half of German/Italian oil needs, including civilian requirements for the occupation of France.  On oil alone, the Axis didn't stand a chance.

There is often a perception that the US went for "quality over quantity".  This is also not true.  Not only did the Allies produce more tanks and field more men than the Axis, but they produced higher quality troops: By the end of the war, the US was fielding more pilots with over 400 flight hours of training than Japan or Germany could field pilots with only 200 or less flight hours.  In effect, the US had so many resources and personnel, it could achieve both quality and quantity.

The second perception is that the US "saved" Europe from the Nazis.  This is not true, however this point has often been taken by pro-Soviet historians to claim that it was the "great Communist USSR" that "liberated" Europe (yeah, because life in East Germany was so great).

It is true that the USSR did the bulk of the heavy lifting in Europe: The much celebrated Operation Overlord only inflicted about 250,000 casualties on the Germans.  However, the less well known Operation Bagration inflicted half a million German casualties on the Eastern Front around the same time.

However, the same cannot be said about Japan, or the Pacific Theater.  In fact, the Soviet Union was in a non-aggression pact with Japan since the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in 1939.  After Pearl Harbor, it was the US that would throw huge forces into the Pacific, capture most of the "Co-Prosperity Sphere" and bomb Tokyo to cinders.  No matter how successful Chaing Kai Shek was in mainland China, it is very unlikely he could ever have inflicted an equivalent level of damage: the entire Japanese navy out of action, their entire Southeast Asian holdings lost...all while the US was also projecting major forces in the Atlantic, North Africa, Italy and France.  No other nation in WWII, with the possible exception of Britain, could have projected so much power to two "more than opposite" ends of the globe.

In short, it wasn't the superiority of the Allied General, Admiral or fighting man that won the war.  It was two things: first, our absolute material and personnel superiority over the Axis.  With the US, Great Britain and Soviet Union allied, it was essentially an invincible alliance.  Secondly, it was the willingness of the democracies of the world to wholly reject the ideals of Socialist Germany and Imperial Japan and actually be willing to throw those massive resources into such an effort.

And by the way, China has a massive advantage over is in population: over 1 billion to 340 million.  Their oil reserves are only slightly less than our own, and they have more factories and shipyards than we do.  Every single advantage we held in WWII is either neutralized (oil, being roughly equal) or China has the advantage.

Now you have the Crazy Left actually defending the Japanese,  and saying all they wanted to do was expel the Western Colonialists from Asia.

I have noted this trend as well.  I promptly remind them of Nanking, the comfort women of Korea (pretty much a real, actual rape culture) and all the war crimes committed in the Phillipenes etc...

Also, I remind them of Aung San, a Burmese anticolonialist who initially welcomed the Japanese into Burma, but by the end of the war had sided with the British and was asking for the British Empire to come back because Japanese rule was so harsh.


--- Quote from: dfwgator on January 20, 2021, 08:34:50 pm ---Now you have the Crazy Left actually defending the Japanese,  and saying all they wanted to do was expel the Western Colonialists from Asia.

--- End quote ---
The part the leftwing revisionists seldom mention is the Japanese had no intention of liberating Asia,  they simply wanted to replace whitey.

That is absolutely the case: Imperial Japan, after her victories against China and Russia, was out to create their own Empire and replace European Colonialism with Japanese Fascist Colonialism.

This is ironic: Burma was already on the road to Dominion status within the British Empire (which was a large amount of autonomy) and already had native Burmese in high government Cabinet positions (not exactly the trademark of an evil "white supremacist" colonial power, which Britain was not).  Further, the Philipenes in the late 1930s were actually worried that the US would grant Independence too soon, because they knew as soon as the US left, the Japanese would arrive.


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