Yep - most Americans believe in a fantasy version of history where the US beat the axis countries in world war II.Here is a briefing about how big the War in Russia actually was. There were MINOR battles there (not even making it into the history books) that dwarfed the biggest battles fought in the West. The Germans lost more men at JUST Stalingrad then America lost in the ENTIRE war in Europe AND the Pacific.
The Soviet-German War, 1941-1945: Myths and Realities
I mostly agree with you butYep - most Americans believe in a fantasy version of history where the US beat the axis countries in world war II.
The reality is that:
1) The US inflicted less than 10% of the total number of enemy (axis) casualties
2) The US incurred about 1% of the casualties of the whole war (military and civilian). The US did not suffer any significant civilian casualties due to it's geographic location. Some have tried to claim that the relatively small number of military casualties was because the US troops fought more effectively - but there is no real evidence of this. In fact there is more evidence that when the US entered the war (part way through) they did not accept the advice of others (on their side) and did more "learning the hard way".
3) The turning points of the war (defined as the point after which no major battles were lost by the winners) were the battles of Stalingrad and El Alamein - neither of which were fought by the US
4) The war in Europe ended because the Russians took Berlin
5) The war in the Pacific ended because the Russians invaded Manchuria on the 9th August 1945 (and the Japanese justifiably feared the Russian troops much more than the US forces)
The US did provide a lot of material resources to the other allies, but did not do very much of the fighting or killing. During the war, the US believed that the bombing of Germany had been an effective second front - but post war analysis showed that the bombing had been far less effective than was at first thought.
The fantasy version where the US (virtually single handedly) won the war, started in the feelgood newsreels of the time and then continued in subsequent cold war propaganda (yes our side used propaganda too). It has since been perpetuated in popular culture and particularly movies (ie in the finest traditions of capitalism - to make money from gullible, ordinary people).
3) Agreed - but El Alamein led to defeat in North Africa and then the invasion of Italy. The part of all of that the US fought in (ie Italy) was not so successful and did not contribute much to eventual defeat of the Germans.I mostly agree with you but
3) El Alamein while important in the Western side was no where as significant to the overall war as Stalingrad. The Germans could have held the West off despite that loss but after Stalingrad they weren't going to win the war.
4) The Russians taking Berlin was a political move to save American lives as Eisenhower already knew the Russians were going to get Berlin no matter who took it. So despite the West being closer he purposely held them back for that reason and not because they couldn't have done the job. The Germans might have actually fought less ferociously against us then their mortal Russian enemies as they were surrendering in droves to the West while fighting to the last man in the East.
5)The Emperor was the one that decided Japan would surrender based on the nuke bombs, pretty much the entire Jap Military command was bound and determined to fight on no matter what came at them. In fact the night before his announcement there was an attempted coup to prevent him from broadcasting the message. But due to an air raid they couldn't find the recording in the blackout and had to abandon the plan.
The US didn't have much choice.Yup. The American contribution was tiny. Ok. If you say so. I think maybe we sit the next one out and see how the world does.
The US did contribute GREATLY in material as without us the rest of Allies would have been incapable of fighting Germany let alone invading the Continent. My point was simply that what we in the West consider a big war was really nothing of the kind when the scale of the war on the Eastern Front is fully realized.Yup. The American contribution was tiny. Ok. If you say so. I think maybe we sit the next one out and see how the world does.
Both the Germans and Japanese had nuclear programs so it is disingenuous to say they had no idea of the destructive power. Though they had no way of knowing that we had just dropped the only two such bombs in existence, the Emperor rightly feared what further use of the bomb would entail for his country. With enough nukes we wouldn't have needed to invade at all, simply blockade and keep wiping areas off the map. Something that the Japanese had no way of knowing we couldn't accomplish at the time.3) Agreed - but El Alamein led to defeat in North Africa and then the invasion of Italy. The part of all of that the US fought in (ie Italy) was not so successful and did not contribute much to eventual defeat of the Germans.
4) Agreed - Eisenhower was reluctant to incur casualties - that was one of the ways the US contributed so little to the defeat of Germany. The Russians took Berlin (at a cost of about 360,000 killed and wounded) and as you say got their revenge. It was the imminent fall of Berlin that led to Hitler's suicide and the end of the war in Europe.
5) Many historians now accept that the Japanese were less impressed by the Atom Bombs than one might expect. It is important to consider that many Japanese cities had already been totally destroyed by conventional (mainly incendiary) bombing by formations of B29's. In fact, by the time the atom bombs were dropped, there were not too many undamaged cities left (and despite this, no surrender had been forthcoming). Without knowing the technology behind the atom bombs (and the huge cost of them!) the only impressive part of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki raids was the delivery by one aircraft rather than many. To the people on the ground, that was at best a subtle difference. The real (and well founded) fear was occupation by the Russians and this led to the surrender.
Hirohito did allude to the atom bombs in his surrender speech saying:
"the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives"
However a student of asian culture will know that to do so was far more about saving face (ie blaming someone else's actions and not admitting fear of the Russians and what they might do) than it was a statement of facts or their real priorities.
Ummm. So which was it. The US had an effect or it didn't. The Russians? The same ones that imploded in the 80s. Oh you mean the former USSR.The US didn't have much choice.
The outcome of a war (without the US) would have been being surrounded by either Germans/Japanese and Italians or by Russians.
As it was the Russians gained enough territory to result in a Cold War standoff for the next half century.....
The US did very well economically out of WWII.
History as it is, led to the current (relative) prosperity that the US enjoys.....
I didn't say that the Japanese had no idea of the destructive power of atom bombs - but Hirohito and the old Japanese Generals would not have understood very much about nuclear physics or atom bombs. In light of all the cities that had been destroyed over several months, they wouldn't have and reportedly didn't see much difference between a city destroyed by one B29 or by a formation of hundreds.Both the Germans and Japanese had nuclear programs so it is disingenuous to say they had no idea of the destructive power. Though they had no way of knowing that we had just dropped the only two such bombs in existence, the Emperor rightly feared what further use of the bomb would entail for his country. With enough nukes we wouldn't have needed to invade at all, simply blockade and keep wiping areas off the map. Something that the Japanese had no way of knowing we couldn't accomplish at the time.
Ummm. So which was it. The US had an effect or it didn't. The Russians? The same ones that imploded in the 80s. Oh you mean the former USSR.
Yeah, I remember them.
Didn't they used to control large hunks of Eastern Europe? The operative term there, used to.
The Japanese they did Ok after WWII. I wonder who propped them up after knocking them down. I don't recall any Russian aircraft carriers or any of their savage troops in the pacific theatre.
Don't get me wrong. I understand that the US didn't lose 300,000 men in a single battle. We didn't have to. The Russians and Germans and Japanese did. That's all they had.
If the battle was for Dallas maybe it would have been different.
I hope you understand that the Civil War had a very profound effect on the psyche of the US. After the casualties in that tragedy their has been a reluctance to sustain those types of numbers going forward. Also that conflict coupled with technology has ingrained strategists with a desire to stay ahead of the curve on weapons tech and it's future implications.
You are correct - people don't take kindly to being told that what they have been told about WWII their whole lives is inaccurate and arguably exaggerated.I've had this discussion with people in a couple forums over the years, and most of the times it's ended with me being anti-American or something because I don't agree that the United States did the majority of the killing.
I do believe American Industrial Might won the war, but as far as dying, the Eastern Front holds that title.
For me, the most accurate description I've read is that the war on the Eastern Front was a war of total annihilation....on both the German and the Soviet sides.
Correct .The American worker won the war. Without them Allies would not have much to eat or fight with.
We made supply ships faster than the Germans could sink them.