Revolution #76, January 14, 2007


The Truth about World War 2

World War 2 is portrayed in history books and popular culture as “the good war,” with America waging a great battle against “tyranny.” In fact, as the following excerpt from America in Decline points out, U.S. involvement in World War 2 was driven by an imperial agenda.

"When the U.S. entered the war at the end of 1941, it did so with clearly formulated goals. As early as 1940, study groups set up by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations were laying plans for a new global order dominated by the U.S. The Council, which collaborated with the government, produced high-level memoranda examining prospects for the consolidation and integration of trade and investment within the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific. By 1942, ideas for an international monetary fund, a world bank, and a new league of nations were germinating in the State Department. U.S. war aims were perhaps best summed up by Henry Luce, owner of the Time-Life propaganda empire, who, in his 1941 book, The American Century, lamented that at the close of World War 1 the U.S. bourgeoisie had let slip a “golden opportunity, an opportunity unprecedented in all history, to assume the leadership of the world....” Such an opportunity, he and many others in the bourgeoisie argued, should not be missed again. Of course, in reality the opportunity had not yet fully developed after World War 1, but Luce's point was obvious nonetheless. Though the principal concern of U.S. leaders was the defeat of the Axis powers, they were also dedicated to the subordination of their erstwhile allies, especially after the tide of battle turned in 1943. Indeed, for the U.S., the Second World War was a multifront conflict: not just against Japan and Germany but, in a different way, against the British as well, and, in still another way, against the Soviet Union."

In arguing that the U.S. had to invade Iraq, George Bush often accused critics of wanting to “appease” (give in to the demands of) the “enemy” rather than confronting the enemy. Appeasement is associated with a 1938 agreement that allowed Hitler to take control of part of Czechoslovakia. British Prime Minister Chamberlain said that this pact would secure peace. America in Decline explains the actual imperialist maneuvering that was going on:

"In order to understand U.S. maneuvers and advances through the Second World War, it is necessary to consider the positions, goals, and strategies of the other great powers. The British strategy for dealing with Germany found initial expression in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's 'appeasement' policy. The purpose of Chamberlain's 1938 Munich agreement to give the Sudetenland to Germany was, in fact, to push the Germans to the east and into confrontation with the Soviet Union. One reason for this, of course, was the imperialists' fond dream of smashing the socialist Soviet Union, something which the British (along with the Americans, French, and other imperialists) had already attempted immediately after World War 1. But Britain's more immediate goal was to prepare better military and political ground for its own direct confrontation with Germany, hopefully by weakening it in a war with the Soviets. The U.S. imperialists went along with this as part of their own strategy of moving in later to “pick up the pieces.” There was, however, never any question, either on the part of Britain or the U.S., of letting the German imperialists swallow the Soviet Union: they wanted the Germans to choke on it. The Soviet Union, quite rightly, was determined neither to be swallowed nor to be shattered. Owing to the Soviet need to buy time and the German need to first establish a tenable western periphery before it lay siege to the Soviet Union, the two countries signed a mutual non-aggression pact in August 1939...."

Excerpted from America in Decline by Raymond Lotta,
Banner Press, 1984, pages 209-211


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