Tag Archive for ‘World War II’
Sixty-five years ago, on August 6, the United States dropped the first offensive nuclear weapon in history. This bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” killed around 140,000 people in Hiroshima, Japan. The U.S. military dropped the second and last nuclear weapon ever used in war, “Fat Man,” three days later on nearby Nagasaki, killing approximately 39,000 people. Whether these bombings were justified is a matter of dispute.
The decapitation of the Polish government last weekend, including President Lech Kaczynski and the military leadership, on that flight to Smolensk to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, brings to mind the terrible and tragic days and deeds of what many yet call the Good War.
In a previous contribution to Chronicles‘ Filmlog, “Three for the Resistance,” I discussed movies portraying the plight of small nations—Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland—overwhelmed by ruthless Nazi and Communist force during the World War II era.
World War II has provided a vast amount of material for cinema in Europe, America, and Japan. Some if this is superb. Much of it is hokey entertainment and propaganda. We perhaps did not realise how hokey until the horrors of D-Day were portrayed in Saving Private Ryan. That useful dose of realism deserves to be set off against Stephen Spielberg’s many sins against culture
On Sept. 1, 1939, Hitler’s panzers smashed into Poland. Two days later, an anguished Neville Chamberlain declared war, the most awful war in all of history. Was the war inevitable? No. No war is inevitable until it has begun. Was it a necessary war?
Anyone questioning the wisdom of neoconservative foreign policy is likely to be told that he is “blaming America first,” as if American foreign policy were synonymous with the nation. So it is only fair to point out that neocons, too, “blame America” when it doesn’t follow their policies. Reviewing a book about the 1920 presidential campaign, David Frum writes that “Americans made very bad choices in those years, terrible choices, choices that would precipitate a global depression and then another and even more horrible war.” In Frum’s view, America’s adherence to our traditonal protectionist system led to the Great Depression and World War II. Of course, those making similar pronouncements about contemporary American foreign policy are liable to be branded as “unpatriotic” by Frum.