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Factors That Led To US Involvement in WW11

While WW11 is remembered as the last major war that got the entire world involved, it is also remembered as one of the darkest chapters in human history. A count of the lives lost in this war sometimes sounds like a piece of fantasy – they are so many that they actually sound incredible. The US, which was a very late entrant in the mad theater, lost an estimated 350,000 soldiers. The countries that had been involved from the beginning lost astoundingly huge numbers of soldiers and civilians.

The USSR lost an estimated 14 million soldiers and close to 10 million civilians. In Europe, the casualties were also big with Germany losing over 5 million soldiers. At the end of the war, the UK, Italy, France, Japan, China among other nations were counting their dead in millions.

The loss of human life aside, the war crippled many formerly rich nations. The UK and France, for example, were superpowers before the war and had colonies all over the world. The war ended their supremacy and, with their economies destroyed, they had to retreat back to becoming tiny nations that would need a rescue package to resurrect their economies.

American “isolationism”

The US was a late entrant in the war and that is one of the reasons why it did not have too many casualties. Most of the initial fighting took place in Europe and in those days American foreign policy was guided by what was known as an isolationism – what happened elsewhere was of little or no importance to the US.

Historians have expressed doubts about whether the US was truly isolationist for the simple reason that the allied forces had, throughout the war, depended on American supplies. In fact, it is believed that without America’s indirect help Germany (together with Japan and Italy – the 3 nations that had entered into what was known as a Tripartite Act in 1940) would have crushed Europe in a very short time. It is for this reason that America’s so-called isolationism was only theoretical.

The US had to inevitably join the physical war and it got its perfect reason when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in early December 1941. The US promptly declared war on Japan. In response to the American declaration, Germany and Italy, to show solidarity with their colleague in the Tripartite Act, now declared war on the US.

That ended America’s physical isolation from the war and, henceforth, the US played the leading role in the Allied Forces and provided the manpower and resources needed to defeat Germany and thereby end the war.

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Bloody History

History and wars!

There’s nothing like a good piece of history. Most kids hated history at school… but I loved it! As Forrest Gump once said ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. The same can be said about history. It’s so colorful, all you need to do is look. Admittedly, our history hasn’t always been something to be proud of… but our lives are built on the trials and tribulations of past events… we owe our very existence and way of life to our history — for better or worse.

As with any good historian, I enjoy historical conflict. For all the bad that is involved, humanity almost always achieves greatness in the wake. If you look back through time, man’s greatest achievements are as a direct result of conflict and the necessity to survive. Take one of the more recent pseudo conflicts — the cold war. The nuclear technology that spawned the birth of the world’s first atomic bomb resulted in an explosion (excuse the pun) in energy creation. Nuclear fission reactors were perfected in the years following the Second World War, spawning everything from nuclear submarines to nuclear power stations.

I will be the first to admit that nuclear energy doesn’t have the best track record… but you can’t deny that I provided the world with a glimpse of clean energy that could be scaled. The problem we have now is mostly political and economic. The world’s nuclear are aged and we’re at a cross roads. Do we invest billions in repairing old technology? Do we invest more in building new nuclear power plants? Or do we go back to fossil fuels? What a dilemma.

I’m getting a little off topic now… but you can see that without the Second World War… how long would it have taken scientists to envisage, yet develop and implement nuclear power for the masses? There’s not a doubt in my mind that politicians would have stifled development for many decades.

What about the space race? Now, make no mistake, the space race was politically fueled as a way of gaining military advantage over the Soviet Union. Yeah, so we went to space and we pt a man on the moon a few times… so what? You need to read between the lines and trust me on this one. Intercontinental missile technology for both the US and Russia improved by orders of magnitude in less than a decade. What’s particularly interesting is that this was all done under the guise of space exploration. However… if you happen to need to put a nuclear warhead on said exploratory rocket when the need arises then… why the heck not? Very sneaky… very sneaky indeed. It wasn’t all bad, as these space exploits have fueled many technologies that are used to this day — the microwave oven for example. Also… space programs that are run today, wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the US/Russia conflict back in the mid-1900s. History — it’s great isn’t it? Stay tuned for more history insights.