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.
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.
We want to recognize our subscriber who who cleans carpets for researching this awesome blog and sending it in to us.