Pearl Harbor! Why?

World War Two, the last war in which the United States declared its entry in accordance to the Constitution (as in Congress says there is a war and prescribes specifically who against and why, not the UN, not NATO, not the international community, not the president on his own, not the president with Congress making a law giving itself the authority to turn a blind eye ). The Second World War. Not a just war, at least as it pertains to United States entry, but at least a technically “legal” one.

What were the reasons for going to war? There are likely several theories (one of which I formulated myself, but make no claims to being the first). One of them listed here is generally accepted but rests on very shaky ground. Another (also listed) is conventional wisdom, is true even, but relies on circular logic, and the next three I have listed are more plausible but get less play in mainstream circles. They might even be considered conspiratorial. Even more so for the last theory. Until, that is, they are compared to theories that blame the Illuminati or the Jews or the Reptilians among us, which, sorry to tell you, are not listed here.

1. Adolf Hitler was a madman and the Roosevelt Administration and Congress were far sighted enough to realize that if the United States did not go to war (using Germany’s ally, Japan as a pretext), there would be no stopping der Führer from his designs of world conquest. You mainly read this one or very similar ones in the comments section on websites.

This is all so very sensational, and equally absurd. Hitler still had to face down the mighty Soviets (it is true the Soviets suffered the worst losses of the war but they had not yet begun to fight), and his empire was far from a stable one. It remains possible that FDR and company thought Hitler was going to subjugate the entire world, but those arguing this case are likely just projecting pure motives on a man who is their hero for reasons other than his foreign policy. Let me be blunt: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was no hero. He was an effective leader, and by that I mean a tyrant, but not a hero. His administration was probably one of the least transparent, most dishonest, administrations in history, and while some think that his ends were good and therefore all of this is justified, my opinion is that neither his means nor his ends were all that noble.

2. The United States went to war with Japan because Japan provoked the United States. Another mainstream (but less exaggerated) explanation.

This is true on the surface because the declaration of war, in point of fact, did indeed come after the attack on Pearl Harbor. But it is far more accurate to say that Japan went to war with the United States because the United States provoked Japan. Japan made war first by attacking Pearl Harbor (this day 71 years ago), and the United States had little choice but to either lose face and back off from its provocations of Japan or double down and go to war. The same choice that the Japanese faced as a result of the embargoes and sanctions placed on them by the United States and other Western powers. Needless to say, rather than dishonor themselves by relinquishing their conquests Japan chose instead to attack United States soil, shifting the pressure to someone else. Predictably enough, the United States followed suit. This theory still begs the original question. Why?

3. The United States was doing the bidding of other Western Powers, specifically Anglo-Dutch economic interests, and deliberately provoked Japan to war in order to help the governments, economic interests, and allies of Great Britain and Holland (and the Dutch government in exile) to maintain their colonial and petroleum holdings in Southeast Asia. I like to think of this theory as my own, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard for anyone to see the connections.

This sounds awfully conspiratorial, but it follows the same trend of many later US interventions (at least three with Iran, four with Iraq, and two with Libya). The events leading up to Pearl Harbor are compatible with this theory, but don’t necessarily prove it.

4. The United States was doing the bidding of Great Britain, just as it had clearly done it World War One, and was brought in as an ally against Germany, but because Germany had no clear quarrel (at least not one worth it to them to declare war over) with us, needed a pretext and used Japan’s attacks (which were provoked, perhaps deliberately) for one. This is LaRouche type of stuff, but again, it is not hard to see the connections. In my humble opinion, the assertion that World War One was entered by the United States as a favor to Great Britain is beyond reproach (not to mention that it dovetails rather nicely with the passing of the Federal Reserve and Liberty Bond acts, which greatly aided the attempts by the United States to bail out Great Britain after the war, but those might just be convenient coincidences).

Another one with questionable merit at first glance, but again borne out by the US foreign policy trends. United States involvement in World War One was largely the result of the pleading of Great Britain. It is also consistent with Germany’s response to US declaration of War on Japan. In World War Two, Germany avoided declaring war on the United States until after the United States declared war on Japan. But they did declare war first (between Germany and the US). Why would Germany do something so ill-advised? One possible answer is hubris. There is probably some truth to that but it still seems to be missing something. Another possibility is that Germany knew that the United States going to war with Japan was little more than a pretext for war with Germany. According to this line of thinking, war with the United States was inevitable. Why delay it any further? By the same token, if the United States had never gone to war with Japan, it may be that the Germans would never had declared war on the United States.

5. The United States was doing the bidding of the USSR, and drew Japan into war with itself so the Soviets would only have to fight on one front, that of Germany. This theory seems to come originally from Waldo Heinrichs (died 1959), from which work I do not know.

Again I will point to trends. The Yalta Conference (which destroyed the entire British excuse for declaring war on Germany, the liberation of Eastern Europe), the events resulting from Japanese surrender and Allied Occupation of Japan (more communist footholds in Kuomintang/nationalist China resulting in Mao’s Peoples’ Republic of China and the death of 70 million people, diplomatic tensions between mainland China and the US over the Republic of China/Taiwan even in the present day, the Korean War as well as the North’s current criminally insane dictatorship, the Viet Nam War, the Cambodian-Vietnamese War, and the Khmer Rouge’s murder of  2 million in Cambodia, but who’s counting?), and the disgustingly warm Anglo-American-Soviet relations at almost all levels (civil government, military, academia, labor , and even big business) prior to, and at times even during, the Cold War, are consistent with this theory.

6. Japan was the pretext for US involvement in World War Two, but the reason for entering the war at all was to provide a form of public works based economic stimulus, the intention either being recovery from the Great Depression (which was rooted in World War One involvement) or distraction from it (and the domestic policies that deepened and broadened it). Regardless of what was intended by this Keynesian experiment, it seems only to have succeeded in the latter. This argument is usually, but not always made in a retroactive way. As though the “fact” that World War Two led to economic recovery is another reason to justify involvement.

I do not know how strong of a theory this is in terms of the thoughts going through the heads of the Roosevelt Administration and the Democratic Congress. Surely military Keynesianism, whether espoused by Keynes himself or not, was a predictable outcome of a world war even prior to the war. There is no reason that peaceful and wartime spending should have different effects, or that world leaders wouldn’t be aware of that fact. And as Keynes was advocating the former since the 1920s and was taken seriously by the British and American governments in the 1930s, it is not a stretch to think that any stimulative spending, including war, could be motivated by or rationalized on Keynesian ideas.

If someone has alternative theories that they have heard or discovered, or reasons why any of the ones listed above are complete  nonsense, I would love to hear from them. I am temporarily revoking Godwin’s law (actually it is a “law” modeled after the immutable laws of physics, but for the sake of having fun I’ll treat it as a prohibition that has been lifted) for just this post, so fire away.

I have consulted Wikipedia, and yes, my memory of events, for the material facts, and beyond that only this piece.

I have written about some of these things and related matters herehere, and here as well. There will be more to come, including a post on energy independence, which is finished and just needs an opportune moment in which to be showcased.

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11 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor! Why?

  1. Pingback: Pearl Harbor! Why? « Propagating the Philosophy of Liberty

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  4. On number 5.:

    You have to remember that when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed CPUSA begun to argue against the United States entering the conflagration in Europe. This means that from September ’39, until June ’41 Americans who we know for a fact were doing the bidding of Moscow did its darndest to try to keep the United States out of the war.

    So in fact it seems that in this period the USSR wanted the US out of the war, but the US nonetheless continued to move closer to war, despite this. I think this shows that the USSR in fact did not have the kind of influence with the American government to enable it to have it do its bidding.

    • Thanks for the comment!

      Why would the Communists have opposed US entry? Their pact with Germany was one of non-aggression, not really an alliance, right?

      Whatever the case is on that front, I lean more towards the Anglophilia and/or stimulus spending explanation for US entry.

      But one still wonders how/why the USSR ended up with a steal of a deal at the end of the war. They were the victors, and paid dearly for that victory, and thus “entitled” to spoils, I suppose, but that kind of calls into question the humanitarian/just war propaganda that made the war seem more palatable back home and to future generations.

      The explanation, I think, ties into the Alger Hiss and McCarthy episodes, which, if you know the story shows that the US state department had strong USSR influence by 1945.

  5. Stalin’s bumbling strategery is a bit of a mystery to me so I don’t have a full answer as to why Moscow wasn’t hot about the idea of the United States joining forces with Great Britain against Germany. It is the case however that he bought into the Non-Aggression pact more than he should have and at least initially held that it answered the question of USSR’s security in Europe, and at one point indicated he would be willing to join the Tripartrite pact in return for certain concessions. Perhaps he thought that replacing the Germans (with whom he had a pact of non-aggression) and the Japanese (with whom he was working on a similar treaty) on his doorstep with the victorious coalition of the Americans and the British (with whom he had nothing), would not be an improvement. This may seem silly in retrospective, but it is hard to overstate the level of Soviet suspicion and insecurity about a feared attack by the capitalist powers.

    Perhaps it was partly also for a more general reason where he preferred America in the so-called isolationist state, since when you’re playing power politics, you aren’t eager for one more great power competitor to enter the game just on general principles.

    ______________________

    The influence of communist sympathizers in governments and bureaucracies of the US and Great Britain is not news to me. (There were a few people who were actually agents of the Soviets, but I think that taken as a whole the impact of numerous left-wingers who were non-Communists, and did not maintain any links with the Soviets, but who working from their left-wing biases nonetheless were fairly well predisposed to the Soviet Union and the Communists, at least compared to their enemies, may have been even greater.) But the question is how big was this influence and was it decisive. Perhaps in some policy decisions it may well have been, but I don’t see evidence for it being behind truly major decisions.

    You ask how come the USSR ended with a steal of a deal at the end of the war. Yes its sphere of influence was increased after the war. However, the question is what exactly could have the US done to prevent that? At the end of the war the Soviets were in a possession of a 12 million man army which was actually physically present in their new, expanded zone of influence. So what exactly could have the Allies done to lessen Soviet gains? Go against the Red Army? Invade Russia? Nuke Moscow? It doesn’t look as if there were a whole lot of even just vaguely sane alternatives open to them, does it?

    Thing is you don’t require Soviet influence in the American government to explain why the Western Allies accepted expansion of Soviet influence in Europe. You just require them not to be stark raving mad.

    Yes, the Soviet sphere of influence was expanded after the war, but so was the American sphere of influence. Before the war America was not even an actor in European politics, but now it had united behind herself the entire Western Europe. It had the likes of France, Italy, Germany and Great Britain as subordinate states in the US-led NATO block. So who was it who actually got a steal of a deal at the end of the war? The Soviets who at the cost of 27 million dead got places like Romania and Czechoslovakia, or the United States which at a cost of 400 thousand dead got places like France and the Netherlands?

    In fact from a Soviet perspective you could build an opposing narrative where the Soviets got totally cheated as they did most of the leg work needed to defeat the Nazi Germany, only for the Americans to show up in the summer of ’44 and swoop up all the spoils.

    So then when thinking about possible causes of the efforts of the American government to enter the war, maybe it does not pay to think so much in terms of how this worked well for the power Soviets, the British, or the Dutch or whoever, but in terms of how this worked well for the power of the American government.

    Here is a radical idea, governments are not selfless, they are selfish. When they act they act for their own good. And also that it is in the nature of those who wield power to try to increase the power they wield.

    So how about this: America entered the war not because it was doing the bidding of the British or the Soviets, but because the regime in power in America wanted to have a greater say in international matters / because it wanted other states to pay more attention to its wishes / because it saw an opportunity to grow American power. Which it did, and in which WWII turned out to be enormously helpful. So helpful in fact that in the space of just a few short years American hegemony was established over much of the globe (which was welcomed in Washington, albeit I will be the first to say this had not been foreseen).

    The proponents of the British/Soviet bidding claims lose sight of the fact that WWII was an incredibly welcome event for American power. We should maintain better perspective.

    • Sorry it took me so long to get back to you Marko. I had most of this typed up a while ago and finally was able to get back and finish it today.

      “You ask how come the USSR ended with a steal of a deal at the end of the war. Yes its sphere of influence was increased after the war. However, the question is what exactly could have the US done to prevent that? At the end of the war the Soviets were in a possession of a 12 million man army which was actually physically present in their new, expanded zone of influence. So what exactly could have the Allies done to lessen Soviet gains? Go against the Red Army? Invade Russia? Nuke Moscow? It doesn’t look as if there were a whole lot of even just vaguely sane alternatives open to them, does it?”

      What the US could have done to prevent it: Been less of pushovers, perhaps? There was more or less a tradeoff: The US will get out of Russia’s way so long as the Russian’s help in the Pacific Theater. This never happened. A few days before Russia entered that theater, Japan was nuked. Japan was interested in discussing terms of either truce or surrender, before even the first nuke was dropped. After the first one was dropped, they were willing to surrender, though with conditions, but this was ignored. Two things happened after that, 1) the Russians entered the theater, and 2) the second bomb was dropped. There is some debate as to which one made them acquiesce to unconditional surrender, but the fact remains that it was the first nuke that weakened their resolve. The ironic thing is that the main condition they had hoped for was to keep their emperor. They did, in fact, get to keep him, so in essence, the surrender was conditional, and the second nuke and/or Russian entrance were both unnecessary.

      Then there is General George Patton. What he wanted to do was get to Berlin before the Red Army. This was both possible and probably a good idea, but was, for whatever reason, prevented. I believe General Marshall, who was, in fact, implicated by McCarthy to have close relations with Communists in the State department in the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations, was behind this. Just think, if they had done this, what excuse could the Red Army have had to go to Berlin? Marshall also kept Patton in the European Theater after it was over despite the fact that Patton asked to be sent to the Pacific Theater. As you know, Patton conveniently died, and were it not for the fact that it was after the war was over I would be tempted to think that was something other than coincidence.

      As far as actually fighting the Red Army is concerned, they (the Soviets) had promised to go into the Pacific Theater. It’s armchair generalship on my part, but couldn’t that have kept them busy, and couldn’t that have been used as leverage to keep them out of the parts of Eastern Europe not yet firmly behind the Iron Curtain? Instead, they managed to get their thumbs in two pies.

      I don’t necessarily think there was any espionage going on here. This is probably all just the result of incompetence and lack of foresight. But it still leads one to ask: Why were they so incompetent and blind? The answer, to my mind, is that they did not take the threat posed by Moscow seriously. There may have been things that could have been done diplomatically that precluded the necessity of fighting the Red Army, but that were not done because Moscow was perceived to be a trustworthy ally.

      Also, as to your earlier point about Molotov-Ribbentrop, what about Lend-Lease enacted in March 1941, but I bet in the works at least months before that? You say that the USSR did not ant the US involved in the war itself from September of ’39 to June of ’41 (when the USSR received their first “deliveries”, though such deliveries weren’t considered truly part of Lend-Lease until October). This does not mean Soviet Agents or anything like that were behind it, but again, it is very convenient.

      The Lend-Lease Act brings me to another point of yours. You say, and rightly so, that the Soviets “did most of the leg work needed to defeat the Nazi Germany.” But the fact remains that they (and the British on the Western Front) could not have done this without the free tanks, jeeps, trucks, planes, food, construction materials, and armaments that the US sent to them. They certainly did not need us to win the war, but they needed the US in order to win it the way it was won, that is, relatively quickly, in a way that, instead of simply bringing the USSR and Nazi German to terms, brought total defeat to Germany. If we hadn’t entered the war, the USSR and Germany would have either destroyed each other, or come to terms, each of which would have been better for the US, even if they did want to eventually get involved and then attack the weakened victor. That is not to say it would have been better for the people living in those regions.

      The fact that the US did in fact increase its influence makes it obvious that on some level, they were after their own interests. But just whose interests are those? Why would they happen to be the same as, at the time in question, their allies, the British and the Soviets? I would still have to say Anglophilia on the one hand and lack of understanding of the Soviets (rooted in an increased trust of and reliance upon central planning in the US, perhaps) on the other hand.

      Back to the events preceding Pearl Harbor, and how those events played out, I see nothing to suggest that the US, which had been on great terms with Japan, should turn around on them, other than one key event: Japanese economic growth that threatened the interests of English and Dutch interests in the Pacific. The US had to choose between two allies: the British, and the Japanese. They chose the British for some reason. Whether it was because they were “more like us”, more of a force to be reckoned with on the field of battle or on the diplomatic stage, or there was simply left-over sentimentality from WW1 (which conflict made even less sense for the US to get involved in unless, again, you look behind the scenes) about being allied with the British, is not important. The fact is, they chose one side, when in all likelihood they could have chosen the other (through diplomacy, not necessarily conflict), or chosen neither and maintained, if not increased, its influence in the Pacific regions. I’m not saying it didn’t make sense to chose the side they did, but I am saying that the fact that they did choose that side proves the relatively high influence that side had upon the US government.

      Let’s look at WW1 again. According to the propaganda, it was about stopping the Kaiser, who was attempting to increase his own sphere of influence at the expense of Britain and France. According to mainstream academics and historians it was about Wilsonian ideology, that of exporting democracy and internationalism to the world. But according to you, it would have to be simply about expanding US influence (if the US had not gotten involved, even if the Axis powers still lost, the Treaties at the end would have been very different, and their likely would not have been a WW2). I agree with this, and it is borne out by the actions of two of the prior three presidents, McKinley, and T. Roosevelt, who both interjected themselves into world affairs. But the same things were at play in both world wars. Demonization of the Hun, glorification of the Empire on Which the Sun Never Sets. I have equal disdain for both (Germany and Britain). They were both imperialists, colonialists, belligerents. There is no reason to prefer either side in such a conflict, and yet one side was chosen. Not arbitrarily, but out of some fealty. Even after the espionage practiced by Britain in the intercepting of communications as well as the dishonesty displayed in the Lusitania incident, that, were it not for the deliberate lack of transparency on the part of the US government and the unquestioning ignorance of the common man as to the timeline of events, would have caused a backlash against British meddling. Instead, they were not only forgiven, but aided, and then eventually saved from economic ruin by the Liberty Bond Act and the Federal Reserve (leading directly to the abandonment of the gold specie standard, and the depression of 1920-1921, and indirectly to the Great Depression and the abandonment of the gold exchange standard).

      So, though it may be even more latent than I originally made it out to be, I think the influences were not only there, they were also very key to how certain important events eventually played out.

      It’s like today with Israel or Saudi Arabia. Obviously they do not “run” us. If anything we run them. And yet their duplicitousness goes unnoticed or unaddressed. There must be some reason why specific countries are favored. In the former’s case, I would say it is simply to appease certain segments of the US population, namely evangelicals and Jewish Americans. For the latter, oil and petrodollars is likely the answer. Of course, these things are not ends in themselves for the state. You are right that the end is indeed power.

  6. A race to Berlin is an interesting topic, but it is ultimately not that important. A different outcome would not have changed much, except limited Soviet gains slightly (eg no DDR), but at the cost of having the Cold War erupt sooner and perhaps with greater intensity (and perhaps made it last longer since it would introduce a perfectly delineated Germanic/Romance vs Slavic divide to it). Also it is a little known fact the Soviets could have probably taken Berlin in February 1945, thus eliminating the possibility of being preempted by the Anglo-Americans in April-May. Likewise if Patton could have entered Berlin before the Soviets it was because in the last stage of the war the German forces were no longer fighting against the Western Allies but were instead eager to surrender to them, while they continued to fight against the Soviets.

    There did not need to be any deal that the Anglo-Americans will stay out of the Soviets’ way because the former did not have the means or the will to fight the latter in Eastern Europe. The Soviets had the more powerful land army and a better geographic starting point from which to dominate the eastern half of the continent than the Western Allies. The only way in which Soviet gains could have been substantially limited was to work with the Germans.

    Numerous of Hitler’s underlings were desperate for an outcome where they surrendered to the Western Allies and to them alone. Some kind of a scenario where the Germans opened the door for the Anglo-Americans which then poured in and quickly occupied the vast majority of areas under German control was in the realm of possibility, at least in the sense that Germans (minus Hitler) would have been open to it.

    Nonetheless it is difficult to see how this would have been any more desirable than what had indeed taken place since it would have truly devastating and potentially even explosive consequences for the Anglo-American relationship with the Soviets. It may have been a good move from the point of view of American nationalistic chest-thumping (which Patton excelled at), but it’s doubtful it would have been in the interest of peace, which we as libertarians are most concerned about. Also it is extremely doubtful too many Eastern Europeans would have welcomed such a rehabilitation of Germany and considered this outcome better for them than what had indeed happened.

    This is really the gist of it. It is strange to see libertarians over and over again add their voice to those of bitter Cold Warriors to complain that the US did not have done more to try to limit Soviet gains in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WWII when it is clear the only tangible effect such action could have had was to bring about the Cold War sooner and make it even more intense. Rethinking of the US role in WWII is welcome, but not at the expense of forsaking Cold War revisionism and seemingly going along with American nationalists lamenting missing the phantom option of Rollback in 1945.

    It is true the Cold War did not erupt immediately after the end of WWII, but instead developed gradually as Western Allies continued to accommodate the Soviets to a degree even after Germany and Japan were already defeated. However the opposite is also the case, the Soviets continued to accommodate the Western Allies. A prominent example is the Soviet toleration of Anglo-American military intervention in Greece.

    Excluding external factors it was inevitable that Greek Communists which had organized the largest, most active anti-German partisan movement in the country would have taken power there. That was precluded by the landing of British forces which ended up engaging and fighting the Greek Communist partisans. This was taking place in late ’44. Even before the Germans had been defeated the Anglo-Americans were already waging war on their nominal Communist allies. The Soviets stood by and tolerated this. Unlike the Anglo-Americans they continued not to interfere throughout the subsequent Greek Civil War that the Western military intervention had prepared the ground for, and looked on as Greek Communists eventually lost out to Greek anti-Communists (some of whom were rehabilitated collaborators with the Germans) bolstered by the Americans. How is that for appeasement? And how is that for hypocrisy? What is with the shedding of crocodile tears on the account of Moscow determining who, the Communists or the non-Communists, ruled in Czechoslovakia or Poland, when the Anglo-Americans had done the exact same thing in Greece, and in an intervention which was probably even more forceful and impatient than Soviet interference in Eastern Europe?

    Instead of complaining that Washington should have intervened in some way to raise tension with the Soviets in order to make an empty gesture of sympathy for Poland (and of its own moral superiority over Moscow), how about instead complaining that Washington risked its relations with the Soviet Union (or alternatively bought off Stalin) to intervene in Greece in order to ally with former Greek collaborators with the Germans in order to fight the largest Greek resistance movement? Doesn’t it make more sense for libertarians to be up in arms about an instance of intervention, rather than an instance of non-intervention?

    The Soviets promised to enter the war against Japan as requested by the Western Allies, however where the Anglo-Americans indicated they wanted them to enter the war as soon as possible the Soviets made it a point to insist they could only do it after three months had passed from the German defeat. Thus it is not plausible that Soviets could be convinced to forsake the prizes they could have in Europe in order to pull chestnuts out of the fire for the Americans in the Far East.

    You make the point Lend-Lease was needed to bring about a total German defeat as opposed to a negotiated end to the Soviet-German war. I suppose that is in the realm of possibility, but to be able to make a competent judgement on this one would need to have a truly extensive knowledge of the Eastern Front and the Soviet Union in war, which I do not think you do. David Glantz, the most prominent Western scholar of the WWII Red Army and the Soviet Union at war, reckons that it was the Battle of Kursk which settled this. He reckons that in retrospect after Kursk (summer ’43) there is no other possibility left, but for the Soviet-German war to end in a total defeat of Germany. So to pronounce a judgement of the likelihood of total German defeat without Lend-Lease we would need to examine how important Lend-Lease was to the Soviets at Kursk, and in the timeframe up until Kursk. That is before the majority of Lend-Lease material had been delivered.

    • Sorry for waiting so long to respond. It is one of those things were you put it off for just a couple days and then you simply forget, and when, on occasion, you do remember, it is still not convenient. I’ve finally found the time and the inclination.

      I agree that once things have gone bad and are outside of your control, there is nothing worse than further intervening (and considering that perhaps every such intervention is “further intervention” in regards to the consequences of prior interventions, we can say that intervention of these kind are always foolish). I would not advocate the US holding Stalin’s feet to the fire or Truman invading China or Nixon staying the course in Viet Nam or anything like that. I am just using the fact that they did not do these things to show the inconsistency of the high minded rhetoric used by some who do advocate such things. The presidents I mentioned may have done things the way they did for intelligent, pragmatic reasons, but revealing that fact only makes us ask another question: If they were so darned worried about pragmatism, why the heck did they intervene (or at least abide by and facilitate the intervention) in quarrels not their own in the first place?

      I am not trying to make the case for intervention to fix the mistakes of past intervention. It is that sort of thinking that gets us into these economic slumps and crises. I am simply trying to establish the hypocrisy of: “Japan attacked the US Navy first, and they sure didn’t deserve it,” and “We must blend corporate and state interests and then tax and spend and draft and invade and conquer and intern and propagandize and shoot and bomb and march and trample in order to liberate the world from fascism”. These are two things that I would wager that even most self-identified libertarians buy into on some level. Either they apply some sort of cost-benefit analysis to World War Two and determine that the outcome was better than the alternative or they love “America” so much that they find ways to accept and excuse some of the most vile atrocities committed in her name. This hypocrisy shows that there is a lack of clear moral sanction for either instance of intervention, even by standards that aren’t particularly libertarian.

      Even if said moral authority existed, it seems plain that this was not the prime motivation for hardly anyone in the upper echelons of the government (hardly a revelation for you or I, I suppose) to intervene. And even if there were no such hypocrisy, there is still no moral authority because intervention “for the right reasons” still requires theft and murder of innocents in both allied and enemy nations, and a whole slough of unintended consequences.

      And what’s more, a worse thing for those of us in the present day than the events themselves, are the lies told about the events. I was certainly speculating (I appreciate your knowledgable input by the way), but I think at least some of these things I mentioned in my piece make more sense than the official tales of altruism and heroism, that maybe no one consciously accepts across the board and in all instances, yet that still permeate almost all casual discussions of World War Two.

      As to what else you wrote, even though it is tempting to point out that some of it is just one historian’s opinion, it makes sense to me. Besides, who am I to talk? I’m even less than a historian! You are right that I do not have an extensive knowledge about the Eastern Front, but I do find it fascinating, especially these two things: the USSR and Germany were once allies; and the possibility that the USSR had the Nazi’s whipped without the United States’ help. I have always maintained that they (USSR and Germany) were both at least plenty occupied with each other, to warrant our not aiding or opposing either one, as doing either would be unnecessary if the goal really was to see one or both destroyed. What I have also argued (I believe I did so above, but I have not re-read the entire thread) was that a Soviet victory could have taken longer or played out far differently, but for American aid (you have made me think twice about this), and that this was a good thing for the United States. I still think, even if the outcome was basically determined at the Battle of Kursk, that the US government’s stated, as opposed to real, goals would have been better served by non-intervention.

      Anyways, thanks again for the engagement, and do stop by anytime.

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