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The 12 Things Every American Should Know About WWII

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by belasar, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. green slime

    green slime Member

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    In the early months of 1945, tens of thousands of refugees from the Japanese home islands had moved to Manchuria with all their possessions, believing the colony to be a safe haven.

    By June, at least the Kwantung Army was aware of Soviet preparations. How strongly this was communicated back home I do not know.
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The reason I included all three (blockade, Atomic's and Russian DoW) was precisely because it was a controversial subject and it has no absolute right or wrong answer except in our own personal opinion. It's one of those questions we can not answer in incontrovertible terms absent either a time machine, access to parallel universes or the ability to actually look into the real time thoughts of long dead participants.
     
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  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    I give it 90%/5%/5% then. The "rain of ruin" convinced Anami, he told the Emperor that.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'd argue that France played an important part in both the run up to the war and during the war, after all it was France where the Western allies launched D-day and the French military was one of the strongest pre war it was a combination of doctrine, hubris, and organization that resulted in their loss. Not sure how to handle this in a short paragraph though. Your way works although listing it as the 7 or 8 (to include Italy) top powers might work as well or it might have gone past the point of being worth counting. One issue might be how and if you want to influence peoples perception of current nations with their roles in the war. That gets into philosophical and moral territory pretty quickly though.
    Perhaps saying the "immediate cause(s) were" would be a good idea then. That suggest there's more to it but doesn't require you to go into detail. IMO stating there's more to the story is hardly ever a bad idea.
    Again it comes down to wording and semantics IMO. Certainly PH was the most important military action "on American soil" but others were important as well. Again does Guam count as "American soil" or do the Phillipines, I would think Midway and Wake would at least? The Aleutian invasions also had some considerable impact, none were or part of US states at the time though.
    QUOTE="green slime, post: 820106, member: 18897"]I'd say the ranking for the causes of Japanese surrender was Russian Dow 80%, Blockade 10% Atomics 10%. Until the Russians entered, the Japanese were hoping for a Soviet brokered peace. Even with the atomics, they aren't boots on the ground. Loss of Manchuria was severe blow to the empire, in a way that destroying a city was not. Lots cities were destroyed.[/QUOTE]
    I think we are talking about a number of issues here and the attendant confusion may be part of the reasons for the disagreement. One issue was the Japanese realizing the war was lost. For the most part that was clear well before either the Soviet intervention or the atomic bombings. The Japanese continued to fight not to win (at least by the summer of 45 and probably by some time in 43 at the latest) but to "save face" and/or get an acceptable deal ending the war. So when I say the bombings were critical I'm talking about the impulse that resulted in the immediate surrender of Japan. Had the atomic bombings not taken place then the Soviet invasion may have resulted in the Japanese surrendering before Downfall but there is certainly a chance they wouldn't have. But absent the atomic bombs I don't see them surrendering in August and likely not before later September.

    I'm not sure if mine was under world history or American history but that's an important insight. Another thing when I was growing up the adults had pretty much all lived through the war so certain knowledge was pretty much assumed, which looking at things now was something that deserved closer examination.
     
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  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    At its core this list is intended to act as a template for what a High school level graduate should know about WWII and could be taught in the typical week spent teaching the subject. As such much must be set aside, things we find interesting, perhaps even crucial to 'understand' the conflict. Then again a European or Asian student might need to focus on different areas to know the things that have relevance to their lives where they live.

    I do not wish to short change France but after some 4 and a half decades of studying this period I have grown leery of giving too much credence to counting bayonets. Agreed, on paper France was powerful, but war's are not fought with paper army's. By this logic both Italy and China should also be counted as 'Great Powers', but were they? Yes FDR promoted China as one of the 'Four Policemen', but neither Britain or Russia took it very seriously and France is notably absent from this list. Italy's main claim to fame is how much of a drain it was to German ambitions. A comment attributed to Imperial Germany about her alliance to Austro-Hungary was like being 'Shackled to a corpse' A generation later Germany would be shackled to a Zombie, a corpse you could drag, but a zombie was likely to actually to pull against you.

    I am pretty comfortable with using the term .'principal cause' as it implies there were other, lesser causes and it certainly applies to the three largest Axis nations and even to some of the Allies.

    With the possible exception of the Philippines I have grave doubts many Americans could find the other locations on a map. Nor have a book I have read about the Pacific War that has ever devoted much ink to these locations, at least as that compared to the coverage of Pearl Harbor. While the Philippines was a US protectorate, it was already semi-independent nation and was scheduled for full independence before the attack on December 8th, 1941. I think this remains something people at our level would know.
     
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  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    The date for full independence was to be 1 Jan 1946, IIRC. We stuck to that schedule.
     
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The guvment getting a job done on time? Surely you jest!
     
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Get shed of a major PITA? Sometimes they can do that.
     
  9. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I like your amended list. I agree that, for many of us, our knowledge is more detailed than what is necessary for the average American student. For so many of us our fathers and mothers were actually in the war so our interest is greater. For students today, they may not have any direct connection with WW2, but I feel that this kind of knowledge would encourage those with greater interest to pursue it. It''s also obvious that this list is skewed towards American kids. The list would be somewhat different for students in other countries. Thanks for giving it and amending it as necessary. It also provided the impetus for us to really think about what kind of knowledge is basic to understanding the war.
     
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  10. Jaap Vermeer MDE

    Jaap Vermeer MDE Active Member

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    It must be a part of the Amentmend of the USA, but all you mentioned can be fix also to The Netherlands. I must say the youth in Holland knows a lot about WWII.
    The only reason is that we were occupied by the Germans. After 70th years of freedom, the Germans now claim our King :p.
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I would think that depending on the country or region 60% to 75% should be nearly identical, while the remainder ought to be specific to them. For example a European nation over run by Germany the Occupation, Resistance, Collaboration and Liberation should be explored.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed, in many ways (IMO) the best that can be hoped for is to leave the student curious and interested enough to continue learning on his/her own.
    As an active player agreed France wasn't in the game long but in the lead up to the war it was. Without an inspired plan they would probably have played a role on a par with Britain as they did in WWI. I guess it rather depends on the point you wan to make.
    I guess that's where we differ. I don't see it as the principal cause. In Germany's case I see it as a combination of the economy and resentment from how WWI ended. The expansion was just Hitler's way of distracting and inspiring the populace. Italy didn't even have those excuses, they joined because of the grandiose vision of their leader. Japan's entry IMO was fueled by their need to be seen as at least equals by the international community and the perceived lack of respect (not completely unjustified) they received from said community combined with a dysfunctional system of governance.
    Midway gets at least close to as much. The lack of the ability to locate it shows the need to educate people about it rather than ignore it IMO.
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I agree; Belasar's amended list is actually quite an amazing summary. Sticky-worthy even.
     
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  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed most of what we picking at is pretty minor. One could do a lot worse than the original list and still be in the reasonable range.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    You guys should consider doing WWII lesson plans. This is the core of a course on WWII in itself.
     
  16. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    That sounds a lot like work......I had the work gene removed when I retired.
     
  17. Jaap Vermeer MDE

    Jaap Vermeer MDE Active Member

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    Iam giving power-point lectures at schools and elder-homes. Still after 70th years, WWII is over,very populair.
     
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  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Bravo! I hope I never stop learning.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Mine got encrusted in khaki colored salt.
     
  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    My intent was to distinguish that the US managed to escape the ravages of the war unlike most other countries and 4 of the 5 major participants. In no way could you compare Warsaw 1939 and 1944, Rotterdam, London Blitz, Coventry, Eastern Russia et all to the Attack on Pearl Harbor where less than a 100 civilians were killed and very modest destruction of private property. I agree Midway is a important battle, probably the most important battle fought in the Pacific War, but win or lose it would have a limited impact on the US homeland which is what that paragraph was intended to cover. A loss might mean a war lasting 6-9 months longer and cause more casualties, then again it might make Japan even more reckless offering a chance to make up lost time and casualties elsewhere.
     

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