Nothing Learned in 60 Years
Television this week is full of D-Day documentaries, because June 6th is the sixtieth anniversary of the famous invasion. Government and its audiovisual propagandists don't seem to have learned a whole lot in those six decades, for that assault is still portrayed as glorious.
I was there, kind of. As a boy of 7 in the English Midlands, I awoke that day to the sound of continuous droning high above. I knew the sound of a fleet of multi-engine aircraft, but this went on hour after hour so we didn't need the BBC to announce that the invasion was "on."
Paratroopers and bombs were being ferried all day from all over Britain by everything that flew, and the sheer thrill of it all was gripping--at least to one so young, and so gullible as to accept the revealed wisdom that the Allies were good and the Germans were bad. The peculiar thing is that whereas I have come to see the event from a very different perspective, the purveyors of "history" have not. At least, it's "peculiar" if one assumes that those purveyors are trying to convey to the 21st Century public an impartial, objective assessment of World War Two, from a distance in time that permits such considered objectivity. That is, after all, what historians are supposed to do. The fact that they clearly haven't, as I show below, is proof positive that they are not impartial or objective historians.
Their biggest failure is truthfully to explain what US forces were doing in Europe at all. The usual fiction is that the governments of Germany and Italy posed a threat to "freedom and democracy"--two ideas that will never mix however hard the bottle is shaken--and so that a free and democratic America had a moral obligation to rush to stop them. It's an agreeable fairy tale, mais ce n'est pas la guerre. For one thing, America was at the time not "free" in any but a strictly relative sense; Americans were reeling from a dozen years of neo-fascist interference with all manner of freedom by the worst President of the century, F.D. Roosevelt. For another, the target governments had been elected democratically. True, each then tore up the means whereby the respective electorates might have voted them out, but in my view the National Socialist German Workers' Party would have won any election prior to 1944 in a landslide; for Hitler had broken the mold by actually keeping his promises! In that sense, the Nazis were poster boys for democracy at its finest; and lest any critic read that too quickly, I'll add that this is, of course, not to praise Nazism, but to damn democracy. So: the Allied countries were not free, and the Axis ones were not undemocratic. Those details aside, government historians are close.
Then further, it's not at all clear to me that after FDR had skillfully provoked Pearl Harbor and interfered in the war, the net result was a saving of human life or an increase in human freedom--not that the US Government has a mandate to wage war on either basis. What might have happened, had FDR made it clear from 1937 onwards--by deed as well as word--that never again would Our Boys be sent Over There, as they had been 20 years earlier? The first result in my opinion would have been that in March 1939, the UK government would have never committed the amazing and otherwise inexplicable folly of "guaranteeing the integrity of Poland"--an unfortunate nation on the far side of the probable aggressor, for any whose European geography is shaky. I know of no documentary proof, but see the only way to explain that needless announcement as to assume that FDR had sent Chamberlain an assurance that once again, Americans would be made to come to rescue the Brits should the need arise; and he certainly wanted a war. Absent that critically important trip-wire, it's then clear that Chamberlain would not have been obliged to declare war on Germans six months later. Nor, for sure, would the French then have done so. Thus, the German government would have been free to push East and conquer the Soviet Union; tragic, of course, for many Russians, but the net result would have saved tens of millions of lives while replacing one form of Socialism with another, arguably milder.
Had the UK stayed properly neutral, so then would the US; for even if FDR had provoked a war against Japan, he'd still have had insufficient excuse to wage one against Germany. World War Two, in other words, would not have taken place in at all the way it did, perhaps 50 million lives would have been saved, and June 6th would be just another pleasant Spring day. But neutrality, the avoidance of war, is not the normal aim of governments. Governments are 100% useless appendages to any society, and have to work to justify their existence in the eyes of those they rule; one way to do so, proven effective by 5,000 bloody years of history, is to excite small boys--and adults with a juvenile perspective--with the idea of the glory of patriotism, warfare and conquest. Unfortunately, 60 years after 10,000 died in a single day on the Normandy beachhead, the gullibility remains.