World War II

Revisiting Postwar Japan

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For military historians, walking a battlefield is a special experience. That's where things previously locked away in books happened, the hill that blocked an advance, the river that defended an important city and altered the course of human history. Historians visit Waterloo, Gettysburg, and Normandy all the time. Things work differently for those interested in the final days of World ... [click for more]

The Worst Mistake in U.S. History

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The worst mistake in U.S. history was the conversion after World War II of the U.S. government from a constitutional, limited-government republic to a national-security state. Nothing has done more to warp and distort the conscience, principles, and values of the American people, including those who serve in the U.S. military. A good example of how the national-security state has ... [click for more]

The Badlands of Executive Order 9066

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Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II by Richard Reeves (Henry Holt and Company, 2015); 384 pages. The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America’s Only Family Internment Camp During World War II by Jan Jarboe Russell (Scribner, 2015); 2015; 417 pages. One of the great scandals of American history is ... [click for more]

Opposing America’s Participation in World War II

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Even in the face of ongoing catastrophes arising out of U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East, proponents of empire and intervention still trot out America’s entry into World War II to justify their imperialist, militarist, and interventionist philosophy. World War II was the “good” war, they say — a necessary intervention, one that saved ... [click for more]

The War That Justified Other Wars

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The Good War That Wasn’t — And Why It Matters: World War II’s Moral Legacy by Ted Grimsrud (Cascade Books, 2014), 286 pages. Even among some libertarians, World War II is viewed as the great exception. Although it was the most destructive thing to life, liberty, and property that the world has ever seen, World War II is ... [click for more]

The Ghosts of Yalta Still Haunt the World

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Seventy years ago, during the week of February 4-11, 1945, the most momentous conference of the Second World War was held at Yalta in the Crimea between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Their decisions have affected much of the world ever since. The Scars of the Second World War The Second World War left a permanent scar on ... [click for more]

The Cataclysm of World War II

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Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008), 567 pages. World War II was the great event of the 20th century. It greatly altered political boundaries, ushered in the Cold War, effected a total transformation in American governance, and consumed more lives than any other event ... [click for more]

Was the “Good War” Really Good?

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The Second World War is often called “the good war.” But was it? After all, this “good war” brought mass destruction; death to tens of millions of men, women, and children; and enormous suffering to many more. How can such a horrible event be called “good?” Well, that description comes from the war’s popular portrayal as a necessary Manichean struggle between ... [click for more]
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