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“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” So wrote Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Josiah Quincy on September 11, 1773. Interesting thought—interesting date. Studs Terkel wrote a book about World War II, in which he called it “The Good War,” a sentiment often felt, most probably because the enemies of World War II—Nazi Germany and militarist Japan—were of such evil character that anything necessary to defeat them was deemed good. In the aftermath, most Americans accepted that view, at least for a decade or two. But nobody has ever argued that there was anything good about the war itself. In the end at least 50 million human beings had perished—a level of destruction scarcely imaginable, even after the carnage of World War I. World War II took slaughter to new levels. It was the most destructive war in history and, so far, the last world war. Perhaps the devastating effects of the first use of atomic bombs, weapons of mass destruction, dulled the impetus to consider commencing another major conflict. Perhaps it was the simple realization, after centuries of conflict, that wars are painfully costly in life, limb and property, win or lose.

RAF Spitfires

History suggests that doors are sometimes started by accident, or at least without preconceived ideas of the possible benefits of declaring war on an opponent. The first world war began with an assassination that triggered a series of events that led to a four year long devastating series of battles. When the American colonists began to protest what they perceived as unfair treatment by the mother country, the idea of warfare with Great Britain, a much more powerful entity, was not seen as a first resort. World War II, however, was planned in advance. As was discussed in the previous section on the Versailles Treaty, the seeds of the Second World War were planted during the so-called peacemaking process of 1918. Years before coming to power, Adolf Hitler was already contemplating the possibility of seeking revenge for what he perceived as the outrage, or “Diktat” of Versailles. As soon as he came to power, he began rebuilding Germany's military might, with no regard for treaty restrictions. When he felt it was time to begin the war, he created an international crisis to justify his invasion of Poland. There was nothing accidental about it.
Ike on D-Day



FDR & Churchill

Macarthur Tokyo Bay A Bomb Japan
Sage History Home Depression Years World War 2 Home Post-World War 2 America Updated April 3, 2020