A 1960s CHILD WATCHTOWER (PLEASE WRITE TO: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com)

" The More We Learn, The More We Realize Just How Little We Know, And How Much There Is Still To Be Learned " I come from the dramatic, revolutionary, albeit violent, yet 'magical' 60s. Opinionated and challenging, I write about current events, geopolitics, globalization, history, music, mainly classic rock, philosophy, pop culture, politics, religion, sociology, and anything else that defines the person which I am. 60s Child

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Location: Miami, Florida, United States

I belong to a special generation, the 'Baby Boomer Generation', all 70 million of us. Mine is the countercultural, culture-changing, music-influenced, society-altering, rebellious, and revolutionary generation which grew up during the dramatic and violent, while in many ways exciting and 'magical' 1960s. After all these years, I still feel totally identified with the 60s, as that decade defines me. Although I was both a participating and observing member of the 'flower generation', I am a conservative in my political and sociological principles. As much as I appreciated the freedom and radical liberalism of the 60s, I nevertheless did not support the anti-war movement. I am also Roman Catholic, and teach catechism. AS I CONSIDER THE MUSIC OF THE 60s AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE CULTURE, AND CONSIDERING THAT EVEN AFTER 40 YEARS IT RETAINS ITS POWERFUL ALLURE, I WISH TO SHARE SOME OF MY 60s FAVORITE GROUPS: ANIMALS, B.BOYS, BEATLES, B.GEES, B.S.&T, CHICAGO, CREAM, C.C.R., C.S.N.&Y, E.L.O., E.L.P., 4 SEASONS, G.F.R., J.HENDRIX, KINKS, LED ZEP, MAMAS & PAPAS, M.BLUES, R.STONES, R.ORBISON, S.& G., WHO, YARDBIRDS EMAIL: A60sCHILDMAILBOX@aol.com

Thursday, October 06, 2005

REFLECTING ON POST WWII GEOPOLITICS



REFLECTING ON THE SECOND WORLD WAR,
IT’S ORIGINAL PURPOSE, IT’S NET ACCOMPLISHMENTS,
IT’S AFTERMATH,
THE “WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEENS”,
AND ITS INFLUENCE AND EFFECTS ON MODERN GEOPOLITICS


Not that long ago, while visiting former Soviet ‘satellite states’, in Riga, Latvia, President George W. Bush flatly second-guessed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s handling of and his decisions made during the Yalta summit between himself, Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, a meeting which yielded an agreement which clearly handed over Central and Eastern Europe to the Soviets upon war’s end.

President Bush said the United States played a role in Europe’s painful division after World War II, a decision that helped cause “one of the greatest wrongs of history” when the Soviet Union imposed its harsh rule across Central and Eastern Europe.

Russian president Vladimir Putin took exception to President Bush’s charge, well… he actually acted as offended by such ‘implications’, as he countered that those countries had actually “invited the Soviet Union to protect and annex them as ‘Soviet satellite republics”. Obviously, Mr. Putin has historically been proven quite wrong about such assumption, as these countries, once no longer afraid of Soviet military intervention declared their independence and established democratic governments immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union. Further, most have already become members of N.A.T.O., (the West’s answer to the Russian-dominated Warsaw Pact), and they immediately also applied for membership in the European Union.

Kudos to President Bush for bringing out into the open what many of us, definitely I for one, have believed for quite many years.

The history of World War II as we have been taught in school, from books written by so-called “scholars”, as it’s tales of bloody fighting, heroism and good versus evil have been passed down to us by our parents and grandparents, as the media has kept it un-retouched in the public domain throughout these 60 years, as Hollywood has glorified and romanticized it, and as “the victors” have made us believe was a noble and just war, the end of which was a total and unequivocal success for “the good guys”, meaning us.

It is a widely held tenet that the history of wars and their political ramifications, for the sake of the general public consumption, and effective positive propaganda has always been written by the victors.

Just imagine for a moment how history might have been ‘cleansed’ through the propaganda-machine prisms of Germany and Japan had they, rather than the allied powers won WWII. Scary thought indeed! Nevertheless, such a premise would present a fascinating subject matter for countless of imaginative writers. What might have happened if……..? But that is a charged subject, which is best left for erudite fiction novelists and Hollywood screenwriters.

I grew up worshiping Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, both of which I considered giants of the twentieth century, without whose leadership both England and the U.S. might have lost the war. I also felt a good measure of respect towards Harry S. Truman, our nation’s “caretaker” after the death of our beloved F.D.R.

Do not get me wrong; I still believe that both Churchill and Roosevelt were great and mostly noble leaders. You can also make a case for Adolph Hitler having been a ‘great leader’ from the Nazi point of view, as a great leader does not necessarily mean a well-meaning or noble leader. Heck, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar and Napoleon were ‘great leaders’ as well. But in contrast, both Churchill and F.D.R. were basically good-hearted men as well. However, over the years and as I have become more educated and have researched the facts about WWII, from way before its start, (going as far earlier as the turn of the century) to this present day, I have come to realize that these two men, and the British and American ‘brain trust’ for that matter, despite having ‘won’ the war, have left me quite disappointed, appalled and enraged over quite many of their decisions while conducting the war and managing its political aftermath, with an emphasis on the aftermath.

Yes, both Churchill and F.D.R. were only human, with warts and all. And yes, hindsight is always 20/20. However, some of their decisions had much better and more obvious alternatives, which made much more sense. It also becomes obvious that these two men were following a clear agenda, one that has proven to be disastrous as we review post-WWII history.

It is not my intention here to sugarcoat Nazi Germany’s barbaric existence. Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party, especially the infamous SS troops were evil and murderous barbarians. However, I would only be kidding myself by not exposing the fact that the Soviet Union, particularly while under the rule of Joseph Stalin was no better insofar as their respect towards minorities and human life were concerned.

Without ignoring the horrors of the Jewish holocaust, during which the Germans ‘exterminated’ over 6 million European Jews, on top of other millions of gypsies, homosexuals, mental patients and dissenters, and also taking into consideration Japan’s ‘rape’ of Manchuria and other atrocities perpetuated upon Asians during their control of most of Eastern and Southeast Asia, another one of history’s greatest genocides, or ‘ethnic cleansings’, as these acts are now called, wiping out tens of millions of innocent people, one can still make a case for the Stalinist Soviet Union having been just as murderous and inhuman as Germany and Japan were.

During Joseph Stalin’s rule, his ‘political purges’ and persecutions of minorities, including Jews, tortured, murdered and starved tens of millions of innocent people, including old people, women and children. Add to that the fact that the “Red Army”, during WWII did not follow the Geneva Convention accord regarding the treatment of military prisoners, as they tortured, starved, killed or did not provide medical attention, leading to death to well over a million German prisoners of war. The Soviets had such a reputation as ruthless barbarians that German soldiers and civilians, upon learning that the Soviets were near their positions or towns, would run towards the west in search of the American or the British armies’ ‘protection’.

THE GENESIS OF A TREATY WITH THE DEVIL


GERMANY’S IMPERIALISTIC AMBITIONS

Following WW I, Germany was a country in total chaos, both politically and economically depressed. Unemployment was over 25% and political unrest was rampant. Socialists, Communists and countless other parties were in constant struggle to gain power.

In the 1920’s, a disillusioned ex-corporal named Adolph Hitler joined the party, which eventually, and under his charismatic leadership, nationalistic ideals and exceptional use of oratory, became the National Socialist Party, or Nazi Party.

In 1933, Hitler, supported by millions of Germans that dreamed of recapturing their “lost glory,” became Chancellor of Germany.

As Chancellor, Hitler embarked on an unprecedented military build-up. While he kept preaching about expanding Germany’s influence and territory in Europe, other powers, such as France and England did not take them seriously, given Germany’s economic estate and their defeat years earlier. Besides, the rest of Europe was going through a depression of their own, so they could not afford to build their armies up anyway. Therefore, France and Great Britain adopted a policy of ‘appeasement’, thereby nudging Hitler into ‘behaving’ while acceding to one demand after another, all in the name of peace.

Still, Germany’s military build-up worried the Europeans to the point that British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler in Berlin and signed what was then considered a ‘non-aggression’ treaty. Upon his return to England, on Sept. 30, 1938, while standing in front of No. 10 Downing St., (the Prime Minister’s residence), he proclaimed “…….I believe it is peace in our time, go home and have a nice sleep…”.

Nothing was further from the truth, as in March 1939 Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, with the excuse of protecting the many German-speaking Czechs. On Sept. 1, Hitler invaded Poland and on Sept. 3, both France and Great Britain declared war on Germany, thus commencing WWII. It should be noted that Great Britain had a mutual defense pact with Poland, which was the official reason for Great Britain’s declaring war on Germany.

Make note of this: WWII started because a foreign power had invaded Poland.

The history of WWII, between 1939 and 1945 is pretty well known, so there is no reason to rehash it here now.

DROPPING YOUR SHORTS TO APPEASE YOUR “ALLY”

In February of 1945, with the result of WWII a foregone conclusion, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchil, and Joseph Stalin had a conference in Yalta, on the Crimean coast. Joseph Stalin, his army pretty much occupying and having obliterated most of Central and Eastern Europe, while banging on Germany demanded that the Soviet Union be given control over these same Central and Eastern Europe countries.

Not remembering lessons previously learned when they ‘appeased’ Germany, F.D.R. and Churchill gave in to Stalin’s demands, only with the proviso that these countries be allowed to hold “free elections”. Right, elections Soviet-style!

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

World War II started in 1939 only because Germany invaded Poland, so it must be assumed that the allies went to war to free Poland from an invading army, right? So why, after 6 bloody years, during which over 70 million people died, both civilian and military, did the allies allow Poland to be invaded and dominated by another foreign power, in this case the Soviet Union? So, what purpose did WWII serve, to give the Soviets millions of square miles of additional territories, thereby subjugating tens of millions of people under their harsh Communist rule?

Why did the U.S. and Great Britain allow themselves to be swindled into such a nation giveaway?

I personally believe that F.D.R., later Truman, and Churchill lacked the ‘cojones’ to tell the Soviets to keep their hands off Central and Eastern Europe,….or?

Did they actually fear Stalin?

Were they that impressed with the Soviets’ unrelenting march through Eastern and Central Europe all the way into Germany?

Did they realize that history could repeat itself, since the downfall of first Napoleon, and then Hitler came about when these ‘magnificent’ and undefeatable armies tried to invade Russia? Did they fear getting bogged-down and thus becoming easy prey for the Soviets during the harsh Russian winter, as happened with previous invaders?

There are several plausible hypotheses, not necessarily my own.

GEOPOLITICS, WORLD OPINION, WAR-STRESSED HOMELANDS,
BANGED-UP ARMIES, OTHER FRONTS STILL QUITE ACTIVE

1. The Western allies were just plain tired of fighting any further, their armies being stretched-out to their limits.
2. F.D.R. and Churchill sensed their nations’ restlessness and political pressure to expedite the end of the war.

3. Standing up to the Soviet Union, to the point of even becoming belligerent towards their “ally” would create very negative world opinion, not to mention in their own countries. Remember, the Cold War had not begun and the Soviet Union was not perceived too negatively by the west in general. Turning against the Soviets could have been seen as ‘morally wrong’.

4. To a point, Communism was not held in such a negative light, as it was post-WW II. After all, Communism was supposed to be the ‘antithesis’ of Nazism. Therefore, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

5. It’s true, the West witnessed what Stalin’s army did to the best soldiers, and tanks that Hitler had, as they annihilated them totally. Fighting the Soviets would certainly have created a protracted war, a war of attrition with certainly millions of additional casualties, not to mention additional trillions of dollars spent on support equipment, with no certainty of victory.

6. The Pacific front. Unfortunately, in early 1945, the allies, mainly the U.S. were entrenched in the bloodiest chapter of their Pacific war against Japan. This front necessitated hundreds of thousands of troops, plus thousands of planes and ships, which could not be moved to Europe.
Had Japan been defeated earlier, thus freeing up so many assets and resources, perhaps the mood in Washington and London may have been different.

7. The U.S., at the time was still planning the invasion of Japan, and based on the way the Japanese soldiers were defending each and every Pacific island to the death. It was a clear indication that both Japanese soldiers and civilians would defend their homeland to the end. The U.S. calculated that an invasion of the Japanese mainland would take over 2 million soldiers, plus thousands of planes and ships. They also estimated that casualties, both dead and injured could surpass conservatively over one million soldiers.
Deployment of that many troops to Eastern Europe might have made a difference in facing the Soviet Union, but they were not available at the time they faced the Soviets.

8. For some reason, which nowadays befuddles all reasoning, Washington and London considered Nazism as worse than Communism, so they supported “the lesser of two evils.”
The West could never have imagined how untrusting , how barbaric, how aggressive, and how belligerent the Soviets were capable of being. Further, the West could have never imagined that the Soviet Union would eventually become such a gigantic nuclear super power. The U.S., for one, was arrogant in believing that it would be the only remaining super power after the war.

9. The U.S. in early 1945 already knew that the atomic bomb was a reality, only a matter of time when. The U.S. assumed that once it tested such a weapon it could keep the Soviets ‘under control’. Little did they imagine that the Soviets were well aware of the A-Bomb, as they had spies well within “The Manhattan Project” in the U.S. The Soviet Union tested their own bomb within another year, thus triggering “the arms race”. And the rest is history.


REALITY

The U.S. eventually chose to drop the A-Bomb on first Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki for two fundamental and well-documented reasons.

1. The U.S. wished to expedite the end of the war and avert having to invade Japan, potentially the largest and costliest invasion in human history.

2. The U.S. needed to defeat Japan before the Soviets had the chance to invade northern Japan, thus establishing a Soviet presence on the Island which carried heavy political implications, such as having to divide Japan into North and South, (like happened with Korea), and after they gave away so much to the Soviets in Europe, they were not about to repeat the same mistake. Up to and after Germany’s defeat, the Soviets had not declared war on Japan, although they had quite a number of divisions in Far Eastern Russia ready to invade at any moment.

HINDSIGHT IS 20/20

Had the West defeated Japan earlier than it did Germany, it would have had the capability of doubling their armies, assets, and resources in Europe by deploying the Pacific armies in Europe. The invasion of, or at least the threat of attacking the Soviet Union would have been a much easier task, as they would not only have had a much larger army at their disposal, but would have only one battle front to concentrate on.

Had the U.S. been able to develop a working A-Bomb prior to the Yalta conference, it, along with Great Britain would have had the upper hand in negotiations with Joseph Stalin, thus negating the Soviets the ‘de facto’ annexation of Central and Eastern Europe.

The U.S. did have a clear advantage over the Napoleonic army and over Hitler’s German army. The U.S. had a gigantic military-industrial machine, which could replace spent equipment faster than any other nation. And the American manpower was second to none, both in numbers and in ability.

Logistically, the U.S. could have maintained a running and uninterrupted supply line all the way into Moscow.

WESTERN PROPAGANDA

A well-planned propaganda campaign could have been designed in order to convince not only the American public, but the rest of the world that the Soviets were bent on European domination and that Communism was far worse than Nazism, and that Stalin was a much more ‘evil man’ than Adolph Hitler was. Militarily it would have been a no-brainer, since all the military assets would have already been in place in Europe, therefore the West could have extended the war another couple of years if necessary, provided they waged a conventional war. However, if they had elected to use the A-Bomb, the Soviet Union would have capitulated within a couple of months at the most.

BONUS NAZI HINDSIGHT

On the other hand:
Had Adolph Hitler been a patient man and waited another two to three years before invading Poland, we might all be speaking German today.

1. Germany was also working on the development of the Atomic Bomb even sooner than the Americans. His labs were bombed by the allies.

2. He had developed plans for missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland. The factory was destroyed by the allies.

3. He had several working prototypes of jet-powered fighters and bombers. Had he waited another two years he could have built thousands of them.

4. The Tiger tank was vastly superior to the Panzer tank, which in itself was far superior to ally tanks. Had he waited a couple of more years, he could have built thousands of Tiger tanks, which could have decided the ground war in his favor.

So just as he was a mad man, Adolph Hitler was very impatient and shortsighted as well. Thank goodness he was!

1960s CHILD

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