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June 24, 2014

The Myths of World War II


World War II has often been viewed as the best war ever in which United States played a very positive and effective role. Michael C.C. Adams in his book The Best War Ever: America and World War II revealed that United States had played as negative role in this war as all Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan). Adams discusses many myths in this book which were usually propagates to pronounce World War II as the “best war ever”. Adam says, “If the past is remolded too drastically, it ceases to be real history. It becomes what we call myth, or folklore, instead. One task of the historian is to try to keep our knowledge of the past as complete and accurate as possible so that our popular version does not depart too far from reality (Adams, p.1).
One myth that is usually presented by people is that, minority groups were very well treated in United States during World War II and there was no ethnical or racial problem in United States. This is not true. According to Adams, around 300,000 Mexican-Americans fought for America in World War II (Adams, p.83) but neither government of United States nor American society gave them their due right. They were mistreated and humiliated in the society. White members of GI attacked and mugged Mexican-Americans due to their odd and unusual clothing. These riots were called “zoot suit” riots.  “Here’s a guy riding a streetcar and he gets beat up ‘cause he happens to be a Mexican” (Adams, 120). Japanese-Americans were also mistreated in United States. Government took away their civil rights and thousands of Japanese were sent to internment camps.
It has been portrayed in media and books that United States played a heroic role in World War II but Adams discloses that United States committed more violence and massacre in this war than any other country. United Sates soldiers used to boil the heads of Japanese and sent these boiled heads “to their families in United States” (Adams, p.112). Urinating into the mouths of Japanese and killing their wounded prisoners were usual practices (Adams, p.112). United States soldiers used poor women to fulfill their sexual desire by giving them basic food and household necessities (Adams, p.94).
On 6th August 1945, Americans dropped an atomic bomb to Hiroshima and one on Nagasaki three days later; after which the Japanese government surrendered. These bombs proved to the final blow for Axis forces and ended the Second World War (Adams, p.66).  These atomic bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of, mostly innocent, people. People who considered World War II as “best war ever” justified the droppings of atomic bombs by saying that it ended the war and saved the lives of thousands of people. But according to Adams, America had no need to drop atomic bombs on Japan, because Japan was fairly disabled by the destruction of their Naval force and industry and the war was near to its end anyway.  United States also dropped napalm bombs to different cities of Japan, which have killed “more than half a million people” (Adams, p.65).

Conclusion

Adam’s book describes that war is blight to our civilization. The horrors of wars, huge toll of human lives, immense loss of property and resources, heinous and inhuman war crimes; and above all the aftermath-miseries, diseases and moral decay can never be justified. Although America’s role in the war portrayed as heroic but in reality United States played as negative role in the war as all the axis forces.


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