What was the main thing that USA failed to learn after WWII and is costing us so dearly to this very day? [Americans failed to understand that WWII had never really been a victory.]


The following comes from James C. Juhnke’s & Carol M. Hunter’s, The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History.  The chapter the quote comes from is entitled, “The Cold War: Pyrrhic Victory”. It begins with the subtitle: UNWINNABLE  WARS.

“In 1951, in the face of failures by world powers to create a stable peace out of the wreckage of World War II, George F. Kennan admonished the American people to stop thinking that they had won the war.” [1]

Despite all of the facts, cited throughout this  well written chapter “The Cold War: Pyrrhic Victory”,  since the late 1940s Americans by the millions and millions have been taught that they–or at least the West–won WWII.  The facts which Juhnke and Hunter refers to  include the cost of the world’s largest and most expensive arms race–an arms race which continues to this day.  The facts also include a description of the unnecessarily long division of Europe–well into the present day, as seen by Russian activity and Cold War-like tactics in modern Europe, the USA, Turkey, and  other  NATO lands today.  These facts also include a narration of the cost of the Cold War for liberated and developing nations from 1945 onwards to the present day.

In their work, Junke and Hunter have explained that Kennan had very often shared that almost unequivocally, “Americans who expected the full fruits of total victory [in the late 1940s]… had failed to understand the war.  It was one case of a wider phenomenon, the ‘failure to appreciate the limitations of war in general–any war–as a vehicle for the achievement of the objectives of the democratic state.'”[2]

Moreover, besides being hoodwinked by America’s own Post-World War II propaganda, many Americans have been taught another badly-thought-out world history–a history which directly or indirectly implies that the Cold War was won by the West–when in fact, a great deal of the Cold War, especially the Cold War in developing nations from the 1950s onwards may certainly be with us for a long time in terms of what occurred between 1945 and 1990 on the world stage.  These events include the Communist take over of the largest third world nation ever–China.  The subsequent decision by the Western Powers to make certain that after 1973  China moved into western orbit is likely to find the 21st and 22nd Centuries to be ones  dominated by China.

In short, just as WWII became the Cold War and the Cold War became a failed Pax-Americana (again), Americans have been consistantly hoodwinked by media and demagogues into believing that war is a necessary evil.

This sort of  bipolar view of  the world has been also further exasperated by the post-1960s USA and UK political landscape dominated by the wishes of the wealthiest and most libertarian, in which austerity has been largely promoted at the cost of human development and welfare.  [As most readers of progressive blogs and newspapers know, austerity is a war on the 99% while making trillions for the 1 %.]

Based on the key material, i.e. as organized by Juhnke and Hunter in the Cold War chapter of The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History, it is high time that all Americans demand better education on war and peace- both in the press and in the classrooms.  

Textbooks, like Juhnke’s and Hunters, The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History, should become mainstay to development of new and long-needed curricula on all areas of social science and history. 

 

NOTES

[1] James C. Juhnke & Carol M. Hunter, The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History. Kitchener, Ont.: Pandora Press, 2001, p. 235.

[2] Ibid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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32 Responses to What was the main thing that USA failed to learn after WWII and is costing us so dearly to this very day? [Americans failed to understand that WWII had never really been a victory.]

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.

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