Note: I have since written a follow up to this article.
On American Intervention In Germany: A Follow Up
One year ago today, I published a rejected op-ed for antiwar.com that has since gone on to be my most popular article…
One of the few remaining points the American war supporter has left is the idea that American intervention during the second World War was the peak example of American interventionist. Sure, it failed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and all of South America, but this one example in Europe between the years of 1941 and 1945 was executed so perfectly it debunks the idea that American intervention is not always correct.
Just last year, former President George W. Bush — the man responsible for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan — held an event in honor of British Prime Minister and warhawk Winston Churchill. That same year, the former President was caught praising the leader with a quote that doesn’t even exist. The leader of the United Kingdom was, as John Stewart said, so great he made us forget what really happened.
This has been directly used as a smear against critics of war for a long time. After President Barack Obama established diplomatic effort with Iran known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Rep. Liz Cheney wrote in their book Exceptional that he is comparable to Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister who signed the German speaking part of Czechoslovakia over to Adolf Hitler (and for fans of Monty Python, the former greatest British joke).
Of course, the idea that those against war would be against the idea of going after fascist Germany has little historical precedence. Anti-war activist Smedley Butler, author of the famous anti-war book War Is A Racket, spent much of the first chapter going after the two fascist states of the time.
“Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace [than Mussolini],” the author said half way through chapter one. Yes, the book that ends with the line “to hell with war,” smashes a pro-war talking points from eighty years later just as much as it encourages the reader to smash the war racket.
What these people are often referring to are people like Charles Lindbergh and groups like the America First Party. Yet, even the most firm non-interventionist in congress voted in favor of the resolution to declare war on Japan. Only pacifist congresswoman Jeannette Rankin voted against the resolution in question.
What many seem to forget is one day before the resolution mentioned above passed, Imperial Japan had launched what was then the largest attack on United States soil (only surpassed by 9/11), the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The United States Congress was very much aware that this was only done by Japan, and not by any other major Axis Power. The resolution Congress approved said:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on was against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.
There is no mention of Germany, nor Italy, nor any other Axis powers. It wasn’t until four days later, after Germany declared war on the United States, the United States responded by declaring war on Germany. The resolution clearly stated the reason as “the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America.”
To make it simple, had Germany never declared war on us, World War Two would have never happened. Claiming this is in any way comparable to modern interventionism is the equivalent of claiming killing Osama Bin Laden was an example of imperialism. It shows you have not studied even the Wikipedia pages of our top activists and leaders at best, and shows that you only wish to torch a strawman at worst.