Baby Boomer's World War II

I have one more episode to go in Ken Burns’ The War. If you don’t know anything about World War II (and a lot of people don’t), this is what you’ll come away with after 12 hours:

1. The generals responsible for planning the war were vain, self-centered bunglers whose shortcomings resulted in countless senseless deaths.

2. Japanese Americans were held in detention camps, which was very unjust, while other Americans “were allowed to lead their regular lives,” like enlisting in or being drafted into the military where they had a better than even chance of getting killed. (Later, Japanese Americans who were detained fought in the war with distinction.)

3. Black people served in segregated units.

4. The American soldiers who fought and killed Germans couldn’t help but believe that the Germans “were just like them” and felt nothing but remorse over their deaths.

5. If only the generals had consulted the “ordinary soldiers,” the war would have been over in no time with few casualties.

Here’s what you won’t take away from The War:

1. You won’t learn much about Hitler, nor will you learn much about Japanese militarism.

2. You won’t hear anything about what might have motivated Americans to enlist, certainly not, “I wanted to kill Nazis and Japs because a world dominated by those thugs would have been intolerable.”

3. You won’t hear much praise for folks like Generals Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Montgomery, only their mistakes and faults.

In other words, you’ll come away believing the real bad guys back then were the racist, selfish, ass-covering American and British morons who made the decisions which ruined the lives of millions.

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