|London, England after Germany began to brutally bomb its civilian|
population in the Battle of Britain.
Kirsch cites a number of books that ask questions about the morality of the war, and says that they are not so much "revisionist," but they reconsider the way we look at the war, and the morality of the actions that the Allies took.
Which history revisionists ever call their own work "revisionist history?" In order to truly revise something, you would have to change it, and you really can't change history. History is what has happened already, so what historian would ever admit to being a revisionist? No, it's always the point of view, or perspective, or way of thinking that we change.
Here's the deal. While Kirsch tries to imply that he is neutral on the issue, he seems upset that we, the Allies, killed a lot of civilians during World War II, and didn't get in any kind of trouble for it. He implies a certain condemnation for our act of total war as a barbaric, antiquated means of waging war. We're much wiser, kinder, and moral now, so we know better than to wage total war. No, today, we conduct nation building. We make war civilized. We make it clean, and neat, and we make sure it goes according to plan. Really?
|These B-17 Flying Fortress bombers are doing what they were built to do -|
Drop bombs on people. There is nothing civilized about this. It's not more
humane because it happens from way up high. It's a method of killing. It is
Kirsch fails to mention some very key pieces of information.
A) World War II didn't just magically happen. Both sides didn't happily agree to go to war at the same time. It was initiated by Japan and Germany. They began attacking their neighbors with the very real goal of world domination, not a domination for peace, prosperity, unity, or some kind of shared brotherhood, and they were under no threat. They wanted to rule the world in a cruel, barbaric, self-serving manner, that would have enslaved or destroyed those who did not fit their perfect mold for how they ought to look, behave, and believe. That war and that quest for domination was brought to our shores in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, after which they declared war on us. On December 11 Germany and Italy also declared war on us. This war was brought upon us, much as it had been brought upon Poland, the United Kingdom, China, Korea, and much of the rest of the world - undeservedly, and unprovoked.
B) Germany and Japan fought this war as most wars before it had been fought, targeting both civilian and military targets. At that time the world knew that wars were fought between nations. They were fought between people groups, and cultures, not just militaries. There was no such thing as a war that did not involve the civilian population. The goal in war is to defeat the enemy by whatever means necessary. If the enemy does not yield, even when you have clearly demonstrated victory, you make him yield by attacking that which is most vulnerable: his civilian population. A defending military is truly defeated, not when its numbers are too small to stand up to a larger invading military, but when it can no longer defend the people it set out to protect. The Germans and Japanese exploited these principles, and in order to achieve victory we returned the favor.
C) We weren't allies with Russia because we had the same beliefs or interests as them. We weren't friends because of their humanitarian track record. We didn't get along because they treated civlians how we thought they ought to be treated. We cooperated because we had a common enemy, and the reason we were fighting was not to push a humanitarian agenda. We were fighting in defense of our own freedom and way of life. We were fighting in direct response to an attack on that way of life, and in the comradery that arose from fighting alongside the British, French, Chinese, and other allies, we fought to extend a better way of life to them as well.
|This is what the Nazis did to their enemies, a crime that the German,|
civilian population was complicit in, and this is what they would have
done to us.
It's easy to say that you should use minimum force in war, that diplomacy is more powerful than any weapon, and that it was wrong for us to bomb civilians during World War II, but if the greatest generation had thought like that, then we would be speaking German or Japanese, and freedom would only be a yearning in our hearts instead of a privilege we get to experience every day.