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Spritzler shows too that there is a powerful counter-force to capitalism at work in society: working men and women fighting everywhere for a better world, a force so threatening that the most powerful elites on earth waged a world war to extinguish it. This counter-force was not defeated on the field of battle in World War II so much as misled and betrayed by Communist leaders in a little-known history from which we have not yet recovered. The People as Enemy is a giant step toward understanding and breaking free of that history.
There are three key myths about WWII which this book lays bare: that the war was caused by conflicts between nations; that the top priority of the Allied leaders in the war was to defeat the Fascists; and that Allied bombing of civilians was part of the effort to defeat the Fascists.
World War II was a desperate means of social control undertaken by the elites of the warring nations as the only alternative to working class revolution. In four of the countries which Spritzler examines-Germany, Japan, Great Britain, and the U.S.-government leaders were driven to war not chiefly by fear of other countries but by fear of their own people. The ruling elites of these countries went to war because they saw no other way to stay in power.
The book has profound implications beyond World War II. Echoes of the past in the present and specifically a consciousness of the Iraq war are never distant in this book. It suggests that the real force driving the history of the twentieth century was working class struggle for a new world and ruling class efforts to contain it. The rhythm of the century was revolution and counterrevolution-a rhythm in which we are still caught. Seldom has a work of history been more acutely relevant to understanding our present and our possible futures.
A few weeks ago, a 22-year old Marine Sgt. named Kirk Strasesskie jumped into a canal south of Baghdad when a helicopter hit the water. Kirk drowned trying to save his Marine friends. His friends back home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin said he could barely swim. In high school, Strasesskie had played sports and spent much of his free time with kids who struggled with their learning disabilities. His dad, an Army veteran, questioned whether the Iraq War was just and why his son should have been there at all?
Kirk Strasesskie's always going to be a hero for me, just like my Army uncle who fought in WWII in New Guinea and those Marines at Iwo Jima and those paratroopers at Bastogne and Chosin. Heroes all, just like my auto worker friends who battle each day and night against their Vietnam experience. Their lives are such a contrast with those boundlessly powerful, elite, selfish few who so easily send them into our constant wars.
I lump them all together today, those heroic figures whose lives were risked or ended fighting for their friends in wars that all were so unnecessary except for WWII - the "good war" of course.
But, as it turns out, while WWII saw heroic soldiers dying on South Pacific beaches and in the frozen foxholes at the Bulge, the most powerful people in our country did business with the Nazis and Fascists making enormous profits on the deaths of 50 million people and laying the groundwork for post war elite control. It was not such a "good war" after all.
After reading John Spritzler's "The People as Enemy" I am as angry about the unjustness of WWII as I ever was about Vietnam or as I am about Iraq. Every library in every VFW and American Legion Hall should stock this book and make it required reading for members. Anyone interested or active in the Peace Movement should read this book to understand who really causes and profits from war.
Every American of conscience should read this book then stand up and demand that never again should our government be allowed to send our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters off to wars that are meant to defeat the values of democracy and solidarity and make the rich richer.
Then, expecting to be bored with WWII history, etc. etc. what I found out (couldn't put the book down!)..was all this hidden agenda stuff that went on, which we never knew about, were never directly told, but.. clearly from this author's extensive research and investigation... was beyond a shred of doubt,going on.
The book is easy to read, even for someone who is not a history buff per se-- but who has an active and inquiring mind.
Thank you, John Spritzler, for hugely shedding light on this misconception of the "good war," and for letting us know the real motives behind it. It's almost hard to believe, but with all your direct references and direct quotes, it's impossible to not believe. Ya mean, it wasn't so "good" after all!? Who woulda thunk it.....
And thank you for making such obvious, in the end, brilliant comparisons to the "good war" (Bush's) we just fought.
I urge everyone who can, to read this book!
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