World War II And War On Terror

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The United States is the Super Power in today’s world and two reasons for that are the outcome of World War II and how the President at the time, Franklin Delano Roosevelt handled conflicts at home as well as overseas. America was going through a very difficult time dealing with the Great Depression and the problem of Germany starting conflicts in Europe where nothing was being done about it. World War II was something America stayed out of for about three years, but when we finally did get involved the “scales” were now tipped in the favor of the Allies due to the American involvement. Also, as shown in World War I when the United States gets involved with conflicts dealing with issues overseas we are very successful and are adamant on becoming victorious. Much like the conflict America is dealing with today in Iraq, although many people do not agree with the war and the grounds for the war I think that our government is doing the right thing. People need to realize that our government would not do anything to hurt the nation or its people because that is just a reflection of the government and the people who run it. They want to be perceived as the super power of the world and would not do anything to hurt that image. Much like Roosevelt helped the United States to appear the Super Power, President Bush is also doing his part by continuing the war on terror and not ending it until he feels we have conquered the men behind the 9/11 attacks.
David Reynolds has written and enlightening book named “From Munich to Pearl Harbor” discussing three main objectives dealing with World War II. The first of the three objectives is to provide a detailed and clear narrative story from the years between Munich to Pearl Harbor. The second of the three purposes or objectives of the book is to analyze and show how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the American people into a new perspective on international relations that were different from anything Americans had known. The last of the three objectives of the book is to show the developments between the years of 1938 through 1941. Many of these developments were very important later for the foreign policy of the United States not only during the Second World War but also during the Cold War complications with Russia and today with President Bush’s war on terror currently taking place in Iraq.

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Franklin Roosevelt believed in the idea of globalism, which is a national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state's influence. This view of the world and its politics by Roosevelt seemed to be a lasting achievement that has helped make tremendous changes throughout the world. Another lasting ideology of Roosevelt was Americanism; this is the emergence of a military – industrial complex society.
Reynolds shows how Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts from 1938-1941 both with the rest of the world and here at home made a lasting impact on the United States’ foreign policy. Reynolds focuses on how the early 1900’s was dominated by the ideas of empire, ideology and economics. However, the United States did not directly take part in these ideas because of our isolationist perspective dealing with the world. President Roosevelt had some of his ideas not passed by Congress, for example his policy of un – neutral rearmament. Congress did not see any reason to make any irrational or radical changes in our policy dealing with the world, even though in 1940 Germany was tearing through Europe. In today’s conflict with Iraq President Bush is also having problems getting support for the war; not only from congress and people involved in politics but the people of the country are almost divided equally in half. About fifty percent believe we should be in the war and the other doesn’t think the war is good for the United States.
Reynolds discusses many different aspects of the Second World War in the book, such as questions about the war. Some of these questions that people have asked about this war were “Would the United States have been involved at all if Japan did not attack us?”, “Did Franklin Roosevelt know that Japan was going to attack and let it happen in order for the United States to retaliate in a much worse way on Japan?” In the book, Reynolds states that United States’ entry in the Second World War was based on three things.
The first reason Reynolds says that America got involved was to solidify Franklin Roosevelt’s dominance in foreign policy. He permanently changed the way and view that America has on the rest of the world because of his decisions dealing with the War. Roosevelt is remembered as the President that got America out of its greatest depression and led us to victory in the Second World War. Roosevelt redefined politics and geopolitics while he was in office. Geopolitics is the study of the relationship among politics and geography, demography, and economics, especially with respect to the foreign policy of a nation.
The second reason for the United States entering World War II by Reynolds is that he says Roosevelt was able to “educate” the American people and change their views from ones of isolationism to a different view of globalism. He felt it was time for the United States to get involved and change the momentum of the war. He also knew that if the United States got involved it help to stimulate the economy and help America get out the Depression.
The third reason for Franklin Roosevelt getting involved in World War II was that his time in office set powerful precedents for his advocates to follow. At this time Roosevelt believed in a government system and that should be very involved with the people and the conflicts presented to the people such as the Great Depression. Some people have even said that they believe Roosevelt was almost like a totalitarian ruler during his time in office dealing with the Depression and World War II. Some of these same principles about how government was run during Roosevelt’s time can be seen today with the way President Bush runs the government.
World War II was a truly world war which lasted from 1939 to 1945. The countries of the world aligned with either the Axis powers or the Allies and battled in a total war. (http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/World_War_II.htm, accessed 1 May 2007.) On the home front, America suffered little from the war, compared to the people of the other fighting nations. By the end of the war, much of the world was in ruins, but in America the economy was booming. The government touched more American lives more intimately during the war than ever before; every household felt the restraint of the rationing system. Following the war, the national debt rose from $49 billion in 1941 to $259 billion in 1945. (http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/World_War_II.htm, accessed 1 May 2007.) Most of the war costs were borrowed.
The war on terror that America is currently fighting in Iraq seems to be one of the most highly debatable subjects in recent years. Many people think that because since America captured Saddam Hussein they should just take troops out and bring them home to safety. When the United States went to war in Afghanistan we had the whole world behind us and now that the United States has continued to fight this war on terror many people think lives are being lost for no reason. In all actuality people should realize that every life that is lost in Iraq is part of a bigger picture that will be painted with time. Reynolds says that one reason for the American involvement in World War II was to solidify Franklin Roosevelt’s dominance in office. I could see how President Bush would want to make his mark much like Roosevelt did with a war. No person wants to go into the presidency and be remembered as someone who just sat in office and did nothing to help the presidency.
Other connections between World War II and the war on terror is that during both time periods here in America racial profiling was at it heights. During the 1940’s people in United States were very racist toward Japanese people because of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today in the United States people are racist towards Arab or Indian people because of the attacks that took place on 9/11/2001 by the Al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. I now have a different outlook on the war on terror after reading David Reynolds’ book. I can see how people who are in the presidential office want to do things to make a name for themselves as Franklin Delano Roosevelt did and how George W. Bush is doing so right now. World War II was a war which put the United States on top of the World as the super power and will be remembered as that type of war.
President Bush is only doing what a super power of the World should do and that is not back down from anyone and do what they believe is right. President Bush wants to end terrorism, which is most likely a long shot but he also wants to spread democracy in Iraq which is something that could happen with time. I think that people who are totally against President Bush and his war on terror should read this book because I think it would change their view point some what on the current issue. Franklin Roosevelt was perceived by many as too eager and during his second term many democrats began to oppose him. Had he not been in office during the Second World War he might not be remembered as such a great president. Much like people today oppose Bush he might do something extraordinary in the next four years and be remembered as the man who took down terrorism when much of his own country was against him. If that does happen, which I would assume is the primary goal of this war, then that would be his lasting achievement on the presidency. There have been many wars during the history of the United States but if we were to take down terrorism that would be one of the most important wars in our country’s history.

Bibliography Page

1. David Reynolds. 2001. From Munich to Pearl Harbor. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee
2. David M. Kennedy, Lizabeth Cohen, Thomas A. Bailey. 2002. The American Pageant II. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
3. http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/World_War_II.htm, accessed 1 May 2007.


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