The iconic Champs-Élysées and its Arc de Triomphe stand eerily empty before V-E Day ceremonies Friday in Paris.
This month (May 8th) marks the 75th anniversary of “V-E Day” when German forces unconditionally surrendered to the “Allies.” Numerous articles, essays, and monographs have appeared commemorating the anniversary and while all are mostly laudatory, some have acknowledged that the outcome had its “drawbacks.”
By any objective rendering, for Western Civilization WWII was an unmitigated catastrophe whose reverberations continue to this day. Forty-three million troops were senselessly killed between American, British and Continental forces while 38 million civilians perished. Europe’s current demographic nightmare had its unfruitful seeds cut down with the depopulation of the Continent’s finest for the maniacal aims of the world’s power elites. Not only the loss of life, but the destruction of property and the cultures upon which they were built have been incalculable. Although the US emerged in the post-war world as the dominant economic and political power (as its mainland remained unscathed from wartime destruction), its participation in the conflict was a titanic geopolitical blunder.
The defeat of Germany and Japan, which would have not come about without US military might, left vast power vacuums in Eastern Europe and the Far East that Soviet Russia and Red China ruthlessly filled. Half of Europe would fall behind the Iron Curtain, subjected to fierce political repression and debilitating socialistic economic planning. In Asia, Communist regimes sprang up with the assistance of China and the Soviet Union which America attempted to counter in Korea and Vietnam at a staggering cost to its domestic economy and social tranquility.
Even after the fall of Soviet Communism, the US’s supposed lethal enemy, America maintained its empire as its “defense” spending continued to escalate beyond all reasonable levels which has led, in part, to the decline of domestic living standards of nearly all except, of course, for the politically well-connected. Not only has military adventurism bankrupted the country, but there is now “blowback” from the countless enemies either real, imagined, or contrived – created by US overseas meddling. Moreover, the nation’s military-industrial and security complex has turned on its own citizens with spying, surveillance, and data gathering that would be the envy of Stalin’s Cheka. Yet, it was US participation in WWII which cemented the nation on its ruinous course as global policeman. This was predicted and feared by “isolationists” at the time which is why they so courageously fought to keep the country neutral.
While the peoples of the world suffered from the Apocalyptic-like destruction of the war, certain groups did gain. The benefactors were obvious – Stalin and the Soviet state which was given free reign in Eastern Europe; the US military and security industrial complex which had a world empire to police; Chinese Communists, with Imperial Japan decimated, it left little opposition for them to gain control in China and beyond. For almost everyone else, even the so called “victors,” WWII was a Pyrrhic victory at best.
For the remainder of 20th century American history, US entry into the Second World War proved to be the catalyst which led to the immense cultural, economic, and political changes, which many conservatives, libertarians, and traditional-minded people at the time and afterwards opposed. Yet, it was US participation in the war which meant that all of those changes would become permanent. Harry Elmer Barnes, who was a keen social theorist and wrote extensively in sociology, clearly understood the effects of US entry into the war:
Drastic changes in the domestic realm can also be attributed to the impact of our
entry into the second World War. The old rural society that had dominated
humanity for millennia was already disintegrating rapidly as the result of
urbanization and technological advances, but the latter failed to supply adequate
new institutions and agencies to control and direct an urban civilization. This
situation faced the American public before 1941 but the momentous transformation
was given intensified rapidity and scope as a result of the extensive dislocations
produced by years of warfare and recovery.*
Harry Elmer Barnes
While every sector of American life was unalterably changed, the most ominous took place in the political order. Although the federal government had begun to expand during the Progressive Era, its scope and involvement in society drastically accelerated during and after the war. Barnes, holding many libertarian beliefs, observed the totalitarian features of the post-war nation:
The complex and cumulative aftermath of [WWII] has played the dominant role in
producing the menacing military pattern and political impasse of our time, and the
military-industrial-political Establishment that controls this country and has sought
to determine world policy.**
The rise of America to world power status diverted attention and scarce resources away from the domestic front, which further exacerbated social and economic changes. The societal strife would become more and more acute as the nation’s overseas commitments mushroomed, as Barnes incisively explains:
The social problems of an urban age were enlarged and intensified, crime increased
and took on new forms that became ever more difficult to combat, juvenile
disorganization became rampant, racial problems increased beyond precedent, and
the difficulties of dealing with this unprecedented and complicated mass of domestic
issues were both parried and intensified by giving primary but evasive
consideration to foreign affairs in our national policy and operations.***
While domestic problems received less attention as the American empire expanded, foreign lands which held different patterns of social order or had non “democratic” forms of government, were targeted for “regime change,” even if they had taken no hostile action toward the US:
. . . the results of [WWII] already indicate that this produced drastic and possibly
ominous changes in the pattern of American relations to the rest of the world. We
voluntarily and arbitrarily assumed unprecedented burdens in feeding and
financing a world badly disrupted by war. . . . The United States sought to police the
world and extend the rule of law on a planetary basis, which actually meant
imposing the ideology of our eastern seaboard Establishment throughout the world,
by force, if necessary. . . .****
Had the US remained neutral as the isolationists and American First supporters had pleaded, the world today would be markedly different – undoubtedly freer, more prosperous, and likely more peaceful. Since every society is governed, in part, by its understanding of the past, the post-WWII world is built on a lie. The lie, of course, was that the attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked and that the Roosevelt Administration had negotiated in good faith with the Japanese in the months and years leading up to it.
While not recognized at the time and even today the outcome of WWII ushered in the totalitarian nation state which would become a permanent and intimate fixture in the lives of its citizens. There was no appeal to its dictates and as the decades rolled on it accrued unthinkable power over the society and economy. It attempted to solve every social and economic problem or inequality (most of which it created) and in each action enhanced its power and control dramatically.
The corona scamdemic may be the state’s greatest power grab yet. Besides the infringement of civil liberties, the shut down has been adroitly used to cover for the titanic economic collapse which began in the weeks prior to the draconian response measures. Actually, the financial breakdown began last September with the Fed’s “repo” operations.
All of this has been quietly and deliberately forgotten by the financial press and under the cover of fighting the virus, the Fed and the rest of the world’s central banks have expanded their power and control of financial markets to unprecedented levels, making a mockery that the economy is in any sense “capitalistic.”
The adage that “history is written by the victors” has never been more apparent than in regard to V-E Day, however, the coronavirus scam has shown once again that the consequences of the day and the war which it commemorates are now being ominously fulfilled.
*Harry Elmer Barnes, “Pearl Harbor After a Quarter of a Century.” In Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought. Vol. IV, 1968, p. 11.
**Ibid., pp. 9-10.
***Ibid., p. 11.
****Ibid., pp. 10-11.