Today’s reading from PHUS, “A People’s War” and the article “World War II Was Not Just a War”, gave a very behind the scenes look into World War II and our country’s role in it. I was shocked by much of the information presented in this chapter, as much of it was depicted in a very negative tone, bashing the United States for everything they did before, during, and after the war. Specifically, both works denote president Franklin D. Roosevelt almost as a villain, for many reasons that I had no prior knowledge about.
I thought it was very interesting how Zinn compares FDR’s stance on ending the oppression of the Jews to Lincoln ending slavery, with both leader’s priorities focused on national power, not minority rights. I thought this was a little harsh, as I had never thought of them being compared in this way, as I thought I had been taught that the United States did not learn about the oppression of the Jews until it was too late.
In addition, I found the idea from the article that FDR knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor before it occurred, sickening. Having visited Pearl Harbor myself and doing numerous school projects on it, I could not believe I never read or saw anything that gave me this insight. I’m not sure how accurate this really is from the article, however they must have heard it from somewhere, which is definitely concerning.
Overall, after reading the chapter and article, I have gained a new understanding and perspective on the United States and their role during war. I believe much of the information in these works have either not been discovered, or swept under the rug by most people, and that needs to change. We need to stop only focusing on the simple facts from history, and instead focus on what was actually going on between people behind the main scenes.