I never knew that when Roosevelt went into the war it was for any reason other than human rights, the narrative that is told throughout grade school and high school. In some way, I guess this makes sense because, at the same time as we were fighting in the war, the US had Japanese internment camps, which were committing acts that violate human rights. This can also be seen in the fact that the US only entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when they felt threatened. The US The United States classifies this as a “mistake” but considering how we condemn Hitler’s concentration camps, the term “mistake” seems a little light to me.
Another thing that struck me was how Zinn talked about the bombings in Japan. Previous to this I had no idea that the suggestion of warning the civilians was made and ignored and also that the United States had intel that Japan was considering Peace allegations. The whole narrative I was told was that Japan would not surrender which is why the US was forced to drop two bombs and end the war. The US used the bombings to assert its military dominance and power and came out of the war as one of the most powerful countries in the war with the Soviet Union.
The hidden motives of the war were shocking to me. It made me question if the United States would have gotten involved in the war if Pearl Harbor had not happened? Would we have let the genocide continue because entering did nothing for us?