After reading the article, “World War Two Was Not a Just War,” and the PHUS chapter, “A People’s War,” I was honestly in shock. Throughout my history classes and other parts of my education, I was under the impression that the U.S. was somewhat of a hero during World War 2. I thought that America helped to saved Jewish people from the concentration camps. This seems to be an ongoing theme throughout American History that in early education young Americans are taught about how heroic and great our country is but as I continue to learn more details and I am exposed to different perspectives America is not as great as we think.
Zinn discusses how the U.S. only entered the war after Pearl Harbor got bombed by Japan. Roosevelt portrayed the bombing as a shocking and terrible event but in reality, Roosevelt expected that the bombing was going to happen. Zinn talks about how the U.S. used the bombing of Pearl Harbor as an opportunity to advance in foreign relations and America’s image. This is surprising to learn because in history books and other parts of early American education this idea is often avoided.
It was interesting to me when Zinn compared FDR and the Holocaust to Lincoln and the Civil War. It is viewed that FDR and Lincoln were fighting for human rights but instead, they both had other motives as well behind their actions. American’s view FDR as someone who fought for the human rights of Jewish people in the Holocaust and a hero during WW2 but he actually had other intentions such as economic interests in mind. This chapter of PHUS and the article gave me a new perspective on America’s intentions during World War 2 and these intentions are much different than what I have been taught in my American education.