Even if you aren’t a history buff, you probably know the story of World War II, the biggest and most destructive war ever. You’ve learned about it in high school and by watching movies like The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan.
So here’s something for you to ponder. Read the following account of World War II and see how many errors and question marks you can count.
The world was getting along just fine when an anti-Semitic madman named Adolf Hitler seized control of Germany in 1933 and immediately embarked on his twin goals of world conquest and genocide, primarily targeting innocent Jews.
At the same time, Hitler imposed his prudish values on the German people, turning Berlin into a ghost of its former self and wrecking the economy.
To divert attention from Germany’s domestic problems, Hitler started World War II—“the war to end all wars”—by seizing Austria and invading Poland, then invading and conquering every nation in Western Europe except the British Isles (United Kingdom). Hitler conquered France in just a few weeks and came very close to crushing the British. Next, Hitler broke a non-aggression pact with a peaceful giant, the Soviet Union, invading that country in an effort to acquire new lands for the German people, along with the USSR’s vast resources.
The Nazis’ horrifying atrocities left their mark in all the countries they overran. Nowhere was this truer than France, the country Hitler hated most.
However, the darkest deeds were performed in Germany itself, where lampshades were even made of human skin—the skin of Jews, of course.
All might have been lost if the United States hadn’t entered the war in 1941, after Hitler foolishly declared war on the U.S. for no legitimate reason whatsoever. The turning point of the war was the Allied landing at Normandy Beach in France, remembered as D-Day. It was by far the most significant battle of WWII.
Though the Soviet Union was allied with the United Kingdom, France and the U.S., it operated in the shadows and isn’t popularly remembered as one of the good guys, because it was a communist country. Indeed, the Allies quickly found themselves united against a new enemy as WWII was replaced by the Cold War.
The war in the Pacific pitted the U.S. and its allies against Imperial Japan, which sucker punched the U.S. with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, destroying more than four dozen ships. Though some bloody battles were fought, particularly on the island of Iwo Jima, the Japanese were no match for the U.S., which humanely ended the war by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively eliminating the need for an even bloodier invasion of Japan.
The biggest heroes of World War II included the British bulldog Winston Churchill and U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression before taking on the racist Nazis. People from South Africa to India thanked Churchill and Roosevelt for protecting them from the evils of Naziism.
One grisly statistic says it all: Six million innocent Jews died in German gas chambers. It was by far the greatest crime against humanity ever.
Today, the swastika is all that remains of Hitler’s evil vision, representing nothing but Naziism.
One of the few bright spots was the creation of Israel, a concept that was born out of the ashes of World War II.
Now take a look at the annotated version.