Carnes, World War II the Good War



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Study Guide

Carnes, World War II





  1. The Good War



  1. Totalitarianism, racism, militarism, imperialism



  1. Lies my teacher told me



  1. Mexican War, Wounded Knee Massacre, Cuba and Platt Amendment, Seizure of Hawaii, Philippines War, “opening of Japan,” exploitation of China, Pnamama Canal Zone, Banana Wars, Soviet intervention --- etc etc etc



  1. Swastika & Jim Crow ---


  1. Appeasement of Hitler



  1. Italian invasion of Ethiopia, 1935



  1. Spanish Civil War, 1936



  1. Response of United States (and the West)

  2. Abraham Lincoln Brigade



  1. Rise of fascist militarism (Italy, Germany, Japan)



  1. German invasion of Poland, September 1939



  1. Phony War



  1. German invasion of France, May-June 1940



  1. Lend-Lease --- U.S. moves in on British empire



  1. American isolationism



  1. War resistance



  1. Revolutionary non-violence (FOR)


  1. Whether the mask is labeled fascism, Democracy, or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, our great adversary remains the Apparatus ---- the bureaucracy, the police, the military . . . [T]he worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.” --- Simone Wiel



  1. Anti-Soviet policy to anti-Nazi/pro-Soviet-policy (“this man is your friend”), and back to anti-Soviet position (“Cold War”)



  1. Japanese militarists master plan for east Asia



  1. Japanese aggression in China, 1937-45



  1. Rape of Nanking, 1937



  1. U.S. policy toward Japan



  1. Japanese occupation of Vietnam



  1. U.S. embargo --- steps to war



  1. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor



  1. Pearl Harbor syndrome



  1. Executive Order 9066



  1. 442nd Regiment



  1. Atlantic Charter, August 1941



  1. “The army Jim Crows us. The navy lets us only serve as messmen. The Red Cross refuses our blood. Employers and labor unions shut us out. Lynchings continue. We are disenfranchised, jim-crowed, spat upon. What more could Hitler do than that?” (quoted in Zinn A People’s History)



  1. MOWM



  1. Executive Order 8802 --- In June 1941, on the eve of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 8802 prohibiting government contractors from engaging in employment discrimination based on race, color or national origin.



  1. Rosie the Riveter



  1. Impact of WWII on Mexican American middle class




  1. Mexican American soldiers



  1. Common enemies



  1. G.I. Bill


  1. Urbanization



  1. Rosita the riveter



  1. Pachuco/a subculture (“shock the bourgeoisie”)



  1. Sleepy Lagoon Case, 1942



  1. Hearst press & Anglo public opinion



  1. Japanese victories & rise in xenophobia and racism



  1. Mexican Americans “on trial” --- “Perhaps the best indication of racist sentiments during the court proceedings was the testimony presented before the grand jury by Lieut. Edward Duran Ayres of the Los Angeles Police Department. Ayres felt that Mexican youth were criminally inclined for genetic reasons. Descended from the bloodthirsty Aztecs, themselves of Mongoloid stock and therefore having “an utter disregard for the value of life,” these youths, he argued, had inherited a predisposition toward violence . . . Convinced that the problem was genetic, Ayres concluded that there was little the authorities could do to combat the malaise (“basically it is biological --- one cannot change the spots of a leopard”), save to sentence the offenders to lengthy prison terms.



  1. Mexican Americans banned from the jury pool



  1. Radical committee to overturn the decision



  1. Luis Valdez Zoot Suit (1978)



  1. Zoot Suit Riots, 1943



  1. Mexican government protests over Zoot Suit Riots



  1. The Bracero Program (repatriation?)



  1. Labor contract system


  1. U.S. Support of Vietminh



  1. Secret guarantees to French



  1. Nazi bombings of civilian targets “inhuman barbarism that has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity”



  1. Allied fire-bombings of Japanese cities, firebombing of Dresden



  1. Kurt Vonnegut --- “Billy Pilgrim padded downstairs on his blue and ivory feet. He went into the kitchen, where the moonlight called his attention to a half bottle of champagne on the kitchen table, all that was left from the reception in the tent. Somebody had stoppered it again. "Drink me," it seemed to say.

So Billy uncorked it with his thumbs. It didn't make a pop. The champagne was dead. So it goes.

Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this :

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.”


  1. Joseph Heller



  1. Norman Mailer --- “The only thing wrong with this army is that it never lost a war.”

Toglio was shocked. “You think it ought to lose this one?”

Red found himself carried away. “What have I against the goddam

Japs? You think I care if they keep this fuggin’ jungle What’s it to me if Cummings gets another star?”

“General Cummings, he’s a good man,” Martinez said.



“There ain’t a good officer in the world,” Red stated.


  1. Normandy Invasion, June 1944 --- Private Ryan



  1. “Our gallant Russian allies” ---- Private Ivan



  1. Politics of the bomb


  1. Japanese surrender



  1. Who won World War II?


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