Whose War and Who’s the Enemy
War never leaves a nation where it had found it. These words were uttered by Edmund Burke to describe the results war could bring to society. And for some time now, the United States of America experienced a lot of wars that shaped its history and present state. Martin Luther King, Jr. strongly asserted in relation to this fact that war was actually a poor chisel to carve out tomorrows. The most important thing to realize should be to understand whether or not these wars had been seen as justified for reasons of protection and freedom of the American nation.
In addition, the questions most people would ask would be: whose war was it and who was the enemy? Thus, let it be stated that the involvement the United States of America in the First World War and the Second World War were for the protection and freedom of the country itself. The entry of the United States of America in the First World War was the result of the harm it was receiving and experiencing from other countries. World War I was a war where the world had been shocked. This war was mainly fought in the European lands. The deaths that this war caused reached to a frightening number of around 40 million.
President Woodrow Wilson blamed this war to countries like Germany and Russia which had too much military power. The arm’s race was on the minds of most countries and the cost of it was very high to them (Fromkin, 94). History showed that the United States of America joined this war to answer the violent actions other countries were doing. Germany had been attacking passenger ships and violating international laws especially on the subject of human rights. An example of this was when Germany used blockades which stopped not only military supplies but civilian supplies as well (Keene, 5).
Before the United States of America decided to be involved, the country had been trying to avoid any conflict with other countries. The United States of America showed that it wanted to be isolated from this war. However, the Americans said that they will not tolerate any more violations in international law and human rights abuses it was already experiencing from countries like Germany. Germany was adamant in gaining the upper hand in this war. This led them to breach the international agreements it had signed by attacking military ships to cut off their enemies’ supply.
Moreover, the attack on sea vessels was done regardless of whether a ship was a civilian or not. In addition to this, there were countless human rights violations as well. The prisoners of war were tortured to death and treated inhumanely. Even innocent civilians were killed and captured in this war. With all these, the United States of America decided to join in the war. The Americans’ purpose for joining was to simply put an end to the atrocious acts of torture and the unnecessary killings that Germany had been doing in this war.
Simply put it, the Americans were not willing to stand idle and watch from the sidelines while a lot of people were dying and while there were countries which oppressed and ran over other countries. The United States of America was involved in the Second World War as a result of being attacked first. World War II was war where there had been a lot of countries that were involved as well. The Second World War was actually a result of two separate conflicts. The first conflict was about the Second Sino-Japanese War that happened in 1937.
The second conflict was about the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939. As a result, the world was split into two; the Allies and the Axis Powers. In this war, there were about 100 million soldiers involved. In addition, over 60 million people died in this war. This number made this war with the most number of deaths in history of the world (Dunnigan, 1994). Aside from the deaths, the cost of going to war had also been very big. The estimated sum or cost for this war was $1 trillion (Coleman, 1999). These made many countries suffer.
In the history of this war, it was seen that the United States of America became involved because of Japan’s actions. While the war was taking place in Europe, Japan was actually preparing to go to war in Asia. Japan also planned to take care of the United States Pacific Fleet. Japan’s first step was to take over Indochina. This act offended the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Japan suddenly attacked British, Dutch and American bases including the American naval base in Pearl Harbour. Because of this act by Japan, the United States of America declared war against it.
The Americans had willingly gone to war because of the fact that Japan killed many U. S. soldiers and destroyed its naval bases. Because of the many wars that the United States of America had been involved into, a lot of anti-war movements and pacifists perceived the country as the enemy. Even journalists, activists and academics described how the United States of America may use any means or reasons such as terrorism and the threat of nuclear programs to legitimize wars (Hersh, 2005). There had been so many people and countries that are against any form of war.
For example, in France, it was said that there had been a global protest against wars where 36 million people were involved into (Callinicos, 2005). In the modern day, the public opinion against wars escalated greatly judging the acts of the United States of America in engaging in wars negatively and detrimental to the world. Large demonstrations had happened in light of this issue (Tyler, 2003). Thus, there existed a preconceived notion that the United States of America had been the enemy in the wars. This argument should be seen as a misunderstanding.
As said earlier in this paper, the wars that the United States of America joined into were all a response to the threat, violence and abuses the country experienced in the first and second world wars. The Americans did not make the first move. They were only answering to those who harmed them. This action was actually not unexpected. This was because, first of all, the United States of America was only trying to protect the lives of its citizens and its territory from countries like Japan and Germany which posed as substantial threats to the safety of the American nation during the wars.
Secondly, the freedom of the American people was at stake in these wars. The United States of America was trying to fight for the freedom from oppression, abuse, control, tyranny, slavery and torture just to name a few. The United States of America had been seen as an enemy because the anti-war protesters and organizations believe that any country that used war to solve its problems was considered an enemy. They had even rallied by the millions in support of their belief as documented by the Guiness Book of World Records (Guiness World Records, 2004).
The problem here was that not all options in solving a conflict involve a peaceful way. A country should not wait for the time when its people had already been hurt before taking action. A country should not watch while its citizens were suffering. A country should fight for the freedom and safety of its people. In other words, the United States of America joined the wars as a way of defending itself. In conclusion, although the United States of America have been involved in many wars that had caused the deaths of millions, the country had only acted to protect and preserve the freedom of its people.
The United States of America was not the only country responsible for the many deaths. The point should be that the real enemy in a war would be the one who would be responsible for putting the countries in that situation. The truth should be that in wars, there would be no real winners. Even as Angela Davis once described that the road to freedom was stalked by death, the reality was that heroes and countries sacrificed a lot to achieve a goal more than themselves.
Nations were born and countries were built by the lives of those who dedicated themselves in order for the people to see the light of another day. Despite the unavoidable criticisms and judgments that ask who was the enemy, it would not matter much in the end to see who the enemy was because after all that had been said and done, all that remains would be death and more suffering. Wars could end conflicts, but the wounds it would inflict take so long to heal. The blaming would never cease to exist not until it would be realized that somehow, it was everybody’s war and that in some way, everyone was the enemy.