Niagara Gazette — On Sept. 1, 1939, bold headlines announced, “Germany Invades Poland.” I was 12 and asked my dad: “Is that bad?” He solemnly replied, “Yes, that is very bad.” Thus began the deadliest conflict in history, World War 11, involving most of the world’s nations.
Isolationists delayed United States’ participation while Britain and France endured the brunt of Nazi bombings and land and sea attacks.
Then, on Dec. 7, 1941, Japan’s air force bombarded the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing thousands and sinking many of our warships. Caught off-guard, we were ill-prepared for all-out war. The next day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous “Day of Infamy” speech and war was declared upon Japan. Then Nazi Genriany and Fascist Italy declared war upon the U.S. and proceeded to conquer most of Europe and North Africa, while Japan conquered much of the Westem Pacific. The U.S. quickly mobilized while its defense plants and shipyards got busy.
Six years later, it was over. Adolf Hitler was dead, a suicide, along with his mistress and most of his henchmen. Others were convicted as war criminals. Japanese warlord Tojo was among those executed. Mussolini and his mistress were assassinated and publicly hung by their heels. Russia’s dictator Stalin reportedly died of a stroke.
They were responsible for the suffering and deaths of millions, including their own people. How we shuddered upon hearing their names at the peaks of their power. If thev had been stopped earlier. thinizs would have been different.
It must have been the same with Nero and the Caesars, Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, and all of the conquering megalomaniacs throughout history. Massive annies and followers adored them and were willing to die for them. China’s Mao Zedong caused the death of millions. One nation’s hero is another’s tyrant.