By Gene Olsen
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.
Remember Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who branded the U.S. “the Great Satan?” Disciples worship~d him while millions cowered under his wrath. He is long dead and rarely mentioned, like so many other despots. Remember the Cuba missile crisis and Russia’s Khruschev shouting, “We will bury you!” He was buried in disgrace. The genocides of Idi Ami and Pol Pot are history.
Saddam Hussein was hanged after his sons and many followers were killed. Muammar Gaddafi was beaten and shot dead. Terrorist Osama bin Laden was executed by U.S. Navy SEALS.
My point is that tyrants and terrorists must also die and, like all of us, face judgment.
Why does a loving God allow such evil people to be born and go on conquering and slaughtering? That is a mystery known only to God who, according to the Bible, “wants all to be saved.”
We see events in the light of a few years in time with our limited intellects.
God the Creator sees the past, present and future at a glance. St. Augustine of Africa wrote that “God is good enough and powerful enough to draw good even out of evil.”
Those with faith believe that Goda is indeed all-powerful, loving, patient and merciful, but also just. And that all will be compensated here or hereafter. Peace be with you.Gene Olson is a Niagara Falls resident