What the World Learned
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The world should have learned the importance of vigilance and preparation from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Even though the Pearl Harbor was a "surprise attack", the U.S should have seen it, or something similar coming. Tensions with Japan had been building up for over a year, the only agreement that Japan and the U.S could come up with was that there was none that could be made, the U.S knew that Japan was planning something from their intercepted messages, a Japanese submarine was even sunk near Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack and yet Pearl Harbor was completely caught off guard and defenseless against this attack. The Japanese even chose this date specifically because it was a Sunday and people were sleeping in/ resting and off guard. The U.S should have learned that even if it is not at war, it should be prepared for on. The lack of anticipation for the worst shown in Pearl Harbor is shown again in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, when the lack of anticipation for a homeland attack led to 4 planes being hijacked and the military unable to stop it .
Dec. 7, 1941
What the World Learned
The world should have learned to not jump to conclusions or racially profile people from this event.. The U.S government assumed that all Japanese people in America were spies and loyal to Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. From this assumption, the U.S justified detaining and imprisoning thousands of Japanese Americans. most of whom were American citizens. This shows the world that racial profiling, or assuming that because someone is a certain race, they are automatically inclined to be a criminal, leads to violations of people's basic human rights and can make people feel constantly watched and untrusted in their own communities. After the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's, although people were all regarded as equal, people are still racial profiling others. Racial profiling minority groups by law enforcement is an issue in today's society. For example, in the U.S Hispanics and Latinos are often targeted in illegal immigration investigations, Middle Eastern people are targeted when screening for terrorism, and African Americans are subjected to questioning and searches by law enforcement and private security without evidence.
Feb 19, 1942
What the World Learned
The world learned how politics, discrimination and prejudice lead to genocide. The Holocaust, which Treblinka was a part of, did not happen overnight. It was carefully planned out, and it started long before the gas chambers were in operation. Hitler first expressed his anti-semitic ideologies in his 1925 book Mein Kampf. After he became Chancellor in 1933, Hitler began to implement the plans outlined in Mein Kampf. From 1933-1939, Jews were increasingly isolated from their community. By the time the Nazis started rounding up Jews and taking them concentration camps, people were already so desensitized by them that they no longer cared what would happen. Because no one cared, or was willing to stand up, the Nazis were able to murder six million people with little notice from the rest of the world. Even after learning of the atrocities committed in the Holocaust, genocide still happened. The Rwandan genocide from April to July 1994, killing half a million people, the Bosnian genocide in from 1992-1995, killing 8,000 at its peak, and the Darfur genocide, starting in 2003 (and still ongoing) are just a few examples of politically and racially motivated mass killings that have occured after the Holocaust.
July 23, 1942
What the World Learned
The world learned the devastating effects of nuclear arms from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although the damage by the atomic bombs were more or less the same as regular fire bombing, the "shock factor" of this was that it was one bomb that leveled the cities. The U.S had the option of bombing more remote locations to demonstrate the power of the atomic bomb and force a surrender but it chose Hiroshima to publicize this weapon. It was hoped that in seeing its devastating effects, the world would be convinced to never use it again. Despite this, U.S failed to keep the rest of the world away from atomic weapons. and the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union started immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This prompted widespread fear and paranoia over nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, nuclear arms continue to be a threat to the world today. Even though the world learned the power of atomic weapons it failed to take caution with this knowledge and we now live in a world where the threat of nuclear weapons are very real.
Aug. 6 & 9, 1945
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, a U.S naval base near the island Honolulu in Hawaii. In less than 2.5 hours, 3400 Americans were dead and 1000 more were wounded. Dozens of ships and 300 aircrafts were damaged or destroyed . The Japanese hoped to destroy the U.S Pacific naval fleet and scare the U.S into lifting its economic sanctions on oil, steel, petrolium, copper, brass, etc.., which were established in 1941 and became increasingly hostile as Japan continued threatening the allies of the U.S by attacking French and British colonies in Asia and by joining the Axis Powers. The U.S did not lift the bans and declares war on Japan the next day. On Dec. 11, 1941, Germany and Italy , the allies of Japan, declare war on the U.S, bringing it into WWII.
How can Alliances Create Conflict?
This relates to the first supporting question, "How can Alliances Create Conflict?", because it shows that alliances often negate neutrality claims and it brings many parties into a conflict that did not pertain to them. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the U.S claimed to be neutral, although it sabotaged Japanese military efforts through export bans, loaning money to China (which Japan was at war with), and freezing Japan's assets when Japan threatened its allies. Clearly the U.S was not neutral before it entered WWII, it may not have been actively fighting, but it was very much involved in the war, and its alliances caused this no-so-neutral neutrality. It was because of the biased actions of the U.S that put Japan at a disadvantage that it was attacked. Alliances caused this bias, thus the alliances of the U.S caused it to be attacked and become involved in WWII. Furthermore, when the U.S declared war on Japan, Japan's allies Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S soon after, showing how conflicts are often magnified when alliances are involved, because of the sheer amount of people/groups involved.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was mass paranoia in the west coast because it was so close to Japan, and many people of Japanese descent lived there. At the time, there were 37000 Japanese people living is Los Angeles alone. In February, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which instructed the relocation of all Japanese Americans along the west coast. Internment camps were set up Utah, California, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Arkansas and Idaho. Over 127,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned in these camps during WWII. Two- thirds of those incarcerated were “nesi” or born in the U.S (meaning they were U.S citizens). There was however no mass incarceration of people of German or Italian descent.
The Treblinka II death camp was located about 50 miles northeast of Warsaw, Poland. It built near an existing labor camp, Treblinka I. From July 1942 to its liquidation in August 1943, an estimated 870000 people were murdered in Treblinka II. When it first opened, Treblinka II had three gas chambers which could kill 300- 500 people an hour. By September 1942, ten more were added and were able to kill 1000-2000 people an hour.The Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were the first to arrive at Treblinka II. Within the first month of operation (from July 23rd- Aug 21st, 1942), 254000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were killed along with 112000 Jews from the Warsaw region. In total, around 738000 Jews were murdered in Treblinka II.
On August 6, 1945, the U.S dropped an atomic bomb, a uranium “Little Boy”, on the Japanese city Hiroshima. On the island were 280000 civilians and 43000 soldiers. Nearly 5 square miles of the city were destroyed and 70000 people were killed immediately. By the end of the year, over 100000 people had died in Hiroshima because of the bombing. Over the next 5 years, it is estimated that 200000 more people died because of sickness, cancer or radiation. On August 9, 1945, the U.S dropped another atomic bomb, a plutonium “fat man”, on the city Nagasaki. On the island were 240000 civilians and 9000 soldiers and 400 POWs. Nearly 3 square miles of the city were destroyed and 40000 people were killed immediately. By the end of the year, roughly 80000 people died from the bombing.
How did the U.S use Democracy to its Advantage?
How does Intolerance lead to Genocide?
At what cost do you end War?
The treatment of the Japanese Americans shows how the U.S was able to use democracy to its advantage during WWII. Mass imprisonment seems like something that would happen in the totalitarian government, like the Soviet Union or Germany. But because of its democracy, the U.S was able to "get away"with it. This is because the order for Japanese internment was an executive order, which in the U.S government essentially allows the president to automatically make something a law. This executive was written to satisfy the people, who were mistrustful and paranoid over Japanese Americans. The whole ideology of democracy is "people's choice" or "for the people", so when the people are suspicious and scared, it is easy to justify incarcerating Japanese Americans by claiming it was "for the people". In other words, the U.S government was able to do what other countries would be condemned of doing by reasoning that it matches up with democratic ideologies (saying its "what the people want"), and getting support for it.
Since Hitler’s rise to power, anti-semitism had spread throughout Germany. The 1935 Nuremberg Laws and Kristallnacht in 1938 were examples of the dehumanization of Jewish population. As WWII began, Germany enforced those beliefs in countries it occupied or took over. Hitler believed that the Aryan race was superior and he wanted to “purify” Germany by exterminating those that did not fit the Aryan mold, more specifically the Jews. Throughout the 1930’s anti-Semitic propaganda was spread, blaming the Jews for Germany’s loss in WWI and for its economic troubles. Many people believed this and viewed the Jews as subhuman and inferior; but they never could have imagined what would happen in the “final solution”. Starting in 1941, Jews were murdered in the gas chambers of concentration camps. Treblinka was one of them. The atrocities committed at Treblinka and other concentration camps was genocide. The world’s intolerance towards Jews lead to their genocide because when people are intolerant to others, they don't care what would happen. Because no one took notice or stopped this, six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended WWII, but at the cost of thousands of lives and the world's introduction to the nuclear age. Generally, lives, land, and money must be sacrificed to end a war; and the end of WWII was no different. The Manhattan Project, which was responsible for researching and creating the atomic bombs costed around $2 billion (equivalent to $22 billion now). From the two bombings combined 300000 people were killed, not to mention those who suffered severe radiation burns, cancer, and psychological damage inflicted by the bombings. This is the cost of war from a "historical" perspective. From the perspective of the Japanese, ending a war, either in victory or defeat, meant fighting to the last man and many lives. Japan, although inevitably going to lose, refused to surrender, until it was subject to two atomic bombings and an attack from the Soviet Union. A term of this surrender was that Japan could keep its Emperor although he was diminished to a figurehead without holding actual power, which also suggests that the cost of ending war is ending eras of leadership.