Saturday, October 1, 2016

Many Canadians have a different view of America in WWII

Until I immigrated to Canada in 2005, I had a completely untarnished view of American goodness in WWII.  All Americans all know the accepted (American) version of that war: the US baled out Europe in its hour of greatest need, and simultaneously defeated the Japanese who attacked the US without provocation.  I always thought the 2nd World War was America's last "good war."  Boy, was I ever wrong about that.

It was in coming to Canada that I began to understand there are other facets to the story ... many Canadians I've asked are convinced that Pearl Harbor was "allowed" to happen by Churchill and FDR (though neither anticipated an attack of the magnitude of Dec 7, 1941), which is not viewed as a completely bad thing (many hold that it was necessary to permit the attack on Pearl Harbor in order to draw the US into the war).  That surprised me, because I always thought (from my American indoctrination) that Pearl Harbor was an unprovoked "sneak" attack that caught everyone completely by surprise.  Only "crazy conspiracy theorists" believed otherwise.

It is commonly accepted by Canadians that the US was late to enter both world wars, and both times for very selfish reasons that had nothing to do with "saving the world" from fascist rule.  It had more to do with establishing America as a world power, which has always been viewed as a mixed blessing; no doubt Canada has benefited greatly from the world power status of its southern neighbor, but when that neighbor starts to act in a dangerous manner; Canada should look after its own interests first ... after all, the US does exactly that, looks out, first and foremost, for its own interests.

And that's where I believe the world view divides from the US view ... the US isn't seen by most other nations (not anymore) as a benign power, using its power and wealth for the good of all, and with no greater purpose than the promotion of freedom, democracy and national self-determination abroad.  It’s sheer folly to believe that anymore.

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