American Views Before and After World War II
America is well-know for its wealth and independence. Proud Americans come together to fight for democracy and freedom, while fighting against extremists and their desire for world conquest. War stories usually favor the victor. As a result, after World War II, many of the stories that began to circulate added to an already inflated US ego. After World War II, depending upon the country, the impressions of Americans are diverse.
On one hand, Americans were saviors; however, the other hand, many were offended because of America’s tentativeness to join the war efforts, plus the overconfidence Americans displayed with they eventually joined the war. Although, the US declared themselves as isolationists, they continued to provide defense supplies to the Allied states. These defense supplies came by way of Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease program. This program contributed to Allies collaborative efforts to resist German advancements. The Axis powers took considerable offense to this policy, which resulted in hostility towards the US.
By the time, the US officially entered the war; a devastated, Nazi-occupied Europe was struggling for survival. The wealth gained from Lend-Lease resulted in a secure and confident economy for the US. This great wealth, massive military, and America’s ability to harness atomic power, added to the audacity to use that power, were the factors that elevated the US into superpowerdom. Although, the economy was not the only reason for America’s ascent to become a superpower, it was also the combined efforts of the American citizens to support the war effort, which attributed to their elevated status.
However, according to Stoler, most Americans did not attribute the end of World War II to combined efforts; they perceived it as a return to “normalcy” (p. 385). Stoler continued his opinion by stating that both Britain and the Soviet Union were slightly aggravated and annoyed at the US for assuming the superior status at the end of World War II (p. 388). Americans believed their arrival secured the defeat over Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire. However, Britain and the Soviet Union’s opinions differ slightly regarding the US.
According to Stoler, the British considered Americans “latecomers” to the war and felt abandoned during the first two years (p. 388). When the US finally decided to join the war, they entered with the “naive, arrogant, and incorrect belief that they should dictate both combined wartime strategy and a new, self-serving postwar international order” (p. 388). From the Soviet’s point of view, America’s role was “relatively insignificant” as compared to the Soviet role; plus, the US deliberately procrastinated entering the war with the intention to exploit the Soviet Union by using the Lend-Lease program (Stoler p.
388). Memory serves as an important element during war-time. Many people consider memories of specific events irrelevant. These recollections of selectively retrieved events can possibility deliver incorrect details of said events. Earl Kelly with the McClatchy-Tribune Business News even quoted Carol Gluck while speaking at the 31st annual Bancroft Lecture at the Naval Academy, “history and memory are often in collision, rather than collusion, with each other” (2010).
Even the most overrated misconceptions of World War II were sometimes included into movies. Often, the US Government embedded them selves into the movie industry. The reason being was to influence Americans on the importance of entering the war by means of propaganda. Worland states, that the Office of War Information affected most popular war-time films; especially films that “depicting the armed forces, images of America as a united, democratic society, the ideology of the Axis enemy, and so on” (p.
48). This governmental influence pushed Americans to support the war effort. The U. S. brought to the war added military, supplies, and ideas for the Allies. While the US may have been imprudent and arrogant in their attempt to assume control, but the U. S. did bring alternative solutions to the table. To some countries, Americans are egotistical and lazy. Fortunately, America’s pompous attitudes gave the added incentive and strength to the Allied powers that helped end the war. Works Cited Kelly, E.
(2010). Historian says memories fuel inaccuracies. McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 2155533071). Stoler, M. (2001). The Second World War in U. S. History and Memory. Diplomatic History, 25(3), 383. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Worland, R. (1997). OWI meets the monsters: Hollywood Horror Films and War Propaganda, 1942 to 1945. Cinema Journal. 37(1), p. 47-65. Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/1225689