can there be anything left to say about that War. And yet, it was
the biggest event in our lives. It was the defining factor in our
lives. It determined, largely, what we might become, and of
course, for many of us, how long we might live. It set the tenor
of events for the rest of the century. Here I am, in
the year 2006, almost 88 years old. But 75% of my College classmates
died before it was over. I simply cannot go ahead with this book
without paying some obeisance to World War II.
First of all, it was
an unnecessary war. In 1938, had Britain’s Prime Minister,
Neville Chamberlain, had the moral courage to say “NO” when Hitler
wanted just a bit more of his neighbors territory, it might all have
been avoided. But Chamberlain caved in, to avoid War.
He caved in to threats and blackmail. This dismayed the weaker
neighbors, and encouraged Hitler, and history tells the rest.
At the time, most of us hoped we might be able to stay out of it, “Let
those dumb Europeans beat each other up again!” and most of our leaders
were preaching PEACE. Even Lindy, Charles Lindberg, our hero,
favored Adolf Hitler. The great depression was still with
us. In June of ’41, as I left college, national unemployment was
still at 25%, with pockets of worse in cities. FDR needed a
distraction, and laid a foundation with Lend Lease of War material.
But when Japan hit Pearl Harbor, the lines of volunteers at recruiting
stations reached around the block. PEACE had become a dirty word.
Having seen what war does to the land in which it is fought, my prayer
now is that we will never wait until we must fight in our own
land. I’m afraid that is what these terrorists are leading us to
do. I know I’m being selfish, but if any women and children
are to be put at risk, I hope it’s not our women and children. If any body’s infrastructure and economy is going down to destruction, I hope it’s not ours.
The United States is the only country that has ever fought on someone
else’s land, then departed without collecting enormous ransom. We
don’t practice domination of others, but we do ask that others
recognize the rights of others, and occasionally we fight for