U.S. History 1877-Present 9.1: World War II
Coming soon to a World War near you: Francisco Franco’s Fabulous Fascists.
|U.S. History||U.S. History 1877-Present|
its own corner with a prozac and a box of tissues, both Europe and Asia were about
to explode with their own crises. A violent civil war raged in Spain, where a
wobbly alliance of communists and democrats fought a desperate fight
against general Francisco Franco's fascists. Say that three times fast...
or don't, because it's just sad. Over in the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin had
risen to power and made a hobby out of imprisoning and executing many of his
political enemies, and probably a pony or two just for fun. And in the East, Japan [Pony is caught in net and dragged away]
had invaded Manchuria and threatened to conquer China. On top of it all, the Great
Depression was not just an American thing. Like an obnoxious American pop
star, it was dominating the world. Some European countries found a solution to
their economic problems in fascism. Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of
Italy and winner of the most-fun-to-say name award, had been waging war in
Ethiopia for five years running. Using chemical weapons like mustard gas, [Explosions over Ethiopia on a map of Africa]
Italian troops were busy slaughtering thousands of innocent people. Oh so not
cool, dude. Downtrodden after their humiliation in World War I, Germans
rallied around their new leader, Adolf Hitler, who called for Aryan blood
purity. Hitler launched an aggressive campaign to unify the German race
throughout Europe. We're all pretty familiar with his shtick, and it wasn't
funny. All this turned out to be a grade-A recipe for World War. Well, how did
America react to this rising tension? By acting like Miracle Max: yelling "I'm
not listening." Real war broke out in 1939, but the American public mostly stuck
their heads deeper in the sand. But eventually, the ostrich technique wasn't [Lots of people on a beach with their heads stuck in the sand]
cutting it anymore. In the end, staying out of World War II proved impossible.
By the middle of 1941, President Roosevelt had committed American ships
to an undeclared and possibly illegal naval war with Germany
in the North Atlantic, and on December 7, 1941 any question of whether America
would stay neutral went the way of the dodo. America had been blowing
raspberries at an increasingly aggressive Japan, to which the Japanese
responded by bombing an American naval station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was a [Japanese bombers fly over America]
bad day for surfers and the world. Okay, mostly the world.