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How World War II Almost Broke American Politics

By POLITICO

Today we celebrate the war as a feel-good moment of unity. The truth is, the country had harsh divisions we’d recognize todayRead full story

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  • This is in fact a very in-depth and adept analysis of now forgotten political divides in the US prior to, and including the war itself. A critical omission however is failing to mention General George C. Marshall. The same Marshall who later served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under Truman.

    Churchill referred to Marshall as “The Organizer of Victory,” but that is only part of the story. FDR appointed Marshall as Army Chief of Staff on 1 September, 1939. The very day Nazi Germany

    This is in fact a very in-depth and adept analysis of now forgotten political divides in the US prior to, and including the war itself. A critical omission however is failing to mention General George C. Marshall. The same Marshall who later served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under Truman.

    Churchill referred to Marshall as “The Organizer of Victory,” but that is only part of the story. FDR appointed Marshall as Army Chief of Staff on 1 September, 1939. The very day Nazi Germany invaded Poland, and plunged Europe into war.

    Marshall in addition to his reputation of speaking truth to power, was an amazing figure due to his high standing with both parties in Congress. Marshall was seen even by the isolationist lobby as an impartial arbiter of events. Indeed, he was the perfect figure to begin building the US war machine with a standing army the size of Romania’s in 1940. For a man that claimed to never vote in elections, so as not to bias his judgement, Marshall had an amazingly adept political hand to coax and direct a very unpopular mobilization prior to Pearl Harbor on both sides of the aisle.

    Marshall, like Field Marshal Alan Brooke for Britain, is one of the most criminally underrated critical figures of this period.

  • Catherine Tannahill
    Catherine Tannahillprof, teacher

    This is why we study history - to understand & try to avoid repeating the most egregious errors. To further emphasize the divisions, war was not declared against Germany until after they declared war on us & not coinciding with the declaration against Japan.

  • “The story of how Americans surmounted their fractured political culture to mobilize for D-Day remains a trenchant example, in our own age of discord and division, of how a country desperately wanting for consensus can rally together in a moment of common purpose.”

  • Dilip John
    Dilip JohnOwner at Apple's Heart Corporation

    Great read on many of the issues papered over by our nation's romanticized memory. There were deep divisions before the war, many due to go Nazis and racist sympathizers in our own country, Lindbergh for one. There were issues with business leaders and unions, when converting to a war-time economy. Racial tensions, rumors swirling around minorities getting preferential treatment, fake news spread to cause discontent and riots. In other words, just like today.

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