A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn based Persuasive Essay

I do not believe the authors saying that World War II was an unjust war, merely that it was a hypocritical war. Hitler and his totalitarian regime were evil, but so have been countless other global atrocities that we as a nation have chosen to ignore. When we have intervened in other places - like Latin America and Asia - it has been to improve our ability to acquire resources and improve our trade conditions.

Many African-Americans felt that the war fought in Germany against oppression was a joke because of course they were treated like animals in the United States and no one seemed to care about their plight. Zinn claims we ignored the poor treatment of Jews in Germany throughout the 30s and sold oil to Italy after fascism had already taken root was not for moral but for capitalistic and imperialistic reasons. The best quote in the book that sums up their authors views is:

"Roosevelt was as much concerned to end the oppression of Jews as Lincoln was to end slavery during the Civil War; their priority in policy (whatever their personal compassion for victims of persecution) was not minority rights, but national power."

         Zinn discusses the ways we ended the war and how we gained from it. He also talks about the crimes we committed against Americans in the name of patriotism and security. On Bainbridge Island we have a Japanese internment Memorial. The incredible crimes against the Japanese living in the United States is something most of the nation rarely speaks about. I'm convinced the only reason we even speak about it here is because we can't ignore it because there is a gigantic Memorial to it and we actually have survivors that still live here.


        Zinn also talks about the fascinating ways that the government created the Cold War and used it to manipulate Americans into buying into oppressive and exploitive foreign policy decisions.The Red Scare unified parts of society against Communism, permitting the military to get bigger and stronger to defend against the enemy. At the start of 1950, the total U.S. budget was about $40 billion, and the military part of it was about $12 billion. But by 1955, the military part alone was $40 billion out of a total of $62 billion.By 1970, the U.S. military budget was $80 billion and the corporations involved in military production were making fortunes. Two-thirds of the 40 billion spent on weapons systems was going to twelve or fifteen giant industrial corporations, whose main reason for existence was to fulfill government military contracts.

            The author argues that the reason we need such a huge military is to write a pretend war so we can make a handful of billionaires richer with military contracts. As a country, we wanted control over oil and other resources, so we interfered in the governments of South America and Lebanon and Cuba. I agree with a lot of what Zinn is saying and I guess I am just na´ve enough to not one of believe what he is saying about World War II. I believe the US even today takes the interests of corporations above the interest of its people. Yet I also would like to think that the US government saw the atrocities happening in World War II and decided they had to take a stand because when Europe falls they will be coming after us next and the government simply wanted to protect us. I have no idea if that's true but I hope it is.


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