Howard Zinn A People's History of the United States Persuasive essay topic: Are wars sometimes justified?

A Peoples War

In the writing the author describes the contradictory actions of the US government regarding the officially stated reason to enter World War II. The author believes that Americans were told World War II was a people's war but it was not. He gives examples of the numerous times the American government became involved in the internal matters of other governments, changed sides depending on the circumstances and reacted only when its national interests were at stake.

 The US government makes its decisions because they appear to be favorable to national interests at that time, including the decision to go to war. According to him the US did not enter World War II to rid the world of fascism and the prosecution of innocents by Nazi Germany, but to further its interests in the world. 

I hope this isn't true. I think of World War II as the only war that even a pacifists like myself would have entered. It is probably safe to say however that a government that has decided to go to war must gain the popular public support to make it possible. It is probably true that governments state different reasons and goals for war to the public than is the reality. Let's face it most of the general public is pretty stupid. The true reasons for entering a war become apparent after the war is over and the public, as well as experts and politicians, can review the developments in hindsight.

For example, after the US invasion of Iraq, it was expressed by some that the true reason to invade Iraq was not weapons of mass destruction as was stated before the invasion took place. After WMDs were not discovered in Iraq, other possible causes for invading the country began to emerge. And made Americans feel unsafe. Pearl Harbor was of course a strong reason before World War II. Before the US entered World War I, American deaths due to the destruction of a British ship by Germany and secret plans about Mexico and US territories encouraged the US to enter the war. The US invasion of Iraq was strongly encouraged by the events of September 11. So perhaps it is not wrong to think that both national interest and ideals such as liberty were at play in the US decision to enter the Second World War.

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