Remembering the lessons of WWII

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There is a tremendous amount of very good material on Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services about World War II.  This point is raised as a visceral fear exists that Millennials and Next-Gen populations around the world will lose the opportunity to learn the many invaluable lessons available to them in this period in world history. And how effortless the lessons can be learned merely through taking the time to watch the material in the appointment-style television offered by these streaming services.  There are many, many very good choices.  After a few nights of some binge-watching you will either be very intrigued to watch and learn more or, minimally, will walk away with a basic understanding of these incredibly important lessons.

The material in these TV programs includes, most importantly, the testimonials of veterans, witnesses and other participants, many in their 80s and 90s at time of filming, who provide heart-felt and often gut-wrenching accounts of their war-time experiences.  As you watch these documentary films and television programs you will develop a sense of the great direct danger our country and the world faced.  Also, a sense of the immense patriotism that began to burst at the seams, as it did in the early 1770s, as American citizens recognized the enormity of the challenge ahead to defeat these forces of immense evil.

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All of these are vitally important bits of knowledge about what it truly means to be an American.  We are essentially a young country that produced the greatest economy and military power the world has ever known.  That greatness, in this context, was built by the Greatest Generation who came together as a civilian workforce and an unmatched military power that saved the world from dark, fascist, imperial forces and went on to win the cold war that followed. 

The American spirit and system together have produced and sustained the greatest quality of life the world has ever witnessed.  This sustained greatness was and is based on capitalism, democracy and the pervasive patriotism generated by the early architects of our system (the Founding Fathers) on through to the parents of the Baby Boomers.  We must not allow these lessons, of how sustained greatness can be achieved, be forgotten by those who have no memory of these seminal times.

Possibly more importantly is the sense of what our priorities should be as Americans.  That Greatest Generation value system is one of family, God, country, doing the right thing, hard work and self-reliance.  These values led us to victory as the final bulwark against tyranny (as clearly as, during those times, other democracies or nations of similar mindset about how to treat ones citizenry, even as an allied force, could not withstand the forces aligned with fascism and imperial aggression) while continuing to lead us to becoming the most peaceful yet powerful nation on the planet. 

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Today, it appears many of those invaluable lessons and pillars of our society are being lost amid strong voices for change.  Admittedly times and circumstances do change.  Change does happen. but certain key principals must remain to prevent forces for change from decoupling society from the engine that created the greatest results ever experienced.

The wealth that this nation accumulated, through these great principals of hard work, self-reliance, a market-driven economy/capitalism and democracy, are under attack by nascent leaders in waiting who propose this accumulation of wealth must be radically redistributed, regardless of earned effort or citizenship.  This while also somehow seeing this pool of wealth as unlimited, and, incredibly, at the very same time are hell-bent on dismantling the wealth’s systemic origin, or choking the proverbial golden goose.  

These nascent leaders in waiting propose we radically change the system that generated the wealth they wish to tap.  Their proposals call for reducing the very incentives that created the system that bestowed upon this nation the greatest living standard the world has ever witnessed.  Their proposals, as one example, call for trading military strength and national security for a system designed primarily to generate “fairness”.  Fairness must be a goal, but not at the expense of decimating the viability and security of the system that has already created world-leading prosperity for hundreds of millions of Americans.  These proposals represent a greater threat to the wellbeing of this nation, and the world, than those we faced from imperial Nazi and Japanese fascism.   In fact, their proposals are reflective of those that gave rise to the National Socialist German Workers Party better known as the Nazis.  It is an especially important lesson to understand the rise of Nazi power that began in Bavaria in the late 1920s.  The socio-economic and political circumstances were a perfect cauldron brewing up a dominate fascist movement that led to absolute political power held by a single party and a charismatic political operator that later became dictator.

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Yet, if we learn the lessons of those incredibly important times surrounding World War II, we can avoid making the monumental mistakes made by those who refuse to acknowledge or remain ignorant of these lessons.  If these youthful generations just spend sufficient time to absorb these critical lessons, by just watching these documentaries and TV programs (Could it be any easier?), then there remains a chance that they will turn away from these nascent forces who wish to abandon these critical principles that created the living standards they currently enjoy.

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