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In his book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg touches on the widespread sympathy for fascism and communism in the United States in the years leading to World War II. Many others have written on the subject.
It only now occurred to me that many of “the Greatest Generation” who were sent to fight the Nazis, Mussolini’s fascists and the Soviets might have been supporters of those regimes before the war. Is there any history of this?
Do you think David Brooks would continue to voice his admiration of China if we went to war with them?
At risk of distracting from the general topic, it reminds me of a point I often make about the American Civil War: Very few Southerners owned slaves, and it is unlikely that many put their lives on the line to protect the “property” of a handful of rich aristocrats. While slavery might have been the primary issue which motivated politicians to secede or to go to war, it was almost certainly not the reason for which most Southern soldiers fought. They fought for home… as soldiers often do.
Likewise, it is probable that many American soldiers who enlisted or were conscripted to fight in WWII fought for home, rather than for political reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them knew as little about Nazi or Soviet politics as modern Americans know about the current politics of China or Russia.Published in