Was world war 2 a "good war"?

Essay, 2008

7 Pages, Grade: none


Running Header: Was world war 2 a “good war”?

Shilpa Mudiganti


World War II is widely known as the last “Good War” especially by United States of America. This statement gained more acceptances with the onset of wars like Vietnam and Korea which proved very unpopular to the American public. But was World War II truly a “Good War”? The second world war had always been considered to be a fight against Nazism and Fascism which represented the unimaginable evils. More than 70 million lives were lost fighting for the cause including the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing which resulted in the nuclear arms race. Though the evil forces of Nazism were defeated, a sobering account of atrocities caused by the allied forces and the unpleasant after-effects proves the opposite and renders the theory of “Good War” invalid.

World War II was the last major war that involved the most powerful nations of the world. These nations dominated and ruled the world and were also called “Great Powers”[1]. On one side, were the “good” forces called Allies, viz., United States of America, Great Britain and Soviet Union and on the other side were the enemy called “Axis”, Viz., Germany, Italy and Japan. The war estimated a death toll of 50 million to 70 million[2] making it the history’s deadliest war and far more casualties were reported in the Allies camp than the Axis powers. Though the Nazi and Fascist powers were defeated for good, did this war produce any other positive outcome? The answer is a sobering no.

The first cries of “Good War” had emanated from the opponents of Vietnam war who justified their opposition to the unprovoked war on Asian internal affairs by comparing it with the “goodness” of purpose of world war II. World War II was a war that opposed the domination of fascism and Nazism that is best known for the concentration camps and genocide committed. However, the “good” war has the record of many not-so-good details which gave a very devastating aftermath.

Paul Fussel, in his book Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, in 1989 , said even those who fought the war "knew that in its representation to the laity what was happening to them was systematically sanitized and Norman Rockwellized, not to mention Disneyfied America has not yet understood what the Second World War was like and has thus been unable to use such understanding to reinterpret and redefine the national reality and to arrive at something like public maturity." The Second World War has been glamorized by movies like “Casablanca”, “Mrs. Miniver” and has displayed the atrocities performed by the enemy camp which were bravely fought by the allied forces but failed to highlight the equal amount of barbaric actions performed by the allied forces. For example, the World War II brought in the air attacks that killed people without discrimination and resulted in the murder of millions of innocents and rendered an equal number homeless. "Of the material costs [of the war], the largest by all odds came from that most appalling innovation in ruthless destruction, air bombardment — especially area raids which were indiscriminate in that no specific target was aimed at. The assault on dwellings ranks as one of the great horrors of the way.... Terror and obliteration air raids were considered successful almost in proportion to the number of people who lost their homes.” the historian C. Hartley Grattan had written in 1949.


[1] Hartmann, Frederick H. The relations of nations, pg. 312

[2] Second Source List and Detailed Death Tolls for the Twentieth Century Hemoclysm [121]

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Was world war 2 a "good war"?
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world war 2, good war, bad war, world war analysis, world war 2 analysis, world war 1, hiroshima, nagasaki, hitler, mussolini, nazi
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Shilpa Mudiganti (Author), 2008, Was world war 2 a "good war"?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/117849


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