December 07, 2016

Culture is a Signal

The animated short in the post below sums up the attitude of much of the United States in the early 1940's. It's not an unreasonable point of view. War is an obscene thing. 24 years earlier the country had entered a "War to End All Wars" which had, in the intervening years provided, as a case study in the wretchedness of war, thousands of men in what should have been the prime of their lives, missing limbs, blind or otherwise maimed by bullets, shrapnel, fire, and gas. The intervening years had seen numerous "police actions" in Central America, each of which had looked an awful lot like a war; ie; that thing those men had been maimed in the hopes of ending for all time. 

Most Americans with names not ending in Roosevelt wanted nothing to do with war. And so the pacifists, with help from the German American Bund and the communists (well, until 22 June 1941) all loudly proclaimed the disdain the American people had for war. From the papers to the radio to films as seen below and even the pulpits, the cry of "No More War!" was heard throughout the land.

However, when a sincere desire for peace becomes a nationwide cry from the rooftops it can be misinterpreted. Trotsky's quip, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. " is quite true, and war is especially interested in places where pacifism becomes loud virtue signaling, as it can signal, instead of virtue, cowardice, or at the very least a lack of resolve.  

And so, those who looked for such signals interpreted them accordingly. The Americans were not going going to sell them oil because Americans did not want to support those who waged war...because Americans hated war....Americans hated war...so this was the time to strike.

And strike they did, 75 years ago today.


U.S.S. California goes down. Note the sailors in the water.


14inch guns of U.S.S. Pennsylvania silhouetted by the explosion of U.S.S. Shaw. 


Battleship Row Burns.


Identifying the bodies pulled from the sunken ships.

Within a few years, those men, and far too many of their subjects discovered to their horror that a disdain for war is not a sign of cowardice, or weakness. 

Too loudly proclaiming it however, can cary a terrible price for everyone involved. 


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 11:41 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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