when wars ended


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    On a side note I was thoroughly let down by the movie, which I can only describe as one of the least magical modern fairy tales ever told.Report

  2. The completely cynical answer is that WWI didn’t really ‘end’. The armistice was severely flawed and the period between the wars was just one German treaty violation after another. In some ways it is analagous to post Desert Storm Iraq, although obviously Part II played out much differently in the second case.

    I think if WWII showed us anything it is that the only way to really prevent your enemy from harboring resentment and waiting for revenge is to kick the snot out of them so bad that the thought of fighting again is seen as insanity.Report

  3. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    You’ve got a point on WWs I and II being two phases of the same war. But I would take the completely opposite view of what to do. post WWII (West) Germany and Japan were integrated by re-building the society.

    The “war is over” to answer Erik’s question when the Peace is Won. When you are fighting–in a post-nuclear age–non-state actors or sub-nationalist groups/insurgencies, the war is easily won. The peace/reconstruction is not. It takes at least 10 years minimum for a successful intervention and reconstruction. At minimum.

    Our political leaders only sell us on Wars–how they will be quick and easy. Which they really are (if still horribly violent). They don’t recognize the distinction between War and Peace phases and aren’t honest about the cost of the Peace.

    Every time we go into a place and win the war and then leave quickly (the Powell Doctrine) it eventually blows up in our faces. Somalia, Haiti, Iraq I, even Afghanistan (after arming the mujihadeen).

    Either we shouldn’t go in OR we should do it correctly. Do it correctly is not I would say obliterating people (a la the Sinhalese or Russians v. Chechnyans) but reconstruction.

    This in-between crap is the worst of all possible worlds.Report

  4. From Chris:

    post WWII (West) Germany and Japan were integrated by re-building the society.

    Wouldn’t the logic then be that in order to help ‘rebuild’ you first have to destroy? The arguement has been made for a long time that at least part of the reason why Germany was so bitter is because they didn’t suffer the destruction that France did.Report

  5. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    perhaps. but the WWI Versailles piece is a possible counter. You beat them and then force them to pay through the nose, humiliate them, and then expect them to join with the winners. Fat chance. All you do then is piss people off and set the stage for another round of bloodshed.Report

  6. After WWI Germany still had an intact army and a viable infrastructure. That’s why people like Hitler found the terms of Versailles to be so outrageous. After WWII Germany and Japan were completely and utterly destroyed and they also had a very hungry Soviet Union breathing down their necks. They needed us more than we needed them. That wasn’t the case in post WWI Germany.Report

  7. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    But Mike, if the Germans hadn’t been so totally and utterly crippled by the terms after WWI and the resulting economic collapse, they would have been far less likely to follow Hitler through Hell.Report

  8. The treaty was certainly a contributing factor, but there was also post-war inflation and then a world-wide Depression. If the arguement is that we don’t have to crush enemies and instead should just offer them more pleasant treaties…I guess I would question how pleasant it was for Germany and Japan after WWII. Germany being split in half and both being placed under occupation couldn’t have been that fun.Report

  9. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    I am of the belief that the Allies went much too far at the end of WWII – both in Japan and Germany. We could have reached a better peace earlier – though we did do quite a lot of good after the fact in helping those countries to rebuild. I think it was that rebuilding, more than the total defeat (unconditional surrender) that brought about the lasting peace.Report

  10. Avatar Barry says:

    Oh, we’ve sacrificed. We’ve blown from $1-3 trillion, and much of the increase in executive powers will not be rolled back in our lifetimes. And the mid-ranking Cheney larvae from the Bush II administration are still around, biding their time until they become high-level officials in the next GOP administration. Knowing that even if they get caught, and f*ck things up totally, there aren’t any really bad consequences.Report