People call World War II “the good war”. If one judges a war by its effect on the character of the victors, then WWII was certainly not a good war; it was a worse war than WWI. WWI left us chastened and skeptical of schemes to redeem the world through bloodshed; WWII left us self-righteous and fanatical, prowling the world for demons to slay. The lesson we took away from WWII is “never appease bullies”, which means “never compromise”, which means to become a bully oneself–all in the name of peace, of course. WWII gave America, Europe, and the international Left a template for understanding the world: the enemy is always Hitler. The trouble is, this template hasn’t fit any situation since 1945.
Why do we remember the last great war so fondly? I think it’s because it was the last time America and her intelligensia were on the same side. We miss the days when our greatest authors and moviemakers were making propaganda for our side, rather than the enemy’s. Also, the virtue of fighting with the Allies is the one point of American pride that our Marxist historians won’t touch. Everything else in our history they have convinced us is tainted. Suggest to an American that his country’s participation in WWII was wrong or foolish, and he will react with horror. You would be taking away his one piece of evidence that his ancestors weren’t completely wicked, the one mark to unambiguously go on the positive side of the ledger. I know; I was once one of these Americans.
Sure, Hitler was a bad guy. (The average German, I’m sure , was no worse than the average American.) But we shouldn’t base our collective self-image on having somebody worse than us that we thrashed. (It was mostly the Red Army that thrashed him anyway.) We shouldn’t be proud to be Americans. Pride is a sin. We should show piety toward America, our patria. We do this not because of any particular past glory, and certainly not because it meets the Leftist ideal of communal virtue better than some other polities, but because it is our fatherland. Like biological fatherhood (but in a much weaker sense), it is one of the symbols of God that He used in our formation, and we thus honor it for His sake.