One of the more amusing things about American culture
is how it breeds its own detractor
s. A vocal minority
out there seems to have an affinity for encouraging a national guilt trip
for nearly everything this country does, whether deserved or undeserved.
Were things perfect back home in World War II? Absolutely not. The internment of Japanese-Americans, while not isolated (see also Japanese Canadian Internment in World War II), was shameful, particularly in the case of women and children who were shipped off to Idaho or Montana while their husbands and fathers were off fighting for the United States. Race relations were 20 years away from starting to change, even as groups like the Tuskegee Airmen fought heroically in the field. My grandfather tells stories of black U.S. soldiers marrying white Englishwomen that they met outside their bases in England, and bringing them home post-war, only to have them leave after a year or two of ostracism in the 1940's South.
But that is by no means a reason to call the Allies hypocrites.
And after the war? America re-constructed Western Europe
with the Marshall Plan
. Sure, it wasn't just out of the goodness of American hearts (there was a Cold War
about to get underway), but American money
rebuilt the half of a devastated continent
that it could get to. And, by the way, it also protected that half from the ambition
s of the Soviet Union
, which was more than willing to set up puppet state
s anywhere it could, and gobble up all the territory it could (Berlin Blockade
"America didn't support Japan at all when they were trying to build up the economy again"? Please. The 6-year U.S. occupation produced such objectionable results as democratization via a new constitution (implementing a blended British/American system), equal rights for women, land reform, rebuilding of fire-bombed cities to provide housing, and economic brakes on the zaibatsu who had partially driven the country into war in the first place (who fairly quickly reformed into keiretsu). The demilitarization of the country was a necessary step, as much to break down the militaristic culture of the pre-war era as anything else; American soldiers stayed around to more than take care of any ambitions of unfriendly Communist neighbors. The repositioning of the Emperor from absolute, divine rule into symbolic head of state only had its rough points, but Hirohito handled it well.
Of course things weren't perfect -- nothing is. But attempting to equate Allied and Axis on a moral scale is taking things more than a little too far.
Invasion of Japan info sources: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/8141/downfall.html, http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/war.term/olympic.html