Axis dictators

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat the their forefathers’ calamities. And though drawing comparisons to what happened decades ago is not always an accurate indicator of what comes next, similarities deserve attention. Here is one example...

Before World War II, many Americans, but by no means all, realized some facts about the men who led the Axis powers of Italy, Japan and Germany.

Americans knew Benito Mussolini, that bombastic Italian dictator with his fascist army of Black Shirt thugs. He first appealed to the hearts of his people, got their trains to run on time, told them what they wanted to hear about making Italy great again, and then he used his trusting people to advance his aims of conquest. He attacked the press and dissidents, wiping out voices of reason and cementing his one-man rule. He joined Japan and Germany in destroying world peace.

Americans knew about the Japanese war machine. Hidecki Tojo advocated that Japan become a totalitarian national defense state and he purged those in the military who opposed his views. His “defense” state became an invader, and under Tojo, the conquest of China – the opening of World War II – extended to the north of that country. As prime minister, he supported war with the U.S.

Americans knew about Adolf Hitler, who copied Mussolini’s rise to power. Instead of Black Shirts, Hitler used Brown Shirts. But the rest of the story is similar. Hitler first appealed to the hearts of his people, told them what they wanted to hear about making Germany great again, and then he used his trusting people to advance his aims of conquest. He attacked the press and dissidents, wiping out voices of reason and cementing his one-man rule. He joined Japan and Italy in destroying world peace.

Imagine, given those circumstances, if President Franklin Roosevelt had made friendly visits to see those dictators – men who destroyed the concept of a free press, of free speech and of a fair court system; who lied repeatedly to their own people, making fools of them while leading them to slaughter; and committed murder, a few at a time to start and then on a mass scale. Imagine, further, if Roosevelt not only embraced them, but criticized his staunchest allies, including the British Empire and France. Under such circumstances, World War II might have ended much differently.

What parallels might be learned from what happened generations ago versus what is happening now in the world?

There is no need to spell out the answer for savvy readers. They undersand and they are concerned.

As for everyone else, maybe what happened long ago has no relationship to what is happening now.

Maybe history is not repeating itself and there is no reason for concern.

Maybe.

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