A reader writes:
Let me pile on in the Greatest Generation debate. We Americans like to think WWII began on December 7, 1941. It is telling that, despite the fact that Hitler had already conquered most of Europe and was driving deep into Russia, a majority of Americans on the eve of Pearl Harbor still opposed U.S. involvement. People forget that in his famous “date which will live in infamy” speech, Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war only against Japan. He wanted a declaration of war against Germany as well but feared the American public would not stand for it. We entered the war in Europe only after Hitler declared war on the U.S. several days later.
I appreciate all that the Greatest Generation did and fought for (my father was one of them), but let’s not turn them into superheroes of sacrifice straight out of a Marvel comic book. Remember that the war in Europe raged for over two years while the Greatest Generation sat by and watched. And self-interest was at the heart of it.