John Oliver looks at our rotting ICBM infrastructure:
From another Reddit discussion:
“What would each leader have done, had they the unfettered means to do so? Stalin would have liked to simply rule unopposed. His actions were about the elimination of opposition to engender dominance and power over a homogeneous populus by any means necessary, and without targeting specific groups for persecution (arguably). Partly this was a deterrent; one the one hand, to prevent his people from opposing him, and on the other hand, to terrify other nations, by showing them how savagely he treated his own, and therefore inviting them to imagine how he’d treat his enemies. It was political, not racial.
“In the case of Hitler, it wasn’t a matter of opposition. While political dissidents didn’t have it easy, the major proportion of deaths were fuelled by the belief that Aryans were innately, inherently better than all the others, and that legitimised the systematic persecution, oppression torture and eventual destruction of others, be they handicapped, the gypsies, LGBT, or Jews. Therefore, had he had his druthers, it all would have ended with this world being utterly wiped clean of those people he regarded as “racial chaff”, irrespective of whether or not anyone opposed him. It was the calculated removal of an entire ethnic group or race, otherwise known as genocide. And while mass murder is obviously heinous and evil, there is something far more grievous and disgusting about attempting to obliterate an entire group of people purely because you think you’re better than all of them because blue eyes and blonde hair, and despite the fact that Jesse Owens ran faster than all your Aryan athletes at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
“Also, while Stalin killed lots of people, Hitler killed about 2/3 of the Jews living in Europe . And considering he never had a chance to obliterate the English Jewry, that’s an incredibly effective genocide of the Continental European Jewry.
“So, why do we react so badly to one and not the other? Because in order to decide to kill every Jew in Europe, or enslave every African in the US, you need to deny their humanity. You need to, somewhere in your mind, decide they are animals, vermin, insects, and that you have a right to treat them this way. Political murder is a means to an end, which is evil, but does not imply the same perversion of humanity. Whereas genocide is rooted in a fundamentally morally sick and evil belief that some imagined narrative actually gives you the right to obliterate others en masse, and is not the means, but the end.”
From a history thread on Reddit:
“After WWII the administration of justice in Germany and Japan were markedly different. In Germany, the Nurenberg Trials were overseen by a joint judiciary made up of the Western European Allies, the United States, and the USSR. In Japan, the Tokyo Trials were unilaterally adjudicated by the United States. This was the first problem. In both situations, the United States acted against the wishes of their allies and blatantly or secretly extradited and exonerated hundreds of war criminals from Germany and Japan. This was the second problem. The third problem, and probably the biggest contributor to the current Japanese cultural and societal ethos and perspective of WWII was the control the US exercised over post-war Japan.
In Germany, the Nurenberg Trials were largely a successful exercise in identifying and prosecuting war criminals. These criminals were tried and punished. While there is still a lot of controversy about the proceedings and the manner in which the prosecution acted – i.e. “perspective of the victors” – there is little doubt that the Nurenberg Trials not only established a precedent for future International Military Tribunals, but laid the bulwark for the development of the field of bioethics as it relates to the human experimentation conducted by the Nazis. US interests in the trial and desire to exonerate some of the more “valuable” Nazis for their scientific abilities were nullified by the influence of Western European and Soviet influence. The key point in Nurenberg is this: criminals, by and large were punished.
In Japan, in stark contrast to Germany, the Tokyo Trials were not only shambolic, but the near unilateral control the US had in the prosecution of the war criminals resulted in a complete mockery of justice. Now let me say this: I am a proud American. I was born in America and have American flag shorts I wear on the Fourth of July as I pound brews to the Red White and Blue, but I am also a historian and a realist and realistically America’s history is not pretty. And in Japan, McArthur essentially held a mock trial where literally hundreds of war criminals either avoided the death sentence or were exonerated altogether. The USSR was responsible for the only punishment and sentencing of Japanese criminals involved with Unit 731 in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials. While the Tokyo Trials had an “international” panel of judges and prosecutors, there is no doubt that the real prosecutorial power lied with the Americans.
In both cases, the US acted explicitly and with a great deal of subterfuge to exonerate and extradite Nazi and Japanese war criminals whom they felt could contribute to American military and strategic interests. This included one of the pioneers of NASAs rocket program Wernher von Braun. The OSS – precursor to the CIA – and other USA military groups attempted to take these individuals to the US where they would receive research grants, government positions, etc. In Germany, these efforts were largely stymied (but still pretty successful) by the Western Allies and the Soviets, in Japan, these efforts were wildly successful.
Culturally, the influence and proximity of the Western Allies, US forces, and the USSR served to constantly remind Germany of their atrocities and fostered a climate of repentance. In Japan, 70% polled did not know about the contents of the Tokyo Trials, which was even higher for people in their 20’s. Even more alarmingly, there are Japanese that believe that WWII was a war of defense and some just recognize a “degree” of aggression on the part of Japanese. Not only did McArthur and the US fail to pursue justice, but also exonerated/absolved the royal family of all guilt and moved quickly to remove the notion of war guilt from the collective Japanese psyche. Consequently, many Japanese do not see the war with regret, like the Germans do, but view it with a mixture of mild regret and a sort of pride.
Ultimately, the end result was a Germany that is repentant, recognizes its atrocities, and has developed a culture/society that, more or less, understands their role in WWII. However, as [another user] points out, one negative side effect has been a very profound guilt complex that affects cinema and other forms of art. In Japan, the people are not only ignorant of their atrocities, but this ignorance has resulted in a dangerous nationalism not at all obfuscated by any guilt from the nearly innumerable atrocities their country committed from the late 1890s to the end of the Second World War. This is not at all helped by textbook revisions that are not only devoid of the atrocities, but paints the Japanese in a sympathetic light.”
I’ve always thought this is such a big piece of the puzzle. From Reddit:
“In reality, the great depression pretty much evened the playing field as far as wealth. The problem we have today evolved as a result of GI’s returning from WWII. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers came home, bought a house, and started a family. But black soldiers were denied the opportunity. The Federal Hosing Administration would not insure loans to black families, and even if they did, often times developers wouldn’t sell to black families. So, whites got suburbia, blacks were limited to inner city developments. So while white families were building equity in their homes, black families were renters and getting nothing out of it. Eventually, black families that were responsible had saved up enough to by a nice new home in suburbia, but there was a great fear from the white community (a fear pushed by the slimiest realtors) that the influx of black families would depress real estate values. White people flooded out to newer developments, which of course made the real estate values plummet. Black families, having finally bought a house, got to immediately see their life savings go down the drain with their now worthless property.
After World War Two, America had a chance to fully bring the black community into the fold with every other ethnic group (all of whom were able to join the middle class after the war) but instead we dropped the ball big time, leaving a lasting schism in our society.”
Full comment http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/1witn6/what_actually_controversial_opinion_do_you_have/cf2j3h7
Image from http://thetruthnews.info/
“In order for the soldier carrying it to feel he was mightier than his foe, that his right to win was unquestionable, he was to be sold a story about his heritage, the nature of the country he fought for, and of those for whom he fought. He was lead to believe that his interests were in line with those who governed because they shared the same land to live on and looked the same. He was taught that regardless of his actual ancestry he was the inheritor of the samurai spirit, that he was required to expend his life to protect and expand the interests of his mother land. To this aim he was given this sword and told he was a warrior. It invokes a certain romanticism, steeling him in his belief that he fights with his ancestors at his side. It looks for all the world like a traditional sword, and it can certainly kill like one, but it is innately different. … It represents the nullifying nature of fascism, which reduces an individual to a vessel for ideology and unquestioning action – the blade incites to violence. Just like the fascist ideology, this sword attempts to imitate and utilise imagined glories from the past. Anyone with any sense would recognise that a sword is generally a very silly thing to have on a modern battlefield, considering how likely you are to be killed at range by rifles, or from artillery fire sometimes originating miles away. So then this item is not a weapon in the traditional sense, but rather an ideological tool. Just as the nazis carried banners resembling Roman standards, these swords were designed to instill an idea in its bearer.It is a wonderful example of the dangers that come with fetishising and utilising times gone by as examples of how to live your life, and a reminder of how those with power will use every tool at their disposal to instill their ideologies in the common people, the vast majority of whom have nothing in common with theirs rulers at all. The sword you possess is a powerful warning to all who gaze upon it. It says, “I tried to build a new world in the parlance of the old, and now I lie crumbling and dead”.”
“Now anyone can look around and tell you that the German government has, worthy, great, or otherwise, taken some pretty hard knocks and that the German state has failed almost completely in almost every measure by which we might judge a country’s greatness. Still with no colonies to speak of, still an “upstart” power, now shamed with the guilt of a world war and millions dead, still suffering economically under the crushing burden of war debt Germany is far FAR from the great nation that it imagined itself, bright eyed, before the Great War. So Hitler says that the German people are great, the German race is great. … In this way Hitler takes all of the failures and catastrophes above and he pins them, not on Germany or Germans but on a group that he more or less makes up within German society. He draws a bright line between them and says that the folks on this side of the line — the Aryans — are good, honest, hardworking, nobel, superior people to whom the good things they deserve have been denied by the people on that side of the line — the Jews, Gypsies, undesirables, etc. And that renders the German race – the Aryans – blameless in Germanys fall. Being Aryan was a big deal to the Germans because being Aryan meant that everything that had gone wrong in the last generation or so wasn’t their fault; it meant that there was someone to blame for the suffering of their nation, someone to fight, something to do. It took away helplessness and gave purpose to people who were serious need of it. Being Aryan meant being, not part of Germany disgraced, but part of Germany ascendant, Germany reborn, and Germany triumphant. Its a very powerful trap.”
Discussion on Reddit about the Boomer generation taking advantage of the social programs their parents created and then kicking the ladder away for everyone else: (a lot of generalizations)
“Here’s my basic understanding of what went down: The generation that birthed the Baby Boomers suffered like hell. Depression, World War II; they shouldered that shit. So when the US was growing more successful following WWII, they didn’t want their children to suffer. And their kids loved this. They lived in relative safety, had a clear boogeyman to fear in the USSR and ideology to love in the US of A. They got opportunities, whether to get jobs straight out of high school, or go to college, or travel the world, or whatever. Not everyone got this, of course, since we still did have poor souls shipped out to Vietnam. But white suburbanites? Shit was pretty damn cash. They got awesome music, got to experiment with drugs, and then got jobs alongside their hardworking, nose-to-the-grindstone parents of the “Greatest Generation”. And as those parents retired and died, we were left with a overwhelming number of coddled, spoiled children running the show. And the problem with that is that they haven’t grown up. They didn’t understand the hardships that drove their parents decisions. So they made decisions that didn’t aim to avoid those hardships, which has saddled us with debt, terrible regulations of tons of industries, and a number of unwanted and unwinnable wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Drugs), which has led to Gen Xers and Millenials getting the short end of the stick, and being generally bitter about it. Even a cursory glance at what we call the generations even gives some insight into the Boomers’ thoughts toward their children compared to their parents. “Greatest Generation” vs. “Generation X”. Past vs. future, and the future gets humped. Now, that’s not to say that every Boomer is like that. Plenty aren’t. It’s also not to say that this is a 100% correct reading of the situation, but it does seem to reflect what history has shown (so far) the Greatest Generation, Boomers, and Gen Xers to do.”
Is it true? Did the baby-boomers take advantage of the social programs their parents created and cemented, then voted to dismantle those same benefits for their children in the name of freedom, individual responsibility, and more benefits for themselves? Can a generation be that selfish? : politics.