Recently I just came back from a three week holiday overseas. Largely I met many people from England on this trip. While I had a fantastic time immersing myself in other cultures, exploring new cities and making international friends; being American, there was always one subject that would pop up and that was politics and history.
While I know many decisions America has made, such as our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, are incredibly unpopular and hated by peoples from other countries; I was flabbergasted to hear nine out of ten Britons I talked to do not acknowledge America’s strong and important role in the European front in World War two.
As strong of Allies America and England are and were in the second world war, I asked a few Brits if they at least think positively of Americas help in their and the world’s great campaign. I was surprised that I was told multiple times that America got involved too late and the Brits could have done a land invasion of Europe on their own. I would then ask if they felt helped out a lot or grateful in any aspect for our involvement. The answers I would honestly get range from “…you only got involved because you had to because Germany declared war on you…” or “…grateful? If America really cared about that war they would have got involved a lot earlier, not at the end”. It was very “England fought and triumphed over Nazi Europe”! As intelligent and intellectual as our friends across the pond are, I wonder if this skewed outlook on history is a generational thing or just what a majority truly believe.
Of course I would add that America was involved greatly in shipping and spending millions of dollars of war armor and ammunition before our formal involvement. Literally I asked about ten Britons of their opinion and only one of the ten said they did need our help. After these discussions I couldn’t help but feel a great sadness for the men of Americas Greatest Generation who fought on the European front and who gave their lives helping all Europeans and Britons in a cause for freedom. Has modern day American politics jaded others around the world so much that even our past of heroic causes are insignificant?