1936 was a busy year! In that year, Germany, Italy and Japan declared themselves allies. They were, as any student of World War II is aware, referred to as the Axis powers. Reading about this a little more, it turns out that the “actual Axis powers” were Germany and Italy, who culminated their allegiance on or about October 25th of that same year.
A month later, Japan joined the group.
For those unaware, at that time, Germany was led by Adolph Hitler. Hitler was the head of the Nazis (as so many folks know). What many seem to be unwilling to learn, or at least to admit is that Nazi was a “contraction for” “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.” Perhaps your German is not so great (mine’s okay, but not wonderful), so allow me to “translate.” The translation for the above would be, “The National Socialist German Worker’s Party.” Put simply, Herr Hitler was the head of the Socialist Party of Germany.
Looking up Benito Mussolini on the Internet, gets you the following (which I believe comes from Wikipedia:
“Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician and journalist who was the leader of the National Fascist Party.”
Doing a similar search on the Internet for Emperor Hirohito, one gets the following (again, from Wikipedia):
“Hirohito was the 124th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession. He reigned as the emperor of the Empire of Japan from 25 December 1926 until 2 May 1947 and of the state of Japan from 3 May 1947 until his death on 7 January 1989.”
It may not be obvious what I’m doing here, so allow me to spell it out for you. To begin with, I’m using readily available and generally trusted tools (which in this case, happen to be correct, too), to show folks that the heads of the three entities that were most responsible for the second war that involved most of the world were a socialist, a fascist, and an emperor (head of an empire, or an imperialist).
I would be the last to say there were no issues between these men. On the other hand, the three of them very nearly took over the world.
It’s further important to realize there were issues with the allied powers as well. For example, it can be readily argued that the United States, France, Great Britain and others in the allied pact, had—though not per se ruled by emperors—been imperial forces more or less up to that point (if not beyond) as well.
It’s also true that, though they claimed they were “aiming for” communism, Russia as a part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, never made their way out of the socialism that “lived in” their name.
It can be argued that each side had their problems. What cannot be argued though, is which “side” was the aggressor in the Second World War.
Both Germany and Japan made a regular practice of at least attempting to (and generally succeeding in) “annexing” their neighbors.
It’s also pretty obvious that the majority of the death that can be attributed to that conflict, can be lain pretty directly at the feed of Germany, Japan, Italy and their “friends.” It’s equally likely that, had they won the war, the deaths and misery would not have stopped there.
The United States has certainly annexed various entities (most of them very small, but that’s not really a good excuse).
Britain had what was essentially an empire, but became a commonwealth. Don’t believe there’s a difference? Ask the currently involved countries. France had “conquests” around the world as well. They too, typically ceded those countries in the course of time.
For the most part though, all of them willingly divested themselves of the lands under their control.
Yes, there are exceptions, places like Australia, Canada, Grenada, Guam. That being said, looking at any of the named entities (and pretty much any other you can think of), reveals the denizens thereof are generally free.
One need only ask the older residents of Korea what it was like to be under the grip of the Japanese.
It was not unusual for Koreans to be executed if the trains didn’t run on time. It was illegal to speak or teach one’s children Hangul (the language of Korea). Again, punishment for being caught? Typically at least beating, and more likely death.
Disagreeing with the policies of Nazi Germany, or Fascist Italy, would like yield the same result. Lucky people suffered imprisonment.
Neither the U.K., nor the U.S., has ever supported fascism or socialism, and part of the reason for that, can be found in who we struggled against in World War II.
Almost every nation who had imperial tendencies, had begun to relinquish its “territories” before that horrible conflict, Japan was largely an exception to that rule.
The end of the conflagration, resulted in pretty much everyone ceasing colonial activity.
Anybody who continued it soon saw, as it were, the error of their ways.
Funnily, the ones who continued it until recently (if not still), were entities like Russia.
If you’ve ever ventured outside the U.S. to any country in which American troops are still present, you’re likely to not even know they’re there except when you see them having a night on the town. That’s because for the most part they don’t consider it their business to “meddle in the affairs of local government or policing.” That’s simply not why they are there.
“Why are they there?” Ask the Philippines. When Ferdinand Marcos lost power there (details aside), the U.S. was asked to vacate the (fairly substantial) military installations there (at least for the most part). Did America respond with attack or refusal? No. The troops were removed and the bases and posts abandoned.
My final point? None of the allied powers from the time around World War II supported socialism (though it can be argued that Russia did so, it was with an eye towards communism) or fascism. This cannot be said for the axis powers. In my mind, for many involved in the allied cause, this is still the case.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.