World War II (1939-1945) - Exodus Books
My Account Wish List Shopping Cart Log In

World War II (1939-1945)

Few events are burned into the collective consciousness like the Second World War. The fact that it took place so soon after the First World War, involved so many of the same key players, and was fought largely for ideological reasons no doubt have contributed greatly to this, not to mention the sheer brutality of the Axis powers.

But there are increasingly fewer people left alive who remember these events firsthand. Those who do were likely children during the 1930s and '40s, and probably not participants on a political or military level. The one exception to this, and the main reason so many "remember" World War II so vividly, are victims of the Nazi deathcamps.

For decades many of these people, mostly Jews imprisoned by Hitler's regime, lived like ghosts in the free world. They went to work, raised children, and did their best to hide the insidious identification tattoos down their arms, much the way junkies hide their tracks.

The main difference is that junkies have something to be ashamed of, whereas the Jews in Hitler's Europe were imprisoned for no reason other than their ethnicity. They were considered "unclean" by the Nazis, and the Final Solution was developed to erase them from the face of the planet so that it could be "purified" for the Aryan race.

Funny thing is, the Aryan race is largely a fiction. In the 19th-century it was popular to be involved in really strange stuff, and there was a developing mythos concerning a pure master race of Europeans that white Westerners found very attractive as their nations continued to grab land from supposedly inferior races.

Among other things, this idea took root in the poisonous mind of Adolf Hitler, and by extension in the mind of the German people. Probably no small part of this was due to the social, economic, political, and moral depression that had washed over Deutschland in the wake of World War I and defeat.

There was a terrible synchronicity at work—the Germans needed a messiah, and Hitler desperately needed to be one. It didn't seem to matter that the messiah they chose was a sociopath who also wanted to kill people instead of saving lives. All that mattered was that he made them feel good, and promised them a golden future filled with prosperity and no undesirables.

But Germany wasn't the only place such horrifying symbiosis was forming. Japan's Emperor Hirohito used the indigenous religion, Shinto, to whip his people into a frenzy of bloodlust with visions of international conquest, and the atrocities that transpired in Japanese concentration camps and throughout China were easily as horrific as those of the Nazis. And of course there was Italy under Benito Mussolini, whose favorite place to commit mass murder was Africa.

These Axis powers achieved such global notoriety that Pres. George W. Bush was able to call the perpetrators of worldwide terrorism the "Axis of Evil" and have most people understand the reference. What seems to elude many, or simply to be thrust to the nether regions of forgetfulness, is the fact that there was plenty of atrocity perpetrated by Allied nations as well.

Most notable among these was Russia, then known as the Soviet Union, which in many ways simply served as the personal death machine of Josef Stalin. In about thirty years (1924-1953), Stalin slaughtered so many Russians, Georgians, Poles, Slavs, Ukrainians, and countless other ethnicities that he made Hitler seem inefficient and feckless.

Despite being in league with this monster, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill usually emerge from this tragic situation as spotless knights rescuing the world for freedom and democracy. And in many ways their efforts to stop the Axis war machine were heroic, and to his credit Churchill did renounce Stalin and his reign of terror.

Our purpose isn't to put Roosevelt or Churchill in the same category as these genocidal maniacs. What we do want to point out is that they used the same tactic as Hitler, Hirohito, Mussolini, and Stalin to stem the tide of evil threatening to overtake the world—the cult of personality.

At the end of the day, the Germans, the Japanese, the Italians, the Russians, the Americans, and the British didn't follow their countries's flags to war simply for nationalistic or ideological reasons, but because their leaders were charismatic, forceful, and rhetorically gifted. They followed men as much as they followed the zeitgeist.

This isn't entirely a bad thing. We innately follow those who lead, and if they lead well and give great speeches the extent to which we'll follow them increases immensely. Fortunately for the world, the people following the men with the least destructive and hateful ideology had the best weapons and the most resources, and they won.

What if they hadn't? Such a prospect has long preoccupied historians, philosophers, sociologists, and their hoards of armchair counterparts. Theories have abounded, but one burning question remains: Will it all happen again? And the answer is, of course, Yes, it willl happen again.

Human nature doesn't change. And though some societies are more predisposed to critically evaluate the ravings of messianic sociopaths, many lack such objectivity or logical sharpness and allow themselves to be plunged into atrocity, deprivation, and moral insanity. Will our society be the next evil empire? Who knows? Some think it already is.

There's only one response to this human propensity for evil: Jesus Christ. Though it is the job of nations to prtoect their people, by force if necessary, it's the purpose of Christians to spread the good news of forgiveness for sin through the blood of Christ, and this is the only antidote to destruction and pain because Christ is the only one who can change hearts.

The twentieth century, and particularly World War II, seemed like a showcase of the ability of humans to harm each other, and the depths to which entire once-noble cultures could fall. Yet even for the worst offenders, the offer of forgiveness is not rescinded until death, and we must continue to work for the Gospel despite what others may do to us.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.


Did you find this review helpful?
137 Items found
Search in Category:
After the War
by Carol Matas
from Simon Pulse
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
$6.15 $3.50 (1 in stock)
Air Raid - Pearl Harbor!
by Theodore Taylor
from Harcourt
Historical Non-Fiction for 5th-8th grade
Airplanes of the Second World War - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Carlo Demand
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
America's Wars - CD
1997 Credenda/Agenda History Conference
by Doug Wilson, Tom Garfield & Steve Wilkins
from Canon Press
for 9th-Adult
And There Was Light
by Jacques Lusseyran
Third Edition from New World Library
for 10th-Adult
Anne Frank: Beyond the Diary
by Ruud van der Rol & Rian Verhoeven
from Puffin Books
for 7th-10th grade
$10.99 $7.50 (1 in stock)
Axis & Allies 1941
from Wizards of the Coast
An "educational game" for guys 10-adult
Axis & Allies 1942 2nd Edition
2nd edition from Avalon Hill
An "educational game" for guys 10-adult
Axis & Allies: Europe 1940
from Avalon Hill
An massive, extravagant strategy game for guys 12-adult
Axis & Allies: Pacific 1940
from Wizards of the Coast
Huge strategy game for 4th-Adult
Band of Brothers
by Stephen Ambrose
from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
Behind Enemy Lines
Sterling Point Books
by H.R. DeMallie
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 5th-9th grade
Bluestocking Guide - World War II
by Jane Williams
from Bluestocking Press
for 9th-12th grade
by Steve Sheinkin
First Edition from Flash Point
for 5th-9th grade
2013 Newbery Honor Book
Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom - CD
from Tyndale House
for 4th-9th grade
Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 8th-12th grade
by Jaap Ter Haar
from Inheritance Publications
for 4th-8th grade
Bridge Too Far
by Cornelius Ryan
from Simon and Schuster
for 10th-Adult
Candy Bomber
by Michael O. Tunnell
from Charlesbridge
for 4th-6th grade
by Joseph Heller
50th Anniversary Edition from Simon and Schuster
for 11th-Adult
Citizen Soldiers
by Stephen Ambrose
from Simon and Schuster
Historical Non-Fiction for 10th-Adult
Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein
from Hyperion/Madison Press
for 9th-12th grade
Coming Evil
by Vivian Vande Velde
from Sandpiper Books
Historical Fiction for 4th-6th grade
Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer
by Kelly Brown
from Vision Forum
Biography for 4th-8th grade
Corrie Ten Boom
Christian Heroes: Then & Now
by Geoff & Janet Benge
from YWAM Publishing
Biography for 4th-7th grade
Corrie Ten Boom - Audio Book
Christian Heroes: Then & Now
by Geoff & Janet Benge
from YWAM Publishing
Biography for 4th-7th grade
D-Day and the Providence of God - Study Course
from Vision Forum
for 9th-Adult
D-Day Landings
DK Readers Level 4
by Richard Platt
from DK Publishing
for 2nd-4th grade
Day of Pleasure
by Isaac Bashevis Singer
from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
for 7th-9th grade
Devil's Arithmetic
by Jane Yolen
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
$6.15 $4.50 (1 in stock)
Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank
from Bantam Books
Biography for 7th-Adult
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Audio Book
Christian Heroes: Then & Now
by Geoff Benge, Janet Benge
from YWAM Publishing
Biography for 5th-8th grade
DK Eyewitness: World War II
DK Eyewitness Series
by Simon Adams
from DK Publishing
History Reference for 4th-8th grade
$16.99 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Douglas MacArthur
Heroes of History
by Geoff & Janet Benge
from Emerald Books
Biography for 4th-7th grade
$8.50 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Easy Company Soldier
by Sgt. Don Malarkey
from St. Martin's Press
for 11th-Adult
Eleanor's Story
by Eleanor Ramrath Garner
from Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
for 7th-9th grade
Elephant Run
by Roland Smith
Reprint from Disney-Hyperion
Endless Steppe
by Esther Hautzig
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
Endless Steppe
by Esther Hautzig
from HarperCollins
Historical Fiction for 5th-8th grade
Evidence Not Seen
by Darlene Deibler Rose
from HarperCollins
Biography for 9th-Adult
Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
for 7th-11th grade
$7.91 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Father's Promise
by Donna Hess
from Bob Jones University Press
Historical fiction for 5th-8th grade
$8.80 $6.00 (1 in stock)
General George Patton
Sterling Point Books
by Alden Hatch
from Sterling Publishing Co.
Historical Non-Fiction for 5th-8th grade
George S. Paton: War Hero
Childhood of Famous Americans
by George Edward Stanley
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Biography for 3rd-6th grade
God's Samurai
by Gordon Prange, with Donald Goldstein & Katherine Dillon
from Potomoc Books
for 10th-Adult
Going Solo
by Roald Dahl
from Puffin Books
for 7th-9th grade
Good Fight
by Stephen Ambrose
from Atheneum
WWII Historical Reference for 4th-9th grade
Good Night, Mr. Tom
by Michelle Magorian
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 6th-9th grade
$7.03 $5.50 (1 in stock)
Great Republic
by Winston Churchill
from Modern Library
American History Reference for 11th-Adult
$16.95 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Grim Reaper
Shadow Series #3
by Piet Prins
from Inheritance Publications
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
Copyright © 1999-2015, Exodus Provisions