Studs Terkel called World War II the “good war.” If any war could be called good, then the Second World War is at least a candidate. However, it should be remembered that until the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, 70-80 percent or more of Americans in poll after poll said they wanted nothing to do with the war that was raging in the Far East or with the one that had erupted in Europe — and for good reason. By the 1930s it seemed that the death of tens of thousands of American boys during the Great War had been for naught. We were determined not to become entangled in yet another war overseas serving the interests of other nations.
All that changed when we were sucker punched by the Japanese, although many have argued the sneak attack was not a surprise to President Roosevelt. It certainly was to the American people, though, and “Remember Pearl Harbor” became the rallying cry that mobilized the nation and propelled our troops into what became the greatest conflict man has ever seen. We sought no territorial aggrandizement, liberated millions from tyranny, and brought about the downfall of Tojo, Mussolini, and Hitler. The “good war.”