This week, I fully expected to write a blog focused, somehow, on all the outrageous trash talkin’ coming out of the Bisping vs. Sonnen “battle of the jerks”. After all, the primary reason I even come onto the Internet is for a good “jerk-off” (a meeting of two jerks – why, what did you think I meant?).
Only one little problem: there really isn’t any trash talk happening at all.
Bisping has gotten on record with some trash talk, hitting the long-awaited “only has one testicle” note that was inevitable in Sonnen’s post-steriods fiasco future. Then he called into question Sonnen’s questionable submission defence. If I wanted wit of that level, I’d go back in time a year and a half and log onto the Sherdog forums.
As of this writing (Ed note: Right after I posted this, Chael went off with his fake belt/hating Kenny Rice warpath...so I suppose there's SOME trash talk now) the only bit of trash talk Sonnen has offered up is this little bon mot:
“They have got the Oxford English Dictionary, and it if wasn’t thanks to us, it would be the Oxford GERMAN Dictionary.”
And it’s a good one, a tried and true zinger that so many Yanks bring up when they want to silence those pesky Europeans. But is it true? Would England be “speaking German” if not for the good old U S of A?
That’s the question I’ll tackle briefly in this article. Yeah, this isn’t MMA-related in the strictest sense, but so what? It’s MMA, it’s history, it’s fun, and it’s a chance to put that history B.A I paid $24,000 for to use for once in my life!
So: Did America single-handedly “save” England in the two world wars?
Simple answer: no, no they didn’t. Only yes, they also sort of did.
The image of Americans wading ashore on the beaches of Normandy – taking the fight to Hitler, liberating a continent, “turning the tide” – is nearly as iconic as that of the Marines planting the Stars and Bars on Mt. Suribachi. It’s the whole basis of the “we saved England/Europe” mentality, helped along by Stephen Spielberg and every WW2 shooter made in the last decade.
The truth is that Americans were charged with only 2 of the 5 invasion beaches for D-Day; two were British, and the last one was up to us Canadians. Also, only one of those esteemed nations managed to take and hold their objectives on D-Day…I wonder who that was…oh yeah, it was the pot smokin’, big-government lovin’ peacenicks from Canukistan.
Also, sorry to break it to ya, but all that fun stuff you guys were involved in – North Africa, the invasion of Italy, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, all that – was never more than a sideshow to Hitler and his cronies. They were too busy fighting those darned determined Ruskys in the east.
Over the course of the whole war against Germany, the U.S lost an estimated 936,259 men. A sobering statistic no doubt, but consider this: in the opening German invasion of Russia in 1941 alone, the Red Army suffered 2,993,803 killed, wounded, or captured. Kind of puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?
In fact, there is nothing in the American experience, whatsoever, to compare with the absolute bloodletting and savagery of World War Two’s eastern front. Only the bloodiest of battles in your Civil War come close, but even then – I don’t recall General Lee losing 4 field armies, totaling some 43 divisions and 600,000 men, in only a couple of weeks, as was lost in the Battle of Kiev in 1941. Nor do I recall Abraham Lincoln committing 1,129,619 troops to ultimately die in defense of a city, as Josef Stalin committed at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, the actual turning point of WW2.
So sorry Yanks, but it turns out us and the Soviets really won World War Two while you were busy getting yourself out of one of your quaint “depressions”, and only showed up at the end to be in the team photo and get some free donuts. Hate to be the one to break it to ya.
Only not. See, American soldiers may not have carried the sole or even majority credit for beating back the Axis, but American industry? That’s another story.
This is something I really wish more Americans knew about whenever they spout off about “saving” anyone in WW2, or “freedom fries” or whatever nonsense it is this week, because the scale of what the United States did economically during the Second World War is without equal in world history. It certainly, to my mind, outshines the achievements of their armed forces, which were themselves quite extraordinary.
In every single theatre of the Second World War, every place where Axis met Allied on the field of battle, American production power played a decisive role.
When the Red Army soldier marched forward to throw back the Nazi invader, he did so in American made trucks, eating American bully beef, wearing American boot leather. When the Brits fought Erwin Rommel in the desert of North Africa, they fought with American made tanks, running on American petrol. When Chinese nationalist soldiers fought Japan (and their own communist brethren, which wouldn’t work out too well for them) they did so with American weapons and training. When resistance movements from France to the Philippines fought back against the Axis occupiers, they did so with American delivered supplies.
At the height of your wartime production, America was making a new destroyer every three days. Every three days. And that’s just one type of ship, in one field of the armed forces.
America literally armed the world, becoming “the arsenal of democracy” as FDR once famously declared. In fact, you did such a bang up job here that your country has never reverted from a “wartime” footing, which it’s still on to this day.
But that’s a subject for another blog.
Finally, in case I’ve seriously PO’ed some people here, understand this: I’ve read all about the Battle of Midway, and the Siege of Bastogne, and the Death March of Bataan, and many other battles or moments where the U.S soldier earned glory and honor for himself and his country. The American fighting man can hold his head up high in my or anyone else’s company, now and always.
Still, I don’t think you “saved” anyone in the world wars. What you did was give so many people the means with which they saved themselves.
By Elton Hobson