World War 2 has rightfully been called the "most terrible" of all wars. Regardless of what size or number of casualties, all wars are terrible and rivers of tears have been shed in even the smallest and most brief ones. But World War 2 stands out due to several circumstances.
Unbeknownst to the world, the approach of this war began in 1937 when Japan invaded China. It just kept broadening until over 50 countries were directly involved and it grew and intensified as nations developed more and better sophisticated weapons. This continued until both Germany and Japan were beaten and surrendered in 1945. After the surrender of those two nations, and the smoke had settled, it was determined, only by estimate, that there were over 60 million deaths to be credited to it. It was also estimated that over half of that number were civilians. It was a long, hard fought and cruel war. many nations paid no attention to internatonal law and the League of Nations organization proved itself to be completely impotent when the real need arose, and was abandoned. Torture and willful slaughter of enemy soldiers, and even civilians, was commonplace, especially by certain countries. Possibly the worst offenses of this were perpetrated by the Japanese against the Chinese. All have heard of the massive slaughter of the Jews by the Germans under Adolf Hitler.
This was one war that the U.S. tried to avoid but did assist our allies, Britain, France and others which had been attacked by Japan and Germany, until the infamous assault on our Navy at Pearl Harbor on December 7,1941 (Read and/or listen to Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio speech declaring a state of war on December 8 Here). Without warning or provcation, they almost obliterated our naval fighting capacity. So, we entered the war with full force and remained until it was finished. And although we were the last to actively join in the fighting, only three of the Allied nations suffered more military deaths than did we. Of the Allies here are the top four military deaths (in rounded figures). Union of Soviet Socialist Russia: 9 million. United Kingdom: 400,000. Yugoslovia: 320,000 and the United States: 300,000.
The following pages give some views of the vast burial grounds of our young military people (almost all male at the time, but with some female Women's Army Corp). The American Battle Momument Commission has constructed and do maintain these cemeteries in foreign lands. And I commend them and congress for having honored these many brave young men who died for the land of freedom. May it ever be so.
The ABMC has a great website where they grant permission to reprint these photographs. They also have brief video tours of most of these sites, plus other views in still photos. After you finish browsing our pages, I hope you will visit their site for more photos and more details. Click Here