Quote from Roy Fokker
Question: Do you think that WWII was really a "victory" for the allies and the nations allied with them?
Yes, I do.
But, WWII was created from the seeds of WWI. The Cold War was created from the seeds of WWII. The current anti-American biases were created from the seeds of the Cold War.
Even Iraq, Iran, and N. Korea hold their seeds in the Cold War. American involvement in Korea was obviously a hot spot in the Cold War.
Iraq and the greater Middle East have been played as Cold War battles for decades.
Iran? British involvement in Iran created the seeds for the overthrow of the Shah and the Cold War is STILL in play there, as evidenced by Russia supplying them with 'defensive' missiles this weekend.
On a larger note, the failures of the League of Nations is evident in the body created as a result: the UN.
We are captive to our history.
Did we 'win' WWII? Not in the context that our current geopolitical positions remain an extension of WWII, surely.
But: WWII made America a pre-eminent power. Until that time we had some capital as a result of WWI, but we were a backwater, second World nation still trying to break out.
As a result of WWII, the battles we have fought since then have been very minor by comparision to the men and armament involved in WWII. Had we lost, fascism would have created constant conflict and required many more lives to overthrow.
The World is a much better place these days. The standard of living is up, the world over. So is population, a direct result of, if not relative prosperity, then at least, lack of global warfare. The information and media revolution has destroyed virtual, if not real, borders.
(Let me suggest before I go on, Roy, that I understand there is a difference between the technical definitions of 'democracy' and 'republic'. I am equally aware that most don't know the difference and the term 'democracy' is now a hybrid term that doesn't represent the classic definition.)
Democratic nations are on the dramatic rise, excellerating after 1989. Democratic Peace Theory suggest that Democracies rarely go to war with each other:
Democratic peace theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In a nutshell, the theory is that democracies rarely war with each other because democracies themselves, except in self-defense, cannot long sustain war due to the influences of voters that shun such concepts long term. Case in point: the popularity of the concept of war in Iraq is suffering from the same pressures. Now, combine that with the inner turmoil of war in BOTH warring nations, and the formula is in place to either drastically reduce the popularity of such wars, or, to avoid them in the first place. Or, to put it more directly, Democracies cannot long sustain being held accountable to an electorate in military operations in which they are the agressors. If both of two disagreeing democracies can neither long withstand being an aggressor nation, then the rationale for war is abated.
Indeed, a key component in trying to establish a democracy in Iraq IS the Democracy Peace Theory: by helping to create democracies in the Middle East, we reduce the chance of future war.
Woodrow Wilson coined the phrase that sums up Democracy Peace Theory: "The World must be made safe for democracy."
In fact, there has NEVER been a war where the principle participants were two mature democracies fighting each other (The War of 1812 being a possible exception but the British Monarchy still retained much of the power structure not invested in an electorate). This concept is known as 'dyadic peace'. It is not necessarily true that democracies are less warlike in and of themselves (monadic peace), but the dynamic or dyad between two democracies strongly works against warfare between the two.
Do I think the world is better off because of WWII: I'd give that an unqualified yes. And as a direct result, the allies did gain a victory.