Los Angeles -- A great deal of the financial success the History Channel enjoys can be in some way directly attributed to its deft manipulation of the seemingly never ending retelling of the Second World War. With each episode we draw deeper and closer to a conflict our generation has neither seen nor known but surely lives within the boundaries of the Allied victory against NAZI Germany and its Axis Allies.
It's almost monthly broadcast of the major belligerent powers, especially the German side, has euphemistically dubbed the cable television producer as "The Hitler Channel." And every time you think there is nothing to tell, they seem to pull a kind of a mental Rorschach Test with new discovers that aren't really new just forgotten. Well it came as no surprise in this recent installment that History reinvents itself with a look at the entire conflict from outer space. Yes from outer space.
To add fuel to an already raging blaze, Hollywood was declared by the producers as the primary vehicle to galvanize a wounded nation to go to war, with the coast to coast celebrity bond rally blitz, in order to raise the needed capital to wage this new type of conflict, this battle for total defeat and total victory. In the wake of Imperial Japan nearly mortal blow to our capability to defend ourselves, in the early hours of December 7, 1941, which incidentally the 72nd anniversary of that deadly strike will be remembered in just over a week from today.
I must confess, however, after screening the 90 minute documentary; the full impact of the war finally hit my gut like a fist of iron. The reason is that unlike the now overly saturated imagery of uncontrollable savagery and wanton carnage, that we have come to anticipate and expect from these historical films, with the screaming nose diving German stukas, the black and white (and now color) imagery of unprecedented destruction on a hysterically panicked civilian population, instead we have statistical reports on the actual costs and consequences of this war that shaped the way you and I and quite probably future generations will undoubtedly live well beyond this century.
Let's run a checklist of what is in store before we roll tape:
360 Japanese planes struck Pearl on the morning of December 7, 1941
The Japnese lost 64 men to 3,600 US casualties a ration of 57 to 1
Washington calculates victory to cost $300 billion dollars or $4.4 trillion dollars in today's money
Over 300 movie stars join a campagin to raise money for the war effort that net's $187.5 billion dollars
Nazi Germany declares war several days later along with Italy
The United State is now faced with a deadly two front war
Britain sits on a razor's edge with a 5 million ton of supplies needed to keep the UK alive
The Germans under Admiral Donitz introduce the "Wolfpack" attack in the Atlantic
In one year 900 ships are sunk
The US gives Great Britain 50 destroyers in return for handing
over vital military bases and dismantling its preferential trading system
In 1940 anticipating a deadly attack by Hitler
Britain hands the United States every scientific innovation
in return for access to US production lines including atomic research
By late 1942 the tide begins to turn in favor of the Allies
California's population swells by 53 per cent
19 million women become America's labor pool
American industry produces 87,000 ships, 300,000 aircraft, two million trucks,
twenty million rifles, $41 billion dollars of ammunition
enough to kill the population of the world 17 times over
over and 187,000 bombers were built
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