Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II

Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II World War II Remains A Celebrated Event In Our Collective Memory A Time Of Great High Minded Clarity, Patriotic Sacrifice, And National Unity Of Purpose It Was The Quintessential Good War, In Which The Forces Of Freedom Triumphed Over The Forces Of Darkness Now, In His Provocative New Book, Historian Michael Bess Explodes The Myth That This Was A War Fought Without Moral Ambiguity He Shows That Although It Was Undeniably A Just War A War Of Defense Against Unprovoked Aggression It Was A Conflict Fraught With Painful Dilemmas, Uneasy Trade Offs, And Unavoidable Compromises With Clear Eyed, Principled Assurance, Bess Takes Us Into The Heart Of A Global Contest That Was Anything But Straightforward, And Confronts Its Most Difficult Questions Was The Bombing Of Civilian Populations In Germany And Japan Justified Were The Nuremberg And Tokyo War Crimes Trials Legally Scrupulous What Is The Legacy Bequeathed To The World By Hiroshima And What Are The Long Term Ramifications Of The Anglo American Alliance With Stalin, A Leader Whose Atrocities Rivaled Those Of Hitler Viewing The Conflict As A Composite Of Countless Choices Made By Governments, Communities, And Always Of The Utmost Importance Individuals, Bess Untangles The Stories Of Singular Moral Significance From The Mass Of World War II Data He Examines The Factors That Led Some People To Dissent And Defy Evil While Others Remained Trapped Or Aloof, Caught In The Net Of Large Scale Operations They Saw As Beyond Their Control He Explains The Complex Psychological Dynamics At Work Among The Men Of Reserve Battalion , A Group Of Ordinary Working Class Germans Who Swept Through The Polish Countryside Slaughtering Jews, And Among The Townspeople Of The Plateau Vivarais Lignon, Who Rescued Thousands Of Jewish Refugees At Their Own Peril He Asks Poignant Hypothetical Questions, Such As What Would Have Happened Had The Catholic Church Taken A Hard Line Against Nazism, Placing An Imperative On Its Members To Choose Between Their Loyalties As Bess Guides Us Through The War S Final Theater, The Politics Of Memory, He Shows How Long Simmering Controversies Still Have The Power To Divide Nations Than Half A Century Later It Is Here That He Argues Against The Binaries Of Honor And Dishonor, Pride And Shame, And Advocates Instead An Honest And Nuanced Reckoning On The Part Of The World S Nations With The Full Complexity Of Their World War II Pasts Forthright And Authoritative, This Is A Rigorous Accounting Of The War That Forever Changed Our World, A Book That Takes Us To The Outer Limits Of Moral Reasoning About Historical Events

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  • Hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II
  • Michael Bess
  • English
  • 07 July 2019
  • 9780307263650

10 thoughts on “Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II

  1. says:

    LOVED Bess Very useful and thought provoking.

  2. says:

    This was an odd experience I loved everything about this book until I didn t, then I couldn t stand it I think the strength of this book is in the historical details and arguments weighed against each other Where it went awry for me was once it turned from history to evangelization in the last chapters The book makes strong arguments for collectivism, and then disregards basic cultural artifacts I didn t complete the last two chapters, non enthused, but terrorism and hacking seem to undermine the premise I cared to gathered Seemed to be an awkward addition to the book.

  3. says:

    An outstanding and challenging history that considers how we might apply our understanding of ethics to a war that is often painted in black and white, and imagines how we might apply those lessons toward building a better world today.

  4. says:

    A look at what and how a moral viewpoint is and is derived Very accessible, and worth reading and thinking about WWII turns out not to be entirely the good war.

  5. says:

    read for class, but was a super informative and in depth look at some of the little known stories of World War II enjoyable read

  6. says:

    Among the many moral and ethical dilemmas the author Bess covers are The causes of the European and Asian conflicts, bombing civilian populations, Kamikazes, the Allied alliance with Stalin, use of the atomic bomb, character at Midway, The Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes trials, and the politics of remembrance of the war He consciously and adeptly covers these, among other issues I didn t mention, in three main sections of the book Fomenting War, Making War, and Long Term Consequences of the War Each issue is covered from both sides, giving the reader a look through the eyes of the people on both the delivering and receiving ends of the actions The chapter on the bomb was one of the best that I have read, giving reason for its use, along with reason for not using it He covers this issue from all sides and comes to a very fair and insightful conclusion concerning the bomb s use This chapter alone is worth reading the book I wanted to give this work the full five stars but was unable to due to his writing and thoughts that appear to lean toward a world court and authority, along with his apparent praise for the European welfare state I look at the U.N and see some good, but failure I look at my government and see something far removed from what was originally envisioned and as set forth in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights I realize both the U.N and our Government for the most part mean well, but both would rather take some of our liberty and replace it with some security That is not a road I want to take ans it is full of potential traps and pitfalls A World Order would be no better, most likely worse, it is best that it be The Road Not Taken We can, and must, work towards peace in other ways, ways that all people will retain their freedom.

  7. says:

    An indictment of war, essentially No country is above committing atrocity to further their goals This book does not pull punches America has much to answer for Not just with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but Dresden and the fire bombings over Japan If you are queasy when it comes to graphic descriptions of war time atrocities, do not read this book I could barely stomach it, at times However, as a student of history it s extremely important to know what many would not have us know We all have blood on our hands Let s learn something from it, at least.

  8. says:

    This book is for the serious student of history and a must read.If you think you know everything about WWII, then this will open lots of doors to places you have never been You will do some soul seaching as you read how others made their moral or immoralchoices, and have to wonder what you would have done Are you part of the 10 20% who resist evil when the chips are down, or part of those who go along for whatever reason or rationalization

  9. says:

    There s a lot of what ifs in this book, but there s also a great deal of information about decisions and their effects so many decisions that were actually wrong but no one knew that for months, years, even decades later Effectively, he s saying you have to go with what you ve got at the time and hope that you re right Very well written quick reading.

  10. says:

    This is my favorite history book We often look at World War II as the ultimate fight between good the Allies and evil the Axis powers , but Bess shows that things aren t quite that black and white He makes the gray area fascinating.

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