Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

1945: The War That Never Ended

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

1945: The War That Never Ended

Article excerpt

1945: The War That Never Ended, by Gregor Dallas. Yale, September 2005. $40

This book should be read by every American who has even a modest interest in understanding the "war that never ended," which is the author's term for the period between 1945, the last year of military activity in WWII, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dallas rightly observes that "no politically agreed peace was ever established as a whole" for WWII. Arguably, if there had been a peace conference the post-war geography might have been different. But if the absence of a formal peace treaty process may have been the starting point for this book, it certainly isn't the major theme or orientation. 1945 is not about a year, but a fundamental, historically based challenge to what he calls the American "myth" of WWII.

Despite the author's protest that polemics is not his style, this is a polemic, but one that is buttressed by extensive research and the author's status as a student of the history of other wars and post-war debacles He says the US "myth" of WWII is that it was a great victory, and that the post-war Europe recovery followed from a generous and strategic masterstroke called the Marshall Plan. He says that the perspective of many Europeans who experienced WWII is not that it was a victory, but a bare survival, and remote from the facts that he marshals and interprets. …

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