World War II rages on in minds of world leaders It profoundly influences them today

By Victor Davis Hanson
Tribune Media Services | September 5, 2019

Nazis slice through Poland: 1939.

World War II ended 74 years ago. But even in the 21st century, the lasting effects endure, both psychological and material. After all, the war took more than 60 million lives, redrew the map of Europe and ended with the Soviet Union and the United States locked in a Cold War of nuclear superpowers.

Japan and South Korea should logically remain natural allies. Both are booming capitalist constitutional states. Decades ago both nations emerged from devastating wars. And in pacifist fashion they vowed never to suffer such mass carnage again.

Both nations are staunch allies of the United States. They are likewise similarly suspicious of their neighbor, aggressive communist China, which threatens their economies and security. Yet Tokyo and Seoul are now more adversaries than democratic allies, and they are locked in a bitter fight. In their acrimony over trade and past war reparations, neither can forget World War II.

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