WW I, Korea, WW II and Israel; Heads You Win Should Not be Tails I Lose


The premise of this thread it that when a party starts a war and loses, the defending side should be allowed to finish it. In the cases of WW I, Korea and Vietnam the aggressors, respectively Germany/Austro-Hungarian Empire, North Korea and North Vietnam started wars. The wars ended in armistices, not in military victories. In all cases complete victory was possible but the West, being “nice” left the losing side to their own devices. In all cases it has leapt us to bite us.

WW I (armistice) – This case is perhaps the least clear. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, tied by treaty and history to Germany (only recently Prussia and other principalities) tried to take over the Balkans, lured by the chaos surrounding the murder of the Archduke of Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. (source). After a long war with unprecedented bloodshed the Austro-Hungarian Empire was split into Austria, Hungary Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans reconstituted into Yugoslavia. However the core of the countries remained intact and were not occupied. The terms of this armistice did not sit easily with a still-intact and independent Austria and Germany. They covertly did not comply with the disarmament mandates of Versailles. All else is history.

Korea (armistice) – Probably the strongest case. Korea was historically under the sway of either Japan or China (source). In or about 1910 Japan seized control. When WW II ended Korea was partitioned between the northern half, occupied by the USSR and the southern half, occupied by the U.S. There was, to my understanding, little reason for this generosity to the U.S.S.R. since they took astonishingly little part in the defeat of Japan in the war. In Europe, at least a colorable argument could be made that they earned a share of the spoils, and effective control of Eastern Europe. When NK invaded in 1950 there was little reason for not conquering and holding NK, reuniting it under South Korea’s military dictatorship.

Since then, NK has clearly not found the status quo acceptable. They are now a nuclear power, leaving the West with little choice but surrender or a full-scale war before NK poses a mortal threat to the civilized world.

WW II – This is an example in the opposite direction, of what happens when there is total victory, mostly by the civilized world. While we have not had “kumbaya” perfection (see above regarding Korea, and also other small wars such as Vietnam and the Middle East), the world has by and large not had major wars. Victory was total. Japan and Germany are not a threat to world safety nor are they likely to be.

Israel (armistice in 1948 and 1956, victory in 1967 and 1973) – Another good example. 1948 and 1956 ended in standstills. The Arabs kept on attacking. In 1967 they closed the Straits of Tiran, threatening to throttle Israel’s imports of oil from Iran. Israel obliterated Egypt’s air force on the ground. The war lasted six days.

Since then the rest of the world has sought to give the Arabs a do-over. Trump finally recognized Israel’s choice of capitals. The Arabs should have sued for peace when they had a chance. Israel won and the world “boo-hoos” at their exercise of the victory. If they were anything like North Vietnam, Myanmar or other victorious countries there would have been a bloodbath.

Summary – A loss in war should severely and permanently penalize the aggressor. Germany and Japan were reduced to second-rate, though affluent powers. I don’t think that’s such a bad fate for the people of the Arab world, as opposed to their “leaders.”


There was NO reason to gift Russia in the far east. They didn’t even declare war against Japan until a few months before Japan surrendered.
Germany and Japan are “affluent” powers today because, after destroying their manufacturing infrastructure, we (the U.S.A) rebuilt it for them giving them both THE most modern manufacturing facilities on the planet for several decades.


In the case of WWI, I believe that the leadership was pretty fairly neutralized. The problem as I see it was the vindictiveness of the Treaty of Versailles. If not for the discontent generated by it, Hitler would have been hard put to find an issue to catapult himself into power.

In the case of WWII, we created problems for ourselves (or rather, FDR and Harry Truman did) by allying with the Soviets; that was a monster that has never been totally slain (I cite the modern Russia and Putin). Otherwise, yeah, we did a pretty good job of not allowing a threat to fester.

Korea, concur (thank you, Truman).

Vietnam was another half-fought war, although it didn’t become the issue that North Korea did.

In the Arab-Israeli wars, I would add that Israel didn’t go in and flatten the governments of their antagonists (probably wasn’t practical for them to do so). I would also add that the 1982 war reinforced to the Arab nations that playing with the Cheyl Ha Avir isn’t too healthy…


Totally agreed. North Korea should not have been gifted in particular. The Soviet army was elsewhere engaged.

Also agreed. Alan Dershowitz, known as a liberal, thinks we should have rebuilt them to an agrarian standard. Our leaders were very generous with our money. My view is that part of the world shouldn’t have been rewarded for a millennium of wars. Their smarter and more motivated people thought better of it and emigrated.

Weimar, without much help from Hitler, refused to demilitarize. Most of the sanctions were also eased. Basically Germany was spoiling for a fight in1914 and that didn’t change.

We had little choice but to ally to some extent with the Soviets. FDR definitely romanticized about them and went too far. There was no reason for the Yalta process of appeasement. Roosevelt is a President I rank with Pierce, Buchanan, Harding, Nixon and Carter and the bottom of the barrel. His saving grace was ditching Henry Wallace for Harry Truman in 1944 as the VP nominee.

Who could they threaten? They are on the edge of Asia with no non-Communist borders.

The Arab governments, such as they are, are tribes carrying flags. For Israel regime change wasn’t worth the trouble. But what is “Cheyl Ha Avir”? Not familiar with that reference.


I don’t know to what extent overall, but I do know that demilitarizing happened substantially in terms of aviation; it’s why Anthony Fokker had to smuggle airplanes/parts to Holland to restart his business. It’s also why the Luftwaffe got much of its start with aircraft masquerading as airliners when they were intended to be bombers.

I disagree. Stalin was in bed with Hitler through the invasion of Poland. We shipped them thousands (possibly tens of thousands; probably over ten thousand) warplanes that we could have used ourselves, in addition to other substantial military aid. If we had, the Iron Curtain would have been much farther east.

That kind of surprises me. My understanding is that it is the correct Hebrew name for the Israeli Air Force.


I just didn’t know that.

Joe McCarthy was right about Roosevelt’s pro-Soviet alignment. What undid was ruining innocent lives of people who were young and naive. Roosevelt wasn’t either of those.


Although as FC has pointed out, the severity of the Versailles Treaty was instrumental in the rise of Hitler and consequently WWII.


A lot of those obligations were lessened. The problem was that they lacked any tradition of democracy. To some extent that was inculcated in the post- WW II occupation.


I just didn’t know that. You taught me something.


No. Roosevelt was an incipient socialist who ADMIRED the Soviet system and would have pushed for something similar here had he lived long enough. He made a pretty good start as it was.


We don’t disagree. I’m saying that Roosevelt doesn’t stand in the innocent shoes of a recent college or law school graduate who was tricked.