The lesson of World War II: If nations really want peace, they must prepare for war

Despite Yoko Ono and the late John Lennon, formerly of the Beatles, who crooned "All we are saying, is give peace a chance," such statements of attaining peace are naive and have ended badly. 
 
Some 2000 years ago the Roman philosopher Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, better understood human nature:  Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.  Successful military strategists throughout history, whatever their ultimate goals, realized that the safety and peace of their countries depended on their country's military readiness and strength, not just the kind words from the other side, written on a piece of paper.
 
However, eight decades ago, most of a battered Europe still suffering from the ravages of World War l that devastated the continent over 20 years earlier, was in no mood to fight again.  But Germany, under Adolf Hitler, was.  And so Hitler signed the Munich accord with England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. "Peace for our time," Chamberlain triumphantly crowed to a delighted England as he agreed to Germany's annexation of parts of western Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. Several months later, Hitler invaded Prague. The agreement was worthless. 
 
Soon afterward, Hitler signed another agreement, the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Germany's purported rival, the Soviet Union, leaving both totalitarian states presumably free to pursue other conquests.  But again, Germany broke this non-aggression pact just a few years later. 
 
A week after signing the pact with the Soviet Union, on this date 80 years ago, September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.  A few days later, the U.K. and France declared war. World War ll began.
 
Unprepared for war, there was no peace for almost six years in the European countries that appeased these aggressors.
 
 One of the things that stands out most about this war is the number of casualties. Millions of civilians and members of the military were killed in this war, which remains the deadliest in history.
 
An exact count of the number of casualties is unavailable, but it is estimated that between 70 million and 85 million people died as a result of WWII. To put this in perspective, this was roughly 3% of the total population of 2.3 billion measured across the world in 1940.
 
Surprisingly, more civilians died as a result of the war. In fact, more than twice as many civilians died as members of the military. It’s estimated that as many as 55 million civilians died during World War II, while military deaths are estimated to be as high as 25 million. While most people died as a direct result of the war, there were also millions of deaths caused by disease and famine -- and Hitler's systematic murder of the Jews in concentration camps.
 
On this anniversary, when thinking about Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, remember what brought "peace for our time,"  what gave peace a chance.   If you want peace, prepare for war.
Despite Yoko Ono and the late John Lennon, formerly of the Beatles, who crooned "All we are saying, is give peace a chance," such statements of attaining peace are naive and have ended badly. 
 
Some 2000 years ago the Roman philosopher Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, better understood human nature:  Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.  Successful military strategists throughout history, whatever their ultimate goals, realized that the safety and peace of their countries depended on their country's military readiness and strength, not just the kind words from the other side, written on a piece of paper.
 
However, eight decades ago, most of a battered Europe still suffering from the ravages of World War l that devastated the continent over 20 years earlier, was in no mood to fight again.  But Germany, under Adolf Hitler, was.  And so Hitler signed the Munich accord with England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. "Peace for our time," Chamberlain triumphantly crowed to a delighted England as he agreed to Germany's annexation of parts of western Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. Several months later, Hitler invaded Prague. The agreement was worthless. 
 
Soon afterward, Hitler signed another agreement, the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Germany's purported rival, the Soviet Union, leaving both totalitarian states presumably free to pursue other conquests.  But again, Germany broke this non-aggression pact just a few years later. 
 
A week after signing the pact with the Soviet Union, on this date 80 years ago, September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland.  A few days later, the U.K. and France declared war. World War ll began.
 
Unprepared for war, there was no peace for almost six years in the European countries that appeased these aggressors.
 
 One of the things that stands out most about this war is the number of casualties. Millions of civilians and members of the military were killed in this war, which remains the deadliest in history.
 
An exact count of the number of casualties is unavailable, but it is estimated that between 70 million and 85 million people died as a result of WWII. To put this in perspective, this was roughly 3% of the total population of 2.3 billion measured across the world in 1940.
 
Surprisingly, more civilians died as a result of the war. In fact, more than twice as many civilians died as members of the military. It’s estimated that as many as 55 million civilians died during World War II, while military deaths are estimated to be as high as 25 million. While most people died as a direct result of the war, there were also millions of deaths caused by disease and famine -- and Hitler's systematic murder of the Jews in concentration camps.
 
On this anniversary, when thinking about Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, remember what brought "peace for our time,"  what gave peace a chance.   If you want peace, prepare for war.