Obviously I don't love WWII as a war. I think it's the most awful war in history. It's the war to end all wars. There was nothing like it and I pray there never will be.
But I still think it's the most complex and intriguing period in history. I adore learning about it. I've read countless books about it. I've done endless online research on it. Since I was a kid, it's been something that's fascinated me. WWII was full of brilliant leaders, unbelievable atrocities and unexplainable occurrences.
One of the most curious parts about WWII involves Adolf Hitler. How did it happen? How could one man do so much? One man who grew up as a nobody and wanted to go to art school and perhaps was just a little bit crazy. How did he grow up to be one of the most powerful men in the world, further pursuing what the great Napoleon aimed and failed to do a century before (building a great European empire)? How did he convince millions of Germans that what he was doing was right, yet rise a despairing nation into one of nationalism and pride? How did he kill millions of Jews with no one stopping him? It's almost unbelievable that so much power could fall into the hands of one person in a not-so-long-ago time.
WWII had the most interesting leaders. Benito Mussolini and Hitler were both fascists, a political ideology that had never really existed before, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are probably the most inspirational leaders in modern history (in my opinion). But how did FDR and Churchill agree to ally with Josef Stalin, a communist that was their political polar opposite? I don't know if that's happened before in history, but to me, that seems like something really special, given the further Cold War conflict that followed the war.
This is pretty much irrelevant, but the WWII cultural period is so interesting to learn about. I love listening to music from the 40s and seeing how war influenced the lyrics of the music, but also the optimism the performers had as they tried to focus on things outside of the horrible war. I just love seeing that even though it was a "total war" (an all-consuming war that involved everyone, both the soldiers and those on the home-front), people still tried to be optimistic. I don't know, that just seems like a really powerful symbol of hope and perseverance to me. Plus, a lot of my favorite movies were made during the WWII era.
Of course, there were so many awful things about this war: the atomic bomb, the Holocaust, the Japanese invasion of China (including the "Rape of Nanking," where Japanese soldiers basically slaughtered all the men, women and children they could see, and raped the women too), the millions of soldiers and civilians that died, and so much more. War is awful, but I think that it's so important to study it. I know that this post probably seems to romanticize war, and I know that I could never possibly understand what the people who lived through it went through, but I want to try. I want the people who lived and died through WWII to know they aren't forgotten, and the only way I can really do that is to learn as much as I can about it.
(Guys I really hope you don't think of me negatively because I love learning about WWII. Maybe it seems like I like war because I like learning about it. Please don't think that's the case!)