A Descent into Dystopia
World War II was a trying time for most citizens of Europe, Asia, and the United States. Even those who were not officially fighting in the war suffered consequences including oppression, exploitation, or even extermination. It was not only in Germany where rights were lost and civility ceased to exist. On three separate continents civilians were oppressed or imprisoned for reasons that were not directly due to physical military action. That collective and cultural descent into dystopia changed the world forever.
In many ways, the numerous countries occupied by Nazi Germany serve as both ground zero and the prime example of injustice towards civilian populations. It is both interesting and disheartening to note, however, that military combat in occupied nations was limited to the beginning and end of the war, therefore much of the lasting carnage that occurred was actually the result of civilian action. Unlike in wars of the past, even those who did not fight on the front lines were not safe from some form of oppression.
Throughout Western Europe, unjust aggression was not only limited towards the Jews, although they were primary targets, but included other ethnic groups as well. The Germans saw themselves as the superior race. To that end, concentration and labor camps were established where Jews, gypsies, and the ethnically impure were sent, often to be murdered, en masse as a way to purify the population. It was therefore Hitler and Germany's goal to eliminate or exterminate all non-Aryan races.
While the United States did not attempt to systematically exterminate entire races, some of its war policies certainly lacked civility. As a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, America feared further aggression from Japanese spies and sympathizers. In response, Japanese Americans were singled out, their rights taken away, and forced into internment camps without any charges or trial.
Japan has a distinction of being both the oppressed and the oppressor. The Japanese occupied areas in Southeast Asia. In these occupied countries the Japanese kidnapped, raped, and forced women into sexual slavery.
The oppression and fear felt around the world led to a breakdown of civility among citizens of many nations. Hitler’s ideal of the supreme race spun radical ideas about how humankind related to itself. The Nazis removed Jews from their homes. They sold their businesses and looted their belongings. The Germans then forced the Jews into concentration camps where the conditions were so agonizing that they redefined the definition of inhuman. In these death camps, Jews were subjected to starvation, malnutrition, disease, and, ultimately, mass extermination. Many were shot or burned alive. The never-ending and increasing oppression by the Nazis was so prevalent that the minds of civilians under their control shifted into survival mode. No one was spared from the effects of these barbaric atrocities of war....