How American History Classes Lie About Who Won WWII

A central pillar of what schoolchildren in the United States are taught about World War II is that the country swooped in to save the day, nay the world, from a ruthless fascist regime when no one else could. The story works to inspire nationalistic pride in young minds, but it's just that: a story. Anyone who has ever traveled abroad can probably reminisce on the first time someone from outside the United States asked them, "Wait, you guys think you won World War II?"

The thing is, as All That Is Interesting notes, the United States is pretty much the only country in the world that believes the United States won the war. The end of World War II marked the beginning of the Cold War. The Soviet Union, an ally during the war due to the common cause of stopping Naziism, was now an enemy of the United States. According to The Library of Congress, U.S. leaders were opposed to the Soviet Union's aggressive occupations of Eastern European countries, which had strained the nations' relationship even during their time as allies.

It's obvious why the United States would want to write a history that would justify the global dominance it went on to attain in the decades following the war. The truly eye-opening part of all this, however, is the extent to which the United States did not win World War II.

American history classes don't tell you how Russia won WWII

It doesn't take much to disabuse oneself of the notion that the United States did not win World War II. The National WWII Museum tallies the total U.S. casualties from the conflict at 418,500. Less than 2,000 of those were civilians. The deaths of Russian soldiers alone range from 8.8-10.7 million. But unlike the United States, the Soviet Union was dealing with the German war machine being right next door, and the Nazis' plan was to kill every single one of them. It is estimated that the Nazis slaughtered somewhere around 13 million civilian citizens of the Soviet Union during World War II.

In his 2012 documentary series and companion book "The Untold History of the United States," acclaimed film director Oliver Stone paints a different picture of what American history classes teach as the United States' unfortunate but necessary action that brought the war to a terrifying close. He argues that the atom bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary to end the war. And he's not alone. Six five-star generals, including famed General Douglas MacArthur, also weren't on board, but they unfortunately didn't press President Truman too hard on the idea of not dropping the bombs. So, did the United States win World War II? No, though it did lend a badly needed helping hand. But is Russia the squeaky clean savior of the world? Not by a long shot. Stalin ignominiously killed millions of his own people, as well.