A lesson we can learn from World War II

When neighbor Nations have extreme differences it is a bad idea to build “a wall of separation.”

Was this criticism directed at President Trump’s border? Not so. It was levied against France in 1932 well before the President’s birth. France had constructed, along its common border with Germany, a wall of steel and concrete, staffed with soldiers and cannons. The wall, deemed impregnable, was designed to protect France from the chaos existing on the other side of its border. This chaos was attributable to extreme post World War I poverty, being stoked by demagogue politicians preaching extreme nationalism and white supremacy.

Amidst the chaos in 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. When Hitler’s Nazis finally came to the wall, they massed their forces, breeched the wall, conquered France and most of Continental Europe. Thereafter, began the bloody and costly campaign to regain all that had been lost to Nazi barbarism.

A paramount lesson World War II should teach us is that a Nation, no matter how powerful, can hide from the rest of the world behind a wall. Today shouldn’t we ask what unbearable terror is driving families to flee from their native homes into a desperate and dangerous future? Should we not put ourselves in their shoes and ask what if anything can we as a nation do to help? Guidance of a Biblical origin remains as relevant to day as it was more than 2,000 years ago. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Joseph P. Swallow

Alpena