The People as Enemy


198 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55164-216-6
DDC 940.53'1





Reviewed by Stephen Greenhalgh

Steven Greenhalgh is the research librarian in the Department of Public
Health Sciences at the University of Alberta.


The author of this book questions the long-held notion of “the good
war” in which the Allied nations sought to defeat the Axis powers and
save the world from fascism. Spritzler presents a different view of
World War II, asserting that leaders and industrial elites, regardless
of nation, sought to control disgruntled working-class populations and
used the war as an excuse to institute measures designed to limit
freedom and the possibility of class rebellion.

The book is divided into three sections. Focusing on Germany, Japan,
the Soviet Union, and the United States, Spritzler begins his argument
by examining the cause of the war in each of the four nations. The next
section deals with Allied war plans in both Europe and Asia. The third
section discusses the Allied bombing of civilians, as well as
anti-fascist sentiments in Germany during World War II.

Spritzler emphasizes that his argument does not diminish the courage of
the men and women who fought in World War II. His opposing view of the
war demonstrates the potential power of working-class populations as a
catalyst for bringing about change. History does not have to be driven
and shaped by elites alone. Spritzler further perceives a link between
his interpretations of World War II with the current situation.
Today’s “war on terrorism” can be a means for government and
corporate leaders to control populations and implement personal agendas
that have little to do with ending terrorism.

The People as Enemy is a revealing and engaging read with relevance to
current world events.


Spritzler, John., “The People as Enemy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 20, 2024,