The New Deal played an integral role in defeating the Axis powers, and thus fascism. Consider:
The Civilian Conservation Corps taught leadership and work skills to millions of young men. General Mark Clark, commander of the Allied Fifth Army during World War II, said: "To my way of thinking the CCC...became a potent factor in enabling us to win WW-II...though we did not realize it at the time, we were training Non-Commissioned Officers." Even more importantly, the CCC showed these young men that their president, and their country, cared about them; and when someone feels good about their country, they're more likely to fight hard for it.
The Bonneville Power Administration, created by New Deal policymakers in 1937, provided power to many defense industries, and thereby helped build, among other things, thousands of fighter planes. After the war was won, President Truman said: "Without Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams it would have been almost impossible to win this war."
Additionally, the National Youth Administration trained many Rosie the Riveters; the WPA improved hundreds of military bases and airfields; the TVA supplied raw materials for America's war machine; and the Public Works Administration provided funds for submarines, cruisers, destroyers, gun boats, coast guard vessels, and aircraft carriers, including the U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6), "the most decorated U.S. ship of World War II."
Today, the political right hopes you know none of this - because it doesn't promote their foolish narrative that we the people are the problem (i.e., government) and millionaires & billionaires are the solution. But the fact remains that the New Deal was one of the main reasons we won World War II.
New Deal policies remained firmly in place for several decades, making capitalism less harsh and allowing the middle-class to grow like never before or since. Under New Deal policies, and with New Deal infrastructure, America became an economic powerhouse. In fact, New Deal policies worked so well that even Republicans embraced them. In the 1956 Republican Party Platform, Republicans promoted their achievements in increasing the minimum wage, expanding Social Security, enhancing unemployment insurance, strengthening unions, and more.
Unfortunately, a Republican voter today, soaked in the propaganda & misinformation of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and libertarian billionaires, would not even recognize his/her 1950s predecessor. But that predecessor understood economics better (specifically, the concept of market failure) - and that's why he/she enjoyed a better quality of life, and more opportunity, than what middle and lower-income Republicans enjoy today.
Beginning in the 1980s, and carrying on through today, Trickle-Down Republicans and Neoliberal Democrats have disassembled the New Deal: Glass-Steagall was repealed; the banking industry was coddled; taxes were cut on the super-wealthy (even as they shipped jobs overseas); unions have been attacked; infrastructure has been left to rot; the idea of a new CCC or WPA laughed at; and more. In so doing, the Trickle-Down Republicans and the Neoliberal Democrats created fertile ground for creeping fascism. As Thomas Frank and other political commentators have highlighted, the Republicans have served the top 1%, the Democrats have served the top 10%, and the bottom 90% have been told to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get used to perpetual re-training and lower wages. Is it any wonder that Trump won, with his populist (albeit fake) speeches?
In Donald Trump, and his crazy cabinet and administration selections, we are seeing huge steps taken towards a fascist state. Indeed, white nationalist organizations are considering Trump administration picks to be early Christmas gifts; and over the weekend, in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, a leader of a prominent alt-right, white nationalist organization told an audience: "America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us... To be white is to be a creator, an explorer, a conqueror." According to the New York Times: "As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room--it was not clear who--shouted, 'Heil the people! Heil victory,' the room shouted it back... Now the movement’s leaders hope to have, if not a seat at the table, at least the ear of the Trump White House."
And they certainly will, since Donald Trump has selected Steve Bannon, a symbolic leader of the alt-right movement, to be his top adviser. No one should be fooled as to the direction America is heading. With right-wing extremists in control of the White House, Congress, and (soon) the Supreme Court, as well as the majority of states, America is no longer a bulwark against fascism - it is fascism. With war hawks being selected for the Trump Administration; and interment camps, torture, and ethnic & religious registries being discussed in positive ways; and racial acts of violence & intimidation on the rise (and Trump and his supporters refusing to denounce it in strong terms or speeches); and signs that dissent will not be tolerated (see my blog post from yesterday), we are seeing the fundamental components of fascism put in place.
White nationalists, and many Republican voters, are being played by the rich - in a game as old as humanity itself. Throughout all of history, the rich have gobbled up all the resources for themselves, thrown some crumbs to the masses, and laughed as the "commoners" fought & blamed each other, divided along racial lines. Today, the white nationalists blame low-income blacks and illegal immigrants, while super-wealthy and predominately white CEOs and investors buy politicians for the permission to ship good jobs overseas - or perhaps bring in foreign workers to fill such jobs here (sometimes even forcing American workers to train their replacements). And the super-wealthy know that they can get away with it. They know that right-wing rhetoric will always target, for example, powerless illegal immigrants, but will remain forgiving, or even oblivious to the wealthy white business owners who employ them. The rhetoric is always, "Build the wall!", and rarely, "Find out whose hiring them!"
In any event, isn't it interesting how the New Deal helped defeat fascism abroad, but the betrayal of the New Deal established fascism here? And we can blame Donald Trump if we want to, but the real blame lies with Trickle-Down Republicans, Neoliberal Democrats, and the holy "JOB CREATORS" (who have hoarded all the profits and socialized all the costs).