Today marks the 70th anniversary of the start of WW II. That was long before my time although as a kid I recall going to the library and reading books on tactical aircraft mentioning "the recent war". Militarizing the Rhineland (1936), the Anschluss (1938), and occupation of the Sudetenland (1938) were met with Allied diplomatic protests only and with the Umbrella Man promising "peace in our time", the failure of negotiation with aggressors and their appeasement became readily apparent. A good many politicians never learned that lesson, and one wonders if many politicians are capable of learning very much. Whether Hitler would have been able to negotiate a peace had he not invaded Russia eventually leading to a two front war has been taken up by revisionist historians. But St. Franklin was the wild card, and an undeclared naval war in the North Atlantic would have brought us into WW II had it not been for Pearl
Harbor. That Uncle Joe was not really our ally became obvious to Harry Truman and Foggy Bottom with George Kennan's long telegram (1946). After VJ day there was an increasing feeling that nobody would challenge us simply because we are Americans and if anybody did, we could win with a minimum of effort. Then came Korea. WW II has been referred to as "the good war" both for reasons of national unity as well as being the last war or conflict that involved a strategic decision to win.
In China it began in the summer of 1937. At times and in some places the Imperial Army would be some 500 miles into China with stalemate and longer supply lines the only outcome. Like Russia, China has a lot of land to trade for time. Chiang Kai Shek was a military moron ((Vinegar Joe would remind us of that, and I heard that his cousin Vinegar Dick was of the same opinion)), but he was correct in assessing Mao as a great threat that had to be dealt with militarily as negotiations wouldn't work.
I am concerned that with the passage of time schoolkids will learn less and less about WW II, just as they seem unaware of a lot of history generally.