Posts Tagged ‘world war II’

Pat Buchannan is an Idiot

September 6, 2011

Actually, I could think of worse things to call him, but since this is a family friendly blog, I will refrain. I say that he is an idiot because of this column in which he discusses, approvingly a new book called 1939: Countdown to War by a British historian named Richard Overy. The premise of Overy’s book and Buchannan’s column is that Europe and Britain would have been better off not fighting Hitler. They both contend that World War II was unnecessary and could have been avoided, except for Britain’s stubbornness.

“Few historians now accept that Hitler had any plan or blueprint for world conquest. … (R)ecent research has suggested that there were almost no plans for what to do with a conquered Poland and that the vision of a new German empire … had to be improvised almost from scratch.”

But if Hitler had no “plan or blueprint for world conquest,” this raises perhaps the great question of the 20th century.

What was Britain’s stake in a Polish-German territorial quarrel to justify a war from which the British nation and empire might never recover?

How the war came about is the subject of Overy’s book.

By August 1939, Hitler had come to believe that Polish intransigence over the city of Danzig meant Germany would have to resolve the issue by force. But he desperately did not want a war with Britain like the one in which he had fought from 1914-18.

To prevent a German-Polish clash from bringing on a European war, however, Hitler had to sever the British-Polish alliance formed the previous spring.

To split that alliance, Hitler negotiated his own pact with Stalin, a coup that meant any British declaration of war to save Poland would be an utterly futile gesture. But when the Hitler-Stalin pact was announced, spelling Poland’s doom, Britain publicly reaffirmed her commitment to Poland.

Hitler instantly called off an invasion set for Aug. 26.

In the last analysis, says Overy, British “honour,” Chamberlain’s honoring of his war guarantee to the Poles, caused Britain to go to war.

When and why was this commitment given?

On March 31, 1939, Chamberlain, humiliated by the collapse of his Munich agreement and Hitler’s occupation of Prague, handed, unsolicited, a war guarantee to a Poland then led by a junta of colonels.

To understand the rashness, the sheer irrationality of this decision, one must understand the issue involved and Britain’s situation in 1939.

First, the issue: The Polish-German quarrel was over a city, Danzig, most British leaders believed had been unjustly taken from Germany at the end of World War I and ought to be returned.

The German claim to Danzig was regarded as among the most just claims Germany had from what most agreed by then had been an unjust and vindictive Treaty of Versailles.

What did the people of Danzig themselves want? Writes Overy:

“In May 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Danzig’s National Socialist Party won 38 out of the city’s 72 assembly seats and formed the city government. … By 1936 there was a virtual one-party system. … The strongly nationalist German population agitated in 1939 to come … back home to Germany.”

In short, the Germans wanted their city back, and the Danzigers wanted to go home to Germany. And most British had no objection.

Yet Britain backed up Poland’s refusal even to negotiate, and when that led to war, Britain declared war on Poland’s behalf.

This has been an idea of Pat Buchannan’s since he wrote his book The Unnecessary War.

I think it might be helpful to put things in context by making out a timeline of the events leading up to the declaration of war.

January 30, 1933-Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany

March 23, 1933-after the Reichstag fire, the Enabling Act is passed making Hitler dictator

January 26, 1934-Germany and Poland sign non-aggression pact. Germany violates it six years later

July 24, 1934-Austrian anti-Nazi dictator Engelbert Dolfuss assassinated by Austrian Nazis

August 2,1934 Hitler named Fuhrer of Germany

March 16, 1935 Germany begins to rearm in violation of the Versailles Treaty

March 7, 1936 Germany occupies the Rheinland in violation of the Versailles Treaty

Now, one could argue that certain provisions of the Versailles Treaty were unjust but that is not the point here. The point is that Hitler did not feel himself bound by any agreement made either by himself or any previous German ruler. He also did not feel obliged to follow any law or constitution in effect before or during his rule. To continue;

September 1938 Hitler demands that the Sudetenland be given to Germany, secretly prepares for war with Czechoslovokia

September 30, 1938 Munich Agreement signed, Germany occupies the Sudetenland

March 15, 1939 Germany invades Czechoslovakia

March 21, 1939 Hitler demands the city of Danzig be returned to Germany

April 3, 1939 Hitler begins planning the invasion of Poland for the autumn of 1939

August 23, 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union signed.

September 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II

Going over this timeline, one fact emerges. By the summer of 1939 it had become obvious that Adolf Hitler could not be trusted to keep his word under any circumstances. He broke nearly every agreement  he had ever signed. Neither Neville Chamberlain nor the leaders of France could believe anything he promised.

Suppose that Chamberlain had flown to Berlin to appease Hitler once again by offering to allow Germany to occupy Danizig, do Buchannan or Overy seriously believe the war would have been averted? Hitler would simply have come up with another excuse to invade Poland.

It may be true that Hitler had no serious plans to rule the entire world, but he did plan to conquer the Soviet Union to provide “lebensraum” for the German people. After conquering Poland, he probably would have gone ahead with his plans to invade Russia. Since Hitler was not foolish enough to want to fight a two-front war, and he could not guarantee that Britain and France would not attack his rear while he was involved in Russia, he likely would have decided to neutralize them first. In other words, by the summer of 1939, war was inevitable. Hitler had made it clear that he could not be trusted and could not be appeased. He wanted the war.

I don’t really know why this strange revisionist history appeals to Pat Buchannan. I don’t want to think that he is a Nazi, although he has been suspected of being an anti-semite. I think that he has considered the aftermath of World War II, especially the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and has decided that matters would have been better of Hitler had remained in power. Since Stalin was every bit as evil and vicious as Hitler, maybe he has a point. It couldn’t have made much difference to the hapless people of Poland or Hungary which dictator ruled over them.

But, this is hindsight. No one in 1939 could possibly have known how things would turn out. No could would have guessed that the Soviets would end up occupying half of Europe. Given that Stalin had just finished killing half the officers in the Red Army, any observer in 1939 would have concluded that a war between Germany and the Soviet Union could only end with a swift German victory. To Britain and France, the greatest threat seemed to be a Germany made invincible by the conquest of Russia.

This site has a number of very strange articles. If you think that Pat Buchanna and Noam Chomsky are on opposite sides take a look. They seem to have a lot more in  common than you might think, besides the fact that both are idiots.

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Mein Kampf

July 19, 2011

Walter Russel Mead commemorates the publication date of Hitler’s masterpiece with this essay on the continuing problem of anti-Semitism. Although Hitler made it unfashionable to openly hate Jews, at least outside the Moslem world, there are still plenty of supposedly enlightened people who hold the nation of Israel to a standard they would never think to hold any other country too, except perhaps America. But they are not anti-Semites, just anti-Zionist.

Mead says it better than I ever could. The only reason I bring it up is to mention that I have tried to read Mein Kampf, once or twice. I swear it really is unreadable. I don’t know if the English translation does the German justice. If so, I wonder if any Nazis ever got around to reading it all the way through.

If you want to try, Amazon.com does have it. Why spend money though? You can download it for free from all sorts of places since the Hitler family gave up the copyright after World War II.

Yes, the Hitler family is still around. I read an article about them a long time ago. One branch of the family emigrated to England before World War I and a cousin of Hitler’s even fought on the British side. They’ve changed their names, though.

D-Day

June 6, 2011

Today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day, when thousands of allied troops landed on the coast of Normandy. This, along with the Battle of Stalingrad, turned the tide of the European theater of World War II and was the beginning of the end for one of the most evil regimes in history.

Back to the Future

May 30, 2011

Here we go again. From the Jerusalem Post. They’re forming a Nazi Party in Egypt. The story doesn’t say how large this party is, only that they were underground during the Mubarrak administration and are now out in the open and growing rapidly. Their Facebook pages have some 70 followers

The newspaper said it could not verify the report, but said it found two Facebook pages that appeared recently under the title of “the Egyptian Nazi Party,” which have so far attracted 70 followers.

Members are “increasing at an unexpected rate, and several people came to ask about the nature of the party and its plans,” the report said.

The party has a one-year plan to develop Egypt – unlike the “marginalized liberal parties, which are like dead bodies,” a source was quoted as saying.

The idea to start it came after some fundamentalist-religious waves emerged, which, according to the source, created a state of chaos, and led to the burning of churches, the destruction of shrines and assaults on unarmed civilians.

Responding to the report, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said Egypt was going through a highly turbulent period, adding that all manner of bizarre individuals were launching Facebook groups and attracting members.

Historically, he said, the German Nazi party saw three attempts to copy it in the Arab world in the 1930s in Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The Egyptian party of that time was led by former president Anwar Sadat, who went on to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

 

This isn’t really that surprising. There were links between the Nazis and various Arab nationalist groups during World War II and Hitler has been something of a hero in that part of the world for killing so many Jews. When you consider how chaotic the political situation in Egypt is at the moment, there are all sorts of movements coming out from the woodwork. I don’t think anyone can tell what kind of government Egypt will have in five years, but I doubt any developments will be good for Israel.

 

 

Last WWI Combat Veteran Dies at 110

May 5, 2011

Claude Choules, the last surviving World War I veteran died. I wouldn’t have thought that there were any World War I veterans left alive. It hasn’t been a century yet, but it seems like ancient history, almost another age.

I wonder how many World War II vets are still alive. They must be starting to get rare too.


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