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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

From Good War to Unnecessary War

Revised 2009-06-04

Laurence M. Vance disagrees with Pat Buchanan on just about everything--religion, politics, economics, trade, etc. Nevertheless, according to Vance, Buchanan's "Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World" (2008) "is one of the best and most important books ever written." You should read the entire article; here are some excerpts to entice you to do just that:
This book is so important, so crucial to the cause of peace, because World War II, more than any other war in the history of the world, is considered to be, not only necessary, but just, right, and good. Indeed, World War II is known as the "Good War."

But if this is true then we have a problem, for, as Buchanan writes in his introduction: "It was the war begun in September 1939 that led to the slaughter of the Jews and tens of millions of Christians, the devastation of Europe, Stalinization of half the continent, the fall of China to Maoist madness, and half a century of Cold War." How can a war that resulted in the deaths of 50 to 70 million people be termed a good war? How can a war in which two-thirds of those who died were civilians be termed a good war? . . .

Buchanan points out in his introduction the two great myths about these wars: "The first is that World War I was fought ‘to make the world safe for Democracy.’ The second is that World War II was the ‘Good War,’ a glorious crusade to rid the world of Fascism that turned out wonderfully well." That first statement is now generally recognized for the myth that it is. The second; however, is still a widely-held opinion – hence the need for this book. . . .

The book is also a history and geography lesson: Bohemia, the Sudetenland, Alsace, Lorraine, Danzig, Transylvania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Abyssinia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Moravia, Sarajevo, Trianon, Trieste, the Polish Corridor, Galicia, Tyrol, Ruthenia, Silesia, and the Treaties of Versailles, Trianon, Brest-Litovsk, and St. Germain. And aside from the usual relevant pictures in the center of the book like we see in most books on the world wars, Buchanan’s book includes very detailed maps that wonderfully supplement the text.

There are no battle accounts in Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. No details on troop movements. No information on fighting techniques. No theories about military strategy. No particulars about weapons. The crucial question for Buchanan is: "Were these two devastating wars Britain declared on Germany wars of necessity, or wars of choice?"

Britain? Yes, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the empire on which the sun never set. You mean you thought both world wars were all the fault of Germany?

Now, we know all about the evils of Hitler and Nazism: the fascism, the murder, the mayhem, the destruction, the aggression, the militarism, the racism, the anti-Semitism, the death camps. Buchanan doesn’t excuse Germany in the least: "None of this is to minimize the evil of Nazi ideology, or the capabilities of the Nazi war machine, or the despicable crimes of Hitler’s regime, or the potential threat of Nazi Germany to Great Britain once war was declared." And neither does he slight the heroism of the British: "The question this book addresses is not whether the British were heroic. That is settled for all time. But were their statesmen wise?"

When it came to World War I, British statesmen were anything but wise: . . . .

Buchanan’s conclusion will be a tough one for some to swallow: "It was Britain that turned both European wars into world wars."

"Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War" is a necessary book.

. . . because it tells the real story of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s "appeasement" of Hitler at Munich.

.. . because it shows that the greatest blunder in British history was not Munich, but the Polish war guarantee that committed Britain to fight for a Polish dictatorship that had considered making a preemptive strike against Germany, signed, like Stalin, a nonaggression pact with Hitler, and joined in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia after the Munich Agreement.

. . . because it demolishes the cult of Churchill. Winston Churchill, rather than being the indispensable man of the century, was "the most bellicose champion of British entry into the European war of 1914 and the German-Polish war of 1939."

. . . because it explains how Hitler never wanted war with Britain.

. . . because it confirms that Hitler was not a threat to the United States. . . .

Was it necessary that tens of millions were slaughtered to prevent Hitler from slaughtering millions?

Certainly not.

But don’t take Pat Buchanan’s word for it when we have the word of Churchill himself:
One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once, "The Unnecessary War." There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.
And if World War II was unnecessary, then how much more unnecessary are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

. . . the next time someone tries to justify some U.S. military intervention by appealing to the "Good War," ask him what was so good about it.
-- from "Buchanan’s Necessary Book" by Laurence M. Vance.

If World War II was actually the Unnecessary War, not the Good War, what are the chances that AfPak is the Good War?

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