Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Those rotten Allies forcing Hitler into war!

[above: The accidental tourist.]

On this day, the seventieth anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, right-wing* pundit Patrick Buchanan informs us that Hitler wasn't such a war-mongering bad guy after all:
But where is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet's, or Fidel Castro's, was out to conquer the world?

After Munich in 1938, Czechoslovakia did indeed crumble and come apart. Yet consider what became of its parts.

The Sudeten Germans were returned to German rule, as they wished. Poland had annexed the tiny disputed region of Teschen, where thousands of Poles lived. Hungary's ancestral lands in the south of Slovakia had been returned to her. The Slovaks had their full independence guaranteed by Germany. As for the Czechs, they came to Berlin for the same deal as the Slovaks, but Hitler insisted they accept a protectorate.

Now one may despise what was done, but how did this partition of Czechoslovakia manifest a Hitlerian drive for world conquest?

Comes the reply: If Britain had not given the war guarantee and gone to war, after Czechoslovakia would have come Poland's turn, then Russia's, then France's, then Britain's, then the United States.

We would all be speaking German now.

But if Hitler was out to conquer the world -- Britain, Africa, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, South America, India, Asia, Australia -- why did he spend three years building that hugely expensive Siegfried Line to protect Germany from France? Why did he start the war with no surface fleet, no troop transports and only 29 oceangoing submarines? How do you conquer the world with a navy that can't get out of the Baltic Sea?

If Hitler wanted the world, why did he not build strategic bombers, instead of two-engine Dorniers and Heinkels that could not even reach Britain from Germany?

Why did he let the British army go at Dunkirk?

Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?

Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser's fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez? Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece?

Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.

Hitler had never wanted war with Poland, but an alliance with Poland such as he had with Francisco Franco's Spain, Mussolini's Italy, Miklos Horthy's Hungary and Father Jozef Tiso's Slovakia.

Indeed, why would he want war when, by 1939, he was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France. And he had written off Alsace, because reconquering Alsace meant war with France, and that meant war with Britain, whose empire he admired and whom he had always sought as an ally.

As of March 1939, Hitler did not even have a border with Russia. How then could he invade Russia?

Winston Churchill was right when he called it "The Unnecessary War" -- the war that may yet prove the mortal blow to our civilization.
Actually, I'm not so sure he was out to conquer the world as much as to take hold of Europe, at least enough to give Germans a bit of "elbow room." But what do I know? I'm a product of California's public schools.

* I know a few self-described right-wingers who would like to disown him, or break his teeth, or both. They're immigrants or descendants of immigrants, though.

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8 comments:

  1. Pat Buchanan said nice things about Korean Americans who suffered the worst of the LA Riots in the Republican convention of 1992. Plus.

    Pat Buchanan thinks that immigration will make the U.S. into another Brazil. Minus.

    Overall, he's a racist who is getting increasingly irrelevent along with that branch of the Republican party.

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  2. Pat Buchanan said nice things about Korean immigrants because he saw them as being on the opposite side of the Blacks. Hell, he would have said nice things about the Jews vis-à-vis the Blacks if he'd been a pundit back in the 1960s.

    Pat Buchanan is an Irish-American who doesn't seem to get that "real Americans" trashed his immigrant forebears in much the same way he trashes other groups today.

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  3. "Pat Buchanan is an Irish-American who doesn't seem to get that "real Americans" trashed his immigrant forebears in much the same way he trashes other groups today."

    He's not really Irish-American. Everybody thinks so because his first name is Patrick and because he's Catholic. Buchanan is a quintessentially Scottish surname.

    His father's side, the Buchanans, were Scotch-Irish and among the earliest settlers in the 1700s. His mother's side is German. His only Irish and Catholic ancestor was his grandmother on his father's side, Mary Agnes Smith.

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  4. He's Irish enough for me!

    That is, it still makes him a hypocrite (in some ways). Irish Catholic or Protestant Scots-Irish, they were still seen as the bane of the US, which saw the Irish Protestants as only slightly less worse than the Irish Catholics (that's right, I saw Far And Away!).

    I mean, we're talking about a country that even today has bigots that can't tell the difference between a Sikh and an Arab.

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  5. Shinbone, I'll have to see Inglorious Basterds [sic] when it comes out at the one-dollar theater at Restaurant Row in a month or two.

    The KRW-USD exchange rate is killing me that much.

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  6. "Pat Buchanan thinks that immigration will make the U.S. into another Brazil. Minus.

    Insofar as immigration has changed and will continue to change the ethnic balance of the US population - this is true, and trivially so. There's nothing controversial about this.

    Immigration means that, as current projections indicate, in roughly 30 years or so whites will be below 50% of the US population at around 47%, and blacks and Hispanics together will make up around 45%. And by 2050 or so, Hispanics are projected to become the largest population group. In fact, even if immigration were stopped completely today, much of these changes would happen due to widely varying birth rates.

    As far as ethnic balance goes, this makes the US of the future much more like Brazil. Certainly much more so than the US of today or of say, 100 years ago.

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  7. "That is, it still makes him a hypocrite (in some ways). Irish Catholic or Protestant Scots-Irish, they were still seen as the bane of the US, which saw the Irish Protestants as only slightly less worse than the Irish Catholics (that's right, I saw Far And Away!)."

    I hope everything you believe doesn't come from Hollywood movies.

    Firstly, Scotch-Irish and Irish Protestants aren't the same group.

    It doesn't make him a hypocrite at all. The Scotch-Irish were among the original settlers and founding stock of America. See historian David Hackett Fisher's excellent work "Albion's Seed" for more info. His family was among the early settlers of the South.

    As far as the "Protestant Scots-Irish" being considered "the bane of the US", this isn't so much based on fact, but rather on a post-WWII narrative that projects an ideological view of American history as being the story of successive outsider type groups being despised, considered un-American, etc., by some mythical, old line, WASPish, founding stock American type. Of course many groups throughout American history have been despised by old stock Americans, but for ideological purposes this narrative is often stretched and projected into the past to cover all kinds of cases where it isn't really applicable.

    It's a modern ideological construction that was used to justify, and even idealize, the later waves of immigration from non-traditional sources in Southern/Eastern Europe, and the more recent waves of immigration of the past 40 years or so from other parts of the world outside of Europe. It's really a major part of the modern civic myth in America. But however useful or desirable it may be as part of a national ideology, it doesn't necessarily mean it helps us understand history or get closer to the truth.

    When you say that the Scotch-Irish were considered as the bane of the US, the implication is that there was some other "real American" group that considered them so. But this is misleading because it obscures who exactly this group that despised them was, and mythologizes them as some sort of imaginary real American, when in reality we know from history exactly who this group was. Depending on the region of the country, it was one of the other 3 groups identified in Fisher's "Albion's Seed" along with the Scotch-Irish as the original, founding stock Americans. And while they initially settled various regions of the country, intermarriage between the groups was not uncommon. And the Scotch-Irish often hated another group and considered them to be "the bane of the US" just as often as they themselves were hated. And they just as often considered themselves to be the "real Americans" as opposed to say, the Puritan descended New England types.

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