Friday, September 2, 2011

More Buchananite Revisionism

"Few historians now accept that Hitler had any plan or blueprint for world conquest," says a historian whose book is reviewed by the author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, who in turn notes that "this raises perhaps the great question of the 20th century" — Looking Back at “The Good War”.

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Blogger Mark D. said...

Or it means that Nazi Germany was even more dangerous that assumed -- that the state was not acting in accord with a rational plan but was instead a malignant state dedicated to death and destruction, lashing out erratically and irrationally at targets of opportunity. The German invasion of Russia certainly fits this model, as does Hitler's feckless and erratic approach towards the war against the British Isles. It is precisely the fact that the Germans had no idea what their hoped for 1000 year Reich would look like that demonstrates the fundamentally murderous ideology that had poisoned that once great civilization. By the time 1939 rolled around, Germany had been reduced to a state whose only purpose, only goal, was killing. It was a slaughter-regime.

September 3, 2011 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

Mark, did your rabies shots wear off?

Have you ever tried to guess what secrets Rudolf Hess was forced to take to his grave? Why was he the only man put into prison for 45 years, and never, ever, allowed to talk with his family about his life?

"This was too much for Churchill and the moment he became Prime Minister in May 1940 he clamped down on all further peace feelers especially by the SIS - "Foreign Secretary: I hope it will be made clear to the [Papal] Nuncio that we do not desire to make any enquiries as to the terms of a peace with Hitler and that all of our agents are strictly forbidden to entertain any suggestions.""

He obviously knew something that reflected very poorly on the winners of the war, who wrote the history you regurgitate.

September 3, 2011 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Mark D. said...

You know, the ad hominum attack doesn't do anything to reinforce your argument.

As far as Hess, etc., goes -- I am not a conspiracy theorist. I know that many on the internet are, but I am not one of them. I don't spend much time reading about conspiracy theories as a result.

Churchill, for all his faults (and he had many) understood what Hitler and his regime were about. He at least gets credit, in my eyes, for that.

The Nazis were a death-cult, as any investigation of their regime prior to the war demonstrates. Eugenics, euthanasia, the ideological underpinnings of the Holocaust -- all of these things happened in the 1930s.

During the war -- there were attacks on civilians, the Holocaust, etc. Bl. Franz Jaegetterstaeter was not delusional. Von Stauffenberg was not delusional. Even Rommel understood at the end what the German regime was about.

September 3, 2011 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

My criticism of your style was not intended to "reinforce my argument" but to jog you into reconsidering your style. As I don't literally believe that you have rabies, it wasn't ad hominem.

People who argue that compelling evidence that people sought to reach a peace is of no concern to their thinking because it didn't make fox news or the history channel have no expectation of being taken seriously.

As for your criticisms of Germany; the German eugenics movement was either copied from or closely allied to the American eugenics movement. Planned Parenthood was founded to deplete fetal Negroes. If you are condemning Germany for experiencing bad racial tensions during decades of horrific economic problems, it's time that you start condemning the US and UK, who are having problems with plundering "youths." War always brutalizes; you can look at the Civil War to see how at the end people like Sherman put destruction über alles. The same dynamic held in Germany with the Holocaust; surely some vituperation accrues those British politicians who wanted war?

As for "attacks on civilians" "a malignant state dedicated to death and destruction, lashing out erratically and irrationally at targets of opportunity" "The German invasion of Russia certainly fits this model, as does Hitler's feckless and erratic approach towards the war against the British Isles," and "Germany had been reduced to a state whose only purpose, only goal, was killing. It was a slaughter-regime."

Did you know that the British kept a blockade on Germany including a blockade of food, from 1914 to 1919, nine months AFTER the end of hostilities that had Germans living on 1000 calories a day, until they accepted the unjust Treaty of Versailles? Did you know that 740,000 died because of this food blockade? Did you know that food blockades during wars were legally dubious at best, and blockades after hostilities not even that? If starving civilians after a cease fire isn't an "attack on civilians" I don't know what is.

The reason people like Rommel and von Stauffenberg initially went along was because they felt that Germany was treated unjustly.

Did you know that the German invasion of the USSR was intended to get Germany access to the Ukraine's agricultural capacity, and that the German army was often welcomed as liberators, with flowers and gifts of bread and salt. The Nazis who followed admittedly ruined this.

The German invasion of Russia made good military sense for a country afraid of being starved to surrender, and which was still hoping that either enemy would eventually buckle, as had almost always happened in the past. Unfortunately FDR had stalinized the US economy, and only war à l'outrance could save his hide. Ronald Reagan ran a sound economic ship, and could wait for his enemy to collapse peacefully.

September 3, 2011 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

By the way, one of the British generals, Plumer, wanted the food blockade, initiated by one Winston Churchill, ended because his soldiers couldn't take German children with bellies swollen from hunger coming to their barracks and begging for their garbage.

September 3, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Mark D. said...

First, it was an ad hominum attack.

Second, I do not dispute that the Allies committed atrocities during WW II. I have heard firsthand from my father, who was on occupation duty in Hiroshima right after the war, tell me horror stories about what happened to the people there. The firebombings carried out against German and Japanese civillians were atrocities, no question. However, those atrocities are distinct from the question of the nature of the Nazi and Japanese Imperial governments.

Third, I don't dispute the links between American eugenics and Nazi eugenics. Many of the same tendencies were at work within both socieites. But the Nazi regime was significantly more malignant in degree. And the Nazis were a constant threat to their neighbors.

Fourth, for evidence of this last point, look at the remilitarization of Germany in 1934, the Saar and Rhineland reoccupations, the Sudentenland annexation, and finally the attack on Poland. The attack on Poland wasn't some abberation -- Hitler had been spoiling for war for quite a while. Mussolini understood this -- having stopped Hitler from annexing Austria in 1935, he eventually allied with the Nazis because he saw the writing on the wall. As he told the English (in an episode that Buchanan acknowledges), the Italians were not strong enough to stop the Nazis, and would have to join with them or be conquered.

Fifth, the Nazi determination to expand against their neighbors is demonstrated by how they dealt with Austria under Dolfuss. After the Italians guaranteed Austria's independence, the Nazis couldn't attack it directly. So, they undermined the rule of law there with a program of assassination, ultimately killing the leader of free Austria, Dolfuss, a Catholic statesman and patriot. GK Chesterton wrote about the murder of Dolfuss by the Nazis, one of the last things that Chesterton wrote. He understood that the Nazis represented a complete repudiation of western civilization, and attack on the remnants of the Hapsburg notion of a multi-national Christendom.

September 3, 2011 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

An ad hominem attack is "an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it."

As I provided logical arguments against your arguments afterwards, there is no proof that my criticism of your style was meant to negate your arguments. Ergo there is no proof that it was meant as an ad hominem attack.

You may know that Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau so hated the Germans that he wanted to ban them from having any industry in their country; Senator Bilbo called on the Senate floor for all Japanese to either be sterilized after the war, or be forced to breed with more "peace-loving" races of the South Pacific. They used exactly the same sort of rhetoric you did, and I have no regrets for having taunted you to change yours.

Germany had been starved into signing a victors' peace, in which it was obliged to pay reparations that drove it into a gigantic depression. Provisions of which included it being disarmed so that the peace could be enforced effortlessly. The reason the French and British let them abrogate section after section of the treaty such as reoccupying the Saar and Rhineland is that the victors knew it was unjust, and their electorates were not willing to support fighting to enforce a treaty that they generally held to be shameful. Every plebiscite in the Saar and Rhineland was 99% or so for rejoining Germany. The Sudetenland was inhabited by Germans who were about as welcome in their country as whites are in Zimbabwe. The reason Hitler was allowed to get by with this is because he had a good amount of justice on his side.

Mussolini said many things. The fact of the matter, however, is that he wanted to turn Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa into an Italian colony. And he went about it by using poison gas against the Africans right from the get go. His soldiers went to the Ethiopian equivalent of the Vatican or Mount Athos, and murdered all 1400 monks there in one day. With this level of barbarity, he knew the French and British wanted him gone; Germany, with everyone against it after the war, couldn't be as choosy. The court historians, of course, are not keen to talk about Mussolini's atrocities in Ethiopia, because the British and French shamefully turned a blind eye to them at the League of Nations their obligations notwithstanding, because they didn't want to antagonize Mussolini, and because Negroes really didn't matter much to them.

Austria had a lot of problems independent of the Nazis. They had outbreaks of situations resembling civil war between the left and right. The question is not whether the Nazis were nice people; they were not, and neither was Stalin, who occupied quite a few countries. The question was how to get rid of them. Each of the powers that decided to fight the Nazis to the last block of rubble in Berlin had huge incentives to do so that had nothing to do with morality. Churchill (wrongly) thought that only a war could save His empire, Stalin and FDR (rightly) thought that only a war could save their skins.

The Nazis did not represent "a complete repudiation of Western civilization", but "a continuation of a complete repudiation of Western civilization", which began with the total war of 1914 to 1918, just as the Communists did. It didn't take a shooting war to end the USSR, and it wouldn't have taken a shooting war to end Hitlerism.

September 4, 2011 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Mark D. said...

Suggesting that I was rabid isn't an ad hominum attack? Good night.

All of the historical examples you provide do nothing to establish the non-beligerance of the Nazis. That the societies around Germany were weak or had problems doesn't say anything at all about the intellectual, political, social and moral pathologies that had seized the German state and people during the Nazi period.

Were there people who hated the Germans? Yes. Was Versailles an unjust peace? Yes. Was much of Europe unstable because of the Depression, the incubation of Communism, the aftershocks of WWI? Yes. But none of that excuses the Nazis or somehow makes them less brutal and violent.

It took a shooting war to end the Nazi regime because the Nazi regime precipitated a shooting war. If someone shows up at your door firing a weapon, it is insanity not to defend yourself. Nazi Germany was an fundamentally metastatic regime -- Hitler himself set out this aspect of his ideology in Mein Kampf. Germany's attack on Norway & Holland, both neutral countries -- not at war with Germany -- demonstrates the bloodlust of the regime toward its neighbors.

And finally, the US entry into WWII in the European theater was precipitated by the Germans -- after Dec. 7, 1941, the United States did not declare war on Germany, Germany declared war on the United States -- so enthusiastic was Hitler for the Japanese attack on the United States.

September 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

Once again, the query about rabies was not a literal question, but a rhetorical device, urging you to reconsider the tone of the rhetoric.

"Ad hominem" attacks have an exact definition, which I didn't meet. If I say "Your argument can't be true because you of this wholly irrelevant characteristic of yours" that is an ad hominem attack. If you talk to me, and I say "You're talking too loudly, almost shouting, stop it, so we can speak with each other productively," it's not an ad hominem attack." And neither is it if I insinuate that the terms you use are those of a firebrand, and that they make thoughtful discussions very difficult.

I never implied that the Nazis were not non-belligerent. My thoughts are that harm-reduction may not have been the guiding criterion in others' wars to stop them.

The Soviets also invaded a lot of countries, Hungary, the CSSR, Afghanistan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Iran, Austria, and many more. They even invaded Poland once, and threatened to invade Poland again, in 1981. It was their many "metastases" that made them collapse without a shooting war.

The British had planned to "secure" Norway a few weeks after the Germans beat them to the punch, and the British rationalized their invasion of neutral Iran by saying that in war you just have to invade countries you can't afford to lose. This is the exact same logic the Nazis, who you condemn, used.

I personally find the Nazis repugnant and abhorrent. What the British found in Northern Ireland is that the only way to defeat a repugnant enemy was not with violence and retaliation in kind, but to try to reduce tensions; to treat their enemies as criminals rather than as military enemies. Many members of the British Upper class wonder if a similar approach, which would have allowed them to spend the money spent on war to strengthen the empire, might not have been better for their empire and for Europe.

Your mentioning that it was Hitler who declared war on the US is true, but very misleading. The US Navy had for some time been sinking German submarines attacking British shipping in the Atlantic, which is an act of war and an implicit declaration of war. It was the Germans who desisted from making a formal declaration of what was a de facto fact. In other words, the US was factually at war with the Nazis for quite some time before Hitler formally declared war. Your logic is akin to saying that the US is to blame for the war with Al Qaida because they declared war after they were attacked on 9-11. Nevertheless, it was stupid of Hitler, who, incidentally, was not pleased at all when he did so.

The history of that time is a lot more complicated than sycophant historians would have it, and we can learn a lot from the more thorough accounts.

September 4, 2011 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Mark D. said...

First, an insult is an insult. You know that the comment you made is a cheap shot, and one that was designed to minimize my argument.

Second, I'm glad to hear you find the Nazis repugnant.

Third, my disagreement with you goes to the nature of the Nazi state. Your attempts to bring up points of equivalence between the Nazis and the Allies does nothing to address that point. The Nazis were inherently expansionist. Hitler makes this clear in Mein Kampf and in his subsequent works and speeches. Everything that the Nazis did while in power demonstrates this as well. Their state was metastatic and based on murder. From the Night of the Long Knives to Gotterdammerung, the whole thing was based on tyranny and killing. To argue otherwise simply ignores the evidence of history, the evidence compiled and displayed at Nuremburg, evidence that was never denied by the Nazis themselves.

September 5, 2011 at 2:24 AM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

I think I know better than anyone else why I wrote what I wrote. The language you used was not the language one uses to describe a problem but the sort of language one uses to incite hatred. You can call it an insult, but then I'll call your rhetoric an insult to everyone who read it.

No. Our disagreement is NOT about the nature of the Nazi state, on which we agree, but about how it was to be dealt with, and whether some of the "heroes" who bombed Germany to rubble and preferred to stir up the whirlwinds of the Holocaust rather than have a sullen cold war are as lily white as people who used your type of rhetoric often claim or believe that they were. If they were not, in fact, a fair deal closer to the Nazis than they liked to say.

Just out of curiosity, do you believe that the Soviet Union was not "metastatic and based on murder," and would you not say that the French, British, and American empires were also metastatic, and sometimes good for a slew of murders?

September 5, 2011 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Mark D. said...

After this reply, I'm done talking to you. If you don't even have the common decency to admit when you've gone into the gutter with an insult, there isn't any point in further dialogue.

I think we do disagree on the nature of the Nazi state. The war was necessary precisely because the Nazis were inherently expansionistic and genocidal. The idea that the Nazis could be peacefully contained by the late 1930's is simply fantasy. Earlier in the decade, maybe. But by 1938, no. When the wolf is at your throat, it is time to fight.

I don't claim that the Allies were "lily white," as you put it. As I stated in an earlier post, I think that there are aspects of the Allied war effort that were morally unacceptable. You are punching at a target that doesn't exist in that regard.

I think that the Soviet Union was based on an expansionist and murderous ideology, and barring the development of atomic weapons it would have eventually forced the West into a military confrontation. Mutually assured destruction is what made containment possible. And even then, the Soviets were ideologically frenzied enough to attempt some very foolish efforts to foment conflict both directly and through proxies.

September 5, 2011 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

I admit that it was a tart response and could be taken as an insult. I felt and feel it was an appropriate response to uber-aggressive commentary that justifies mass killings. Bad illnesses require strong medicine, so I put logic over courtesy like I do with radical pro-abortionists. Are you sure this isn't a convenient fig leaf?

To claim that the "wolf is at your throat" when you refuse to work with people who want to get rid of the wolf, like the German army and the German aristocracy did, is nonsense, and a despicable lie when it is used to justify the killing of millions. Churchill and others banned the British military from working with anti-Nazi Germans, who dearly wanted to get rid of Hitler. The German army was planning to depose him after his early reclamations met military might; they even encouraged the West to stop him. Catholic social teaching has it that war is only acceptable when all other options have been tried; when people refused to pursue the probably most promising options to avoid or minimize war, Catholics who say the war was morally justified are off in never never land.

There's no proof at all that the Nazis were inherently genocidal before they began to lose the war. On the contrary, there are good arguments that the genocides would not have happened without the war. The logic that a war was necessary to prevent something that would not have been possible without the war is bizarre. Did the Nazis play the race card as often as Al Sharpton? Yes they did, but a world war which ended with a genocide probably wasn't the best solution. The Nazis in any event used war measures which would not have been possible in peacetime to realize their genocide.

In this exchange, you haven't even tried to prove that the Nazis were expanding beyond Germany's historic boundaries before the war began. If being expansionistic was a casus belli, then the US with Haiti, Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and more needed the attentions of the world community as well.

Your claim that it was mutually assured destruction that made containment possible is a hypothesis, and not more. The first thing the British did after World War Two was to get rid of Winston Churchill, and put in a leadership that wanted butter and not guns, began to disband the empire, without which future world wars were very likely, and raised taxes on the upper class, which had had sent other Britons to go die to such levels that the upper class barely existed a generation later. The first thing that the Americans did after World War Two was to reintroduce a market based economy; this removed the overpowering incentives their leadership had had to plunge the world into war. The Russians took a bit longer, but they then got rid of Stalin, probably by poisoning him, and never again did they have a non-Russian leader whose staying in power was contingent on keeping their country at war.

Perhaps this tells us something.

September 6, 2011 at 9:59 AM  

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