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Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War

Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War

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Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, is a book by Pat Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Patrick Joseph "Pat" Buchanan is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior adviser to American Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire. He sought...

. The book was released in May 2008.

Synopsis


Citing such historians as George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

, Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

, Simon K. Newman, Niall Ferguson
Niall Ferguson
Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson is a British historian. His specialty is financial and economic history, particularly hyperinflation and the bond markets, as well as the history of colonialism.....

, Charles Tansill, Paul W. Schroeder
Paul W. Schroeder
Paul W. Schroeder is an American historian and professor emeritus of history at the University of Illinois, specializing in the late sixteenth- to twentieth-century European international politics, Central Europe, and the theory of history...

, Alan Clark
Alan Clark
Alan Kenneth Mackenzie Clark was a British Conservative MP and diarist. He served as a junior minister in Margaret Thatcher's governments at the Departments of Employment, Trade, and Defence, and became a privy counsellor in 1991...

, Michael Stürmer
Michael Stürmer
Michael Stürmer is a right-wing German historian best known for his role in the Historikerstreit of the 1980s, for his geographical interpretation of German history and for an admiring 2008 biography of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin .Born in Kassel, Germany, Stürmer received his education in...

, Norman Davies
Norman Davies
Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies FBA, FRHistS is a leading English historian of Welsh descent, noted for his publications on the history of Europe, Poland, and the United Kingdom.- Academic career :...

, John Lukacs
John Lukacs
John Adalbert Lukacs is a Hungarian-born American historian who has written more than thirty books, including Five Days in London, May 1940 and A New Republic...

, Frederick P. Veagle, Correlli Barnett
Correlli Barnett
Correlli Douglas Barnett CBE FRSL is an English military historian, who has also written works of economic history, particularly on the United Kingdom's post-war "industrial decline".-Personal life:...

, John Charmley
John Charmley
John Charmley is a British diplomatic historian and a professor of modern history at the University of East Anglia, where he has been head of the School of History since 2001. Specialising in modern diplomatic and political history, Charmley's historical work has proved to be controversial, most...

, William Henry Chamberlin
William Henry Chamberlin
William Henry Chamberlin was an American historian and journalist. He was the author of several books about the Cold War, Communism and US foreign policy, the most famous of which was The Russian Revolution 1917-1921...

, David P. Calleo
David P. Calleo
David P. Calleo is an American intellectual and political economist, based at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where he holds the title of University Professor....

, Maurice Cowling
Maurice Cowling
Maurice John Cowling was a British historian and a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.-Life:Cowling was born in Norwood, South London, to a lower middle-class family. His family then moved to Streatham, where Cowling attended an LCC elementary school, and from 1937 the Battersea Grammar School...

, A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

, and Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights, as well as a former high-ranking United Nations official...

, Buchanan argues that it was a great mistake on the part of Britain to fight Germany in both world wars. In Buchanan's opinion, the results of British involvement in both world wars were a disaster for Britain, Europe and the world. One of Buchanan's express purposes is to undermine what he describes as a "Churchill cult" amongst America's elite, and therefore he focuses particularly on the role of Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 in involving Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in wars with Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1914 and again in 1939.

Buchanan accuses Churchill, at that time First Lord of the Admiralty, of having a "lust for war" in 1914 Buchanan follows the conclusions of the American diplomat George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

 in his 1984 book The Fateful Alliance that the Franco-Russian Alliance
Franco-Russian Alliance
The Franco-Russian Alliance was a military alliance between the French Third Republic and the Russian Empire that ran from 1892 to 1917. The alliance ended the diplomatic isolation of France and undermined the supremacy of the German Empire in Europe...

 of 1894 was an act of Franco-Russian "encirclement" of Germany, and that German foreign policy after 1894 was defensive rather than aggressive Buchanan described Germany during the Second Reich as a "satiated power" seeking only peace and prosperity threatened by a revanchist
Revanchism
Revanchism is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement. Revanchism draws its strength from patriotic and retributionist thought and is often motivated by economic or...

 France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 obsessed with regaining the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and calls Imperial Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 a highly "imperialist" power carrying out an aggressive policy in Eastern Europe that menaced Germany.

Buchanan argues that Britain had no quarrel with Germany before 1914, however the great build-up of the German Navy spearheaded by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz was a German Admiral, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the German Imperial Navy from 1897 until 1916. Prussia never had a major navy, nor did the other German states before the German Empire was formed in 1871...

 was a "threat to Britain", which forced the British to bring back to European waters the bulk of her navy and to make alliances with Russia and France. He asserts that this was a disastrous policy of the Germans which "tied England to Europe" and which therefore created the conditions which led the British to involvement in World War I. On the other hand, Buchanan asserts that the greatest responsibility for the breakdown in Anglo-German relations was the "Germanophobia" and zeal for the Entente with France of the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon KG, PC, FZL, DL , better known as Sir Edward Grey, Bt, was a British Liberal statesman. He served as Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any person in that office...

. In assessing responsibility for the course of events, Buchanan asserts that the British could have easily ended the Anglo-German naval race in 1912 by promising to remain neutral in the event of war between Germany and France. Buchanan writes that "Prussian militarism" was an anti-German
Anti-German sentiment
Anti-German sentiment is defined as an opposition to or fear of Germany, its inhabitants, and the German language. Its opposite is Germanophilia.-Russia:...

 Black Legend
Black Legend
The Black Legend refers to a style of historical writing that demonizes Spain and in particular the Spanish Empire in a politically motivated attempt to morally disqualify Spain and its people, and to incite animosity against Spanish rule...

 invented by British statesmen, and that the record of Imperial Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 supports the judgement that it was least militaristic of the European Powers. He writes that in the century between Waterloo (1815) and World War I (1914) Britain had fought ten wars and Germany three. Buchanan writes in defense of Kaiser Wilhelm II that he had not fought a war in his 25 year reign, and compares that unfavorably with Churchill's service in three wars prior to 1914 "Churchill had himself seen more war than almost any soldier in the German army."

Buchanan claims that the Kaiser Wilhem was desperate to avoid a war in 1914, and accepts the German claim that it was Russian mobilization of July 31, 1914 that forced war on Germany . Buchanan accuses Churchill and Grey of illegally committing Britain to war in 1914 by making promises that Britain would defend France without the knowledge of either Cabinet or Parliament. Buchanan argues that United States should never had fought in World War I, and that the American people were "deceived and dragged" into war in 1917, and says that "Americans blamed the 'Merchants of Death' – the war profiteers – and the British propagandists" who created the myth of the Rape of Belgium
Rape of Belgium
The Rape of Belgium is a wartime propaganda term describing the 1914 German invasion of Belgium. The term initially had a figurative meaning, referring to the violation of Belgian neutrality, but embellished reports of German atrocities soon gave it a literal significance...

. Buchanan called the British "hunger blockade" of Germany in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 "criminal", and accepted the contention of the British economist John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

 in his 1919 book The Economic Consequences of the Peace
The Economic Consequences of the Peace
The Economic Consequences of the Peace is a book written and published by John Maynard Keynes. Keynes attended the Versailles Conference as a delegate of the British Treasury and argued for a much more generous peace. It was a bestseller throughout the world and was critical in establishing a...

 that the reparations
World War I reparations
World War I reparations refers to the payments and transfers of property and equipment that Germany was forced to make under the Treaty of Versailles following its defeat during World War I...

 imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles were "impossible" to pay.

Buchanan argues that World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 could have been avoided if the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 had not in his view been so harsh towards Germany. Buchanan views the Versailles treaty as monstrously unjust towards Germany, and argues that German efforts to revise Versailles were both moral and just. Buchanan calls those historians who blame Germany for the two world wars "court historians", who Buchanan argues have created a myth of sole German guilt for the world wars. By contrast to his opposition to Versailles, Buchanan wrote that by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

 Germany had merely applied to that "prison house of nations", the Russian Empire, the principle of self-determination, releasing from Russian rule Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasus (largely modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Buchanan says that the Hungarians, who lost two thirds of their country by the Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

, considered it a "national crucifixion" and were embittered towards the Allies by it. Buchanan takes the view that Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 should never had been created, describing it as "a living contradiction of the principle" of self-determination, with the Czechs ruling "Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, Poles, and Ruthenians" in a "multi-ethnic, multilingual, multicultural, Catholic-Protestant conglomeration that had never before existed.". Buchanan accuses the Czech leaders Benes and Masaryk of deceiving the Allies, particularly President Wilson, regarding the ethnic make-up of the regions which became Czechoslovakia. "Asked why he had consigned three million Germans to Czech rule, Wilson blurted, 'Why, Masaryk never told me that!'"

As a result of their humiliation at Versailles, argues Buchanan, the German people became more nationalistic and ultimately were willing to put their confidence in Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Buchanan writes that there was a "Great Civil War of the West" which comprised both world wars and which Buchanan contends that Britain should have stayed neutral in rather than upholding an unfair Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

. Buchanan damns successive British and French leaders for not offering to revise Versailles in Germany's favor in the 1920s while the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 was still in existence, which Buchanan argues influenced the German people to turn to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

Buchanan contends, citing historians Richard Lamb and Alan Bullock, that the attempt on the part of the German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany from 1930 to 1932, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest serving Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, and remains a controversial figure in German politics....

 to found an Austro-German customs union in March 1931 was a project which could have prevented Hitler from coming to power. Buchanan criticises the Allies for opposing the Austro-German customs union, and quotes Bullock regarding their veto as not only helping "to precipitate the failure of the Austrian Kreditanstalt and the German financial crisis of the summer but forced the German Foreign Office to announce on September 3 that the project would be abandoned. The result was to inflict a sharp humiliation on the Bruning government and to inflame national resentment in Germany." In this way, Buchanan argues that Britain, France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia indirectly assisted Hitler's rise to power in 1933.

In Buchanan's view, Weimar-era German leaders like Gustav Stresemann
Gustav Stresemann
was a German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor and Foreign Minister during the Weimar Republic. He was co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926.Stresemann's politics defy easy categorization...

, Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany from 1930 to 1932, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest serving Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, and remains a controversial figure in German politics....

, and Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

 were all responsible German statesmen working to revise Versailles in a manner that would not threaten the peace of Europe, and were undermined by the inability and unwillingness of Britain and France to co-operate. Buchanan follows the distinction made by the German historian Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

 between a Weimar foreign policy which sought to restore Germany to its pre-1918 position and wished for some territorial expansionism in Eastern Europe, and a Nazi foreign policy for which the achievement of Weimar-era foreign policy was only the first step towards a larger programme of seeking Lebensraum
Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

 via war and genocide in Eastern Europe. Since Buchanan argues that was no moral difference between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, he maintains that Britain should have just allowed the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists to fight it out and destroy each other and await the course of events, whilst rapidly re-arming so as to be in a position to fight if necessary. Buchanan argues that the "guarantee" of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 in 1939 was impossible to fulfill and only made the war inevitable. Buchanan calls Hitler's foreign policy programme more moderate than the war aims sought by the German Chancellor Dr. Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg was a German politician and statesman who served as Chancellor of the German Empire from 1909 to 1917.-Origins:...

 in the Septemberprogramm
Septemberprogramm
The Septemberprogramm was a plan drafted by the German leadership in the early weeks of the First World War. It detailed Germany's ambitious gains should it win the war, as it expected...

 in World War I because Buchanan contends that Hitler was only interested in expansionism in Eastern Europe and did not seek territory in Western Europe and Africa Moreover, Buchanan argues that once Hitler came to power in 1933, his foreign policy was not governed strictly by Nazi ideology, but rather was modified ad hoc by pragmatism.

Buchanan writes that Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 was committed to the Stresa Front
Stresa Front
The Stresa Front was an agreement made in Stresa, a town on the banks of Lake Maggiore in Italy, between French foreign minister Pierre Laval, British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald, and Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini on April 14, 1935...

 of 1935, and it was an act of folly on the part of Britain to vote for League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 sanctions on Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 for invading Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, as it drove Fascist Italy into an alliance with Nazi Germany In Buchanan's view, the British were highly hypocritical in seeking sanctions against Italy for the Italo-Ethiopian war
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire...

 as he argues there was no moral difference between Italian imperialism against Ethiopia in 1935, and British imperialism against other African nations in the 19th century Buchanan draws unfavorable comparisons between the ready acceptance by France's Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively. Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of...

 of Italy's right to conquer Ethiopia as the price of maintaining the Stresa Front, and what Buchanan calls the sanctimonious attitude of the British who voted for sanctions in defense of what Churchill, quoted by Buchanan, described as "a wild land of tyranny, slavery, and tribal war." Buchanan also quotes Churchill as arguing that "No one can keep up the pretence that Abyssinia is a fit, worthy, and equal member of the league of civilised nations." At the same time in early 1936, when the crisis over Ethiopia had pushed Britain and Italy to the brink of war, there occurred the Remilitarization of the Rhineland
Remilitarization of the Rhineland
The Remilitarization of the Rhineland by the German Army took place on 7 March 1936 when German military forces entered the Rhineland. This was significant because it violated the terms of the Locarno Treaties and was the first time since the end of World War I that German troops had been in this...

.

Buchanan points out that Hitler regarded the Franco-Soviet Pact
Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance
The Franco–Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance was a bilateral pact between the two countries with the aim of containing Nazi Germany's aggression in 1935. It was pursued by Louis Barthou, who was the French Foreign Minister but he was assassinated before negotiations were finished...

 as an aggressive move directed at Germany and that it violated the Locarno Treaties
Locarno Treaties
The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland, on 5 October – 16 October 1925 and formally signed in London on 3 December, in which the First World War Western European Allied powers and the new states of central and Eastern Europe sought to secure the post-war...

, and he adds that Hitler had a strong case. Hitler employed this claimed violation of Locarno as a diplomatic weapon against which the French and the British had no answer, Buchanan argues.

Buchanan argues that Hitler's public demands on Poland in 1938-39, namely the return of the Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

 (modern Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

) to the Reich, "extra-territorial" roads across the Polish Corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

, and Poland's adhesion to the Anti-Comintern Pact
Anti-Comintern Pact
The Anti-Comintern Pact was an Anti-Communist pact concluded between Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan on November 25, 1936 and was directed against the Communist International ....

 were a genuine attempt to build an anti-Soviet German-Polish alliance, especially since Buchanan argues that Germany and Poland shared a common enemy in the form of the Soviet Union. Buchanan contends that Hitler wanted Poland as an ally against the Soviet Union, and not an enemy. Citing the book March 1939 by the British historian Simon K. Newman, and Andrew Roberts, in his "The Holy Fox: The Life of Lord Halifax", Buchanan argues that the British "guarantee" of Polish independence in March 1939 was a deliberate ploy on the part of Foreign Minister Lord Halifax to cause a war with Germany in 1939 Buchanan calls Chamberlain's "guarantee" of Poland "rash" and the "fatal blunder" which caused the end of the British Empire Buchanan argues that Halifax and Chamberlain had different motives for the guarantee. Without deciding between the various theories regarding Chamberlain's motivation, Buchanan recites several, including those of Liddell Hart, Simon Newman, and Andrew Roberts.

Buchanan favourably cites the remark of British historian E. H. Carr in April 1939 about the Polish "guarantee" that: "The use or threatened use of force to maintain the status quo may be morally more culpable than the use or threatened use of force to alter it". Buchanan maintains that Hitler did not want a war with Britain, and it was wrong on the part of Britain to declare war in 1939 on an Anglophile Hitler who only wanted to ally the Reich with Britain against their common enemy the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

Buchanan accepts the picture drawn by the British historian A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 in his 1961 book The Origins of the Second World War of the Polish Foreign Minister Colonel Józef Beck
Józef Beck
' was a Polish statesman, diplomat, military officer, and close associate of Józef Piłsudski...

 as a frivolous and irresponsible man incapable of understanding the magnitude of the crisis facing his country in 1939. Buchanan argues that rather than offering the "guarantee" of Poland that Britain could not fulfill, Chamberlain should have accepted it was impossible to save any Eastern European country from German aggression and instead set about re-arming Britain in order to be prepared for any future war with Germany, should it be necessary. Instead, Buchanan claims that the acceptance of Eastern Europe as Germany's sphere of influence as a pro quid quo for Germany staying out of Western Europe was a better alternative to World War II.

Buchanan argues that it was a great blunder on the part of Chamberlain to declare war on Germany in 1939, and even greater blunder on the part of Churchill to refuse Hitler's peace offer of 1940, thus making World War II in Buchanan's opinion the "unnecessary war" of the title. The title of course was borrowed from Churchill, who stated in his memoirs, "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." Buchanan writes, "For that war one man bears full moral responsibility: Hitler." He adds, "But this was not only Hitler's war. It was Chamberlain's war and Churchill's war...". In Buchanan's view, the "final offer" made by the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop
Joachim von Ribbentrop
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister of Germany from 1938 until 1945. He was later hanged for war crimes after the Nuremberg Trials.-Early life:...

 to the British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson
Nevile Henderson
Sir Nevile Meyrick Henderson, KCMG , was the third child of Robert and Emma Henderson and was born at Sedgwick Park near Horsham, West Sussex. Ambassador of Great Britain to Germany from 1937 to 1939, he believed that Adolf Hitler could be controlled and pushed toward peace and cooperation with...

 on the night of August 30, 1939 was not a ploy as many historians argued, but instead a genuine German offer to avoid World War II. Likewise, Buchanan argues citing F.H. Hinsley, John Lukacs, and Alan Clark, Hitler's peace offers to Britain in the summer of 1940 were real, and Churchill was wrong to refuse them. Buchanan writes that the Morgenthau Plan
Morgenthau Plan
The Morgenthau Plan, proposed by United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., advocated that the Allied occupation of Germany following World War II include measures to eliminate Germany's ability to wage war.-Overview:...

 of 1944 was a genocidal plan for the destruction of Germany promoted by the vengeful Henry Morgenthau
Henry Morgenthau
Henry Morgenthau may refer to:* Henry Morgenthau, Sr. , United States diplomat* Henry Morgenthau, Jr. , United States Secretary of the Treasury* Henry Morgenthau, III , author and television producer...

 and his deputy the Soviet agent Harry Dexter White
Harry Dexter White
Harry Dexter White was an American economist, and senior U.S. Treasury department official, participating in the Bretton Woods conference...

 as a way of ensuring Soviet domination of Europe, and that Churchill was amoral for accepting it.

As part of his assault on Churchill's reputation, Buchanan claims a moral equivalence between Churchill and Hitler. Buchanan suggests that there is no moral difference between Churchill's support for the compulsory sterilisation and segregation of the mentally unfit before 1914, and the Nazi Action T4
Action T4
Action T4 was the name used after World War II for Nazi Germany's eugenics-based "euthanasia" program during which physicians killed thousands of people who were "judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination"...

 program. Likewise, Buchanan argues that the views that Churchill expressed about Judo-Bolshevism
Jewish Bolshevism
Jewish Bolshevism, Judeo-Bolshevism, and known as Żydokomuna in Poland, is an antisemitic stereotype based on the claim that Jews have been the driving force behind or are disproportionately involved in the modern Communist movement, or sometimes more specifically Russian Bolshevism.The expression...

 in his 1920 article "Zionism and Bolshevism" seem not markedly different to Hitler's views about "Judo-Bolshevism" in Mein Kampf. Buchanan attacks Churchill as the man who brought in the Ten Year Rule
Ten Year Rule
The Ten Year Rule was a British government guideline, first adopted in August 1919, that the armed forces should draft their estimates "on the assumption that the British Empire would not be engaged in any great war during the next ten years"....

 in 1919, in which British defence spending was based on the assumption that there would be no major war for the next ten years, making Churchill the man who disarmed Britain in the 1920s. Buchanan attacks Churchill as a deeply inept military leader who caused successive military debacles such as the Siege of Antwerp
Siege of Antwerp
The Siege of Antwerp was an engagement between the German and the Belgian armies during World War I. A small number of British and Austrian troops took part as well.-Strategic Context:...

 in 1914, the Dardanelles campaign, the Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 of 1940, the fall of Singapore
Battle of Singapore
The Battle of Singapore was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War when the Empire of Japan invaded the Allied stronghold of Singapore. Singapore was the major British military base in Southeast Asia and nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East"...

, and the Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

 of 1942.

Buchanan claims that Hitler's ambitions were confined only to Eastern Europe, and citing such historians as Ian Kershaw
Ian Kershaw
Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian of 20th-century Germany whose work has chiefly focused on the period of the Third Reich...

, Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Hillgruber
Andreas Fritz Hillgruber was a conservative German historian. Hillgruber was influential as a military and diplomatic historian.At his death in 1989, the American historian Francis L...

 and Richard J. Evans
Richard J. Evans
Richard John Evans is a British academic and historian, prominently known for his history of Germany.-Life:Evans was born in London, of Welsh parentage, and is now Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and President of Wolfson College...

, states that Hitler wanted an anti-Soviet alliance with Britain. Buchanan maintains that British leaders of the 1930s were influenced by "Germanophobia", leading them to suspect that Germany was out to conquer the world. Citing John Lukacs
John Lukacs
John Adalbert Lukacs is a Hungarian-born American historian who has written more than thirty books, including Five Days in London, May 1940 and A New Republic...

, Buchanan maintains that Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 was not part of any long-range master plan on the part of Hitler, but was instead an attempt by Hitler to force Britain to make peace by eliminating Britain's last hope of victory – bringing the Soviet Union into the war on the Allied side. Buchanan argues that the Holocaust only developed the scale it did because Hitler's invasion of Poland and then Russia meant that he had within his control most European Jews, which would not have been the case otherwise. Buchanan argues that if Churchill had accepted Hitler's peace offer of 1940, the severity of the Holocaust would have been immensely less.

With respect to the debate
Nazi Foreign Policy (debate)
This article refers to the historical argument over the Nazi Foreign Policy in terms of territorial expansion. The National Socialists governed Germany between 1933 and 1945...

 about German foreign policy, Buchanan refutes Globalist historians, such as Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Weinberg
Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg is a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II. Weinberg currently is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the...

, who argue that Germany wanted to conquer the entire world, and instead contends that Nazi Germany was not a danger to the United States at any point, nor to Britain after Germany lost the Battle of Britain. Buchanan points out that the "master plan to conquer South and Central America" which Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 publicly endorsed, was actually produced by British intelligence and that German archival sources reveal no evidence for this supposed plan.

Buchanan called the British "area bombing" of German cities in World War II a policy of "barbarism" and quotes Churchill stating that its purpose was literally to terrorize the civilian population of Germany. In particular, Buchanan argues that the bombing of Dresden
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force and as part of the Allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War...

 in 1945 was barbaric, a crime which he states that Churchill personally ordered, quoting Churchill himself and Air Marshall Arthur "Bomber" Harris
Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet GCB OBE AFC , commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press, and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the latter half of World War...

 as evidence. Buchanan wrote that Churchill was responsible in large part for "Western man's reversion to barbarism" in World War II, and expressed regret that generals of the American Army Air Force like Curtis LeMay
Curtis LeMay
Curtis Emerson LeMay was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of American Independent Party candidate George Wallace in 1968....

 in bombing Japan followed the example set by British Air Marshal Arthur "Bomber" Harris
Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Travers Harris, 1st Baronet GCB OBE AFC , commonly known as "Bomber" Harris by the press, and often within the RAF as "Butcher" Harris, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command during the latter half of World War...

 in using "terror bombing" as a method of war against Germany. He quotes LeMay, "We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9–10 than went up in the vapour of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined." Buchanan's conclusion: "We and the British fought for moral ends. We did not always use moral means by any Christian definition."

Endorsing the concept of Western betrayal
Western betrayal
Western betrayal, also called Yalta betrayal, refers to a range of critical views concerning the foreign policies of several Western countries between approximately 1919 and 1968 regarding Eastern Europe and Central Europe...

, Buchanan accuses Churchill and Roosevelt of turning over Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union at the Tehran
Tehran Conference
The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

 and Yalta conferences
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

. Citing the Cuban-American lawyer Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights, as well as a former high-ranking United Nations official...

, Buchanan calls expulsion
Expulsion of Germans after World War II
The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals and ethnic Germans from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria...

 of the Germans from Eastern Europe, in which 2 million died, a crime against humanity "of historic dimensions", and contrasts the British prosecution of German leaders at Nuremberg
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

 for crimes against humanity whilst Churchill and other British leaders were approving of the expulsion of the ethnic German population from Eastern Europe

Buchanan also writes that the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 should have remained non-interventionist with respect to the events of World War II. However, because the United States insisted the United Kingdom sever its alliance
Anglo-Japanese Alliance
The first was signed in London at what is now the Lansdowne Club, on January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne and Hayashi Tadasu . A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921...

 with Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 in 1921, this had the ultimate effect of leading to Japan to align itself with the Axis. Ultimately this led to the Japanese alliance with Germany and its attack on Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...

. Buchanan blames Churchill for insisting that the British Cabinet in 1921 give in to American pressure to end the alliance with Japan.

Buchanan concludes that if World War II had not taken place, the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 would have continued through the twentieth century. Buchanan favorably cites the 1993 assessment of Alan Clark
Alan Clark
Alan Kenneth Mackenzie Clark was a British Conservative MP and diarist. He served as a junior minister in Margaret Thatcher's governments at the Departments of Employment, Trade, and Defence, and became a privy counsellor in 1991...

 that World War II "went on far too long, and when Britain emerged the country was bust. Nothing remained of assets overseas. Without immense and punitive borrowings from the US we would have starved. The old social order had gone forever. The empire was terminally damaged. The Commonwealth countries had seen their trust betrayed and their soldiers wasted." Likewise, Buchanan blames British statesmen for bringing Britain into the war against Germany, which not only caused the economic ruin of Britain but also brought Eastern Europe into the Soviet sphere of influence and brought Communism to power in China in 1949, all of which would have been avoided if only Britain had not "guaranteed" Poland in 1939.

Buchanan claims that for the most part American leaders in the Cold War followed the wise advice of George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...

, who understood a strong Germany was needed as an American ally to keep the Soviet Union/Russia out of Central Europe, and who did not rush into unnecessary wars with the Soviet Union, instead waiting patiently for the Soviet Union to fall apart of its own accord. Buchanan ends his book with an attack on George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, and argues that just as Churchill led the British Empire to ruin by causing unnecessary wars with Germany twice, so too will Bush lead the United States to ruin by following Churchill's example in involving the United States in an unnecessary war in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and passing out guarantees to scores of nations in which the USA has no vital interests, placing the USA in a position in which her resources are insufficient to fulfil her promises. Buchanan expresses the view that just as Chamberlain's "guarantee" of Poland in March 1939 caused an "unnecessary war" with Germany later that year, that the United States's current guarantees of Eastern European nations are equally unwise, given that they require a declaration of war with Russia if a hostile regime were to ascend to power in that country and attack any of those countries. This despite the fact that the USA has no vital interests in Eastern Europe. Finally, Buchanan highlights the symbolism of George W. Bush placing a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 as evidence that Bush's neoconservative foreign policy was influenced and inspired by Churchill.

Reviews


The book debuted at sixteenth place on The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 best-seller list. MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 notes that Buchanan joins historians who are more critical of British involvement in World War II.

The book has received mixed reviews. Canadian journalist Eric Margolis
Eric Margolis
Eric S. Margolis is an American-born journalist and writer. For 27 years, ending in 2010, he was a contributing editor to the Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, writing mainly about the Middle East, South Asia and Islam. He contributes to the Huffington Post and appears frequently on Canadian...

 in the Toronto Sun
Toronto Sun
The Toronto Sun is an English-language daily tabloid newspaper published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is known for its daily Sunshine Girl feature and for what it sees as a populist conservative editorial stance.-History:...

 endorsed Buchanan's study as a "powerful new book". Margolis wrote that neither Britain nor the United States should have fought in World War II, and that it was simply wrong and stupid that millions of people should have to die to stop the 90% ethnically German Free City of Danzig
Free City of Danzig
The Free City of Danzig was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig and surrounding areas....

 from rejoining Germany. Margolis accepts Buchanan's conclusion that the British "guarantee" of Poland in March 1939 was the greatest geopolitical blunder of the 20th century. Margolis wrote:
"...Pat Buchanan challenges many historic taboos by claiming that Winston Churchill plunged Britain and its empire, including Canada, into wars whose outcome was disastrous for all concerned….Churchill made the fatal error in World War II of backing Poland's hold on Danzig even though Britain could do nothing to defend Poland, Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia from Hitler's attempts to reunite million of Germans stranded in these new nations by the dreadful Versailles Treaty. Britain's declaration of war on Germany over Poland led to a general European war. After suffering 5.6 million dead, Poland ended up occupied by the Soviet Union…Buchanan's heretical view, and mine, is that the Western democracies should have let Hitler expand his Reich eastward until it inevitably went to war with the even more dangerous Soviet Union. Once these despotisms had exhausted themselves, the Western democracies would have been left dominating Europe. The lives of millions of Western civilians and soldiers would have been spared."
American writer Anthony Gregory in a review on LewRockwell.com
LewRockwell.com
LewRockwell.com is a 501 libertarian web magazine operated by Burton Blumert , Lew Rockwell , Eric Garris , and others associated with the Center for Libertarian Studies ; its motto is "anti-state, anti-war, pro-market"...

 praised Buchanan's book as proving World War II was not a "good war"". American journalist John Zmirak in a review in Taki's Magazine
Taki's Top Drawer
Taki's Magazine, called "Takimag" for short, is an online magazine of "politics and culture" published by the Greek paleoconservative journalist and socialite Taki Theodoracopulos and edited by his daughter Mandolyna Theodoracopulos...

 largely endorsed Buchanan's thesis, accusing Churchill of hypocrisy in spurning the alliance offers of Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom Zmirak calls "harmless" and instead accepting an alliance with Czar Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

, whom Zmirak accuses of promoting the pogroms of Imperial Russia
Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire
The term pogrom as a reference to large-scale, targeted, and repeated antisemitic rioting saw its first use in the 19th century.The first pogrom is often considered to be the 1821 Odessa pogroms after the death of the Greek Orthodox patriarch Gregory V in Constantinople, in which 14 Jews were killed...

. Likewise, Zmirak, accepts Buchanan's contention that Churchill was largely responsible for what Zmirak calls a harsh and punitive Treaty of Versailles. However, Zmirak disagrees with Buchanan's claim that the United States should have stayed neutral in World War II, and accepts the thesis of John Lukacs
John Lukacs
John Adalbert Lukacs is a Hungarian-born American historian who has written more than thirty books, including Five Days in London, May 1940 and A New Republic...

's that a war that ended with half of Europe being dominated by Stalin was preferable to a war ending with all of Europe being dominated by Hitler.

Jonathan S. Tobin
Jonathan S. Tobin
Jonathan S. Tobin is the senior online editor of Commentary magazine, a neo-Conservative monthly magazine covering politics, international affairs, Judaism and social, cultural and literary issues....

 in The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as The Palestine Post. The daily readership numbers do not approach those of the major Hebrew newspapers....

 gave Buchanan's book a negative review and suggested the author is anti-semitic and representative of a "malevolent" form of appeasement. American writer Adam Kirsch
Adam Kirsch
Adam Kirsch is an American poet and literary critic.-Early life and education:Kirsch is the son of lawyer, author, and biblical scholar Jonathan Kirsch, and a 1997 graduate of Harvard College.-Career:...

 in The New York Sun attacked Buchanan for using no primary sources, then saying there was a conspiracy by historians to hide the truth about the two world wars. Kirsch acidly remarked if that was the case, why was Buchanan only using secondary sources to support his arguments? Kirsch furthermore accused Buchanan of hypocrisy for denouncing Churchill as a racist who was opposed to non-white immigration to Britain while at the same time he demanded white only immigration to the United States. Kirsh wrote that Buchanan's apocalyptic language about the West in decline owed more to Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher whose interests also included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West , published in 1918, which puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations...

 than to American conservatives. Kirsch argued that Buchanan's heavy reliance on Correlli Barnett
Correlli Barnett
Correlli Douglas Barnett CBE FRSL is an English military historian, who has also written works of economic history, particularly on the United Kingdom's post-war "industrial decline".-Personal life:...

's 1972 book The Collapse of British Power as a source reflects the fact that both Buchanan and Barnett are two embittered conservatives unhappy with the way history worked out, and instead prefer to talk about how much nicer history would had been if Britain had not fought in the two world wars, or the United States and Britain in Iraq. American classicist Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, political essayist and former classics professor, notable as a scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a commentator on modern warfare and contemporary politics for National Review and other media outlets...

 criticized Buchanan for what he sees as a pro-German bias, and instead contends that the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 was too lenient rather than too harsh towards Germany. In his blog, Hanson called Buchanan a "pseudo-historian". In another entry on his blog responding to criticism from Buchanan's admirers, Hanson stated that he loathed communism, but argued that given the strength of the Wehrmacht, Churchill and Roosevelt had no choice but to ally themselves with Stalin. In the summer of 2008, Hanson appeared together with Christopher Hitchens in a video series called Uncommon Knowledge when they argued at length against Buchanan's thesis.

In a hostile review, the American journalist David Bahnsen called Buchanan's book an "anti-semitic piece of garbage". Bahnsen accused Buchanan of being unique in that he posited the Holocaust as an understandable, if excessive response to the British "guarantee" of Poland in 1939. British journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Geoffrey Albert Wheatcroft is a British journalist and writer.- Education :He was educated at University College School, London, and at New College Oxford, where he read Modern History.- Publishing and journalism :...

 in a review in The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

 complained that Buchanan had grossly exaggerated the harshness of Versailles, noting that the majority view of historians is that Germany did indeed start World War I, and that Buchanan's criticism of the British "area bombing" of cities as a method of war pays no attention to how limited Britain's options seemed to Churchill in 1940. Wheatcroft wrote that Buchanan cited right-wing British historians like Alan Clark
Alan Clark
Alan Kenneth Mackenzie Clark was a British Conservative MP and diarist. He served as a junior minister in Margaret Thatcher's governments at the Departments of Employment, Trade, and Defence, and became a privy counsellor in 1991...

, Maurice Cowling
Maurice Cowling
Maurice John Cowling was a British historian and a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.-Life:Cowling was born in Norwood, South London, to a lower middle-class family. His family then moved to Streatham, where Cowling attended an LCC elementary school, and from 1937 the Battersea Grammar School...

 and John Charmley
John Charmley
John Charmley is a British diplomatic historian and a professor of modern history at the University of East Anglia, where he has been head of the School of History since 2001. Specialising in modern diplomatic and political history, Charmley's historical work has proved to be controversial, most...

 when they stated that Britain should never have fought Germany or alternatively should have made peace in 1940, but ignored the wider point that Clark, Cowling and Charmley were making: that they viewed the United States rather than Germany as the British Empire's main rival.

Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs
John Lukacs
John Adalbert Lukacs is a Hungarian-born American historian who has written more than thirty books, including Five Days in London, May 1940 and A New Republic...

 in a review in The American Conservative
The American Conservative
The American Conservative is a monthly U.S. opinion magazine published by Ron Unz. Its first editor was Scott McConnell, his successors being Kara Hopkins and the present incumbent, Daniel McCarthy....

 compared Buchanan to David Irving
David Irving
David John Cawdell Irving is an English writer,best known for his denial of the Holocaust, who specialises in the military and political history of World War II, with a focus on Nazi Germany...

, and argued that the only difference between the two was that Irving uses lies to support his arguments while Buchanan uses half-truths Lukacs commented that Buchanan only cites the left-wing British historian A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 when it suits him, and that when Taylor's conclusions are at variance with Buchanan's views, Buchanan does not cite him. Lukacs objected to Buchanan's argument that Britain should have stood aside and allowed Germany to conquer Eastern Europe under the grounds that he ignores just how barbaric and cruel Nazi rule was in Eastern Europe during World War II. Finally, Lukacs questioned Buchanan's motives in writing Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War on the grounds that Buchanan has often been accused of Anglophobia
Anglophobia
Anglophobia means hatred or fear of England or the English people. The term is sometimes used more loosely for general Anti-British sentiment...

, and said he felt that Buchanan's lament for the British Empire was a case of crocodile tears. Lukacs concluded that Buchanan's book was not a work of history, instead being a thinly veiled admonitory allegory for the modern United States with Britain standing in for America and Germany, Japan and Italy standing in at various points for modern Islam, China and Russia.

Conservative American journalist Christopher Jones attacked Buchanan in a review for saying that Hitler's aims in 1939 were limited only to allowing Danzig to rejoin Germany, when in fact Hitler wanted to destroy Poland. Likewise, Jones criticized Buchanan for writing that the Czech people were better off as part of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

 ruled over by Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

 instead of as part of independent and democratic Czechoslovakia. Jones further countered Buchanan's point that Hitler did not want a world war over Danzig as proven by the lack of readiness of the Kriegsmarine
Kriegsmarine
The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

 for a war with Britain in 1939, which meant Hitler did not expect his attack on Poland to lead to war with Britain and France, as did the fact that the German Navy was in the middle of a major expansion code-named Plan Z
Plan Z
Plan Z was the name given to the planned re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 1939...

 intended to prepare the Kriegsmarine to take on the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 by the mid-1940s.

British journalist Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

 in a review in Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 claimed Buchanan ignores just how aggressive Imperial Germany was, with the Kaiser Wilhelm II openly encouraging Muslims to wage jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 against the Western colonial powers, conducting genocide
Herero and Namaqua Genocide
The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa , during the scramble for Africa...

 in German South West Africa, and supporting the Young Turk
Young Turks
The Young Turks , from French: Les Jeunes Turcs) were a coalition of various groups favouring reformation of the administration of the Ottoman Empire. The movement was against the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Sultan and favoured a re-installation of the short-lived Kanûn-ı Esâsî constitution...

 government during the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

. Hitchens argued that given the way Imperial Germany was dominated by a "militaristic ruling caste" of officers and Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

s who recklessly sought conflict at every chance, it was simply nonsense for Buchanan to write off pre-1914 Germany being "encircled" by enemies on all sides. Hitchens wrote:
"In his [Buchanan's] view, after all, Germany had been terribly wronged by Versailles and it would have been correct to redraw the frontiers in Germany's favor and soothe its hurt feelings (which is what the word "appeasement" originally meant). Meanwhile we should have encouraged Hitler's hostility to Bolshevism and discreetly rearmed in case he should also need to be contained. This might perhaps have worked if Germany had been governed by a right-wing nationalist party that had won a democratic vote. However, in point of fact, Germany was then governed by an ultra-rightist, homicidal, paranoid maniac who had begun by demolishing democracy in Germany itself, who believed that his fellow countrymen were a superior race, and who attributed all the evils in the world to a Jewish conspiracy. It is possible to read whole chapters of Buchanan's book without having to bear these salient points in mind."
Finally, Hitchens ended his review that with the comment that Churchill was wrong about many things, but one of them was not Hitler.

External links