Losing My Religion

 

No, I’m not turning away from my faith in Jesus, which began when I reached the ripe old age of 36, back in early 2004. The religion that I’m losing is the American religion that might be called “We Won The War.”

This may be a troubling post for some of you.  I’m pretty confident that I would have found it very troubling and offensive, myself, about five to ten years ago. I’d appreciate a critique of these thoughts.

So, back to “We Won The War.” I take this phrase from a 2018 book by Peter Hitchens called The Phoney Victory.  I highly recommend it. Peter Hitchens is the younger brother of the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens. Like his brother, Peter was a Marxist in his youth, of the Trotskyite variety, but unlike his brother, Peter ultimately turned to conservatism and Christianity. He has an interesting story, told in more detail in another book, The Rage Against God.

Peter Hitchens writes about the British version of this religion or mythology, “We Won The War.”  It comes complete with a Savior, Winston Churchill, and an antichrist, Adolph Hitler.  Looking back, it seems that I was raised in this religion.  Interestingly, for me, even the American version identified Churchill, rather than FDR, as the Savior.  In my case, I was such a big fan of Churchill that I read and re-read his Memoirs of the Second World War, his book about WWI (The World Crisis), and his History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

Today, I’m inclined to view Churchill as a brilliant propagandist.  This has led me to question many of the WWI and WWII narratives that Churchill promoted.

I think that the narrative starts with the idea of German guilt for WWI, which I now view as quite misplaced.  The work of recent WWI historians like Michael Neiberg and Christopher Clark has been particularly significant for me on this issue.  (Both have excellent lectures available on YouTube, if you’re interested.)  My current view is that Russia is principally to blame for the expansion of the war, which otherwise would have been a localized Balkan conflict between Austria and Serbia.  The Austrians mobilized first, against Serbia, and then the Russians mobilized against both Austria and Germany.

It may seem strange that Germany responded to Russian mobilization by attacking France, but this was strategically understandable, as Russia and France were allied against Germany.  Technically, as far as anyone knew, the Russo-French alliance was defensive only, so France was not obligated to join in Russia’s war against Germany.  But: (1) Germany had no way to know whether there was a secret agreement, and (2) in any event, it would have been very risky for France to allow Russia to face the Germans and Austrians alone, as a Russian defeat would leave France vulnerable.

So, in August 1914, the Germans launched a massive assault on France, hoping to drive France out of the war.  The Germans succeeded with this strategy in 1870 and 1940, but not in 1914.

Britain’s entry into the war is also questionable.  If I remember correctly, Niall Ferguson wrote a book (The Pity of War) placing blame for WWI on the British, for intervening unnecessarily.  I don’t place the bulk of the blame on Britain, but I do agree that British involvement further expanded the conflict, and probably made it more difficult to settle.  It also led to dubious British actions like the starvation blockade of Germany, an action generally considered to be something akin to a war crime at the time.

The US entry into the war was odd, though the Germans didn’t help themselves with the absurd Zimmerman Telegram.  (The Zimmerman Telegram, for those not familiar with this particular historical tidbit, was a telegram from Germany to Mexico seeking an alliance against the US, and offering Mexico recovery of US territory in the southwest taken by the US in the 1840s.)

Wilson campaigned in 1916 on his success in keeping us out of the war, then plunged us into the war in 1917, and compounded the problem with his unrealistic ideas about the shape of a post-WWI Europe.

The Russians, of course, collapsed into an eventual Communist revolution, and lost huge territories in the east to Germany.  Germany, though, was defeated in the west, in large part due to the pressure of the British starvation blockade, and also due to the US entry into the war.  I think that there is some justice in the German claim that they were misled into a cease-fire based on some fairly mild terms (or rhetoric) offered by Wilson, while the actual Treaty of Versailles was more punitive than the Germans had some right to expect.

The worst part, though, was the collapse of the imperial system in eastern Europe, which had been pretty stable for about a century (aside from the catastrophe of WWI, of course).  The victorious Western Allies declared the principle of the “self-determination of peoples,” and carved a variety of small, largely defenseless nations out of the former territories of the Austrian, Russian, and German empires.  (Less from the Germans than the others, though it did include that Danzig corridor that so annoyed them later.)

Worse still, once the principle of “self-determination” was established, the Germans would naturally expect this to apply to them, as well.  Austria sought to unite with Germany, an action that the Western Allies would not allow, and there were significant German minorities in Czechoslovakia and Poland.  This set the stage for Hitler’s actions in the years preceding WWII.

Hitler is often portrayed as a madman.  I don’t see any madness in his plan.  It was ruthless.  He accurately perceived a problem faced by the German nation: inadequate natural resources, especially farmland and oil.  He targeted Ukraine and the Caucasus as the regions that could satisfy these requirements.  Conveniently, these areas were ruled by the horrid Soviets, so Hitler might have expected relatively little objection from the West.

Not so, as it turned out, though the British and French were slow to react to Hitler’s initial moves.  I think that the legitimate German grievances relating to the post-WWI borders of the newly-created Poland and Czechoslovakia explains much of this British and French reticence to act, through the Munich Conference in 1938.

The fate of Czechoslovakia is more complex than it is typically portrayed (though to his credit, Churchill does point out the connivance of Poland).  After the agreed German annexation of the Sudetenland, both Poland and Hungary took chunks out of Czechoslovakia, and then Slovakia declared independence.  Hitler then moved into the power vacuum in the rump Czech state, and ended up forming alliances with Slovakia and Hungary.

I have come to view the British guarantee to Poland, shortly in advance of the German invasion in 1939, as a bizarre action.  Hitchens makes this point, at length, in The Phoney Victory.  The British and French had no practical way to defend Poland, and it’s hard to see why they thought that it was very important.  Poland had been partitioned between the Germans, Russians, and Austrians for about a century before WWI.  Poland was in the path of Hitler’s planned invasion of the Soviet Union, which was hardly a secret after the publication of Mein Kampf.

So why was Britain — and especially Churchill — so keen to defend Poland?  It drew them into a disastrous war, which resulted in British bankruptcy and the loss of the Empire.  What was the point?  To defend Stalin?  Stalin, by the way, ended up as the major victor of WWII.

Many of Hitler’s outrages seem to have flowed from this British decision.  The French joined the British, but my impression is that the British were leading the way.  I don’t see any reason for Hitler to have invaded Denmark, or Norway, or the Low Countries, or France, absent the foolish guarantee to Poland and the Anglo-French declarations of war on Germany.  (It appears that Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway to forestall British efforts to cut off Swedish iron shipments via Norway’s coastal waters, which led the British to commit an act of war by mining the territorial waters of then-neutral Norway.)

Hitchens reports something that I don’t recall reading or hearing before, about the American attitude toward Britain at the start of WWII.  Apparently, we were quite annoyed at the British for having defaulted on their WWI debt.  We agreed to supply Britain and France in their war with Hitler’s Germany, but demanded cash payment — and gold — right up until a de facto bankruptcy hearing for the British Empire before our Secretary of the Treasury.  Confident that the British had paid us all that they could, we then adopted Lend-Lease and started supplying arms and war material to Germany’s enemies.

For free.

Gee, I wonder why Hitler ended up being annoyed at us?

Then there’s Japan’s war in China.  Japan was bogged down in a land war in China for years, and we were making good money on the consequent trade, especially in oil.  But for some reason, FDR decided that we couldn’t stand for Japan to rule part of China.  You know, much the way that we were then ruling the Philippines.  So FDR embargoed oil sales (and other exports) to Japan, an action that would cripple the Japanese war effort.

I don’t recall reading or hearing an analysis of the response that FDR’s administration expected from the Japanese.  It should have been pretty obvious that the Japanese would need an alternative source of oil, conveniently available to them in the Dutch East Indies and British Malaya, which were virtually defenseless at the time.  (The Dutch had been conquered by the Germans, and the British had their hands full fighting the Germans and the Italians.)  A Japanese attack toward the East Indies, though, would open the Japanese flank to American forces in the Philippines, a risky move for the Japanese.  So it seems, to me, that it should have been no surprise for the Japanese to conclude that the least-bad of their options was an attack on the US.  This was provoked by FDR, in violation of the principle of free trade declared by FDR himself in the Atlantic Charter, just a few months earlier in August 1941.

Further, what was the uniting factor behind our eventual Axis opponents, Germany, Italy, and Japan?  They were part of the Anti-Comintern Pact, an alliance specifically aimed at the tyrannical and potentially expansionist Soviet Union.  Why would Britain — or the US — want to take the Soviet side in such a conflict?

I’ve rambled for quite a while here.  This is all pretty complicated, I think, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the events leading to the two catastrophic wars of the 20th Century.

The story that we’re taught, though, is very simple.  Hitler was a madman and a monster, launching wars of “aggression.”  So was Mussolini, in a smaller and more contemptible way.  Why, Mussolini had the temerity to conquer Ethiopia, outraging the British and the French.  That’s right, the British and the French, who between them ruled just about all of the rest of Africa at the time.  Let’s not forget Japan, portrayed as a Yellow Menace that was somehow going to be invading California soon, and which supposedly attacked us for absolutely no reason.

It is interesting to see people objecting to Putin’s potentially cutting off supplies of oil and gas to Europe, a tactic apparently considered perfectly fine when we did it to Japan in 1941.

They were evil, we were good.  The brave British, especially, were good, led by the indomitable Savior Churchill.  You know, the Churchill who imposed the starvation blockade on the Germans in WWI.  The Churchill whose failed Dardanelles campaign aimed at the massive naval bombardment of the Turkish civilian population of Istanbul.  The Churchill who illegally mined those Norwegian territorial waters, then expressed outrage at the German invasion that this triggered.  The Churchill who presided over the deliberate terror-bombing of women and children in German cities.

I’m not claiming that the Axis were a bunch of great guys.  They did terrible things.  So did our side, which included Stalin’s Evil Empire.  War is hell.

There’s no changing the past.  We might be able to learn a lesson, and the lesson that I’ve come to learn is the wisdom of our Founders, who cautioned against involvement in foreign wars.  They are costly in blood and treasure.  We often have little understanding of the cultures and nations involved, but are inclined to want to force our ways on them.  Perhaps worst of all, if we take sides and help one side win — the Soviets in WWII, for example — we might find out that they are just about as bad as the side that we opposed.

Moreover, the policy of “unconditional surrender” adopted in WWII eliminated three major checks on Soviet expansionism, placing the burden of the Cold War on us.  In hindsight, this seems like a bad decision.

It is impossible to be certain of the outcome of various alternative choices.  If Britain had not guaranteed Poland, what would have happened?  If we had not supplied Britain and the Soviets, or had not embargoed Japan, what would have happened?

My impression is that the general answer is something like: Germany and Japan would have conquered the world, and would have come after us.  Something like the premise of the Amazon series The Man in the High Tower.

I’ve come to doubt that this is true, and even to view it as a bit paranoid.  There are precious few examples of successful conquest of this type.  Most of the time, a conqueror becomes bogged down pacifying the territory it has occupied, and the occupation ends up being a drain on resources, not an addition.  This was true of the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe and Afghanistan.  It was true of our own occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was true of Napoleon’s various conquests.

I’d be curious to hear from those of you who disagree with this.  I used to disagree with my present view, quite strongly.  Maybe some of you could address two issues:

  1. Part of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.”  Do you even like this?  The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe.  Do you like the EU?  Do you like its policies?  Do you like its culture, its focus on the Rainbow agenda, its undermining of traditional faith and culture, its crusade against Climate Change, its bureaucratic Leftism?
  2. Part of the motivation for America’s 20th-century policy seems to be a sense of pride for being defenders of, well, something.  The people that we like, it seems.  The French, and the Jews, and the Ukrainians (at the moment).  The Taiwanese.  Some of the Afghans and Iraqis, perhaps.

My new view of things still troubles me a bit, as it makes me far less inclined to think favorably of our country.  My old religion, “We Won The War,” was comforting in some ways.  It made me feel good about myself, and about America.  I just don’t buy it anymore.

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: I think that the legitimate German grievances relating to the post-WWI borders of the newly-created Poland and Czechoslovakia

    If you are willing to label some of these “grievances” as legitimate, I presume you could also be more specific about what they were and what made them legitimate.

     

    • #1
  2. cqness Member
    cqness
    @cqness

    I believe that much of the origins of WW I can be explained by the naval armaments race between the British and the Germans.  The kaiser really wanted to build a fleet of battleships that could challenge the Royal Navy for command of the seas and become the basis for a German overseas empire along British lines.  The British felt their empire and their homeland threatened by the German naval buildup which led them to side with the Russians and French.

    Ironically the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906, a revolutionary battlehip design that immediately made all other capital ships obsolete and appeared to establish supremacy for the Royal Navy, allowed the Germans a better chance to catch up – both sides were starting from almost zero at that point.

    I believe if the kaiser had not insisted on a high seas fleet the British might well have sat out the war.  If the British had not shipped their army to France before Germany invaded it is probable that the Schlieffen Plan would have succeeded with France knocked out of the war in 1914 and the Germans then able to concentrate on Russia.

    • #2
  3. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    One item missing from your recounting of the history (and it may be missing from Hitchen’s): the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of 23 August 1939. As you know, under this pact the Third Reich and the Soviets agreed to a ten-year “non-aggression” period between the two, as well as a secret protocol. This protocol defined the spheres of influence of the two totalitarian regimes and agreed to a partition of Poland. Indeed, the Soviets invaded Poland about two weeks after the Reich did.

    Now, I know the Soviets had reasons for agreeing to the pact (mainly that Britain and France refused to consider a tripartite alliance against the Third Reich). Hitler also wanted to secure his eastern flank for a time while dealing with France and the UK. Does this factor into your analysis?

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: It may seem strange that Germany responded to Russian mobilization by attacking France, but this was strategically understandable, as Russia and France were allied against Germany.

    This decision is accounted for in the “Standard Operating Procedure” analytical method.  More to follow.

    Hint: why did Russia mobilize against Germany?

    EDIT:  Alrighty then, back to a keyboard.  According to the SOP model of international relations (as much as I recall from college etc), the Russians mobilized “against Germany” because they had no plan to mobilize against only the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  So General Mobilization it was, and it would take months.  That’s the plan, and we execute it when needed — that’s SOP.

    Germany also had no plan for a partial mobilization but for a different reason: their plan to successfully defend (yes, defend) against Russia required knocking France out of the war so that Germany would not have to fight a two-front war, which they felt they could not win.  Hmmph.  So they needed to take France out in order to defend against “Triple Entente” partner Russia.  This is not as stupid as it sounds to the uninitiated.  Russia must mobilize against Germany in order to mobilize against AHE, which in turn was very much required in order to maintain influence across the Slavosphere in the wake of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.  And if Russia should go to war against Germany (which would take weeks at best), then France was bound to also make war upon Germany, but would only take days to mobilize.  France could not beat Germany alone, but could prevent Germany from prevailing in a war against Russia.  Therefore, the Russian mobilization upon Germany’s border ( weeks or even months from when it became obvious) presented Germany with an existential threat from France.

    This is not a complete analysis of the causes of the war — it’s not even a good representation of the SOP model.  But as with my own Russia -> warm-water ports model of the last hundred years — I think it holds up.

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    I think the best way to think of the country is the way you evaluate an old house for remodel or removal: does it have “good bones”? Are the fundamentals of America sound — the social contract in our constitution, the opportunities for people to thrive, the extent to which legal processes proceed in fidelity to the principles of equal justice,  etc? Any human leadership will have flaws. And these flaws are too often amplified under economic stress, war, and social conflict. But whether these are short-lived or chronic depends on “the bones”. I think we still have “good bones” but I am discouraged. 

    • #5
  6. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Excellent article, Jerry.

    I always felt that Spain won the war.

    Not only did Franco manage to have Adolph fight his opponents during Spain’s Civil War, he then was allowed to fudge on his pledge to offer the Fuerher and Germany the support that they needed.

    From 1939 on until May 1945, Franco was always just about honor his pledge and to send troops off to Germany. He used every excuse in the book, from not having the right uniforms for the seasonal weather at hand, to having more pressing matters of his own to attend to.

    (My saying this is not to imply that I support dictator Franco, but to point out how he received things he needed from the Third Reich, and in return offered up no funding or military personnel from his country’s treasury.)

    • #6
  7. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    BDB (View Comment):
    France could not beat Germany alone, but could prevent Germany from prevailing in a war against Russia. 

    I edited my comment above.

    • #7
  8. She Member
    She
    @She

    Sometimes I think that “losing one’s religion” (to quote the OP) is a necessary step in the direction of facing facts and discovering the truth. 

     

    • #8
  9. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    She (View Comment):

    Sometimes I think that “losing one’s religion” (to quote the OP) is a necessary step in the direction of facing facts and discovering the truth.

    Indeed.  Like growing up, or turning off the TV.

    • #9
  10. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Jerry–interesting post.  I will defer to others to challenge/verify/argue/agree with various things you’ve written.  I am too ignorant of WWI and WWII details to contribute anything very useful to the discussion.

    I do have a few questions that, depending on your answers, might help me better understand the events leading up to WWII:

    1. Is it meaningful to your criticism of Churchill that Britain declared war in 1939 on Germany before Churchill became PM?
    2. Is it meaningful to your criticism of Churchill that Churchill was an elected official, who could be removed from office, and was accountable to the monarchy and Parliament, unlike Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin?
    3. Is it meaningful to your analysis that in 1936 Nazi Germany signed a treaty/pact with Italy & Japan, respectively, long before Britain declared war in 1939 (hence, giving context to your mocking criticism that Italy merely invaded Ethiopia)?
    4. Is it meaningful to your analysis that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was agreed to before Germany invaded Poland and that the pact set forth a protocol dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence between Russia and Germany?
    5. Did not Hitler make clear he intended to conquer much of Europe, evinced by his actions related to the annexation of Austria, the surrendering of the Sudetenland to Germany, and the invasion of Poland, all of which took place prior to any British, French, or American declarations of war?
    6. What gives you confidence that the ceding of the Sudetenland to Germany, as agreed by many in western Europe was a preferred outcome, rather than simply a misbegotten hope that Germany’s expansionistic appetite might be sated?
    7. What gives you confidence that Austria actually desired to be a part of Germany, as opposed to being willing to be annexed so that they didn’t get invaded by a superior force?  What percentage of the population would be required to manifest such a desire to be annexed?
    8. Is it meaningful that Britain and France attempted to “work with” Hitler and mollify him, hoping he would refrain from more aggressive actions within Europe?
    9. Is it meaningful that Europe is a relatively small geographical region such that control by Nazi Germany would have been terribly destabilizing to the region in matters ranging from trade to travel to territorial self-determination.

    It also seems to me that your “losing your religion” may involve replacing one myth (that Churchill was the unalloyed “hero”/”savior”) with another (that Nazi Germany had good reasons to annex Austria, take the Sudetenland, and invade Poland, etc.).  More support for your arguments would be much appreciated.

    • #10
  11. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    #LawyerFight!

    • #11
  12. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    BDB (View Comment):

    #LawyerFight!

    LOL.  Not so much.  Although I’m skeptical of wisdom of the near 180 degree turn that Jerry appears to be taking, I’m in no position to mount much of a fight.  I can tell by the OP that Jerry has much more expertise in this area than I do, and frankly, I just don’t have the time or inclination to get up to speed.  But I am hoping that others with such expertise can help me (and perhaps Jerry) work through the various points and counter points.

    • #12
  13. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    The USA definitely won WWII based on the prosperity of the 50’s.  Maybe we lost the peace, but I don’t trust that Germany would have behaved without our presence.   They have a long history of wanting socialism.  

    • #13
  14. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: So why was Britain — and especially Churchill — so keen to defend Poland?  It drew them into a disastrous war, which resulted in British bankruptcy and the loss of the Empire.  What was the point?  To defend Stalin?  Stalin, by the way, ended up as the major victor of WWII.

    It seems to me that the UK didn’t want Germany to become an even bigger rival to Britain than they already were. I also suspect that having seen how Hitler ignored the agreement re: Czechoslovakia, that the only thing that might keep Hitler from expanding any farther was to agree to go to war if Poland was attacked.

    As for “defending Stalin,” @douglasmyers and I have reminded you of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. As far as Britain was concerned, the Third Reich was, if not an ally of the USSR, at least a supporter of sorts. Of course, that all went out the window when the Soviets took their half of Poland.

    • #14
  15. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: The US entry into the war was odd, though the Germans didn’t help themselves with the absurd Zimmerman Telegram. 

    Again, you leave out that the German Empire resumed unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917. Throw in the Zimmerman affair, and the American entry into the Great War isn’t so odd after all.

    • #15
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Moral equivalency is losing one’s religion indeed.

    Part of a journey you have been on Jerry. I expect you will soon ditch American exceptionalism. 

    Germany and Japan engaged in racist and genocidal actions. America and Britian did not. Anything we did in the war was based on fighting back against them. Alliance with the USSR was a necessity to win. The idea that we were morally equal is rank evilness.

     

    • #16
  17. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj
    1. Part of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.”  Do you even like this?  The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe.  Do you like the EU?  Do you like its policies?  Do you like its culture, its focus on the Rainbow agenda, its undermining  of traditional faith and culture, its crusade against Climate Change, its bureaucratic Leftism?

    That’s the funny thing about freedom.   Most everybody is all for it, right up until other people start freely choosing things you don’t like.   If people are truly free they have to be free to screw up and suffer the consequences.

    • #17
  18. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Recently read Stalin’s War, by Sean McMeekin, who provides another angle on WWII. Quoting from the blurb on the amazon page:

    Drawing on ambitious new research in Soviet, European, and US archives, Stalin’s War revolutionizes our understanding of this global conflict by moving its epicenter to the east. Hitler’s genocidal ambition may have helped unleash Armageddon, but as McMeekin shows, the war which emerged in Europe in September 1939 was the one Stalin wanted, not Hitler. So, too, did the Pacific war of 1941–1945 fulfill Stalin’s goal of unleashing a devastating war of attrition between Japan and the “Anglo-Saxon” capitalist powers he viewed as his ultimate adversary.

    McMeekin also reveals the extent to which Soviet Communism was rescued by the US and Britain’s self-defeating strategic moves, beginning with Lend-Lease aid, as American and British supply boards agreed almost blindly to every Soviet demand. Stalin’s war machine, McMeekin shows, was substantially reliant on American materiél from warplanes, tanks, trucks, jeeps, motorcycles, fuel, ammunition, and explosives, to industrial inputs and technology transfer, to the foodstuffs which fed the Red Army.

    This unreciprocated American generosity gave Stalin’s armies the mobile striking power to conquer most of Eurasia, from Berlin to Beijing, for Communism.

    • #18
  19. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Damn.  I finally skimmed the whole thing.  Sorry, but I have been busy today.

    Jerry, you sound like somebody who has just completed a Freshman course in European History.  Soon, you will be a Democrat if you do not pull back and find some perspective.  Given your propensity to argue every meaningless point as if relevant (professional hazard, I suppose), you may wind up missing the Democrat basket and land in the libertarian swamp.

    • #19
  20. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    1. Part of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.” Do you even like this? The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe. Do you like the EU? Do you like its policies? Do you like its culture, its focus on the Rainbow agenda, its undermining of traditional faith and culture, its crusade against Climate Change, its bureaucratic Leftism?

    That’s the funny thing about freedom. Most everybody is all for it, right up until other people start freely choosing things you don’t like. If people are truly free they have to be free to screw up and suffer the consequences.

    Well, to be fair, Jerry isn’t a huge fan of freedom.

    • #20
  21. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    This is a fascinating post, Jerry. I have not studied the history enough to be fully convinced either way. As a Ricochet post to set off thought and discussion, I think you did an excellent job. Just recognizing that Democrats were in power in America in both wars is enough to make me suspect that our motives might not have been all that pure. The inhumanity of the Nazis against the Jews and the Japanese against the Chinese and others lead me to believe that we were less wrong than the Axis. 

    While looking up the origins of the quote “My country right or wrong”. I found this line by U.S. Senator Carl Schurz :

    “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

    • #21
  22. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…:

    Hitler is often portrayed as a madman. I don’t see any madness in his plan. It was ruthless. He accurately perceived a problem faced by the German nation: inadequate natural resources, especially farmland and oil. He targeted Ukraine and the Caucasus as the regions that could satisfy these requirements. Conveniently, these areas were ruled by the horrid Soviets, so Hitler might have expected relatively little objection from the West.

    Not so, as it turned out, though the British and French were slow to react to Hitler’s initial moves.

    There’s no madness in wanting to secure natural resources for your country. The madness comes in the willingness to murder masses of people and destroy their cities to get them. Not to mention, of course, the determination to exterminate an entire race of people, which I understand wasn’t really in high gear yet when the war started, but if you have a problem with people calling Hitler mad, you have to understand that’s a big part of it.

    And look where it got him. He got millions of his own people killed, their cities turned to rubble, half the country under the thumb of the Soviets, and about the worst stain on a country’s honor I can imagine which will last for generations.

    If your country needs resources, trade for them.

    • #22
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…:

    • art of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.”  Do you even like this?  The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe.

    Western Europe is a relatively small part of the world.  Has the US really been motivated by promoting liberal democracy in the Middle East, South East Asia (eg Indonesia),  North Africa or Latin America?

     

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Germany and Japan engaged in racist and genocidal actions. America and Britian did not

    If you don’t count the British Empire, sure.  That doesn’t mean Empire=Holocaust, but it is not quite the black/white thing it’s often presented as.  Anyway, for your enjoyment.

    • #24
  25. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…:

    • art of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.” Do you even like this? The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe.

    Western Europe is a relatively small part of the world. Has the US really been motivated by promoting liberal democracy in the Middle East, South East Asia (eg Indonesia), North Africa or Latin America?

     

    Each to his own.  I submit the results of those localities via their indigenous methods.  I’m quite happy to pretend a wall exists between us and them.  For all purposes.  

    • #25
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    BDB (View Comment):

    Damn. I finally skimmed the whole thing. Sorry, but I have been busy today.

    Jerry, you sound like somebody who has just completed a Freshman course in European History.

    With the primary text written by Howard Zinn.

     

     

    • #26
  27. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Germany and Japan engaged in racist and genocidal actions. America and Britian did not

    If you don’t count the British Empire, sure. That doesn’t mean Empire=Holocaust, but it is not quite the black/white thing it’s often presented as. Anyway, for your enjoyment.

    America and Britain certainly have their own share of sins.  During the WWII era there was plenty of cultural and state-enforced racism in the U.S. and I imagine the British Empire had its dark side as well, though I’m not as knowledgeable about that.  Still, I doubt anything the U.S. or Britain were engaging in during the 30s/40s came close to matching the scale and horror of what Nazi Germany and the Japanese got up to, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to present the Allies as the “good guys” in WWII and the Axis as the “bad guys” in the big picture of WWII.

    • #27
  28. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Knotwise the Poet (View Comment):
    Still, I doubt anything the U.S. or Britain were engaging in during the 30s/40s came close to matching the scale and horror of the depths of what Nazi Germany and the Japanese got up to

    And what the Soviets got up to. Don’t forget about them.

    • #28
  29. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: Part of the motivation for America’s 20th Century policy seems to be the promotion of “liberal democracy.”  Do you even like this?  The location of the most obvious success of this policy is Western Europe.  Do you like the EU?  Do you like its policies?  Do you like its culture, its focus on the Rainbow agenda, its undermining  of traditional faith and culture, its crusade against Climate Change, its bureaucratic Leftism?

    I like that they have the freedom to decide, whether or not I like where those choices have led.  Authoritarian governments screw things up too.  If a people must suffer for mistakes, at least let it be for the mistakes they themselves enacted through their votes, not for mistakes made by tyrants.

    And I’d much rather live in Britain or France or Sweden than live in Russia or China.

    • #29
  30. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    JoelB (View Comment):

    This is a fascinating post, Jerry. I have not studied the history enough to be fully convinced either way. As a Ricochet post to set off thought and discussion, I think you did an excellent job. Just recognizing that Democrats were in power in America in both wars is enough to make me suspect that our motives might not have been all that pure. The inhumanity of the Nazis against the Jews and the Japanese against the Chinese and others lead me to believe that we were less wrong than the Axis.

    While looking up the origins of the quote “My country right or wrong”. I found this line by U.S. Senator Carl Schurz :

    “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

    Best comment of thread so far and that quote encapsulates my thinking on America to perfection.

    • #30
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