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September 02, 2009

Pat Buchanan: Hitler Apologist (Mætenloch)

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the German/Soviet invasion of Poland which began WWII. So of course Pat Buchanan pens an column explaining that this wasn't really Hitler's fault since he didn't really want war.

The German-Polish war had come out of a quarrel over a town the size of Ocean City, Md., in summer. Danzig, 95 percent German, had been severed from Germany at Versailles in violation of Woodrow Wilson's principle of self-determination. Even British leaders thought Danzig should be returned.

Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britain and her empire would come to Poland's rescue.

But why would Britain hand an unsolicited war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, giving them the power to drag Britain into a second war with the most powerful nation in Europe?

Was Danzig worth a war? Unlike the 7 million Hong Kongese whom the British surrendered to Beijing, who didn't want to go, the Danzigers were clamoring to return to Germany.

Comes the response: The war guarantee was not about Danzig, or even about Poland. It was about the moral and strategic imperative "to stop Hitler" after he showed, by tearing up the Munich pact and Czechoslovakia with it, that he was out to conquer the world. And this Nazi beast could not be allowed to do that.

If true, a fair point. Americans, after all, were prepared to use atom bombs to keep the Red Army from the Channel. But where is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet's, or Fidel Castro's, was out to conquer the world?

Note how Buchanan paints Hitler as some kind of justified, inexorable force that was somehow forced into invading Poland. Look: if Hitler didn't want war, he could simply have refrained from signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, plotting with the Soviet Union to divide Poland, amassing German forces on the Polish border, creating fake border incidents, and actually, you know, invading Poland.

But he did all of these things which makes it pretty clear that even if he didn't exactly desire a war with the west, he was certainly prepared to risk it. He miscalculated, war ensued and yet this is all the allies fault. Somehow only the west has free will; everyone else is an automaton driven by geo-political forces.

When Buckley called Buchanan an anti-Semite back in the 90's, I was initially skeptical, but after reading and seeing what he's written over the years, I've come to basically the same conclusion. Pat Buchanan is what I call a functional anti-Semite: all of his statements and beliefs are indistinguishable from what you'd expect of an avowed anti-Semite who self-censors any references to actual Jews. Maybe he is and maybe he isn't but in any case I'm done with Buchanan.

Thanks to DoublePlusUndead for spotting this.


Update: Usually Buchanan has been careful to hide his Hitler-love, but in the past he's been willing to let it hang out.

Here's a quote from his 1977 review of John Toland's biography of Hitler:

"Those of us in childhood during the war years were introduced to Hitler only as caricature. Either he was a ranting, raving, carpet-chewing Chaplinesque buffoon -- or the anti-Christ, Satan Incarnate, a devil without human attribute who had hypnotized the German people.

Such ignorance is folly. Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him.

But Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."

And the masks slips in this Buchanan column from April of this year where he defended the concentration camp guard Demjanjuk:

"If Friday's ruling is upheld, John Demjanjuk, who has been charged with no crime on German soil, is to be taken to Germany, home of the Third Reich, to be tried by Germans for his alleged role in a genocide planned and perpetrated by Germans. He is to serve as the sacrificial lamb whose blood washes away the stain of Germany's sins.

....

The spirit behind this un-American persecution has never been that of justice tempered by mercy. It is the same satanic brew of hate and revenge that drove another innocent Man up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago."

Nope. No anti-Semitism here.

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posted by xgenghisx at 06:43 PM

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