Buchanan and Hitler, again

Over the weekend I wrote to Ruth King of Americans for a Safe Israel:

I turned on CSPAN earlier and saw Hitler-loving Buchanan [or if that’s too strong, then Hitler-liking, Hitler-excusing, Hitler-not-minding Buchanan] attack Churchill as the most damaging Western leader in 20th century. I turned it off.

Here is Buchanan’s description, from p. 269 of A Republic, Not an Empire, of what he says was Hitler’s real (and to Buchanan, non-threatening) plan for the world which a wiser Britain and America would have accepted instead of fighting him:

“… Hitler saw the world divided into four spheres: Great Britain holding its empire; Japan, dominant in East Asia; Germany, master of Europe; and America, mistress of the Western hemisphere.”

In addition to consigning Eurasia to Hitlerism, he forgets that Germany, far from wanting to the British empire to be preserved, planned to conquer Britain, and after it was conquered, they had written plans to export all British men to the continent as slaves, and he also forgets that Hitler planned to exterminate the Slavic peoples (see entry, “What Hitler intended for Britain and Russia,” and the much longer exchange last year, “Buchanan’s double dementia” with Buchanan defender Mencius Moldbug).

Ruth King replies:

Thanks for that info. I think that Buchanan was very smart at one time but his inability to read history correctly has warped him.

I personally think he comes by his anti-Semitism honestly….that is….he gets no money from the Arabs.

LA replies:

That’s very well put: Buchanan “was very smart at one time.”

He was very smart. And it has been precisely his increasing bigotries that have made him stupid.

Tim B. writes (not in response to the above):

I recently came across and read with interest your comments on Pat Buchanan’s book “The Unnecessary War” (from a 2008 thread). I must say I agree with most of what you wrote—especially your description (among others) of Buchanan as “person who is indifferent to the destruction of Europe by Nazi barbarism.”

Because that is in fact what Buchanan most definitely is.

For one is not required to delve into and analyze a whole lot of historical detail, in order to understand that purely from an overarching moral and pro-West perspective, Mr Buchanan’s argument is utterly flawed right from the start.

Because regardless of how one may hate Communism (as I did and still do), the Eastern European countries, after decades of Communist abuse and oppression, still exist.

There is still a Poland, still a Czechoslovakia, still a Russia. Serbs still exist as an intact group, Eastern Europen Jews (in spite of persecution during Soviet times) still exist (and many were great pianists, violinists, and scientists).

The fact is, as difficult as it is for me to admit; if it came down to choosing between the Soviet occupation that transpired in Eastern Europe, or between Hitlerian domination, and there was absolutely no other choice, I would have to choose the former (and then oppose them like heck—as in fact we ended up doing).

The difference between the two comes down to this. The Soviets were invaders, into the business of imperial aggrandizement. They fought wars of conquest. But the Nazi war was different. They were in the business of extermination. With a Nazi victory, there would 50 years hence have been no Europe (as we know it) to liberate. Because Poland (and the Poles) would have disappeared, the Russians would have disappeared, the Jews would have disappeared, as would have had a host of other ancient European peoples (apart from those few deemed just enough “Aryan,” in Himmler’s eyes, for germanization).

How anyone could, on the one hand, portray himself an ardent defender of the West, as Buchanan consistently does, while on the other hand would have looked with casual indifference to the possibility of a Nazi occupied Europe and the attendant extermination of whole European peoples, countries and cultures, is utterly impossible for me to comprehend.

Hitler had to be resisted, and fighting and defeating Hitler was saving Europe and Western Civilization.

Now we are in the fight against an equally dangerous aggressor—militant Islam (perhaps the word “militant” is redundant), and multiculturalism and multiracialism. These vicious ideologies also have our destruction in mind. And they must be resisted with the same vigor as that mustered to resist Hitler, and to defeat Communism.

Thank you for your time Mr Auster. Keep up the good work. I have only recently started reading VFR, but it has fast become daily intellectual sustenance for me.

LA replies:

Thank you.

By the way, in the 2008 exchange, I came upon this comment by me near the end in which I attempt to explain the puzzle that on one hand many of Buchanan’s views are obviously driven by anti-Jewishness, while on the other hand he has never attacked Jews as such.

I wrote:

… I wish this weren’t true. I’ve written a lot against Buchanan on this in the past, and it hasn’t exactly won me friends on the paleo right, and I’d much rather not be attacking once again a fellow immigration restrictionist. But Buchanan’s own obsessions make it impossible to not to conclude that he is driven by a twisted reaction against the Jewish people.

Here’s an attempt to explain it. When I read Buchanan’s first book, Right from the Beginning, back in 1988, I was very disappointed to find that instead of having coherent, thought-out positions, he basically had a lot of emotional likes and dislikes, mostly picked up from his family and his growing up years—his Catholic loyalty, his adolescent affection for “Tail Gunner Joe” McCarthy, and various other things, and that these emotions constituted his conservatism. Everything—even his Catholicism—was expressed in terms of feelings and loyalties, not in terms of truth and principle.

Well, we know that Buchanan’s father was anti-Semitic, and we know that Buchanan followed along with his older brothers when they beat up Jewish kids. Therefore, just as Buchanan imbibed other feelings and values from his family that stayed with him through life, it’s a fair guess that he picked up his father’s and brother’s anti-Semitism, and it has stayed with him through life, and is coming out more and more as he gets older.

My point is that his animosity toward the Jews is not a thought out position. If it were a thought-out position, he would have expressed it, since no person, especially a writer, could go through his whole life never saying something that he strongly believes. Rather, it’s a feeling, a negative attitude toward the Jewish people (not, I believer, toward Jews as individuals), a conviction that the Jews always cause “us” problems,—such as supposedly leading us to oppose Hitler more than was good for us, such as getting us caught up in the problems of Israel, such as making Muslims dislike us since we’re friends with Israel—and the sum result of these feelings is his tendency never to side with the Jewish people, but always to take the side of their enemies.

If what I’ve said is untrue, Buchanan is free to show me where I’m wrong.

September 16

Oliver B. writes:

As a German I want to comment on Buchanan’s claim about Hitler’s plan.

As far as I’m informed Hiter’s plan of foreign policy went thus: He wanted to rearm Germany, win a war of revenge against France and one of “Lebesraum” (living space) and anti-bolshevism against Russia (anti-Bolshevism was in his mind of course just a subcategory of anti-Semitism). Italy and England were planned to be allies or friendly neutrals. Hitler regarded England as a fellow Germanic imperialist power who could keep his maritime empire but should acknowledge the Nazi’s continental one. Your comment about Buchanan’s indifference to European destruction is thus fully right. It should also be pointed out that Buchanan’s proposal for English policy would be totally out of step with its traditional “balance of power” policy. This had lead Britain to heavily oppose both Louis XIV and Napoleon. But I’m surprised by your claim that he “planned to conquer Britain, and after it was conquered, they had written plans to export all British men to the continent as slaves.” Do have any documention for this ?

As for Tim B.’s reply about a supposed Nazi special extermination plans I think a little more differentiation is necessary: The Nazis wanted to destroy Polish culture by murdering the Polish elite, but that doesn’t apply to the people for which they wanted to try other “methods.” Thus there’s no clear proof that Nazi domination would necessarily have exterminated the Poles. In fact Hitler seems to have chosen to murder the elite only because they didn’t collaborate with Hitler in early ‘39 by accepting a war alliance against Russia. Some Slavs (Slovaks, Bulgarians) did that and there seems to have been no extermination plan against them. Second the Soviets were exterminators too: the exterminated the whole Russian aristocracy, and probably a measurable part of the middle classes. Thus I am not convinced that two evil regimes were qualitatively that much apart.

LA replies:

“Do have any documention for this?”

See the linked VFR entry where I reference the page number in Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” I quote the German document that Shirer quotes:

“On September 9, 1940, as the Battle of Britain raged, the Commander in Chief of the German Army, Field Marshall Brauchitsch, signed a directive providing that “the able-bodied male population between the ages of seventeen and forty-five [in Britain] will, unless the local situation calls for an exceptional ruling, be interned and dispatched to the Continent.”

Oliver B. replies:

I see. That was new for me. But I don’t see how this speaks against Buchanan’s (and my) claim that Hitler’s (original) plan was not to attack England nor the colonies. The Shirer quote only says what the Nazis wanted to do with England after England had not only become an enemy but a “stubborn” one as well. It should be reminded that it was Chamberlain that declared war between Germany and Britain not Hitler. It seems that Hitler thought England would not do that.

Chamberlain definitely did the right thing not to leave the continent to Hitler. My claim is only that Hitler had originally no designs on the British.

LA replies:

What can I say to you? Any way it happened, Britain would be the vassal of Nazi Europe, through outright conquest, or Finlandization, or whatever.

We have had numerous discussions on this in the past, and the attempt to portray Hitler as a reasonable, rational actor whose actions could have been moderated by “correct” actions on the part of other parties is a fantasy that won’t go away. This mentality keeps itself going by looking at little pieces of the picture, not the whole picture. Thus “Hitler had no designs on Britain, if Britain had not declared war on Germany, Hitler would have leflt Britain alone.” This is “little pieces” type of thinking. The reality is that once Hitler had subdued all of Europe and then Russia, Britain would have been helpless against him and he could—and would—have done to her what he wanted. The key thing that so many people miss is that Hitler was not a rational actor, he was a daimonic force that would have stopped nowhere.

And it’s the same with Islam. People—i.e. liberals of various stripes—cannot grasp that there may be an evil or enemy that cannot be placated. In relation to Hitler and Islam, Buchanan is a liberal. He once wrote, using a famously discredited phrase from the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam war era, that we have to “win the hearts and minds” of Muslims. That’s a classical liberal notion. And in the same way, Buchanan thinks that it woud have been possible to win the heart and mind of Hitler.

When there’s a thing that people don’t want to oppose, they will go to no end of rationalizations to persuade themselves that the thing is not really that bad.

Tim B. writes:

“I was very disappointed to find that instead of having coherent, thought-out positions, he basically had a lot of emotional likes and dislikes, mostly picked up from his family”

You are again, completely right. There is however nothing wrong with the emotion and the sentiment, because in the final analysis, that is what we are fighting for—deep love and sentiment for European civilization and the people who created it. However, historical, political, and social analysis has to be supported by reasoned argument. Mr Buchanan’s heart may be in the right place (and that is a big “may”), but his WWII thesis should be to history, what the “flat earth” is to science and geography.

The facts are so well documented, so thoroughly well laid out, in respect of Hitler’s exterminationist aims, as well as his implementation of these same aims, that questioning them in the way Buchanan has done, surely leads one to question his real motives, unconscious or otherwise.

Hitler wrote openly of his intentions towards the Jews, of lebensraum, of his attitudes towards Slavs. The Holocaust, and what happened to untold millions of other European victims, are among the most well documented events in all of human history. That Buchanan can come up with something like: “…HItler saw the world divided into four spheres: Great Britain holding its empire; Japan, dominant in East Asia; Germany, master of Europe; and America, mistress of the Western hemispher,” implying that such a scenario should have been perfectly acceptable to England and America, is, frankly speaking, completely idiotic.

We know full well the major headaches and problems caused by even tin-pot dictators of what should be inconsequential countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Saddam’s Iraq, and yet Buchanan would have been happy to have all of continental Europe under a lunatic like Hitler and all of Asia under the rule of the Japanese warlords, basically the majority of the world’s population under the rule of people every bit as evil as Saddam and Kim Jong Il?

Such thinking is completely off the planet and hardly deserves a response. Mr Buchanan has become a crackpot, and it is a terrible shame that the “Unnecessary War” has received such serious consideration and praise. It is not serious history, and should be laughed right out of court.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 15, 2009 01:27 PM | Send

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