For quite some time–perhaps his whole career–Patrick Buchanan has been saying that World War II, despite its reputation as a Just war, was not the “Good War” it is made out to be, and, more controversially, that it was the result primarily of Britain’s blunders. He summed his case in his book Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War“.
Of particular interest to Buchanan is Churchill, who he thinks is vastly overrated as a statesman and as a man. To hear Buchanan tell it, Churchill’s mistakes helped to cause World War II. Even in his latest column, he makes sure to take a jab at Churchill.
I’m really of two minds about Buchanan; on the one hand, he is a total economic isolationist. I think this is a huge mistake. He tends to be too puritanical in his views on culture. He also supports the flying of the Confederate Flag, and, most bizarrely, supports the farcical “War on Drugs”. (The only American war he does support, it seems.)
And frankly, I’m not at all convinced that his ideas about war in general, and World War II in particular, are actually correct. The Nazis seem to have imagined themselves to be inherently superior to all other people. With an attitude like that, surely they were bound to attack America eventually, no matter what.
And yet, for all that, I can’t help but applaud the man for even examining this question. So many people who claim to oppose war in principle are willing to admit that World War II was worth fighting because, in that case–and seemingly just that one remarkable case, never to be again–the enemy was so indescribably evil that it must be defeated at once. (That they were evil is certain; that there have subsequently never been others as evil is not.) Buchanan is no pacifist, but he recognizes that if he’s going to make anything like a sound case against “going abroad in search of monsters to destroy“, he has to address the prevailing understanding that the only thing the Allies did wrong was not destroy Hitler and Nazi Germany sooner.