Friday, August 05, 2005

MORE ON REVIISIONISM

What Brandon, Jeff, and Kyle might have added is that so much of the historical revision surrounding World War II seems to be coming from the shrinking number of people who support the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq. Ovioulsy, not every pro-war hawk is a Holocuast denier, but there was a VERY popular email which made the rounds about two years ago which claimed that Germany had not attacked the United States prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This of course is factually untrue. As for revisionism in general, some of the worst examples that we have encoutered are as follows:

1. Franklin Roosevelt knew exactly when and where the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor. This is just as insane as the idea that George W. Bush planned 911, Both ideas may appeal to paranoiacs and conspiracy freaks on the far left and right, but the ideas themselves are so insane that no one in their right mind would take them seriously.

2. We shouldn't have accepted Stalin as an ally. This is a unique twist on the idea that we should have extended World War II by morphing the successful war against fascism into a military conflict with the Soviet Union, either with or without nuclear weapons, depending on which revisionist you are talking too.

3. The Holocaust never happened. Yeah. The right winger who came up with this pile of dung clearly forgot to take his daily doses of lithium.

4. Germany posed no real threat to the the United States. In this loopy pipe dream, England and the Soviet Union could have handled Germany while the United States handled Japan, the Pacific, and Asia. This of course is dovetails into...

5. Germany had not attacked the United States when Franklin Roosevelt declared war in December 1941. There's just one problem with this one. IT IS FACTUALLY INACCURATE. There was an undeclared war between Germany and the United States BEFORE December 7, 1941. In September 1941, a German U-Boat fired two torpedoes at the American destroyer GREER, which had been tracking said U boat for several hours. In October, 1941, German U-boats fired on and badly damaged the American destroyer KEARNY, killing eleven Navy men. The worst incident involved the sinking of the American destroyer REUBEN JAMES with a loss of one hundred-some men. Of course, you might argue that the United States had been aiding Britain's war effort against Germany through the Lend Lease Act, but that doesn't change the fact that the first shots had been fired by Germany. Ironically, Point Five has been made repeatedly by pro war hawks who insist that Hitler is a proper analogy for Saddam Hussein. The reasoning (or rather lack thereof) being that we went to war against Hitler when Hitler had not attacked the United States (not true), therefore we somehow had a moral right to attack Iraq, even though Iraq had not attacked us first.

Until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, no one had done a thing to stop Nazi aggression. But if the British and French had shown just a little courage in 1936, when the Germans marched into the Rhineland, Germany (at the time) would have been no match for the military superiority of England and France. Hitler would have been removed from power--either by the victors or by his own people and/or generals, and the Second World War would not have happened. Germany would have been contained.

In sharp contrast, Iraq had already been contained. Saddam had been defeated in Desert Storm after his foolish invasion of Kuwait. he had been subjected to no fly zones, sanctions, inspections, and occasional bombing. The Hitler analogy in so far as containment is concerned, is not a valid one.

But you can't blame the revisionist right for trying. They may not know their history, but you have to give them credit. They don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

2 comments:

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Responses:

1) I can't see how anyone with half a brain actually believes that crap. FDR lost a huge chunk of his Pacific fleet with all the logistical and force-projection ramifications that had, and people actually think he was willing to lose that much to get into the war, while significantly damaging his ability to wage it? As in the 9/11/01 horror, while there may have been hints that SOMETHING was going to happen, it was not in an actionable form.

2) As much as it pains me to admit it, we needed a large ally who hated Hitler as much as we did, and "Uncle Iosef" was the only one available who fit the bill. The question of whether or not we should have tried to finish him off afterwards is a completely separate issue.

3) It just pisses me off to know that people actually believe that. Witness testimony, photographic evidence, and even thorough records kept by the Nazis attest to the fact that it happened.

4) Someone has already mentioned that, by the time we got involved, the entire Mediterranean had been turned into an Axis-controlled lake.

5) Yes, Chamberlain screwed up as did his Vichy counterpart (I know, factually inaccurate but true enough as judged by the end results), and millions of innocents and as many or more soldiers paid the price.

Saddam was contained, but still a viable threat. He had ignored over a dozen UN resolutions as well as the conditions of his surrender. He had already shown a disregard for the no-fly zones, and the same was doubly true of his treatment of his own people. His sons Uday and Qusay made him look like a docile kitten, and they were to be the heirs to the throne. We've seen what happens when the crazed sons of monsters gain power. Did you really want to see a Kim Jong-Il equivalent heading a nation with the size and wealth of Iraq?

Brandon said...

But, they do. i especially appreciated your point in number one. Few people realize just what a desperate fix the United States had been in after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As I suggested on a previous post, the outcome of World War II was hardly a given. We were lucky. Very lucky. We'll just have to agree to disagree about Iraq. Personally speaking, I find ALL the different outcomes for that to be disquieting. But that's another topic for another time and place.