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Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, is a paleoconservative history book by Pat Buchanan, published in May 2008. In it, Buchanan argues that both world wars were unnecessary, and that Britain's decision to fight in them was disastrous for the world. One of Buchanan's express purposes is to undermine what he describes as a "Churchill cult" amongst America's elite, and therefore he focuses particularly on the role of Sir Winston Churchill in involving Britain in wars with Germany in 1914 and again in 1939.
Citing such historians as George F. Kennan, Andreas Hillgruber, Simon K. Newman, Niall Ferguson, Charles Tansill, Paul W. Schroeder, Alan Clark, Michael Stürmer, Norman Davies, John Lukacs, Frederick P. Veagle, Correlli Barnett, John Charmley, William Henry Chamberlin, David P. Calleo, Maurice Cowling, A. J. P. Taylor, and Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Buchanan argues that it was a great mistake on the part of Britain to fight Germany in both world wars. In Buchanan's opinion, the results of British involvement in both world wars were a disaster for Britain, Europe and the world.
Buchanan accuses Churchill, at that time First Lord of the Admiralty, of having a "lust for war" in 1914. Buchanan follows the conclusions of the American diplomat George F. Kennan in his 1984 book The Fateful Alliance that the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894 was an act of Franco-Russian "encirclement" of Germany, and that German foreign policy after 1894 was defensive rather than aggressive. Buchanan described Germany during the Second Reich as a "satiated power" seeking only peace and prosperity threatened by a revanchist France obsessed with regaining the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and calls Imperial Russia a highly "imperialist" power carrying out an aggressive policy in Eastern Europe that menaced Germany.
Buchanan argues that Britain had no quarrel with Germany before 1914, however the great build-up of the Imperial German Navy spearheaded by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz was a "threat to Britain", which forced the British to bring back to European waters the bulk of her navy and to make alliances with Russia and France. He asserts that this was a disastrous policy of the Germans which "tied England to Europe" and which therefore created the conditions which led the British to involvement in World War I. On the other hand, Buchanan asserts that the greatest responsibility for the breakdown in Anglo-German relations was the "Germanophobia" and zeal for the Entente with France of the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. In assessing responsibility for the course of events, Buchanan asserts that the British could have easily ended the Anglo-German naval race in 1912 by promising to remain neutral in the event of war between Germany and France. Buchanan writes that "Prussian militarism" was an anti-German Black Legend invented by British statesmen, and that the record of Imperial Germany supports the judgement that it was least militaristic of the European Powers. He writes that in the century between Waterloo (1815) and World War I (1914) Britain had fought ten wars and Germany three. Buchanan writes in defense of Kaiser Wilhelm II that he had not fought a war in his 25 year reign, and compares that unfavorably with Churchill's service in three wars prior to 1914 "Churchill had himself seen more war than almost any soldier in the German army."
Buchanan claims that the Kaiser Wilhem was desperate to avoid a war in 1914, and accepts the German claim that it was Russian mobilization of July 31, 1914 that forced war on Germany. Buchanan accuses Churchill and Grey of illegally committing Britain to war in 1914 by making promises that Britain would defend France without the knowledge of either Cabinet or Parliament. Buchanan argues that United States should never have fought in World War I, and that the American people were "deceived and dragged" into war in 1917, and says that "Americans blamed the 'Merchants of Death' – the war profiteers – and the British propagandists" who created the myth of the Rape of Belgium. Buchanan called the British "hunger blockade" of Germany in World War I "criminal", and accepted the contention of the British economist John Maynard Keynes in his 1919 book The Economic Consequences of the Peace that the reparations imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles were "impossible" to pay.
Buchanan argues that World War II could have been avoided if the Treaty of Versailles had not in his view been so harsh towards Germany. Buchanan views the Versailles treaty as monstrously unjust towards Germany, and argues that German efforts to revise Versailles were both moral and just. Buchanan calls those historians who blame Germany for the two world wars "court historians", who Buchanan argues have created a myth of sole German guilt for the world wars. By contrast to his opposition to Versailles, Buchanan wrote that by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Germany had merely applied to that "prison house of nations", the Russian Empire, the principle of self-determination, releasing from Russian rule Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasus (largely modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Buchanan says that the Hungarians, who lost two thirds of their country by the Treaty of Trianon, considered it a "national crucifixion"  and were embittered towards the Allies by it. Buchanan takes the view that Czechoslovakia should never had been created, describing it as "a living contradiction of the principle" of self-determination, with the Czechs ruling "Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, Poles, and Ruthenians" in a "multi-ethnic, multilingual, multicultural, Catholic-Protestant conglomeration that had never before existed." Buchanan accuses the Czech leaders Beneš and Masaryk of deceiving the Allies, particularly President Wilson, regarding the ethnic make-up of the regions which became Czechoslovakia. "Asked why he had consigned three million Germans to Czech rule, Wilson blurted, 'Why, Masaryk never told me that!'"
As a result of their humiliation at Versailles, argues Buchanan, the German people became more nationalistic and ultimately were willing to put their confidence in Adolf Hitler. Buchanan writes that there was a "Great Civil War of the West" which comprised both world wars and which Buchanan contends that Britain should have stayed neutral in rather than upholding an unfair Treaty of Versailles. Buchanan damns successive British and French leaders for not offering to revise Versailles in Germany's favor in the 1920s while the Weimar Republic was still in existence, which Buchanan argues influenced the German people to turn to Adolf Hitler.
Buchanan contends, citing historians Richard Lamb and Alan Bullock, that the attempt on the part of the German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning to found an Austro-German customs union in March 1931 was a project which could have prevented Hitler from coming to power. Buchanan criticises the Allies for opposing the Austro-German customs union, and quotes Bullock regarding their veto as not only helping "to precipitate the failure of the Austrian Kreditanstalt and the German financial crisis of the summer but forced the German Foreign Office to announce on September 3 that the project would be abandoned. The result was to inflict a sharp humiliation on the Bruning government and to inflame national resentment in Germany." In this way, Buchanan argues that Britain, France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia indirectly assisted Hitler's rise to power in 1933.
In Buchanan's view, Weimar-era German leaders like Gustav Stresemann, Heinrich Brüning, and Friedrich Ebert were all responsible German statesmen working to revise Versailles in a manner that would not threaten the peace of Europe, and were undermined by the inability and unwillingness of Britain and France to co-operate. Buchanan follows the distinction made by the German historian Andreas Hillgruber between a Weimar foreign policy which sought to restore Germany to its pre-1918 position and wished for some territorial expansionism in Eastern Europe, and a Nazi foreign policy for which the achievement of Weimar-era foreign policy was only the first step towards a larger programme of seeking Lebensraum via war and genocide in Eastern Europe. Since Buchanan argues that was no moral difference between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, he maintains that Britain should have just allowed the German Nazis and the Soviet Communists to fight it out and destroy each other and await the course of events, whilst rapidly re-arming so as to be in a position to fight if necessary. Buchanan argues that the "guarantee" of Poland in 1939 was impossible to fulfill and only made the war inevitable. Buchanan calls Hitler's foreign policy programme more moderate than the war aims sought by the German Chancellor Dr. Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg in the Septemberprogramm in World War I because Buchanan contends that Hitler was only interested in expansionism in Eastern Europe and did not seek territory in Western Europe and Africa. Moreover, Buchanan argues that once Hitler came to power in 1933, his foreign policy was not governed strictly by Nazi ideology, but rather was modified ad hoc by pragmatism.
Buchanan writes that Benito Mussolini was committed to the Stresa Front of 1935, and it was an act of folly on the part of Britain to vote for League of Nations sanctions on Italy for invading Ethiopia, as it drove Fascist Italy into an alliance with Nazi Germany In Buchanan's view, the British were highly hypocritical in seeking sanctions against Italy for the Italo-Ethiopian war as he argues there was no moral difference between Italian imperialism against Ethiopia in 1935, and British imperialism against other African nations in the 19th century. Buchanan draws unfavorable comparisons between the ready acceptance by France's Pierre Laval of Italy's right to conquer Ethiopia as the price of maintaining the Stresa Front, and what Buchanan calls the sanctimonious attitude of the British who voted for sanctions in defense of what Churchill, quoted by Buchanan, described as "a wild land of tyranny, slavery, and tribal war." Buchanan also quotes Churchill as arguing that "No one can keep up the pretence that Abyssinia is a fit, worthy, and equal member of the league of civilised nations." At the same time in early 1936, when the crisis over Ethiopia had pushed Britain and Italy to the brink of war, there occurred the Remilitarization of the Rhineland.
Buchanan points out that Hitler regarded the Franco-Soviet Pact as an aggressive move directed at Germany and that it violated the Locarno Treaties, and he adds that Hitler had a strong case. Hitler employed this claimed violation of Locarno as a diplomatic weapon against which the French and the British had no answer, Buchanan argues.
Buchanan argues that Hitler's public demands on Poland in 1938-39, namely the return of the Free City of Danzig (modern Gdańsk) to the Reich, "extra-territorial" roads across the Polish Corridor, and Poland's adhesion to the Anti-Comintern Pact were a genuine attempt to build an anti-Soviet German-Polish alliance, especially since Buchanan argues that Germany and Poland shared a common enemy in the form of the Soviet Union. Buchanan contends that Hitler wanted Poland as an ally against the Soviet Union, and not an enemy. Citing the book March 1939 by the British historian Simon K. Newman, and Andrew Roberts, in his "The Holy Fox: The Life of Lord Halifax", Buchanan argues that the British "guarantee" of Polish independence in March 1939 was a deliberate ploy on the part of Foreign Minister Lord Halifax to cause a war with Germany in 1939. Buchanan calls Chamberlain's "guarantee" of Poland "rash" and the "fatal blunder" which caused the end of the British Empire. Buchanan argues that Halifax and Chamberlain had different motives for the guarantee. Without deciding between the various theories regarding Chamberlain's motivation, Buchanan recites several, including those of Liddell Hart, Simon Newman, and Andrew Roberts.
Buchanan favourably cites the remark of British historian E. H. Carr in April 1939 about the Polish "guarantee" that: "The use or threatened use of force to maintain the status quo may be morally more culpable than the use or threatened use of force to alter it". Buchanan maintains that Hitler did not want a war with Britain, and it was wrong on the part of Britain to declare war in 1939 on an Anglophile Hitler who only wanted to ally the Reich with Britain against their common enemy the Soviet Union.
Buchanan accepts the picture drawn by the British historian A. J. P. Taylor in his 1961 book The Origins of the Second World War of the Polish Foreign Minister Colonel Józef Beck as a frivolous and irresponsible man incapable of understanding the magnitude of the crisis facing his country in 1939. Buchanan argues that rather than offering the "guarantee" of Poland that Britain could not fulfill, Chamberlain should have accepted it was impossible to save any Eastern European country from German aggression and instead set about re-arming Britain in order to be prepared for any future war with Germany, should it be necessary. Instead, Buchanan claims that the acceptance of Eastern Europe as Germany's sphere of influence as a quid pro quo for Germany staying out of Western Europe was a better alternative to World War II.
Buchanan argues that it was a great blunder on the part of Chamberlain to declare war on Germany in 1939, and even greater blunder on the part of Churchill to refuse Hitler's peace offer of 1940, thus making World War II in Buchanan's opinion the "unnecessary war" of the title. The title of course was borrowed from Churchill, who stated in his memoirs, "One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once, "The Unnecessary War." There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle." Buchanan writes, "For that war one man bears full moral responsibility: Hitler." He adds, "But this was not only Hitler's war. It was Chamberlain's war and Churchill's war..." In Buchanan's view, the "final offer" made by the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to the British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson on the night of August 30, 1939 was not a ploy as many historians argued, but instead a genuine German offer to avoid World War II. Likewise, Buchanan argues citing F.H. Hinsley, John Lukacs, and Alan Clark, Hitler's peace offers to Britain in the summer of 1940 were real, and Churchill was wrong to refuse them. Buchanan writes that the Morgenthau Plan of 1944 was a genocidal plan for the destruction of Germany promoted by the vengeful Henry Morgenthau and his deputy the Soviet agent Harry Dexter White as a way of ensuring Soviet domination of Europe, and that Churchill was amoral for accepting it.
As part of his assault on Churchill's reputation, Buchanan claims a moral equivalence between Churchill and Hitler. Buchanan suggests that there is no moral difference between Churchill's support for the compulsory sterilisation and segregation of the mentally unfit before 1914, and the Nazi Action T4 program. Likewise, Buchanan argues that the views that Churchill expressed about Judo-Bolshevism in his 1920 article "Zionism and Bolshevism" seem not markedly different from Hitler's views about "Judo-Bolshevism" in Mein Kampf. Buchanan attacks Churchill as the man who brought in the Ten Year Rule in 1919, in which British defence spending was based on the assumption that there would be no major war for the next ten years, making Churchill the man who disarmed Britain in the 1920s. Buchanan attacks Churchill as a deeply inept military leader who caused successive military debacles such as the Siege of Antwerp in 1914, the Dardanelles campaign, the Norwegian Campaign of 1940, the fall of Singapore, and the Dieppe Raid of 1942.
Buchanan claims that Hitler's ambitions were confined only to Eastern Europe, and citing such historians as Ian Kershaw, Andreas Hillgruber and Richard J. Evans, states that Hitler wanted an anti-Soviet alliance with Britain. Buchanan maintains that British leaders of the 1930s were influenced by "Germanophobia", leading them to suspect that Germany was out to conquer the world. Citing John Lukacs, Buchanan maintains that Operation Barbarossa was not part of any long-range master plan on the part of Hitler, but was instead an attempt by Hitler to force Britain to make peace by eliminating Britain's last hope of victory – bringing the Soviet Union into the war on the Allied side. Buchanan argues that the Holocaust only developed the scale it did because Hitler's invasion of Poland and then Russia meant that he had within his control most European Jews, which would not have been the case otherwise. Buchanan argues that if Churchill had accepted Hitler's peace offer of 1940, the severity of the Holocaust would have been immensely less.
With respect to the debate about German foreign policy, Buchanan refutes Globalist historians, such as Gerhard Weinberg, who argue that Germany wanted to conquer the entire world, and instead contends that Nazi Germany was not a danger to the United States at any point, nor to Britain after Germany lost the Battle of Britain. Buchanan points out that the "master plan to conquer South and Central America" which Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly endorsed, was actually produced by British intelligence and that German archival sources reveal no evidence for this supposed plan.
Buchanan called the British "area bombing" of German cities in World War II a policy of "barbarism" and quotes Churchill stating that its purpose was literally to terrorize the civilian population of Germany. In particular, Buchanan argues that the bombing of Dresden in 1945 was barbaric, a crime which he states that Churchill personally ordered, quoting Churchill himself and Air Marshall Arthur "Bomber" Harris as evidence. Buchanan wrote that Churchill was responsible in large part for "Western man's reversion to barbarism" in World War II, and expressed regret that generals of the American Army Air Force like Curtis LeMay in bombing Japan followed the example set by British Air Marshal Arthur "Bomber" Harris in using "terror bombing" as a method of war against Germany. He quotes LeMay, "We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9–10 than went up in the vapour of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined." Buchanan's conclusion: "We and the British fought for moral ends. We did not always use moral means by any Christian definition."
Endorsing the concept of Western betrayal, Buchanan accuses Churchill and Roosevelt of turning over Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union at the Tehran and Yalta conferences. Citing the Cuban-American lawyer Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Buchanan calls expulsion of the Germans from Eastern Europe, in which 2 million died, a crime against humanity "of historic dimensions", and contrasts the British prosecution of German leaders at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity whilst Churchill and other British leaders were approving of the expulsion of the ethnic German population from Eastern Europe.
Buchanan also writes that the United States should have remained non-interventionist with respect to the events of World War II. However, because the United States insisted the United Kingdom sever its alliance with Japan in 1921, this had the ultimate effect of leading to Japan to align itself with the Axis. Ultimately this led to the Japanese alliance with Germany and its attack on Pearl Harbor. Buchanan blames Churchill for insisting that the British Cabinet in 1921 give in to American pressure to end the alliance with Japan.
Buchanan concludes that if World War II had not taken place, the British Empire would have continued through the twentieth century. Buchanan favorably cites the 1993 assessment of Alan Clark that World War II "went on far too long, and when Britain emerged the country was bust. Nothing remained of assets overseas. Without immense and punitive borrowings from the US we would have starved. The old social order had gone forever. The empire was terminally damaged. The Commonwealth countries had seen their trust betrayed and their soldiers wasted." Likewise, Buchanan blames British statesmen for bringing Britain into the war against Germany, which not only caused the economic ruin of Britain but also brought Eastern Europe into the Soviet sphere of influence and brought Communism to power in China in 1949, all of which would have been avoided if only Britain had not "guaranteed" Poland in 1939.
Buchanan claims that for the most part American leaders in the Cold War followed the wise advice of George F. Kennan, who understood a strong Germany was needed as an American ally to keep the Soviet Union (Russia) out of Central Europe, and who did not rush into unnecessary wars with the Soviet Union, instead waiting patiently for the Soviet Union to fall apart of its own accord. Buchanan ends his book with an attack on George W. Bush, and argues that just as Churchill led the British Empire to ruin by causing unnecessary wars with Germany twice, so too will Bush lead the United States to ruin by following Churchill's example in involving the United States in an unnecessary war in Iraq, and passing out guarantees to scores of nations in which the United States has no vital interests, placing the United States in a position in which her resources are insufficient to fulfil her promises. Buchanan expresses the view that just as Chamberlain's "guarantee" of Poland in March 1939 caused an "unnecessary war" with Germany later that year, that the United States's current guarantees of Eastern European nations are equally unwise, given that they require a declaration of war with Russia if a hostile regime were to ascend to power in that country and attack any of those countries. This despite the fact that the United States has no vital interests in Eastern Europe. Finally, Buchanan highlights the symbolism of George W. Bush placing a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office as evidence that Bush's neoconservative foreign policy was influenced and inspired by Churchill.
The book has received mixed reviews. Canadian journalist Eric Margolis in the Toronto Sun endorsed Buchanan's study as a "powerful new book". Margolis wrote that neither Britain nor the United States should have fought in World War II, and that it was simply wrong and stupid that millions of people should have to die to stop the 90% ethnically German Free City of Danzig from rejoining Germany. Margolis accepts Buchanan's conclusion that the British "guarantee" of Poland in March 1939 was the greatest geopolitical blunder of the 20th century. Margolis wrote:
...Pat Buchanan challenges many historic taboos by claiming that Winston Churchill plunged Britain and its empire, including Canada, into wars whose outcome was disastrous for all concerned… Churchill made the fatal error in World War II of backing Poland's hold on Danzig even though Britain could do nothing to defend Poland, Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia from Hitler's attempts to reunite million of Germans stranded in these new nations by the dreadful Versailles Treaty. Britain's declaration of war on Germany over Poland led to a general European war. After suffering 5.6 million dead, Poland ended up occupied by the Soviet Union…Buchanan's heretical view, and mine, is that the Western democracies should have let Hitler expand his Reich eastward until it inevitably went to war with the even more dangerous Soviet Union. Once these despotisms had exhausted themselves, the Western democracies would have been left dominating Europe. The lives of millions of Western civilians and soldiers would have been spared."
American writer Anthony Gregory in a review on LewRockwell.com praised Buchanan's book as proving World War II was not a "good war"". American journalist John Zmirak in a review in Taki's Magazine largely endorsed Buchanan's thesis, accusing Churchill of hypocrisy in spurning the alliance offers of Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom Zmirak calls "harmless" and instead accepting an alliance with Czar Nicholas II, whom Zmirak accuses of promoting the pogroms of Imperial Russia. Likewise, Zmirak, accepts Buchanan's contention that Churchill was largely responsible for what Zmirak calls a harsh and punitive Treaty of Versailles. However, Zmirak disagrees with Buchanan's claim that the United States should have stayed neutral in World War II, and accepts the thesis of John Lukacs's that a war that ended with half of Europe being dominated by Stalin was preferable to a war ending with all of Europe being dominated by Hitler.
Jonathan S. Tobin in The Jerusalem Post gave Buchanan's book a negative review and suggested the author is anti-semitic and representative of a "malevolent" form of appeasement. American writer Adam Kirsch in The New York Sun attacked Buchanan for using no primary sources, then saying there was a conspiracy by historians to hide the truth about the two world wars. Kirsch acidly remarked if that was the case, why was Buchanan only using secondary sources to support his arguments? Kirsch furthermore accused Buchanan of hypocrisy for denouncing Churchill as a racist who was opposed to non-white immigration to Britain while at the same time he demanded white only immigration to the United States. Kirsh wrote that Buchanan's apocalyptic language about the West in decline owed more to Oswald Spengler than to American conservatives. Kirsch argued that Buchanan's heavy reliance on Correlli Barnett's 1972 book The Collapse of British Power as a source reflects the fact that both Buchanan and Barnett are two embittered conservatives unhappy with the way history worked out, and instead prefer to talk about how much nicer history would have been if Britain had not fought in the two world wars, or the United States and Britain in Iraq. American classicist Victor Davis Hanson criticized Buchanan for what he sees as a pro-German bias, and instead contends that the Treaty of Versailles was too lenient rather than too harsh towards Germany. In his blog, Hanson called Buchanan a "pseudo-historian". In another entry on his blog responding to criticism from Buchanan's admirers, Hanson stated that he loathed communism, but argued that given the strength of the Wehrmacht, Churchill and Roosevelt had no choice but to ally themselves with Stalin. In the summer of 2008, Hanson appeared together with Christopher Hitchens in a video series called Uncommon Knowledge when they argued at length against Buchanan's thesis.
In a hostile review, the American journalist David Bahnsen called Buchanan's book an "anti-semitic piece of garbage". Bahnsen accused Buchanan of being unique in that he posited the Holocaust as an understandable, if excessive response to the British "guarantee" of Poland in 1939. British journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft in a review in The New York Review of Books complained that Buchanan had grossly exaggerated the harshness of Versailles, noting that the majority view of historians is that Germany did indeed start World War I, and that Buchanan's criticism of the British "area bombing" of cities as a method of war pays no attention to how limited Britain's options seemed to Churchill in 1940. Wheatcroft wrote that Buchanan cited right-wing British historians like Alan Clark, Maurice Cowling and John Charmley when they stated that Britain should never have fought Germany or alternatively should have made peace in 1940, but ignored the wider point that Clark, Cowling and Charmley were making: that they viewed the United States rather than Germany as the British Empire's main rival.
Hungarian-American historian John Lukacs in a review in The American Conservative compared Buchanan to David Irving, and argued that the only difference between the two was that Irving uses lies to support his arguments while Buchanan uses half-truths. Lukacs commented that Buchanan only cites the left-wing British historian A. J. P. Taylor when it suits him, and that when Taylor's conclusions are at variance with Buchanan's views, Buchanan does not cite him. Lukacs objected to Buchanan's argument that Britain should have stood aside and allowed Germany to conquer Eastern Europe under the grounds that he ignores just how barbaric and cruel Nazi rule was in Eastern Europe during World War II. Finally, Lukacs questioned Buchanan's motives in writing Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War on the grounds that Buchanan has often been accused of Anglophobia, and said he felt that Buchanan's lament for the British Empire was a case of crocodile tears. Lukacs concluded that Buchanan's book was not a work of history, instead being a thinly veiled admonitory allegory for the modern United States with Britain standing in for America and Germany, Japan and Italy standing in at various points for modern Islam, China and Russia.
Conservative American journalist Christopher Jones attacked Buchanan in a review for saying that Hitler's aims in 1939 were limited only to allowing Danzig to rejoin Germany, when in fact Hitler wanted to destroy Poland. Likewise, Jones criticized Buchanan for writing that the Czech people were better off as part of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia ruled over by Reinhard Heydrich instead of as part of independent and democratic Czechoslovakia. Jones further countered Buchanan's point that Hitler did not want a world war over Danzig as proven by the lack of readiness of the Kriegsmarine for a war with Britain in 1939, which meant Hitler did not expect his attack on Poland to lead to war with Britain and France, as did the fact that the German navy was in the middle of a major expansion code-named Plan Z intended to prepare the Kriegsmarine to take on the Royal Navy by the mid-1940s.
British journalist Christopher Hitchens in a review in Newsweek claimed Buchanan ignores just how aggressive Imperial Germany was, with the Kaiser Wilhelm II openly encouraging Muslims to wage jihad against the Western colonial powers (during WWI), conducting genocide in German South West Africa, and supporting the Young Turk government during the Armenian Genocide. Hitchens argued that given the way Imperial Germany was dominated by a "militaristic ruling caste" of officers and Junkers who recklessly sought conflict at every chance, it was simply nonsense for Buchanan to write off pre-1914 Germany being "encircled" by enemies on all sides.