Archive for March 10th, 2014
Last week, I posted a comment on Facebook to the effect that I was waiting for the Pat Buchanan column defending Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a defense of traditional conservative values. I meant it as a joke, but he seems to have taken it as a challenge.
In a remarkable Townhall.com column, Buchanan takes Hillary Clinton to task for comparing Putin’s motives to Hitler’s in 1935-39. Then he does the same thing, in order to exonerate Putin. In doing so, he has to exonerate Hitler. It’s the Double-Reverse Godwin, and he gets 6.0 from the German judge! And the Russian judge! The only thing missing was a description of how it’s all Israel’s fault, or the Jewish lobby’s fault, although I guess this is only a few hundred-word column, and he has to leave something for the long program.
Here’s Buchanan’s take on the events of 1935-1939:
He imposed conscription in 1935, sent his soldiers back into the Rhineland in 1936, annexed Austria in 1938, demanded and got the return of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia at Munich in 1938.
He then sought to negotiate with the Polish colonels, who had joined in carving up Czechoslovakia, a return of Danzig, when the British issued a war guarantee to Warsaw stiffening Polish spines.
Enraged by Polish intransigence, Hitler attacked. Britain and France declared war. The rest is history.
It’s not often you get to read histories from a parallel universe in a political journal. Hitler didn’t just get the return of the Sudeten Germans, he got the Sudetenland, which included the only serious geographic obstacle to the rest of Czechoslovakia. In-between Munich and Hitler’s, ah, “negotiations” with the Poles, Hitler walked into Bohemia, Moravia, and Prague, effectively annexing the rest of Czecholovakia and along with it, the Skoda Works. Although not very many more Germans.
It’s true that Poland fought a series of short, unpleasant border wars with most of its neighbors, and that it took advantage of Munich to settle some leftover business with Prague. (Paul Johnson in Modern Times suggests that that’s at least part of the reason why Poland didn’t have any local friends when its own day of reckoning came.) It’s also true that Zaolzie bore none of the strategic or military significance that the Sudetenland did, and that the Poles didn’t exactly have the same strategic ambitions as did Germany.
Hitler wasn’t going to get Gdansk/Danzig without a fight, and he knew it. But he didn’t just walk in an take the Polish Corridor. He shelled Warsaw for weeks, and partitioned the entire country between himself and Stalin. So according to Buchanan, Hitler needed Prague to secure the Sudetenland, and he needed Warsaw to secure Danzig.
If I were living in Kiev right now, I’m not sure I’d find that encouraging.