I don't want war! All I want is peace...peace...peace...!
A little piece of Poland,
A little piece of France,
A little piece of Austria
And Hungary, perchance!
A little slice of Turkey
And all that that entails,
And then a bit of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales!"
-Mel Brooks, To Be Or Not To Be
I guess the news peg for this is the anniversary of the start of WWII in September 1939, but Pat Buchanan has gone ahead and apologized for Hitler, claiming he sought no empire or wider war with Europe, and had merely benign interests of German unification at heart:
Indeed, why would he want war when, by 1939, he was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France. And he had written off Alsace, because reconquering Alsace meant war with France, and that meant war with Britain, whose empire he admired and whom he had always sought as an ally.
As of March 1939, Hitler did not even have a border with Russia. How then could he invade Russia?
Matt Yglesias does quick work of the historical inaccuracies - Hitler invaded Russia as soon as he achieved a border with them by conquering Poland. And this is a decent riposte as well - Buchanan seems to expect a crazy person to also be a rational military strategist, and when he's not, searches for alternative explanation ("Hitler couldn't have wanted war because he didn't have enough planes! So it's Britain's fault!").
But I'll take the less dainty approach. In 1939, in a small town called Averduct on the German-Polish border, practically every member of my family was rounded up by Nazi authorities, herded into a local synagogue, and burned alive inside. This would fall in Buchanan's revisionism as part of the supposedly honest and forthright effort by Hitler to annex Danzig and restore the German homeland (hey, Hitler just wanted some Lebensraum - why not let him annex whatever he decided was part of Germany, right? Don't you want to save lives?). But my dead ancestors didn't live in Danzig (now Gdansk). They had nothing to do with such a conflict. Maybe that was the work of a few bad apple Nazis acting alone. That and the other 6 million incidents.
But the bigger point here to be made is that Pat Buchanan is paid by the allegedly liberal cable news network MSNBC, he has been on it for years, if you add up all his appearances throughout the day he probably spends as much time on the air as anyone outside of the Morning Joe crowd, and that's... OK. Calling Hitler misunderstood is not a firing offense at the liberal cable news network MSNBC.
Good to know.
My favorite comment in the Buchanan thread, by the way:
Great Article Pat.
But what’s your beef with general Pinochet?
Must be a follower of Milton Friedman.