Buchanan To The Defense…of Hitler

September 3, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

Some people seem to dissolve into their worst attributes over time.  There is a seige mentality that develops, it seems, and from within the bastions and barricades the fever dreams of the misunderstood and disillusioned take root and grow into horrible, twisted things.

I don’t care much for people who are constantly running around trying to scare the rest of us with apocalyptic prognostications.  The sky is falling, yes it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it.  Who can hold up the sky or keep the stars from falling?  Not me and it would appear a waste of what life might be left to spend my time fretting over it and ruining other people’s day telling them to not enjoy themselves because the impending catastrophe is of such significance that to ignore it in any way is to cheapen all human history.  Having a good time in the face of Doom is being, somehow, rude to the awesome relevance of said Doom.

Everyone needs a hobby.

Conspiracy theorists have found the X-Box of their desires within the serpentine confines of a world delimited by the constant back-stabbing one-up-manship of imagined black ops, coups, assassinations, and creeping ideological subversion.  I wish them good times playing with their toys.

But occasionally they decide to rewrite history to justify their paranoia and depending on what it is they’re trying to sell by doing so, I get a bit less tolerant.

A grand master of New Spin is Pat Buchanan.  He’s been misinterpreting reality since before his failed bid for the presidency.  In retrospect he is the ideal speech writer for Richard Nixon, for he must have shared Nixon’s conviction that the game is rigged and the Lefties are out to get us all from the beginning.  Do right by all those bleeding heart liberals and all they do is spit on you.  Open up China, establish the EPA, expand health care, and what do you get for all your efforts?  They pillory you for a little wire tap and the construction of a shadow government that could do end runs around Congress.  Ingrates!

Pat has become more strident and marginalized since Reagan took office.  The tough American school of foreign diplomacy combined with the Minute Man ideal of self-sufficiency and rugged independence came to the fore, nurtured by an age that declared that all victims were just whiners and the only difference between a rich man and a poor man is plain hard work.  Pat blossomed.

What fruit has this mutant liberty tree borne?  Well, he’s now ready to revisit Hitler and tell us how Adolph was just misunderstood after all, that he didn’t want world conquest (which is possible—he mainly wanted Europe and Russia) but peace and a strong Germany.  He makes his argument here.

It is one of those things which one reads with  awe at the sheer balls of the premise. Clearly, Pat has taken Mein Kampf to heart as the heart-warming, desperate revelation of a tortured peacemaker who has been maligned and misunderstood by any and all.

He claims in this article that Hitler sued for peace with Britain two years before the first trains rolled toward the concentration camps.  This is a deceptive claim.  But the specifics are less important than the overall argument.  Pat claims Germany invaded Poland in a dispute over Danzig.  One must then ask why one of the first acts after Poland fell was the construction of the camps.

But the actual problem here is a complete and utterly ridiculous misreading of Hitler himself.  Hitler made it clear in many speeches, and in Mein Kampf, that his aims were for a militantly ascendent Germany.  The Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935.  People were already leaving the country because they understood what Hitler was.  Berlin in 1936 had to be “made over” for the Olympics—antisemitic posters taken down, the presence of brown shirts and their ilk removed, and the camps placed off-limits for even official visits.  Oh, yes, there were camps them, around the major cities, but they had not quite yet become the exclusive depository of Jews—gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs of various ethnic backgrounds, and certainly politically questionable types filled them in stinking, horrid conditions that only foretold of what was to come.

Hitler’s Reich in fact violated every single treaty it signed but one: its treaty with Japan that demanded it declare war on the United States in the event of war between the U.S. and Japan.

I don’t follow the logic behind Buchanan’s reinterpretation.  I don’t know what he’s doing here unless there’s a latent holocaust denier lurking beneath all the other reactionary dross he’s acquired over the years.

There is, however, an interesting point brought out in some of the comments appended to Buchanan’s post—that of Stalin’s somewhat “lighter” treatment at the hands of posterity.  As if by claiming that we don’t hold Stalin to the same standard of denunciation of revulsion, that somehow the opprobrium heaped upon Herr Hitler is, well, unfair.

Image (Wikimedia Commons)

Image (Wikimedia Commons)

Well.  Stalin was as big a monster, perhaps bigger, than Hitler.  The only thing that makes them different is their nationalist aims.  Stalin seemed content to remain within the borders of the Soviet Union.  He slaughtered his own people, and he played no favorites in that regard—he was an equal opportunity murderer.  He did not invade Poland.  He did not start a world war.  Considering the wall of silence placed around his regime, without that war we might still not know what was going on inside the Soviet Union.  Stalin’s sociopathology was constrained, methodical, even in some sense rational insofar as he recognized limits.  Hitler was different.  Hitler was more than just a sociopath and as the war progressed it became more obvious.  It is appropriate that Hitler’s favorite composer was Wagner, for what do most of Wagner’s operas end with?  Gotterdammerung! The end of everything.

We’re catching up with regards to Uncle Joe, as Truman called him.  We’re finding out.  His atrocities were on such a scale, though, as to almost dwarf what the Nazis did.  But that’s a deceptive way to look at it as well.  What difference the numbers?  Eleven or eleven million?

Even so, I don’t quite grasp the point of trying to rehabilitate Hitler.  Is Buchanan trying to lay blame on the Brits for jumping the gun?  Is he trying to point out the flaws in systems and networks of treaties that seem to draw us into disaster time and again?  Is he practicing moral relativism?  That would be a first for him.

Whatever is going on, I think it behooves us to pay attention to the Nut Jobbery going on in our midst.

We do live in interesting times.


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Category: American Culture, Culture, Current Events, Good and Evil, History, ignorance, War

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Mark: Buchanan's article is quite strange. He suggests that everyone else was picking on a misunderstood Hitler. According to Buchanan, Hitler was actually a nice fellow who INTENTIONALLY let the British army go at Dunkirk.


  2. Erich,

    It has a Twilight Zone quality that really makes me think Buchanan is a closet SF writer who doesn't do character very well. But it's not so much that he gave it this spin as why. Don't quite get that…

  3. Erika Price says:

    Having not known much about Pat Buchanan, I had vaguely positive feelings for the guy because he was not a rabidly pro-Israel-at-all-costs neocon. I didn't want to believe that he was antisemitic as some of his detractors liked to claim- I figured it was just the name-calling of those who don't question the US foreign policy toward Israel. I really wanted to give the guy a chance, but his blog post really throws my illusion out of whack.

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