Churchill, Hitler, and 'The Unnecessary War'

  • by Patrick J. Buchanan
  • Narrated by Don Leslie
  • 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Were World Wars I and II - which can now be seen as a 30-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction - inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men's control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment?In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen - Winston Churchill first among them - the horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins. Half a century of murderous oppression of scores of millions under the iron boot of Communist tyranny might never have happened, and Europe's central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations.Among the British and Churchillian blunders were:
The secret decision of a tiny cabal in the inner Cabinet in 1906 to take Britain straight to war against Germany, should she invade France

The vengeful Treaty of Versailles that muti-lated Germany, leaving her bitter, betrayed, and receptive to the appeal of Adolf Hitler

Britain's capitulation, at Churchill's urging, to American pressure to sever the Anglo-Japanese alliance, insulting and isolating Japan, pushing her onto the path of militarism and conquest

The 1935 sanctions that drove Italy straight into the Axis with Hitler

The greatest blunder in British history: the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939 - that guaranteed the Second World War

Churchill's astonishing blindness to Stalin's true ambitionsCertain to create controversy and spirited argument, Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War" is a grand and bold insight into the historic failures of judgment that ended centuries of European rule and guaranteed a future no one who lived in that vanished world could ever have envisioned.

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interesting in spots but ultimately unconvincing

This is a revisionist polemic rather than a balanced work of historical research. Buchanan begins with a premise and then doggedly and relentlessly sets out to prove it, marshalling an impressive but selective array of quotations along the way. His premise is that Britain had no real need to participate in either World War and that by doing so transformed each war into a world-wide rather than a contained European conflict. Britain?s actions (largely brought about by the demonic influence of Winston Churchill in both instances) led to the deaths of millions, the destruction of the British Empire, and the Cold War between the two super-powers left standing after the shooting had stopped.

The book has some interesting sections. The detailed criticism of the iniquities of the post-World War I Versailles Treaty is particularly devastating, and is probably the best part of the book. Buchanan comes across as a passionate captain of a debating team who is only interested in advancing his own arguments while minimizing or suppressing the counter-arguments of his opponents. As a result, the book ultimately fails to convince.

There is no original research and all sources are secondary, i.e. borrowings from the works of others, and selected borrowings at that. Among the writers cited are Barbara Tuchman, George Kennan, Churchill himself, William Shirer, Neil Ferguson, Richard Evans, Ian Kershaw, and several dozen others. A visit to some of the works of the historians cited will show that their authors came up with conclusions rather at odds with those of Buchanan. Oh well, never mind. As a former speechwriter for others and then a politician in his own right, Buchanan probably enjoyed himself tremendously while writing this book. Since he merely had a bash at the Brits (primarily Churchill) and didn?t do anything really dangerous such as denying the Holocaust, he will probably get away with it. The bad part is that some gullible people might actually believe him!
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- Brendan

Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

From the moment I read the provocative cover, until I finished listening..I was completely spellbound. I had not connected the author as the hard right american presidential nominee who opened Bushs(senior)'92 republican congress. I thought I was listening to a Leon Trotsky refusniks analysis,. Hindsight is 20/20 vision but that does not mean we shouldn't take a cold hard look. Spanning both conflgrations the depth and breadth of the scholarship is impressive but the conclusions incendiary! Most hagiographies of Churchill concede his love of cordite and gunsmoke at the expense of a more measured strategic response. Buchanan asserts the heresy that Churchill was the wrong man at at the wrong time. Buchanan makes the argument that it could all have been different if Hitler (as the Soviet union was post WW2) could have been contained and his eastern expansion would have been checked by that other monster Stalin at great expense to both tyrants. Most standard WW2 histories will acknowledge the irony that the democracies were saved by communisms mercilous prosicution of the eastern war. Buchanan asserts that the war in the west was the wrong war at the wrong time for the western democracies. Britain went to war for Poland, and subsequently abandonded her to a monstrous communist regime (the Katyn forest, to mention one maasacre) under the guise of realpolitik (which wiould have been better employed in '39. Buchanan's analysis of Hitlers designs on Checkoslovakia and Danzig and Memel in will surprise many and were regarded at the time as reasonable territorial claims(though not the methods). Listen, be infuriated, perplexed, the starkness of the heresy and its legacies to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Uncomfortable, fascinating, illuminating, unmissable.
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- Niall

Book Details

  • Release Date: 29-08-2008
  • Publisher: Books on Tape