In 1947, historian Charles Beard told Harry Elmer Barnes that the foreign policy of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman could best be described by the phrase "perpetual war for perpetual peace." Barnes used the phrase as the title of his 1953 collection of essays by the leading revisionist historians of the era. This article is excerpted from the final chapter.
With profit we may now briefly review the main facts and conclusions to which we are led by the material in the preceding chapters.
1 - Revisionism and the Historical Blackout
The first chapter, by the editor, indicates how two world wars, and especially the needless American entry therein, have converted the libertarian American dream of pre-1914 days into a nightmare of fear, regimentation, destruction, insecurity, inflation, and ultimate insolvency.
Revisionism, which means no more than the establishment of historical truth, when applied to the First World War, revealed the mistakes in our earlier interpretation of the causes and merits of that conflict, the folly of our entering it, and the disastrous results which followed.
Revisionism helped us to return to national sanity, to the continentalism and peace of the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover administrations, and to the neutrality legislation of the first administration of Roosevelt.
There is now a far more determined and ruthless resistance to revisionism, as applied to the Second World War, than there was in the 1920s when revisionists dealt with the conflict which began in 1914. This is due to the fact that the United States was much more directly involved in the diplomacy which led to the Second World War. The intense hostility to revisionism is prompted by the dictates of political expediency; by the hostility of special pressure groups interested in the promotion of war hysteria; by our indoctrination, for a decade and a half, with globaloney; and by the attitude of those with a vested professional and personal interest in upholding the official mythology expounded by the historians and social scientists who participated in great numbers in the propaganda and allied activities of the government during the war epoch.
The methods followed by the opponents of revisionism fall mainly into these modes of operation:
- denying revisionist historians access to public documents;
- intimidating publishers who might otherwise be willing to print revisionist materials;
- ignoring or smearing revisionist books and articles; and
- smearing and otherwise seeking to intimidate revisionist authors.
To counter the progress of revisionism still further, many free and private historians voluntarily perpetuate the popular fictions relative to the Second World War. They have either succumbed to globaloney or have a vested interest in sustaining the fictions. Then we have a considerable number of "court historians," who operate in a quasi-official manner and who are given full access to official documents on the tacit understanding that their books will defend the official version of events. Finally, we have an ever-growing body of official historians connected with the military establishment and executive departments who are paid to write history as their employers prescribe. This is a long step toward the official falsification of documents portrayed by George Orwell in his classic work, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
This antirevisionist historical bias has destroyed all semblance of accuracy in recent world history, and it gravely distorts the history of a more remote past by drawing false analogies with a fictitious recent past and present and by pointing up strained and mistaken causal relationships. In this way the antirevisionist historians are hurrying us along the path to the conditions of the "Nineteen Eighty-Four" system in which even the very concept of history is taboo and outlawed, because there must be no knowledge of the past against which existing mistakes and miseries can be tested and condemned.
2 - The United States and the Road to War in Europe
The second chapter, by Dr. Tansill, provides a comprehensive survey of European diplomacy and international relations between the two World Wars and of the extent and results of American participation in international affairs during this era.
It is made clear how the Allied betrayal of President Wilson's Fourteen Points and the terms of the Armistice of November 11, 1918, laid the basis for the Second World War. This became ever more likely when the League of Nations failed to use its power to rectify the fatal terms of the vindictive postwar treaties. These treaties created and nourished German and Austrian resentment and contributed crucially to the ultimate insolvency of these countries and to the resulting rise of totalitarianism. There were no substantial efforts made to revise the injustices done to Germany and Austria through negotiation with the peaceful — and actually peace-loving — republican leaders of these countries. The result was the rise of Hitler to power and the revision of the treaties by Nazi craftiness, bluff, and force. What Hitler actually did in the way of remedying the situation was not especially blameworthy; it was the methods he employed which, understandably, were shocking to many. But Hitler and his methods were, together, the penalty paid for fifteen years of Allied vindictiveness and folly. Professor Tansill lists and describes in sufficient detail the outstanding errors and injustices of the Treaty of Versailles and what came as its aftermath.
Aside from the action of the United States, which did sink or scuttle a number of serviceable ships (or others in construction) and cut down its army to a skeleton force, dishonesty, quibbling, delay, and reluctance characterized the whole fraudulent disarmament movement from 1920 to the mid-1930s. German rearmament was sharply restricted by the postwar settlement, but the European Allies failed to disarm in accordance with their agreement. Indeed, they proceeded to build up their armament above the 1914 level. Ultimately Hitler challenged the whole farce, announced the rearmament of Germany in defiance of Versailles, and the armament race took on new and enlarged proportions. But the relative extent of Nazi rearmament before 1939 was greatly exaggerated in the anti-Nazi propaganda. It did not exceed that of Britain and France.
The fumbling and stupidity of most Allied diplomats, but predominantly of Anthony Eden, broke down the system of collective security, for what it was worth, and opened the door to the unilateral moves of Hitler and Mussolini which hastened the Second World War. Baldwin and Chamberlain, in England, acquiesced in Hitler's violations of the Treaty of Versailles because they relied on Hitler to act as a checkmate to the menace of Soviet Russia to the British Empire. On the eve of attaining striking success with this program, British diplomacy made a sudden and rather inexplicable about-face in the winter and spring of 1939. After accepting, without serious objection, Hitler's more drastic moves and aggressions for some four years, Britain and France made war on Germany in protest against the most restrained and justifiable demand of Hitler's prewar career. That they did so was the result of pressure by Churchill and the Tory war group in England, by the British Labor party, and by President Roosevelt.
While the diplomacy of the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover administrations was opposed to the harsh postwar treaties, it did little to force any modification of them. Any attempt to do so was rendered the more difficult because the United States remained out of the League of Nations and made a separate treaty with Germany. The Dawes and Young plans served only to postpone the ultimate collapse of the reparations travesty; the impasse was finally recognized and terminated by President Hoover. American diplomacy under President Roosevelt failed to exercise a moderating influence on either Europe or Hitler.
American hostility toward Germany increased apace when Hitler came to power. This was a result of his crushing of liberalism and parliamentary government and of his persecution of the Jews. Hostility was reflected in our diplomacy which, in time, abandoned even the pretense of ordinary diplomatic courtesy and intercourse. Whatever William E. Dodd's great merits as a historian and teacher, he was an incredibly bad choice as ambassador to Nazi Germany — not unlike what it would have been if Hitler had appointed an ardent National Socialist ideologist as Nazi ambassador to the United States. The appointment of Dodd made German-American diplomatic relations all the more difficult and strained, and Dodd's successors did little to improve the situation.
At the time of the Munich episode in 1938, President Roosevelt ostensibly favored the British policy of appeasing Hitler. Indeed, his communications to the European leaders involved may well have been the deciding factor in inducing Britain and France to decline to meet Hitler's threat by test of arms in 1938. But, from his discussions with American officials, especially General Henry H. Arnold, it is evident that Roosevelt regarded Munich as the prelude to war rather than assuring, as Chamberlain appears to have hoped, "peace in our time." Yet Roosevelt was not in favor of war in 1938, for the situation then might well have been such that Hitler would have been defeated too rapidly to have permitted American entry into the conflict. The Czechs had a large and well-equipped army, and Russia was eager to collaborate in a war to check Hitler. By the summer of 1939 the situation had vastly changed. The Czech army was no more and Russia had signed a treaty with Nazi Germany. If war broke out under these conditions, it was likely to be a long one, which would afford Mr. Roosevelt plenty of time to maneuver the United States into the fighting.
There seems little doubt that Mr. Roosevelt had decided to enter a European war, if possible, even before war broke out at the beginning of September 1939. The German White Paper (captured Polish documents) and even the censored Forrestal Diaries confirm this conviction. What more definite assurances he may have given to Anthony Eden in December 1938 and to King George VI in June 1939 remain a secret to this day.FULL ARTICLE
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
An excellent book available as a free download at Mises.org(Mises.org). The book is important since the current administration and all candidates save Ron Paul have decreed that we will continue our state of war in perpetuity. -- Jim