BUCHANAN’S BAD BOOK: A REVIEW OF
Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
Delivered to the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
A bust of Winston Churchill stands in a prominent place, on the top of an old upright piano, in the living room of our home. Of all the men whose statues and busts we could have selected for this place of honor Churchill seemed to us the most worthy. Having studied Churchill’s life for well over fifty years, I can say without any hesitation that he was the greatest world figure of the twentieth century, the savior of Western civilization, the first prophetic voice in the Cold War, and the architect of the virtually permanent English/American alliance that, in the end, toppled the Soviet Union and ended the world-wide spread of Communism. Year after year Winston Churchill is voted the greatest Englishman of the twentieth century by the people of Britain. And in 2000 they voted him as the second most important Briton of the last 1,000 years, topped only by the “immortal poet” William Shakespeare.
It seems very strange indeed therefore, after all these accolades and praises, that this man whom Isaiah Berlin famously called “The savior of his country, a mythical hero who belongs to legend as much as to reality, the largest figure of our time,” should suddenly be attacked as a vicious, brutal warmonger, little better (and perhaps worse) than Adolf Hitler! Yet that is exactly what Patrick J. Buchanan did in his nasty little book, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War (Crown Publishers, 2008). I am being as kind as possible when I give it this description. I could have chosen far worse labels, such as “anti-Semitic” and even “pro-Hitler.” But I have decided simply to call it a “nasty little book,” for that is what it is – an unimportant potboiler, obviously turned out by Buchanan for the sole purpose of making a few bucks, a book that is already being forgotten, even as Buchanan appears on one talk show after another trying to “hawk” it to the gullible and the young, those who have forgotten history (or never knew it), those who have failed to remember the immeasurable contributions Churchill made to the salvation of our culture and way of life. To them, the young, the ignorant and the uneducated, Buchanan may seem to prove his point – that Churchill was the real villain who “unnecessarily” enraged Hitler, caused World War II, and bungled through the rest of his political life with scarcely a decent thing accomplished by him. That, in brief, is the view of Churchill presented by Mr. Buchanan.
I for one, however, will not stand by and allow this greatest of all modern Englishmen, and the savior of my nation as well as his, to be spoken of like that without sounding the strongest possible outcry against Buchanan and his foul book. I almost might have called it his “Satanic Book,” for it does seem in many places to be more in tune with the Spirit of Darkness than the God of Scripture, more on the side of Hitler than Churchill, more on the side of wrong than of right.
I was once a strong defender of Mr. Buchanan largely because of his opposition to abortion on demand. I even voted for him instead of Bush in the 2000 presidential election. But this book has made me change my mind about him. The book has a feeling of evil and darkness in it.
But the main criticism I have of Buchanan’s book is that he “twists” history to paint Churchill as the villain in World War II, and lets Hitler “off the hook,” even though he was obviously the most sinister and malignant figure of the twentieth century. My evaluation of Buchanan’s book rests largely on the constant twisting of history he employs to make his case.
One of Buchanan’s errors comes out on pages xvii and xviii of the introduction to his book.
Had Britain not given a war guarantee to Poland in March 1939, then declared war on September 3, bringing in South Africa, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, and the United States, a German-Polish war might never have become a six-year world war in which fifty million would perish (Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, Crown Publishers, 2008, pp. xvii, xviii).
A simple comment overthrows Buchanan’s premise: It was Hitler who invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, two full days before Britain declared war on Germany. Furthermore, Britain did not “bring” the United States into the war. The United States did not come into the war until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, well over two years after Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939. Even after the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. still did not enter into war with Germany. President Roosevelt declared war on Japan alone. It was Hitler himself who unnecessarily and unwisely (for his cause) declared war on the United States soon after the American fleet was bombed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. Thus, World War II was not started by Britain. It was started by Hitler, and it was Hitler who then expanded it by declaring war on the United States! Britain’s guarantee to back up Poland did not start the war. Hitler started the war by refusing to pay attention to Britain’s guarantee to Poland. If Hitler had paid attention to Britain’s guarantee to Poland there would have been no war! Thus, the war was the fault of Hitler, not the British, who made a perfectly reasonable guarantee to protect Poland from being ravaged by the Nazis, whose real goal was world domination.
Then Buchanan blames the war on what he calls “a Churchill cult.” Shame on Mr. Buchanan for seeming to imply that the brave young men of the Royal Air Force, and others in the British armed services, were “a Churchill cult.” Those heroic fighting Englishmen were certainly not part of any “Churchill cult.” They were simply men and women who wanted to stop Hitler in his ruthless march toward world dominion, service men and women who wanted nothing more than to protect their island homeland from being crushed by Hitler’s Nazi cult!
But Mr. Buchanan goes farther by implying that President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and the rest of us who admire Churchill, have all been part of a “Churchill cult.” This is more foolishness. If the word “cult” is to be used, it far better describes the fanatics who followed Hitler, than the soldiers who only wanted to protect their own homeland, and those of us who admire Churchill today. But Buchanan cannot seem to see that the Nazis were the true “cult” that brought on the war. So blind is Buchanan on this point that he actually says,
This Churchill cult gave us our present calamity...For it was Winston S. Churchill who was the most bellicose champion of British entry into the European war of 1914 and the German-Polish war of 1939 (Buchanan, ibid., p. xx).
That is ridiculous! World War I was not started by Churchill! It was started by the assassination of an Austrian by a Serb and was made European by the encouragement of the Kaiser. Thus, World War I was not started by the British, and Winston Churchill had nothing to do with starting it!
It is just as ridiculous to blame Churchill for starting the Second World War. World War II was Hitler’s doing from beginning to end.
Concerning the British guarantee to declare war if Hitler invaded Poland, Buchanan says that Britain wasn’t ready to fight and shouldn’t have given such a promise:
In April of 1939 Britain had no draft and only two divisions ready for combat in France (Buchanan, ibid., p. 278).
That is true, but how can Churchill be blamed? He had been warning of the Nazi danger, almost alone, throughout the 1930s. He had constantly urged the British to build up their air force. Churchill knew very well that Britain wasn’t ready to save Poland. But William Manchester pointed out that Churchill “was inspired by the discovery that Chamberlain would fight for something,” rather than continue the policy of appeasing Hitler (William Manchester, The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940; Little, Brown and Company, 1988, p. 407).
Buchanan somehow shifts the blame for the Polish guarantee from Chamberlain (who was the Prime Minister) and lays the “fault” at the feet of Churchill – who held no office whatever in the government! Then Buchanan says,
Had Britain never given the war guarantee [regarding Poland], the Soviet Union would almost surely have borne the brunt of the blow that fell on France…The Red Army…might have collapsed. Bolshevism might have been crushed. Communism might have perished in 1940 (Buchanan, ibid., p. 301).
Yes, Mr. Buchanan, but then Europe would have been under the dominion of Hitler’s Nazis, from the French border all the way through Russia! Since Werner von Braun was already developing missiles, and the Germans would have developed the atomic bomb, Germany would have been capable of dominating the whole world by 1950. Hitler would only have been 61 years old. If Britain had followed Buchanan’s advice and let Hitler be victorious in the East, the Nazis would have ruled Europe indefinitely. And when the Nazis got the atomic bomb, as they would have by 1950, there would have been no hope of removing them from power. It’s a good thing Britain did not have Pat Buchanan to advise them!
But the worst thing about Buchanan’s book is that he implies that Churchill was responsible for the Holocaust! Buchanan says,
The destruction of the European Jews was not a cause of the war but an awful consequence of the war. Had there been no war, would there have been a Holocaust at all? (Buchanan, ibid., p. 311).
So, Buchanan thinks that Hitler would not have tried to destroy the Jews in the Holocaust if Britain had not gone to war against Germany. The rest of this article will show the absurdity of his position that “The destruction of the European Jews was not a cause of the war but an awful consequence of the war” (Buchanan, ibid., p. 311). This statement fails to take into account what Hitler had written about the Jews in 1924, in his book Mein Kampf, in chapter 11, “Nation and Race.”
He [the Jew] is and remains the typical parasite, a sponger who like a noxious bacillus keeps spreading as soon as a favorable medium invites him. And the effect of his existence is also like that of spongers: wherever he appears, the host people dies out after a shorter or longer period.
With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people. With every means he tries to destroy the racial foundations of the people he has set out to subjugate.
The most frightful example of this kind is offered by Russia, where he [the Jew] killed or starved about thirty million people with positively fanatical savagery, in part amid inhuman tortures, in order to give a gang of Jewish journalists and stock exchange bandits domination over a great people. The end is not only the end of the freedom of the peoples oppressed by the Jew, but also the end of this parasite upon the nations. After the death of his victim, the vampire sooner or later dies too.
(Hitler, “Nation and Race,” chap. 11, Mein Kampf, see
Should the Jew, with the help of his Marxist creed, conquer the nations of this world, his crown will become the funeral wreath of mankind, and once again this planet, empty of mankind, will follow its orbit through the ether as it did millions of years ago (Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924; see Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992, p. 146).
Comment: if Hitler thought the victory of the Jews would mean the end of human life on this planet, then, in his thinking, he had to destroy them. Hitler said, in his 1924 book,
I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.
Here he [the Jew] stops at nothing, and in his vileness he becomes so gigantic that no one need be surprised if among our people the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.
(Hitler, Mein Kampf [“My Struggle”), Houghton Mifflin, New York: Hutchinson Publ. Ltd., London, 1969; see also
He [the Jew] will either be thrown back in his course by forces lying outside himself, or all his striving for world domination will be ended by his own dying out. But the impotence of nations, their own death from old age, arises from the abandonment of their blood purity. And this is a thing that the Jew preserves better than any other people on earth. And so he advances on his fatal road until another force comes forth to oppose him, and in a mighty struggle hurls the heaven-stormer back to Lucifer.
(Mein Kampf, “Eastern Orientation or Eastern Policy,” see
Those quotations from Hitler in 1924, taken from his book Mein Kampf, show the validity of Alan Bullock’s statement,
In Hitler’s twisted cosmological vision, the eternal enemy of the Aryans [the Germans], the race that possessed the power to create, was the Jew, the embodiment of evil, the agent of the racial pollution that had undermined and destroyed one civilization after another (Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992, p. 145).
Comment: Hitler “had to” wipe out the Jews because they would destroy all mankind on earth. This was long before World War II and long before he had any dealings with Churchill. This is what Hitler said about the Jews in his book, Mein Kampf, way back in 1924.
Comment: The extermination of the Jews is implicit in Mein Kampf. There is a direct line of inference from Mein Kampf, to Hitler’s “prophecy speech” of 1939, to the Holocaust itself. Hitler said in an interview in 1924,
I have changed my opinion about the methods to fight Jewry. I realized that up to now I have been much too soft…I have come to the realization that in the future the most severe methods of fighting will have to be used…this is a vital question not just for our people, but for all peoples. For Judaism is the plague of the world (see Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin, p. 146; Hitler interview in “Der National Sozialist,” a Leipzig news magazine, August 17, 1924 – long before the war and long before he had anything to do with Churchill).
Here is a quotation from Hitler’s “prophecy” speech, to the Reichstag, January 30, 1939, before the British guarantee to Poland:
I have often made prophecies and people have laughed at me. In my struggle for power, the Jews always laughed louder when I prophesied that, one day, I should be the leader of the German state, and that then, among other things, I should find the solution of the Jewish problem. Today I am going to make another prophecy: If the Jewish international financiers succeed in involving the nations in another war [comment: as though the war would be their fault and not Hitler’s], the result will not be world Bolshevism and therefore a victory for Judaism, it will be the destruction of the Jews in Europe (Bullock, Hitler and Stalin, pp. 594-595).
Comment: Thus, in a speech that was broadcast world-wide from Berlin, in January 1939, Hitler spoke openly and plainly of “the destruction of the Jews in Europe.” The word for “destruction” was “vernichtung,” literally meaning “annihilation” or “bringing to nothing.” The German word for “nothing” is “nichts.” What he meant then was what he had always meant to do, and what he actually tried to do, and nearly accomplished – “the destruction of the Jews in Europe.” He referred to this speech shortly before he committed suicide in his bunker in 1945:
I told them that, if they precipitated another war, they would not be spared and that I would exterminate the vermin throughout Europe, once and for all…Well, we have lanced the Jewish abcess, and the world of the future will be eternally grateful to us (ibid., p. 595).
Comment: What would the Germans have done, victorious in the East in 1940? Just what they planned to do, and started to do in 1941, when they attacked Russia:
…there follows the extinction of industry as well as of a large percentage of the human beings in the hitherto deficit areas of Russia (German directive plan, May 23, 1941, see Bullock, ibid., p. 697).
In his table talk of October 25, 1941, Hitler recalled his “prophecy”:
The Jews would disappear from Europe…Let nobody tell me that we can’t park them in the marshy parts of Russia!...It’s not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing (quoted in Bullock, ibid., p. 725).
Comment: What would they have done: “According to German report of February 19, 1942, almost three million out of the four million prisoners taken by that date had perished” (Bullock, p. 745).
Heydrich said to Eichmann in 1941,
The Fuhrer has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews (quoted in Bullock, p. 762). [That’s what they did, and that’s what they would have done in 1940, only to more Jews that they didn’t get to exterminate during the actual Second World War.]
Hoss, the commandant of Auschwitz, was told by Himmler in the summer of 1941,
The Fuhrer has ordered the final solution of the Jewish question…I have earmarked Auschwitz for this task…Every Jew we can lay hands on must be exterminated without exception (quoted in Bullock, p. 762).
On November 16, 1941, Goebbels wrote that Hitler’s prophecy was now coming true (Bullock, ibid.). It was. Hitler referred to his own “prophecy” in six radio addresses in 1942 and 1943 (ibid.). He said in November 1942, in a speech in Munich,
I’ve always been scorned as a prophet. Of those who laughed then, there are countless numbers who are no longer laughing today, and those who are still laughing now, will perhaps also not be doing it any longer in the future (quoted in Bullock, ibid., pp. 762-763).
Comment: Would there have been a Holocaust if Britain and France had stayed out and let Hitler move east and take over Poland and Russia? Buchanan says perhaps not. But it is clear that the Holocaust was what Hitler intended to do from the beginning, and he actually accomplished much of his horrible task by gassing six million Jews and burning their bodies at his various concentration camps. Had he been victorious in the East, with no trouble from Britain, France or America, he would have killed far more Jews than he actually did. Indeed, his stated purpose was “the destruction of the Jews in Europe” (January, 1939).
Comment: Did Hitler really intend to leave the rest of the world alone and fight only against the Communists in Russia? America was not in the war against him until December of 1941.
Comment: On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The wise thing for Hitler to do would have been to leave America alone. Then America would have focused all its effort against Japan and would have left Germany alone. In such a case, Germany might have conquered Europe. There would have been no D-Day invasion of France. It was in Hitler’s interest and Germany’s interest not to add the United States to their enemies. Yet Hitler declared war on America in a fit of rage. In that speech, when he declared war on America, Hitler said,
I can only be grateful to Providence that it entrusted me with the leadership in this historic struggle which, for the next 500 or 1,000 years, will be described as decisive, not only for the history of Germany but for the whole of Europe and indeed for the whole world…A historical revision on a unique scale has been imposed on us by the Creator (quoted in Bullock, ibid., p. 766).
Comment: Hitler did not need to declare war on America. It would have been wise for him not to. America would have directed all its energy against Japan alone. But Hitler declared war on the United States anyway. Why? Because he wanted to! He wanted a world war! He was glad to see it happen. He wanted to take over the whole world. There was a certain madness to Hitler, mixed with Satanic cunning.
Buchanan writes, “Had Britain never given the war guarantee…Communism might have perished in 1940” (p. 301). He also writes, “Was the Holocaust inevitable? Could it have been averted?” (p. 310).
Comment: My answer is that if Britain had not given the war guarantee to Poland, and Hitler had conquered Communist Russia in 1940, the Holocaust would still have happened because that was Hitler’s plan all the time – to exterminate the Jews and enslave or kill the other “inferior” races. That’s what he actually started doing just one year later. If he had conquered Russia Hitler would have annihilated far more Jews, because the Jews of all Russia would have been gassed along with the six million who were slaughtered in Europe. Buchanan’s alternative would have made things far worse, for Jews, Russians, Poles, and everyone who wasn’t German.
A German memo from the Wannsee conference in Berlin in January 1942, planning the Holocaust, said,
Around 11 million Jews come into consideration for this final solution of the European Jewish question…In the process of carrying out the final solution, Europe will be combed through from west to east (quoted in Bullock, Hitler and Stalin, p. 764).
Comment: This envisioned Hitler’s control of all of Europe, including all of Russia. If somehow they had never moved west, but had indeed taken over the rest of Europe, they would have avoided France, England, Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia, perhaps leaving out 1 million Jews, but exterminating the other 10 million European Jews.
A series of comments:
In the Holocaust the Germans killed 6 million Jews. Terrible as that was, there were millions of Jews that they never reached, some in England, but mostly in the parts of Russia that they did not conquer because they were stopped by the combined forces of the Allies in the war effort.
During the Reagan era of the 1980s, a common protest against the Soviet Union was “Free Soviet Jewry.” If Hitler had been victorious in the East, there would have been no Soviet Jewry to free.
In fact, since the fall of the Soviet Union, one million Jews moved to Israel – and this does not include Jews who went elsewhere, such as the United States, or Jews who remained behind in the former U.S.S.R.
If Britain had followed Buchanan’s advice and let Hitler alone, to conquer Russia completely and destroy Communism, millions more Jews would have been killed, not to mention that Nazism would have dominated Europe indefinitely and possibly conquered the whole world.
After defeating Hitler at great cost, America and Britain faced the menace of Communism. True, that was a terrible challenge. But would it have been better for Britain and France to face (without America) all the power and resources of Europe – Germany with Russia and all the other countries the Nazis would have conquered – a Europe dominated by the victorious Nazis? Wouldn’t that have been even worse than the threat of Communism? Hitler and the Nazis would have been the first to build jet airplanes and ballistic missiles – they did so during World War II even though they were being bombed. Would they have been slower in doing so if they had not been bombed? They would have had the atomic bomb if they had been victorious in the East and had not been fought by the West – certainly by 1950, perhaps years earlier. Stalin’s Russia, severely weakened by World War II, exploded their first atomic bomb in 1949. A victorious and undamaged Nazi Germany would have developed the bomb earlier than that. If Hitler had the bomb, would he have used it? Knowing his love of war and mass destruction, the answer is obvious. Even if America had also developed the atomic bomb, certainly Britain and France wouldn’t have had it – Britain didn’t have one until 1952. France didn’t have it until 1960. Would Hitler have used the atomic bomb against Britain and France if he had the bomb and they didn’t, and if America had remained isolationist? Or would Hitler at least have demanded their surrender under threat of the bomb? Again, the answer is obvious.
The title of Buchanan’s book says that World War II was “the unnecessary war.” That title is wrong. More than any war in history, World War II was “the necessary war.” It had to be fought. Hitler had to be stopped, in whatever way and at whatever cost, even though we had to face Communism afterward.
I am glad Winston Churchill did not listen to Buchanan’s type of advice, for there were many who gave it, including Joseph Kennedy, John Kennedy’s father (the U.S. Ambassador to Britain), Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford. Yet Churchill did not listen to their advice, and for this we are eternally grateful to him. What was left of Western civilization was saved due to Churchill more than any other man, and certainly not due to those who spoke then, as Buchanan does now, in the 1930s. Churchill was right and those who wanted to “appease” Hitler and leave him alone were wrong. Patrick J. Buchanan cannot change that fact of history.
As a conservative evangelical Christian, I believe that God has a covenant with the State of Israel in particular, and the Jewish people in general. I believe that Genesis 12:3 clearly shows God's favor to the Jewish people throughout history. In the book of Genesis God gave the "Abrahamic Covenant," which says,
"I will bless them that bless thee [Abraham and his descendants] and curse him that curseth thee [the Jews]: and in thee [the Jews] shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).
My view is given in The Scofield Study Bible (1917 edition), in the notes on Genesis 12:3 and 15:18, etc.
For further reading, regarding the position of this essay, see the following Bibliography.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BOOKS AND ARTICLES
USED IN PREPARING THIS MANUSCRIPT
Buchanan, Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill and the Unnecessary War. New York,
Crown Publishers, 2008.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
Gilbert, Sir Martin. Churchill and the Jews – a Lifelong Friendship.
Henry Holt and Company, 2002.
Gilbert, Sir Martin. Finest Hour, Winston S. Churchill, 1939-1941.
London, Heinemann, 1983. Volume VI of the eight-volume
authorized life of Churchill.
Gilbert, Sir Martin. Road to Victory, Winston S. Churchill, 1941-1945.
London, Heinemann, 1986. Volume VII of the eight-volume
authorized life of Churchill.
Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf (My Struggle), written 1924.
Lukacs, John. The Duel: 10 May – 31 July 1940: The Eighty-Day Struggle
between Churchill and Hitler. Ticknor and Fields, 1991.
Manchester, William. Alone, 1932-1940. New York, Little, Brown and Company,
1988. Volume 2 of The Last Lion, Manchester’s biography of Churchill.
Manchester, William. Visions of Glory, 1874-1932. New York, Little, Brown
and Company, 1983. Volume 1 of The Last Lion, Manchester’s
biography of Churchill.
Makovsky, Michael. Churchill’s Promised Land. Yale University Press, 2007.
Stokes, David R. Buchanan’s Unnecessary Book. Article posted June 13, 2008
on “The New Nixon” blog. Filed under “Book Review” and “History.”
(END OF ARTICLE)
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