web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Pat Buchanan: Resurrecting Appeasement


The archconservative Patrick Buchanan has never found an isolationist cause, other than the anti-anti-communist one, that he didn’t like. First he penned A Republic, Not an Empire to make the case for American active disengagement from the world’s woes but, apparently unheeded, this hasn’t sufficed.

Accordingly, in his latest tome, Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, he has targeted the biggest objection to his preferred course of action – the disastrous consequences of appeasing Nazi Germany in the 1930s. His argument is simple: appeasement of Hitler wasn’t the culprit – the Allied victors of World War One were.

Buchanan asks: “How did Munich lead to World War II?” and answers – it didn’t. Instead, he says, the war-causing event was the Allies’ violation of the principle of self-determination by creating Czechoslovakia, which, as he put it in a recent column, absorbed “3 million Germans, 3 million Slovaks, 800,000 Hungarians, 150,000 Poles and 500,000 Ruthenians.”

What Buchanan doesn’t mention is that there was no way to provide viable self-determination for some groups without creating new minorities, as Europe’s populations were deeply entangled. Nor does he disclose that the Munich agreement incorporated 800,000 Czechs into the Third Reich, whose right to self-determination Buchanan lacks the audacity to claim was in any way inferior to that of Germans in Czechoslovakia.

These are gaping omissions in an argument claiming that the Allies violated the principle of self-determination. Nor does Buchanan argue for any alternative principle the Allies should have followed.

These omissions enable a disingenuous argument. They convey the false impression that self-determination was a sound, rather than problematic, idea and that it was dishonored by the Allies rather than imperfectly implemented by them. This in turn allows Buchanan to insinuate that the problems of inter-war Europe were the creation of the Allies, rather than inherent in the situation.

Thus, Buchanan presents Nazi demands in 1938 and 1939 as being simply instances of Germans justly seeking self-determination. That in turn entails another omission: failing to mention why applying the principle of self-determination to create Czechoslovakia proved so disruptive that a world war was risked in 1938. After all, many peoples have their minorities in other lands. That is no necessary tragedy. The tragedy is to be everywhere a minority. Yet in 1938, the overwhelming majority of Germans enjoyed self-determination, embodied in the largest, most powerful state in the heart of Europe. Yet even this proved insufficient. Why? Buchanan doesn’t say.

The answer is this: the Nazi supremacist policy of conquest and enslavement – a policy that anyone who cared to know at the time could have discovered meant that either the Allies would have to concede all Hitler demanded, or war would result. But the appeasers didn’t want to know it then and Buchanan, who knows it now, simply strikes it from the record – while belittling the most prominent figure who did understand from the beginning, Winston Churchill. Like the appeasers, Buchanan detaches shards of legitimacy from totalitarian claims – much like present-day appeasers of Islamist aggression.

Unfortunately for Buchanan, the historical record is not amenable to this sort of engineering. Issues of self-determination led to world war not because, as Buchanan argues, Britain and France took an imprudent interest in standing by Poland’s refusal to disgorge itself of German-populated territories, but because the dynamic aggressiveness of Nazi Germany made a stand at some point imperative.

It was painfully clear by 1939 that Germany did not simply want the Paris peace settlement redrawn as if Germany had not lost: it wanted it rewritten as if Germany had won. In that distinction lies the world of difference between legitimate claims that can be arbitrated, and consuming appetites that cannot be, if I may for once use the word, appeased.

Buchanan tactfully says nothing about why Britain found itself in 1938 at Munich with the unenviable dilemma of either conceding Hitler’s demands or going to war with Germany when “she had no draft, no Spitfires, no divisions ready to be sent to France.” Yet the reason for this dilemma and these near-fatal deficiencies was years of appeasement – precisely the policy Buchanan is at pains to resurrect.

About the Author: Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the Zionist Organization of America's Center for Middle East Policy.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Pat Buchanan: Resurrecting Appeasement”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a government meeting.
Proposed Conversion Bill, Change in Local Rabbinate Power Nixed by Netanyahu
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Daniel Mandel

Confidence building measures have proven to be obstacles to peace.

Palestinians during a rally in the West Bank town of Ramallah, 15 May 2007, to mark the 59th anniversary of the 'Nakba,' or 'catastrophe', that refers to the creation of the state of Israel.

The Palestinians do not mourn their decision to go to war to abort Israel. They mourn that they failed.

The other week, responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech that envisaged creating a demilitarized Palestinian state, perennial Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said, “I told President Obama that solving the crises of the Arab and Muslim worlds goes through Jerusalem.”

The archconservative Patrick Buchanan has never found an isolationist cause, other than the anti-anti-communist one, that he didn’t like. First he penned A Republic, Not an Empire to make the case for American active disengagement from the world’s woes but, apparently unheeded, this hasn’t sufficed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/pat-buchanan-resurrecting-appeasement/2008/07/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: