Comments: The terrible “ifs” accumulate.

Nothing like a world wrecking calamity to wake people up.

Posted by Alan Kellogg at November 18, 2012 5:01 PM

Yeah, but it often takes such a calamity to wake them up in the first place, by which time, many of them are probably dead.

Posted by waltj at November 18, 2012 6:13 PM

Slightly off topic, I recall my reaction upon reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

I had never questioned the conventional wisdom that the crushing defeat of Germany in WW I caused an economic collapse that allowed Hitler to turn an otherwise peace-loving people into monsters.

From the author Wm. Shirer's first-hand experiences as a correspondent in Berlin between the wars, it became clear to me that the German people had no experience with democratic tradition, and instead naturally looked to a strongman to lead them out of adversity, and that they also required little encouragement to regard themselves as a master race, being already steeped in a rich tradition of racial superiority.

It was a chilling experience to realize that yes, Virginia, there is evil in the world, despite all of our attempts to rationalize it away as simple lack of understanding, usually on our own part. When I tried to share this perspective in quite a dispassionate way with a liberal relative of mine, she was emotionally incapable of listening to my impressions of this book, and after informing me that obviously Shirer had no qualification to judge the Germans after merely living among them for years, literally ran away in tears.

Posted by sherlock at November 18, 2012 10:09 PM

Slightly off topic, I recall my reaction upon reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

I had never questioned the conventional wisdom that the crushing defeat of Germany in WW I caused an economic collapse that allowed Hitler to turn an otherwise peace-loving people into monsters.

From the author Wm. Shirer's first-hand experiences as a correspondent in Berlin between the wars, it became clear to me that the German people had no experience with democratic tradition, and instead naturally looked to a strongman to lead them out of adversity, and that they also required little encouragement to regard themselves as a master race, being already steeped in a rich tradition of racial superiority.

It was a chilling experience to realize that yes, Virginia, there is evil in the world, despite all of our attempts to rationalize it away as simple lack of understanding, usually on our own part. When I tried to share this perspective in quite a dispassionate way with a liberal relative of mine, she was emotionally incapable of listening to my impressions of this book, and after informing me that obviously Shirer had no qualification to judge the Germans after merely living among them for years, literally ran away in tears.

Posted by sherlock at November 18, 2012 10:16 PM

I have always had a slight tendency to stutter.

Posted by sherlock at November 18, 2012 10:18 PM

Sherlock, wasn't Hitler "elected" by the German people? How many other countries at that time had no experience with democracy, most were still monarchies. Your hatred of Germany blinds you, I suppose the fire bombing of Dresden and killing thousands of civilians was your cup of tea.

Posted by Alex at November 19, 2012 7:12 AM

War is hell dude. When the gloves come off, there are no limits (i.e. existential struggle in high-falutin language), and the longer it goes, the more savage it gets. Which is weird, you're trying to throw guilt at us over Dresden, Tokyo, etc. Talk to us about Sherman and Grant and Sheridan, let's see where your loyalties really are.

Posted by John A. Fleming at November 19, 2012 12:14 PM

Fleming, here you go again, talking like a liberal, mixing up the argument with different facts to suit your agenda. Was it not true that the Germans had elected Hitler and at that time people thought that was great? Typical of liberals is to not address the issue, the fire bombing of Dresden and murder of countless civilians and election of Hitler, and throw in other events to obfuscate the point. And who is "us" btw?

Posted by Alex at November 19, 2012 12:44 PM

Not a "liberal". I just try to do simple-minded analysis. Strategic bombing campaigns were a theory of warfare. Sometimes these theories work, sometimes not. At the time, the expectation was that by both 1. destroying the enemy's capability to fight, as well as 2. destroying the enemy's will to fight on, that it would bring the war to a merciful quick end and spare lives. It failed on both counts, but nobody knew it would until was tried.

However, it worked in a altered form, over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there's been a large faction in the U.S. and elsewehere that has been trying to get the other faction to accept "guilt" for the failure in Europe, and the success in Hiro/Naga. I guess because if you can get your opponent to accept guilt, you can control their future actions.

Sorry, won't accept guilt. In war, bad stuff happens. Guilt is the only tool the losing side has to gain mercy from the victors

Posted by John A. Fleming at November 19, 2012 1:00 PM

In modern warfare, there are no "uninvolved civilians". The aggressor state was and remains enabled by its people, and the aggressor will certainly not respect its enemy's population. The only thing that can possibly moderate the aggressor, is that if they lose, tney can expect war crimes trials for the leadership. That's pretty much never stopped anybody.

Don't elect middling men with delusions of grandeur, and don't allow men who would be Leviathan from grasping the powers of state. If you allow them, then you have accepted the consequences.

As for cries of "oh the humanity!", that's just thinking shaped by this long Pax Americana. We have kept the Four Horseman stabled for a long time, our strength and will to continue to do so is likely ending. In the long march of history, the savagery of the conqueror and the travails of the conquered are ever-present. What proof is there that we are past all that?

Posted by John A. Fleming at November 19, 2012 1:34 PM

So what are Mr. Dunning-Kruger and his mob of mediocrities cooking up for us? It's not likely that even they know, so cocooned in their airy-fairy dreams of shaping the world to As It Should Be, D*** The Consequences.

Unfortunately, we'll all get to be mugged by reality: his base, his low-info voters (pro and con), and everyone else. You break it, you bought it.

Posted by John A. Fleming at November 19, 2012 3:09 PM

The review at the Mises Institute is appallingly incompetent, and does a disservice to the reader.

There were no "secret cliques" controlling British foreign policy, still less aiming to start war with Germany. Foreign policy was dealt with by the Foreign Minister, who was fully accountable to a Cabinet with a parliamentary mandate. There is no comparison with Nazi Germany.

Secret diplomacy did not start or contribute to the outbreak of war. There certainly were secret treaties, but none of the powers that declared war did so in accordance with any of those treaties, which were in fact completely irrelevant. All the diplomacy at the time was concerned to prevent the war.

There were no "conspiracies" against Germany. States threatened by German power and ambition planned and prepared to resist Germany if necessary. Nobody considered it necessary right up until Germany actually went to war. Nobody in France was planning or scheming against Germany. They were invaded and had no choice but to fight or surrender.

Belgium was certainly not a pretext. There's no doubt at all that Britain would not have gone to war if Belgium had not been invaded, or even if Belgium had chosen not to resist invasion.

In a nutshell, there's a lot in this review which is plain crap. If the book really says it, then it's worthless and should be condemned. Very likely, it doesn't say that at all and is being grossly misinterpreted. Either way, this review is a disgrace.

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Posted by Exactly what at January 11, 2013 6:33 PM

I've probably told you berfoe, but one of my best friends is in Jacksonville. The first time I flew with Logan when he was 5 mos. old, we flew into Jacksonville and she picked us up b/c the ticket prices were better into Jax & figured it would give me a chance to see her. Then we got hit by a Hurricane while we were there(Central FL~~my original home). I was never so happy to leave FL!(We were w/o electricity) LOL

Posted by Alex at January 18, 2013 12:28 AM

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