En defensa de “Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War” de Pat Buchanan (2)

Después de introducir el artículo que me llevó a leer el libro, voy a contar la mi interpretación de la polémica.

Es un mapa sobre la PGM. Pincha para ver más.

Todo empezó con este artículo de VDH (The Bad War?), en el que junto con el libro de Buchanan descalifica también “Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, de Nicholson Baker” (no lo conozco), libro que considera crímenes de guerra los bombardeos aliados de ciudades alemanas. Para mí muchos de esos bombardeos lo fueron, por ejemplo el de Dresden. Vamos a ver algunas de las afirmaciones de VDH:

Take the new book by conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, “Churchill, Hitler and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World.” Buchanan argues that, had the imperialist Winston Churchill not pushed poor Hitler into a corner, he would have never invaded Poland in 1939, which triggered an unnecessary Allied response.

Eso es una caricatura del libro, como indicado. El libro expone los errores diplomáticos y estratégicos continuados de Gran Bretaña desde antes de la PGM. La garantía a Polonia fue un error, porque no podía hacerse efectiva; de hecho al final hubo que entregársela en bandeja a Stalin. No hace falta decir que lo de “pobre Hitler” está escrito con mala fe.

Maybe then the subsequent world war, and its 50 million dead, could have been avoided. Taking that faulty argument to its logical end, I suppose today a united West might live in peace with a reformed (and victorious) Nazi Third Reich!

No, lo más probable es que Alemania y la URSS se hubieran aniquilado mutuamente; el comunismo hubiera sido eliminado y Hitler domesticado,  incluso neutralizado.

On the left, the novelist Nicholson Baker in a book of nonfiction, “Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization,” builds the case that the Allied bombing of German cities was tantamount to a war crime.

Apparently there was no need to, in blanket fashion, attack German urban centers and the industry, transportation and communications concentrated inside them. From Baker’s comfortable vantage point, either the war was amoral or unnecessary — or there must have been more humane ways to stop the flow of fuel, crews and equipment for the Waffen SS divisions that invaded Europe and Russia.

Desde luego que hubiera habido medios mucho más humanos de parar a Hitler que bombardear civiles. Pero además, VDH no tiene en cuenta los casos en que simplemente se pretendió matar civiles, como Hamburgo y Dresden (en este caso civiles en huida).

In the luxury of some 60 years of postwar peace and affluence — and perhaps in anger over the current Iraq war — Buchanan and Baker and other revisionists engage in a common sort of Western second-guessing. The result is that they always demand liberal democracies be not just better and smarter than their adversaries, but almost superhuman in their perfection.

No. Buchanan demuestra que actuaron incompetentemente, y de forma manifiesta y repetida: Ante los débiles demócratas alemanes nunca cedieron, sin embargo a Hitler le hicieron una concesión tras otra. Más aún, no le pararon cuando empezó y era débil y sin embargo le dieron unas garantías imposibles a Polonia a él cuando era fuerte. De locos.

Buchanan and others, for example, fault the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I as too harsh on a defeated Germany and thus an understandable pretext for the rise of the Nazis, who played on German anger and fear.

Those accords may have been flawed, but they were far better than what Germany itself had offered France in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War, or Russia after its collapse in 1917 — or what it had planned for Britain and France had it won the First World War. What ultimately led to World War II was neither Allied meanness to Germany between the two wars nor an unwillingness to understand the Nazis’ pain and anguish.

Versalles fue una canallada. Sin las condiciones impuestas a Alemania, no hubiera surgido Hitler. Cierto es que se le hubiera podido parar fácilmente al principio.

The mistake instead was not occupying all of imperial Germany after the first war in 1918-19. That way, the Allies would have demonstrated to the German people that their army was never “stabbed in the back” at home, as the Nazis later alleged, but instead defeated by an Allied army that was willing to stay on to foster German constitutional government and its reintegration within Europe. The Allies later did occupy Germany after World War II — and 60 years without war have followed.

Cierto, eso hubiera sido otra posibilidad. Pero es historia ficción: nunca se planteó nada remotamente parecido, que yo sepa.

A Nazi armored division or death camp stopped its murderous work not through reasoned appeal or self-reflection, but only when its fuel, supplies and manpower were cut off.

¿? Por favor, en Hamburgo y Dresden se atacaron civiles, en muchos casos fugitivos.

I am currently visiting military cemeteries in France, Luxembourg and Belgium, some of the most beautiful, solemn acres in Europe. The thousands of Americans lying beneath the rows of white crosses at Normandy Beach, at Hamm, Luxembourg, and at St. Avold in the Lorraine probably did not debate the Versailles Treaty or worry too much whether a B-17 took out a neighbourhood when it tried to hit a German rail yard.

Esto NO es un argumento. En fin, el libro sale de la faena tan vivo como entró en la plaza, porque VDH toreó un morlaco de su invención. Buchanan le respondió; VDH replicó (Reply to Patrick J. Buchanan), pero eso es ya un diálogo de sordos sin mayor interés. Pongamos sin embargo algo de muestra:

Third, was it moral, Hanson, for Britain to promise the Poles military aid they could not and did not deliver, thus steeling Polish resolve to resist Hitler and guaranteeing Poland’s annihilation?

[Now this is a strange contortion. The Poles were already steeled since they had known first hand German aggrandizement since 1914, had seen what Hitler had done in the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and knew well the futility of appeasement. A militarily weak Britain and morally bankrupt France are to be faulted for not attacking in the West in September 1939, but applauded for at least declaring war on Hitler and finally apprising him that his aggression would no longer be treated with rhetoric but now with armed resistance. ]

No sé si “moral” es la palabra adecuada; en todo caso fue un error político. De hecho Polonia sufrió como ningún otro país: muerte, destrucción y 40 años de comunismo de propina.

Was it wise, Hanson, for Britain to declare a world war on the strongest nation in Europe over a town, Danzig, where the British prime minister thought Germany had the stronger claim?

[This is ludicrous. Danzig was a mere “town”? In fact, Britain declared war because for years Hitler had serially violated all of its WWI and international agreements, dismembered Czechoslovakia, and revealed the true nature of Nazi global aggrandizement as outlined years before in Mein Kampf.]

Ahí está el quid de la cuestión: debieron haber atacado cuando rompió con los acuerdos, no en el año 40.

What were the consequences for Poland of trusting in Britain?

Crucifixion on a Nazi-Soviet cross, the Katyn massacre of the Polish officer corps, Treblinka and Auschwitz, annihilation of the Home Army, millions of brave Polish dead, half a century of Bolshevik terror.[This is reprehensible. Now British military weakness is blamed for Auschwitz, rather than the innate sinister nature of Nazism? Does Buchanan believe that had Britain not tried to stop Hitler, the death camps would have never occurred? Does he know of the prewar Nazi precursors to the Final Solution, the geneses of which were clear from Germany’s own treatment of its chronically ill and mentally disturbed?]

No, a Gran Bretaña se le acusa de insensatez política, no de los crímenes nazis o soviéticos.

And how did Churchill honor Britain’s commitment to Poland?

During trips to Moscow, Churchill bullied the Polish prime minister into ceding to Stalin that half of his country Stalin had gotten from his devil’s pact with Hitler, and yielded to Stalin’s demand for annexation of the Baltic republics and Bolshevik rule of a dozen nations of Eastern and Central Europe.[Churchill distrusted Stalin, but by 1943 understood that a weak British Empire had no leverage at all against Stalin’s 400 divisions. Again in hindsight Churchill can be made to look illiberal, but given the realities of the times, there was no one more suspicious of the ally Stalin, or more sympathetic to the Poles.]

Vaya. VDH se nos apunta ahora a la realpolitik: “given the realities of the times”.

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