Skip to comments.Putin vs. Hitler; is there a parallel between Sudetenland and Crimea?
Posted on 03/14/2014 3:59:53 AM PDT by moneyrunner
Our local morning drive-time talk radio host, Tony Macrini, was waxing wroth over people who were critical of Obamas handling of the crisis in Europe as Russia absorbs part of Ukraine. There are those, including Richard Cohen, a liberal columnist of the Washington Post who thought it might be time to apologize to Neville Chamberlain.
Recalling that Hitlers excuse for taking the Sudetenland was that he wanted to protect the Germans who lived there, Cohen writes: Putin is demanding for Crimea more or less what Hitler wanted for the Sudetenland: Russians ought to be in Russia. Macrini wont hear of the parallel. In fact, its an axiom that if you compare anything or anyone to Hitler (it even has a name: 'Argumentum Ad Hitlerum') you are assumed to automatically lose the argument. For example, Hitler was a vegetarian, but its ridiculous to conclude that vegetarians are little Hitlers. Hitler was an enthusiastic supporter of building the autobahn, that doesnt make politicians who are in favor of building the interstate highways are like Hitler. Mike Godwin formulated whats known as Godwins law which states As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. However, if a leader starts to demand that his supporters salute him with a raised arm, or thinks that Jews should be exterminated, does Godwins law or a logical fallacy -'Argumentum Ad Hitlerum' - occur?
I can understand why Liberals have been so fond of comparing conservatives to Hitler. Popular culture thinks of Hitler as a right-winger. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, Hitler headed the National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI). He was labeled a right-winger by Stalin after he invaded Russia and thanks to the Lefts influence on culture, the label stuck. In reality, Hitler competed with the Communists in Germany for power, but it was really a civil war among members of the Left rather than a right-left battle. In fact many Communists joined Hitler during the struggle.
That hasn't stopped the Left. Google Bush Hitler and get 40 million links, Reagan gets a mere 5.4 million, Romney 13 million and Rush Limbaugh gets almost a million without even holding office. Now Hitler was a very bad man and is probably the most reviled human being most people of this century know, but he is not the record holder for people killed in the last century. Those records were held by two Communist tyrants who managed to reduce the worlds population by somewhere between 50 and 100 million each.
I think its entirely appropriate to compare people to Hitler if there is a similarity. And Putins annexation of the Crimea is stunningly similar to Hitlers annexation of the Sudetenland. Even the exuses are the same. In fact Putins move was quicker and involved less diplomatic maneuvering. Few people doubt that Putin rules Russia and that those who oppose him wind up hurt, imprisoned or dead. So far, no there is no Putin salute yet.
Macrini reflects the opinion of lots of people in the US who are reflexively opposed to foreign intervention. Some, like Macrini, are old enough to have been traumatized by Viet Nam. Most people see the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as either wrong or badly botched. Libertarians are ideologically inclined to oppose sending military forces outside of Americas borders. Some look at our participation in World War 1 as ill advised, although World War 2 was called the "good war" because of Japans direct attack on our fleet at Pearl Harbor. Prior to that attack a large number of Americans wanted nothing to do with the war in Europe or Japan's wars in Asia. That feeling disappeared after the day that will live in infamy. America entered the war and 418,000 American deaths later, the war was over.
Whats interesting to me is that the anti-war faction in England, before the beginning of World War 2, was probably in the majority. And why not? They had vastly more reason to be war weary than we. Europe lost an entire generation less than 20 years earlier in what they called The Great War. The last thing they wanted to do was to repeat that disaster; a disaster as much for the victors as the vanquished. The British and their allies had 22 million casualties while the Germans and their allies suffered over 15 million. Americas casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan total less than 60,000, mostly wounded, but thats enough to make a large part of the American public say "enough." Especially if the popular culture persuades the public that these wars were either wrong or worse yet - based on a lie.
Lets get in the Wayback Machine and see what British attitudes were to Hitlers demands for the annexation of part of Czechoslovakia in 1938. And why Tony Macrini and Neville Chamberlain have so much in common.
. . . I want to say that the settlement of the Czechoslovak problem which has now been achieved is, in my view, only a prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. -- Neville Chamberlain, 30 September 1938
Theres a little back story to the events that led up to Munich that most people are not aware of. Hitler had told his Generals that he wanted to "smash" Czechoslovakia militarily with an attack on October 1, 1938.
But the German generals knew that an attack on Czechoslovakia could bring in Britain and France, and possibly even Soviet Russia. The German Army believed it wasnt ready for this. It only had 31 fully armed divisions while the French alone had over 100 divisions and Czechoslovakia had 45 divisions plus a heavily fortified defense line along the border with Germany.
The top leaders of the German officer corps met and plotted to arrest Hitler the moment he gave the order to invade. But the plan would only work if Britain and France made it know they would fight if Hitler moved to invade Czechoslovakia. So they sent agents to England to inform the Chamberlain government of their plan. The problem was that the British didn't believe them. In addition, Chamberlain had his own peace agenda and preferred to negotiate, even to the extent of carving out a piece of Czechoslovakia and giving it to Hitler.
People who proposed appeasement believed that their concession was the end of Hitlers ambitions. When that proved not to be the case, they actually enabled the war that they were anxious to avoid.
From British reaction to the Munich Crisis:
The appeasement proponents looked back to the Great War and the Treaty of Versailles as the causes of the Sudeten minority controversy. They viewed World War I as useless destruction caused by Allied fear of Germany's power. In their view, the Allies needed their combined strength to defeat Germany; then, by force, they imposed the harsh Versailles Treaty upon Germany while it was weak. They did this to permanently cripple Germany and prevent it from ever threatening the Allies or the balance of power on the Continent again. George Glasgow, writing in the Contemporary Review, viewed World War I as having no purpose because the Allies failed to achieve their objective of permanently weakening Germany. Despite defeat in 1918, Germany was again the strongest military power twenty years later. Pointing out that the effect of defeat did not last, Glasgow believed that a world war would have to be fought every twenty years to keep Germany down. He argued that there was no way to stop the inevitable German dominance since defeat in war did not. Lord Elton claimed in the Fortnightly Review that it was the Allies who caused the formation of the Nazi party because of the harsh Versailles provisions that aimed to weaken Germany. This harsh treaty, which the Allies failed to revise caused the German people to gravitate towards the ultra-nationalist Nazis. He also criticized the League of Nations for not fulfilling its promise to revise the Versailles treaty.
Like current advocates of appeasement, the advocates in 1938 believed that Germany has legitimate grievances. And they may have been right. But they were totally wrong about the extent of Hitlers ambitions.
Robert Parker, writing in the Fortnightly, regarded the Czechs as ruthless people bent on dominating the other nationalities under them.
In his editorial letter in The Times (London), Archibald Ramsay described the Czechs as vicious exploiters of the Sudeten Germans
An editorial in The Times argued that Czech reforms considering the Sudetens should have been carried out a long time ago and claimed that if the problem was addressed earlier, there would have been no crisis.
J. A. Spender, writing in the Contemporary Review, saw the Czechs as victims of their own mistake of not solving the problem of the Sudeten Germans.
Arthur Bryant, writing for the Illustrated London News, believed that the Sudetens were subjected to the rule of an alien race due to a humiliating peace treaty.
Ramsay thought it senseless to fight to deny the democratic right of the Sudeten Germans for self-determination. A war, he believed, would cost millions of lives and would be fought so the Czechs could continue to oppress their German minority.
Robert Parker argued that Hitler would not go to war since Czechoslovakia was completely at his mercy but contradictorily stated that the maintenance of Czechoslovakia was important as a barrier to Hitler.
J.A. Spender proposed that the Sudeten problem be settled early by negotiation since it may have escalated beyond control.
The Times advocating territorial revision consistently throughout the crisis, printed on 7 September 1938, an editorial that favored the partition of Czechoslovakia: . . . it might be worth while for the Czechoslovak Government to consider whether they should exclude altogether the project, which has found favour in some quarters, of making Czechoslovakia a more homogenous state by the secession of that fringe of alien populations who are contiguous to the nation with which they are united by race.
John Fischer Williams, in his editorial letter to The Times, advocated a plebiscite to resolve the controversy.
D.A.W. Hamilton stated his unique solution to the crisis in an editorial letter to The Times. He believed the crisis could have been solved without the transfer of territory by the exchange of populations.
With 20/20 hindsight we know how things turned out. Those who wanted to believe that Hitler had no ambitions beyond the Sudetenland were wrong.
What are Putins ambitions? Is he really concerned with the ethnic Russians in the Crimea? Not even Tony Macrini is that gullible. Putin is quoted as saying that the dissolution of the USSR was illegal and that it was a geopolitical catastrophe. Those are the words of a man who would like to reconstitute the Soviet Union.
So whats to be done? The time to stop the next major war is to make sure that those who would force the world into that catastrophe are stopped early. That does not mean we have to go to war with Russia over Crimea. What it does mean is to take steps to let Putin know that hes crossed a line. And that means something more than denunciations in the UN and shaking our fingers at Putin. It means that we need to be willing to coordinate our military efforts with those countries that are threatened by the Russians. It means that there can be no more free land-grabs for Putin. And it means to look for people, like the German generals in 1938 who were ready to depose Hitler, who are willing to depose Putin. Which will mean some saber rattling as well as some actual military brinkmanship to see if Putin is really ready to go to war rather than picking on defenseless victims.
I’m more worried about a parallel between Ukraine and Poland.
Day late, dollar short.
Crimea is not Sudetenland because Putin did not get, nor did he need, a “Munich” agreement before a military invasion. Worse, the West is entirely absent.
Crimea is Austria.
So when Putin takes that as a “go” to take the rest of Ukraine, Ukraine will be the Sudeten of the rest of eastern Europe, which will be the Poland of all of Europe.
Why should Putin stop anywhere? French and British nukes? Are they willing to commit suicide just to keep Russian troops out? I think not. Give me a good reason?
It is just beyond my ability to conceive that Merkel and her government could possibly want a rematch.
L'viv and its formerly Austrian hinterlands will break away.
The rest of Ukraine? Done deal, in my opinion.
There IS a "European" part of Ukraine around L'viv. And what's the one thing we know about Europeans? They won't "die for Danzig".
If you read the entire post, that argument is eerily similar to those made in 1938.
How about a comparison between Hitler and Obama?
14 Similarities Between Obama And Hitler
Different chess board this time. There won't be two fronts.
Waiting for the Czechs and Poles to go nuclear.
Obama vs. Hitler; is there a parallel.
That’s more accurate.
It's still von der Maas bis an die Memel, not bis an die Kiew.
It is naïve fantasy to believe that Russia would or should tolerate a hostile alliance quartered on its southern flank and in control of Russia's sole year-round access to warm water. Thank goodness NATO did not make Ukraine a member, or the alliance would now be treaty bound to defend it. The United States is a spent empire, nearing bankruptcy and military depletion thanks to years of needless and wasteful wars across the globe. Ukraine would be the ultimate tarbaby, ultimately unwinnable and not our fight to begin with.
We armchair pundits love to criticize generals for preparing for the last war which is exactly what this article does. The quoted statement above is absolutely right, nuclear weapons change everything.
Moreover, the experience of warfare since the explosion of the bomb in 1945 quite independently demonstrates that the acquisition of territory often is it a greater liability than an asset. America has experienced problems of occupying indigestible populations in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Russians have learned, or should have learned, this lesson in Afghanistan.
Apart from petroleum products, the acquisition of raw materials is no longer the Sine qua non of a world power. Technology and finance trump copper or iron ore in a world in which trade is ubiquitous and shipping lanes are open. Oil remains an exception but the whole petroleum economy of the world is now being stood on its head.
If the author of this article wanted to compare the appeasement of Hitler leading up to the world war two he ought to compare the national interests of the Western powers in the second half of the 1930s and the national interest of the United States in this decade but he has not even made that attempt. The British had a centuries long policy of combining with the second strongest power on the continent to check greatest power. That was a time when land war was conventional and the acquisition occupation of land was the goal of the game. The British policy of appeasement departed from that centuries long successful policy.
Today, even non-nuclear war is not "conventional" in the same sense and, in any event, we live in the nuclear age. Intercontinental ballistic missiles tend to make the acquisition of small bits of turf irrelevant. The national interests of the United States in this decade do not make it a crucial matter of survival or even of the advancement of serious American interests to thwart Russia's aggression-and aggression it indisputably is-in and around Crimea.
The national interests of the United States lie in restoring its economy, developing its energy potential, preserving its military might, and advancing its technology lead. None of these things will be served by involvement in Crimea and every one of them will probably be set back by doing so.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.