The Truth About World War II Is Beginning To Emerge 74 Years Later
Paul Craig Roberts
“The Lies About World War II” is my most popular column of the year. It is a book review of David Irving’s Hitler’s War and Churchill’s War, the first volumn of Irving’s three volume biography of Winston Churchill. A person does not know anything about WW II until he has read these books.
Historians, and even book reviewers, who tell the truth pay a high price. For reasons I provide in my review, generally it is decades after a war before truth about the war can emerge. By then the court historians have fused lies with patriotism and created a pleasing myth about the war, and when emerging truth impinges on that myth, the truth-teller is denounced for making a case for the enemy.
Wars are fought with words as well as with bullets and bombs. The propaganda and demonization of the enemy are extreme. This is especially the case when it is the victors who start the war and have to cover up this fact as well as the war crimes for which they are responsible. When decades later the covered up crimes of the victors are brought to light, truth is up against the explanation that has been controlled for a half century. This makes the truth seem outlandish, and this makes it easy to demonize and even destroy the historian who brought the truth to the surface.
This makes a problem for a reviewer of revisionist history of World War II. If a reviewer gives an honest review, he faces the same demonization as the historian who brought the truth about the war to the surfice.
This happened to me when I reviewed Irving’s books, both of which were researched for decades and completely documented. I was supposed to denounce Irving, in which case my stock would have gone up, but giving him an honest review got me branded “a holocaust denier” by Wikipedia, in my opinion a CIA front created in order to protect the official stories by marginalizing truth-tellers.
I have never studied the holocaust or written anything about it. I simply reported Irving’s assessment based entirely on documented evidence that many Jews were killed, but there was not the organized holocaust that is taught in the schools and which is a crime to dispute in many European countries.
So, this is how bad it is. I am, according to Wikipedia, a “holocaust denier” for the simple reason that I honestly reported Irving’s findings instead of jumping on him with hob-nailed boots for giving evidence contrary to the protected official story. Anyone who does not protect official explanations is “suspect.”
In my opinion what makes historians suspicious of the official holocaust story is the extreme resistance to any investigation of the event. One would think that investigation would support the story if it were true. It would seem that it is the Jews who raise questions about the holocaust by placing it off limits for open discussion. I personally am not very interested in the holocaust, because WW II itself was a holocaust. Tens of millions of people were killed. The Russians themselves lost 26 million, 20 million more than the holocause figure of 6 million Jews. The Germans after the war was over lost considerably more thn 6 million in the forced resettlements and General Eisenhower’s murder of 1.5 million German POWs by starvation and exposure. ( See John Wear, Germany’s War, and James Bacque, Other Losses, for the massive evidence. )
Somehow World War II has become the Jewish holocaust, not everyone else’s.
My interest is the predominance of propaganda and lies over truth. Ron Unz has the same interest. Four months after my column, “The Lies About World War II,” appeared, Unz took the story further in his long report, “Understanding World War II” ( http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-understanding-world-war-ii/ ). Unz’s columns tend to be monographs or small books, well beyond the attention spans of most Americans. Unz has given me permission to republish his monograph in installments. This is the first installment.
I learned from Unz’s article that getting rid of truth-tellers has been the practice of the West for a long time. Unz got interested in WW II when Pat Buchanan’s book, The Unnecessary War, became an issue for The American Conservative, a magazine for which Unz was the major money man. Unz couldn’t find that much difference between Buchanan’s book and that of A.J. P. Taylor’s The Origins of the Second World War. Yet The American Conservative, fearful of challenging WW II myths, was disassociating from its own founder, Pat Buchanan.
Disassociation from official truth cost Taylor his lecturership at Oxford University. Taylor’s publication of The Origins of the Second World War, caused Oxford to decline to renew Taylor’s appointment as a university lecturer in modern history. Taylor left Oxford for a lecturership at the University College London. Note that England’s best historian at the time was a mere lecturer, not a professor of modern history. Truth-tellers don’t advance very far in the world of information.
Harry Elmer Barnes explained that the origins of World War I were in France and Russia, not in Germany, which was the last to mobilize but was blamed for the war, resulting in the Treaty of Versailles, which led to WW II. Unz was stunned to find that Barnes, a historian of great stature, was unknown to him. Unz writes:
“Imagine my shock at later discovering that Barnes had actually been one of the most frequent early contributors to Foreign Affairs, serving as a primary book reviewer for that venerable publication from its 1922 founding onward, while his stature as one of America’s premier liberal academics was indicated by his scores of appearances in The Nation and The New Republic throughout that decade. Indeed, he is credited with having played a central role in ‘revising’ the history of the First World War so as to remove the cartoonish picture of unspeakable German wickedness left behind as a legacy of the dishonest wartime propaganda produced by the opposing British and American governments. And his professional stature was demonstrated by his thirty-five or more books, many of them influential academic volumes, along with his numerous articles in The American Historical Review, Political Science Quarterly, and other leading journals.
“A few years ago I happened to mention Barnes to an eminent American academic scholar whose general focus in political science and foreign policy was quite similar, and yet the name meant nothing. By the end of the 1930s, Barnes had become a leading critic of America’s proposed involvement in World War II, and was permanently ‘disappeared’ as a consequence, barred from all mainstream media outlets, while a major newspaper chain was heavily pressured into abruptly terminating his long-running syndicated national column in May 1940.”
Unz next tells us how the establishment got rid of Charles A. Beard. Beard was an intellectual of high stature. But “once he turned against Franklin D. Roosevelt’s warmongering foreign policy, publishers shut their doors to him, and only his personal friendship with the head of the Yale University Press allowed his critical 1948 volume, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941, to even appear in print. Beard’s stellar reputation seems to have begun a rapid decline from that point onward, so that by 1968 historian Richard Hofstadter could write: ‘Today Beard’s reputation stands like an imposing ruin in the landscape of American historiography. What was once the grandest house in the province is now a ravaged survival’. Indeed, Beard’s once-dominant ‘economic interpretation of history’ might these days almost be dismissed as promoting ‘dangerous conspiracy theories,’ and I suspect few non-historians have even heard of him.”
William Henry Chamberlin was one of America’s leading foreign policy journalists, an author of 15 books whose writings appeared regularly in The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. His career was terminated when his critical analysis of America’s entry into WW II, America’s Second Crusade, was published in 1950.
Unz gives other examples of highly credible authors being cast into darkness for telling the truth while the establishment provides lavish rewards to those who endorse the propaganda line. Unz concludes that “A climate of serious intellectual repression greatly complicates our ability to uncover the events of the past. Under normal circumstances, competing claims can be weighed in the give-and-take of public or scholarly debate, but this obviously becomes impossible if the subjects being discussed are forbidden ones.”
The victors control the explanations and bury their own guilt and war crimes behind a humanitarian smokescreen of “saving democracy.” It is the function of historians to penetrate the smokescreen and to dig up the buried facts.
One of the icons of the Anglo-American world is Winston Churchill. Unz summarizes some of the information historians have uncovered about Churchill:
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