Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World

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Were World Wars I and II—which can now be seen as a thirty-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction—inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men’s control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment? In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen—Winston Churchill first among them—the horrors of two world wars and the ...
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Overview

Were World Wars I and II—which can now be seen as a thirty-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction—inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men’s control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment? In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen—Winston Churchill first among them—the horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins. Half a century of murderous oppression of scores of millions under the iron boot of Communist tyranny might never have happened, and Europe’s central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations.

Among the British and Churchillian blunders were:

• The secret decision of a tiny cabal in the inner Cabinet in 1906 to take Britain straight to war against Germany, should she invade France
• The vengeful Treaty of Versailles that muti- lated Germany, leaving her bitter, betrayed, and receptive to the appeal of Adolf Hitler
• Britain’s capitulation, at Churchill’s urging, to American pressure to sever the Anglo- Japanese alliance, insulting and isolating Japan, pushing her onto the path of militarism and conquest
• The 1935 sanctions that drove Italy straight into the Axis with Hitler
• The greatest blunder in British history: the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939—that guaranteed the Second World War
• Churchill’s astonishing blindness to Stalin’s true ambitions.

Certain to create controversy and spirited argument, Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War” is a grand and bold insight into the historic failures of judgment that ended centuries of European rule and guaranteed a future no one who lived in that vanished world could ever have envisioned.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307405159
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICK J. BUCHANAN was a senior adviser to three American presidents; ran twice for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1992 and 1996; and was the Reform Party candidate in 2000. The author of nine other books, including the bestsellers Right from the Beginning; A Republic, Not an Empire; The Death of the West; State of Emergency; and Day of Reckoning, Buchanan is a syndicated columnist and founding member of three of America’s foremost public affairs shows: NBC’s The McLaughlin Group and CNN’s The Capital Gang and Crossfire. He is now a senior political analyst for MSNBC.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    A lot going on here

    What do say about a book where "poor" Adolf Hitler is just a mere pawn of Churchill and Stalin, especially the latter. While the author makes an interesting argument regarding Britain's guarantee of war to Poland, it is hard to determine what the real point Buchanan is trying to make. Is it that it would have been best for Britain to ignore the invasion of Poland and then standby and watch the Nazis and Soviets fight? Assuming Germany had won, the author states that Hitler's intent was to ensure a blockade would never hurt Germany again and he would have had the grain and oil riches of Russia. France and England time would have come next and it is questionable if they would have been any more ready. Or, then may England should just let Hitler right the wrongs of 1918 and let him take back Belgium and parts of France. It is a historical fact that Stalin brought down his reign of terror to Eastern Europe after World War II. The question Buchanan should ask himself is what if Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1940 (through a conquered Poland) and Stalin had won? Would Poland's fate been any different? Might all of Germany come under his wing instead of a portion? No need for a Berlin Airlift.

    Then there is Czechoslovakia. Hard to know what the author was suggesting. It seems that the Sudetenland germans should have been given to Austria or Germany (which they were never part of). What was the point of Czechoslovakia anyway afterall the Czechs represented only 47% of the country, which had never been a country before (gee, Pat ever study American History?)? At the same time, he speculates that it would have been better for the British to stay out and let the Germans try the Czech defences. Then, again, as Buchanan points out the Czech wouldn't have fought (confused yet?)

    Buchanan also ignores the history of Japanese imperialism starting from the late 19th Century and instead blames the U.S. and Britain for disrespecting Japan (he also seems to forget that Japan attacked the U.S. first and that Hitler, not Roosevelt declared war first). Japan had its eye on China before, during and after its alliance with Britain and it had the means to push Britain out of Asia when it chose (Singapore? Hong Kong?). Buchanan also ignores native movements against colonialism and imperialism in regions such as India, IndoChina, China. Mao may have been a butcher, but he was not put into power because of Stalin or his army but by the Chinese people(Stalin wanted Mao to cut a deal with Chiang Kai Shek when Mao was ready to take all of China).

    In his discourse about the U.S. not directly confronting the moves by the "communist monolith" perhaps he has conveniently forgot about Korea and Vietnam.

    In the end, this book states the age old premise: What if the West had just let the Soviets and Nazis go at it. Would the world be a better place? Assuming someone would win (there was no mercy on the Eastern Front), who knows which devil The West would have to deal with, but the West would have had to live or fight with one or the other. At least the British Empire would have been saved, right?

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    History is Often the Sum of Many Tiny Mistakes

    When we examine history, we tend to only look at proximate causes. We tend to look only at the paths taken instead of the paths which could've been taken. Buchanan doesn't make that mistake. With incredible precision he dissects the dozens of small policy errors that led to both World Wars and the Holocaust. The most important lesson the book teaches is that nothing is inevitable, not the greatest tragedies or the most noble triumphs. Some way somehow a series of people make choices which determine the world's fate. That is the path Buchanan examines in this fascinating book. There may be some big questions raised, like what would've happened to Europe if we'd let Hitler and Stalin slug it out and never gotten involved, and some heroes may be tarnished. Buchanan does to Winston Churchill what many of today's scholars do to Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, but ultimately I recommend this book because it made me think, not only about choices made in the past but choices being made today. If we want to avoid future wars, we must examine why choices which seemed smart at the time were proved stupid in the future. On that basis, this is an important piece of scholarship as well as a fascinating read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    Magnificent, epochal work.

    For all the World War Two history buffs who have ever pondered such questions as 'Why the British Army was not annihilated at Dunkirk' or 'Why the Germans never built much of a Navy'... here is a book that provides extremely plausible explanations for these puzzles. Pat Buchanan's writing is lively, clear and smooth-flowing. He works from the most certain facts about the outcome of World War Two: That Great Britain lost her empire and became a small, second-rate island nation, that tens of millions of innocent people died in the maelstrom, and that the Communists came to rule Central and Eastern Europe in a brutal fashion that impoverished these unfortunate nations for decades. From these incontestable facts Pat Buchanan sifts history to see if it was all so necessary or unavoidable. His conclusion is that it was not unavoidable, and that the biggest blunderers were British leaders and most specifically Winston Churchill. Buchanan postulates that perhaps it would have been better to allow Hitler to continue expanding into eastern Europe and allowing Poland to fall, where it would have eventually been inevitable that a German-Russian war would have ensued - but not the massive War that instead engulfed the world. His exposition is that Communism would have been destroyed by this war and the Cold War averted. Buchanan also provides substantial evidence that these eastward movements represent Germany's true aim: To become the singular power of Eastern and Central Europe - and that world domination was not Hitler's true goal. This book's claims may be considered audacious and controversial by some, but the author has done his homework in backing them up. Pat Buchanan has provided an epochal book on the subject - this is a magnificent piece of work that will most likely generate study and debate for a long time.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is Buchanan's most important book to date. Buchanan has brought to light certain illuminating facts which have been buried under a rubbish heap of political correctness. These facts explain how the West lost the world as a result of the war, and why America is facing a deluge which it may not survive. Among the suppressed facts are these 1) that England and France had advanced knowledge of the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland on the same day that Germany invaded, precipitating World War II (the revelation of this fact almost brought a halt to the Nuremberg Trials) 2) the defection of two million Russian soldiers to the Axis side during the war 3) the fact that FDR's closest advisor at the Yalta Conference was a Soviet Agent, and the first Secretary General of the UN (Alger Hiss.) As De Gaulle said 'Two nations were defeated in World War II, but every nation in Europe lost.' And as William Jennings Bryan once said 'Truth crushed to earth will rise again!' Pat Buchanan's new book will prove to be the most influential book since 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Congratulations, Pat!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    thought provoking with plenty of material to back up main thesis

    This book was very well written and Buchanan has done his homework. He lays out a very believable pathway of how World War II as it unfolded could have been avoided. However, I would argue there are two or three final solutions that might have taken place other than the total avoidance of World War II. Certainly the shape and form of the war would have been totally different.
    The book does illustrate that too much power in the hands of any leader be he a dictator or an elected official is a bad thing. All reasons for going to war should be debated in the clear and open before such drastic steps are taken. I would highly recommend this book to all readers of history who want to broaden their horizons with respect to past historical event.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Congratulations!

    Congrats, Pat, you've just revealed how little you know about World Wars 1 & 2! Seriously though, this book is borderline Turtledove historical fiction. The assertions that are made in the thesis of this book are completely impossible. No holocaust? By 1942 the NSDAP had already comitted to extensive genocidal efforts, I don't see how a single-front war would've prevented that. The other big idea is that if Germany were permitted to "slug it out" with the USSR, they would've prevented the "harsh, totalitarian" regiem of Stalin's Socalist Republic. To be replaced with what? Hitler's egalitarian utopia? Laughable at best. This work has holes so big you could drive a KV-1 through them; which is exactly what would've happened had the Germans been allowed a single front, they would've been defeated by the RKKA. The only difference would've been that the Allies (meaning UK, US, France) wouldn've had ZERO claim to what was left of Germany, leaving all of central Europe to the USSR. Look, I'm no fan of the stuanch Imperialist that was Winston Churchill, but it would be quite a strech to say that it was folly to ally with the USSR. Especially when you consider that Stalin was waiting until 1942 to attack Germany (this is the amount of time he figured it would take for England to fall to Germany). There is also some mention in the book of not helping the Allies in WW1, allthough I don't understand how this fits into the overall thesis since Russia was an empire at that point and not communist. This book is a-historical at best and subversive at worst (since it revises history to a point where our traditional allies become political obstacles). For history books that revise history without a contemporary, political agenda see my recommendations.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    awful clap trap from right wing idiot

    awful clap trap from right wing idiot

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2011

    Travesty of Literature

    I couldn't bring myself to read beyond the first eight pages in which the author rues the demise of Western dominance. It is beyond my comprehension how anyone could hold, without shame, such ethnocentric, racist, and ignorant views of history and the modern world.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2010

    Great book and definetily provocative

    Mr. Buchanan's work is really a must for anyone interested in the happenings of the 20th century european politics and in all the events that lead the world to world war I and the to world war II and in what the great powers and their leading statesment could have done diferently and changed the avents that eventually brought Hitler and then Stalin and theri dreafull legacy after the war and therefore all the calamity that befell europe and the world afterwards. A really grat work with carefull comentasies and reserch.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2009

    Thought Prevoking

    I was a history major with a concentration on Modern European history. I found this book to be very thought prevoking. I agree with Buchanan that if Britian and France were going to confront Hitler's moves in the east, it should have happen in 1938 over the Sudatenland. The Czechs had a strong military and good natural defenses. The French were willing but poor old Chamberlin was gun shy.

    Britain should have never givin the Poles a war gaurantee. It was not in their best interest to do so. I also agree that Poland should've chosen the lesser of the two evils and given Danzig over to the Germans.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2008

    Churchill being blind of Stalin's true goals?

    I am no historian and am still only a junior in high school but was it not Roosevelt that was blind of Stalin's evil, and it was Churchill that wanted to liberate the Balkan states and Eastern Europe because he knew that Stalin would take control of them if Russia were to liberate them.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    The book is well-researched and thought-provoking, but its point

    The book is well-researched and thought-provoking, but its point, that Western countries and particularly Winston Churchill, botched dealings with Germany and led to Stalin taking Eastern Europe after WWII, is made with somewhat one-sided support.

    The book hurls all sorts of blame for all sorts of things at Churchill, when it's clear, even from the book, that others are responsible. For example, Roosevelt and Morgenthau from the US pushed for unconditional surrender by Germany and destruction of Germany's industrial capacity, causing Germany maybe to fight WWII for a lot longer...yet the book blames Churchill for going along with those plans. Come on.

    The book also tries to avoid making Germany seem "bad"; for example, it tries to paint Kaiser Wilhelm II as not militaristic or that bad. Yet his own relative, King Edward of England, is quoted as calling him 'Satan'. Sorry, Pat Buchanan, if one family member calls another that name, clearly there are some issues!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    An interesting perspective....

    Buchanan provides another interesting perspective on the events that led up to WW1 and WW2. I think anyone who has read extensively on this period of history will appreciate this perspective even if there is some disagreement with the author's point of view.

    For the history buff this is a very engaging read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Too Disjointed...

    The paragraphs jumped from one subject to another. There was no smooth flow. This is written by one who likes and respects Patrick Buchanan.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This book is another well researched, informative Buchanan book with his unique hard hitting style that makes his reading fascinating and very informative. I hope he soon writes another book so I can add it to the other Buchanan books that I have alread read and learned from.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    What a pile of rubbish

    Anyone who reads & studies History will know most of the content in this book is based on fact. The 'spin' of course gives it the bias & naive Buchanan slant. This book is a perfect example of revisionist history (in bad taste) similar to arm-chair quarterbacks.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 23, 2009

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    Posted December 13, 2010

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    Posted February 24, 2011

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    Posted November 28, 2010

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