Scott Tibbs
blog post
May 16th, 2005

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Buchanan on World War II

Pat Buchanan asks if World War II was "worth it" in his column.

Buchanan starts out well with a strong condemnation of Soviet imperialism, and the brutal totalitarian rule that Communism brought to Eastern Europe. It is absolutely asinine for Vladimir Putin to whine that the Soviets "liberated" anyone. Eastern Europe simply traded one dictatorship for another. One of the great ironies of World War II was that a war declared to defend Poland ended with decades of oppression for the Polish people.

I do not have a problem with the wartime alliance with Stalin. The West had no choice but to form that alliance. Germany was the greater threat and needed to be taken down. If the Germans only had to fight on the western front, it would have been much more difficult to defeat them. Once the war was over, though, it was clear that the Evil Empire (as President Reagan called it) was a threat to freedom just as Nazi Germany was. General Patton was one of the people who recognized this reality.

The question Buchanan asks is whether going to war with Germany was "worth it", since Britain and France ostensibly declared war on Germany because Hitler invaded Poland. The countries ruled by Germany traded one occupying army for another.

The problem with Buchanan's argument is that it was not the Allied declaration of war that drew Germany into France. Germany was going to send their armies west anyway. Britain and France knew Germany needed to be stopped before it grew even more powerful than it already was. The Allies had already waited too long. Waiting even longer would have been suicidal.

Buchanan is right to criticize both the United States and Great Britain for not taking a stronger stand against Soviet imperialism. Questioning going to war with Nazi Germany in the first place is where his argument derails.