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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Book Review: HITLER IN HELL

Fabius Maximus reviews Martin van Creveld's HITLER IN HELL:
Summary: Hitler in Hell is one of the most important books of the year. As America drifts to fascism, we must understand what happened to Germany. Books like this can help us avoid taking a dark path like they did. It can happen here, in some form.

The fall of Germany to fascism was one of the epochal events in western history. Fascism, in its many forms, is endemic to western societies. But Germany, a center of culture and science, should have been the most resistant of nations. How did it fall so far, so fast? These answers might help us prevent this infection from flaring up again.

An ancient adage says that you do not understand a situation unless you can explain how each party saw it. The countless histories of WWII ignore one perspective: Hitler’s. How would he explain his actions? What methods brought him to total rule of the largest nation in Europe and conquests unrivaled since Napoleon?

Based on a stupendous amount of research, Martin van Creveld has given us some answers in his newest book, Hitler in Hell.

“The method I chose was to try to get into his skin, as far as possible, so as to understand what made him tick. …Where there were gaps, I used what knowledge and understanding I thought I had in an attempt to close them. …I tried to understand Hitler’s actions, views, and thoughts as I think he, observing the past and the present from Hell, would have explained them.”

This is the ultimate celebrity bio, the extreme version of a “how to” book. Hitler started with nothing, joined the Nazi party when it was little more than a sewing circle, took command of Germany at the depths of the Great Depression, and led it to the fastest recovery in the world. This book explains how he did it. So much of the 20th century followed paths that he blazed. If only he had stopped there.

The book is important in two senses. First, the tides of fascism are rising again in Europe and America. Screaming Nazi! Nazi! Nazi! probably doesn’t help. It is like a disease. We need to understand it better. Causes, contagion, and cures. History, in the form of Hitler’s words and deeds, is a useful guide.

Second, Hitler’s story is rich with useful lessons about building organizations and changing the course of nations. It is one of the most insightful and practical guides to success I have seen. Seeing events through Hitler’s eyes makes learning from him easier, since Hitler’s monstrous deeds make objective analysis of — let alone learning from — them almost impossible.
It's a solid, detailed review. Read the whole thing there.

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44 Comments:

Anonymous Magna Carta November 12, 2017 5:39 AM  

The cover looks like Black Sabbath's last album, "13"

Anonymous Anonymous November 12, 2017 6:01 AM  

Hitler in Hell did nothing wrong.

Anonymous JB November 12, 2017 6:03 AM  

Going by the clickbait title, I thought this was going to be a comic or some garish novel along the lines of the New Adventures of Mr Hitler, or Mr Hitler's Holiday...

Anonymous VFM0265 November 12, 2017 6:24 AM  

Nope...just another Skype (though i love me some Marty v.C.) failing to tell the truth about the history of Europe ca. 1933-1945. I'd take it more seriously if we could finally ditch the Eli Wiesel Liars of the world and talk about how the winners write the histories. I'm not an Alt-Reichtard by any means...just sick of the continual lies about "six million", in yet another vain attempt to fulfill that ol' Kabbalist prophecy about 6 mil dying by fire before the Jewish Maschiach can come to Earth. They've been trying it since the mid 1800's, but of course most here will never bother to research it. Or the fact that Auschwitz didn't even have a freakin' CHIMNEY until 1946 & it's not even connected to the main damn building. And if you ever visit there, be sure not to notice the fact that if Zyklon-B were really a gas used where they say it was to "gas all zeh Juice", well then the administration staff sitting right on the other side of that unsealed door would've died, too....*yawn* Ah, screw it. Never mind.

The Holocaust happened exactly the way Eli Wiesel SAID it did! Yeah! the Pearl Harbor was a total surprise too & completely unjustified, yeah! ....geez.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan November 12, 2017 6:38 AM  

You forgot to mention the pictures of the world's most efficient crematorium.

Not a fan of Hitler by any stretch of the imagination, just hate a con job

Anonymous VFM0265 November 12, 2017 6:45 AM  

Oh yeah, Mr.MantraMan - I forgot about that! LOL Or the cheap plaster-of-paris fake little "gas vents" the Red Army pushed into the ceiling right before picture-taking time! hahahahah There are _numerous_ examples of crap like that. I'm with ya. Just hate a con job. I'd like to think, as it was mentioned earlier this week on this blog, that History can be an accurate account of the past, but I think it's close to Napoleon's view, & rather "An Agreed Upon Lie". Sad!

Blogger Mr.MantraMan November 12, 2017 6:59 AM  

FTR I do own two Creveld books and consider them worthy investments. But thru decades of indoctrination the word "Hitler" sends me running away

Blogger Thad tuiol November 12, 2017 7:04 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous LemonGrass November 12, 2017 7:16 AM  

Wouldn't a book written by a Jewish person about Hitler, be like a book written about the west by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? In fact all we do know about Nazi's is from the people who despised them and had every reason to paint them in the worst light possible.

Now I haven't read this book, it may excellent. But considering how things are going to today, I'm more and more inclined to believe that rather then starting the violence, Hitler and his supporters reacted to it and organized because of that. And I'm more and more inclined to believe that he lived in a world where the elites were clearly and mercilessly going against the needs of the common people. But then again, this book may talk about that.

Blogger Thucydides November 12, 2017 7:20 AM  

The worst thing Hitler did was make National Socialism "sexy". People expect massive torchlit parades, Hugo Boss uniforms and all the other paraphernalia, or they simply don't see it right in front of them.

In Canada, we had a National Socialist movement that even rose to govern a province from 1976 to 2011: the Bloc Québécois, and their allied Federal movement, the Parti Québécois. The program was pure National Socialism: using the powers of the Provincial government to transfer wealth to the designated racial group (so called "Pure laine" Québécois ).

The movement was led by charmless bureaucrats, and demonstrated none of the flash of 1930 era movements (they could not even come up with a decent shirt), yet still managed to win elections, place hundreds of thousands of people in the bureaucracies over a period of decades, infect universities and poison public discourse.

Hitler and Mussolini may have been their spiritual ancestors, but a rat faced bureaucrat is their avatar this time around......

Blogger ant becker November 12, 2017 7:21 AM  

I've had it for a while. It's great.

Blogger Gordon November 12, 2017 7:27 AM  

Honestly, guys, you don't have to get down into the weeds of whether or not the SS engineers used the correct type of screws to install the camp PA system--thus PROVING that it's all a hoax. You can just read this book as a take on history from an unusual perspective.

Winston Churchill wrote that he knew history would be kind to him, because he would write it. He did. I'd be interested in reading van Creveld's take from the perspective of FDR, and Stalin, neither of whom left memoirs.

Anonymous Aphelion November 12, 2017 8:20 AM  

Hitler in Hell is a great Book because van Creveld puts you in Hitler’s head. Often you find yourself thinking how reasonable he was, then in a moment of pure dissonance you shake your head and say No! It is scary in that sense. When you understand the poverty Germany was thrown into and couple that with the threat posed by international socialist revolutionaries, then you see a strong man was needed who would defend Germany. Unfortunately the strong man they got was terribly evil.

Great book, good read.

Blogger wreckage November 12, 2017 8:31 AM  

It's on my to-do list, but I'm not sure how psychologically prepared I am for this right now.

Blogger wreckage November 12, 2017 8:34 AM  

@13 I keep telling people that the fear of rioting idiot communists was a key factor in the rise of Hitler, but they are absolutely convinced that if only there had been more hard-left violence in Germany, up to and through the 1920's, that would have prevented Nazism.

Let's face it, it's not just the reichtards that have a totally ahistorical view of Hitler, the Riech, and the Weimar Republic.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville November 12, 2017 8:49 AM  

#13 is correct. If anything, MVC makes Hitler an understandable and reasonable fellow. I'm not a NAZI or altReichTard either, but I highly recommend this book. In the vein that the winner writes the history, Hitler in Hell is probably the most favorable look from the loser's side in WWII yet written.

Blogger Brad Matthews November 12, 2017 8:49 AM  

It is an interesting book. Eye opening in that many could have started with the same intentions as Hitler, but I don't think he knew where it would lead. The evil kept building with the accumulation of power.
I read it on the plane to Africa and a week later, the chaplain loaned me Bonhoeffer's biography by Metaxas. It was quite the primer. If you are interested in the spiritual evil of Hitler, it is a powerful account.

Blogger ZhukovG November 12, 2017 8:49 AM  

It is an excellent book. It reminds me of a verse of scripture:

'There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.'
Proverbs 16:25

While the 6 million number may have been pulled from someone's nethers, the murder of Jews on an industrial scale happened. However, no one living today need feel any guilt over this event. The guilty have passed beyond human judgement or retribution.

It was a terrible crime, but stands in evil company with a multitude of crimes we humans have committed against one another throughout history. Almost all peoples in history have suffered some atrocity at some time. So to the Jews I say, own your history, remember your history, and learn from your history.

But don't expect anybody else to give a damn.

Blogger wreckage November 12, 2017 9:07 AM  

@17 I think the evil is tied up with the attractiveness of completeness, finality, purity. People believe that they can force perfection on mankind anf the fallen world if only they have sufficient "will".... and something in our makeup, be it fallen nature or chump-brains, really thinks that there is no higher assertion of will than to kill other humans.

Perhaps that's about smashing the face of the image of God; after all, why else does Lucifer hate us so single-mindedly? In the moment of murder, we are equal to God; therefore, what is beyond our reach, if only we can murder enough? So goes the broken impulse.

Anonymous Illegal in the EU November 12, 2017 9:19 AM  

“While the 6 million number may have been pulled from someone's nethers”

DENIAL! Delete this right now!

Blogger Rick November 12, 2017 9:38 AM  

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you’re talkin about a lot of murders!

Blogger Aeoli Pera November 12, 2017 9:58 AM  

I want to read this, but I'd be much more interested in a similar deconstruction of Stalin. Hitler already makes sense to me at an emotional level, even if I don't know the details. But Stalin's mind is opaque to me.

Mr. Creveld Sir, if reading plz Stalin thx.

Anonymous Avalanche November 12, 2017 10:46 AM  

@1 "The cover looks like Black Sabbath's last album,"

The cover was Vox Day, Supreme Dark Lord, at his most magnificent! And Van Crevald agreed!

Anonymous Tough Truths November 12, 2017 11:49 AM  

1-2 million killed by bullets, starvation and typhoid in labor camps and small-scale unorganized atrocities in a village level. Thus proving all humans are sinners.

Exactly 6 million killed by “gas ovens” in one or two “death camps” organized at the very top (despite only circumstantial evidence and retconning an entire world war). Thus proving the evilness of the goyim and the holiness of the Chosen tribe.

Only one of these viewpoints is illegal to hold.

The other is accepted religion of globalism and perhaps the biggest virtue signal ever devised.

Anonymous Gen. Kong November 12, 2017 11:53 AM  

Aeoli Pera wrote:
I want to read this, but I'd be much more interested in a similar deconstruction of Stalin. Hitler already makes sense to me at an emotional level, even if I don't know the details. But Stalin's mind is opaque to me.

Mr. Creveld Sir, if reading plz Stalin thx.


Stalin's not that difficult. He was the ultimate gangsta. Al Capone on steroids. Such a total ruthless gangsta that he even managed to double-gross a the gang of criminal looters and killers, who'd been busy at work under Lenin and Trotsky. Thanks to (((fake news))), Lenin is portrayed as some kind of reformer and a heroic figure. The reality is quite the opposite. Many folks seem to forget that the Tzar was no longer in power when the Bolsheviks attacked the essentially undefended Winter Palace in November 1917. With the advance of a promised 50 million gold marks in their pockets from the (((House of Warburg))), it was simple enough to pay the only serious military detachment guarding the HQ of the Kerensky government (an elite cavalry unit who likely had not been paid in weeks) to ride off with their flags held high. Once the cavalry was gone, Lenin, Trotsky and their gang "heroically" captured the undefended building. There was some truly serious fighting in Moscow early in 1918, but by that time the rest of the 50 million marks (the equivalent of a billion in today's fiat dollars) was in their hands and their were plenty of well-armed army deserters around willing to fight for real money.

Anonymous Gen. Kong November 12, 2017 12:36 PM  

Exactly 6 million killed by “gas ovens” in one or two “death camps” organized at the very top (despite only circumstantial evidence and retconning an entire world war). Thus proving the evilness of the goyim and the holiness of the Chosen tribe.

I am one of the least sympathetic around here to (((Talmudists))) and their two thousand year record of unending evil. That said, you do no good by claiming that all of the Nazi's victims - or even their Jewish victims - were processed at a few death camps. Most were executed on the eastern front, using the very efficient Soviet-style method of machine-gunning them into ditches. 6 million is not an unreasonable number. As the Red Army advanced, the Nazis dug up many mass graves and burned the corpses, so the actual numbers will likely never be known.

Given Rummel's estimate of 21 million civilians executed by the Hitler regime, (((their))) greatest lie about the period is actually a denial of its scale. Hitler's executioners killed 2 whites for every non-white (14 million whites, 1 million Gypsies, 6 million Jews). Since (((their))) holy books and culture define everyone outside of the (((tribe))) as mere beasts placed on earth by their "god" (the whole planet is 'Greater Israel' by the way) to serve them, the 15 million others murdered by Hitler's regime were mere animals and thus simply don't count - hence the endless bleating about the 6 million.

Two evils don't equal a good. Nazism did nothing to cancel out or discredit Talmudism or (((their))) other religion, Marxism. Nazism was not a nationalism at all, but really a Teutonic-Supremacist inversion of Talmudism (those outside the tribe are animals). It wears a nationalist mask, but it's actual nature became readily apparent when Hitler's legions crossed the German border into anti-communist Poland after making an alliance with the USSR to divide the place.

Anonymous Editor, Fabius Maximus website November 12, 2017 12:47 PM  

As the author of the review, I find it interesting that nobody has mentioned the key message of this book -- it is difficult to read "Hitler in Hell" without seeing the similarities between Weimar Germany and America today (Weimerica). They shouldn't be exaggerated, nor should they be ignored.

Blogger Ostar November 12, 2017 12:54 PM  

Eminent historian AJP Taylor published The Origins of the Second World War in the early 60's. He laid out the case that Hitler's foreign policy was not so much evil as reasonable in the support of the German people and their situation in Europe. It was a huge controversy at the time, now not so much.

In history as in science, the death of those most invested in the dominant paradigm is sometimes required before "controversial" subjects can be examined with a critical and less-biased eye.

Blogger S1AL November 12, 2017 1:24 PM  

"He laid out the case that Hitler's foreign policy was not so much evil as reasonable in the support of the German people and their situation in Europe. It was a huge controversy at the time, now not so much."

Ah, yes, colluding with the Soviets to rape and pillage Poland. Eminently reasonable.

BTW, those of you bitching about Creveld being a Jew clearly haven't read the book. He's far too kind to Hitler.

Blogger Scott at Castalia November 12, 2017 1:54 PM  

#22. In his Afterward van Creveld says he received inspiration from Richard Laurie's The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin: A Novel.
MaC does state Laurie's book incorporates more fiction.

Blogger RobertT November 12, 2017 3:13 PM  

Good book, but the evil meter was high. Lots of cold drafts.

Blogger ZhukovG November 12, 2017 3:27 PM  

@S1AL: The book is written from Hitler's perspective. What did you expect; an apology?

Blogger S1AL November 12, 2017 3:45 PM  

@ZhukovG: That wasn't really the point I was making.

Blogger S'mon November 12, 2017 3:50 PM  

"First, the tides of fascism are rising again in Europe and America."

Not really. Today's Dark Powers don't much resemble mid 20th century Fascism. And the Fashy Alt-Reich has no power. We do face a totalitarian tyranny across the West, but its roots lie in Bolshevism not Fascism.

Blogger Ostar November 12, 2017 4:32 PM  

S1AL wrote:"He laid out the case that Hitler's foreign policy was not so much evil as reasonable in the support of the German people and their situation in Europe."

Ah, yes, colluding with the Soviets to rape and pillage Poland. Eminently reasonable.


Don't conflate understanding underlying reasons with supporting the steps and results when one side or the other tries to resolve them.

But to use Poland for an example, the Versailles treaty had taken lands that were majority German and just given them to Poland, which was not a nation during WWI. It also cut off Prussia from the rest of Germany.

Of course it was a reasonable German (not specifically Nazi) foreign policy to want those lands back, and the way it has handled by the Versailles treaty was just another pressure point leading towards WWII.

We don't have that pressure now after more German lands were taken post WWII because Poland (and Czechoslovakia) kicked most of the Germans out of those new lands almost immediately. From the Polish viewpoint, a reasonable policy.

Blogger marco moltisanti November 12, 2017 4:51 PM  

Hipster Hitler is a pretty funny webcomic. I think it's still out there.

Anonymous Stan Adams November 12, 2017 5:27 PM  

@19 Have you seen Manhunter (1986)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkGeBpxBuPs

Anonymous Haxo Angmaerk November 12, 2017 6:38 PM  

Hitler was a brilliant politician...

and a catastrophic warlord. He had strategic victory on his plate 3 times:

*at Dunkirk in May-June 1940, when he dithered and let the Brits escape.
*at Smolensk in July-August 1941, when the road to Moscow was wide open and he chose instead to go for the Ukraine.
*and, when in March of 1942 the Japanese offered to extend their planned Indian Ocean carrier raid as far as Madagascar, so as to cut the last Allied convoy route leading to the Middle East...Hitler refused the offer. Instead of understanding that he was in a true World War, Hitler kept trying to limit the war. And as a result, lost.

net/net of Hitler's strategic incompetence: (((communists))) astride half the planet for the next 50 years, and (((Zionists))) in charge of Palestine and soon the entire anglo- and eurosphere.

Anonymous Sidehill Dodger on who was smarter: Stalin or Hitler? November 12, 2017 8:09 PM  

Ostar wrote:But to use Poland for an example, the Versailles treaty had taken lands that were majority German and just given them to Poland, which was not a nation during WWI. It also cut off Prussia from the rest of Germany.

Of course it was a reasonable German (not specifically Nazi) foreign policy to want those lands back...


Yes, up to the beginning of 1939, Germany's moral position was actually quite strong--what a pity it fell to Hitler to use those moral levers.

Remember that to end World War I, Germany had agreed to a cease-fire based on Wilson's 14 points, only to have imposed on it a peace by the Versailles diktat that completely disregarded those principles for ethnic Germans.

So if you ask me what was wrong about Hitler's policies up to 1939, I'd have to say that I would change nothing. (I am concentrating on the level of international politics, and leaving out Hitler's racial policies, which were a gross moral wrong.) Restoring Germans to the German state was a reasonable and ethical goal. But in 1939, after the Munich Agreement, Hitler made two deadly political mistakes that have their roots in his overweening arrogance and his failure to understand the moral dimension of both politics and war.

The first fatal error is not talked about much in history books; if it's mentioned at all, the seizure of the remainder of Czechoslovakia--Bohemia and Moravia--on 15th March 1939 by Hitler's forces is treated as a mere coda to his earlier seizure of the Sudetenland. However, there is a crucial difference between the two. The Sudetenland was granted to Hitler by the Munich accord. That same accord guaranteed the integrity of the remainder of Czechoslovakia. Thus, on the 15th of March, 1939, Hitler unilaterally violated the Munich Accord. In the eyes of the British government and people, this established his reputation as a man of uncontrolled appetites, a man who could not be negotiated with, a man who would not keep his word. There were reasons that moved Hitler to seize the remaining Czech territories. The Czech rump state was too weak to defend itself--indeed, Poland had already taken a chunk of Czech territory (the Olza river lands); the last thing Hitler wanted was a stronger Poland. But that does nothing to mitigate the degree of Hitler's horrendous miscalculation in seizing Bohemia and Moravia.

Consider the impact of Hitler's action on the British Parliament. At one stroke, the "peace party" had its legs cut out from under it. Neville Chamberlain looked like a fool who had been badly fooled indeed. Though he remained in office for a few months, the mood of parliament had turned against him: Her Majesty's government issued its fateful guarantee of the integrity of Poland's territory. Britain felt betrayed and affronted--but such feelings belong to the moral and not the logical sphere of war and politics. In other words, they were squarely in Hitler's blind spot.

-- Hitler's Second fatal mistake to follow...

Anonymous Sidehill Dodger November 12, 2017 8:13 PM  

Then Hitler committed his second deadly mistake: he made a pact with Stalin. Hitler thought that buying Stalin's cooperation would give him a free hand in Poland.

Hitler was under the mistaken impression that France and England would not declare war if he invaded Poland. After all, doing so would be completely illogical. Neither country could offer any material aid to Poland, and (he thought) neither country had any interests at stake in Poland. With Russia dropping out of the picture as a possible ally, France and England were powerless to stop Germany from "rectifying" the Polish matter. So why would they risk so much for nothing?

In his insightful (thought perhaps overly long) book The Chief Culprit, Viktor Suvorov accuses Stalin of being the master manipulator who brought about the Second World War. Suvorov argues convincingly that Stalin was certain that France and England would declare war on Germany if Hitler invaded Poland. Thus, his motivation in agreeing to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was to begin a massive World War that would allow the Soviet Union to scoop up the ruins of the war-ravaged capitalist countries, ensuring the eventual triumph of World Communism.

Hitler, of course, did not see it that way. He did not think his invasion of Poland would trigger a major war, any more than he understood the consequences of his 1939 seizure of Bohemia and Moravia. He did not understand that on 15 March 1939, Hitler had set an emotional trigger in Britain that he would himself pull with Case White: the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. From that point on, Hitler had no freedom of action; like a doomed chess player, his every move was forced.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera November 12, 2017 8:43 PM  

Thanks Scott!

Gen Kong, I've gotten as far as recognizing him for a particularly smart thief and conman, but my hope is to understand him well enough to write a plausible inner monologue.

Blogger DonReynolds November 12, 2017 10:08 PM  

No doubt an interesting book, but Hitler did not invent fascism, nor did he make Germans into fascists, nor was Germany the first fascist state. (Italy beat them to the punch by ten years.)

Prussian militarism was the core of imperial Germany when Bismark created it in 1870. What was at odds with German tradition was democracy and democratic liberalism....which was the real enemy of Hitler and the Nazis. That is also why the communists and socialists were despised rivals to the Nazis, they promised MORE democracy, not less. The stab in the back at the end of WWI was the overthrow of the Kaiser (King of Prussia) and his monarchy by leftist democrats, who ended the war with surrender.

But we really do not need yet another book about Hitler and the Nazis to know exactly what they thought and believed. Hitler was forced to spend time in prison and he used that time to set down in Mein Kampf precisely what he had to say. He did not make a secret of his goals or his purposes. He became rather wealthy from the sale of that book. Millions of people actually read it and discussed it in great detail. There is nothing mysterious about Hitler or his rise to power in Germany. Hitler promised Germany a new Kaiser and that was what they got.

Could it happen in the USA? or the UK?
No, I do not believe it could. There is no totalitarian tradition in either country. Fascism would fail to come to power for the same reason it has never come to power....there is no such political tradition in either country.

Blogger DonReynolds November 12, 2017 11:09 PM  

@39 Sidehill Dodger
"Though he (Chamberlain) remained in office for a few months, the mood of parliament had turned against him"

Chamberlain remained in office for another year and two months.....over eight months of which were after Chamberlain declared war on Germany and the RAF had already bombed German cities.

@40 "Then Hitler committed his second deadly mistake: he made a pact with Stalin. Hitler thought that buying Stalin's cooperation would give him a free hand in Poland."

The Non-Aggression Pact with the USSR was completely unexpected and quite a diplomatic coup. The price of that agreement was the eastern half of Poland, since the Soviets joined in the invasion of Poland two weeks after the Germans started....as German allies. The Soviets had no affection for the Poles and had invaded Poland on their own in 1920 and were driven back at the gates of Warsaw by Pilsudsky.

"With Russia dropping out of the picture as a possible ally, France and England were powerless to stop Germany from "rectifying" the Polish matter."

The USSR did not just drop out of the picture with the invasion of Poland, they were active allies of Germany and participated in invading half of Poland and occupying it. If there is a mystery, it would be why did the French and British not declare war on the USSR when it joined the invasion of Poland two weeks after the Germans began it.



Anonymous Sidehill Dodger November 13, 2017 2:51 AM  

DonReynolds wrote:Chamberlain remained in office for another year and two months.....over eight months of which were after Chamberlain declared war on Germany and the RAF had already bombed German cities.
Well, my point was that the position of the "appeasers" had been fatally undermined. Chamberlain himself had to reverse his policy. Exactly when Churchill took over isn't important, it's the effect Hitler's annexation of the Czech rump state had on Britain's policies that matters.

DonReynolds wrote:The USSR did not just drop out of the picture with the invasion of Poland, they were active allies of Germany and participated in invading half of Poland and occupying it. If there is a mystery, it would be why did the French and British not declare war on the USSR when it joined the invasion of Poland two weeks after the Germans began it.
Yup. My point was that without the Soviet Union, there was no practical way in which Britain & France could help Poland. Officially, the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement was a "nonaggression pact"--the bad stuff was all in the secret protocols to the agreements, which Stalin denied.

My point was that the declaration of war on Germany by Britain and France seems illogical in that context, so Hitler didn't think they would actually do it.

I don't think we have any substantial disagreements here.

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