I can’t even begin to parse the ridiculousness of Pat Buchanan’s latest piece, which argues that Hitler had no interest in conquering the world but was forced into war in Poland and then prevented from making peace by the recalcitrance of the Allies. “Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps,” Buchanan intones, as if the Holocaust was also forced on the Germans by lack of cooperation.
This is the kind of appalling historical piece that leaves me thinking that I’ve fallen through into a bizarro world, and wondering what on the earth Buchanan thought the point was? To rehabilitate Hitler? To excoriate those uncooperative Poles?
He’s not even particularly good at it. To handwave his way past Hitler’s true intentions, he has to define the world that the Nazi wanted to conquer carefully, as “Britain, Africa, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, South America, India, Asia, Australia.” Any major countries missing? Anybody? Any massively large land power nearby Germany, full of (by Nazi lights) untermenschen that the Germans could conquer for some lebensraum?
He does deal with the Soviet Union, eventually, but can only manage the patently risible “As of March 1939, Hitler did not even have a border with Russia. How then could he invade Russia?” The mind boggles. How strange a coincidence for Buchanan that the country blocking Hitler from invading Russia was, in fact, Poland, and that by October 1, 1939, Germany and the USSR did share a border. It was over this border that around 3 million German troops would pour two years later.
Enough. This is the kind of horrendous drivel that would embarrass a crazy uncle spouting off at a family reunion as everyone stands by awkwardly and shuffles their feet. It is the historical equivalent of speaking in tongues: the syllables, accents, rhythms, and pauses of actual speech that, when actually heard, dissolve to gibberish. Buchanan strings together his events from the past in a coherent narrative; coherent but absolutely disconnected from reality. Somewhere in this world, a rabbit in a waistcoat is looking at his watch, muttering about lateness. Buchanan has no worries on that score; he is well down the hole already.