Friday, June 27, 2008

Conservatives must decisively reject Buchanan's Holocaust revisionism

It just gets worse and worse. I am exceedingly disappointed in World Net Daily for publishing this article by Pat Buchanan. If WND has a long-running relationship with Buchanan such that it feels it has to publish such things by him, then this is the time to sever any such relationship.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that long ago--I can't even remember for sure how long ago, but I think it was in 1988--I once voted for Pat Buchanan in a Republican primary. Well, that was then; this is now. I'm certainly older and hopefully wiser now, not to mention better informed. And I don't think Buchanan was spewing this vicious nonsense then, though even then I had a vague feeling of disquiet about what I knew was his dislike of Israel. That, of course, was before the blogosphere and very nearly before the Internet, so information was not as widely available then as it is now.

What is the worst thing Buchanan says in the above linked article? This:

But for the six years before Britain declared war, there was no Holocaust, and for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust. Not until midwinter 1942 was the Wannsee Conference held, where the Final Solution was on the table....The Holocaust was not a cause of the war, but a consequence of the war. No war, no Holocaust.
You get that? Buchanan says there was no Holocaust before the Wannsee Conference in midwinter of 1942. And if nasty old England and presumably America hadn't kept going with the war, if they had found some way to end the war before midwinter of 1942, there would have been no Holocaust at all. Hence the article's title: "Was the Holocaust Inevitable?"

Perhaps it is from reading Buchanan's sort of unblushing balderdash that some people have gotten the impression that there were no concentration camps in 1939. (See the discussion here and here.)

As the quotation shows, Buchanan claims that there was no Holocaust prior to midwinter of 1942 by defining "the Holocaust" as not beginning until the Wannsee Conference. This redefinition is so misleading that it is hard to refrain from calling Buchanan an outright liar. Indeed, he probably in one sense knows more than I do about the events of 1939-1942, yet he makes such a bald claim without so much as a qualifier or explanation. I make no claim to expertise, but I do know how to use Google and read a timeline. So let's look at a few facts.

(Note: The dates in what follows are all taken from the Yad Vashem timeline, which can be accessed by clicking through a couple of links starting here. For some strange reason, there are no separate URLs that appear for the different links, nor even for the separate timelines for groups of years--e.g., 1939-1941. I find this rather frustrating, as it prevents me from putting in links to each of the facts I cite separately. In the absence of such different links, I will give dates for each item. To check the timeline, go to the general link, click on "Chronology," then click on the group of years in question and scroll down to the particular date. The dates are also clickable, and I am getting my specifics from the brief paragraph that comes up when you click on the date.)

Jews in Poland were forced to begin wearing the Jewish badge on November 23, 1939.

The Lodz ghetto was sealed on April 30, 1940.

The Warsaw ghetto was sealed on November 15, 1940.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp began construction on March 1, 1941

German Jews were forced to wear the Jewish badge beginning on September 19, 1941.

The first experimental gassings took place at Auschwitz on September 3, 1941.

The Zhitomir ghetto in the Ukraine was liquidated on September 19, 1941.

In Kiev, the Germans liquidated over 30,000 Jews by gunfire after forcing them to march in ranks towards the guns, on September 29-30, 1941.

The Vitebsk ghetto in Belorussia was liquidated on October 8, 1941.

The Germans began deporting Jews from Austria and Germany to Eastern European ghettos on October 15, 1941.

Eichmann approved the use of mobile gas vans as killing machines on October 25, 1941.

The gas vans began to be used at Chelmno by December 8, 1941.

And all of this is only a sample. I could have given even more examples of massacres, mass deportations, and mass imprisonments of Jews in concentration camps, all before the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, where officials discussed how to make the systematic murder of European Jewry better organized and more efficient.

If you knew of someone who was killed in one of the liquidated ghettos before the Wannsee Conference, would you not say that he died in the Holocaust? What about the Jews systematically murdered in Kiev and elsewhere? If you heard of a child who escaped from one of the sealed ghettos and was taken in and passed as a Christian child by a Catholic family and survived, would you not say that he survived the Holocaust? Were not the building of extermination camps, the requirement for the Jewish badge, and the quarantining of Jews in ghettos in the first place obviously part and parcel of the Holocaust even before the actual murders of those specific Jews took place? The questions are hardly worth asking.

I can't help wondering not only how Buchanan can square his conscience with such blatant falsehoods as those he tells in his article but also how these falsehoods are intended to help his case. In what way is the ever-more-fervent murder of European Jews supposed to have been a response by Hitler to the fact that the war was going badly for him? It makes no sense to say, "Ah, Britain won't make peace with me. I know what I'll do. I'll start sending Jews to extermination camps by the trainloads. That will help." Yet this is, bizarrely, the thinking Buchanan apparently attributes to Hitler, while at the same time having the gall to refer dismissively to the "Hitler madman theory." Are we to think that, if England had made peace with Hitler and acquiesced in his rule over the places he had conquered prior to 1942, he would have stopped all massacres of Jews (like the ones already sealed in ghettos but not yet liquidated)? Or is the theory simply that the slaughter would have taken place more gradually? Hardly a comforting thought.

I hate to have to say this, but someone who can say what Buchanan says in this article is seriously out of touch with reality and, I believe, with the sheer evil of the Holocaust itself. I would not be overwhelmingly surprised if he sinks yet lower in the years to come in his revisionism of the events of World War II. He who hears will understand.


Yalta said...

The phrase 'no war, no Holocaust' is probably a cute allusion to Robert Faurisson's 'no holes, no Holocaust'. I make that presumption because Buchanan is certainly familiar with Holocaust revisionist literature, having flirted with the diesel gas chamber topic in the early 1980s.

I'm sympathetic to Buchanan's functionalist view of the things. A peace between Britain and Germany in the summer of 1940 after the fall of France would probably have avoided the worst excesses. The Nazis would have presumably continued with their policy of promoting Jewish emigration and may well have implemented something like the Madagascar Plan and expelled much of Europe's Jewry.

Lydia McGrew said...

"The worst of the excesses."

Oh, what a delicious phrase. "The excesses."

Um, I suppose the Lodz ghetto would have been unsealed, then, so the Jews locked up in there could "emigrate"? And as for all of the Eastern European Jews whose fate they the Nazis then controlled absolutely unchallenged? Well, they wouldn't have murdered _them_ because...because...because the Fuhrer had made peace with Britain. Somehow. That would follow, wouldn't it? Or not.


Lydia McGrew said...

I wonder if the Kristallnacht pogram in November of 1938 counts as one of the "worst of the excesses"? Hmm? And let's please note that the policy of "promoting Jewish emigration" (sounds so neutral, doesn't it?) involved mass arrests of Jews and sending them to brutal concentration camps where, _if_ they survived their treatment, they were sometimes released if they promised to emigrate. "Promoting emigration," y'know. Guess what? I consider that that's not avoiding that bad stuff. That is evil. That is part of the Holocaust. And it began during those years when Buchanan, and apparently commentator Yalta, too, say there wasn't yet a Holocaust and Britain could have avoided the problems by accepting Hitler's peace offer in the summer of 1940.

Liberator_Rev said...

Yalta, I think the key to your puzzlement is this inability you confess:
"I can't help wondering not only how Buchanan can square his conscience with such blatant falsehoods as those he tells in his article but also how these falsehoods are intended to help his case."

I'm surprised that Buchanan hasn't published a defense of his beloved Catholic Church for its role in the Holocaust. His church has mastered the art of excusing itself of any responsibility for the holocaust. And this while the Catholic hierarchy tries to make everybody in the world feel guilty for enjoying what they are denied by their clerical celibacy.

Explore the extensively documented JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RCscandal where I show how crucial a role Buchanan's beloved church played in the Holocaust, and you will begin to understand how Catholics are trained, albeit unconsciously, to be dishonest about history.

Yalta said...

Well, Lydia, I'm glad that you found at least part of my post to your taste, but I feel you're missing out on the wider picture.

Let's look at the situation in 1940 after France's defeat. Between then and the German invasion of the Soviet Union a year later, what were Britain's realistic prospects of defeating Germany and liberate Poland and the rest of occupied Europe? Practically zero. So let's assume Germany hadn't attacked Russia and Japan didn't attack Pearl Harbor (and Germany hadn't mistakenly declared war on the US). Say 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946 all come and go. Still no peace treaty with Germany on any terms? Just how long could Britain have endured a phoney war without any prospect of success? And this is assuming, of course, that the Germans hadn't successfully blockaded Britain with its U-boats, let alone invaded us and subjugated the nation.

And I'd be interested to know your opinion on Britain's dealings with the Soviets during WW2. When the Soviets joined in with the German invasion of Poland, should we have declared war on them, as well? When Germany invaded the Soviets should Britain have allied itself with Stalin, given we were well aware of the mass murderous nature of Soviet Communism? I won't even get on to the subject of the Western Allies complicity with Stalin in carving up Eastern Europe post-war, or its own policy of terror bombing civilians.

As for the Nazis policy of promoting emigration, hundreds of thousands of German Jews did leave Germany prior to 1939 (see, for example, the Haavara Agreement which showed that even Jews could do deals with the Devil). And the German's Madagascar Plan to expel European Jews was under serious consideration throughout 1940.

Lydia McGrew said...

Liberator Rev, please can the anti-Catholicism. It's not welcome here, and it's totally irrelevant to the point at issue. There is nothing about Catholicism that requires one to accept Buchanan's odious views.

Yalta, you're changing the subject. Buchanan's thesis in question in this post is that a)there was no Holocaust prior to 1942 and b) Britain and presumably the U.S. caused the Holocaust by not making peace with Germany. My thesis is that both of these views are poppycock, and disgusting poppycock to boot, as they involve ignoring or downplaying the Holocaust actions of Germany prior to 1942.

Your thesis is, apparently, that what happened before the summer of 1940 did _not_ count as so terribly bad, which is an odious thesis in itself. Indeed, I would be willing to wager a small sum of money that you sympathize with Germany's insane desire to purge Europe of Jews, but you simply think this should have been done by forcing them to emigrate, which is odious. You also ignore the question of _how_ they were forced to emigrate, and the evil thereof, as well as the evil of the creation and sealing of the ghettos. You also ignore the various pogroms and slaughters prior to the summer of 1940, even as Buchanan ignores those prior to January of 1942.

I would guess that I know why you do this.

The question of our relation to the Soviet Union or of Britain's prospects for defeating Germany in 1940 are irrelevant to all of these questions.

But this is a pattern I have noticed before with Buchananites. Confront them with a straightforward point of disagreement and they turn twisty as a corkscrew and start talking about communism and the Soviets, and many other subjects under the sun about the allies' conduct of WWII, rather than sticking to the subject.

Yalta said...

Lydia, we'll get on a lot better if you refrain from i)mischaractering opposing arguments; ii)implying nefarious motives to my good person iii) calling me a Buchananite (well, I've never voted for him).

Buchanan's thesis in question in this post is that a)there was no Holocaust prior to 1942 and b) Britain and presumably the U.S. caused the Holocaust by not making peace with Germany.

Regarding (a), you are narrowly correct that aspects of the Holocaust can be dated before the Wannsee conference, but I think you make too much of it. I haven't read his book, but I'm pretty sure Buchanan is claiming that Britain should have sued for peace after the fall of France when she had no reasonable prospects of continuing to conduct the military fight. So if we amend the date from January 1942 to say, January 1941, his point still stands. As for (b), this is what I mean by mischaracterisation. In no way, regardless of what and when the Allies knew about German atrocities, would I or, I'm certain, Buchanan, claim that this made anyone but the Nazis complicit in their crimes. The Allies must take responsibility for their own crimes, in particular, the wanton terror-bombing of German civilians.

Your thesis is, apparently, that what happened before the summer of 1940 did _not_ count as so terribly bad, which is an odious thesis in itself.

In the history of human conflict, what happened before 1940, indeed wasn't so bad, but here, I'm afraid, is where you cannot escape battle by claiming that British prospects for continuing the war are irrelevant. It's not just relevant, it's the very essence of Buchanan's entire thesis. Without Soviet and American help, Britain didn't have a prayer of liberating Europe and everyone knew it. Only with 20/20 hindsight, can you claim that those who in 1940/41 argued for peace between Britain and Germany were terribly misguided, not to mention 'odious'.

Confront them with a straightforward point of disagreement and they turn twisty as a corkscrew and start talking about communism and the Soviets, and many other subjects under the sun about the allies' conduct of WWII, rather than sticking to the subject.

Well, let's expand the conversation and talk about it then. I can spare the time if you can. So again: should Britain have declared war on the Soviets for their part in invading Poland? Should Britain have allied itself with the mass murdering, ethnic cleansing Stalin? Why is the terrible reality of 50-60 million war casualties and the spread of Communism across half of Europe so much less odious than even considering whether Britain's self-interest would have been better served by dealing with the Nazis when the prospects for victory seemed unimaginable?

Lydia McGrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia McGrew said...

It's pretty strange and amusing, Yalta, that you should prefer to ignore the fact that Buchanan has said exactly what I have attributed to him. Perhaps you should read the linked article by him, but I assure you that the quotation I give is not taken out of context, and as you can see for yourself it is unequivocal. He says in so many words, "...for two years after the war began, there was no Holocaust." How you think you can get around that beats me. Moreover, when I attribute to him the claim that the British and Americans caused the Holocaust by not accepting peace, I am merely intending to restate his express claim that "the Holocaust was not a cause of the war but a consequence of the war." I am not attributing to him the view that Hitler was not in any sense morally responsible for the Holocaust, although I do in fact believe that his entire approach tends to downplay that responsibility and even (as I shall discuss in a minute) to imply, disgustingly enough, some sort of bizarro rational connection between the stubborn continuation in war of the British, their refusal to accept Hitler's offers of peace, and his decision to murder all the Jews in Europe. But in any event, by "caused" I merely meant to imply that Buchanan makes the _factual_ claim that if peace had come prior to 1942, which (he implies) was up to the British and/or Americans, there would have been no Holocaust, which is disgusting poppycock both because there already was a Holocaust before that and also because there is no reason whatsoever to think that Hitler would not have continued to try to murder the Jews because he was no longer at war with Britain.

I cannot imagine, even, why anyone would think that. And this applies to your thesis, too, which you wish (weirdly) to attribute to Buchanan, even though he in fact says something different. But in any event, what possible reason is there to think that Hitler would not have systematically murdered the Jews of Europe if the war had ended either in 1940 or in 1941? What reason at all? Again, the herding of the Jews into the ghettos and the sealing of those ghettos was itself genocidal. Jews were shot at as they went, and many died of disease in the cramped quarters of the ghettos. Kristallnacht was a further move in the same direction, involving the deliberate spreading of brutal massacre. The Nazis were determined to make Europe Judenrein one way or another. The mere fact (which you keep discussing) that they did try to deport Jews and did discuss sending them all (crazily enough) to Madagascar hardly shows that they would never have proceeded to outright murder had the war ended sooner. Why even think that? I cannot imagine. They certainly had no moral objection to outright mass murder of Jews. None at all.

I can only conjecture that the idea is supposed to be that somehow it _helped the German war effort_ to murder Jews en masse after (for you) the summer of 1940 or (for Buchanan) January of 1942. But that is itself a crazy thing to think.

And, no, why should I acquiesce in "expanding the discussion"--aka changing the subject? My subject here is Holocaust revisionism and the need for conservatives to reject it. I have no desire to discuss the entirety of World War II. You have already made one damning admission--that you think the murderous Kristallnacht pogrom, the creation and (in at least one case) sealing of Jewish ghettos, the mass imprisonment of Jews in brutal concentration camps just for being Jews, etc., before the summer of 1940 were in the grand scheme of events in world history "not so bad." Why should I let you off the hook by agreeing to talk about something totally different?

William Luse said...

A friend of mine once said, "All you have to do is read Mein Kampf. It's all in there." It was published in 1925. Maybe Churchill had read it.