Saturday, May 28, 2011

Good War Revisionism

The Grey Lady's Adam Kirsch asks — Is World War II Still ‘the Good War?’ He answers yes; we'd answer no way in hell. "Nonhistorians with political agendas" as he libels them are singled out for particular abuse:
    The novelist Nicholson Baker wrote a revisionist account of World War II, “Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization” (2008), in which Churchill comes across as rather more responsible for the war than Hitler. Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan wrote “Churchill, Hitler, and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World” (2008), blaming Churchill for taking Britain to war against Germany in the first place. This isolationist lesson was directed, Buchanan explicitly said, at “the Churchill cult” that convinced Bush, “an untutored president,” that liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein was akin to liberating Europe from Hitler.
The author concludes that "the awareness of ambiguity must not lead to detachment and paralysis — or to pacifism and isolationism, as Nicholson Baker and Pat Buchanan would have it." Why not?

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

I've been arguing for a few years now that this revisionism is only now even allowed to be entertained because the "greatest generation" is "fading away".

Of course, this is not necessarily a "natural" aversion to critical revision in American history. The Congressional Nye Commission (Committee), which investigated America's unnecessary involvement in WWI, occurred right away following the Great War.

(Josh, I'd love for you to start posting on the Nye Commission!)

Imagine if our schools taught about the Nye Committee? Might be one step towards reclaiming the Republic.

12:01 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I take requests. Nye Commission post on the way!

7:54 AM  

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