It was never OK to carve up Czechoslovakia

posted at 8:40 am on May 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In the middle of the sudden debate over the very settled historical judgment on appeasement, a curious defense of it appeared in yesterday’s Seattle Times. Bruce Ramsey wrote about the historical context of appeasement for the editorial-board blog, Ed Cetera, and argues that we have judged Britain and France too harshly for its actions at Munich. The two nations tried to avoid another devastating war the only way open to them at the time, which Ramsey excuses after the catastrophe of World War I:

The narrative we’re given about Munich is entirely in hindsight. We know what kind of man Hitler was, and that he started World War II in Europe. From the view of 1938, what Hitler was demanding at Munich was not unreasonable, according to the prevailing idea of the nation-state. His claim was that the German-speaking areas of Europe–and ones that thought of themselves as German –be under German authority. He had just annexed Austria, which was German-speaking, without bloodshed. There were two more small pieces of Germanic territory: the free city of Danzig and the Sudetenland, a border area of what is now the Czech Republic.

We live in an era when you do not change national borders for these sorts of reasons. We have learned the hazards of it. But 1938 was only 19 years since Germany’s borders had been redrawn, and not to its benefit. In the democracies there was some sense of guilt with how Germany had been treated after World War I. Certainly there was a memory of the “Great War.” In 2008, we have entirely forgotten World War I, and how utterly unlike any conception of “The Good War” it was. When the British let Hitler have a slice of Czechoslovakia, they were following the historical lesson they had learned 1914-1918: avoid war. War produces results far more horrible than you expected. War is a bad investment. It is not glorious. Don’t give anyone an excuse to start one.

In a few months, in early 1939, Hitler ordered the invasion of what is now the Czech Republic—that is, territory that was not German. Then it was obvious that a deal with him was worthless. He made a promise and broke it within about six months. And so when Bush recalls the unnamed senator who, in September 1939, lamented that he had not been able to talk to Hitler, he hits an easy target. But the moment of September 1939 is nothing like today.

In September 1939, when Germany started the war, it had no just claim to any more territory. But the Palestinians who fight Israel do have a just claim to territory. We can argue what it is; we can argue about the justness of their military tactics, and so on. And the same for the Israeli side, which is equally arguable.

Ramsey accuses people of ignoring historical context, but he ignores quite a bit of it in this passage as well. The German problem did not suddenly present itself in October 1938. Hitler and the Nazis violated treaties in increments starting almost immediately on their rise to power in 1933, rearming themselves, expanding their army past the 100,000-man limit of Versailles, producing large warships, reoccupying the Rhineland, and so on. Had Britain and France enforced the terms of the treaty at these pre-Munich stages, they would have avoided a devastating war, rather than stand up to a reinvigorated German war machine in the fall of 1938.

But, Ramsey says, all is clear in hindsight. We know now that appeasement doesn’t work, but in the context of the times, neither Britain nor France thought Hitler would go past the Sudetenland, where Ramsey argues Germany had a legitimate claim to the territory — because its inhabitants spoke German. He claims that the Austrian anschluss was bloodless, which only is true if one ignores the violence perpetrated by the Brownshirts in intimidating Austrians into submission. And he finally argues that carving up Czechoslovakia was a legitimate expression of the nation-state, pre-Munich.

That is simply hogwash, and it attempts to rescue Neville Chamberlain by ignoring his greatest crime. No nation has ever had the right to dismember an allied nation without its approval, or even its participation. The ministers of Czechoslovakia were barred from the Munich negotiations by Hitler, and Chamberlain presented them with the loss of the Sudetenland as a fait accompli, warning the Czechoslovakian ministers that Britain and France would break the mutual defense treaty if they refused to sign away their territory.

The Wehrmacht high command was stunned at this turn of events. They knew, as did the British and the French, that they had forcibly removed the one great impediment to German ambitions in the East. The mountains of Moravia and Bohemia presented a formidable natural defense against German invasion, and the Czechoslovakians had added modern military fortifications that would have stopped even a blitzkrieg cold, leaving Germany’s western frontier open to assault from the much larger French Army. Any thought of stopping Hitler from within ended at Munich and didn’t seriously reappear until the senior German officers realized the war was lost after Normandy in 1944.

They had given the natural defense of eastern Europe away for a promise, thanks to politicians who dreamed of peace at any cost, and who sold Czechoslovakia out to get it. Six months later, the same two nations wouldn’t even lift a finger to protect the rump Czech state as Hitler rolled across it, preparing for his assault on Poland and eastern Europe.

The historical context does not acquit Chamberlain, Britain, or France at all. It convicts them, especially in their haste to carve up an ally to appease a dictator who had long since shown his true colors. It was an act of cowardice set in motion by a series of capitulations that everyone pretended didn’t exist. It shows the folly of coddling dictators who dream of world domination.


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Comments

The historical context does not acquit Chamberlain, Britain, or France at all. It convicts them, especially in their haste to carve up an ally to appease a dictator who had long since shown his true colors.

Yup I agree and that’s great and all…but how does this apply at all to our current situation? Nobody’s advocating appeasing Iran by letting them blow up Israel or something. Negotiation doesn’t mean capitulation.

crr6 on May 17, 2008 at 3:24 PM

OKW’s intended procedure in event of France and Britain taking their side of the Versailles Treaty seriously was simple- a coup d’etat in which Hitler would have been “arrested”. (My guess is, he’d have been “arrested” about the same way he “arrested” Ernst Rohm and the Sturmabteilung’s leaders on the “Night of the Long Knives”.

eon on May 17, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Doesn’t the Night of Long Knives itself suggest that a coup against Hitler by the military would have been difficult, given the power of the SS and Gestapo, Hitler’s control of the judiciary and Goebbels effective use of propaganda. Even Rommel lost his life trying to depose Hitler, and that was at a time when it was clear that much of the nation was going to be destroyed by the U.S., Brit & Soviet forces and there was no military hope of victory.

dedalus on May 17, 2008 at 3:26 PM

No nation has ever had the right to dismember an allied nation without its approval, or even its participation. — Ed Morrissey

I could not agree more. It’s unfortunate that America’s hands are not clean in that regard, but it was a Democrat that made that “mistake” and put that stain on America’s record.

The worst U.S foreign policy “mistake” ever was made by a Democrat. At the close of World War II, Franklin Deleno Roosevelt gave away all of Eastern Europe to the fascist Joseph Stalin in the agreement at Yalta, after the Western Allies had successfully fought and won its freedom. As far as biggest “mistake” ever in U.S. foreign policy, this one easily wins the prize.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Were there any US/UK troops in Eastern Europe at the time? I thought the Soviets held that territory in 1945(?)

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM

I’m applauding sooo loud my hands hurt…

Kaptain Amerika on May 17, 2008 at 3:33 PM

Chamberlain could remember the First World War only too well: it was a horror like nothing Britain or France had seen before, and, as Dedalus says above, it was arguably caused by too many nations mobilising for war too quickly.

passingtramp on May 17, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Everyone remembered “The Great War” all too well, which we know is why it took so long to gear up to do it over again. But WWI began over one assassination that was part of the ongoing uprisings that fomented over the previous century. Yes, everyone was armed to the teeth. And yes, treaties and traditional alliances determined the course of events rather than cold logic. IN CONTRAST, most of Europe refused to re-arm and cut back on military following WWI in order to invest in moving on in “normalcy”. The Fascists banked on democracies to cower. Also, the Fascists did NOT simply assassinate one political figure to initiate WWII by the domino effect. It wasn’t just Poland that was assassinated, but Spain and Ethiopia. And what good did any of Poland’s treaties do in the face of her capture? Circumstances were monsterously greater begetting WWII than WWI, and those who placated the aggressors truly hoped to sit it out while the monsters ravaged the REST of the world. It always work out so well for Switzerland.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Negotiation doesn’t mean capitulation.

crr6 on May 17, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Negotiation DOES mean give and take.
So what’s being given? And who does the taking?

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:39 PM

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM

I don’t know what the conditions were on-the-ground at that time, I’ve never researched it.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:40 PM

baldilocks on May 17, 2008 at 3:18 PM “shees”

No affront intended.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:29 PM

For all of his “good intentions”,
FDR has too much to answer for in my book.
Having Eisenhower order our troops to halt
so that RUSSIANS could catch up to enter Berlin
first made for too much sorrow that followed.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM

It always work out so well for Switzerland.

Switzerland is not protected from war solely by refusing to fight. It has the Swiss Army – every Swiss man does reserve training every few years. Every man owns a gun and so do most women. In the case of invasion virtually the entire population of Switerland would turn into a massive trained army. Countries know it would be stupid to try and invade Switzerland and that is why their neutrality is respected.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:47 PM

For all of his “good intentions”,
FDR has too much to answer for in my book.
Having Eisenhower order our troops to halt
so that RUSSIANS could catch up to enter Berlin
first made for too much sorrow that followed.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM

I agree, I can’t help but think FDR was somehow sinister in this deal, surely anyone would have known Stalin wasn’t much different than Hitler. That’s why the word “mistake” is always in quotation marks for my above post.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:52 PM

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 3:52 PM

I agree re Berlin but besides Patton and MacArthur no one had to stomach to fight a new war against Russia. What if FDR couldn’t convince Stalin to pull out of Eastern Europe? I’m just asking by the way, not criticising. I’ve never had this properly explained. I don’t fully understand what happened at Yalta.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Maxx,
Sadly for America, FDR was a Progressive. Jonah Golberg makes the point that the reason America was able to slip into full-war-gear as efficiently as it did into WWII was that FDR had already created the fascist American regime to facilitate transference into the military development. FDR’s personal affinity with Stalin always trumped relations with Churchill. ARGH! Just as “tell alls” are published against conservative historian figures, the public market is due a castigation of FDR.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Someone please photoshop

RINOSTRICH

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 4:01 PM

I don’t fully understand what happened at Yalta.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

I don’t either. History is pretty skimpy in this area. But from what I’m able to gather, it looks to me that we fought a very long war which should have resulted in freeing many more millions of people than it did. FDR appears to have given away the store at the end of the battle. Hitler was defeated and that’s all that was in the press, so it appears FDR did what was politically expedient rather than what was right. The history basically goes that FDR simply “trusted” Stalin as absurd as that would have been.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s too easy to criticize but surely we could have got a better deal without more bloodshed. Was this appeasement by FDR at the end of the war? I don’t know, but in hindsight it sure looks like it.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 4:08 PM

The historical context does not acquit Chamberlain, Britain, or France at all. It convicts them, especially in their haste to carve up an ally to appease a dictator who had long since shown his true colors.

More to the point, whatever acquittal it offers Britain and France, it damns today’s foreign policy liberals even more. As Mark Steyn wrote earlier this year, we don’t have Chamberlain’s excuse.

HitNRun on May 17, 2008 at 4:13 PM

crr6 on May 17, 2008 at 3:24 PM

Depends on who you are negotiating with…

Hamas? Hez? Jihadists? Who all have religious written documents telling them its OK to renege on aggreements with infidels? That its a tactic of war to call a ceasefire, so you can build up more strength, and not negotiate for peace? That its OK to lie as long as it furthers your religion gaining power?

Romeo13 on May 17, 2008 at 4:17 PM

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:35 PM

I wasn’t suggesting anything contrary to what you say. I was however saying that we should not be so quick to cast Chamberlain as the idiot, or the coward. He was far from alone in his stance, and was certainly not the most guilty of wishing to ‘sit it out while the monsters ravaged the REST of the world’ (see the U.S.).

passingtramp on May 17, 2008 at 4:18 PM

I agree re Berlin but besides Patton and MacArthur no one had to stomach to fight a new war against Russia. What if FDR couldn’t convince Stalin to pull out of Eastern Europe?

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

I don’t know aengus, I don’t know what the situation was as far as deployment of forces at the time of Yalta. But generally speaking, stomach or not, soldiers do as they are ordered. Yes, it may have required more fighting but I doubt the soviets had the stomach for it either.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Thank you, eon, for your succinct history lessons and analysis. Thank you, too, Captain Ed, for providing a forum for thoughtfully informed discussion. I am glad that many of your former commenters have joined you here.

The Leftists always rebel when the lessons about Hitler, the Nazis, and WWII are invoked in order to understand today’s parallels. The blindfolds of the “progressives” hinder their world view.

I learned a lot here, and I am of a generation that was taught history and geography, including geopolitics. I pity the young people today (or even a generation or two ago) who have been deprived of even my rudimentary background. They have been cheated by their politically manipulative and irresponsible elders who teach in the universities, train the teachers who pass along faulty history, and write the textbooks that further propagandize.

onlineanalyst on May 17, 2008 at 4:25 PM

That’s not a valid comparison. Germany and Iran aren’t comparable- and terrorism is a global movement, not a unified nation state that can be attacked and defeated through conventional warfare. The longer we try and apply cold war thinking to the war on terror, the longer it will take us to achieve victory.
bayam on May 17, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Terrorism is a global movement; as was international communism which lost* the Cold War.

So why not review what techniques worked for democracies during that earlier struggle?

Wasn’t the Cold War conflict fought with the funding 5th columns, military intervention, economic strength, and projecting viewpoints through the media, the entertainment industry and the universities? [Take note, democracies do not have the same resources today.*]

Although traditional warfare can not be the sole answer towards ending terrorism; confronting any country funding and exporting must be part of the defense against it. Fighting and winning the Cold War included refusing to allow the Soviets to annex all of Berlin; a face-off with the Soviets when they announced they intended to establish a military base in Japan; and a military confrontation in the Korean conflict; leaving US defense forces in Korea and Germany. Of course, fighting on the military front could not win the war alone. Hearts and minds were won through economic success and the means to argue the cause of democracy and capitalism to the world. Such efforts require extensive financial backing only found in governments or to a lesser extent–if countries allow– huge donations from their extraordinarily wealthy corporations.

Both communism and terrorism movements had/have certain countries providing funding and other resources to the movements in other countries. Communism, just as jihidist movements, formed networks which crossed national boundaries and formed alliances of convenience with other movements. As discussed earlier; jihidist and hard-left radicals have formed a devil’s pact to destroy western democracy. So, while we may need to confront Iran with military intervention; we must also communicate our case to the world stage and form alliances. Unfortunately, the hard-left and jihidist have succeeded in gaining control over much of the communication routes.

*The major part of the Cold War struggle appeared to end, yet remained alive within the universities and media. In that sense, it survived the fall of the Soviet Union to re-emerge in the contemporary progressive movement

That’s not a valid comparison. Germany and Iran aren’t comparable

Re your other argument:
I think my earlier posts established my reasons for the comparison. Both countries want to re-establish the boundaries of pre-existing empires*, both share a culture with surrounding countries, and both regard a shared cultural heritage as the motivation to “unify”. I’m not stating that Middle-eastern cultures or religions are identical; merely similar. Language is not the only indicator of a shared culture. Neither does this similarity indicate that other countries want to merge with Iran. Rather, that the Iranian leadership finds these factors a justification for expansion; as did the Third Reich.

*Ahmadinejad has indicated he intends to re-establish a combination of the earlier Sunni and Shia empires.

Ragnell on May 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM

I don’t know aengus, I don’t know what the situation was as far as deployment of forces at the time of Yalta. But generally speaking, stomach or not, soldiers do as they are ordered. Yes, it may have required more fighting but I doubt the soviets had the stomach for it either.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Thanks Maxx. Its something I’ve always been meaning to study.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 4:34 PM

The article was worse than that. He changed it when people started leaving comments disparaging his sanity and intelligence.

The money quote was something to the effect of “What Hitler was asking for wasn’t unreasonable.

misterpeasea on May 17, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Switzerland is not protected from war solely by refusing to fight. It has the Swiss Army – every Swiss man does reserve training every few years. Every man owns a gun and so do most women. In the case of invasion virtually the entire population of Switerland would turn into a massive trained army. Countries know it would be stupid to try and invade Switzerland and that is why their neutrality is respected.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:47 PM

According to Fallaci, even Switzerland is succumbing to Islamofacsim with the immigration and settlement of Muslims who set up their own communities of sharia law within nations. PC appears to be a stronger force than the Swiss forces.

BTW I agree with your point about Serbia.

onlineanalyst on May 17, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Thanks Maxx. Its something I’ve always been meaning to study.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 4:34 PM

You ask good questions and I wish I had the answers but I just don’t. If you find the answers be sure to give us a post on it sometime because I am also curious as to those questions.

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Obama doth protest too much, and is stuck, period.

Entelechy on May 17, 2008 at 4:45 PM

onlineanalyst on May 17, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Yep.

The EU pressurised Switzerland to take in immigrants and the Swiss are mad as hell about it. If the Muslims showed up in tanks the Swiss would kick their asses back to the Middle East but because they’re “ordinary moms and dad”, “peaceful people” etc. well you know the story.

The EU also tried to get Switzerland to join the EU but after seven referendums the answer is still No.

You might find this article (which mentions Switzerland among other countries) interesting:

What’s Going Right in Europe–How Localism Might Save the Continent

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Unfortunately this is the same lack of understanding that allows some to believe the Southwest is still part of Mexico or that Israel is still Palestine. Strange how history, wars, and treaties really don’t fit into their world view.

It also is the mentality that allows conflicts to continue ad infinitum. When a negotiated cease fire is achieved there is never a defeated and submissive enemy, only an angry one determined to do better next time. (See 1990’s Iraq, Israel, or any of the dozens of, “UN Peacekeeping,” missions).

Throughout human history man has been conquered and conquered. In the past century we have tried to mitigate the outcomes to a disastrous end.
DKK

LifeTrek on May 17, 2008 at 4:58 PM

I’m impressed, Ed. Your depth of knowledge & comprehension of WW2 history speaks volumes.

jgapinoy on May 17, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Let’s hope that at some point in the future, someone won’t have to say: That is simply hogwash, and it attempts to rescue Neville Chamberlain Barack Obama by ignoring his greatest crime.

Bill_M on May 17, 2008 at 5:10 PM

Over the years a cease fire became acceptable when victory
should have been the standard. In War, there can be no compromise!

I have been to three of them.

Victory is complete with a Defeated Enemy.

Cease Fire is just putting off the inevitable future violence that results from no clear winner or loser.
Peacekeeping duty consists mainly of attempting to restore order while both sides generally despise you and offer you violence.

Korea, Bosnia/Kosovo, Somalia are prime examples.
The UN Peacekeeping Missions in Lebanon are just the latest
example. The UN is great about handing out milk and cookies but they also loot, rape and cut deals with both parties that were never part of any agreement. The UN loves to hide out in secure areas and reports the murder and mayhem.

old trooper on May 17, 2008 at 5:12 PM

No affront intended.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM

Understood. My bad.

I don’t fully understand what happened at Yalta.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

How to split up Europe when at least one participant believes in saying and doing what’s expedient to achieve long term goals aka lying. That how I always think of it. I also don’t think FDR’s options were two-fold: bad and worse.

baldilocks on May 17, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Oops.

I also don’t think FDR’s options were two-fold: bad and worse.

baldilocks on May 17, 2008 at 5:21 PM

JONATHAN DIMBLEBY
Daily Mail–UK
Great article on Putin’s Totalitarian Russia at Drudge

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 5:30 PM

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:47 PM that is correct. Thank you to complete that thought. Further, abstaining from war has done wonders for the Swiss economy and banks.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 5:36 PM

dedalus on May 17, 2008 at 3:26 PM

It’s important to remember that the Blood Purge wouldn’t have happened without Army trucks and assistance. Sure, the SS could have taken out the SA leadership without the Army, but it would have been a lot slower and a lot bloodier. In 1934, the Army was pretty much the only large scale armed force in Germany. The SS were still only a bodyguard force and the SA were street thugs.

Vatican Watcher on May 17, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Boy, liberals can rationalize anything, can’t they. They can find a noble, wise-sounding explanation for any chickenhearted thing they want to do.

Which is why we imperil ourselves if we empower liberals.

smagar on May 17, 2008 at 5:49 PM

passingtramp on May 17, 2008 at 12:07 PM
I agreed with you then and do again at 4:18.

Chamberlain, the whipping boy, had plenty of company to share the “guilt” of defeatist despair guised as appeasement. ALL of those who endured WWI felt stuck in the Hitler nightmare, finding it ever so difficult to move their feet whilst asleep. We understand why Chamberlain hoped against hope, just as we understand why NOT do that ourselves today.

FDR should have bonded with Churchill, though, rather than aligning with Stalin. There’s no stepping over that sore.

For us, it did not help having Bush fawn over Putin’s purity. Even the British have spelled it out in bold print today: Putin, Czar of Totalitarian Russia.

I am not advocating that Bush should have snubbed Putin, but that brown nosing Putin made Bush his social enabler. Maybe that was Bush’s “sweetie” talk to cushion the nuclear missiles that came later. Nonetheless, Bush is a domestic Progressive vying to overshadow FDR with Programs and open borders, though we should pray that Bush is truly more the international Conservative than FDR ever dreamt of appearing to be.

I am hoping that JackStraw was right on the money about Bush getting the MidEast ball rolling in the right direction.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 5:56 PM

Vatican Watcher on May 17, 2008 at 5:46 PM

Those SA street thugs knew how to strike you, and their murders didn’t happen later than sooner. Hitler’s mastery of German society didn’t limit itself to adults, as all school children, educators and clergy were hoisted into the Fascist extinction of traditional boundaries. I agree with you, that of course they used everything at their disposal. The army was stuck between a rock and a hard spot. Those who felt strongly did what they could to put a wrench in the works.

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 6:03 PM

What’s Going Right in Europe–How Localism Might Save the Continent

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Thanks, aengus, even though we may be a little OT. I enjoy pieces from The Brussels Journal for its editorial positions.

Out of curiosity: Is there merit to the criticisms that the Flemish group Vlaams Belang is anti-Semitic and somewhat similar to the Nazis? Or have they been infiltrated by skinheads? Or is this a smear to invalidate Flemish concerns with the threat of out-of-control immigration to their culture and autonomy?

Having traveled through the areas described in The Brussels Journal article, I admire their efforts not to succumb to the eradication of their ethnicity.

onlineanalyst on May 17, 2008 at 6:12 PM

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 5:56 PM

It all started with Wilson who was determined to reduce the power of the Royal families of Europe in favour of the egalitarian Bolsheviks in Russia.

BTW, I think Stanley Baldwin deserves far more blame than Chamberlain who usually gets all the blame and then some.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Out of curiosity: Is there merit to the criticisms that the Flemish group Vlaams Belang is anti-Semitic and somewhat similar to the Nazis?

None whatsoever. They are the most philo-Semitic political party in Europe. They are pro-Israel and enjoy the support of Belgium’s Jewish community. They also have (assimilated, Flemish-speaking) nonwhite members (not just members, elected politicians) in their party.

Filip DeWinter’s (the leader of VB) father and uncle fought the Nazis.

Or is this a smear to invalidate Flemish concerns with the threat of out-of-control immigration to their culture and autonomy?

It is a despicable lie and I’m now getting angry even thinking about it.

When John Paul II died the Mayor of Brussels broke out a bottle of his finest champagne to celebrate. Thats the sort of people the VB are up against.

The immigration started as an attempt to deprive the Flemish of demographic political power.

A friend of mine has a catchphrase he uses ironically when something doesn’t go his way: “Evil wins.”

In Belgium, evil wins.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:31 PM

maverick muse on May 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

I think your argument was already addressed in my earlier post but I’ll attempt to clarify—

My intent was to compare the impact of the shared heritage of Islam with the shared heritage of language. Sorry for any confusion on that point.

As I stated earlier; I would argue that language is not the only factor in a shared heritage. A dominant dynasty, ideology and/or religion are also important; as long as a common mindset is created. Although there are distinct branches and a long and bloody history of fighting between Sunnis and Shia; under certain conditions that hasn’t prevented the Iranians and many others from regarding Islam as the main unifying factor. [Such as a facing their common enemy, America]

(btw-Forgive me if I jump back and forth between Iran vs. Germany — but, I’m short on time and will have to dash this out–)

To continue the argument that there are comparisons between the German Empire and Iran(we-wannabe-an-empire-again): Exhibit A: Religion as ONE ingredient.

Germany contained different branches of their predominant religion as well; and initially these branches did not get along. Yet, German Catholics and Protestants would regard Christianity (at least by the 19th-century) as an acceptable common heritage. I doubt if the same results would occur if half the German states were Hindu.

Did German Christians ever fight like the Sunnis and Shia? You betcha-The German states had a record of nasty wars between them as well (in some instances, religion-based). Just as with Iran and the Middle East; the German states shared the same religion but with competing branches. One part of Germany was predominately Lutheran, the other part was Catholic. At one point, Bismarck declared war on the Catholic Church until he found a greater enemy.

Yet still, Germans developed a mindset based on their belief in a shared religious (and other factors) heritage, and unified.* Would not a common mindset be the real glue that binds a group together? (Even if some of that shared heritage was manufactured by 19th–century German authors, artists and academics).

In the end, Catholic German states ran to join the German Empire, rather than be annexed by France. They found more in common with northern protestant German states. Keep in mind that this scenario occurred before Germany’s military build-up and the later rise of the Nazis.

I still maintain that although it is not an identical situation; there are similarities between the “German heritage” network and the Islamic heritage network and their goals for empire building. Under the right circumstances, Iran may dominate, and acquire other Middle Eastern regions as well.

*I’m not stating that early unification was entirely voluntary; but that a network of support developed to enable the process. That same network continued to exist after the fall of the German Empire post WWI.

Ragnell

Hey there baldilocks, Thanks for catching my drift- rags

Ragnell on May 17, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Having traveled through the areas described in The Brussels Journal article, I admire their efforts not to succumb to the eradication of their ethnicity.

Yeah its a great blog. I’ve only been to Europe once (Amsterdam) but I’m off to Rome in a few hours. I’ll be going to mass in St. Peter’s on Wednesday so if anyone wants me to shout anything at Pope Benedict say so now!

(BTW I realise that I am, politically speaking, a European but Ireland and Britain are not really a part of Europe… I’m old-fashioned)

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:38 PM

As WWI and appeasement generally are being discussed I’d encourage you all to read this interview with Kaiser Wilhelm II given to The Daily Telegraph in 1908.

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:47 PM

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:31 PM

Thanks for the clarification. There has been a running controversy between Charles Johnson’s lgf blog (which I generally like and trust) and either The Gates of Vienna or The Anchoress about Vlaams Belang. I’m inclined to trust your judgment here.

Godspeed on your trip to Rome. I envy your opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict XVI. He dazzled us in the US with his visit. (Small world, but a fellow choir member who came here to the States from East Germany remembers Ratzinger from her own time as a student at Munich University.)

onlineanalyst on May 17, 2008 at 7:40 PM

I’ll be going to mass in St. Peter’s on Wednesday so if anyone wants me to shout anything at Pope Benedict say so now!

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:38 PM

You might want to ask him when he thinks the aliens will be landing.

Just kidding of course, I like this Pope, have a great trip!

Maxx on May 17, 2008 at 8:23 PM

Ed Cetera

– The Cat

MirCat on May 17, 2008 at 9:10 PM

Yeah, they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. Nor did Winston Churchill, who said of Chamberlain’s appeasement at Munich: “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war.”

ajackson on May 17, 2008 at 9:41 PM

It was Chamberlain and Daladier did everyone a great service with Munich. They sacrificed elements within Bohemia to avoid full scale war for whcih they were utterly unprepared… more specifically the RAF was unprepared. Part of the agreement made any further territorial advancements of the Third Reich an automatic declaration of war against Britain and France(that took place with the onvasion of Poland). The extra year allowed the British to produce enough quality pilots and planes to effectively challenge the Luftwaffe over Britain. Plenty of accidents, mistakes, and blunders on both sides led to the eventual outcome but if war broke out in 1938 instead of 1939 it would have resulted in a much more difficult situation for Britain and the Empire.

Read the history of the German High Command. Its written by Germans. They know better and are more honest about what caused their meticulous timetable and plans to go off the rails. They cite two things. The Battle of Britain and the strong opposition that they faced in Yugoslavia. Specifically, Hitler insisted on total control in the Balkans and it tied up hundreds of thousands of his troops and caused the postponement of Barbarossa to a later date.

I think you will find that the Czecks were allied to the Soviets at the time. Your assertion that the Czecks could have effectively tied down the Germans with the aid of geography doesn’t really pass serious scrutiny as the Germans would have had the support of many of the local people in those geographical choke points. Indeed it is not unreasonable to suggest that a German invasion would have caused an instant civil war within Czeckoslavakia.

Some of the faciful posts about some sort of union between the left and radical Islam are hilarious. Just look at what happened to the Tudeh party in Iran and the socialist party in Afghanistan. They are not there anymore.

lexhamfox on May 17, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Ireland and Britain are not really a part of Europe… I’m old-fashioned)

aengus on May 17, 2008 at 6:38 PM

AMEN!

OldEnglish on May 17, 2008 at 11:10 PM

lexhamfox,
The French had a stronger Army than the Germans, when the war finally started. Even more so at the time of the Czech crisis. They just didn’t want to fight. At any cost.

exhelodrvr on May 17, 2008 at 11:51 PM

The two nations tried to avoid another devastating war the only way open to them at the time

Sure that was their only option after they had unilaterally disarmed themselves. One can never negotiate favorably from a point of weakness which was exactly where England and France found themselves.

docdave on May 18, 2008 at 12:49 AM

Perhaps the very settled historical judgment on appeasement is not so settled after all.

It seems that Bruce Ramsey, Decider (or hireling of a Decider) has changed his article.

I saved a copy of the original and the revision. The article title, URL and first paragraph seem unchanged.

The rest is completely different.

In good doctrinaire form,

What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable.

has been improved:

What Hitler was demanding at Munich was not unreasonable as a national claim . . .

and it’s now the 4th sentence, with qualification. Nuance.

How is it that someone claiming to be a journalist, educated at . . . the analysis just gets too stupid to form sentences.

Even jack-booted model-builders can provide a better apology for Hitler (and a better analysis of events 1918-1945).

Even 6th graders can thoroughly fisk his writing (and using only the World Book for fact checking).

Perhaps the Seattle Times will merge with the Seattle P-I, just in time for both to fold.

Arbalest on May 18, 2008 at 12:56 AM

One can never negotiate favorably from a point of weaknessSomebody tell Obama that.

baldilocks on May 18, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Let’s try this again.

One can never negotiate favorably from a point of weakness

Somebody tell Obama that.

baldilocks on May 18, 2008 at 1:31 AM

I agree re Berlin but besides Patton and MacArthur no one had to stomach to fight a new war against Russia.

Not true, Monty as well as more than a few British officers in high places were in total agreement with Patton and Omar Bradley on that score: Stalin needed to be clipped and there was no better time to do it than, as Patton put it “while we’ve got the forces here to do it.” The thing most people don’t realize about the state of the Red Army after the armistance was signed, and pretty much throughout ’45-’46 was just how vulnerable they were: they had roughly equal numbers…to the US millitary presence on the continent alone: about two million men. However, while Tommy and Joe had three hots and a cot, boatloads of factory new weapons and ammo, and fuel enough to drive all the way into the Trans-Ural regions (and fly round the clock sorties over the western Soviet Union) and liberate Stalin’s death camps and absolutely nothing to interupt their lines of supply in the event of a war, Ivan wasn’t so well off: The Red Army was running on fumes; they were just about out of gas and ammo and so poorly supplied in every way that they ravaged the eastern European countryside (and it’s civilian populations) foraging for basic neccessities, such as food and heating fule. Add to that the US occupation forces in the far east under Mac providing a second front on an already weakened (and probably more than willing to be rid of Stalin, The Politburo, The KGB, purges, and gulags) population and, of course, The Bomb, knocking out Stalin was a totally realistic possibility and probable certainty were the decision mad to do so. Now, nobody figured it would be a cakewalk, an army of 2 million battle tested vets is still an army of 2 million battle tested vets, and the hardcore Red true-believers would likely put up a stiff resistence to the end as well, but Monty, Patton, Brad and Mac were fairly confident they could, if neccessary, add Stalin to the Dead Tyrants Club and the Soviet Union to the list of liberated countries is they got the go ahead from up top. It was an overall lack of will amongst the political classes to finish off the dicators once and for all that kept Stalin from joining Hitler in Hell sooner than he did.

What if FDR couldn’t convince Stalin to pull out of Eastern Europe? I’m just asking by the way, not criticising. I’ve never had this properly explained. I don’t fully understand what happened at Yalta.
aengus on May 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM

FDR didn’t even try to convince “Uncle Joe” to pull out of Eastern Europe, quite the opposite, in fact, he pretty much conceded the whole of eastern Europe to the Soviets at Yalta, much to the dismay and consternation of Churchill. In fact, Yalta drove a wedge between Churchill and Roosevelt; Churchill never trusted Stalin and had supported numerous operational plans during the war for the US and UK to open a south eastern front through Greece or Yugoslavia (or both), explicitly for the purpose of preventing the Soviets from being the sole occupying force in eastern Europe. Roosevelt, for whatever reasons (Alger Hiss, possible Soviet sympathies of his own, and the fact that he was practically demented by the time of Yalta being a few) dismissed those plans at every turn and pretty much shanked Churchill at Yalta. FDR wasn’t exactly the great statesman he’s made out to be by liberal accademics.

Personally, I think he was a little more than a pale reflection of the dictators he clashed with and cozied up to during the war. An analysis of Roosevet’s implementation of The New Deal and his vow to pack the bench in order to make the many unconstitutional measures within it constitutional via judicial fiat (going so far as enlarge the SCOTUS to NINE justices) could fill an entire thread all it’s own.

But that’s a discussion for another time.

SuperCool on May 18, 2008 at 4:35 AM

“Peace In Our Time”!

sabbott on May 18, 2008 at 7:56 AM

lexhamfox on May 17, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Thank you for your insight. It’s interesting to see that some people still do not understand the fundamental relationship between Islamist radicalism and “progressive enlightened” radicalism. Let me explain it simply;

The “progressives” regard Western Civilization as a failure. In fact, they see it as inherently and irredeemably evil, for many reasons (going back to Christopher Columbus, and even earlier). They see the failure of socialism worldwide not as an indictment of socialism’s fundamental principles, but simply as proof that capitalism is so pervasively evil that it will stop at nothing to thwart true, egalitarian, morally correct “social justice”. (The more likely explanation, that socialism fails due to its own inherent contradictions, is rejected out of hand by them.) They also have an unhealthy romance with non-Western, non-Enlightenment “values”, which emphasize “belief” over logic. (Think of the “progressive” fascination with “New Age” beliefs- and their reflexive hostility to “technology”, which they regard as evil incarnate.)

The consequence of this for the last half-century has been that, whenever “progressives” had to choose between Western civilization and its enemies- they have invariably sided with the enemies. Whether the enemy in question was the Soviets, the Red Chinese, any of their “clients” (such as Castro), or, now, the Islamists. It doesn’t matter what the “ideology” is- as long as it rejects fact, and rejects Western values.

Because the “progressives” always have the same idea. Namely, that the newest group of “homicidal Utopians” they are romancing will be the ones who are strong enough to, once and for all, destroy the civilization they despise for its “coldness” and “lack of feeling”- ours. But, by the same token, once their new best friends have done so, said NBFs will not have the brains to run the “Brave New World”- and so will need the “enlightened elite” (our own home-grown “progressives”) to tell them, and whoever else is left, what to do. So that the “progressives” can build a new, perfect society on the ruins of ours. With themselves in absolute control, forever and ever, praise Nietsche.

Which means that they win, in their worldview.

The fact that everyone from Stalin to the Taliban have historically had a nasty habit of executing those in conquered countries who helped them do the conquering simply does not register with them. Because they never believe that it could happen to them. Rather, they believe that their latest NBFs will, instead, instinctively perceive their “inherent superiority” and immediately begin worshipping them- as they believe they so richly deserve.

Which means that if they ever “got what they wanted”, they would be awfully surprised when they were bent over the headsman’s block. And would probably still be saying, “But can’t we talk about this?” (Headsman’s most likely answer; “No.” Followed by a loud “Thwack”ing sound.)

As the old saying goes, just because a theory is stupid, there’s nothing to keep people from believing in it. Especially if they define reality as “whatever feels good”.

But you don’t run a civilization on “feelings”, good or otherwise. Not even if you are as “enlightened” as the “progressives” imagine themselves to be.

And as another old saying goes, a sheep trying to run with the wolves will just be eaten last. Because to the wolves, he’s not an “honorary” wolf- just a really dumb sheep. Who they are counting on to lead them to the rest of the flock- at which point he gets eaten along with the rest.

cheers

eon

eon on May 18, 2008 at 9:52 AM

There’s been much leftist blathering about the difference between negotiation and appeasement, and that Obama is in favor of the former but not the latter. This line of thought fails to recognize that with certain antagonists, negotiation is appeasement. It provides the recognition and validation that they covet, while they never intend to renounce their reprehensible views.

Potfry on May 18, 2008 at 1:09 PM

eon on May 18, 2008 at 9:52 AM Because the “progressives” always have the same idea. Namely, that the newest group of “homicidal Utopians” they are romancing will be the ones who are strong enough to, once and for all, destroy the civilization they despise for its “coldness” and “lack of feeling”- ours.

Eon
Although I’ve participated in discussions which addressed this alliance between the radical left and the jihidists; I don’t believe anyone has quite matched the clarity and insight of your analysis. Many thanks

Are you publishing anything online you would be willing to share with us?

rags

Ragnell on May 18, 2008 at 3:58 PM

SuperCool on May 18, 2008 at 4:35 AM

Nice post SuperCool. The way you said it agrees with my impression of what happened at Yalta. But I don’t know what the resources are to back all of that up.

Maxx on May 18, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Ragnell on May 18, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Many thanks for your kind thoughts.

I don’t “publish” online, technically speaking. I just comment. Here, at Little Green Footballs, and at Townhall.com. I’m easy to find, I use the same screen-name everywhere. Like Underdog, I’m “not horse, nor plane, nor even frog; it’s just little ol’ me”- eon.

As for the ‘clarity’ of my analysis, all I can say is, I’ve been on this planet 50 years. And my opinions are formed of observation and experience. (Much of the latter got a bit painful at times.) I make no claim to superior knowledge or intelligence, but I firmly believe in what I call the Bell/Doyle Law; When you eliminate all the impossible answers to a question, whatever remains, however improbable it may seem, must be the correct answer. The law is named for Dr. Joseph Bell of Edinburgh University Medical School and his prize pupil and lifelong friend, Dr. (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle- the creator of Sherlock Holmes. (Most of Holmes’ aphorisms were Doyle’s own opinions, or quotes from Bell.)

Another dictum I follow is one I learned studying abnormal psychology. It goes, “If you see a behavior pattern which appears to make no sense, it means you have insufficient data to draw an accurate conclusion. Get more data.”

I find these two principles very useful in evaluating the behavior of those who believe themselves to be an “enlightened elite”. No matter why they believe it.

Thanks again.

cheers

eon

eon on May 18, 2008 at 7:15 PM

This line of thought fails to recognize that with certain antagonists, negotiation is appeasement. It provides the recognition and validation that they covet, while they never intend to renounce their reprehensible views.

Potfry on May 18, 2008 at 1:09 PM

So which camp would the Soviets fall into or Red China?

dedalus on May 18, 2008 at 8:43 PM

They see the failure of socialism worldwide not as an indictment of socialism’s fundamental principles, but simply as proof that capitalism is so pervasively evil that it will stop at nothing to thwart true, egalitarian, morally correct “social justice”.

They also have an unhealthy romance with non-Western, non-Enlightenment “values”, which emphasize “belief” over logic.
eon on May 18, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Good assessment, but I’m wondering if the line isn’t rather blurry. Western democracies, including our own, recognize the need to manage free markets, expand access to services to the disabled, provide a social safety net, and tax progressively. Some of the impetus for this can be found in Christian beliefs, that aren’t driven by cold logic but by faith, hope and charity.

dedalus on May 18, 2008 at 9:06 PM

BTW, if you check at LGF, Ramsey has been doing some significant unacknowledged editing of his blog post, so he doesn’t look quite so nuts.

Realist on May 18, 2008 at 11:33 PM

I highly recommend that you order and listen to this CD:
America – The Truth You Need to Know

It is a 2004 recording of Bob McEwen, who served 12 years as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1981–1993, from Ohio’s 6th district) and who was a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence.

The CD addresses the history of appeasement in Europe building up to World War II, as well as the current world situation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McEwen says this about McEwen:

In Congress, McEwen, who “had a reputation as a man who thinks about politics every waking moment,” claimed Congressional Quarterly, was a staunch conservative…

A vehement anti-Communist, he visited Tbilisi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia in 1991 to help tear down the hammer-and-sickle iconography of the Communist regime. That year he also called for the House to establish a select committee to investigate whether any soldiers declared “missing in action” in the Vietnam War and other American wars were still alive, by sponsoring H. Res. 207.

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Roosevelt, for whatever reasons (Alger Hiss, possible Soviet sympathies of his own, and the fact that he was practically demented by the time of Yalta being a few) dismissed those plans at every turn and pretty much shanked Churchill at Yalta. FDR wasn’t exactly the great statesman he’s made out to be by liberal academics.

Personally, I think he was a little more than a pale reflection of the dictators he clashed with and cozied up to during the war. An analysis of Roosevet’s implementation of The New Deal and his vow to pack the bench in order to make the many unconstitutional measures within it constitutional via judicial fiat (going so far as enlarge the SCOTUS to NINE justices) could fill an entire thread all it’s own.

But that’s a discussion for another time.

SuperCool on May 18, 2008 at 4:35 AM

Roosevelt was a Socialist.

The Federal Reserve intentionally created the environment that led to massive speculation and the Great Depression.

The Great Depression was necessary to achieve their Socialist ends (via FDR).

Look where Social[ist] [In]Security came from.

Look where the IRS came from.

Wake up, Neo…

Red Pill on May 19, 2008 at 11:43 AM