On War #265: The Necessary War

By William S. Lind
July 2, 2008

Pat Buchanan’s new book, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, is causing a stir, which is a good thing. Buchanan argues that both World War I and World War II were unnecessary wars; that Britain bears at least as much responsibility for both as Germany; that Winston Churchill was “the indispensable man” in reducing Britain from a world-encircling empire to “a cottage by the sea-to live out her declining years;” and that the consequence of the Western civil war that encompassed both World Wars (I would add the Cold War as well) has been the fall of the West.

Buchanan is correct on all counts. His book represents a counterattack in the necessary war, the war to introduce Americans to genuine history. At present, most Americans know only a comic-book version of history, one in which Germany deliberately started both World Wars as part of a drive to conquer the world, a drive stopped when valiant American armies defeated the German army. And, oh yes, some Brit named Churchill beat the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. Thanks to the victories of the freedom-loving allies, we now live in the best of all possible worlds, where everyone can be a “democracy.”

Nothing of the comic-book version of history is true, not even the Battle of Britain bit. Curiously, the key British records from the Battle of Britain remain classified “secret;” it seems the RAF was on the ropes. Buchanan goes after the rest of it with spirit and zest, demolishing it utterly. As Colonel House told Woodrow Wilson after talking extensively with Kaiser Wilhelm in 1915, the Kaiser neither wanted nor expected war. I have seen the last, desperate telegram he sent the Tsar, trying to avoid a general European war. He was mocked for years before the war by many Germans as the “Peace Kaiser” because in crisis after crisis he backed down. Kaiser Wilhelm knew, as did Theodore Roosevelt, that a World War would cost the West its world dominance.

Because World War I was unnecessary, so was World War II, which was really a resumption of World War I. Buchanan goes further and argues that had Britain and France not offered a wildly imprudent guarantee to Poland in the spring of 1939, there would have been no war in the West. Hitler wanted to fight Stalin, not the Western powers. That too is true, but Buchanan makes one assumption I am not so sure of, namely that Germany would have defeated the USSR. As it was, World War II was fought mostly in the east, and it was the Red Army, not the comparatively small British and American armies, that defeated the Wehrmact. Could Stalin have done it alone? Maybe.

In both World Wars, the U.S. came out a winner because it left most of the fighting to others. In World War I, Germany was defeated by the (under international law, illegal) starvation blockade. The French army bore the brunt of the war in the west. Buchanan’s debunking of Churchill is thorough and valuable. Churchill was brilliant, forceful, imprudent, and often wrong. A howler for war both in 1914 and 1939, he may not have sought to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire, but it was his own fault he did so. Prudence, which means evaluating prospective actions in terms of their probable long-term effects, is conservatives’ first political principle, and the debacles created by Churchill illustrate why. At heart, he was far more Whig than Tory. Burke would have loathed him.

Buchanan’s historical revisionism is welcome on several counts. The neo-cons have elevated an unhistorical Churchill into the patron of interventionism, selling him in Washington and elsewhere like saints’ bones. It is a snare for the simple, with George W. Bush numbered among them.

Debunking comic-book history and replacing it with the real thing is vital if America is to avoid the dual trap of cultural Marxism and Brave New World. As ideologues and totalitarians everywhere have long known, if you can cut a people off from their past, you can do whatever you want with them. We need a similar debunking of the comic book history of the Civil War now fed to Americans, in which it was all about slavery.

Buchanan’s relevance comes from the sad fact that America is now duplicating Churchill’s central error, imprudence. We have entered into two wars with little thought for their long-term consequences. Washington hands out guarantees, similar to Britain’s to Poland, all over the world like penny candy, with no consideration of where they may lead. We give less thought to the potential future consequences of our actions than the average Mayfly. All that matters is receiving the applause of dunces and pleasing the SMEC.

Britain did the same thing twice, in 1914 and 1939. It is perhaps not too much to infer that Little England will be followed by Little America.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

To interview Mr. Lind, please contact (no e-mail available):

Mr. William S. Lind
Free Congress Foundation
1423 Powhatan Street, # 2
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Direct line: 703 837-0483

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Filed in Uncategorized | 24 responses so far

24 Responses to “On War #265: The Necessary War”

  1. Maxon 02 Jul 2008 at 4:15 pm 1

    Interesting, very interesting this is all of course
    very provocative.

    Mr. Lind is a very, very smart man.

    He mentions the US civil war as being in need of honest
    re-appraisal.

    Along similar lines to Buchanan’s treatment of WW1 Part 1
    & 2, hitherto known as WW2.

    I would go further in including 1812, and yes, particularly
    the US war of independence.

    And that of course is sheer blasphemy in the current climate.

    Why does any of this matter ?

    Boyd was an eternal seeker of ultimate truth, sometimes
    to the deprement of himself and others, but not for Boyd,
    not for the following, and like minded, but but in the end,
    the truth shall set you free.

    MaXimillian.

  2. EmeryNelsonon 02 Jul 2008 at 11:23 pm 2

    The one solid rule for winners is never enter a war first. We benefited mightily from that in both wars, there’s no denying it.

  3. dkenbluon 03 Jul 2008 at 7:18 am 3

    yawn… I enjoy Mr. Lind’s “On War” series, even when he is playing the grumpy old curmudgeon warning us young whippersnappers that things ain’t what they used to be and this country is going to hell in a handbasket…
    But this jumping on Buchanan’s frail rewriting of history is just silly. Yes WWI + WWII had the effect of reducing Britain from a Global Empire to the proverbial little old lady in the cottage by the sea. But did the world really need the British Empire to rule it? Was it in Britain’s best interest to maintain a global empire?
    Sometimes Mr. Lind lets his fascination with the tactical brilliance of the Prussian and German armies get the better of his judgment. Sometimes conventional history is – gasp! – correct, despite the let down we all felt when we learned the real scoop about George Washington’s cherry tree.
    Hitler – unlike say Saddam Hussein – needed to be confronted as a real danger to the West. And if Churchill had a passing thought that even victory would cost Britain her global pre-eminance, then he should be even more revered today for doing what needed to be done.
    Some evils need to be confronted, not just intellectualized away or ignored.
    Somehow I don’t see Boyd today sitting next to Buchanan in his immigrant-free bombshelter wearing a tinfoil hat. Being “provocative” is one thing, but that doesn’t make it true…
    -Dan

  4. judasnooseon 03 Jul 2008 at 9:12 am 4

    Lind is awesome as usual. The fact that he praises Buchanan means that I might have to swallow my distaste for Buchanan’s past as a police officer and fork over the dough to buy Buchanan’s new book.

    By the way, I’m ignorant. Lind writes: ” All that matters is receiving the applause of dunces and pleasing the SMEC.”

    Does SMEC stand for “Stock Market Exchange Commission”? If not, what does it stand for?

  5. Ed Beakleyon 03 Jul 2008 at 11:37 am 5

    I always read Mr. Lind’s articles and am never bored or left without pause to think again. Truth may be said to set us free, but perspective (flawed or otherwise) seems to be what most plays in “cause and effect.” I suspect no war has ever been portrayed “accurately” or ever will be. The returning warfighter (general, admiral, fighter pilot, grunt)reports what he sees in battle and it is only one stress flawed perspective. The writing of history follows. If all the aircraft reported flamed by fighter pilots …well there would be a lot more Aces.

    As to the Battle of Britain, no student of fighter aviation would say other than that the RAF was on the ropes. But Germany, having focused on the wrong initial target set, could not gain air superiority and thus did not cross the channel to invade. Truth I believe.

    I continue to be enlightened and or intrigued by Bill Lind’s views
    For another view see: http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson061608.html

  6. rmhitchenson 03 Jul 2008 at 11:51 am 6

    C’mon, Mr. Lind. Do you really believe the British empire would have long survived, even in the absence of two world wars? And citing the Kaiser’s telegram as evidence that Germany “neither wanted nor expected war” in 1914 is a bit specious. The Kaiser was not the only “player” in the German government, and far from the most important. It was Germany’s “imprudent guarantee” to Austria-Hungary — a collective decision, deconstructed by recent historians — that set events in motion, along with the inability of A-H to find a solution short of war to Serbia’s provocative actions in the Balkans. (OK, the Russian guarantee to Serbia was equally imprudent!)

    You may belittle the “comic book” version of history, but it won’t change the outcome of, say, the Battle of Britain. Any number of authors have shown that the RAF was “on the ropes” or close to it, but you can’t change the outcome and therefore whatever remains classified probably doesn’t matter too much. From the Luftwaffe’s standpoint the battle was unsustainable and, in the absence of a viable invasion plan, pointless. You surely aren’t trying to rewrite the history of World War II, so what’s your point? Sure, Britain and France writing off Poland makes for an intriguing counterfactual, and maybe Hitler would have moved promptly against the USSR in that event, and yes, maybe he would have succeeded, but at some point it would he would have turned his attention to France and England.

    So whatever we’re duplicating, it’s not simply “Churchill’s error.” I think we made this one up all by ourselves.

  7. AnsweringMaxon 03 Jul 2008 at 11:03 pm 7

    Indeed an extremely good article, but I just wanted to answer Max: Mr Lind himself tells us what SMEC is in another one of his article, namely, SMEC stands for “small middle eastern country”= Israel.

  8. Maxon 04 Jul 2008 at 6:18 am 8

    “AnsweringMax”

    Is someone actually going by this name ?

    I’m flattered.

    Very amusing,,,.

    Boyd might have laughed,,,

    Happy 4th to one and all, we got the US of A through one
    more year, in one peice.

    Carefull with the fireworks, specially in the S.West and Calf.

    M

  9. Duncan Kinderon 04 Jul 2008 at 11:18 am 9

    I’ve not read Buchanan’s book, so I am at a disadvantage, but I have several comments:

    1) Keeping the Channel Ports open had been British policy since the Middle Ages. The German invasion of Belgium was a threat to that policy.

    2) The Dreadnought Race threatened British naval supremacy.

    3) The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact made a mockery of British / French schemes to pit Hitler against Stalin.

    4) Churchill, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, put England back on the gold standard. Does Buchanan discuss this?

    5) Churchill was not only the great foe and opponent of Hitler but also of Gandhi.

    6) That the Kaiser and Imperial Germany were not the monstrosity that Hitler and his Germany were does not make Hitler and the Nazi’s any less monstrous.

  10. JRBehrmanon 05 Jul 2008 at 12:55 pm 10

    Buchanan and Lind take quite a long excursion into not just critical but implicitly counter-factual history. That is fine. Most reputable historians today present at least some counter-factuals in the course of serious work. And, some very entertaining fiction does convey an interesting appreciation of most of the same facts and theories as comprise reputable historical study.

    At a minimum, such work stands apart from bogus “historical laws” or dubious “economic determinism” without indulging in “Great Man” romance, propagating a crude race-myth, or trivializing factors other than divine providence in history or strategy.

    There is some danger that their affection for “cultural conservatism” though may lead Lind/Buchanan to one more “comic book” of history justifying their own alternative to the status quo today and serving as a prophecy of gloom and doom to come from anything but a peculiar factional interest.

    I am especially sensitive to this, since we used to have to endure a racist comic book history in the public schools here in Texas that was not even a reliable representation of actual ethnic conflict in the far from inevitable history of my state (and family).

    Not being an anglophile of any sort, I still appreciate the amusing counterfactual fiction of The Two Georges by Dreyfuss and Turtledove that posits a rather benign “North American Union” from the outset in contrast to one of the dystopian visions of the far-right that goes by that same name today.

    Eric Flint also has two novels out that portray a very different timeline that might have followed Sam Houston from the Battle of Horsehoe Bend in Mississippi to Palmetto Bend on the Rio Grande had one arrow hit a few inches away from where it did.

    In his quite serious and original historical work on Dr. James Grant and “covert ops” in Texas between about 1816 and 1835, Stuart Reid speculates briefly about how Lord Palmerston and others might have thwarted Jackson and “Manifest Destiny” in the course of unearthing how they tried and failed to do so between the Fredonian enterprise and the fall of the Alamo.

    An eleven-volume series by Turtledove actually deals with both the Lind/Buchanan speculation about Europe’s Civil War following quite an elaborate “timeline” and cast of real as well as imagined characters that diverge from actual history when General McClellan fails to get a lost copy of General Lee’s General Order Nbr 191.

    And, yes, it posits slavery as less than the only or decisive issue in the American Civil War, but race and — more than anything else — war itself as huge and consequential.

    Do various forms of counter-factual history and alternative history fiction inform our thinking about the future? Hopefully they both do so in a robust and complementary way.

  11. JRBehrmanon 05 Jul 2008 at 2:03 pm 11

    Here is the 191-Timeline: (comprising the Lind/Buchanan scope of critical re-appraissal)

    The First and Second Wars Between the States
    1.1 1861–1862: An Independent South
    1.2 1862–1881: American Changes
    1.3 1881–1882: The Second War Between the States

    2 Great War
    2.1 1914: Declaration and Invasion
    2.2 1915: Stalemate and Rebellion
    2.3 1916: Slaughter
    2.4 1917: Breakthroughs

    3 The American Empire
    3.1 1918: Old Animosities Rekindled
    3.2 1919–1924: American Blood & Iron
    3.3 1925–1933: Fascist “Freedom Party” on the Brink of Power
    3.4 1934–1941: The Victorious Opposition

    4 Settling Accounts
    4.1 1941–1942: The Entente on the Attack
    4.2 1942–1943: Under the Heel
    4.3 1943–1944: The Tide Turns
    4.4 1944–1945: The Fight to the Death

    This is discussed in depth here. Hint: This is not a pretty picture.

  12. Maxon 05 Jul 2008 at 8:33 pm 12

    “Do various forms of counter-factual history and alternative history fiction inform our thinking about the future? Hopefully they both do so in a robust and complementary way.”

    Good analysis. Well written.

    Illustration,

    As many will re-visit the factuals and re-appraisals of the atomic bombings next month.

    Myriad articles may surface, and with the introspection, soul searching, and malaise that permiates the US collective phycie these days, no doubt questions, and second guesses will re-surface.

    This has obvious relevence toward the current moral footing
    in apparent willingness to go to war, over WMDs, real,
    or imagined.

    I won’t be at all surprised to hear from Buchanan, Lind,
    Gore Vidal, etc,,.

    I used to regard revisionisim as something to be reviled.

    My own personel opinion on all that (the bombings) has been changed by critical revisionsism. I’ve come about 180 degrees, when I think back, I can’t beleive that my opinion could have changed.

    Then again, I used to firmly beleive and practically worship the F-14 was the greatest fighter aircraft in the skies.

    I’m encouraged by that, and as not something to be feared, but take that as a sign of willingness to learn, grow and adapt, even though that means forsaking nearest, and dearest sacred cows.

    Often a Painfull process, but well worth it, including the veiw at the top.

    The Chinese have a proverb, “the pain you feel, is the ignorance
    within you dieing.”

    M

  13. judasnooseon 06 Jul 2008 at 5:42 am 13

    Thanks for the info regarding the “small middle eastern country” acronym. The article makes much more sense with that explanation.

  14. Maxon 06 Jul 2008 at 7:55 pm 14

    For those who may not have seen this.
    And being somewhat germain to this thread, being
    critical historical analysis and revisionism.

    This is now hit the mainstream press, first appearing
    on antiwar.com a day or so ago.

    WARNING, this is disturbing.

    M

    http://tinyurl.com/5r3luc

  15. oaktreeon 08 Jul 2008 at 1:24 pm 15

    A very thought provoking post. I have been working on increasing my knowledge of history beyond the comic book level for the last couple years. As succinctly as possible then:

    A reappraisal of WWII is welcome, and it is true that in total the net effect of the two wars was to kill the British empire, hasten the end of Western dominance (the slow decline continues to this day). But I hope we aren’t saying that Germany didn’t really want to invade Britain. It did, and I think the end of British power would have been much quicker and uglier had the Germans made it ashore; the Battle of Britain was one reason why the invasion didn’t happen, and in fairness this was more a German failure than a British success. Another reason, in my opinion, was Hitler’s true lack of self-discipline…German armies succeeded in spite of his direction, not because of. Stalin may have been the true target, but if so, then Hitler should have sued for peace with the Brits rather than enraging them and leaving them on his six as he headed east, but Hitler had no patience for even a pretense of negotiating as equals. (Reminds me of American diplomacy today.)

    In a much bigger picture critique, I question whether the wars were the deciding factor in the end of the British empire. I have been reading Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Philips, in which he exhaustively studies the arc of economic-military empires (including Spain, Holland, Britain, and the current U.S.) Certainly the wars didn’t help, but history would seem to show that they were only the visible markers of an economic decay that is inevitable in a society where individuals have the freedom of action to control government policy to enrich themselves.

  16. Mycophagiston 16 Jul 2008 at 2:43 pm 16

    The British decision to give a unilateral guarantee to Poland, made sense IF that guarantee included an alliance with the Russians. Western foreign policy up until the collapse of Munich, had been to involve Germany in a War with Russia. With the collapse of their previous deal with the Germans, people like Chamberlin, no matter how much the needed the Soviets were simply incapable of allying themselves with “World Communism.”

    Their hatred of Stalin was so intense, that during the Finno/Soviet War they almost brought themselves to declare war on Russia, even though they were fighting Germany at the same time (Shirier). Only Churchill was prepared to bite the bullitt and deal with the Russians, and he didn’t take over until a few days before the battle of France. He was extremely critical of the failure to make a deal with the Russians.

    Keep in mind that Hitler regarded the destruction of France as a Prerequisite for a war against the Russians. His strategic plan, which he meticulously followed, was laid out in detail in Mein Kampf, and if he didn’t succeed in allying with Britain, it’s not as if he didn’t try. It could not be done, because any such alliance would have to include Britain dumping France as an ally; something the British would not consider at that time.

    Besides, a Germany with the resources of a conquered Russia, would have gone on to smash everyone else. That alone makes this revisionism so simplistically Wrong. Hitler and his Mastert Race philosophy would have been satisfied with nothing less than world rule.

    Dave

  17. Dr_Vomacton 16 Jul 2008 at 5:45 pm 17

    Keep in mind that Hitler regarded the destruction of France as a Prerequisite for a war against the Russians. His strategic plan, which he meticulously followed, was laid out in detail in Mein Kampf

    Really? Where in Mein Kampf is the part that says, “invade Poland, have France and England declare war against us, then conquer France? There’s really very little evidence of this “meticulous plan”—like everyone who has to deal with the real world, Hitler tended to improvise. As I’ve said before, his key miscalculation was the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia (a.k.a. “the Czechoslovak rump state”); by doing this, he broke the Munich Treaty, discredited the British “doves”, and drove the British to giving their guarantee to the Poles.
    And as you note, the key British miscalculation was not Munich—it was their failure to make an alliance with Stalin. Had they done so, Hitler would have been checked: if there had been a joint guarantee provided by Britain and the Soviet Union, attacking Poland would have been out of the question.

  18. Mycophagiston 16 Jul 2008 at 7:43 pm 18

    Dr. Vomact Wrote:

    “Really? Where in Mein Kampf is the part that says, “invade Poland, have France and England declare war against us, then conquer France?”

    Hitler, as well as everyone else on the German RIght, regarded Polands existance as incompatible with Germany. But this is besides the point.

    If you read Mein Kampf, Hitlers plans were based on simple, if twisted logic. German aspirations would only be met in the East, that the Sovciet Union was ripe for the picking, and France would act to stop these aspirations. He stated a number of times, that France HAD to be crushed. Simple necessity dictated this.

    He also criticised the previous regime for not allying with England. He dimly grasped that England would not ditch France, even for such an alliance, nevertheless, he tried.

    And it worked out pretty much as he did plan, short of the alliance with England, and short of underestimating the Soviets.

    May I suggest a rereading of Mein Kampf? I admit, no easy task, because the Great Leader was a horrible writer…

    However, I am ready to help – Here is the relevant chapter…
    http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch13.html

    Dave

  19. Dr_Vomacton 17 Jul 2008 at 11:33 am 19

    Sorry, but that document is NSW…the corporate server blocked my access. I expect the HR Gestapo to come frog-march me out of my cubicle in a matter of moments…
    Sadly, the Doctor’s BS tolerance is very low—he has never made much progress in reading MK. (The plaster walls of the Doctor’s study are pock-marked by impact of many a hurled book.) I’m not sure if there’s anything really important at stake in this discussion. If you want to believe that MK was a blueprint of the future, if you want to think that a notoriously secretive and paranoid liar would publish a “tell all” book that revealed his future plans, then be my guest. (Take a look at John Lukacs’ The Hitler of History for a viewpoint closer to my own.)
    I’m reading Buchanan’s book, and contemplating writing a review when I finish. (Don’t hold your breath—the Doctor is a notoriously slow reader.)

    [CR: I would hope that DNI would be high on the list to publish said review.]

  20. Mycophagiston 17 Jul 2008 at 4:21 pm 20

    My friend, Dr. Vomact, what struck contemporaries of Hitler (after the war started) was the blueprint for what he would do, was indeed laid down in Mein Kampf.

    By this I don’t mean he stuck to it point for point – But in general he did indeed write this to attract “intellectuals” of the extreme racist Right.

    “Living Space” could only be gained in the East. The inferior Slavs (That’s me, an inferior Slav) were “ripe” for the picking, being led by the “Jew” created Marxists… :)

    But first, France had to be smashed.

    Why? Because France would always fear a powerful Germany.

    England? Try to buy off England, make her an ally, but what the hell, if that failed, so be it.

    Since he laid this all down, and since in fact, that is more or less what occured, why this sudden doubt that he meant what he said, since he in fact did what he said he would?

    And that’s what’s wrong with all this modern day revisionism. The mystery here is not that Hitler did what he said he would, but that so many refused to take him at his word. France had the power to crush Hitler when he rearmed, when he took over the demilitarised zone, etc, etc. So the question is, why didn’t the French crush him?

    And the answer, and here I am voicing my opinion, as oppsed to the above which is objective fact, the French had tied themselves to British policy, and British policy saw Germany as the natural foe of the Russians. They encouraged him, signed military agreements with him, did not in fact wake up until the collapse of Munich.

    But yes, I agree, Mein Kampf is Hitlers revenge against people like me who actually try to read the damn thing.

    The chapter I linked to is Volume two, chapter two. If you search the net, you can find Mein Kampf all over the place. Just keep doing a word search for “France,” and you’ll by pass some of his ramblings.

    There are of course other relevant chapters, dealing with why I am so inferior, and how he planned to deal with us – But the above is about France and England.

    Dave

  21. senor tomason 18 Jul 2008 at 9:46 pm 21

    Actually, the British and the French should have gone into Germany and gotten rid of Hitler when he sent the Wehrmacht into the Rhineland in March 1936. Not to occupy Germany and get bogged down in a guerilla war. Just to get rid of Hitler and leave.

    “If France had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs.” – Hitler

  22. loggie20on 19 Jul 2008 at 8:32 am 22

    “So the question is, why didn’t the French crush him?”

    Hitler was played off against Stalin, only the US in the 30’s thought Stalin was ignorable.

    Same question for Chiang kaiShek on Mao.

    The CCP were help against the wralords and the Japanese.

    So much for chess……………

  23. Mycophagiston 19 Jul 2008 at 9:04 am 23

    I find it surprising that no one is reading any of Shirer’s books. Whether “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” or, just as relevant, “The Collapse of The Third Republic.”

    Both of these are detailed and documented. Both extremely well written. Even your above quote can be found in his books, as well as all the relevant quotes from Mein Kampf.

    Modern revisionism seems to project the idea that it was only legitimate grievances which motivated Hitler; that crazy as he was he had a point. That in some strange manner, he could have been harnassed by the West.

    That the Leader had his own agenda, and perceptions of the Western allies is simply ignored. Indeed, he enjoyed and profited by the assumption, that he could be used – As they stood by and watched him create a military stronger then their own.

    Dave

  24. Barryon 05 Aug 2008 at 5:33 am 24

    As Mearshiemer says, Germany was going to be a regional hedgemon and hence a peer competitor so Uncle Sam cut it off at the knees. Near democracy Wihelmine or Nazi it made no difference.

    Neville Chamberlain’s first guarantee was for Poland’s independence, it was aimed at Russia. Only after the Nazi Soviet pact was the guarantee extended to Polands territory. Being on the far side of an enemy Russia became a friend, mass murder or not. Hitler could never have invaded England with Russia at his back, but invading England was the last thing on his mind
    Russia positioned herself to take advantage; the pact with Hitler was clearly aimed at freeing him to strike in the west. Hitlers surprise attack caught the Soviet army sitting too far forward, if he had gone with the plan (instead of stopping for two months at Smolensk) Moscow would have been captured and the remaining north and south soviet forces would have been fighting on reversed fronts while still being pressured from the germans in front of them