In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen–Winston Churchill first among them–the horrors of two world wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed into ruins. Half a century of murderous oppression of scores of millions under the iron boot of Communist tyranny might never have happened, and Europe’s central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations.
Among the British and Churchillian errors were:
• The secret decision of a tiny cabal in the inner Cabinet in 1906 to take Britain straight to war against Germany, should she invade France
• The vengeful Treaty of Versailles that mutilated Germany, leaving her bitter, betrayed, and receptive to the appeal of Adolf Hitler
• Britain’s capitulation, at Churchill’s urging, to American pressure to sever the Anglo-Japanese alliance, insulting and isolating Japan, pushing her onto the path of militarism and conquest
• The greatest mistake in British history: the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939, ensuring the Second World War
Certain to create controversy and spirited argument, Churchill, Hitler, and “the Unnecessary War” is a grand and bold insight into the historic failures of judgment that ended centuries of European rule and guaranteed a future no one who lived in that vanished world could ever have envisioned.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The struggle mobilized manpower from home, troops from the colonies abroad, and-in most countries-women as well as men. Governments increasingly intervened in everyday life. New weapons and organizational structures were developed. Yet the history of the war and the reasons it started and spread so rapidly were vastly more complex than the players realized. Written by highly respected authorities, this book discusses the literature on all aspects of the war.
Dennis Showalter's opening chapter covers the controversial issue of the war's origins-a complex subject that has been much debated by historians. Ensuing chapters consider the literature on each of the participating countries. The broader subjects of the war at sea and the war in the air are also covered. Daniel Beaver's final chapter discusses the mobilization of industry and the new military technology. This book is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking guidance to the immense, and often daunting, body of World War I literature.
The struggle between the primacy of international law and military expediency lasted for nearly two years, as the British tried to reconcile their pre-war stance as champion of neutral rights with measures necessary for a successful blockade. Not until 1916 did the operation have the potential to be a decisive factor in the defeat of Germany, when pressure from France, the Royal Navy, Parliament, British popular opinion, and the Admiralty forced the British government to abandon its defence of neutral rights over the interests of the state.
The arrival of the United States as an ally in April 1917 initiated the final evolution of the blockade. The Entente and the United States tightened the blockade with crushing effect on Germany, and by November 1918, it was evidently one of the chief factors behind the victory. This knowledge reinforced the decision to retain the blockade in the months following the armistice in order to force favourable terms from Germany. In both the war and in the peace, the economic blockade performed a critical role in World War I.
The highly readable work begins with an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the two coalitions and points out how the balance of forces was clearly on the side of the Entente in a long and drawn-out war. The work then probes the German plan to win the war quickly and the resulting campaigns of August and September 1914 that culminated in the devastating defeat in the First Battle of the Marne. Subsequent chapters discuss the critical factors and decisions that led to Germany's loss, including the British naval blockade, the role of economic factors in maintaining a consensus for war, and the social impact of material deprivation.
The history of this opposition has been largely erased from the record, yet it was crucial to what actually happened in August 1914. Two days before the declaration of war four members of the Cabinet resigned in protest at the war party’s manipulation of the crisis. The government almost disintegrated. Meanwhile large crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square to hear the case for neutrality and peace. Yet this cry was ignored by the government. Meanwhile, elements of the press, the Foreign Office, and the Tory Opposition sought to browbeat the government into a quick decision. Belgium had little to do with it.
The key decision to enter the war was made before Belgium was invaded. Those bellowing for hostilities were eager for Britain to enter any war in solidarity with Russia and France – for the future safety of the British Empire. In particular Newton shows how Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey, and First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill colluded to pre-empt the decisions of Cabinet, to manipulate the parliament, and to hurry the nation toward intervention by any means necessary.
From the Hardcover edition.