November 19, 2019
Paul Craig Roberts
“The Lies About World War II” (https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/05/13/the-lies-about-world-war-ii/) is my most popular column of the year. It is a book review of David Irving’s Hitler’s War and Churchill’s War, the first volumn of Irving’s three volume biography of Winston Churchill. A person does not know anything about WW II until he has read these books.
Historians, and even book reviewers, who tell the truth pay a high price. For reasons I provide in my review, generally it is decades after a war before truth about the war can emerge. By then the court historians have fused lies with patriotism and created a pleasing myth about the war, and when emerging truth impinges on that myth, the truth-teller is denounced for making a case for the enemy.
Wars are fought with words as well as with bullets and bombs. The propaganda and demonization of the enemy are extreme. This is especially the case when it is the victors who start the war and have to cover up this fact as well as the war crimes for which they are responsible. When decades later the covered up crimes of the victors are brought to light, truth is up against the explanation that has been controlled for a half century. This makes the truth seem outlandish, and this makes it easy to demonize and even destroy the historian who brought the truth to the surface.
This makes a problem for a reviewer of revisionist history of World War II. If a reviewer gives an honest review, he faces the same demonization as the historian who brought the truth about the war to the surfice.
This happened to me when I reviewed Irving’s books, both of which were researched for decades and completely documented. I was supposed to denounce Irving, in which case my stock would have gone up, but giving him an honest review got me branded “a holocaust denier” by Wikipedia, in my opinion a CIA front created in order to protect the official stories by marginalizing truth-tellers.
I have never studied the holocaust or written anything about it. I simply reported Irving’s assessment based entirely on documented evidence that many Jews were killed, but there was not the organized holocaust that is taught in the schools and which is a crime to dispute in many European countries.
So, this is how bad it is. I am, according to Wikipedia, a “holocaust denier” for the simple reason that I honestly reported Irving’s findings instead of jumping on him with hob-nailed boots for giving evidence contrary to the protected official story. Anyone who does not protect official explanations is “suspect.”
In my opinion what makes historians suspicious of the official holocaust story is the extreme resistance to any investigation of the event. One would think that investigation would support the story if it were true. It would seem that it is the Jews who raise questions about the holocaust by placing it off limits for open discussion. I personally am not very interested in the holocaust, because WW II itself was a holocaust. Tens of millions of people were killed. The Russians themselves lost 26 million, 20 million more than the holocause figure of 6 million Jews. The Germans after the war was over lost considerably more thn 6 million in the forced resettlements and General Eisenhower’s murder of 1.5 million German POWs by starvation and exposure. ( See John Wear, Germany’s War, and James Bacque, Other Losses, for the massive evidence. )
Somehow World War II has become the Jewish holocaust, not everyone else’s.
My interest is the predominance of propaganda and lies over truth. Ron Unz has the same interest. Four months after my column, “The Lies About World War II,” appeared, Unz took the story further in his long report, “Understanding World War II” (http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-understanding-world-war-ii/). Unz’s columns tend to be monographs or small books, well beyond the attention spans of most Americans. Unz has given me permission to republish his monograph in installments. This is the first installment.
I learned from Unz’s article that getting rid of truth-tellers has been the practice of the West for a long time. Unz got interested in WW II when Pat Buchanan’s book, The Unnecessary War, became an issue for The American Conservative, a magazine for which Unz was the major money man. Unz couldn’t find that much difference between Buchanan’s book and that of A.J. P. Taylor’s The Origins of the Second World War. Yet The American Conservative, fearful of challenging WW II myths, was disassociating from its own founder, Pat Buchanan.
Disassociation from official truth cost Taylor his lecturership at Oxford University. Taylor’s publication of The Origins of the Second World War, caused Oxford to decline to renew Taylor’s appointment as a university lecturer in modern history. Taylor left Oxford for a lecturership at the University College London. Note that England’s best historian at the time was a mere lecturer, not a professor of modern history. Truth-tellers don’t advance very far in the world of information.
Harry Elmer Barnes explained that the origins of World War I were in France and Russia, not in Germany, which was the last to mobilize but was blamed for the war, resulting in the Treaty of Versailles, which led to WW II. Unz was stunned to find that Barnes, a historian of great stature, was unknown to him. Unz writes:
“Imagine my shock at later discovering that Barnes had actually been one of the most frequent early contributors to Foreign Affairs, serving as a primary book reviewer for that venerable publication from its 1922 founding onward, while his stature as one of America’s premier liberal academics was indicated by his scores of appearances in The Nation and The New Republic throughout that decade. Indeed, he is credited with having played a central role in ‘revising’ the history of the First World War so as to remove the cartoonish picture of unspeakable German wickedness left behind as a legacy of the dishonest wartime propaganda produced by the opposing British and American governments. And his professional stature was demonstrated by his thirty-five or more books, many of them influential academic volumes, along with his numerous articles in The American Historical Review, Political Science Quarterly, and other leading journals.
“A few years ago I happened to mention Barnes to an eminent American academic scholar whose general focus in political science and foreign policy was quite similar, and yet the name meant nothing. By the end of the 1930s, Barnes had become a leading critic of America’s proposed involvement in World War II, and was permanently ‘disappeared’ as a consequence, barred from all mainstream media outlets, while a major newspaper chain was heavily pressured into abruptly terminating his long-running syndicated national column in May 1940.”
Unz next tells us how the establishment got rid of Charles A. Beard. Beard was an intellectual of high stature. But “once he turned against Franklin D. Roosevelt’s warmongering foreign policy, publishers shut their doors to him, and only his personal friendship with the head of the Yale University Press allowed his critical 1948 volume, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941, to even appear in print. Beard’s stellar reputation seems to have begun a rapid decline from that point onward, so that by 1968 historian Richard Hofstadter could write: ‘Today Beard’s reputation stands like an imposing ruin in the landscape of American historiography. What was once the grandest house in the province is now a ravaged survival’. Indeed, Beard’s once-dominant ‘economic interpretation of history’ might these days almost be dismissed as promoting ‘dangerous conspiracy theories,’ and I suspect few non-historians have even heard of him.”
William Henry Chamberlin was one of America’s leading foreign policy journalists, an author of 15 books whose writings appeared regularly in The Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. His career was terminated when his critical analysis of America’s entry into WW II, America’s Second Crusade, was published in 1950.
Unz gives other examples of highly credible authors being cast into darkness for telling the truth while the establishment provides lavish rewards to those who endorse the propaganda line. Unz concludes that “A climate of serious intellectual repression greatly complicates our ability to uncover the events of the past. Under normal circumstances, competing claims can be weighed in the give-and-take of public or scholarly debate, but this obviously becomes impossible if the subjects being discussed are forbidden ones.”
The victors control the explanations and bury their own guilt and war crimes behind a humanitarian smokescreen of “saving democracy.” It is the function of historians to penetrate the smokescreen and to dig up the buried facts.
One of the icons of the Anglo-American world is Winston Churchill. Unz summarizes some of the information historians have uncovered about Churchill:
“Until recently, my familiarity with Churchill had been rather cursory, and Irving’s revelations were absolutely eye-opening. Perhaps the most striking single discovery was the remarkable venality and corruption of the man, with Churchill being a huge spendthrift who lived lavishly and often far beyond his financial means, employing an army of dozens of personal servants at his large country estate despite frequently lacking any regular and assured sources of income to maintain them. This predicament naturally put him at the mercy of those individuals willing to support his sumptuous lifestyle in exchange for determining his political activities. And somewhat similar pecuniary means were used to secure the backing of a network of other political figures from across all the British parties, who became Churchill’s close political allies.
“To put things in plain language, during the years leading up to the Second World War, both Churchill and numerous other fellow British MPs were regularly receiving sizable financial stipends—cash bribes—from Jewish and Czech sources in exchange for promoting a policy of extreme hostility toward the German government and actually advocating war. The sums involved were quite considerable, with the Czech government alone probably making payments that amounted to tens of millions of dollars in present-day money to British elected officials, publishers, and journalists working to overturn the official peace policy of their existing government. A particularly notable instance occurred in early 1938 when Churchill suddenly lost all his accumulated wealth in a foolish gamble on the American stock-market, and was soon forced to put his beloved country estate up for sale to avoid personal bankruptcy, only to quickly be bailed out by a foreign Jewish millionaire intent upon promoting a war against Germany. Indeed, the early stages of Churchill’s involvement in this sordid behavior are recounted in an Irving chapter aptly entitled ‘The Hired Help.’
“Ironically enough, German Intelligence learned of this massive bribery of British parliamentarians, and passed the information along to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who was horrified to discover the corrupt motives of his fierce political opponents, but apparently remained too much of a gentlemen to have them arrested and prosecuted. I’m no expert in the British laws of that era, but for elected officials to do the bidding of foreigners on matters of war and peace in exchange for huge secret payments seems almost a textbook example of treason to me, and I think that Churchill’s timely execution would surely have saved tens of millions of lives.
“My impression is that individuals of low personal character are
those most likely to sell out the interests of their own country in
exchange for large sums of foreign money, and as such usually
constitute the natural targets of nefarious plotters and foreign
spies. Churchill certainly seems to fall into this category, with
rumors of massive personal corruption swirling around him from early
in his political career. Later, he supplemented his income by
engaging in widespread art-forgery, a fact that Roosevelt later
discovered and probably used as a point of personal leverage against
him. Also quite serious was Churchill’s constant state of
drunkenness, with his inebriation being so widespread as to
constitute clinical alcoholism. Indeed, Irving notes that in his
private conversations FDR routinely referred to Churchill as ‘a
“During the late 1930s, Churchill and his clique of similarly bought-and-paid-for political allies had endlessly attacked and denounced Chamberlain’s government for its peace policy, and he regularly made the wildest sort of unsubstantiated accusations, claiming the Germans were undertaking a huge military build-up aimed against Britain. These roiling charges were often widely echoed by a media heavily influenced by Jewish interests and did much to poison the state of German-British relations. Eventually, these accumulated pressures forced Chamberlain into the extremely unwise act of providing an unconditional guarantee of military backing to Poland’s irresponsible dictatorship. As a result, the Poles then rather arrogantly refused any border negotiations with Germany, thereby lighting the fuse which eventually led to the German invasion six months later and the subsequent British declaration of war. The British media had widely promoted Churchill as the leading pro-war political figure, and once Chamberlain was forced to create a wartime government of national unity, his leading critic was brought into it and given the naval affairs portfolio.
“Following his lightening six-week defeat of Poland, Hitler unsuccessfully sought to make peace with the Allies, and the war went into abeyance. Then in early 1940, Churchill persuaded his government to try strategically outflanking the Germans by preparing a large sea-borne invasion of neutral Norway; but Hitler discovered the plan and preempted the attack, with Churchill’s severe operational mistakes leading to a surprising defeat for the vastly superior British forces. During World War I, Churchill’s Gallipoli disaster had forced his resignation from the British Cabinet, but this time the friendly media helped ensure that all the blame for the somewhat similar debacle at Narvik was foisted upon Chamberlain, so it was the latter who was forced to resign, with Churchill then replacing him as prime minister. British naval officers were appalled that the primary architect of their humiliation had become its leading political beneficiary, but reality is what the media reports, and the British public never discovered this great irony.
“This incident was merely the first of the long series of Churchill’s major military failures and outright betrayals that are persuasively recounted by Irving, nearly all of which were subsequently airbrushed out of our hagiographic histories of the conflict. We should recognize that wartime leaders who spend much of their time in a state of drunken stupor are far less likely to make optimal decisions, especially if they are as extremely prone to military micro-management as was the case with Churchill.
“In the spring of 1940, the Germans launched their sudden armored thrust into France via Belgium, and as the attack began to succeed, Churchill ordered the commanding British general to immediately flee with his forces to the coast and to do so without informing his French or Belgium counterparts of the huge gap he was thereby opening in the Allied front-lines, thus ensuring the encirclement and destruction of their armies. Following France’s resulting defeat and occupation, the British prime minister then ordered a sudden, surprise attack on the disarmed French fleet, completely destroying it and killing some 2,000 of his erstwhile allies; the immediate cause was his mistranslation of a single French word, but this ‘Pearl Harbor-type’ incident continued to rankle French leaders for decades.
“Hitler had always wanted friendly relations with Britain and certainly had sought to avoid the war that had been forced upon him. With France now defeated and British forces driven from the Continent, he therefore offered very magnanimous peace terms and a new German alliance to Britain. The British government had been pressured into entering the war for no logical reason and against its own national interests, so Chamberlain and half the Cabinet naturally supported commencing peace negotiations, and the German proposal probably would have received overwhelming approval both from the British public and political elites if they had ever been informed of its terms.
“But despite some occasional wavering, Churchill remained absolutely adamant that the war must continue, and Irving plausibly argues that his motive was an intensely personal one. Across his long career, Churchill had had a remarkable record of repeated failure, and for him to have finally achieved his lifelong ambition of becoming prime minister only to lose a major war just weeks after reaching Number 10 Downing Street would have ensured that his permanent place in history was an extremely humiliating one. On the other hand, if he managed to continue the war, perhaps the situation might somehow later improve, especially if the Americans could be persuaded to eventually enter the conflict on the British side.
“Since ending the war with Germany was in his nation’s interest but not his own, Churchill undertook ruthless means to prevent peace sentiments from growing so strong that they overwhelmed his opposition. Along with most other major countries, Britain and Germany had signed international conventions prohibiting the aerial bombardment of civilian urban targets, and although the British leader had very much hoped the Germans would attack his cities, Hitler scrupulously followed these provisions. In desperation, Churchill therefore ordered a series of large-scale bombing raids against the German capital of Berlin, doing considerable damage, and after numerous severe warnings, Hitler finally began to retaliate with similar attacks against British cities. The population saw the heavy destruction inflicted by these German bombing raids and was never informed of the British attacks that had preceded and provoked them, so public sentiment greatly hardened against making peace with the seemingly diabolical German adversary.
“In his memoirs published a half-century later, Prof. Revilo P. Oliver, who had held a senior wartime role in American Military Intelligence, described this sequence of events in very bitter terms:
Great Britain, in violation of all the ethics of civilized
warfare that had theretofore been respected by our race, and in
treacherous violation of solemnly assumed diplomatic covenants about
“open cities”, had secretly carried out intensive bombing of such
open cities in Germany for the express purpose of killing enough
unarmed and defenceless men and women to force the German government
reluctantly to retaliate and bomb British cities and thus kill enough
helpless British men, women, and children to generate among
Englishmen enthusiasm for the insane war to which their government
had committed them.
It is impossible to imagine a governmental act more vile and more depraved than contriving death and suffering for its own people — for the very citizens whom it was exhorting to “loyalty” — and I suspect that an act of such infamous and savage treason would have nauseated even Genghis Khan or Hulagu or Tamerlane, Oriental barbarians universally reprobated for their insane blood-lust. History, so far as I recall, does not record that they ever butchered their own women and children to facilitate lying propaganda….In 1944 members of British Military Intelligence took it for granted that after the war Marshal Sir Arthur Harris would be hanged or shot for high treason against the British people…
“Churchill’s ruthless violation of the laws of war regarding urban aerial bombardment directly led to the destruction of many of Europe’s finest and most ancient cities. But perhaps influenced by his chronic drunkenness, he later sought to carry out even more horrifying war crimes and was only prevented from doing so by the dogged opposition of all his military and political subordinates.
“Along with the laws prohibiting the bombing of cities, all nations had similarly agreed to ban the first use of poison gas, while stockpiling quantities for necessary retaliation. Since Germany was the world-leader in chemistry, the Nazis had produced the most lethal forms of new nerve gases, such as Tabun and Sarin, whose use might have easily resulted in major military victories on both the Eastern and Western fronts, but Hitler had scrupulously obeyed the international protocols that his nation had signed. However, late in the war during 1944 the relentless Allied bombardment of German cities led to the devastating retaliatory attacks of the V-1 flying bombs against London, and an outraged Churchill became adamant that German cities should be attacked with poison gas in counter-retaliation. If Churchill had gotten his way, many millions of British might soon have perished from German nerve gas counter-strikes. Around the same time, Churchill was also blocked in his proposal to bombard Germany with hundreds of thousands of deadly anthrax bombs, an operation that might have rendered much of Central and Western Europe uninhabitable for generations.”
Equally unsettling facts have emerged from their burial yards about Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but these revelations will await later installments of Unz’s long report on WW II lies.
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