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Pat Buchanan: Hitler didn't want war

Political columnist Pat Buchanan is coming under fire for a column arguing that Adolf Hitler didn’t want to launch a European war, and that World War II could have been avoided if Poland had agreed to hand over the city of Gdansk to Germany.

He even appears to have implied that the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened if the Allied powers hadn’t guaranteed Poland’s security.

In his column published Monday by Creators Syndicate, Buchanan wrote:

The German-Polish war [sic] had come out of a quarrel over a town the size of Ocean City, Md., in summer. Danzig, 95 percent German, had been severed from Germany at Versailles in violation of Woodrow Wilson’s principle of self-determination. Even British leaders thought Danzig should be returned.

Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britain and her empire would come to Poland’s rescue. … Was Danzig worth a war? Unlike the 7 million Hong Kongese whom the British surrendered to Beijing, who didn’t want to go, the Danzigers were clamoring to return to Germany.

(Note: The city of Danzig, now known as Gdansk, is not a “town the size of Ocean City, Md.” It is one of Poland’s largest cities, and has historically played a major role in trade on the Baltic and North seas.)

Buchanan followed his assertion that Poland could have prevented the war with an argument that Hitler was not interested in a broad war to conquer the world.

But if Hitler was out to conquer the world … why did he spend three years building that hugely expensive Siegfried Line to protect Germany from France? Why did he start the war with no surface fleet, no troop transports and only 29 oceangoing submarines? How do you conquer the world with a navy that can’t get out of the Baltic Sea? … Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?

The answer, Buchanan argued, is that “Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.” That implication — that the Holocaust would not have happened had the Allies not insisted on fighting a war over the invasion of Poland — may be the most controversial assertion in Buchanan’s article...

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