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Will Morrisey
Herbert Hoover’s Despairing Verve « Back to Story

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seems more balanced-this is also a conservative journal but pretty intellectual
better review
I think his main point is that we have been fed a sanitized version of WWII. For example, he exposes far greater grovelling of Churchill and FDR at Stalin's feet, including the agreement for the loss of freedom to eastern Europe, than Neville Chamberlain could have ever imagined with Hitler.

He also exposes the considerable Soviet influence in the FDR administration. Who really threatened America? The Soviets or the Nazis? Does anyone really think the Nazis had designs on America? They were interested in Lebensraum to the east. Oh, I know, people say that eventually the Nazis would have wanted to expand to the world, but at the time, the Soviets clearly did have designs on America, with plenty of active spies. The Nazis were no threat.

Did we fight for democracy and freedom? Hardly. We agreed to the Soviet assimilation of eastern Europe, takeover of China by the Maoist communists, and North Korea by the Soviets.
I think it's simplistic to assume that German "victory" in the East would have complete. I suspect that insurgency would have raged on for years, and the cost of keeping a lid on such far flung territories would have been almost as exhausing as the war itself. The Reich's reach exceeded her grasp. Also, why assume that there would never be revolt from within Germany itself? Once you run out of mortal enemies to defeat, it gets a lot harder to explain away the lingering problems.

WW2 is the war we all love, and is part of our national mythos. We are programmed to hate the idea that maybe it should have gone a bit differently, or not happened at all. That doesn't mean we should be blind to alternatives that might have been taken, or the down sides to our actions in those years.
Alternative history stories are best left to writers of science fiction. No one can really tell how history would have turned out "if only".

Reminds me of the story about Hitler. He was a passably good sketch artist and painter during his hunger years in Vienna, and he applied for admission to the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts. Had he been admitted to the Academy, he would no doubt have become a minor artist, prospering on the sale of his paintings and spending his life at the fringes of the wealthy classes who could afford to splurge on this kind of kitschy art. The sketchbook of landscapes Hitler presented as his request for admission was rejected by the academy's admissions committee because 'he drew too few heads'.
Just think, if Hitler had just drawn a few more heads in his sketchbook, the fifty million people who died in WW2 in Europe would have lived and had children and by now their children would have had children, etc. etc.
Or maybe not.
Leave the "what if" history to Philip K Dik and Harlan Ellison.
Patrick Buchanan and David Duke will most likely enjoy this book immensely.
Interesting. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. My father was one of the rare Conscientious Objectors during WWII. He did not scorn the America First Committee, as you so casually do. I don't say my father made the right choice (to be a C.O.). That's very hard to judge--his decision had to be made on the basis of the information he had, and the principles he'd adopted as of 1942 (and only 21 years old). I feel more sure that Wilson (and Congress) made the WRONG decision to enter WWI at all. That was Europe's mess, damnit! And I know there was a view--my father shared it--that WWII was just a sequel to that earlier war. That was an inadequate assessment of WWII, we surely see now. But as I say--not so easy to know in 1939-42.
it's a shame that both Hitler and Stalin couldn't lose the War.

But if one of them had to win, it's impossible to argue that a Nazi victory would have been a better outcome.
A good read Mr Morrisey, much more balanced in approach than the previous reviews; reviews that are full of fulsome praise rather than careful analysis.
The United States should have joined the Woodrow Wilson inspired League of Nations, in which case there would probably have been no second world war and Hitler would have been stopped before he started, possibly even by his own generals.
Herbert Hoover is wrong about US isolationism, once Germany invaded Poland, not to mention Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Rhineland, the United States should have been on side to stop him.
John Cunningham May 17, 2012 at 12:32 AM
some years ago, science fiction author James P Hogan wrote an alternate history, The Proteus Operation, which was based on the premise that the US did not enter into WWII. the book opens in 1974, with the US,Canada, Mexico, and Central America the last refuge of freedom. Nazi Germany and Japan control the rest of the world, with Germany having nuked the Soviet Union into tatters in 1943....
Russell buckley May 17, 2012 at 12:07 AM
No mention of preventing at least some of the deaths of six million or so Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, feeble minded, etc.??
Mr Morrisey, I would have enjoyed more information about Hoover's book and less of your theories of how history would have been. Intellectual rants are just as boring as emotional ones.