Churchill, Hitler, and 'The Unnecessary War'

  • by Patrick J. Buchanan
  • Narrated by Don Leslie
  • 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Were World Wars I and II - which can now be seen as a 30-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction - inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men's control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment?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 blunders 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 muti-lated 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 1935 sanctions that drove Italy straight into the Axis with Hitler

The greatest blunder in British history: the unsolicited war guarantee to Poland of March 1939 - that guaranteed the Second World War

Churchill's astonishing blindness to Stalin's true ambitionsCertain 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.

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Customer Reviews

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A classic of history books

This book took quite some courage for me to listen to, because I am an admirer of Winston Churchill. And I simply was not looking forward to a tirade on Churchill, or tolerating another typical doggone liberal revisionist "history." I was born in Britain a long, long time ago, I should explain, so I have a deep prejudice in Winston's favor.

Mr. Buchanan has written a kind of meta-analysis of World Wars I and II that should be a milestone history of the World Wars of the 20th century, where 50,000,000 people died. By meta-analysis, I mean he summarizes histories by, yes, Winston Churchill, Barbara Tuchman, AJP Taylor, George Kenon, and quotes Churchill's contemporaries so they do not seem quite the dolts that Churchill and his biographers characterize them as.

In fact, if I were a history major again, I would never accept a professor who had not read this book and who claimed it was "nothing." Because this book shows that the history books on these wars were written upside down.

I cannot begin to summarize this book (it has 1300 citations, by the way). But Churchill's part in these wars (understanding WW I got us WWII) began with a secret agreement to bring England to war in defense of France (so secret in fact that only Edward Grey knew of it on England's side). Winston usurped his own government's prerogative! (Sorry for the excitement.) To simplify, thus World War.

This book is an eye opener. I recommend it. You might be shocked when you listen to/read this book. Read some of the reviews on Amazon.com.
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- Benedict

An incoherent narrative of Churchill's role

In this account of the tragedies of the first and second world wars, Buchanan tries to point blame at Churchill and ends up confusing the reader. Below I list some examples of this:
1) The title of the book, in part, 'The Unnecessary War' is a reference of Churchill's assessment given to WWII. In covering Churchill, who was the First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI, the back drop of this book is both wars.
2) Churchill is implicitly found culpable for WWI because he is in a happy state of affairs during this time. This is an annoying point especially when you think of George Patton or Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War, to only name a couple.
3) Whenever Buchanan is on the verge of making a so-called courageous point of the guilt of Churchill, he backs down and quotes notables such as Barbara Tuchman or John Keegan, often siting the evils of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany, or Hitler - in other words, coming to no conclusion at all.
4) Buchanan is unable to keep Churchill at the center of his narrative and pulls in Gray, the members of the house of commons, and England herself so that he confuses the reader on the point he is attempting to make, rendering sections of his book incoherent.
5) In the context of this narrative, Hitler's name in the title is irrelevant and may as well have been the Kaiser, or the Nazi, etc.

I enjoy fresh perspectives on 20th century events, the characters, and the tragic consequences but believe that in terms of an historical account this book is not salvageable. There are simply too many events, too many factors, too many people involved in the first and second world wars to point the finger at anyone person (although I would admit you could get away with this in blaming Hitler for WW2 and Germany's bizaare desire for a pure race). This account was too trivial and unfair, and it did not add anything to my understanding of the tragedies which befell mankind during this hellish period in our history.
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- John VandenBrook

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-29-2008
  • Publisher: Books on Tape