Victor Davis Hanson remembers Leo Amery:

A lonely Winston Churchill had only a few courageous partners to oppose the appeasement and incompetence of his conservative colleague Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.  One of the most stalwart truth-tellers was a now little remembered politico and public servant Leo Amery, a polymath and conservative member of Parliament.  Yet in two iconic moments of outrage against the Chamberlain government’s temporizing, Amery galvanized Britain and helped end the government’s disastrous policies.

When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, there was real doubt whether Chamberlain would honor its treaty and declare war on Germany. General Edward Spears, then a member of Parliament, described the scene in the House of Commons. Arthur Greenwood was a member of the Labour Party, Leo Amery was a Conservative.

Arthur Greenwood got up, tall, lanky, his dank, fair hair hanging to either side of his forehead. He swayed a little as he clutched at the box in front of him and gazed through his glasses at Chamberlain sitting opposite him, bolt-upright as usual. There was a moment’s silence, then something very astonishing happened.

Leo Amery, sitting in the corner seat of the third bench below the gangway on the government side, voiced in three words his own pent-up anguish and fury, as well as the repudiation by the whole House of a policy of surrender. Standing up he shouted across to Greenwood: “Speak for England!” It was clear that this great patriot sought at this crucial moment to proclaim that no loyalty had any meaning if it was in conflict with the country’s honour. What in effect he said was: “The Prime Minister has not spoken for Britain, then let the socialists do so. Let the lead go to anyone who will.” That shout was a cry of defiance. It meant that the house and the country would neither surrender nor accept a leader who might be prepared to trifle with the nation’s pledged word.

Greenwood then made a speech which I noted that night as certain to be the greatest of his life; a speech that would illuminate a career and justify a whole existence. It was remarkable neither for eloquence nor for dramatic effect, but the drama was there, we were all living it, we and millions more whose fate depended on the decisions taken in that small Chamber.

Hanson also cites a later speech by Amery, following the loss of the Norway campaign to Germany.  Amery responded with a blistering attack on the incompetence of the conservative Chamberlain administration by quoting Oliver Cromwell’s hallmark 1653 order to the Long Parliament:

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

And go they did, very shortly thereafter, to be replaced by Churchill.


We need a voice like Amery’s. Like Britain from 1939 to 1940, America is in existential danger.

The Biden administration has utterly destroyed the southern border—and immigration law with it.

Biden green lighted 7 million illegal aliens swarming into the U.S. without legal sanction or rudimentary audit.

China spies inside and over the U.S. with impunity. Beijing has never admitted to its responsibility for the gain-of-function Covid virus that killed a million Americans.

President Biden printed $4 trillion at exactly the wrong time of soaring post-COVID consumer demand and supply shortages. No wonder he birthed the worst inflation in 40 years.

In response, interest rates tripled, gas prices doubled.

Our military is thousands of recruits short. It lacks sufficient munitions.

There’s much more–read the whole thing.

Most of what Hanson says is true, and needs to be communicated very clearly to the American people.  The question of how this is best done, and how many people are really persuadable, is a difficult one.  But that’s not primarily what I want to discuss in this post.

The Hanson post also appears at Zero Hedge.  Take a look at the comments–but only if you have a strong stomach–and think about what the opinions expressed there suggest about our current political situation in America.


59 thoughts on “Disturbing”

  1. Those comments are pretty interesting. One reason why I only look at the Unz Review occasionally. I do believe that England should have stayed out of WWI. We probably should have as well. There are alternate versions of the origins of WWI. One is discussed in “The Sleepwalkers” by Christopher Clark. I do agree that without the WWI results there would have been no Hitler. France had more to do with the war than is popular. They were still seeking revenge for 1870 and were arming Russia which Germany feared. The crazies commenting there are the sort that get us all into trouble. They are the other side of the coin that is our present ruling class.

  2. “Take a look at the comments–but only if you have a strong stomach–and think about what the opinions expressed there suggest about our current political situation in America.”

    Which opinions are you referring to? The ones I see suggest we have a deeply divided America — which is not news to anyone. Further, the comments suggest that a lot of people know what needs to be done to stop the obvious rapid decline in the US — but those are the people who have zero influence on our Democrat (albeit not “democratic”) single party government.

    Bottom line — things are going to get worse, much worse. But that is not news to anyone who is paying attention. Our Ruling Political Class will probably do a lot of harm to other parts of the world as they destroy the US. But we peons cannot “vote” our way out of this situation.

    As an aside, England & France’s decision to declare war over Germany’s intervention in Poland was dumb & dreadfully destructive — and was recognized to be stupid at the time by such as former-president Hoover. England & France did nothing to help the Polish people against the invasions by Germany and the USSR, and at the end of the war Churchill abandoned the Poles to Stalin’s tender mercies. The Ukrainians might want to remember that.

  3. Gavin…Rothchilds, ‘Banksters’, Churchill as warmonger and traitor, British plot against US. VDH a ‘closeted climate hysteric’, satellites deployed for election-stealing,….

  4. Well, I remain a fan of Amery and Greenwood and their spirit, and ultimate assessment of what was required in 1939 and 1940.

    There are many good reasons why it was right and, even, the only thing Britain could do.

    Still, to have summed it all up as being about Britain’s “pledged word” is to call it all into question when it need not be. I for one would not launch my nation into a war in which it might well be defeated more harshly than ever before, subjected to foreign domination, or even erased from existence, solely for its “pledged word” to another nation whose actions might drag me where I’d prefer not to go. The policies, relations, and ultimate fates of nations are not decided like the bonds among individual men. Nor should they be spoken of that way, except for theatrics in public.

    If the analysis of the situation in 1939 was: right, we will not get a durable peace with Germany they will just keep poking and poking, and we have had a couple of years to rearm and are now readier than we were, we will have to fight sooner or later to preserve our position, perhaps independence, perhaps existence, best do it now before we start to get weaker from loss of position on the continent rather than stronger from buying more kit; then THAT was the reason to go to war.

    Britain’s “pledged word” to the tolerable but corrupt military clique running Poland, a government that had had its own dalliances with Germany [for perfectly sound reasons] was just the means to sell it to the public. Rather like “plucky little Belgium” in 1914, whose pluck happened to sit on coastline that would be a threat to Britain in German hands.

    An unfortunate reality of modernity that good and real reasons need to be obscured. A fortunate reality that they still can be.

  5. And we all know that Stalin never told a lie and a big chunk of Poland had nothing to do with it. Much more likely that Stalin had his eye on the rest of Poland and further west, once Germany was occupied in France.

  6. 1914 and 1939 both illustrate Clausewitz’s observation that the Balance of Power only reveals itself when challenged. It also highlights the difficulty of running coalition wars.

    For centuries, the main aim of Brit policy was to ensure that no continental power could dominate and unite the mainland. (Leave aside the actual plausibility of uniting Europe–the mind reels–other than as a cultural reference point.)

    To stand aside in ’14 while the Germans drubbed the French and then the Russians was not in the cards, notwithstanding Niall Ferguson’s sly critique of Brit policy–which to me depends a lot on assuming that the Germans (the Wilhelmine Germans of all people!) would calm down and proceed to make themselves and others peaceably rich after conquering the whole place. If you can believe that I have a bridge in Remagen for sale.

    As for the Phony War, that just proves that the Brits and French lacked any aggressive intent or capability. Their forces were not designed or equipped for large scale offensives, and few Frenchmen had forgotten the very non-phony offensives of Plan 17 in 1914.

    The Poles have known for centuries who their true enemies are, and the Brits and French are not among them. That the Allies didn’t prevent Poland’s collapse and occupation may be unfortunate but mature people recognize the difference when one side thinks you exist and the other (Nazis and Reds) is doing its best to ensure that you don’t.

    The Belgians don’t seem to have it in for the Brits and French for their failures in two world wars started by Germans; why should the Poles, or anyone alive today?

  7. National honor is critical. Our failure to abide by our promises is why America is the least trustworthy nation on earth. No sane person trusts America. We screwed the South Vietnamese by not honoring our promises. We screwed Afghans that believed us. We screw over anyone who trusts us.

    Part of this is the reality that Democrats do not feel bound by any promise made by a GOP government and Democrats routinely violate the constitution when in power. Our foreign policy is schizoid.

    All promises by the USA expire when the other party wins the White House. Sometimes earlier. If we had some sense of national honor, our foreign policy wouldn’t be so horrific.

  8. Eddie: “As for the Phony War, that just proves that the Brits and French lacked any aggressive intent or capability.”

    That raises the obvious question — If the English & French knew they had no military capability to support the Polish government, then why did they choose to declare war? Remember it was the English & French who declared war, not the Germans.

    Certainly, there were people at the time — President Hoover is best known — who argued for staying out the way — Germany & the USSR were destined to fight. The only reason for Germany first to attack west is that they could not go east when they had a declared belligerent at their back — even if that belligerent was militarily weak. There were others at the time who argued before the bullets started flying that there was room for compromise between the Polish government and German government over the large number of Germans who had been left within Polish borders in the aftermath of WWII. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the US, English, & French governments encouraged the Polish government to be aggressive — and then left the Poles in the lurch.

    What’s done is done. We can’t change the past — but we can hope to learn from it. Perhaps there is meaning in the votes of the British people. At the first opportunity, they voted Churchill out of office. Unlike politicians, the people don’t like war.

  9. As if the lack of a declaration of war would have stopped Hitler whenever he decided to move across the French border. Hitler was also well known for his reasonableness and trustworthiness when conducting negotiations. Said German citizens were also the product of previous German conquest and domination of Poland before WWI.

    As it was, the start of WWII left the Germans more than 100 U-Boats and doubtless many tanks and planes short of what they had planned for. This is what made the Battle of the Atlantic ultimately winnable.

  10. In his first book (1939), Peter Drucker tried to understand the factors leading to the rise of European Fascism. One major factor, he concluded, was Nihilism induced by the loss of faith in just about everything–religion, Marxism, governments, the economy.

    Commenting specifically on the European socialist movement, he said that prior to 1914 it has contained a large element of Hope, but after the war, it was largely about Resentment.

    I see a lot of those factors in a high % of the commenters at the SA post.

    Drucker’s book included a chapter titled The Demons Return.

  11. The obvious answer to the obvious question, Gavin, is this: they had no reason to trust Hitler, or to think that he was going to be satisfied with boundary adjustments, or to be happy with a Grossdeutschland. (And has been well said, you go to war with the army you have.)

    As for the ethnic divisions in interwar Poland and elsewhere, you seen to be ignorant of the important fact that Hitler wasn’t about getting justice for anyone, and that was becoming more obvious by the day. Hoover’s opinion is interesting but irrelevant; Truman and millions of others hoped that the two ogres would cancel one another out, but hope is not a strategy.

    As for declaring war, the B and F had made their red lines clear, but Hitler had blown through previous ones–he was never one to be intimidated by threats (after being spanked by Mussolini over Austria).

    At the moment I can’t recall if Hitler bothered declaring war on Denmark, Norway, Belgium, or the Netherlands. He famously did declare war on the USA.

    But unlike everyone else his hand was always forced, his choices constricted by the bad faith and unreasonableness of others, u.s.w. ad nauseum.

  12. David F: “I see a lot of those factors in a high % of the commenters at the SA post.”

    That is a fair comment, David. But is the prevalence of Resentment surprising in a country where the dominant political party has for decades been promoting … resentment?

    The party line for years has been that a guy with a good suntan can’t catch a break because his great-great-great-grandfather was enslaved by some other sun-tanned guy’s great-great-great-grandfather and sold to Whitey. And that a woman can never catch a break because the patriarchy said “All men are equal”. And even white males should feel oppressed because some other white male is richer.

    When the dominant political force in a country bases its whole strategy on stirring up resentments, why should we be surprised that there is now lots of … resentment?

  13. Eddie: “they [England & France] had no reason to trust Hitler”

    Absolutely! But was it smart to declare war on Germany just because they did not trust the ruler? Would it have been smarter for those countries which did not have the capability to intervene militarily to have encouraged Polish leaders to negotiate instead of encouraging them to act aggressively through false hopes of assistance which never came? The implications of the Phony War should make us all stop & think.

    And if failing to trust the leader of a country is a good enough reason to declare war on that country, then we in the US should ask ourselves — How many countries around the world today trust the leader of the US?

  14. Gavin…”But is the prevalence of Resentment surprising in a country where the dominant political party has for decades been promoting … resentment?” Indeed. The racialization of everything is extremely destructive and dangerous.

    There is a brief link at Instapundit about the near-collision between a 737 and a bizjet at San Diego. 90% of the comments are focused on the purported loss of air traffic controller quality as a result of ‘diverse’-hiring initiatives…none of them have felt the need to provide evidence that this was a factor in this particular incident, or even that it has led to a reduction in controller quality in general.

  15. David,


    Speaking of resentment…

    One of the things the Internet can do, as you see in that Zerohedge comment thread, is bring together widely-dispersed, yet like-minded elements , to form something along the lines of a common indentity. You may think you are the only one in your part of the world who thinks the way you do and then you realize not are there a thousand towns with a person who thinks like you do, but that quiet kid down the street who does also. It also creates the ability for “influencers” to reach and catalyze the formation of such groups.

    It’s a political organizer’s dream, which is why the Biden White House has gone in on social media influencers. Would we ever see anyone like Andrew Tate or Dylan Mulvaney in a non-social media environment? It’s not just microtargeting but rather getting people together and creating am identity. Imagine somebody with some organizing skills and social psychology chops going into that comment thread, lurk for a bit, and then reach out and with some affirmation “I see you ‘re really mad, you have every reason” to then changing to “How would you like to do something about it?”

    Social systems have always been vulnerable to the relatively small part of the population that are capable of cohesive, ruthless action. The Internet allows that part to gain cohesion and direction in a way never seen before. Think about protests. Demonstrations, and forms of direct action. Think about what happened during the riots in 2020.

    What worries me is this ability to reach out and microtarget select parts of the population and integrate them into an overall political strategy. I’m thinking of Antifa. I remember looking at a row of mugshots of Antifa members and thinking that with their dead eyes they were all sociopaths just boiling with anger and resentment. If you read accounts by Andy Ngo and others of various Antifa actions you note a level of surprising sophistication given that they are losers. They not only had communication, medical, and security units but in their confrontations with federal security agents in Portland they showed a remarkable level of discipline and restraint. They showed enough anger to battle the feds but they never used firearms, not because they didn’t have them as those were used by perimeter security, but because their tactics didn’t require it. All of those elements combined with political sophistication and a financial network that supported both transportation and bail money speaks to me that they were being stood up by somebody.

    What worries me is that with the exception of the Cop City battles in Atlanta, Antifa has gone largely silent. Have they dispersed? Are they simply in hibernation waiting to unleash chaos for 2024? The other interesting element is that based on the recent lawsuit by Andy Ngo is that Antifa seems to be both organized but not an organization which means the org chart must be several layers deep.

    As you say, it’s resentment and there’s a lot of it across the political spectrum and it can exploited by unsavory characters. Antifa is the model. It would be nice to deploy listening posts in some of this forums to watch for such organizing activity but I’m afraid it’s a futile effort. Expect plenty of Antifa-style shock actions with various false-flag operations in 2024.

  16. I agree with Mike K about Unz Review. There is some valuable stuff (though it is perhaps getting rarer?) but there are so many crazies over there that you have to be careful.

    The comments at ZH are disturbing, and Mike K’s comment provides a good counter-example to what they do. Comment after comment was along the lines of “Oh, you’ve been duped…you don’t know any history…that’s what the sinister forces (often the Jews) want you to believe…” with little solid argument in favor of their position, which they should at least admit is unusual and should require some extra effort to make the case. Nope. Just assertions that all those people who believe anything like one of the generally-accepted explanations have been fooled. The implication, of course, is that those commenters are Too Clever To Be Taken In, and know the real truth. Nearly always a paranoid truth. I worked with psychotic people all my life.

    Contrast this to Mike K’s taking a controversial opinion, but immediately providing a reference and some supporting evidence. It makes all the difference in the world.

    We unfortunately have some people on the conservative side who do this same thing about American politics. Jeering insult that they have superior insight and you sheeple have been misled. The evidence is nonevidence, or insistence that if you don’t believe their extremely unlikely assertion you must be one of them. Be cautious about that.

    There is quite the example of this type of thinking in Canton, MA right now about a woman on trial for homicide, but wild theories insist that a large collection of townspeople and authorities are covering up the information pointing to the real killer (who had no motive). Somehow these people who used to live in the town years ago are able to see through what the current residents cannot. It’s not a fun read, but it’s an interesting one.

  17. AVI…the whole idea of providing references, links, even arguments, seems to increasingly have been abandoned. Even discussions about investments often degenerate quickly into ‘yes it is’…’no it isn’t’…’of course it is, you idiot’…etc

    And even in this context, so many people tend to have their beliefs challenged. If I like the case for a stock or a bond and either hold it or am thinking about acquiring it, I would LIKE to hear any reasonable arguments about why it really sucks. But, apparently, not true for a lo of people.

  18. The quality of argument varies greatly from place to place. It’s all the topics and all the forums where any debate is quashed in the name of “science” or some other supposedly unassailable principal that are the problem.

    The problem with investment advice is that buyers and sellers are both absolutely convinced of mutually contradictory realities. Usually, only time will resolve the question.

  19. There is a brief link at Instapundit about the near-collision between a 737 and a bizjet at San Diego. 90% of the comments are focused on the purported loss of air traffic controller quality as a result of ‘diverse’-hiring initiative

    I quit looking at Insty comments because of the crazy rants.

    There has been some serious concerns about “diverse” hiring of pilots. Part of the problem is the aging of ex-military pilots. I have a friend who is an AA captain and flew in the Gulf War. He is approaching 60, as all of them are, and will be forcibly retired. Who will replace them ? The current emphasis on Affirmative Action in hiring pilots is concerning. Not only a race /sex issue but number of flight hours.

  20. That number of hours, currently 1,500, is another problem all it’s own. Those 1,500 hours are flown on every sort of aircraft except heavy transports; crop dusting, air taxi, air ambulance among others. Just about as relevant to flying a heavy transport as playing the piano. A shorter, well structured program that concentrated on the skills actually needed would do wonders for the pilot supply. European pilots are qualified in as little as 250 hours.

    In further insanity: New York City is planning on spending $10,000 per month, per person to house 2,000 “migrants” in tents.

  21. Ha! I had to look twice before I figured it out. That coffee shop wouldn’t have held more than a few dozen. Like the man said, give em what they want, good and hard.

    Read another article that pointed out that Biden wasn’t about to do anything to help since they’re all going to vote for him anyway. In general, it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of fellers. Or stupider.

  22. I think there is an inverse relationship between quality of discourse and the size of the comment thread. Sites like Insty that may generate hundreds of comments per post are usually exemplars of a variation of Gresham’s Law where the bad comments crowd out the good.

    It also doesn’t help that thanks to the heavy hand of government yesterday’s conspiracy theories are tomorrow’s revelations. Think the Hunter laptop and the lab leak theory. Think the active efforts by security agencies to suppress social media posts or other news items. It makes you hesitate to dismiss even some of the wackier theories out of hand. Go to Amazon and type in “conspiracy theory expert t-shirt”. The one really mad me laugh was “I Need New Conspiracy Theories Because My Old Ones Came True” (which is produced in Kingman, AZ one of the wackier places) So it’s not just the Internet and social media which has ruined public debate and opened the door to conspiratorial hell but the very actions of government. When you read poorly sourced stories (https://www.dailysignal.com/2023/04/30/exclusive-fbi-agents-appear-place-traditional-catholic-church-surveillance-sources-say/) about the FBI surveilling parking lots at Latin Masses you normally would dismiss such stuff as conspiracy talk, but then you start learning of those FBI memos from the Richmond office….

    I liked MCS’ comment about all the money NYC is spending on housing illegal immigrants and then I start wondering. Normally taking instances and from there using induction to develop explanatory theories is a poor method, but a good way to both develop hypotheses to test and leads to begin investigating

    I’ve seen estimates that it will cost NYC $4 billion a year to deal with all the illegal immigrants (https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/09/eric-adams-new-york-migrants-cost-00110472) let alone the visuals of camps in Central Park. I don’t see a lot of chatter in the media about it but clearly NYC has reached out to the Biden Administration for assistance but nothing has happened. I find that curious if only because for the next several months (at least) Biden needs to shore up his political flanks to stave off a substantive primary challenge and the last thing he needs is to anger big city mayors.

    So what’s going on? Is this just part of the supposed Biden master plan regarding illegal immigration so that not considering obvious solutions we can then infer nefarious motives? Or is this what Heinlein meant when he warned about “attributing condition of villainy that simply result from stupidity.” After all in many administrations by this time the policy makers are not only exhausted but are trapped by their past decision into making choices that may be erroneously seen as part of some diabolical master plan.

  23. Regarding citations and links: early on I would see people raising a point that has already been well established, either earlier in the comments, or through history itself – only to have someone demand citations/links and if they aren’t provided pronto them the point was without validity. All while it would have been a simple matter for anyone to do their own search and see for themselves. It was like the demand for citations/links was being used as an almost insulting put-down instead of a real request for information. On top of that – not everyone, after spending time at work, commuting to and from work, doing chores at home, spending time with family and friends, will have the time, energy, and mindset to develop and keep handy a multi-subject citation/validation list in the off chance one of this issues pops up during the course of some thread’s comments.
    Gresham’s Law also applies to commenters as well – trolls and others.

  24. Frank, that’s fair. People can and do easily abuse that system by making unreasonable demands in what is essentially a conversation. It’s a tactic in itself. But conspiracy and fringe types often make unsupported assertions which they themselves are certain of because their bubble never challenges it. Such as assertions about the Rothschilds controlling wars and being beneficiaries of that. For such a claim, some real evidence should be put forward, even in conversation. But what Mike K did at the beginning, which I applauded, was not provide a list of citations or nail the evidence behind his thought to the center of the earth, but to provide some start for the reader to check for himself, and to illustrate that he was not just blue-skying or making things up from history.

  25. The other interesting element is that based on the recent lawsuit by Andy Ngo is that Antifa seems to be both organized but not an organization which means the org chart must be several layers deep.

    I assume you know that Andy Ngo lost his lawsuit. Oregon juries seem immune to logic and are ready to elect more idiots like Brown.

    Antifa funding includes much of the ruling class. That case in Kentucky lifted the curtain a bit.

    One example.

    Another example.

    Yet an other one.

    National File can reveal in further detail those behind the funding of the Bail Project, which include Bill Gates, Universal Music Group, and others.

    The Bail Project has come under fire, after it was revealed that their employee, Holly Zoller, was the renter and driver of a U-Haul that provided shields and other supplies to antifa rioters before the chaos in Louisville yesterday.

  26. Gavin, Hitler had not shown himself to be -merely- untrustworthy, he was untrustworthy in pursuit of his openly announced ambition to institute a Thousand Year Reich, with no regard for anyone who got in the way.

    And he had proven that he meant it. If you think this man who dreamed in centuries and continents was -merely- concerned with some border adjustments and ethnic fairness, you are misinformed. And the Poles knew they lived in the roughest neighborhood of all, where

    Since the topics of links, cites, and sources came up–much more discussion of that than I anticipated–I’ll say that my own thinking has been shaped largely by scholars like John Lukacs, Gerhard Weinberg, van Creveld, Overy, and H.P. Willmott.

    Ian Kershaw’s two-volume Hitler bio, Weber’s “Hitler’s First War,” and Riggs’s “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers” are essential IMHO to understanding what -Hitler- thought he was about.

    FTR, I’m the last one to argue that the Imperial Blob of DC is worthy of the trust of citizen or foreigner, but that’s a whole nother matter, and as a still-powerful grown-up country we have plenty of grown-up enemies in a world very different from 1939.

  27. Eddie: “Hitler had not shown himself to be -merely- untrustworthy, he was untrustworthy in pursuit of his openly announced ambition to institute a Thousand Year Reich, with no regard for anyone who got in the way.”

    Eddie, I have absolutely no disagreement with that characterization. But that is not really the issue.

    The issue is what else Poland could have done when faced with disagreements with a stronger aggressive neighbor (aided by an even stronger partner-in-crime in the USSR on their other border)? And further that gets into the question of what (in the circumstances, militarily impotent England & France) could have done that might have been more productive than encouraging Poland to fight and then issuing an empty declaration of Phony War?

    History rolls out only one time, so we can never know whether a less belligerent approach by Poland or by England/France would have yielded a better outcome (at least for the Poles, whom the Allies ended up tossing to Stalin). But it is worth all of us trying to learn from that failure at the start of WWII. Caution & realism should be the watchwords.

  28. I disagree that the DOW was empty–it resulted in an open state of war among the great powers and eventual German defeat and Polish revival. It was far less empty than Hitler’s claims to pacific intent and a willingness to talk.

    As for tossing the Poles to Stalin, yes, that was not a wonderful outcome, but it was better for the Poles than eventual extermination, as the Poles who served the Brits and later the Russians in large numbers knew.

    There’s a point at which counsels of caution and realism can turn into “Don’t make a fuss, just go quietly.”

  29. There’s a point at which counsels of caution and realism can turn into “Don’t make a fuss, just go quietly.”

    That is true. On the other hand, tossing aside caution & realism can result in the kind of catastrophe experienced by the Poles for the next two generations. Reacting emotionally rather than sensibly often leads to disaster.

    My views on WWII changed from reading President Hoover’s “Freedom Betrayed”. The smart course of action, as Hoover vainly tried to persuade people at the time, would have been to step back, let the inevitable war between Germany & the USSR take place, and then step in to impose order after they had exhausted each other. Instead, England & France launched a Phony War when they lacked the military capability to do anything useful — and indeed did effectively nothing to help the Poles. All that their “virtue signaling” accomplished was to ensure that Germany would have to attack them, since they had declared the intention to attack Germany (although they lacked the capability to do so).

    Would Hoover’s plan have been better for the world? No-one will ever be able to give a definitive answer. But we do know the price the Poles paid for trusting the English & French.

  30. Patton, by some accounts was in favor of continuing the fight against Russia, instead of stopping at the Elbe. That is what it would have taken to liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviets. With the invasion of Japan upcoming, that wasn’t going to happen. In 1945, it was possible, barely, for someone to imagine some sort of self determination for Eastern Europe, remember Churchill’s “Iron Curtain speech was in 1946.

  31. Perhaps England and France gambled on their war threat in support of Poland would be as far as was needed to back down Hitler (and possibly Stalin). Maybe enough to buy time to get their acts together at least. I get the feeling that the US’s guarantees to Ukraine in the current conflict (and earlier) were being made with the same assumption, “This will get Putin’s attention!”


  32. AVI – yes, one of the reasons this site is bookmarked and is a daily stopping place is the use of links/citations when starting up points and ideas that take one outside of convention wisdom(I could add a snark line here about CW, but shall refrain).

  33. Mike K.,

    Thanks for the links, I have been growing more and more curious about non-profits and their use as an arm of political movements.

    In reviewing the outcome of Ngo’s trial I see that the RICO- part of his lawsuit was dismissed because the group isn’t an organized entity capable of being sued. (https://www.portlandmercury.com/news/2023/08/09/46651345/jury-rules-against-andy-ngo-in-activist-lawsuit) That sort of approach jibes with the excuses Democrats have made that Antifa is a movement, but not an organization. Jerry Nadler of all people called Antifa a myth. I think what you describe is that their organizational bones for Antifa lie not with it, but at the non-profits and other groups which support it.

    Remember D’Sousza’s film “2000 Mules” ? The two arguments against it was the lack of granularity in cell phone tracking data and the fact that he didn’t prove any sort of nexus between those dropping off ballots and electoral fraud. However he did claim that based on the cell phone tracking locations that there seemed to be a nexus between the workers and nonprofits (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Mules)

    I have been looking for material to assuage my suspicions but I keep coming up on dead ends. Taking a step back and approaching it from an operational standpoint, non-profits provide an ideal organizational vector for ground-level political operations due to staffing, positioning in the community, and the ability to receive funds from a variety of sources. A non-profit with ties in a community would be an ideal vehicle for ballot harvesting. What it does take for them to engage in political or similar operations is for people to look the other way.

    While D’Sousza overreached in his claims based on the evidence he gathered, he hasn’t been the worst offender in that regard and those who are have been celebrated. He has exposes some troubling aspects that you would think people would follow-up on. Yeah, right. Just as we would expect the feds to be interested in a group Antifa that was engaged in nightly assaults on federal building and officers or

    The Zuckerbucks phenomena involved $400 million funneled through local election offices to influence the 2020 Election. That avenue has probably been closed down, but what if that money was instead funneled through non-profits?

  34. Wholesale election fraud has been a Dem tactic for over a century. Read vol 3 of Caro on LBJ. Research the Battle of Athens in 1946 and the 50-year reign of Boss Crump over Tennessee politics. And then the way that Estes Kefauver used the Good Government League idea created in McMinn County in the aftermath of the Battle of Athens to spread honest elections through the state and defeat Crump.

    Without the Battle of Athens, Kefauver never becomes a senator and never becomes the VP candidate in 1956. Without the jaw dropping theft in 1948, LBJ is never a senator and never president (with the help of the theft of the 1960 election).

  35. Five different Democrat election judges were named in Federal indictments for election fraud in Philly in the year 2020.

    No reason to think that the election wasn’t the most honest ever.

  36. Taking a step back and approaching it from an operational standpoint, non-profits provide an ideal organizational vector for ground-level political operations due to staffing, positioning in the community, and the ability to receive funds from a variety of sources.

    “Nonprofit” fits well with the Democrats’ Socialist philosophy. It wasn’t always so but recent years, at least since 1972 when convention rules were changed, the left has dominated that party. The Republican Party is also corrupt but that is more “Money talks, bulls**t walks” rather than ideology. Trump disrupted that system and changed the Republican Party. The old bulls are trying to change it back and may succeed, in which case it will die like the Whigs.

    On WWII, the best chance that the French and Brits had was in 1936 but Stanley Baldwin was not willing to risk war. Chamberlain only came in 1937 and was a Victorian gentleman who believed that gentlemen, like Hitler, kept their word.

  37. I have read (probably Shirer) that Hitler had made plans to reverse the occupation of the Rhineland instantly if he met resistance but stop would be a wild exaggeration. Delay at best until he had more weapons and a better trained army. He knew exactly where he intended to go and how many planes, tanks and submarines he needed to get there. One of the enduring questions is why he jumped the gun on his own schedule by about a year. The weapons he planed to produce in that year would have made a major difference

  38. I can’t disprove that different policy decisions would have had better outcomes (or worse ones).

    The Poles were on the menu for both Hitler and Stalin, and were going to suffer in any case.

  39. Hanson is good on Classical history but his grasp of modern history is less sure. Just the same old narrative. Britain abandoned the Ten Year Rule two months after Hitler became Chancellor in 1933. So it knew it was going to have to fight a war within 10 years and was starting to prepared accordingly. Full scale rearmament started in 1935/1936. Under Stanley Baldwin. With the emphasis on air power.

    Until 1938 there was almost no public support in the UK for a military challenge to Germany. Even less in France. That was political reality. With the rump Labour Party and the communist fellow travelers been the most vocal against rearmament. Munich changed everything.

    As for Churchill. A wartime leader of genius, like Lloyd George, but a catastrophically incompetent politician during peacetime. Everything he touched was a political failure. Although a first rate Cabinet minister when in office.

    It was Churchill’s history of unreliable and terrible political judgment that did such harm to the rearmament cause. When you look at Churchill’s pre war aims for the British Empire the way he prosecuted the war and especially the way he ran the utterly incompetent 1945 election campaign guaranteed the quick collapse and dismemberment of the Empire he claimed to be defending.

    Although partially responsible for the Fall of Singapore catastrophe in 1942 which sealed the fate of the British Empire in the Far East it was Churchill hanging onto to office long after he should have retired in the 1950’s that set the scene for the final denouement of the British Empire. The Suez Crisis in 1957.

    So people who base analysis of the current situation on a simplistic narrative of Churchills political career in the 1930’s should not be take seriously. As for who would have been the better PM in 1940 for the UK. It was undoubtedly Lord Halifax. He would have played a long game like Pitt the Younger etc did during the Napoleonic Wars. With the same ultimate success. You can blame the Labour Party for this as well. As they refused to serve in a coalition government under Halifax. Only reason he did not get the job. He was the far better man to guarantee the long term survival of Britain as a (solvent) world power.

    As for the border crisis. Thats simple. The Democratic Part was always the party with close links to organized crime. And who are the main short term beneficiaries from current border situation? The narcos, drug smugglers, human traffickers etc. Bizarre decisions like the DA Gascon in LA etc make perfect sense when you see them as straight pay off decisions.

    The Democratic Party is after all the Pay to Play party and look no further than Nancy Pelosi for someone who’s father was the Mafia controlled mayor of Baltimore. It runs in the family. Organized crime.

  40. As for who would have been the better PM in 1940 for the UK. It was undoubtedly Lord Halifax. He would have played a long game like Pitt the Younger etc did during the Napoleonic Wars.

    Churchill made quite a few mistakes (Greece for example) but Halifax would have surrendered.

  41. Holy c..p the commentary at Zero Hedge is full of people that seem to have lost contact with reality.
    Dropped my jaw. Ready to blame everyone from Adam and Eve on down for their miseries. Mos never stop to think what they hear in one ear is contradicted by the right ear’s auditory input, and that’s just the ones that don’t have prejudice oozing from every paragraph.

    Are there statistics that show the French and British people were living fat and happy on all the retribution payments demanded of Germany post WW-I? IOW, the Germans were in an economic mess, partially due to the destruction of WW-I but also due to payments to F&B. How were the F&B citizens doing at the same time? My take is that they were not in economic disaster, but the Depression surely did not leave the unscathed.
    Adding another IOW, it seems that the German people were looking for someone to blame, someone to complain about while in the rathskellars downing some suds, and they found one person, who happened to be insane… not good.
    We, OTOH, have found someone who it incapable of his office, and should be retired. That is another topic.
    One thing not really noted in the above commentary is the the Germans knew of the treaty agreed to by B&F, and were aware of the consequences, but thought they would get away once more with poking… Perhaps they may have w/o input from some such as Winston C. It certainly would not surprise of someone else had voiced a “do not disturb the Hun” opinion along the lines of it’s just a bunch of words on paper. Might have been a quick sale to people who had 25 years prior lost a lot to the fields of France. Awful hard to get aroused about something happening on the Continent, a thousand miles away, whether or not Poland should have bowed to Germany. I do not remember anything about the situation except that the whole prevarication for the invasion of Poland was staged. If the Poles were given an alternative to fighting with Germans, I have never heard of it.

  42. @Mike K

    Halifax surrender? Really? Then you must not know much about Edward Wood, his political career, and his very deeply held Christian religious beliefs. He was a greater British patriot than Churchill ever was. Churchill was very much his fathers (and mothers) son.

    Churchill was totally cavalier in every meaning of the word. It was all about him him him. But Halifax was a profoundly moral and deeply patriotic man and a very astute judge of human character and its failings. Churchill’s writing maybe more entertaining, which is why he got the Noble Prize for Literature, it was often little more than historical fiction, but Halifax’s writing show better understanding and better judgement although often wrapped in leaden prose.

    Its no different from Charles James Fox v Pitt the Younger. Charles James Fox was a very colorful character with a genius for turning the apt phrase during political debate but he was basically a very dangerous and destructive monster at a time when Britain was in great peril. Pitt the Younger was a stodgy boring oddball but a public fiances genius who saved Britain at its lowest point during the Napoleonic Wars. No Pitt and Napoleon would have won. Pitt the Youngers early death was a huge political loss for the county.

    So biographies of Charles James Fox are always a great read but biographies of Pitt the Younger a bit of drag. Same goes for Churchill v Halifax.

    If Halifax had become PM in 1940 his plan to buy time until rearmament had been completed in 1942 by which time the expected turn of Germany towards attacking the Soviet Union should have happened. No one was fooled by what happened in August 1939. It was mainly seen as a way of guaranteeing a win for Germany in Poland. Without the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in the 3’rd week of Sept 1939 which collapsed the Polish defense plan there would have been no quick German Blitzkrieg victory. It would have been a long slog well into 1940. And even then..

    The same kind of thinking went into the Phony War / Drole de guerre. And if it had not been for a serious of political misfortunes for the French in May 1940 they would have been correct. The damage done to France by the Front Populaire government of 1936/38 was profound. Plus by Spring 1940 the French communists had effectively sabotaged large parts of French war production and even parts of the French Army.

    History is like than. The generally accepted narrative often does not bear closer inspection and the what and the why of what really happened is much more interesting. And educational.

  43. tfourier suggests that Halifax was the proper man of the hour in 1940, but I have been talking about the situation in 1939. 1939, when Halifax negotiated the Anglo-French Guarantee to Poland, signed 25 August.

    That agreement was for mutual assistance in case any of the three was attacked by a European Power (defined in secret as Germany), and mentioned Polish independence, not territorial integrity.

    As for the PMship in May ’40, IIRC both the King and Chamberlain wanted Halifax, but he refused. Think of the world that might have been if only Lord Holy Fox had listened to tfourier instead of his experience and knowledge of the world and of men.

  44. “Surrender” is a bit harsh. I think a Halifax govt would have tried to sell the British public on the necessity of a defense buildup and of cutting prudent deals where possible, to avoid the risk of another 1914. Very reasonable. How would that approach have worked out in the long run?

    Churchill, a radical thinker, saw Hitler plain and foresaw bad outcomes of what was effectively a British strategy of incremental response to aggression. Churchill realized that only a strategy of total war against Hitler could work. He was effective in articulating his vision to the British and, maybe equally as important, American publics.

  45. “… a British strategy of incremental response to aggression.”

    There was really nothing “incremental” about the English declaring war on Germany. That step, taken on September 3, 1939 was truly crossing the Rubicon.

    Doing nothing effective to pursue that English declaration of war showed that the next “increment” was … zero. The English puttered around virtue signalling (as we would say today) for months — the Phony War. Then in May 1940, 10 long months after the English & French declared war on Germany, the Germans got tired of waiting for the English/French offensive and attacked France.

    The “incremental” hypothesis does not fit the facts.

  46. @Cousin Eddie

    The guarantee was made in March 1939 and was based on informal discussions with the French after the Sudeten plebiscite in 1938. Based on the assumption that Hitler would break the agreement. Once the German tanks crossed the border into Bohemia, then it was going to be war. No matter what.

    Everything said in public was very different from what was discussed in private. There were four parts of the equation. British public opinion. Dominion public opinion. French public opinion. And the utter intransigence of US isolationists (most Democrats in Congress where it mattered)

    For British public opinion until Munich there was a very large majority against a war to stop Hitler. But it was only after March 1939 that there was a majority for war. The numbers in France were even more anti war. And after March 1939 a plurality of the French were still against any war. That was the political reality. There were very strong peace at any cost political forces in both France and Britain. Arthur Henderson may have been ousted from leadership of the Labour party in 1935 but his surrender rather than fight pacifism still represented a majority of Labour voters. Even in 1939. Atlee represented the party leadership but but not the rank and file.

    The Dominions were a key part of the British calculation after 1936. It was not talking to Dominion governments in 1925 that caused the Chanak Crisis in 1922 that ended Lloyd George premiership and first rank political career. That lesson was not going to be forgotten in the late 1930’s so when the war was declared all the Dominions were on board. With the Canadians being the most important.

    Then we have the US. Even though some Republicans had the highest profile as Isolationists in the 1930’s the simple math was Democrats had very large majorities in both Houses as well and overwhelming mandate in the Administration. Landon got 35% in 1936. Thats a mandate. They had all the power and it was the Dem Isolationists almost all on the left wing of the partly that controlled the agenda. They wanted all the defense money for their pet social programes. Sound familiar? Which is why in 1939 the US Army was smaller than Brazils.

    But just like in the British this part of the story has been rewritten in since the war. The left in both countries drove Appeasement in the 1930’s not the Right. So that part has been written out of the narrative,

    The US Isolationists are key to understanding the British and French position in 1939. There was zero illusions in both countries that they could win any war without US support. The best either county could do was go on the defensive, have a war of attrition, and wait for the German economy to collapsed like it did 1918.

    Now Neville Henderson the Ambassador in Berlin can be rightly lambasted for many things (his late 1939 book is an interesting read) but the Berlin Embassies economic figures for the German economy was basically correct. It was surviving on fumes by 1939. So the pillaging of the Occupied Country by Germany post 1939 (40% of French GNP in 1943) and the enslaving of millions was simple survival by that stage. The Reich economy was an even bigger Potemkin village than the Soviet one.

    As for 1940. France collapsed because unlike in 1914 the OKW’s inability to control its generals in the field when they went their own way ended up by compete accident breaking the French command chain. Guderian ignored direct orders and keep going even though he had out run his supply line. But unlike 1914 when one half of the German force went off plan to go after the BEF the French were not able to take advantage of this. If the French had completed the second part of the 1925 Maginot defense plan, the large mobile tank armies in reserve, or even if De Gaulle and his like minded St Cyr peers had been alowwed assemble a large scratch mobile tank force early in May 1940, the result would have been just as disastrous from the Germans as the First Battle of the Marne.

    But history is like than. Not as clean and clear cut as the general narrative. With most key events the result of accident, good / bad luck, or unintended consequences.

  47. “Surrender” is a bit harsh. I think a Halifax govt would have tried to sell the British public on the necessity of a defense buildup and of cutting prudent deals where possible,

    Halifax would have called it a “ceasefire” or an “armistice” but it would have been surrender. Hitler did not want to fight Britain but his conditions, especially after they declared war, included such things as expelling the Jews from Britain.

  48. ” Hitler did not want to fight Britain” needs one more word: then.

    Hitler was on the road to a thousand year Reich and had he been successful, would eventually have squared off against Japan. The French and British were crouched behind the impregnable Maginot Line with their Belgian allies protected by their own strong fortifications. Realistically, there wasn’t much that could be done to reverse 20 years of stupidity in a single year.

    Thus ended the Age of Chivalry, brought belatedly to earth by the confluence of armor, air power and inertia. The alternative would have been a much more expensive large, well equipped and politically problematic standing army and air force.

    The latter approach begat NATO which at least outlived the Soviet Union although what would have developed had it been put to a serious test, especially after about 1975 is anybodies guess. Luck for us that the Soviets weren’t in any position to do so.

  49. If Halifax had become PM in 1940 his plan to buy time until rearmament had been completed in 1942 then the Anglo-French alliance’s rearmament would have been complete to oppose Stalin’s Icebreaker. Is it hard to imagine a Matilda II 2-pounder against a T-34?

  50. “Is it hard to imagine a Matilda II 2-pounder against a T-34?”
    Easy enough to imagine though not pleasant if you’re in the Matilda. However that 2-pounder beats the hell out of a Lee Enfield for infantry support. Tank on tank engagements were less common than tank on building or bunker. The “inferior” Sherman gave a pretty good accounting through the whole war. The tank you have in considerable thousands on the battlefield beats all the “superior” ones on drawing boards thousands of miles to the rear.

    That said, the weapons we had even as early as 1942 were far better for the forced development than if by some miracle Hitler had allowed the plans in place in 1939 to proceed unmolested by reality.

  51. Well, I early on made what I hope was a measured comment critical of the conventional view of 1939-40.

    But there is this, alluded to at least once above- no matter what Poles think of the Yalta settlement, it was far better than what they were due to get in the event of German victory. The Russians left them a national state ruled by Poles, they just required that it be Communist Poles yoked to Russia by both interstate alliance and international Communist party ties.

    The Germans were basically going to kill them all. And had started to do so early on. Sure, just the political, military and intellectual classes at first. Including clerics and businessmen. The people whose existence defined the existence of any kind of Polish identity above the peasant level. But they had made it clear that was phase 1.

    I don’t know what would have happened if the British and French hadn’t gone to war. The Germans started their program in western Poland anyway. And once the war with Russia started, they accelerated in a big way. They were able to fight a war on multiple fronts while not only blowing away all vestiges of Polish political institutions [well beyond anything done in any other occupied space] and territorial possessions, and getting a head start on the aforementioned top down genocide, but also to turn poor Poland into a factory site for killing the Jews AND get started on killing more Poles and other Slavs.

    Compared to all that, even the Yalta settlement was a huge win for Poles and Poland. Men should risk much to avoid subjection. But with an enemy who not only is willing to skip over subjection and go straight to extermination, suddenly any survival scenario is better. A dead people has neither liberty nor prospect of regaining it.

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