One of the most overlooked aspects of the Second World War was its necessity. Ignoring the political necessity of bringing renegade states to heel the real necessity of the war was an economic one. The worldwide economic collapse of unbridled speculation [NOT free market capitalism!] in the west had created the same sort of political instability as the collapse of feudalism in Russia and China. The political responses were remarkably alike in that the west created an economy based on the idea of a welfare state of various shades of socialism while the east – used to centuries of absolutism – opted for the most severe forms of socialism in communism.
By the late 1930’s the cure had proved worse than the disease, the new welfare states had done little other than share the misery and the political systems were becoming rudderless with the new leaders in danger of finding themselves replaced. Although institutions may be given the attributes of a person in law they do not have those attributes – like a conscience or an instinct for self-preservation – but the people who own them and work for them do, generally rather more of the latter than the former.
FDR had accomplished almost nothing in his first term that had withstood the challenges presented. His second term was on its way to being a colossal failure until he turned the country into the arsenal of democracy – which makes a company like Hertenberger legitimate when compared to that old tool of tyrants, Krupp – and voila, using the same lies and deceptions that that Woodrow ‘he kept us out of the war’ Wilson had used in 1916 he wins an unprecedented third term and perpetuates his incompetence for generations.
The British establishment found themselves in the same morass and France and Spain found themselves in the grip of soviet style rebellions. Germany and Italy [and Japan] had suppressed their social revolutions by elevating nationalism and armament campaigns which could serve no other goals other than expansionism. The failures of communism in Russia were being covered up under a regime of repression more brutal than anything Hitler ever dared dream of and China was in the grasp of a civil war that would produce more casualties over a thirty year period than Hitler and Stalin combined.
The intellectual tradition that started with the so-called reformation and enlightenment had left no institution that stood superior to the state. None that had the moral authority to stop the measure of success being a material one. None that could offer an alternative to the identification of people with their state rather than with their common humanity. That there was no one to stop the war before it started, or shorten it after it started or see that there was a genuine peace after it ended should come as no surprise.
The political enterprise had ceased to be the codification of ordinances of right reason for the common good and has become a chess match to see who can acquire the most people, power and land and this book is a description of two of the players and their opening gambits. Lukas has the great good sense to realize that Stalin went home the big winner and the extension of his argument might lead some to wonder who really won the cold war?
June 1941: Hitler and Stalin New Haven: Yale University Press, c 2006 John Lukacs World War, 1939-1945 Campaigns Soviet Union Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. x, 169 p. ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 159-164) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
This work by the author of Five Days in London, May 1940 is a drama of two duplicitous tyrants confronting each other in June 1941. It describes Hitler and Stalin’s strange, calculating, and miscalculating relationship before the German invasion of Soviet Russia, with its gigantic and unintended consequences. John Lukacs questions many long-held beliefs; he suggests, for example, that among other things Hitler’s first purpose involved England: if Stalin’s Communist Russia were to be defeated, Hitler’s Third Reich would be well-nigh invincible, and the British and American peoples would be forced to rethink the war against Hitler.
The book offers penetrating insights and a new portrait of Hitler and Stalin, moved by their long-lasting inclinations. Yet among other things, Lukacs presents evidence that Hitler – in addition to his generals – had moments of dark foreboding before the invasion. Stalin would not, because he wished not, believe that Hitler would choose the risk of a two-front war by attacking him; he was stunned and shocked and came close to a breakdown. But he recovered and eventually became a prime victor of the Second World War.