Last week we noted the bizarre arguments of Seattle Times editorial writer Bruce Ramsey, who tried so hard to defend Barack Obama against President Bush’s “appeasement” speech that he actually ended up defending Hitler for annexing Austria. His exact words were: “What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable.”
If you think that’s an ahistorical pretzel of monumental proportions, though, you ain’t seen nothin’ — because here comes Pat Buchanan. According to old Pat, not only was the Anschluss not a problem, Hitler’s invasion of Poland was also perfectly understandable, given the Poles’ refusal to negotiate.
Those darned stubborn Poles were responsible for starting World War II, according to Pat: Bush Plays the Hitler Card.
German tanks, however, did not roll into Poland until a year later, Sept. 1, 1939. Why did the tanks roll? Because Poland refused to negotiate over Danzig, a Baltic port of 350,000 that was 95 percent German and had been taken from Germany at the Paris peace conference of 1919, in violation of Wilson’s 14 Points and his principle of self-determination.
Hitler had not wanted war with Poland. He had wanted an alliance with Poland in his anti-Comintern pact against Joseph Stalin.
But the Poles refused to negotiate. Why? Because they were a proud, defiant, heroic people and because Neville Chamberlain had insanely given an unsolicited war guarantee to Poland. If Hitler invaded, Chamberlain told the Poles, Britain would declare war on Germany.
From March to August 1939, Hitler tried to negotiate Danzig. But the Poles, confident in their British war guarantee, refused. So, Hitler cut his deal with Stalin, and the two invaded and divided Poland.
The cost of the war that came of a refusal to negotiate Danzig was millions of Polish dead, the Katyn massacre, Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz, the annihilation of the Home Army in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, and 50 years of Nazi and Stalinist occupation, barbarism and terror.
(Hat tip: James Taranto.)