Sept. 1 was the 70th anniversary of Hitler's blitzkrieg into Poland and the beginning of World War II. Fifty million people died. Western Europe was devastated. Eastern Europe was more thoroughly devastated and subjected to communist tyranny that for decades seemed invincible and a threat to the Free World, which remained armed and vigilant. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt emerged from that war as legendary heroes who saved our civilization. Almost immediately, there were skeptics. Some claimed that both were responsible for the war. Some claimed that Roosevelt provoked the Pearl Harbor attack and failed to notify our doomed soldiers and sailors. These skeptics were, of course, cranks.
Yet now there is another generation of skeptics sounding off, and one might well wonder whether they, too, are cranks. Or have these skeptics developed evidence against Churchill and Roosevelt that was heretofore unknown?
On Sept. 1, the distinguished debating organization Intelligence Squared teamed up with the London Evening Standard to afford America's most famous Churchill critic, Pat Buchanan, the opportunity to argue that Churchill was "more of a liability than an asset to the free world." Actually, if I have read Buchanan accurately, he holds Churchill responsible for the war. As he writes on his Web site, "Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940." Churchill and Roosevelt's policy of unconditional surrender caused it to drag on to May 1945. They also are responsible, if I read Buchanan accurately, for the Holocaust. As Buchanan said the night of the debate, "No war, no Holocaust." On his Web site, he claims that Hitler wanted to end the war "almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps."