After 12 years in power, Hitler was dead, having slaughtered millions and conquered Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.
And Putin? After 13 years in power, and facing a crisis in Ukraine, he directed his soldiers in the Crimea to take control of the small peninsula where Russia has berthed its Black Sea fleet since Napoleon.
To the Wall Street Journal this is a "blitzkrieg."
But as of now, this is a less bloody affair than Andrew Jackson's acquisition of our Florida peninsula. In 1818, Gen. Jackson was shooting Indians, putting the Spanish on boats to Cuba and hanging Brits. And we Americans loved it.
Still, there are parallels between what motivates Putin, a Russian nationalist, and what motivated the Austrian corporal. Hitler's war began in blazing resentment at what was done to Germany after Nov. 11, 1918.
The Kaiser's armies had defeated the Russian Empire, and the Italians at Caporetto, and fought the Western Allies to a stand still in France, until two million Americans turned the tide in 1918. When Berlin accepted an armistice on President Wilson's Fourteen Points, not a single Allied soldier stood on German soil.
But, at Paris, the Allies proceeded to tear a disarmed Germany apart. The whole German Empire was confiscated. Eupen and Malmedy were carved out of Germany and given to Belgium. Alsace-Lorraine was taken by France. South Tyrol was severed from Austria and given to Italy. A new Czechoslovakia was given custody of 3.25 million Sudeten Germans.
The German port of Danzig was handed over to the new Poland, which was also given an 80-mile wide strip cut out of Germany from Silesia to the sea, slicing her in two.
The Germans were told they could not form an economic union with Austria, could not have an army of more than 100,000 soldiers, and could not put soldiers west of the Rhine, in their own country.
Perhaps this Carthaginian peace was understandable given the Allied losses. It was also madness if the Allies wanted an enduring peace.
Gen. Hans Von Seeckt predicted what would happen. When we regain our power, he said, "we will naturally take back everything we lost."
When Hitler came to power in 1933, he wrote off the lands lost to Belgium, France and Italy -- he wanted no war with the West -- but set out to recapture lost German lands and peoples in the East.
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