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Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World
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Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  677 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Were World Wars I and II—which can now be seen as a thirty-year paroxysm of slaughter and destruction—inevitable? Were they necessary wars? Were the bloodiest and most devastating conflicts ever suffered by mankind fated by forces beyond men’s control? Or were they products of calamitous failures of judgment? In this monumental and provocative history, Patrick Buchanan mak ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Crown (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Don
Dec 17, 2008 Don rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Well argued case that British actions between the two world wars resulted in their fall to a second rate power.

This is not a flattering portrail of Churchill. He is shown to have failed to see the perils of using the Soviet Union to defeat the Nazis.

Buchanan's view is that Britian should have never allied with Poland. By doing so Poland stood up to Hitler instead of accepting overtures of alliance. Buchanan shows that Hitler had no designs on the west was an admirer of England. If Poland would
...more
Adam Spivey
Feb 12, 2012 Adam Spivey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ww2
Probably one of the best books I've ever read. A book like this was long overdue. I came to the same conclusions about WW2 before the book but it was nice to see a man with Buchanan's stature articulate this viewpoint so well. Just to summarize some of his main arguments.

1. WW2 didn't occur because of isolationism but because of the injustices inflicted on Germany at the Treaty of Versailles.

2. Hitler never wanted war with the West and thought that a two front war was Germany's biggest mistake d
...more
Don Fox
Mar 21, 2009 Don Fox rated it it was amazing
So while Adolph Hitler was gobbling up Europe, intent on world conquest, England thrust up its greatest son, Sir Winston Churchill, a statesman for the ages, to oppose the evil tyrant, crush him, and save the world.

It is a great story. Pathetic little Winnie grows up to become Man of the Century, the great guardian of civilization against the forces of darkness and depravity. It is the story as I learned it through numerous accounts, and that I accepted and even cherished. The story that gave ri
...more
John
Jun 18, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book should be a real eye-opener for those who have accepted the conventional wisdom regarding WWII. It, like Human Smoke (Nicholas Baker) and a handful of other books, carefully demonstrates that WWII was not "The Good War" but instead an unnecessary blunder which led to 50 million dead and an Iron Curtain behind which Eastern Europe suffered for 50 years.

Buchanan delineates the series of diplomatic mistakes from Versailes to Danzig which led to the war. As in Human Smoke, Winston Churchi
...more
David R.
May 07, 2013 David R. rated it it was ok
This one can't help but be immensely controversial. What Buchanan is arguing is that Winston Churchill screwed up the world. The initial mistake was England's getting into WW1 -- which Buchanan asserts was the real unnecessary war. His conception is that Germany was only acting to secure the classical balance of power in Europe, that England would have stayed clear had Churchill not acted strenuously to beat down the Kaiser. This of course led to a humiliated Germany that found its redemption in ...more
Bethany
Jul 16, 2008 Bethany rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on a whim largely because I'd been criticizing it ever since I first heard about it and thought if I actually read it, I could rip it apart all the better. But then something shocking occurred. I actually agreed with the vast majority of it! I still look at the world and Britain / later America's role in it differently than Buchanan but his arguments are very convincing. Basically he says that WWI should never have happened; the settlement of WWI should've been a lot better (t ...more
Cill
Aug 02, 2008 Cill rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it, not the least of which is how little we really know about events that may affect our lives greatly. I would highly recommend it as an alternate view of World War 2, which has come to be called "the good war" by many in our present day world. It is also a very unflattering view of Winston Churchill who not only led the English people in that war, but presided over the demise of the British Empire as well. The story of how that came about makes a very ...more
CJay Engel
Jul 09, 2013 CJay Engel rated it it was amazing
It can be a challenge at times to keep up with all the names of people and cities and dates so you have to really pay attention. Especially as he starts with the unfamiliar territories and power of the WW1 world. But it's a five star book that will completely challenge your paradigm about the nature of WW2. You'll never look at Churchill, Hitler and the Second World War the same. I say read it.
Alan
Apr 04, 2014 Alan rated it it was amazing
I know a lot of people don't care for Pat Buchanan - but I'm not concerned about that. He backed up his points with a lot of sources - and it's lead to several great debates between me and a few of my friends - some liberal - some conservative. What if Britain didn't declare war on Germany in 1914.... there wouldn't have been 700-800,000 Brits slaughtered. Germany may have defeated France and gone on to defeat Russia. Lenin would have died unknown. No Treaty of Versailles. No Hitler. No holocaus ...more
Pawel_k
Dec 08, 2012 Pawel_k rated it it was ok
The author maybe knows history of Western Europe but know nothing about history of Central Europe.
'Also, Danzig was 95 percent German. Before Versailles, the town had never belonged to Poland.' - really? never? Are you joking or what? Find a map of Poland from the period before Partition and see where is Gdansk (Danzig) and see the corridor dividing Prussia from Eastern Prussia.
'At Brest-Litovsk in 1918, Germans and Russians had negotiated the terms.' - really? Germans negotiated with Russians?
...more
John
Dec 10, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Buchanan has challenged the traditional narrative of WWII, arguing that it was an unnecessary war, and led to much greater tyranny, more death than it averted. He takes all the arguments head on, demonstrating that it was ultimately Britain that led to WWI, which led to the disastrous Versailles, sowing the seeds for WWII.
But Buchanan argues the disastrous decision that led to WWII was Britain's war guarantee to Poland. To that point Hitler was reclaiming German land lost in Versailles, though
...more
William
Dec 30, 2011 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, politics
I've been seeing references to this book pop up on LRC since it was first published in 2008. It looked interesting, but I have nearly zero interest in military history. After reading several excerpts I was intrigued. It's not military history. Buchanan's book is a history of the men and political movements who brought about both world wars--a thirty year period that Buchanan identifies as the West's civil war. He does a good job of presenting WWI as little more than a disaster brought about by s ...more
Gary
Jun 19, 2008 Gary rated it it was amazing
Very good. Shows Churchill as he really was, rather than the savior of Britain
Glen
Nov 13, 2009 Glen rated it really liked it
I found this book to be extremely interesting, well-written, and full of anecdotes that brought the WW-2 era and its key historical figures to life for me. Buchanan is a fine nonfiction writer and enough of a contrarian to reject politically correct hagiography. I would love some of my friends and relatives of both liberal and conservative bent to read this book. I think they would come away with a lower opinion of Churchill and/or FDR, for one thing.

Buchanan's view of history focuses on power b
...more
Lynn Warford
Jun 30, 2015 Lynn Warford rated it it was amazing
I never really paid too much attention to Author Pat Buchanan, nor did I vote for him when he ran for President. However, I HAVE, immersed myself in the history of both world wars. And, after reading Pat Buchanan's book: "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War". I found that I was in TOTAL agreement with Mr. Buchanan's sentiments! Especially when it came to England's choice to declare war on Germany in 1914; which may very well have been the worst political decision in all of history.

If Engla
...more
Kerry
Sep 04, 2013 Kerry rated it did not like it
For me, it didn't quite register until part way through reading this that it was Pat Buchanan, oh, that Pat Buchanan, that odious creature from CNN's Crossfire. It all makes a little more sense after getting that.

His basic premise is that Churchill was a warmongering fanatic (you can just feel Buchanan's hatred of Churchill in every word in this book) while everybody else was just trying to run their countries (and empires) in the best way they could and didn't want any trouble. If it hadn't be
...more
Michelle
Jul 20, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
Pondering the question of whether it was good for England to enter the war, as this book claims Hitler never wanted a war with England. For lebensraum, Germany would have been content to conquer lands to the east. Germany and Russia might have gone at it and western Europe would have been spared the destruction of WWII. Not discussed in this book is what would have stopped the atrocities of the Third Reich in the countries it conquered.

It is fascinating to read about this period in time and rea
...more
Flob
Feb 24, 2013 Flob rated it it was ok
Shelves: history

So when was the necessary war? Well there were mistakes that is certain. And with hindsight things should have been done differently and the century ended up being pretty messed up. This book lays too much of the blame onto Britain and you must wonder at the author's prejudice. About half way through the book you start to feel sorry for poor old misunderstood Hitler. The author hates the thought but the Nazi's had to be stopped. Stalin could not have done this alone, almost certainly Russia woul
...more
Arun Ellis
Jul 12, 2012 Arun Ellis rated it it was amazing
Had difficulty with this book when I first read it - not because it's hard to read or because I necessarily found the views hard to comprehend - simply because I'm a Churchill fan - having read it a second time I tend to agree that British politicians could've played their hand a bit better but I'm still of the opinion that when Hitler had finished digesting Russia he would surely have come west with all that entailed. I would also contend that the old Empires were always destined to fall in a m ...more
Shyam Sundar
I had written a term paper earlier this year titled "The revisionist history of the origins of the Second World War in Europe". I used many sources, especially AJP Taylor, Charles Tansill, and Victor Suvorov. Having done such an exhaustive survey of the pre-WW2 era, I am well acquainted with the intricacies of diplomacy and deceit which took place before that war.
Patrick Buchanan is one of my favorite political analysts, and he uses some of the same sources I did, but argues more forcefully and
...more
Stephanie
Jun 12, 2015 Stephanie rated it did not like it
As Dan Carlin pointed out in one of his Hardcore History podcasts it's very easy to look back on history with the luxury of hindsight & point out what mistakes were made. Having said that if you want a revisionist history of the events leading up to WWI & continuing through WWII, then you've found your book. Buchanan makes it clear that he believes Churchill was solely responsible for both world wars & had Britain not interfered with Hitler then the Holocaust probably wouldn't have h ...more
Wanda
Jan 21, 2012 Wanda rated it it was amazing
Very good diplomatic history of the events leading to the two European wars of the first half of the 20th century, well sourced and liberally sprinkled with pithy and eye-opening quotes. For me, there was something surprising or remarkable on almost every page.

I hesitated to read the book because all I knew of the author was that he was supposed to be some kind of crackpot TV news talk show personality. What a surprise to discover a well and tightly written, well-researched, thoughtful, even-han
...more
Jerome
Feb 25, 2009 Jerome rated it it was amazing
I'm not a great fan of Buchanan's religious conservative politics, but I found his views on WW1 & WW2 very much like my own. This is one of those books I wish more Americans could / would read as it gives a very good perspective of what really brought on the great world war that was divided by an intermission from 1918 to 1939 as well as how it effected the cold war and it's aftermath that we are still dealing with in the 21st. century.
Araz
Mar 30, 2015 Araz rated it it was amazing
I found this book very plausible and the way it tries give an objective account of history is commendable. It deciphers the propaganda and gives a completing and logical story behind the complicated events in one of the darkest era of human history. It gives a right picture of Winston Churchill who I believe was an evil man.
Husam Abdullatif
Apr 12, 2014 Husam Abdullatif rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. Sheds light into corners that were not under the sun. Made me look at things from totally different points of view. Shows mistakes of world leaders and blames some heroes for driving other villains into crime. Churchill became a great famous man at the price of reducing the British empire into a poor England.
Eric
Aug 25, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing
Ah, yes....The treaty of Versailles was a disaster for the western world and has lead to our decline. Churchill's shortsightedness was much to blame for both world wars, so the author contends.
Buchanan sees Bush as having made many of the same foreign policy mistakes as Churchill.
Rob
Aug 14, 2008 Rob rated it really liked it
If you love history and politics,pick this book up.When you're done you'll probably say History does repeat itself
David Heard
Sep 17, 2012 David Heard rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone interested in ww2. It's amazing when you run across a book that opens up your mind and turns preconceived notions on their head.
José Antonio
Apr 10, 2014 José Antonio rated it it was ok
Aunque es un libro muy interesante, sobre todo en la parte dedicada a la locura que desató la Primera Guerra Mundial, con una versión en la que Alemania y el Kaiser juegan un papel diferente al que suele ser habitual en los libros de historia; y también por una visión muy crítica de Winston Churchill y su responsabilidad en ambas guerras mundiales, que tampoco suele ser moneda corriente; creo que el señor Buchanan se empantana cuando trata de hacernos creer que Hitler solo quería recuperar lo qu ...more
Michael
Jan 09, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Pat Buchanan takes everything you learned in school about WWII and turns it upside down. Buchchan raises some questions about early twentieth century Europe. I am glad he starts off the book with an overview of World War 1; he shows how if Great Britain had stayed out, it would have changed history. This part about WW1 isn't controversial; it is simply meant to give you a background of Europe, to set the stage so to speak for WWII.

Buchanan's dealing of Nazi Germany isn't the mainstream view but
...more
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One of America's best known paleoconservatives, Buchanan served as a senior advisor to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. He ran for president in 1992, 1996 and 2000. Buchanan is an isolationist on the subject of American foreign policy and believes in a restrictive immigration policy.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/patric...
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“These men are not made of the same stuff as the Francis Drakes and the other magnificent adventurers who created the empire. These, after all, are the tired sons of a long line of rich men, and they will lose their empire.”110” 2 likes
“Somewhere in the last century, Western man suffered a catastrophic loss of faith—in himself, in his civilization, and in the faith that gave it birth.” 2 likes
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