Monday, February 19, 2007

The Reality of Munich

We all know that Neocons use middle school historical analysis with extremely misplaced analogies and comparisons to come to conclusions that are often not in the interests of the United States or its citizens. One historical event used particularly often in this manner is the negotiation with Hitler at "Munich".

Leaving aside the huge and obvious differences between WWII Germany and the countries we now try to compare it with, there are other problems with the Munich analogy.

Munich is valuable as a meme [for the Neocons] because it crunches down historical complexity into the preferred binary narrative of forward or back, victory or defeat. In this simplification, Neville Chamberlain naively caved into to the evil dictator in September 1938 and let loose WW II.


Neocons trotted out the Munich thing in 2002 to accuse Hans Blix and the UN of appeasement. Since then, Bibi, Frum and others accuse the U.S. and particularly Bush regime skeptics of 'another Munich' for their refusal to embrace strikes on Iran. It seems that someone at NRO drops the M-bomb at least once every two weeks.


The problem, of course, is that [Neocon] May has no idea what he is talking about. The truth, long obscured by Neocon and wingnut AgitProp, of course is that Hitler saw Munich as a defeat. The historical German record is clear about Hitler's outrage and anger that Chamberlain saddled him with diplomacy.

Hitler wanted and needed war in 1938. He knew that his military modernization program gave him a significant but diminishing advantage. By 1940 he knew the gap would for all intents and purposes close. ... A war beginning in 1938 would have favored the Germans even more than that in September 1939. Had the Mays of the world had their say in 1938, the Western democracies would have been even more unprepared (if one can imagine such a thing).

So even the comparison of current events with “Munich” is faulty. The delay created by Munich helped the allies. The allies could not have acted in 1938 even if they wanted to.

Now, what that has to say about the present situation is probably not a lot. But that is the point. The situations are so completely different that looking to WWII for insight on the Middle East or a variety of other matters is bound to lead you into situations ... like Iraq.



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