Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

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Cover of 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[1] (ISBN 9780307405159) is a 2008 book by Pat Buchanan where he criticizes British involvement in World War II, going so far as to blame it for The Holocaust, which he calls "not a cause of the war but an awful consequence of the war."[1]:311

Wait, what?[edit]

Yes, Buchanan seriously attempts to argue that The Holocaust was primarily the result of the Allied nations going to war against Germany. Buchanan begins by pointing out that "The mass deportations and destruction of the Jews of Europe, however, did not begin in 1939 or 1940. They began after Hitler invaded Russia, June 22, 1941…"[1]:311 However, the actual dates between the invasion of the Soviet Union and the mass deportation of Jews is much closer than Buchanan implies, with the deportation of German Jews beginning in December 1941, the Wannsee Conference conference in January 1942 deciding the fate of the other European Jews, and the mass deportation of Jews beginning in earnest in the summer of 1942.[2]

This only makes sense if one ignores large swaths of Hitler's writings, which is exactly what Buchanan does. R. L. Hymers Jr., a conservative Baptist pastor who voted for Buchanan in 2000 and therefore no natural enemy of Buchanan's, says in his review of the book that Hitler felt like he "'had to' wipe out the Jews because they would destroy all mankind on earth. Specifically, he makes mention of a 1924 interview where Hitler says he has "come to the realization that in the future the most severe methods of fighting will have to be used" clearly showing genocide to be a real possibility.[3]

Lies by omission[edit]

Here is a difference between Patrick Buchanan and David Irving. The latter employs falsehoods; Buchanan employs half-truths.
—John Luckacs[4]

The biggest tactic that Buchanan uses throughout this book is lying not by saying things that are wrong, but by leaving out rather important details. Early on in the book, for example, Buchanan writes that "From 1871 to 1914, the Germans under Bismarck and the Kaiser did not fight a single war. While Britain, Russia, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Spain, and the United States were all involved in wars, Germany and Austria had clean records."[1]:58 However, this statement leaves out two rather important details: The first one being that the pick of 1871 is oddly convenient because, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, "that's the year that Prussia humbled France in the hideous Franco-Prussian War that actually annexed two French provinces to Germany."[5]:663 The other important detail is that, although Germany never went to war specifically during that time, it was still "seizing colonies in Africa and the Pacific, cementing secret alliances with Austria and trying to build up a naval fleet that could take on the British one."[5]:663-664

This same failure to tell the full story can even be found in the sources that Buchanan uses. One reviewer noted Buchanan was fully willing to go along with A. J. P. Taylor writing, "Only Danzig prevented cooperation between Germany and Poland."[1]:244 but won't quote him calling Winston Churchill, "The savior of England."[4] It's also just odd Buchanan would cite somebody like Taylor in the first place, given Buchanan writes negatively about "British elites of the twentieth century" and their "streak of Germanophobia,"[1]:335 given Taylor was infamous for exactly that.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World by Pat Buchanan (2008) Crown Publishing. ISBN:9780307405159.
  2. Deportations from the Holocaust Encyclopedia
  3. Buchanan’s Bad Book: A Review Of "Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War” By Patrick J. Buchanan by R. L. Hymers, Jr. & C. L. Cagan (July 19, 2008) R. L. Hymers, Jr..
  4. 4.0 4.1 Necessary Evil
  5. 5.0 5.1 Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens (2012) Twelve. ISBN 9781455502776.
  6. The Nonconformist by Paul Kennedy (April 2001) The Atlantic.