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Pat Buchanan Wrong About Yalta

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 12:00 AM

President Bush's comparison of the Yalta accord agreed to by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin in 1945 to the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939 does not withstand scrutiny. In his Los Angeles Times commentary, Jacob Heilbrunn, a member of the editorial board, refuted President Bush's comments as follows:

"The claim that Roosevelt betrayed Eastern Europe at Yalta, and that he set the stage for 40 years of Soviet domination, is an old right-wing canard. By repeating it, and by publicly charging that the Yalta agreement was in the ‘unjust tradition' of Hitler's deal with Stalin, Bush was simply engaging in cheap historical revisionism. His glib comments belong to the Ann Coulter school of history. ...

"The truth is that Yalta did not hand Eastern Europe to the Soviets. That territory was already in their possession. ...

"Theoretically, Churchill and Roosevelt could have refused to cut any deal with Stalin at Yalta. But that could have started the Cold War on the spot. It would have seriously jeopardized the common battle against Germany (at a moment when Roosevelt was concerned with winning Soviet assent to help fight the Japanese, which he received."

In fact, the Yalta agreement actually required that democratic elections should be held in all the liberated territories. The Soviet Union violated the agreement and installed Communist governments in all Soviet-occupied territories, foremost being Poland.

National Socialism's economic approach was to maintain private property, working with the large corporations and preventing labor organizations from exercising their normal obligation to protect workers. Communism also prevented labor organizations from freely functioning since it was the government that owned all means of production and the government asserted it should control the unions.

Hitler and Stalin were both monsters and both used terror and the killing of opponents to achieve their objectives.

However, a major difference between the two oppressive societies, Germany and the USSR, is that as a people who willingly voted for National Socialism, the Germans accepted the party's premise of their own racial superiority. They believed they were entitled to special privileges and they concurred in the transport of Jews from Germany and elsewhere to the eastern occupied territories, ultimately exterminating 6 million of them, and using the citizens of the occupied countries of Eastern Europe as forced laborers and slaves.

Soviet citizens did not view themselves as a race superior to others. In large numbers, they opposed the imposition of Communism on their economy. Millions of Socialists, religious people, prosperous farmers, the middle-class and intelligentsia, many Jews among them who opposed Communism and Stalin, were sent to labor camps and murdered.

When Hitler suddenly invaded the USSR in June 1941, Stalin appealed to the patriotism of its citizens, who responded by joining in the "Great Patriotic War" to defend the motherland. Without the willingness of the Soviet armies under the political leadership of Stalin to sacrifice the lives of nearly 10 million Russian soldiers, while suffering an additional 17 million civilian deaths perpetrated by the Nazis, the U.S. and Great Britain on their own would not have been able to defeat Hitler.

It is also true that had the armies of the U.S. and Britain in the invasions of Europe culminating in D-Day on June 6, 1944, not tied down many divisions of the German army on the western front, the Russians would not have been able to defeat the Nazi armies in Russia and the Ukraine, sweep across Poland and ultimately take Berlin in 1945.

We needed the armies of the Soviet Union and they needed us. You don't have to be an Einstein to recognize that FDR and Churchill made the right choice when they cooperated with the USSR and Stalin as the lesser of two evils.

In keeping with his disgraceful history of hostility to Jews, Buchanan glaringly omits from his column any reference to the Holocaust in evaluating the Nazis. He also neglects to mention that the U.S. did not declare war on Nazi Germany. It was Nazi Germany that declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941, four days after Pearl Harbor.

Had Hitler not declared war on us, it is quite possible that we would not have gone to war against Germany for some time if at all. American isolationists like Charles Lindbergh were not keen on helping Britain survive. Remember Lindbergh's anti-Semitic speeches and the "America First" Committee? The isolationists would have opposed a war against Germany, urging only a war against Japan, which had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.

God works in mysterious ways. Thank God that we, the U.S., Great Britain and the USSR destroyed the Third Reich. Not only was Nazi Germany defeated, but also the people of Germany ultimately learned how wrong they were to follow Hitler. Today they are among the most vigilant of nations in making certain that Nazism and other types of fascism do not recur.

Why does anyone sit down with Buchanan at a dinner table or participate with him on a Sunday morning television show? In my opinion, he is no different from the Louisiana racist David Duke or Lenora Fulani of New York, with whom he contemplated a joint ticket for president and vice president on the Independence Party line. He should be treated the same way they are: with contempt.

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President Bush's comparison of the Yalta accord agreed to by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin in 1945 to the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939 does not withstand scrutiny.In his Los Angeles Times commentary, Jacob Heilbrunn, a member of the editorial...
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Wednesday, 18 May 2005 12:00 AM
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