~ HISTORY BELONGS to the victors, etc., blah blah blah. That may be a healthy warning against one-sided records of history; it can also be a way of denying what really happened, and saying “we’re no better than them.” It is possible to win the war, and lose the peace in what is later said about that war.
After WWI, the pacifists and other pro-militarist West-haters among the victors watered down Germany’s war-record, partly enabling the lie that Germany was “stabbed in the back” from within (socialists, communists, Jews), and thus led to the rise of Hitler. There was a horrible inevitability to it all.
The Real Problem
Versailles was a flawed peace not because it was too harsh, but because the gnawing cancer of Teutonic Supremacism had not been chopped out of the German heart. Germany– thought all right-thinking Germans– was simply better; supreme & destined; a race of supermen could not to bow to lesser races, even in apparent defeat. Hitler was inevitable, in that sense, and the pacifists and the militarists agreed in one thing: might makes right. Even in 1918-19, Germany utterly refused to learn their needful lesson.
Let’s remember the actual WWI record: to get to France, Germany had to toss aside a treaty with Belgium; when the Belgians fought back, the Germans began a policy of mass executions of innocent civilians across Belgium and Northern France; the Germans invented and the Kaiser’s forces were the first to use poison gas against allied troops, and to declare unrestricted war via u-boats. Belgium was literally and economically raped: the Germans packed up whole factories worth billions and sent them home. The Germans invented and used zeppelins to bomb cities. German troops burnt the city of Louvain, including a medieval library full of treasured manuscripts. They also used famine as a weapon of war against millions of Belgians and French citizens. They were allowed: the rules don’t apply to the Superior Races.
That is, the many German atrocities of WWI became a rehearsal for the atrocities of WW2. A history of denial in the West covered up, minimized, or argued that the allies were no better or worse than the Germans (the tu quoque fallacy); that the treaties including Versailles were an unjust punishment; that Germany had been betrayed, treated shabbily, and just needed a fair chance. Combined with Darwin-inspired Aryan racial theories, such Teutonic Supremacism boiled along merrily under the superficially democratic potlid of the Wiemar Republic.
Auschwitz & More
The little horrors of the early 20th century would be sown like dragon’s teeth across Europe, and– as in the Soviet Union– would become matters of far greater horrors, as total war and atrocities became almost normal… just part of ordinary war-making, society-molding, and totalitarian world-grabbing.
Those who, in the modern setting, ignore a resurgent Russia, or a clamorous Islam for reasons of cowardice, misunderstanding, pacifism, are much like their fellow panderers in the 1920s and onwards. They float along in a willed ignorance and blindness, hoping luck and apologies will prevent greater evils. Even worse are those who misuse the freedoms of the West to act like dictators, as if 1914-1945 never happened.
Those who refuse to read history properly are doomed to have it happen all over again, on fire and with bells on. ~