Fri Apr 25th, 2008 at 10:37:30 AM EST
I don't expect this diary to be without controversy, but I think that this point of view is important enough to be widely discussed.
In Today's Guardian, Peter Wilby, the former editor of the new Stateman, sets out the Pacifists' case against WWII in Europe (with which he does not agree btw) by paraphrasing some of the points made by Nicholas Baker in his book "Human Smoke".
The whole point of the exercise is to destroy the last *effective" leg of the Iraqi war supporters who claim that eliminating Saddam Hussein was like eliminating Hitler prior to the Second World War.
You can find his editorial here:
Without wanting to get into a long series of citations from the article, allow me to just quote the paragraphs I believe summarize Baker's argument:
Baker's account, however, reminds us that the war was not fought for humanitarian or democratic ends. Britain fought Germany for the same reason it had always fought wars in Europe: to maintain the balance of power and prevent a single state dominating the continent. America fought Japan to stop the growth of a powerful rival in the Pacific.
The book ends on December 31 1941. At that moment, he says, "most of the people who died in the second world war were still alive". They included nearly all victims of what we now call the Holocaust. Did waging the war "help anyone who needed help"? Baker asks rhetorically, and gives his answer through a series of documentary snapshots. But, historically, it's the wrong question. The war wasn't supposed to "help" anybody.
Food for thought. The book is bound to create a controversy when it appears in the UK next month.