[This book review article appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, pp. 94-135.]




Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath

Herbert Hoover, edited by George H. Nash

Hoover Institution Press, 2011



Herbert Hoover’s “Secret History of World War II” – and Some Reflections it Prompts

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, retired


          Long held in storage by the Hoover family but just recently released, former U.S. President Herbert Hoover’s “secret history” of World War II, written between 1944 and 1963 and now edited by Hoover historian George H. Nash, sheds light on “nineteen gigantic errors” of strategy and geopolitics that Hoover saw as having been committed by the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman starting with the diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933.  The result is a “revisionist history” that runs counter to the image of “the good war” that was created by the Allied perspective during the war and that has remained the conventional perception.  Hoover’s account and the reflections to which it gives rise have particular relevance today because they bear directly on the perception entertained by Americans, so important to both neoconservatism and neoliberalism, that the many foreign interventions by the United States are benign because they are well-intentioned.   This article will review highlights of the history as Hoover relates it and will ponder some of the implications that so greatly contradict today’s conventional wisdom about the war and its aftermath.


Key Words: Herbert Hoover, World War II, strategic errors, insouciance toward Communism, “the good war,” U.S. foreign interventions, double standards toward totalitarian systems, Hoover’s “mutual exhaustion” premise, Churchill’s Balkans strategy, undeclared wars, total war, bombing civilians, morality of atom bombs, World War II conferences, post-World War II treatment of millions, Manchuria, Soviet entry against Japan, Marshall mission to China, loss of China to Mao, Korean War precursors, Katyn Forest massacre, Nuremberg trial.


Herbert Hoover was president of the United States from 1929 to 1933.  Despite the eclipse that his reputation suffered because of the Great Depression, he deserves to be remembered as one of the monumental figures of the first half of the twentieth century.  He was already world-renowned, before he became president,  for leading the food-relief efforts during and after World War I that saved so many millions of lives, including (as just a small part) an estimated 20 million in Russia in the famine of 1921.  For several years after his presidency, his opponents invoked his name as a symbol of failure, but long before his death in 1964, Hoover emerged as a highly respected elder statesman.  His philosophy was that of a classical  liberal: in domestic matters, he favored “a properly regulated individualism”; in foreign affairs, he favored an active involvement of the United States in the world, but, in keeping with the United States’ traditional posture prior to 1898, held that “it is not the right of any American to advise foreign peoples as to their policies.”  

Freedom Betrayed is, as the subtitle says, a “secret history of the Second World War and its aftermath.”    When the book first arrived to this reviewer, its imposing bulk (caused largely, it turns out, by the high quality of the paper) gave him the impression that “it is a tome that will mainly interest archivists and serious historians, but will be tedious reading for the general public.”   He soon found, however, that those who are intimidated by the size will miss out on an awfully good read.  The book is tremendously informative and provocative, but at the same time moderate in tone and engagingly readable.

The history is “secret” only because Hoover did not offer it for publication during his lifetime (he finished it in 1963 and died the next year) and because his family held it in storage until they recently made it available to the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace for editing by George H. Nash, the preeminent Hoover biographer and scholar,[1] and release in 2011.  Already a prolific author, Hoover began work on the history in 1944 and continued with the writing, through many revisions, for some twenty years.  He considered it his “Magnum Opus,…the most important of all his writings,” according to Nash.  It is easy to see why he assigned it so high a place: the history of that time involved strategic and geopolitical decisions that deserve the most serious attention and that go far beyond the simplified gloss that most people give them.

Each of the decisions can be examined as a nugget for its own sake.  These include such issues as whether it was wise to enter into a wartime alliance with Stalin, to have demanded unconditional surrender, to have dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to have urged Stalin to enter the war with Japan and take control of Manchuria, or to have intervened repeatedly in the war between Chiang Kai-shek and Mao and thereby to have facilitated Mao’s victory.  In this article we will look at several of these. 

Before we do, however, it is worth considering how Hoover’s narrative bears on two myths that are important in contemporary American thought.  One is the panoramic image that for the United States the Second World War was “the good war.”  The other is that American interventions around the world are benign in intention and constructive in result, and that therefore, in keeping with both neoconservative and neoliberal thought, the United States acts appropriately when it seeks to serve as both a social worker and policeman of the world.

Within a few days after this reviewer finished reading Hoover’s history, a friend commented on “how lucky we were to have had a man like Franklin Roosevelt lead us in the fight against Hitler.”  In light of what the book had just been making so clear, this comment was dumbfounding.  And yet, as far removed from the reality of those times as the observation may be, the friend was merely articulating what almost every American would say: In effect, “Nazi Germany was a monster whose leader’s ambitions threatened the peace and freedom of the world.  Even though a large majority of Americans before Pearl Harbor wanted to stay out, FDR had a greater wisdom in knowing that Hitler had to be stopped.  Japan’s surprise attack warranted the strongest possible response against its militarism and, as an unintended benefit, brought the United States into the war with Germany.  The alliance with the Soviet Union was desirable, providing an ally that reversed the Nazi tide at Stalingrad and joined in bringing the war to a successful conclusion.  By defeating Hitler, the United States and its allies won the war.   Though costly in lives and treasure, it was ‘a good war.’”

All peoples need their myths – their heroes, their victories and their images of glories won.   Serious historians can and will dig behind the myths and know better, but their discoveries often won’t disturb the quiet surface of public opinion (unless an angry ideology such as the one that has so long attacked America’s culture and historic memory goes on a myth-destroying mission).   It would be arguable that the conventional image of World War II should be left as a rallying point for national pride, with the realities left on a side-track for scholarly discussion, were it not for the reinforcement the myth gives to the second of the myths we have mentioned.

The premise guiding most American opinion today, among those who are generally known as “neoconservatives” and “neoliberals,” the media (such as television dramas), and the average person as found in day-to-day conversation, is that, to the extent Americans become aware of it, no injustice, suffering or misfortune around the world should be tolerated.  It is felt that each of these has a legitimate claim on the sensibilities of Americans, who must not simply sit on their hands and allow it to happen.  This premise guides the “American century” aspirations and military interventions of the neoconservatives.  The neoliberals’ rhetoric is sometimes softer, but the military interventions of Clinton and Obama are hardly distinguishable from those of George W. Bush.  There are, of course, many additional interventions that circumstances allow to fall short of overt military action.

We are confronted, however, by serious questions: Are the good intentions realistically thought out, or are they naïve, failing in their appreciation of the world’s complexities, and often guided by subterranean lobbies?  Are the consequences “benign” either in their effect on America’s interests and national security or in their impact on other peoples?  Are the interventions presumptuous by often brushing aside the role those other peoples may wish to play in determining their own well-being? And (perhaps as a lesser point, but nevertheless one that shouldn’t be omitted) do the American people receive a truly objective view of the world’s miseries and injustices, or isn’t there necessarily a great deal of selectivity that goes into what is sensationalized for them?)  It is here that Hoover’s “secret history” prompts us to critically examine the accepted image of World War II.   As we see from Hoover’s account and from many other sources, the Second World War provides an example of precisely how inappropriate the naïve view of the world is as a guide to action.


Herbert Hoover’s History of the War

In a climactic final chapter, Hoover reviews “nineteen gigantic errors,” characterizing them as “lost statesmanship.”   The book’s structure, however, does not focus on them directly.  It consists of three “volumes” (all included in this book).  The first goes into detail about events leading up to the war; the second discusses the Allies’ wartime conferences, such as at Casablanca, Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam; and the third takes up “case histories” of Poland, China, Korea and Germany.  Because the discussion of the nineteen points runs through the entire narrative, however, they provide the best basis for a review of his history.  The following is a summary of many of the points.  We will tell more about several of them as part of our later reflections. All nineteen are listed in an Appendix to this article.

The recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933.  Hoover observed that it was President Woodrow Wilson who first adopted a policy of not diplomatically recognizing the Communist government in Russia.  The reason, Wilson said, was that “we cannot recognize… a government which is determined and bound to conspire against our institutions.”   This remained the policy until FDR extended recognition in November 1933.  Hoover says “the recognition of Russia by the United States gave the Soviet government a stamp of respectability….”  Further: “no sooner had they won recognition than the Communists began violating their pledge [made in an agreement signed at the time by Maxim Litvinov] not to conspire for the overthrow of the American government.”

The 1939 British-French “guarantee of Poland and Rumania.”  Hoover speaks of this as “probably the greatest blunder in the whole history of European power diplomacy,” since “by this act, they threw the bodies of democracy between Hitler and Stalin.”  Not only was it a military impossibility to stand behind this guarantee, but it served as a trigger for war between Britain and France against Hitler (but noticeably not against Stalin) when Hitler and Stalin sent their troops into Poland in September 1939.  Since Hoover believed the western powers should have stayed out of the war, allowing Nazi Germany and Communist Russia eventually to fight each other, he considered this trip-wire an egregious blunder.  British Prime Minister Chamberlain made the commitment reluctantly.   Hoover says he would not have done so had it “not been for the constant needling from Washington.”

The United States’ undeclared war against both Germany and Japan before Pearl Harbor.  Hoover considers this “a total violation of promises upon which he [FDR] had been elected a few weeks before” [in the U.S. presidential election in November 1940].  The acts of war against Germany included, according to Senator Robert Taft, “the seizing of Axis ships while we were supposed to be neutral,… sending American ships into the combat zone, and the occupation of Iceland.”[2]  Hoover regarded “the total economic sanctions on Japan” in July 1941 as “war in every essence except shooting,” because the sanctions threatened Japan with “starvation and ruin.”

The alliance with Stalin.  “The greatest loss of statesmanship in all American history,” Hoover wrote (applying a superlative once again to underline its importance), “was the tacit American alliance and support of Communist Russia when Hitler made his attack [on the Soviet Union] in June, 1941.”  Hoover foresaw that “American aid to Russia meant victory for Stalin and the spread of Communism over the world.”  Instead, “statesmanship imperiously cried to keep out, be armed to the teeth and await their [the two “monstrous dictators’”] mutual exhaustion.”  Hoover argued that “these monstrous dictators were bound to exhaust themselves no matter who won.  Even if Hitler won military victory, he would be enmeshed for years trying to hold these people in subjection.  And he was bound even in victory to exhaust his military strength.”[3] 

The refusal to accept Japan’s September 1941 peace proposal.  The book’s editor, George Nash, speaks of Hoover’s thesis “that Roosevelt could have come to terms with the peace-minded Japanese prime minister, Prince Konoye, in the early autumn of 1941.”  FDR’s rejection of Konoye’s repeated peace overtures forced him out of the premiership in October.  This passed power to Tojo’s militaristic faction (although even Tojo then preferred to avoid war with the United States, and the Emperor himself proposed peace in November).  “The acceptance of [Konoye’s] proposals,” Hoover wrote, “was prayerfully urged by both the American and British ambassadors in Japan.”  It is significant that Hoover tells us that “the terms Konoye proposed would have accomplished every American purpose except possibly the return of Manchuria,” including so significant a thing as Japan’s withdrawal from China.

The demand for unconditional surrender.  Roosevelt introduced this demand at the Casablanca conference in January 1943.  Hoover, in common with many others, saw much wrong with it.  “It played into the hands of every enemy militarist and propagandist; it prolonged the war with Germany, Japan and Italy.  And in the end major concessions in surrender were given to both Japan and Italy.  It held out no hope of peace to the Germans if they got rid of the Nazis.”

The sacrifice of the Baltic States, East Poland, East Finland, Bessarabia and Bukovina to Stalin at the Moscow conference in October 1943, and of seven more nations at the Tehran conference that December.  Stalin emerged from the war imposing Communist control on a dozen countries.  Hoover ascribed this to concessions made to Stalin at the wartime conferences, and considered them a profound repudiation of the Atlantic Charter’s statement of war purposes, which included each people’s right of self-determination.    (We consider an emphasis on the verbal concessions odd, at least so far as those relating to the nations that could have been reached first by the Western Allies, because the actual reality “on the ground” (vastly more important than concessions made in words) was created by the strategic military decisions that allowed the Red Army to reach those nations first.  Hoover might well have included these strategic decisions in his list of  “gigantic mistakes.”  They consisted of (1) the choice that Roosevelt made to establish the Second Front in Normandy rather than to follow Churchill’s often-repeated preference for attacking Nazi Germany by going north through the Balkans, thereby getting to eastern and central Europe before the Red Army; and (2) in like manner, the choice to hold back and not get to Berlin and Prague ahead of Stalin’s forces, and to withdraw from Czechoslovakia, letting Stalin have it.  By these choices, Stalin was allowed de facto control over eastern and central Europe.  As to the nations the Western Allies could not have reached first, it is reasonable to think that the agreements at Tehran and Yalta were as meaningful and destructive as Hoover thought them to be.) 

The refusal of the Japanese peace proposals of February-July, 1945.  Hoover says that “early in February, 1945, Mr. Roosevelt received a long dispatch from General MacArthur, outlining terms of peace that could be made with Japan.  These terms amounted to unconditional surrender, except for maintaining the position of the emperor and strongly urging that no concessions be made to Russia.”  The next month, a Japanese overture was made through Sweden; and in April “the Emperor substituted a group of civilian anti-militarists for the militarist ministry” (our emphasis).  Another attempt was made by Japan through Moscow in July, and a mission by Prince Konoye (who was then back in favor) for this purpose was refused by Stalin.  Hoover says that President Truman knew of this overture.  Indeed, Hoover himself had in mid-May sent Truman a memo supporting the overture.  In the face of all this, the declaration made at the Potsdam conference in July continued to insist on unconditional surrender, and Japan was informed only after its surrender following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that it could retain its emperor (which was an item of inestimable importance to the Japanese).

Dropping the atomic bombs.  Despite the irony of his personal friendship with Truman, Hoover speaks of “Truman’s immoral order to drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese,” calling it “the act of unparalleled brutality in all American history.”  The brutality was compounded by the fact that it was gratuitous:  Hoover says “American military men and statesmen have repeatedly stated that its use was not necessary to bring the war to an end.”

“Giving China to Mao Tse-Tung.”  The book speaks of “Roosevelt’s hideous secret agreement as to China at Yalta which gave Mongolia and, in effect, Manchuria to Russia.”  This placing of the Soviet Union in such a dominating strategic position where it could (and did) assist Mao’s conquest of China was followed by a long series of actions favorable to Mao: “Truman sacrificed all of China to the Communists by insistence of his left-wing advisors and his appointment of General Marshall to execute their will.”

There are a number of other points about the war that are not included per se in Hoover’s list of strategic errors, but that are discussed in his narrative.   One has to do with the Morgenthau Plan to dismantle Germany’s industry and turn Germany into an agrarian nation, a plan that was still being carried out de facto as late as 1949, a year in which, according to one historian, “268 factories were removed, in whole or in part.”[4]   Hoover was intensely critical, saying that to turn Germany into “a pastoral state” would cause starvation or otherwise force the victors to “exterminate or move” as many as 25 million people.  Another point is raised in Hoover’s “case history” of Korea, where he told how the actions of the Truman administration placed South Korea at the mercy North Korea and virtually invited the attack that occurred.


Going Beyond the Review: Reflections Prompted by the History

Hoover’s history of the strategic decisions suggests a variety of facets for us to reflect upon. These could ideally go on indefinitely, but there is a limit to what we can cover here.  There is much to say about each of the three subjects we will select.   They are (1) how profoundly the intellectual context affected the war; (2) the adoption of total war against civilian populations;  and (3) the brutality of the Allies’ postwar treatment of many millions of civilians and prisoners of war.  Our examination of these subjects will not be for the purpose of encouraging alienation against the United States or Great Britain, but will stem from the conviction that the events of that period deserve – and even demand – a truly thoughtful comprehension.  As we discuss them, we will keep an eye out for what Hoover had to say about them.


I.  “Ideas Have Consequences”:  The Sweeping Impact of Educated Westerners’ Attitude toward Communism

Perhaps what stands out most starkly when all of the facts (and more) recited by Hoover are seen together is how much they were prompted by the Western elite’s indulgent attitude toward Communism in general and Stalin and Mao in particular. (By “elite” in this context, we are referring to the broad spectrum of mostly college-educated people who share what has come to be known as a “politically correct” worldview.) Very few people today will have read the issues of The New Republic and The Nation, at one time the two flagship journals of the American Left,  during the 1920s and 1930s.  This reviewer has, and his reading of the writings of hundreds of America’s leading intellectuals as they appeared in those pages became the basis for his book Liberalism in Contemporary America.[5]  The infatuation with the Soviet Union was intense during the three decades from the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 until 1947.  Indeed, the “Red Decade” of the 1930s was simply part of the three-decade picture.  Although the denizens of the leftist intelligentsia lent their names to the hundreds of “Communist front organizations” in the 1930s, the 1920s had much the same flavor, with one pilgrimage after another to Soviet Russia advertised and written about in glowing terms.  Along these lines, the premier liberal philosopher John Dewey contributed a series of six articles to The New Republic in 1928 about his trip to Russia to observe its educational system, which he described enthusiastically.  Stalin’s show trials and purge of a great many of the original Bolsheviks, the exiling and eventual murder of Trotsky, and the Hitler-Stalin Pact all caused consternation, and a number of people left the Communist fold because of them; but it is only the slightest hyperbole to call these things “mere hiccups” disturbing the overall rapture.  For the most part, The New Republic forgave or ignored them.  It would sideline us too greatly to spell out the countless details that wove the fabric of the intellectual mindscape of those years. But that is unfortunate, since an appreciation of that atmosphere is essential if its effect on American policy is to be fully credited.  Hoover devotes a section, consisting of five chapters and entitled “A Great Intellectual and Moral Plague Comes to Free Men,” to Communist ideology and its infiltration into American life.  It would have been fitting for him to comment on how greatly the intellectual milieu influenced the decisions made during the war.

It would be a mistake to confuse the ubiquity of this atmosphere with the much narrower, albeit important, issue that came to preoccupy Americans in the 1950s: that of Communists in government and entertainment.  The intellectual subculture of the American Left fought bitterly against any rooting out of Communists and of Soviet agents, but what almost certainly lay behind its vigorous anti-anti-Communism was its sense that a rooting out of formal members of the Communist party came awfully close to exposing the intellectual subculture as a whole (many of whose members had lent wholehearted support to the Communist enterprise but had not joined the Communist Party as such). 

All of this is prelude to the point that is most pertinent to our discussion of American policies during World War II.  The point is this: that the mindset of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his successor, Harry S Truman, and of a sizeable number of the people around them, was greatly influenced by the intellectual tapestry just described.  It should hardly be necessary to caution that this is something very different from saying that they were Communists.  Those who were Communists were important for that fact, to be sure; but it is the atmosphere of indulgence and acceptance that has the most direct bearing on what we will be examining.   (Although to say so doesn’t relate to World War II, it is worth noting that the overhang of that indulgence continues to color American perceptions to this day.  In one context after another, one runs into obdurate ignorance of the atrocities committed by Communist totalitarianism, a double standard as between Communism and Nazism, and a self-congratulatory openness to such Communist heroes as, say, Che Guevara and Diego Rivera.)

For his part, Franklin Roosevelt manifested a remarkable insouciance toward Communism.  Hoover comments on this, observing that  “it is to be supposed that a statesman of the stature capable of leading the American people would inform himself of the history, the beliefs, the policies, and the character of leaders with whom he chose to make partners… Stalin had publicly proclaimed his fidelity to Lenin’s teaching and himself had confirmed that his purpose was to envelop the world in Communism… His character was indicated in headlines over years recounting the thousands of even his own colleagues whom he had put to death in order to further his own ambitions.”  It is nonsense, Hoover says, for FDR’s supporters to “attempt his defense by laying his failures to Stalin’s wickedness and betrayals.”  In the face of all that was known, FDR was moved to speak informally and affectionately of Stalin as “U.J. [Uncle Joe].”[6]  In a radio address on December 24, 1943, FDR said: “To use an American… colloquialism, I may say that ‘I got along fine’ with Marshal Stalin… I believe that we are going to get along very well with him, and the Russian people – very well indeed.”[7]  

Recognition of the Soviet Union.  The diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union by the Roosevelt administration in November 1933 is the first of the decisions we will cite in support of our point.   In addition to the reasons Hoover gave for criticizing the recognition, something quite monstrous should be noted.  The recognition came just months after one of the twentieth century’s worst genocides.  During the winter of 1932-1933, Stalin had sealed off vast areas and sent in thousands of men to forcibly stripped the inhabitants of food.  In his 1986 book Harvest of Sorrow, historian Robert Conquest estimated the deaths at between five and seven million in Ukraine, one million in the North Caucuses Territory, and one million elsewhere.[8]  It was an act of intellectual, moral depravity for the West’s intellectual culture to have ignored, and even actively covered up, an atrocity of this magnitude.  If Franklin Roosevelt was unaware of this genocide (or, if he was aware, cared little about it), it was because he was encased in the sensibilities surrounding him.

Allying with Stalin.  The decision by the United States and England to ally with Stalin was a further consequence of the mindset.  Immediately following Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, FDR announced that “the United States would give all possible aid to Soviet Russia,” as though supporting Stalin against Hitler were intuitively obvious.  It wasn’t obvious to Hoover.  In a radio address five days after FDR’s announcement,  Hoover said the provision of aid to Russia would make “the whole argument of joining in the war to bring the four freedoms to mankind a gargantuan jest.”  He saw that “Western civilization has consecrated itself to making the world safe for Stalin… If we go further and join the war and win, then we have won for Stalin the grip of communism on Russia, the enslavement of millions, and more opportunity for it to extend in the world.”  Here, we see the sharp contrast between the thinking of Hoover and Roosevelt on the question of Communism.  Both Roosevelt and Churchill saw Hitler as the singular threat to the world; to Hoover, both Hitler and Stalin were in that category.   Most Americans today will reflexively agree with Roosevelt that fighting Hitler had to be paramount over all other considerations, so it is worth recalling that Hoover saw a viable alternative that Americans at the time favored but have long since forgotten: for the United States to assure its own security by “arming itself to the teeth,” to allow the totalitarian titans  to fight it out against each other, and to provide Great Britain with “all possible support ‘within the law.’”  It is relevant to this that, as Hoover pointed out in 1938, “neither Germany nor the Fascist states want war with the Western democracies unless these democracies interfere with their spread eastward.” Hoover’s assessment is borne out by Hitler’s repeated peace overtures to Britain.[9]

Rejection of the Balkans strategy.  It isn’t, however, necessary to agree with Hoover in his opposition to an alliance with Stalin to see that several crucial decisions during and after the war reflected the mindset of the American Left and greatly facilitated the expansion of Communism in Europe and Asia.  Churchill’s record during the war was one of blowing hot and cold on Communism, the indulgent “cold” almost certainly prompted greatly by the all-consuming need to get along with Roosevelt, which is what he saw as the key to British survival.[10]  The “hot” side, his opposition to Communism, found expression in his repeated advocacy of a strategy of attacking north through the Balkans.  Hoover says that “Prime Minister Churchill, at the First Quebec Conference – August 11-24, 1943 – prior to Tehran, had urged an operation which came to be called an attack on the ‘soft underbelly of Europe.’  The concept was that in addition to operations on the Italian mainland, and across the Channel to France, an attack should proceed northward from either the head of the Adriatic or Aegean Sea.  Churchill’s purpose in this operation was to create an Allied wall against Communist occupation of Yugoslavia, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary which would otherwise likely occur with the German retreat… Churchill repeatedly urged this strategy.”  Hoover points out that “General Mark Clark,... at that time in command of the Allied Armies in Italy, strongly supported the Prime Minister’s strategy.”  In Clark’s book Calculated Risk, Clark wrote that failure to “push on into the Balkans was one of the outstanding political mistakes of the war… Had we been there before the Red Army, not only would the collapse of Germany have come sooner, but the influence of Soviet Russia would have been drastically reduced.”  Clark said that to Stalin “the thing that he wanted most was to keep us out of the Balkans.”[11]  From early in the war, Stalin pressed Britain and the United States to launch a Second Front across the English Channel into France.   Roosevelt and his principal military advisor General George Marshall pushed hard for such an attack through France in 1942, and then in 1943; but in each case Churchill succeeded in sidelining it because he believed that the Allies were “wholly unprepared” for it and that, accordingly, an invasion that early might prove disastrous. In his book Great Mistakes of the War, Hanson W. Baldwin supports Churchill’s reluctance, writing that “in retrospect it is now obvious that our concept of invading Western Europe in 1942 was fantastic… The British objection to a 1943 cross channel operation was also soundly taken militarily.”[12]  The Normandy invasion came eventually on June 6, 1944, by which time Roosevelt had sided with Stalin in preventing Churchill’s Balkans strategy.   The result, we know, was the Red Army’s conquest of the Balkans and central Europe, leading to the many years of “captive nation” status for the peoples there.

Holding back Allied forces.  In common with this failure to block the Red Army’s takeover of eastern Europe was the decision, again over Churchill’s objections, to stop the British and American assault in Germany at the Elbe river rather than to go on to Berlin and then farther east to the Oder.  Persico tells us that “who occupied the German capital, Churchill believed, would decisively influence who dominated postwar Germany.”  Accordingly, “Churchill showered Roosevelt and Eisenhower with pleas not to abandon Berlin to the Soviets.”[13]  This was rejected by Truman, by that time president of the United States after Roosevelt’s death, with the result that, as Baldwin tells us, “for about three weeks our forces remained virtually static” at the Elbe as the Russians took Berlin.  Baldwin says that “further south our troops moved into Czechoslovakia… Prague lay virtually defenseless near at hand.”  But in response to a Soviet request, “our troops marked time, and the honor and political prestige of taking Prague went to the Russians.”  “‘I was very much chagrined,’ noted the late General George S. Patton, Jr.”  “So, too, in the south, where… Vienna was voluntarily relinquished.”[14]

Concessions at the wartime conferences.  At Tehran and Yalta, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to, as Hoover says, “Russian annexation of the Baltic States, Western Finland, Western [the editor corrects this to “Eastern”] Poland, Bessarabia….”  About Tehran, Hoover says that “all three – Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt – agreed to Russia’s having a border of friendly states.”  In a secret agreement (which Hoover tells us wasn’t revealed until after the 1944 presidential election in the United States because FDR feared losing millions of Polish-American votes), it was decided “that East Poland was annexed to Russia and that West Poland would become a puppet Communist state.”   The fog of confidence in “Uncle Joe” was such that “free elections” were specified for the western part of Poland, but it is too mild to call this “naïve”: it was a form of gross self-deception.  No wonder Arthur Bliss Lane, who later served as ambassador to Poland, could ask “how could elections be free as long as Red Army forces and the NKVD [the Soviet secret police] remained to enforce the will of the Kremlin?”  Lane reported to Hoover that “about 50,000 Russian secret police… infest the country; wholesale arrests are going on daily; over 120,000 non-Communist Poles are in concentration camps.”   Hoover says Bliss reported “that in collaboration with the Red Army a systematic liquidation of… all leaders opposed to Communism was taking place by shooting, summary execution and deportation.  The arrests, executions and deportations were estimated at 100,000 in Galicia alone.” 

The wartime conferences were thus highly significant in their moral and practical dimensions.  We mentioned above, however, that as to those parts of southeastern and central Europe that could have been kept out of the hands of the Red Army the “situation ‘on the ground’” was far more controlling than the delusional verbal agreements. 

The ideas that came to prevail in the thinking of the Western Allies, both militarily and at the conferences, were day-dreams.  They were very much a reflection of the intellectual atmosphere of those years.

Yalta did, however, go beyond a self-deceptive confirmation of vast territorial concessions that had already been made or were about to the made to Stalin in Europe.  Earlier here, we saw Hoover’s complaint about the “hideous secret agreement as to China which gave Mongolia and, in effect, Manchuria to Russia.” [15]

Facilitating Mao’s conquest of China.  The act of bringing the Soviet Union into the war with Japan at a time when Japan was already helpless and suing for peace, and placing the Soviet Union in a strategically critical position where it would empower Mao eventually to take over all of China,[16]  was decided at Yalta, but can best be understood as just a major link in a long pattern of hostility to Nationalist China and of indulgence toward Mao Tse-Tung.  This mindset bubbled up to Roosevelt and Truman from all of those who papered-over Mao’s combined Communist ideology and thuggery[17] by calling him an innocuous “agrarian reformer” and who simultaneously could see nothing good in Chiang Kai-shek.[18] 

In Mao: The Unknown Story, historians Jung Chang and Jon Halliday tell how even during the war the United States “put all the pressure on Chiang, linking the issue of aiding his government with an end to civil conflict [with the Communists] – in effect, regardless of who was causing it.”  A similar attitude, they say, was taken by Churchill.[19]  In January 1942, FDR appointed General Stilwell to serve as Chiang’s adviser.  Hoover said that the advisers to Stilwell included John Stewart Service, Owen Lattimore and Lauchlin Currie, and that “General Stilwell and these advisers developed the idea that there should be a political coalition of the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists under Mao Tse-tung.”  For his part, Chiang “resolutely refused to accept Communist representatives into his Cabinet.”

Jung and Halliday are among the many who have recounted what is appropriately called “the sellout of China” at the end of World War lI and during the years that culminated in Mao’s victory in late 1949.   They tell us that when Soviet Russia entered the war, it swept into Manchuria, but after its withdrawal in May 1946 the Nationalists won major victories there, so that “the Communist forces had been reduced to a state of collapse.”  The upshot was that “Mao was on the ropes.  Then he was rescued – by the Americans… Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, sent America’s top general, George Marshall, to China in December 1945 to try to stop the civil war… Marshall visited Yenan [Mao’s headquarters] on 4-5 March 1946,” making a report to Truman that ”oozed illusions… Marshall was to perform a monumental service to Mao.  When Mao had his back to the wall… in late spring of 1946, Marshall put heavy – and decisive – pressure on Chiang to stop pursuing the Communists into northern Manchuria, saying that the US would not help him if he pushed further.”  This “turned the tide.”  Jung and Chang say “Marshall’s diktat was probably the single most important decision affecting the outcome of the civil war.” 

A cease-fire was declared and then extended by Marshall, with the result that “the Reds had the time” to rebuild their forces and to receive vast supplies from Stalin.  Chiang was thereafter not able to defeat Mao.[20]  This course of action was, of course, backed by President Truman, who appointed Marshall Secretary of State in January 1947.  Hoover quotes General Albert Wedemeyer to the effect that upon becoming Secretary of State Marshall “continued to deny military or economic aid… until Chiang should agree to take the Communists in.”  An American officer who was involved in military assistance to China later told Senator McCarthy that “the tanks which we dumped into China had their guns spiked and their breeches blown.”[21]   In April 1948 the U.S. Congress appropriated a large sum for economic and military aid to Nationalist China, but Marshall held this back, insisting that the inclusion of Communists into the government was “still a sine qua non of American aid.”[22] The arms were “not delivered,” Wedemeyer later wrote, “until the end of that year when it was too late to stop the Communists.”[23]   Senator McCarthy told how “over the hump in India, the United States military authorities were detonating large stores of ammunition and dumping 120,000 tons of war supplies in the Bay of Bengal.”[24]

Korea.  Nor do the consequences of the illusions toward Stalin and Mao stop with the loss of China.  Senator Robert A. Taft wrote that “the Korean war and the problems which arise from it are the final result of the continuous sympathy toward communism which inspired American policy.”[25]    It is well known that U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech on January 12, 1950 (not quite six months before the North Korean invasion) describing what the United States considered its Pacific “defense perimeter” to be – and left South Korea outside the line.  Taft reflected that “the Communists took the Secretary of State at his word.  They knew that we had permitted the taking over of China by the Communists and saw no reason why we should seriously object to the taking over of Korea.”[26]  It wasn’t just Mao who understood this; Owen Lattimore, who was perhaps preeminent among the American advisers favorable to Mao and who was in the State Department at the time, seems to have summed up American policy when in July 1949 he said that “the thing to do is to let South Korea fall – but not let it look as though we pushed it.” [27]  It’s worth noting that in May 1950 the Chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee reiterated that Korea was not “an essential part of the defense strategy.”[28]

There was more to it, however, than just these declarations.  A string of actions had taken place that set the stage for the invasion.  Hoover’s history recounts that it was agreed at Yalta that Korea should eventually become independent and that, until then, there would be a four-power trusteeship over it.  In August and September 1945 (i.e., immediately after the Japanese surrender), the Soviet Union invaded from the north, the United States from the south.  Thereupon, the two militaries established the 38th parallel as an administrative line for purposes of accepting the Japanese surrender of the peninsula.  In violation of the Yalta agreement, the Soviets proceeded to set up a government of  North Korea.  As early as September 1947, General Wedemeyer’s report cautioned President Truman that the Soviet Union had created a powerful North Korean People’s Army and would then withdraw Russia forces, “and thus induce our own withdrawal.”  Wedemeyer warned that “the withdrawal of American forces from Korea would result in the occupation of South Korea” either by the Soviets themselves or by the North Korean army they had created.  Hoover tells us that Wedemeyer’s recommendations were rejected and the report “suppressed.”  As Wedemeyer predicted, Stalin did propose evacuation by both Russia and the United States; and Hoover says that “having set up a Communist puppet government, and trained a completely equipped army, the Russian troops left North Korea in January, 1949. Then, flying in the face of a resolution in November 1948 by “the new South Korean legislature [urging] that United States troops be kept in South Korea until the security forces of the Republic became capable,” the U.S. Army revealed on June 30, 1949, that all American forces except 500 officers and men had been “quietly withdrawn from Korea, with no protests from the State Department.”  South Korea was supplied only with “light arms, adequate for maintaining internal order but inadequate to resist invasion.”  In October 1949, the U.S. Congress approved arming South Korea, but, according to Senator Taft, “by June 1950 [i.e., the time of the invasion] not a single bit of aid had been given, except merely some small arms that had been left behind when we withdrew from Korea.”[29]

As the world knows, when the North Korean invasion came on June 25, 1950, President Truman reversed U.S. policy and put the United States into the war.  General Douglas MacArthur oversaw the defeat of the North Korean army by the end of that same year, but what might well be called “the Second Korean war” started when Mao sent in Chinese troops, driving the Americans down to the 38th parallel where eventually a ceasefire was agreed to.  (It’s worth noting that this second war would not have occurred if Mao had not conquered China, as he had a year earlier.)  MacArthur complained of restraints placed by the Truman administration upon his acting against Chinese sanctuaries across the Yalu River, whereupon Truman fired him, citing MacArthur’s inability “to give his whole-hearted support” to U.S. policy.  In MacArthur’s farewell speech to Congress on April 19, 1951, he said that although he did not want American troops used on the Chinese mainland, he favored strong action against Mao, including an economic blockade, a naval blockade of the Chinese and Manchurian coasts, the “removal of restrictions” on Chiang Kai-shek’s forces on Formosa, and the giving of logistical support to those forces.

Vietnam War.  These things, and the illusions that underlay them, are essential to understanding both the first and the second Korean wars.  It is not too much to say that the “giving of China to Mao,” which we have traced in detail above, was a necessary precondition to the Vietnam War.  (The Soviet Union supported Ho Chi Minh, but it’s relevant to know that Jung and Halliday relate how “China had over 320,000 soldiers in Vietnam during the years 1965-68, including more than 150,000 anti-aircraft troops, some of whom stayed into late 1973.  The presence of these troops in North Vietnam allowed Hanoi to send many more of its own forces into the South, where some Chinese accompanied them.”[30]

The opposition to American involvement in Vietnam was often accompanied by an explanation that “Ho Chi Minh is a Vietnamese nationalist more than really a Communist.”  This was much the same as the dismissal of Mao as “an agrarian reformer” in China, and, as with Mao, overlooked a long personal history of Marxist-Leninist activity and association with Stalin.  This mental evasion again typified the attitude toward Communism that is the subject of these reflections.[31]

Dishonesty about Katyn.  Hoover tells how in April 1943, the Germans discovered mass graves in the Katyn forest in western Russia (near Smolensk) in which there were thousands of bodies of executed Polish officers.  Joseph Persico writes that “the lengths to which Roosevelt and Churchill would go not to imperil the alliance with Stalin emerge in their secret correspondence regarding the Katyn affair… The world at that time had scant reason to doubt that the massacre of Poles was merely another  in the mounting catalogue of Nazi atrocities.  Yet, through secret sources, FDR and Churchill knew otherwise[32] (our emphasis).

Despite this knowledge, the Allies collaborated with the Soviet Union in including in the indictment against the Nazi defendants before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg a charge that the Nazis had committed the massacre.  Frederick J. P. Veale says Lord Justice Lawrence, the British presiding judge, “listened with unwearied patience to the evidence which the Communist chief prosecutor laid before the court concerning the Katyn Forest Massacre.”  But after the non-Soviet members of the tribunal became conscious of the travesty, they struck on what Veale calls a “brilliant solution of what had seemed a hopeless predicament… True, this solution entailed defiance of the elementary principle of justice that when the prosecution fails to establish a charge, the defendant is entitled as of right to have the charge dismissed….”  The solution was that “when the time at last arrived to deliver judgment,  Lord Justice Lawrence… avoided all mention of the charge.  The Tribunal… acted as if it had never been brought!” [33] In Freedom Betrayed, Herbert Hoover discusses the Soviets’ having committed the  Katyn forest massacre, but doesn’t speak to the charade about it that occurred at the Nuremberg trial. 

The truth eventually came out.  Persico says that “documents released following the collapse of the Soviet Union reveal that between nine thousand and fifteen thousand Polish military officers, government officials, intellectuals, and landowners were murdered in the Katyn forest on Stalin’s orders in April 1940.”[34]  David Irving tells how in 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev “formally confirmed that Stalin had personally ordered his secret service, the N.K.V.D., to massacre altogether fifteen thousand Polish officers and intellectuals….” [35] The research scholars who wrote The Black Book of Communism were apparently unaware of Gorbachev’s announcement when they wrote that “only in 1992, on the occasion of a visit by Boris Yeltsin to Warsaw, did the Russian government acknowledge the Soviet Politburo’s sole responsibility for the massacre….”[36]

As important as it was, especially in its dysgenic effects on Poland, this episode involving the killing of some 15,000 of a country’s leading men is rather miniscule in the context of the egregious  dishonesties and brutalities that marked the Second World War.  But it illustrates as well as anything can the mentality vis a vis Communism that governed the war.


II.  An irony in a post-Wilsonian age of “human rights idealism”: the conduct of total war against civilians

          Among the many reflections that are called for about World War II, one of the more obvious (although one that goes beyond what Hoover discusses in his book) has to do with the unspeakable escalation of brutality, especially toward civilians, by the United States and Great Britain.  We point to their brutalities for two reasons: (1) the people of the United States and Great Britain are generally self-congratulatory about their respective country’s role in the world, and although they know full well that brutality is to be expected from totalitarian states, they give little thought to the immense brutality of which their own democracies have been capable; and (2) there is irony beyond measure in the fact that the horrors could be committed in an age that, especially since Woodrow Wilson’s 14-Points, Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech, and the idealism of the Atlantic Charter, has come to pride itself in its championing of “human rights.” 

          To mention horrors against civilians most immediately brings to most people’s minds the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It is safe to say that most people are unaware that more people were killed in the fire-bombing of Tokyo – and, before that, of Dresden – than in Hiroshima.[37]  The significance of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings lies primarily in nuclear weapons’ symbolism as  having reached a new threshold in the delivery of horror that has since 1945 posed a continuing existential threat to humanity (but that also may have prevented a World War III because of the nuclear standoff).  

          In this reviewer’s experience, every older American he has talked with has defended the use of the atomic bombs.  The reasons given are two-fold: that the bombs shortened the war by forcing the surrender of Japan; and that the August 1945 surrender made the planned November invasion of Japan unnecessary, saving the lives of many thousands of American combat soldiers.  (A great many men in their 80s today believe they would have been part of the invasion force and would probably have been killed.)

          Their thinking is so fixed on the point that it isn’t likely that their minds will be changed by a review of the facts, which few of them have felt the need to make.  Hoover points out that on September 20, 1945, Major General Curtis LeMay, commander of the U.S. air force in its bombing of Japan, said “the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war… The war could have been over in two weeks without the Russians coming in and without the atomic bomb.”   The following month, Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, concurred: “The atomic bomb did not win the war against Japan.  The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace….”[38]  Hoover recounts, further, that Admiral William D. Leahy later wrote that “it is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon… was of no material assistance… The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.”  Hoover’s editor, George Nash, adds a footnote saying that “in an interview (on November 11, 1963) [General Dwight D.] Eisenhower declared that he had opposed dropping the bomb for two reasons: ‘First, the Japanese were ready to surrender and… Second, I hated to see our country to be the first to use such a weapon.’”[39]  Historian Hanson Baldwin, in his Great Mistakes of the War, wrote of the “strong opposition… by numerous scientists and Japanese experts, including former Ambassador [to Japan] Joseph Grew.”[40]

          Herbert Hoover agreed.   In our earlier review of his “19 gigantic mistakes of the war,” we saw his reference to “Truman’s immoral order to drop the atomic bomb on the Japanese,” and his characterization of it as “the act of unparalleled brutality in all American history.”

          But, of course, the atomic bombings were only part of the brutality against civilians.  The conduct of “total war” was a reversal of many centuries of human evolution.  At one time, slavery itself was an advance over the killing of captives and had then given way before the British anti-slave-trade movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.   F. J. P. Veale tells how, beginning “at the end of the 17th century” the European nations began to settle on what “became known as the Rules of Civilized Warfare,” the “fundamental principle [of which] was that hostilities should be restricted to the armed and uniformed forces of the combatants, from which followed the corollary that civilians must be left entirely outside the scope of military operations.”  He points out how in the course of World War I, however, “civilization began a retrograde movement without a parallel in history.”[41]  The British blockade of Germany during and after World War I was estimated by a British government White Paper to have “caused nearly 800,000 deaths – naturally these were mainly of women and children and old people,” according to R.A.F. Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris in his 1947 book Bomber Offensive.[42]  Then in the Second World War, the philosophy that was expressed by Winston Churchill was that “to achieve this end [defeat of the Nazis] there are no lengths of violence to which we will not go.”  This was the same feeling later expressed by U.S. air commander Curtis LeMay when he was “asked by an Air Force cadet about his moral feelings” about the firebombing of Tokyo: “I wasn’t particularly worried about how many people we killed in getting the job done” [i.e., in ending the war].[43]

          The strategy of an air war against civilians had been germinating in Britain for several years before the war.  Veale says “the conception of terror bombing can be traced back to as early as the 1920s when Air Marshall [Sir Hugh] Trenchard recommended the construction of large long-range bombers designed for attacks on the civilian population of the enemy.” [44] This was in line with the thinking of “the famous Italian airpower theorist, General Giulio Douhet,” Garrett writes.  “His essential proposition was that a massive air attack by a fully-developed strategic bomber force at the outbreak of hostilities would prove decisive…” since it would lead to “‘a complete breakdown of the social structure….’”[45]  

          With the coming of war, this did not remain in the realm of theory.  Winston Churchill wrote Lord Beaverbrook in July 1940 that he favored “an absolutely devastating exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland.”[46]  In early 1942, Professor Frederick Lindemann “laid a cabinet paper before the [British] Cabinet on the strategic bombing of Germany… The bombing must be directed essentially against German working-class houses.”[47]   The Lindemann Plan was then accepted by the Cabinet in March 1942.  The strategy had already been in effect, however: Irving tells us that “as recently as February 14, 1942 Bomber Command had been reminded in the most unmistakable language that its primary purpose was to attack Germany’s residential areas.”   By the time Sir Arthur Harris became commander-in-chief of the Bomber Command on February 22, 1942, the policy was in place, and he proceeded to carry it out vigorously, beginning with the fire-bombing of Lubeck on March 28.[48]  For its part, the United States was reluctant to do “area bombing,” preferring to hit specific military and industrial targets (which Harris spoke of disparagingly as “panacea targets”).  Garrett says, however, that “the United States, particularly in the last year of the war, did engage in general area attacks on German cities.”  He mentions U.S. participation in the Dresden fire-bombing, and says “Berlin was bombed on February 3 [1945] in an assault that may have taken as many as 25,000 lives… And, of course, there was the American fire-bombing of Japanese cities, notably the March 9, 1945 raid on Tokyo (in which 300 B-29s destroyed over 16 square miles of the city), as well as the atomic devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”[49]

           There was considerable fear that the British and American publics, and the bomber pilots themselves, would find the strategy revulsive.  Accordingly, Garrett says, “there was a steady and concerted effort throughout the war to deny or at least not to admit to the reality of area bombing.”  He quotes historian Martin Middlebrook: “In some ways, area bombing was a three-year period of deceit practiced upon the British public and on world opinion… Charges of ‘indiscriminate bombing’ were consistently denied. ”  Sir Arthur Harris, on the other hand, urged a policy of complete openness about it.  Just the same, Garrett writes, “aircrew were generally shielded from the idea that their mission was simply to devastate German cities.”[50]  Irving details the lies told to pilots before they were sent over Dresden.[51]

          Detailed descriptions of the area bombings tell of horrors beyond anything we might imagine.  In the air war against Germany, these horrors were committed against ancient cities of incalculable cultural and historical value.  Konigsberg, for example, was  the “home and burial place of the philosopher Immanuel Kant.”  Irving recounts that “of the 480 tons of bombs dropped [on Konigsberg], 345 tons were fire-bombs of the small and particularly potent four-pound thermite type.”  In all, 435 acres were destroyed.  Approximately ninety percent of Nuremberg, perhaps Europe’s most outstanding surviving medieval city, was destroyed by a combined British-American air attack at a time (January 1945) when it was clear that Germany had already lost the war.  At Darmstadt, “two five-mile wide bomb-lanes would rip eastwards across the city, taking out the whole of the city’s administrative section and its residential areas.  Altogether 234 Lancasters attacked dropping 872 tons of bombs…, including 286,000 thermite fire bombs.”  At Dresden, according to the pilot of the last bomber to appear over the city, “there was a sea of fire covering in my estimation some forty square miles.”[52] 

          The phenomenon of the “firestorm” is described by Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland in their The Strategic Air Offensive Against Germany, 1939-1945.  “As a result of the confluence of a number of fires, the air above is heated to such an extent that in consequence of its reduced specific gravity a violent up draught occurs which causes great suction… [T]he danger from radiating heat is not to be underestimated in view of the extraordinarily high temperature developed… [During the firestorm at Hamburg], “the scenes of terror… are indescribable.  Children were torn away from their parents’ hands by the force of the hurricane and whirled into the fire.  People who thought they had escaped fell down, overcome by the devouring force of the heat and died in an instant… The destruction was so immense that of many people literally nothing remains.  From a soft stratum of ash in a large air raid shelter the number of persons who lost their lives could only be estimated by doctors at 250 to 300.”[53]     

          Hitler was in no position to retaliate in kind, at least until his V-weapons came on the scene so late in the war that they could not prove decisive.  Sir Arthur Harris’ postwar book says the Germans “had, in fact, no strategic bombers at all, since their whole force… was designed for army co-operation work and was only used for attacks on cities when not required to support the German army.”[54]  This means that prior to the war Hitler had not bought into the Douhet-Trenchard doctrine.  Nevertheless, in his attack on Yugoslavia he ordered “the saturation bombing of Belgrade” and Irving tells us that “as many as 17,000 civilians were killed in the air raid.”[55]  On the whole, however, Hitler held back from the use of weapons of mass destruction.  When his General Staff proposed using poison gas to defeat the partisans conducting guerrilla warfare behind the battle lines in the Ukraine, Hitler “would not hear of it.  Similarly, he forbade the General Staff to study the problems of bacterial attack, except in a purely defensive light.”  We are told that “although the British employed phosphorous in their bombs, Hitler forbade its use in the Luftwaffe’s, as its fumes were too poisonous.”  Irving further comments on Hitler’s not using nerve gas to oppose the Red Army’s end-of-war assault into Germany, a time during which one would think desperation would have made Hitler feel it imperative: “Since German scientists had developed nerve-gases (Sarin and Tabun) to a degree of sophistication unknown to the enemy, Hitler’s… inexplicable inhibitions were not without effect on the war effort.”[56]  (This is quite a cautious understatement.)  “In fact, Hitler had stockpiled thousands of tons of… Sarin and Tabun, but he had embargoed their use unless the Allies violated the [Geneva] convention first.”  Irving, not wanting to leave a false impression, goes on to say that “none of this can be read, of course, as justifying or even mitigating the Nazi excesses….”[57]

          Near the end of the war, right after the destruction of Dresden, a distraught Hitler ruminated, in what Irving calls “puzzling optimism,” about using atomic weapons to win the war.  “Some time ago we solved the problem of nuclear fission, and we have developed it so far that we can exploit the energy for armament purposes.  They won’t even know what hit them.”[58]  But this was a delusion.  Persico gives us the background: “the uranium atom had first been split in experiment at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin in 1939… [T]he Fuhrer counted  an atomic bomb among the Wunderwaffen, the wonder weapons, he expected to hurl against Germany’s enemies….”  But in April 1943 the New York Times “reported that Allied saboteurs had blown up the huge electrochemical Norsk-Hydro plant at Rjukan in Nazi-occupied Norway… the plant produced… ‘heavy water’ which could be used in splitting the atom.”  This had ended the German nuclear effort.  And according to Albert Speer after the war, Hitler had expressed fear that a nuclear explosion might not be able to be contained.  According to Speer, “Hitler was plainly not delighted with the possibility that the earth under his rule might be transformed into a glowing star.”[59]  So Hitler was grasping at straws with his ruminations in February 1945.  


III.  The brutality of the Allies’ postwar treatment of many millions of civlians and prisoners of war

          This will be the last of our “reflections” (although, of course, there could be many more).  As we have said, the subjects we are exploring focus on mistakes and misconduct by Britain and the United States.  Those things have received far less attention than the brutalities of the Axis, and for that reason call into play intellectual issues that go beyond what is ordinarily considered.  What we wish next to explore is the Western Allies’ often quite brutal treatment of masses of people (and most particularly of the defeated Germans) after the war.  In light of his decades of experience as perhaps the world’s leading humanitarian in organizing the food relief to save millions from starving, Hoover would have been ideally suited to describe, and to object to, these brutalities.  The fact that he touched on only part of them illustrates, perhaps, the immensity of the war and its many facets.  There was just too much, and students of the war need to realize that his “secret history” tells only important aspects, but far from all, of the story.

Forcing millions back into Stalin’s hands.  If the Roosevelt and Truman administrations had not been so greatly influenced by their condonation of Stalin, it is impossible to imagine that they would have forced a repatriation of millions of people to a terrible fate in the Soviet Union near the end of World War II and during the war’s aftermath.   The story is told by Nikolai Tolstoy in The Secret Betrayal.[60]  He says that the NKVD files show that five and a half million people were repatriated between 1943 and 1947.  Although we are using the word “repatriation,” thousands consisted of Tsarist refugees from Russia who had never lived in Soviet Russia.  Millions were packed into cattle trucks for the return.  The British, Tolstoy says, forced the return of the Cossack emigres, using bayonets and clubs, and even threatening them with demonstrations of firing squads and a flame-throwing tank.  Although some of those sent to Soviet Russia went voluntarily, Tolstoy says the returnees were uniformly treated brutally: shot, raped or enslaved.

These horrors are little known in the United States.  Those who wish to know more about them can do so by reading Tolstoy’s book and also books by Julius Epstein,[61] and Nicholas Bethell.[62]


Treatment of the defeated Germans. 

          The Morgenthau Plan’s stripping of the German economy.  We have already considered this, and have seen how the stripping continued de facto into 1949.  In his publisher’s preface to the 1992 edition of Ralph Franklin Keeling’s Gruesome Harvest, T. J. O’Keefe said the Plan “aimed at the permanent destruction of Germany’s industrial heart” and that if it were fully carried out its “ineluctable consequence [would have been] the death through starvation and disease of millions and tens of millions of Germans.”[63]

          Starving the Germans.  After President Truman in March 1946 named Herbert Hoover to direct world food distribution, General Lucius D. Clay, “our commander of the American zone… informed me,” Hoover wrote, “that the food supply had been reduced to such a low level in the American, British, and French zone that the Germans were at the point of mass starvation; moreover, that the Allied policies had produced immense unemployment and destitution in all directions.”  James Bacque reports that immediately after the war’s end in May 1945, “the Allies were depriving men, women and children in Germany of available food.  Foreign relief agencies were prevented from sending food from abroad; Red Cross food trains were sent back to Switzerland; all foreign governments were denied permission to send food to German civilians; fertilizer production was sharply reduced; and food was confiscated during the first year, especially in the French zone.”  Several U.S. senators objected strongly, and Senator Kenneth Wherry said “The truth is that there are thousands upon thousands of tons of military rations in our surplus stock piles that have been spoiling right in the midst of starving populations.”[64]  In a speech in the U.S. Senate on February 5, 1946, Indiana Senator Homer Capehart said that “it continues to be the deliberate policy of a confidential and conspiratorial clique within the policy-making circles of this government to draw and quarter a nation now reduced to abject misery… For nine months this administration has been carrying on a deliberate policy of mass starvation….”[65]   Bacque describes the relationship between Hoover and a reluctant Gen. Clay: “Hoover had to beg... Clay to improve the official ration, which had been cut from slow starvation, 1,550cpd [calories per day], to 1,275, effective from 1 April 1946.”  He says, with regard to 1947, that “since the rest of the world was so close to normal, it is clear that the reason for German starvation was not that there was a fatal world shortage of food.” [66]  Giles MacDonogh, in After the Reich, tells of reports that during the winter of 1946-7 people were eating “rats and frogs… snails… horsemeat… nettles… acorns, dandelion and lupine roots… wild mushrooms” – and that “even by the winter of 1948 the situation had not been remedied.”[67]

In March 1947, Hoover made an extensive report to Truman, and  told him how “the fishing grounds in the Baltic and North Seas are being limited against German fishing.  As there are ample supplies of fish in these seas, it seems a pity that with this food available, British and American taxpayers are called upon to furnish food in substitution for fish the Germans could catch for themselves.”  This latter point about Britain and the United States’ providing food shows that the Western Allies had begun to act against the starvation.   Hoover says that by early 1947, Britain and the United States were spending $600 million annually “to prevent starvation of the Germans in the American and British zones alone.”[68]  Nevertheless, Bacque gives the detail about how reluctant General Clay was to increase the German calorie level even as late as the spring of 1947,[69] and we saw above that MacDonogh tells how hunger continued into 1948.

          Rape and forced sex.  The vast extent of rape by soldiers in the Red Army as they progressed into eastern Europe and Germany is well known, and is confirmed by MacDonogh when he writes that “it is sadly true that the Red Army raped wherever they went.  They even raped Russians and Ukrainians.  The worst and most aggravated rapes were perpetrated against the women of the enemy – first the Hungarians, then the Germans… They were egged on by Ehrenburg and other Soviet propagandists who saw rape as an expression of hatred.”  When British officers arrived in Berlin, they saw “the lakes in the prosperous west filled with the corpses of women who had committed suicide after being raped.”  It wasn’t, however, just the Russians who raped.  MacDonogh speaks of “the widespread incidence of rape by American soldiers,” for which “a number of American servicemen were executed.” [70]  (This is noteworthy because it shows that the rapes were not condoned by U.S. military authorities.)  Keeling explains that for the most part the American “method was not so direct as the Russian: instead of using physical force, we compelled the German women to yield their virtue in order to live – to get food to eat, beds to sleep in….”  He quotes the Christian Century issue of December 5, 1945: “The American provost marshal… said that rape represents no problem to the military police because ‘a bit of food, a bar of chocolate, or a bar of soap seems to make rape unnecessary.” [71]   MacDonogh says “the liaisons naturally resulted in children.  It is estimated that 94,000 Besatzungkinder or ‘occupation children’ were born in the American Zone under military government.”[72]  In this brief discussion, we don’t mean to suggest that rape or starvation-induced sex was exclusively the domain of Russian and American soldiers.

          The mass expulsion of millions of Germans from central Europe.  The expulsion of the Volksdeutsche from central Europe at the end of the war was “sanctioned,” MacDonogh tells us, “by Article 13 of the Potsdam Accords, although it was stipulated that the expulsion of the civilian populations should take place in the most humane manner possible.”[73]  Alfred de Zayas speaks of “the work I have done myself in The German Expellees and Nemesis at Potsdam revealed the horrifying statistics behind the mass expulsions of fifteen million Germans from the Eastern Provinces and the Sudetenland into the Occupied Zones from 1945-50.  At least 2.1 million are known to have died.  Chancellor Adenauer himself wrote in his memoirs that six million of them died.”[74]    Buchanan describes the expulsions as the “largest forced transfer of populations in history, a crime against humanity of historic dimensions.”  He says “the territories of East Prussia, Pomerania, Eastern Brandenburg, Silesia, Danzig, Memel, and the Sudetenland were relentlessly and ruthlessly ‘cleansed’ of Germans, whose families had inhabited them for centuries.”[75] 

          Starving the German prisoners of war.  It would seem that almost no Americans know of the American actions toward German prisoners of war after Germany’s surrender.  MacDonogh tells how the prisoners were reclassified to deny them the protections of the Geneva Convention.  The Convention was applied to the 4.2 million who had been captured before the war’s end, and who remained classified as POWS.  But 3.4 million others, taken prisoner later, were reclassified as “Surrendered Enemy Persons”  and “Disarmed Enemy Persons.”  These “men [were thus] robbed of their status as combatants…” with the effect that “while the International Red Cross had a right to inspect POW camps, the barbed wire surrounding SEPs and DEPs was impenetrable.”  He reports that “the Allies treat[ed] them with so little care that a million and a half died.”  He speaks of “allowing anything up to 40,000 German soldiers to die from hunger and neglect in the muddy flats of the Rhine.”  Further: “Any attempt to feed the prisoners by the German civilian population was punishable by death.  It is not clear how many German soldiers died of starvation.”[76] 

It is Canadian historian James Bacque, in his well-documented Other Losses and Crimes and Mercies, who has devoted perhaps the greatest attention to the subject.  He says that “as soon as Germany surrendered…, the American Military Governor, General Eisenhower, sent out an ‘urgent courier’ throughout the huge area that he commanded, making it a crime punishable by death for German civilians to feed prisoners” [his emphasis]… Many prisoners and German civilians saw the American guards burn the food brought by civilian women…[77] Eisenhower himself ordered that the food be destroyed, according to the writer Karl Vogel, who was the German camp commander appointed by the Americans in Camp 8 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.” [78]  David Irving says that  “Eisenhower’s political adviser Robert Murphy reported visiting one such camp.  ‘I was startled to see that our prisoners were almost as weak and emaciated as those I had observed in Nazi prison camps.  The youthful commandant calmly told us that he had deliberately kept the inmates on starvation diet….’”[79] 

A statement by Martin Brech, an American soldier, says that “in March or early April 1945, I was sent to guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine… In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire… The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets.  Many had no coats.  They slept in the mud, wet and cold, with inadequate slit trenches for excrement… Even more shocking was to see the prisoners throwing grass and weeds into a tin can containing a thin soup.  They told me they did this to help ease their hunger pains.  Quickly they grew emaciated.  Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement… Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes.  We had ample food supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance.”[80]       



          We have touched on many horrors in this article  It helps our peace of mind that for the most part the millions of victims are faceless to us.  There are few photographs to imprint indelible images of emaciated or dismembered bodies on our minds, no legion of survivors sharing their continued grief (although there must be countless families in Poland, China, Russia and elsewhere who have never stopped feeling their losses), few museums to commemorate those who died, no annual films dramatizing their stories – but fortunately, for the most part, no laws prohibiting us from looking back and inquiring.   It is an odd thing that some are remembered and some are not.  But, as we say, that is perhaps a good thing.  If the human dimensions were fully grasped, they would be too much to bear.




Hoover’s “Nineteen Gigantic Errors” Amounting to American and British “Lost Statesmanship”[81]

1.  Franklin Roosevelt’s “destruction of the 1933 World Economic Conference.”

2.  “The recognition of Communist Russia in 1933.”

3.  Trying to stop Hitler and Stalin from “mutual destruction” after Munich.

4.  “The British-French guarantee of Poland and Rumania in 1939.”

5.  “The United States’ undeclared war with Germany and Japan.”

6.  That FDR should have “confined Lend-Lease to simple aid to Britain” and adopted “a policy of watchful waiting” to see what happened in the fight between Hitler and Stalin.

7.  Making “the alliance with Stalin.”

8.  The United States’ imposing “total economic sanctions on Japan” in July 1941.

9.  FDR’s failure to accept Japanese Prince Konoye’s peace proposals in September 1941.

10. FDR’s “refusal to accept a 3 months’ stand-still agreement with Japan” in November 1941.

11. The demand for the “unconditional surrender” of Germany and Japan.

12. “The sacrifice of the Baltic States and East Poland at Moscow, October 1943.”

13. “Tehran and its sacrifice of seven more nations.”

14. “Yalta – the secret agreements [leading to] the downfall of nations.” 

15. Truman’s “refusal of Japanese peace proposals of May-June, 1945.”

16. The Potsdam conference, ratifying the “previous surrenders to Stalin,” and continuing the “unconditional surrender” demand against Japan.

17. “Dropping the atomic bomb.”

18. “Giving China to Mao Tse-Tung.”

19. The postwar policies as to China and Korea that set the stage for future war.”


This is hardly an exhaustive list, since Hoover might well have included other significant matters he discussed in his book: for example, the failure to adopt Churchill’s proposal to attack Germany through the Balkans; the Morgenthau Plan, implemented de facto until 1949, to strip Germany of its industry; and the holding back of the Western Allies from taking Berlin and Czechoslovakia.  Others, which Hoover doesn’t discuss, are examined in our “reflections” above.  







[1]   Dr. George H. Nash’s scholarly writings include a three-volume biography of Herbert Hoover, as well as other writings that include his The Conservative Movement in America Since 1945 and his Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism.  The latter of these was reviewed in this Journal in its Fall 2011 issue, pp. 393-397. 

[2]   Robert A. Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1951), p. 126.

[3]   It is certainly not unreasonable to question this premise.  A negotiated peace might well have occurred before the two were exhausted; and if Hitler won, he would have come into possession of oil, agricultural and other resources of immense military and economic importance.  Hoover made his point many times in speeches and this book, but so far as this reviewer knows never questioned his own premise or provided detailed substantiation for it.  Even if one does not accept his “mutual exhaustion” idea, however, much can be said for the wisdom of the United States’ having stayed out and armed itself “to the teeth,” as Hoover recommended.   Hoover didn’t concern himself with Britain’s wisest course, but it is arguable that if it had adopted  Prime Minister Chamberlain’s preference for remaining at peace with Germany and thereby not coming to rely so totally on the United States as it did, it might not have lost its empire.

[4]   James Bacque, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company (Canada) Limited, 1997), p. 95.

[5]   Dwight D. Murphey, Liberalism in Contemporary America (McLean, VA: Council for Social & Economic Studies, 1987, 1992).  This book is available through the publisher or online at www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info

[6]   See Joseph E. Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage (New York: Random House Trade Paperback Edition, 2002), p. 389.

[7]   Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, p. 409.

[8]   For a description of these events, see this reviewer’s article “Lest We Forget (or Never Really Knew): The 60th Anniversary of Soviet Communism’s Deliberate Murder of Millions by Starvation,” Conservative Review, December 1992, pp. 38-44.  The article is available on the reviewer’s website as A46 (i.e., Article 46).

[9]   It is doubtful whether most people today know of these overtures.  In Hitler’s War (New York: Avon Books, 1990), p. 309, one of the world’s most conscientious and courageous (but castigated) historians, David Irving,  summarizes: “For twenty years Hitler had dreamed of an alliance with Britain.  Until far into the war he clung to the dream with all the vain, slightly ridiculous tenacity of a lover unwilling to admit that his feelings are unrequited.”  Hitler shouted to an adjutant: “We have no business to be destroying Britain.  We are quite incapable of taking up her legacy” [i.e., her empire].   In August 1940, Hitler said “I now find myself forced against my will to fight this war against Britain.”  That summer, he “hesitated to crush the British,” according to Irving; “Hitler stayed the hand of the Luftwaffe and forbade any attack on London under pain of court-martial.”  Of course, we know that when Britain refused his peace offer, the “Battle of Britain” ensued.  But it wasn’t long before all possibility of a German invasion of Britain disappeared when Germany went to war against the Soviet Union in June 1941.

[10]   Churchill’s “blowing cold” toward Communism (i.e., indulging it) is illustrated when  Hoover writes that “the Prime Minister found no difficulty in getting into bed with Stalin” by way of forming an alliance with the Soviet Union after Hitler’s attack on that country.  Hoover points out that at the Moscow conference in mid-October 1944, Churchill sided with Stalin over the objections of the Polish government-in-exile to the planned post-war partition of Poland that annexed the eastern part to Russia and made the rest a Communist state.  Churchill praised Tito in Yugoslavia and near the end of the war chose to support Tito, a Communist, over the anti-Communist Mihailovic.  At the same time, there was much that contradicted all this, such as we see in Churchill’s Balkans strategy and in his having had British troops put down a Communist insurgency in Greece in late 1944.

[11]   Clark’s book is quoted in Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, p. 389.

[12]  In recent years, the image that informed Americans have of Senator Joseph McCarthy has, in light of the Venona Papers and other revelations, been considerably rehabilitated.  Readers who are open to it will be well advised to read McCarthy’s America’s Retreat from Victory: The Story of George Catlett Marshall, published in book form and given as a speech in the U.S. Senate on June 14, 1951, which is a remarkably good history that both preceded and paralleled Hoover’s “secret history.”  (Oddly, Hoover never mentions McCarthy’s study of Marshall, preferring to speak entirely for himself.)  McCarthy quoted Baldwin’s statement set out in the text here, and saw that “where you stand at the end of a war” is of paramount importance.  Accordingly, to McCarthy, the decision “to concentrate on France and leave the whole of Eastern Europe to the Red armies” was “without question the most significant decision of the war in Europe.”  McCarthy, Retreat, pp. 29-30.  

[13]  Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War, pp. 422-3.

[14]  Baldwin, Great Mistakes, p. 55.

[15]   Another matter of substance was a secret provision agreeing to the Morgenthau Plan to strip the German economy far beyond what was necessary for disarmament and to turn Germany into a pastoral state. 

[16]   Joseph McCarthy, America’s Retreat from Victory, p. 5, told of an “intelligence report of 50 of [Gen. Marshall’s] own officers, all with the rank of colonel or above” that warned that “if Russia enters the Asiatic war, China will certainly lose her independence, to become the Poland of Asia.”

[17]   To understand why it is fitting to speak of Mao’s “thuggery,” read Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: the Unknown Story (New York: Anchor Books, 2005, 2006).  A book review article centered on this book was published in the Spring 2007 issue of this journal, pp. 61-73, and appears as Article 93 (A93) on www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info 

[18]   A ludicrous example of this mentality, which still has a hold on so many Americans, came up in one of this reviewer’s conversations this past weekend.  An older man was praising General Joseph Stilwell (who detested Chiang and was one of those who spoke of Mao as an agrarian reformer).  The man said glowingly that “the Chinese love Stilwell.  They have a statue of him.”  He turned the conversation to another subject after this reviewer asked, “It was the Communists who built the statue, wasn’t it?”

[19]  Jung and Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 228-9.  

[20]   Jung and Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, pp. 287-294.

[21]   McCarthy, America’s Retreat from Victory, p. 117.

[22]   Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, pp. 721-2.

[23]   Ibid, p. 729.

[24]   McCarthy, America’s Retreat from Victory, p. 117.

[25]   Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans, p. 60.

[26]   Ibid.

[27]   Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, p. 748.

[28]   Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans, p. 105.

[29]   Taft, A Foreign Policy for Americans, p. 104.

[30]   Jung and Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, p. 563.

[31]   One of the features of the decades-long struggle for and against Communist expansion in Asia, Africa and Latin America was that “national liberation” movements felt so little compunction against allying themselves with (or even embracing) Communism.  This tandem relationship complicated the picture considerably, preventing the United States from simultaneously supporting a people’s becoming independent while at the same time opposing their subjugation to Communism.  The fact that the Third World so readily lent itself to this toxic mixture is itself a reflection of the world’s intellectually deficient grasp of Communist reality.

[32]   Joseph Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War, pp. 261-2.

[33]  Frederick J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism: the Development of Total Warfare (Newport Beach, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1968), pp. 248-9

[34]   Joseph Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War, pp. 263.

[35]   David Irving, Nuremberg: the Last Battle (London: Focal Point, 1996),  p. 124.

[36]   Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek and Jean-Louis Margolin, The Black Book of Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 211.

[37]   David Irving, in Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden (London: Focal Point, 1995), p. 245, gives the figure of 71,379 for Hiroshima and says that 83,793 were killed in “the fire attack on Tokyo on the night of March 9-10, 1945, delivered by the Superfortresses of the United States 21st Bombardment Command.”   There were three major raids on Dresden in February 1945.  Nikolai Tolstoy, Secret Betrayal, pp. 72-3,  says that Dresden was full of at least 200,000 Silesian refugees who were fleeing from the advancing Red Army eighty miles to the east.  There were other refugees from East Prussia and western Germany, all added to a city population of 630,000.  A firestorm as massive as any in Hamburg, Darmstadt, Brunswick, Heilbronn or Pforzheim was set off by a rain of 1,477.7 tons of  high explosives followed by  650,000 incendiary bombs.  Historian Alfred de Zayas, in his Nemesis at Potsdam (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), p. 205, tells us that the International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 275,000 killed, but that other estimates vary between 40,000 and 400,000.   The Nazi government estimated between 180 to 220 thousand.  Irving, Apocalypse 1945, pp. 244, first accepted the figure of 135,00 dead but later, after the Dresden police chief’s report was found, lowered his estimate to from 60 to 100 thousand.  In this reviewer’s opinion, the higher estimates seem far more plausible than the lower, given the number of people in the city, the lack of any defense, and the surprise nature of the attack arising from the mistaken German assumption that Dresden (which had no military significance and was a cultural gem) was immune from attack.

[38]  Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, p. 493.

[39]  Ibid, p. 567.

[40]  Baldwin, Great Mistakes of the War, p. 91,

[41]  F. J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, pp. 14-15..

[42]  Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947), p. 176.

[43]   Churchill and LeMay are quoted in Stephen A. Garrett, Ethics and Airpower in World War II: the British Bombing of German Cities (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993), pp. 31, 42.

[44]   F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, p. 30.

[45]   Garrett, Ethics and Airpower, p. 6.

[46]   Ibid, p. 11.

[47]   F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism, p.18, quotes this from the book Science and Government by Sir Charles Snow.

[48]   Irving, Apocalypse 1945, pp. 18-19.

[49]   Garrett, Ethics and Airpower, pp. xiii, xiv.

[50]   Ibid, pp. 30, 31, 81.

[51]   Irving, Apocalypse 1945, p. 144.  “The aircrews of No 3 Bomber Group were informed, ‘Your Group is attacking the German Army Headquarters at Dresden.’  Some crews of No 75 Squadron even remember Dresden being described as a Fortress city.  Crews were briefed that they were attacking Dresden to ‘destroy the German arms and supply dumps… In No 1 Group the emphasis appears to have been laid on Dresden’s importance as a rail center.’”

[52]   Everything thusfar in this paragraph is from Irving, Apocalypse 1945, pp. 62, 63 and 153.

[53]   Webster amd Frankland, Strategic Air Offensive (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1961), pp. 311, 314.

[54]   Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947),  p. 86.

[55]   Irving, Hitler’s War, p. 353.

[56]   Ibid, p. 460.

[57]   David Irving, Nuremberg: the Last Battle (London: Focal Point, 1996), pp. 38-39.

[58]   David Irving, Hitler’s War, p. 738.

[59]   Persico, Roosevelt’s Secret War, pp. 226-7.

[60]   Nikolai Tolstoy, The Secret Betrayal (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1977).

[61]   Julius Epstein, Operation Keelhaul: The Story of Forced Repatriation from 1944 to the Present (Old Greenwich, CN, 1973).

[62]   Nicholas Bethell, The Last Secret: Forcible Repatriation to Russia 1944-7 (London, 1974).

[63]   Ralph Franklin Keeling, Gruesome Harvest: The Allies’ Postwar War Against the German People (Chicago: Institute of American Economics, 1947), publisher’s preface to 1992 edition published by the Institute for Historical Review, p. VI.

Note to Rupert: Here again, the footnotes have not renumbered after the removal of one of them (in this case, number 65.  This will be worth correcting, if you can.

[64]   Bacque, Crimes and Mercies, pp. 31, 91, 93, 157.

[65]   Capehart is quoted in Keeling, Gruesome Harvest, p. 75.

[66]   Bacque, Crimes and Mercies, pp. 160, 155.

[67]   Giles MacDonogh, After the Reich: the Brutal History of the Allied Occupation (New York: Basic Books, 2007), p. 366.

[68]   Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, pp. 778, 789, 792.

[69]   Bacque, Crimes and Mercies, p. 160.

[70]   Ibid, pp. 25-7, 114, 240.

[71]   Keeling, Gruesome Harvest, pp. 57, 64.

[72]   MacDonogh, After the Reich, p. 241.

[73]   Ibid, p. 158.

[74]   From the Foreword by Alfred de Zayas to Bacque, Crimes and Mercies, at p. xv.  It needs to be said that the numbers given by students of the subject vary considerably, both as to the expulsions and deaths, as shown by the quote here.

[75]   Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler, and  the Unnecessary War, pp. 381-2.

[76]   MacDonogh, After the Reich, pp. 393-5, 399.

[77]    The statement tells us that the food brought by the women was burned, but this reviewer has not seen any indication of how many Germans, if any, were actually executed pursuant to the threat of execution for taking food to the prisoners.

[78]   Bacque, Crimes and Mercies, pp. xxii, 19, 78, 29, 41, 95.

[79]   Irving, Nuremberg: the Last Battle, p. 340, footnote 4.

[80]   Martin Brech’s full statement can be found on www.ihr.org

[81]   Hoover lists the nineteen errors at pp. 875-882 of his book.