Click here for my notes on Part I
of Niall Ferguson's PBS documentary, "War of the World." The documentary has drawn much crticism from conservatives
because Ferguson is critical of various aspects of Western participation in the war.
PBS presented Part II of this documentary a few hours ago.
Part II does allege that some American soldiers shot wounded Japanese prisoners in retaliation for Japanese atrocities against Americans. Ferguson supports this charge with some film and eyewitness accounts of Charles Lindbergh. Ferguson partially blames these incidents for lengthening the war. He believes the Japanese fought with greater ferocity and refused to surrender on Okinawa because the Japanese believed they would be killed even if they surrendered.
Ferguson also sites allied bombing of civilian populations in Hamburg and Dresden. These incidents have been documented in books such as Advance to Barbarism (which I have not read).
But far more important than this aspect of Part II (which didn't show up until the second half of this evening's show) was Ferguson's treatment of Soviet Russia and its dealings with the West.
Conservatives have long maintained that Stalin's Soviet Union was protected and kept alive by western governments and western liberals since its inception, including time periods long before World War II (as well as during the war). Ferguson provides a rare discussion of only some of these facts. Ferguson shows film of leftist icon George Bernard Shaw (a founder of the modern socialist movement and all that the Western left considers holy) traveling to Stalin's Russia in 1931. While Ferguson does not mention the forced famine in the Ukraine at that time, he discusses much of the brutality that Stalin practiced. (Part I
was also unkind to the Soviet Union in this fashion.) Ferguson states that Shaw checked his usual "cynicism" at the door when he entered Soviet Russia. Ferguson quotes Shaw's praise of Stalin.
It is enjoyable to watch the true colors revealed on one of the left's favorite icons. Rather than criticize this documentary, conservatives should relish this part at least. We always knew leftist judgment to be impaired. Here we have a concrete example of a leftist being duped. More importantly, the left's veneration of this dupe calls into question the entire foundation of the modern leftist movement (as if we needed another reason to deride the leftists). George Bernard Shaw is as important to leftists of our era as Karl Marx or the New Deal. Learning of Shaw's admiration of Stalin is equivalent to discovering Barack Hussein Obama's co-dependant relationship with racists
and other assorted enemies
of the U.S.
Ferguson goes on to describe only a small part of the military aid that the U.S. provided to the Soviet Union during the war. For years, the standard MSM/DNC
line has been that the Russians won the war because they were patriotic and brave and they pulled together to defend their workers' paradise. Most history texts downplay the American contribution to the war relative the Soviet effort. In fact, millions of Russian soldiers surrendered to the Germans in the early part of the German invasion. Ferguson describes the Russian defeats in mid-1941 as the worst disaster in military history.
In contrast, the Western version of the war has always dovetailed with the pro-Soviet propaganda film The North Star
. But for the first time that I have noticed, a mainstream source has showed the significant role played by United States "capital" in saving the Soviet Union.
More of the story of American capital saving the Soviet War effort has been known to conservatives through such books as "From Major Jordan's Diaries" for decades.
But now, Americans who have been misled by the Soviet-loving left can learn the truth also. Specifically, Ferguson shows how American military aid provided the crucial difference for the Soviets in the pivotal battle at Kursk.American P-39 tank killer painted with Soviet insignia for use at Kursk
While most histories of WWII focus mainly on Nazi brutality (which Ferguson does also with gusto), "War of the World" focuses equally on Stalin's brutality against his own people and Soviet complicity in the start of war. Ferguson details the Soviet-Nazi deal to carve up Poland with Hitler and the resulting brutality on the Soviet side of the new Polish dividing line. Ferguson quotes Solzhenitsyn (usually forbidden in the MSM/DNC
) as having characterized Stalin as paranoid to the point where he trusted only one person in his entire life - and that person was Hitler in the 1939 deal to carve up Poland. I would have liked to hear about the effect on the Western leftist movement of the announcement of the Hitler-Stalin pact, but it was only a one hour documentary.
Most important was the conclusion, in which Ferguson questioned who really won World War II. Given the Soviet's conquest of Eastern Europe at the end of the war and the communist conquest of China, it is clear the Soviets were the largest beneficiary of the war - a war that led directly to what we know as the Cold War. The Soviets had been pursuing the "Cold War" since the Bolshevik Revolution. Our own perspective on World War II has missed the point for 60 years. For the people of China (inter alia
) 1945 was only a beginning - a beginning of more than a half century of totalitarian rule that may yet erupt into another major shooting war.
The War of the World presents a unique perspective on the 20th century (and even the 21st) that connects the dots and allows us to see the roots of the present crises.
Visit counter added July 15, 2008
Labels: George Bernard Shaw, history, PBS, Stalin, world war II