Liberal Myths Part One: Winston Churchill and the 'Good War'

World War II was an unnecessary disaster fought for the benefit of Communism.

As the true face of liberalism is revealed globally, a liberalism comfortable with civilizational decline wherever it comes to power, a liberalism completely compatible with lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and forced masking, it has become necessary to understand the history of said liberalism.

Over the next few weeks, I will explore the mythology which underpins the unquestioned faith the elites now places in the liberal regime, a regime best summed up by George H. W. Bush at the close of the Cold War in an address to the United Nations general assembly in which he envisioned a ‘new world order’ consisting of open trade, open borders, and open minds.

There was no need any longer to maintain the illusion of a Christian West resisting communism. As history apparently came to a close, the world could instead embark upon a new era in which nations and cultures and religion melted into thin air, and we settled into the warm pools of planetary consumerism.

The founding myth for such a venture was the good war of World War II, a work of liberating the world from the strictures of blood and soil toward a free, global world under the auspices of the great bodies established by the Allies, in the shadow of American dominance: the UN, NATO, the World Bank, and the IMF.

The work had been interrupted by the errant behavior of Uncle Joe Stalin and his heirs, but from 1990, there would be no more ideological quibbling. The better angels of the Allies had won out, the liberal order had no more rivals. It was time to open the entire world up to a grand capitalistic development, with the aid of the new liberalizing economic powerhouse of the East, China.

This grand project depended on faith in its origin story. World War II had been a success. The enlightened great and good had freed the world. It was not a war of morally compromised powers. It was the good war, the good crusade.

But to look more deeply and dispassionately at that origin story, is to find a narrative just as mythological as the story of the origins of Rome. Allied power is no different to any grand imperial power. It is not a new beginning of novel liberal morality and global policing. It is the rise of a global elite - based within American and European leftism - with a specific agenda: to make the world safe for its own brand of democracy, deeply secular, deeply materialistic, whether the people of the world desire it or not.

In weeks to come I will explore other strands at the heart of liberal mythology, the doctrines of evolution, feminism, environmentalism, and the righteousness of liberation movements, but, politically, these forces are nested in the great origin myth of the new west: the victories over the Satanic Axis forces of Japan, Italy, and Germany.

The truth is that the west was responsible for the rise of the demonic Hitler, that the west committed terrible atrocities of their own, and that Hitler was no worse than the man to whom half of Europe was handed over, the man who won the war, aided and abetted by Churchill, the former ally of Hitler, and friend to Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin. And why was FDR so amenable to Stalin? Because the US was launching its own statist revolution (without the gulags, although there were internment camps) by FDR at the same time - in fact, FDR would be advised almost constantly by closet Communists, sympathetic to the aims and brutality of Stalin. So much for the great moral crusaders.

To understand the true nature of World War II, I would suggest three ‘texts’.

The first I encountered studying at university - the cinematic masterpiece, The Thin Red Line. The films tells the story of the battle for Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of the war, in which Americans fought the Japanese to seize control of an island with a strategic airfield.

The trailer itself is masterful:

What makes the film so interesting is that despite its long list of prominent actors, it was virtually ignored by the culture at large as it was overshadowed by the release in the same year of Saving Private Ryan. The latter film is a perfect depiction of the war as the Good War. The Nazis are evil entirely. One is shown mercy and goes on to kill a swathe of the American main characters. Russia is ignored. And the film ends with the direct address to Private Ryan and by implication to the audience, that we as a generation need to ‘earn’ the sacrifice of the Greatest Generation.

The Thin Red Line on the other hand is often not even recognized as a World War II film. Many thought it was a Vietnam film because it was set in jungle with Asians as the US enemy. The enemy is humanized. The Americans are shown to be very flawed. We sympathize with deserters. The war is seen as a normal war, in other words. A war consisting of vain ambition. A war in which everybody is constantly washing themselves to cleanse their souls. A war which is an aberration set against the land and islands themselves, which have no understanding or innate relevance to global geopolitics.

Suffice to say, our culture is much more comfortable with Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. Like Schindler’s List, we are encouraged to believe the war was fought to save the Jews. This was not true. There was some disgust at Hitler’s anti-Semitism (which Churchill largely shared, however, in his similar conflation of Judaism and Bolshevism) but the camps only really began once the war was already underway.

There would be no moral compunction in allying with Stalin, whose body count and gulag system was exponentially more devastating than Hitler’s when the war was declared by Britain and France.

Moralism did not factor in to Churchill’s decision to bomb civilians, or the American carpet-bombing of civilians in japan. US generals would state at the time they were fully aware they had committed war crimes. This excludes the atomic bombing of cities by the US. One raid in Tokyo by the US would kill more civilians than the Luftwaffe killed Britons over the entire course of the war.

Of course, even in World War I, Churchill, as First Sea Lord and later as War Secretary, had shown no scruples when he oversaw the deliberate starvation of Germans. Millions would die - and Churchill famously described the strategy as “starving the whole population — men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound — into submission.” The strategy was maintained long after the Armistice had been signed. The Pope would plead with the Allies to stop, but be ignored. In 1938, a British diplomat in Germany was asked repeatedly, “Why did England go on starving our women and children long after the Armistice?” ‘Freedom and Bread’ would become a powerful slogan in the ascent to power of the new National Socialist Workers Party. (Source: Buchanan’s book, see below.)

The Thin Red Line, in positioning the war as yet another ruthless war fought between ambitious great powers, rather than a unique moral crusade by righteous liberals, was a valuable contribution to understanding the nature of the mythology propagated by the war’s victors - but the film was largely ignored for those very reasons.

The second text I would recommend to those seeking to understand the liberal mythology of the Allied victory is Pat Buchanan’s book, The Unnecessary War. The title is actually a Churchill quote, but the book itself is fairly brutal in its analysis of Churchill’s ambitions and rationale for steering Britain into two hellish world wars.

Buchanan starts with some simple observations. The war was fought to save Poland liberate Eastern Europe. The war ended with the bankruptcy of Britain, the chaotic collapse of its empire, and Soviet occupation of half of Europe, including Poland. The Holocaust was not prevented, and Stalin’s own genocide was encouraged and supported. In the aftermath of the war, China would fall to communism too, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese.

How can such a war be called ‘The Good War’?

What’s more, Buchanan persuasively makes the case that if not for British blunders, both world wars could have been averted, sociopaths would never have thus been given the opportunity to come to power as fascists or communists, and the flower of European youth would not have been slaughtered in the hell that was trench warfare. Europe would never have lost its civilizational confidence, to boot.

What were these blunders?

  • A section of the Liberal British cabinet had secretly made a deal in 1906 to go to war for France if attacked by Germany, thus turning a continental dispute with roots in a limited 1870 war, into a global conflagration. (If they had just made the deal public, it would have meant the Germans would not have declared war at all!) As Buchanan puts it:

    “Had Britain not declared war on Germany in 1914, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and India would not have followed the Mother Country in. Nor would Britain’s ally Japan. Nor would Italy, which London lured in with secret bribes of territory from the Habsburg and Ottoman empires. Nor would America have gone to war had Britain stayed out. Germany would have been victorious, perhaps in months. There would have been no Lenin, no Stalin, no Versailles, no Hitler, no Holocaust.”

  • The vengeful Treaty of Versailles which ripped millions of Germans away from their country into Czech and Polish rule, causing a new German nationalism to rise which would be weaponized by Hitler.

  • The British breaking of the treaty with Japan after World War I, which saw Japan turning towards its own aggressive militarism.

  • The sanctions against Italy in 1935, before which Mussolini had viewed Hitler as a monster and enemy, who needed to be dealt with. He described Hitler famously as “a horrible sexual degenerate, a dangerous fool.” And would compare his system with Nazism in the following terms:

    “Both are authoritarian systems, both are collectivist, socialistic. Both systems oppose liberalism. But Fascism is a regime that is rooted in the great cultural tradition of the Italian people; Fascism recognizes the right of the individual, it recognizes religion and family. National Socialism . . . is savage barbarism; the chieftain is lord over life and death of his people. Murder and killing, loot and pillage and blackmail are all it can produce.”

    The British were offended that Italy took a colony in Africa, in comparison with their own multiple colonies! It would be said after the war that Britain had decided to sacrifice Europe to the Communists in order to preserve the rule of the Ethiopian emperor and his slave-state. Buchanan recalls: ‘When a Frenchwoman accosted Churchill to argue that Italy was only doing in Ethiopia what British imperialists had done for centuries, Churchill replied, “Ah, but you see, all that belongs to the unregenerate past, is locked away in the limbo of the old, the wicked days. The world progresses.”’

  • And worst of all, the blank check war guarantee given by the British to a Poland ruled by a military junta, who had carved up Czechoslovakia alongside Hitler, and who subsequently simply refused to take the logical step to avoid confrontation with Germany - ceding a German city, Danzig, consisting of 350 000 Germans, who wanted to be reunited with their historic nation, back to the Germans. Hitler had even previously offered Poland an alliance to counter their mutual threat, Soviet Russia. When Poland refused, an aggressive Hitler invaded, and Britain, in its weak military state, was unable to lift one finger to help Poland, despite having encouraged them to go to war. “In 1938,” writes A.J.P. Taylor, “Czechoslovakia was betrayed. In 1939, Poland was saved. Less than one hundred thousand Czechs died during the war. Six and a half million Poles were killed. Which was better— to be a betrayed Czech or a saved Pole?” Churchill himself had noted after the guarantee to Poland: “There is… no need for Great Britain and France to be more Polish than the Poles. If Poland feels able to make adjustments in the Corridor and at Danzig which are satisfactory to both sides, no one will be more pleased than her Western allies.”

What Buchanan proposes as sane counter-history seems relatively simple:

  • No British involvement in French and German disputes. The Kaiser was not intent on world conquest, and his record bears that out. World War I would be his first war as German Emperor whilst during his reign Britain had launched a multiple wars! The Kaiser, as Victoria’s grandson, had British blood (he was at Victoria’s bedside when she died), and in a toast to King Edward VII, had said the following: “I believe that the two Teutonic nations will, bit by bit, learn
    to know each other better, and that they will stand together to help in keeping the peace of the world. We ought to form an Anglo-Germanic alliance, you to keep the seas, while we would be responsible for the land; with such an alliance not a mouse could stir in Europe without our permission.” He was ignored. The French were backed instead. The Soviets would arise as a global power in the disaster which ensued. The ancient houses of the Habsburgs and the Hohenzollern and Romanovs would have survived if not for this error, instead of the nationalists and communists who took their place. Churchill admitted as much in the final days of World War II: “This war should never have come unless, under American and modernizing pressure, we had driven the Habsburgs out of Austria and the Hohenzollerns out of Germany. By making these vacuums we gave the opening for the Hitlerite monster to crawl out of its sewer onto the vacant thrones. No doubt these views are very unfashionable.” Yet he was at the heart of these dethronements!

  • No sentiment shown to Belgium when they were invaded by the Germans as they marched through to France. At the time, Belgian hands were dripping with blood in the Congo. And British rush to their aid would spare them no suffering. They would be occupied by the Germans for the entire war.

  • No insane destruction of post-war Germany. Over and over again, as Hitler approached, sane German politicians warned the Allies that unless some generosity was shown them, something terrible would emerge in Germany. They were ignored.

  • If Mussolini and Japan had been kept as friends, Hitler would absolutely never have been allowed to seek German redress by force. The encirclement would have been too great. The British, French, and Italians could have drawn firm red lines against Hitler and re-armed together in a League of Nations police action - no extension of Germany beyond German-speaking territory. No rearmament beyond a certain level. Instead Britain and France kept themselves weak, isolated, and let Hitler go, before only taking a firm line when it was in fact too late to protect Europe from Nazi/Soviet conquest. Even when Hitler marched into Austria in 1938, his tanks and armored vehicles had broken down in the face of no resistance. There had been plenty of time to be firm.

The worst mistake of all: the US and UK naïve trusting of Stalin, which would lead to Communist genocides all around the world, and the death of eleven Christian nations in Eastern Europe.

(Buchanan notes that the likes of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan would not make the same mistake with the Soviets. Firm lines of containment were drawn. No reckless wars were begun to defend what was not defendable - Hungary, Poland et al. The holocaust of nuclear war was averted, even though it was too late to save masses of innocent people from the great ally of Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin’s communists.)

At the heart of all this carnage, sadly, is found the figure of Churchill.

Churchill would push his Liberal colleagues in the Cabinet to go to war, against the better instincts of the Liberal Prime Minister, Asquith. (This was during Churchill’s turn away from the Conservatives, upon the issue of free trade.)

Churchill would write to his wife at the outbreak of World War I: “My darling one & beautiful: Everything tends toward catastrophe & collapse. I am interested,
geared up and happy. Is it not horrible to be built like that?”

Buchanan notes another letter: ‘After the first Battle of Ypres, with tens of thousands of British soldiers in their graves, he would say to Violet Asquith, “I think a curse should rest on me—because I am so happy. I know this war is smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment and yet—I cannot help it—I enjoy
every second.

Churchill would break the alliance with Japan. Churchill would cut the budget of the military after World War I as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Churchill, despite his prior instincts which viewed Bolshevism as the great menace to the west, would help hand over Europe to Stalin, condemning millions to death.

Buchanan again:

‘As historian John Lewis Gaddis writes, “[ T] he number of deaths resulting from Stalin’s policies before World War II… was between 17 and 22 million,” a thousand times the number of deaths attributed to Hitler as of 1939, the year Churchill was clamoring for war on Hitler and an alliance with Stalin…

‘As Solzhenitsyn writes in The Gulag Archipelago, “In Austria that May [1945], Churchill… turned over to the Soviet command the Cossack corps of 90,000 men. Along with them, he also handed over many wagonloads of old people, women, and children who did not want to return to their native Cossack rivers. This great hero, monuments to whom will in time cover all England, ordered that they, too, be surrendered to their deaths.”’

Buchanan concludes his work by noting it was no accident that when George W Bush entered the White House, he placed in his office a bust of Winston Churchill. To conclude this survey of Buchanan’s history:

‘There has arisen among America’s elite a Churchill cult. Its acolytes hold that Churchill was not only a peerless war leader but a statesman of unparalleled vision whose life and legend should be the model for every statesman. To this cult, defiance anywhere of U.S. hegemony, resistance anywhere to U.S. power becomes another 1938. Every adversary is “a new Hitler,” every proposal to avert war “another Munich.” Slobodan Milosevic, a party apparatchik who had presided over the disintegration of Yugoslavia—losing Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia—becomes “the Hitler of the Balkans” for holding Serbia’s cradle province of Kosovo. Saddam Hussein, whose army was routed in one hundred hours in 1991 and who had not shot down a U.S. plane in forty thousand sorties, becomes “an Arab Hitler” about to roll up the Persian Gulf and threaten mankind with weapons of mass destruction.

‘This mind-set led us to launch a seventy- eight- day bombing campaign on Serbia, a nation that never attacked us, never threatened us, never wanted war with us, whose people had always befriended us. After 9/11, the Churchill cult helped to persuade an untutored president that the liberation of Iraq from Saddam would be like the liberation of Europe from Hitler. We would be greeted in Baghdad as our fathers and grandfathers had been in Paris. In the triumphant aftermath of a “cakewalk” war, democracy would put down roots in the Middle East as it had in Europe after the fall of Hitler, and George W. Bush would enter history as the Churchill of his generation, while the timid souls who opposed his war of liberation would be exposed as craven appeasers.

‘This Churchill cult gave us our present calamity. If not exposed, it will produce more wars and more disasters, and, one day, a war of the magnitude of Churchill’s wars that brought Britain and his beloved empire to ruin.’

The final text which should inform a revision of our faith in Allied mythology is the 2017 book, Return of the Strong Gods, by RR Reno.

Reno looks back at the post-war era, in an article he wrote in summary of the book, in the wake of Brexit, Trump, and return of religious nationalism in Eastern Europe:

“We have reached a series of dead ends in the West. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Americans thought the world stage had been cleared for our benevolent power to lift others to the broad, sunlit uplands of liberal democracy and free-market prosperity. The European Union moved from strength to strength, heralding an era of international cooperation and soft power. But the hoped-for utopias have not come about, and what we once thought the ideal and even inevitable future now brings frustration, disgruntlement, and incipient rebellion, not just from non-Western forces that resist our triumphalism, but within our own countries and among our own people.”

What is this triumphalism? It is the triumph of World War II. The triumph of liberal democracy over the ‘strong gods’ of blood, soil, religion, nation.

This weakening of human loyalties of time immemorial, is, for Reno, summed up by the clarion calls of protests in France in 1968:

“For Europeans, the decisive moment came in May 1968. Rioting French students in Paris scribbled graffiti on the city’s walls: “It is forbidden to forbid.” This contradictory formula marked well the trajectory of the postwar era. It meant that everything strong and limiting goes. We must weaken social authority so that we can live more fully.”

Reno notes that this great loosening and weakening was partly and temporarily kept in check by the discipline required of the West during the Cold War:

“Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the existential threat posed by communism pressured the West to maintain consolidated political and cultural loyalties. We had to steel ourselves to speak forcefully about the virtues of a free society. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, America and Western Europe relaxed, confident that our way of life had been vindicated.”

This freedom and weakening has now accelerated rapidly in the post-Obama era: gender is no longer a biological reality for many, securing a national border is considered racist, and Putin is like Hitler for banning the promotion of homosexuality in the Russian media. Any questioning of global economic arrangements which see blue collar work disappear in the west and migrate to China, which see financial elites reap profits, whilst everybody else is pillaged by inflation, is marked as something akin to Nazism. This was made most evident by the reaction to Donald Trump.

But the truth is simple. The central mythology of a World War which vanquished the strong gods of the earth, for the sake of an open world, is not working. As Reno says, “We are made for love, and love strengthens. We are, moreover, social animals. For that reason, the imperative of disenchantment and pattern of weakening can never provide a satisfactory basis for public life.”

Reno hopes that the current populist call to a return to nationhood and culture can be ‘tutored’ by Christianity into something worth loving.

This is our great hope.

On the other hand, we have seen in the covid crisis how far the liberal regime will go to enforce its will. If they keep pushing, it is fairly likely that something just as dark and authoritarian will emerge to pushback.

For those of us still sane, who want a home, a culture, and our Christian faith, we must resist two temptations: the temptation to give in to the global liberal regime which would make us all mindless and conforming consumers; as well as the temptation to set loose the dark gods which rebelled against Versailles.

In the end, Hitler and Mussolini were the worst things to happen to the west, because they discredited the things they perverted in their pagan errors and delusions: the bonds of nation and culture and faith. They provoked the liberal response which has weakened all that is good, solid, and beautiful today.

To resist a return to the psychopathic right, whilst resisting the ugly and corrosive forces of liberalism, we must see something on the other side of liberal mythology, and not succumb to mere angry reaction.

What can this something be?

It must be family, home, and, most importantly, the figure who guarantees those things and keeps them in order, the true guarantor of our ultimate victory.

Reno writes that three covenants are needed to resist the disaster of postwar globalization: marriage, because it creates a sacred home beyond the state (and note marriage is being destroyed by modern critical theory; nationhood, because we need solidarity in the face of woke capitalism; and most most important of all, religion, because:

“The greatest and highest covenant is religious. Faith exposes us to the full truth of our vulnerability: The fate of our souls is not, finally, in our hands. Yet it is also our most profound experience of security and stability, for our souls are in God’s hands, and his power is supreme and everlasting. The religious covenant relativizes our other loyalties. It smashes idols not by relying on the postwar pattern of disenchantment, but instead by romancing our souls with a higher, more powerful enchantment.”

I will give Reno the final word:

“The most reliable protection against a false and dangerous sacralization of ideology, nation, Volk, or any other populist perversion is not multiculturalism or post-national globalism. It is instead love and loyalty ordered toward the highest good, which is God.”

(That’s how we win.)

I can assure you the rest of this series on liberal mythology will be briefer. History is complex, however, and the war mythology is incredibly strong and embedded in our western consciousness.

If you think this series worth reading, I encourage you to share my work with others.