Debunking America’s fake history, a first step to reform

Summary: As we work to buy and renovate a home in the Heartland, I read the news with increasing bemusement. The major news media are liquidating their brands in an orgy of fake news. To understand why we accept this, Bruce Dixon looks at the faux history which has replaced the real one in our minds. The Founding, the Civil War, the Wild West, and (described here) WWII. When we see our past more clearly, we also can see our present.

Lost Worlds

US Fake World War 2 History
Underlies Permanent Bipartisan Hostility Toward Russia

By Bruce A. Dixon at the Black Agenda Report, 2 August 2018.
Reposted with their generous permission.

There’s fake news. And then there’s fake history. Fake news lies about the world as it is. But fake history is the context for fake news. Fake history sanctifies abominations past and present. Fake history erases the struggle over thousands of years between those many who produced the planet’s wealth and the greedy few who appropriate it for themselves.

Being born in the US the middle of the 20th century, I got the same massive doses of fake history as everybody else. They told me told the Greeks were the world’s only early adopters of democracy. I was taught the fairy tale of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving. I played cowboys and Indians. My history books spoke glowingly of the Manifest Destiny bestowed upon white America to devour the continent of North American, murdering and dispossessing its inhabitants. I learned a very little about slavery in school, very little, and much more, almost everything of any value, afterward.

And like everybody else, I was treated to an entirely fabricated history of the Second World War. Lying about the World War 2, what came before and afterward was and remains today a central facet in the US mythology which justifies and undergirds its settler state at home and its global empire abroad.

Briefly, we’re taught that Nazi Germany was just plain inexplicable evil, that this Hitler dude came to power with his Nazi party, they persecuted Jews, gypsies and dissidents, they conquered France and they menaced England but were stopped short when they lost the battle of Britain in the air. Eventually the US joined the war, invading North Africa, defeating the Nazis there, going on to fight the Germans in Italy, and eventually staging the D-Day invasion of France. They marched into Germany to finally defeat the Nazis and hanged a number of Nazi officials for war crimes and genocide at Nuremberg. The Russians, the Soviet Union at the time, we were taught, were sort of in the war too as allies but soon after the defeat of the Nazis they became enemies, and have been that ever since.

Nearly all of that is horseshit.

When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in 1917, the US used troops already in Europe to fight the Germans in World War 1 to join with Britain, Japan and more than a dozen countries and invade the new nation, taking part in the bloody and disastrous Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks won that civil war and founded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first avowed socialist country. The US did not diplomatically recognize the USSR until 1933, and ruling elites in the US and Europe conspired constantly to undermine and subvert the USSR at every means and at every turn.

In February 1933, a month after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, a mysterious fire in the Reichstag, the German Parliament building was blamed on the Communists. It became the excuse to grant absolute power to Hitler and his Nazi party, which promptly opened up concentration camps for communists, socialists, union members, Jews, gypsies, dissidents of all kinds. Nazism became the official ideology of the German state, holding among other things that the main threat to civilization was Jewish-led communism.

Hitler spells it all out in a book called Mein Kampf, how Germans were the center of a so-called Aryan race destined to rule over the rest of lesser humanity, and obligated in the very short run to make war upon the subhuman populations to their east from Poland to the steppes of Russia and Siberia, also eliminating communism from the face of the earth.

Hitler very much admired the example of North America, which he regarded as an exemplary model of white supremacist conquest, murdering and thoroughly dispossessing a native population. He named his personal armored train Amerika.

Western elites including prominent US corporations like Texaco and bankers who included the Bush family, and IBM did business with Hitler and aided the rearming of Germany. In 1939 and 1940 Nazi Germany absorbed Austria, Czechoslovakia, invaded Poland and beat the French army down enough to force French leaders, many of whom sympathized with the Nazi ideology anyway to collaborate with Hitler. Germany bombed Britain but stopped short of invading the British isles to turn east toward the Soviet Union, and the ultimate Nazi goals of conquering and displacing entire populations of what it regarded as subhumans there and ending communism once and for all.

The Nazi invasion of the USSR was, all by itself the largest and bloodiest war in human history. Germany sent more than 3 million men in 149 divisions into Russia. They plundered and burned and razed entire rural districts, villages, slaughtered the populations of entire ancient cities, and made a point of rounding up Jews and communists. In many places they found significant numbers of like-minded collaborators. They killed millions of Soviet civilians and soldiers, and aimed to starve out the Russian population to make room for German settlers in the near future.

Multiple standalone battles, like Stalingrad in 1942-43 or the 900 day siege of Leningrad accounted for a million or more deaths each, dwarfing the US loss of some 400,000 during the entire war in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. The USSR lost 26 million lives in the war, about a third of them military the other two-thirds civilians starved or murdered. The USSR spent a million lives liberating Poland, and another million plus liberating Hungary, Romania, parts of Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The battle of Berlin alone cost the lives of yet another two or three hundred thousand Soviet soldiers. The USSR is 25 years gone now, but Russians remember.

The USSR begged Britain and the US to open a second front in the west, and Franklin Roosevelt promised to do just that before the end of 1942. But he allowed the Brits, led by Winston Churchill to dissuade him. Britain thought it more important to preserve its own empire, first by securing the link to India and the Far East through Suez, so the Americans landed in North Africa instead of France.

Some American politicians, like Harry Truman (who would succeed Roosevelt as US president) argued that the US should help the Nazis if the Soviets were winning and the Soviets if the Nazis were winning so as many as possible would die. When the North Africa campaign was wrapped up, the Americans and Brits invaded Italy instead of France, prompting US General George Marshall to accuse his superiors of “periphery pecking” instead of fighting the war.

The US conducted bombing raids from bases in Britain, but delayed its land invasion of France till June 1944 when the defeat of Nazi Germany was already assured, and the outcome of the war no longer in doubt.

There’s a famous photo of US Marines raising a flag at the end of the horrific battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific. But there are no pics of Brits or Americans raising the Union Jack or the stars and stripes over the ruins of Berlin in 1945. That’s because the Brits and Americans never got to Berlin, they never intended to. American forces never faced more than an eighth of the German land forces at any time during World War 2. The Soviet Red Army raised the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag at war’s end. At the victory celebration in Moscow, the Red Army threw the hundreds of the banners of Hitler’s legions on the pavement before Lenin’s tomb. The Brits and Americans didn’t capture enough of these to make a good parade.

US president Roosevelt died 3 weeks before the Nazi surrender, and was succeeded by Harry Truman, who instantly adopted a profoundly hostile policy toward the USSR.

  • American use of the first atomic bombs against Japan, which had been seeking to surrender was perceived as a threat to the USSR, rather than a military necessity to end the war.
  • US intelligence agencies aided the escape of thousands of Nazi war criminals to the Western hemisphere.
  • America placed other ex-Nazis in positions of responsibility in the German regime set up in their occupied zones, and prevented the early reunification of Germany, turning the boundary between Soviet and Western occupation zones into a fortified international border.
  • Truman’s warlike stance against communism and the USSR was inherited and greatly expanded upon by his successors, former General Dwight D. Eisenhower and John Kennedy, both of whom menaced the USSR with nuclear weapons and placed nuclear missiles in Turkey next to the Soviet borders.

Russians remember this too.

Sixty million people perished in World War 2, but the US emerged with relatively light losses, most of the planet’s intact manufacturing capacity and as the world’s leading creditor, owed money by friend and former foe alike. It was to be the dawn of an American Century, in which the US called the shots for the entire world. The fake history we were and still are taught purposefully erases the fact that it was the Russians, the Soviets at the time, who defeated Nazi Germany, not the Americans and Brits.

Without the defeat of Nazi Germany, the last 70 years would be vastly different. To cite only a couple of possibilities, Brazil’s ruling classes were firmly pro-Nazi and Brazil has the largest black population of anyplace outside Africa. What would have happened there? How would decolonization in Africa have proceeded in a world dominated by Nazis?

Today in Eastern Europe, where the US has installed anti-communist and often pro-fascist regimes, the graves of fallen Soviet soldiers who liberated those places from the Nazis are being defaced. Polish government officials just hosted a gathering of 60,000 pro-Nazi demonstrators from across Europe. School children in Austria and Lithuania are being taught today that the Russian communists started the war, and Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (along with key Republicans – it’s a bipartisan thing) directly and conspicuously aided forces that included open neo-Nazis to stage a coup in Ukraine, on the western borders of Russia. Neo nazi units are now incorporated into the Ukrainian Army.

None of the US antics over the last 70 years are remotely justifiable without the fake history we were taught, and still allow to be taught about the Second World War. For more than 70 years now the politicians of both US capitalist parties – both US government parties, have built their politics on this fake history. US troops are still in Germany, still in Japan more than two generations after the war, and the US maintains an empire of a thousand military bases on six continents and fleets in every ocean.

Hostility toward whatever regime sits in Moscow has been the bipartisan bedrock and staple of US imperial policy for a century since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. This week Congress passed a record Pentagon spending bill, earlier in the legislative cycle than any time since the 1990s. Most of House Democrats, the so-called “resistance” to Trump supported it, in their continuing bid to be more warlike than Trump and the Republicans.

The rest of the world will do what it must, but only Americans can shut down the American empire. And we can only do that if we begin to shake ourselves free from our fake history, and face the real world around us.

————————————-

This is a rare problem, but not a new one

By George Orwell from “Looking Back at the Spanish Civil War.” History repeats itself.

“No event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’”

Bruce A, Dixon

About Bruce A. Dixon

“A habitual troublemaker and incorrigible activist, Bruce Dixon has been comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable since 1968.

“As a rank and file member of the Black Panther Party in 1969-1970, a 1970s rank-and-file union activist in a string of factories, plants and workplaces, a 1980s community organizer in what were then some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, to organizing and consulting through the 1990s Dixon has built an impressive record of service in and to the cause of human liberation.

“In 2002 he began writing articles for Black Commentator, the predecessor of this publication, and broke the first accurate analyses of the phenomena around the election of Denise Majette over Cynthia McKinney in Georgia that year.” {From the BAR’s About Page.}

In 2006, Dixon co-founded Black Agenda Report, and now serves as a managing editor. He currently resides in Marietta GA, and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. See his Twitter feed. See his articles at the BAR, especially these …

Black Agenda Report

About the Black Agenda Report

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Their “About” page gives (impressive) bios of their key staff. Also see their Twitter feed.

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If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about our faux history, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these…

  1. Losing touch with our past weakens us,
  2. We have trouble coping with our present because we’ve lost our past,
  3. American faux history: could we have avoided the Civil War?
  4. American faux history: why did the South leave the Union?
  5. Cut thru the lies and myths to understand guns in America.
  6. Debunking a right-wing myth about Thanksgiving.

 

30 thoughts on “Debunking America’s fake history, a first step to reform

  1. Katyn… Non aggression pact, division of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia ,Estonia.. Invasion of Finland, History is made to be interpreted and faked. As someone wrote: victors write the history.
    American use of the first atomic bombs against Japan, which had been seeking to surrender??? This piece though interesting tells us more about Dixon than it does about Fake History.

    1. 7zander,

      Your comment makes no sense. It’s too terse. What are you attempting to say?

      (1) “As someone wrote: victors write the history.”

      That’s a problem statement, not a normative one. People rob banks, but we work to prevent and punish bank robbers.

      (2) “This piece though interesting tells us more about Dixon than it does about Fake History.”

      Please explain why. Mentioning stray facts tells us nothing. How do they contradict Dixon’s thesis?

  2. Bruce is engaging in a bit of fake history himself isn’t he
    ” Germany bombed Britain but stopped short of invading the British isles to turn east toward the Soviet Union, ”
    Between the end of Operation Sealion and the invation of the Soviet Union, Germany went to the aid of Italy and committed a lot of its army to fighting in Greece, then North Africa.
    With regards the Russian losses, many of those were the result of the Russian tactics and the killing of their own people. And there is no mention of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 – Molotov Ribbentrop was critical to the German’s war plans
    Yes history needs to be revised, but Bruce’s is at the other end of the spectrum with the “truth” somewhere between.

    1. Chris,

      (1) “Between the end of Operation Sealion and the invation of the Soviet Union, Germany went to the aid of Italy and committed a lot of its army to fighting in Greece”

      This is a too-long description of the US-version history of WWII. It’s not a history of WWII, and has to simplify. This is something every writer grapples with. Too much detail and you’re writing to yourself.

      Dixon’s simplification is standard in WWII histories, and reflects the key events. Much of the air and ground forces allocated to Operation Sea Lion were reallocated to the invasion of Russia. A key context usually drawn is considering if those forces (esp. the Luftwaffe) would have been better used in Russia.

      North Africa and Greece were sideshows, albeit significant in their diversion of resources from the attack on Russia.

      None of this is relevant to Dixon’s thesis that the US role in WWII is often exaggerated and misstated.

      (2) “With regards the Russian losses, many of those were the result of the Russian tactics and the killing of their own people.”

      They did what they had to do to win. Again, this is not remotely a rebuttal to Dixon.

      (3) “And there is no mention of the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 – Molotov Ribbentrop”

      Again, how is this relevant?

      A rebuttal means repeating what the author said and showing how it is incorrect. Dixon has fours sentences about Russia in WWII — in this 2500 word essay about the standard US history of WWII. How is your comment a rebuttal?

    2. Larry
      I wasn’t rebutting Bruce’s history, just pointing out that some of his statements were just as biased as what he accuses US historians of, albeit in the other direction. I was also trying to write something relatively short and avoid giving links. However, expanding further on the issues of concern.

      North Africa might have been a “sideshow” but it had three major influences on the Russian campaign, at least in the histories I have read. There was only about 500 tanks committed to North Africa by the time Barbarossa started , but many of their best crews were there. Germany lost so many of their best paratroopers in Crete that Hitler forbade their further use. They were a very potent weapon that could turn battles. North Africa caused Barbarossa to start 6 weeks late and it was General Winter that turned the Germans back from the gates of Moscow.

      The general opinion among historians was that the Russians lost about 20 million total. Included in that number were about a million in the Gulags/ penal units and 3 million from starvation in Russian held areas. Here is as good as summary as anywhere:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties_of_the_Soviet_Union
      And to put it in context, about 12 million died in the Soviet Union in the early 30s, all of which were from their own government’s policies and actions.
      The Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 is important- they were quite prepared to divvy up the spoils with Hitler. It also accounts for why Barbarossa caught them by surprise. There was the Katyn massacre as others have pointed out. In 1944, the Soviet armies stopped just outside Warsaw and allowed the Germans to destroy the Polish Resistance after the soviets had encouraged them to attack the Germans. These events are why there is a deep hatred in Poland for the Russians, which Bruce complains about in the 4th to last paragraph.

      There are other things he wrote that are coloured by his politics. But contesting those then just becomes trainspotting and links wars, which benefits no-one. Bruce’s version of history seems to be that the Russians have been under attack since the start, the US has been a major component of that, and that oppression is lost in the history. There is some truth to that, but the Russians have been far from blameless, which Bruce doesn’t acknowledge. Everyone wants history to be goodies and baddies – black and white stuff. Unfortunately, everything is just varying shades of gray. And in today’s world, it is those nuances that are lost.

  3. “They told me told the Greeks were the world’s only early adopters of democracy”

    Can you name any others?

    1. Taraxippos,

      That’s a good catch! Guessing, Dixon is referring to the stories about democracy in aboriginal Americans and Aztecs. This is pure faux history (see Wikipedia). Like the myths about the Wild West and WWII, constructed for political purposes and unsupported by fact.

  4. I am automatically suspicious of anyone associated with the Black Panthers,(In my opinion, a terrorist organization no better than the KKK or ISIS) yet anyone who acknowledges today’s fake news is worthy of an approving head dip at least. I’ll have to read more of him.

    Regardless, that the history taught in school is incomplete is obvious to anyone who read on his own, yet what choice is there, being that (My hours of it anyway) school lasts for a mere 7 hours and is divided into several different classes? Even advanced placement courses can do no more than offer a brief look at a specific period in history, (I took AP American and learned as much from the library as from my teacher) and as for the white-washing of american misdeeds, I am willing to overlook that, theoretically, if the schools had a role in instilling a sense of pride and respect (dare I say tribal affection?) for America the ideal, America the beautiful, America, the land of our homes, our rights, our duties, and, god willing, our graves. Yet that is obviously not the case, so it must be merely lamented as one more reason (I believe) the school system should be pruned with a chainsaw and minimized in american life.

    Switching topics, my feelings for the Soviet Union are the same as Churchill’s, that Bolshevism should have been strangled in its crib with every means at our disposal. That the powers of the day were too exhausted and the electorates too impatient to get the troops home is regrettable, but in my opinion understandable. The Cold War was defining, exhausting, and made many of the ugly tentacled creatures that now reside in Versailles-on-the-Potomac (I.E Washington, DC). Yet the Soviet Union has been dead for longer than I’ve been alive. Neither Russia nor Putin should be considered enemies, and the frenzied wailing over President Trumps supposed puppet relationship with Putin has passed from bewildering to mere amusement, as you said yourself. Perhaps someday there will be a history book with a chapter, entitled: “The Madness of Queen Media”

    1. Muse,

      “that the history taught in school is incomplete”

      That’s not Dixon’s point.

      “my feelings for the Soviet Union are the same as Churchill’s”

      The difference is that we’re making judgements based on hindsight — so almost everybody agrees with you — whereas Churchill came to the correct conclusion with far less data.

      “if the schools had a role in instilling a sense of pride and respect (dare I say tribal affection?) for America the ideal, America the beautiful, America, the land of our homes”

      My grade school education is long ago, but that was the goal back then. I’ve no idea what they are teaching today. I’ll bet that the framing substantially differs by region.

      I object to both the long-ago “whitewashed” version and the Californian “our history is evil” agenda. The goal of America should be to improve. It does not matter that the Founders were not angels and the Founding was not pure. What matters is the path they put us on — both ideals and institutions — and how far we’ve gone along that path. It’s a perspective that helps neither the Left nor Right, so isn’t taught.

  5. I think what is wrong with it is the omissions in the summary of the history, and the argument that subsequent policy is and was being justified by what the author claims to be the fabricated history of WWII and its aftermath. Some immediate policies were justified in the light of the real history. Most later ones were not, and the history wasn’t cited in justification of them.

    Briefly, we’re taught that Nazi Germany was just plain inexplicable evil, that this Hitler dude came to power with his Nazi party, they persecuted Jews, gypsies and dissidents, they conquered France and they menaced England but were stopped short when they lost the battle of Britain in the air. Eventually the US joined the war, invading North Africa, defeating the Nazis there, going on to fight the Germans in Italy, and eventually staging the D-Day invasion of France. They marched into Germany to finally defeat the Nazis and hanged a number of Nazi officials for war crimes and genocide at Nuremberg. The Russians, the Soviet Union at the time, we were taught, were sort of in the war too as allies but soon after the defeat of the Nazis they became enemies, and have been that ever since.

    He says ‘most of this is horseshit’. Well, all except that last sentence is basically correct. It is correct, for instance, that without air supremacy over the Channel, Britain could not be invaded. The Nazis were indeed stopped short when they lost the Battle of Britain. There are aspects of the Nazi regime that were inexplicable evil. The great historian of the Holocaust, Raul Hilberg, tells the story of being asked by a young German girl ‘why did we do it?’, and after a lifetime’s study confessed that he did not know.

    The part about North Africa omits the role of the British in the North African campaign, and the Russians were of course far more than ‘sort of in the war too’. The Russian campaign was decisive. But this is commonplace — I don’t know where he went to school or college, or what books he used, to be taught any differently. He does not say.

    As to the omissions, you need to start with the very similar nature of the Soviet and Nazi regimes, and this is his completely misleading omission. Both were genocidal dictatorships maintained in power substantially by a murderous secret police. Both engaged in mass slaughter of civilians either directly or by engineered famines. The Nazi-Soviet pact was an alliance of like with like. The difference was the the Soviet Union’s regime survived its victory and maintained its hold on the countries of Eastern Europe until Gorbachov.

    After the war it was entirely reasonable for the West to be hostile to the USSR. This was after all a nuclear armed regime with a record of the mass murder of millions to its credit. it was also entirely reasonable to retain an occupying force in West Germany, as a precaution against a revival of Nazism, and it was also reasonable to guard against the possibility that the USSR would seek to extend its empire into Western Europe.

    This is true despite the fact that the American policy of bases and interventions all around the world was not justified by the history, the above policy which it did justify, or anything else. Its very hard to explain, but you don’t explain it by simple minded and incomplete accounts of 20C history. You can characterize it easily enough as imperial overstretch. But the why is another matter.

    I would suggest some reading.

    Figes ‘A people’s tragedy’
    Conquest ‘Harvest of Sorrow’, and the second edition of ‘The Great Terror’.
    Snyder ‘Bloodlands’.

    And of course the incomparable Raul Hilberg’s three volume history, which will stand in subsequent centuries in the top ten of the great historians of all time.

    Oh, and if you want to get a proper account and evaluation of the Panthers, read David Horowitz. ‘Destructive Generation. All that needs to be said on that and the radical movements of the period.

    1. George,

      As usual, your reply completely ignores the theory presented and its evidence.

      (1) “He says ‘most of this is horseshit’. Well, all except that last sentence is basically correct.”

      I suggest that you read the essay. He explains why that summary omits key details about America’s role. He gives extremely specific examples.

      (2) “As to the omissions, you need to start with the very similar nature of the Soviet and Nazi regimes, and this is his completely misleading omission.”

      First, its nuts to think that the evil of the USSR needs to be pointed out. He’s assuming a literate audience.

      Second, saying that the USSR was bad a nutty rebuttal to Dixon pointing out how Americans helped the Nazis — and later had a dilatory response in the War, and that this history is important for Americans to know.

      (3) “After the war it was entirely reasonable for the West to be hostile to the USSR. …”

      Wow. That’s really missing the point. Even the architect of the containment policy, George Kennan, was appalled at the extremes of the US military response in the Cold War. Equally bad was the bogus “missile gap”, which destroyed the first opportunity for detente. Our insane belligerence of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a close call to WWIII.

  6. “The USSR begged Britain and the US to open a second front in the west, and Franklin Roosevelt promised to do just that before the end of 1942. But he allowed the Brits, led by Winston Churchill to dissuade him. Britain thought it more important to preserve its own empire, first by securing the link to India and the Far East through Suez, so the Americans landed in North Africa instead of France.”

    I call FH on this. (Fake History) Read The Battle For Europe by Chester Wilmot for an informed discussion of this. British and American Generals disagreed on the size of the landing force needed to invade Europe. The original COSSAC plan called for a landing in France by three divisions. The British, led by Montgomery, eventually wanted ten. The issue was disputed at the time, but American eventually conceded Montgomery’s case. Whether a landing in France was feasible in 1942 depended on the size of the force you think was needed, but there were not, in 1942, nearly enough landing craft to land the size of the force that was eventually used. The landing craft for Overlord could into have been assembled before May of 1944. Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics, and Black Panthers hate on Whitey.

    I’ll also point out that the green army we sent into battle in 1942 got shellacked at Kasserine, and I doubt it would have done much better in France. The US Army needed some seasoning before it was ready to liberate Europe.

    Refuting this nonsense point by point would exceed the length limitations of this site by a wide margin

    1. The Man,

      You confident statement is the usual “the American generals were fools” theory. That’s silly. Like all counterfactuals, we cannot say who is right. There is ample data showing your cartoon version is false.

      “The landing craft for Overlord could into have been assembled before May of 1944.”

      That’s certainly not correct in the fashion you imply. The “Atlantic Wall” did not exist in meaningful form in late 1942 or early 1943. Führer Directive No. 40, 23 March 1942, authorized construction of coastal defense against invasion. Defenses were built only for ports until Fall 1943. Resources for construction of the broader Atlantic Wall only became available when Speer brought the German economy to a war footing during 1943.

      German had few troops defending the Channel coast, and most of those were low quality garrison units or shattered unit recuperating from duty on the Eastern Front. No more were available to spare. What new forces German had were sent to North Africa and Russia.

      Landing craft, in the usual sense of the term, are necessary in “hot” landing zones — landing against opposition. That might not have been needed in 1942 or early 1943. The tentative plans were to land (and drop) light forces to capture one of the many channel ports. From those, large and heavy forces could have been landed and deployed.

      “I’ll also point out that the green army we sent into battle in 1942 got shellacked at Kasserine, ”

      (a) A 1942 or early 1943 invasion would have been conducted mostly by experienced British forces, with American forces in a secondary role (even in June 1944 the British forces were over half of the invading force).

      (b) There were 300 US troops killed at the Battle of Kasserine Pass. It was a tiny engagement. US troops did not stand their ground well, but were not “shellacked.” They did what American troops usually do when they break: retreat towards the high ground, on which the artillery is situated. The Germans decided not to pursue them and die.

    2. Larry
      The Dieppe raid showed that invasion in 1942 was not feasible. One of the main reasons it went ahead was to placate Stalin over his demand for a second front.
      Because of the large tidal range, landing the equipment needed for the men at other than a port wasn’t possible without landing craft and the ports were fortified. The British didn’t have that many experienced troops left in Britain – they were committed elsewhere or already prisoners of war. Britain, like the other Allies had a very small standing army until the late 30s. They couldn’t expand rapidly without big gaps. Many of their regiments had just a sprinkling of seasoned troops and officers, many brought out of retirement. And the battles fought up until then showed that many of the senior British military just weren’t up to the task of a modern war. They couldn’t even deal with sensible tactics for what tanks they did have, most of which were pitiful against German armour. There wasn’t even sensible quantities of weapons that could stop the front line German tanks.

    3. Chrism,

      “The Dieppe raid showed that invasion in 1942 was not feasible.”

      Absurd. It was a tiny operation that showed that incomplent leadership produces defeat. If Mountbatten had commanded D-Day, it too would have been a failure. Under his leadership, they committed an astoundingly long list of basic military errors.

      Also, there is evidence that they did not maintain good operational security.

      As with the other commenters, your assumption that the senior US military leaders were fools is a bit odd. My guess is that you have no idea what their plans were, but know that they are wrong because you’ve read that they were.

    4. Larry
      I have made no comment at all on the abilities of senior US military officers.
      I agree with your view on Montgomery – he was vastly over-rated. However, compared to many of the other BRITISH field staff, he was a genius. The pool of talent at the top was puddle deep. Though if we agree that Dieppe failed because of poor decision making by the leadership, why do you think that the invasion in 1942/43 that you alluded to in the 2:53pm post would have succeeded under what would have been the same leadership and similar tactics?

    5. Chrism,

      “I have made no comment at all on the abilities of senior US military officers.”

      You said ““The Dieppe raid showed that invasion in 1942 was not feasible.” The plans for a late 1942 or early 1943 invasion were promoted by the senior US military leadership. You’re saying that they were obviously wrong.

      “I agree with your view on Montgomery ”

      That’s the wrong “M” general. Mountbatten commanded the Dieppe Raid. On his worst day, Montgomery was 100x better. Dieppe probably would have been successful, at least in a minimal fashion, if he had commanded.

  7. Brain washed clown. Do you think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube would ban him for hate speech? Alex Jones is a kook but I am curious if the standard would apply.

    1. Gute,

      “Brain washed clown.”

      Dixon wrote 2500 words in a closely reasoned. That does not mean he’s right, but looks a lot better than people whose reply is a schoolyard insult, suitable for children.

  8. I’ve always been amazed at how good of a reputation Churchill gets. Hardly anyone brings up the Black and Tans. It is hard of course to blame a national leader for thinking of the good of his nation, as he understands it.

    About the only negative thing I guess I would say is that this is not an incredibly new piece of research but of course most of it is to bolster the core point, and not everyone was reading their pops’ military history books at age 14 like I was. (Those same books told me the Iraq war would go badly once I heard they were racing past units that had appeared to give surrender.)

    1. SF,

      “I’ve always been amazed at how good of a reputation Churchill gets”

      That’s a great point. His dark moments were very dark. The Black and Tans in Ireland, willingness to use chemical weapons on Iraq insurgents, willingness to starve Indians to feed Britain, etc. His performance in WWII whitewashed a very mixed career.

      Plus, of course, there are his miscalculations. As one guy said, from memory, “When Churchill was right he was great; when he was wrong Oh My God.”

      “I guess I would say is that this is not an incredibly new piece of research ”

      Neither were the Ten Commandments. Yet they are still worth repeating. This isn’t a paper in Science. That you know Dixon’s key points puts you in rare company in America.

  9. “You confident statement is the usual “the American generals were fools” theory. That’s silly. Like all counterfactuals, we cannot say who is right. There is ample data showing your cartoon version is false.”

    I never said they were fools, I said that they disagreed with their British cousins, who had, at that point, a lot more actual experience of fighting the Germans. The German army, historically, was tough on the defensive, even when heavily outnumbered. See Sicily, the Lorraine, and many other campaigns for real world examples of this. And the bocage country behind the landing beaches heavily favors the defense.

    “That’s certainly not correct in the fashion you imply”

    It most certainly is. There weren’t enough landing craft to put six or seven divisions ashore in 1942, period, end of story. (Three divisions of the Overlord force were airborne) Whether a three division landing could have succeeded in 1942 lies within the purview of the wargamers, and the alternate historians. And by the way, if you plan on landing tanks and heavy equipment on a beach, then yes, you’re going to need LSTs. But to pull it off, you’ve got to get ashore, take a port intact (No Mulberry artificial harbors available in 1942 to supply until you get a port), and you’ve got to build up sufficient force to fight your way through the bocage and break out before the Germans can redeploy enough forces to bottle you up or force you to do a second Dunkirk.

    There were no fools involved in planning that invasion or it never would have worked, but you’re ignoring the real world practical problems in a 1942 invasion.

    “A 1942 or early 1943 invasion would have been conducted mostly by experienced British forces, with American forces in a secondary role (even in June 1944 the British forces were over half of the invading force). ”

    Yes, and that’s part of the problem. Absent a lot more trained American troops than were available in 1942, an invasion force wasn’r going very far, or staying ashore for very long. The British army had been driven into the sea in France, Norway, and Greece. It was damned tough, but too small to take on the German army in a full on invasion of the continent.

  10. Larry, it may well be true that ‘ the US role in WWII is often exaggerated and misstated.’ But Dixon is arguing, without providing any evidence, that this exaggeration and misstatement led to and was used to justify mistaken post-war policies.

    I do not think this is true or that he has given any evidence for it. I think the initial response to both Germany and Russia in the immediate post war period was completely reasonable in consideration of the nature of the two regimes pre-war and during the war.

    The deliberate partitioning of Germany in particular was a rational response. Read AJP Taylor, The Course of Germany History, for a persuasive contemporary statement of the argument. The argument is that the only way to be make Germany safe was to fragment it. Well, there may turn out to have been another way, namely occupy it for a generation. We are still finding out how that will work out.

    The US descent into imperial overstretch, the later interventions, the huge number of bases, that was not justified by that interwar history, nor do I think the attempt was made to justify it on that basis.

    Then you say:

    (2) “With regards the Russian losses, many of those were the result of the Russian tactics and the killing of their own people.”

    They did what they had to do to win. Again, this is not remotely a rebuttal to Dixon.

    This is mad. The Soviet regime killed probably north of 20 million in the purges, an absolute orgy of mass murder. This was no way ‘what they had to do to win’. It was one of the main things that brought them close to defeat. What are you thinking of?

    The point is not Nazi and Soviet equivalence, which would indeed be an absurd ‘them too’ argument. The point is that confronted with a oligarchy cum dictatorship that is nuclear armed, has shown a propensity for territorial expansion and mass murder on an industrial scale, the US and Western response was quite rational.

    And containment worked. Don’t for get that.

    The later and general imperial overstretch has been disastrous, but was neither justified nor justifiable by the then generally accepted and largely correct view of interwar history.

    As to whether the post is a closely argued position? Its an incoherent rant, whose main burden so far as it can be deciphered appears to be USSR good, US bad. Now, maybe this is me being stupid and not reading properly. Or maybe its the author being incoherent and not getting down to making a proper argument. Figure.

  11. Having read the essay a second time, I am afraid I have to disagree with the main thesis.

    First of all the author has taken a number of facts wrong. True, it was the Soviets who suffered the heaviest casualties in the Second World War. Also true, the US took their good time to invade mainland Europe and tried first via North America and Italy. But it was not because for some obscure reason they wanted the Soviets to get a good beating before they intervened. The reason was that the US simply had not the material means in 1942 or 1943 to invade Europe. The fact that they had accumulated those means within 30 months after Pearl Harbour is an unprecedented achievement. Oh, and they had a war in the Pacific to fight too! Another reason it took the US so long to invade Europe was the fact that considerable resources were allocated to…the Soviet Union, who received great amounts of arms and all kinds of supplies via convoys that travelled (or tried to) via the North Atlantic.

    The Soviet Union had never been a peaceful and benign neighbour, even before the War. The War on Finland and the division of Poland clearly showcases that. The Allied leadership knew that very well and would never had given up East Europe on purpose. An Alliance with Hitler was never contemplated in earnest by any british or american leader. I am not aware of such a proposal by Harry Truman, but one notices that when he did have the opportunity to wage wart against the Soviet Union after the capitulation of Germany he dropped the idea. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Unthinkable

    All in all, what I see is that the author believes that the US somehow wanted the Soviet Union to do the dirty job of beating Hitler and then they would come to the rescue like the cavalry in some John Ford Western. I don’t see how that was possible, unless every Politician and General in charge was a complete moron. Had they “waited” a little longer Stalin would not have “liberated” just Berlin, Prag Warsaw and Budapest, but also Rom, Paris and Brussels too!

    Now, it is probably true that in American Schools WWII is taught from a US perspective. This is also probably true for every education system in the world. In Greece where I grew up, in History class, the Italian Invasion of 1940 was allocated more space than the whole WWII put together. In Russia today they never talk about World War II, I am told that the term is unknown, they call it the Great Patriotic War.

    The same goes for professional historians. My first acquaintance with WWII outside school (and movies) was the monography by the French Raymond Cartier, a standard work, or so I was told. One gains the impression after finishing it that the main conflict in this war was between De Gaul and Petain, not Germany and the rest of the world or USA and Japan or Hitler against Stalin, or whatever.

    The Cold War was as much a result of Stalin’s expansionism as it was of Western policy. The countries that were liberated by the Soviet Union soon felt they had swapped one oppressor against the other. An acute observer like Victor Klemperer knew it from day one, as he clearly states in his famous (at least in Germany) diaries. It is very telling, that every larger country of the former Warsaw Pact went through a great uprising at some point: East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, Poland in 1980, Romania in 1990…No wonder they now view the Communist Era as an occupation.

    1. Taraxippod,

      “The reason was that the US simply had not the material means in 1942 or 1943 to invade Europe.”

      First, that is incorrectly stated. Nobody suggested that “the US” invade Europe. The US Chief’s proposal was that the US and Britain invade. You are displaying the US-centric viewpoint that the article debunks.

      Second, that’s an assumption, one that is the senior US military leaders at the time disagreed with. Your self-confidence is impressive, believing that you are right and that the experts then and there were wrong.

      “First of all the author has taken a number of facts wrong. ”

      You don’t show that the author has any facts wrong. All that you say is that you believe the US senior generals were wrong. Perhaps they were — who can say for certain about counterfactuals? Considering your opinion to be a “fact” is a bit much.

      “The Cold War was as much a result of Stalin’s expansionism as it was of Western policy. ”

      You do not appear to have grasped the point of the essay. It’s about us. The nature of the USSR is not relevant. It’s a child’s excuse to point to the other person’s actions as justification for our own inappropriate actions.

      “what I see is that the author believes that the US somehow wanted the Soviet Union to do the dirty job of beating Hitler and then they would come to the rescue like the cavalry in some John Ford Western”

      Again, not what he says. There is considerable documentary evidence that Western leaders wanted the USSR to weaken itself — increasing the West’s relative strength in the post-WWII world. Both sides conducted the war with an eye on the post-bellum result.

  12. •American use of the first atomic bombs against Japan, which had been seeking to surrender

    That is completely false. The fact is they had issued an order to kill all POWs. They have copies of the orders and many books I have read by POWs talk about having to dig trenches and some of them were told by some Japanese guards or Korean guards who did not agree with the order. They also had the sandakan death march and other camps where the kill all POWs was executed before it was suppose to be.

    1. Jay,

      No, it’s not completely false. The Japanese government had recognized that the war was lost. The USSR’s formal notice that it would end their non-aggression treaty was the final straw. Japan had opened negotiations with them as a first step. It was, of course, futile — but they didn’t know that.

      Japan’s government was slowly seeing the obvious, and opposition to the military hard-liners was growing. We don’t know what would have happened, but there was no reason to hurry. Japan’s food and fuel imports had been cut off, and the clock was running against them.

      The US government wanted — not irrationally — to get Japan’s surrender before the USSR conquered much of it. This was, of course, a reversal from our policy at the Potsdam Conference (July 1945), which was to get the USSR to invade as soon as possible. Plus, of course, we wanted to demonstrate our nukes to discourage the USSR from rolling onwards after the Axis defeat.

      Lot’s of currents and cross-currents at work in 1945. Wikipedia gives a good summary.

  13. You do not appear to have grasped the point of the essay. It’s about us. The nature of the USSR is not relevant. It’s a child’s excuse to point to the other person’s actions as justification for our own inappropriate actions.

    Larry, you do not appear to have grasped the point. The point is that the nature of the USSR is definitely relevant, it was the reason why the US and Western attitudes to it post war were fully justified in taking the approach they did.

    The author of the original post is quite wrong to think that the subsequent imperial overreach of the US was attempted to be justified by a false history of the US role in WWII. This is just nonsense. There was disastrous overreach, but false histories of WWII were not offered in justification. Most of what he cites as false history is in any event correct, and not false at all. And the initial approach to the USSR after WWII was entirely justified by the nature of that vile and genocidal regime.

    Every effort was made by the left in the West to deny this. But gradually over time denial became impossible. This debate is over. Hobsbawm was on the wrong side of this, and simply showed himself up as the David Irving of the left.

  14. The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth. This is done by the author of the original post, by mixing half truths, with ideology and cherry picking.

    “When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in 1917, the US used troops already in Europe to fight the Germans in World War 1 to join with Britain, Japan and more than a dozen countries and invade the new nation, taking part in the bloody and disastrous Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks won that civil war and founded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first avowed socialist country. The US did not diplomatically recognize the USSR until 1933, and ruling elites in the US and Europe conspired constantly to undermine and subvert the USSR at every means and at every turn.”

    Context is key here: The Bolsheviks were avowed internationalists and were in favor of the destruction of the nation state of said countries. they wanted bloody revolution and their communist sympathizers in said countries were aslo in favor of it. It happened in Germany during world war one. do you forget Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht (German Revolution of 1918–19 & Bavarian Soviet Republic). It is also one of the reasons how the Nazis/NSDAP got into power as the socialists/communists were looked at by a fair number of the population as traitors, as well as a fair number of the leaders were foreign Jews.

    Also Russia’s czarist system was an ally, and nation states usually try to help their allies out.

    What is it you expect nation-states to do when you have a revolutionary movement hell bent on world domination. and that is what the communist/Socialist ideal was. It was to impose its way and destroy those ruling classes & nation states with their version, which in hindsight was worse. Or do we have to remind ourselves the De-kulakization of Ukraine and the gulags. This is just a small example of the game by the author of the original post was doing. Another Marxist historian, that does this is Michael Parenti. It is not that they are totally wrong, just cherry picking for an ideological agenda, and downplaying some of the stuff their cherished side were doing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bavarian_Soviet_Republic
    note:Bavaria was to be in the vanguard of the Bolshevization of Europe

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Revolution_of_1918%E2%80%9319

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