|Monday, September 20,
Downplays German Threat
By DOUGLAS KIKER
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pat Buchanan,
a possible candidate for president under
the Reform Party banner, maintains in a
new book that following the Battle of
Britain in 1940, Germany's ability to
threaten the United States with attack
Buchanan also wrote that a promise by
France and Great Britain to support Poland
in the face of a German invasion might
have contributed to the spread of the war
to Western Europe.
"By 1939, it was virtually impossible
to save Poland, but the democracies of
Western Europe and the Jewish population
of Western Europe might have been saved,"
Buchanan said, in summarizing some of the
points in his book "A Republic, Not An
Buchanan argues in his book that
Adolf Hitler was not a direct
threat to the United States after 1940 and
his ambitions for conquest were toward the
east, not the west.
"Hitler's real ambitions lay in carving
out an empire in the east ... He had given
up the idea of global empire," said
Buchanan, a frequent critic of U.S.
But, Buchanan said the United States
was right to fight in Europe after Germany
"Of course we should have fought
because Germany declared war," Buchanan
said in an interview Monday.
in his book that the British and French
declarations of war against Germany in
1939 forced Hitler to focus some of
energies fighting on the Western Front,
and that in turn "bought Stalin two
extra years to prepare for Hitler's
attack -- and thus saved the Soviet
Union for communism."
Buchanan's interpretation of the threat
of Hitler is not accurate, said Roger
Chickering a professor of history at
Georgetown University's Center for
"That Hitler was eventually going to
war with the Poles was without doubt," he
said. "Hitler had been planning that a
successful European war was but a prelude
to a worldwide conflict with the United
States. There are not many historians
anywhere that believe he should not have
One of Buchanan's potential rivals for
the Reform Party nomination, New York
developer Donald Trump, criticized
Buchanan's views Sunday.
"Buchanan denigrates the memory of
those Americans who gave their lives in
the Second World War in the effort to stop
Hitler," Trump said in the statement. "I
am proud of the role that the United
States played in defeating the Third
This is not the first time that
Buchanan's words have sparked criticism.
In 1991, he referred to the U.S. Congress
as "Israeli-occupied" territory while
discussing his opposition to the Persian
Gulf War. The following year, he said
there was a "religious war going on for
the soul of America" in a speech to the
Republican National Convention.
Buchanan said Monday that people need
to read the book for themselves.
"I implore people: Please read the book
and do not rely on misrepresentations and
falsehoods about it," Buchanan said.
It is not
clear how Buchanan's comments on World
War II might affect support for his
possible bid for the Reform Party
"It clearly shows his protectionist
views," said Dean Barkley, chairman
of the Minnesota Reform Party and an
opponent of Buchanan's switch to the
party. "This was a poor example he chose
to illustrate that protectionism."
But, Barkley acknowledged, there exists
a faction of the Reform Party that might
agree with Buchanan's positions,
particularly those who agree with his
strong anti-NAFTA and anti-GATT
Russell Verney, national
chairman of the Reform Party, said that
Buchanan, like all candidates, will have
to explain his views to voters.
"Every candidate is going to have to
speak to their past actions, give his
vision for the future and be responsible
for their own campaigns," Verney said. "It
should be a vigorous debate."