Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

07-27-18 Angry Reader

From An Angry Reader:

Your article…about NATOs challenge is Germany, not America.


With all respect but before you write any article you should learn about history. Germany did not start both World Wars. You might want to do some research before writing anything. Very sad how little people here actually know about history and then write about it in an article.


Dear Angry Reader Susanna Mackenzie,

It is a silly tactic to accuse someone, as compensation for one’s own abject ignorance of history that you display in your letter. I wrote an entire book on World War II, and many as well on European history. That constitutes “some research.” In World War I, the German Schlieffen Plan and the Kurt Riezler’s Septemberprogramm were reflective of Germany’s prewar and wartime ambitions to expand its power in Europe beyond its borders, in a way not so true of its prime antagonists, France and Britain. I suggest you read carefully the terms of the indemnities and land confiscations of 1871 that ended the Franco-Prussian war; the aims of the Septemberprogramm, the particulars of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of 1918, and the program of aggression outlined in the 1920s in both Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Second Book. If you would do so, you would learn of a pattern of German aggression and territorial expansion and acquisition over some 70 years, that ceased only with catastrophic defeat in 1945, the appearance of NATO, the nuclear status of Britain and France, the common enemy of the Soviet Union and the 50-year Cold War, and the utopian attempts of a pan-continental EU. Yet nonetheless Germany finds itself at odds with Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Britain, and the US, and there is a common denominator: a sort of demand to shape up to German norms of financial protocols, of open borders, of a tough British departure from the EU, and of a reluctance to meet its NATO promises—while running up the world’s largest account surplus and a $65 billion trade surplus with the U.S., both of which Germany insists are non-negotiable realities.

Victor Davis Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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