“Superficially, Hitler and Churchill resembled each other, in the way that two very powerful leaders will. In particular, as [historian] Andrew Roberts points out, both their careers rested on a particular sort of confidence trick, an ability to misrepresent the facts of the case and thereby inspire their followers into action.
“In Hitler’s case it was the malign lie that Germany’s difficulties after the Great War, and indeed the fact that they lost that war, were down to the machinations of international Jewry. In Churchill’s case, it was the benign and necessary claim that victory could be achieved by the British will alone; a claim which, throughout the country’s ‘finest hour’ of 1940-1, was in reality extremely dubious. …
“The strength of Churchill’s personality and style was revealed by the war, and I don’t believe that his personal conduct would have been shown as lacking had Britain lost. The disastrous flaws and inadequacies in Hitler’s style, on the other hand, were laid bare by every setback, and it is not just the evil of his project which makes one shrink from the idea that he was in some sense a ‘great man.’”
Philip Hensher, writing on “A question of upbringing,” in the Feb. 8 issue of the Spectator
“[Y]es, it does matter that International ANSWER, as a front for the Workers World Party, has led the major anti-war demonstrations. These people are how shall I put this politely? sectarian loons, and I don’t believe [conservatives] could ask for a group more likely to discredit legitimate public concern about war with Iraq.
“What does it mean that they have taken the lead thus far? … It means at least two things: first, that far-left authoritarians are much better than democratic/progressive leftists and liberals at organizing mass public events quickly and efficiently.
“ANSWER jumped out of the blocks especially early because it was and is opposed to all US military action, and began mobilizing well before the war in Afghanistan had begun. …
“Second, it means that there is some serious confusion on the left about (a) the persistence of neo-Stalinist wingnuts pretending to be advocates of peace and justice, and (b) the question of whether these wingnuts should be denounced by other leftists.”
Michael Berube in a symposium, “The ‘Peace’ Movement: a Front for the Anti-American Left?” Friday at www.frontpagemag.com
“The new Warner Brothers picture ‘Gods and Generals’ is not only the finest movie ever made about the Civil War, it is also the best American historical film. Period.
“Writer-director Ron Maxwell’s prequel to his epic ‘Gettysburg’ (1993) is so free of cant, of false notes, of the politically conformist genuflections that we expect in our historical movies, that one watches it as if in a trance, wondering if he hasn’t stumbled into a movie theater in an alternative America wherein talented independents like Maxwell get $80 million from Ted Turner to make complex and beautiful films about what Gore Vidal has called ‘the great single tragic event that continues to give resonance to our Republic.’ …
“Maxwell provides the fairest, most eloquent exposition of the Southern point of view ever presented on film and yet as counterpoint we have always Joshua Chamberlain, the fighting scholar of the 20th Maine … reminding us that black-skinned Americans are being held as chattel. ‘I do question a system that defends its own freedom while it denies it to others,’ Chamberlain tells his brother, and here we have the paradox of the CSA.”
Bill Kauffman, writing on “The Civil War Returns,” in the March issue of the American Enterprise