Friday, April 28, 2006

Getting in Touch with Your Inner Harry Turtledove

Reader and possible future direct contributor CRH writes:
I assume that you both will find this opinion piece interesting, although one of you will object violently to its premise.

I found it through this site, where people of a type that we all recognize discuss the issue in comments.
JJV, not beating me to the punch in any way, objects violently to its premise:
I thought Max Hastings was better than this. His picking of Chartwell and Blenheim are particularly stupid. Anyone who thinks Churchill and his family would not have resisted is nuts. Moreover, Italy which was both Fascist and later occupied wouldn't turn over its Jews and most survived. Italian resolve is not normally a watchword for the rest of the world. France had occupied portions and unoccupied portions (the Vichy controlled areas). In the unoccupied areas it would have been very easy to mark down people as not Jewish and not turn them over. In fact, I'm pretty sure France had a lower percentage of its population in the Resistance than any occupied power. Moreover, London would never have been declared an open city. The British loved honor more than London. Not so the French and Paris. It would have been like Stalingrad for the Germans. There is another problem with all this. The wealthy British ruling class had numerous chances to avoid bombing, the loss of Empire and occupation. They were offered a separate peace half a dozen times (Rudolf Hess anyone?) The whole analysis falls apart when you consider this. Moreover, it is inconceivable the Empire over the Sea would have collaborated (except Ireland) as some of France's did (not even South Africa where Botha was a rock for Britain). The King would have been sent to Canada and the Empire would have fought on.
I won't add much here except to observe that JJV's leading with the easy debunking of Hastings' use of Churchill-related properties implies that his overall argument might be on shaky ground. Hastings could have named other aristocratic properties and was more likely sloppy or lazy in using those he cited. Of course Churchill would have fought on, but we cannot necessarily use him as a representative of all aristocrats. As for the non-collaboration of the unoccupied portions of the Empire, that is the whole point of Hastings' piece, isn't it? Anthony Eden's observation quoted in the article is well worth keeping in mind.


jjv said...

I remember Churchill's comment about Eden as well, "He is a modest man with much to be modest about."

Dave S. said...

What is this, Specious Argumentation 101? First we have the straw man, now the ad hominem attack, neither of which engage the substance of Eden's words.

I would write more but I have to go mediate a conflict between a three-year-old and some unspecified problem.