Hawkish G.I. pundit Sgt. Stryker replies to my views on Steven den Beste’s article. His remarks are essentially an expansion on Steven’s thesis and amount to a quite accurate detailing of what is the received historical wisdom from the American point of view. I don’t really have any grouse with Steven’s assessment of why the US rightly tends to ignore European views, it is his historical analysis I disagree with and the same applies to my views of Sgt. Stryker’s. It is quite a lengthy post so I will only address what I think are the most egregious bits.
1. There wouldn’t be any Poles, Chechs and Hungarians were it not for Wilson’s supposed, “trashing all vestiges of the potentially stabilising old order.”
That is a gross misreading of the nature of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire… it was not called the ‘dual Kingdom’ for nothing: the Hungarian part jealously guarded its Magyar identity and Imperial areas of administration from Austria. Likewise the Czech and Croats and Slovenes and Slovaks may have been administered from Vienna or Budapest but were always quite distinct ethnic groups within the Empire.
2. You seem distraught that these peoples lived under 50 years of Communist rule; yet having them live under the rule of a foreign Hereditary Monarchal Empire is just fine with you because it would bring stabilization. Yet the Communists, for all the wrongs they committed, did stabilize Eastern Europe. All those Eastern Europeans were for all intents and purposes under the domination and influence of a non-democratic foreign power. So what, I ask, is the difference between Communist foreign domination and Monarchal foreign domination that makes the latter more pleasing to you and the former an abomination?
You presuppose that a democratic-republic is by definition a preferable state to that of a monarchy with local government. Your views were of course shared by Woodrow Wilson, but not me. Britain evolved into a true democracy quite successfully, but an attempt to force the pace resulted in the proto-fascist Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell. Democracy works where it evolves naturally, which is why in the long run I am so pessimistic about Europe now. The Great War was just a territorial dispute and did not truly become an ideological one until the arrival of the Americans. The rise of fascism was as a result of unstable alien democratic regimes being forced on nations that did not even have traditions of being independent nations, let alone democracies and for that Woodrow Wilson was the prime mover. It was hardly surprising that democracy in the 1920/30 was a fiasco in much of Eastern and Central Europe as it was imposed rather than evolved. The last echo of Woodrow Wilson’s folly was the recent Balkan Wars.
It was not even the American military involvement in the Great War that was so damaging but Wilson’s disastrous ‘Fourteen Points’. If the USA had been content to assist crushing the Central Powers in response to its U-boat attacks and then go the hell home, history might have been very different and probably not worse. I would take the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns over the Nazis any day.