voiced the impulse to leave forrnCanada to volunteer for the Britishrnarmed forces.rnWliile the British propaganda effort inrnAmerica was massive and effective, it wasrnnot just Perfidious Albion that dragged usrninto a war that marked the beginning of arnnew barbarism. There was also,rnBuchanan points out, the all-pervasiverninfluence of the Money Power. The munitionsrnindustry, growing fat on the profitsrnof war, was a mighty lobby for intervention,rnwhile the New York banks werernconcerned for the debts owed them byrnthe Allied powers. Without an Allied victory,rnthose loans would never be repaid:rnThe economic future of the nation hadrnbeen mortgaged and tied to the victorv ofrnEngland and France. Wilson campaignedrnon the slogan, “He kept us out ofrnwar!” Not long after he took the oath ofrnoffice, the new President—the sanctimoniousrn”man of peace” — took us into thernwar, and planted the seeds of the nextrnone.rnBuchanan’s account of the eventsrnleading up to World War II has provokedrna storm of controversy which —rnmuch to the chagrin of his e n e m i e s -rncatapulted his book onto the best-sellerrnlists. In Buchanan’s view, this mistakenrnwar gave rise to the Soviet Empire andrnprecipitated an unnecessary life-anddeathrnstruggle lasting half a century.rnHitler was intent on going east, avoidingrnwar with the Western powers and especiallyrnthe United States. England was outrnof danger after the Battle of Britain, andrnthe Germans’ failure to cross the Channelrnsignaled that the British were beyondrnthe power of the Nazi armies. Having securedrnhis Western front, Hitler thenrnmoved east: His invasion of the SovietrnUnion would almost certainly have resultedrnin the two totalitarian powers destroyingrnone another. But it was not tornbe. The American left, including thernCommimist Part}- and its many liberal allies,rnwas determined to save the SovietrnUnion. As soon as the socialist fatherlandrnwas attacked, they went into action,rnwhile, on the other side of the barricades,rnthe conservatives and their libertarianrnbrethren began organizing the AmericarnFirst Committee.rnBuchanan’s recounting of the story ofrnthe Committee covers much of thernground first turned by such historians asrnWayne S. Cole and Justus Doenecke,rnwhile popularizing and dramatizing therntrenchant point made by these pioneeringrnscholars: that the AFC, far from beingrn”a Nazi transmission belt” as its leftist andrncommunist opponents insisted, was thernbeginning of a movement to take backrnthe old American republic, a rootedrnAmerican mass-based antiwar programrnembodying the traditional Americanrnaversion to the turmoils and intrigues ofrnEurope. Eight hundred thousand strong,rnthe AFC developed a sophisticated analysisrnof the world situation that reflectedrnthe instincts of the ordinary American,rnwho (in June 1940) opposed the UnitedrnStates’ entry into the war under any circumstancesrnin overwhelming numbersrn(86 percent). Only five percent wantedrnus to fight: this, as Buchanan points out,rnat the nadir of the Allies’ fortunes.rn”I will not take us into any Europeanrnwar,” was FDR’s solemn declaration—inrnretrospect, an outright lie. If we submitrnthis statement to the rigors of Clintonianrnexactitude, however, we discover thatrnRoosevelt was not lying: He did not takernus into a European war directly butrnrather by the back door, in the Pacific.rnThe President’s war message to Congressrnin the wake of Pearl Harbor failed even tornmention the Germans. Hitier declaredrnwar on us a few days later, a bkmder thatrnBuchanan understandably calls “monumental.”rnYet he does not relate thernwhole story, if he knows it, which is thatrnHitler’s declaration of war was a reactionrnto the fake news of a supposed “Victor)’rnPlan,” planted in the media—ironicallyrnenough, in the antiwar ChicagornTribune—by British intelligence and describingrnAmerican plans for an expeditionaryrnforce of millions to aid the Alliedrnwar effort in Europe. Hitler cited this reportrnin his war message—and so it tiirnsrnout that the German Fiihrer and thernAmerican people alike fell for this ruse,rnwith disastrous consequences for both.rn(The British also concocted the famousrnmap, cited by Buchanan, in which thernNazis’ “master plan for the Americas”rnshowed the Western Hemispliere dividedrninto five “vassal states.”) Still, the WarrnParty’s best efforts were failing, as Buchananrnpoints out: “By the fall of 1941, therntwo great combatants were Nazi Germanyrnand Stalinist Russia. Most Americansrndid not believe their husbands, fathers,rnor sons should die for either one.”rnBuchanan’s riveting account of thernlong series of provocations, diplomaticrnblunders, and wrongheaded policies thatrnset us on the road to Pearl Harbor can onlyrnbe summarized here. The roots of thernconflict were in the Philippines and thernproclamation (and failure) of the overarchingrnpolicy of the Open Door in China:rnBoth, says Buchanan, led directiy to thernevents culminating in the war withrnJapan. The catalyst, however, was therneconomic embargo declared by FDR afterrnthe Japanese seizure of French,rnBritish, and Dutch colonies in Indochinarnand the outlying islands. As Buchananrnputs it, Japan, “gripped by the throat,”rnhad the choice either to fight or to perish.rnIt chose to fight, and the rest is histor —rnbut history as written by tiie victors, a selfservingrnchronicle of self-justification andrnself-glorification, composed by “courtrnhistorians” (in the phrase of the revisionistrnhistorian Harry Elmer Barnes) to honorrnthe vanity of statesmen and whitewashrntheir crimes.rnAgainst the court historians,rnBuchanan has raised an alternative viewrnof American history that throws down therngaunflet to the War Party. Particularly interestingrnis his account of the repressiverncampaign directed by FDR against thernantiwar movement of the early 1940’s,rnwhich in hindsight seems very much likernthat waged by President Richard Nixonrnon the antiwar movement of the 1960’s.rnI will not tarr)’ over my disagreementrnwith Buchanan’s thesis that the waging ofrnthe Cold War had an effect on the ultimaternfate of the Soviet Union and itsrnsatellites, other than to prolong their existence.rnHis interpretation of the VietnamrnWar, and his view that we could havern”won” it, is belied by his own analysisrnconcluding that we should never havernbecome involved in Southeast Asia. Hernveers close to the revisionist view, however,rnwhen he remarks that, in Vietnam,rn”the New Frontiersmen were pursuingrnWilsonism—with guns.” He gives a ver’rnabbreviated account (in three paragraphs)rnof how Ronald Reagan supposedlyrnwon the Cold War, while saying nothingrnabout the economic impossibility ofrnsocialism; but then, economics is notrnBuchanan’s strong suit. Aside from hisrnfew allusions to trade protectionism —arnpolicy with which I thoroughly disagree,rnbut which is easily separable from his foreign-rnpolicy stance—this book is a nearperfectrnsummary of the most importantrnissue of our time: the vital question of warrnand peace. There are not many visions ofrnwhat a pro-American, noninterventionistrnforeign policy would be like, or why it isrnpreferable to the crusading globalism ofrnour bloody-minded rulers. A Republic,rnNot an Empire is one of them. crn28/CHRONICLESrnrnrn