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The Phoney War Revisited

The parallels between 1930's Europe and today's Europe are explored in The Belmont Club's Re-reading William Manchester's "Alone". It is classic Wretchard: Intelligent, insightful and thought provoking.

It is an old and familiar story which bears repeating because it illustrates how far leaders can be trapped by webs of their own making. Like the politicians of the 1930s the leaders of the West after September 11 each made their own calculation. In America's case it took the shape of thinking that it could make common cause with the most enlightened elements of Islamic civilization against fundamentalist extremists who were vying for Islam's soul.

1 Comment

Yes, indeed. But I think it's important to point out that while the Phony War (the Germans called it sitzkrieg, "sitting war") occupied the armies in Europe, British and German naval forces were locked in deadly battle at sea. The war in the Atlantic was very much real (anyone remember Prien's strike at Scapa Flow?).

But even extending the comparison that far may be also appropriate, as the full might (and will) of the US and her allies have yet to be engaged. And of course, Wretchard is correct to point out that all historical comparisons are inexact. If they could be exact, would we not know the course of future events?