There are some popular misconceptions about pre-WWII Germany in the editorial “Sorry, Mr. Kent,” which appeared in the March 3 issue of the Nisqually Valley News. Prior to the invasion of …
There are some popular misconceptions about pre-WWII Germany in the editorial “Sorry, Mr. Kent,” which appeared in the March 3 issue of the Nisqually Valley News. Prior to the invasion of France in 1940 (after Britain and France had already declared war on Germany), Hitler was basically settling border disputes created by the Treaty of Versailles. The Anschluss was welcomed by the people of Austria. Similarly, the Sudeten Germans of Czechoslovakia welcomed the reunion. The crisis in Poland was precipitated by the Polish government refusing to allow a transport corridor to the German city of Danzig, which was also cut off from Germany by the Versailles Treaty. Concerning the present conflict in Ukraine, and setting aside the continued provocation of NATO expansion, we should be mindful of President Roosevelt’s and Prime Minister Churchill’s Atlantic Charter of 1941. They teach us that all people have the right to self-determination and that borders should be adjusted according to the wishes of the people concerned. The Donbas provinces and Crimea peninsula are populated by Russian-speaking people who do not wish to be part of Ukraine. Their rights to self-determination have not been respected by Ukraine. Finally, many foreign policy experts in the decades after the Cold War ended warned to deaf ears that continued NATO expansion (when it should have been disbanded after the Cold War was won) would provoke new conflict in Europe. Discussion about Ukraine joining NATO is as unacceptable to Russia as missiles in Cuba were to us in 1962. Rather than demonize our supposed foes by calling them mentally unbalanced, land grabbing dictators, we would be better served by trying to understand the antecedents to the present conflict.
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