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Century of War-JOHN V. DENSON

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THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY MUST take the path less traveled and
reverse the direction taken in the war-torn twentieth century, the
bloodiest in history. When the First World War, where ten million
soldiers were killed, evolved into the Second World War, where
fifty million people were killed, we experienced the concept of
total war. A large percentage of the fifty million were civilians
(women and children) killed by British and American aircraft
which dropped bombs on nonmilitary targets in order to demoralize
the enemy. In other words, the end justified the means.
The Second World War ended with the first atomic bombs
being dropped on Japan, despite the fact that for months Japan
had been offering to surrender if they could keep their Emperor.
This offer was refused because of Roosevelt’s unconditional surrender
policy which Truman also adopted. After America dropped
the bombs, and after Russia had been in the war for six days, we
accepted their surrender and let the Japanese keep their Emperor.
The war was followed by the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials
which established, for the future, that the political and military
leaders who lose a war will be tried by the victors and then executed.
This established the pattern that no military or political
leader will be willing to lose a war, therefore ensuring it will escalate
into a total war to avoid losing and being executed.
The twenty-first century, I believe, will be the nuclear century
since this amazing source of energy, i.e., uranium, holds the promise
of future prosperity for the rapidly growing industrialized world.
However, if nuclear power is used in a total war, we literally face
the possible extinction of the human race, or at least the destruction
of Western Civilization.
We must learn to avoid war and develop a general will to
peace. I believe the key to this development is to learn the truth
about the real causes and effects of wars so that we can see
through the false propaganda which is used by political leaders to
convince us to go to war.
I am advocating the careful study of history for the purpose of
developing this will to peace. One of my favorite history professors
is Ralph Raico who tells the story of asking his college students,
“What is history?” and one of the students replied, “It’s just one
damn thing after another.” Henry Ford said, “History is bunk,”
meaning that it is usually false and misleading rather than unimportant
when correctly written. In Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary,
he defined history as “an account, mostly false of events
mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly
knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.” However, when history is written
truthfully I believe that Bolingbroke gave the best definition,
“History is philosophy teaching by example.” If we can read history
by looking at past events to determine what ideas were being
followed, we can see how those ideas worked out in practice and
learn lessons from the experience of others and avoid the same
mistakes. The extreme importance of history and its study was
cogently stated by Patrick Henry, “I have but one lamp by which
my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of
no other way of judging the future but by the past.”
The big question about history is usually “What are the true
facts?” You cannot always rely on eyewitnesses since they may
have a bias. Sometimes diaries and writings made contemporaneously
are true but are not found for many years, decades, or centuries.
It is almost impossible for history to be written without the
writer’s judgment or bias being expressed in the form of an interpretation.
Therefore, history is always evolving and it is always
subject to revision by better and more reliable evidence.
This brings us to the controversial question of “What is revisionism?”
Usually when some establishment position is questioned
as to its authenticity and a new version is proposed, it is
condemned as “revisionism” or an effort to distort the truth, when
in fact, the revisionism may state the correct facts. The best definition
of revisionism was stated by one of America’s foremost revisionist
historians, Harry Elmer Barnes, “Revisionism is bringing
history into accord with the facts.” In George Orwell’s famous
novel Nineteen Eighty-Four he depicts “revisionism” as a word of
opprobrium and demonstrates it with the governmental department
entitled “The Ministry of Truth” where history is intentionally
falsified to obscure the past because people who do not know
the truth about the past, and cannot learn lessons from history,
are more easily controlled by the government, not only in the
present, but for the future. Therefore, when the word revisionism
is used, it must be determined in what context it is being used, i.e.,
whether the definition stated by Barnes, or in the sense of George
Orwell’s novel.
One of the most dramatic examples of true revisionism concerns
the “Donation of Constantine.” This was a document
widely circulated for centuries throughout Western Civilization
which was alleged to be a document composed by the Emperor
Constantine (272–337) which made a gift of Rome and the western
part of the Roman Empire to Pope Sylvester while the eastern
part of the empire was established at the capital of Constantinople.
This alleged donation constituted the cornerstone of the
papal claim for both religious and secular power in Rome, which
is one of the reasons, for instance, that Charlemagne traveled to
Rome to be crowned as emperor by the Pope on Christmas day in
800. It was not until the fifteenth century that Lorenzo Valla
(1407–57) exposed this document as a complete forgery, thereby
causing tremendous repercussions in Western Civilization from
that time forward relating to both the secular and papal sovereignty
and power of Rome.
It is in regard to war, however, that most revisionism becomes
necessary because truth is almost always the first casualty of war.
In most wars throughout history, the political leaders first need to
gain the support of the citizens who must fight, pay taxes, and
sacrifice their lives. To obtain popular approval leaders have
often used false propaganda to state the reasons for the war. False
propaganda often continues throughout the war to instill hatred of
the enemy and finally, it is used at the end to prove that it was a just
war, thereby justifying the sacrifices made by the citizens. Since winners
write the history, the false propaganda used from the beginning
to the end is often accepted as the true history of the war.
One clear and dramatic incident relating to war and “good
revisionism” was an incident known as the Katyn Forest massacre
which was used during World War II, and in many history books
since that date, to show the Germans’ atrocities. The Katyn Forest
is located in modern-day Belarus. In September of 1939 both Germany
and the Soviet Union invaded Poland and occupied it
jointly. It was reported later that thousands of Polish army officers,
political leaders, intellectuals, and teachers had been rounded up,
massacred, and buried in mass graves. In 1943 a grave was discovered
which contained over 15,000 of these missing persons, piled
on top of each other and each had a single bullet hole in the back
of the head. The wartime propaganda of America, the British, and
the Soviets was that the Germans were guilty of this atrocity. The
graves of the remaining persons have never been disclosed or discovered.
This allegation of mass murder helped to fuel hatred toward
the Germans, as did other false allegations, all clearly revealed in
The Propaganda Warriors: America’s Crusade Against Nazi Germany
by Clayton D. Lauria and ‘Twas a Famous Victory: Deception and
Propaganda in the War Against Germany, by Benjamin Colby. During
the 1970s and 80s I read various accounts that cast doubt
about the truth of the wartime propaganda relating to the Katyn
Forest massacre. But it was not until 1989 that Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev produced the actual documents which
revealed conclusively that the Soviet secret police, under the specific
orders of Joseph Stalin in 1940, murdered 21,587 Polish enemies
of the Soviet state and buried most of them in this particular
grave. Gorbachev did not reveal any documents showing the
location of the remaining graves.1
1The plaque at this grave site blaming the Germans for the Katyn Forest
atrocity was removed once this information was made known.
The false propaganda against the Germans in World War I is
shown in detail by an excellent book entitled Falsehood in Wartime:
Propaganda Lies of the First World War by Arthur Ponsonby, a member
of the British Parliament. False propaganda was also employed
by government officials leading up to and during World War II. A
study of the false propaganda in World War II shows that no lie was
too large to prevent its use against Hitler and no crime of Stalin was
too large to prevent its being hidden from the American public.
We now know since new documents have been discovered by
the research of R.J. Rummel and revealed in his books Death by
Government and Power Kills that Stalin was the world’s foremost
murderer and that Mao of China was number two, making communism
the deadliest political philosophy in all history. At the
end of World War II far more people were living under tyranny
than before the war. This tyranny was communism. However, the
war was labeled as a great victory over tyranny because of the
defeat of Hitler.
One of the purposes of this book is to show the importance of
revisionism because I believe it is one of the main keys to developing
a general will to peace for the future. The following essays
were written at various times and for different purposes, i.e., book
reviews, a speech, and then articles for books. They all relate to
history primarily involving the real causes of war as well as the
actual results. A study of history like this, I believe, will help make
people more aware of the fabricated propaganda that appears as
history today, not only in the history books, but often in the news
media about the causes and the effects of war. Americans, in particular,
seem to be very naïve about the real causes and effects of
wars and tend to accept at face value the reasons given by politicians.
If Americans would be more skeptical and question the
reasons given by politicians to enter into war, and further insist
that only Congress can declare war (which the Constitution
specifically requires), rather than letting presidents get us into
wars, we will see fewer wars. Also, if history is studied to understand
the real causes and effects of war and the loss of freedom
that results even in winning a war, this would increase that skepticism.
An excellent introduction to revisionism can be obtained by
reading a book by Harry Elmer Barnes entitled Revisionism: A Key
to Peace and Other Essays, which was published by the Cato Institute
in 1980. Another good introduction to the subject is James J.
Martin’s Revisionist Viewpoints: Essays in a Dissident Historical Tradition.
These books will introduce the reader to many other
detailed histories which delve into the real background of American
wars. Much excellent research has been done and published,
but the public-at-large is not aware of these books because there
are certain gatekeepers such as the Council on Foreign Relations,
who have reasons to prevent this knowledge from reaching the
general public.
After World War I there was a tremendous amount of revisionism
showing the false propaganda used by President Wilson
and others to get America into that war. After the war a thorough
investigation also showed there were certain economic
interests of bankers and munition makers who encouraged the
war for their own financial profit, which was the first real indication
of the industrial-military-banking complex. Congressional
investigations that followed exposed the abuse of power that
took America into World War I and resulted in the Neutrality
Acts being passed to try to prevent future unnecessary or unjust
American wars.
By the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7,
1941, public opinion polls showed that over 80 percent of the
American public was opposed to entering another European war.
It took the dramatic event of the attack on Pearl Harbor to shift
public opinion overwhelmingly to support our entry into the war.
The public was unaware of the evidence that we now have that
Roosevelt had provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor and actually
withheld information from the military commanders stationed
there, which, if furnished to them, would have probably prevented
the attack. There is also much excellent revisionist history
that President Lincoln provoked the firing on Fort Sumter for
economic reasons having nothing to do with the abolition of slavery.
Two essays in this book address these subjects of provoking
the first shot in some detail.

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