(Washington, D.C.) — It is said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Do Americans really remember the history of World War II, why it started and how it got out of control? Do our leaders in Washington truly understand the lessons of just how costly our appeasement of Adolf Hitler was? Seven decades later after the Holocaust, do we know how to stop power-hungry tyrants and prevent genocide before it’s too late?
These are some of the questions at the heart of my new novel, The Auschwitz Escape, which releases on March 18th.
They are also questions very much in the news as Russian President Vladimir Putin seizes southern Ukraine and test fires a nuclear-capable ICBM; Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatens to annihilate the U.S. & Israel and moves step by step towards building a nuclear weapons arsenal; and the Obama administration vows to cut the size of the U.S. military back to pre-World War II levels.
Last month, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican, fresh off a trip to Auschwitz, warned that some in Washington are in danger of forgetting the lessons of the Second World War.
“Standing there as the frigid wind swept through the eerily quiet ruins of the camp, I could not help but regret that American action in World War II came too late to save countless millions of innocent lives,” Cantor said in an important speech to the Virginia Military Institute. “Hitler’s rise and conquest of Europe did not come as a surprise. We must not repeat the same mistake by reducing our preparedness, accepting the notion that we are one of many or ceding global leadership to others.”
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leading a nation state with Biblical roots and prophetically re-born in the ashes of the Holocaust, told 14,000 pro-Israel activists at the AIPAC conference in Washington that, “the greatest threat to our common security is that of a nuclear-armed Iran. We must prevent Iran from having the capability to produce nuclear weapons.”
“Iran says it only wants a peaceful nuclear program,” said Netanyahu. “So why is it building a heavy water reactor, which has no purpose in a peaceful nuclear program? Iran says it has nothing to hide. So why does it ban inspectors from its secret military sites? Why doesn’t it divulge its military nuclear secret — the secrets of its military nuclear activities? They absolutely refuse to say a word about that. Iran says it’s not building nuclear weapons. So why does it continue to build ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads? See, unlike Scud missiles, that are limited to a range of a few hundred miles, ICBMs can cross vast oceans. And they can strike, right now or very soon, the eastern seaboard of the United States — Washington — and very soon after that, everywhere else in the United States, up to L.A.”
Now, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the New York Democrat, is comparing Putin to Hitler.
“Hillary Clinton, speaking Tuesday at a fundraiser in California, compared the recent actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin to those of Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War II,” reports Real Clear Politics. “Her remarks were first reported by Buzzfeed.”
“According to one attendee, Clinton ‘talked at length on the situation in the Ukraine’ and ‘compared issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians with ties to Russia with early actions by Nazi Germany before Hitler began invading neighboring countries,'” noted RCP. “The attendee, newspaper editor Harry Saltzgaver, added, ‘She said, however, that while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II.'”
“Another attendee said Clinton ‘talked about how what Putin is doing now is similar to what Hitler did, essentially providing these ethnic Russians in the Crimea region access back to Russia. And that it was destabilizing,'” noted RCP.
The Long Beach Press Telegram reported that Clinton explained, “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s. All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying, ‘They’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people,’ and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
Are Cantor, Clinton and Netanyahu right? Are we in danger of forgetting the lessons of dealing with Hitler and the Holocaust at this critical hour?
God forbid. The stakes are too high.