Deborah Lipstadt: Ron Paul on Isolationism

Roundup: Historians' Take

I had no intention of devoting so much time -- or any at all -- to Ron Paul but this guy says things and does things which almost demand comment.

Last month, The Washington Post reported, in an article entitled A History Lesson, that Ron Paul had responded to criticism of him by John McCain. McCain had compared Paul's opposition to the Iraqi war to the 1930s appeasement movement in the US. [I don't agree with McCain's comments. But, as you will see, that is beside the point.]

The appeasement movement, as many readers clearly know, was vigorously opposed to any action against Nazi Germany. While it may have had many well-meaning members in its ranks, it also had many people who were sympathetic to Nazis Germany and who, while they may not have approved of all its policies, were clearly enthralled by much of what it was doing [and vehemently opposed to FDR's policies]. Think Charles Lindbergh and Ambassador Joseph Kennedy.

In response to McCain's criticism Paul said the senator was" confused historically." He went on to tell the Washington Post:

"People in the 1930s who didn't want war didn't cause World War II. I think Hitler caused the war, not the Americans who argued for a pro-American foreign policy...."
To say the isolationists were arguing for a pro-American foreign policy is to also say that those who wanted vigorous action against Nazi Germany wanted an anti-American policy.

Paul may not be an historian and may not be a man of nuance but when you begin to put all these things together, you get a disturbing picture of a man who had won the hearts and opened the pockets of a surprisingly large number of Americans.

[The Washington Post article was also posted on the official Ron Paul for President site which is where Adam Holland, who alerted me to this, apparently first saw it.

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