Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Hating Old Glory

Over the past few days I watched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a BBC dramatization of one of John Le Carre's Smiley novels.  Alec Guinness plays the British spymaster extraordinary, who almost always seems past his prime but always proves to be well on top of his game.  The phrase that thundered out at me in this production was a line of dialogue from the mole, exposed in the final episode to be one of the top officials in the Circus, who has been giving intelligence to the soviets for decades.  "I hate America" he says, with such British reserve it cannot be doubted, it must be paid attention to.  Immediately I bristled.  How can he possibly hate America, after America saved Britain from annihilation by Hitler?  Even if he is a communist?

Of course, that's how WE see it.  The British may have an entirely different view.  Certainly the soviets did.  After the war, according to Bernard Lewis, the Soviets armed Israel, in defiance of an American/British embargo because Stalin mistakenly believed that Britain had as great an influence in world affairs as it did before the Second World War.  And anything contrary to Britain's will served Stalin.  It took a few years for him to realize his error.  By then, Israel was loaded for (and by) the bear.

Maybe the British really do feel that they held out against impossible odds and that the yankee come lately Americans really did tip the balance only to defeat Hitler, but not to literally save England.  That England would have resisted invasion for ever.  Things were going badly for Germany in the East.  Perhaps a truce could have been negotiated. 

In any event there's absolutely no possible way that Hitler could have invaded and kept England.  France simply gave up.  Think of the amount of men and material they would have had to move across the English Channel to occupy and hold the Island?  England true to Churchill's word, would have fought to the last man standing, making today's Iraq look like a picnic. 

And America?  Was there ever a chance any possible chance, ever in the world that the Axis could ever have invaded and occupied America?  Inconceivable.  Impossible.  Too much land mass.  Too many people.  Too many guns.  Too much infrastructure.  Too much freedom.

1 comment:

stwill61 said...

I know there is alternate-history fiction which has Germany winning.  I've not read any.  To be believable, I wonder how they set it up.  One possibility I considered was if the U.S. hadn't gotten involved and then Germany beat the Allies to the A-Bomb.  They could have "taken" the U.S. without an invasion, perhaps.