Whitt & Wisdom: A Remedial History Lesson

By Jim Whitt Contributing Editor


If the world wanted to know who Adolf Hitler really was, they only had to read Mein Kamph, his autobiography published in 1924. It outlined his antisemitism, racism and plan for world domination. In the 1930s, Hitler was the leader of Nazi Germany and decided it was time to show the world he was serious about his ambitions by violating the terms of Germany’s World War I surrender outlined in the Treaty of Versailles.


“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

– Maya Angelou


Unfortunately, the world didn’t believe what he wrote in his book. Desperate to avoid war, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain brokered the Munich Agreement, which gave Hitler permission to seize the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia with the promise that he would leave the rest of the country intact. Hitler would be appeased. War would be averted. Europe and the rest of the world would be safe. Well, we all know how that turned out. The dominoes started to fall, and Hitler’s Mein Kamph dream was well on its way to becoming a reality.

The world would never be the same. Prior to the Munich Agreement, the sun never set on the British Empire. They controlled 20 percent of the world’s land mass, and 25 percent of the world’s population was under British control. Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement was devastating. The British Empire started to crumble after World War II. Much of Europe was reduced to piles of rubble. An estimated 15 million military personnel and more than 38 million civilians were killed. The Nazi’s plan for the extermination of the Jews was known as the Final Solution. More than 6 million Jews were murdered during World War II.

In 1947, the United Nations voted to re-establish the Jewish State for the first time in 2,000 years. Created as a homeland for Jews displaced as the result of the war, the State of Israel was officially recognized on May 14, 1948. It’s been battling for its life ever since.

Many terrorist groups nest in the Arab nations that surround Israel. One of those groups, Hamas, invaded Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, and slaughtered more than 1,400 people. They did not discriminate. They tortured and raped. They beheaded babies.

We should not be surprised. If you read the covenant of Hamas, it is their version of the Nazi’s Final Solution. It openly calls for jihad (holy war) as the means to achieve its goals. It states, among other things, that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it,” and, “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them.”

According to the U.S. State Department, Iran provides financial support to Hamas to the tune of $100 million a year. It is also estimated hundreds of millions more come from investments in companies operating in other Arab nations. And to paraphrase Shakespeare, this is the unkindest cut of all — the Obama administration admitted to transferring $1.7 billion to Iran in 2016, made entirely in cash, using non-U.S. currency. On Sept. 11, 2023, the Biden administration chose the anniversary of 9/11 to announce it was releasing $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil revenues as part of a deal to bring home five Americans imprisoned in Iran. Twenty-six days later, Hamas attacked Israel. In addition to murdering 1,400 innocents, they took 240 hostages. I imagine Iran laughed to think we exchanged five hostages for $6 billion while Hamas took 240 hostages less than a month later.

We would be wise to heed poet Maya Angelou’s advice: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Hitler showed us who he was when he wrote Mein Kamph in 1924. Chamberlain appeased him. Hamas showed us who they are when they published their covenant in 1988. Obama and Biden appeased them. And, as Winston Churchill told us, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” wrote philosopher George Santayana. That’s why we need a remedial history lesson. We are slow learners. We keep feeding the crocodile.