Paul Gottfried is an important voice on the right. War and Democracy, a collection of his essays published between 1975 and 2012, bears that out.
Perhaps what struck me the most is his grasp of history and his ability to use his knowledge to illuminate present issues and, especially to argue against currently fashionable interpretations that reinforce the hegemony of the left (including within the left everything from the radical left to the neoconservative right). For example, a review from 1975 of Fritz Stern’s The Failure of Illiberalism, describes the “refugee historical tradition” (presumably a reference to Jewish refugees from National Socialism) on German history as “bad theology”; its purposes are “to be an object lesson to foreigners and to serve as a means of contrition for Germans. … Any interpretation of the past that puts the Germans in a particularly bad light can expect an enthusiastic hearing among large segments of the American academic community” (“History or Hysteria”).
Gottfried rejects much of the received wisdom on issues related to the German past. In “Germany’s War Wounds” he notes the hypocrisy of framing World War II as a moral crusade while ignoring the crimes against the German people. While England suffered around 21,000 civilian deaths from German bombing, over 600,000 German civilians died as their cities were bombed, with much of the carnage occurring after the war was effectively won and the cities were defenseless. Yet we have intellectuals like Christopher Hitchens stating that Germans who complain show “a combination of arrogance and self-pity tinged with anti-Semitism.” And politicians like former foreign minister Joschka Fischer, “an ostentatiously self-hating German who has published ten booklets to express his revulsion for his own country and his hope that it will soon disappear.” Read more