Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Could Germany Have Defeated Russia in the Summer of 1941? An Exchange on the July -August 1941 Battle of Moscow that was never fought


The History of the Exchange

In December 2013 the New York Review of Books published a review by Cambridge Professor Richard J. Evans attacking a new book by Paul Kennedy. [Paul Kennedy, Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War (2013)]


The NYRB printed my letter of reply and Evans’s response in their February 2014 issue but I didn’t see the exchange for some years later until I happened on it by chance on the internet. Recently I polished up my unpublished reply to Professor Evans and I emailed him asking if he would like to continue the conversation. I received no reply .


What follows is the relevant section from Evans’s original review article, followed by my reply, his reply to mine and finally my unpublished reply to his.


A. from Professor Evans’s original article



Kennedy speaks of “the folly of the cruel Nazi treatment of the Ukrainians and other ethnic groups within Stalin’s loathed empire.” But such treatment was more than “folly”; it was built into the Nazis’ war aims. Similarly, it would be missing the point to see a strategic error in the diversion of German resources into the extermination of the Jews. In the deranged vision of the Nazis, Germany’s war was being waged above all to destroy a worldwide conspiracy against the “Aryan” race orchestrated by international Jewry, of whom Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin were the willing tools. This was a racial war, in which the extermination of six million European Jews, not dealt with at all in Kennedy’s book because it did not seem to belong to the normal arsenal of military strategy, was a paramount war aim, to be extended ultimately from Europe to America itself, from which, Hitler supposed, the world conspiracy against Germany was being orchestrated.


Struggle, conflict, aggression, and violence were central to Nazi ideology, which envisaged endless war as the only way of keeping the “Aryan” race supreme. In the face of irrationality of this order, it is rather beside the point to suggest, as Kennedy does, that the Germans might have won the war, or to claim that without the contribution of this or that logistical, organizational, or technological innovation, “victory would remain out of grasp.” Defeat was pre-programmed for the Axis by the very nature of its war aims, not just by the means through which the Axis powers sought to achieve them. Like every book that treats World War II as a rational conflict along the lines of the Seven Years’ War or the Franco-Prussian War or the American Civil War, which were fought for clearly defined ends that either side might have achieved, Engineers of Victory in this sense is fundamentally misconceived from the outset.


B Ronald Bleier replies to Professor Evans, followed by his reply to mine.




Professor Richard J. Evans dismisses Paul Kennedy’s suggestion that the Germans might have won the war as “beside the point,” writing that “defeat was pre-programmed for the Axis by the very nature of its war aims” [“What the War Was Really About,” NYRB, December 5, 2013].


Regarding Japan few would doubt that her resources were unequal to destroying US might, nor that its “brutal and sadistic behavior” in pursuit of a Co-prosperity Sphere served to doom its prospects.


But Germany is another story. Evidence suggests that it wasn’t horrific Nazi war aims, but radical interference by Hitler himself that brought German ruin. Early victories in Operation Barbarossa unveiled remarkable and still not adequately explored possibilities. Bevin Alexander (How Hitler Could Have Won WWII: The Fatal Errors That Led to Nazi Defeat, 2000) writes of Army Group Center’s “astonishing success” advancing 440 miles in only six weeks.


With few Soviet troops in their way, Guderian’s and Hoth’s tanks were only 220 miles from Moscow when Hitler issued orders that amounted to self-sabotage. He ordered a halt to the drive on Moscow, forcing instead Center’s panzer groups south to the Ukraine and north to Leningrad. Guderian was so outraged by Hitler’s deflection orders that he struggled, ultimately unsuccessfully, to force Hitler to allow him to proceed to Moscow beforehttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png the end of the summer.


Surely the possibility of an early Nazi victory over Stalin and the prospect of Hitlerian world domination is a topic worthy of continued research.


Ronald Bleier
New York City 


C Richard J. Evans replies:

Mr. Bleier’s points are all dealt with in my review, which I urge him to re-read. Far from there being few Red Army troops in its way, the German army met with stiff resistance at every stage. The Army Supreme Command ordered a halt to the advance on July 30, 1941, because the troops were exhausted, losses totaled more than 200,000, and supplies were running low.


It was only on August 21 that Hitler ordered the diversion of some forces to the Ukraine. Already on August 2, Army Chief General Franz Halder confessed: “We have underestimated the Russian colossus.” Every time a Russian division was destroyed, he confided to his diary, “The Russians put up another dozen.” He was already thinking of how to get winter clothing for the troops at this point.


The capture of Moscow would have made as little difference to the situation as it did to Napoleon’s Grand Army in 1812. In any case, Mr. Bleier seems not to have grasped my main argument, which is that since Nazi war aims were without limit, involving perpetual warfare, first in Europe and then, in the event of success, against the US, defeat at some point was inevitable.



D  Ronald Bleier’s unpublished reply to Professor Evans


In my response to Evans I emphasized one of the decisive moments of the war, the battle for Moscow that could have begun in late July up to mid-August 1941 when German forces were at their peak. That battle, which I call Moscow Summer 1941, was never fought because Hitler blocked it.


By not allowing Moscow Summer 1941 to be fought, Hitler ensured that his Eastern campaign would not be over before the Russian winter and would continue indefinitely. In his reply, Evans takes up the question of winter clothing but he doesn’t mention that in 1941 Hitler repeatedly refused his generals’ timely requests to provide his troops with winter clothing and winter provisions, ensuring that many of his soldiers would freeze to death and much of his armor would be immobilized during the bitter cold Russian winter.


In my letter I noted Army Group Center’s “astonishing success … advancing 440 miles in only six weeks” of June-July 1941.  Professor Evans noted an error which that I had copied from Alexander. I wrote: “With few Soviet troops in their way, Guderian’s and Hoth’s tanks were only 220 miles from Moscow when Hitler issued orders that amounted to self-sabotage. He ordered a halt to the drive on Moscow, forcing instead Center’s panzer groups south to the Ukraine and north to Leningrad.”


Evans  points out that it was incorrect to say that there were “few Soviets troops” ready to defend Moscow. Later I found evidence to support my larger point that despite all the available men and resources Stalin was able to scrape together to defend Moscow the best defence that he could manage was not likely to stand up to the powerful German forces that could have been marshalled against him if Hitler had allowed it.


According to U.S. historian R.H. S.  Stolfi, Hitler’s Panzers East: World War II Reinterpreted (1991), by August 5, 1941, about 45 days into the war, the Germans


 faced weak Soviet field armies, [of] a combat strength of thirty-five divisions, compared with sixty intact individually superior German divisions.” [cites Halder diary, vol 7, p.22]

The Germans knew [the Soviets] had put together a total of 28 new divisions, moderately well-armed though badly trained.

                                                                             Stolfi, p. 181


In Stolfi’s view, “That the Soviets concentrated their strategic reserve around the capital, does more to buttress the theme that they had lost the war by early August than perhaps any other argument.” (p. 181)


Only in one place on the eastern front – in front of Army Group Center – is the enemy really smashed. … Now is the time to attack with all of the mobile troops toward Moscow.

 –General Fedor von Bockm Commander of Army Group Center on 13 July 1941., Tagebuchnotizen Osten I.    – Quoted in Stolfi, p. 76.



Evans’s second sentence of his reply reads: “Far from there being few Red Army troops in its way, the German army met with stiff resistance at every stage.” It’s not clear what Evans is referring to by “stiff resistance at every stage.”


As is well-known and as he has written himself in The Third Reich at War (2009), the unprepared Soviet Union suffered terrible losses especially in the first days and weeks of the war. The map he provides shows very clearly the vast amount of the Western Soviet Union territory won by Germany by the end of August.


In the first two weeks of the war, Germany had cut through Soviet defences like the proverbial knife thru butter so much so that it appeared to all the world, including to Hitler and his High Command, that the war was essentially over if the German army simply continued Army Group Center’s attack toward Moscow.


Not only were Soviet troops demoralized – though they struggled heroically – but Stalin actually had a breakdown, well aware that he had crippled the Soviet military in the 1937-1940 purges of more than 30,000 of the cream of his officer corps, and had refused to heed alarms from his own intelligence services about the coming Nazi attack. At the end of June, six days into the war, he retired to his dacha and refused to come to work. Three days later, when his Kremlin subordinates came to beg him to resume his duties, his first thought was that they had come to arrest him.


It doesn’t seem much of a stretch to opine that Stalin’s depression had much to do with the clarity of his understanding that due to his mismanagement he didn’t have the resources to block Hitler from taking Moscow and winning the war. Just before he left Moscow for what might have been the end of his career, he admitted to his brain trust, “We’ve fucked it up.”


Evans’s next sentence reads: “The Army Supreme Command ordered a halt to the advance on July 30, 1941, because the troops were exhausted, losses totalled more than 200,000 men, and supplies were running low.”


Evans’s formulation, “The Army Supreme Command” could give the impression that Hitler was somehow uninvolved in blocking the summer attack on Moscow. I follow those historians who believe that the Army High Command (routinely labelled OKH, Obercommando des Herres [Army]), to distinguish it from Hitler's Supreme Command (labelled OKW, Obercommando der Wehrmacht) did not make independent decisions. In fact, Hitler micro-managed the war in the East (down to the battalion level in some cases), and OKH always took orders from Hitler.


Against the wishes of his Chief of Staff Franz Halder, his Army Commander- in-Chief Brauchitsch, his brilliant panzer commander Heinz Guderian, his Commander of Army Group Center (AGC), General Hoth; and remarkably in the case of Moscow Summer 1941 even his sycophantic aide, General Alfred Jodl, Chief of his Operations Staff, it was Hitler's order, not OKH’s, to halt the drive on Moscow in August 1941,


Of this decision, noted historian Ian Kershaw: “The tenacity and stubbornness with which [Hitler] refused to concede the priority of an attack on Moscow, even when for a while, at the end of July, not just the army leadership but his own closest military adviser, Jodl, had accepted the argument, was quite remarkable.” (Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis 2000, p. 417)


Evans writes that German army losses at the end of July 1941 totaled 200,000. While this is technically true, it misrepresents the situation confronting Hitler's Army Group Center. The 200,000-figure referred not to AGC but to the three large Armies, Army Group Center, Army Group North and Army Group South, comprising 1.3 million men when Operation Barbarossa began on June 22nd. In context, the 200,000 German casualties up to the end of July were relatively light compared to almost a million Soviet casualties, about 15 to 1. 


New York, December 2021 


Thursday, August 22, 2019

No Plane Crashes on 911 -- Exposing the Illusion

 I am pleased to announce that my essay collection entitled, No Plane Crashes on 9/11—Exposing the Illusion is available for purchase:
-- as an Amazon/Kindle ebook, $4.99
-- as an Amazon paperback, $11.49
See below the book’s description.
Readers may also be interested in my January 2019 ebook – “LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty


 No Plane Crashes on 9/11—Exposing the Illusion

by Ronald Bleier
The nine essays in this volume written between 2005 and 2015—and two in 2019—trace the arc of evidence exposing the myth that Arab hijackers, led by Osama bin Laden, were responsible for the terror attacks of 9/11. The essays by editor Ronald Bleier and four contributing authors, contend that 9/11 was a false flag operation, an inside job, planned and executed by the George W. Bush White House.
Two essays by Ronald Bleier summarize evidence presented by the late Gerard Holmgren, Morgan Reynolds and others that no planes crashed on 9/11: the so-called No Planes Theory (NPT). The central implication of the NPT is that there were no Arab or Muslim hijackers, nor were any planes hijacked, and that no planes crashed on 9/11. Unsurprisingly, Osama bin Laden correctly protested his total innocence. The NPT asserts that the 9/11 terror attack was a homemade U.S. operation conducted by elements of the security services, overseen largely by Vice President Dick Cheney. The shock and awe of 9/11 did not require outside assistance although it seems likely the Israeli government had prior knowledge.
9/11 was to be seen as a new Pearl Harbor, conceived to jump-start permanent Global War, employing terror to advance its imperialist and nihilistic war plan, intending destruction, destabilization and mass suffering as collateral damage. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s, the U.S. sought a replacement bogeyman—and created one in the Muslim nation. The new enemy facilitated the U.S. agenda of permanent war to maintain and enlarge its security budgets and to support Israel’s agenda of destroying its enemies.
The claim that no planes were involved on 9/11 is sustained by the controlled demolition of three World Trade Center towers, the refusal or inability of the government to produce evidence of hijackings and hijackers, of plane crashes, or of plane wreckage. Also addressed is the question of how the cell phone calls were made and what happened to the airline passengers.
The volume’s last essay by Ronald Bleier, “Did Dick Cheney Plan to Assassinate President Bush?,” ventures into speculation arising largely from the  unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Bush in Florida on the early morning of 9/11, and the suppression of news of this foiled plot.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Snowden archives memory-holed !! -- As alarming as Assange's arrest!! --Cat McGuire

Cat McGuire writes:

Virtually nothing is being said about how billionaire Pierre Omidyar, essentially the owner of the Snowden docs, has shut down the release, analysis and custodial care of the archives claiming lack of funds. This decision was made just this past March, 2019 with the full participation and agreement of Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.  

Understanding the historical significance of the Snowden cache, Laura Poitras screamed bloody murder that this important treasure trove has been summarily shuttered, particularly since only 10% of the documents have ever been released. 

The raison d'etre of the new company Poitras, Greenwald and Scahill created in partnership with Omidyar called The Intercept (First Look) was for Omidyar to finance the herculean effort of responsibly releasing the Snowden documents. 

To date, however, once Omidyar got control of the goods around October 2014, only a trickle of the Snowden archives has seen the light of day. The remainder of the digital documents are in dire danger of never being released -- or worse, being destroyed, accidentally or otherwise.

Remember, from June of 2013 when the Snowden event happened to late 2014, for weeks on end all we heard about were the Snowden docs, with one side saying they're a violation of national security, and the Greenwald/Poitras side championing the right to whistleblow state secrets.

So now that the famous Snowden archives have been unilaterally shut down by Omidyar, Greenwald, and Scahill, why is hardly anyone from the left, right, or center raising red-flag alarms?  Even Snowden himself has been suspiciously silent. 

We would not know about any of this were it not for Poitras who released the private emails explaining how she was excluded from this momentous decision. She exposed how alleged budget concerns were a smokescreen since a mere 1.5% of the Intercept budget was allocated to the Snowden archives team anyway.

Since the very beginning, my sister Colleen and I have wondered what manner of subterfuge has been going on with Greenwald et al. For a long time now, a few brave critics have raised serious questions about Snowden, Poitras, Greenwald, Scahill, and Omidyar to the ire of indignant leftists who deem them all sacred cows immune to criticism. 

Over the years, a multitude of dubious actions surrounding Omidyar beg massive exposure. To wit:
  • His many connections to the NSA
  • Cutting WikiLeaks' PayPal account, and supporting the criminal prosecution of Anonymous when they hacked PayPal
  • Attempting to steal Craigslist for which in an unusual move against a corporate principle, a Delaware judge all but called Omidyar a thief
  • Helping fund the neo-nazi coup d'etat in Ukraine 
  • Detrimentally undermining women's microfinancing in India
  • After taking over Intercept and poaching star reporters, barely allowing anyone to publish their whistleblowing articles (e.g., Ken Silverstein, Matt Taibbi)
  • And much more
Past duplicity notwithstanding, this recent development of the shuttering of the Snowden docs is an unprecedented violation of the public trust. Those documents belong to the American people, no matter how deftly Omidyar purloined them -- or whatever deals-with-the-devil Greenwald et al signed on to.  As Greenwald purportedly said in December 2014 when asked why he joined forces with Omidyar, "What billionaire do you expect me to go with?" 

Why is the press silent on such a momentous issue? Why has Greenwald colluded in this outrageous new development, including the ousting of Poitras? 

With the arrest of Julian Assange, Greenwald has rightfully spoken out in strong opposition to the extradition. Nonetheless, it is the height of unseemly opportunism when Greenwald sent the attached email on April 11 to The Intercept's readers bemoaning Assage's arrest. . . and then asking readers to support free speech by donating -- not to Assange's legal defense! -- but rather to the already richly-endowed Intercept, the very organization that is abandoning the valuable assets entrusted to them by Edward Snowden, another besieged whistleblower.

Further worth noting is Greenwald's interview with NPR on April 11, the day of Assange's arrest in which in a tweet Greenwald claims the interview "became contentious" when NPR characterized him as a "colleague of Julian Assange."  Why on earth would being a colleague of Julian Assange offend Greenwald?

Although Glenn Greenwald does a lot of superb work, his handling of the Snowden docs and his alliance with Pierre Omidyar should ring alarm bells.

Below are some starter articles.  Pass them on to journalists and beseech them to publicize the memory-holing of the Snowden archives.

Medium: Why The Intercept Really Closed the Snowden Archive, March 27, 2019 (Poitras' emails)
Attachment(s) from Marcy J. Gordon | View attachments on the web 
Post from Cat McGuire
Links from
Marcy J. Gordon My friend Cat McGuire’s commentary and analysis may be of interest to readers on this list.

1 of 1 File(s)

Friday, March 15, 2019

What Caused the Boeing 737 Crashes? Corruption at Boeing and the FAA. Duh!

As of March 14, 2019, Democracy Now,  the NYT, the NY Daily News, the NY Post, the Wall St Journal, chose not to explain that Boeing, instead of redesigning  a new fuselage for its new and larger MAX engines, introduced instead faulty software which has now resulted in two terrible crashes this year.

An informed comment by Lochearn appeared in Bernhard's  Moon of Alabama blog entitled
"Boeing, The FAA, And Why Two 737 MAX Planes Crashed
" (3.12.19) which goes into more detail.  
Lochearn wrote: 

Over the space of a few months 2 almost new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have crashed. Rather than going to the expense of designing an entirely new fuselage and normal length landing gear for its larger and much more powerful 737 MAX engines Boeing stuck with the now ancient 737 fuselage design that sits only 17 inches from the ground – necessitating changes to the positioning of the engines on the wing, which together with the vast increase in power, created aerodynamic instability in the design that Boeing tried to correct with software, while not alerting pilots to the changes.
 Through the 1980s and early 1990s Boeing executives had largely resisted pressure from Wall Street to cut staff numbers, move plant to non-union states and outsource. The 777 was the last real Boeing, though significant outsourcing did take place – but under the strict control and guidance of Boeing engineers. After the “reverse” takeover of MacDonnell Douglas in 1997 the MDD neoliberal culture swamped Boeing and its HQ was moved from the firm’s home near Seattle to Chicago so executives could hobnob with speculators. Wall Street had taken down another giant.
Bernhard argues that the crashes are largely the responsibility of the  FAA which was aware of the danger and allowed the planes to fly with faulty software and without properly alerting pilots.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Bleier: “On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty” Amazon and B&N ebook

I’m pleased to announce that “On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty” is now available as an ebook on Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook for $2.99.

Amazon also offers the first few pages on its “Look Inside” link.

 “On the Brink” is also posted on my DESIP website and on bleiersmiscellany.blogspot.com

"On the Brink of Armageddon" highlights the theory outlined in a  book by BBC documentarian, Peter Hounam:  "Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III." From Hounam and others it can be inferred that President Johnson masterminded both the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Israeli attack on the Liberty. The latter operation was planned as a false flag attack, not unlike Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin hoax, this time to be blamed on Egypt. It seems that President Johnson hoped the sinking of the Liberty would serve as a pretext to join Israel’s war.

The work of Stephen Green in the 1980s, principally his book, "Living By the Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East," revealed that the U.S. was deeply involved in Israel's  war and must have been colluding with Tel Aviv for many months before June 1967.

“On the Brink” details some of the evidence supporting Hounam’s incredible theory that LBJ planned to initiate  World War III with the bombing of a Soviet air base near Cairo with a nuclear-tipped weapon. In the end, Cairo  was spared the intended nuclear attack when the USS Liberty miraculously somehow escaped from its intended fate.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Support for ISIS Comes From the U.S. and Israel -- Bernhard Curates the Evidence

How did ISIS get started? Who has been supporting them all these years? The U.S. and Israel. Duh.

The Russians indirectly shamed the U.S. into finally attacking ISIS oil tankers in 2015. See "Caught On Tape: Russian Air Force Destroys Dozens Of ISIS Oil Trucks."

After initially making a show of finally following the Russian example and destroying some ISIS tankers, the U.S. found excuses not to continue. See for example, "US Planes Left ISIS Fuel Tankers Unharmed Because 'They Ran Out of Ammunition'"

The interesting question is whether Trump knows or wants to know of U.S. support for ISIS. If, for example, he really wanted to put an end to the ISIS threat, all he would have to do, as Bernhard explains, is leave Syria and allow Assad to do the job. Which Damascus would be only too glad to do including ISIS sleeper cells which, once again are supported by the U.S. and Israel because they serve their interest in continuing the war indefinitely.

For years, Bernhard has been citing documentation of U.S. attacks on Syrian forces in coordination with ISIS.

Here’s a brief reference in his blog of 2.4.19 (Search for moonofalabama.org: "Trump Says U.S. Will Leave But Pentagon Keeps Adding Forces.)

On Saturday a U.S. air attack targeted a Syrian army position south of the Euphrates near the border town al-Bukamal:
A military source told SANA that the U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out an air strike overnight Saturday on Syrian artillery position in Sokkariyeh village, west of al-Bukamal city.
The source added that the attack resulted in destroying the artillery and injuring two soldiers.
SANA reporter said that, in parallel with the coalition’s aggression, Daesh terrorists attacked military points in the area, but the army units repelled the attack and killed and wounded most of the attacking terrorists.

This is one of several incidents indicating the U.S. intentionally lets some ISIS fighters escape to attack the Syrian government.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Bleier: On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty

My long essay, On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty   recapitulates Part I (August 2018) and adds Part II, “The Evidence,” supporting the theory advanced in Part I. The notable change in the new Part I is that I tried to clarify my notion that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Six-Day War and the attack on the Liberty. (See the first five paragraphs below.)

In addition, I argue that it was President Johnson who fatefully insured that Israel would capture and retain captured Arab territory. Thus Johnson bears the major responsibility for the consequences of the Greater Israel that was then born.  

President Johnson’s decision to suborn Israel into attacking the U.S.S. Liberty and start WWIII in a failed false flag operation, intending to publicly join Israel’s war with a nuclear attack on Egypt, is the most difficult element to credit. The concluding section on “World War Three?,” appended below, includes author Joan Mellen’s cogent summary of our narrow escape.

Part I РThe Expos̩

Largely through the work of one researcher, BBC documentarian and author Peter Hounam, a disquieting revisionist theory has been abroad, opening windows onto the history of the 1967 Arab-Israel war (a/k/a, the Six-Day War) as well as on the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, a spy ship. Hounam published his exposé, Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III in 2003,[i] asserting that the U.S. and Israel colluded to provoke the war and to sink the Liberty in a false-flag attack, blaming it on Egypt. The sinking of the Liberty was to serve as President Johnson's pretext to publicly join Israel's war and to strike a Cold War blow against U.S.S.R. support for Israel's Arab neighbors.

Hounam's book revises our understanding of Israel’s otherwise inexplicable attack on its ally’s ship. Even more than a decade later, many, especially in the West, believe that Israel’s motivation for trying to sink the Liberty was to suppress its eavesdropping capabilities so as to outmaneuver U.S. objections to its planned attack on Syria the next day, the fifth day of the war. But Hounam reveals that besides the Liberty, the U.S. had alternate surveillance platforms monitoring the battlefield, making the Liberty's intelligence collection essentially redundant when it came to controlling Israel’s military movements. Furthermore Hounam insists that the Israelis were aware of U.S. surveillance capabilities, and so had no discernible rationale for its attack. 

Hounam’s revelation of President Johnson’s crucial role in conceiving of the war itself and his plan to openly join Israel’s war via the attack on the Liberty, overturns the popular understanding that both were secret, independent Israeli initiatives. Hounam reprises previously unearthed testimony from an American whistleblower who played a significant operational role in the war. In addition, Hounam uncovers a second operative who details his operational involvement on Israel’s behalf. From these testimonies, and others, and the from the wealth of circumstantial evidence Hounam lays out, it’s clear that the war was the result of long-planned U.S.-Israeli collusion and thus must have been masterminded by President Johnson, who propelled it. Only President Johnson, in complete control of his government’s military and diplomatic apparatus, had the motive, the means and the opportunity to plan such a war and execute the U.S.’s role in it.

Fatefully it was also Johnson’s decision to shield Israel from international pressure to withdraw from captured Arab territory, which opened the door to the ongoing tragedy of more than five decades of Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians. President Lyndon Johnson thus may be seen as the father of all the terrible ramifications, especially for the Palestinians and for the U.S., of the Greater Israel that he made possible.

Hounam's subtitle, Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III, references the even more inconceivable element of his theory, namely that only the unanticipated survival of the Liberty prevented President Johnson from proceeding with his plan to initiate World War III by employing nuclear weaponry to attack Egypt. 


World War Three?

What are we to make of Hounam's finding that Johnson was determined to embark on World War Three by joining Israel’s war with a nuclear attack against Egypt? The evidence suggests that had the Liberty not narrowly escaped its intended fate, President Johnson seemed intent on proceeding with a plan that may very well have put an end to civilization as we know it. 

Joan Mellen lists the steps that led to our hairsbreadth deliverance. 
Had Lyndon Johnson’s order that no rescue planes be dispatched achieved its intended result, the sinking of Liberty; had Egypt (with Soviet assistance) been blamed for the attack, as was also intended; had the United States then retaliated by bombing Cairo with those nuclear weapons at the ready on the U.S.S. America; had the Soviets then responded with a nuclear retaliation on Israel, as a Soviet submarine commander has testified that they were prepared to do; and had the Strategic Air Command then further retaliated with its  hydrogen bombs, raising the ante, Lyndon Johnson’s legacy would have been World War Three. He came close. [ii]
It's hard to imagine a more stark difference between John F. Kennedy, who stood virtually alone against his government, trying to prevent World War Three in the course of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, and Lyndon Johnson who, five years later, planned to start the conflagration.



[i] Peter Hounam, Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III (London, Satin Publications, Ltd., 2003).

[ii] Mellen, Faustian Bargains, p. 214.