Jim Powell


Jim Powell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and World War II, discusses how US entry into WWI broke a three year stalemate and gave the allied forces a decisive victory, how the punitive Treaty of Versailles and crippling hyperinflation from war reparations provoked a defiant German nationalist reaction creating an environment receptive to Hitler’s rise to power, Woodrow Wilson’s arrogant creation of new national boundaries that are still sources of conflict today,how disparate cultures newly lumped together fighting for control over public schools can be seen as a microcosm of inherently problematic centralized government, how Wilson dissuaded Russia from negotiating a ceasefire with Germany – enabling Lenin and the Bolsheviks to seize power while the Russian army collapsed and why government power is inversely related to its functionality.

MP3 here. (27:50)

Jim Powell, senior fellow at the CATO Institute, is an expert in the history of liberty. He has lectured in England, Germany, Japan, Argentina and Brazil as well as at Harvard, Stanford and other universities across the United States. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Audacity/American Heritage and other publications.

He is the author of several books, including The Triumph of Liberty, A 2,000 Year History Told Through The Lives Of Freedom’s Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000), with a foreword by Paul Johnson. This book chronicles heroic struggles against tyranny, slavery, war and mass murder. Powell’s book FDR’s Folly, How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (2003) reported a wide range of findings – ignored by political historians and biographers – about the unexpected consequences of New Deal policies. Thomas Sowell wrote: “Only now has a book been written in language that non-economists can understand which argues persuasively that the policies of the Roosevelt administration actually prolonged the depression and made it worse.”

25 thoughts on “Jim Powell”

  1. What, Glenn Beck wasn't available?

    So FDR made the Depression worse, and Wilson is responsible for Hitler and Stalin. Next: how JFK is really to blame for the Iraq War and the genocide in Rwanda.

    1. I believe the guy is right on the mark. Up to the day we entered WWI we were just as likely to be on the German side as against them. The USA second largest number of immigrants were from Germany. It was the war mongers who pushed WWI for personal profit that got us into the war. Charles Lindburgh's father was a congressman who fought the War and the federal reserve. He lost his congressional seat because of the hate of the war mongers and his son suffered savage attacks all his life because he was against Churchill's folly of starting a war to protect Russia. There is no doubt that WWI treaty caused the rise of radicals like hitler. JFK is partially responsible for the Iraq war because he help fund the present day Israel who was one of the major cheerleaders in the useless attack on Iraq.

  2. To his credit, Jim Powell's a revisionist historian. He's not a bought-and-paid-for "court" historian. No starry-eyed–and dishonest–adoration of Roosevelt and Wilson for him.

    Wilson was a messianic, self-righteous sonofabitch. Instead of intervening in the European war, he should have let England and Germany duke it out.

  3. Just as FDR should have allowed Germany and Russia duke it out. Churchill who got so many killed in WWI clearly repeated his action by destroying the british empire during WWII. The real problem is war is so profitable that it has its own group of profit centers. The world is going to have never ending wars as long as so many make so much off getting out kids killed.

  4. America should have either stayed out of WWI or fought on the side of the Germans.
    Churchill was really a self promoting evil man.
    Buchanan's book – 'Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War' – accurrately puts much of the blame for WWII on Churchill and Britain.

  5. Oh yeh, how brillant of Mr. Powell.

    And if only Lincoln had let the South secede, the US would not have been strong enough to engage in WW 1 or 2, or Korea or Vietnam.

    And if only Europe had let the Ottoman Empire keep all of the Middle East after WW 1, there have been no Balfour Declaration, no Israel, and no problems for the US over there.

    You see, Turkey would still control all of the Middle East just as it did up until 1918, and there would have been no Iraq war. Presto!

    Turkey would now control all the oil in the Middle East and because Turkey is such a wonderful friend, it would have sold us oil at a fair price. There would be no Arab nations either and there'd be no Arab problems.

    And Europeans should never have fought the Balkan Wars and liberated the Balkans from the Turks in the years leading up to WW 1. Then there would be no Kosovo problem now.

    Brillant, Mr. Powell, just brilliant.

    1. A more interesting "what if" : Germany tried to negotiate an armistice and and eventual to the war in 1916. They put out diplomatic feelers via the Vatican, but Britain and France thought they could win out-right and refused to negotiate.

      History is full of contigencies. Blaming everything on this guy or that guy is unprofessional, to say the least. Usually the mark of a zealot, not a philosophical historian.

      1. Not a "what if". Germany tried to negotiate peace several times. In 1916 it offered Czarist Russia peace on the basis of the pre-war status quo. At the time that was a very generous offer which if the braindead Czar had accepted would have saved many lives, including his own. In 1917 Germany offered to return Alsace-Lorraine to France in exchange for peace. But the Entente kept hoping for American intervention to win a dictated peace for them.

        1. "In 1916 it offered Czarist Russia peace" Was this before or after the Brusilov Offensive, which gave optimists the idea that Russia could actually win this thing.

          1. It was before the Brusilov offensive. The central powers had spent 1915 pushing the Russians back just about everywhere. They had taken Russian Poland, part of Lithuania and cleared the Carpathians. They had captured a million prisoners and inflicted at least another million casualties on the Czarist troops. Had the Czar accepted the generous offer, there would have been no revolution, Lenin, Stalin, etc. He would also have saved his life, his family and his dynasty.

    2. You can go from the subliminal to the ridiculous Tracy and you just did. In any case America should have just accepted it could only control what it did, not other countries. And America could have chosen peace in 1917.

    1. That's what you get from intellectual egg heads who think they know best and then they send your own flesh and blood to die for their "theories".

  6. I thought it was Churchill who was to blame for everything? So Pat Buchanan's latest book, anyway. Scott was real enthusiatic about that one, too.

  7. Read Thomas Fleming WW1 and the Illusion of Victory with Powell's and see just how centralized and sinister the government's lead up and explanation for WW1. Neither go far enough but it's the usual Wall St. motivations and agendas

    They parallel today's undeclared wars, it's a winning formula.

    Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR and all beyond were all imperialists and the American Empire has bankrupted up.

    "unrestricted submarine warfare", "war to end all wars", "make the world safe for democracy", 'secure America" my ass.

    Start enforcing and constitutionally declaring wars for one and you will limit war. It's not a policy decision nor an economic-fiance-agenda of National security-permanent war and Empire.

  8. America entered the war in April 1917. Just the summer before the Somme offensive produced over a million casualties for nothing. Ditto Verdun. Then the Brusilov offensive dwarfed even these losses. Why anybody would want to bring their country into this charnel house of madness defies belief. But Wilson and company weren't going to do any of the fighting of course.

    1. But of course, Andy. That is why I believe our "leaders" should all man the front lines as mandatory for calling a nation to war. If it's important enough for THEM to die then maybe there is something to their argument. Otherwise its all lies.

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