Truth vs. Propaganda
Revisionism for Our Time
by Murray N. Rothbard
This article first appeared in the Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Spring 1966.
Revisionism as applied to World War II and its origins (as also for previous wars) has the general function of bringing historical truth to an American and a world public that had been drugged by wartime lies and propaganda. This, in itself, is a virtue. But some truths of history, of course, may be largely of antiquarian interest, with little relevance to present-day concerns. This is not true of World War II revisionism, which has much critical significance for today’s world.
The least of the lessons that revisionism can teach has already been thoroughly learned: that Germany and Japan are not uniquely “aggressor nations,” doomed from birth to menace the peace of the world. The larger lessons have, unfortunately, yet to be learned.
The United States is again being subjected to that “complex of fear and vaunting” (in the brilliant phrase of Garet Garrett’s) which drove us, and the Western world, into two other disastrous wars in our century. Once again, the American public is being subjected to a nearly unanimous barrage of war propaganda and war hysteria, so that only the most searching and rational can keep their heads. Once again, we find that there has emerged upon the scene an Enemy, a Bad Guy, with the same old Bad Guy characteristics that we have heard of before; a diabolic, monolithic Enemy, which, generations ago in some “sacred texts,” decided (for reasons that remain obscure) that it was “out to conquer the world.”