In response to:

Drawing the Wrong Lesson from the March 11, 2010 issue

To the Editors:

Max Hastings is probably right that a German victory in World War I would have been “a catastrophe for European freedom” [“Drawing the Wrong Lesson,” NYR, March 11]. But the problem of Germany’s humiliating defeat continues to reverberate, for example in the proliferation of nuclear weapons whose costly and ruinous development might have been unthinkable without the Nazi threat; nor without that humiliation would there have been the Nazi regime and its Holocaust? And without the Holocaust would there have been the state of Israel? So one might argue that Israel’s Iranian problem and ours is an unintended consequence of the Allied victory. Since Mr. Hastings raises a hypothetical alternative to the actual outcome I may do the same: but for the American intervention in 1917, the exhausted belligerents might have accepted a truce without winners, therefore no Versailles, no Hitler, and no Iranian centrifuges.

Jason Epstein
New York City

This Issue

April 8, 2010