Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

World War II: The First Culture War, by Robert Oulds


This remarkable and comprehensive study of World War II focuses on the crucial role of ideas - moral and intellectual - in the different ways the opposing sides fought, and explains the role of these ideas in the Allies' ultimate victory.

The author examines the differing strategies pursued by each of the rival powers, and their tactics and weaponry, and the different terrains on which the struggle was fought. Oulds pays due attention to logistics and to the contending powers' industrial bases, their weaknesses and strengths. He also examines their leaderships' ideologies and their strengths and weaknesses.

The author explores Hitler's 'deluded romantic' world view, the enforced union of peoples under autocracy, his anti-Semitism, the evil doctrine that 'might is right', his imposition of cultural uniformity, the crushing of dissent. Hitler believed that his will would be the decisive factor - the Nietzschean notion of the superman.

He blamed 'the Jew' for the war he wanted. Unsurprisingly, "German attempts to replace national identity with a new higher culture based on racial awareness gathered few adherents in the occupied nations."

The author shows how and why Hitler's Project Fear against Britain failed. "Hitler's strategy had awoken three sleeping superpowers, the British Empire, the USSR and the USA." Hitler underestimated the British people's attachment to their independence, just as he underestimated the massive industrial capacities of the USA and the Soviet Union. Hitler ignored Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's first rule of warfare - "Don't march on Moscow."

Japan's leaders still upheld Japan's feudal traditions. Its leaders, and all too many of its people, rejected the materialist conception of history, and embraced the idealist notion that their future was in the hands of a non-material, spiritual power.

Oulds points to the centrality of the Allies' commitment to the self-determination of peoples, to the great democratic ideals of national independence, sovereignty and freedom. Oulds also stresses the vital importance of the English common law, which Britain had bequeathed to the USA, and of the British people's long tradition of resisting absolute monarchies.

As the author notes, "The guilty men of appeasement were anathema and out of kilter with Britain's historic mission to oppose European unions in all their forms." Similarly today, "Some would rather have seen Brexit fail and result in an economic crisis rather than see Britain's EU withdrawal become a success story."

As Oulds emphasises, "societies that enshrined the right of people to challenge perceived wisdom" did far better than those that relied on "the decision-making of a single expert."

He gives due respect to the vital role of patriotism, but knows that patriotism is not enough to win wars, it has to be allied to realistic leadership, which involves granting operational freedom to the generals in the field. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames