Pat Buchanan's analysis of the Second World War ["The War That Didn't Need Waging," op-ed, Oct. 11] left me with one question: Why did he write it?

Did he intend to alienate our veterans, whose toils he labels counterproductive?

Did he wish to alienate the Jews and our newest NATO allies, the Poles, who, if Hitler had not exterminated them, would have been forced into slavery to support Germany's "great war" against the Soviet Union?

Did he wish to alienate our allies in Central and Eastern Europe, whose land and homes would have been ravaged?

Or did he wish to send the message to the world that a nation--by implication, ours--should not be bound by treaties and that the United States should not intervene in human rights issues? A lot of good came out of the Second World War and out of the Cold War, not the least of which is stability in Europe and our solid alliance with Germany and Japan. The only good that comes out of Buchanan's article is proof that he does not understand international affairs and does not belong in the White House.

--Harald Anderson

Patrick Buchanan asserts that because he had no surface navy or transport ships, Hitler "posed no strategic threat to the United States" and we would have been better off never to have fought him.

Hitler's scientists were working to perfect atomic fission as early as 1940. His missile capability, developed by Wernher von Braun and the other German rocket scientists later employed by us, was far enough advanced to devastate large ports of London in 1944.

Had we not destroyed him, Hitler would have developed intercontinental nuclear missiles. There is no doubt he would have turned them against American cities.

--Milton Gwirtzman

Pat Buchanan makes a number of statements about the Second World War that fly in the face of documented German military thinking. Under the "Schlieffen plan," Russia, Germany's historical enemy, could not be attacked without Germany's first addressing its more recent enemy, France. If France were to garner her full military strength against Germany while Germany's armies were advancing into Russia, Germany risked not only taking a beating but also being overrun by French forces.

The plan called for neutralizing France via a German attack through Belgium and Holland. Hitler was particularly keen upon redressing the perceived wrongs of Versailles. He was later to make the French sign their defeat at Rethondes in eastern France--in the same boxcar where German negotiators had capitulated at the end of World War I.

Buchanan's theory also fails to explain Hitler's overruning the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway and Luxembourg by May 1940.

Finally, Buchanan states that the Royal Air Force "achieve[d] superiority in 1940." But the Battle of Britain opened on July 10, 1940, when the Nazis bombed coastal towns from Plymouth to Dover. The British had 1,450 trained pilots (most of them were volunteers who learned how to fly on a lark between the wars). Goering had 10,000 trained pilots.

--Jordan Hoffman