In an article in The Guardian he argues that, now that all the other reasons for the Iraq war have proved to be a bust, war supporters fall back on the claim that it was worth it because it got rid of a terrible dictator, just like World War II.
He then goes on to passionately argue that the only reason the Allies went to war against Hitler was for self-interest not for moral reasons.
This is, of course, is a complete straw man. No historian worth his or her salt argues anything but that. Wilby seems to believe that because they entered the war for self-interested reasons nothing they accomplished has any moral value.
But where he goes way over the top is when he argues that the Jews would have been better off if the Allies had not gone to war against Germany.
Would the Holocaust have happened if there had been no war or if the western democracies had acted against Nazi Germany earlier? We can never know - though it is likely that, if Britain had made peace in 1940 after the fall of France, the Jews would have been sent to Madagascar. What is certain is that the war prevented any concerted attempt at rescue.
Wilby ignores the fact that Madagascar would have meant a slow death for the Jews. It was uninhabitable particularly for millions of urban people. it was meant to be a place where Jews would die not thrive.
Furthermore, as blogger Marko Attila Hoare points out, Britain controlled the naval routes to Madagascar so it would have had to cooperate with Nazi Germany to get the Jews there.
He then goes on to take his argument to even more absurd heights, that by going to war resources that the Allies would have used to help the Jews were diverted to fight the war.
Resources used to help Jews would be diverted from the war. . Any mass movement of refugees ran the risk of the Germans planting agents among them. Oil supplies were too vital to Britain to risk upsetting Arabs by evacuating them to Palestine. Any of the suggested swaps - Jews for German POWs, for example - might suggest allied weakness. Besides, why should the allies assist Hitler to rid Europe of Jewry? The best we could do, as Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, observed in 1944, was to "hope that the German government will refrain from exterminating these unfortunate people".
What makes him think that the Allies, who in Evian in 1938 would not open their doors to Jewish refugees, would have run to help the Jews?
Moreover, he seems to have convinced himself that Hitler would not have gone to war with the USSR and, in the course of so doing, would not have murdered millions of Jews. With an assurance that the West would not fight him, Hitler would have wasted no time in declaring war on the USSR. He wanted their lebensraum and he wanted their resources to allow the German people to live in luxury.
Wilby can be against war in general and the war in Iraq all he wants [who precisely is for war? And who, with the exception of John McCain and George Bush, still believe in the rectitude of this war?] But he should not murder history in the process.