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lundi, 20 octobre 2014

Sennacherib’s Return

 Lancaster_I_NG128_Dropping_Blockbuster_-_Duisburg_-_Oct_14_1944-300x264.jpg

Sennacherib’s Return

Advance to Barbarism, FJP Veale

The exclusion of non-combatants from the scope of hostilities is the fundamental distinction between civilized and barbarous warfare.

FJP Veale

Sennacherib, the great king,

And their small cities, which were beyond numbering I destroyed, I devastated, and I turned into ruins. The houses of the steppe, (namely) the tents, in which they lived, I set on fire and turned them into flames.

Over the whole of his wide land I swept like a hurricane. The cities Marubishti and Akkuddu, his royal residence-cities, together with small towns of their area, I besieged, I captured, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.

In the course of my campaign, Beth-Dagon, Joppa, Banaibarka, Asuru, cities of Sidka, who had not speedily bowed in submission at my feet, I besieged, I conquered, I carried off their spoil.

As for Hezekiah the Judahite, who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as the small towns in their area, which were without number, by levelling with battering-rams and by bringing up seige-engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels, and breeches, I besieged and took them.

I captured their cities and carried off their spoil, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.

Furthermore, 33 cities within the bounds of his province I captured. People, asses, cattle and sheep, I carried away from them as spoil. I destroyed, I devastated, and I burned with fire.

The cities which were in those provinces I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire. Into tells and ruins I turned them.

…strong cities, together with the small cities in their areas, which were countless, I besieged, I conquered, I despoiled, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire, with the smoke of their conflagration I covered the wide heavens like a hurricane.

Veale continues his examination of the Advance to Barbarism, focusing first on the World War II bombing of areas outside of the battlefield and culminating in the carpet bombing of German cities.  This bombing marked the complete repudiation of one of the cornerstones of the concept of civilized warfare: warfare should be the concern only of the armed combatants engaged; non-combatants should be left outside of the scope of military operations.  It marked the return, or advance as Veale puts it, to a form of warfare for which Sennacherib the Assyrian was well known.

May 11, 1940

churchill.jpgVeale introduces J. M. Spaight and his book “Bombing Vindicated.” Spaight describes the awesomeness of this day, the “splendid decision” to bomb German targets well outside of the area of military operations.  The next day, newspapers announced that “eighteen Whitley bombers attacked railway installations in Western Germany.”

Looked at from today’s eyes, there is nothing shocking in this statement; however, compared to what came before in European wars, this was news:

Western Germany in May 1940 was, of course, as much outside the area of military operations as Patagonia.

At the time the battle for France was in high gear, yet the pilots flew over these battlefields to reach their objective:

To the crews of these bombers it must have seemed strange to fly over a battlefield where a life and death struggle was taking place and then over a country crowded with columns of enemy troops pouring forward to the attack…Their flight marked the end of an epoch which had lasted for two and one-half centuries.

…against a background of prosaic twentieth railway installations we can imagine the grim forms of Asshurnazirpal and Sennacherib stroking their square-cut, curled and scented beards with dignified approval….

This was only the beginning, with the culmination to come in Dresden some five years later, but this is to get too far ahead in the narrative.

The entire reason for the development of Britain’s bomber command “was to bomb Germany should she be our enemy,” according to Spaight.  Philosophically, this concept was offered as early as 1923, by Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard: “The Army policy is to defeat the enemy army; our policy is to defeat the enemy nation.”  Not very European.

Spaight points out that this was also obvious to Hitler, which is one reason Hitler was anxious to reach an agreement with Britain to confine “the action of aircraft to the battle zones.”  Spaight agrees that Hitler undertook civilian bombing only three months after the RAF began bombing the German civilian population.

Germany did not design its bombers for such use, instead designed to support ground troops:

“For Germany,” Mr. Spaight continues, “the bomber was artillery for stationary troops dug fast into the Maginot Line; for Britain, it was an offensive weapon designed to attack the economic resources of the enemy deep within his country.”

In order to establish the groundwork for this shift, in May, 1940 Churchill and his advisors extended the definition of military objectives to include…

…factories, oil plants, public buildings and any structure which contributed or was of use, if only indirectly, to the war effort of the enemy.

Railway installations, industrial zones, etc.  The British Cabinet argued that these are used to support the military, therefore are fair targets.  Of course, by this reasoning – and by including the word “indirectly” – virtually every resident of a warring nation could be a legitimate target.

However, even via this logic, bombing accuracy must be taken into account.  There is no such thing as “collateral damage” when bombing an actual war zone – there is no collateral to damage.  Even with modern accuracy, collateral damage is a given (and intended) – and with the technology of World War Two, collateral damage was more likely than damage of the purposeful sort.

May 14, 1940

…a date on which Hitler’s triumphal progress which, thanks to the outcome of events on that day he was able to continue for the following two years, came so near to being brought to an abrupt and final halt.

On May 10, the Germans invaded the West, in an offensive that stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland.  On May 12, German General von Kleist occupied Sedan in the Ardennes, and the next day established a beachhead on the other side of the Meuse River – four miles deep and four miles wide.

Meanwhile, British bombers were flying overhead, on their way to targets far from the battlefield.

While this great conflict was raging along the Meuse, another conflict of a different kind was raging between the French and British High Commands.

The breakthrough by the Germans had been so swift that no heavy artillery was moved into place – artillery that might have cut-off the bridgehead established by the Germans. The French, believing that the purpose of heavy bombers was for long-rage artillery (just as the Germans designed)…

…clamoured for an immediate concentration of bombers for a mass attack on the crossings of the Meuse.  They found however the chiefs of the R.A.F were reluctant to cancel the plans which they had made for large scale air attacks on German industrial centres in accordance with Air Marshal Trenchard’s conception of the role of the heavy bomber in warfare.

Whatever the merits of bombing German industrial centers, the French did not believe that the time to begin doing so was during the opening of a great land battle.

 

lancbomber11.jpg

 

On the night of the 13th, German troops frantically repaired the Gaulier Bridge over the Meuse; on the 14th, the heavy tanks of the 1st Panzer Division under General Guderian crossed the river and raced along a route toward the English Channel.

“Upon the destruction of the Gaulier Bridge depends victory or defeat,” declared General d’Astiere de la Vigerie imploring that every available bomber should be assigned this vital task.

About 170 British and French bombers were sent; German anti-aircraft proved quite accurate – about 85 were shot down.  Yet only one bomber needed to be successful; might the likelihood have improved with more thrown into the attack?

We now know that 96 heavy bombers were at this vital moment available to join the attack.  While this supreme effort was being made to cut the communications of the German tank spearhead advancing toward the English Channel, these 96 heavy bombers were waiting passively on nearby airfields in preparation for a mass attack on the factories and oil plants in the Ruhr which had been planned to take place on the evening of the following day.

This attack, far from the front line, took place as planned.  Ninety-six bombers took off, of which 78 were directed at oil plants.  Of these, only 24 crews claim to have found them.

One extra load of bombs on the crossing over the Meuse by Sedan – let alone ninety-six loads – might have made all the difference between victory and defeat as General Billote pointed out at the time.  Had the supplies of Guderian’s Panzers been cut off, he would soon have been brought to a halt from lack of petrol and then forced to surrender when his ammunition was exhausted.

Veale speculates that this might have brought the battle in the West to a rapid end: the German generals, hesitant to invade France in the first place, might have compelled Hitler’s retirement; the National Socialist party would have collapsed; Britain and France could have been in a position to dictate the terms of peace.

I cannot say if any of this would have happened – beyond the understanding that the German generals did not support this invasion.  One thing I suspect is true: if the British were successful in blowing the bridge, the war in the west would have been much different.

From the “Splendid Decision” to Terror Bombing

On December 16, 1940, 134 planes took off for a nighttime raid on the town of Mannheim, with the object of the attack – according to Air Chief Marshal Pierse – “to concentrate the maximum amount of damage in the centre of the town.”  So much for any semblance of military objectives.

From The Bansusan-Butt Report dated August 18, 1941:

The British Cabinet were horrified to learn that aerial photographs taken of the targets described as having been completely demolished disclosed that most of them showed no signs of damage; of all the aircraft credited with having bombed their targets, only one-third had, in fact, bombed within five miles of them.

Within five miles – a rather generous standard.  Only one-third – a rather criminal rate. Even this loose definition of “military objectives” was not enough:

…early in 1942 – the exact date, it now appears, was March 30th, 1942 – Professor Lindemann submitted a Minute to the War Cabinet in which he urged that bombing  henceforth should be directed against German working-class houses in preference to military objectives.

He estimated that 50% of the houses in German towns of 50,000 and more would be destroyed.

The first application of this plan was executed on March 28, 1942 (this presents some conflict in the dates), with the attack of Lilibeck by 234 aircraft.

The focus of the attack was the Altstadt composed of medieval houses with narrow, tortuous streets; some 30,000 people lived in an area of two square kilometres.

The climax, of course, was Dresden.

The climax of the offensive was reached on the night of February 13th, 1945 when a mass raid by several thousand heavy bombers was directed against Dresden.

The Associated Press at the time had no difficulty in calling it, according to Veale, a deliberate terror bombing…as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler’s doom.

From The Times, immediately after the bombings:

“Dresden, which had been pounded on Tuesday night by 800 of the 1,400 heavies sent out by the R.A.F. and was the main object of 1,350 Fortresses and Liberators on the following day, yesterday received its third heavy attack in thirty-six hours.  It was the principal target for more than 1,100 United States 8th Army Air Force bombers.”

The focus of the attack was the Altstadt – the beautiful center of the city so well-known to western travelers – palaces, art galleries, museums and churches.  No military objectives nearby.

With fires raging from the first wave, a second wave descended on the city.  No air raid shelters; the public buildings swollen with refugees stood between the falling bombs and the ground.  The city was covered with black smoke – making it difficult, I imagine, for the pilots to see even what they were bombing.  It mattered little, as the point wasn’t military.

The city burned for days.

The city was swollen by hundreds of thousands of women and children, escaping the horrors of Stalin’s armies from the east – escaping the murder, rape and arson.  Western reconnaissance planes certainly saw the dense crowds moving westward.

So enormous were the number of bodies that nothing could be done but to pile them on timber collected from the ruins and there to burn them.  In the Altmarkt one funeral pyre after another disposed of five hundred bodies or parts of bodies at a time.  The gruesome work went on for weeks.

Estimates of the dead range from 100,000 to 250,000.

The war, by now, had already been won.  The only military question left was where the line between east and west would be drawn.  Apparently it was desirous to aid Russia in the placement of the line.

I hope someday, through my work in my Timeline to War, to have a comprehensive picture of events leading up to the Second World War – I imagine this will be a never-ending task.  One of the puzzles to piece together as relates to German and British bombing of the other will be…who started it?  Not that it matters to me greatly, as two immoral wrongs cannot make a moral right.

Veale addresses this question:

In passing it may be observed that the question which air offensive was a reprisal for which has now long ceased to be a subject for dispute.

From the book “The Royal Air Force, 1939 – 1945,” Veale finds:

…the destruction of oil plants and factories was only a secondary purpose of the British air attacks on Germany which began in May 1940.  The primary purpose of these raids was to goad the Germans into undertaking reprisal raids of a similar character on Britain.  Such raids would arouse intense indignation in Britain against Germany and so create a war psychosis without which it is impossible to carry on a modern war.

Conclusion

Probably future historians will agree with the learned authors of the official history of the British strategic air offensive that the Second World War was not won by British terror bombing.  On the other hand, terror bombing, officially adopted in March 1942, was the only logical outcome of Churchill’s “Splendid Decision” of May 1940.

Future historians might also conclude that the “Splendid Decision” prolonged the war in the West by five years.

The lesson that could have been drawn from the Battle of Britain was that long range terror bombing offers a low likelihood of military advantage.  In this regard, General JFC Fuller wrote:

“This lesson was lost on the British Air Force which continued to hold that ‘strategic bombing’ was the be all and end all of air power.  This fallacy not only prolonged the war, but went far to render the ‘peace’ which followed it unprofitable to Britain and disastrous to the world in general.”

This lesson remains lost on those who choose air power over a distance of thousands of miles as the weapon of choice.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Bionic Mosquito

dimanche, 19 octobre 2014

La battaglia sull’Istmo di Perekop

La battaglia sull’Istmo di Perekop

Autore:

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it

300px-Isthmus_of_Perekop_map.pngNell’autunno del 1920 la guerra civile russa era ormai avviata verso la sua inevitabile conclusione, con le armate bianche che cedevano, una dopo l’altra, davanti alla pressione dell’Armata rossa forgiata da Trotzkij e da lui diretta con spietata energia.

A parte le prime formazioni di Cosacchi antibolscevichi, come quella del generale Krasnov, che si appoggiava sull’aiuto dei Tedeschi (prima che la Germania uscisse sconfitta dalla prima guerra mondiale) e a parte l’esercito dei volontari cecoslovacchi, i quali, nell’estate del 1918, si erano impadroniti quasi senza colpo ferire di gran parte della ferrovia transiberiana e della regione degli Urali, tre furono le principali armate bianche che, nel corso del 1919, avevano costituito un serio pericolo per il potere bolscevico:

a) l’esercito siberiano dell’ammiraglio Kolčiak, autoproclamatosi “supremo reggitore” dello Stato russo e riconosciuto quale capo nominale di tutte le armate bianche, il quale, nei primi mesi dell’anno, si era spinto in direzione di Kazan’ e di Mosca. L’Armata rossa lo aveva però contrattaccato il 28 aprile e, in maggio, aveva sfondato le sue linee, dapprima respingendolo al di là degli Urali; poi, in agosto, dopo aver preso Celjabinsk ed Ekaterinburg, lanciando una nuova offensiva sul fronte Tobolsk-Kurgan e procedendo assai velocemente lungo la transiberiana, tanto da occupare Omsk già il 14 novembre. Kolčak venne consegnato, il 15 gennaio, dai Cecoslovacchi a un governo provvisorio filo-sovietico formatosi a Irkutsk e da questo processato e fucilato il 7 febbraio; il suo corpo venne buttato in un buco scavato nel ghiaccio del fiume Angara.

b) L’esercito bianco del generale Denikin, che nell’estate del 1919 aveva riportato successi spettacolari e, dalla regione del Kuban, aveva invaso l’Ucraina, spingendosi fino a Orel, sulla via adducente a Mosca da sud. Esso era stato a sua volta contrattaccato dall’Armata rossa a partire dal 10 ottobre e costretto a una precipitosa e drammatica ritirata. Alla fine dell’anno, i suoi resti erano tornati, assai mal ridotti, sulle posizioni di partenza della primavera, fra Kursk ed Ekaterinoslav; Denikin, sfiduciato, aveva passato le consegne al generale Wrangel, il quale aveva dedicato i mesi invernali a riorganizzare le truppe e i servizi logistici.

c) Il terzo attacco ai centri vitali del potere bolscevico era stato sferrato nell’autunno del 1919 dal generale Judenič il quale, con il sostegno della flotta inglese, era sbarcato nel Golfo di Finlandia e aveva marciato direttamente sulla vecchia capitale imperiale, Pietrogrado. La minaccia era stata seria, perché si era profilata contemporaneamente all’avanzata di Denikin dall’Ucraina, (mentre le forze di Kolčiak erano già in piena dissoluzione); ma anch’essa era stata affrontata e sventata con la massima energia dall’Armata rossa, che era passata decisamente al contrattacco, il 22 ottobre, e aveva costretto le forze di Judenič a interrompere la marcia su Pietrogrado e a reimbarcarsi in tutta fretta.

Così, all’inizio del 1920, a parte le bande degli atamani Semënov e Kalmykov, rispettivamente a Čita e Khabarovsk, al di là del lago Bajkal – ove era sorta, a fare da cuscinetto fra i Rossi e un corpo di spedizione di 70.000 soldati giapponesi, una effimera Repubblica dell’Estremo Oriente -; il piccolo esercito del barone Ungern-Sternberg nella Mongolia Interna; alcune forze cosacche nell’Asia centrale e nella regione del Caucaso; e alcune bande ucraine operanti nella zona di Kiev, restavano ora due soli avversari cospicui per l’Armata rossa: l’esercito polacco del maresciallo Pilsudski, pronto ad attaccare nella primavera del 1920, e quello dei Russi “bianchi” del generale Wrangel, attestato nell’Ucraina meridionale.

In Estremo Oriente, la guerriglia contro le ultime forze “bianche” e contro gli stessi Giapponesi venne condotta da bande di partigiani, sia bolscevichi che anarchici; mentre l’offensiva scatenata da Pilsudski nel maggio venne respinta e l’Armata rossa, passata a sua volta all’attacco, venne battuta in maniera decisiva sotto le mura di Varsavia, in agosto: sicché, il 18 marzo 1921, si giunse alla pace di Riga fra Polonia e Unione Sovietica. Abbiamo già narrato questi avvenimenti in due lavori precedenti: Trjapicyn in Siberia orientale: breve la vita felice di un “bandito” anarchico; e Chi ha voluto la guerra sovietico-polacca del 1920? Una questione storiografica ancora aperta.

Pertanto, nell’autunno del 1920, Trotzkij era ormai libero di concentrare le forze maggiori dell’Armata rossa contro l’ultimo esercito “bianco” ancora attestato in territorio russo e dotato di una buona capacità combattiva: quello del barone Wrangel. Anche le bande anarchiche di Machno, fino ad allora ostili ai bolscevichi, siglarono una tregua e accettarono anzi di passare sotto il comando del generale Frunze, in vista di una offensiva finale contro i Bianchi. Un ambasciatore inviato a Machno da Wrangel, per esplorare le possibilità di una alleanza tattica in funzione antibolscevica, era stato impiccato; il capo anarchico non sapeva, allora, che subito dopo la liquidazione dell’ultima armata “bianca” sarebbe venuta anche la sua ora.

wrangel

 

 

Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel (27 agosto 1878 – 25 aprile 1928)

Wrangel non godeva dell’appoggio delle popolazioni ucraine, per le stesse ragioni che avevano provocato la sconfitta di Kolčak, Denikin e Judenič: la diffidenza dei contadini e l’esiguità delle classi medie che, sole, avrebbero potuto costituire una base sociale determinante; e ciò nonostante che Wrangel, ammaestrato dalla disfatta degli altri generali “bianchi”, avesse promesso ai contadini una riforma agraria radicale, a spese della grande proprietà terriera.

I bolscevichi, con i loro metodi brutali di requisizioni forzate e con l’esercizio di una spietata dittatura, mascherata sotto l’apparenza di autonomia dei Soviet, avevano destato anch’essi notevoli diffidenze da parte dei contadini e suscitato malumori perfino tra i marinai e nella classe operaia (come si sarebbe visto nella rivolta di Kronstadt, repressa da Tuchacevskij nel marzo 1921). Essi erano però più abili a livello propagandistico, sfruttando slogan come «tutto il potere ai Soviet» e «la terra a chi la lavora»; e dipingendo tutti i Bianchi, senza alcuna sfumatura, come gli strumenti della restaurazione monarchica e aristocratica.

Una valutazione imparziale di quegli avvenimenti esige che si riconoscano a Wrangel delle capacità militari e organizzative veramente eccezionali: possedeva più costanza di Denikin e più senso politico di Kolčak; e, pur non facendosi illusioni sull’esito finale di una lotta così ineguale, era capace di infondere coraggio e determinazione ai suoi uomini, demoralizzati da tante sconfitte e ridotti a lottare con una crescente penuria di materiali da guerra ed equipaggiamenti; cui si aggiunsero – alla metà di ottobre – delle condizioni climatiche precocemente ed eccezionalmente rigide, che aumentarono le loro sofferenze.

Riteniamo si possa sostanzialmente concordare con il giudizio che di Wrangel ha dato lo storico inglese W. H. Chamberlin nella sua ormai classica Storia della Rivoluzione russa, 1917-1921 (titolo originale: The Russian Revolution, 1917-1921, 1935; traduzione italiana di Mario Vinciguerra, Torino, Einaudi, 1966, pp. 728, 740-42):

«Wrangel contribuì a infondere nuova energia nelle file dei Bianchi. Lavorando giorno e notte riorganizzò totalmente l’amministrazione militare e civile nella piccola zona sotto la sua autorità, e trasformò quelle truppe dalla massa informe di profughi cui s’erano ridotti a un’efficiente forza combattiva. Alcune delle misure prese a quello scopo dai suoi luogotenenti furono estremamente brutali. Ad esempio, il generale Kutepov fece impiccare in pubblico ufficiali e soldati colti in stato di avanzata ubriachezza nelle strade di Simferopol'; ma nel complesso questi provvedimenti raggiunsero il loro scopo. Lo spiriti bellicoso delle truppe, che era quasi svanito durante la lunga e tremenda ritirata da Orel a Novorossijsk, fu restaurato. Uno scrittore sovietico esprime il seguente apprezzamento sullo stato dell’esercito di Wrangel nella primavera e nell’estate del 1920: “Qualitativamente era la migliore forza combattente d cui avesse mai disposto la controrivoluzione russa e internazionale nella sua lotta contro le Repubbliche sovietiche”.

Questo giudizio è confermato dal corso delle operazioni militari. Le truppe di Wrangel non solo tennero a bada ma respinsero forze sovietiche considerevolmente superiori, e soccombettero solo quando, per effetto della pace conclusa con la Polonia, esse furono letteralmente schiacciate dal numero delle forze sovietiche […].

Wrangel fu l’ultimo capo del movimento bianco organizzato in Russia. Trovandosi fin da principio di fronte a una forte disparità di forze, la sua disfatta era quasi inevitabile. Pochi degli uomini di stato antibolscevichi più autorevoli ebbero voglia di entrare nel suo governo. Egli non fece miracoli. Con un piccolo esercito e una base di operazioni inadeguata, non poteva tener testa indefinitamente all’enorme esercito rosso, che attingeva i propri soldati da quasi tutta la Russia. Coi suoi precedenti di ufficiale aristocratico, non poteva superare il grande abisso di sospetto e di ostilità che sempre sussistettero tra il movimento e le masse dei contadini, e fu la causa fondamentale della sua disfatta.

Ma, tenuto conto di questi inevitabili fattori negativi, Wrangel si batté valorosamente. Aveva ereditato un relitto di esercito e seppe rifoggiarlo in forza combattente che inferse ai Rossi alcuni fieri colpi. Wrangel non poteva salvare quella vecchia Russia di cui s’era fatto campione e rappresentante, ma la sua attività militare, che tenne una quantità di truppe rosse impegnate in Ucraina e nel Kuban, non fu certo l’ultima ragione per cui l’esercito rosso mancò davanti a Varsavia di quella estrema riserva d’energia che avrebbe creato una Polonia sovietica ed esteso il bolscevismo molto oltre le frontiere russe. Visto da questo lato, l’epilogo del movimento bianco, impersonato da Wrangel, fu una fortuna per la Polonia e forse per altri stati di nuova formazione dell’Europa orientale come fu funesto per il governo sovietico e per l’Internazionale comunista».

Una prima offensiva contro le forze di Wrangel, lanciata l’8 gennaio 1920, aveva portato i reparti dell’Armata rossa fino a ridosso della Crimea, centro nevralgico dei Bianchi, con i suoi porti affollati di navi russe e delle potenze dell’Intesa. Sarebbe errato, tuttavia, vedere Wrangel come una semplice creazione degli Alleati; in realtà, dopo la sconfitta di Denikin, i governi di Londra e Parigi avevano rinunciato alla speranza di assistere a una caduta del regime sovietico in tempi brevi e, di fatto, avevano ritirato il loro appoggio militare e finanziario ai Bianchi, limitandosi solo a vaghe promesse e ad un certo sostegno logistico.

I Francesi, in particolare – che avevano investito grossi capitali in Russia prima e durante la prima guerra mondiale, avevano puntato quasi tutte le loro carte sulla Polonia di Pilsudski; e, dopo la vittoria di quest’ultimo davanti a Varsavia, si disinteressarono sostanzialmente del destino di Wrangel. Come se non bastasse, la loro flotta, stanziata a Odessa, era stata scossa dagli ammutinamenti degli equipaggi nel 1919, per cui il governo francese non si illudeva di poter prolungare la propria influenza politico-militare nell’area del Mar Nero.

Ci furono invece delle trattative interalleate che sembrarono sfociare in una spedizione militare italiana in Georgia, all’inizio dell’estate 1919; ma poi non se ne fece più nulla, specialmente a causa dell’instabilità dei governi italiani tra la fine della prima guerra mondiale e l’ascesa del fascismo. Nel caso specifico, fu l’opposizione di Nitti al progetto che lo fece cadere, e con esso cadde il ministero Orlando, che lo aveva preparato e si accingeva a porlo in atto.

Quanto agli Inglesi, essi avevano puntato su Kolčak, cui avevano fornito non solo abbondante materiale da guerra e ingenti risorse finanziarie, ma anche consiglieri militari; e, dopo la sua sconfitta, avevano rinunciato all’idea di poter rovesciare il regime sovietico mediante l’azione degli eserciti “bianchi”.

Sapendo di non poter più vincere la guerra civile sul campo, Wrangel – che era un uomo intelligente e che possedeva uno spiccato senso realistico – studiò il modo di ritardare l’investimento della sua cittadella crimeana e di intavolare eventualmente trattative coi bolscevichi, attraverso i buoni uffici delle potenze occidentali; ma, per poterlo fare, desiderava raggiungere una posizione strategica migliore, che rendesse più forte anche la sua posizione politica.

Pertanto, nell’estate, egli effettuò alcuni sbarchi sulla costa orientale del Mar d’Azov, investendo il territorio del Kuban e minacciando di congiungersi con il cosiddetto Esercito della rigenerazione russa, che si era stabilito nella regione settentrionale del Caucaso. Il collegamento non riuscì, nonostante le forze bianche riportassero, nel mese di agosto, una serie di successi inaspettati; per cui, in settembre, le truppe di Wrangel dovettero reimbarcarsi.

Aspettandosi ora una nuova, grande offensiva dell’Armata rossa, Wrangel attestò il suo esercito nella Tauride settentrionale e, intanto, provvide a fortificare potentemente l’istmo di Perekop, un vero e proprio “collo di bottiglia”, mediante il quale si accede, da nord-ovest a sud-est, alla penisola di Crimea.

In effetti, l’offensiva sovietica scattò il 28 ottobre, contemporaneamente alla fine delle grandi operazioni sul teatro polacco; e, dopo una lotta accanita, terminò com’era inevitabile: con l’irruzione dei Rossi fino agli accessi dell’istmo. In questa battaglia Wrangel aveva potuto mettere in linea non più di 35 uomini, contro circa 137.000 dell’Armata rossa.

Ai primi di novembre, dunque, le due armate si fronteggiavano sull’istmo, davanti a Perekop, dove i Bianchi era asserragliati dietro il cosiddetto Vallo Turco, una triplice linea di difesa munita di trincee, filo spinato, nidi di mitragliatrici e postazioni d’artiglieria. Molti consideravano le difese dell’istmo semplicemente imprendibili; ma, come vedremo, le forze della natura diedero ai Sovietici, che già godevano di una schiacciante superiorità numerica, anche un inatteso vantaggio strategico, allorché il vento rese transitabile il passaggio di terra dalla Penisola Čongar alla Penisola Lituana, respingendo le acque basse del mare; mentre le gelide temperature permisero al fondo fangoso di solidificarsi in una solida crosta di ghiaccio.

Scrive lo storico americano W. Bruce Lincoln nel suo libro I Bianchi e i Rossi. Storia della guerra civile russa (titolo originario: Red Victory, 1989; traduzione italiana di Francesco Saba Sardi, Milano, Mondadori, 1991, 1994, pp. 396-401):

Mikhail Frunze (2 febbraio 1885 – 31 ottobre1925)

Mikhail Frunze (2 febbraio 1885 – 31 ottobre1925)

«Solo lentamente i soldati di Wrangel cedettero terreno sotto l’enorme pressione dell’Armata Rossa durante la prima settimana di aspri combattimenti, e l’assalto finale di Frunze non fu coronato dal trionfo che si era atteso. Le forze di Bljücher e di Budënnyi erano avanzate di oltre 120 chilometri in tre giorni nel deciso tentativo di raggiungere la ferrovia in modo da tagliare la strada alla ritirata di Wrangel in Crimea, ma le unità rosse più a est dovettero disputare al nemico ogni pollice di terra e avanzarono assai più lentamente. “Sono stupefatto dell’enorme energia con cui il nemico resiste – comunicò Frunze a Mosca. – è indubbio che il nemico ha combattuto più validamente e tenacemente di quanto avrebbe fatto ogni altro esercito”. Fu così che i reparti di Wrangel in ritirata vinsero la corsa per la Crimea, e i disperati sforzi di allievi ufficiali e unità di seconda linea impedirono ai fucilieri di Bljücher di impadronirsi del Passo di Salkovo e di fare sfondare la prima linea di difesa a Perekop. Ma i Bianchi pagarono assai cari i loro momentanei successi. Aprendosi la strada nella Tauride settentrionale, le forze di Frunze catturarono quasi 20.000 prigionieri, un centinaio di pezzi da campo, un gran numero di mitragliatrici, decine di migliaia di granate e milioni di cartucce. “L’esercito rimase intatto – commentò in seguito Wrangel -, ma le sue capacità combattive non furono più quelle di prima”, né d’altra parte era riuscito a conservare quelle fonti alimentari per le quali aveva rischiato tanto: oltre 36.000 tonnellate di cereali del raccolto autunnale accantonate dalla sua sussistenza nei magazzini ferroviari di Melitopol e di Geničesk caddero nelle mani di Frunze.

Quesri aveva perduto l’occasione di riportare una vittoria decisiva non essendo riuscito ad accerchiare l’esercito di Wrangel prima che raggiungesse la Crimea; costretto pertanto a dare l’assalto alla fortezza peninsulare, aumentò le proprie forze e inviò i ricognitori che si erano di recente aggiunti ai suoi rafforzati reparti aerei a fotografare le linee nemiche. Alla fine della prima settimana di novembre, aveva ammassato 180.771 uomini appoggiati da quasi 3.000 mitragliatrici, oltre 600 pezzi d’artiglieria e 23 treni corazzati con cui affrontare i 26.000 regolari bianchi e le 16.000 male armate riserve che guarnivano le difese della Crimea.

Frunze decise di sferrare l’attacco principale contro il Vallo Turco, una barriera ottomana del XVIII secolo lungo la quale Wrangel aveva creato nidi ben protetti di mitragliatrici e piazzole di artiglieria, in modo da assicurare fuoco incrociato a complemento delle fitte barriere di filo spinato che costituivano la prima linea di Perekop, dietro la quale i residui treni corazzati dei Bianchi erano in grado di muoverei avanti e indietro lungo la recente diramazione ferroviaria Sebastopoli-Jušun-Amjansk, coprendo con i loro pezzi gli approcci del vallo. La 51a Divsione di Bljücher ebbe l’ordine di guidare l’attacco, e il suo comandante ne concentrò i fucilieri in ordine talmente serrato, che in certi punti aveva un uomo ogni metro e una mitragliatrice a sostegno di ogni 17 uomini. Alla sinistra di Bljücher, di fronte alle paludi salmastre di Sivaš e al ponte di Čongar un po’ più a est, Frunze schierò la Kornarmija di Budënnyi, la IV Armata Rossa e i partigiani di Machno, tenendo di riserva la maggior parte di tre armate. Stando ai resoconti sovietici, erano tutti reparti animati da alto spirito combattivo, decisi a celebrare il 7 novembre il terzo anniversario della rivoluzione bolscevica infliggendo una disfatta all’ultima cospicua forza bianca sul suolo russo.

Nonostante gli uomini e le armi che Frunze aveva radunato in vista della battaglia, i difensori della Crimea non si erano lasciati infettare dal sentimento di sconfitta che alla fine del 1919 aveva minato Denikin e i Bianchi a Novorossijsk. Wrangel aveva cominciato i preparativi per un’evacuazione in massa, ma così silenziosamente e in tempi così lunghi da mascherare l’intento. “Le misure da noi prese avevano placato le ansie che si erano qua e là manifestate”, commentò in seguito. “Dietro le linee, tutto restava tranquillo perché ciascuno credeva nell’imprendibilità delle fortificazioni di Perekop”, ed era una convinzione tutt’altro che infondata. I giornali di Crimea parlavano ancora in tono fiducioso delle difese dell’istmo di Perekop, del ponte di Čongar e della costiera intermedia. “Le fortificazioni di Sivaš e di Perekop sono talmente solide, che il Comando supremo rosso non dispone né degli uomini né delle macchine per sfondarle, assicurava il 4 novembre il foglio “Vremja” (“Tempi”). Tutte le forze armate del Sovdepja messe assieme non bastano a intimidire la Crimea”. Wrangel, forse ancora speranzoso di riuscire a bloccare Frunze, ma intento soprattutto a guadagnare il tempo necessario per portare a termine un’evacuazione ordinata, unificò la I e la II Armata sotto gli ordini del generale Kutepov, il migliore e il più tenace dei reparti combattenti che gli restassero. Universalmente noto per la feroce crudeltà nei confronti di bolscevichi e loro simpatizzanti, e ampiamente sospettato di di aver intascato colossali bustarelle in cambio di permessi di esportazione e importazione quando aveva comandato la guarnigione di Novoriossijsk, Kutepov continuava ciò nonostante a godere della piena fiducia di Wrangel quale ufficiale “in grado di affrontare qualsiasi situazione, un uomo dal grande valore militare e di eccezionale tenacia nella realizzazione dei compiti affidatigli.” Kutepov avrebbe difeso il Vallo Turco come nessun altro avrebbe potuto fare; e se non ci fosse riuscito, Wrangel avrebbe saputo senz’ombra di dubbio che la fine era giunta.

La mattina del 7 novembre, dopo aver impartito gli ultimi ordini per l’attacco, Frunze si recò al quartier generale di Budënnyi dove con questi e Vorošilov compilò un telegramma di congratulazioni a Lenin nel terzo anniversario della rivoluzione bolscevica, promettendogli la vittoria conclusiva a celebrazione della stessa. “In nome degli eserciti del fronte meridionale, ormai pronti a sferrare il colpo finale contro la tana della belva mortalmente ferita, e in nome delle rinnovate aquile delle grandi armate di cavalleria, salute – esordiva il testo. – La nostra ferrea fanteria, la nostra audace cavalleria, la nostra invincibile artiglieria e i nostri rapidi aviatori dalla vista acuta… libereranno quest’ultimo lembo di terra sovietica da ogni nemico”, si prometteva a Lenin. Forse più di ogni altra unità in azione nella Russia meridionale, la 51a Divisione di Bljücher meritava tutti quei superlativi, ed era sul suo assalto frontale contro il Vallo Turco che Frunze, Vorošilov e Budënnyi contavano per irrompere nel bastione crimeano di Wrangel. Ma ad aiutare la loro causa più di quanto avrebbe potuto fare ogni atto di valore, per quanto grande, furono l’imprevedibile e l’inaspettato. La natura, le cui forze avevano inflitto tanti tormenti al popolo della Russia bolscevica durante i due aspri inverni precedenti, questa volta si schierò dalla parte dei Rossi, aprendo loro nuove, insospettate vie d’attacco.

Forse solo due o tre volte nel corso di una generazione, un forte vento investe da nordovest la Crimea, spingendo verso est le basse acque che coprono i bassifondi salini del Sivaš e lasciando allo scoperto la sottostante, putrida fanghiglia. Il 7 novembre 1920, imperversò un vento talmente furioso, accompagnato da temperature così basse che la notte del 7-8 novembre il fondo melmoso del Sivaš, così di rado scoperto, si gelò formando una superficie tanto solida da reggere uomini e cavalli. Alle 22, mentre gran parte della 51a Divisione di Bljücher si apprestava ad assalire le posizioni di Kutepov lungo il Vallo Turco, la 15a e la 52a Divisione di fucilieri, in una con la 153a Brigata di fucilieri e di cavalleria della 51a Divisione, approfittando dell’insperato vantaggio. Una pesante nebbia grava sulla zona, impedendo alle sentinelle di Wrangel sulla Penisola Lituana di avvistare i reparti rossi impegnati nell’attraversamento dei sei chilometri del Sivaš. Ben presto, i piedi e gli zoccoli di uomini e cavalli trasformarono in gelida fanghiglia il fondo marino indurito, obbligando i reparti successivi a rallentare l’avanzata, in pari tempo aumentando le probabilità di scoperta; ciò nonostante, tutti i reparti raggiunsero la terraferma senza essere avvistati proprio mentre il vento cambiava direzione e l’acqua cominciava a crescere.

All’alba dell’8 novembre, gli infangati soldati di Frunze assalirono le deboli forze che Wrangel aveva lasciato sulla Penisola Lituana a difesa da un eventuale quanto improbabile attacco anfibio. Quello che i comandanti di entrambe le parti avevano immaginato essere un angolino dimenticato nella battaglia per la Crimea, ne divenne la chiave di volta allorché Kutepov ordinò contrattacchi a sostegno dei difensori della Penisola Lituana proprio mentre la 51a muoveva all’assalto del Vallo Turco. Per tutta la giornata, le sorti della battaglia rimasero incerte, e il destino dei Rossi e dei Bianchi parve ugualmente in bilico. Se l’assalto di Bljücher fosse fallito sarebbe stato facilissimo, per Kutepov, volgersi contro i ridotti reparti rossi che lo minacciavano alle spalle della Penisola Lituana e liquidarli, ora che le acque marine avevano rioccupato il Sivaš e Frunze non poteva né inviar loro rinforzi né richiamarli. D’altro parte, se l’attacco di Bljücher fosse stato coronato da successo, e i Rossi fossero avanzati oltre la Penisola Lituana, il grosso di Kutepov rischiava l’accerchiamento ad opera di un nemico assai più forte. Le sorti della battaglia dipendevano dallo sfondamento del Vallo Turco e dalla capacità delle truppe rosse sulla Penisola Lituana di resistere finché Bljücher ci fosse riuscito.

Dopo aver differito l’assalto per parecchie ore a causa della fitta nebbia, Bljücher aprì il bombardamento d’artiglieria contro il Vallo Turco proprio mentre le unità che avevano superato il Sivaš raggiungevano la Penisola Lituana. Quattro ore più tardi, le sue fanterie vennero avanti. In un primo momento il fuoco d’appoggio, per quanto pesante, non parve sufficiente a ridurre la tempesta di proiettili che artiglierie e mitragliatrici di Kutepov scagliarono addosso agli attaccanti: in alcuni reggimenti di Bljücher, le perdite ammontarono al sessanta per cento degli effettivi, e tre successive ondate di fanteria furono respinte dal fuoco nemico. Solo alle tre e mezza del mattino del 9 novembre, il quarto assalto condotto dalla 51a Divisione ebbe ragione del Vallo. “Fu come se una montagna mi cadesse dalle spalle – confessò poi Frunze. – Con la presa di Perekop scomparve il pericolo che le due divisioni tagliate fuori dalle acque refluenti del Sivaš venissero annientate.”

Il sollievo di Frunze accompagnò l’inizio delle più buie ore di Wrangel, il quale la sera del 9 novembre, alla notizia che il Vallo Turco era caduto, scrisse: “Il generale Kutepov mi riferì che, alla luce degli ultimi sviluppi, vale a dire la penetrazione del nemico nelle nostre posizioni di Perekop e il pericolo di un accerchiamento, aveva impartito l’ordine di ripiegamento sulla seconda linea fortificata… Eravamo sull’orlo del disastro… Erano già stati superati i limiti della capacità dell’esercito di resistere e le fortificazioni non potevano più bloccare il nemico. Erano necessarie urgenti misure per salvare l’esercito e la popolazione civile.” In netto contrasto con la ritirata di Denikin da Novorossijsk dell’anno prima, così malamente condotta, Wrangel, pur sperando nella vittoria, aveva elaborato precisi piani di evacuazione e disponeva pertanto di sufficienti riserve di carbone e nafta per tutte le navi in mano ai Bianchi. A questo punto diede fondo a tutte le sue risorse. “La minima esitazione, il più piccolo errore, potrebbe rovinare tutto”, ammonì. L’11 novembre ordinò che tutte le navi dei Bianchi accostassero alle zone di imbarco precedentemente scelte, vale a dire Evpatorija, Sebastopoli e Jalta, e altre ancora a Feodosija e a Kerč. Poi, mentre Kutepov conduceva azioni di retroguardia per rallentare l’avanzata rossa, Wrangel portò a termine i preparativi. Innanzitutto i malati e i feriti, poi i funzionari governativi, i civili e le forze armate, dovevano essere evacuati prima dell’arrivo dei Rossi. Il giorno dopo Wrangel impartì gli ultimi ordini. Le truppe dovevano rompere il contatto con il nemico e raggiungere i più vicini porti d’imbarco, lasciandosi alle spalle armamenti e materiali pesanti, mentre “tutti coloro che hanno partecipato con l’esercito a questa salita al Calvario – vale a dire i familiari dei soldati e quelli dei funzionari civili, nonché – chiunque altro possa correre pericolo se catturato dal nemico”, doveva avviarsi ai punti d’imbarco con i militari.

L’abilità di cui Wrangel diede prova nel mantenere il controllo di truppe e civili, fu brillantemente comprovata dal fatto che l’evacuazione ebbe luogo con panico e disordine minimi. Nel tardo pomeriggio del 14 novembre, Sebastopoli era ormai vuota e Wrangel, avuta notizia che anche l’evacuazione di Evpatorija era stata portata a termine, salì a bordo dell’incrociatore “Generale Kornilov” che l’avrebbe portato in esilio. A Jalta, la stessa scena si ripeté alle nove del mattino successivo e quello seguente ebbe luogo anche a Feodosija e, di lì a poche ore, a Kerč. Alle sedici del 16 novembre 1920, gli ultimi Bianchi, 145.693 uomini, donne e bambini erano a bordo di 126 navi in rotta verso Costantinopoli.»

Con l’evacuazione della Crimea e la scomparsa dell’ultimo consistente esercito antibolscevico, la sorte della guerra civile era definitivamente segnata. Uno dopo l’altro, l’Armata rossa spense gli ultimi focolai di resistenza nell’immenso territorio russo.

Le bande di Machno vennero spazzate via dall’Ucraina meridionale; l’ataman Petljura, che si era alleato coi Polacchi, vide infranto il suo sogno di una Ucraina occidentale indipendente; Ungern-Sternberg venne sconfitto e fucilato in Mongolia; le Repubbliche caucasiche furono riconquistate (Batum fu presa il 19 marzo 1921); i Giapponesi, preceduti dagli Americani, sgombrarono la Siberia e, nel 1922, la Repubblica dell’Estremo Oriente si sciolse e fu riassorbita dall’Unione delle Repubbliche Socialiste Sovietiche (che assunse tale denominazione nel dicembre 1922, in occasione del X Congresso panrusso dei Soviet).

Prima ancora della sconfitta finale di Wrangel, anche la regione russa settentrionale di Arcangelo e Murmansk era stata evacuata dagli Inglesi che avevano puntato sul generale Miller, ma la cui posizione era divenuta insostenibile dopo la sconfitta di Kolčak. Infine, nell’Asia centrale, venne infranto il sogno di Enver pascià, ex membro del triumvirato dei “Giovani Turchi” che aveva governato l’Impero ottomano durante la prima guerra mondiale (e che aveva personalmente deciso il genocidio degli Armeni nel 1915-16), di creare un vasto dominio delle genti turaniche e turche fra il Turkestan cinese e il bacino del Mar Caspio.

Così, con la sola eccezione della Finlandia e delle tre piccole Repubbliche baltiche (Estonia, Lettonia e Lituania), destinate a una effimera indipendenza sino allo scoppio della seconda guerra mondiale; e con la perdita, altrettanto temporanea, di alcune regioni di confine a favore della Polonia e della Romania, l’Unione Sovietica ritornò in possesso, entro la fine del 1922, di tutti i territori che avevano fatto parte del vecchio Impero zarista. Del quale ereditò automaticamente anche la politica espansionista, sia verso l’Europa che verso l’Asia; ma, questa volta, non sotto l’influsso della ideologia panslavista, bensì all’ombra della bandiera rossa e del credo internazionalista di Marx e Lenin.

samedi, 18 octobre 2014

Les États des peuples et l'empire de la nation

Archives - 2000
 
Les États des peuples et l'empire de la nation
 
par Frédéric KISTERS
 
Armee_arcConstantinSud.jpgIl existe une confusion permanente entre le mot « nation » qui désigne une association contractuelle de personnes liées à une constitution et la notion de « peuple » qui renvoie à une identité, c’est-à-dire un fait donné, une appréhension de soi résultant de l’histoire. Le peuple est donc le produit du déterminisme — nous ne décidons pas de notre appartenance —, tandis que la nation est le résultat volontaire d’un choix — nous élisons notre citoyenneté.
 
Peuples et Nation
 
Le peuple est un produit de l’histoire dont les membres ont le sentiment de partager un passé et des valeurs communes. Pour le définir, on utilise généralement 4 critères principaux : la langue, la culture, le territoire, les relations économiques. Isolé, aucun de ces critères ne semble suffisant. Si l’on octroyait le rôle principal à la langue, il faudrait en conséquence accepter que les Français, les Suisses romans, les Québécois ainsi que les francophones de Belgique et d’Afrique forment un peuple. Pareillement, les Flamands et les Néerlandais ne se sentent-ils pas de culture différente ? Dans la culture, nous intégrons la religion qui en est un des aspects. De plus, la culture influe sur la manière de vivre la religion : les Albanais et les Arabes saoudites ont des visions très différentes de la foi musulmane. La plupart des peuples occupent un territoire plus ou moins cohérent ; il est en effet difficile de maintenir des liens sans proximité. Il faut toutefois noter quelques exceptions telles que les Juifs avant la création d’Israël ou les tribus nomade. De même, les populations immigrées maintiennent un communauté et conservent des liens étroits avec leur patrie d’origine. Enfin, l’existence d’un peuple suppose des relations économiques privilégiées entre ses membres. L’ensemble de ces traits devrait permettre d’esquisser les linéaments de l’idiosyncrasie d’un peuple ; pourtant, son image apparaît souvent floue, parce que critères utilisés pour en préciser les contours ne sont pas assez formels. En réalité, un sujet qui a une histoire ne peut se définir, puisqu’il se modifie sans cesse.
 
Quant à la nation, selon la définition de Sieyès (1), elle est une communauté légale qui possède la souveraineté. Si l’expression « la nation est une et indivisible » signifie que l’ensemble de ses membres détient la souveraineté et que chacun se soumet aux mêmes lois, elle n’implique toutefois pas nécessairement que les citoyens habitent dans un territoire circonscrit ou aient des relations économiques. Les étrangers qui n’adoptent pas la citoyenneté de leurs pays d’accueil ne sont pas des citoyens à part entière, même s’ils jouissent d’une partie des droits civiques. Une communauté de langue et de culture n’induit pas non plus une citoyenneté partagée. Enfin, la nation a conscience de son existence et puise dans son histoire les éléments symboliques qui renforcent sa cohésion, expliquent ses avatars et justifient l’intégration d’individus ou de peuples étrangers.
 
Deux conceptions du nationalisme
 
Par conséquent, le terme nationalisme possède deux acceptions contradictoires selon qu’il se réfère à l’idée de peuple ou à la notion de nation. Dans le premier cas, il fait appel au sang, au sol, aux ancêtres, au passé, c’est un nationalisme de l’héritage qui se réduit souvent à un fallacieux sentiment de supériorité sur les autres et qui, de plus, porte sur un objet de taille limitée. Par ailleurs, peu de choses distinguent le nationalisme du régionalisme qui désigne un sentiment semblable projeté sur un objet plus restreint. Dans le second cas, il transcende l’individu et l’arrache au déterminisme de son milieu. On adhère de manière volontariste à la nation pour réaliser un projet en commun, mais on appartient au peuple de ses parents. Au contraire, la nation possède une faculté d’extension illimitée, car elle peut toujours accueillir de nouveaux membres en dehors des considérations de naissance. Notons enfin que ces deux formes de nationalisme peuvent plus ou moins se recouper et se renforcer au sein d’un même État.
 
État et Empire
 
Pour accéder à la souveraineté, le(s) peuple(s) doive(nt) constituer une nation et se donner une structure : l’État qui arbitre les intérêts contradictoires des citoyens, assure leur sécurité et rationalise le devenir de la société. Dans l’histoire, nous rencontrons deux grands types d’États ; d’une part, ceux issus d’un peuple qui avait une conscience subjective de sa réalité et qui se sont dotés d’une structure objective — l’État français par ex. ; d’autre part, les nations forgées au départ de peuples épars, tel que l’Autriche-Hongrie, qui portent souvent le nom d’Empire. Dans les deux situations, il faut à l’origine une volonté agrégative qui peut être incarnée par un monarque, une institution ou un peuple fédérateur.
 
En réalité, jamais l’État-nation n’a coïncidé dès son origine avec une exacte communauté de langue et de culture. Le préalable n’est pas l’unité culturelle ; au contraire, c’est la nation qui unit le(s) peuple(s) et non l’inverse. L’État, par l’action de son administration centralisée et de son enseignement, harmonise les idiomes et les comportements sociaux. L’existence d’un territoire unifié sous une même autorité facilite aussi les déplacements et donc les mélanges de populations hétérogènes. Des affinités culturelles peuvent inciter les hommes à se regrouper au sein d’une nation, mais cette dernière entreprend à son tour l’élaboration d’une nouvelle « identité nationale ». Surtout, l’histoire n’a jamais vu une nation se former sur base d’intérêts économiques, c’est pourquoi nous pensons que l’Union européenne emprunte un mauvais chemin.
 
aquilifer_16894_lg.gifL’État-nation, dont la France est l’archétype, désire l’égalité, l’uniformité, la centralisation ; il établit une loi unique sur l’ensemble de son territoire. Il ne reconnaît pas la diversité des coutumes et tend à la suppression des différences locales. Il suppose que tous les peuples sous son empire adoptent les mêmes mœurs et s’expriment dans sa langue administrative.
 
Au contraire, l’Empire doit compter avec les différents peuples qui le compose et tolère une relative diversité législative en son sein. De même, il ne jouira pas nécessairement d’une autorité égale sur chacune de ses provinces. Certaines d’entre-elles peuvent être presque indépendantes (comme par exemple les principautés tributaires de l’Empire ottoman), tandis que d’autres sont totalement soumises au gouvernement central. Parfois, l’on vit même des peuples érigés en nations cohabiter dans le même Empire (vers sa fin, l’Empire austro-hongrois comprenaient une nation « hongroise », une nation  « allemande » et divers peuples slaves). Notons enfin que, de notre point de vue, il n’existe pas actuellement de souverain européen, mais bien des institutions européennes qui agissent avec le consentement de plusieurs nations.
 
Droit de vote ou citoyenneté
 
Par ailleurs, se pose aujourd’hui la question du droit de vote des étrangers. Nos dirigeants disputent pour savoir si nous octroierons le droit de vote aux seuls Européens, et sous quelles conditions, ou si nous l’étendrons aux ressortissants non-européens. À notre avis, le problème est mal posé. En effet, le droit de vote, réduit aux communales qui plus est, n’est jamais qu’une part de l’indivisible citoyenneté, qu’on la dissèque ainsi en créant des sous-catégories dans la société nous semble malsain, car cela nuit à l’unité de la nation en dégradant le principe d’égalité des citoyens devant la Loi. De plus, la citoyenneté implique aussi des devoirs dont le respect garantit nos droits. Dans le débat, d’aucuns proposent d’accorder la citoyenneté belge plutôt que le droit de vote. Sans hésiter, nous allons plus loin en soutenant un projet de citoyenneté européenne. Dans cette entreprise, nous nous appuyons ; d’une part, sur l’œuvre majeure (2) d’un grand penseur politique, Otto Bauer, le chef de file de l’école austro-marxiste ; d’autre part, sur un précédent historique : le concept de double citoyenneté dans l’Empire romain.
 
Otto Bauer articulait sa thèse autour du concept de « communauté de destin » grâce auquel il donna une nouvelle définition de la Nation. Selon lui, la culture et la psychologie permettent de distinguer un peuple d’un autre, mais ces caractères sont eux-mêmes déterminés par l’Histoire. Suivant ses vues, le peuple ne se définit plus par une appartenance ethnique, une communauté de langue, l’occupation d’un territoire ou en termes de liens économiques, mais bien comme un groupe d’hommes historiquement liés par le sort. Dès lors, dans cet esprit, les habitants d’une cité cosmopolite, issus d’origines diverses mais vivant ensemble, peuvent fort bien, dans certaines circonstances historiques, former une nation. Évidemment, il existe une interaction permanente entre le « caractère » et le destin d’un peuple, puisque le premier conditionne la manière de réagir aux événements extérieurs, aussi la nation est-elle en perpétuel devenir.
 
Ainsi, Bauer justifiait le maintien d’un État austro-hongrois par la communauté de destin qui liait ses peuples depuis des siècles. Une législation fédérale aurait protégé les différentes minorités et garanti l’égalité absolue des citoyens devant la Loi qu’il considérait comme la condition sine qua non de la bonne intelligence des peuples au sein de l’État.
 
Dans cette perspective, la conscience du passé partagé n’exclut pas le désir d’un avenir commun. Pour notre part, nous aspirons à une nation européenne dans laquelle fusionneraient les peuples européens.
 
Dans l’Empire romain, il existait un principe de double citoyenneté. Jusqu’à l’édit de Caracalla (212 ap. JC), la citoyenneté romaine se surimposait à l’origo, l’appartenance à son peuple. Évidemment la première conservait l’éminence sur la seconde. Néanmoins, le Romain pouvait recourir, selon les circonstances, soit au droit romain soit aux lois locales. Lorsque l’empereur Caracalla donna la citoyenneté romaine à tous les hommes libres de l’Empire, ceux-ci conservèrent néanmoins leur origo (3). Aussi pensons-nous, qu’il serait possible de créer une citoyenneté européenne qui, durant une période transitoire, coexisterait avec les citoyennetés des États membres. En effet, l’homme n’appartient qu’à un seul peuple, mais il peut élire deux nations, du moins dans la mesure où leurs lois ne se contredisent point et à la condition qu’on établît une hiérarchie entre ses deux citoyennetés et que l’on donnât la prééminence à l’européenne.
 
► Frédéric Kisters, Devenir n°15, 2000.
 
◘ Notes :
  • [1] Sur l’abbé Sieyès, cf. BREDIN (Jean-Denis), Sieyès, La clé de la révolution française, éd. de Fallois, 1988.
  • [2] BAUER (Otto), Die Nationalitätfrage und die Sozialdemokratie, Vienne, 1924, (1er éd. 1907), XXX-576 p. (Marx Studien, IV). Edition française : ID. , La question des nationalités et la social-démocratie, Paris-Montréal, 1987, 2 tomes, 594 p.
  • [3] JACQUES (François) et SCHEID (John), Rome et l’intégration de l’empire (44 av. J.C. - 260 ap. J.C.), tome 1 Les structures de l’empire romain, Paris, 2e éd. 1992 (1er : 1990), p. 209-219 et 272-289 (Nouvelle Clio. L’Histoire et ses problèmes).
 

vendredi, 17 octobre 2014

Renverser des gouvernements : une pratique étasunienne bien rodée

 

Renverser des gouvernements: une pratique étasunienne bien rodée

Auteur : Washington's Blog & http://zejournal.mobi 

Énoncer l’ensemble des pays victimes de la politique étasunienne serait difficile en un seul article, cela serait plutôt sujet à écrire un livre, mais un résumé est toujours possible quand à quelques événements ayant eut lieu, car dans le domaine, ils sont très prolifiques, en France avec De Gaulle en Mai 68, c’était eux, en Ukraine avec les néo-nazis qui ont accédé au pouvoir, idem, en Tunisie, pareil, etc… Les Etats-Unis ont l’entrainement, les moyens financiers et les outils, et vous en avez quelques exemples ici:

Les USA ont déjà renversé les gouvernements de Syrie (1949), d’Iran (1953), d’Irak (par deux fois), d’Afghanistan (par deux fois), de Turquie, de Lybie et de bien d’autres pays riches en pétrole.

Syrie

Chacun sait que les USA et leurs alliés ont fortement soutenu les terroristes islamiques de Syrie, dans leur tentative de renverser le régime en place dans le pays.

Mais saviez-vous que les USA ont déjà exécuté un changement de régime en Syrie par le passé ?

La CIA a soutenu un coup d’état d’extrême droite en Syrie en 1949. Douglas Little, professeur au Département d’Histoire de la Clark University a écrit :

« Déjà, en 1949, cette nouvelle république arabe indépendante fut un important champ d’expérimentation pour les premières tentatives d’actions clandestines de la CIA. La CIA y a encouragé en secret un coup d’état d’extrême droite en 1949. »

La raison pour laquelle les USA ont initié ce coup d’état ? Little explique :

« Fin 1945, la Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) a présenté ses plans pour la construction du Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE) qui devait relier l’Arabie Saoudite à la Méditerranée. Grâce à l’aide US, ARAMCO put obtenir des permis de passage de la part du Liban, de la Jordanie, et de l’Arabie Saoudite. Mais le permis pour faire passer le pipeline par la Syrie fut refusé par le parlement [syrien]. »

En d’autres termes, la Syrie était le seul obstacle à la construction d’un pipeline lucratif. (En fait, la CIA a mis conduit des actions de ce type depuis sa création.)

En 1957, le président américain et le premier ministre britanniques se mirent d’accord pour déclencher à nouveau un changement de régime en Syrie. Little, en bon historien, indique que le complot en vue de la réalisation du coup d’état fut découvert et stoppé :

« Le 12 aout 1957, l’armée syrienne encercla l’ambassade des USA à Damas. Après avoir annoncé qu’il avait découvert un complot de la CIA pour renverser le président Shukri Quwatly, de tendance neutre, et installer un régime pro-occidental, le chef des services de contre-espionnage syriens Abdul Hamid Sarraj expulsa trois diplomates US du pays…

C’est ainsi que le chef des services de contre-espionnage syriens, Sarraj, réagit avec rapidité le 12 aout, en expulsant Stone et d’autres agents de la CIA, en arrêtant leurs complices, et en plaçant l’ambassade des USA sous surveillance. »

Les néoconservateurs établirent à nouveau des plans en vue d’un changement de régime en Syrie en 1991.

Et comme le note Nafeez Ahmed :

« D’après l’ancien ministre des affaires étrangères français Roland Dumas, la Grande-Bretagne avait préparé des actions clandestines en Syrie dès 2009 : « J’étais en Angleterre pour tout autre chose deux ans avant que les hostilités ne commencent en Syrie » a-t-il confié à la télévision française, « j’ai rencontré des responsables anglais de premier plan [...] qui m’ont avoué qu’ils préparaient quelque chose en Syrie. C’était en Angleterre, et pas en Amérique. L’Angleterre préparait une invasion de rebelles en Syrie. »

Des courriels de la société privée d’investigation Stratfor qui avaient fuité et qui comprenaient des notes d’un meeting avec des représentants du Pentagone ont confirmé que, dès 2011, l’entrainement des forces de l’opposition syriennes par des éléments des forces spéciales américaines et britanniques était en cours. Le but était de provoquer « l’effondrement » du régime d’Assad « de l’intérieur ».

Irak

Chacun sait que les USA ont renversé Saddam Hussein lors de la guerre d’Irak.

Mais saviez-vous que les USA avaient déjà réalisé un changement de régime en Irak par le passé ?

Plus spécifiquement, la CIA a tenté d’empoisonner le dirigeant irakien en 1960. En 1963, les USA ont soutenu le coup d’état qui est parvenu à assassiner le chef du gouvernement irakien.

Récemment, l’Irak a commencé à se fracturer en tant que nation. USA Today note que « l’Irak est déjà séparé en trois états ». De nombreuses personnes affirment que les événements ont été forcés… qu’en tout cas, c’est une forme de changement de régime.

Iran

Chacun sait qu’un changement de régime en Iran est l’un des objectifs à long terme des faucons de Washington.

Mais saviez-vous que les USA avaient déjà réalisé un changement de régime en Iran en 1953… qui est directement responsable de la radicalisation du pays ?

Pour être précis, la CIA a admis que les USA ont renversé le premier ministre iranien en 1953, un homme modéré, portant costume et cravate, et démocratiquement élu (il a été renversé car il avait nationalisé les compagnies pétrolières iraniennes, qui étaient auparavant contrôlées par BP et d’autres compagnies pétrolières occidentales. La CIA a admis que pour parvenir à ses fins, elle avait engagé des iraniens pour qu’ils jouent le rôle de communistes et préparent des attentats en Iran, dans le but de retourner le pays contre son premier ministre.

Si les USA n’avaient pas renversé le gouvernement iranien modéré, les mollahs fondamentalistes n’auraient jamais pris le pouvoir dans le pays. L’Iran était connu depuis des milliers d’années comme un pays tolérant envers ses chrétiens et ses autres minorités religieuses.

Les faucons du gouvernement des USA cherchent à entrainer un nouveau changement de régime en Iran depuis des dizaines d’années.

Turquie

La CIA a reconnu avoir organisé le coup d’état de 1980 en Turquie.

Afghanistan

Il est évident que les USA ont, par leurs bombardements, contraint les talibans à se soumettre, durant la guerre d’Afghanistan.

Mais le conseiller à la sécurité nationale d’Hillary Clinton et celui du président d’alors, Jimmy Carter,ont admis en public que les USA avaient auparavant conduit un changement de régime en Afghanistan durant les années 1970, en soutenant Ben Laden et les moudjahidines… les précurseurs d’Al Qaida.

Libye

Non seulement les USA ont engagé une intervention militaire directe contre Kadhafi, mais, d’après un groupe d’officiers de la CIA, les USA ont également armé des combattant d’Al Qaida, afin qu’ils aident à renverser Kadhafi.

En réalité, les USA ont organisé des coups d’états et des campagnes de déstabilisations dans le monde entier… ne créant partout que le chaos.


- Source : Washington's Blog

mardi, 14 octobre 2014

L’Iran au-delà de l’islamisme, de Thomas Flichy

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Parution : L’Iran au-delà de l’islamisme, de Thomas Flichy

Publié par

 
Introduction (extrait) au nouvel ouvrage de Thomas Flichy
 
 
L’Iran au-delà de l’islamisme, qui vient de paraître aux Éditions de l’Aube. Reproduit avec l’aimable autorisation de l’auteur. Acheter sur Amazon : cliquez ici

L’Iran est aujourd’hui placé au centre de l’attention géopolitique mondiale pour trois raisons fondamentales. En premier lieu, ce pays constitue le coeur énergétique du monde, exploitant simultanément les réserves en hydrocarbures de la mer Caspienne et celles du golfe Persique. Les puissances du Moyen-Orient qui l’environnent constituent, à cet égard, des périphéries envieuses. Pour la Chine, un partenariat avec l’Iran permettrait l’indispensable sécurisation de ses approvisionnements énergétiques. Ceci explique la double poussée maritime et terrestre de l’Empire du Milieu vers l’Iran, sur les traces des routes de la soie de la dynastie Tang. En second lieu, le monde chiite représente le coeur historique de l’innovation musulmane. Ce foyer d’inventivité est confiné depuis très longtemps par le monde sunnite. Profitant aujourd’hui du basculement irakien et de l’instabilité syrienne, l’Iran pousse son avantage pour étendre son influence au coeur du Moyen-Orient. Mais sa créativité, décuplée par la puissance imaginative de la poésie persane, effraie. En troisième lieu, l’Iran, qui souffre d’un déficit énergétique malgré ses réserves prodigieuses de gaz, développe des activités atomiques de façon accélérée, suscitant les interrogations légitimes de ses voisins. Soucieux d’éviter l’affrontement, les États-Unis et leurs alliés ont exercé des pressions indirectes sur l’Iran afin que celui-ci renonce à l’enrichissement nucléaire. Ces actions ont été qualifiées, le 3 septembre 2001, de djang-e-naram, ou « guerre douce », par Hossein Mazaheri, professeur de droit à Ispahan. Cette nouvelle forme de guerre, intimement liée aux progrès technologiques de la dernière décennie, se présente en effet comme un conflit dans lequel chacun des adversaires, préservant le capital humain et matériel de ses forces armées, cherche à faire tomber l’ennemi par des actions masquées et déstabilisatrices telles que les sanctions financières, la manipulation médiatique, les cyber-attaques ou l’élimination ciblée des têtes de réseau adverses. Ce conflit dépasse de loin la simple réalité iranienne dans la mesure où les puissances asiatiques et continentales que constituent la Russie, la Chine et l’Iran ont connu, malgré des différends internes, un rapprochement spectaculaire au cours des dernières années. Face à cette conjonction, les États-Unis redoutent la formation d’un nouvel Empire mongol, capable de concurrencer leur puissance océanique.

(…)

Les incompréhensions entre Français et Iraniens s’enracinent en réalité dans une double fracture culturelle. Partageant un héritage indo-européen commun, la France et la Perse se sont brusquement éloignées à partir de la conquête islamique. Les grandes divergences s’expliquent en grande partie par la très longue période d’occupation qu’a connue l’Iran depuis lors. La culture aristocratique de la négociation menée par les hommes d’armes s’est effacée à cause du discrédit jeté sur les élites militaires persanes vaincues. La culture des marchands combinant ruse et sophistication s’est substituée aux modes antiques de négociation. Face aux envahisseurs, l’inertie s’est imposée comme la force des dominés. La déliquescence de l’État a favorisé la lenteur et la corruption de ses agents. Face à la suspension du droit commun, les courtiers se sont substitués aux gens de loi afin de dire le droit et régler les difficultés privées. Devant le despotisme des rois et la prodigieuse insécurité des personnes et des biens s’est développé un langage indirect et ambigu destiné à protéger les sujets de l’arbitraire du pouvoir. Incapables de maîtriser leur propre destin, les Iraniens ont attribué les malheurs du pays aux complots étrangers. Les longs siècles de domination ont par conséquent forgé une culture allant à rebours de la tradition française fondée sur le temps compté, la force de la loi, la bonne foi et le rayonnement. La seconde fracture est le fruit de la Révolution française. Les ambassadeurs français du XVIIème siècle avaient de nombreux atouts pour comprendre les ressorts secrets de la culture persane. Enracinés dans la transcendance et l’attente messianique d’un temps nouveau, ils servaient un État puissant. Conscients d’un héritage historique pleinement assumé et partie intégrante de leur identité, ils étaient non seulement capables de saisir les références faites à leur propre passé, mais également aptes à renvoyer leurs interlocuteurs à leurs propres contradictions historiques. Ils n’ignoraient ni l’art de la conversation, ni les références littéraires donnant tout son sens à leur culture. L’étiquette de la Cour avait façonné en eux une habitude de la courtoisie devenue une seconde nature. Aujourd’hui, la fracture révolutionnaire sépare ces improbables messagers de la culture persane. Si la fracture culturelle générée par les invasions de la Perse explique pour une large part notre inaptitude à comprendre l’Iran au-delà des mots, nous pouvons à l’évidence puiser dans notre culture classique les clefs d’un dialogue réinventé avec ce pays méconnu.

Professeur à l’Institut d’Études Politiques de Bordeaux, à l’École Navale puis à l’École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, Thomas Flichy de La Neuville est spécialiste de la diplomatie au XVIIIème siècle. Ancien élève en persan de l’Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales, agrégé d’histoire et docteur en droit, ses derniers travaux portent sur les relations françaises avec la Perse et la Chine à l’âge des Lumières.

samedi, 11 octobre 2014

Northern Opposition to Lincoln’s War

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Debunking the Myth of “National Unity”: Northern Opposition to Lincoln’s War

Of course, there is never “national unity” about anything, especially war, democratic politics being what it is.  When is the last time you heard of a unanimous vote expressing national unity in the U.S. Congress about anything?  Even the vote to declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor was not unanimous.

The myth of national unity during the “Civil War” was invented and cultivated by the history profession, the Republican Party, and the New England clergy in the post-war era to “justify” the killing of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens in the Southern states; the plundering of the South during “Reconstruction;” the destruction of the voluntary union of the states and the system of federalism that was created by the founding fathers; and the adoption of Hamiltonian mercantilism as America’s new economic system.

Any serious student of the “Civil War” knows that this is all absurd nonsense.  In addition to myriad draft riots, there were massive desertions from the Union Army from the very beginning of the war (see Ella Lonn, Desertion During the Civil War); Lincoln did shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers and imprison thousands of Northern political dissenters without due process.  He did deport the most outspoken Democratic Party critic in Congress, Clement L. Vallandigham of Dayton, Ohio.  He did rig elections by having soldiers intimidate Democratic Party voters.  And he did send some 15,000 federal troops to murder the New York City draft rioters by the hundreds in July of 1863. All of this has been discussed for decades in “mainstream” history scholarship such as Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln by James Randall and Freedom Under Lincoln by Dean Sprague.  The history profession has, however, done a meticulous job in seeing to it that such facts rarely, if ever, make it into the textbooks that are used in the public schools.

But times are changing in the era of the internet and of independent scholarship on the subject by scholars associated with such organizations as the Abbeville Institute.  The Institute’s latest publication is entitled Northern Opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s War, edited by D. Jonathan White.  It includes essays by White, Brion McClanahan, Marshall DeRosa, Arthur Trask, Joe Stromberg, Richard Valentine, Richard Gamble, John Chodes, and Allen Mendenhall.  These nine scholarly essays destroy the nationalist myth of “national unity” in the North during the War to Prevent Southern Independence.

Marshall DeRosa’s opening essay on “President Franklin Pierce and the War for Southern Independence” goes a long way in explaining why the nationalists in American politics believed that it was imperative to invent the myth of national unity.  President Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was a Democrat who opposed the invasion of the Southern states.   He was a Jeffersonian, states-rights president, which is why he was mercilessly smeared by Lincoln’s hatchet man, William Seward, who accused him of treason (re-defined by the Lincoln administration as any criticism of it and its policies).  The real objects of Seward and Lincoln’s wrath towards Pierce, DeRosa explains, were the ideas that President Pierce stood for and was elected president on, as illustrated in the Democratic Party Platform of 1852.

The main ideas of this platform, upon which Pierce ran for president were: a federal government of limited powers, delegated to it by the states; opposition to the form of corporate welfare known as “internal improvements”; free trade and open immigration; gradual extinction of the national debt; opposition to a national bank; and realizing that the Constitution would have to be amended as a means of peacefully ending slavery.  This latter position was the position of the famous nineteenth-century libertarian abolitionist, Lysander Spooner, author of The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.

It was because of these ideas that Pierce was libeled and smeared by the Republican Party of his day, with subsequent generations of historians merely repeating the smears disguised as “scholarship.”  Lincoln’s claim to fame, on the other hand, writes DeRosa, “is not that he adhered to the rule of law [as Pierce did], but that he had the audacity to disregard it.”  Thanks to the history profession, moreover, “Americans continue to pay homage to the villains that laid the tracks to our present sorry state of affairs.”

D. Jonathan White surveys the Northern opponents of Lincoln’s war that were slandered by the administration and its media mouthpieces as “copperheads” (snakes in the grass).  Among the “copperheads” were many prominent citizens of the North who, like President Pierce, were passionate defenders of the rule of law and constitutionally-limited government.  Their main complaints were against Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus and the mass arrest of Northern political opponents without due process; the draft law, which they considered to be a form of slavery; the income tax imposed by the Lincoln administration – the first in American history; and protectionist tariffs (the cornerstone of the Republican Party platform of 1860).  Because of these beliefs, hundreds, if not thousands of “copperheads” were imprisoned without due process by the Lincoln administration.

Allen Mendenhall contributes a very interesting article about how the famous U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was wounded three times in the war, became a sharp critic of Lincoln, his “mystical” union, and the war during the rest of his life.  Brion McClanahan’s essay describes in scholarly detail the Jeffersonian Democrats in the state of Delaware who opposed the war (the state gave its three electoral votes and 46 percent of the popular vote to Southern Democrat John Breckenridge in the 1860 election).  R.T. Valentine does essentially the same thing in his chapter on opposition to Lincoln’s policies in Westchester County, New York and the greater Hudson Valley.  He describes in detail how the residents of these areas, many of whom had family history in the area going back to the time of the founding, deeply resented the pushy, imperialistic, arrogant “Yankees” who were the base of Lincoln’s support and who had been moving into New York state from New England in droves.

Arthur Trask demonstrates that there was also a great deal of opposition to Lincoln’s war in Philadelphia, where many residents had long-lasting business and personal relationships with Southerners, while John Chodes writes of the horrible wartime governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, who apparently fancied himself as a mini-Lincoln with his imprisonment of dissenters and other dictatorial acts.

Joe Stromberg and Richard Gamble contribute chapters that explain the role of the Northern clergy in instigating the war.  Stromberg writes of the impulse of many Northern clergymen to use the coercive powers of the state to try to create some version of heaven on earth.  Worse yet,  “[T]he war of 1861-1865, as preached by the clergy surveyed here, became a permanent template for subsequent American crusades, whatever their origins.  From the Free Soil argument of the 1850s, through two World Wars, Cold War, and down to Iraq and beyond.  American leaders insist that their latest enemy [ISIS?] is both inherently expansionist and committed to some form of slavery.  It is therefore the duty of the new enemy to surrender ‘unconditionally’ and undergo reconstruction and reeducation for the good of all mankind . . .”

Richard Gamble traces the transformation of “Old School Presbyterianism” to where it embraced “political preaching.”  For example, upon Lincoln’s election a national assembly meeting in Philadelphia issued a proclamation that was “a turning point in the history of American Presbyterianism”:  “That in the judgment of this Assembly, it is the duty of the ministry and churches under its care to do all in their power to promote and perpetuate the integrity of the Unite States [government], and to strengthen, uphold, and encourage the Federal Government.”  The Old School Presbyterians, writes Gamble, “enlisted their church on the Union side,” which is to say, the side that would soon be invading, murdering, raping, and plundering its way through the Southern states.  This, Gamble argues, is how war and imperialism became the keystone of America’s “civil religion.”  This bogus “religion” is illustrated a thousand times over in the Laurence Vance archives on LewRockwell.com.

The Abbeville Institute is to be congratulated for publishing this latest correction of the historical record regarding Lincoln’s war.  Northern Opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s War should be a part of the library of every American who resents having been lied to by his teachers, professors, film makers, and authors, and who seeks the truth about his own country’s history.

The Best of Thomas DiLorenzo 

jeudi, 09 octobre 2014

Corneliu Zelea Codreanu and the Legion of the Archangel Michael

 

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Corneliu Zelea Codreanu and the Legion of the Archangel Michael

 

by Christophe Dolbeau

 

 

                                               The legionary will rather judge man by his soul…

 

                                                                                              C. Z. Codreanu

 

             A few decades ago, Paris most influential daily, Le Monde, gave some reverberation to a statement from the local antiracist league (LICA) which protested against the coming meeting of « former Romanian fascists » around Archbishop Valerian Trifa who was one of their (alleged) leaders in America. Later on, in 1984, the same Valerian Trifa was back on the front pages as the media gave notice of his deportation from the US to Portugal (he was to die in Estoril in 1987). An American citizen since 1957, the prelate had chosen to forfeit his nationality in 1982 after the notorious Office of Special Investigation had taken proceedings against him, with much encouragement from the pro-communist orthodox patriarchate of Bucharest. In Horizons Rouges (1), general Ion Pacepa, the former head of Romanian intelligence, has since related in detail how the case was made up with fake photographs and manufactured evidence… In 1988, the famous historian and philosopher Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) became in turn an object for sorrowful remarks when his posthumous memoirs made it clear that he had also had « reprehensible sympathies » in his youth… (2).

 

            From these anecdotes, it results that both the clergyman’s and the scholar’s indelible mistake was simply that several decades ago they belonged to the Iron Guard. A great popular movement that overthrew the political scene in Romania, the Iron Guard constituted a peculiar and most controversial phenomenon which keeps a place apart in the history of fascism and still attracts the attention.

 

« Romanian awake ! » (3)

 

            The story began 87 years ago, on Friday June 24, 1927, when together with four   friends (Ion Moţa, Ilia Gârneaţă, Corneliu Georgescu and Radu Mironovici), Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, a young doctor of law from Moldavia, laid the foundation of the Legion of the Archangel Michael (Legiunea Arhanghelului Mihail). At that time, Codreanu, aged 28, was already a popular public figure in his country : according to Odette Arnaud (4), « physically he has all the features and traits of the local peasants : he is slim and muscular, sparing of words and gestures, and his bearing is stately. There is no doubt : he commands respect and attention ». Very similar is the description drawn by Jérôme and Jean Tharaud (5) : « In front of me », they write, « a man who is still young ; he is dressed in a rough homespun, his hair are wavy, he has got a high forehead, a blue and cold eyesight, classic features and his gestures are quiet and measured ». To this portrait, Bertrand de Jouvenel (6) adds a few details : « Never did I meet a character », he says, « who introduces himself with so little ostentation and makes such a strong impression. Imagine a very tall and lean man whose face would be a pattern of classical beauty if it were not for deep sockets where a pair of piercing eyes glint ».

 

            Born September 13, 1899, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu attended the Manastirea Dealului military school where he acquired his first patriotic convictions. Galvanized by his father’s red hot patriotism and even though he hadn’t finished school, he did not dither and volunteered to the front during the war (1916). Soon after registering as a law student at Jassy University, he joined the Guard of the National Conscience (1919) ; in May 1922, he founded the Christian Students Association and in March 1923, he joined a fiercely anti-Jewish party called the Christian National Defence League (Liga Aparirii Nationale Crestine)-(7). Eventually, in May 1925, he was prosecuted for the murder of a police commissioner (Constantin Manciu) and triumphantly acquitted (8). His action seemed so justifiable (self-defence)-(9) that 19.300 attorneys had volunteered to plead his cause and the day after he was acquitted, thousands of Romanians cheered at the train which brought the young man back to Jassy. A former French lecturer in this town, Emmanuel Beau de Loménie, throws an interesting light on the case : « Those who speak about the death of the commissioner neglect to say that the man in question was ruling by a system of oriental terror. Whenever he arrested some young anti-Jewish demonstrators, one of his favourite games consisted in hanging them head downwards and whipping their feet with a bullwhip until they fainted » (10).

 

            At that time and for most of his followers, Codreanu was already « a rock among the waves, a road opener, a sword drawn between two worlds » ; he was also the embodiment of new virtues : « thought, fortitude, action, bravery and life » (11).

 

A religious inspiration

 

            codreanu.jpgBased on the belief in God, the faith in a mission, mutual love and a fraternal sharing of emotion through choir-singing, the Legion of the Archangel was very different from a political party as we usually conceive it nowadays. « It is not a political movement », says V. P. Garcineanu, « but a spiritual revolution » (12). In Défense de l’Occident (13), Paul Guiraud shares a common sentiment : « This movement », he writes, « has got something unique : it aims at the spiritual and moral recovery of man, at the creation of a new man. This man won’t have anything in common with his democratic predecessor who was both individualistic and weak-minded ». This spiritual reference catches also the attention of Robert Brasillach (14) in Notre Avant-Guerre where he mentions the Legion : « To his legionaries », the young columnist writes, « Corneliu Codreanu directed a rough and variegated poetry ; he appealed to sacrifice, honour, discipline and called for that sort of collective impulse which people usually experience through religion and which he called national ecumenicity » (15). For C. Papanace and W. Hagen (W. Höttl), it was these high moral standards that distinguished the Legion from all other nationalist movements in Europe. According to C. Papanace, « fascism cares about the attire (i.e. the state organization), national-socialism about the body (i.e. racial eugenics) while the Legion attends to the soul (which means its strengthening through the practice of Christian virtues and its preparation with a view to its final salvation) » (16). For W. Hagen, the Legion « had nothing in common with the various copies of fascism and national-socialism that existed in other countries. The difference laid in its Christian religiosity and its mysticism » (17). An intense nationalism combined to a passionate faith made of the Legion an unusual phenomenon which some legionaries saw as the early beginnings of a vast spiritual awakening of the world : « With legionarism », Garcineanu says, « Romanians have created a unique phenomenon in Europe : a movement which possesses a religious structure associated to an ideological corpus that proceeds from Christian theology (…) This is a central fact because in the collective quest for God, it means that all other nations will have to follow us » (18).

 

Anti-Semitism

 

            For the leader of the Legion, Romania’s troubles were primarily due to the Jews. Almost a century later and in view of the wave of anti-Semitic crimes which occured during WWII, this extreme judeophobia seems altogether inadmissible. One should of course replace it in the context of the thirties and remember some enlightening statistics : according to a census of that time, which we borrow from F. Duprat (19), Jews were 10,8% in Bucovina, 7,2% in Bessarabia (and almost 60% of Chisinau’s inhabitants), 6,5% in Moldavia (with a total population of 102.000, Jassy was housing 65.000 Jews) and no less than 140.000 of them lived in the capital-city (which had a total population of 700.000). According to professor Ernst Nolte (20), « between the boyards and the serves, the Jews had formed an intermediate stratum. In some universities and several academic professions and although they did not make up more than 5% of the total population, they outnumbered Romanians. Seventy percent of the journalists and eighty percent of the textile engineers were of Jewish stock. In 1934, almost 50% of the students were non-Romanians (…) Unlike their coreligionists from Austria-Hungary, local Jews did not feel disposed to being assimilated, especially as the prorogation of their former community-status allowed them to secure considerable business advantages ».

 

            In Romania as everywhere else in Europe, Jews aroused the hostility of nationalist circles. It was not exactly a novelty : already in 1866 a bloody riot had broken out in Bucharest when French MP Adolphe Crémieux (21) had offered Romania a loan of 25 million francs in return for the emancipation of Jews. In a stormy atmosphere, members of Parliament had hence been forced to turn down the offer. Considering this past record, the anti-Semitism of the Legion was not so exceptional : after all Iorga’s and Cuza’s National Democratic Party, Marshal Averescu’s People’s Party and Octavian Goga’s National Christian Party (22) had taken the same stand… Besides one should notice that contrary to widely spread clichés, Codreanu never refered to any biological or religious anti-Semitism to justify his anti-Jewish trend. As in the days when Romania was fighting against Turks, Phanariots or Russians, the Legion only confined to an exclusive conception of Romanian national identity. There again one must look back on the crisis of 1866 and remember the words of geographer Ernest Desjardins who wrote : « I can affirm that no religious prejudice ever plaid any part in the government’s decisions nor in the hostility which natives display towards the Jews » (23). Former legionary Faust Bradesco says approximately the same : « Just as it was in the 19th century », he writes, « Legion’s anti-Semitism is nothing but national self-defence (…) Never did the Legion cause any physical harm to the Jews ; it took no notice of race and never damaged any synagogue » (24). Incidentally it appears that Codreanu’s official aims were rather peaceful : wasn’t his major ambition to free Romanians from their inferiority complex and compete with the Jews on their own ground ? An intention he quickly materialized by creating a « legionary trading battalion », cooperative stores, communal canteens, sewing shops, a « legionary market » and a « legionary workers’ corps ».

 

A noble ideal

 

            To bring national decline to an end and restore the ancient Dacian, the Legion was supposed to be « a school and an army more than a political party » (25). This essential interest for man, as opposed to the corruptible and cosmopolitan politico, was the cornerstone of the movement : « …A new man will rise », Codreanu foretold, « with the qualities of a hero. The Legion will be the cradle of the very best offspring our race can beget : our legionary school will nurture the proudest, noblest, frankest, wisest, purest, bravest and most industrious sons Romania ever had, the noblest souls she ever dreamt up » (26). In this slow process of national revival, woman – mother, daughter, sister or partner – was not forgotten : « In this fight for the better and for the renewal of the Romanian soul », Ion Banea writes (27), « a strong, beautiful and great role is allotted to women (…) We are today in a period of change and struggle. From this battle of honour the woman of our time cannot be absent. We want the woman of our age to be a fighter ; we want her to be a comrade. The times demand it ».

 

            Both in his writings and public speeches, Codreanu harked back again and again to these themes, tirelessly claiming for the restoration of moral requirements which were so stern and austere that F. Bradesco called them « anti-machiavellian » : « All talents », said Codreanu, « brains, education and breeding, are useless to a man who is committed to infamy. Teach your children not to use it either against a friend or even against their worst ennemy (…) In their fight against traitors of all sorts, tell them not to resort to the same disgraceful means. Should they eventually win, they would just exchange roles with their foes. Infamy would stay unchallenged (…) Basically il would carry on ruling the world. Only the light, which flashes out from the hero’s noble and loyal soul, will dispel the shades with which infamy darkened the world » (28).

 

Stringent ethics

 

            To ponder and practice these principles, legionaries were incorporated into a rather elaborate structure. In addition to the headquarters (the Green House or Casa Verde) it included the « brotherhoods of the Cross » (for children and teenagers), the « citadels » (for women and girls) and above all the « nests » where men could find « a moral milieu propitious to the birth and development of the hero ». In this frame, legionaries could complete their moulding by facing three kinds of ordeals : at first came small personal sacrifices (of time, money and energies), then missions that required heart (to cope with injustice, legal pettifogging and police brutality) and finally situations that necessitated an absolute faith so as to master misgiving, impatience and disillusion. « Only means to contend with human cowardice, hyper-materialism and an unquenchable craving for domination », Faust Bradesco says, « these ordeals allow man to fulfill himself as a person and to grow better as a member of the society » (29). All along that spiritual path, the legionary could be awarded congratulations, mentions, diplomas, ranks (e.g. instructor, vice-commander or commander) and medals (the White Cross for bravery and the Green Cross for deeds of valour). The movement possessed a few special units but globally it was based on a pyramidal organization (with a corresponding hierarchy) : above the « nest », there were the garrison, the district, the department (county) and the region. At the top and next to the Captain, the movement was headed by the Legion Senate (an assembly of wise men, older than 50) and the Council of Commanders (30).

 

            As an echo to the « collective state of mind » and the « national ecumenicity » which Codreanu often refered to and also as a symbol of unity, the Legion wore a uniform (a green shirt). Concurrently the Captain had set forth a series of eight points – moral purity, unselfishness, enthusiasm, faith, the stimulation of the moral forces of the Nation, justice, vitality and New Romania as a final goal – to which every new member personally adhered by taking an oath and solemnly receiving a small bag of Romanian earth. So as to ensure an harmonious development to the movement, this creed was of course associated to the consentaneous principles of order and discipline (31) without which no political action could ever suceed.

 

            Soon the Capitanul (a traditional title of Captain given to great defenders of the Nation) started to lead imposing rides through the country, with hundreds of horsemen wearing white tunics stamped with a Cross. He also opened large working-sites (« The work-camp », Garcineanu writes, « possesses the same beneficial influences upon the Romanian soul as the nest. Only it realizes them in larger proportions. The spiritual effort is deeper, the accomplished results greater, the legionaries in larger numbers. The work-camp, by its scope, is the place and the only modality of anticipating the great legionary life of tmorrow »). Everywhere in Romania, the ascendancy of the Captain grew bigger and bigger (32) : « I have been able to verify », says Odette Arnaud, « that in both Bucharest and Jassy, 80% of the students learn the Cărticica (the breviary of the Legion) by heart (…) I witnessed a pilgrimage of highlanders. They came to kiss the Captain’s hands after walking nearly a hundred leagues, barefoot, with a stick in one hand » (33). Apparently insensible to this new popularity, the leader of the Legion kept cool and collected : according to Beau de Loménie, « he kept perfectly unaffected, good-tempered and genuinely unassuming » (34).

 

            In June 1930, the Legion of the Archangel St Michael became the Iron Guard (Garda de Fier), a name which it was to keep in spite of several bans (June 11, 1931 ; March 1932 ; December 10, 1933). As an emblem it took a square of iron bars (or gard in Romanian language).

 

codreanu-oliver-ritter1a-n.jpgThe Iron Guard

 

            Faithful to the mission assigned to the Legion, Codreanu provided the Iron Guard with a consistent political doctrine which he set out in his book Pentru Legionari (For the Legionaries). He first advocated a ruthless fight against communism which had been successfully implanted by Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia (between 1914 and 1938, the Jewish population of Romania had grown from 300.000 to 790.000). As a matter of fact, the Captain did not beat around the bush : « When I speak of anti-communist action », he wrote, « I do not mean anti-worker action : when I speak of communists I mean the Jews » (35).

 

            Although King Carol and his suite never ceased making trouble for him, he then stated that he remained a faithful monarchist and rejected any form of republican government. Quite as clearly he condemned democracy as a system which jeopardizes national unity, changes thousands of foreigners into Romanian citizens and proves together erratic, timorous and invariably compliant to great capitalism (36).

 

            Thoroughly scrutinizing the life of the Nation, the chief of the Iron Guard singled out « natural principles of death » and « natural laws of life ». Persuaded that the masses never had any spontaneous intuition of the latter, he suggested that in the future the people should be guided by an elite, that’s to say by « a type of native individuals who possess some special skills ». How will this elite be recruited ? Neither by the ballot-box nor by heredity but by the natural laws of « social selection ». As to the qualities required, the Captain mentioned pureness, working capacity, valour, a strong will to overcome, an ascetic life, faith in God and love. « One should remember », Codreanu said (November 11, 1937), « that the idea of an elite is intrinsically linked to the ideas of sacrifice, poverty and severe life. Whenever the idea of sacrifice is given up, the elite vanishes ».

 

            From a legionary point of view (as expressed by Codreanu himself), the individual is « subordinated to the national community over which the Nation predominates » (37). The Nation includes « all living Romanians as well as the souls of our dead, the graves of our ancestors and all those who will be born Romanian » (38). The Nation owns a physical and a biological patrimony, a material heritage and – as it is also for the Spaniard José Antonio Primo de Rivera (39) – a spiritual legacy which embraces « the way the Nation conceives God, life and the world, as well as the honour and the civilization of the Nation » (40). For the Captain, « the spiritual legacy is the most important » (41). As for the final goal of the Nation, it is the Resurrection (according to the Apocalypse which legionaries often refered to) : « The Nation is a community that will live in the hereafter. Nations are spiritual realities : they not only live here below but also in the reign of God » (42).

 

The Guard into action

 

            Concurrently to the great strides it organized inside Romania, the Iron Guard began looking forward to an international recognition : in December 1934, Ion Moţa (Codreanu’s brother in law) attended the international fascist meeting of Montreux (Switzlerland), showing thence that the Guard felt more attracted to Rome than Berlin. A couple of years later, when the Spanish War broke out, Codreanu stood up for the nationalists and sent them a symbolic deputation of seven volunteers (Ion Moţa, Father Ion Dumitrescu-Borşa, Prince Alecu Cantacuzeno, Bănică Dobre, Gheorghe Clime, Nicolae Totu and Vasile Marin) led by former general Gheorghe Cantacuzino-Grănicerul. These men left Bucharest on November 26, 1936, they met Francisco Franco and general Moscardo, and joined the Tercio (43). All of them being reserve officers, they were quickly posted (as simple rank and file) to the VIth Bandera and immediately took part in the battle at Las Rozas, Pozuelo and Majadahonda where Ion Mota and Vasile Marin got prematurely killed by an ennemy shell on January 13, 1937 (44).

 

            Within Romania, the conflict with the oligarchy became all the more relentless as the Guard grew more and more representative (from 5 MPs in July 1932, the movement, momentarily renamed Totul Pentru Ţară or Everything for the Country, won up to 60 seats at the elections of December 1937). Persecuted by a regime which went so far as to resort to gangs of thugs and set up a state of emergency in some areas, the Guard will suffer 5.000 deaths between 1927 and 1941. Yet it did not plunge the country into a civil war as it could have done it… It seems therefore particularly undue to picture the Guard as an essentially terrorist organization (which implies that it systematically resorted to violence as a legitimate mean to assume power). Actually when it was involved in violence, it nearly always took the form of limited and targetted actions, conceived as « punishments », whose perpetrators spontaneously surrendered to Justice.

 

            Three of these actions aroused a world wide interest : the execution of Prime Minister Ion Gheorghe Duca by the Nicadorii (at Sinaïa on December 29, 1933), that of Mihai Stelescu by the Decemvirii (on July 16, 1936) and that of Prime Minister Armand Călinescu by the Rasbunatorii (at Cotroceni on September 21, 1939). In the first case, the aim was to punish the man who had quashed the electoral campaign of the Guard and who was responsible for 11.000 arrests, 300 wounded and 6 dead… In the second case, the legionaries wanted to punish a former commander, one of the most brilliant, who had conspired against the Captain’s life, betrayed his oath and become the darling of the Jewish press. Happening at the right moment, this betrayal had had an appalling impact. According to F. Bradesco, « an uneasy feeling was growing among legionaries and a sense of shame was hanging over the Commanders’ Corps » (45). It was therefore decided to strike a spectacular blow (especially cruel, this action proved durably prejudicial. As a matter of fact, Stelescu was killed inside Brancobenesc Hospital where he had just been operated. According to the Tharaud brothers, the murderers shot 38 bullets at him and finished him off with an axe ; writer Virgil Gheorghiu says that they fired 200 bullets and then chopped the body with hatchets !). In the third case, the aim was to avenge the Captain by striking the main promoter of what legionaries usually called Prigoana cea mare or « the Great Persecution ».

 

            As far as terrorism is concerned, one should pay special attention to the case of that Călinescu who prided himself with being the fiercest ennemy of the Iron Guard. Totally subservient to King Carol and the business circles of Bucharest (especially to the king’s mistress Magda Wolf-Lupescu)-(46), he had been displaying a constant hate for the Guard since 1932. Appointed to the governement in December 1937, under foreign pressure and on the eve of new elections, he engaged at once in muzzling the Guard with the most radical means : people were arrested, the police closed some country-roads, meetings were banned, activists placed under forced residence, some of them assaulted, and several areas quarantined. Unfair as they might be, these measures did not prevent the Guard to come third at the poll with 16,09% of the votes. Then, at king’s palace and among power-holders, some disreputable people imagined to get rid of the Guard and its leader for good. Owing to his ferocious zeal, Călinescu was chosen to be the main tool of the plot. At first and after making sure that Patriarch Miron Cristea agreed, the king set up a dictature (February 12, 1938), suspended the Constitution, put off the elections, banned all political parties and declared a state of emergency. Suspecting a snare, Codreanu did not do anything to resist the coup : on his own initiative he dissolved his organization, freed the legionaries from their obligations and advised everyone to keep quiet and patient. When a referendum was called (February 28, 1938) to approve the new Constitution, he deliberately did not ask to vote against it so as not to offer any excuse to further repression. The main result of these tactics was of course to infuriate Călinescu whose provocations redoubled : more legal proceedings poured in, thousands of legionary civil servants were dismissed and all premises and companies of the Iron Guard were arbitrarily closed down. To the minister’s great disappointment this strong pressure proved unavailing as it did not meet the slightest sign of rebellion…

 

            In the end and as the Guard offered no resistance whatever, Călinescu was compelled to find a trivial pretext to engage in the second phase of his anti-legionary operation. On account of a private letter Codreanu had sent to professor Nicolae Iorga, king’s councellor, the latter was encouraged to lodge a complaint for outrage (March 30, 1938) and the Captain was immediately indicted. Arrested on April 17 together with several thousands legionaries (whose possible reaction made the government feel much anxious), Codreanu appeared before a military court (April 19) which sentenced him to a 6 month imprisonment (a maximal punishment for such an alleged offence) ! Incarcerated in Jilava, the leader of the Guard was henceforward at the mercy of his worst enemies. Isolated and seriously ill (from TB), his spirits were low : « Once again my mother is alone », he wrote, « Her son-in-law has died in Spain, leaving a widow and a couple of orphans. I am in jail. Four other children are already in prison or on the verge of being arrested. One of them has also got four children who stay without a crust of bread to eat. Before the holidays, my father went to Bucharest to draw his pension and he never returned. He was arrested, led to an unknown place and no one knows about his fate » (47).

 

            At this stage, it seemed that the government had reached its objective : the Iron Guard was paralyzed, its most active supporters were disqualified and its leader in gaol. Still Călinescu wanted to complete his work. With this aim in view, he initiated new proceedings (May 8, 1938) against Codreanu in order to have him sentenced for treason and armed rebellion. Appearing before Bucharest military court (May 23) after a quick investigation and whereas his lawyers had only had three days to prepare the plea, the Captain miraculously escaped the death penalty (just established on May 24…) but he however got ten years of hard labour (May 27, 1938) !

 

            The denial of justice was enormous, the masquerade patent, yet Călinescu’s employers were not satisfied. Neither the king nor his hidden abettors felt reassured as they perfectly knew that many legionary groups were still secretly at work (in 1937 there were 34.000 « nests »), that some commanders had escaped police raids and that their chief was still alive. Once more the Home Secretary set to work, more than ever determined to do in the Captain and his men. Throughout summer, the police went on arresting people so as to weaken the Guard a little more ; precautions were even taken in the army to prevent any outburst of temper from sympathizers. Eventually, in November, everything was ready and Călinescu gave the green light. In the night from November 29 to November 30, 1938, Codreanu and 13 other legionaries (the Nicadorii and the Decemvirii) were taken out from Râmnicu-Sarat jail and handed over to major Dinulescu and a company of gendarmes. The police vans took the road to Bucharest, they stopped on the edge of Tâncăbeşti Forest and there, the 14 prisoners were coldly strangled by their custodians who also riddled them with bullets to simulate an escape bid. Afterwards, the corpses were brought to Jilava, sprayed with sulfuric acid and burried in several tons of concrete (48) ; then, general Ioan Bengliu gave each killer a bonus of 20.000 lei.

 

            Călinescu had but a short while to jubilize. As expected he was not long to pay for his crime with his life (49) : on September 21, 1939, a group of avengers shot him dead in Cotroceni. As for the tragic death of Codreanu, at the age of 39, it highlights the message which the Captain used to address to his young supporters : « Fight but never be vile. Leave to others the ways of infamy. Better fall with honour than win uncreditably » (50).

 

War, Resistance and Exile

 

            The punishment inflicted to Călinescu (51) led to a stinging counterstroke : the executioners were immediately shot on the spot without any trial. Whereupon general Argeşanu gave the order to kill all legionary officers who happened to be incarcerated at the moment as well as five ordinary legionaries in each county (that is to say between 300 to 400 dead in 24 hours !)-(52). In spite of these repeated blows, the Iron Guard survived ; under the leadership of a new chief, Horia Sima (1907-1993), it even entered the governement in September 1940 (Horia Sima, Prince Sturdza, prof. Brăileanu, legionaries Nicolau and Iasinschi were appointed ministers). Thenceforth the settling of accounts began : on November 27, 1940, former minister Victor Iamandi, generals Gheorghe Argeşanu, Ioan Bengliu and Gabriel Marinescu were summarily executed in Jilava together with senior police officers Moruzov and Stefanescu (53) ; on the same day Nicolae Iorga, the man who had told the king to get rid of Codreanu, was assassinated in Strejnicu (54). On the other hand and contrary to the usual stereotypes, the legionary movement did not start any pogrom. According to the Black Book (Cartea Neagra) which Matatias Carp published in 1946 with a foreword by Chief Rabbi Alexandru Safran, « during the legionary government (from September 6, 1940, to January 24, 1941) casualties were as follows : 4 Jews killed in Bucharest in November ; 11 Jews killed in Ploeşti in the night of November 27 ; 1 Jew killed in Hârşova (Constanta) on January 17, 1941, and 120 Jews killed between January 21 and January 24, 1941, during the rebellion » (volume 1, p. 25). No doubt this balance of 136 victims is terrible (55) but as a comparison one should remember that up to 265.000 Jews died under Marshal Antonescu’s anti-legionary regime… [Is it necessary to add that the Legion took absolutely no part in the alleged pogroms of Jassy (June 27, 1941), Edinets (July 6, 1941), Cernăuţi (July 9, 1941), Chisinau (August 1, 1941) and Odessa (October 1941-January 1942) ? As explained below, the movement was dissolved and prohibited in January 1941. The pogroms if they ever happened were the sole responsability of Antonescu and his acolytes].

 

            The Iron Guard did not stay at the head of the state for long. On January 21, 1941 and by means of a large police operation backed by German Wehrmacht (general E. O. Hansen), Marshal Ion Antonescu tried to extirpate the legionaries for good (at least 800 of them were killed and 8000 arrested). Under German protection, the surviving commanders had no alternative but to flee to Germany where Himmler had them confined in Buchenwald, Dachau, Berkenbruck and Sachsenhausen (56). According to Walter Hagen (57), « the crushing of the legionary movement deprived the regime of any popular support. It became a “dead system“, very similar to the dictatorial government of Carol II. When danger came, nobody lifted a finger to defend it ». Arrested (August 23, 1944) and handed over to the Soviets by order of King Michael and Iuliu Maniu, the Conducător (Antonescu) ended his life facing a communist firing squad.

 

            Released on August 24, 1944, the day after Romania’s volte-face, the legionaries from Germany set up (December 10, 1944) a « Romanian National Government » (with Horia Sima, Prince Sturdza, general Chirnoagă) which settled in Vienna and later in Bad Gastein and Altaussee. They also formed a small anti-communist army which went to fight along river Oder. This Romanian unit was made of two Waffen-SS regiments (5.000 men) whose commanding officer was general Platon Chirnoagă (1894-1974). « In the circumstances », Horia Sima says (58), « the Iron Guard had no choice but to carry on the fight (…) Therefore I issued a proclamation to the country which was immediately broadcast. Then I began organizing the resistance with the scanty means we still had at our disposal ».

 

            As in most East European countries, the resistance began with a very poor equipment, in a territory which the Red Army had just ravaged and where all sorts of communist gangs were wreaking havoc (from March 6, 1945, these thugs became the senior executives of the new political police)-(59). At that time no support was to be expected from either the king or his friends (540.000 Romanian soldiers were now fighting against Germany together with the Soviets). Though he had just been awarded the Order of the Victory, King Michael (born 1921) was no more than a mere hostage in the hands of Vichinsky, P. Groza, Gheorghiu-Dej, V. Luca, Ana Pauker or Emil Bodnăraş, and he had no choice but to drain the cup to its dregs. On December 30, 1947 he nevertheless resolved to abdicate and leave the country. In spite of draconian measures of repression (arrests, mass deportations, shootings), guerillas sprang up in Oltenia, Banat, Transylvania and along the Carpathian Mountains ; led by former legionaries, these groups went on fighting until 1955-1956 almost without any help from abroad (60). Beyond their own ideas, this hard-line attitude was a question of life and death for the former members of the Iron Guard. Actually under a new law passed in May 1948, they were irrevocably destined for the hardest punishments, which meant that they would end up in some infamous death camps (such as Black Sea Canal, Cavnic, Peninsula, Aiud) and suffer the « unmaskings » or brainwashings to which all intellectuals were submitted at Piteşti, Gherla and Jilava special prisons (61).

 

         Codr1149611347.jpg   For the expatriates the fight went on as well (62) but in a less hostile environment. Well established in the Romanian emigration (in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil and the USA) they launched several publications, did their best to inform the Western public (63) and took an active part in various assemblies of captive nations. According to the declaration they issued in 1977 (50th aniversary of the Legion) their positions ensued from their former commitments. The Iron Guard in exile demanded that international communism should be eradicated, it rejected the UNO and the Helsinki Agreement, proposed to build a united Europe with a common spiritual denominator and to support East European resistance movements ; it also rejected any idea of « world government » and flatly repelled the concept of « spheres of influence ». Vis-à-vis the inner situation of Romania, it denied Ceauşescu any legitimacy, reaffirmed Romanian rights on Bucovina, Bessarabia and the Hertza region (annexed by the USSR), rejected collectivism and demanded religious freedom.

 

            As Corneliu Zelea Codreanu had predicted : « Legionaries do not die. Standing upright, steadfast and immortal, they victoriously gaze at the seething of ineffectual hates » (64). In 1989, after 45 years of communist rule, the survivors of the Guard had not changed : they were still faithful to their oath and sticked to their creed (social fraternity, distributive justice, inner perfection and creative revolution). After the fall of Ceauşescu, those who lived in Romania (mostly octogenarians) kept cautious and contented themselves with supporting the traditional right-wing parties. For them, the country was not yet fully safe : the late dictator’s henchmen were still powerful and the new democracy unsteady. Wasn’t it amazing to see the Romanians, totally messed up, cheer up King Michael (in February 1997), the very man who had abandoned them to Stalin and given up a good third of the country ? Writing about the ethnic quarrels which broke out in Transylvania, some journalists suggested that a new Iron Guard stood behind the nationalist movement Vatra Românească and the Association for a United Romania (65). Probably meant for the omnipotent western antifascist lobby, the allegation was immediately taken up by Petre Roman (March 21, 1990) ; it came at the right moment for a most controversial regime whose repressive policy it greatly contributed to justify. Obviously this was grossly overstated and at any rate much premature. Today, Romania is very different from what it used to be in the thirties or the fourties (66) and the Iron Guard is not a simple political party which disappears and reappears according to circumstances. It has a metaphysical dimension which cannot be so easily restored in a country that has been submitted for nearly 50 years to atheism, materialism and utilitarianism. If the legionary movement is ever to revive, it will be under the spur of a new elite (as Codreanu meant it)-(67) and it will need years to develop !

 

 

                                                                                                          Christophe Dolbeau

 

 

Notes

 

(1) Horizons Rouges, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1988, pp. 217-221.

 

(2) For the same reason, criticisms were also directed at philosopher and poet Émile Cioran (1911-1995). In a letter dated March 4, 1975, the Romanian-French academician Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) writes : « Towards the end of the inter-war years, most Romanians, especially young people and intellectuals, were members or sympathizers of the Romanian fascist party called the Iron Guard » – quoted by J. Miloe in La Riposte, Paris, Compagnie Française d’Impression, 1976, p. 309.

 

(3) Title of a famous poem by the Transylvanian Andreiu Muresianu (1816-1863).

 

(4) La Revue Hebdomadaire, March 2, 1935.

 

(5) L’Envoyé de l’Archange, Paris, Plon, 1939, p. 2. Both Jérôme (1874-1953) and Jean (1877-1952) Tharaud were novelists who belonged to the French Academy.

 

(6) The son of a Jewish mother, Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987) was a famous fascist journalist who later became a much respected economist.

 

(7) The banner of the League was black and there was a white circle with a swastika in the middle. The League was presided over by professor Alexandru C. Cuza (1857-1947).

 

(8) According to Codreanu, « All the gentlemen of the jury wore a tricolour cockade with a swastika » – in La Garde de Fer, Grenoble, Omul Nou, 1972, p. 231. See https://archive.org/details/ForMyLegionariesTheIronGuard

 

(9) On October 25, 1924 C. Z. Codreanu was defending a young student at the tribunal of Jassy. All of a sudden and during the hearing, commissioner Manciu and a dozen policemen burst into the court room and rushed to Codreanu who seized his gun and fired to protect himself – See La Garde de Fer, p. 210.

 

(10) La Revue Hebdomadaire, December 17, 1938, vol. XII, p. 346.

 

(11) Ion Banea, Lines for our Generation, Madrid, Libertatea, 1987, p. 13-14.

 

(12) V. Puiu Gârcineanu, From the Legionary World, Madrid, Libertatea, 1987, p. 1.

 

(13) N° 81 (April-May 1969), p. 9-10.

 

(14) Born in 1909 in the South of France, Robert Brasillach was a promising poet but also a bestselling novelist and a brilliant journalist ; sentenced to death in January 1945 for « collaboration with the nazis », he was executed on February 6, 1945.

 

(15) Notre Avant-Guerre, Paris, Plon, 1973, p. 304.

 

(16) Introduction to the Livret du Chef de Nid (Handbook of the Nest Leader), Pământul Strămoşesc, 1978, s.l., p. VI.

 

(17) Le Front Secret, Paris, Les Iles d’Or, 1952, p. 234.

 

(18) V. Puiu Gârcineanu, op. cit., p. 14. The Christian inspiration of the movement attracted a great number of clergymen ; approximately 3.000 priests (out of 10.000) belonged to the Legion. In 1945, out of 12 bishops in the Synod, 7 were former legionaries.

 

(19) Revue d’Histoire du Fascisme, N° 2 (September-October 1972), p. 132.

 

(20) Les Mouvements Fascistes, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1991, p. 237.

 

(21) Adolphe Crémieux (1796-1880) was a Jew and a freemason ; from 1863 to 1880, he was the president of the Alliance Israélite Universelle (World Jewish Alliance).

 

(22) The symbol of the National Christian Party was the swastika.

 

(23) See Les Juifs de Moldavie, Paris, Dentu, 1867.

 

(24) Les Trois Épreuves Légionnaires, Prométhée, 1973, s. l., p. 69. This opinion is shared by Prince Mihail Sturdza who states that Codreanu « would have immediately expelled from the Movement any fool who had so much as broken a window in a Jewish-owned shop » (The Suicide of Europe, p. 233) and by Father Vasile Boldeanu who assures that « there was no room for anti-Semitism in the legionary programme » (quoted in La Riposte, p. 194).These opinions are perhaps a bit too « optimistic » and in any case they seem to be contradicted by the long series of outrages which the Jewish community suffered at that time (taking into consideration that all the attacks were not always due to legionaries and that they often occured as retaliatons to previous assaults by Jewish thugs as in Oradea, December 1927).

 

(25) La Garde de Fer, p. 283.

 

(26) Ibid, p. 283.

 

(27) Ion Banea, op. cit., p. 10-11.

 

(28) La Garde de Fer, p. 277.

 

(29) Les Trois Épreuves Légionnaires, p. 158.

 

(30) See F. Bradesco, Le Nid – Unité de Base du Mouvement Légionnaire, Madrid, Carpatii, 1973.

 

(31) See C. Z. Codreanu, Le Livret du Chef de Nid, Pamântul Stramosesc, 1978, and F. Bradesco, Le Nid, pp. 111-135.

 

(32) The Legion-Iron Guard had grown from an obscure little group into a large movement whose membership included generals (Gheorghe Cantacuzeno, Ion Macridescu, Ion Tarnoschi), scholars (Traian Brăileanu, Ion Găvănescul, Eugen Chirnoagă, Corneliu Şumuleanu, Dragoş Protopopescu), distinguished philosophers (Nichifor Crainic, Nae Ionescu) and brilliant poets (Radu Gyr, Virgil Carianopol). The masses were also enthusiastic : when Codreanu got married (June 13, 1925), a crowd of 80.000 to 100.000 flooded to Focşani and at the funerals of Moţa and Marin (February 13, 1937), the cortège (with a hundred priests) stretched out over 6 miles. In 1937 and according to S. G. Payne, the Iron Guard had a membership of 272.000 (i.e. 1,5% of the Romanian population).

 

(33) La Revue Hebdomadaire, March 2, 1935.

 

(34) La Revue Hebdomadaire, December 17, 1938, p. 348.

 

(35) La Garde de Fer, p. 353. Before WWII there were approximately 300.000 factory workers in Romania and the local Communist Party had no more than 1000 members. Indubitably most communist leaders – Dr Litman Ghelerter, Ilie Moscovici, Marcel and Ana Pauker (Hannah Rabinsohn), Avram Bunaciu (Abraham Gutman), Walter Roman (Ernö Neuländer), Teohari Georgescu (Burah Techkovich), Gheorghe Apostol (Aaron Gerschwin), Miron Constantinescu (Mehr Kohn), Leonte Răutu (Lev Oigenstein), Remus Kofler, Simion Bughici (David), Iosif Chişinevschi (Iacob Roitman), Gheorghe Stoica (Moscu Cohn), Stefan Voicu (Aurel Rotenberg), etc – were Jews.

See : http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/List_of_communist_Jews_in_Romania

 

(36) Ibid, pp. 386-388.

 

(37) Ibid, p. 396.

 

(38) Ibid, p. 398.

 

(39) See Horia Sima, Dos Movimientos Nacionales, José antonio Primo de Rivera y Corneliu Codreanu, Madrid, Ediciones Europa, 1960.

 

(40) La Garde de Fer, p. 398.

 

(41) Ibid, p. 398.

 

(42) Ibid, p. 399.

 

(43) The Tercio is the Spanish Foreign Legion.

 

(44) José Luis de Mesa, Los otros internacionales, Madrid, Barbarroja, 1998, pp. 165-172, and Los legionarios rumanos Motza y marin caidos por Dios y España, Barcelona, Bausp, 1978. The mortal remnants of the two legionaries were repatriated by train and the funerals took place in Bucharest on February 13, 1937. Legionaries Clime, Cantacuzeno, Dobre and Totu came back safe and sound but they were assassinated by the Romanian secret police in September 1939 ; Father Dumitrescu (1899-1981) received a 16-year sentence in 1948.

 

(45) F. Bradesco, La Garde de Fer et le Terrorisme, Madrid, Carpatii, 1979, p. 97.

 

(46) Born in a Jewish family from Jassy, Helen Wolf (1895-1977) became the king’s mistress in 1925 ; she later married Carol II (the marriage took place in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro) and from then onwards she was called Helen of Hohenzollern…

 

(47) C. Z. Codreanu, Journal de Prison (Prison Diary), Puiseaux, Pardès, 1986, p. 18-19.

 

(48) On December 6, 1940, they were transfered to the Green House in the presence of 120.000 legionaries.

 

(49) Unanimously decided by the Legionary High Command in Berlin, the operation was carried out by a group of nine volunteers led by young attorney Miti Dumitrescu.

 

(50) C. Z. Codreanu, Le Livret du Chef de Nid, p. 7 (Basic rule N° 6 of the « nest »).

 

(51) In a circular-letter (N° 145) dated February 11, 1928, C. Z. Codreanu had explicitly asked his friends to avenge him in case of a murder – See F. Bradesco, La Garde de Fer et le Terrorisme, p. 190.

 

(52) The sinister balance of these reprisals is far from acurate : according to V. Gheorghiu, 242 legionaries were killed whereas Father Boldeanu speaks of 1300 victims. Be it as it may, in absence of legal proceedings this massacre was mere state-terrorism.

 

(53) In a letter dated April 5, 1936, C. Z. Codreanu gave his legionaries the following advice : « Don’t confuse justice and Christian forgiveness with the right and the duty of a people to punish those who betrayed and those who dared opposing the Nation’s destiny. Don’t forget that you have girded on the sword of the Nation. You carry it in the name of the Nation. And in the name of the Nation you shall punish, mercilessly and without any pardon » – La Garde de Fer, p. 443.

 

(54) The authors of this merciless retribution were executed in their turn on December 4, 1940 and July 28, 1941.

 

(55) Once more the balance is uncertain : regarding the events of January 1941, F. Bertin speaks of 400 victims, F. Duprat of 680 and Father Boldeanu goes up to 1352 (122 Jews, 430 legionaries and 800 undetermined). For their part, some representatives of the Jewish community (different from M. Carp and Rabbi Safran) put forward a total of 5.000 to 6.000.

 

(56) Treated as Ehrenhäftlinge or honorary prisoners, many legionaries were apparently not interned with the other inmates but granted better conditions. At Buchenwald for instance several of them stayed in Fichtenheim barracks which housed the camp garrison.

 

(57) W. Hagen, op. cit. , p. 244.

 

(58) Interview by G. Gondinet in Totalité N° 18-19 (summer 1984), p. 20.

 

(59) See Reuben H. Markham, La Roumanie sous le joug soviétique (Rumania under the Soviet yoke), Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1949.

 

(60) However a few parachute landings were organized by political emigrants and foreign secret services : for instance 13 young paratroopers of the Resistance (Ion Buda, Aurel Corlan, Ion Cosma, Gheorghe Dincă, Ion Golea, Ion Iuhasz, Gavrilă Pop, Mircea Popovici, Ion Samoilă, Alexandru Tănase, Erich Tartler, Ion Tolan and Mihai Vasile Vlad) were sentenced to death and executed in October 1953. All former legionaries did not choose to resist and a minority prefered to adapt and collaborate : such was the case of Father Constantin Burducea who became minister of religious affairs (from March 6, 1945 to April 1946) and Nicolae Petrescu (the last general-secretary of the Iron Guard) who reappeared on the political scene between 1945 and 1948.

 

(61) See D. Bacu, The Anti-Humans, Englewood, Soldiers of the Cross, 1971 and G. Dumitresco, L’Holocauste des Âmes, Paris, Librairie Roumaine Antitotalitaire, 1998.

 

(62) In 1947, the Instructing Commission of the International Tribunal of Nuremberg exculpated the Legion, the Romanian National Government and the Romanian National Army ; yet the Iron Guard decided to dissolve in 1948.

 

(63) Sometimes more spectacular actions were organized as in Bern where, between February 14 and February 16, 1955, the Romanian embassy was raided by political emigrants Stan Codrescu, Dumitru Ochiu, Ion Chirilă and Puiu Beldeanu who killed colonel Aurel Setu, head of the Romanian secret service in Switzlerland.

 

(64) La Garde de Fer, p. 4.

 

(65) See for instance the scholar magazine Hérodote, N° 58-59, p. 300.

 

(66) Today Romania belongs to the EEC, it is a much secular country where communism is only a bad memory and where the Jewish community is reduced to barely 20.000 persons (for a global population of 21,5 million).

 

(67) In 1996 a small group of neo-legionaries from Timisoara began to publish a magazine called Gazeta de Vest. On January 15, 2000 the French daily Le Monde reported that on November 8, 1999 a religious service had been celebrated in Jassy, in memory of the Moldavian dead legionaries ; according to the Paris newspaper this service marked the official rebirth of the Legion. In 2014, the Noua Dreaptă (New Right) claims that it carries on the legacy of the Legion ; it is not a political party but a philosophical movement which does not stand for elections (see http://nouadreapta.org).

 

Bibliography

 

        BACU D., The Anti-Humans, Englewood, Soldiers of the Cross, 1971.

 

        BANEA I., Lines for our Generation, Madrid, Libertatea, 1987.

 

        BERTIN F., L’Europe de Hitler, volume 3, Paris, Librairie Française, 1977.

 

        BRADESCO F., Antimachiavélisme Légionnaire, Rio de Janeiro, Dacia, 1963 ; Le Nid, unité de base du Mouvement Légionnaire, Madrid, Carpatii, 1973 ; Les Trois Épreuves Légionnaires, Paris, Prométhée, 1973 ; La Garde de Fer et le Terrorisme, Madrid, Carpatii, 1979.

 

        CABALLERO C. and LANDWEHR R., El Ejército Nacional Rumano. Romanian Volunteers of the Waffen SS 1944-45, Granada, García Hispán, 1997.

 

        CODREANU C. Z., Le Livret du Chef de Nid, Pamântul Stramosesc, 1978, s. l. ; La Garde de Fer, Grenoble, Omul Nou, 1972 ; Journal de Prison, Puiseaux, Pardès, 1986.

 

        DE MESA J. L., Los otros internacionales, Madrid, Barbarroja, 1998.

 

        DESJARDINS E., Les Juifs de Moldavie, Paris, Dentu, 1867.

 

        DUMITRESCO G., L’Holocauste des Âmes, Paris, Librairie Roumaine Antitotalitaire, 1998.

 

        GARCINEANU V. P., From the Legionary World, Madrid, Libertatea, 1987.

 

        GOLEA T., Romania beyond the limits of endurance, Miami Beach, Romanian Historical Studies, 1988.

 

        GUERIN A., Les Commandos de la Guerre Froide, Paris, Julliard, 1969.

 

        HAGEN W., Le Front Secret, Paris, Les Iles d’Or, 1952.

 

        MARCKHAM R. H., La Roumanie sous le joug soviétique, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1949.

 

        MILOE J., La Riposte, Paris, Compagnie Française d’Impression, 1976.

 

        NOLTE E., Les Mouvements Fascistes, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1991.

 

        PACEPA I., Horizons Rouges, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1988.

 

        SBURLATI C., Codreanu e la Guardia di Ferro, Roma, Volpe, 1977.

 

        SIMA H., Destinées du Nationalisme, Paris, Prométhée, 1951 ; Dos Movimientos Nacionales, José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Corneliu Codreanu, Madrid, Ediciones Europa, 1960 ; Histoire du Mouvement Légionnaire, Rio de Janeiro, Dacia, 1972.

 

        SIMA H. (D. CRETU and F. BRADESCO), Le Semi-Centenaire du Mouvement Légionnaire, Madrid, 1977.

 

        STURDZA M., The Suicide of Europe, Boston-Los Angeles, Western Islands Publishers, 1968.

 

        THARAUD J. and J., L’Envoyé de l’Archange, Paris, Plon, 1939.

 

        XXX, Los legionarios rumanos Motza y Marin caídos por Dios y por España, Barcelona, Bausp, 1978.

 

 

        La Revue Hebdomadaire, March 2, 1935 and December 17, 1938.

 

        Nuova Antologia, February 1, 1938 (« Codreanu e il Legionarismo Romeno »)

 

        Défense de l’Occident, N° 81 (April-May 1969)

 

        Revue d’Histoire du Fascisme, N° 2 (September-October 1972).

 

        Totalité, N° 18-19 (Summer 1984).

 

        Le Choc du Mois, N° 28 (March 1990).

 

        Hérodote, N° 58-59 (1990).

 

        Quaderni di Testi Evoliani, N° 29.

 

French speaking readers will find a very complete set of texts about the ideology of the Iron Guard at http://vouloir.hautetfort.com/archive/2010/05/19/codreanu.html

                               

 

samedi, 04 octobre 2014

The CIA & the Construction of the Sixties Counter-Culture

Allen Dulles’ Lonely Hearts Club Band:
The CIA & the Construction of the Sixties Counter-Culture

By James J. O'Meara

Weird_Scenes1Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Dave McGowan
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream [2]
London: Headpress, 2014

“Oh the snot is caked against my pants,
it has turned into crystal.
There’s a bluebird sitting on a branch,
I guess I’ll take my pistol . . .”
— Arthur Lee and Love, “Live and Let Live” 

Everyone knows that today’s “pop” music is just manufactured crap — manufactured to make money for huge corporations, or perhaps for some more sinister purpose.[1] And the stories of ’50s teen idols and “rock and roll” songs written by Judaic hacks in sweatshops like the Brill Building of New York (Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Carol King, Lieber and Stoller) — even, at the very tail end, the teenage Lou Reed, for at least a few weeks) are legendary.[2]

But there’s still an idea abroad, mostly among Boomers, that during their adolescence it was different, man — kids wrote their own music, and the words meant something, and it stopped the War, and changed the world, man!

Like most every Boomer notion, it’s a crock, and this book explains why. As the author says elsewhere:

To the extent that it has a central thesis, I would say that it is that the music and counterculture scene that sprung to life in the 1960s was not the organic, grassroots resistance movement that it is generally perceived to be, but rather a movement that was essentially manufactured and steered. And a corollary to that would be that for a scene that was supposed to be all about peace, love and understanding, there was a very dark, violent underbelly that this book attempts to expose.[3]

And why?

Hippie culture is now viewed as synonymous with the anti-war movement, but as the book points out, that wasn’t always the case. A thriving anti-war movement existed before the first hippie emerged on the scene, along with a women’s rights movement, a black empowerment/Black Panther movement, and various other movements aimed at bringing about major changes in society. All of that was eclipsed by and subsumed by the hippies and flower children, who put a face on those movements that was offensive to mainstream America and easy to demonize. And as you mentioned, a second purpose was served as well — indoctrinating the young and impressionable into a belief system that serves the agenda of the powers that be.

Needless to say, I found this all fascinating and was with the author all the way; or, as we shall see, most of the way. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Detroit at a very salient point in time: the Boomer kids of the ’60s lived in a wealthy, highly developed Whitopia.[4] With union jobs that not only paid well, but were so plentiful you could quit and get re-hired at will (ensuring maximum leisure time),[5] our kids made their own damn culture, with no help needed form such “world capitols”[6] as New York, the home of the aforementioned Brill Building.[7]

McGowan’s book covers, he says, the time period when the music scene moved from New York to LA, and principally, as he’ll show, to Lauren Canyon, but this meant nothing to us in Detroit, where we had our own music scene (the MC5, the Stooges, who in turn took their inspiration from Sun Ra and John Coltrane). We found the more proletarian British bands of some interest, such as the Stones or Cream, and Detroit was, along with Cleveland, the only place in America that The Who were known — in fact, were almost local heroes. The saintly Beatles, however, were unknown — I first encountered the iconic Sgt. Pepper when George Burns sang “With a Little Help from My Friends” on my parent’s TV,[8] while it’s no surprise that the “Paul is Dead” rumor originated with a Detroit DJ.[9]

However, one thing that had mildly interested me over years was exactly McGowan’s subject: how did this group of dopey California losers form a “music scene” that came to dominate American popular culture in the ’60s-’70s and, to an extent even now.

As far as counter-culture conspiracy theories go, the usual story is:

What began as a legitimate movement was, at some point, co-opted and undermined by intelligence operations such a CoIntelPro . . . subjected to FBI harassment and/or whacked by the CIA.

McGowan has a decidedly different slant, asking:

What if the musicians themselves (and various other leaders and founders of the ‘movement’) were every bit as much a part of the intelligence community as the people who were supposedly harassing them?

What if, in other words, the entire youth culture of the 1960s was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake opposition that could be easily controlled and led astray?[10]

Once look beyond the myth and you start asking questions, the whole period looks decidedly odd. Why, during the hottest days of anti-war protest, were none, absolutely none, of these musicians drafted? (Although, as we’ll see, Dave Crosby was in Viet Nam before anyone knew where it was.) Why was none of the Canadian and British musicians on expired, or no visas, deported? Why no major, and hardly any minor, drug busts? Why the remarkable aversion to political advocacy? And above all, did any of these people really have any musical talent?

This passage on “Papa” John Phillips, though a bit long, is worth quoting in full as it nicely displays McGowan’s case against every resident of Laurel Canyon in a nutshell; I’ll add some notes to make the insinuated memes[11] clear:

One of his first paying jobs was working on a fishing charter boat. As John later recalled it, the crew consisted of him, a retired Navy officer, and four retired Army generals. Sounds like a perfect fit for the future guiding light of the hippie movement.

[Military connections! A surprising number of the leading hippies came from military families, some tied up with Intelligence or Chemical Warfare (Zappa’s dad). And not low-level grunts, etiher; Jim Morrison’s dad, for example, was the captain of the boat involved in the Tonkin Bay “incident,”[12] though Jim never saw fit to mention it. Laurel Canyon itself was a hotbed of military skullduggery.]

John’s first wife was the aristocratic Susie Adams, a direct descendent of President John Adams

[Old WASP aristocracy is always good for a sinister touch]

and occasional practitioner of voodoo.

[See! The occult cryptocracy exposed!]

The couple’s first son, Jeffrey, was born on Friday the 13th

[More occult numerological symbolism, with, for those in “the know,” a Templar connection.]

Shortly after that, John found himself in, of all places, Havana, Cuba, just as the Batista regime was about to fall to the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro.

[In addition to, or as part of, the military connection, the families of these musicians spend an awful lot of time in the oddest areas, usually right around a CIA-sponsored coup. In some cases, like Papa John here in Cuba or Dave Crosby in, believe it or not, Viet Nam -- before US troops arrived -- the kids are there themselves. As an added note, borders seem to mean nothing; Papa John travels to Havana with ease, while Neil Young and other from Canada live and work in the US illegally for years, at the height of the ’60s convulsions. John Kay of Steppenwolf -- son of a German officer, ’natch -- travelled with ease not only in post-War West Germany but even back and forth between East and West, finally settling in Toronto before joining the illegal immigrants in Laurel Canyon.]

According to Phillips, he and his travelling companions “were once whisked off the street . . .

[To jail? Deportation? Nope.]

. . . straight into a TV studio to appear in a live Havana variety show.” Many of you, I’m sure, have had a similar experience.

Indeed, McGowan notes a remarkable series of “coincidences” in the creation of many famous bands — Neil Young leaves Toronto for Los Angeles, because he thinks Dave Crosby is there, and on arrival, stuck in a traffic jam, sees Crosby in a car in the opposite lane; thus is born Buffalo Springfield), suggesting it wasn’t just The Monkees that were a carefully selected group of photogenic, non-musicians promoted as The Latest Thing. Even bands with one or two genuine musicians (Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds) tend to be topped off with handsome drones to please the female fans and receive mysterious gifts of brand new instruments, free studios, and friends who just happen to have the latest multi-track equipment in their basement.

Which leads to another point; unlike the myth of garage bands struggling on small, independent labels, every one of these bands was either signed by, or quickly signed away to, major-major labels, such as Atlantic, Columbia, and Elektra.

Puyting all this together, take . . . The Doors . . . for example:

Jim Morrison was indeed a unique individual, and quite possibly the unlikeliest rock star ever to stumble across a stage.

Before his sudden incarnation as a singer/songwriter, James Douglas Morrison had never shown the slightest interest in music. None whatsoever.

Why did Morrison, with no previous interest in music, suddenly and inexplicably become a prolific songwriter, only just as suddenly lose interest after mentally penning an impressive catalog of what would be regarded as rock staples?

How exactly did Jim “The Lizard King” Morrison write that impressive bunch of songs?

As for the band itself, there was no one with any band experience whatsoever; nor did the lineup ever change:

The Doors . . . arrive on the scene as a fully formed entity, with a name (taken from Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception), a stable lineup, a backlog of soon-to-be hit songs . . . and no previous experience writing, arranging, playing of performing music.

Really more like a lab experiment than a rock band; perhaps a CIA sleeper cell, or an alien simulacrum? The Byrds, too, were “by any reasonable assessment, an entirely manufactured phenomenon”:

The first album in particular was an entirely engineered affair created by taking a collection of songs by outside songwriters and having them performed by a group of nameless studio musicians . . . after which the band’s trademark vocal harmonies, entirely a studio creation, were added to the mix.

The band got a lot of assistance from the media, with Time being among the first to champion the new band.[13]

With Laurel Canyon’s other bands as well, it was the major record labels, not upstart independents, that signed the new artists.

“Folk-rock was recorded and issued by huge corporations, and broadcast over radio and television stations owned for the most part by the same or similar pillars of the establishment” (quoting Untermeyer)

And who was behind the labels? McGowan says (without reference, a point to which we will return) that of the 1000 or so label started from 1950-’55, by the ’60s only 2 remained: Elektra and Atlantic. Along with Columbia, these labels would dominate the folk and psychedelic rock era.[14] (This also solves a puzzle that mildly interested me years ago: how did Elektra, which I associated with hippies, folk, folk-rock, and psychedelic rock, emerge, with Atlantic, as the surviving label conglomerate of Warner-Elektra-Atlantic?)

If the hippies and their “rock” was created by the government/military, using the news media and major record labels to create a false, controlled “opposition,” we can test McGowan’s thesis by looking at the contrary experience of Detroit’s true White youth bands. Both the MC5 and the Stooges were signed to major labels — and guess which ones? Surprise: Elektra, then Atlantic and Columbia. Elektra censored the Five’s “Kick Out the Jams” anthem, then dumped them when they dared to protest in the public prints. The Stooges were assigned to New York Velvet Undergrounder John Cale to try to smooth out and commercialize their sound; the Five moved to Atlantic where Jon Landau was assigned the same task. Iggy eventually would up on Columbia, where his Raw Power album would also be castrated, by Velvets emulator and supposed fan David Bowie. Then fade out.

Quite a reversal of the “the kids know what they’re doing” approach of the major labels when dealing with the Laurel Canyon future superstars.

To be fair to the era (which McGowan admits to being a fan of well into the ’90s) there are two chapters devoted to the two unquestionable White musical geniuses of the age: Brian Wilson and, I’m glad to see, Arthur Lee. The Beach Boys material seemed like nothing new — I vaguely recall most of it, such as father Murry’s use of the Bing Crosby Golf Club school of discipline, years ago, in Rolling Stone, no less. Lee and his band, the era-epitomizing Love,[15] were stable mates of, and as it turns out, musical icons to, Jim Morrison at Elektra. Although officially “black” or “African-American” as the era would have it, he was actually sort of a quadroon, and that soupçon of White blood no doubt explains his talent and imperious ways.[16]

The indescribable one-off Forever Changes — musically sounding like the Tijuana Brass stumbled into a Moody Blues recording session under Bert Bacharach’s baton,[17] with lyrics and song titles (“The Good Humor Man, He Sees Everything Like This,” “Andmoreagain,” “Maybe the People Would Be the Times, or Between Clark and Hilldale”) suggest not so much the cheap surrealism of post-Dylan rock as the genuine, Old Weird America of Harry Partch[18] — proved to be the one surviving relic of the Summer of Love that fails to evoke douche chills and may perhaps justify the whole era; [19] perhaps due to Lee’s undeviating sincerity; like a hippie Ayn Rand, he could only add “And I mean it.”[20]

 

histoire,cia,états-unis,ontre-culture,mouvement hippy,services secrets,services secrets américains

 

All this is presented in the usual portentous “conspiracy” style; in fact, the whole book is an exercise in what’s been called the Jim Garrison Guilt by Location method (Oswald had an office in the same building as Guy Bannister. Having established their connection . . . ).[21]

A typical day then in the late 1960s would find Watson crafting hairpieces for an upscale Hollywood clientele near Benedict Canyon, and the returning home to Laurel Canyon, while Sebring crafted hairpieces for an upscale Hollywood clientele near Laurel Canyon, and then returned home to Benedict Canyon. And then one crazy day, one of them became a killer and the other his victim. But there’s nothing odd about that, I suppose, so let’s move on.

Well, actually, there is nothing odd about that, really. That the victims and killers in the Sharon Tate murders were neighbors is hardly surprising — most killers know their victims, just as most Negro crime targets other Negroes, who live in the same ghettos.[22]

McGowan seems to be constantly amazed, and expects his reader to be as well, at how many Laurel Canyon musicians come from military families. But this, like the gun ownership, is simply an artefact of the times; their fathers served in WWII, like millions of others; duh![23]

But, it gets worse; dishing the dirt on overblown rock legends is not McGowan’s primary aim. Remember that that “corollary” he mentioned? Occult war and serial killer angles start intruding; already at the start of the “Papa” John Phillips chapter, the reader senses he’s being taken on a ride:

Thus far on this journey, we have seen how what are arguably the two most bloody and notorious mass murders in the history of the City of Angels [Manson of course, and the “Wonderland” or “Four on the Floor” drug dealer/porn star killings] were directly connected to the Laurel Canyon music scene. . . . Unlike the Manson and Wonderland murders, the mutilation of the Black Dahlia occurred some twenty years before Laurel Canyon’s glory days. There is, nevertheless, a possible connection.

About 2/3s of the way through — the 68% mark on my kindle — things spin off course entirely. There’s a chapter on Punk and New Wave (which the author calls a friendlier version of punk, much to my surprise), where basically everyone and everything finds itself connected to Stewart Copeland and, through his dad, US military intelligence. And then another chapter is devoted to untangling — or re-tangling — about 50 years’ worth of serial killers who may all be the same or related, none of whom I had ever heard of or cared about. It feels like one of those free kindle books that have about 50 pages of text and then 200 pages of excerpts from and ads for the author or publisher’s other books which you’re sure to love.[24]

Despite these drawbacks, I can still recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the cultural manipulations of this decisive period in American “culture.”

Am I being inconsistent? Not at all. One must, as Aristotle pointed out, only expect the level of certainty appropriate to an area of inquiry. The idea of a centuries-old, world-wide Psy-Op War conducted by an Occult Cryptocracy is interesting but so outlandish as to require all but impossible levels of proof. To tie together various mass murders and serial killings might require the same level of “moral certainty” required by a criminal trial. McGowan doesn’t even come close to either.

But if all you want to do is smash a myth, break the hold it has on the popular imagination, then a relentless piling up of “evidence” of this that or the other level of certainty is enough. Our real Enemies — leaving aside McGowan’s putative occultists — do it all the time;[25] it’s the favorite technique of the trail lawyer who doesn’t have the law, or most of the facts, on his side.[26] The aim of propaganda is not logical proof but the stirring up of emotions; the reader will come away from this book with the feeling that these peace and love types were actually pretty creepy, and that’s a good thing.

To make matters worse, like too many “conspiracy theorists” McGowan seems to think, paradoxically, that he has so much information to impart that he needs to dispense with references, other than a bibliography. He does quote passages from published books and articles from time to time, but you’re on your own as far as verifying a quote, to say nothing of any of his more general claims. Of course, that renders my usual complaint about kindles not linking footnotes to text moot; ironically, his publisher does provide the luxury of an index with linked entries.

Speaking of publishers: Headpress may be unfamiliar to you; let’s say it’s a kind of British version of Adam Parfrey’s Feral House. McGowan’s acknowledgments give fulsome praise to his editor at Headpress, as well as the head honcho, David Kerkes, for conceiving of the project, suggesting material, etc.

I might suggest, however, that these folks may have done a disservice to the author, to say nothing of the reader, in encouraging the inflation of some blog posts into a “finished work.” It’s almost as if Kerkes and Co. wanted another occult war/serial killer tome, and bullied McGowan into converting his Laurel Canyon material into a General Conspiracy Theory centered around the Canyon — after all, with leads everywhere, the choice of a focus is rather arbitrary; like God, a vast enough conspiracy has its center everywhere and its circumference nowhere. Rather than encouraging the excessive padding I’ve noted, they might have leaned a little harder on the matter of documentation; more of the latter and less of the former would have been a distinct improvement.

What’s in it for CC readers? Well, it’s good to see the idols smashed and the machinations exposed. But it’s also a cautionary tale. McGowan is right to insist that an authentic protest movement, to say nothing of a revolution, would not be signed to major labels and promoted by the mass media. Don’t wait for the real alt-Right to appear on a newsstand or “reality” TV show. As the old Camel slogan put it, “Don’t look for coupons or special offers, as the quality of the tobaccos used in Camels precludes their use.”

Stop complaining, turn off the MSM, and make your own damn culture!

Notes 

1. See the periodic material published at Vigilant Citizen [3]: “The analyses of videos and movies on The Vigilant Citizen place a great importance on the “who is behind” the messages communicated to the public. The term “Illuminati” is often used to describe this small elite group covertly ruling the masses. Although the term sounds quite caricatured and conspiratorial, it aptly describes the elite’s affinities with secret societies and occult knowledge. However, I personally detest using the term “conspiracy theory” to describe what is happening in the mass media. If all the facts concerning the elitist nature of the industry are readily available to the public, can it still be considered a “conspiracy theory”? There used to be a variety of viewpoints, ideas and opinions in popular culture. The consolidation of media corporations has, however, produced a standardization of the cultural industry. Ever wondered why all recent music sounds the same and all recent movies look the same?”– Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media [4], Apr 28th, 2010.

2. Take The Beatniks, a painfully unhip movie that tries to cash in on the tail end of the Beatnik craze by mashing together recycled juvenile delinquent and teen idol plot elements, but no actual beatniks (“If these are beatniks, my mom is a beatnik, and she’s not”). More amusing is the surrealistically hyperbolic Wild Guitar, which is itself teen exploitation, since it stars Arch Hall, Jr. in a story written and directed by Arch Hall, Sr. — also featuring the immortal Ray Dennis Steckler as the least menacing “enforcer” ever.

3. “Classic Rock Conspiracy Theory” at Dangerous Minds, here [5].

4. The Negro presence was there but still kept to heel; after the ’67 riots, Whites left for the suburbs, where their dispersion prevented any similar center of cultural power from coalescing. Another example of the Black Undertow, as Paul Kersey calls it.

5. The by now well documented steady decline of working class wages began in 1972, the peak of the Detroit Whitopia.

6. The Wall St. Journal at this period dubbed Detroit “The Paris of the Midwest.”

7. The recent season of Mad Men offered a story arc, from the said time period, in which the New York ad men grovel for GM’s business, flying in and out of Detroit, desperately currying favor, which the GM execs repay by shooting one of them in the face.

8. George Burns Sings. Buddah Records; Stereo 12″ 33 1/3 RPM LP; # BDS-5025; released 1969. Don’t believe me? Take a look here [6].

9. Wikipedia [7]: “On 12 October 1969, a caller to Detroit radio station WKNR-FM told disc jockey Russ Gibb [8] about the rumour and its clues. Gibb and other callers then discussed the rumour on the air for the next hour.” Gibb was also the promoter for The Grande Ballroom where the Five, Who, Cream, etc. made their home.

10. McGowan notes that the hippies had nothing to do with creating the anti-war movement, pointing out that the first “teach-in” occurred in March of 1968 at . . . the University of Michigan. And was not the SDS born there as well? Michigan, not New York or California, was the true center of Youth Rebellion.

11. Missing: the surprising interest in, and expertise in use of, guns by these peace and love types.

12. “About how America became involved in certain wars, many conspiracy theories have been advanced – and some have been proved correct. “ “Behind the Sinking of the Lusitania” by Patrick J. Buchanan, September 02, 2014, citing in general Eugene Windchy’s Twelve American Wars: Nine of Them Avoidable (Universe, 2014).

13. McGowan notes that the kids soon had their “own” media, in the form of Rolling Stone, a corporate mouthpiece originally presented, today’s readers may be interested to discover, in format which was a simulacrum of an “underground” newspaper.

14. Oddly enough, both Atlantic and Columbia were founded in that well known artistic hub, Washington DC (“Columbia,” get it?), the former by the music industry legend Ahmet Ertegun, son of the Turkish Ambassador. Unknown to McGowan is another interesting connection: “The Atlantic Recording Company’s history strangely parallels the Jewish-American elite’s cultural revolution after World War II. This elite promoted Frankfurt School teaching in an effort to weaken the middle classes — their political nemesis. Atlantic Records prides itself on plugging the same socially destructive behavior. This article explores a possible connection between Theodor Adorno and Atlantic Records. The connection: An unnamed German professor helped Atlantic Records devise its signature sound in 1947. When this professor could no longer work with Atlantic, he was replaced by a research assistant from the Manhattan Project. I argue that this professor was Theodor Adorno. The significance of this connection is that Atlantic Records was one of the most influential recording companies during the sexual revolution, the Civil Rights movement, and era of immigration reform. A connection with Adorno would suggest that the company at its origins was intent on tapping the expertise of one of the greatest propagandists of the 20th century.” Elizabeth Whitcombe: “The Mysterious German Professor,” Occidental Observer, September 3, 2009; here [9].

15. Though Lee, with typical perversity, refused to play at either Monterey or Woodstock.

16. Despite their legendary “rhythmic” abilities, black artists, at least in the rock era, require more than a little White or Native American blood to make any lasting impression, such as Lee’s sometime collaborator, Jimi Hendrix, or later artists like Prince or Michael Jackson; otherwise the easily bamboozled musician soon loses control of his work and fades away.

17. “You hear Dylan, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, The Byrds, mariachi and flamenco music, Memphis Blues, folk, and acid rock peek up here and there, but the overall sound and texture is pure Love.” — Amazon reviewer. “Musically, the album almost defies categorization. It’s part Mexican Mariachi band/Tijuana Brass, part baroque, part Spanish classical, part epic soundtrack and only a very small part “rock” — “Love’s “Forever Changes” Finally Gets Long Deserved First Class Vinyl Reissue” by Michael Fremer; December 2, 2012, analogplanet.com, here [10].

18. The quote at the top of this review could easily have come from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music [11], perhaps wheezed out by Dock Boggs [12]. See my “Our Wagner, only Better Harry Partch, Wild Boy of American Music, Part 3,” here [13] and reprinted in The Eldritch Evola … & Others (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2014), where I cite such representative titles as: “Visions Fill the Eyes of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Shower Room” and “The Cognoscenti Are Plunged into a Deep Descent While at Cocktails.”

19. “Lyrically Lee was singing to a great degree about his coming apart personally, but through that he predicts the disintegration of the hippie fantasy then in full flower during the “Summer of Love.” That’s why the somewhat dark, foreboding album could not possibly succeed when originally issued.” — Fremer, op. cit. In the 90s it seemed to compete with, or replace, “The Four Seasons” as the go-to soundtrack for brunch in Manhattan restaurants, but since I can no longer afford to eat out I can’t confirm its current status.

20. “Unlike any other album released in 1967, this one shows both sides of the coin that was the Summer Of Love: Hippie pride paired with nihilism, romance with despair, mind-expansion with paranoia.” — Amazon reviewer. “The album ends with a six minute epic that seamlessly links three songs (two years before Abbey Road) beginning with a section that simmers until the chilling, dramatic, urgently stated, idealistic anthem delivered with unabashed sincerity, wherein Lee declares “This is the time in life I’m living and I’ll face each day with a smile” and “everything I’ve seen needs rearranging.” Clearly a guy coming apart at the seams. The anthemic musical bravado filled with trumpet flourishes and strings waves Lee’s freak flag declaration high as the album fades out. It produces chills and watery eyes every play.” — Fremer, op. cit.

21. See False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison’s Investigation and Oliver Stone’s Film “JFK” by Patricia Lambert (M. Evans and Company, 1999). Just as Garrison was overly impressed by the proximity of his suspects in what is, after all, a small town — where should their offices be, all over the bayou? — so McGowan seems overly impressed, as we’ve seen, by the military connections among men living during WWII, and his thesis that the musicians are “connected” to the military intelligence community is mostly just that they have parents in the military.

22. Ask a real (fictional) serial killer: “And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? . . . No. We begin by coveting what we see every day.”

23. McGowan ominously notes the predilection of these hippie celebrities, such as Dave Crosby, for guns, but I suspect that, like their military backgrounds, it’s more an artefact of the times. Hippies, like the hillbillies who inspired folk-or-country-rock, were not shy about resorting to firearms to protect their stashes; one of many characteristics, such as clothing, facial hair, etc., that makes it hard to distinguish hippies from dirt farmers in Depression-era photos. Even today, Hollywood has astronomical levels of gun ownership, due partly to paranoid celebs but also due to the large population of ex-military special effects and stunt people.

24. Unlike The Who’s hip boutique label Track, their American distributor, a relic of the Shel Talmy days, was (American) Decca, an old-tyme outfit that was so clueless they included lp liners suggesting that “If you like The Who, you’re sure to enjoy The Irish Rovers.”

25. “With this and the rise of the National Socialists in Germany, it became clear that White ethnocentrism and group cohesion was bolstered by hierarchic social-Darwinian race theory, and that this was antithetic to Jewish ethnic interests. The overthrow of this theory (and the resultant diminution of white ethnocentrism and group cohesion) was, as Kevin MacDonald points out, an ethno-political campaign that had nothing to do with real science. The “shift away from Darwinism as the fundamental paradigm of the social sciences” resulted from “an ideological shift rather than the emergence of any new empirical data” (CofC, p. 21 [14]).” — “Jews and Race: A Pre-Boasian Perspective, Part 1” by Brenton Sanderson, The Occidental Observer, February 1, 2012, here [15].

26. For example, “Atticus Finch emerges as one very sleazy lawyer. He does not merely provide competent defense for Tom Robinson, he gratuitously defames the poor girl Mayella Ewell. With no real evidence at hand, he weaves a tale in which she lusted after a crippled black man, and seduced him into fornication. It’s a hair-raising, lurid tale, but it is completely unnecessary. As a fictional device it symbolically shifts the guilt from Tom Robinson to Mayella, but it adds nothing to Tom’s defense case.” Margot Metroland, “Y’all Can Kill That Mockingbird Now,” here [16].

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/09/allen-dulles-lonely-hearts-club-band/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Weird_Scenes1.jpg

[2] Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1909394122/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1909394122&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=SPZN7PPL7SMUYFNK

[3] Vigilant Citizen: http://vigilantcitizen.com/

[4] Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media: http://vigilantcitizen.com/vigilantreport/mind-control-theories-and-techniques-used-by-mass-media/

[5] here: http://dangerousminds.net/comments/classic_rock_conspiracy_theory_weird_scenes_inside_the_canyon

[6] here: http://www.discogs.com/George-Burns-Sings/release/3104899

[7] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_is_dead#Growth

[8] Russ Gibb: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Gibb

[9] here: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2009/09/the-mysterious-german-professor/

[10] here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:6sFxLAyyHJQJ:www.nickdrake.com/talk/viewtopic.php%3Ft%3D5471%26sid%3D6a4783b42624cf330547908a25fae822+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

[11] Anthology of American Folk Music: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthology_of_American_Folk_Music

[12] Dock Boggs: http://www.folkways.si.edu/dock-boggs/legendary-singer-and-banjo-player/american-folk-old-time/music/album/smithsonian

[13] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/07/our-wagner-only-betterharry-partch-wild-boy-of-american-music-part-3/

[14] CofC, p. 21: http://www..kevinmacdonald.net/chap2.pdf

[15] here: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2012/02/jews-and-race-a-pre-boasian-perspective/

[16] here: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/09/yall-can-kill-that-mockingbird-now/#comments

samedi, 27 septembre 2014

Civilized Warfare

Civilized Warfare

An oxymoron?  Bear with me….

ATB-frontcover-web.jpgAdvance to Barbarism: The Development of Total Warfare from Sarajevo to Hiroshima, by FJP Veale.

Veale describes the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a period, mostly, of civilized warfare in Europe or regions influenced by European culture.

I will point out only once that the complete contrast to warfare as practiced today – and certainly since at least the Second World War – by the West when compared to this code; to make mention of this at each possible opportunity will only serve to double the length of this post.  I hope even the most casual observer of today’s realities can see how far those in the several militaries of various western governments have fallen.

So, what is meant by “civilized warfare”?

…this code was based on one simple principle, namely that warfare should be the concern only of the armed combatants engaged.  From this follows the corollary that non-combatants should be left entirely outside the scope of military operations.

…it necessarily followed that an enemy civilian did not forfeit his rights as a human being merely because the armed forces of his country were unable to defend him.

The sufferings of civilians must never be made a means by which the course of hostilities can be influenced – for example, when, in accordance with the common practice of barbarous warfare, a country is deliberately laid waste to induce its rulers to surrender.

…a combatant who surrenders ceases to be a combatant and reacquires the status of non-combatant….a combatant who has become incapacitated through wounds or disease ceases to be a combatant….

…a prisoner of war should be treated by his captors as a person under military discipline transferred by his capture from the command of his own countrymen to the command of his captors.

…the code was safeguarded by the knowledge that violation, even if profitable at the moment, would bring ultimate retribution and the weakening of the general security enjoyed by all.

Veale does not ignore the exceptions to this type of civilized warfare during this period; many of the violations were committed by the British – safe in the security that, due to their superiority at sea, repercussions on the homeland were unlikely.  Veale also notes that this code did not mean that towns were off-limits, only that a direct military objective was necessary for the action to be justified.

As a counter-example, Veale offers France, Austria and Russia against Prussia during the Seven Years War; they could easily have overrun Prussia if barbarous methods were employed:

All that was necessary to bring about Frederick’s speedy downfall was to pour across the open and exposed frontiers of Prussia small units of Hungarian hussars and Russian Cossacks with instructions to destroy everything which could be destroyed by means of a torch or a charge of gunpowder.  The Prussian army would have been helpless in the face of such tactics, designed to turn Prussia into a desert.

The term Veale uses to describe this aspect of the culture is chivalry:

“Chivalry had two outstanding marks,” says Professor R.B. Mowat, “two that were as its essence: it was Christian and it was military.”

I can see the steam coming out of Laurence Vance’s ears even now.  But trust me, it will all come together into something meaningful.

Chivalry, as it ultimately developed, became a collective term embracing a code of conduct, manners, and etiquette, a system of ethics and a distinctive “Weltanschauung” (philosophy of life) as the Germans call it.  For our purpose, its principal importance is that, when the code of chivalry was adopted as the code of the military caste in all the European states, it provided a common bond between them.

The soldiers fought as (relatively speaking) gentlemen, as opposed to the experience in war proceeding this chivalrous age:

Sadism could no longer masquerade as moral indignation….

I like that line….

As the subtitle of this book suggests, this was all to change in the first half of the twentieth century.  Sadism put on its mask once again.

There were many aspects of this chivalrous nature evident during the Middle Ages:

…it can be said that the general acceptance of the ideals of chivalry had considerable influence on the conduct of warfare in the Middle Ages, although this influence was generally restricted in practice to dealings of the ruling classes with each other.

…the code of chivalry had been readily accepted throughout Europe because the ruling classes in all countries accepted the teaching of the Catholic Church and acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the Pope.

As the wars in the Middle Ages were often conducted by and between the ruling classes, this distinction is of little consequence.

Civilians had little to fear from the dangers of war which were the concern only of professional soldiers.

This period of relative chivalry came to an end during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; Veale points to the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII of France in 1494 as marking the beginning of the end of this relatively “civilized” period.  Italy was subject to foreign invaders – French, German, Swiss and Spanish, “who recognized no rules of warfare of any kind,” waging war “with the most primitive ferocity and resulting in enormous loss of life and causing irreparable damage.”

 

ludwig-xiv-deutsche-grenze.jpg

The development (or re-discovery) of chivalrous behavior and civilized warfare can be traced to another French king, Louis XIV – or, more precisely, coincident to his reign: “no traces of it can be detected at the beginning of his reign in 1643, and it appears fully established at his death in 1715.  No credit for this development, however, can be attributed to Louis personally.”

On the contrary, one of the most deliberate and least excusable barbarities in European history was perpetrated by his armies as late as 1689 when the Palatinate was systematically devastated in order to create an Odlandsgürtel(waste-land-zone) along the French frontier.

In response to the capture by French forces of several German towns in the south and west, German princes mobilized the forces of northern Germany – in an attempt to recover what had been lost.  Louis responded with his scorched-earth policy:

Realising that the war in Germany was not going to end quickly and that the Rhineland blitz would not be a brief and decisive parade of French glory, Louis XIV and Louvois resolved upon a scorched-earth policy in the Palatinate, Baden and Württemberg, intent on denying enemy troops local resources and prevent them invading French territory.  By 20 December 1688 Louvois had selected all the cities, towns, villages and châteaux intended for destruction. On 2 March 1689 Count of Tessé torched Heidelberg; on 8 March Montclar levelled Mannheim. Oppenheim and Worms were finally destroyed on 31 May, followed by Speyer on 1 June, and Bingen on 4 June. In all, French troops burnt over 20 substantial towns as well as numerous villages.

Not very civilized.

The French general ordered to destroy Heidelburg reported to Louivois, the secretary of war, “I must represent to His Majesty the bad effect which such a desolation may make upon the world in respect to his glory and reputation.”  Such a thought would not have occurred to a general during the Thirty Years War, when such devastation was considered normal.

Condemnation of the devastation of the Palatinate was, indeed, general…

So why does Veale point to Louis XIV?  During this period, the ruling classes throughout Europe all became…French!  They had “become linked by a similar outlook – by similar tastes, manners and standards – originating at the Court of Louis XIV.”

To be a European gentleman meant to be a French gentleman.  The ruling classes of France, Germany, and Russia had more in common with each other than they did with their own countrymen.

From this it naturally followed that the officers of the various European armies, when they came in contact, should treat each other with elaborate courtesies in accordance with the manners of the time.

Veale offers several examples of such courtesies being extended: after the surrender of Lille by Marshal Bouffiers, by Frederick the Great toward the French engineer Gribeauval, by Admiral Keith toward Marshal Massena after the latter’s surrender at Genoa.

Veale contrasts these with the attitudes today:

Even if acts of courtesy took place in war to-day, the report of them would be suppressed for fear of outraging public opinion.

And public opinion means much in wars conducted by democracies; the other side must remain evil, such that the masses continue to support the fight.  Who would extend courtesy to evil?

While such gentlemen-officers were duty bound to support any war policy initiated by the politicians, the manner in which the war was conducted rested solely on the shoulders of those same officers:

…the manner of conducting a war, whether just or unjust, was recognized to be the sole concern of the professional soldiers conducting it.

This code was respected in wars between European powers; it did not apply always and everywhere.  For example, a British general, lent to the Chinese government in 1863, “[t]o his horror” witnessed the beheadings of a number of rebel leaders who had surrendered.

Then there was the matter of treatment of civilians and non-combatants:

Of more practical importance than the code of good manners which it imposed on the combatants was the security given to civilian life and property by the introduction of civilized methods of warfare.

No massacre of civilians; pillage replaced by requisition with payment.  The Austrians and Germans were quite strict about ensuring this discipline, for example:

In the Prussian Army, the regulations against looting were so strict that, after the disaster at Jena in 1806, it is recorded that the retreating Prussians endured without fires the bitter cold of an October night in central Europe rather than seize civilian stores of wood which lay to hand but for which they were unable to pay.

Civilized warfare reached its peak in the last half of the eighteenth century.  Veale notes a book by Emeric de Vattel of Switzerland, The Law of Nations, or the Principals of Natural Law as Applied to the Administration of National Affairs and of Sovereigns:

Not only does Vattel point out that, if barbarous methods of warfare are adopted, the enemy will do likewise, so that the only ultimate result will be to add to the horrors of war; not only does he argue that “harsh, disgraceful and unendurable peace terms” will only be fulfilled as long as the defeated enemy lacks the means to repudiate them; Vattel actually condemns the use by rulers at war of “offensive expressions indicating sentiments of hatred, animosity, and bitterness” since such expressions must ultimately stand in the way of a settlement on reasonable terms.

droit.jpgVattel points out that war as a means to settle disputes “can only serve this purpose if, in the first place, it be conducted by methods which do not leave behind a legacy of hatred and bitterness…”

Vattel did not write something unknown to the military leaders and politicians of the time and place; this was their practice.  Instead, he merely tried to boil these behaviors down to a concise code.  He could not conceive of the possibility that Europe might once again turn to the code of slaughter that was evident during the Thirty Years War – Magdeburg of 1631 returning in the form of Dresden in 1945.

Yet, we know it did.  In the next chapter, Veale begins to trace the history of this reversion, or – as he describes it – this “Advance to Barbarism.

 

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

vendredi, 26 septembre 2014

Sur la sainte Russie, l'idéologie eurasiste et le Général Wrangel

Général Wrangel

par Christopher Gérard

Ex: http://archaion.hautetfort.com

 

Wrangel_Pyot.jpgSpécialiste de l’histoire russe, N. Ross a notamment publié un essai sur Nicolas II (La Mort du dernier tsar, la fin du mystère, L’Age d’Homme). Il nous livre aujourd’hui un essai d’une grande clarté, illustré de photos inédites, sur l’état russe de Crimée, dirigé par le général Piotr Nikolaievitch Wrangel (1878-1928), dernier commandant en chef des Armées blanches et chef spirituel de l’émigration russe jusqu’à sa mort à Bruxelles, sans doute à la suite de l’inoculation par un agent soviétique du bacille de Koch. Issu d’une lignée germano-balte, le baron Wrangel, glorieux officier de la Garde, lutta dès le début contre les Rouges et, à partir du moment où il remplaça, en 1920, le général Dénikine à la tête de la résistance antibolchévique, fit preuve d’un sens de l’organisation et de visions politiques d’une rare ampleur, puisqu’il comptait reconstruire la Russie par le bas. Pragmatique, Wrangel tenta de développer un projet global pour une Russie libérée, notamment par le biais de réformes agraires et institutionnelles. L’état russe de Crimée (ou gouvernement de Tauride), qui fut de facto reconnu par la France, donne une idée d’un autre destin pour l’empire : presse libre, refus de l’antisémitisme, liberté religieuse… L’essai de N. Ross retrace tous les aspects de l’action du général Wrangel : opérations militaires, affaires économiques, réflexion spirituelle et politique (à laquelle prirent part B. Souvarine, S. Boulgakov et G. Vernadsky - futur théoricien de l’eurasisme). Wrangel parvint enfin à assurer l’exode de près de 150.000 réfugiés, civils et militaires, qui échappèrent ainsi au massacre.

Christopher Gérard 

Nicolas Ross, La Crimée blanche du général Wrangel, Editions des Syrtes, 224 pages, 15€

russie,émigration,venner

 

Sainte Russie

Pour célébrer le 90ème anniversaire de la révolution russe, les éditions du Rocher proposent une réédition augmentée de Les Blancs et les Rouges. Histoire de la guerre civile russe (1917-1921), passionnant essai que Dominique Venner, directeur de la Nouvelle Revue d’Histoire, a naguère consacré à un cataclysme qui engendra le plus terrifiant régime des temps modernes. D’une précision militaire, son récit de l’atroce guerre civile, des mutineries de 1917 aux ultimes révoltes populaires au bolchevisme, permet de comprendre à quel point « un soulèvement de millions de croquants hérissés de baïonnettes, conduits par une petite meute de fanatiques binoclards » fut la matrice d’un siècle de fer. Car la terreur instaurée par Lénine et Staline frappa durablement les esprits de l’époque par sa brutalité même et fut, plus tard, l’une des causes de l’avènement des dictatures mussolinienne et hitlérienne. Outre ce regard dans une perspective large, l’originalité de l’ouvrage réside dans l’étude comparée des Rouges et des Blancs : portraits et récits de campagnes alternent, illustrés par de nombreux témoignages à chaud longtemps occultés par une historiographie marxisante. De même, les insuffisances et les points forts de chaque camp sont analysés avec finesse : les Blancs comptèrent de valeureux chefs (Dénikine, Koltchak, sans oublier Wrangel, mort en exil à Bruxelles); quant aux Rouges, ils ne furent pas partout vainqueurs (Pologne, Finlande, Etats baltes). Bien des dogmes sont ainsi pulvérisés, notamment celui de « l’humanisme » de Lénine, qui ordonne sans hésiter des massacres d’une effroyable ampleur, ou celui du sens de l’histoire : en 1919 encore, les jeux n’étaient pas faits.

Après la prise du pouvoir par les bolcheviques, deux millions de Russes fuirent une Russie martyrisée. Dix mille d'entre eux trouvèrent refuge dans notre pays. C'est leur histoire, celle de l'émigration russe en Belgique durant l'Interbellum, qu'un jeune chercheur de l’Université de Louvain et du FNRS, W. Coudenys, a étudiée avec une minutie exemplaire (Leven voor de Tsaar. Russische ballingen, samenzweerders en collaborateurs in België,Davidsfonds). Tous ces exilés n'étaient pas nobles comme le général baron Wrangel, dernier chef des Armées blanches, mort (empoisonné?) à Uccle en 1928, mais nombre d 'officiers purent survivre grâce à l'aide de la Belgique, qui participa à l'intervention alliée contre les Rouges (voir les témoignages de l’écrivain belge Marcel Thiry). Le Roi Albert n'avait-il pas caché à l'époque son hostilité aux Soviets? W. Coudenys a dépouillé une masse impressionnante d'archives inédites - journaux de l'émigration, dossiers de la Sûreté, etc. - et nous offre ainsi un tableau très vivant de cette Russie de l'exil, tiraillée entre la fidélité et l'adaptation à un monde en crise. L'aspect culturel n'est pas négligé: cercles littéraires et groupes musicaux, sans oublier ce singulier courant eurasiste qui tint son premier congrès international à Bruxelles. Le rôle de l'épiscopat belge, comme celui de l'Université de Louvain, qui forma de nombreux cadres d'origine russe, bref, toute la vie d'un milieu caractérisé par une grande dignité, est retracée avec une précision d'entomologiste. L'émigration blanche étant un rarissime exemple d'armée en exil (pendant vingt ans), le chercheur s'est également penché sur les nombreuses associations militaires, surveillées et infiltrées avec une rare maestria par les services soviétiques. Voilà donc un éclairage fort utile sur l'histoire belge de l'entre-deux-guerres et de l'occupation, car une poignée de Blancs reprit le combat sous l'uniforme feldgrau, avec les déconvenues que l'on devine. Sur l’émigration russe, il faut remarquer que le dernier film d'E. Rohmer, Triple agent  (lire aussi Eric Rohmer, Triple agent, Petite bibliothèque des cahiers du cinéma), un chef-d'œuvre d'intimisme, narre l'histoire d'une trahison dans le Paris des Russes blancs, celle du colonel Skobline. Enfin, sur les associations militaires, lire, de Paul Robinson, The White Russian Army in Exile 1920-1941(Oxford University Press).

russie,émigration,venner

 

Zinaïda Hippius

Personnage clef du monde littéraire pétersbourgeois et figure éminente avec son mari l’écrivain Dimitri Merejkovski du symbolisme russe, Zinaïda Hippius (1869-1945) assista à la chute du tsarisme et à l’avènement du bolchevisme, après l’intermède Kerenski. Son  journal des années 1914-1920 (Journal sous la Terreur, Collection Anatolia, éditions du Rocher), en grande partie occulté par le régime soviétique durant 70 ans, paraît enfin, livrant un témoignage accablant sur l’asservissement de la Russie à une clique d’idéologues barbares. Aux insuffisances des élites traditionnelles, à l’aveuglement des intellectuels répondent la brutalité sans complexe des Rouges qui, en quelques jours, s’emparent du pouvoir à la pointe des baïonnettes. Les étapes de ce processus infernal sont décrites au jour le jour avec une effrayante lucidité : qu’elle évoque le musellement de la presse, les arrestations (« Chaque jour, on fusille quelqu’un dans chaque soviet d’arrondissement ») et les viols, l’esclavage déguisé et le marché noir, les rafles de « bourgeois » et la délation généralisée, les pillages et les soûleries, les retournements de veste ou les fuites sans gloire, Hippius se hausse au niveau des grands historiens romains. Nous assistons éberlués à la fin d’un monde certes imparfait mais civilisé, et à la naissance d’une tyrannie : « tout le monde meurt (sauf les commissaires, leurs valets et les bandits). Plus ou moins vite. »

laruellemythe978.gif

Idéologie eurasiste & "mythe aryen"

laruellle9782.gifSpécialiste des courants nationalistes russes, Marlène Laruelle s’était fait remarquer par une brillante thèse sur l’eurasisme (L’idéologie eurasiste russe ou comment penser l’Empire, L’Harmattan, 1999). Elle s’attaque dans Mythe aryen et rêve impérial dans la Russie du XIXème siècle, (CNRS éditions), au mythe aryen dans l’aire culturelle russe. Définissant ce mythe comme « une recherche romantique des origines » ou comme « mode de lecture du monde », M. Laruelle montre que, au contraire de l’allemand, l’aryanisme russe fut toujours étranger au racialisme. Il convient donc de distinguer l’aryanisme, fils du romantisme européen, du racialisme, fruit monstrueux du scientisme. Le premier n’est nullement prédestiné à devenir ce qu’il fut de 1933 à 1945. De même, la diabolisation des courants romantiques, présentés comme menant fatalement au nazisme, devient intenable, puisque la quête identitaire russe, ignorant l’antisémitisme et en fait tout racisme, cette quête impériale plutôt que nationale, fascinée par l’Asie blanche tout en affirmant une européanité plus complète, se distingue radicalement de l’allemande. Laruelle montre avec brio que l’aryophilie russe fut pensée comme une réconciliation de l’occidentalisme et du slavophilisme. La Russie comme autre Europe. Sa thèse étudie également l’instrumentalisation du mythe aryen par la politique tsariste  en Asie centrale : à l’époque du Grand Jeu (Kipling), les Slaves considéraient leur expansion dans ces régions stratégiques comme le « juste retour » des Aryens dans leur patrie originelle. Une thèse passionnante sur un sujet sensible, traité avec autant de tact que de probité.

 

jeudi, 25 septembre 2014

The Great and Unholy War

The Great and Unholy War

Review of Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade (HarperOne, 2014), x + 438 pgs..

One would think that if there is any group of people that would be opposed to war it would be Christians. After all, they claim to worship the Prince of Peace. But such is not the case now, and such was not the case 100 years ago during the Great War that we now call World War I.

I have often pointed out how strange it is that Christians should be so accepting of war. War is the greatest suppressor of civil liberties. War is the greatest creator of widows and orphans. War is the greatest destroyer of religion, morality, and decency. War is the greatest creator of fertile ground for genocides and atrocities. War is the greatest destroyer of families and young lives. War is the greatest creator of famine, disease, and homelessness. War is the health of the state.

Just as it was easy for the state to enlist the support of Christians for the Cold and Vietnam Wars against “godless communism,” so it is easy now for the state to garner Christian support for the War on Terror against “Islamic extremists.” But World War I was a Christian slaughterhouse. It was Christian vs. Christian, Protestant vs. Protestant, Catholic vs. Catholic. And to a lesser extent, it was also Jew vs. Jew and Muslim vs. Muslim.

Although fought by nation states and empires, World War I was in a great sense a religious war. As Baylor historian Philip Jenkins explains in the introduction to his new book The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade:

The First World War was a thoroughly religious event, in the sense that overwhelming Christian nations fought each other in what many viewed as a holy war, a spiritual conflict. Religion is essential to understanding the war, to understanding why people went to war, what they hoped to achieve through war, and why they stayed at war.

Soldiers commonly demonstrated a religious worldview and regularly referred to Christian beliefs and ideas. They resorted frequently to biblical language and to concepts of sacrifice and redemptive suffering.

The war ignited a global religious revolution. . . . The Great War drew the world’s religious map as we know it today.

Not just incidentally but repeatedly and centrally, official statements and propaganda declare that the war is being fought for god’s cause, or for his glory, and such claims pervade the media and organs of popular culture. Moreover, they identify the state and its armed forces as agents or implements of God. Advancing the nation’s cause and interests is indistinguishable from promoting and defending God’s cause or (in a Christian context) of bringing in his kingdom on earth.

We can confidently speak of a powerful and consistent strain of holy war ideology during the Great War years. All the main combatants deployed such language, particularly the monarchies with long traditions of state establishment—the Russians, Germans, British, Austro-Hungarians, and Ottoman Turks—but also those notionally secular republics: France, Italy, and the United States.

Christian leaders treated the war as a spiritual event, in which their nation was playing a messianic role in Europe and the world.

Without appreciating its religious and spiritual aspects, we cannot understand the First World War. More important, though, the world’s modern religious history makes no sense except in the context of that terrible conflict. The war created our reality.

After the introduction, The Great and Holy War contains thirteen chapters, most of which don’t necessarily have to be read in order. Each chapter is divided into short sections and ends (with the exception of chapters 3, 12, & 13) with somewhat of a one-paragraph summary/conclusion. There are a number of maps, pictures, posters, and other images that greatly enhance the book. A conclusion caps the book. There are thirty-five pages of notes and an index, but no bibliography. The widely-published Jenkins, the Distinguished Professor of History and member of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, is the well-known author of Jesus Wars, The Lost History of Christianity, and Hidden Gospels.

Although we may disagree with Jenkins’ contention that “we can in fact make a plausible case for German responsibility in starting the war,” his first chapter provides us with a brief and sobering overview of the Great War, which he subtitles “The Age of Massacre.” And indeed it was. On a single day in August of 1914, the French lost twenty-seven thousand men in battles in the Ardennes and at Charleroi. To put this in perspective, Jenkins says that “the French suffered more fatalities on the one sultry day than U.S. forces lost in the two 1945 battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa combined.” And this was over a four-month period. He also points out that the French lost on that one single day “half as many lives as the United States lost in the whole Vietnam War.” But that’s not all. During the first two months of the war, 400,000 French soldiers perished. Both sides lost two million lives by the year’s end. The United States lost 114,000 soldiers, almost all of them in 1918, but all of them unnecessarily. The Battles of Verdun and the Somme killed over a million soldiers. A million German horses died during the war. Ten million soldiers died during the war. And as Jenkins reminds us: “Figures for the dead take no account of the many millions more left maimed, blinded, or otherwise gravely wounded in body or mind.” Seven million civilians died as well, not counting the millions who died in the postwar influenza epidemic.

Why should we support the troops? The government’s that send them to fight senseless wars don’t support them otherwise they wouldn’t send them in the first place. Soldiers are merely expendable pawns. As Jenkins says: “Nations were planning, calmly and rationally, on sacrificing multiple millions of their own people.” Attrition was the name of the game. Jenkins’ quote of France’s Marshal Joseph Joffre sums up the battle plan of each side in the Great War: “We shall kill more of the enemy than he can kill of us.”

There are so many themes of note in The Great and Holy War that I must limit this review to just mentioning a few of them.

Each side in the Great War undertook massive propaganda campaigns to demonize the other in order to convince neutral nations of the justice of their causes. A nation’s enemies were framed as evil, satanic, ungodly, and the Antichrist, or at least anti-Christian. The concepts of martyrdom and redemptive sacrifice pervaded wartime language. Christian soldiers became “identified with Christ himself, suffering torments for the salvation of the world.”  One pastor declared that “a man may give his life for humanity in a bloody trench as truly as upon a bloody cross.” This was a precursor to the modern blasphemy heard today in some American churches that as Christ died for our sins so soldiers die for our freedoms.

Both sides tried to starve each other. Atrocities were committed by both sides, as if the war itself was not one big atrocity. The Allies were more successful—the starvation blockade against Germany was not ended until months after the 1918 Armistice.

The war turned some Christians into “vocal, even fanatical, advocates” of their nation’s war effort. American Congregationalist minister Newell Dwight Hillis advocated the extermination of the German race. The Anglican bishop of London, Arthur F. Winnington-Ingram, preached that Germans should be killed “to save the world.” American Methodist minister George W. Downs said that he would have driven his bayonet “into the throat or the eye or the stomach of the Huns without the slightest hesitation.” Enthusiasm for war “transcended denominational labels.” German Catholic bishop Michael von Faulhaber was so enthusiastic “in his support for the country’s armies that in 1916 he was awarded the Iron Cross.”

The lack of separation between church and state resulted in “churches acting as agencies of their respective states.” Arguments relating to national interest, honor, and self-defense were presented in “highly religious forms.” And, “when religious leaders had a primary identification with a state—as most did—they not only abandoned words of peace and reconciliation but advocated strident doctrines of holy war and crusade, directed against fellow Christians.” Although Christians lived in two kingdoms—earthly and heavenly—“each had its own moral codes.” It was thought that the absolute demands of New Testament ethics were impossible to apply to the state. This meant that “even a nation made up almost entirely of devout Christians could never act politically according to strict Christian moral teachings.”

Because almost the whole of Africa was controlled by Europeans in 1914, “millions of ordinary Africans were drawn into the service of one of the various colonial powers, whether British, French, German, or Belgian.” The harsh treatment accorded the natives in the Belgian-controlled Congo was known at the time. Yet, one of the reasons that Britain was supposed to have entered the war was to protect Belgium. And in the United States, Americans were told by the government to “Remember Belgium” and buy war bonds.

Many Muslims, which made up a third of Britain’s Indian army, “were nervous about the prospect of being shipped to a battlefront where they could find themselves killing fellow Muslims.” Jenkins comments that “the war created the Islamic World as we know it today.” With the Ottoman Empire gone, “the resulting postwar search for new sources of authority led to the creation or revival of virtually all the Islamic movements that we know in the modern world.” The carving up of the Middle East by the victorious Allies still has repercussions today.

Although Jews suffered immeasurably during the Holocaust of World War II, they had no problem fighting on both sides during World War I. Writes Jenkins: “In their hundreds of thousands, Jews served in the respective armed forces, chiefly because every combatant power imposed compulsory military service. Perhaps half a million Jews served in Russian uniforms, a hundred thousand in Germany, and forty thousand in Britain.” Jews “were also prominent in the war leadership of the combatant nations.” The chemist Fritz Haber in Germany “devoted himself to pioneering modern techniques of chemical warfare in the German cause.”

One of the most important questions asked in The Great and Holy War relates to something that happened in Berlin in 1921. An Armenian killed Talaat Pasha, the reputed mastermind of the Armenian genocide that took place during the war. Jenkins relates that “Polish Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin was fascinated by the trial” and wondered why “did courts try a man for a single murder while no institutions existed to punish the murderers of millions?” The answer was succinctly given by Voltaire many years before the question was asked: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Jenkins mentions that during the Great War there was never a shortage of “young men cut off in the prime of life.” That is truly the legacy of the war.

The Great and Holy War is not just a book for Christians. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or whether you have any at all. The religious aspects of World War I are unmistakable and essential for understanding the war. Philip Jenkins has written one of the most informative and important books about the Great War. If you read nothing else about World War I in this centennial year, read The Great and Holy War. Coupled with Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers on the origins of the war, and both supplemented by anything Paul Gottfried has written on World War I, you will get quite an education.

 

 

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dimanche, 21 septembre 2014

Vídeo documental: El holocausto japonés

Vídeo documental:

El holocausto japonés

 

Durante la II Guerra Mundial, los campos de concentración en los Estados Unidos alojaron a unas 120.000 personas, en su mayor parte de etnia japonesa, más de la mitad de las cuales eran ciudadanos estadounidenses, en establecimientos diseñados a ese efecto en el interior del país, desde 1942 y hasta 1948. El objetivo fue trasladarlos desde su residencia habitual, mayoritariamente en la costa oeste, a instalaciones construidas bajo medidas extremas de seguridad; los campos estaban cerrados con alambradas de espino, vigilados por guardias armados, y ubicados en parajes alejados de cualquier centro poblacional. Los intentos de abandono del campo en ocasiones resultaron en el abatimiento de los reclusos.

Ex: http://paginatransversal.wordpress.com

jeudi, 18 septembre 2014

Who Started World War I?

bookssleepwalkers.jpg

Who Started World War I?

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914By Christopher Clark, HarperCollins, New York 2013, 697pp.

The question of the causes of the outbreak of the First World War—known for many years during and afterwards as the Great War—is probably the most hotly contested in the whole history of historical writing.

At the Paris Peace Conference, the victors compelled the vanquished to accede to the Versailles Treaty. Article 231 of that treaty laid sole responsibility for the war’s outbreak on Germany and its allies, thus supposedly settling the issue once and for all.

The happy Entente fantasy was brutally challenged when the triumphant Bolsheviks, with evident Schadenfreude, began publishing the Tsarist archives revealing the secret machinations of the imperialist “capitalist” powers leading to 1914. This action led the other major nations to publish selective parts of their own archives in self-defense, and the game was afoot.

Though there were holdouts, after a few years a general consensus emerged that all of the powers shared responsibility, in varying proportions according to the various historians.

In the 1960s, this consensus was temporarily broken by Fritz Fischer and his school, who reaffirmed the Versailles judgment. But that attempt collapsed when critics pointed out that Fischer and his fellow Germans focused only on German and Austrian policies, largely omitting parallel policies among the Entente powers.

And so the debate continues to this day. A meritorious and most welcome addition is The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, by the Cambridge University historian Christopher Clark.

Clark explains his title: the men who brought Europe to war were “haunted by dreams, yet blind to the reality of the horror they were about to bring into the world.” The origins of the Great War is, as he states, “the most complex event of modern history,” and his book is an appropriately long one, 697 pages, with notes and index.

Clark_Christopher_sleepwalkers.jpg

The crisis began on June 28, 1914 with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austrian-annexed province of Bosnia.  It had its roots, however, in the small neighboring kingdom of Serbia and its strange history. As Serbia gradually won its independence from the Ottoman Turks, two competing “dynasties”—in reality, gangs of murdering thugs—came to power, first the Obrenovic then the Karadjordjevic clan (diacritical marks are omitted throughout). A peculiar mid-nineteenth-century document, drawn up and published by one Iliya Garasanin, preached the eternal martyrdom of the Serbian people at the hands of outsiders as well as the burning need to restore a mythical Serbian empire at the expense both of the Ottomans and of Austria. According to Clark, “until 1918 Garasanin’s memorandum remained the key policy blueprint for Serbia’s rulers,” and an inspiration to the whole nation. “Assassination, martyrdom, victimhood, the thirst for revenge were central themes.”

When Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 after an occupation of forty years, all of Serbia was outraged. The prime minister, Nicola Pasic, and other leaders spoke of the “inevitable” life-and-death struggle against Austria in the sacred cause of “Serbdom.” Yet the country was economically backwards, the population largely illiterate. What was required was a great-power sponsor. This they found in Russia.

The new Russian ambassador to Belgrade was Nikolai Hartwig, a fanatical pan-Slavist. A huge loan from France (for decades Russia’s close ally) was arranged, to improve and modernize the Serbian army.

Hartwig came in contact with a co-conspirator, Dragutin Dimitrijevic, known as Apis, who was chief of Serbian Military Intelligence. At the same time he headed a secret society, “Union or Death,” or the Black Hand. It infiltrated the army, the border guard, and other groups of officials. The Black Hand’s modus operandi was “systematic terrorism against the political elite of the Habsburg Empire.” Apis was the architect of the July plot. He recruited a group of Bosnian Serb teenagers steeped in the mythology of eternal Serbian martyrdom.

The Archduke was not targeted because he was an enemy of the Serbs. Quite the contrary. As Gavrilo Princip, the actual assassin, testified when the Austrians put him on trial, the reason was that Franz Ferdinand “would have prevented our union by carrying out certain reforms.” These included possibly raising the Slavs of the empire to the third ethnic component, along with the Germans and Magyars or at least ameliorating their political and social position.

The young assassins were outfitted with guns and bombs from the Serbian State Arsenal and passed on into Bosnia through the Black Hand network. The conspiracy proved successful, as the imperial couple died on the way to the hospital. The Serbian nation was jubilant and hailed Princip as another of its many martyrs. Others were of a different opinion. One was Winston Churchill, who wrote of Princip in his history of the Great War, “he died in prison, and a monument erected in recent years by his fellow-countrymen records his infamy, and their own.”

All the evidence points to Pasic knowing of the plot in some detail. But the message passed to the Austrians alluded only to unspecified dangers to the Archduke should he visit Bosnia. The fact is, as Clark states, Pasic and the others well understood that “only a major European conflict involving the great powers ‘would suffice to dislodge the formidable obstacles that stood in the way of Serbian ‘reunification.”’

In a major contribution the author refutes the notion, common among historians, that Austria-Hungary was on its last legs, the next “sick man of Europe,” after the Ottomans. The record shows that in the decades before 1914, it experienced something of aWirtschaftswunder, an economic miracle. In addition, in the Austrian half at least, the demands of the many national minorities were being met: “most inhabitants of the empire associated the Habsburg state with benefits of orderly government.” The nationalists seeking separation were a small minority. Ironically, most of them feared domination by either Germany or Russia, if Austria disappeared.

Following the Bosnian crisis of 1908, “the Russians launched a program of military investment so substantial that it triggered a European arms race.” The continent was turned into an armed camp.

France was as warm a supporter of Serbia as Russia. When the Serbian king visited Paris in 1911, the French president referred to him at a state dinner as the “King of all the Serbs.” King Petar replied that the Serb people “would count on France in their fight for freedom.”

The two Balkan wars of 1912-1913 intensified the Serbian danger to Austria. The terrorist network expanded dramatically, and Serbia nearly doubled in size and saw its population increase by forty per cent. For the first time Austria had to take it seriously as a military threat.

The head of the Austrian General Staff, Franz Conrad, on a number of occasions pressed for a preventive war. However, he was curbed by the emperor and the archduke. The latter had also opposed the annexation of Bosnia and Clark calls him “the most formidable obstacle to an [Austrian] war policy.” The foreign minister, Leopold von Berchtold, was a part of the heir-apparent’s pro-peace camp.

Clark develops in detail the evolution of the two combinations that faced each other in 1914, the Triple Entente and the Central Powers (what remained of the Triple Alliance, before the defection of Italy, which ultimately became a wartime ally of the Entente).

Back in the 1880s, the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck had fashioned a series of treaties with Russia and Austria designed to keep a revanchist France isolated. With Bismarck’s dismissal in 1890, the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia was allowed to lapse. Clark breaks with older views in holding that this wasn’t the result of recklessness on the part of the new kaiser, Wilhelm II, but rather the studied decision of inexperienced officials at the Foreign Ministry.

Hitherto friendless, France eagerly embraced a powerful new friend. In 1894 the Franco-Russian Alliance was formed (it was in effect in 1914). One of the treaty’s provisions stated that in the event of mobilization by any member of the Triple Alliance, France and Russia would mobilize all their forces and deploy them against Germany.

French diplomacy, directed by Theophile Delcasse, continued to be brilliant. After settling colonial differences with England, an Entente Cordiale (Cordial Understanding) was concluded between the two western powers.

Edward Grey was foreign secretary and the leader of the anti-German faction in the cabinet. Germany he viewed as an “implacable foe.” He was seconded by Eyre Crowe, a key figure in the Foreign Office, whose influential memorandum of 1907 lamented the titanic growth of German industrial power.

Delcasse joined his two allies together: England and Russia settled their own colonial differences, and combined in a treaty in 1907. The Triple Entente was complete.

The Germans, face to face with three world empires and with only Austria as an ally, complained bitterly of their Einkreisung (encirclement). Perhaps they had a point.

Clark also deviates from the mainstream in demoting the naval race as a critical factor in British antagonism. London never took Wilhelm’s grandstanding about his ocean-going navy seriously. The British always knew they could outbuild the Germans, which they did.

Russia’s disastrous defeat in the war with Japan, 1904-05, served to divert Russian expansion westwards, to the Balkans.

During the approach to war, in the western democracies public opinion was a negligible factor. The people simply did not know. When in 1906 British and French military leaders agreed that in the event of a Franco-German conflict British forces would be sent to the continent, this was not revealed to the people. “The French commitment to a coordinated Franco-Russian military strategy” was also hidden from the French public. So much for democracy.

It was the Italian attack on the Turks in Libya, encouraged by the Entente powers, that sent the dominoes falling. The small Christian nations formed the Balkan League, promoted by Russia, aimed against both the Ottomans and Austria, with Serbia in the lead. Serbian advances electrified aristocratic and bourgeois Russia but angered Austria. With the threat to Serbia, “Russia’s salient in the Balkans,” the Russians mobilized on the Austrian frontier. It was the first mobilization by a great power in the years before the war.

That crisis was defused, but the lines of French policy were stiffened. Poincare, foreign minister and premier, “reassured the Russians that they could count on French support in event of a war arising from an Austro-Serb quarrel.” Similarly, Alexandre Millerand, war minister, told the Russian military attaché that France was “ready” for any further Austrian interference with Serbian rights. Further French loans helped build strategic Russian railroads, heading west. Even the Belgian ambassador to Paris saw Poincare’s policies as “the greatest peril for peace in today’s Europe.”

As 1914 opened, the chances of avoiding war seemed dim. The peacetime strength of the Russian army was 300,000 more than the German and Austrian armies combined, not to count the French. What could Germany do in the event of a two-front war?

All the powers had contingency plans if war came. The German plan, concocted in 1905, was the Schlieffen plan, named for the chief of the Prussian General Staff. It mandated a strong thrust into France, considered the more vulnerable partner, and, after neutralizing French forces, a shuttling of the army to the east to meet the expected Russian incursion into eastern Prussia. Since everything in the plan depended on speed, it was deemed necessary to attack through Belgium.

Back in central Europe, it was clear that Austria had to do something about the murder of the imperial couple. An ultimatum to Serbia was prepared and sent on July 23, more than four weeks after the murders. The delay, partly due to Austria-Hungary’s cumbersome constitutional machinery when it came to foreign policy, partly to the Dual Monarchy’s traditional Schlamperei (slovenliness), served to cool the widespread European indignation over the assassinations.

The provisions that most irked the Serbians were points 5 and 6: that a mixed committee of Austrians and Serbians investigate the crime and that the Austrians participate in apprehending and prosecuting the suspects.

It was a farce on both sides. Austria was looking for a pretext for war. This was the sixth atrocity in four years, and amid unrelenting irredentist agitation Vienna was determined on the final solution of the Serb question.

For their part, the Serbian government knew that any investigation would lead to the critical complicity of its own officials and swing European opinion in the enemy’s direction. It was imperative that Austria be seen to be the aggressor. So after all that had happened, Clark maintains, the Serbian response “offered the Austrians amazingly little.”

Edward Grey, however, held that Austria had no reason for complaint. He bought the Serbian argument that the government was not responsible for the actions of “private individuals,” and that the ultimatum represented a violation of the rights of a sovereign state.

On July 28 Franz Josef signed the declaration of war against Serbia. Foreign Minister Sazonov refused even to listen to the Austrian ambassador’s evidence of Serbian complicity. He had denied from the start “Austria’s right to take action of any kind” (emphasis in Clark). The Tsar expressed his view that the impending war provided a good chance of partitioning Austria, and that if Germany chose to intervene, Russia would “execute the French military plans” to defeat Germany as well.

The Imperial Council issued orders for “Period Preparatory to War” all across European Russia, including against Germany. Even the Baltic Fleet was to be mobilized. At first the Tsar got cold feet, signed on only to partial mobilization, against Austria. Importuned by his ministers hungry for the war that would make Russia hegemonic in central and eastern Europe, he reversed himself again, and finally. As Clark notes, “full [Russian] mobilization must of necessity trigger a continental war.”

On August 1, the German ambassador, Portales, called on Sazonov. After asking him four times whether he would cancel general mobilization and receiving a negative reply each time, Portales presented him with Germany’s declaration of war. The German ultimatum to France was a formality. On August 3, Germany declared war on France as well.

In England, on August 1, Churchill as first lord of the admiralty mobilized the British Home Fleet. Still the cabinet was divided. When Germany presented its ultimatum to Belgium on the next day, Grey had his case complete. Though Belgian neutrality had only been guaranteed by the powers collectively and Italy refused to join in, Grey argued that England nevertheless had a binding moral commitment to Brussels. As for France, he explained that the detailed conversations between their two military leaderships over the years had created understandable French expectations that could not be ignored.

This persuaded the waverers, who were also fearful of the possible resignations of Grey and Asquith. Such a move might well bring to power the Conservatives, even more desirous of war. Seeing the writing on the wall, the few remaining anti-interventionists, led by John Morley, resigned. It was the last act of authentic English liberalism. Lord Morley, the biographer of Cobden and Gladstone, was the author of the tract On Compromise, on the need for principle in politics. On August 4, Britain declared war on Germany.

Warmongers in Paris, St. Petersburg, and London were ecstatic. Churchill beamed, “I am geared up and happy.” But Clark demolishes another myth, that of the delirious throngs. “In most places and for most people” the news of general mobilization came as “a profound shock.” Especially in the countryside, where many of the soldiers would perforce be drawn from. Peasants and peasants’ sons would furnish the cannon fodder, much of it in France and Germany, the vast bulk of it in Austria-Hungary and Russia. In tens of villages there reigned “a stunned silence,” broken only by the sound of “men, women, and children” weeping.

It was into this Witches’ Sabbath that, from 1914 on, Woodrow Wilson slowly but steadily led the unknowing American people.

 

Ralph Raico [send him mail] is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute and the author of The Party of Freedom: Studies in the History of German Liberalism (in German) and The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton. He has also published two collections of essays with the Mises Institute, Great Wars and Great Leaders and Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School.

lundi, 15 septembre 2014

Emperor of Japan warned against going to war ahead of WWII

Emperor of Japan warned against going to war ahead of WWII – and even tried to stop the bombing of Pearl Harbor, new biography claims 

  • Emperor Hirohito 'warned against siding with the Nazis in 1939'
  • He said 'bombing Pearl Harbor would cause self-destructive war'
  • Claims come from 12,000-page biography commissioned by Japanese state
  • Critics say it offers 'sympathetic view' of man who was immune to war trials
  • Book has taken 24 years and £2.2 million at the cost of taxpayer to compile 

By Mia De Graaf for MailOnline

 

Fight: A new biography of Emperor Hirohito claims he tried to stop his nation siding with the Nazis in 1939Fight: A new biography of Emperor Hirohito claims he tried to stop his nation siding with the Nazis in 1939

Japan's former emperor tried to stop his country siding with the Nazis in the lead-up to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a new biography claims.

Emperor Hirohito allegedly warned the attacks in July 1941 would cause 'nothing less than a self-destructive war'.

And in the wake of the Second World War, he told US commanders he blamed himself for failing to stop it. 

The claims come from a 12,000-page account of the leader's life, which has taken 24 years and £2.2 million to compile at the cost of the Japanese taxpayer.

It will be released in stages over the next five years, but some Japanese media outlets have been given advance extracts.

The tome portrays a sympathetic view of Hirohito as a man who rallied against army leaders.

He is remembered by some in Japan as a driving force in the nation's march to war with the Germans.

Others, however, believe he was helpless to control a corrupt military state.

The emperor's role in the war was never firmly established.

He was shielded from indictment in the Tokyo war crimes trials by a US occupation that wanted to use him as a symbol to rebuild Japan.

 

In an apparent bid to settle the confusion, Japan's Imperial Household Agency commissioned a 61-volume biography of Hirohito a year after he died in 1989 following 62 years on the throne.

More...

It claims he complained in July 1939 to Army Minister Seishiro Itagaki about the military's 'predisposition' as it strengthened its relationship with Germany, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency.  

Warning: The monarch allegedly warned the bombing of Pearl Harbor would cause a 'self-destructive war'

Warning: The monarch allegedly warned the bombing of Pearl Harbor would cause a 'self-destructive war'

Kyodo said it provides little new material and is unlikely to change current thinking about Hirohito. It does make public some letters and essays he wrote as a child.

The record confirms that Hirohito said in 1988 that he had stopped visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine because it had added Class A war criminals to those enshrined there, Kyodo said. 

His last visit to Yasukuni was in 1975. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the shrine last December, sparking official protests from China and South Korea. 

jeudi, 11 septembre 2014

Rußlands Krieg und Frankreichs Beitrag

Rußlands Krieg und Frankreichs Beitrag

von Benjamin Jahn Zschocke

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

McMeekin.jpgExakt ein Jahr nach Christopher Clarks Veröffentlichung der „Schlafwandler“ in Deutschland fragt Benjamin Jahn Zschocke nach dem aktuellen Stand der wissenschaftlichen Diskussion zum Ersten Weltkrieg.

Die Schlafwandler sind zu einem Phänomen geworden, das es in der deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichte noch nicht gegeben hat: Obwohl noch heute an deutschen Gymnasien und Universitäten von der alleinigen Kriegsschuld des deutschen Kaiserreiches, ja des Kaisers selbst, die Rede ist, man also zweifelsfrei von einer Art religiösem Dogma sprechen kann, spricht die ganz Deutschland von Clarks Buch. Dessen Grundthese – nicht Deutschland allein trug die Verantwortung für den Ausbruch des Krieges, sondern alle europäischen Großmächte – ist mittlerweile trotz mancher Widerstände selbst durch das Feuilleton gerauscht.

Doch hier beginnt das Problem: Wirklich jeder spricht über die Schlafwandler, wirklich jeder hat eine Meinung dazu, wirklich alles ballt sich zu diesem Werk hin. Wirkte Clarks Buch vor einem Jahr als Brechstange, um das Thema selbst im ARD zu diskutieren, hat es sich heute im Mainstream festgesetzt. Und dort liegt es massig im Weg. Es blockiert die Diskussion, ähnlich wie andere Superwerke, sagen wir von Sarrazin, weil die Vielschichtigkeit einer ganzen Diskussion auf ein Buch projiziert wird.kriegsschuldII

McMeekin sieht Rußland in der Hauptverantwortung

Die anderen, teilweise weiter gehenden Beiträge namhafter Geschichtswissenschaftler bleiben im Schatten des Monolithen Clark auf der Strecke. Beispielsweise die 2014 auf deutsch erschienen Bücher von Sean McMeekin. Während Juli 1914. Der Countdown in den Krieg erst letztes Jahr auf englisch erstveröffentlicht wurde, ist Rußlands Weg in den Krieg. Der Erste Weltkrieg – Ursprung der Jahrhundertkatastrophe bereits drei Jahre alt, erschien in Deutschland jedoch nach Juli 1914. Dieses schlägt in eine sehr ähnliche Kerbe wie Clarks Grundlagenwerk, setzt jedoch erst nach dem Attentat von Sarajevo ein.

Auch McMeekin illustriert die Julikrise auf dem europäischen Tableau. Auch für ihn kann es ein Zurück zur nationalen Betrachtungsweise eines Fritz Fischers nicht geben, weswegen dieser von ihm fortwährend scharf kritisiert wird. Anders als Clark – und das macht Juli 1914 aus – wagt McMeekin eine Wertung. Von Schuld ist bei ihm keine Rede, da ein solider Historiker keine moralischen Kategorien bedient. Er setzt folglich die Verantwortung der fünf beteiligen Großmächte ins Verhältnis und kommt zu dem Schluß, daß die Hauptverantwortung für den Ausbruch des Krieges bei Rußland und Frankreich lag.

Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Feststellung ist es auch zweckmäßig, Rußlands Weg in den Krieg als zweites zu lesen. Darin vertieft McMeekin seine These und verweist darauf, daß das heutige Bild des Ersten Weltkrieges hauptsächlich vom Krieg im Westen bestimmt sei. Dieses „selektive historische Gedächtnis“ hat die letzten hundert Jahre Geschichtsschreibung dominiert.

Seit dem Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts bestand Rußlands geopolitisches Hauptziel laut McMeekins Forschungen in der Eroberung der Konkursmasse des untergehenden Osmanischen Reiches. Besondere Bedeutung kam dabei der Herrschaft über Konstantinopel und die Meerengen zum Schwarzen Meer zu, da diese für Rußlands verletzbaren Süden von entscheidender strategischer Bedeutung waren. Das Motiv der Eroberung Konstantinopels und der Meerengen wurde zum außenpolitischen Mantra der Russen, McMeekin spricht in Bezug auf Rußlands Ziele von „kreuzzugartigem Imperialismus“.

Der russische Außenminister Sergei Dmitrijewitsch Sasonow (18601927) verstand es, alle für sein Land günstigen Gelegenheiten, die meist in außen– oder innenpolitischen Krisen russischer Nachbarländer bestanden , wie beispielsweise dem eng mit Deutschland verbündeten Osmanischen Reich, geschickt zu nutzen und ein Kriegsszenario zur Umsetzung beider Ziele einzufädeln. Besonders interessant ist der vom 20. bis 23. Juli 1914 in St. Petersburg abgehaltene Gipfel, „auf dem der französische Präsident, der Zar, der russische Außenminister und der französische Premierminister zusammentrafen“. Kein einziges Dokument ist bis heute zu diesem Treffen auffindbar gewesen. Fakt ist aber: einen Tag später – und damit eine Woche vor Deutschland – begann die streng geheime Mobilmachung der russischen Armee.

Mit Blick auf Deutschland kommt McMeekin zu dem Schluß: „Mit Russlands Frühstart, dem bedingungslosen Mitziehen der Franzosen und dem blinden Nachfolgen der Briten gab es keinen Grund mehr für die Deutschen, noch länger zu warten“. Für ihn ist klar: Rußland wollte den Krieg, suchte Gründe, fand diese, mobilisierte und riskierte damit den Krieg.

  • Sean McMeekin: Juli 1914. Der Countdown in den Krieg. 560 Seiten, Europa Verlag 2014. 29,99 Euro.
  • Sean McMeekin: Rußlands Weg in den Krieg. Der Erste Weltkrieg – Ursprung der Jahrhundertkatastrophe. 448 Seiten, Europa Verlag 2014. 29,99 Euro.

Versailler Schicksalsdokument besiegelt den Untergang des alten Europa

kriegsschuldIIIIn seinem Buch Der Anfang vom Ende des alten Europa. Die alliierte Verweigerung von Friedensgesprächen 19141919 lenkt der altgediente Historiker Hans Fenske den Blick auf den anderen großen Kriegstreiber: Frankreich. Dieses hatte 1870 dem Deutschen Reich den Krieg erklärt und infolge dessen ein Jahr später Elsaß-​Lothringen verloren. Seither trug es sich mit Revanchegedanken. Fenske hält fest: „Das ‚Hauptziel Frankreichs‘ war, wie der französische Außenminister Delcassé bereits Mitte Oktober 1914 in Bordeaux … dem russischen Botschafter Iswolski gesagt hatte, ‚die Vernichtung des Deutschen Reiches und die möglichste Schwächung der militärischen und politischen Macht Preußens‘. Man wollte das Werk Bismarcks zerschlagen, Preußen amputieren und die föderalistischen Kräfte in Deutschland so stärken, dass faktisch der Deutsche Bund wiederhergestellt wurde.“

Dieses Motiv zieht sich wie ein roter Faden durch die Jahre 1914 bis 1919. Schon nach den verlustreichen Schlachten im ersten Kriegsjahr suchte das Deutsche Reich immer wieder den Ausgleich mit Frankreich, bot Gespräche an, die jedoch strikt abgelehnt wurden. Nachdem Ende 1914 klargeworden war, daß dieser Krieg nicht mit ein paar starken Offensiven zu gewinnen war, ging es um alles oder nichts. Propaganda kam auf, der Krieg wurde moralisch: Der Feind Deutschland sollte nicht geschlagen, sondern vernichtet werden, weswegen alle bis 1918 erfolgten Verständigungsversuche Deutschlands barsch zurückgewiesen wurden, um 1919 in Versailles den ganz großen Knüppel rauszuholen.

Hans Fenske beschreibt prägnant und präzise, wie die deutsche Delegation um den Außenminister Graf Brockdorff-​Rantzau in Versailles gedemütigt wurde. Die Grundlagen des Völker– und Kriegsrechtes wurden damals vor allem von Frankreich vom Tisch gewischt: Deutschland mußte alles schlucken, was es vorgesetzt bekam und wurde mit der Drohung von Waffengewalt zur Unterzeichnung gezwungen.

Auf die Folgen dieses „Vertragsschlusses“ geht Hans-​Christof Kraus sehr anschaulich und lesenswert ein in seinem Buch Versailles und die Folgen. Außenpolitik zwischen Revisionismus und Verständigung 19191933. Ohne Umschweife leitet er Frankreichs Beweggründe für seine extrem harte Haltung gegen Deutschland her: Deutschland sollte mit dem Kriegsschuldparagraphen alle Last auf seine Schultern laden und damit Frankreichs enorme finanzielle Schieflage ausgleichen. Zudem sollte Frankreichs Sicherheitsbedürfnis durch ein erhofftes Zerfallen des Deutschen Reiches Genüge getan werden.kriegsschuldIV

Die von Graf Brockdorff-​Rantzau (dessen Dokumente und Gedanken um Versailles von 1925 ebenfalls sehr empfehlenswert sind) in Versailles eingeforderte neutrale Untersuchungskommission zur Verantwortlichkeit der Beteiligten am Kriegsausbruch, wurde vom französischen Staatspräsidenten Poincaré, der die „Verhandlungen“ in Versailles leitete, selbstherrlich abgeblockt: Die Schuld sei ein für alle Mal erwiesen, es bedürfe dazu keiner Diskussionen.

Bis ans Ende der Weimarer Republik begleitet Kraus den Leser und legt Frankreichs unglaublich harte Haltung gegen Deutschland dar. Seine These lautet: Der harten Haltung Frankreichs entsprang ein untragbarer Machtfrieden (und eben keinem Rechtsfrieden) gegen Deutschland, welcher dazu führte, daß die Weimarer Republik von Anfang an krankte und schwächelte und letztlich weder innen– noch außenpolitisch lebensfähig war.

  • Hans Fenske: Der Anfang vom Ende des alten Europa. Die alliierte Verweigerung von Friedensgesprächen 19141919. 144 Seiten, Olzog Verlag 2013. 19,90 Euro.
  • Hans-​Christof Kraus: Versailles und die Folgen. Außenpolitik zwischen Revisionismus und Verständigung 19191933. 200 Seiten, be.bra Verlag 2013. 19,90 Euro.

Das Manifest zur Kriegsschuldfrage

kriegsschuldVDen zweifelsfrei pointiertesten und aufsehenerregendsten Beitrag liefert Phillippe Simonnot in seinem knackigen Essay „Die Schuld lag nicht bei Deutschland.“ Anmerkungen zur Verantwortung für den Ersten Weltkrieg. Clarks etwas schwammiger These, nach der alle europäischen Großmächte für den Ausbruch des Krieges verantwortlich waren, schließt er sich nicht an, sondern nimmt McMeekins Schlußfolgerungen auf, um diese auf den Punkt zu bringen: Er habe „ausdrücklich den Titel ‚Die Schuld lag nicht bei Deutschland‘ gewählt“. Hätte er nur ausgeführt, „dass Deutschland nicht die Alleinschuld am Ersten Weltkrieg trug, wäre dies gleichbedeutend mit einer kollektiven Verantwortungszuweisung gewesen. So wäre schließlich niemand verantwortlich gewesen und mit einer solchen Argumentation bringt man die Reflexion nicht voran.“

Mit Blick auf die von Fenske und Kraus ausgeführten Motive für Frankreichs harte Haltung seit 1914 schreibt Simonnot: „Der moralische Mythos der Schuld Deutschlands hatte keine andere Funktion, als die Reparationen zu rechtfertigen. Dies sollte man nie vergessen. Die Geschichte – man weiß dies nur zu gut – wird von den Siegern geschrieben. Aber in diesem Fall ist ihre Verfälschung zu einem Meisterwerk geraten. Dieser Mythos hatte auch zum Ziel, die wahren Verantwortlichen beim Auslösen der Katastrophe zu verheimlichen. Er ergänzte die zerstörerische Arbeit beim Umgang mit Archiven und die systematische Desinformation, die durch einige französische Politiker und Führer geleistet wurde, an erster Stelle durch Poincaré.“

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Neocon Mythmongering About WW1

Neocon Mythmongering About WW1

us_propaganda-7.jpgThe success of neoconservative myth-mongering about World War One was brought home to me for the millionth time this weekend as I picked up our borough weekly The Elizabethtown Advocate. The feature article was supposedly by our Republican congressman, who represents Pennsylvania’s 16th District. Although I don’t want to speak ill of him, I can’t think of anything positive to say about Congressman Joe Pitts, other than the fact that he mails me a nice picture of his family, around Election Day. Like our US Senator Pat Toomey, Pitts is a paradigmatic Republican, who marches in lockstep with his party, particularly in foreign affairs. This now means first and always parroting the Murdoch media and sounding like the Weekly Standard and Victor Davis Hanson in speaking about twentieth century history.

In Pitts’s imagination “the First World War has lessons we can learn one-hundred years later.” Back before the War began, “there were many educated persons who believed that the major European powers had moved past the notion of using armies to settle conflicts” and “trade ties between all the major powers had blossomed.” But then suddenly a Teutonic bee appeared in the ointment: “While business leaders and the general public may have been unprepared for war, the leaders of Germany had been preparing for years. At a secret war council meeting in1912, Kaiser Wilhelm and his top commanders had concluded that was inevitable. They set about finding a way to swiftly deal a knockout blow to France and defeat Russia. They stockpiled materials and trained what became one of the finest fighting forces ever assembled.”  

Allow me to note that I don’t think Pitts produced this garbled account of the antecedents of the Great War. It is too literate and sophisticated for anything that I associate with his persona. Presumably it came from the word processor of a congressional assistant who is steeped in neoconservative talking points. An attempt is made in this literary exercise, but never clearly developed, to link Wilhelm, Hitler and Putin in some kind of rogues’ gallery. But this is hardly original. It seems to be nothing more than a paraphrase of the latest invective of VDH or something that one could easily extract from any neocon publication mentioning the anniversary of the Great War. We are also told that the war unleashed by the Kaiser created such “horror” in the interwar period that the Allies allowed Hitler to run riot across Europe. This continuing fear of war and craving for material security are now producing what for Pitts or his ghost-writer is a new unwillingness to face international challenges.

As an historian of World War One, I continue to wonder what was the ominous meeting that the Kaiser and his General Staff held in 1912, in order to plan a European-wide war, for which they had been “stockpiling” weapons for decades. There were in fact multiple meetings that the General Staff held in 1911 and 1912 with and without Wilhelm and/or his ministers. The idea that there was one meeting in 1912 at which these decisions were reached is a fiction, as Gunter Spraul shows convincingly in Der Fischer Komplex. This charge arose among state-authorized historians in East Germany and then traveled by way of Fritz Fischer and his groupies to West Germany, where the fateful, invented meeting became a staple of the antifascist Left’s brief against their country. Joe Pitts’s imagined meeting then migrated to England where anti-German historians and strangely enough, Mrs. Thatcher picked it up and used it as evidence of an eternal German danger. Not at all surprisingly, the East German Communists abandoned the narrative by then, perhaps for being incompatible with the Marxist-Leninist interpretation that both sides were responsible for the First World War, which had been a struggle for world power among late capitalists.

What really happened is that the Kaiser, the Chief of the General Staff, Helmut von Moltke, and other German political actors were concerned that the French and the Russians were drafting far more soldiers than the Germans and their Austrian allies. There was no plan to launch a European-wide preventive war, unless, as Wilhelm pointed out, the “very existence in Germany hung in the balance.” We know there was a Schlieffen Plan, drafted in the 1890s and then periodically updated, that would allow the Germans to gain the upper hand in a two-front war, since they were in fact encircled by hostile Entente powers. But this was discussed as a last resort, and Moltke expressed the view, in a memorandum in December 1911, that his country should be careful to avoid risks, given the imbalance of forces between them and their enemies. That particular memorandum, according to Spraul, has usually been cited in a garbled form to make it appear that Moltke was actually advocating a preventive war against France and Russia. Significantly, the Jewish social democratic historian Arthur Rosenberg, who was by no means a hardened German nationalist, noted in 1929: “General von Moltke as the head of the military faction never desired any war. Whoever asserts the contrary, knows nothing about the weak character of the first chief of the German general staff, who shuddered at whatever responsibilities were thrust on him.”

In 1912, while the German government was supposedly planning a great war, its leaders sat by passively while the Serbs, Greeks, Romanians and Greeks made war on Germany’s ally Turkey, with Russian support. The Germans also sat on their hands while the Balkan belligerents stripped the Ottoman Empire of most of its European possessions. This situation was a provocation not only for Germany but even more for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, since it allowed a very unfriendly Serbia, in alliance with Russia, to expand in Southeastern Europe. One might ask Congressman Pitts’s ghost-writer why the Germans didn’t mobilize their armies and reach for their long stockpiled weapons to launch a war at that point. Oh, and lest I forget to mention the obvious, the anti-German side had been arming to the teeth for decades. The Germans were not alone in this practice and in fact lagged behind the other side in military manpower as the Guns of August went off.

mercredi, 10 septembre 2014

Chute de l’Europe, chute de Rome… bis repetita ?

L’Histoire présente fréquemment des situations relativement similaires à quelques siècles ou millénaires d’écart, comme si certains événements devaient fatalement se réaliser pour marquer quelques cycles et effectuer quelques retours, au point que certains passages de l’histoire semblent parfois littéralement se répéter.

Ce pourrait être le cas de l’histoire actuelle de l’Europe et de sa civilisation, apparemment en déclin, mise en parallèle avec l’effondrement de Rome (de l’empire romain et de sa civilisation), augurant du pire pour notre époque si la répétition des symptômes n’était effectivement pas fortuite. A vrai dire, les points communs sont même ici assez impressionnants de par leur quantité ainsi que par la qualité de leur ressemblance. Et ça n’est évidemment pas bon signe.

Voyons à présent ces signes, les aspects de ce syndrome crépusculaire, issus des connaissances actuelles, et ne nous gardons pas de les mettre en parallèle avec notre époque :

Des problèmes démographiques chez les autochtones, pas chez les barbares

Apparition de la tentation de l’enfant unique, guerres, épidémies, difficultés économiques… le déclin de la population romaine et italienne autochtone (se faisant surtout sentir à partir du 3ème siècle après J.C.), malgré différentes politiques de natalité importantes, serait selon certains auteurs l’une des causes principales de la chute de la civilisation romaine. La natalité chez les classes supérieures est particulièrement faible. Ce phénomène aurait eu pour effet d’augmenter sévèrement le besoin de "main d’oeuvre" étrangère, recherchée en particulier chez les "barbares" (dont on avait en fait grossit le trait à l’époque et qui n’étaient pas si barbares) Celto-Germains. A partir du IVème siècle la natalité remonterait finalement, mais le phénomène serait en grand partie dû aux allochtones présents sur le territoire. Le déclin démographique concernerait donc les "latins de souche" (avec tout ce que cette expression a d’approximatif) tandis que la démographie des barbares se maintiendrait largement, engendrant finalement le retour d’une démographie à croissance positive. Ainsi les Romains s’affaiblissent en nombre au point de ne plus pouvoir se prémunir contre les invasions, et les allochtones deviennent-ils de plus en plus présents, de par les invasions ou les échanges au sein de l’espace, au point qu’ils constituent plus 50% des états-majors vers 380.

Tout cela n’est pas sans rappeler l’époque actuelle de l’Europe, où la démographie, tout simplement catastrophique, imposerait (selon certains) d’avoir recourt à une immigration massive. Depuis que l’on en sait un peu plus sur les statistiques de la natalité en Europe, on sait que si celle-ci se maintient à peu près dans certains pays (France, Irlande) ou limite sa chute dans les autres, c’est en fait en grande partie dû aux allochtones qui "comblent le manque", un peu comme en Italie de l’époque, au point que ceux-ci deviennent de plus en plus présents.

Une crise économique majeure

Dans les derniers siècles de l’empire la crise économique se fait sans cesse plus forte. L’argent, comme les hommes, manque de plus en plus pour composer des armées, renforcer et surveiller les frontières, besoin pourtant de plus en plus vital pour se protéger d’invasions sans cesse plus fréquentes. L’argent manque aussi pour entretenir les monuments et les temples, surtout lorsque la religion perd petit à petit sa place. L’argent manque bientôt pour continuer à organiser des jeux et spectacles… Si l’empire craque de tous côtés, c’est autant démographiquement qu’économiquement, et l’on continue dans l’immédiateté de le nourrir de plus d’étrangers encore.

Curieux point commun avec notre époque, où la crise économique fait rage et où l’on ne trouve pas d’autres solutions que ces idées d’immédiateté : sacrifice total du budget de l’armée, compensation par une main d’œuvre immigrée sans cesse croissante, limitation de plus en plus drastique de l’entretien du patrimoine (en particulier dans les pays les plus touchés par la crise où beaucoup de monuments sont abandonnés) etc., tandis que les mosquées poussent comme des champignons.

Des barbares qui refusent l’intégration et imposent leur loi

En fait, cela n’est pas réel immédiatement. Au départ, lorsque la civilisation romaine est encore puissante, les "barbares", européens de souche certes différenciée par les millénaires mais indo-européenne tout de même, sont plutôt bien intégrés, en particulier chez les élites, bien que certaines continuent de jouer un double jeu en servant tantôt les intérêts du peuple d’origine et tantôt les intérêts de Rome (comme le Goth Alaric). Certains sont aussi tentés par l’ascension politique. Les "barbares" se romanisent, les puissants leur font souvent confiance. C’est lorsque les forces de l’empire s’épuiseront, par contre, que les barbares refuseront de plus en plus de "s’intégrer" (pour utiliser une terminologie actuelle) à la culture autochtone, au point de finir par la rejeter et, finalement, d’y imposer leurs propres spécificités culturelles (surtout après 410), de désirer germaniser le monde latin. Petit à petit, certains, dotés d’une armée majoritairement allochtone (mercenaires embauchés faute de soldats romains, etc.) prennent le pouvoir sur la terre dont leur était confiée la défense, et grignotent ainsi du territoire. Et pour résister aux barbares, l’empire fera appel à encore d’autres barbares, et ainsi de suite.

Cela n’est pas sans rappeler l’état actuel de l’Europe, de plus en plus affaiblie dans ses valeurs et en particulier dans sa volonté d’imposer son modèle à l’arrivant, bref, dans sa volonté de pérennité en général. Poussés par le nombre, la densité et l’importance de la différence culturelle, un nombre sans cesse croissant d’immigrés d’origine extra-européenne refuse en grande partie voire intégralement de s’intégrer à la culture autochtone, au point, finalement, de finir par la rejeter et d’imposer ses propres règles, par la multiplication des revendications que l’on sait et la simple pression de la vie communautaire. On pourra même faire le parallèle, à petite échelle (pour l’instant ?), entre les prises de territoires par les barbares au sein de l’empire romain et les nouvelles zones de non-droit en Europe (songez par exemple ne serait-ce qu’à ce quartier "Shariah controlled zone" à Londres).

Les nouveaux goûts pour la paresse et les plaisirs immédiats

Vers 400, Ammien Marcellin décrit ainsi les romains : "Le peu de maisons où le culte de l’intelligence était encore en honneur sont envahies par le goût des plaisirs, enfants de la paresse [...]. Les chanteurs ont chassé les philosophes, et les professeurs d’éloquence ont cédé la place aux maîtres en fait de voluptés. On mure les bibliothèques comme les tombeaux. L’art ne s’ingénie qu’à fabriquer des orgues hydrauliques, des lyres colossales, des flûtes, et autres instruments de musique gigantesques, pour accompagner sur la scène la pantomime des bouffons", etc.

Comment ne pas songer à l’enfouissement de notre actuelle civilisation dans la société des plaisirs et de l’immédiateté ? Dans la consommation individualiste et la jouissance ? Dans le relativisme et le refus de la réflexion réellement humaniste ? Dans le rejet de la culture classique remplacée par le gavage médiatique facile, acculturé et mondialisé ? Dans la dégradation de l’exigence de l’enseignement ? C’est sans difficulté que l’on rapproche ce signe de décadence à celui de notre époque, bien que celui de Rome ait peut être pris plus de temps pour évoluer.

L’explosion des incivismes

"L’incivisme est en train de tuer Rome", ainsi s’exprime déjà Tacite vers le 1er siècle après J.C. Le citoyen romain semble évoluer dans le mauvais sens, dégradant les bâtiments et fraudant l’état. Plus tard, la montée du rejet de la culture autochtone et l’apport d’us et coutumes jugés barbares contribueront à cette sensation d’incivisme généralisé. Une partie des barbares puis, plus tard, des chrétiens, se déclarent en détestation face aux normes et à la morale romaine classique. La citoyenneté devient accessible pour tous tandis que la sécurité fait largement défaut. Les monuments, considérés comme dépassés, ne sont plus vus comme précieux et sont bientôt pillés par les envahisseurs et dénigrés par les citoyens ou les visiteurs.

Le parallèle est vite effectué avec notre époque et son explosion soudaine de l’incivisme (en quelques décennies) corrélée (correspondance temporelle, géographique et vérification par les statistiques judiciaires) avec la montée soudaine d’une immigration massive aux meurs très différentes, ne pouvant s’assimiler, refusant partiellement de s’intégrer et dont une partie (que l’on sait) est même en détestation méprisante vis à vis de l’occident (païen comme chrétien). Autre parallèle aisé à effectuer : la facilité d’acquisition de la citoyenneté (surtout pour les extra-européens car je connais les difficultés rencontrés par un russe, par exemple, même diplômé et parlant français) et la baisse sensible de la sécurité.

Crise spirituelle et disparition de l’ancienne religion

L’ancienne religion païenne connait une crise importante qui conduira à sa disparition : d’abord faute de financements, puis par rejet de la part d’une population de plus en plus chrétienne, au point qu’après quelques temps c’est le culte païen qui nécessite un édit de tolérance pour être pratiqué. Or ce système religieux, constitué d’idoles multiples, est une partie fondamentale de la société comme de la culture de l’ancien empire romain (une morale commune, des rites partagés, parfois une histoire originelle mythique, une part de la culture et de la pensée, etc.). C’est un des socles et un des constituants de son identité, bien qu’il adoptera finalement plutôt bien le christianisme, qui grâce aux pères de l’église, utilisera pour socle le classicisme gréco-romain. Un jour, en 331, on décrète l’inventaire des biens des temples païens, puis l’interdiction de certaines parties du culte, entraînant la fermeture de certains temples, jusqu’à ce qu’un jour on mette définitivement fin à l’ancien culte et toutes les subventions et privilèges sont retirés, pour aboutir, détail intéressant, au retrait des jours "fériés" païens. Paradoxalement durant le IVème siècle, en parallèle, on continue d’adorer certains dieux et de s’offrir des cadeaux "païens" au jour de l’an, ou de pratiquer le culture des ancêtres (chez les sénateurs par exemple ou les cercles cultivés), comme une survivance identitaire, une ultime résistance qui aura quelques sursauts avant la fin du IVème siècle. L’ancien culte mettra plus de temps à disparaître dans les campagnes, où il est plus enraciné dans la terre, mais dans les villes les temples sont abandonnés ou détruits, faute de budget et d’intérêt, ou encore reconvertis pour la nouvelle religion.

De nombreux points communs avec notre époque semblent ici aussi relativement évidents. A commencer par le sort de "l’ancienne" religion officielle : par des causes et pour des raisons différentes, les mêmes fatalités s’abattent sur la religion dominante, à savoir une religion dont on retire l’aspect officiel, puis dont on fait l’inventaire des biens (ouverture aux possibilités de confiscations) comme à la révolution, dont on supprime tous les financements officiels ainsi que les privilèges. La religion passe d’officielle à tolérée. Le manque de financements et d’intérêt entraîne la destruction de plus en plus d’églises tandis que des demandes sont formulées pour en réutiliser pour la nouvelle religion, au risque de choquer. Puis monte l’intolérance, petit à petit, comme les très nombreux événements plus ou moins médiatiques en témoignent, tandis qu’une nouvelle religion (l’Islam ici) prend de plus en plus de place et se voit de mieux en mieux tolérée, à ceci près que l’Islam est très différente et ne saura réellement faire sa place sans faire table rase et sans dominer, tandis que le christianisme trouvait un terreau fertile en Europe, réutilisait les socles gréco-romains et n’était pas importée avec les hommes qui cette fois se déplacent eux aussi. On remarque au passage des symptômes plus circonscrits mais très parlants là aussi, comme la suppression des fêtes et jours fériés de l’ancien culte, bientôt remplacés par d’autres, ce qui nous fera penser à l’actualité récente et au questionnement qui revient de plus en plus fréquemment de savoir s’il faut supprimer des jours fériés (voire tous) pour des raisons de laïcité féroce ou les remplacer par d’autres (juifs et musulmans) au motif d’un certain égalitarisme un peu antichrétien sur les bords. Enfin, l’ancien culte marque une certaine forme de résistance voire de résurgence au sein d’une partie de la population, comme une sorte d’ultime résistance identitaire.

Le rejet de l’armée et du sentiment de destin commun

Avec les oppositions entre empire d’orient et empire d’occident ainsi qu’avec le brassage de soldats de toutes origines, le sentiment d’appartenir à une même communauté, d’identité et de destinée, disparaît. Le respect pour l’armée disparaît lui aussi, et son importance comme son aspect honorifique, aux yeux du pouvoir comme du peuple, s’effacent au fil des siècles et des réformes. Le budget s’étiole lui aussi. Ajoutons de plus, selon Végèce, la forte diminution de la discipline dans les rangs de l’armée, qui serait due à la majorité de barbares embauchés.

On peut faire un rapprochement avec notre époque, à ceci près que cette quasi détestation de l’armée découle ici de l’Etat et des puissances supra-étatiques (Bruxelles), au point de la faire disparaître, comme si nous n’avions plus rien à protéger (on peut tout de même rapprocher les raisons économiques de ces choix stratégiques). Là où le parallèle est plus fort, cependant, c’est en ça qu’est perdu l’honneur inhérent à l’engagement militaire ainsi que la valeur d’un destin vécu comme commun, tandis qu’un imbroglio d’origines et de cultures le fait fatalement disparaître. La disparition de la discipline à cause de l’étranger est une situation très parlante elle aussi pour notre époque : les insubordinations et autres conflits d’indiscipline au sein même de l’armée n’ont absolument jamais été si élevés que depuis qu’une grosse minorité musulmane y a élu domicile. Ces derniers sont les rois de l’incivisme et de l’indiscipline, le premier état-major venu vous le dira, sinon des chiffres existent.

Des citoyens écrasés d’impôts et qui ne désirent plus s’engager

Une économie en chute et des citoyens écrasés d’impôts et de taxes au point de ne plus vouloir s’engager dans les différents aspects de la société (armée, etc.) et de ne plus faire plus d’un enfant par couple. Cet argent sert en particulier à recruter toujours plus de barbares, en remplacement de soldats romains de qualité manquants, afin de contrer les attaques incessantes de l’extérieur.

La raison n’est pas la même (lutte contre les attaques barbares), mais la méthode et son impact rappellent notre époque : un état dépassé par les événements et qui se perd en impôts et taxes, écrasant, en particulier, le citoyen moyen et donc en majorité l’autochtone qui essaye de s’en sortir. Ces 6 dernières années en France ont d’ailleurs battu absolument tous les records en terme de création de nouvelles impositions.

Des élites qui refusent le changement, se réfugient sur leurs acquis et cherchent des niches fiscales…

Les élites de l’époque romaine, même la crise venant, s’attachent de toutes leurs forces à leurs acquis et leurs privilèges, refusant de fait la réalité et la nécessité des réformes et du changement, et tant pis pour l’avenir de la civilisation. On protège son patrimoine au point de rechercher des "niches fiscales", on continue de se distraire en jeux et spectacles, on se cache les yeux et on se bouche les oreilles par pur égoïsme, allant jusqu’à organiser des groupes de pression.

Si l’expression, dans les faits, et le contexte aidant, en est différente, le principe reste le même : les élites, déconnectées et toujours plus emplies d’un angélisme affiché, se masquent la vue, refusent la vérité de l’état du pays réel et poursuivent ainsi tête baissée, paniquées ou déterminées, que nous courrions ou non vers un mur, puisque ceux-ci auront certainement les moyens de le franchir, la civilisation dût-elle y rester. On remarquera que les élites iront jusqu’à former des groupes de pression, qui ne sont pas sans rappeler les lobbys qui travaillent jour après jour à la continuité et à la perpétuation de leur quête progressiste, relativiste et destructrice. Pendant ce temps, des citoyens s’accrochent à un passé qu’on veut leur arracher. L’immigration, elle, est perpétrée, ne serait-ce que pour les besoins électoraux d’une partie de l’élite.

Le latin s’efface au profit de nouvelles langues

De nouvelles langues, issues du socle latin, font leur apparition et remplacent petit à petit à langue latine en ne la considérant bientôt plus que comme une langue de liturgie, de papiers officiels ou d’élitisme intellectuel. Bref une langue morte mais que l’on ressortirait tout de même quelques fois comme une antiquité intéressante. Ces nouvelles langues naissantes (Français, Italien,…), bien que faisant quelque peu disparaître à l’usage le latin, restent des langues qui y puisent leurs racines, aux tréfonds de ce socle indo-européen commun aussi aux langues celtiques et germaniques.

Dans notre cas, où l’on constate l’apparition de populations de plus en plus importantes conservant leurs langues parmi leurs us et coutumes et ne parlant bientôt plus que celle-ci dans certains quartiers, le tout doublé d’une population autochtone qui parle de plus en plus mal la langue officielle, la ressemblance entre les effets est frappante. Mais les causes sont un peu différentes de l’époque romaine, pas pour le meilleur hélas, car il s’agit cette fois de langues importées qui sont différentes dans leur essence comme dans leur origine (ainsi que dans la culture qui s’y rattache et les racines de celle-ci), nuisant à ce que la continuité de l’enseignement du latin avait réussi à faire jusqu’à présent : renforcer l’identité commune européenne.

Mais la crise actuelle de l’Europe est peut-être encore plus préoccupante

Ainsi peut-on rapprocher le déclin de l’empire romain du déclin actuel de la civilisation européenne. Ce qui est déjà inquiétant en soi. Le problème, c’est qu’il s’agit là peut-être d’une situation pire encore aujourd’hui : à l’époque, il s’agissait de peuples indo-européens qui, bien qu’ayant évolué différemment durant les quelques millénaires précédents, partageaient encore un socle commun et une forte compatibilité ethnoculturelle, tandis que les peuples qui sont importés actuellement possèdent une différence non seulement très grande mais aussi fondamentale, qui touche aux racines. L’autre problème est la fulgurance de l’événement. Là où Rome a mis des siècles à péricliter, tout semble s’accélérer aujourd’hui, se dérouler littéralement à une autre échelle de temps, sensiblement plus fulgurante.

De plus, dans sa chute, Rome ne se sera en fait pas réellement perdue, pas totalement, transmise en continuité par ces peuples qui se sentaient concernés par cette culture et dont ils réutiliseront tous les socles, alors que les changements actuels, qui forcent sur la partie émergée de la culture comme sur ses fondements, possèdent quelques sournois aspects d’irréversibilité. Le changement religieux est différent lui aussi : l’apport de la chrétienté, non dénué de heurts, a été porté par les idées et a trouvé un terreau fertile en terre d’Europe. L’Islam est très différente pour deux raisons : d’abord, celle-ci est importée non seulement par les idées mais surtout par les hommes eux même, en nombre, prenant de la place et refusant par définition de changer, avec une volonté de conquête territoriale qui découle du texte, et d’autre part parce que l’Islam, en plus d’être rigide et non malléable, est en soi très différente jusque dans ses racines. Ainsi ne peut-elle exister pleinement et s’enraciner sans poser de nouvelles fondations sur les lieux de sa présence. Elle nécessite, au moins partiellement, la table rase de la religion en place. D’une manière plus générale, les cultures extra-européennes différentes jusque dans leurs fondements nécessitent fatalement de faire table rase de l’existant pour exister pleinement : d’où les notions, inévitables, de communautarisme et de zones du territoire qui sont "prises" par telle ou telle culture et n’expriment plus que celle-ci. Sans possibilité d’assimilation, à la différence des européens.

Espérons que ces symptômes de déclin, que ce syndrome crépusculaire, ne présage pas de ce dont il semble nous parler. Espérons, sinon, qu’il ne soit pas encore trop tard pour prendre le problème à bras le corps, que l’astre ne se soit pas encore totalement effacé derrière l’occident de l’horizon.

A.C.M

00:05 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) | Tags : rome, rome antique, empire romain histoire, déclin, décadence | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 09 septembre 2014

How Empires End

How Empires End

sac-de-rome-par-les-barbares-en-410.jpgHistories are generally written by academics. They, quite naturally, tend to focus on the main events: the wars and the struggles between leaders and their opponents (both external and internal). Whilst these are interesting stories to read, academics, by their very nature, often overlook the underlying causes for an empire’s decline.

Today, as in any era, most people are primarily interested in the “news”—the daily information regarding the world’s political leaders and their struggles with one another to obtain, retain, and expand their power. When the history is written about the era we are passing through, it will reflect, in large measure, a rehash of the news. As the media of the day tend to overlook the fact that present events are merely symptoms of an overall decline, so historians tend to focus on major events, rather than the “slow operations” that have been the underlying causes.

The Persian Empire

When, as a boy, I was “educated” about the decline and fall of the Persian Empire, I learned of the final takeover by Alexander the Great but was never told that, in its decline, Persian taxes became heavier and more oppressive, leading to economic depression and revolts, which, in turn led to even heavier taxes and increased repression. Increasingly, kings hoarded gold and silver, keeping it out of circulation from the community. This hamstrung the market, as monetary circulation was insufficient to conduct business. By the time Alexander came along, Persia, weakened by warfare and internal economic strife, was a shell of an empire and was relatively easy to defeat.

The Tang Dynasty

Back then, I also learned that the Tang Dynasty ended as a result of the increased power amongst the eunuchs, battles with fanzhen separatists, and finally, peasants’ revolts. True enough, but I was not taught that the dynasty’s expansion-based warfare demanded increases in taxation, which led to the revolts. Continued warfare necessitated increasing monetary and land extortion by the eunuchs, resulting in an abrupt decrease in food output and further taxes. Finally, as economic deterioration and oppression of the citizenry worsened, citizens left the area entirely for more promise elsewhere.

Is there a pattern here? Let’s have a more detailed look—at another empire.

The Spanish Empire

In 1556, Philip II of Spain inherited what was regarded as Europe’s most wealthy nation, with no apparent economic problems. Yet, by 1598, Spain was bankrupt. How was this possible?

Spain was doing well but sought to become a major power. To achieve this, Philip needed more tax dollars. Beginning in 1561, the existing servicio tax was regularised, and the crusada tax, the excusado tax, and the millones tax were all added by 1590.

Over a period of 39 years (between 1559 and 1598) taxes increased by 430%. Although the elite of the day were exempt from taxation (the elite of today are not officially exempt), the average citizen was taxed to the point that both business expansion and public purchasing diminished dramatically. Wages did not keep pace with the resultant inflation. The price of goods rose 400%, causing a price revolution and a tax revolution.

Although Spain enjoyed a flood of gold and silver from the Americas at this time, the increased wealth went straight into Philip’s war efforts. However, the 100,000 troops were soon failing to return sufficient spoils to Philip to pay for their forays abroad.

In a final effort to float the doomed empire, Philip issued government bonds, which provided immediate cash but created tremendous debt that, presumably, would need to be repaid one day. (The debt grew to 8.8 times GDP.)

Spain declared bankruptcy. Trade slipped to other countries. The military, fighting on three fronts, went unpaid, and military aspirations collapsed.

It is important to note that, even as the empire was collapsing, Philip did not suspend warfare. He did not back off on taxation. Like leaders before and since, he instead stubbornly increased his autocracy as the empire slid into collapse.

Present-Day Empires

Again, the events above are not taught to schoolchildren as being of key importance in the decline of empires, even though they are remarkably consistent with the decline of other empires and what we are seeing today. The very same events occur, falling like dominoes, more or less in order, in any empire, in any age:

  1. The reach of government leaders habitually exceeds their grasp.
  1. Dramatic expansion (generally through warfare) is undertaken without a clear plan as to how that expansion is to be financed.
  1. The population is overtaxed as the bills for expansion become due, without consideration as to whether the population can afford increased taxation.
  1. Heavy taxation causes investment by the private sector to diminish, and the economy begins to decline.
  1. Costs of goods rise, without wages keeping pace.
  1. Tax revenue declines as the economy declines (due to excessive taxation). Taxes are increased again, in order to top up government revenues.
  1. In spite of all the above, government leaders personally hoard as much as they can, further limiting the circulation of wealth in the business community.
  1. Governments issue bonds and otherwise borrow to continue expansion, with no plan as to repayment.
  1. Dramatic authoritarian control is instituted to assure that the public continues to comply with demands, even if those demands cannot be met by the public.
  1. Economic and social collapse occurs, often marked by unrest and riots, the collapse of the economy, and the exit of those who are productive.
  1. In this final period, the empire turns on itself, treating its people as the enemy.

The above review suggests that if our schoolbooks stressed the underlying causes of empire collapse, rather than the names of famous generals and the dates of famous battles, we might be better educated and be less likely to repeat the same mistakes.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely. Chances are, future leaders will be just as uninterested in learning from history as past leaders. They will create empires, then destroy them.

Even the most informative histories of empire decline, such as The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, will not be of interest to the leaders of empires. They will believe that they are above history and that they, uniquely, will succeed.

If there is any value in learning from the above, it is the understanding that leaders will not be dissuaded from their aspirations. They will continue to charge ahead, both literally and figuratively, regardless of objections and revolts from the citizenry.

Once an empire has reached stage eight above, it never reverses. It is a “dead empire walking” and only awaits the painful playing-out of the final three stages. At that point, it is foolhardy in the extreme to remain and “wait it out” in the hope that the decline will somehow reverse. At that point, the wiser choice might be to follow the cue of the Chinese, the Romans, and others, who instead chose to quietly exit for greener pastures elsewhere.

Reprinted with permission from Casey Research.

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dimanche, 07 septembre 2014

Squandered Lives and Snuffed Out Genius

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Squandered Lives and Snuffed Out Genius

Mises, Tolkien, and World War I

Recently in The Times, Richard Morrison discussed, “The musicians silenced in the carnage of the Great War,” this being the centennial year of World War I. Morrison explored the war’s, “cataclysmic effect on the musical world,” and how “it left an indelible mark on musical composition — partly because almost a whole generation of brilliant young composers were killed, and partly because those that survived were changed for ever.” Morrison ends on a poignant note:

“As with so many of that horribly ill-fated generation, you wonder what might have been — had mankind not slaughtered so many of its brightest and best.”

This sentiment can be extended beyond music to all fields of human endeavor. Every life is precious for its own sake, but we can only have a full accounting of the costs of war if we also reflect upon the squandered potential of its victims.

Of course we can never know exactly what was lost to civilization in a war, but one way of getting an idea is to consider what we almost lost.

For example, World War I might have easily cost us most of the contributions of Ludwig von Mises, the greatest economist, and one of the greatest champions of liberty, who ever lived. In his wonderful biography of Mises, Guido Hülsmann wrote of how much danger Mises was in as an artillery officer on Austria-Hungary’s Northern Front.

Mises in uniform.

“Artillery was not only the main agent of destruction, but also one of its prime targets. Mises’s battery constantly had to change position, often under fire. Heavy rainfall set in, hampered their movements, and proved that k.u.k. uniforms were not waterproof.”

As I have written in my biographical essay about Mises, this was an incredibly close call for humanity:

“One of history’s greatest geniuses was a single air burst away from having his career nipped in the bud.

How tragic that would have been! Mises had not yet even written his great 1920 essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, which contained the single most powerful argument against central planning that had ever been formulated.”

Neither had he yet elaborated the true, praxeological foundation of sound economics (which he would accomplish in the 1930s) or reconstructed on that foundation the entire edifice of economics as a rigorous, systematic, and complete science of the market (which he would accomplish in the 1940s). Imagine how subsequent Austrian economists would be have had to grope in the dark had he never made those discoveries. There would have been no Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, a book that forever changed the life and career of Friedrich Hayek (who also might have died in the World War I), and no Human Action, a book that forever changed the life and career of Murray Rothbard .

Mises himself was almost a tragic example of a phenomenon he would do so much to illuminate: the state’s calamitous misallocation of resources. In all their wisdom, the planners in Vienna decided that the mind that had already formulated the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle and would soon discover the Socialist Calculation Problem was best employed figuring out how to effectively blow up Russians, and that the hand that would later pen Human Action might just as well instead lie cold and dead somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains.

Another such near-tragic misallocation, one made on the other side of the same war, was that of J.R.R. Tolkien, who would later author the beloved epic The Lord of the Rings. The lore of Middle-earth, still germinating in Tolkien’s imagination—a narrative world that would mold an entire genre and bring joy to millions of readers and movie-goers—might have been snuffed out unwritten in the Battle of the Somme.

Source: Governors of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, via John Garth. Garth’s caption: “A face in the crowd: Tolkien, fourth from left in the middle row, stands for inspection with the new Cadet Corps at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, on 4 April 1907″

Luckily, Mises and Tolkien survived the awful war. But what of those who did not? How many Miseses and Tolkiens laid dead in the trenches? How much bourgeoning genius was nipped in the bud?

Again, we can never know the answer to this question, but we can get an even better idea by also reflecting on the war casualty rates in the circles of these great men.

Hülsmann wrote wistfully of the pre-War intellectual ferment at Mises’s University of Vienna, and of its tragic end (emphasis added).

“What glorious days when one could study under Böhm-Bawerk, Wieser, Philippovich, and Mises! But these days were numbered. The all-star Austrian faculty lasted only three semesters. In August 1914, Böhm-Bawerk died and Mises was sent to the front. His best students perished in the war.”

And before the War, Tolkien had enjoyed a deep and inspiring camaraderie as one of four friends in a tight literary circle called the Tea Club Barrovian Society (T.C.B.S.). As John Garth wrote earlier this year in The Daily Beast:

“They dreamed of making art that would create a better world, and for Tolkien a T.C.B.S. gathering in December that year was followed by ‘finding a voice for all kinds of pent up things and a tremendous opening up of everything’ — the beginning of Middle-earth.”

But the dreams and lives of this circle were to be almost entirely devoured by the nightmare of the Great War. On July 15, 1916, T.C.B.S. member Geoffrey Smith wrote to Tolkien of the death of another member, Robert Gilson:

My dear John Ronald,

I saw in the paper this morning that Rob has been killed. I am safe but what does that matter? Do please stick to me, you and Christopher. I am very tired and most frightfully depressed at this worst news. Now one realises in despair what the T.C.B.S. really was.

O my dear John Ronald what ever are we going to do?

Yours ever.G. B. S.

Five months later, Smith too was killed. Just before setting off for his fatal mission, Smith wrote Tolkien one last letter that is truly heart-rending:

My chief consolation is that if I am scuppered tonight — I am off on duty in a few minutes — there will still be left a member of the great T.C.B.S. to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve the T.C.B.S. Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four! A discovery I am going to communicate to Rob before I go off tonight. And do you write it also to Christopher. May God bless you my dear John Ronald and may you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them if such be my lot.

Yours ever,G. B. S.

Fortunately for us, John Ronald did get to say those things. But what did Geoffrey never get to say? We will never know, but surely it would have been something splendid and profound, given the greatness of soul evinced in these letters and that he must have had to be so inspiring to Tolkien. And what did Mises’s “best students” never get to say about markets and human society?

 

To paraphrase Robin Williams’s John Keating in the film Dead Poet’s Society:They’re not that different from you, are they? They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Because you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. “Stop the wars, boys.”

Here we are, a century later, and the Washington-driven western hegemony that emerged from the World Wars is afflicted with the same imperialistic hubris and entangled in the same kind of “collective security” tripwires that detonated the conflagration that almost consumed Mises and Tolkien, and that didconsume Mises’s best students and Tolkien’s best colleagues. President Barack Obama has not only just relaunched the very war in Iraq that he was elected to get us out of (much as Woodrow Wilson dragged us into World War I after winning re-election with the slogan “He kept us out of war”), but, unbelievably, has embroiled us in a proxy war with nuclear Russia. Just yesterday, a member of the Ukrainian junta serving as Washington’s proxy darkly insisted that yet another “great war has arrived at our doorstep,” in which “tens of thousands” could die. And the neocons (like Victoria Nuland, who started the whole mess), “humanitarian” interventionists (like Susan Rice), and bumblers (like John Kerry) guiding Obama’s foreign policy seem to be doing everything they can to realize that unthinkable outcome: cheered on, of course, by the war drum beaters in the media.

How much unrealized genius already lies under the rubble in Donetsk, or in other urban centers demolished by American-supplied weapons like Gaza and Aleppo? How many dancers, doctors, and dreamers will never come to be? And how many times over will that number grow if we don’t finally stand up to the warmongers and war makers before it’s too late: before world conflict once again spins completely out of control as it did a hundred years ago?

 

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samedi, 06 septembre 2014

Behind the Sinking of the Lusitania

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Behind the Sinking of the Lusitania

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

About how America became involved in certain wars, many conspiracy theories have been advanced — and some have been proved correct.

When James K. Polk got his declaration of war as Mexico had “shed American blood upon the American soil,” Rep. Abraham Lincoln demanded to know the exact spot where it had happened.

And did the Spanish really blow up the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, the casus belli for the Spanish-American War?

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, involving U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy, remains in dispute. But charges that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked U.S. warships on the high seas led to the 1964 resolution authorizing the war in Vietnam.

In 2003, Americans were stampeded into backing an invasion of Iraq because Saddam Hussein had allegedly been complicit in 9/11, had weapons of mass destruction and was able to douse our East Coast with anthrax.

“(He) lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it,” said Rep. Clare Luce of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, according to many historians, made efforts to provoke German subs into attacking U.S. warships and bring us into the European war through the “back door” of a war with Japan.

This week marks the 75th anniversary of World War II, as last month marked the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Thus, it is a good time for Eugene Windchy’s “Twelve American Wars: Nine of Them Avoidable.” A compelling chapter in this new book, by the author of “Tonkin Gulf,” deals with how Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, schemed to drag America into Britain’s war in 1915.

In 1907, Britain launched the Lusitania, “the greyhound of the sea,” the fastest passenger ship afloat. In 1913, Churchill called in the head of Cunard and said Lusitania would have to be refitted for a war he predicted would break out in September 1914.

The Lusitania, writes Windchy, was “refitted as a cargo ship with hidden compartments to hold shells and other munitions. By all accounts there were installed revolving gun mounts.”

On Aug. 4, 1914, after war was declared, Lusitania went back into dry dock. More space was provided for cargo, and the vessel was now carried on Cunard’s books as “an auxiliary cruiser.”

Churchill visited the ship in dry dock and referred to Lusitania as “just another 45,000 tons of live bait.”

When war began, German submarine captains, to save torpedoes, would surface and permit the crews of cargo ships to scramble into lifeboats, and then they would plant bombs or use gunfire to sink the vessels.

Churchill’s response was to outfit merchant ships with hidden guns, order them to ram submarines, and put out “Q-ships,” disguised as merchant ships, which would not expose their guns until submarines surfaced.

German naval commanders began to order submarines to sink merchant ships on sight.

First Sea Lord Sir John (“Jackie”) Fisher said he would have done the same.

Churchill, seeing an opportunity to bring America into Britain’s war, wrote the Board of Trade: “It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany. … We want the traffic — the more the better — and if some of it gets into trouble, the better still.”

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan wanted to warn Americans not to travel aboard British ships. But President Woodrow Wilson, writes Windchy, “said that American citizens had a right to travel on belligerent ships with impunity, even within a war zone,” a defiance of common sense and an absurd interpretation of international law.

On May 1, 1915, Lusitania set sail from New York. As Windchy writes, the ship “secretly carried munitions and Canadian troops in civilian clothes, which legally made it fair game for (German) U-boats.

“After the war, Churchill … admitted that the Lusitania carried a ‘small consignment of rifle ammunition and shrapnel shells weighing 173 tons.’ New York Customs Collector Dudley Malone told President Wilson that ‘practically all her cargo was contraband of various kinds.’”

Future Secretary of State Robert Lansing knew that British passenger ships carried war materiel. German diplomats in New York warned American passengers they were in danger on the Lusitania. And instead of sailing north of Ireland to Liverpool, the Lusitania sailed to the south, into waters known to be the hunting ground of German submarines.

Lusitania blew up and sank in 18 minutes. Munitions may have caused the secondary explosion when the torpedo hit. Some 1,200 people perished, including 128 Americans. America was on fire, ready for war when the next incidents occurred, as they would in 1917 with the sinking of U.S. merchant ships in similar waters.

Had Wilson publicly warned U.S. citizens not to sail on the ships of belligerent nations and forbidden U.S.-flagged merchant ships to carry contraband to nations at war, America might have stayed out of the war, which might have ended in a truce, not a German defeat.

There might have been no Adolf Hitler and no World War II.

mardi, 02 septembre 2014

Libération et Épuration...

Libération et Épuration...

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La Nouvelle Revue d'Histoire est en kiosque (n° 74, septembre - octobre 2014).

Le dossier central est consacré à la Libération et à l’Épuration. On peut y lire, notamment,  des articles de François de Lannoy ("La 1ère Armée et la libération de la France" ; "L'épiscopat n'est pas épargné"), de Philippe Parroy ("Le temps des maquisards"), de Jean Kappel ("Les crimes de l'épuration sauvage"), de Max Schiavon ("L'épuration de l'armée. Le drame de l'obéissance") et de Laurent Wetzel ("Les Normaliens durant l'Occupation").

Hors dossier, on pourra lire, en particulier, deux entretiens, l'un avec Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie ("Une vie avec l'histoire") et l'autre avec Ferenc Toth ("1664. Saint Gothard, une victoire européenne") ainsi que des articles d'Emma Demeester ("Guillaume le Conquérant"), d'Anne Bernet ("Lucien Jerphagnon, toujours présent"), de Rémy Porte ("Septembre 1914, la crise des munitions"), de Arnaud Imatz ("Une Déclaration des droits de l'homme pas très universelle"), de Jean Tulard ("Pourquoi Napoléon a-t-il choisi l'île d'Elbe ? Pourquoi en est-il parti ?") et de Ferenc ("La charte de 1814, condition du retour du roi").

vendredi, 29 août 2014

Ignorant Conservatives and August 1914

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Ignorant Conservatives and August 1914

Those Intellectuals Who Know Nothing of the Past May Help to Repeat It

I recently received an unexpected gift from American historian and political theorist Barry Alan Shain, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context, a 600 page collection of documents from the era of the American Revolution, with accompanying commentaries and a long introductory essay, published by Yale University Press. It would be marvelous if Barry’s ambitious scholarship elicited the widespread discussion among journalists and media celebrities that it richly deserves. But I doubt this will happen. The author is not in sync with the authorized political camps, from Dinesh D’Souza to the followers of left-radical historian Howard Zinn, when he warns against such “misconceptions” as the belief that the US was founded as a “propositional nation.” Contrary to this belief: “The Declaration may more accurately be seen as the unintended and undesired culmination of a process of resistance in which the majority of the colonists believed they were defending customary and traditional British constitutional institutions and historical political rights against misguided ministerial and parliamentary innovations.”

Shain demonstrates exhaustively that up until the eve of the Revolution most members of the Continental Congress opposed “parliamentary innovations,” as staunch monarchists. Most of these dignitaries were not comfortable with the natural rights phrases that Thomas Jefferson inserted into the Declaration, a point that such scholars as George Carey and Forrest McDonald have also made. If one could go back in time and tell these delegates they were founding a global democracy based on human rights, and that they were putting the US on a course toward converting the entire planet to something called “liberal democracy,” they would have viewed the speaker as mad.

Although other scholars have offered similar arguments, their views, like those of Shain, cannot possibly prevail against the parameters of debate established by our political-journalistic elites. Certain discussions that would have unfolded in the past have become closed questions. This has happened for two reasons, both of which I try to explain in my book The Strange Death of Marxism.

First, in the cultural and social sphere, the US has moved dramatically toward the left, so much so that the left center in my youth would be well to the right of where “conservatives” have placed themselves. Note that onetime feminist Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to limit women’s access to the workplace, lest their presence there reduce the “single family wage” of their husbands and threaten the unity of the family.

Until the 1960s, women were seen by both of our political parties as primarily wives and mothers; homosexuality was generally viewed as a psychic disorder (by communist even more than capitalist nations); and civil rights for blacks meant the right to sit at an integrated lunch counter. Although those changes that have occurred since then may be viewed by the broad public as “only fair,” they have exacted an enormous price, and part of that price is an intolerance of the way people lived before the cataclysm of the 1960s and 1970s. Please note that an idea like gay marriage would have struck most people as silly and possibly offensive thirty years ago; today it is proclaimed by our media as a fundamental, universal right. The Wall Street Journal rails against Russian leader Vladimir Putin for not allowing self-proclaimed homosexuals to teach in public schools. Through most of my life I could easily imagine most Americans taking similar positions to those of the Russian president, without eliciting the anger of Democratic or Republican newspapers.

Second, the shift of our cultural-political spectrum leftward has brought a narrowing of historical debate, which seems to have resulted in having both sides take what used to be recognizably leftist positions. Certain discussions can barely take place any longer, without the participants being accused by the media, the educational establishment, and the official conservative opposition of racial or gender insensitivity. Is it really possible to take a negative view of Reconstruction, without being attacked as a racist? This fate has befallen even the pro-Union historian William A. Dunning. In his study of the Union army’s occupation of the post-Civil War South, Dunning criticizes the politics and rapacity of the Reconstruction government and of those who were behind it; this hapless historian, who came from an impeccable Abolitionist background, is therefore now condemned as a racist. The book on Reconstruction by Eric Foner, which treats the events in question as a morality play between evil Southern whites and a virtuous Union occupying army, has supplanted other treatments of a now politically settled subject. The fact that Foner, a longtime revolutionary socialist, presents Reconstruction as “America’s unfinished revolution” gives his work a link to contemporary social engineering projects.

But the most disfiguring ideological reconstruction of history has taken place on what is supposedly the conservative side. Here we see the current labeling of good and bad guys read back into the past in order to justify a belligerent foreign policy. Thus the struggles for hegemony between two ancient Greek slave societies, according to Victor Davis Hanson, reveal the outlines of modern confrontations between predictable heroes and equally predictable villains.

These evocations of Manichean struggles, which I notice particularly in Hanson’s newspaper columns, sometimes verge on the ludicrous. They have nothing to do with history as a serious discipline. The first rule for the study of history should be to understand the differences between past and present and then the differences between different things in the past. I am now reading and hearing outbursts of anger in the press about the revival of murderous anti-Semitism in Germany and France. This invective, however well-intentioned, leave the mistaken impression that the violently anti-Jewish demonstrators who are raging through European cities are the left over accessories from the Nazi regime. Only by looking at pictures could one guess that the troublemakers are Muslim immigrants who have been allowed to settle in Western European countries. Although a serious problem is occurring, let’s not pretend it’s more of the evil European past. We are dealing with an unprecedented problem that was caused by an unwise immigration policy.

A discussion that the “conservative” establishment in particular has tried to take off the table concerns responsibility for the Great War that started one hundred years ago. From reading Professor Hanson and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, I would have to assume both counterfactually and counterintuitively, that “autocratic” Germany was responsible for the entire bloodbath, that Winston Churchill played a gallant role in World War One as he did in the struggle against Hitler, in preserving European democracy against the German threat, and that Imperial Germany and possibly the Habsburg Empire were precursors of the Third Reich. These tediously recited opinions are the result of looking in the wrong places for a later disaster, in this case Nazi crimes. Although Imperial Germany was an unevenly developed constitutional monarchy and although the last German Kaiser was far from a model diplomat (who was in European politics in 1914?), Germany in 1914 was a government of law, with the best fed working class and lowest taxes in Europe and a very free press. Germany had no more to do with inciting the First World War, the scope of which none of the belligerents foresaw, than the Entente powers that the Germans fought.

All the major participants behaved with equivalent recklessness, a point that Christopher Clark demonstrates in his magisterial The Sleepwalkers. As someone who has been studying the Great War for forty years, I shall be happy to provide my critics with a mountain of counterevidence to what has become neoconservative holy writ for German sole responsibility for the Great War. This position was supposedly worked out indisputably in Fritz Fischer’s voluminous critical study of Wilhelmine Germany, Griff nach der Weltmacht (1961), a work that seems to have brought equal pleasure to the German anti-national Left, American refugee historians with whom I studied in graduate school, and the future neoconservative masters of the American conservative movement.

Unfortunately for his ill-informed American fans, every major contention in Fischer’s brief against Imperial Germany, which was written by a onetime Nazi zealot, who later made a name for himself as a German antifascist, anti-nationalist historian, has been effectively challenged multiple times. It is even questionable whether Fischer found the evidence for his brief in those East German archives to which he was given access, but which were closed to less radically leftist historians. Much of what Fischer claims to be documenting was glaringly misquoted or given a distorting context. Moreover, those nationalist attitudes Fischer’s books treat as peculiarly German were at least as much present in Germany’s enemies as they were in the German Second Empire. France and Russia has far more extensive military conscription than the Germans and Austrians and were obviously planning for war against the Central Powers in 1914.

Equally noteworthy, the German historian Gunter Spraul in Der Fischer Komplex devotes several hundred pages of minute analysis to investigating how Fischer twisted the statements of German leaders in 1914 and even earlier in order to prove what Fischer never satisfactorily proves: that the German government alone planned a general European war that it unleashed in 1914, for the sake of territorial conquest and economic hegemony. Even more devastating in this regard is the 1100 page work 14/18. Der Weg nachVersailles by Jörg Friedrich, a study that blows out of the water any explicit or implicit defense of the main lines of the Fischer-thesis. Of course the authors of neoconservative screeds against Imperial Germany may be totally oblivious to whatever contradicts the anti-German hang-ups of their patrons. I strongly doubt that these journalists do research in German sources or keep up with relevant secondary works. There is no need for them to do either in order to collect their checks.

There are copious available sources for all the following assertions, which I can easily provide for the curious or skeptical: Although Winston Churchill behaved heroically in facing up to Hitler, the British First Lord of the Admiralty was an anti-German loose wire in 1914 and throughout the decade before the war; it was the Germans and Austrians, never the Allies, who displayed a willingness to end the war with a compromise peace. Not incidentally, there was far more tolerance of antiwar opposition in Germany and Austria than in the “democracies,” particularly after Woodrow Wilson launched our first “crusade for democracy” after having suppressed all opposition to this undertaking.

It is also inaccurate to claim that the British were “driven” into an anti-German and anti-Austrian alliance system because of the naval expansion begun by the Germans in 1898. This build-up never came close to threatening English naval supremacy, and on the eve of the war, Germany had only moved from eleventh place up to fifth as a naval powe r. When Anglophile German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (his name is inexcusably misspelled in the English Wikipedia and in its slavish German translation) proposed to scale down the naval build-up and offered other concessions to the British as a way of winning their friendship, he got nowhere in a hurry. As we learn from German dean of diplomatic historians Konrad Canis in Der Weg in den Abgrund 1891-1914 , the British government of Lord Edward Grey ignored the Chancellor’s overtures and proceeded to tighten the encirclement of Germany with the French and Russians. In the summer of 1914, if the war had not broken out, the British would have signed an agreement with the Russians centered on landing Russian armies, who were to be transported in British ships, on the North German coast. This was not in any way prompted by provocative German action. It was, as Canis painstakingly documents, a step toward the hostile encirclement of Germany that the Grey government had been working to achieve since 1905.

Moreover, a civilian government continued to operate in Germany throughout what we are sometimes misleadingly told was a “military dictatorship,” and it was the collapse of the will of the Kaiser and the military command that caused Germany to sue for peace. The parliamentary parties would in all probability have continued the struggle against the Allies. Ironically the military fobbed off the defeat on the civilian government, when it was the military that caved in. The starvation blockade that Churchill placed around Germany resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and led to the unrestricted U-Boat sinking carried out by the Germans in the Atlantic, which was intended to divert the blockading British fleet. This misstep handed Wilson’s never really neutral government the excuse to go to war, a step the Anglophile Republican Party had been calling for since 1914.

This blockade would have been illegal as well as outrageously immoral but the British government, knowing they would use this measure in a war they expected to wage against Germany, refused to sign the Hague Conventions, banning starvation blockades on humanitarian grounds. The Belgians were far from neutral in 1914. Indeed the Belgian king had participated in military conversations with the British and French, calling for an amphibious landing of British troops on the Belgian coast in case of war with Germany. Finally, as Niall Ferguson points out in The Pity of War, England would have been in a much better position in 1919, even if the Central Powers managed to squeeze out a victory, than she was after the devastation of World War One. Nor would the US have chosen badly if it had stayed out. It still would have been the world’s major power in 1919 and might have done even better if it had tried, contrary to what it actually did, to broker an honest peace between the two war-weary sides.

These are just a few of the judgments regarding the supposedly bad side in World War One, which would have been axiomatic truths in National Review, Human Events and among many respectable historians circa 1965. Naturally I have no hope of converting Professor Hanson whose idiosyncratic revulsion for the Germans may even exceed that of his neoconservative sponsors, who continue to loathe the Germans as perpetrators of the Holocaust. As a prime illustration of Hanson’s idée fixe, allow me to cite from a column on NATO that he posted on his home site at NR-Online on August 6: “The war-torn democracies were scared that Germany would quickly rebound to prompt yet another European war for the fourth time in less than a century.” Having shown this puzzling passage to various historians of my acquaintance, none of them could figure out what Hanson’s third German war was. We’ll concede arguendo two German wars, but what the hell is the third one. Perhaps Hanson means the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, but in that conflict it was France that stupidly declared war on Prussia (there was no unified Germany at the time). In the rest of his column Hanson rages against the dangers posed by Putin as a Russian nationalist, although even here it seems that Hanson is continuing his anti-German rant and simply transferring it to the new Kaiser Wilhelm in Moscow.

Well at least, Hanson has not descended to the degree of historical illiteracy about World War One that I’ve encountered in the Weekly Standard, most recently on August 4. There I learned that Wilson should have entered the war against the German autocrats much earlier, a point that we somehow learn, or so author Daniel Halper insists, from the events of the Second World War. I don’t quite grasp the connection, but since I’m neither a neocon nor a certified movement conservative any longer, this is not surprising. Apparently had we not entered the European struggle for democracy, after what Halper tells us was Wilson’s honest efforts to maintain neutrality, an aggressive Germany “would have dominated Europe and then threatened the United States.” Perhaps Wilson and Halper would have done well to notice the British starvation blockade, which drove the German government to desperate measures, and the fact that the Lusitania, which the Germans sank in 1915, was not a harmless pleasure vessel, as Halper suggests. The ship was loaded with contraband, including munitions to the British that would be used against German and Austrian soldiers. The Lusitania was also registered with the British navy as an auxiliary cruiser and was therefore a fair war target for the German submarines. Finally, and not insignificantly, the German government had advertised these facts in American newspapers and urged Americans not to expose themselves to danger by travelling on what was viewed as an armed war ship. Oh yes, I know this refutation is an exercise in futility. Neocons have at their beck and call major media resources and don’t have to respond to aging Old Right critics, whom they marginalized decades ago with the snap of their fingers.

Let me end my comments on Germanophobic obsessions, by recalling an exchange at a conference on international relations that was sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute. At that conference I found myself on a panel with Hanson’s Doppelgänger, an army officer who seemed to have emerged from the pages of the Murdoch press but who had actually worked in intelligence. I agreed with my fellow-participant when he stressed the need for a “realistic” foreign policy,” although he may have meant by that term something different from my understanding of it. In my remarks I noted parenthetically that the origins of some conflicts are “extremely complex” and, because of the anniversary of that catastrophe, I mentioned the Great War as an example. The officer then shot back in my direction: “That’s not true. That was caused by a German military dictatorship.” At that point I thought to myself: “Right! And the Spanish American War was caused by a Latin Catholic autocrat who sank our ship in Havana harbor.”

 

jeudi, 28 août 2014

Estados Unidos encubrió la masacre de Katyn

 

katyn-photo-2.jpg

Estados Unidos encubrió la masacre de Katyn

 

por Carlos de Lorenzo Ramos

Ex: http://culturatransversal.wordpress.com

katyn1.jpgEn la primavera de 1940 la URSS líquidó a 22.000 oficiales polacos. EE.UU conocía estos hechos y los ocultó. Estados Unidos desclasificó el 17 de septiembre unos documentos que corroboran algo ya intuido por los historiadores: El gobierno de Franklin D. Roosevelt sabía que la URSS ejecutó a 22.000 oficiales polacos en Katyn, en la primavera de 1940, y lo ocultó deliberadamente. Estados Unidos tapó el hecho para no incomodar a Stalin, su aliado durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial; y una vez en la Guerra Fría, para no dar explicaciones acerca de su silencio “necesario”. Katyn se convirtió durante décadas en sinónimo de Secreto de Estado. La Casa Blanca solo confirmó la autoría soviética con la asunción de Gorbachov, el dirigente de la URSS, de los hechos, en 1988.

Los documentos se componen de 1.000 páginas, y los expertos destacan su importancia. La evidencia más significativa del conocimiento de la matanza por la administración Roosevelt son los informes de dos prisioneros norteamericanos a los que los nazis trasladaron a la escena del crimen: el capitán Donald B. Stewart y el teniente coronel John H. Van Vliet.

MATANZA DE KATYN CAP STEWART Y TTE COR VAN VLIET

El capitán Donald B. Stewart y el teniente coronel John H. Van Vliet.

Esto ocurrió en mayo de 1943, con el objetivo alemán de usar los testimonios de los prisioneros como propaganda, y crear una cuña entre los rusos y sus aliados occidentales. Lo que vieron los estadounidenses en ese bosque de pinos les dejó sin aliento: encontraron fosas comunes entreabiertas en las que se apretaban miles de cuerpos momificados vestidos con uniformes polacos de buena hechura.

Ni el capitán Stewart ni Van Vliet creyeron a los nazis, a los que odiaban, pues habían experimentado en sus carnes toda la crueldad de ese régimen fanático, y además los soviéticos eran sus aliados. A Stalin todavía se le conocía como el Uncle Joe, el Tío Joe.

Regresaron al campo de internamiento y tras meditar lo que habían visto, se convencieron de las pruebas demoledoras de la autoría soviética: los cuerpos se hallaban en avanzado estado de descomposición y era un área controlada por ellos antes de la invasión alemana de 1941. También tuvieron acceso a cartas y diarios polacos que exhumaron de las tumbas. Ninguna contenía una fecha superior a la primavera de 1940. Además la ropa estaba en considerable buen estado, lo que indicaba que esos hombres no vivieron mucho después de ser apresados.

En realidad, el órgano estalinista responsable de la masacre fue la NKVD, la policía secreta soviética, que liquidó a 22.000 oficiales polacos de disparos a bocajarro en la nuca. El objetivo era borrar de un plumazo a la élite intelectual del país, personas que en su vida civil eran médicos, maestros o abogados. Los rusos veían en ellos a posibles opositores a la ocupación de Polonia Oriental.

Stewart testificó ante el Congreso en 1951, y de Van Vliet se sabe que escribió informes en 1945 (misteriosamente desaparecido) y en 1950. Ambos enviaron mensajes cifrados durante su cautiverio e informaron a la inteligencia militar de la culpabilidad de los comunistas.

En su comparecencia ante la Comisión Maden en 1951, Stewart testificó que “las reivindicaciones alemanas concernientes a Katyn son sustancialmente correctas en la opinión de Van Vliet y en la mía”. A Stewart se le ordenó que nunca más hablara de lo que vio en Katyn.

MATANZA DE KATYN COMISION MADEN

El capitán Donald B. Stewart señala a la Comisión Maden el lugar de las fosas comunes de Katyn.

Es a raíz de la detonación de la bomba atómica por parte de Rusia en 1949 cuando en Estados Unidos suena algo el nombre de Katyn, a pesar de que en Europa ya había caído el Telón de Acero. Es más; Winston Churchill ya había informado a Roosevelt en un detallado informe de las dudas que tenía acerca de “las excusas soviéticas acerca de su responsabilidad en la masacre”. La URSS intentó achacar la matanza de Katyn a los nazis durante los juicios de Nuremberg, pero ante la falta de pruebas la acusación no prosperó.

La valoración que en 1952 efectuó la Comisión Maden, declaró que no cabía duda alguna de la autoría bolchevique y la tildó de “uno de los crímenes internacionales más bárbaros en la historia del mundo”. Recomendó a su vez que el gobierno levantara cargos contra la URSS ante un tribunal internacional. La Casa Blanca mantuvo silencio, y no fue hasta los últimos días de la hegemonía soviética (1988) cuando Gorvachev admitió públicamente la masacre de Katyn, como un paso fundamental a normalizar las relaciones ruso-polacas.

Fuente: Historia Vera

Extraído de: El Espía Digital

ISIL: Another Fine Mess, History Repeats Itself

 

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ISIL: Another Fine Mess, History Repeats Itself

I began my day watching the video of the beheading of an American photo journalist, James Foley, 40 years of age, decapitated in the most barbaric, depraved demonstration of cowardice I have witnessed in many years. James Foley was not captured because he was an American but this was the reason he lost his life to ISIL, another creation of Western imperialism.

Two thousand and sixty-seven years ago, in the year 53 BCE, Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in the history of the Roman Empire, decided to ignore the offer of the Armenian King Artavazdes II, to attack the Parthian Empire (part of modern-day Turkey, Iraq and Iran), through Armenia, offering around 40,000 troops of his own to join Crassus’ seven legions. The battle of Carrhae.

James Wright Foley, 40, was kidnapped by an armed gang in Binesh, Syria, on November 22, 2012. A freelance photo journalist, he was making his living by living on the edge, taking pictures in war zones. If he had stayed at home in the USA and not wandered around parts of Syria controlled by terrorists, he would not have been taken but he paid the ultimate price for his audacity.

Whatever the case, the ultimate price for a photo journalist, in no part of the world, can be a decapitation, which is never justified, justifiable or acceptable. In this case, what I witnessed this morning was an act of sheer cowardice, in which a defeated, powerless, unarmed and defenseless man, with his hands tied behind his back, was forced to make an address (probably in return for sparing the lives of other captors) to his family, the American Air Force, who he begged not to bomb the ISIL forces and to his country, ending by saying he wished he was not an American citizen, before having his head cut off by a psychopathic coward hiding behind a mask, wielding a knife in his left hand, and addressing the audience in an accent from southern England (the type of accent one hears, I am told, in the London suburbs of Brixton or Balham).

crassus_image.jpgCrassus (which in Latin means solid, or dense) knew better. He decided to attack the Parthians across the River Euphrates, going head-on into territory which the Parthians knew very well and dominated with their cataphracts, heavily armed horses controlled by skillful horsemen. The tanks of their time. Crassus had seven legions (42,000 infantrymen, divided into 70 cohorts of 600 men, or 420 centuries, each commanded by a centurion), backed up by 4,000 auxiliaries (light infantry) and around 4,000 cavalry. The Parthians were vastly inferior in number, having some 1,000 cataphracts, 9,000 light cavalry archers and around 1,000 supply camels, strategically placed on both flanks and in the center, ably placed by the Spahbod (Field Marshal) Surena, who had an inexhaustible supply of arrows.

Nowhere in any text from the mainstream religions, and this includes the Quran, is the beheading of a photo journalist justified or justifiable. The radical form of Islam which ISIL follows is a blasphemy, an insult to all Moslems the world over and its foot soldiers are nothing more or less than a gang of demented psychopaths, cowards who are happy beheading defenseless and bound captors, raping women and burying children alive.

That said, ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), or Islamic State (ad-Dawlat al-Islamiyyah) is the result of Western policy.

If the West in general and the United States of America in particular had not created extremists in the Pakistani Madrassah (religious schools), to whip up dissent among the Pashtun in Afghanistan, creating the religious fighters (Mujaheddin) to use against the Soviet-backed progressive Socialist governments in Kabul, which were addressing human rights, women’s rights and children’s rights, creating a socially progressive and inclusive State, there would be no Taliban today.

Marcus Licinius Crassus had been warned not to attack the Parthians in an open and desert terrain with the Roman legion disposed as it was, each one with 6,000 troops divided into 10 cohorts of six hundred men, and these into six centuries of 100 men, the front line being replaced regularly by the second line, the shield in the left hand defending the man on the left and attacking with the sword wielded in the right hand, while ballista (missiles) were fired from behind the lines and the cavalry were placed on the flanks. The Parthians charged their cataphracts and light cavalry against the Roman lines, firing hails of arrows both high and low, then  retreating rapidly as the Romans pursued, firing the “Parthian shot” over their shoulder, as they withdrew, killing more unsuspecting Romans as they attacked without their shields in position.

If the West in general and the United States of America and United Kingdom in particular had not destabilized Iraq, removing the Sunni-based Government of Saddam Hussein, the country would not have imploded into what we see today, remembering the backbone of ISIL is some of the Ba’athist Sunni forces who supported Saddam Hussein.

If the West in general and the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US) in particular had not destabilized Libya, removing the Jamahiriya Government of Muammar al-Qathafi, the country would not be living the nightmare it is living today, with rival gangs attacking each other, city fighting against city and a mosaic of fragmentation. This, in a country which enjoyed the highest Human Development Index in Africa. For the USA, NATO and the FUKUS Axis, this matters not.

Marcus Licinius Crassus pressed ahead. After all, he was the wealthiest man in Rome, and in Roman history, possibly in the world judging by today’s standards, he was 62 years old and thought he could do no wrong. After all, he had defeated Spartacus, and was Patron to none other than Caius Julius Caesar. The result was the almost total annihilation of Crassus’ seven legions, with just a few hundred Parthians killed.

And let us not forget that the policy of the West has been to foment terrorist acts and use terrorism as a means of toppling Governments in Iraq, in Libya, and the failed attempt to do so in Syria, just as in the imperialist past the policy was to identify the second most important power group in a country (the main force outside Government), elevate it to a position of power and then use it as a means to implement imperialist policies (because without outside aid, that group would never have been understood to be the point of equilibrium in that society).

There is a reason why Governments are in power and that is because under the leader, there are groups which keep him/her there, as the point of equilibrium. In Iraq’s case, it was the Sunni Moslem group, represented today by ISIL. Saddam Hussein had understood that, two hundred thousand million dollars, and up to a million lives, ago. The West, in its habitual yearning for intrusion and meddling, chose whom? The Shia, the second most important power group outside the Government.

So we can conclude that ISIL is a monster created by Western intrusion. Saddam Hussein did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction, as he himself said. The one telling the truth was President Hussein and the one lying through his teeth was President Bush. Everyone knew so at the time, and the USA and UK were warned. Many times, by Russia, by journalists the world over, by myself. They pressed ahead… and why should people let up now?

Marcus Licinius Crassus lost the battle, lost his life, lost his son Publius Licinius Crassus and once and for all saw Rome’s Eastern frontier fixed on the western border of an area the Romans neither knew nor understood. Carrhae was a game changer.

As usual, another fine mess those who control foreign policy in Washington and London have created, in their utter wisdom. The way forward is not to gloat over deaths of one side or another – the loss of any human (or animal) life is a tragedy, no mother likes to lose her son, nobody likes to lose a brother, or a father, or a spouse. Tears cast at funerals taste of salt and here we are speaking of the death of James Foley, murdered by a coward with a knife, the death of Iraqi civilians murdered by a coward in the sky dropping bombs from 30,000 feet, the death of Syrian civilians murdered by Western-backed terrorists, the death of Libyan women and children murdered with their breasts sliced off in the street, being impaled with iron rods or gang-raped to death…by formerly Western-backed terrorists. The death of some 100-500 Parthian horsemen and around 40,000 Roman legionaries. They cried back then too.

The common denominator in all this is a four-letter word, West, its policy implemented in most cases by another four-letter acronym, NATO.  The four-letter word, Rome, dominated classical history for almost one thousand years.

Finally, how to reconstruct a State which has been clinically destabilized to the point whereby its society has been reduced to rubble? The answer is the further Western fingers are kept away, the better, expect perhaps to finance the mess they have made and allow the members of the societies it destroys to run their own affairs. While NATO countries spend trillions of dollars every decade in their futile and criminal, murderous acts of intervention, there are children in this world without access to safe water or secondary education. The Romans at least tried to civilize the territories they conquered and respected the local authorities, by and large.

James Foley died because he was wandering around a war zone crawling with terrorists backed by the West and because his country failed him by creating the monsters who took his life in such a barbaric manner. The dignity with which he faced his own death, knowing what was about to happen to him and the strength in his voice as he delivered his last words are perhaps the confirmation that he did so having bargained for the lives of other captives and this is something for his family and loved ones to remember in their moment of grief. Whether or not his captors kept their word is another question.

Marcus Licinius died because he made a crass mistake.

Reprinted from Pravda.ru.

samedi, 23 août 2014

Neues aus dem Uwe Berg Verlag

Neues aus dem Uwe Berg Verlag: Rote und Blaue Reihe erweitert

Benedikt Kaiser

Ex: http://www.sezession.de

[1]Die „Quellentexte der Konservativen Revolution [2]“ sind eine bewährte Institution des Uwe Berg Verlages. Sie umfaßte bisher 13 Bände der „Roten Reihe“ (Nationalrevolutionäre), vier der „Schwarzen Reihe“ (Jungkonservative), sieben der „Blauen Reihe“ (Völkische) sowie einen Band der „Grünen Reihe“ (Landvolk). Für die fünfte KR-Gruppe nach der Einteilung Armin Mohlers, die Bündischen, gibt es mangels theoretischer Grundlagenwerke derzeit keine Reihe. Nun wurden die rote und die blaue Staffel um je ein weiteres Werk erweitert.

24187_0.jpgBei den Nationalrevolutionären liegen als 14. Band die Erinnerungen der Sturmkompagnie [3] vor. Manfred von Killinger, der als Marine-Offizier nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg zur „Brigade Erhardt [4]“ fand und hernach bei der klandestinen „Organisation Consul“ wirkte, widmete diese Schrift in den 1920er Jahren dem Korvetten-Kapitän Hermann Ehrhardt. Die gefürchtete Sturmkompagnie war so etwas wie der harte Kern der Brigade, die bei den Kämpfen in Oberschlesien ebenso wirkte wie als Ordnungsmacht in Berlin.

Im Mai 1920 aufgelöst, gingen die Kämpfer Ehrhardts unterschiedlichste Wege; die meisten von ihnen beteiligten sich an den politischen Kämpfen der Weimarer Republik [5]. Später wurde Killinger beispielsweise Diplomat im „Dritten Reich“, während sich sein Ehrhardt-Weggefährte  Hartmut Plaas [6] dem Widerstand gegen Hitler anschloß und in einem KZ erschossen wurde. In den Erinnerungen der Sturmkompagnie findet sich nun nicht nur ein kurzweiliges Vorwort von Killingers, sondern auch die vollständige Liste der Kämpfer der Sturmkompagnie. Auch hier wird deutlich, weshalb Karlheinz Weißmann die Quellentextreihe als „unverzichtbares Hilfsmittel zum Studium der Konservativen Revolution [7]“ bezeichnete. Einigen der aufgeführten Namen wird man zudem an anderer Stelle deutscher Geschichte wieder begegnen.

110821_0.jpgDie „Blaue Reihe“ bekommt derweil Zuwachs durch ein Werk (Jakob) Wilhelm Hauers. Hauer, der in den frühen 20er Jahren des vergangenen Jahrhunderts die Anthroposophie und damit die Grundlagen der heutigen Waldorfpädagogik einer scharfen Kritik unterzog [8], versuchte in der 1934 erschienenen Abhandlung Deutsche Gottschau. Grundzüge eines Deutschen Glaubens [9] einen genuin „deutschen“ Religionszugang für seine „Deutsche Glaubensbewegung“ zu finden.

Das philosophische Buch zeigt einen von zahlreichen (der mitunter entgegengesetzten) gescheiterten Versuchen der NS-Zeit, ein „arteigenes“ Religionskonstrukt gegen das gewachsene Christentum im Allgemeinen und gegen den römischen Katholizismus im Besonderen in Stellung zu bringen. Aufgrund der Gelehrtheit des Tübinger Ordinarius für Religionswissenschaften und Indologie ist die Deutsche Gottschau zumindest wohl der interessanteste Ansatz des heterogenen Milieus der völkischen „Deutschgläubigen“ gewesen und steht den Lesern nach 80 Jahren erstmals wieder zur Verfügung.


Article printed from Sezession im Netz: http://www.sezession.de

URL to article: http://www.sezession.de/45892/neues-aus-dem-uwe-berg-verlag-rote-und-blaue-reihe-erweitert.html

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.sezession.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/manfred_von_killinger_Sturmkompagnie.jpg

[2] Quellentexte der Konservativen Revolution: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/

[3] Erinnerungen der Sturmkompagnie: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/nationalrevolutionaere/2756/erinnerungen-der-sturmkompagnie?c=31

[4] Brigade Erhardt: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/nationalrevolutionaere/1282/mit-ehrhardt-durch-deutschland

[5] Kämpfen der Weimarer Republik: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/nationalrevolutionaere/1283/die-politischen-kampfbuende-deutschlands?c=32

[6] Hartmut Plaas: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/nationalrevolutionaere/1284/wir-klagen-an?c=32

[7] unverzichtbares Hilfsmittel zum Studium der Konservativen Revolution: http://www.sezession.de/35212/unverzichtbares-zur-kr-die-schriftenreihe-des-uwe-berg-verlages.html

[8] einer scharfen Kritik unterzog: http://www.regin-verlag.de/shop/product_info.php?info=p2_J.+W.+Hauer%3A+Werden+und+Wesen+der+Anthroposophie.html

[9] Deutsche Gottschau. Grundzüge eines Deutschen Glaubens: http://antaios.de/buecher-anderer-verlage/quellentexte-zur-kr/voelkische/2757/deutsche-gottschau.-grundzuege-eines-deutschen-glaubens?c=49