En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.

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.”



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€



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).



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. »


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.



00:05 Publié dans Histoire, Livre, Livre | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : première guerre mondiale, histoire, religion, livre | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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?


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.


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.


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.“

00:05 Publié dans Histoire, Livre, Livre | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, livre, première guerre mondiale | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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.


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.

10:33 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, empires, déclin, décadence | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 07 septembre 2014

Squandered Lives and Snuffed Out Genius


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?


00:05 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, tolkien, von mises, première guerre mondiale | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 06 septembre 2014

Behind the Sinking of the Lusitania


Behind the Sinking of the Lusitania


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...

NRH 74.jpg

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


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



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.


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.


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



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

jeudi, 21 août 2014

El nuevo imperio ruso. Historia y Civilización

Novedad editorial:

“El nuevo imperio ruso. Historia y Civilización”,

de Sergio Fernández Riquelme. 


fernandez-riquelme-sergio-el-nuevo-imperio-ruso.jpgUn ensayo imprescindible que aproxima al público hispanohablante a la realidad histórica y actual de Rusia

Redacción Raigambre – Siempre atentos a las novedades bibliográficas que merecen nuestra reseña, estamos de enhorabuena por el nuevo libro que ha visto la estampa: “El nuevo imperio ruso. Historia y Civilización”, cuyo autor es Sergio Fernández Riquelme.

Sergio Fernández Riquelme es Doctor en Historia y Política Social de la Universidad de Murcia, donde ejerce la docencia como profesor de Historia, Investigación y Política Social en el Departamento de Sociología y Política Social, siendo en la actualidad Vicedecano de la Facultad de Trabajo Social de la Universidad de Murcia. Es también Director del Instituto de Política Social, miembro del ESPANET (Red de Análisis de Política Social Europeo) y también de varias asociaciones españolas como es la REPS (Red Española de Política Social). En su polifacética actividad científica Sergio Fernández Riquelme dirige a su vez LA RAZON HISTORICA (2007) y DOCUMENTOS DE POLÍTICA SOCIAL (2013), además de estar al frente de otras muchas iniciativas culturales y mediáticas que lidera con una sorprendente capacidad.

“El nuevo imperio ruso. Historia y Civilización” ha visto la luz en su primera edición recientemente, formando parte de la Colección La Razón Histórica. Cuadernos de Pensamiento e Historia: es el tercer número de estos cuadernos que prometen formar una colección de ensayos de imprescindible consulta para comprender las diversas problemáticas del mundo contemporáneo, así como los fenómenos emergentes como es el caso de Rusia. El libro ha sido prologado por Manuel Fernández Espinosa, uno de los fundadores del Movimiento Raigambre y asiduo de nuestro blog. El prólogo, bajo el título “De Moscovia las murallas. Meditación española acerca de Rusia”, ofrece un escueto recorrido por la visión que de Rusia se ha tenido en España a lo largo de los siglos XVI, XVII y XVIII, estableciendo paralelismos culturales e ideológicos entre Rusia y España que confluyen en su compartida oposición a la modernidad.

“El nuevo imperio ruso. Historia y Civilización” de Sergio Fernández Riquelme constituye un ensayo que aproxima la compleja realidad actual rusa, después de hacer un profundo repaso de la historia de Rusia que ofrece las claves para interpretar el presente y el futuro que se está configurando en la Rusia de Vladimir Putin, quintaesenciando del modo más didáctico una prolija literatura difícilmente accesible al lector medio: familiarizado con el pensamiento, la literatura y la religiosidad rusas el autor de este ensayo ha manejado una vasta bibliografía en varios idiomas que domina con señorío; pero los recursos bibliográficos que ha empleado Sergio Fernández Riquelme para su meritoria investigación politológica no sólo se nutren de libros que se añejan en las bibliotecas, sino de un grande y variado aparato de noticias actuales que nos ponen en contacto directo con las problemáticas que llegan a occidente tergiversadas y adulteradas por los grupos mediáticos interesados en manipular la información, ofreciendo de Rusia una imagen falsa: este libro es un efectivo antídoto contra la desinformación. Estamos a la espera de publicar en RAIGAMBRE una entrevista que recientemente nos ha concedido el autor de esta obra.

Es un libro que por muchos conceptos merece adquirirse para disponer de una percepción más atinada de la compleja realidad -histórica y actual- de una de las naciones que por su extensión, por las potencialidades ínsitas en su territorio y por el mismo espíritu del pueblo que la habita se alza cada vez con más rotundidad, una nación que goza de una salud moral y política capaz de haber corregido el rumbo que le estaba marcando aquella nefasta Perestroika de Gorbachov (el mismo que desmontó la URSS para terminar anunciando pizzas por televisión): aquella “transición” errada duró poco y el tambaleo de la borrachera (democrática “a la occidental”) que encaminaba a Rusia por la cuesta abajo de su decadencia y final extinción han tenido una rectificación en la gran política que pone en práctica uno de los estadistas más talentosos del siglo XXI: Vladimir Putin.

Fuente: Raigambre

Entrevista al doctor Sergio Fernández Riquelme, ensayista

Entrevistamos a Sergio Fernández Riquelme, historiador, doctor y profesor de Política Social en la Universidad de Murcia, además de impulsor de varias iniciativas que están granjeando una cada vez mayor atención en el páramo intelectual español: LA RAZÓN HISTÓRICA, el INSTITUTO DE POLÍTICA SOCIAL, EL CONTEMPORÁNEO, la REVISTA DOCUMENTOS DE POLÍTICA SOCIAL… etcétera. Recientemente ha salido a la luz su flamante ensayo “El nuevo imperio ruso: Historia y Civilización” que es una muestra de su infatigable quehacer intelectual a favor de un discurso al margen del pensamiento único que impera en una sociedad delicuescente, desprovista de referencias y sumida en una monótona salmodia de lugares comunes. “El nuevo imperio ruso: Historia y Civilización”, prologado por Manuel Fernández Espinosa, es un ensayo que aporta las claves interpretativas para comprender la Rusia emergente de nuestros días.

Raigambre – Para todo el que no le conozca ¿quién es y en qué trabaja Sergio Fernández?

Sergio Fernández Riquelme – Historiador de vocación y de formación; esa sería la primera rúbrica. Doctor y profesor de Política social en la Universidad de Murcia como profesión (y director del IPS. Instituto de Política social); esa sería la segunda. Rúbricas bajo las que buscó, no sé si con éxito pero sí con honestidad, conocer el pasado (experiencias), comprender el presente (posibilidades) y atisbar el futuro (expectativas) de las ideas que hacen de nuestra sociedad de una manera y no de otra.

R. - Además de su labor profesional, Sergio Fernández lleva una larga trayectoria implicado en medios digitales (La Razón Histórica, El Contemporáneo digital, IPS…) háblenos un poco de ellos. ¿Qué es y cuando nace la Razón Histórica?

S.F.R. – En 2007 lanzamos la idea de la Revista como una pequeña plataforma académica para difundir en la red nuestro trabajo historiográfico, entre la Tradición hispana y la Modernidad contemporánea, ante las dificultades que los medios “oficiales” ponían para el mismo, y abriendo las puertas a investigadores jóvenes y alternativos que también tenían vedado el acceso a los mismos. Pero ante el notable éxito que adquirió (tanto en lectores, más de 150.000 actualmente, como de autores, con cerca de 160), nuestra pequeña empresa se ha convertido, Dios mediante, en una de las principales revistas de Historia y pensamiento del panorama hispanoamericano, presente en los principales bases de datos (como Latindex) como en los Índices de Impacto (Google Scholar Metrics).

R. - ¿Y El Contemporáneo?

S.F.R. – El contemporáneo es, quizás, una de las “voces que claman en el desierto” español, social y moralmente. Ante un mundo globalizado en permanente cambio, y un Occidente cada vez más individualista y materialista, lanzamos este pequeño diario en 2013, en el seno del IPS, como apuesta informativa e intelectual diferente en defensa de una sociedad profundamente crítica y moralmente rearmada, alternativa muy modesta a los grandes, y similares, portales informativos.

Una publicación siempre independiente que pretende analizar la realidad nacional e internacional desde la “información”, con secciones sobre Sociedad, Política, Economía, Educación y Civilización; y desde la “opinión”, con una sección específica de opinión (con las firmas de José María Arenzana, Gabriel Bernárdez, Blas Piñar Pinedo, Manuel Fernández Espinosa, David Guerrero, Ovidio Gómez López, Luis Gómez, Joaquín Arnau Revuelta, Antonio Moreno Ruíz, Antuin Riquelme, Esteban de Castilla, J. Raúl Marcos, Guillermo Rocafort, Juan Oliver, David Ortega Mena, Fernando José Vaquero Oroquieta).

Además, y de una perspectiva original, cuenta con dos secciones gráficas de especial relevancia: “El siglo futuro”, bitácora de reflexión a través de imágenes comentadas de relevancia en la actualidad, y “Muy gráfico”, sección de viñetas entre el humor y la crítica con autores como Antuin o Anfer. Asimismo presenta varias columnas de opinión como A FUCIA (“En confianza”) a cargo de Manuel Fernández Espinosa, SENCILLO Y DIRECTO de David Guerrero, EL CRISMÓN MOZÁRABE de Antonio Moreno Ruiz, o DE PE A PA de Luis Gómez.

R. – Usted está muy interesado en la Política Social. ¿Qué es el Instituto de Política Social?

S.F.R. – Es un Centro de estudios sin ánimo de lucro que nació para defender intelectual y difundir académicamente los valores sociales básicos, naturales, que permiten una comunidad moralmente adecuada y, por ello, una Política social capaz de alcanzar, en las grandes ideas y las pequeñas obras, un desarrollo verdaderamente humano y humanizador. Para ello genera diferentes iniciativas para hacer cumplir sus tres grandes fines: 1) Justicia social (lucha contra la pobreza y por la vida, 2) Bienestar social (Economía social y desarrollo humano), y 3) Orden social (Comunidad y Familia). Y entre dichas iniciativas se encuentran la citada Revista La Razón histórica, la Revista Documentos de Política social, la Revista Opinión social, el señalado Diario El Contemporáneo, y el Premio científico IPS (que reconoce anualmente la excelencia de autores e instituciones en la promoción de la Política social).

R. - Ahora sí, como diría Francisco Umbral, hablemos de su libro. ¿Por qué ese título?

S.F.R. – Porque es una realidad histórica desconocida, cuando no manipulada, en los medios y tribunas españolas y occidentales (y que de manera brillante demuestra en España Manuel Fernández Espinosa, prologuista del libro). En un mundo que parece cada día más multipolar, con una creciente decadencia de la otrora potencia dominante norteamericana, Rusia quiere su espacio, su lugar. Así está construyendo, no sin limitaciones, una nueva idea imperial de pretensiones euroasiáticas que haga recobrar a su nación el orgullo de ser diferente, poderosa e influyente. Y lo hace buscando recuperar su identidad milenaria, acorde con su Historia, su extensión territorial y sus recursos económicos: recuperando su tradicional espacio de influencia (de ahí la Unión económica euroasiática con Bielorrusia, Kazajistán, Armenia y Kirguizistán), mirando a ese continente asiático protagonista del siglo XXI (China, India), combinando la modernización de sus estructuras militares y económicas con la defensa de los valores conservadores cristianos. Y un proyecto que parece no atisbar un Occidente aún preso del colonialismo cultural useño y de sus prejuicios ideológicos sobre el Oriente.

R. - La actual coyuntura (Rusia, más Crimea, más UE y EE.UU) ¿ha tenido que ver algo en la decisión de escribir un libro sobre Rusia?.

S.F.R. – Era una idea que rondaba en mi cabeza y centraba mi interés desde hacía años: conocer y comprender el proceso histórico que estaba generando una nueva idea imperial en Rusia. Al principio era una idea siquiera erudita, pero los últimos acontecimientos han demostrado la proyección actual de la misma, tanto por su fuerte presencia en las primeras planas de los periódicos, como en las consecuencias políticas, económicas e ideológicas que conlleva y que sacuden a la Unión europea de la que formamos parte. Ello explica y justifica, a mi juicio, la necesidad de la publicación del libro, buscando una síntesis clara y concisa de este proceso a la luz de los hechos pasados (la experiencia de la vieja Rusia imperial), de un presente traumático (de la caída de la URSS a la transición hacia una supuesta democracia liberal occidentalizada) y de ese futuro aun incierto de expansión de la nueva Rusia encabezada por Vladimir Putin.

R. - Para mucha gente, el nombre de Rusia les sigue evocando lo que antaño era la Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas. ¿Qué queda en la actualidad de todo aquello y qué es lo que hay a día de hoy en Rusia?

S.F.R. – De la URSS queda, como se demuestra en buena parte de Ucrania o Moldavia, la nostalgia no hacía la ideología colectivista y atea derrumbada finalmente en el siglo XX, sino de la unidad entre pueblos eslavos, del orgullo de un proyecto común, de ser alternativa a Occidente, de defender principios de autoridad política y tradición moral. Y el símbolo de esta unidad aparece en la pequeña cinta de San Jorge que llevan todos los partidarios de la vuelta a la unidad eslava encabezada por Rusia.

R. - Hemos hablado de Ucrania y de Crimea, ¿Cree que se trata de algo serio en el panorama político internacional, o es más un nuevo reparto geográfico, en el que Rusia se quedará con Crimea y su salida al mar negro, y EEUU y la UE con la adhesión del resto de Ucrania?

S.F.R. – Ambas cosas. Por un lado, y a nivel geopolítico, se demuestra como reacción del mundo ruso, como de otras naciones (China, el mundo árabe, Europa del este, África), contra los últimos coletazos del imperialismo americano y sus discípulos europeos (o asiáticos) que quedó en evidencia tras su fracaso en Siria. Y por otro, a nivel geográfico, representa el choque entre el expansionismo de la UE (en busca del control de nuevos mercados) y los intereses de Rusia en su tradicional espacio de intervención (en busca de ampliar su frontera respecto a Occidente).

R. - ¿Dónde se puede adquirir el libro?

S.F.R. – Se puede adquirir en la página web de Cromática.

R.- Y ya para despedirnos, ¿en qué proyecto futuro está inmerso ahora Sergio Fernández?

S.F.R. – El próximo proyecto será un libro colectivo en la Colección La Razón histórica, con autores de primer nivel ajenos al pensamiento dominante, y dominado, sobre las ideas clave que pueden marcar la “regeneración” política, social y moral de la Nación española en un tiempo de crisis que parece no acabar.

Fuente: Raigambre

dimanche, 17 août 2014

Agis IV, Sparta’s great reformer king


Agis IV, Sparta’s great reformer king

All great cultures and nations that have arisen, and all those who are to come will one day decline and pass into history. This cyclical understanding is near universal. Societies do not decline however, entirely without an awareness of their decline. Like any organism that is sickly or wounded, society will show the symptoms of its decay, sometimes before it is too late and the course is not irreversible. History has given us many examples of men who, like canaries in a mine, warned of impending danger oftentimes losing their lives in the process. One of the finest examples is that of Agis IV, the Agiad king of Sparta. But first, a few remarks are necessary on the Spartan constitution and government before his time.

The Spartan constitution is perhaps one of the most unique in history. The Spartan state was for some time indistinguishable from the rest of the Greek poleis; its unique constitution was eventually decreed under one of the legendary sages of Greece, Lycurgus. Lycurgus aimed to make Sparta a militarized society that valued discipline, order and a strict hierarchy. The Spartan citizens were a warrior class able to form up at a moments notice to meet any threats. Spartans were known for their disdain for material wealth, their military prowess, and their system of a dual monarchy. Two kingly houses, the Argiad and the Eurypontid, traced their ancestry back to Hercules ruled Sparta for the length of its independent history, and were supported by five ephors, elected officials who were only permitted to remain in power for a year. Below these were a council of elders and a popular assembly. Sparta followed a strict hierarchy, only Spartan youths and a select few free men and helots were permitted to citizenship, and to be a Spartan meant to swear off trades or engage in any work outside of martial training and warfare, or travel outside of Sparta, unless on campaign or specifically permitted. The men were required to dine together from their adulthood to around their sixtieth year. Agricultural work, trade and craftsmanship were all done by either helots, the lowest class in the Spartan state, or perioeci, freemen without the privileges of citizenship. Despite its harsh nature, Spartan society proved resilient and Sparta remained one of the dominant states in Greece until the time of Alexander. Spartan soldiery enjoyed a reputation of near invincibility for most of this period, and even after its decline Spartans were highly prized as mercenaries.

Aristotle criticized the Spartan constitution in his Politics, writing that while it was suitable in war, it did not prepare Spartans to live in peace, and thus the very success of Sparta against Athens led to its ruin, through the influx of material wealth from its defeated foe. With no understanding of enjoying luxury in moderation, Sparta sunk into decadence. Its population had fallen perilously low, and the pool of citizens was shrinking to the point where only seven hundred families were considered Spartan, and of these only one hundred remained that possessed land. This was partially on account of a on the change in inheritance law, where before it would go to the son, after it could go to whomever one desired.

Agis was born into the wealthiest of the Spartan families and lived his early life in the luxury which Spartans had grown accustomed too, but was raised with a respect for Sparta’s great history, and its old ways which he resolved, before the age of 20 to adopt. He forsook the luxurious habits of his peers and donned the coarse cloak of the Spartans of old, and sought in every way to live by the laws of Lycurgus. He had his opportunity when he succeeded his father on the throne in 245 BC.

Those most opposed to Agis IV reforms were the older, established men who were used to their comfort and luxury and, to quote Plutarch,

The young men, as he found, quickly and beyond his expectations gave ear to him, and stripped themselves for the contest in behalf of virtue, like him casting aside their old ways of living as worn-out garments in order to attain liberty. But most of the older men, since they were now far gone in corruption, feared and shuddered at the name of Lycurgus as if they had run away from their master and were being led back to him, and they upbraided Agis for bewailing the present state of affairs and yearning after the ancient dignity of Sparta..”

Spartan women also tended to oppose his moves, as Spartan society gave them a unique control over the affairs of family estates, and thus, the riches of the family. They enlisted Leonidas II, the co king to their cause. Leonidas was himself given to luxury even beyond the rest, having been raised in the Seleucid court. He needed very little persuading in the matter and opposed Agis’ motions on the grounds of the disorder they would cause. Agis had key supporters, however, in his mother and grandmother, along with his uncle Agesilaus, and the ephor Lysander. With their assistance, he presented a motion to the council of elders calling for drastic reforms to bring Sparta back in accordance with the laws of Lycurgus, including a cancellation of all debts, redistribution of land into equal parts among the Spartans with the rest going to free men, the elevating of more of the free men to citizenship class to alleviate their dangerously low numbers. Agis IV gained even more fervent support when he vowed to redistribute and part with his own lands and wealth first and foremost, with his family doing the same. He managed to banish Leonidas on the grounds of both his foreign upbringing and foreign wife, both strictly forbidden by the laws of Lycurgus, and be replaced with his son in law, Cleombrotus, a man far more amendable to Agis’ aims.  Some in his camp around his uncle were eager to see Leonidas killed, but Agis, discovering this sent men to guard and escort Leonidas to safety. A more cunning, less morally scrupulous man than Agis would have no doubt allowed the conspirators to kill Leonidas, and be rid of a dangerous rival. This mercy would later contribute to his undoing.


With the removal of Leonidas and the support of ephors, he pushed through his reforms until being summoned to war as part of his alliance with Aratas and the Achaean League. He collected an army and departed, eager to take an opportunity to display the reinvigorated spirit of Sparta.  His men, it is said eagerly marched behind the young king, and were marveled at by their allies for their discipline, order, and cheery disposition. While ultimately the campaign ended before any major engagement, Agis IV did Sparta no dishonor in this, fulfilling what was required of him by treaty and winning the respect of Aratas his fellow commander. Unfortunately, during his time away, he left the affairs of state in the hands of Agesilaus. While Agesilaus was a well regarded man, he had ulterior motives for supporting his nephew’s reforms; he had incurred significant debts that the reforms the king was pushing through would cancel out. He endeavored to push for the debt cancellation but delay the redistribution of land with the argument that the reforms should be carried out at a gradual pace, but once the first part was enacted, continually stalled on the second. This caused much chaos and disorder and left the Spartans yearning even for a return of Leonidas. At the same time, Lysander and Mandrocleides’ terms of office as ephors expired, and the new ephors were opposed to Agis’ designs.  Leonidas was able to return unopposed with mercenaries at his back. Agis and Cleombrotus sensed the danger and fled to sanctuaries of Athena and Poseidon respectively. Leonidas wasted no time deposing his son in law, exiling him rather than executing him at the behest of his daughter, leaving only Agis to deal with. Agis was protected for a time by some companions, who would escort him from the sanctuary to the public baths. This continued until these same companions persuaded by one Amphares, under pressure from Leonidas, betrayed him and dragged him to prison.

From his cell, Agis was ordered to defend himself and accused of bring disorder into Sparta.  Agis refused to denounce his conduct, insisting that he had acted of his own volition, with Lycurgus as his only inspiration. He stated that though he suffer the most severe punishment, he would not be made to renounce so noble an idea. He was sentenced to death accordingly, though those sent to execute him were reluctant to do so, for to spill the blood of a king and a man of such nature was a dishonor even to Leonidas’ hirelings.  One Damochares stepped forward for Leonidas and the ephors were eager that he be dispatched with haste as people had gathered by the prison, including Agis’ mother and grandmother demanding he be tried before the people, rather than Leonidas’ selected men.

Greek_Hoplite.jpgAgis was thus led to the execution chamber, and, according to Plutarch;

saw one of the officers shedding tears of sympathy for him. “My man,” said he, “cease weeping; for even though I am put to death in this lawless and unjust manner, I have the better of my murderers.” And saying these words, he offered his neck to the noose without hesitation.”

With this, Agis was executed via strangulation. His mother and grandmother were executed at the same spot after; both faced their end with bravery. Before her death, his mother is said to have uttered: “My son, it was thy too great regard for others, and thy gentleness and humanity, which has brought thee to ruin, us as well.”  Though Agis had failed, all was not lost to Sparta. Leonidas arranged for his widow to marry his son Cleomenes. Despite the circusmtances, the two developed mutual affection and the young Cleomenes was deeply impressed by Agis’ project. Upon taking the throne he enacted reforms himself, and led a resurgent Sparta against its enemies, becoming the last great king of Sparta.

Agis’s kingship only lasted four brief years yet he inspired one of his successor kings, Plutarch and countless others in later generations. Our interest in him comes from his embodiment of the ideal qualities of a true king. He wished to reform Spartan society and to bring it back into accordance with the laws of its illustrious past. His land reforms, redistribution and debt cancellation in other hands could have been seen as simply cheap populism meant to gain support and power. What separates Agis from a populist demagogue was his sincere desire to elevate Sparta spiritually. He wished to shake off its decadence and revive its old love of discipline, order and disdain for material gain. Sparta’s economic condition was of secondary importance. While his reforms would certainly have greatly improved the lot for its citizens and freemen, what was more important was they would restore Sparta’s honor and ensure its viability as a state long after his death.  He was more than happy to sacrifice wealth and even his life for this goal, when he could have at any point ceased or compromised. In his personal conduct as well he showed nobility to a fault- never resorting to foul means or dishonorable acts to see his plans through. Even at his end, Plutarch seems to imply the ephors gave him the opportunity to pass the blame to his uncle Agesilaus or the ephor Lysander for the chaotic state of affairs. He took full responsibility rather than speak against either man. He could have been forgiven for betraying Agesilaus to Leonidas, considering how much of the blame for his ruin rested on the shoulders of that man, yet he refused to do so, such was his character. If there were any faults in the man, it was naivety and good nature, and these can hardly be called faults.

vendredi, 15 août 2014

Totila, King of the Goths


Totila, King of the Goths

History can be indifferent to even the worthiest of men, and indeed many exemplary kings and men of renown languish in obscurity, known only to a few historians and specialists. Such is the case with the Ostrogothic King Totila who showed himself capable of overcoming nearly insurmountable odds without staining his name with luxury, avariciousness, and many of the pitfalls which power and status bring and giving the Roman Empire’s best generals some of their most difficult campaigning.

totila.jpgBy the 6th century AD, the Roman Empire had become something of a fading memory. The Ostrogoths had ruled Italy since the time of Theodoric the Great and there had been no Emperor claiming the throne in the western half of the Roman Empire since the death of Julian Nepos in 480 AD. The eastern half of the Empire with the capital at Constantinople held out, although not without considerable pressure from the hostile and powerful Persian empire on the border, and barbarian tribes to the north. Under Justinian, the Eastern Roman empire embarked on a massive program of rebuilding, legal restructuring, and most importantly, reconquest. His successors having left a considerable treasury, and his military and political situation secure by 532 AD, Justinian was keen on seeing the reputation of his Empire restored to its former glory. He was blessed with two of the most capable and clever generals the empire would ever produce, Belisarius and Narses who could turn even the most adverse circumstances into spectacular victories.

The irony of the notion of a “Roman Empire” that didn’t physically possess Rome was not lost on Justinian, who made retaking Italy a priority once his campaign against the Vandals of North Africa succeeded. The situation in Italy was seemingly ripe for conquest, the Goths had not found the among the successors of Theodoric anyone capable of maintaining the situation he left them in 526 AD, and there was considerable discord between the Arian Gothic population, the old Roman senatorial class and the Roman Catholic population. Justinian sent Belisarius with a small expeditionary force to retake Italy and this went smoothly enough.  Within five years the Goths had been deprived of most of their territory, and their king Witiges had been sent to Constantinople in chains. His successors failed to rally their subjects to any great effect and fared no better.

Such was the state of affairs when in 541 AD, Totila was acclaimed the new King of the Italy by the Ostrogoths.  Eraric, the nominal king, had taken the throne after the murder of Ildibad, Totila’s uncle. He was by all accounts a weak and unpopular king, more tolerated than loved. His groveling for peace terms at all costs, infuriated his people against him and he was assassinated. The Goths did not necessarily follow that a king’s heir was his nearest kin as a rule, and generally the nobles would gather and acclaim a new king from the most worthy of their ranks. Totila’s role in the assassination of Eraric is not entirely clear, although it is likely he was aware of it and assented to it. It is known he was regarded as a usurper by Procopius, one of our key sources on this period.  However we must bear in mind that Procopius had reason enough to blacken Totila’s name due to his closeness to Belisarius and position in the imperial court. Whatever the case was, conspiracy against a king, is a black deed and to excise it from an account of his life would be dishonest but judging by his character afterwards, one cannot say he was raised to the purple for self enrichment or desire for power- the last five royals had not died natural deaths or survived in chains in Constantinople and the position of the Goths was a dire one, their kingdom seemed to all observes all but extinguished.

Young and energetic, he quickly proved himself to be a very different man from his predecessors in his ability and wisdom. As G. P. Baker observed;

“The Goths, with Eraric or Witiges for a king, may have been poor creatures; under Totila they suddenly once more became the Goths of Theoderic and Irminric. Long before Totila had accomplished any great action Justinian detected him as one lion might scent another. He recognized a king.”(p. 262)

With only a few fortresses in northern Italy still in his possession, Totila first rallied the Goths at Verona, defeating a poorly planned attack on the stronghold and followed it up with a route of the numerically superior Roman army at Faventia. As Lord Mahon, who was by no means sympathetic to the Gothic cause relates;

“The Goths advanced to charge with all the generous boldness which a national cause inspires, while the Romans displayed the voluntary cowardice of hirelings whose pay had been withheld.”(P. 164)

Having cemented his followers’ loyalty in this action, he pursued an ambitious strategy, bypassing the Roman held fortresses and cities in the area- he gathered his forces together and pushed  headlong into southern Italy, where the Romans had become lax in their guard. Within a short period of time, virtually all of southern Italy was in Gothic hands again. In his treatment of captives and prisoners he was merciful. His keen sense of justice won him praise even by Procopius and his enemies. In one incident a peasant complained to him that one of his bodyguards, a man known for bravery and well liked by his compatriots, had raped his daughter. Despite the urgings of his men, Totila had the Goth executed, insisting that God favored those who serve justice and as king he had to serve justice if his war was to be worth fighting.  In several instances the wives of senatorial patricians fell into his hands, and they were returned to their husbands free from harm, without ransom. Such was his character that the Roman prisoners were induced to serve under his banner with little effort.

After taking Naples he took personal care to make sure food and supplies reached the populace properly. By 543 the Roman presence in Italy was reduced to a few forts and garrisoned towns, all isolated and only capable of resupply by the sea. Totila besieged and captured Rome in 544. Having threatened to turn the city into a field for pasture and depopulate it were his peace terms to Justinian not met, he spared the city this on account of its great history. Some of its defensive structures were removed and its population was spread throughout the countryside to discourage further Imperial assaults. This decision was much criticized by his compatriots as excessively compassionate. Belisarius quickly exploited this by reocuppying the city and rebuilding its defenses at the fastest rate possible as Totila left the city unguarded, not thinking it would be of any strategic value in its current state. Enraged, the Gothic king returned to Rome but his assaults were repulsed. Despite this setback, the Gothic position was everywhere else only growing stronger.

In 549 Totila again besieged Rome. He once again sent peace terms to Constantinople. These were fair and moderate, merely that the Ostrogoths ruled Italy in the name of the Emperor, the same arrangement that had been made with King Theodoric six decades earlier. His envoys were not received. Despite his frustration with the fickle loyalty of the inhabitants and clever stratagems of Belisarius, his troops entered Rome in an orderly fashion, and he restored to their homes those Italians who he had previously expelled and set about rebuilding and repairing the city. The Imperial prisoners were given the choice between leaving Italy or serving under his banner and the majority, as was often the case, threw their lot with Totila. That same year also brought about the recall of Belisarius from Italy. While Belisarius was without a doubt the most brilliant and successful general the Byzantine Empire produced, he was throughout his campaigns was hampered by Justinian’s mistrust of his intentions and lack of resources. The same could not be said for the eunuch Narses, who was able in his own right, but also funded generously. Narses was a careful man, nothing was left to chance. The expeditionary force he took to Italy was around 35,000 strong; near double the size of the one Belisarius had conquered North Africa with 20 years earlier, and larger still than the one Belisarius had taken to Italy.  Nevertheless Totila did not wait for Narses’ arrival with his hands folded but everywhere continued to solidify his hold. He took Sicily, then Corsica and Sardinia, effectively reconquering the entirety of the old kingdom of Theodoric. He also built a navy to challenge the Romans at sea. This was no small feat for a Germanic king in the 6th century, one only the Vandals had accomplished to any effect before. Success can test one’s character as much as failure, it is to his credit that he never gave over to excessive luxury or overconfidence, and there is no record of his concerning himself with wining and dining, even after the capture of Rome when he allowed popular entertainments for the people.




The stage was set for the confrontation between Totila and Narses army in 552. Outnumbered significantly, he tried to buy time for reinforcements to arrive. There were episodes of single combat in view of both camps and Totila himself, clad in his finest armor, it is said, made an impressive display of his equestrian skill. Once his relative Teias arrived with 2,000 reinforcements, he elected to launch a surprise headlong charge at Narses. Narses, for his part, had expected such a move and countered it with devastating effect, raining arrows on the Gothic cavalry and shattering his army.

After his death, it fell to Teias to salvage the situation as best he could. Possessing courage and daring, he lacked Totila’s fortune and capacity for clemency, putting to the sword the hostages in his possession. He collected what troops were left for a dash to relieve a siege of Cumae but despite his best efforts, found himself trapped by Mount Vesuvius. In the subsequent battle of Mons Lactarius, the starved and hopelessly outnumbered Goths launched a desperate charge. Teias fell in the fighting, along with most of the top officers under him and the Ostrogothic position essentially collapsed at this point.  The reunited Roman Empire of Justinian did not last long- within a generation much of this territory would be overrun by the Lombards, leaving only a corridor stretching from Ravenna to Rome and some other possessions in southern Italy in their hands. The Lombards also had far less interest in preserving the legacy of Rome than the Ostrogoths. The Imperial treasury had also been seriously stretched by these campaigns, leaving Justinian’s successors with serious economic problems

While he ultimately lost his kingdom and his life, Totila showed himself to possess all the qualities of true nobility and royalty. When he was made king, the Ostrogoths were virtually a conquered people. In his first battles he could only muster up 5,000 or so troops, by his last, only 15,000 and one lost battle was all it would take to reverse all his gains, as Taginae proved. It was to his credit that for 11 years he could maintain his army and the loyalty of both his own people and his Italian subjects against an enemy that could replace loses with far greater ease. His prowess in combat is attested to, but what makes him unique was his mercy and justice. That he continued to display moderation in affairs both civil and military through more than a decade of war stand as testament enough. His honor and character was enough to win over even his enemies who could not help but respect him. As Edward Gibbon said,

none were deceived, either friends or enemies, who depended on his faith or his clemency.”

The Gothic kingdom is today a minor footnote in the history of Europe, coming at the tail end of the classical era of Rome, but Totila’s example is just as important today as it was in his own time. In the modern era cynicism and apathy abound and nations are led not by the best, but by sycophants and cowards willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder, it’s easy to imagine things were always this way. We have become a people who believe nobility and just kings only existed in fairy tales. The example of Totila, a king both in name and deed, should remind us otherwise.

jeudi, 14 août 2014

Dr. Christian W. Spang on German-Japanese Relations and on Karl Haushofer

Dr. Christian W. Spang on German-Japanese Relations and on Karl Haushofer

Who is Dr. Christian W. Spang ?

This paper deals with Karl Haushofer's geopolitical ideas and the influence these concepts had on the development of Japanese geopolitics in the 1930s.
One of my earliest papers on Haushofer, based on a conference paper, delivered in Trier 1999. The article deals with Haushofer's influence in Germany. In some parts outdated.
My earliest paper on Haushofer. The rather long article deals with Haushofer's influence in Germany and in Japan. In some parts outdated.
This Japanese paper is a translation of an earlier German article titled “Karl Haushofer und die Geopolitik in Japan. Zur Bedeutung Haushofers innerhalb der deutsch-japanischen Beziehungen nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg”, published in: Irene... more
This Japanese paper is a translation of an earlier German article titled “Karl Haushofer und die Geopolitik in Japan. Zur Bedeutung Haushofers innerhalb der deutsch-japanischen Beziehungen nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg”, published in: Irene Diekmann et al. (eds.), Geopolitik. Grenzgänge im Zeitgeist, Vol. 2, Potsdam: Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, 2000, pp. 591-629.

mardi, 12 août 2014

Résister par l’Histoire, ou l’enracinement suprême



Résister par l’Histoire, ou l’enracinement suprême

Ex: http://anti-mythes.blogspot.com

La démocratie moderne dans laquelle nous vivons donne des signes toujours plus nombreux de son principal objectif : la destruction de l’individu à travers un déracinement continu. L’homme aujourd’hui arraché à son histoire, à sa religion, à sa patrie, à sa famille, n’est devenu qu’un gibier pour le marché, un animal apolitique et anhistorique, admirateur et narcissique du présent. Il est essentiel de bien comprendre l’ampleur de ce déracinement ainsi que ses conséquences pour pouvoir s’enraciner et, par voie de fait, résister.

I. Le présent comme valeur suprême

Tocqueville, déjà, dans La démocratie en Amérique, expliquait que l’avènement de l’individu et son sacre comme valeur suprême mèneraient à un rétrécissement de son horizon temporel1.

Passant du rétrécissement au désintérêt pour les anciens, l’homme moderne a perdu la mémoire puisqu’elle est inutile dans sa jouissance matérielle perpétuelle du moment présent. La vie de l’homme moderne est en grande partie rythmée par le consumérisme effréné, son pseudo épanouissement dans le divertissement et enfin, l’invasion de la société par le moi, le culte narcissique. C’est ce déclin du sens du temps historique qui fait alors que chaque génération se perçoit comme étant au début, à l’an 0 de l’humanité, désaffiliée et autocentrée sur elle-même, aboutissant inéluctablement à l’éternelle revendication de droits individuels, puisque la mort de l’histoire a entraîné dans sa chute la disparition du devoir.

II. L’idéal de vérité abandonné

Néanmoins, notre société compte encore quelques curieux qui tentent de penser l’histoire.

Malheureusement cette démocratie totalitaire, par l’intermédiaire des médias de masse et des institutions, verrouille l’analyse historique à travers nos programmes scolaires3 ou à travers la déformation de faits historiques (comme nous l’a démontré la récente commémoration du débarquement de Normandie4 5) et allant même, parfois, jusqu’à écrire l’histoire dans le cadre des lois mémorielles, le politicien prenant ouvertement la place de l’historien. Ce constat déjà largement développé et facilement constatable doit être néanmoins précisé afin que l’idéal de vérité, tout relatif soit-il, puisse être sauvegardé face au relativisme moderne, qui accepte tout et permet de dire n’importe quoi.

En effet comme le précise Simone Weil, c’est la conception moderne de l’histoire, qui en ayant délaissé le désir de vérité, l’a substitué par autant d’inexactitude. Cet abandon a alors promu le conformisme et le carriérisme comme étant les nouvelles valeurs du système qui, dépourvu de morale, n’a comme objectif que l’unique présentation d’une suite ennuyante de dates, de faits erronés ou la promotion du bienfait de la « modernité ». La déchristianisation est alors un facteur déterminant dans cette perte de la morale : l’éducation religieuse d’ordre spirituel accompagnait autrefois le développement intellectuel, transmettant en même temps cet amour pour la vérité.

III. La déferlante des humanités

Cette déformation de l’histoire et l’abandon de son idéal de vérité va de pair avec la promotion des humanités qui a influencé l’historien pour en faire le propagandiste de la modernité et du progrès. De la même manière que la gauche a réussi à museler la droite par son droit de l’hommisme comme Éric Zemmour aime à le répéter, le XXe siècle a été l’avènement des sciences sociales, tuant du même coup le possible recours à l’Histoire.

Dans ce qu’on appelle l’humeur post-moderniste, règne le rejet des théories historiques, considérant l’histoire de l’humanité comme étant la croissance d’un individu passant de l’enfance à la maturité, l’histoire étant assimilée par conséquent à un âge d’oppression et d’atteinte à la liberté, interdisant de fait le respect de la tradition : « seul l’homme qui a dépassé les stades de la conscience appartenant au passé…peut atteindre une pleine conscience du présent ». Or on l’aura compris, c’est cette même pleine conscience du présent qui en a vidé le sens dans son rejet du passé. Outre sa fuite en avant dans le dogme de la liberté qui n’engendre qu’une inversion des valeurs morales choquant la décence commune, les sciences sociales font vivre l’homme dans l’idéal de la méritocratie, de l’ascension sociale, dans la continuité libérale inspirée des « Lumières ». La focalisation sur l’ascension au détriment du fond empêche de penser et de mettre en perspective les analyses par une culture historique. En plus de son déni de réalité c’est la condamnation de la possibilité de l’appréhender.

Concrètement, c’est principalement la stigmatisation du Moyen Âge, représenté comme période obscure et liberticide, rythmée par les guerres de religions, qui a propagé la certitude « d’un sens de l’histoire » qui oblige à accepter le présent comme progrès et notre démocratie moderne comme étant la fin de l’histoire. Cette liquidation aboutit à ce que Jean Claude Michéa appelle le complexe d’Orphée qui interdit de s’inspirer du passé puisqu’il est assimilé à la matrice intellectuelle du « réac primitif » désigné comme « facho en devenir »6.

Néanmoins, le recours à l’histoire se fait parfois, dans le but non pas d’ostraciser ou de calomnier le passé, mais dans l’optique de le revendiquer à travers un prisme bien particulier. Un culte de la victimisation (on pense alors à l’holocauste ou l’Algérie française) qui fait de l’exhibition des blessures, pourtant normalement refermées après tant d’années, un droit intarissable à la subvention et à l’impunité7. L’histoire, non pas pour permettre le vivre-ensemble à travers une histoire commune et la fierté d’appartenir à celle-ci, mais comme liquidateur du roman national et de l’histoire de France, tout simplement. On comprend mieux alors pourquoi tant de drapeaux algériens étaient brandis dernièrement, reflétant bien pour certains un esprit d’affront éhonté à notre souveraineté.

IV. L’histoire pour pouvoir résister

Annihiler la capacité critique de l’homme par des slogans, une déformation de l’histoire ou tout simplement par sa suppression contribue à faire des citoyens incultes, apatrides et sans repères, se laissant imposer la métaphysique de l’achat compulsif jusqu’à la désertion civique, soutenant la guerre contre « l’axe du mal »8 par l’idéologie droit de l’hommiste et au final glorifiant la destruction de la nation par l’Union Européenne et les revendications régionalistes.

Préserver notre histoire et son génie, c’est préserver notre patrie et son indépendance, car il n’y a pas de patrie sans histoire. La nation jouant réciproquement un rôle dans ce lien entre le passé et l’avenir comme aimait à l’écrire Simone Weil ; « La nation seule, depuis déjà longtemps, joue le rôle qui constitue par excellence la mission de la collectivité à l’égard de l’être humain, à savoir assurer à travers le présent une liaison entre le passé et l’avenir. » 9
Notes : 
1 Tocqueville – de la démocratie en Amérique II

2 Christopher Lash – La culture du narcissisme


4 Yves Nantillé – 1944.La Normandie sous les bombes alliées, La nouvelle revue d’histoire numéro72 p27


6 Jean claude Michéa – Le complexe d’orphée

7 Christopher Lach – La trahison des élites


9 Simone Weil – L’enracinement
Source : 
Le bréviaire des patriotes :: lien

00:05 Publié dans Histoire, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, enracinement, résistance, philosophie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mercredi, 06 août 2014

Elementos n°74: Maurras y Barrès

Elementos n°74

Maurras y Barrès: los padres franceses de la derecha Espanola

Charles Maurras, por Alain de Benoist
Charles Maurras, padre de la Derecha moderna, por José Luis Orella
Charles Maurras: camino intelectual hacia la monarquía, por Rubén Calderón Bouchet
Charles Maurras: de la duda a la fe, por Germán Rocca
La recepción del pensamiento maurrasiano en España (1914-1930), por Pedro Carlos González Cuevas
Charles Maurras en España, por Ernesto Milá
Apuntes para un estudio de la influencia de Maurras en Hispanoamérica, por José Díaz Nieva
Charles Maurras. El caos y el orden, de Stéphane Giocanti, por Valentí Puig
Maurice Barrès y España, por Pedro Carlos González Cuevas
La visita a Barrès, por Michel Winock
Las Españas de Maurice Barrès, por Jean Bécarud
El arraigo y la energía, principios informadores del héroe en Maurice Barrès, por Adelaida Porras Medrano

mercredi, 30 juillet 2014

Catastrophe grecque après la première guerre mondiale



Erich Körner-Lakatos:

Catastrophe grecque après la première guerre mondiale


Au printemps de l'année 1919, Athènes ne se borne pas à réclamer la Thrace orientale jusqu'aux faubourgs de la ville de Constantinople, que les Grecs espéraient ardemment reprendre. Les Grecs veulent aussi la partie occidentale de l'Asie Mineure, au départ de la région de Smyrne (l'actuelle Izmir).


Les Américains font remarquer que les Turcs sont majoritaires en Anatolie occidentale. Personne ne les écoute. Dès lors, le conseil suprême de l'Entente donne le feu vert à Venizelos en mai 1919 et l'autorise à envahir l'Anatolie, alors que des troupes grecques avaient déjà débarqué à Smyrne. Au même moment, les Grecs qui vivent sur la côte méridionale de la Mer Noire et qui sont les descendants des maîtres de l'Empire de Trébizonde, détruit en 1461, se révoltent et, le 18 décembre 1919, se constitue à Batoum le gouvernement de la future République Pontique, que l'on entend bien mettre sur pied. Mais Trébizonde n'est pas seulement revendiquée par les Grecs pontiques: elle l'est aussi par les Arméniens qui exigent dans une note que cette ville leur soit cédée et fasse partie de la future Grande Arménie. Le premier ministre grec Eleftherios Venizelos déclare devant le parlement grec qu'il n'y voit aucun inconvénient. Ilkonomos, Président de la Ligue Nationale Pontique critiquera très sévèrement la Grèce pour avoir ainsi cédé face aux revendications arméniennes.


Lors de la signature de la Paix de Sèvres, le 10 août 1920, la Grèce obtient la Thrace orientale, l'Epire septentrionale avec Koritza. Le territoire de l'Etat grec s'étend donc jusqu'à la Mer Noire. Les Turcs conservent Istanbul, leur ancienne capitale mais celle-ci est occupée par une garnison alliée composée de troupes britanniques, françaises et grecques. Les Ottomans vaincus se montrent très réticents contre toute attente. Le Parlement du Sultan refuse la ratification et, aussitôt, un mouvement national turc se constitue sous la direction de Kemal Pacha (le futur "Atatürk") qui, sans perdre de temps, affronte les Arméniens et les Grecs le long des côtes de la Mer Noire. Ses troupes sont victorieuses: ni la Grande Arménie ni l'Etat grec-pontique ne verront le jour.



A l'automne 1920, Venizelos suggère aux Britanniques d'obliger les Turcs à accepter toutes les clauses du Traité de Sèvres. Les puissances de l'Entente sont lasses de faire la guerre et pansent leurs plaies: elles acceptent la proposition grecque. Forts de ce blanc-seing, les troupes grecques s'infiltrent toujours plus profondément en Anatolie intérieure. Mais un événement ruine les plans de Venizelos: la mort du Roi Alexandre. Après un référendum, tenu le 5 décembre 1919, 999.954 voix grecques se prononcent pour le retour du Roi Constantin contre seulement 10.383 voix contre. Le vieil adversaire de Venizelos est donc à nouveau en selle: Constantin revient d'exil juste avant Noël et est accueilli triomphalement à Athènes.

En Asie Mineure, le vent tourne: en décembre 1920, les Français essuient une défaire en Cilicie contre les troupes de Kemal Pacha. Du coup, Paris décide d'évacuer le pays et de redéployer les forces françaises sur le territoire de la Syrie mandataire. Les Italiens, à leur tour, abandonnent l'Asie Mineure hostile et préfèrent se contenter de l'archipel du Dodécanèse et de l'Ile de Rhodes. Rome commet là une injustice à l'égard des Grecs car le Traité de Sèvres avait bel et bien prévu de donner ces îles à la Grèce; en contrepartie, les Italiens recevaient un morceau du Sud de l'Anatolie, celui qu'ils abandonnent après le repli français vers la Syrie. En Grèce, la Roi revenu d'exil mobilise l'armée, désormais forte de plus de 300.000 hommes. C'est la seule façon, pense Constantin, de résoudre la situation difficile dans laquelle se débattent les troupes grecques qui ont envahi l'Anatolie et qui subissent la pression constante des nationalistes turcs qui ne cessent de consolider leurs rangs. En effet, en janvier et en mars 1921, les Grecs avaient perdu deux batailles près d'Inönü. En juin 1921, le Roi Constantin se rend en Asie Mineure et prend personnellement le commandement des forces armées helléniques. L'armée de terre grecque s'avance alors vers le Nord-Est, en direction du cœur de l'Anatolie.


Dans un premier temps, l'offensive grecque connaît le succès, les Turcs vacillent mais c'est une tactique bien conçue. Kemal Pacha ordonne à ses troupes de se replier vers des terrains inhospitaliers. L'armée royale grecque avance jusqu'à la rivière Sakarya, très près d'Ankara. La chaleur est étouffante et les Grecs sont harcelés par des bandes de partisans nationalistes turcs. Leur logistique est entravée, ce qui handicape tous leurs mouvements. Les Grecs, toutefois, sont persuadés que les Britanniques vont les soutenir dans leur offensive et poursuivent le combat même si les Turcs sont prêts, à ce moment-là des opérations, à faire des concessions. Le front se stabilise sur une centaine de kilomètres et une bataille terrible s'engage, qui durera trois semaines le long de la rivière Sakarya. Les troupes de Kemal parviennent à bloquer l'avance des Grecs, malgré la supériorité de ceux-ci en matériel. Les attaquants déplorent la mort de 5227 soldats, morts ou disparus, plus une vingtaine de milliers de blessés et de malades. Côté turc, le nombre de victimes est plus grand encore parce que les soldats grecs disposaient d'un plus grand nombre de mitrailleuses.


Après cette bataille de la Sakarya, les adversaires ne s'affrontent plus que lors d'escarmouches occasionnelles. A peu près un an plus tard, le 26 août 1922, une contre-attaque turque remporte un succès rapide. Les régiments de cavalerie de Mustafa Kemal percent le cordon ténu des troupes helléniques, surprennent les états-majors et détruisent les dépôts d'approvisionnement. Smyrne tombe l'après-midi du 9 septembre quand la 2ème Division de cavalerie turque pénètre dans la ville. Le reste des forces grecques quittent dans le désordre l'Anatolie. A Athènes, le désastre de la campagne d'Anatolie provoque une révolte d'officier le 26 septembre: les soldats revenus d'Asie Mineure obligent le Roi Constantin I à quitter le pays. Il meurt peu après en exil.


Erich Körner-Lakatos.

(article paru dans zur Zeit, Vienne, n°19/2014, http://www.zurzeit.at ).


Un nouveau traité de paix 


Le seul traité signé dans la banlieue parisienne après la première guerre mondiale à avoir été révisé fut celui de Sèvres. Pendant l'été 1923, ses clauses sont remplacées par celle du Traité de Lausanne, après huit mois d'âpres négociations: le nationalistes turcs -le Sultanat supranational a été supprimé le 1 novembre 1922 et le Sultan Mehmed VI a quitté Constantinople le 17 novembre à bord d'un navire de guerre anglais pour cingler vers la Côte d'Azur-  obtiennent les régions qu'ils sont parvenus à reconquérir, soit l'Anatolie occidentale et la Thrace orientale.


Cela signifie, pour les Grecs, la fin de leur "grande idée" ("megali idea"), de leur rêve de reconstituer l'Empire byzantin, avec Constantinople pour centre et pour capitale. Une autre tragédie s'opère: l'échange des populations. Plus d'un million de Grecs sont contraints de quitter leur patrie de la région de Smyrne ou des côtes désormais turques de la Mer Noire, alors que ces terres avaient toujours été peuplées d'Hellènes depuis l'antiquité. 400.000 Turcs abandonnent la Thrace occidentale pour la Thrace orientale.


L'Entente est obligée de renoncer aux réparations qu'elle espérait infliger aux Turcs. Elle abandonne aussi Istanbul. Les Turcs garantissent en échange la libre circulation maritime dans les Détroits. Les Arméniens et les Kurdes doivent renoncer à leur rêve de disposer d'un Etat à eux. La Turquie est dorénavant un Etat aux frontières bien délimitées, réduit au noyau anatolien, qui s'est maintenu tel quel jusqu'à nos jours, si l'on excepte toutefois un gain de petites dimensions, celui d'une bande territoriale le long de la frontière syrienne: le Sandjak d'Alexandrette, cédé par la France, puissance mandataire en Syrie, en 1939.


mardi, 29 juillet 2014

Première guerre mondiale: la Grèce, otage de l'Entente



Erich Körner-Lakatos:

Première guerre mondiale: la Grèce, otage de l'Entente


Dans la nuit du 29 mai 1453, l'Empereur Constantin XI Paléologue et ses sujets, les Grecs comme les Latins, prient ensemble dans Sainte-Sophie. Ensuite, chacun se rend à son poste. Peu avant l'aurore, les Turcs attaquent Constantinople, dernier reste du fier Empire byzantin. Pendant quelques heures les défenseurs de la Ville parviennent à repousser l'assaut puis quelques janissaires pénètrent par une petite poterne à l'intérieur de la Cité. En fin de compte, les Chrétiens succombent au nombre. Les Ottomans sont commandés par Mehmed II, qui prendra par la suite le nom de "Mehmed le Grand" quand il deviendra le maître incontesté de la métropole, qui s'appelle désormais Istanbul.


Depuis cette défaite, les Hellènes rêvent de récupérer leur "grande ville". Quelque temps avant la première guerre mondiale, le rêve audacieux des Grecs a failli devenir réalité. Et ce rêve était audacieux parce que le petit Etat grec, né en 1830, apparaissait totalement insignifiant devant l'immense Empire ottoman. Le premier roi de cette petite Grèce était le jeune Otto, un prince de la famille des Wittelsbach. Les Grecs, finalement, ont été déçus par le pouvoir exercé par ce prince bavarois. Le jeune monarque avait ordonné la construction d'une brasserie: ce fut son premier acte officiel. En 1863, l'Assemblée nationale grecque élit, sous les recommandations pressantes de la Grande-Bretagne, le Prince danois Guillaume (Wilhelm) qui règnera sous le nom de Georges I, jusqu'au jour du 18 mars 1913, lorsqu'il succombera à un attentat à Salonique.


220px-Constantineiofgreece.jpgC'est sous son règne que le territoire national grec s'est agrandi: en 1864, il acquiertl es Iles Ioniennes avec Corfou; en 1881, il s'adjoint la Thessalie; en 1913, de vastes zones s'ajoutent au royaume au Nord et à l'Est. C'est là le résultat des guerres balkaniques, où le Prince Constantin, fort de sa formation militaire auprès de l'état-major général allemand, mène ses troupes à la victoire. Constantinople a vraiment été à portée de main…


Au début de la première guerre mondiale, le Roi Constantin (né en 1868 et époux de Sophie, une sœur de l'Empereur d'Allemagne) se heurte à son ministre libéral Eleftherios Venizelos, de quatre ans son aîné. Le monarque entend maintenir la Grèce dans la neutralité. Lorsque, le 4 août 1914, l'Empereur d'Allemagne Guillaume II demande à son beau-frère de joindre la Grèce aux puissances centrales, Constantin refuse poliment mais fermement.


Le premier ministre Venizelos, un tribun au verbe fort natif de Crète, veut absolument ranger son pays dans le camp de l'Entente. Il propose que des troupes grecques participent au débarquement des alliés dans les Dardanelles. Le Roi Constantin, qui a une bonne formation militaire, refuse ce plan qu'il juge aberrant. Les événements lui donneront raison. Dans les Dardanelles, les tentatives alliées échouent très rapidement et les troupes de l'Entente ne parviendront pas à entrer, par le chemin le plus court, dans la capitale ottomane, et à établir un lien direct avec la Russie. Les pertes subies par les troupes australiennes et néo-zélandaises sont effrayantes.


Le conflit qui oppose le Roi à Venizelos divise le peuple. Deux partis antagonistes se querellent avec haine et passion dans le pays. L'armée, les classes rurales et les milieux conservateurs sont fidèles à Constantin. Venizelos reçoit le soutien de la bourgeoisie montante des villes. Le ministre crétois ne s'avoue pas vaincu. En septembre 1915, le Roi apprend que son premier ministre a secrètement invité les forces de l'Entente à débarquer à Salonique. Le souverain est furieux et dissout le gouvernement. Violant délibérément la neutralité hellénique, les troupes de l'Entente envahissent le pays en débarquant à Salonique. Athènes est obligée de se résigner mais refuse toujours d'entraîner le pays dans la belligérance.


Le 6 juin 1916, les puissances de l'Entente amorcent un blocus de la Grèce pour obliger le pays à se joindre à elles. Une semaine plus tard, des inconnus boutent le feu à la résidence d'été du Roi à Tatoi et celui-ci échappe de justesse à l'incendie. Le 9 octobre 1916, Venizelos se rend à Salonique et y constitue un contre-gouvernement avec l'appui de l'Entente. Début décembre 1916, des navires de guerre français bombardent Athènes et le Palais royal. Entre Athènes et le port du Pirée, des unités fidèles au Roi livrent bataille contre les troupes de l'Entente qui débarquent. Mais le blocus, qui a duré plusieurs mois, a généré la famine. En juin 1917, les Français exigent l'abdication de Constantin.


Le Roi est obligé de céder à la force. Il quitte le pays sans abdiquer formellement. Venizelos décrète la mobilisation générale mais se heurte à une forte résistance populaire. La participation des troupes grecques à la guerre sera dès lors réduite: à partir de l'automne 1917, trois divisions grecques luttent aux côtés des Français contre les Bulgares. Une autre division sera placée sous commandement britannique. Il faudra attendre avril 1918 pour que la mobilisation générale soit terminée: les forces armées grecques se répartiront en trois corps d'armée, comprenant chacun trois divisions d'infanterie.


Venizelos semblent à première vue avoir parié sur le bon cheval. A la fin de la guerre, le pays appartient officiellement au camp des vainqueurs et l'ennemi héréditaire turc est vaincu. Le 13 novembre 1918, une flotte alliée entre dans les eaux du port d'Istanbul: parmi ses unités, il y avait le croiseur cuirassé grec "Georgios Averoff". Sa présence a profondément réjoui les "Rhoméens", la minorité grecque de la grande "Polis".


Erich Körner-Lakatos.

(article paru dans zur Zeit, Vienne, n°18/2014; http://www.zurzeit.at ).



Un bonheur éphémère…


Après la fin des hostilités en 1918, la Grèce semblent voler de succès en succès. Beaucoup de Grecs rêvent déjà de reprendre définitivement Constantinople. En mai 1919, l'Entente donne le feu vert pour que les troupes grecques envahissent l'Anatolie. Le même mois, des unités grecques avaient débarqué à Smyrne (aujourd'hui Izmir). D'autres envahisseurs participent à l'invasion, dont les Italiens qui arrivent à Antalya et les Français qui s'installent en Cilicie, plus à l'Est. Chaque puissance cherche à se donner une bonne portion de l'Asie mineure.


Simultanément, les Grecs des côtes de la Mer Noire se révoltent. Ils sont les descendants des Grecs de l'Empire byzantin de Trébizonde que les Ottomans avaient conquis en 1461. Ces révoltés philhelléniques exigent la constitution d'un Etat "pontique" exclusivement grec sur la côte méridionale de la Mer Noire, l'ancien "Pont-Euxin".


Lorsqu'est signée la paix de Sèvres en août 1920, Athènes obtient la Thrace orientale quasiment jusqu'aux portes de Constantinople, l'Epire septentrionale. L'Etat grec s'étend enfin jusqu'à la Mer Noire. Les Turcs peuvent garder Istanbul mais la ville est occupée par une garnison composée d'unités britanniques, françaises et grecques. Sur le Palais du Patriarche, dans la partie de la ville que l'on appelle le Phanar, on hisse le drapeau blan-or des Paléologues, la dernière dynastie romaine-byzantine avant la chute de 1453.


En 1921, les Grecs conquièrent un tiers de l'Asie Mineure mais un an plus tard, c'est la catastrophe: la vieille ville grecque de Smyrne est la proie des flammes, ses habitants, pour la plupart, sont massacrés.


pontic republic.jpg