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jeudi, 09 février 2017

Adolf von Harnack’s Dark Theology


Adolf von Harnack’s Dark Theology

Early Life and Career

Adolf von Harnack was one of the most eminent scholars in Germany of his day, and his reputation as a Church historian and New Testament scholar was unparalleled in Europe. He was born in 1851 in the town of Dorpat in Livonia, a province of Russia (today, Tartu in Estonia). He died in 1930 in Berlin.

Harnack belonged to a Prussian nationalist elite that ruled his Russian-majority town. His father, Theosodius Harnack, was a theology professor at Dorpat, and was a strictly orthodox Lutheran. Theodosius’ scholarly discipline and zeal for things German, especially Lutheranism, influenced Adolf Harnack deeply. Harnack studied theology at Dorpat from 1869 until 1872, and in 1872 he went to the University of Leipzig where, within a year, he wrote his doctoral dissertation, and his habilitation dissertation within another. He joined the Leipzig faculty in 1875, and in 1879 he moved to the University of Giessen.[1]

Harnack published the first volume of his monumental multi-volume History of Dogma [2] in 1885. The book drew criticism from conservative Christians, chiefly for using Christianity and the New Testament as sources but not as norms. After its publication, he was offered a position at Harvard University, but he declined the offer and moved to Marburg in 1878, where he continued to work on his History of Dogma.[2]

In 1888, the University of Berlin and the Prussian Ministry of Education invited Harnack to take a professorship in Berlin, but were met with fierce opposition from Prussian church officials, who vetoed the appointment. Their main issues were that Harnack had reservations about the authorship of the Gospel of John, Ephesians, and I Peter, and miracles such as the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. To Harnack, the issue was whether theology was a real academic discipline, free from church dogmatism and control. Eventually, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Chancellor Bismarck intervened, and Harnack‘s appointment was approved.[3] In 1893, Harvard University renewed its offer, with a letter from the university‘s President, Charles W. Eliot, offering Harnack absolute freedom of thought and speech from all governmental, academic, or social restrictions, and the highest salary it could offer. Again, Harnack declined.[4]

Harnack‘s relationship with the church was always strained, and eventually he gave up on serving it, instead assuming extensive administrative responsibilities in Kaiser Wilhelm‘s government. In 1905, he was appointed as Director General of the Royal Library in Berlin. Harnack and the Kaiser had a good relationship and often met for discussion. Sometimes their meetings included Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the author of The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century [3]. The reason the Emperor was drawn to Harnack was not to discuss religious matters, but because of Harnack‘s scholarly breadth and administrative astuteness. To the Kaiser, Harnack was an embodiment of Prussian diligence, competence, loyalty, patriotism, and objectivity. In March 1914, he knighted Harnack.[5]

In 1910, Harnack warned Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany was locked in competition with the imperial nations, and that the quality of scholarship, which needed funding, would determine the outcome. German academic institutes could not compete with the immense funds that research institutes in the United States had received from wealthy philanthropists. He said, “This cannot, this dare not remain the case, if German science and with it the Fatherland – its inward strength and its outward image – are to avoid grave damage.” The Kaiser then had the leaders of German industry fund the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science.[6] Harnack was appointed as the first President of the Society and a Krupp family member as his Vice President. Harnack had the personality to induce cooperation from specialists in different fields, and interest among the wealthy.[7]

harnzck2222.jpgHarnack on Christianity

Harnack‘s ideas on Christianity were developed in the final years of the nineteenth century and are found in his most famous work, History of Dogma (Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte), which was published in four volumes between 1886 and 1889, and in the popular work, What is Christianity? [4] (Das Wesen des Christentums), published in 1900. Both works have been translated into English.

Harnack believed that in the Early Church, the Christian faith was combined with elements of Greek thought that were not essential to the faith, and the result became the Christian dogma. Because of that, he thought, Christian theology over time became preoccupied with physics and metaphysics. But he did not think that the mixing of Christianity with Greek thought was some kind of degeneration. This process was dictated by necessity and was in itself good. The problem was that the dogma became fixed and authoritative for all time, and thus unable to cope with new exigencies as they emerged.[8]

Harnack‘s theology is liberal theology in the sense that it emphasizes the imperative of freedom: the freedom of thought, the pursuit of truth, and freedom from external interference. To him, theology as an academic discipline could not accept limits set by dogmas and Scripture that it held had to be believed in to attain salvation. He was also confident in the power of human thought and the ability to transcend one‘s subjectivity to attain genuine objectivity. In him, scrupulous reasonableness and unshakeable religious faith were combined, resting on his awareness of one‘s dependence on the absolute spirit.[9] Harnack read Goethe regularly and valued his maxims and reflections immensely. In him, as in Augustine, Harnack found a source of wisdom, understanding, and faith.[10]

According to Harnack, true Christianity was something simple and sublime: “It means one thing and one thing only: Eternal life in the midst of time, by the strength and under the eyes of God.”[11] To him, the concern of true religion was the fundamental difficulties of human existence such as living, finding meaning, and death. To the question of what was the basis of the highest form of religion in all of history, he answered, “Jesus Christ and his Gospel.” He added that this answer was exhaustive because it included the whole history of Christianity, but Christianity, not as a doctrine, but as life, “. . . again and again kindled afresh, and now burning with a flame of its own.”[12] He said that “. . . it must not be forgotten that in German Protestantism the ‘gospel’ means Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom of God.”[13] To him, Jesus was not part of the gospel, only God the Father. The meaning of the designation “Son of God” did not mean that Jesus was God incarnated, but rather that he had unique knowledge of God:

It is “knowledge of God” that makes the sphere of divine Sonship. It is in this knowledge that he came to know the sacred being who rules heaven and earth as Father, as his Father. . . Jesus is convinced that he knows God in a way in which no one ever knew him before, and he knows that it is his vocation to communicate this knowledge of God to others by word and by deed – and with the knowledge that men are God’s children.[14]

Harnack did not hold orthodox Christology in high esteem, thinking it enough to follow Luther, who had described Jesus as the “mirror of God’s paternal heart.”[15] Former archbishop Rowan Williams describes the three main pillars of Harnack’s theology thus: “. . . the fatherhood of God, the infinite value of the individual soul, and the higher righteousness . . .”[16]

The First World War

When the First World War approached, latent ideas began to emerge in Harnack’s thought and writings. Because of his standing in German society and his relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm, he was requested to help the Fatherland in the war effort.

On August 4, 1914, the day England declared war on Germany, the Kaiser gave a speech to the members of the Reichstag, written in part by Harnack, in which he stressed that Germany had the moral right to defend “. . . the place in which God has put us . . .”[17] Harnack drafted another speech for the Kaiser, which was delivered [5] on August 6. The speech was called To the German People (An das deutsche Volk), in which the Kaiser declared, “The issue is whether our Fatherland is to be or not to be; it is concerned with German power, German strength, German culture! We will hold fast to the German way, German fidelity, and German civilization to the last breath.”[18] A public declaration signed by Harnack and other German intellectuals defended German militarism: “Without German militarism German culture would long ago have vanished from the earth. [Our militarism] grew out of [our culture] for its protection. . . . Germany’s army and Germany’s people are one.”[19]

Harnack’s thought was permeated with his conviction that war was an essential part of history, and that nations could hardly establish themselves without rivalry that risked wars. War to him seemed to be required by nature. He had hoped that after Bismarck had united Germany and it had enjoyed its great material success, Germany could take its rightful place beside Britain and the United States, and European civilization would thus be brought to a point where major wars could be avoided. In January 1912, he wrote:

harnack3333.jpgThe progress of the development of world history has placed the three Germanic empires of England, North America and Germany at the apex of humanity as far as the main features of culture are concerned. Apart from their being related by blood, these three states have also a great inheritance in common. This common inheritance sets them the highest goals, but also lays on them the solemn obligation before the judgment seat of history to work peaceably together.[20]

But he sensed that tensions between the great powers of Europe were increasing, and in that same month he wrote:

. . . the English government so judges our political existence as France regarded it after the events of 1866. Just as it appeared to France intolerable that a united German state should have arisen in the heart of Europe that had grown stronger than them, so it appears to England intolerable that this state has so developed as to rival her spiritual and material forces.[21]

When the war broke out, Harnack was furious because Britain had sided with Russia, which he believed to be the great enemy of European culture.

Great Britain sides with Russia against Germany! What does that mean? That means: Great Britain breaches the dam that had protected Western Europe and her culture against the desert sands of the asiatic non-culture of Russia and the Panslavs. Now we Germans have to plug that breach in the dam with our own bodies. We will do it though soaked in streams of blood, and we will win through. We have to win through; for we protect the work of fifteen hundred years on behalf of all Europe and also on behalf of Great Britain! But the day when Great Britain breached the dam can never be forgotten in world history.[22]

For Harnack, the cause of the war lay:

. . . in the relationship of [his] Fatherland, the new Great Power, to the old Great Powers and in particular to the world-wide imperialism of England and to the hunger of Russia for new lands and for oceanic might. These older Great Powers did not want to let this powerfully developing Reich, which only strove for air and light in a peaceful manner, take its proper place. It was only a question of time and the constellation of events when they would initiate violent repression and which of them would seize the initiative.

On August 1, 1914, the day the war began, Harnack was giving his last lecture of the summer on the history of dogma. He began the lecture by telling his students that the Kaiser had worked towards peace to the limits of honor, and that they now had the privilege to fight a just war for the Fatherland. He told them that if they were called up, they must to go to the battlefield in the consciousness that they were fighting “With God, for King and Fatherland.” After he said that, the students started singing Martin Luther‘s hymn, “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott [6]” (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”).[23]

Serving the Fatherland in war was not against Christian morality, thought Harnack, rather the opposite. God had instituted the state, and from the point of view of the individual Christian, the state had no morality. The state had its own political morality, which was acting with honesty and purpose, deciding itself what was moral, as the contingencies of realpolitik arose. “What gives political ethics its distinctiveness is that the State is both the subject and the object of ethics . . .” he said. The struggle of states and nations on the world-historical stage was beyond the judgement of private morality. In fact, it was a revelation of “. . .the spirit that rules in all the manifestations of history.”[24]

Harnack was under the influence of an idea, powerful within Lutheranism, namely the distinction between God as He is revealed in Scripture and the hidden God in his own nature. The question of theodicy becomes irrelevant in this line of thought, because the hidden God is beyond good and evil. According to Martin Luther, God as he is revealed, does not will the death of the sinner, but the hidden God as he is in himself, wills the death of the sinner, “. . . and in fact wills all things that come to pass.”[25] In On the Bondage of the Will [7] (De Servo Arbitrio), Luther states that the hidden God “. . . neither deplores, nor takes away death, but works life and death and all things: nor has He, in this Character, defined Himself in His Word, but has reserved unto Himself, a free power over all things.”[26] Scripture is thus only a partial testament to the will of God; nature, history, and the emergence of peoples and states also bear witness to his will.

The Science of History

There was more to science than just the natural sciences, according to Harnack. He defined science as “. . . knowledge of reality for purposeful action.”[27] The lower stages of science are occupied with determining and ordering facts, and with the mechanics of the world, but the highest stage of science is where “. . . the conscious spirit meets us with ideas norms and values. At this stage the science of history comes into its own . . .”[28] He added, “Not only natural laws are operative in history, in it lives the spirit which gives birth to the idea, to values and norms, that is to say, to laws of freedom.”[29] The highest stage of science then leads to philosophy, which is itself not a science, but:

. . . an aristocratic activity and cultivates a synthesis which is not everyone’s concern. One must not forget that humanity has not found its upward way by the light of the torches of individual insights gained through quantitative examination but under the guidance of men who had a vision of a central sun and had the courage to advance from physics to metaphysics, from history to metahistory, from ethics to metaethics.[30]

Although Harnack thought it impossible to establish laws of history, he held that analogy was an excellent way to organize and understand historical phenomena. The significance of analogy was brought to light by Oswald Spengler in his “profound and thought-provoking” work, The Decline of the West [8] (Der Untergang des Abendlandes), published in 1918-1922:

[Spengler] was the first to show what a striking analogy exists between all the mental and spiritual phenomena of a given epoch and, then, how the drama of ascent, flowering, decline and fall unfolds in every great epoch. In that work he has taught us that, all the way from the understanding of space, time and number via mathematics, music, the creative arts, scholarship, the shaping of ordinary life up to the reflection of the Whole in philosophy and religion, one and the same forming, law-giving and symbolizing spirit or style is at work in every epoch.[31]

The study of history, according to Harnack, should occupy itself with knowing the institutions of the past. These institutions are the results of historical developments. Nothing that has not taken form in institutions can have a lasting effect on history, no ideas or even great men. “The totality which social groups as such represent is influenced permanently only by an institution which, whether written or unwritten, gives clear expression of itself in the form it imposes, the goals it inspires and the authority it exercises.”[32] The institutions originate in ideas, and the history of institutions reveals the history of ideas. “Therefore, all of the history of institutions is unprobed as long as the motivating ideas are unknown. The ideas are, however, the spirit.”[33] To Harnack, the spirit reveals itself through history.

We must now speak of the spirit. All history is the history of the spirit and has an inner happening for its foundation; the spirit, however, is one. Whether we possess much or little of it, it is always one and the same spirit working in us and in everything brought forth by history.[34]

Thus, history reveals a deep unity between historical events and ourselves, and our higher existence. History was for him essential for the development of character: “To broaden oneself inwardly through history does not only belong to education, it is education. Such education connects itself harmoniously to the inner life of the spirit.”[35] Rather than settle for our own personal experience:

. . . we must expand, with Faust, the ego that is ours into the whole world’s ego. This occurs . . . as we, in noble hunger, take into ourselves the whole of world-happening and all of history’s great and good personalities, transforming all into the fibers of our being . . . We shall remain wretched and in bondage if we limit ourselves to ourselves; we shall become rich and free if we enter every door of history and make ourselves at home in its spacious rooms.[36]

This was, to him, the only way to resist the outmoded on an intelligent basis: it could only be obliterated with the aid of correctly understood history. One of the most profound ideas of his science of history, which is particularly pertinent to European civilization’s current dissipation of its cultural, moral, spiritual, intellectual, biological, and material wealth, is his valuation of the progress of history. If it is granted that “. . . life is something of utter value . . .” one “. . . has in the preservation of life and its advance a standard by which to evaluate the processes of history. Obviously, this preservation and advance are not about the physical life of the individual person but about the higher spiritual life of the whole . . .”[37] He adds, that by applying this measure, “. . . it becomes clear that the orientation towards the conservation and preservation of life is correct and its opposite is false, that force is of value and that weakness corrupts . . .”[38] Ideas, institutions, and the behavior they shape matter because:

. . . everything crumbles under certain circumstances and we ourselves also fall to pieces bit by bit while, under other circumstances life is preserved, it follows that the one is bad and the other good. As to what those circumstances are, history makes unmistakably clear: to preserve life alone is the direction and force in which humans and humankind is set free “from the dominion of that which binds all” or, . . . from servitude to the merely natural and one’s own empirical ego. . . . Destructive to life, not only to only to the life of the whole but also to that of the individual, is the direction which raises to pre-eminence the physical well-being of the individual, and with that the struggle of all against all. No word confirms the course of world-history more assuredly than that of Jesus: that they who seek to save their lives only will surely lose it. The course of world events shows that behind the direction which strives energetically to rise up over the merely natural and egoism there lurk chaos and death.[39] [9]

Culture, is for Harnack an organism whose nature is to expand and advance and permeate all things. If culture loses its restless striving and ascent, “. . . it begins at once to harden into mere civilization; immediately the decay of its dying members sets in until barbarism arises which is the more shocking the more plentiful are the masks and the grimaces into which the higher values of a better day have been changed.”[40] A culture’s ascent and struggle for subjugation carries with it the reward of the preservation of life, while its opposite, descent and weakness, carries with it the punishment of decay and decomposition of life. Empirically, this striving is irrational, but “. . . is experienced as a powerful and blessed feeling for life.” Through history mankind has striven for something it has neither seen nor heard, acting as if God existed.[41]

Latter Years

After the war, Harnack, wanting to help rebuild Germany, supported the new constitution of the Weimar Republic, despite being unhappy with it. He thought that a new way of thinking was required if Germans were “. . . not to bear the entire cost of the world-revolution . . .” To him, the people and its spirit were more important than constitutions and forms of government:

We have to resist Mammonism, godlessness and the loss of ideals . . . for otherwise we will not be spared Bolshevism. New liberal forms alone achieve nothing; they will only have to give way to more ‘liberal’ ones if they are not permeated by a public spirit, seriousness and the courage for sacrifice.[42]

In 1919, in a sermon at the university, he put forth seven principles for a renewed Germany:

  1. Without a national consciousness there can be no peoplehood; without humanness no real greatness.
  2. Without authority there can be no organization.
  3. Without personality there can be no life that is worth living.
  4. Without determination to overcome class-divisions there can be no internal peace.
  5. Without capital there can be no culture.
  6. Without power there can be no state.
  7. Without selflessness and the fear of God there can be no future.[43]

He rejected many offers to join a political party and an offer to become Germany’s ambassador to the United States in 1921, focusing instead on theology for the rest of his life. His theology was beginning to come under attack by the rising neo-orthodox movement in theology, whose main proponent was Karl Barth, a former student of Harnack. The accusation was made that he, and other liberal theologians like him, had merged theology with militaristic nationalism.[44]

In the 1920s, Harnack began a passionate study of the second-century heretic Marcion. He valued Marcion’s gospel for its perfect love and for being purified of rigorous legalism. Marcion separated the “righteous” God of Judaism from the one found in the New Testament, and rejected the Old Testament. Harnack held that rejecting the Old Testament in the second century would have been a mistake. The Reformers of the sixteenth century were unable to withdraw from its legacy, “. . . but for Protestantism since the nineteenth century to continue to treasure it as a canonical document is the result of a religious and ecclesiastical paralysis.”[45]


1. Gary Dorrien, Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology [10](Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2015), p. 321.

2. Martin Rumscheidt, “Introduction: Harnack’s Liberalism in Theology: A Struggle for the Freedom of Theology,” in Adolf von Harnack: Liberal Theology at Its Height [11], ed. Martin Rumscheidt (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), pp. 14-15.

3. Rumscheidt, 15-16.

4. Rumscheidt, pp. 17-18.

5. Rumscheidt, pp. 21-22 & 24.

6. Jon Agar, Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond [12] (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012), p. 101.

7. Rumscheidt, p. 24.

8. James Hardy Ropes, “Adolf Harnack [13],” The Biblical World, (vol. 7, no. 1, 1896), pp. 22-29.

9. Rumscheidt, p. 33.

10. Rumscheidt, pp. 15 & 21

11. Dorrien, pp. 326-327.

12. Dorrien, p. 327.

13. Adolf Harnack, Adolf von Harnack: Liberal Theology at Its Height, p. 147.

14. Harnack, p. 157.

15. Dorrien, p. 331.

16. Rowan Williams, “The Deadly Simplicities of Adolf von Harnack [14].”

17. Ibid.

18. J. C. O´Neill, “Adolf von Harnack and the entry of the German state into war”, Scottish Journal of Theology, (vol. 55, no. 1, 2002), p. 3.

19. Rumscheidt, p. 25.

20. O‘Neill, pp. 13-14.

21. O‘Neill, p. 12.

22. O‘Neill, p. 7.

23. O‘Neill, p. 15.

24. O‘Neill, p. 18.

25. Noah Kelley, “Luther’s View of the Hidden God and the Revealed God [15],” p. 4.

26. Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will [16], sect. 64.

27. Harnack, p. 43.

28. Harnack, p. 45.

29. Harnack, p. 45.

30. Harnack, p. 45.

31. Harnack, p. 52.

32. Harnack, p. 54.

33. Harnack, pp. 56-57.

34. Harnack, p. 57.

35. Harnack, p. 57.

36. Harnack, p. 57.

37. Harnack, p. 59.

38. Harnack, p. 59.

39. Harnack, p. 59.

40. Harnack, pp. 59-60

41. Harnack, p. 60.

42. Rumscheidt, pp. 26-27.

43. Rumscheidt, p. 27.

44. Dorrien, pp. 332-333.

45. Rumscheidt, pp. 28-29.


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URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2017/02/adolf-von-harnacks-dark-theology/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: https://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2-8-17-1.png

[2] History of Dogma: http://amzn.to/2kTiYdZ

[3] The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century: http://amzn.to/2louXwY

[4] What is Christianity?: http://amzn.to/2lohJAe

[5] delivered: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j_SlC8Ppx4

[6] Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErKTZchVVeE

[7] On the Bondage of the Will: http://amzn.to/2k3vA2A

[8] The Decline of the West: http://amzn.to/2lkZbox

[9] [39]: #_ftn39

[10] Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit: The Idealistic Logic of Modern Theology: http://amzn.to/2kT6qD6

[11] Adolf von Harnack: Liberal Theology at Its Height: http://amzn.to/2kOxjsp

[12] Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond: http://amzn.to/2loowKp

[13] Adolf Harnack: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/471791

[14] The Deadly Simplicities of Adolf von Harnack: https://lif.blob.core.windows.net/lif/docs/default-source/default-library/rowan-williams---the-deadly-simplicities-of-adolf-von-harnack---january-2014---lecture-transcript-pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0

[15] Luther’s View of the Hidden God and the Revealed God: https://kelleys4christ.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/luther-research-paper-blog.pdf

[16] The Bondage of the Will: http://grace-ebooks.com/library/Martin%20Luther/ML_Bondage_Of_The_Will.pdf

mardi, 07 février 2017

1917: Early Moves Toward American Intervention in World War I

This short piece continues series on some “Deeply Momentous Things” — that is, American intervention in the First World War. (See Part One.) As the first installment has shown in a general way, the background of the war among Europe and its extensions (Canada, Australia, etc.) is crucial to understanding how the United States would eventually declare war on the Central Powers. More specifics on this issue will help us understand just what the might of the United States meant to the warring powers.

European leaders on both sides hoped to change the dynamic of the war in January 1917. Certainly, from a technical military standpoint, 1916 represented a highly complicated and progressive experimentation with methods of war that would break up the stalemate. In answer to a question posed in the first installment — who was winning at the end of 1916 — if I had to choose the side that had the upper hand in December 1916, I would probably choose the Central Powers by a nose.

In December 1916, Field Marshal Haig, Commander of the British forces on the Western Front, sent in an extensive report to his government on the just completed Somme Campaign. The Somme battles had advanced the Allied line in some places but had never come close to a breakthrough. And the losses of both British and French units were appalling. Yet Haig declared the Somme campaign a victory in that it had achieved the wearing down of the Germans and the stabilization of the front.

Yet even with Haig’s report in hand, British statesmen and diplomats were not as optimistic. The Field Marshal’s optimism could not hide the fact that the Somme advance had been at best shallow, and that the Germans still held onto nearly as much of France as they had before. And significantly, the Central Powers were killing Entente troops at a faster rate than the Allies were killing the Germans and their Allies. For every two deaths on the side of the Central Powers, three Entente soldiers were dying.

And there were more concrete signs of distress. In East Central Europe, recently acquired Entente partner Romania faced an Austro-Hungarian, German, and Bulgarian force which had besieged and captured the Romanian capital, Bucharest. The great Brusilov Offensive against the German and Austro-Hungarian armies was an enormous success at its beginning, and almost certainly took pressure off the French defenders at Verdun, in France. But the offensive tailed off with counterattacks that were costly and worrisome. And there were in addition, the enormous losses to the Brusilov fighters, upwards of a million dead, wounded, and captured. In Russia, rumblings of demoralization — including the plot which would end in Rasputin’s murder in December 1916 — emerged as hunger and depletion accompanied deep winter. In retrospect, the Brusilov Offensive planted the seeds of Russia’s revolutionary collapse the following year — which would no doubt have tipped the balanced sharply in favor of the Central Powers had the United States not intervened.


Elsewhere, it is true, things were going somewhat better for the Russians and the British in fighting the Ottoman Empire by December 1916 and January 1917, but many British leaders thought they were looking at the real crisis of the war a hundred years ago. Hoping to bring every kind of weapon to bear in the midst of this depressing and murderous year, British leaders departed from their slogan of “business as usual” in a variety of ways. Great Britain had already adopted conscription a year earlier in January 1916, though not quite in time to supply replacements for the inevitable losses in the coming offensive operations on the Somme and elsewhere. On the diplomatic front, it was in 1916 that the British government began a process that would end by promising overlapping parts of the Ottoman Empire both to the future “king of the Arabs” and to Jews across the world as a future homeland. At the same time, British propaganda designed to influence the United States to enter the war heightened dramatically. Charles Masterman’s War Propaganda Bureau in London worked on the “American question” with newspaper subventions in the United States, speaking tours, increased distribution of the famous Bryce Report on German atrocities in Belgium, and in other ways.

One crucial example of non-traditional attempts to break the impasse was the starvation of German civilians resulting from the British Blockade. In place since late 1914, the Blockade kept even neutrals from delivering food and other essentials to Germany. Before the Blockade was lifted in 1919, somewhere between 500,000 and 800,000 German civilians would die from starvation and from the effects of nutritional shortages on other conditions. Adding indirect deaths influenced by nutritional privation adds many more to the total (see the excellent analysis of the Blockade by David A. Janicki, as well as Ralph Raico’s detailed review of the classic book on the subject by C. Paul Vincent).

The dynamics of the Blockade intensified among the belligerents the importance of future American decisions. In order to survive the war, Britain had to control the seas. In order to survive the war, Germany had to eat. But at the same time, Germany had to avoid bringing the world’s most powerful economy into the conflict. Unlimited submarine warfare was the most likely way to break the Blockade and eat. But German statesman expressly feared that this step would bring the United States into the war. (See the minutes of a top-level German meeting on the issue of unlimited submarine warfare from August 1916.)

Meanwhile, the one obvious solution to the war — namely, ending it — seemed out of the question. Both sides desired any help they could get, but both sides had turned down offers of mediation, truce, and negotiations, all of these attempts foundering on the acquisitive territorial aims and financial obligations of one belligerent or the other.

One important note: the weather impacted home and battle fronts. The winter of 1916/17 was one of the coldest in memory. The impact on the hungry German home front was immense — this was the terrible “turnip winter,” so-called because turnips were about the only home-grown food available to many. But the soldiers on all sides found the cold almost unbearable as well, misery in the trenches and encampments did not bode well for the future will to fight in any army.

Quite clearly, momentous American decisions were crucial to the future course of the war.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

18:33 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, états-unis, première guerre mondiale, 1917 | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mercredi, 01 février 2017

Septembre 1955 : pogrom contre les Grecs d’Istanbul


Septembre 1955 : pogrom contre les Grecs d’Istanbul

Par Erich Körner-Lakatos

Le souvenir de septembre 1955 est un souvenir d’horreur pour tous ceux qui se revendiquent « Rhoméens » ou « Romains », c’est-à-dire descendants des habitants autochtones de la ville de Constantinople, capitale et point focal de l’Empire romain d’Orient. Ces Grecs sont environ 150.000 et vivent autour de leur chef spirituel, le Patriarche Œcuménique de Phanar, le quartier nord-ouest de l’actuelle Istanbul. Les Turcs les appellent les « Roums ».

En l’espace d’une seule génération, les Grecs de la capitale ottomane ont subi des changements considérables de statut. Pendant la première guerre mondiale, ils ont risqué de subir le même sort que les Arméniens. Comme de notoriété, le ministre ottoman de l’intérieur Mehmed Talaat Pacha avait ordonné l’élimination totale des Arméniens en avril 1915, ce peuple de négociants et d’artisans qui, selon les écrits mêmes du ministre, « auraient sapé les fondements de l’Etat ottoman depuis des siècles ». Les autorités ottomanes soupçonnent ces Caucasiens de sympathiser avec les Russes et d’être prêts à collaborer avec eux, au cas où ils débouleraient dans l’Empire ottoman et le vaincraient.

Mais les « Rhoméens » en furent quitte pour la peur, au contraire des Arméniens et des Grecs du Pont (les habitants orthodoxes de la côte méridionale de la Mer Noire). En août 1922, Atatürk bat les armées grecs entrées en Anatolie, provoquant ce que l’on appelle à Athènes la « Grande Catastrophe ». Les « Rhoméens », une nouvelle fois, craignent le pire. Leur sort est effectivement incertain. Mais ils y échappent : le Traité de Lausanne comporte une clause prévoyant un échange de populations : 1,5 millions de Grecs d’Anatolie deviennent du coup des apatrides. Les négociateurs du Traité parviennent à un accord : selon l’article 40, les 70.000 « Rhoméens » de Constantinople peuvent rester dans la grande ville.

Fin 1942, début 1943, les Grecs sont visés par une loi spéciale concoctée par le successeur d’Atatürk, Ismet Inönü. Foulant aux pieds le principe kémaliste de la laïcité, le gouvernement turc impose une rétrocession sur la fortune pour tous les citoyens non musulmans, la fameuse « Varlik Vergisi ». Ceux qui ne parviennent pas à verser la somme exigée au bout de deux semaines, voit ses biens et ses propriétés saisis par l’Etat.

En 1955, ce fut pire encore. Istanbul compte alors à peu près un million d’habitants, dont un peu plus que cent mille « Rhoméens ». En plus de cette population grecque et orthodoxe, on trouve dans la ville d’autres groupes ethno-religieux, tels les juifs espagnols et les Arméniens qui, malgré les atrocités qu’ils ont subies, n’ont pas voulu quitter leur ville d’origine. A ces deux minorités, s’ajoutent quelques milliers de Russes fidèles au Tsar. En effet, en novembre 1920, quand la guerre civile russe se terminait, les résidus des armées blanches, battues, commandées par un général d’origine allemande, Peter Wrangel, avaient abandonné la Crimée à bord de navires de guerre français, qui mouillaient à Sébastopol. Une partie de ces réfugiés s’étaient définitivement fixés à Constantinople. Les autres avaient pris le chemin de l’exil, principalement vers la France.  

Que s’est-il passé à la fin de l’été 1955 ?

Le 5 septembre, des camions amènent des hommes jeunes et vigoureux dans la vieille cité grecque, dominée par la Haghia Sophia. Sans se faire remarquer, ces hommes, en apparence anodins, se dirigent vers les quartiers abritant les commerces et les ateliers des minorités. Le lendemain, tous les journaux turcs répandent la nouvelle d’un attentat à la bombe contre la maison natale d’Atatürk à Salonique. La radio d’Etat confirme la nouvelle à 13 h. Les émotions vont crescendo. Puis, tout d’un coup, des bâtons amenés le matin sont distribués dans les mains des émeutiers potentiels. Ils passent à l’action : ils brisent les vitrines des magasins grecs, molestent violemment les boutiquiers qui protestent. En hurlant, ils pénètrent dans les magasins, cassent tout et jettent les débris dans les rues. L’artère commerçante d’Istiklal est particulièrement touchée. Les bandes de sauvages brandissent des drapeaux turcs. Les pillards profitent de l’occasion. Tous manient le gourdin. On tire la barbe des moines orthodoxes, on les traînent dans les rues en les battant. On en brûle un vif : il avait plus de 90 ans.


La police n’intervient nulle part. Certes, des Turcs, habitant Istanbul depuis des générations, aident leurs concitoyens orthodoxes, les cachent, surtout les femmes et les jeunes filles. Il faut attendre minuit pour que les premiers détachements de la police se manifestent et arrêtent des fanatiques, occupés à déterrer les corps des anciens patriarches pour les profaner.

Bilan des troubles de la journée : seize morts, entre 20 et 30 blessés graves, des centaines de viols, 73 églises profanées, 4383 commerces dévastés, plus d’un millier de maisons détruites.

Le gouvernement du premier ministre Menderes décrète que cette colère populaire a été la réponse à l’attentat de Salonique. Il a fallu attendre des années pour que la vérité se fasse connaître, ainsi que le confirme le général Sabri Yirmibesoglu, président d’une « Commission spéciale de guerre » : les événements des 6 & 7 septembre 1955 relèvent de la responsabilité des autorités turques.

Une série de faits s’avèrent toutefois frappante : les responsables initiaux des incidents dont les chrétiens furent victimes sont tous morts de mort violente. L’ancien ministre de l’intérieur de l’Empire ottoman, Talaat Pacha, qui s’était exilé à Berlin, est assassiné à coups de couteau par un Arménien. Quant au premier ministre turc Menderes, qui avait manigancé le progrom de septembre 1955, le bourreau lui passera la corde au cou : il avait été condamné à mort le 15 septembre 1961. L’exécution eut lieu deux jours plus tard.

Erich Körner-Lakatos,

Article paru dans « zur Zeit », Vienne, n°4/2017. Site : http://www.zurzeit.at .


Face au pogrom antigrec, quelle fut la réaction de Washington ?

La Turquie n’avait pas à craindre de sanctions de la part du monde occidental car Washington demeurait pour elle un allié fidèle. Après la seconde guerre mondiale, les Américains aident le pays et s’opposent à la volonté de Staline d’annexer la région de Kars (que Lénine avait cédée à Atatürk en 1921). En effet, en avril 1946, le gouvernement des Etats-Unis envoie à Istanbul le puissant navire de guerre USS Missouri, navire amiral de la flotte américaine en Méditerranée. Ankara paiera sa dette pendant la guerre de Corée. La Turquie est l’un des seize pays qui enverront des troupes dans le sud de la Corée. Le plus petit contingent fut celui du Luxembourg : 85 hommes. La brigade turque était forte de 5000 hommes sous le commandement du Général Tahzin Yazici. Elle avait débarqué à Pusan en octobre 1950. Elle s’est très bien battue. Lors d’une bataille, les Américains et les Britanniques se replient dès qu’une vague impressionnante de volontaires communistes chinois passe à l’attaque. Les Turcs, eux, ne cèdent pas. Ils fixent leurs baïonnettes aux canons de leurs fusils et se lancent à l’assaut. Le Général Douglas MacArthur chante leurs louanges : « Les Turcs sont l’incarnation de l’héroïsme ». 765 soldats turcs sont tombés au combat en Corée. 5247 d’entre eux ont été blessés ou portés disparus. Le 18 février 1952, la Turquie devient membre de l’OTAN, envers et contre l’avis des Grecs et de leurs protecteurs britanniques. Le Danemark aussi s’était prononcé contre l’adhésion turque. Motif : la dynastie grecque est d’origine danoise. D’où l’alliance entre Athènes et Copenhague.

EKL (réf. Supra).


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jeudi, 26 janvier 2017

Jansénisme: Conférence de Marion Sigaut à Amiens


Les origines du jansénisme

Conférence de Marion Sigaut à Amiens

E&R Picardie recevra Marion Sigaut le samedi 28 janvier 2017 à 15h à Amiens pour une conférence intitulée « Les origines du jansénisme ».

Réservations : conference.picardie@hotmail.com

Entrée : 5 euros.

Retrouvez Marion Sigaut chez Kontre Kulture :


dimanche, 22 janvier 2017

Come ha perso la Russia un intero continente


Come ha perso la Russia un intero continente


Pochi sanno che circa trecento anni fa, la Russia, aveva la possibilità di diventare l'unica potenza del mondo, estendendosi su due continenti.

Diverse spedizioni lungo tutto l'Impero avevano portato a conquistare vari possedimenti in un altro continente: erano l'Alaska, le isole Aleutine, l'arcipelago Alexander, la fortezza di Elisabetta alle Hawaii ed il famoso Fort Ross della California. Perché la Russia ha perso queste ricchezze?

Nel 1648 Semen Dedznev organizzò una spedizione per l'esplorazione di nuove rotte marittime. Un gruppo di coraggiosi marinai, che presero il largo dalle coste della Siberia, dopo breve tempo, incapparono letteralmente nelle coste americane. A causa della costa rocciosa, una delle scialuppe naufragò, ma fu proprio lì che Dedznev decise di fondare il primo insediamento russo, Kingovej.

Dopo un secolo, il mercante di Irkutsk Gregorij Shelichov decise di ritentare l'impresa di Dedznev, ponendo come obiettivo finale della spedizione, la creazione di un saldo fortino, da cui sarebbe stato possibile partire per esplorare tutta la zona circostante. Il 14 agosto 1784 la flotta delle tre navi, chiamate "i Tre santi", "San Simeone" e "San Michael", raggiunse l'Alaska. Dopo quattro anni di insediamento sull'isola Kodiak, il luogo ricevette ufficialmente il nome di Porto Pavlovskij.

Nel 1799 lì fu fondata la prima città destinata a diventare la Capitale russa d'America. Il primo gruppo di coloni era costituito da 200 russi e 1000 aleuti, che dopo poco si abituarono a chiamare Novo Archangelsk casa.

Nel 1810 in California i possedimenti erano vari e ne approfittò il visionario ricercatore russo Ivan Kuskov. Comprò parte della terra formalmente spagnola dagli abitanti indiani. L'11 settembre del 1812 Kuskov pose la prima pietra della famosa fortezza di Ross, primo avamposto russo più meridionale in Nord America. I primi inquilini del suo insediamento fortificato furono 95 russi e 80 indiani. Con una convenzione anglo-russa del 1825 furono regolati i confini britannici e russi sul continente. Per comodità fu scelta la dorsale delle Montagne Rocciose, che si estendeva per vaste aree deserte. Per ragioni ancora sconosciute, i russi non hanno mai rischiato di attraversare l'altra parte delle montagne, dove per mezzo secolo le vaste pianure non furono attraversate da alcun colono.

Nel gennaio 1841 la fortezza di Ross fu acquistata da John Sutter, intelligente e lungimirante imprenditore americano, successivamente soprannominato "imperatore della California". Allora la resa è stata incondizionata e la Russia ha ufficialmente dichiarato la perdita di interesse per una zona così importante geopoliticamente. Gli storici ancora oggi dibattono strenuamente sulle cause di vendita dell'Alaska. In un modo o nell'altro, nel 1867 il Governo americano acquistò tutta l'Alaska per 7 200 000 dollari. Ed è così che è finita la storia dei russi che hanno perso la loro occasione di estendersi su due o tre continenti.


vendredi, 13 janvier 2017

"The Holy Roman Empire" with Peter H. Wilson


"The Holy Roman Empire" with Peter H. Wilson

Rana Mitter reads a new history of the Holy Roman Empire written by Chichele Professor of History Peter H. Wilson.

Darío Fernández-Morera, author of 'The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise'


Darío Fernández-Morera, author of 'The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise'

Focus Today

Darío Fernández-Morera, author of the new book, The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain, explains why President Obama is wrong to say that Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.

Originally aired on theDove TV & Radio 3-10-16
See more at http://thedove.us and http://facebook.com/thedoveonline


An Ancient Route Rolls On: Questions For Peter Frankopan, Author Of 'The Silk Roads'


An Ancient Route Rolls On: Questions For Peter Frankopan, Author Of 'The Silk Roads'

The Silk Roads, A New History of the World, by Peter Frankopan, Hardcover, 645 pages, purchase
Ex: http://www.npr.org 

frankopan.jpgThe very mention of the Silk Roads creates an instant image: camel caravans trudging through the high plains and deserts of central Asia, carrying silks, spices and philosophies to Europe and the larger Mediterranean. And while these ancient routes may remain embedded in our imagination, they have, over the past few centuries, slowly faded inIMPORTANCE. The region today is home to despotic regimes, failing states and endless conflict. But historian Peter Frankopan thinks that the Silk Roads "are rising again."

In his new book, The Silk Roads, Frankopan has created something that forces us to sit up and reconsider the world and the way we've always thought about it. Western scholarship, he argues, has long ignored the routes linking Europe to the Pacific, the areas he calls "the axis on which the globe spun." So he has chosen to focus firmly on the Silk Roads, for what he calls "a new history of the world."

The book takes us by surprise right from the start: It begins not with the Greeks or the Romans, but with the Persian Empire — Frankopan writes that the Greeks and Romans, when they thought to expand, moved east toward the riches of Persia, rather than north or west into Europe. In an email conversation, Frankopan tells me that he wanted to explore exchange between the East and the West of everything from ideas and beliefs to food andFASHION. "Incidentally, it's not just luxury goods that I track — silks, textiles, spices, ceramics and slaves — but violence and disease, too," he says. "For example, the pathways followed by the Mongols and the Black Death were identical."

As you worked on this book, what struck you as the most important contributions the Silk Roads made to world history?

One thing that I was particularly interested in is the spread of faith along the Silk Roads. All the great global religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as lots of otherIMPORTANT but less well-known belief systems — spread along the web of routes crisscrossing the spine of Asia.

I was also very struck by the scale of the white slave trade in the early Middle Ages — huge numbers of men, women and children were trafficked from Europe to the east in return for silver. I think readers will be surprised by that. But most of all is the fact that the Silk Roads keep on being involved all the time in more or less everything: they play the lead role in the expeditions of Columbus, who was trying to connect to the trade routes of the east; they were crucial to the origins of World War I — whose origins were firmly based in Asia, even though the trigger came from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

There is a profound significance to the origins of the Holocaust, too, for example: Documents relating to German agricultural production and needs show that the decision to invade the Soviet Union was closely linked to taking control of the wheat fields of the rich lands lying north of the Black and Caspian Seas. The failure to "extract" the expected harvests from what is now Ukraine and Southern Russia led to discussions first about how to feed back in German controlled territories and then about who to feed. Those in prison camps found their calories reduced and then cut altogether; the jump to genocide was directly linked to the failure of the campaigns in the east.

We just don't look at this region at all — so have never thought to join up all these dots before.

You write, "We are seeing the signs of the world's center of gravity shifting — back to where it lay for millennia." But some argue that the world's center is shifting not toward the Silk Roads but farther East — toward China, Southeast Asia and India.

I can't speak for those who believe that the center of gravity is moving elsewhere. Many seem to think China and/or India exist in a bubble and can be looked at on their own. But I am much more interested in how China engages with Russia, with Iran, with the Middle East and with Central Asia — as well as with Southeast Asia. And that, by the way, is how China itself sees the world. China's signature foreign policy for the next 30 years is ... essentially the construction of a series of new Silk Roads.

China has dramatically rising energy needs as its middle classes grow in number and prosperity. So pipelines bringing oil and gas from mineral-rich countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran have been or are being built to help fuel China's growth. And as a historian, it gives me no small pleasure to realize that those pipelines follow the same paths that traders bringing goods followed 2 1/2 thousand years ago.

Nishant Dahiya is NPR's Asia Editor

jeudi, 12 janvier 2017

Die Konvention von Tauroggen - Gehorsamsverweigerung aus Liebe zum Vaterland


Die Konvention von Tauroggen - Gehorsamsverweigerung aus Liebe zum Vaterland


Hunderttausende bluten für Napoleons Russlandfeldzug

Preußens Niederlage bei Jena und Auerstedt markierte das vorläufige Ende der Souveränität des Staates, welcher in kurz darauf vollständig von Frankreich besiegt wurde und unter die Herrschaft von Napoleon kam. Nach dem Frieden von Tilsit wurde das Königreich in seiner Ausdehnung kurzerhand halbiert und die Grande Armée marschierte siegreich durch Berlin, während das Königshaus von Preußen den Rückzug in die beschnittenen Gebiete im Osten antreten musste. Die Demütigungen, wie beispielsweise der Diebstahl der Quadriga vom Brandenburger Tor, enden nicht mit symbolischen Akten. Anders als die Rheinstaaten im Rheinbund, welche auf Napoleons Seite standen und dessen Monarchen von ihm profitierten, leistete Preußen lange Widerstand. Sowohl rhetorischen als auch militärischen. Für diese Impertinenz sollte es büßen, so wollte es Bonaparte.  Für die nationalen Kräfte in den deutschen Landen war die Unterjochung durch Frankreich nicht hinnehmbar. Heinrich Friedrich Karl von und zum Stein, Carl von Clausewitz, Gerhard von Scharnhorst und andere preußische Reformer, die man den aufklärerischen und nationalen Kräften zuordnen könnte, waren wenig angetan von der Unterordnung unter die französische Kaiserkrone. Es folgte die innere Erneuerung Preußens, sowohl die kulturelle als auch die technologische und zivilgesellschaftliche. Nicht alle Ideen der französischen Revolution wurden östlich des Rheins abgelehnt oder für schlecht befunden. Der springende Punkt war der Frondienst, den man als Deutscher plötzlich zu leisten hatte. Gegenüber einem Staat und Kaiser, den man weder kannte noch liebte. Napoleons Streitkräfte schlugen nach Preußen auch die Österreicher und alsbald wandte er seinen Blick auf das gigantische Russland, welches immer noch als die letzte kontinentale Großmacht gegen Napoleon stand. Wenn Russland besiegt worden wäre, gäbe es keine Macht mehr in Europa die dem französischen Kaiser Paroli hätte bieten können. Das französische Imperium würde dann vom Atlantik bis zum Ural reichen. Oder noch weiter.

Im Jahr 1812 überquerten die Streitkräfte Napoleons die Memel. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt bestehen die Truppen des Kaisers nicht mehr nur aus Franzosen, sondern zur Hälfte aus Polen, Deutschen, Italiener, Balkanvölkern und anderen Hilfstruppen, welche er aus allen eroberten Gebieten zusammengerufen hatte. Die genauen Zahlen sind heute Gegenstand der Debatte. Aber etwa ein Drittel der fast 700.000 Soldaten waren deutschsprachige Landeskinder aus Preußen, Württemberg, Bayern, Sachsen, Österreich, Baden und anderen deutschen Landen, wo die Ablehnung gegenüber Napoleon nicht zuletzt wegen der zehrenden Kampagne im Osten immer größer wurde. Man muss das im historischen Kontext betrachten. Preußen und die meisten anderen europäischen Staaten hatten bereits mehrere Jahre Krieg hinter sich und eine ganze Generation von Männern und auch Frauen war im Rahmen dieser Kriege verletzt, getötet oder anders geschädigt worden. Große Teile der mitteleuropäischen Staaten waren von Schlachten verwüstet und vom Durchmarsch der französischen Armee ausgeplündert worden. Napoleons Truppen bedienten sich auf ihrem Weg durch Europa stets im Umland und erpressten, kauften oder plünderten, um sich zu versorgen. Das war eine gängige Praxis zu dieser Zeit und auch in späteren Kriegen. Viele Familien in den deutschen Staaten hatten mehrere Söhne bereits in den Krieg (egal welchen) gegeben und nicht wenige bliebe auf dem Schlachtfeld. Es ist umso leichter die Ressentiments zu verstehen, wenn das Hinterland das französische Heer weiterhin wirtschaftlich unterstützen muss. Vor allem da es gegen Russland ging, den man eigentlich zu den deutschen Verbündeten zählte. Der preußische König schrieb hierzu am Vorabend des Russlandfeldzuges einen Brief an den Zaren mit dem Inhalt : „Beklagen Sie mich, aber verdammen Sie mich nicht. Vielleicht kommt bald die Zeit, wo wir in engem Bunde vereint handeln werden.

Auch im preußischen Offizierskorps war die Stimmung eher gedrückt. Als gute und treue Soldaten fühlten sich Offiziere wie Ludwig York von Wartenburg ihrem Eid und Herren verpflichtet. Dieser war der preußische König, von dem jedoch alle wussten, dass dieser nicht Befehle im Interesse der Deutschen oder Preußens gab, sondern reiner Befehlsempfänger Napoleons war. Der Verlust deutscher und preußischer Souveränität war den Männern im Felde also durchaus bewusst. Preußen war dem französischen Kaiser verpflichtet – gegen seinen Willen und gegen den Willen des Volkes, welches sich in den preußischen, aber auch in den westlich der Elbe liegenden anderen deutschen Ländereien immer wieder gegen französische Besatzungstruppen erhob. Die Zeit von 1807-1812 war durchweg geprägt von sporadisch aufflammenden kleinen Konflikten innerhalb des gigantischen, von Napoleon eroberten Europas. Die teils sehr blutigen Auseinandersetzungen waren kein Geheimnis und nie war die Herrschaft über Europa für Napoleon eine besonders solide Angelegenheit. Dieser Zustand verschlimmerte sich nur, als seine Truppen nach der Erreichung des von den Russen in Brand gesteckten Moskaus den Rückzug antreten mussten. Für den russischen Winter war man nicht vorbereitet. Der Zar nutzte diese Chance um die napoleonische Armee immer wieder in kleine und größere Gefechte zu verwickeln und zu schwächen. Für die Männer im Dienst des französischen Kaisers waren die Monate der Rückzugsgefechte und Eiseskälte demoralisierend, wie wir es uns kaum noch vorstellen können. Während Hunderttausende für Napoleon starben, wurde auch den an ihren Diensteid gebundenen preußischen bzw. deutschen Offizieren etwas klar. Wenn nicht gehandelt wird und keine Befreiung von der Führung Napoleons vollzogen wird, könnte dies das Ende für die eigenen Soldaten und auch für die deutschen Lande bedeuten. Die desaströse Situation, in welcher sich die Grande Armée befand, war nicht mehr zu leugnen und um zu verhindern, dass man mit Napoleons Größenwahn untergehe, fassten einige mutige Männer einen skandalösen Entschluss.

Skandalös und doch treu – Die Entscheidung von York und ihre Implikationen

Der deutschstämmige Generalmajor Hans Karl von Diebitsch diente Zar Alexander und der russischen Armee. Unerwähnt möchte ich nicht lassen, dass ein nicht unerheblicher Teil der russischen Soldaten ebenfalls zumindest teilweise deutscher Sprache und Abstammung waren, sodass nicht ignoriert werden kann, wie nah sich deutsches Preußen und Russland über die Jahrhunderte hinweg standen. Von Diebitsch war der General, welcher am 30. Dezember in Poscherun (heute Litauen), den preußischen York empfing. Im Vorfeld und im Hintergrund hatten bereits jene Verschwörergruppen, zu denen auch Clausewitz, Seydlitz und andere gehörten, an einem ungeheuerlichen Akt des Verrates gearbeitet. Zumindest empfand es Napoleon als einen solchen Verrat, als York den Waffenstillstand zwischen preußischen Korps und russischer Armee unterzeichnete. Es ist insofern ungeheuerlich, dass ein hoher Offizier, also ein Staatsdiener, es wagt die Außenpolitik seines Staates zu bestimmen. York war sich der Konsequenzen und der illegalen Natur seines Handelns voll bewusst, rechtfertigte sich jedoch auf für uns nicht uninteressante Art und Weise. Im Vordergrund stand zunächst die Rettung der eigenen Soldaten. Denn gegenüber diesen hatte York als Kommandeur eine Fürsorgepflicht, die missachten würde, wenn er sie weiterhin durch den russischen Winter auf französischer Seite trieb, während russische Truppen die seinen von hinten beschossen. Das Leben der eigenen Soldaten zu retten hatte also Gewicht bei seiner Entscheidungsfindung. Danach kommt die Verantwortung vor dem Staat und dem König. York argumentiert so, dass er im erweiterten Sinne des Königs gehandelt habe, der das Bündnis mit Napoleon zutiefst ablehne, aber jetzt aufgrund der Lage nicht anders handeln könne. Da sich die Lage aber an der Front zum Nachteil für Napoleon entwickelt habe, sei nun der Moment gekommen, das Bündnis aufzukündigen und Preußens Unabhängigkeit wiederherzustellen. Er sagte :

„Die Armee will den Krieg gegen Frankreich. Das Volk will ihn, der König will ihn, aber der König hat keinen freien Willen. Die Armee muss ihm diesen Willen freimachen.“

Für ihn ist klar, dass wenn Preußen Napoleon weiterhin folgt, seine Auslöschung als politische und unabhängige Einheit bald darauf eintreten könnte. Dass Napoleon verlieren würde, war also absehbar und ebenso, dass die Sieger über Napoleon darüber bestimmen würden, was mit den Besiegten geschah. Hier erkenne ich einen Dienstethos, der sowohl edel, als auch treu ist.  York erkennt, dass jeder weitere Kampf gegen Russland sinnlos ist und nur mit dem Tod enden kann. Die Freiheit und das Überleben Preußens und damit auch ein Stück deutsche Souveränität sind ihm wichtig. Seine Loyalität gegenüber Napoleon basiert auf einem Kontrakt, den sein König unter Zwang unterzeichnen musste und welcher nicht im Sinne des deutschen Volkes ist. York beruft sich bei seinem Verrat also darauf, dass er eben kein Verräter ist. Zumindest verrät er nicht seinen eigentlichen Dienstherren, das Volk. Ähnlich wie Friedrich der Große, der sich als Erster Diener des Volkes sah. So ist auch York als Staatsdiener nur dem obersten Diener und seinem Träger, dem Volk, verpflichtet. Die Verpflichtung gegenüber Napoleon, einem Fremdherrscher, ist für ihn damit nichtig. Eine Loyalität sticht also die andere aus. Obwohl Napoleon theoretisch sein oberster Befehlshaber gewesen wäre, erkennt er dessen Autorität nicht an, da sie nicht mit dem Willen des eigenen Volkes im Einklang steht.

Der preußische König ist zunächst überrascht, sogar ein wenig erbost über die Anmaßung Yorks. Aber dieses Wagnis ist es, welches in Preußen und dann in ganz Europa die Mühlen einer neuen Erhebung anwirft. Beim Bekanntwerden dieses ungeheuerlichen und unerwarteten Bündnisses zwischen preußischen und russischen Soldaten bricht in Norddeutschland und in Ostpreußen eine nationale Widerstandsbewegung hervor, die nur auf diesen Moment gewartet hat. Zar Alexander kann dieses historische Momentum nutzen um Napoleons Truppen aus Russland heraus zu drängen und mit dem preußischen König den alten Bündnisvertrag mit neuem Leben zu erfüllen. Ein Jahr später stehen dann deutsche und russische Soldaten Seite an Seite in der schicksalhaften Konfrontation bei Leipzig.

19:07 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, allemagne, prusse, 1813 | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mercredi, 04 janvier 2017

1944 : le corps expéditionnaire brésilien en Italie


Erich Körner-Lakatos :

1944 : le corps expéditionnaire brésilien en Italie

Plusieurs congrès panaméricains ont eu lieu dans les années 1939 et 1940. Les négociateurs se sont mis d’accord pour respecter le principe de la « solidarité hémisphérique », laquelle consistait en une nouvelle doctrine de Monroe, assortie de l’interdiction de toute menée belliqueuse dans une zone de 300 miles autour du Nouveau Monde. Toute attaque perpétrée par un Etat non américain contre un pays de l’hémisphère occidental serait considérée comme une attaque contre l’ensemble des Etats signataires.

feb.jpgDans la nuit du 22 août 1942, les torpilles d’un sous-marin allemand envoient au fond de la mer cinq vapeurs brésiliens patrouillant le long des côtes. Il y a 610 morts. Quelques heures après ce terrible incident, le Brésil déclare la guerre à l’Allemagne et à l’Italie. Le parallèle avec la première guerre mondiale saute aux yeux. A cette époque-là, en 1917, le torpillage de navires civils, dont le navire amiral de la flotte commerciale brésilienne, le Paranà, par des sous-marins de Guillaume II, fut aussi considéré comme un casus belli par le Brésil.

En déclarant la guerre aux puissances de l’Axe Rome-Berlin, le plus grand Etat d’Amérique latine met un terme à sa politique de neutralité. Dans le fond, le Président brésilien Getùlio Vargas préfèrerait garder son pays hors du conflit. Depuis des mois, cet excellent tacticien évite de faire le jeu des Etats-Unis et fait monter les enchères pour monnayer sa participation à la guerre.

Au Brésil, à l’époque, il y a beaucoup de sympathisants de l’Axe : le chef de l’état-major général, Goes Monteiro et une bonne part du corps des officiers refusent toute participation à la guerre mondiale. Le ministre de la guerre Enrico Gaspar Dutra rejette la proposition américaine de construire des bases sur le territoire brésilien. Dutra parle un langage sans ambigüités : « Si Washington débarque des troupes sans en avoir reçu l’autorisation préalable, les militaires brésiliens ouvriront le feu ».

Vargas, habile tacticien, donne à réfléchir à ses généraux : si le Brésil participe au conflit, des capitaux américains couleront à flot dans le pays, permettant notamment de construire le gigantesque complexe sidérurgique de Volta Redonda dans l’Etat de Rio de Janeiro, ce qui constituera un atout majeur pour le développement futur du Brésil. Grâce à la construction de ce complexe, il sera possible d’exploiter les immenses réserves de minerais de l’intérieur du pays. L’économie brésilienne recevra là un formidable coup de fouet et les 93.000 hommes des forces armées feront l’expérience du combat sur le théâtre des opérations en Europe.

Cette expérience acquise sera de toute première importance face au rival du Brésil, l’Argentine, où un gouvernement militaire intransigeant et favorable à l’Axe maintient le pays dans la neutralité. En effet, il a fallu attendre les toutes dernières semaines de la guerre en Europe pour convaincre enfin Buenos Aires d’envoyer une déclaration de guerre toute formelle à l’Allemagne. Ce sera fait le 27 mars 1945. L’Argentine sera ainsi le dernier pays à avoir déclaré la guerre au Reich. D’autres pays latino-américains avaient déclaré la guerre à Berlin en février 1945, notamment le Venezuela, le 16 février. En revanche, les pays plus inféodés aux Etats-Unis en Amérique centrale et dans les Caraïbes avaient déjà formellement déclaré la guerre aux puissances de l’Axe les 11 et 12 décembre 1941 (Cuba, la République Dominicaine, le Guatemala, le Nicaragua, Haïti, le Costa Rica, le Honduras et El Salvador). Ce qui fut le plus mobilisateur dans ces déclarations de guerre fut bien sûr la possibilité de confisquer les avoirs allemands et italiens.


En entrant en guerre aux côtés des Etats-Unis, Vargas, de figurant instable, se mue automatiquement en un allié important. Même Churchill change d’opinion à son sujet : il le méprisait et le traitait de « caudillo aux petits pieds » ; en un tournemain, il devient le « combattant d’avant-garde de la solidarité panaméricaine ».

En très peu de temps, le Brésil se transforme en l’une des principales bases de ravitaillement et d’approvisionnement des alliés occidentaux. Natal, la ville située sur la pointe extrême-orientale du pays, devient l’aéroport militaire le plus vaste du monde. Le gouvernement de Rio livre des matières premières stratégiques (du fer, du manganèse, du nickel, du zinc) et des quantités impressionnantes de viande et de céréales aux belligérants occidentaux.

Ce ne sera pas tout. Vargas met également des troupes à disposition. Equipé et entraîné par les Anglo-Américains, un contingent s’embarque pour l’Italie entre juin et septembre 1944 et engage le combat aux côtés de la 5ème Armée américaine du Général Clark. La « Força Expeditionària Brasileira » (FEB) sera placée sous les ordres du Général Mascarenhas de Morais et comptera dans ses rangs 25.300 hommes d’infanterie et un escadron de chasseurs de la force aérienne.

La FEB s’est bien battue contre les troupes solidement éprouvées de la Wehrmacht, toutefois après avoir subi des pertes sensibles au début des engagements. A l’automne 1944, l’avance des troupes alliées est bloquée au nord de Florence. Les Allemands se replient et s’arcboutent sur la « Ligne Gothique » entre La Spezia et Rimini et tiennent le front jusqu’à la Pâque 1945.

Les soldats brésiliens passeront l’hiver sur leurs positions dans les Apennins. Le climat est rude pour ces soldats venus des tropiques et la FEB enregistre de nombreuses pertes dues aux gelures. Le 9 avril 1945, les Américains lancent leur contre-offensive du printemps. Les troupes brésiliennes y participent et avancent, lors de la phase finale de la campagne d’Italie, en direction d’Alessandria et de Turin. A la fin du mois d’avril 1945, la 148ème Division d’infanterie de la Wehrmacht se rend aux Brésiliens.

Les combats de la FEB se sont étendus sur huit mois et ont coûté la vie à 454 soldats. 2722 autres ont été blessés. Les morts de ce corps expéditionnaire reposent dans un cimetière militaire à Pistoia, une petite ville de Toscane. Au Brésil, un monument à Rio rappelle leur sacrifice, de même qu’un musée à Curitiba (dans l’Etat de Paranà).

Erich Körner-Lakatos.

(Article paru dans « zur Zeit », Vienne, http://www.zurzeit.at , n°36/2016).


L’Estado Novo de Vargas

Getùlio Dornelles Vargas est arrivé au pouvoir au Brésil en 1930. Fin novembre 1935, les communistes se soulèvent à Rio. Leur rébellion est rapidement anéantie. Le Président n’est pas plus tendre avec l’extrême-droite : les activistes de l’Açao Integralista Brasileira (Action Intégraliste Brésilienne : AIB), vêtus de chemises vertes, essaient en mai 1938 de renverser le président, en prenant son palais d’assaut. Vargas n’admet pas cette rupture de la paix civile, considère que cette rébellion est un affront à sa personne et mate cruellement l’insurrection dirigée par Plinio Salgado, théoricien et animateur du « fascisme intégraliste ».

Le 10 novembre 1937, Vargas proclame, par décret, l’instauration de l’ Estado Novo (l’Etat nouveau), aux traits autoritaires et corporatistes : l’article 180 de la nouvelle constitution admet très nettement le « principe du chef ». Le modèle de Vargas est celui de la mère patrie portugaise, dirigée par Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Il y a néanmoins une différence : Salazar tient son autorité de Dieu, sans fausse modestie. Vargas, lui, dit se contenter de tenir la sienne du peuple.  

Vargas se pose comme un nationaliste brésilien. C’est pourquoi, dès avril 1938, il interdit les activités de la NSDAP allemande à l’étranger qui connaissait un indéniable succès au sein de la minorité allemande. L’Etat nouveau entend « brasilianiser » les immigrants. Tout enseignement en une langue autre que le portugais est interdit pour les enfants de moins de 14 ans. Les autorités reçoivent l’ordre d’éviter toute concentration d’immigrants de même nationalité. Ces mesures concernent également les minorités allemandes dans le sud du pays (EKL).

mardi, 03 janvier 2017





Ex: http://www.ancient.eu 

The Alemanni (also known as the Alamanni and the Alamans, meaning "All Men" or "Men United") were a confederacy of Germanic-speaking people who occupied the regions south of the Main and east of the Rhine rivers in present-day Germany. Many historians claim that the Alemanni first enter the historical record in 213 CE when Cassius Dio records the campaigns of Caracalla and his duplicitous dealings with the Alemanni. It is true that the name "Alemanni" first appears in Cassius Dio but, if one accepts that the Alemanni and the Suebi (or Suevi, who appear in earlier records) were the same (as not all do), then their first mention comes in 98 CE in Tacitus' Germania. They were a constant threat to the Roman Empire from 213 CE until they were defeated by Julian at the Battle of Strasbourg in 357 CE and then again by Valentinian I in 367 CE. After the Battle of Strasbourg, Julian entered into treaties with the Franks of Gaul who were then left alone by Rome. They were able to stabilize their communities and grow in power until, in 496 CE, the Frankish king Clovis conquered the Alemanni tribes and absorbed them into his kingdom. After this, their name lived on in the language of the region they had once inhabited and in the name given to Germany, Allemagne, in French and other languages.



The Roman senator and historian Tacitus (56-117 CE) wrote of the Suevi in the 1st century CE, claiming they controlled the better part of the region known as Germania. He links the Alemanni with the Hermunduri, another Germanic tribe, but this claim has been contested by modern-day scholarship. The Suevi Tacitus depicts sound very much like the later Alemanni, in that they were a confederation of different tribes, which may have even included the Cherusci (famous for their leader Arminius' destruction of Varus' three legions in Teutoburger Wald in 9 CE). Tacitus is the first writer to note the Suevi's distinctive hair styles and religious practices. He writes:

We have now to speak of the Suevi; who do not compose a single state, like the Catti or Tencteri, but occupy the greatest part of Germany and are still distributed into different names and nations, although all hearing the common appellation of Suevi. It is characteristic of this people to turn their hair sideways, and tie it beneath the poll in a knot.

By this mark the Suevi are distinguished from the rest of the Germans; and the freemen of the Suevi from the slaves. Among other nations, this mode, either on account of some relationship with the Suevi, or from the usual propensity to imitation, is sometimes adopted; but rarely, and only during the period of youth.

The Suevi, even till they are hoary, continue to have their hair growing stiffly backwards, and often it is fastened on the very crown of the head. The chiefs dress it with still greater care and in this respect they study ornament, though of an undebasing kind. For their design is not to make love, or inspire it; they decorate themselves in this manner as they proceed to war, in order to seem taller and more terrible; and dress for the eyes of their enemies (Germania, 38).

Regarding religion, Tacitus writes that the Suevi were pagan and seem to have practiced a form of Druidism. Their chiefs were drawn from a tribe in the confederation known as Semnones who also served as high priests:

The Semnones assert themselves to be the most ancient and noble of the Suevi; and their pretensions are confirmed by religion. At a stated time, all the people of the same lineage assemble by their delegates in a wood, consecrated by the auguries of their forefathers and ancient terror, and there by the public slaughter of a human victim celebrate the horrid origin of their barbarous rites. Another kind of reverence is paid to the grove. No person enters it without being bound with a chain, as an acknowledgment of his inferior nature, and the power of the deity residing there. If he accidentally falls, it is not lawful for him to be lifted or to rise up; they roll themselves out along the ground. The whole of their superstition has this import: that from this spot the nation derives its origin; that here is the residence of the Deity, the Governor of all, and that everything else is subject and subordinate to him. These opinions receive additional authority from the power of the Semnones, who inhabit a hundred cantons, and, from the great body they compose, consider themselves as the head of the Suevi (Germania, 39).

The religious practices centered on chthonic locales, then, where a central deity held sway. Rivers, streams, glades, and valleys were often chosen as sacred ground for the energies which manifested themselves in these locales. As with many other ancient civilizations, the Suevi believed the soul had to cross a body of water to reach the afterlife and that the soul lived on after death. Suevi/Alemanni grave excavations have revealed that they were buried fully dressed and with personal items that they would need in the next world. These burial practices continued after they converted to Christianity sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries CE although, of course, their religious practices changed dramatically.


Although the Suevi have been identified with the later Alemanni, historians caution against equating the two without recognizing their differences over the centuries which separate Tacitus' account (98 CE) from Cassius Dio's (c. 229 CE). The scholar Guy Halsall writes, "It is unlikely that the situation which pertained in the mid-first century was at all relevant to the late Roman period. Tacitus' Germania is a minefield probably best avoided [in this regard]" (121). The scholar Peter Heather comments on this also, stating how unified the Alemanni appear in the work of Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 325-391 CE) while, "One of the central points brought home by even the quickest read of Tacitus' Germania is just how fragmented, in political terms, the Germanic world was at that date" (36). It is for this reason that historians usually cite Cassius Dio's account as the first mention of the Alemanni and ignore Tacitus' earlier description of the Suevi.

By the time of Dio's account, the Alemanni were largely Romanized from their long acquaintance with the Romans. Halsall writes how, in the border region of the Danube and the Roman Empire,

some of the Alemanni, who it has been suggested were formed at least partly by the Romans themselves from inhabitants of the agri decumates [a term possibly meaning 10 agricultural regions]and authorised barbarian settlers, occupied former Roman villa sites, such as at Wurmlingen in Baden Wurttemberg (128).

The Alemanni at this time wore Roman attire and emulated Roman social customs. Even so, they were not 'Romans' in the accepted sense of that word and maintained their own language and culture. Therefore, when they asked the emperor Caracalla for help against a neighboring tribe in 213 CE, he saw no reason why he should not conquer them instead. Cassius Dio writes:

Antoninus [Caracalla] made a campaign against the Alamanni and whenever he saw a spot suitable for habitation, he would order, "There let a fort be erected. There let a city be built." And he gave these places names relating to himself, though the local designations were not changed; for some of the people were unaware of the new names and others supposed he was jesting.  Consequently he came to feel contempt for these people and would not spare even them, but accorded treatment befitting the bitterest foes to the very people whom he claimed to have come to help. For he summoned their men of military age, pretending that they were to serve as mercenaries, and then at a given signal — by raising aloft his own shield — he caused them all to be surrounded and cut down, and he sent horsemen round about and arrested all the others (78.13.4).

Whether the Alemanni were particularly hostile to Rome before this is not known, but they became one of Rome's most bitter enemies afterwards.



  • 256 CE: Gregory of Tours (c. 538-594 CE) famously wrote of the Alemanni invasion of Gaul in 256 CE under their king Chrocus. Chrocus led his army across the land, destroying the cities, churches, towns, and slaughtering the inhabitants until he was defeated at Arles and executed. Surviving members of his army were then either killed or absorbed into the Roman ranks as mercenaries.
  • 259 CE: The Alemanni invaded Italy, ravaging the fertile Po Valley, until they were defeated at the Battle of Mediolanum by a Roman force led by emperor Gallienus.
  • 268 CE: The Battle of Benacus was fought in 268/269 CE between the emperor Claudius II (supported by the later Emperor Aurelian) and the Alemanni. The Alemanni, allied with the Juthungi, invaded northern Italy and were met at Benacus by the Roman forces. The Romans again decisively defeated the Alemanni, killing most of them and scattering the rest.
  • 271 CE: The Alemanni and Juthungi again invaded Italy, while the emperor Aurelian was busy repulsing Vandals on the Danube frontier. He marched his forces to meet the Alemanni threat but was ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Placentia. This defeat resulted in widespread panic throughout Rome, as the Juthungi marched toward the city which had no sizeable force to protect it. Aurelian regrouped, however, and chased the Juthungi, finally meeting them at the Battle of Fano where he defeated them completely, driving them into the Metaurus River where many of them drowned. The surviving Juthungi then sued for a peace which Aurelian rejected. He pursued them and their Alemanni allies and destroyed most of the force at the Battle of Pavia. Those Alemanni who survived were hunted down and killed trying to escape back home through the province of Raetia. Although he had stopped the invasion and destroyed the enemy, Aurelian recognized the need for better defenses for Rome and so ordered a new and stronger wall built around the city.
  • 298 CE: The emperor Constantius defeated the Alemanni twice at the Battle of Lingones and then again at the Battle of Vindonissa.
  • 356 CE: Julian, commanding his first military force (prior to becoming emperor), was surprised and defeated by the Alemanni at the Battle of Reims.
  • 357 CE: Julian defeated the Alemanni at the Battle of Strasbourg, completely overwhelming their forces and capturing one of their most important leaders, Chnodomar (also known as Chnodomarius) who had mobilized the Alemanni for battle and led them from the front. Although Julian's victory subdued the Alemanni and allowed him to march into Germania, re-build and garrison Roman forts, and force tribute from the tribes, it did not destroy the Alemanni or disperse them. Peter Heather writes:

The defeat of Chnodomarius did not mean the total destruction of the alliance at whose head he had stood, as the defeats of his first-century counterparts such as Arminius and Maroboduus had done three centuries before. Not only were many of the lesser Alamannic kings who had participated in the battle left in place by Julian's diplomacy, but, within a decade of the battle, a new pre-eminent leader, Vadomarius, was worrying the Romans. He was skillfully removed by assassination, but then a third appeared in his place: Macrinus. Ammianus records three separate attempts by one of Julian's successors, Valentinian I, to eliminate Macrinus by capture and/or assassination, but eventually, pressed by events further east, the emperor gave in. Roman and Alamann met in the middle of the Rhine for a water-borne summit, where the emperor acknowledged Macrinus' pre-eminence among the Alamanni. Unlike in the first century, even major military defeat was not enough to destroy the larger Alamannic confederation (40-41).

alemanni1.jpgThe "major military defeat" Heather refers to is not only the Battle of Strasbourg but the later Battle of Solicinium in 367 CE, in which Valentinian I defeated the Alemanni in the southwestern region of Germany. Even though he was victorious, the Alemanni were by no means broken and were still a formidable force some 80 years later when they joined the forces of Attila the Hun and took part in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains against the Romans under Flavius Aetius in 451 CE. Even so, the Battle of Strasbourg severely limited their abilities to threaten Rome for years after. The historian Roger Collins writes,

This single battle really turned the tide as far as the Alaman penetration of Gaul was concerned. It broke the Alamannic confederacy of tribes that had largely been built up and held together by the military credibility of Chnodomar, and for the first time enabled the Romans to take the initiative…Threatened with a Roman invasion of their own territory, the Alamans sought a truce (35).

Again, however, it must be noted that the confederacy was not disbanded nor did the Alemanni seem to consider themselves a conquered people.


First Julian, and then Valentinian I, entered into treaties with the confederacy of the people known as the Franks ("the fierce people"). In an effort to maintain the newly restored Roman city of Cologne, Julian blockaded the territory of the Franks, depriving them of much-needed trade goods, until they agreed to his terms. Collins comments on this, writing:

It is notable that Julian made no attempt to penetrate the marshy lands north of the Meuse that the Franks had occupied, and their continuing occupation of this area was tacitly accepted by the Romans. From this small start the subsequent Frankish occupation of all of Gaul would develop. This, it might be said, was `the birth of France'. In 357/8, however, what was achieved was a treaty of federation: Frankish occupation of Roman territory was accepted in return for their helping to defend the region (35).

This arrangement was good for the Franks, who began to steadily flourish, but not as beneficial to the Alemanni. By the time the Alemanni fought alongside the Huns in 451 CE at the Catalaunian Plains, the Franks had become powerful enough to be counted as allies of the Romans under Aetius. The Franks were united under the reign of their first king, Clovis I (466-511 CE), who then expanded the boundaries of Gaul to conquer western Europe. The Alemanni continued to inhabit the region of Germania until they were defeated by Clovis I at the Battle of Tolbiac in 496 CE and were subjugated by the Franks. Afterwards, some were assimilated into Frankish culture and took up residence in Gaul, while others continued to live in their former region under Frankish rule. Their name is remembered today in the Alemannic dialect of German, and the word for 'Germany' (Allemagne, Alemania) in many modern-day languages.


A freelance writer and part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He teaches ancient history, writing, literature, and philosophy.

dimanche, 01 janvier 2017

The Siege of Malta Knights of St John vs Ottoman Empire


The Siege of Malta Knights of St John vs Ottoman Empire

This show looks at the rising Ottoman Empire attempts to conquer all Mediterranean trade routes, but the tiny island of Malta stands in its way. This island is also home to the fiercest knights, the Order of St. John, or Knights Hospitaller. 8,000 Knights and native Maltese fended off approx 48,000 Turkish warriors during the Siege of Malta. After the heroic stand, the capital of Malta is named after the commanding general, Jean de Valette.

The Siege of Malta (also known as the Great Siege of Malta) took place in 1565 when the Ottoman Empire invaded the island, then held by the Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, Knights of Malta, Knights of Rhodes, and Chevaliers of Malta).

The Knights, together with between 400 Maltese men, women and children and approximately 2,000 footsoldiers won the siege, one of the bloodiest and most fiercely contested in history, and one which became one of the most celebrated events in sixteenth-century Europe. Voltaire said, "Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta," and it undoubtedly contributed to the eventual erosion of the European perception of Ottoman invincibility and marked a new phase in Spanish domination of the Mediterranean. The siege was the climax of an escalating contest between a Christian alliance and the Ottoman Empire for control of the Mediterranean, a contest that included Turkish admiral and privateer Dragut's attack on Malta in 1551, and the Ottoman utter destruction of an allied Christian fleet at the Battle of Djerba in 1560.

The number of casualties is in as much dispute as the number of invaders. Balbi gives 35,000 Ottoman deaths, which seems implausible, Bosio 30,000 casualties (including sailors). However modern estimations from military historians using Turkish archives have put the number of casualties at 10,000 from combat and disease, though it is generally agreed that there were likely far more losses amongst the various volunteers and pirates, which the Turkish sources would not have noted. The knights lost a third of their number, and Malta lost a third of its inhabitants. Birgu and Senglea were essentially leveled. Still, 9,000 Christians, most of them Maltese, had managed to withstand a siege of more than four months in the hot summer, despite enduring a bombardment of some 130,000 cannonballs.

Jean De Valette, Grand Master of the knights of Malta, had a key influence in the victory against Ottomans with his example and his ability to encourage and hold together people as one man. This example had a major impact, because the kings of Europe realized that the only way to win against the Ottomans was to stop wars between them and form alliances; the result was the vast union of forces against Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto few years later. Such was the gratitude of Europe for the knights' heroic defense that money soon began pouring into the island, allowing de Valette to construct a fortified city, Valletta, on Mt. Sciberras. His intent was to deny the position to any future enemies. La Valette himself died in 1568 after a hunting trip in Buskett.

The Ottomans never attempted to besiege Malta again. The failure of the siege did nothing to reverse the increasing dominance of Ottoman naval power in the Mediterranean, but in following a string of Christian naval defeats, such as at the Battle of Djerba, it did deny Ottoman forces the strategically vital island base in the centre of the sea which would have allowed them to launch ever deeper strikes into the belly of Europe.

dimanche, 18 décembre 2016

La Luz del Norte por Carlos X. Blanco


La Luz del Norte por Carlos X. Blanco


¿Quién fue realmente el Rey Pelayo?

¿Qué ocurrió en la batalla de Covadonga?

¿Qué acontecimientos vivía la península durante el siglo VIII?


La historiografía tradicional da por establecido y concluido el relato sobre don Pelayo, noble astur que resistió a la conquista de la península Ibérica por los musulmanes, frenó la expansión del Islam en este territorio e inició la dinastía de los reyes asturianos. El asunto, sin embargo, no puede (ni debe) afrontarse desde una perspectiva única, la que sitúa a Pelayo como figura épica providencial que tras derrotar a los ejércitos africanos en Roncesvalles da inicio a la saga de nuestra Reconquista.

Carlos X. Blanco ha elegido la versión de don Pelayo, muy extendida y bastante plausible, de la Crónica Albeldense, conciliándola con la leyenda que lo traslada a Tierra Santa para huir de las intrigas de Witiza, sobre quien recaían sospechas de haber urdido la muerte de Favila, padre de nuestro protagonista. Adscrito a una sociedad iniciática fuertemente cohesionada por la fe cristiana y el convencimiento legitimista de la civilización hispano-romana, Pelayo vuelve a Hispania (el regresado del mar), e inicia su aventura, la diplomacia, la guerra y los dramáticos juegos del poder, hasta convertirse en adalid de la resistencia contra el Islam y primus inter pares entre la nobleza goda y astur.

José Vicente Pascual (escritor)



Carlos X. Blanco. Autor de La luz del norte. Pelayo, revisitado


Escrito por Lupercio González  

Ex: http://fuionasturias.com  

Es asturianista declarado, y va más allá: se considera covadonguista. 'Y no me avergüenzo. Cuando voy a Covadonga, reconozco mi identidad en aquella cascada y aquella gruta'. Como niño asturiano, se familiarizó con el mito de Pelayo y el inicio de la Reconquista. Como adulto, ha querido recrear aquellos escenarios y hechos históricos, rindiendo su particular homenaje al héroe astur.
Foto: Fusión Asturias


-¿Por qué volver a contar la historia de don Pelayo?

-Me pareció justo, casi un deber, recrear esta figura que es muy desconocida entre los propios asturianos, y muchas veces no se toma ni en serio. Los historiadores han discutido mucho, que si era un noble godo, que si era astur... pero más allá de ese enigma, es fascinante lo que siempre se consideró su gesta: defender esta patria de un invasor extranjero. Así que la novela está enfocada como una especie de tributo a un héroe muy nuestro, asturiano y español, que fue un liberador al margen de cualquier ideología.

-¿Por qué La luz del norte?

-En los primeros capítulos se cuenta como esas fuerzas extranjeras dominaban, saqueaban, esclavizaban... Hispania entera estaba en una gran oscuridad, y en un país remoto, muy mal comunicado, se abre una luz de esperanza, un proyecto de futuro. Eso fue la batalla de Covadonga. En realidad no debió de ser más que una pequeña escaramuza, pero ahí el reino asturiano puso el freno a una pretensión de imperio mundial, algo que el islam tenía y tiene.

"Los que hemos estudiado la cultura y la lengua asturiana también somos culpables del mal momento actual. No hemos sabido transmitir un mensaje de autoestima y conocimiento"

-¿Cuánto de invención y cuánto de narración histórica hay en esta novela?

-Bueno, tenemos unas crónicas de la época muy parcas en información, así que yo parto de los datos históricos, pero también he incluido aventuras de mi propia cosecha: hay batallas, persecuciones, incluso algún elemento fantástico. En realidad tenemos muy pocos testimonios arqueológicos, e incluso hay quien desprecia la batalla de Covadonga como una leyenda. ¡Pero es que la leyenda es realidad para nosotros! A todo niño asturiano se le ha hablado de Covadonga, siempre se le ha hecho revivir lo que ahí pasó.

-No sólo con esta novela, usted siempre se ha movido en terrenos asturianistas, ¿Cómo percibe que se trata lo astur hoy en día?

-Pésimamente. Estamos en un momento crítico en el que o dejamos de tener conciencia colectiva como asturianos, o nos rearmamos para que permanezca al menos un rescoldo. Y, desde luego, los que hemos estudiado la cultura y la lengua asturiana también somos culpables. Lo hemos hecho fatal, no hemos sabido transmitir un mensaje de autoestima y conocimiento no de nuestros tópicos, sino de nuestra verdadera historia y nuestras raíces.
Esto no tiene que ver con ninguna ideología: ser asturianista no es ser de izquierdas ni de derechas, ser independentista o dejar de serlo. Es amar a tu patria, y eso implica investigar, conocer, transmitir ese amor a tus hijos.

-Sin embargo, se publica mucho sobre temas relacionados con lo asturiano. ¿Es un baremo fiable?

-No, porque en un mundo editorial muy falso, que depende de la subvención, se forman círculos cerrados de personas subvencionables. Hay un exceso de pedantería y una especie de cultismo de escribir sólo para unos críticos que te van a ser favorables ya a priori. El error es escribir para un grupo reducido, sin abrirse a ese pueblo asturiano que tiene pocos libros, revistas, documentales, actividades que le permitan reencontrarse con su identidad.

-¿Haría falta un nuevo Pelayo?

-Más que una figura individual, debería crearse un sujeto colectivo. Ni si quiera sería imprescindible que fuera político, pero sí que hubiera un grupo ilustrado, como en la época de Jovellanos, que supiera transmitir a sus hijos y a su entorno ese amor por lo propio, esa autoestima que estamos perdiendo.
En ese sentido, sería importante no dejarse llevar por un nacionalismo falso, porque a partir de la creación del estado de las autonomías en España se ha tendido a crear una especie de disfraz de identidad regional, que no es real. Es como cuando uno va disfrazado con el traje regional, que muchas veces no se corresponde con la verdadera indumentaria que habría que investigar y recuperar.

09:49 Publié dans Histoire, Livre, Livre | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : don pelayo, wisigoths, asturies, espagne, reconquista, histoire, livre | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 10 décembre 2016

Why Did Japan Choose a Suicidal War in 1941?


Seven decades after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor some truth is finally beginning to emerge from the miasma of propaganda that still clouds our vision of World War II.

It seems clear by now that President Franklin Roosevelt’s White House knew from deciphered  codes that Japan was planning an attack on America’s key naval base in Hawaii. Shamefully, the senior US Navy and Army commanders at Pearl Harbor were not informed of the impending attack. The US Navy’s three aircraft carriers were coincidentally moved far from harm’s way before the attack, leaving only obsolescent World War I battleships in port as sitting ducks.

Roosevelt was eager to get the United States into war against Germany at all costs. But Americans wanted no part of Europe’s war, recalling how British propaganda had deceived America into World War I. The single largest ethnic group in America was of German origin.  In the 1880’s, my native New York City was the third most populous German city on earth after Berlin and Hamburg.

Roosevelt, whose sympathies lay far to the left in spite of his patrician background, understood that only a surprise attack would provoke Americans into war.

At the time, the US supplied 80% of Japan’s oil, 100% of its aviation fuel, and much of its metal. Roosevelt demanded Japan vacate China that it had invaded, or face an embargo of these vital strategic materials on which Japan’s industry depended. Japan’s fascist military government refused, as Washington knew it would. A US embargo ensued.

jappilot.jpgJapan had a one-year strategic reserve of oil.  Its stark choice was either run out of oil, fuel, and scrap steel over 12 months or go to war while it still had these resources. The only other potential source of oil for Japan was the distant Dutch East Indies, today Indonesia.

In 1991, then US President George H.W. Bush claimed that the US had a right to go to war with Iraq to assure its supply of oil.

Japan’s leading naval strategist, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, gloomily predicted before Pearl Harbor that Japan was going to war for oil and would be defeated because of it. He was absolutely correct.  America was ten times more powerful than Japan and had a huge industrial capacity.

It was a suicidal war for Japan in all aspects.  Japan’s powerful army, deployed to occupy China and perhaps fight the Soviet Union,  cared nothing for the Pacific.  By contrast, the  Imperial Japanese Navy had no interest in China.  Its goal was the conquest of the oil-rich Dutch East Indies, British-ruled Malaya,  French-ruled Indo-China and the US-ruled Philippines and Pacific territories.  Making matters worse,  Japan’s navy and army ran separate wars, without any coordination, unified industrial policy or common strategy – in short, two different wars for a nation that was not even up to one conflict at a time.

Japan claimed it was waging a crusade to ‘liberate’ Asia from the Western imperial rule. But few Asians bought this argument due to the brutality and arrogance of their Japanese occupiers.

Looking back, it was indeed an old-fashioned imperial war: the Japanese Empire versus the American, British, French and Dutch empires.  The last empire, the Soviet Union, did not get involved until its smashing victory against Japan’s Kwantung Army in 1945, one of WWII’s greatest campaigns but now totally forgotten.

Why did the Japanese,  an intelligent, clever people, think they could defeat the US and its allies? My view after long studying this question is that Japan’s militarists, boxed into a corner by Roosevelt’s crushing embargo, had to choose between a humiliating surrender to the US and giving up China, or a suicidal war.

Japan’s samurai culture that infused its armed forces saw surrender as the ultimate shame. Death in battle was preferable to surrender and the only honorable course for warriors.

Japanese militarized society had a belief in the ‘nobility of failure’ that was unknown to other peoples.

For Japan’s warriors, the highest glory and honor lay in choosing to fight a battle against greatly superior forces in which defeat and death were clearly inevitable. This was the ultimate expression of the knightly code of ‘bushido’ that guided Japan’s warrior caste.

By June 1944, Japan’s imports of strategic material and food were cut off by US submarines. Half its cities were burning. The population was starving.  Meanwhile, the US was assembling its atomic bombs.

In a final act of folly, right after Pearl Harbor Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States, presenting Roosevelt, whose government had numerous high-ranking Soviet agents, the war he had so long wanted.

jeudi, 08 décembre 2016

Géopolitique du Salafisme: L’épée et l’idée en fusion


Géopolitique du Salafisme: L’épée et l’idée en fusion

Ex: http://www.perspectivesmed.ma 
Une littérature foisonnante fait grand cas du salafisme pour expliquer les dérives djihadistes qui marquent de leur sceau l’actualité internationale. Mais quid de cette mouvance rigoriste maternée par le wahhabisme né dans les terres arides du Hedjaz ? C’est en remontant les aiguilles de l’Histoire que le phénomène salafiste pourrait être finement appréhendé. Histoire d’apporter l’éclairage nécessaire sur les ressorts géopolitiques sur lesquels s’articule une pensée guerrière. 
Le salafisme est apparu dans la moitié du 18ème siècle dans l’oasis d’Al-Dariya, situé à 60 kilomètres de Riyad, capitale du Royaume d’Arabie Saoudite. Il est né du pacte conclu entre Mohammed Ben Ibn Abdel Wahhab, théologien, disciple d’Ibn Taymiyya, homme religieux kurde du 13ème siècle, prônant la diffusion de la pensée Hanbalite, qui interdit toute forme d’innovation, et toute interprétation rationnelle (Al-Ijtihad) des textes sacrés et Mohamed Ibn Saoud Al-Mouqrin, émir de la tribu des Banous Hanifa en 1744. Cette fusion entre le sabre et la doctrine va trouver des soutiens extérieurs, notamment celui des Anglais et plus tard des Français. Les intérêts des deux puissances européennes dans la pénétration de la Région sont multiples : le déclin de l’Empire Ottaman, baptisé  » l’homme malade », l’amélioration de leurs réseau commercial et l’endiguement des Russes qui visaient l’accès aux Mers chaudes.
Pendant ce temps, les Al–Saoud avaient commencé la conquête de la totalité du Nedjd, partie Nord Est de la péninsule Arabique. Leur l’offensive militaire était rapide mais à cause de leurs querelles intestines, ils furent défaits à deux reprises par le gouverneur Ottoman Mohamed Ali Pacha (gouverneur de l’Egypte sous l’Empire Ottoman). Les Turcs et leurs Alliés locaux ne parvenaient ni à éradiquer les racines de ce renouveau Salafisme rigoriste et violent ni ce nationalisme fédératif des tribus arabes (voir les mécanismes de la Assabiya chez Ibn Khaldoun). Dans cet environnement instable et complexe, le général Napoléon Bonaparte profita de sa courte expédition en Egypte (1789/1802) et tissa des contacts précieux avec les Saoudiens pendant leur guerre tribale avec les autres tribus. L’objectif de l’initiative française dans le contexte de l’époque était d’établir une alliance militaire avec la tribu bédouine des Al-Saoud anti-Ottomane et aussi les gouverneurs des Al-Rachid à Nadjd et Haïl et Les Hachémites du Hedjaz (région de l’Ouest de l’Arabie), qui abrite les lieux sacrés de l’islam (la Mecque et Médine).

Cette convoitise régionale a donné naissance à la fameuse théorie militaire ottomane dite de la « pomme « , contre la théorie française dite de « la tenaille » inventée par Bonaparte. De l’autre côte, les Anglais qui avaient installé des comptoirs dans les pays du Golfe, soutenaient les Al-Saoud chassés à deux reprises de leur fiefs par les Ottomans. Après leur défaite, les Saoudiens vont trouver refuge au Koweït d’où ils menèrent leurs raids éclairs contre les Turcs et leurs alliés. L’émir Abdelaziz ben Abderrahmane Al-Saoud, héritier du trône de la dynastie, décida en 1906, grâce à l’appui des Anglais de reconstruire la royauté de ses ancêtres, en chassant ses ennemis historiques, les tribus des Al-Rachid et les Chérifs Hachémites de la Mecque et de Médine, au moment ou toutes les puissances Occidentales étaient occupées par la Première guerre mondiale. Ce relâchement international concernant le Moyen Orient, a permis la fondation du Royaume des Al-Saoud de l’entre deux guerres, avec comme constitution le Coran et la Sunna. Projet conçu par le théologien Mohammed Ibn Abdel Wahhab (le Wahhabisme est un terme inadéquat). Le lien scellé en 1744 entre les deux familles va prendre la forme d’un État organisé et structuré, grâce à l’appui des occidentaux présents dans la Région. En effet, en 1912, le Roi Abdelaziz organisa les bédouins en Ikhwans (fratries ou frères), le pouvoir politique et religieux est ainsi partagé entre les Al-Saoud et les Al- Sheikh descendants du prêcheur Ibn Abdelwahab selon un équilibre particulier : les premiers accaparent le pouvoir politique, militaire et économique, alors que les seconds sont devenus responsables du pourvoir cultuel, social et judicaire.

Le Salafisme est réapparu sous une forme nouvelle (islam politique) au début du 20ème siècle. Cependant, cet État n’avait aucune stratégie de conquête globale, ni d’un prosélytisme au delà de son environnement immédiat. Le roi Abdelaziz Al Saoud rêvait toujours de l’eau comme le souligne un Hadith cité dans le Sahih Al Boukhari rapportant que le Prophète Mohammed disait « Oh peuple de Nedjd, vous dormez sur l’or », terme signifiant « or noir », en référence au pétrole!La rencontre du fondateur de l’Arabie Saoudite moderne avec les Occidentaux, particulièrement les Américains, a transformé cette entité en puissance régionale, couronnée par la signature d’un traité de solidarité et de défense avec le président Américain Roosevelt en 1944, (traité Quincy). Cette entente va renverser la donne géopolitique du Moyen Orient, accentuant le retrait progressif des Anglais et des Français de la région.

À cet égard, les Etats-Unis se sont engagés à protéger la Monarchie des Al-Saoud, la contre partie étant la préservation des intérêts géostratégiques et surtout énergétiques de cette grande puissance pendant soixante ans. Cette nouvelle alliance a conforté les croyances de l’homme fort de l’Arabie, en déclarant à ses sympathisants: « Allah est là Haut et les Américains sont en bas » pour contourner la gêne occasionnée par ce traité signé avec les mécréants. C’est grâce à deux ingénieurs américains que le pétrole va être découvert en 1932, ce qui a profondément attristé le Roi Saoudien qui s’attendait à la découverte de l’eau! En effet, la découverte des plus grandes réserves d’énergies fossiles mondiales dans la Péninsule Arabique bouleversa la configuration géopolitique du Moyen-Orient. La dynastie saoudienne et ce depuis sa création, était toujours impliquée dans tous les conflits du Moyen-Orient ; accords franco -britanniques de Sykes-Picot en 1916, création de l’Etat d’Israël en 1948, naissance de la Ligue Arabe en 1945, la guerre du Yémen en 1962, la guerre d’Afghanistan en 1979, le conflit Irako-Iranien, l’occupation du Koweït en 1993 et, enfin, l’invasion Américaine de l’Irak en 2003, et dont les conséquences sont toujours d’actualité.


A partir de 1979, les Saoudiens se sont retrouvés en face d’un autre ennemi régional, l’Iran Shiite qui menaçait les fondements idéologiques du wahhabisme. Paradoxalement, le pétrole ne va pas servir cette monarchie naissante pendant les premières décennies, elle va plutôt s’appuyer sur les recettes du pèlerinage et du commerce Inter-régional, à tel point que le roi Abdelaziz a voulu créer une sorte de Vatican pour les lieux Saints musulmans, mais personne n’avait accepté son offre qui à mon sens était visionnaire, courageuse et révolutionnaire.

En 1952, le régime de Nasser avait déclaré la guerre à l’association des Frères Musulmans créée en 1928. De ce fait, les militaires égyptiens étaient considérés à Riyad comme un danger potentiel pour la survie et la stabilité de l’État Saoudien. De son coté, le colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser ne cachait pas son alliance avec l’URSS et sa haine contre ce qu’il appelait « les valets de l’impérialisme dans le monde arabe ».
Cette situation de rivalité interarabe, poussera les salafistes saoudiens à former une alliance stratégique avec la confrérie des Frères musulmans. Ces derniers vont fournir aux Saoudiens des élites et des bras nécessaires pour contrecarrer la menace nassérienne. Dans ce cadre là, les wahhabites créèrent un axe islamique puissant et international appelé Ligue du Monde islamique. Cette opposition des deux alliés salafistes contre le panarabisme a abouti à la division du Monde arabe entre deux camps rivaux : les progressistes et les modérés.

Dans le même sillage, l’utilisation de l’arme du pétrole dans cette bataille, va nourrir la doctrine extrémiste des salafistes toutes tendances confondues, qui débouchera par la suite sur un projet d’islam politique à travers le Monde. Cette idéologie politique s’est appuyée sur trois piliers stratégiques : La Ligue du Monde Islamique (construction de mosquées et de centres culturels dans les cinq continents), l’Organisation de la Conférence Islamique OACI et l’OPAEP. Pendant cet épisode crucial dans l’histoire arabe, on remarque que les Frères musulmans avaient joué un rôle déterminant dans le recrutement, la formation, la conversion et l’embrigadement de milliers de jeunes dans le monde. Plusieurs d’entre eux étaient envoyés dans différents théâtres de crise. Cette évolution historique souligne que le mouvement Salafiste n’était pas actif uniquement dans le Moyen-Orient. D’autres mouvements de même nature apparaissent au Maghreb et au Sahel. Tous se sont inspirés de la pensée du théologien kurde Ibn
L’association des Oulémas en Algérie en 1924, la révolution du Rif en 1915, le mouvement Salafiste des oulémas de l’université de Fès 1944. En Libye et au Sahel, la Zaouiya Sennoussiya fut le fer de lance de la résistance anticoloniale. La séparation entre les Frères musulmans et les Wahhabites, va s’officialiser en 2011. Les Wahabbites avaient accusé la Confrérie Frèriste d’ avoir élaboré un projet secret visant à déstabiliser les monarchies du Golfe avec la complicité des Américains.Cet événement coïncida avec le Printemps arabe qui a consolidé les groupes Takfiristes et Djihadistes les plus radicaux dont la doctrine jette l’anathème sur les deux frères ennemis salafistes et sur toute la planète .À ce sujet, les Wahhabites ont soupçonné l’Occident de miser sur les fréristes. Selon eux, ils sont les seuls dont les membres sont éduqués et partiellement occidentalisés pouvant créer une hiérarchie forte au sein du monde Sunnite.
À cet égard, les Frères musulmans disposent d’une véritable structure riche et secrète, capable d’accepter une normalisation avec l’État Hébreu au Moyen-Orient. Ils pourraient aussi installer une forme de démocratie à l’occidentale dans les pays arabes (Tunisie).En conclusion et dans une vision prospective, on pense que le duel actuel entre les deux protagonistes renforce Daech et ses semblables. Les ultras -radicaux ont situé leur combat contre tous au niveau du verbe et de l’image, plus haut que la stratégie habituelle conçue par les salafistes eux-mêmes. Dans ce même ordre d’idée, on remarque que tous les acteurs de l’islam politique privilégient la négation réciproque plutôt que le compromis. Les Frères musulmans marquent beaucoup de points en leur faveur car leur discours pénètre facilement les esprits des jeunes scolarisés et disposent d’une capacité d’adaptation considérable d’un réseau large et d’une communication très dynamique.

mercredi, 30 novembre 2016

Peter Kropotkin: Der Seismograph der Revolution


Peter Kropotkin: Der Seismograph der Revolution

mardi, 29 novembre 2016

América y Siberia, conexión geopolítica

Ex: http://www.elespiadigital.com

Enrique J. Refoyo 

¿Quién puede pensar que hay alguna conexión entre el continente americano y el enorme espacio de la inmensa Siberia rusa? Hay conexión, conexión geopolítica, y de hecho está en la historia. Hagamos un repaso histórico rápido.

América en las guerras napoleónicas (1799-1815)

A principios del siglo XIX, en el contexto de las guerras napoleónicas, el territorio europeo de España se vio ocupado por el ejército francés de Napoleón. Durante los 6 años de la guerra en España contra las fuerzas napoleónicas (1808 – 1814), no hubo una guerra simplemente en el ámbito europeo, también hubo choques por todo el mundo. El imperio británico aprovechó esa oportunidad para su máximo beneficio, pues en vistas de que había caído la monarquía española lanzaron otro ataque en el continente americano contra el imperio español. Además el imperio británico había lanzado constantes ataques con piratería e invasiones frustradas contra la América española en los siglos XVII y XVIII. Así que desde el liderazgo británico, siendo bien conscientes de su posición geopolítica como potencia naval, sabían que para construir su poder, siempre lo han de levantar sobre la división de las potencias rivales, tanto terrestres como navales.

En este contexto, el imperio británico, en vistas de su incapacidad para invadir militarmente la España americana, pasaron a una guerra indirecta, cuya oportunidad vieron y aprovecharon durante la guerra en España anteriormente mencionada. Hay que recordar que los imperios español y francés, también se unieron a los revoltosos de las 13 colonias para debilitar la influencia británica en América, y desde luego, la eficacia de la acción quedó probada en las victorias militares y subsiguiente expulsión del imperio británico de las mismas 13 colonias fundadas por colonos ingleses. Si bien es cierto que también hubo precondiciones basadas en desigualdades legales y económicas de la metrópoli inglesa respecto a sus 13 colonias.

Los dirigentes británicos aprendieron bien de la lección que recibieron en su pérdida territorial a finales del siglo XVIII. De modo que, aprovechar oportunidades geopolíticas y hacer la guerra indirecta les parecieron buenos elementos a tener en cuenta, y así los usaron en su particular guerra geopolítica contra el imperio español. Por un lado, desde el imperio británico se aprovecharon de cualquier tipo de desigualdad o directamente aprovecharon la avaricia de las élites hispanas en América para crear división y motivos por los que rebelarse y declarar la independencia, todo ello en un momento histórico en que España carecía de gobierno ya que el rey Carlos IV y el príncipe heredero Fernando VII habían sido depuestos y llevados por la fuerza a Francia con la invasión napoleónica.

Así mismo, en el contexto de dicha guerra en España (1808 – 1814), el paso del ejército británico por España fue del todo devastador. Allá donde pasaban, no sólo procuraban expulsar a las tropas francesas, sino que también arrasaban toda la incipiente industria española, así como infraestructura civil y militar, e incluso incendiando deliberadamente ciudades y pueblos. Aquella guerra dejó tres lecciones en España:

  1. Carecer de buenos líderes propios siempre trae desgracias. Lo que Maquiavelo ya mencionaba en su dicotomía de Virtud y Fortuna: La virtud propia del príncipe en sus labores de gobierno y la fortuna de encontrarse con situaciones ventajosas. Un gobernante no-virtuoso arrastra inevitablemente el infortunio.
  2. Al hacer caso al liderazgo francés, España se vio invadida y sus líderes depuestos y secuestrados. Ergo, es muy importante tener una perspectiva geopolítica propia y activa, en vez de actuar de forma reactiva o pasiva, sumándose a las acciones de otros.
  3. La invasión inglesa del territorio español en la península ibérica supuso una manera encubierta de acabar con las capacidades económicas de la España europea, para que tras la derrota napoleónica, el siguiente dirigente de la monarquía española se encontrase con un país arrasado y por tanto debilitado, e incapaz -al máximo- para afrontar las situaciones militares en todo su imperio, que los mismos líderes británicos habían estado promoviendo durante las guerras napoleónicas.

¿A quién benefició la independencia de la América española?

Antes de continuar, es necesario echar un vistazo lejano en tiempo pero cercano en contenido ¿Conocen la historia de Viriato? Fue antiguo caudillo de diferentes tribus ibéricas a mediados del siglo II a.C, que tras vencer a los invasores romanos en todas las batallas, se cuenta que fue asesinado por 3 miembros de una tribu aliada de Viriato, los cuales habían recibido la promesa romana de recibir grandes riquezas, con tierras y otros privilegios a cambio de que asesinaran a Viriato. Cuando los 3 traidores asesinaron a Viriato y fueron ante los romanos para pedir la recompensa, lo que recibieron de los romanos fue: “Roma traditoribus non praemiat”, Roma no paga a traidores.

Regresando a la pregunta de este epígrafe, parece que tal pregunta se responde de manera sencilla, la independencia benefició a los americanos. Pero eso no es cierto. De un territorio unido, de repente apareció una decena de países, que a su vez nacieron entre inestabilidad interna y deudas con el banco de Inglaterra, ese banco propiedad de los Rothschild, que financió a los insurrectos americanos para que ‘supuestamente’ se liberasen del yugo español, pero en realidad, el siglo XIX se vio sembrado de numerosas y sangrientas guerras en esos nuevos países o entre ellos. Unas guerras que siempre iban unidas al sello -principalmente- del imperio británico, que a su vez, no deseaba que ningún nuevo Estado en América pudiera conseguir un poder geopolítico importante y rivalizador.

Como ejemplos, los tenemos por todo el continente americano: La disolución de la república centroamericana, la reducción al máximo de Méjico (pérdidas del norte entre 1836 y 1848), la división de la gran Colombia en tres países, el enfrentamiento entre Chile contra Perú y Bolivia, la división de Argentina mediante la creación de Uruguay, la invasión de la tripe alianza contra Paraguay, etc. Esos son ejemplos del significado geopolítico real que tenía la promoción de la independencia de los territorios imperiales españoles en América para los dirigentes del imperio británico, un simple y efectivo ‘Divide et impera’ (Divide y vencerás).

Russian_claims_in_the_americas_19th_century.png“El gran juego” del siglo XIX

La lucha geopolítica entre el imperio ruso y el imperio británico durante el siglo XIX en Asia es conocida como “el gran juego”. Los líderes británicos, no sólo buscaron la contención, división, y supresión del poder español en América, también lo buscaron frente al imperio ruso, con el que incluso hacían frontera en el noroeste del continente americano (actual Alaska). De nuevo, los líderes británicos buscaron -en primer lugar- la contención del imperio ruso mediante la conquista o influencia territorial desde la que pudieran frenar el avance ruso desde los enormes territorios entre Europa y Asia. Y en segundo lugar, buscaron la hostilidad hacia Rusia, para poner a otras potencias regionales o mundiales contra el imperio ruso, y así presionarlo o incluso atacarlo, como sucedió en la guerra de Crimea (1853 – 1856), en que los imperios británico y francés se unieron al otomano para frenar el avance ruso por las costas orientales y occidentales del mar negro.

Algo que parecía imposible en el siglo XIX, una alianza entre los británicos y los rusos (y los franceses), se vio en la primera guerra mundial (1914 – 1918). Pero aquello sólo fue una alianza temporal ya que ambos imperios tenían un mismo enemigo en el pujante e industrial imperio alemán en Centroeuropa que además en aquella época contaba con colonias en África y Asia, las cuales proporcionaban grandes recursos a la industria alemana. Con la derrota del imperio ruso en la guerra (1917), y la posterior guerra civil (1918-1923) entre las facciones normalmente resumidas en rojos y blancos, se vio la naturaleza imperecedera de los dirigentes del imperio británico: No tienen aliados, sólo tienen intereses en función de la situación geopolítica.

Y así, de la mano de geógrafos políticos ingleses como Halford Mackinder, aparecieron los planes con las verdaderas intenciones hacia Rusia: Contener, dividir, y vencer. Mackinder propuso que en el marco de la debilidad rusa tras su derrota y guerra civil, se tenían que crear al menos 3 países para hacer un tapón entre Rusia y Europa: Bielorrusia, Ucrania y Transcaucasia. Así mismo, también proyectaron la creación de otro país más “Lenaland”, en la zona oriental de Siberia, entre la cuenca del río Lena y la costa del pacífico, para así aislar a Rusia de todos los mares importantes, dejándola reducida a unos pequeños enclaves marítimos siempre limitados por el paso a través del espacio marítimo de otros países, como en los mares báltico y negro que deben pasar entre territorio de Dinamarca-Suecia, y de Turquía respectivamente, quedándole a Rusia el acceso libre a mares árticos de escasa o nula utilidad. En este sentido, los enormes territorios rusos, principalmente la inmensa Siberia, son equiparables a la América hispánica, es decir, un inmenso territorio que le otorga una ventaja geopolítica inigualable al poder que lo mantenga. Dicha ventaja para rusos y españoles respectivamente, resultaba algo intolerable para el poder marítimo británico que nunca podría mantener una dominación global mientras que hubiera grandes potencias terrestres manteniendo extensos territorios.

“Divide et impera”, el axioma eterno

En este sentido, para los dirigentes británicos y posteriormente hasta la actualidad, para los dirigentes estadounidenses, Siberia en particular y Rusia en general, les parece ese territorio demasiado extenso como para que sólo lo tuviera un país, y por eso, siempre han actuado para contener, dividir y someter a cualquiera que gobierne en Rusia. La geopolítica no se trata de ideologías, se trata de conseguir y retener poder a nivel geográfico, por ello, tanto al imperio ruso, la unión soviética o la actual federación de Rusia, mantuvieron las mismas líneas geopolíticas. Y el imperio británico, posteriormente sustituido en importancia internacional por Estados Unidos en el siglo XX, también mantiene las mismas directrices en pos de contener, dividir y someter a cualquier potencia que pueda hacerles frente.

Es más, cuanto mayor sea la división que provoquen, mayor será su poder. Así se vio en América, que no fue una liberación frente a España, sino que era la pugna por conseguir la máxima división y enfrentamiento interno, para obtener un control más sencillo por parte del poder imperial británico. Los dirigentes de Estados Unidos han seguido la misma fórmula. Basta con ver lo sucedido en Yugoslavia desde 1990, con la serie de guerras que desembocaron en la máxima división y enfrentamiento de esos territorios para su uso geopolítico por Estados Unidos. La entonces Federación Socialista de Yugoslavia pretendió mantener una posición equidistante entre Este y Oeste, pero tal cosa fue imposible. Cuando cayó el lado soviético, y los líderes yugoslavos no quisieron seguir la vía de la ‘americanización’ que otros países del antiguo bloque soviético estaban realizando, entonces, Yugoslavia se vio asolada por la peor guerra europea desde 1945. De nuevo, cualquier división fue explotada externamente para crear una guerra brutal que acabase con un país que se creía geopolíticamente independiente, y ahora está convertido en 7 Estados, algunos más y otros menos dependientes de Estados Unidos o su sucursal de la Unión Europea.

Indigenismo “made in USA”

Actualmente, en diversos países iberoamericanos hay una nueva ideología conocida como “indigenismo”, con la que algunos dirigentes políticos pretenden reivindicar el pasado pre-hispánico a la par de una especie de unidad panamericana. Eso tiene tanto sentido como una ideología que pretendiese unir a todos los países mediterráneos con un idioma de origen romano mientras que odian a los romanos y reivindican un pasado pre-romano a la carta (quedándose con la tecnología moderna europea pero llenándolo todo de historias sobre los “buenos y pacíficos indígenas” frente a los “malvados invasores españoles”), ya que fueron los romanos precisamente quienes unificaron el área del mar mediterráneo, y en consecuencia, el elemento romano es la única línea continua entre los diferentes pueblos que conquistaron, al igual que el elemento hispánico es ese elemento común por encima de todas las diferencias. Además, los mismos creadores del indigenismo desde EEUU, defienden el mantenimiento de los supuestos “pueblos originarios” en América como un elemento de justicia, pero si son los Europeos quienes se defienden a sí mismos como pueblos originarios de Europa, tal cosa es racismo. Ahí se puede ver la mano del capitalismo globalizador, siempre creando desigualdades a favor de sus intereses.

Desde luego que los romanos hicieron su dominio por las armas, y desde luego que las tribus e imperios que conquistaron, también eran belicosos, y también se enfrentaban unos a otros, esta es la historia de absolutamente todo el mundo. Pero en Europa, no se duda de que el pasado romano, o en extensión, de que pasado greco-romano, es la base histórica de todos los países europeos. Pero en América, la base de esos países, que es el pasado hispánico, recibe todos los ataques posibles desde los creadores de ideologías de EEUU. Para los dirigentes de EEUU, como lo era para los dirigentes británicos, la división del continente americano entre muchos países enfrentados es una prioridad geopolítica. No pueden tolerar el surgimiento de ninguna potencia fuerte y con independencia en su “patio geopolítico”.

Y el indigenismo, fuera de todos los lemas y pancartas, representa ese elemento de continuación en la división y enfrentamiento interno más que de unidad, ya que ¿si no fuera en español y por la demás herencia hispánica, en qué idioma se comunicarían, y la unidad de qué cosa reclamarían los líderes supuestamente indigenistas americanos? Así mismo, ¿qué ocurriría en Washington DC, si de repente en Iberoamérica se reclamase la creación de un polo geopolítico propio y americano, sobre los fundamentos hispánicos comunes? De repente, se podría formar una enorme potencia de unos 600 millones de habitantes (el doble de EEUU), con inmensos recursos naturales con que sostenerse por sí misma de la guerra económica que les sobreviniera.


El pasado romano es a Europa lo mismo que el pasado hispánico es a América, su pasado que no volverá, porque sucedió en un momento histórico por una serie de circunstancias concretas e irrepetibles, pero siempre será la base fundamental que marque el devenir continental en el pasar de los siglos. Y como bien saben las élites dirigentes en el actual Estados Unidos, atacar el pasado de los pueblos mientras que se les inunda con una ‘cultura’ del materialismo, es la mejor forma que conocen los dirigentes estadounidenses para dominar países enteros.

Cualquier ínfima división o desigualdad será aprovechada por estas élites para crear una cuña desde la que introducirse allá donde marquen sus intereses. Y del mismo modo pueden recibir en el mismo Estados Unidos. Toda división o desigualdad, si es enorme o si se la exagera lo suficiente, puede ser un motivo de conflicto. La falta de liderazgo capacitado para entender las necesidades de su pueblo y las necesidades geopolíticas, estará más próximo al desastre.

Por otro lado, Siberia fue y sigue siendo esa gran región rusa, que existe precisamente por la mano de miles de rusos siglos atrás. Dicha área es una prioridad geopolítica de influencia y división para la potencia marítima estadounidense: Sin Siberia, Rusia perdería la salida directa al océano pacífico así como enormes y variadas cantidades de recursos naturales. Por eso desde EEUU están interesados en que haya fuerte emigración de población china a Siberia, para crear tensiones entre rusos, y chinos y mientras tanto, que el poder estadounidense vaya copando los medios de comunicación y también tal poder vaya cooptando a una élite siberiana fiel a los postulados estadounidenses. Con todo ello dispuesto para que, algún día concreto, los puedan activar y disparar en una revolución de color o guerra no-convencional contra el gobierno ruso.

Fuente: Katehon

vendredi, 25 novembre 2016

Quel avenir pour le sionisme sous Donald Trump?


Quel avenir pour le sionisme sous Donald Trump?

Christian Brosio interroge Youssef Hindi

Christian Brosio interroge Youssef Hindi au sujet de ses deux ouvrages sur l'histoire du sionisme et le choc des civilisations publiés chez SIGEST. La fin de l'entretien porte sur Donald Trump, et ce que l'on peut en attendre. L'histoire des Etats-Unis est hélas peu encourageante, les présidents isolationnistes ont souvent été entraînés à la guerre à la suite de coups montés...

mardi, 22 novembre 2016

The Willful State: Frederick the Great’s Report on the Prussian Government


The Willful State:
Frederick the Great’s Report on the Prussian Government

Frederick the Great
Exposé du gouvernement prussien, des principes sur lesquels il roule, avec quelques réflexions politiques
Berlin, 1775-1776[1]

One often encounters people who have no faith in the ability of a small nation to achieve anything worthwhile.[2] Yet one typically does not have the luxury of choice. One may prefer to live in a large and populous country, but in any event one must work with what one has. Furthermore, the fact is that small states can and do on occasion “punch above their weight” and influence the course of history. In support of the proposition that even the smallest of nations may dare to be ambitious, I give a most powerful example: the Kingdom of Prussia.

When Frederick the Great became King of Prussia in 1740, the population of his little north German realm numbered just over 2 million. This was only a third of the population of England, itself a rather small European power, and Frederick’s kingdom did not enjoy the protection of the English Channel. Instead, Prussia, also a land poor in natural resources, was protected solely by the sheer will to organize all of the little state’s means into the mightiest army possible. The gambles were huge, the threats of annihilation repeated, and yet through it all it was little Prussia which emerged victorious. The machine set in march by Frederick would double in population by the conquest of Silesia and, a century later, give Bismarck the means to unite Germany. Thus Prussia shows how a small principality may become the greatest of European powers.

The lessons of Prussian statecraft are then of interest to all those, be they leaders or citizens of nations great or small, who wish to maximize their potential and fulfill a great project. How did Frederick go about building his machine of state? For this, we may turn to the Great King himself, for he was a prolific writer. In the mid-1770s, he wrote a private[3] Report on the Prussian Government, on the Principles on Which It Operates, with some Political Reflections. The work, as so often with Frederick, is of an admirable lucidity and clarity. I will provide an overview of the Report, which apparently has never been published in English, with translations of substantial passages.

Frederick argues for a unitary state in which all the branches of government — military, budgetary, and political (under which he refers exclusively to foreign policy) — are continuously and harmoniously united towards a single goal. For the insecure Prussia of Frederick’s day, that goal was above all maintaining military preparedness and a “rainy day” war-chest, to both guarantee the state’s security and seize any opportunities which, by the vagaries of international politics, should present themselves. Frederick asserts that the prince must himself give the example, carefully monitoring all aspects of his state’s operation and personally ensuring that military merit is honored above money. Good manners must be promoted among the citizens and fertility encouraged. Above all else, one must concentrate one’s efforts on the decisive, always being thrifty, and not wasting resources on side-projects. The bolder one’s enterprises, the greater the gains.

In short, Frederick’s politics are the antithesis to the bourgeois democratic politics we have grown used to in the postwar era. We may say that Western politics have tended to be ever-more obsessed with materialist consumerism (welfare, purchasing power, GDP; and our politicians even fail to deliver these) and egalitarian “victimocracy” (symbolic and real spoils for various aggrieved groups, namely ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, and women). In both cases, individual and sectional interests are taken as the frame reference, rather than the interests of the community as a whole.

Finances: Frugality Above All

Frederick begins: “To have a general idea of this government, one must examine in detail all the government’s branches, and then combine them together.” These branches are finances, the military, and international politics/foreign policy (la politique). Frederick emphasizes the importance of the budget, which he often compares to an organism’s nervous system: “I begin by finances, which are like the sinews of the human body, which move all its members.”[4] Public finances should be as frugal as possible — notwithstanding spending on fortifications, infrastructure, and foreign allies — so as to amass a healthy war chest that can last until peace is signed:

But one must remark that if we draw all extraordinary war funds from the treasury, we will last only four campaigns, which means that by necessity we must take hold of Saxony, husband as best we can the treasury, which must specifically only serve to fill the emptiness of a few provinces invaded by the enemy. Here is the bottom of things, which shows that one must practice the greatest economy to have the last écu[5] in one’s pocket when one negotiates the peace.

Frederick argues that a substantial budget surplus is justified economically because Prussia had a trade surplus twice as big, thus money was still entering circulation. This surplus, which the Germans do seem to have a knack for, was achieved thanks to “establishing many manufactures, and especially with the help of Silesia.” Frederick emphasizes the need for the most careful monitoring of public spending:

This is why one must not lose sight of manufactures: though them, this [trade] balance can still be increased in our current possession by some hundred thousand écus. But what is important above all is to conserve the good order now established in  the management of public monies and the supervision of all funds; without which the people pays very much, and the sovereign is robbed.

Thanks to this thriftiness, Prussia then had enough money for four military campaigns and enough grain for three, including purchases from Poland.


Military Affairs: Preparedness & Honor

Frederick’s description of the Prussian army is worth quoting at length. He argues that Prussia’s militarization is warranted given her insecure geographical position and the size of her neighbors. The Prussian army, based (after the conquest of Silesia) on a country of 5.2 million, was by no means large compared to its neighbors’. Frederick argues then that Prussia can only distinguish itself militarily by the quality and discipline of its armed forces. The commander-in-chief himself must personally give the example “or all is lost” for the little country. Frederick strikes a decidedly conservative note, arguing that if aristocratic officers should prove inadequate, “the recourse to commoners, would be the first step towards the decline and fall of the army.”


The situation of this State forces us to maintain many troops, because our neighbors are Austria, Russia, France, and Sweden. The war-footing numbers 220,000 men, including the freelance battalions and the increase in cavalry. From this number we will be able to campaign with 180,000 men; but as soon as we need to form three armies, it becomes quite apparent that we do not have many compared to our neighbors. I believe that discipline must remain on the current footing, as must the introduced reforms, unless war should change, because then one may only side with adapting to circumstances and to change with them; but to equal our enemies or surpass them, one needs to do so through order and discipline, to encourage the officers to distinguish themselves, so that a noble emulation encourages them to surpass the enemies they must fight. If the sovereign does not himself get involved in military affairs, if he does not give the example, all is lost.  If one prefers courtly layabouts [fainéants de cour] to military affairs, one will see that the entire world will prefer this laziness to the strenuous military profession, and then, instead of our officers being nobles, we will have to have recourse to the commoners, which would be the first step towards the decline [décadence] and fall of the army. We have at present only 70 citizens[6] per company; one must not stray from this principle, to husband the country, which, by the increase in population, will be able to furnish resources or recruits, if war makes it necessary. [. . .] Our population counts 5.2 million souls, of which about 90,000 are soldiers. This proportion may suffice; but one must not take from the cantons more than 840 for each infantry regime and 400 for each cavalry regiment.

Foreign Policy: The Art of Opportunity

Frederick then writes very cogently on foreign policy under the heading “la politique.” This puts the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s later famous definition of war as “politics by other means” in an interesting light. In his great work On War, Clausewitz rarely discusses politics as such but it seems he too supported the primacy of foreign policy, which is to say the overriding interest of the state in maintaining its own existence and security, over liberal and constitutional niceties.[7]

Frederick clearly takes an unsentimental view of international relations as Realpolitik. The goal is to ensure the security of the state, this means: maintaining good relations and an alliance with the state which can most harm us (in this case Russia), acquiring more secure borders (by annexing Saxony as buffer territory), and being ever-prepared so as to be able to seize any unforeseeable opportunities to reach this goal. Frederick emphasizes caution however: given the country’s limited resources, war should only be pursued if there really is something to be gained, one must not overextend one’s territory to indefensible borders, and one must use both modesty and secrecy so as to not disturb the European balance of power and stoke general hostility against us.


One of the first principles of politics is to work to ally oneself with whoever among our neighbors can inflict the most dangerous blows against the State. It is for this reason that we are allied with Russia, because it frees up our back concerning Prussia,[8] and that, as long as this relationship lasts, we have need not fear that Sweden will dare to attack in Pomerania. The times may change, the strangeness of circumstances can force us to take other commitments; but never will we find with the other powers the equivalent of the advantages that we find with Russia. The French troops are worth nothing, and the French are used to only feebly assisting their allies; and the English, made for paying subsidies, sacrifice their allies, to the peace, to favor their own interests. I do not speak of the house of Austria, with which it seems almost impossible to form solid bonds. Concerning the political prospects for acquisitions appropriate for this monarchy, the States of Saxony are indisputably those which would be the most appropriate, by rounding it off and forming a barrier by the mountains which separate Saxony from Bohemia, and which would need to be fortified. It is difficult to foresee how this acquisition could be made. The surest way would be to conquer Bohemia and Moravia, and to trade them for Saxony; or finally that this could be done by other trades either of the Rhenish possessions, adding Juliers or Berg, or by any other way that it could be done. This acquisition is an indispensable necessity to give this State the consistency which it lacks. For, as soon as we are at war, the enemy can march directly to Berlin without finding the slightest opposition on his path. I do not speak of the rights of succession in the countries of Ansbach, Juliers and Berg, and Mecklenburg, because these claims are known, and one must wait for their occurrence. As the State is not rich, we must take care above all else to not get involved in wars where there is nothing to be gained, because one exhausts oneself at a pure loss, and when a good opportunity follows, one cannot take advantage of it. All distant acquisitions are a burden to a State. A village on the border is worth more than a principality 60 leagues away. It is a necessary measure to hide as much as possible these schemes of ambition, and, if one can, to awaken Europe’s envy against other powers, on the occasion of which one strikes one’s blow. This can occur, and the house of Austria, whose ambition goes unconcealed, will needlessly attract the envy and jealousy of the great powers. Secrecy is an essential virtue for politics as well as for the art of war.

preugren.jpgI note with amusement the statements on the value of a Russian alliance, the unreliability of a French guarantee, and the perfidy of Albion, observations which would no doubt resonate with many people in later centuries. Plus ça change !

Frederick briefly discusses the laws of Prussia [2], describing them as “fairly wisely made.” He argues no changes are needed, but that there must be regular visits to provincial courts to punish malfeasance, for “the parties and the lawyers work to elude the best laws.” There should also be a review every 20 years to ensure the appeals process is not abused through endless trials. These highlight the importance of regular, mindful care for one’s state.

Harmonious Government: All Branches Working Towards the Same Goal

Frederick then discusses finances, the military, and foreign policy as forming the coherent whole which government must be. He again emphasizes frugality and a healthy war chest:


Given that the country is poor, and has no resources, it is necessary for the sovereign to always have a well-furnished treasury, to bear at least a few campaigns. The only resources which he may find when in need consist of a loan of 5 million from the Landschaft [a bank decreed by Frederick, made up of noblemen, allowing the state to borrow from the Prussian population itself], and about 4 million which he can draw from the bank; but that is all.

Public money, he says, should be spent on various development projects such as fortresses, manufactures, or infrastructure “in order to make the State’s constitution more solid.”

The sovereign should then be frugal with his subjects’ blood and treasure. He must himself be an example of rectitude, or his subjects will also become wasteful. Frederick emphasizes “especially” the maintenance of good morals, which can only be achieved if the power of money is kept in check. It must be impossible for the wealthy to buy honors, as they do in France. Frederick advocates a muscular natalism in order to produce more citizens and soldiers:

These reasons which I have just put forward demand that this country’s sovereign be economical and a man who maintains the greatest order in his affairs. An equally valid reason as the first is also joined to this: it is that if he gives the example of profusion, his subjects, who are poor, want to imitate him, and ruin themselves. One must especially, to support manners, grant distinctions only according to merit and not for wealth; the poor observation of this principle in France has meant the loss of the of the nation’s manners, which previously knew only the path of honor to achieve glory, and which believes at present that it is enough to be rich to be honored. As the wars are an abyss into which men fall, one must be watchful that this country be as peopled as possible, from which another good results, which is that the countryside is better cultivated and landowners are more at ease.

Frederick denies the utility of a navy for Prussia for this would divide the country’s efforts and anyway be too small to be useful. Instead, one should concentrate one’s efforts on the most decisive point, in this case the army:

I do not believe that this country should ever be persuaded to form a military navy. Here are the reasons. There are in Europe great navies, that is: that of England, those of France, Spain, Denmark, and Russia. Never will we be able to equal them; hence, with a few ships, remaining always inferior to other nations, the expense would be useless. Add to this that, to maintain a fleet, the money this would cost would force us to reform land troops, that this country is not sufficiently populated to provide recruits for the army and sailors for ships, and finally, that sea battles are rarely decisive; from which I conclude that it is better to have the best army in Europe than the worst fleet of the maritime powers.

Frederick argues that policy must “look as far as possible into the future” but recognizes that unforeseen circumstances will always arise. As such, the best one can do is to be ever-prepared so as to be able seize opportunities. Interestingly, Frederick explicitly affirms that political control of the military must serve to radicalize warfare to ensure it reaches the given political objectives: “War itself must be conducted according the principles of policy, to inflict the bloodiest blows against one’s enemies.” Frederick advises great enterprises, even if these are risky, rather than wars for trifling objectives:

Policy must look ahead as far as possible into the future, and judge the circumstances of Europe, either to form alliances, or to counter the projects of one’s enemies. One must not believe that it can bring about events; but when these present themselves, it must seize them to take advantage of them. That is why finances must be in order. It is for this reason that there must be money saved up, so that the government is ready to act as soon as political reasons indicate the moment. War itself must be conducted according the principles of policy, to inflict the bloodiest blows against one’s enemies. It was according to these principles which prince Eugene [of Savoy, an Austrian commander] acted, he who made his name immortal by the march and the battle of Turin, by those of Höchstädt and of Belgrade. These great projects of the campaign do not all succeed; but when they are vast, there always results more advantages than by these little projects where one limits oneself to taking an insignificant town [bicoque] on the border. That is how the count [Maurice] of Saxony [a French commander] gave battle at Rocoux to be able to execute the winter according to his designs upon Brussels, which succeeded.


Frederick stresses that foreign policy, the military, and finances must form a coherent whole. Otherwise they are vain, as in the case of France, which as Europe’s largest state could afford to become flabby and incoherent. Prussia did not have this luxury:

It is obvious that, from all that I have just said, that policy, the military, and finances are branches which are so tightly bound together, that they cannot be separated. One must carry them out all at once, and by their combination, subject to the rules of good policy, there results the greatest advantages for the State. In France, there is a king which manages each branch separately. There is a minister who presides, either to finances, to war, or to foreign affairs. But the rallying point is lacking, and these branches, not being united, diverge, and the ministers are each busy with only the details of their department, without anyone uniting the objects of their works to one fixed goal. If such a thing happened in this State [Prussia], it would be lost, because great monarchies go on despite excesses, and support themselves by their weight and intrinsic strength, and small States are soon crushed, if all in them is not strength, life, and vigor.

Frederick concludes that a small and insecure state such as Prussia must always be led by a watchful prince:

Here are a few reflections and my ideas on the government of this country, which, so long as it has not taken greater consistency and better borders, must be governed by princes who are always watchful, ears pricked, to observe their neighbors, ready to defend themselves from one day to the next against the pernicious projects of their enemies.

Conclusion: Power Through Will

Of Western and European states today, only the United States of America and the Russian Federation can be considered even moderately “big” in a world in which we face China’s 1.4 billion, India’s 1.25 billion, and, in another mode, the endless hordes to come from an Africa destined to number 4 billion this century [3]. Furthermore, any European-American successor states to the current U.S.A. would likely number around 150 million. Frederick’s directives for maximizing the power of small states through a frugal and martial government, characterized above all by a coherent will, are then very relevant to us.

The Greater-European World is made up dozens of states, each of which could, under enlightened leadership, work for the salvation of our people. The means of a small state are necessarily modest, but let no one say that these are worthless. Prussia began as a small enterprise. But by the luck of having successive great princes, a political “germ-cell” was set, the logic of which was favorable to growth, turning a minor principality of 2 million into a Great Power of 5 million, and then into a united Germany preeminent on the Continent, fit for two awesome bids for regional hegemony. The example of Prussia shows that even small states, when armed with unity and will, can maximize their potential and, when the stars align, achieve wonders.

Times have changed since Frederick’s. We, for the most part, do not need to be so mindful of military security as in the past. Indeed, most traditional military conflict in our lands, lamentably, is intra-European. The inherent disorganization of the Third World, nuclear weapons, and the diminishing returns of military occupation in the modern era mean that there are few conventional threats to our security.[9] The Western World’s conflicts with the Arab nations and Iran, far from being motivated by any objective threat, have largely been driven by a hypertrophied U.S. imperial establishment and the malignant influence of the Israel Lobby in Washington, Paris, and London.

The lasting insight in Frederick’s Report on the Prussian Government is the need for a coherent will: that government should concentrate on its core objectives, that all the parts work in harmony towards this, and that this will be steadily maintained over long periods of time. Frederick’s goal was the security of his state and as such he concentrated on maximizing military capability and constant readiness to seize opportunities in foreign affairs. Other objectives may be served by these Prussian virtues: constant mindfulness, frugality, preparation, and setting a good example for one’s citizens.

Frederick emphasizes the importance in politics of encouraging family-formation and maintaining public morals, which is to say shape the society’s culture and enforce positive social norms. The nation and state must always be carefully tended and cultivated that it, like a beautiful garden, flourish and grow. Frederick organized his entire state towards the goal of military power and security. Perhaps we may say that the endangered Europeans of today must similarly organize their states, through systematic cultural and population policies, towards the goals of demographic expansion, genetic quality, and unity within our great family of nations.[10]

Frederick’s patriotic prince can in our times seem something like an alien. We have grown used to living under governments dedicated above all to individual caprice and equalizing victimhood. Our people are so demoralized, that even the idea that our men and women, especially the best of them, should be expected and encouraged to raise children is considered outright offensive by many. Frederick shows that such misguided doctrines do not favor national survival.

We are used to “politics” meaning only more-or-less loathed electoral politicians winning office by publicly pandering to the mob’s bottomless appetite for consumerism and narrow sectional interests, while actually serving the hostile, increasingly post-national oligarchs who finance their political parties and control the mass media who significantly determine the public’s views. In Frederick’s time, the manners of the average citizen, be he farmer, burgher, or nobleman, were shaped by a hard life, national laws, and a state church. Today, besides the general slouching, the education of the youth and the public at large is largely left, to a small, rootless international clique of media moguls, from Carlos Slim and Rupert Murdoch, to Michael Eisner and Sumner Redstone. These men pursue their particular financial, ideological, and ethnic[11] interests, rather than the national good.

This is not inevitable however. At the close of Frederick’s reign, the population of Prussia approached that of England. The two countries in later centuries would enjoy similar rises in power and greatness. We may say that Anglo-America is what northern Europeans tend to when plenty and security afford them the luxury of individualism and egalitarianism. Prussia is what northern Europeans tend to when, driven by poverty and insecurity, they must organize and discipline themselves for collective survival.

The European peoples, we can be sure, will suffer ever-greater insecurity in the twenty-first century with their dwindling numbers, their swamping by outsiders, and the rise of Asia and Africa. By this suffering, the Europeans will painfully learn from their mistakes and again know the true worth of things. No doubt, we will see Prussians again.

In the twentieth century, the logic of Europe and the West had been one of unbridled expansion. From a small appendage of Eurasia, we burst forth and conquered virtually the entire world and multiplied to become a full third of humanity. Since the catastrophic world wars, we have been in headlong decline and, in time, we will have lost not merely our empires, but of even our own historic homelands. By the end of this century, we will be lucky if we still make up 5 percent of humanity. We must arrest our decline by again establishing, by will and discipline, a logic of expansion. The Great King provides us with a powerful model. Every European nation must play its part.



1. As published in Johann Preuss (ed.), Œuvres de Frédéric le Grand, vol. 9 (Berlin: Royal Printer, 1848), pp. 209-220. http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/ [4]

2. On the recurring controversy concerning pan-European political unity: small states’ options and character are indeed, in the long run, generally determined by great geopolitical blocs and empires, often of a continental scale. But it is also true that the larger a polity is, the less cohesive and coherent it is likely to be. In any event, one must not confuse a unitary empire with a multinational and multistatal confederation. The latter is necessarily prone to impotence as each state holds a de facto and/or de jure veto and each nation does not identify with the others. Thus, while a confederation may be a useful thing, one should not place exaggerated hopes in it or believe this to be the critical locus of politics. The locus of politics is always the actual sovereign. Nationalists understand the sovereign acting through the nation-state: mass consciousness is only possible in a nation; political action is only possible through a state. An empire may or may not be preferable, but that is always founded through the spilling of blood, never by signing bits of paper. For the truth of this, I refer you to the history of the United States before Lincoln, of the German Confederation before Bismarck, of Austria-Hungary, Canada, Belgium, and the European Union. (Concerning the latter two, there has been amusing example of paralysis in recent weeks as the region of Wallonia vetoed Belgian support for a major EU-Canada free trade agreement. Thus multinational polities were leading to vetocracy squared: Wallonia vetoed Belgian policy, and Belgium vetoed EU policy. And yet, one finds a thousand people in the political mainstream who believe the permanently paralyzed EU is the primary answer to European decline . . .) I also, again, direct you the very eloquent statements explicating these matters in De Gaulle’s press conferences and Hitler’s Second Book.

3. That it remained unpublished during his lifetime is unsurprising: Frederick is quite frank about his coveting neighboring Saxony in order have more buffer territory on his vulnerable southern border. These ambitions, he insisted, had to remain secret. Prussia would indeed acquire 40 percent of Saxon territory at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

4. I would add that finance and culture can be said to make up an entire society’s nervous system. Which begs the question: what does it mean if a particular ethnic group, especially if hostile to the majority, achieves commanding influence in a society’s financial and cultural institutions?

In the natural world, the principles and examples [5] from which should always be in our minds, we observe Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a parasitic fungus able to hijack ants’ behavioural system and turn them into “zombie ants.” According to Wikipedia:

Infected hosts leave their canopy nests and foraging trails for the forest floor, an area with a temperature and humidity suitable for fungal growth; they then use their mandibles to affix themselves to a major vein on the underside of a leaf, where the host remains until its eventual death. The process leading to mortality takes 4–10 days, and includes a reproductive stage where fruiting bodies grow from the ant’s head, rupturing to release the fungus’s spores.

5. An archaic French currency.

6. Presumably Bürger commoners.

7. Certainly, the continued existence of the state is a sine qua non of any policy, but we as nationalists add: policy must serve the existence and cultivation of the people from which the state derives.

8. Here, presumably meaning East Prussia.

9. There are exceptions obviously: Turkey is a threat to Greece, and China is a threat to Russia. In the long term, we also cannot exclude that Africa’s population explosion will eventually form a conventional military threat. What would a Spain reduced to aged pensioners and effeminate young leftists be able to oppose to a few million Islamized Africans led marching upon Europe, no doubt led, according to their genius, by a new Mahdi or General Butt Naked?

10. I observe one prominent “willful state” active in the world today: the Jewish State of Israel. This country has, through a cross-partisan political and social consensus, consistently pursued policies of demographic and territorial expansion, for the security and power of the Jewish people and against the Arabs, whom Orthodox Jewish consider subhuman. The Jews’ fertility rate in Israel is now well above replacement with over 3 children per woman, equaling the Arab rate. (Admittedly, Israel has been successful in large part thanks to its diplomatic and financial parasitism upon the Western nations, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of European lives, through the tireless efforts of the Jewish-Zionist lobby. But that is but another example successful ethnic activism, only possible because we are not yet ethnically organized.)

11. Unless, obviously, they are of European descent . . .

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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/the-willful-state/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Frederick_the_Great_after_the_Battle_of_Kolin_by_Julius_Schrader.jpg

[2] the laws of Prussia: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/enlightened-patriarchy-part-1/

[3] an Africa destined to number 4 billion this century: http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-worlds-most-important-graph/

[4] http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/: http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/

[5] examples: https://twitter.com/natureisscary


L’Ours et le Mandarin: le “partenariat stratégique” sino-russe au crible de l’Histoire


L’Ours et le Mandarin: le “partenariat stratégique” sino-russe au crible de l’Histoire

Galvanisée par la dégradation progressive de ses relations avec l’Occident à la suite de son action en Ukraine et en Syrie, la Russie de Vladimir Poutine a toujours voulu voir en la Chine un partenaire “alternatif” sur lequel elle pourrait s’appuyer, à la fois sur les plans économique et international. Cette ambition se heurte toutefois très souvent à la réalité des objectifs de Pékin, dont les dirigeants n’ont jamais été particulièrement enthousiasmés par le concept d’un bloc anti-occidental au sens strict du terme. Les notions de “partenariat stratégique” ou même d’“alliance”, si elles sont devenues très à la mode dans les dîners mondains, ne recouvrent donc que très imparfaitement la logique du fait sino-russe.

Nous vous proposons cette analyse des relations sino-russes en deux parties, voici la première.

tchaadaev.jpg« Nous ne sommes ni de l’Orient, ni de l’Occident », concluait sur un ton particulièrement pessimiste le philosophe russe Tchaadaïev dans l’une de ses plus célèbres Lettres philosophiques. Principal précurseur du bouillonnement intellectuel de la Russie impériale de la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle, celui-ci fut l’un des premiers à théoriser l’idée d’une spécificité russe qui justifierait le fait qu’elle n’ait d’autre choix que de s’appuyer sur deux “béquilles”, dont l’une serait occidentale et l’autre orientale. Comme si le génie politique et industriel de l’Europe ne pouvait qu’être associé avec la créativité et la rationalité organisatrice de la Chine, qui partageait déjà avec la Russie la problématique de l’immensité du territoire et de sa bonne administration. Peine perdue pour Tchaadaïev, qui considérait que nul espoir n’était permis tant que le pays resterait engoncé dans l’archaïsme des tsars indignes de l’œuvre de Pierre le Grand, alors même que la Russie ne connaissait pas encore la violence anarchiste qui marquera la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle. Dans Apologie d’un fou, publié en 1837, il écrit et se désole : « Situés entre les deux grandes divisions du monde, entre l’Orient et l’Occident, nous appuyant d’un coude sur la Chine et de l’autre sur l’Allemagne, nous devrions réunir en nous les deux grands principes de la nature intelligente, l’imagination et la raison, et joindre dans notre civilisation les histoires du globe entier. Ce n’est point-là le rôle que la Providence nous a départi. »

De manière générale, la prophétie de Tchaadaïev s’est confirmée. L’équilibre qu’il appelait de ses vœux n’a jamais pu être trouvé, en particulier dans les relations de la Russie avec la Chine. Lorsque l’on “efface” le relief donné par la perspective historique, on a en effet tendance à voir dominer l’image d’un rapprochement constant et inexorable entre Moscou et Pékin, dont l’alliance servirait de contrepoids dans un monde dominé par la vision occidentale des relations internationales. Cette impression s’est particulièrement renforcée avec le discours de Vladimir Poutine donné à la 43e conférence de la sécurité de Munich en 2007, où ce dernier fustigea l’unilatéralisme qui avait présidé au déclenchement de la guerre en Irak en 2003 ainsi que le projet de bouclier antimissile prévu par l’Otan en Europe orientale. Ce serait toutefois négliger le fait que le premier mandat du président russe (2000-2004) fut marqué par un mouvement marqué d’affinité avec l’Occident, à tel point qu’il fut l’un des premiers à contacter George W. Bush à la suite du 11 septembre 2001 pour l’assurer de son soutien. Ce serait aussi oublier hâtivement que la relation sino-russe fut dominée pendant cinq siècles par l’importance des litiges territoriaux et que la Guerre froide fut pour les deux pays un théâtre d’affrontement pour le leadership du camp socialiste, ce qui annihila toute perspective d’un bloc unifié.

Cinq siècles de conflictualité

Si elles semblent très éloignées de par la langue et la culture, la Russie et la Chine ont toutefois toujours eu en commun de partager une réalité géographique similaire, dont l’immensité du territoire est la pierre angulaire. Une proximité également traduite dans les institutions, le modèle impérial historiquement développé par les deux pays ayant constitué un facteur favorable à une tradition administrative très fortement centralisatrice. Il y a aussi la question de la diaspora, particulièrement prégnante pour Moscou comme pour Pékin, avec 25 millions de Russes en dehors des frontières – principalement dans les anciens États de l’Union soviétique – et 20 millions de Chinois sur la seule île de Taïwan. Des nationaux “du dehors” souvent considérés comme des compatriotes perdus qu’il conviendrait a minima de protéger, et au mieux de faire revenir dans l’escarcelle nationale. Il y a enfin cette immense frontière commune de 4250 km qui s’étend de la Mongolie jusqu’aux rives de l’océan Pacifique, et dont la définition exacte n’a, jusqu’à récemment, jamais été arrêtée.

StolypinCrop.JPGLes premiers contacts diplomatiques entre les deux pays sont traditionnellement datés de la délégation envoyée par la Chine au tsar Michel en 1618. Si le traité de Nertchinsk de 1689 abordera pour la première fois la question des litiges territoriaux avec le tracé d’une première frontière, la relation entre les deux pays n’en restera pas moins toujours teintée de méfiance. La question territoriale gagnera en importance dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle et au début du XXe siècle, quand le Premier ministre Piotr Stolypine lancera un vaste plan de modernisation de l’Extrême-Orient russe. Entre 1906 et 1913, plus de 3,5 millions de paysans russes traverseront l’Oural pour s’installer dans les terres inhospitalières de la Sibérie orientale, dont certaines parties attirent grandement la convoitise de Pékin.

Mais le véritable rapprochement entre les deux pays ne s’imposera qu’à la faveur de la proximité idéologique offerte par les effets conjugués de la révolution russe d’octobre 1917 et de la prise de pouvoir du Parti communiste chinois (PCC) emmené par la figure emblématique de Mao Zedong en 1949. Le 14 février 1950, un premier traité d’amitié, d’alliance et d’assistance mutuelle est signé entre les deux États. L’URSS de Staline, auréolée de l’immense prestige de sa victoire sur l’Allemagne nazie en 1945 et forte d’un important savoir-faire en matière industrielle, envoie dans ce cadre plus de 10 000 ingénieurs en Chine afin de former le personnel local. Malgré la divergence fondamentale avec les conceptions économiques de Mao Zedong, qui privilégiait le développement agraire massif et pas l’industrie lourde, cette coopération se poursuit jusqu’au milieu des années 1950. Portée par l’espoir de Moscou de pouvoir constituer avec la Chine un grand bloc socialiste qui lui permettrait de peser de manière plus importante sur les affaires internationales, cette politique se heurte toutefois à la dégradation progressive des relations entre les deux pays. Ces discordances croissantes sont, en grande partie, liées au refus de Nikita Khrouchtchev de transférer la technologie nucléaire au régime chinois, à la publication du rapport portant son nom sur les crimes du stalinisme et à son choix de dialoguer régulièrement avec Washington dans le cadre de la “coexistence pacifique”, une véritable hérésie conceptuelle pour un Mao Zedong resté très attaché à l’orthodoxie marxiste-léniniste.

La rupture est finalement consommée entre 1961 et 1962, notamment après une gestion de la crise des missiles de Cuba jugée calamiteuse par Pékin. Dans la conception maoïste, la Chine possédait une légitimité au moins équivalente à celle de l’URSS pour assurer le leadership du camp socialiste. C’est la raison pour laquelle le pays chercha à se détacher du grand-frère soviétique en dégageant une voie qui lui était spécifique. En ce sens, la Chine est incontestablement parvenue à certains résultats : obtention de l’arme nucléaire en 1964, reconnaissance par la France la même année et admission au Conseil de sécurité de l’Onu en 1971, en lieu et place de Taïwan. Elle développe dans ce cadre la doctrine du “tiers-mondisme” afin de concurrencer Moscou dans le soutien aux États attirés par l’idéologie marxiste, politique dont Pékin tirera bien peu de fruits puisque seule l’Albanie d’Enver Hoxha finira par s’y rallier à la faveur de la rupture avec l’Union soviétique en 1961.

Un pic de tension avec l’URSS est atteint en 1969, lorsque l’Armée rouge et l’Armée populaire de libération s’affrontent à l’occasion de plusieurs escarmouches aux abords du fleuve Amour, sur l’affluent de l’Oussouri. Si l’enjeu tient dans le contrôle de l’île de Damanski (Zhenbao en mandarin), ces incidents illustrent principalement le problème plus large des différends frontaliers entre les deux pays, abordés plusieurs fois par la voie des traités, mais jamais véritablement réglés et toujours présents à l’esprit des deux parties.

DengXiaoping.Time.1979.pngSeule la mort de Mao Zedong en 1976, qui entraînera en Chine un certain recul de l’impératif de “pureté marxiste”, permettra d’engager un premier rapprochement. Son successeur, Deng Xiaoping, a longtemps été considéré comme un acteur majeur de la réconciliation sino-soviétique, dans un contexte où le traité d’amitié signé en 1950 était sur le point d’expirer (en 1979). Mais le Deng Xiaoping “réconciliateur” des années 1980 fut aussin aux côtés de Mao, l’un des plus solides partisans de la “ligne dure” face au révisionnisme soviétique initié par Khrouchtchev. Il définira même, en 1979, l’URSS comme « l’adversaire le plus résolu de la République populaire de Chine », avant même les États-Unis. Deng Xiaoping posa donc trois préalables au rapprochement avec Moscou : le retrait des divisions de l’Armée rouge encore stationnées en Mongolie, l’arrêt du soutien soviétique aux opérations militaires que le Vietnam menait au Cambodge depuis 1977 et le démantèlement de toutes les bases militaires situées dans les pays avoisinants la Chine. S’il s’éloigna radicalement du maximalisme de Mao Zedong, il prouva en revanche que la logique de blocs ou le suivisme idéologique n’avaient rien d’automatique dans un contexte où l’URSS redoublait d’activité sur la scène internationale. L’invasion de l’Afghanistan initiée en 1979 par la Russie a d’ailleurs mis fin à ces premières négociations. Cette situation n’a guère connu d’amélioration dans une Union soviétique minée par des difficultés économiques structurelles et une forte instabilité politique interne, avec une première moitié des années 1980 où se succèdent pas moins de quatre dirigeants différents (Brejnev, Andropov, Tchernenko et Gorbatchev). Seul le retrait partiel d’Afghanistan, initié en 1986, permettra d’ouvrir la voie à ce qui constitue le véritable tournant du rapprochement sino-russe : la “parenthèse Eltsine” dans les années 1990.

D’un partenariat constructif à une alliance stratégique

Paradoxalement, la chute de l’URSS en 1991 et l’émergence d’une Fédération de Russie la même année ne constituent pas – du moins dans un premier temps – un facteur de rapprochement avec la Chine. Dans son choix d’une rupture radicale avec un passé soviétique dont le deuil ne sera jamais véritablement fait par la population russe, Boris Eltsine s’appuie sur de jeunes cadres formés dans les années 1980. C’est par exemple le cas de Boris Nemtsov, dont l’assassinat à Moscou le 25 février 2015 a fait grand bruit, en Russie comme dans les médias occidentaux. Sous le patronage du Ministre de l’économie Iegor Gaïdar, ces nouveaux cadres résolument libéraux conduisent la Russie à opérer dans un premier temps un certain alignement sur la politique de l’Union européenne et des États-Unis, dans la continuité des choix effectués par Mikhaïl Gorbatchev pendant la Guerre du Golfe. Autant d’éléments qui ne laisseront qu’une place limitée à une politique ambitieuse de rapprochement avec la Chine, alors que celle-ci cherchait dans le même temps à améliorer ses relations avec Washington, considérablement dégradées par la question latente de Taïwan et la répression des manifestations de la place Tian’anmen en 1989.

Primakov_03.jpgIl est assez coutumier de désigner Vladimir Poutine, arrivé au pouvoir en 2000 mais dont l’ascension a été permise par Boris Eltsine, comme l’artisan fondateur du repositionnement russe dans la politique internationale, et en particulier du rapprochement avec la Chine. Il serait toutefois plus juste d’attribuer ce rôle au Ministre des affaires étrangères nommé par Eltsine en 1996, Evgueni Primakov. Brillant arabisant et ancien officier des services de renseignement soviétiques, il se distingua par une saille restée célèbre dans le pays : « la Russie doit marcher sur ses deux jambes ». Il s’agissait déjà d’une référence – massivement réutilisée par la suite par Vladimir Poutine – au positionnement central occupé par la Russie dans l’espace eurasiatique, mais aussi à cette “particularité” chère à Tchaadaïev et dont elle devrait user afin de poursuivre la voie qui est la sienne. Le rapprochement avec Pékin apparaissait alors comme une évidence dans un contexte où l’économie russe était minée par le choc brutal des privatisations impulsées par Iegor Gaïdar, tandis que le gouvernement et les autorités militaires subissaient l’humiliation de leur défaite dans la Première guerre de Tchétchénie.

Du côté chinois, le nouveau président Jiang Zeming cherchait quant à lui à construire pour la Chine une stature à sa mesure sur le plan international, alors que le pays se trouvait encore sous le coup de plusieurs sanctions européennes et américaines en réponse aux évènements de la place Tian’anmen. Sur le plan régional, les autorités chinoises se trouvaient de plus en plus préoccupées par le “pivot Pacifique” engagé par les États-Unis au milieu des années 1990, et qui avait conduit Washington à intervenir militairement dans la crise de Taïwan en 1995 ou encore à se rapprocher de son allié japonais.

Pour les deux pays, les conditions du rapprochement étaient donc assez largement réunies, ce qui aboutira à la signature par Boris Eltsine et Jiang Zeming d’un premier partenariat en avril 1996. Il est d’ailleurs très intéressant d’observer le subtil changement sémantique opéré par la diplomatie russe dans la définition de sa relation avec Pékin : qualifié dans la première moitié des années 1990 de « partenariat constructif » (« konstrouktivnoyé partnerstvo »), le lien avec la Chine est désormais défini comme un « partenariat stratégique » (« strategitcheskoyé partnerstvo »), une formule nettement plus offensive proposée par Evgueni Primakov, qui s’inscrit dans une certaine stratégie de communication vis-à-vis des autres partenaires de la Russie. Ce qui commence déjà à prédominer, c’est bien la nécessité d’une certaine convergence pratique dans la gestion des relations internationales, ce qui sera confirmé par la déclaration conjointe sino-russe de 1997, conçue pour compléter le partenariat de 1996. On y retrouve avec intérêt tous les éléments de langage qui sont encore aujourd’hui utilisés par Pékin et Moscou dans leur traitement des affaires internationales : « nécessité d’un monde multipolaire », « refus de l’hégémonie », « primauté du droit et de la coopération entre les peuples », « non-intervention et respect de la souveraineté nationale »… La “multipolarité” en particulier est ainsi transformée en un quasi-slogan de principe pour Moscou, qui y voyait un concept efficace pour contester la prééminence américaine dans la limite des moyens dont disposait le Kremlin dans les années 1990.

La gestion du dossier particulièrement complexe de la Yougoslavie ne fait qu’accentuer ce sentiment de dépossession et d’impuissance. La Russie se révèle incapable de soutenir son alliée serbe en empêchant une intervention militaire de l’Otan au Kosovo entre mars 1998 et juin 1999. Pékin comme Moscou adopteront par ailleurs une position similaire sur le dossier, l’action de l’Alliance atlantique en Serbie étant perçue comme une atteinte au principe de souveraineté nationale orchestrée avec un contournement du système décisionnel du Conseil de Sécurité de l’Onu – l’opération fut effectivement déclenchée sans mandat. Même à quinze ans d’intervalle, le précédent du Kosovo continue de résonner – à tort ou à raison – pour Pékin et Moscou comme la preuve indéniable que le système de concertation offert par l’Onu est vicié dans son principe même.

Cette idée justifie un rapprochement des deux capitales sur des questions plus sensibles liées à la sécurité régionale et internationale, déjà engagée par la réunion des “Shanghai Five” en 1996 (Chine, Russie, Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, Tadjikistan). Même l’institution militaire russe, encore très imprégnée par un personnel majoritairement issu de l’establishment soviétique et très conservatrice vis-à-vis du secret industriel, accepte des transferts de technologies militaires de plus en plus nombreux en direction de Pékin. Ce choix ne fut d’ailleurs pas uniquement pris pour des raisons purement politiques : il a été rendu impérativement nécessaire par le délitement complet du complexe militaro-industriel russe et par la perte de ses principaux clients en Europe centrale et orientale (Allemagne de l’Est, Hongrie, Tchécoslovaquie, Bulgarie, Roumanie, Pologne, etc.). La Chine s’est alors rapidement imposée comme un débouché naturel, en particulier pour une industrie de l’armement dont le revenu reposait à 80 % sur les recettes des exportations d’armes.

À l’échelle de l’histoire longue, le rapprochement sino-russe pourrait donc être considéré comme un épiphénomène, particulièrement lorsque l’on sait l’importance des litiges territoriaux qui ont régulièrement empoisonné les relations entre les deux pays, de même que leur lutte acharnée pour l’hégémonie sur le camp socialiste durant la Guerre froide. La rapidité de l’évolution du monde après la chute de l’empire soviétique – que presque aucune âme n’avait été capable de prédire – a favorisé un rapprochement devenu non pas naturel, mais légitime pour deux pays dont les intérêts géopolitiques et la conception antilibérale des relations internationales constituent, en apparence au moins, les deux piliers d’une relation potentiellement “stratégique”. La Russie de Vladimir Poutine, très largement enfantée par celle de Boris Eltsine, exploitera ainsi cet héritage et tentera – avec un succès parfois assez largement contestable – d’en faire un des principaux vecteurs de son “retour” sur la scène internationale.

Nos Desserts :

lundi, 21 novembre 2016

Wyndham Lewis, Ernst Jünger & Italian Futurism - Paul Bingham


Wyndham Lewis, Ernst Jünger & Italian Futurism - Paul Bingham

Robert Stark and co-host Alex von Goldstein talk to Paul Bingham. This show is a continuation of our discussion about Aleister Crowley and Aristocratic Individualism

Topics include:

How Wyndham Lewis, Ernst Jünger, Aleister Crowley, and the Italian Futurist, were individuals who existed outside the liberal reactionary/traditionalist paradigm, and viewed the world in a realist way unbiased by ideology
The cult of Positivism
Italian Futurism, how it was marginalized due to it’s ties to Mussolini, but made a major impact on the arts
How Ayn Rand was influenced by Italian Futurism
Robert Stark’s talk with Rabbit about Italian Futurism
Wynham Lewis’s Vorticist movement, his magazine Blast, and his Rebel Art Centre
The philosophy of the Vortex, which views everything as energy constantly in motion
The rivalry between Italian Futurist Filippo Marinetti and Wyndham Lewis, and how Lewis critiqued Italian Futurism for putting to much emphasis on technology
Wynham Lewis’s The Art of Being Ruled, which made the case that the artist was the best to rule, and that capitalism and liberal democracy suppressed genuine cultural elites
How the book addresses Transsexualism, and anthropological findings on the Third Sex
Kerry Bolton’s essay on Wyndham Lewis
Lewis’s relationship with fascism, how he published the book Hitler (1931), which presented Adolf Hitler as a “man of peace,” but latter wrote an attack on antisemitism: The Jews, are they human?( 1939)
The influence of war and violence on Italian Futurism
The Manifesto of Futurism
The Futurist Cookbook
Futurism is about testing what works, and rejecting traditions that don’t work
The futurist believed that every generation should create their own city, and futurist Antonio Sant’Elia’s Plan for Città Nuova (“New City”)
Paul worked on a book that was never published, “The Motor City and the Zombie Apocalypse,” about how the motor city is incompatible with human nature
The effects of global technological materialism on culture, and how technology needs the right people and culture to work
Jean Baudrillard point that the Italians have the best symbiosis between culture and technological progress
The Transhumanist concept of Cybernetics, which is rewiring the brain, and how the futurist used poetry as a precursor to cybernetics
Paul’s point that futurist movements such as cyberpunk, and Neoreaction are more focused on Live action role-playing, but are not serious about pushing the limits
The intellectual and transcendental value of LSD and DMT, Ernst Jünger’s experimentation with acid, but they are only effective if the right people use them
Paul’s point that the only real futurist are underground, and experimenting in third world countries
Aristocratic individualism, and Paul’s opinion that Ernst Jünger is the best example, and Jünger’s concept of the Anarch
Ernst Jünger’s science fiction novel The Glass Bees
Ernst Jünger’s “The Worker”

mercredi, 16 novembre 2016

Enlightened Patriarchy: Frederick the Great’s Principles of Lawmaking


Enlightened Patriarchy:
Frederick the Great’s Principles of Lawmaking

Perhaps the most impressive Western tradition of statecraft, at least in the modern era, is that of Prussia. To be sure, the liberal-democratic tradition launched by the United States [2] and France is formidable, and it is not without reason that it today dominates our world. But the greatness of America and France also relied upon a prosaic factor: sheer demographic and geographic size. Little Prussia in contrast accomplished feats with absolutely miserable resources, raising herself up among the great powers and founding the German nation-state through sheer force of will. The Prussian “authoritarian” tradition, with its emphasis on hierarchy, community, and martial prowess, is then a useful counterpoise to the liberal-democratic one we take for granted today. Clausewitz and Carl Schmitt must be read beside Jefferson and Tocqueville [3].[1]

The most illustrious of all the Prussian leaders was Frederick the Great, a great political reformer and military commander who also cultivated a reputation as a philosophical thinker in his own right. Given how rare it is for generals and politicians to be particularly thoughtful, Frederick the Great merits all the more to be read by young Westerners in search of their heritage and a usable past. I propose then a reading of some of Frederick’s quite substantial philosophical and political writings.

Frederick’s Dissertation on the Reasons to Establish or Abrogate the Laws (Dissertation sur les raisons d’établir ou d’abroger les lois, 1750),[2] written after a decade in power and the hard-won conquest of Silesia, is admirably clear in its writing (how rare that can be!) and showcases wide reading and historical knowledge.[3] Many of Frederick’s themes and arguments retain all their relevance to this day. As this text is apparently unavailable in English, I will quote from it at length.[4] Unusually for a reigning monarch, the Dissertation was made public, thus showcasing the King’s philosophical credentials and stirring European debate.

Frederick’s ideal government is an enlightened patriarchy. He notes that “family fathers” have played an enormous role in the law throughout history, both as lawmakers and as legal masters of the household. For Frederick, the laws should serve to shape custom and enforce public morals, with the interests of the community overriding those of individuals. But this firm law must also be humane, rational, and moderate. Social conventions should be examined in this light and reformed accordingly. Frederick concludes with two proposals as examples: ending the stigma of bastardy, so as to prevent illegal abortions leading to the deaths of both the bastard and the mother, and a pan-European ban on dueling, the latter often causing the death of valuable citizens.

To know how to make laws, the practical Frederick advises looking to history:

Those who wish to acquire an exact knowledge of the way in which the laws must be established and abrogated can only look to history. We see there that all nations have had particular laws, that these laws were established in succession, and that much time has always been necessary for men to reach something reasonable. We see there that the legislators whose laws have lasted the longest are those who had as their goal public happiness, and who best knew the genius of the people whose government they regulated.

According to Frederick then, history teaches that the establishment of good laws requires patience, public-spiritedness, and harmony with “the genius of people,” which might also be termed national character. He shows an optimistic faith in reason typical of the Enlightenment: men require time to establish good laws, but once reached, these tend to spread. This accounts for the pervasiveness of Roman law: “These laws were found to be so admirable that after the destruction of the empire, they were embraced by the most civilized peoples.”

Frederick’s Dissertation provides a fairly impressive overview of the evolution of law from ancient to modern times, covering the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the modern European nations of England, France, and Germany. He draws from numerous sources, mentioned in the marginalia, including Herodotus, Plutarch, Livy, Cicero, and Tacitus for the Ancients and mainly French historians for the Moderns.

Frederick’s highlights from this enormous historical period are obviously not disinterested. These generally could be considered to subtly reinforce his position as an “enlightened despot” and pragmatic reformer, particularly interested in maximizing his state’s population and military power. In addition to “family fathers,” Frederick places a strong emphasis on the role of religion and, interestingly, usury in the development of the law. Hence, he expounds at length on Sparta, a martial state to which Prussia was often compared:

Lycurgus, king of Lacedaemon, used the laws of Minos, to which he added some of Osiris, which he collected himself from a journey he made to Egypt; he banished gold from his republic, silver, all sorts of currencies, and superfluous arts; he equally shared lands among the citizens.

This legislator, who intended to shape warriors, did not want any sort of passion to weaken their courage; he allowed for this effect the community of wives among citizens, which peopled the State, without excessively attaching private citizens to the sweet and tender bonds of marriage; all children were raised at public expense. When parents could prove that their children were born unhealthy, they were permitted to kill them. Lycurgus believed that a man who was not fit to bear arms did not deserve to live.

He ruled that helots, a kind of slave, would cultivate the soils, and that the Spartans would only busy themselves with the exercises which would render them fit for war.

The youth of both sexes wrestled; they exercised completely naked, in the public square.

Meals were regulated, where, without distinction of orders, all citizens ate together.

It was forbidden for foreigners to stay in Sparta, in order that their manners not corrupt those which Lycurgus had introduced.

Incompetent thieves were punished. Lycurgus had the intention of forming a military republic, and he succeeded in this.

The Aim of Law: Good Manners & Public Safety

csm_6.5_2dd71daf9a.jpgFrederick asserts that laws should aim to promote “[g]ood manners and public safety.” He is enormously concerned with civil peace, saying French chancellor Michel de l’Hôpital’s efforts to increase tolerance and defuse tensions between Catholics and Protestants during the Wars of Religion “worked for the salvation of the fatherland.” Laws may deal with politics (government), manners (criminal), and civil matters (contracts, usury).

But for Frederick, laws do not merely have the negative goal of suppressing crime and instability, but also the positive one of fostering good habits. Hence the laws have an important cultural role. He says “the laws are dikes against the overflowing of vices, they must be made respected by the terror of punishments,” but these should also be humane. The sovereign must protect “the majesty of the laws” if these are to have any power. This sometimes fails. Under the Roman Republic “the corruption of manners . . . led to an endless multiplication of laws.”

Frederick cites the Twelve Tablets of Rome, inspired by Solon, among the best laws. These had notably legalized posthumous recognition of children (in cases where the alleged father died before birth) and divorce: “These laws, so equitable and so just, restrained citizens’ freedom only in the cases when their abuse of it could harm the calm of families and the security of the republic.”

However, in judging what individual liberty and equal rights citizens should have, Frederick stresses that the aim must always be the public good. Many restrictions on individual liberty and “discriminations” against classes of citizens might at first appear unjust, but are actually upon closer examination found to serve the general welfare. Frederick cites the German practice of primogeniture in this regard:

Whoever has bothered to the examine the laws with a philosophical spirit will have no doubt found many which at first appear contrary to natural equity, and which however are not so. I content myself with citing the right of primogeniture. It seems that nothing is more just than sharing the paternal estate equally among all children. However experience proves that the most powerful inheritances, subdivided into many parts, reduce over time opulent families to indigence; which has led father preferring to disinherit their younger sons rather than prepare their house for a guaranteed decadence. And for the same reason, laws which appear bothersome and harsh with certain individuals are not less wise, so long as they tend towards the entire society’s advantage; this is a whole to which the enlightened legislator will constantly sacrifice the parts.

Thus, discrimination against younger sons, while unfair for those concerned, can be justified by its strengthening of the continuity of the family house. (I note in passing that some have claimed this passing on of the family household to  the first-born son has contributed to the strong German tradition of family businesses [the famous Mittelstand]. Conversely, the French Revolution’s egalitarian law of succession overrode the father’s will and equally distributed property among sons. Thus, estates tended to disintegrate over time. Some have blamed the catastrophic and lasting decline of French fertility in this period on these provisions, bourgeois fathers seeking to reduce their offspring to maintain their households.)

Certainly the American and French revolutionaries would not deny the importance of the general welfare, but Frederick is more explicit: the public good must come before the individual interest and narrow “rights.” In this he echoes the wisdom of classical philosophy, as when the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius [4] wrote: “What brings no benefit to the hive brings none to the bee. [. . .] What causes no harm to the city causes no harm to the citizen.”


Patriarchy: A Realistic Ideal

Frederick ascribes an enormous role to the père de famille, the family father, both in the historical foundation of law and in establishing good laws in the present. He begins his historical account as follows:

It seems probably that family fathers were the first legislators: the need to establish order in their houses no doubt forced them to make domestic laws. Since these first times, and when men began to assemble in cities, the laws of these particular jurisdictions were found to be inadequate for a more numerous society. [. . .]

Disorders accrued in the cities, news vices were born, and the family fathers, as those with the greatest interest in repressing them, agreed, for their security, to oppose this excess.

Towards his conclusion, Frederick presents patriarchy as one of the best forms of government given humanity’s imperfect nature. He describes first a utopia in which government and laws would perfectly regulate society like clockwork:

A body of perfect laws would be the masterpiece of the human spirit concerning the government’s policy: one would observe there a unity of plan and rules so exact and proportioned, that a State driven by these laws would resemble a watch, whose springs have been made for one same goal; one would find there a deep knowledge of the human heart and the genius of the nation; punishments would be tempered, so that by maintained good manners, they would be neither light nor harsh, clear and precise rulings would never lead to legal dispute; they would consist in an exquisite choice of all that has been best in civil laws, and in an ingenious and simple application of these laws to the customs of the nation; all would be foreseen, all would be combined, and nothing would be subject to inconveniences: but perfect things do not pertain to humanity.

Human beings being imperfect, Frederick instead offers patriarchy as a realistic regime. Under patriarchy, the government’s public-spiritedness is ensured by a sense of family belonging with the people:

The peoples would have reason to be satisfied, if legislators placed themselves in their regard in the same mental dispositions of these family fathers who gave the first laws: they loved their children; the maxims they prescribed had as their goal only the happiness of their family.

This perspective largely resonates with evolutionary psychology’s later view that feelings of kinship enable in-group altruism and more generally on the centrality of family to human psychology.

Frederick highlights numerous examples throughout history of the importance of the father in law: parricide was so unthinkable to Solon he made no mention of it in his laws, while the Romans made the mere intention of parricide punishable by death. This did not mean the father should enjoy unlimited and tyrannical power, as Frederick also writes:

No laws revolts humanity more than this right of life and death which fathers had over their children in Sparta and Rome. In Greece, a father who was too poor to provide for the needs of a too numerous family allowed the children born in excess to perish; in Sparta and in Rome, if a child came to the world poorly-shaped, this sufficiently authorized the father to deprive him of his life.

It is worth observing here that if the killing of infants was not for an arbitrary individual purpose such as a father’s whim, but rather for a rational public purpose such as eugenics, this might meet Frederick’s criteria for a good law, given his previous assertion of the public good over individual interest.

friedrich_II.jpgFrederick’s advocacy of paternal authority is all the more poignant and significant in that his own father, Frederick-William, also known as the Soldier King, had been a harsh one. Frederick-William had often beaten his son and executed before Frederick’s eyes his youthful best friend (and possible lover), Hans von Katte, for “desertion.”

Undivided Authority

Frederick’s apology of patriarchy fits well with his arguing that the sovereign should enjoy undivided authority, free notably from parliaments. This enabled the sovereign to concentrate without distraction and formulate coherent laws. Coming from an absolute monarch, this was obviously not a disinterested position, but it was forcefully argued. Frederick stresses the dissensions between Senate and people which paralyzed the Roman Republic and writes on England:

Although England has many wise laws, it is perhaps the European country where they are the least in effect. Rapin Thoyras [a French historian] remarks very well that, by a vice of government, the power of the King is constantly in opposition to that of the parliament; that they watch each other, either to conserve their authority, or to extend it; which distracts the King and the representatives of the nation from the care which they should expend to maintain justice; and this turbulent and stormy government changes endlessly its laws by acts of parliament, according to whether the current situation and events forces it to do so; hence It follows that England is in the situation of more requiring reform of its jurisprudence than any other kingdom.

Frederick argues elsewhere that laws made by different authors will tend to contradict one another and be incoherent:

When in a State the laws are not assembled in a single body, there must be some who contradict each other; as they are the work of different legislators who did not work on the same scheme, they will lack unity which is so essential and so necessary to all important things.

He notes that nothing is worse for respect for the laws than internal contradiction. Hence, Frederick strongly argues for legal codification, citing many examples, from Justinian through Alfred the Great to Louis IX of France.

Frederick then explicitly rejects any doctrine of divided sovereignty or separation between executive and legislative authority, as found in the writings of Montesquieu and the American Constitution. No doubt Frederick would not be surprised by the often vague and incoherent texts produced by divided sovereigns, whether the representatives in the U.S. Congress or the heads of state of European summits.

To be continued . . .


1. My ability to directly study the Prussian tradition is sharply limited by my very inadequate knowledge of German. Concerning Frederick however, I am fortunate, as a blessed son of France, for the Great King wrote overwhelmingly in French. This reflected the preeminence of French as the European lingua franca of the eighteenth century and Frederick’s enthusiastic embrace of the French Enlightenment, or les Lumières. On other benefits of learning the French language, see Guillaume Durocher, “Learning French with Jean-Marie Le Pen,” [5] Counter-Currents, November 20, 2015.

2. As published in Johann Preuss, Œuvres de Frédéric le Grand, vol. 9 (Berlin: Royal Printer, 1848). http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/ [6]

3. Montesquieu is a possible but uncertain influence. Frederick makes clear in a letter that he had read Montesquieu’s Considerations on the Greatness and Decadence of the Romans. However, there is no mention of the French writer’s more famous Spirit of the Laws, which were published around the same time as the Dissertation’s writing.  There is confirmation that Frederick read the Spirit of the Laws afterwards. Anne Baillot and Brunhilde Wehinger note a number of parallels: on the law as representing the progressive development of human reason (Montesquieu: “The law, in general, is human reason.”), on the need to adapt law to “national genius” and circumstances, on a gentle approach to abortion, and in supporting the ban of torture. Anne Baillot and Brunilde Wehinger, “Frédéric II, Roi-philosophe et législateur,” HAL.archive-ouvertes.fr (2013). https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00788671/document [7]

4. Frederick’s works appears to be largely unavailable online in English. French and German versions of his complete works are available in scanned and text formats from the University of Trier. However, these are only available page-by-page rather than by chapter or book, which make referencing somewhat obnoxious.

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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/enlightened-patriarchy-part-1/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Friedrich_ii_campenhausen.jpg

[2] the United States: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/07/the-eternal-anglo-1/

[3] Tocqueville: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2016/07/tocquevilles-patriotic-republic-nationalist-themes-in-democracy-in-america-part-1/

[4] Marcus Aurelius: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/09/the-prayers-of-marcus-aurelius/

[5] “Learning French with Jean-Marie Le Pen,”: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/11/learning-french-with-jean-marie-le-pen/

[6] http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/: http://friedrich.uni-trier.de/fr/oeuvres/9/toc/

[7] https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00788671/document: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00788671/document

Enlightened Patriarchy:
Frederick the Great’s Principles of Lawmaking

Part 2

Moderation & Humaneness

Fried2-post.jpgThe sovereign has authority but, as with the father, this must be deserved. Frederick notes dispassionately that Publicola, one of the founders of the Roman Republic, had legalized tyrannicide. The laws must be fair and appropriate to the nation concerned, otherwise they will be soon be abolished and the people will revolt:

The legislators who establish laws in monarchies are typically themselves sovereign: if their laws are gentle and equitable, they will maintain themselves by their own accord, all individuals find their advantage in them; if they are harsh and tyrannical, they will soon be abolished, because they need to be maintained by violence, and the tyrant is alone against an entire people who only the desire to eliminate them.

Frederick argues that excessively harsh laws anyway cannot last. Draco, the first lawmaker of Athens, saw his notoriously tough legislation soon abrogated by Solon’s.

Frederick argues:  “Natural equity wishes that there be proportion between crime and punishment.” Punishment should take circumstances into account for “[t]here is an infinity between the destiny of a rich man and of an impoverished one.” Frederick claims that for a poor thief to steal a rich man’s gold watch was no great crime.

Frederick proposes a middle way between laxness and severity. He notes that the Ancient Egyptians did not punish thieves — the victims were legally allowed to rebuy their lost property from the thieves — a measure which was “the means of making thieves out of all Egyptians.”

In contrast, “[t]he French laws are of a terrible rigor,” for these prescribed the execution of domestic thieves so as to prevent the spread of their “seed.” Frederick claimed Prussia, by not executing nonviolent domestic thieves, had found the right balance:  “Prussian jurisprudence has found a temperament between the laxity of Egypt’s and the severity of France’s.” At the same time, he affirms harshness for the most evil crimes “so that the punishment is always in step with the crime.”

These considerations on humaneness were also linked to the abolition of torture. Frederick expresses revulsion for the practice of trial by ordeal in England and of “la question” (the seeking of confessions under torture) in France. Frederick banned torture in Prussia on his third day on the throne. He did so on the grounds that tolerance to pain was not necessarily correlated with virtue and that citizens should not be forced to incriminate themselves. This ban “caused a sensation in Europe” and put Prussia “at the vanguard of modernity.”[1]

With perhaps excessive rhetorical flourish, Frederick claimed to be taking “the side of humanity against a custom shameful to all Christians and civilized peoples, and, I dare to add, a custom as cruel as it is useless. [. . .] It would be better to forgive twenty guilty people than to sacrifice an innocent. [. . .] The question in Prussia was abolished eight years ago [. . .] we are certain to not confuse the innocent and the guilty, and justice is delivered no less.”

Other examples of humaneness are Frederick’s abolition of the Hurenstafe (the “Whores’ Punishment” instituted by his father, meaning execution by tying the woman in a bag and drowning her in a river) and a ban on hiding unwanted pregnancies and killing unwanted infants.

Frederick provides quite a long narration on the development of the laws and rights of Englishmen, including the Magna Carta, habeas corpus, and trial by jury: “the nation still conserves this privilege.”

Usury & Inequality

Frederick ascribes considerable importance to economic inequality and to the evil of usury in the history of the laws. He writes: “nothing makes more odious differences of condition than the tyranny which the rich exert with impunity over the miserable.” To this end, Frederick put limits on the ability to appeal, for prior to this those of means could appeal decisions in Prussia’s various courts almost endlessly.


Frederick identifies usury, with the related self-reinforcing accumulation of wealth by an oligarchy, as a major cause of revolution throughout history, accounting for much social unrest in Athens and Rome. He even calls striking the right balance between lenders and debtors “the philosopher’s stone of jurisprudence”:

The laws concerning debtors are indisputably those which require the most circumspection and prudence on the part of those who publish them. If these laws favor creditors, debtors’ conditions become too difficult; an unfortunate accident can forever ruin their fortune. If, on the contrary, this law is to advantageous to them, it alters public confidence, by denying contracts which are founded on good faith.

This happy medium which, while upholding the validity of contracts, does not oppress insolvent debtors, seems to me to be the philosopher’s stone of jurisprudence.

It seems to me that wealth has a tendency to self-accumulate in a self-reinforcing fashion, as Marx famously analyzed. This is especially when these wealthy elites, which are typically cognitive/clannish cliques, capture the state. Then, the correction may only be achieved by a social revolution, whether enlightened or egalitarian.

National Genius

Though laws are fashioned by universal reason, they must be tailored to local circumstances, namely a nation’s geographical, political, and cultural character. Frederick stresses on several occasions that the laws must respect the “national genius” of the governed, what we might call national character:

We observe again, by examining the conduct of wise legislators, that the laws must be adapted to the kind of government and to the genius of the nation which must receive them; that the best legislators have had as their goal public felicity; and that in general all laws which are most in line with natural equity, with a few exceptions, are the best.

As Lycurgus found an ambitious people, he gave them laws more suited to making warriors than citizens; and if he banished gold from his republic, it was because interest is of all vices that most opposed to glory.

Solon himself said that he did not give the Athenians the most perfect laws, but the best laws they were capable of receiving.

Frederick then does not advocate a naïve universalism sometimes associated with the Enlightenment, but adaptation to national character. Solon’s laws differed from Lycurgus’ also in accordance with their maritime position, propitious for commerce.


Conversely, Frederick asserts: “The laws indeed must accord with the genius of nations, or one must not hope for them to last.” To ignore national character is to build laws upon weak foundations, leading to their dissolution. Frederick cites the early Romans as an example of a democratic people, who hence rejected regimes dominated by the king or the propertied classes.

Frederick also argues that laws should be harsher for less civil nations, which are often less developed ones: “It finally seems to me that, among nations who have barely emerged from barbarism, the legislators must be severe; that, among civilized peoples, whose manners are gentle, one needs human legislators.”

This adaptation of laws to local political and cultural character naturally suits sovereigns such as Frederick, who can thus justify their independent particular choices while respecting those of others, contrasting with the ideology of intolerant world-empires, who claim universal jurisdiction.

Against Bad Laws & Lawyering

Frederick makes a number of general comments on avoiding bad laws. The laws must not be vague, for this leads to insincere, hair-splitting legal debate (“la chicane”) and judges must then “have recourse to the intention of the legislator.” Frederick argues that “The skillful legislator does not overload the public with superfluous laws.” An excess of laws leads to confusion and contradiction: “Few wise laws make the people happy.”[2] Laws should be replaced when these are “contrary to public happiness and natural equity, when they are enounced in vague and obscure terms, and finally when they imply contradiction.”

Frederick repeatedly attacks the use of rhetoric by lawyers, including Cicero, seeking to emotionally manipulate judges rather than stick to fact and logic. Frederick expresses considerable pride that his grand chancellor, Samuel von Cocceji, had legally banned rhetoric (I leave aside whether this measure was effective):

Prussia has followed this Greek custom, and if the dangerous refinements of eloquence are banned from pleas, this is thanks to the grand chancellor, whose integrity, understanding, and indefatigable activity would have done justice to the Greek and Roman republics, in the times when these were the most fecund in great men.

Questioning Convention: The Case of Aborted Bastards

Quite in keeping with a tradition of philosophy founded by Socrates, Frederick urges the questioning of convention in the formulation of the laws. Custom should be examined in the light of reason and reformed according to the public good. He notes that bad civil laws are often kept by a kind of inertia “to not shock the prejudices of the nation” and “purely because of their antiquity.”

Frederick did not however advocate an indiscriminate contempt for convention. On the contrary, he advises caution for men are “in the majority, animals of custom” therefore “it could be dangerous to touch them [customs],” for this may lead to more confusion than good. Frederick then advises a pragmatic and reasonable approach to tradition.

A large number of the historical events cited by Frederick seem to refer to this sort of approach, particularly with regard to warfare and natalism. The martial Spartans allowed men and women to train and wrestle together naked. Solon allowed women to remarry if their husbands were impotent. The Romans, at various times, passed laws subsidizing having of three children, recognizing posthumous children (when the father died before birth), and legalizing divorce.


There is also a hint of Frederick’s contempt for Christian dogma as when he recounts of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome:

He wanted the kings to have a sovereign authority in matters of justice and religion; he had no belief in fables ascribed to the gods; that we have for them holy and religious sentiments, attributing nothing dishonest to their blessed natures.

This too is quite in line with Plato’s Socrates, so eager to revise or suppress inherited myths and poems when these show the gods in an impious and irrational light. Frederick adds that Romulus considered the very walls of Rome to be “sacred,” the violation of which was the pretext for killing his brother Remus. This may be taken as a metaphor for the security of the city being a supreme religious imperative, overriding even the closest family ties.

Frederick provides a practical example of questioning convention with the case of the illegality of abortion, which was often punished by death. He considers this practice as barbaric as the Spartan and Roman fathers’ right to kill their children. In fact, Frederick does not argue for the legalization of abortion, but rather the elimination of the most common cause of abortion, which is the stigma of bastardy:

Is there not something quite harsh in the way which we punish abortions? God forbid that I would excuse the dreadful action of these Medeas who, cruel to themselves and to the voice of blood, suffocate the future race, if I dare to express myself so, without letting it see the day! But let the reader strip himself of all prejudices of custom, and let him deign to lend some attention to the reflections which I will present him.

Do not the laws attach a degree of infamy to secret childbirths? A girl born with a too gentle temperament, deceived by the promises of a scoundrel, does she not find herself, in consequence of her credulity, in the situation of having to choose between the loss of her honor and that of the unfortunate fruit which she has conceived? Is it not the fault of the laws to put her in such a violent situation? And does not the severity of judges deprive the State of two subjects at once, the runt who has perished, and the mother, who could abundantly repair the loss by a legitimate propagation? One responds to this that there are homes for orphan children. I know they save an infinity of bastards; but would it not be better to cut the evil by its roots, and conserve so many poor creatures who miserably perish, by abolishing the blemishes attached to consequence of an imprudent and flighty love?

Frederick then wished to prevent the abortion of bastards and the execution of their mothers, that manners be gentler and his state more populous.

Towards European Law?: The Case of Duels

Frederick’s second example of questioning convention is the practice of duels. Here, he notes that laws against dueling are often ineffective because of the contrary social stigma of those who reject them. A nobleman rejecting a duel is considered unmanly while a soldier may well lose employment by his loss of reputation. Thus, monarchs as powerful as Louis XIV of France and Frederick-William (Frederick’s father, also known as the Soldier King), had failed to eliminate the practice, as “duels changed their name.”

Frederick advises as the only solution the punishing of duelers following a mutual agreement among European countries to not grant asylum to the guilty:

If all the princes of Europe do not assemble in a congress, and do not agree among themselves to attach dishonor to those who, despite their rulings, attempt to slaughter each other in single combat, if, I say, they do not agree to refuse all asylum to this kind of killer, and to punish severely those who insult their peers, either in speech, or in writing, or by ways of deed, there will be no end to duels.

Let me not be accused of having inherited the visions of the abbot [Charles-Irénée Castel] de Saint-Pierre [a French writer who had imagined a world without war]: I see nothing impossible in individuals submitting their quarrels to the decision of judges, just as they submit the disagreements which decide their fortunes; and by what reason would princes not assemble in a congress for the good of humanity, after having held so many on subjects of lesser importance? I return to this, and I dare to assure that this is the only way to abolish in Europe this inappropriate point of honor, which has cost the lives of so many honest people whose fatherlands could have expected great services from.

Here again, Frederick wishes to save lives which could serve the nation. The assembly of European princes to establish common norms is an interesting prefiguring of the later bourgeois states’ exponential practice of negotiating European norms in various treaties. We cannot say that Frederick is advocating “European law” per se because he does not suggest the establishment of a purported suprastatal enforcer (e.g., a court).

Frederick reflects typical Enlightenment optimism:

To imagine that men are all demons, and to rail against them with cruelty, is the vision of ferocious misanthrope; to suppose that men are all angels, and to give up the reigns to them, is the dream of an imbecilic Capuchin monk; to believe that they are neither all good nor all bad, to reward good actions beyond their worth, to punish bad actions less than what they deserve, to have indulgence for their weaknesses and humanity for all, that is how a reasonable man must act.


As expressed in the Dissertation, Frederick the Great’s thoughts on lawmaking are striking for their modernity. One can certainly identify signs prefiguring our current troubles. His public circumspection and private contempt for organized religion is no doubt a forerunner a certain agnosticism culminating in nihilism. Frederick’s pleas for a humane approach, while understandable in those still-brutal days (try reading about premodern crime and punishment without flinching), can be taken to a demagogic excess.

However, Frederick is careful to always make his argument with reference to the public good: humaneness and innovation are interesting to explore, but if these clash with the general welfare, the latter must always prevail. Our time is one of individualism and egalitarianism, a time when laws are largely judged by whether they grant free caprice and “equal rights” to individuals. Frederick in contrast provides powerful arguments in favor of laws established by paternal authority for the well-being of the community as a whole and for the promotion of good socio-cultural norms.

Frederick furthermore argues forcefully for a pragmatic and rational approach to lawmaking. One should not be impious or contemptuous of custom for its own sake, but one should be willing to rationally examine and reform custom in light of the public good. Outside of utopias, Frederick saw enlightened patriarchy as perhaps the best possible form of government. The great philosopher Schopenhauer [2] would later concur with this assessment, seeing an autocratic and benevolent “national father” as the form of rule most suited to an imperfect mankind.

Frederick was opposed to a crude universalism and cognizant of the need to adapt legislation to national characteristics. At the same time, he saw himself as participating in a genuinely pan-European intellectual culture and on occasion advocated for joint solutions among the princes of Europe. Frederick the Great’s principles of lawmaking then retain all their relevance for European patriots today.



1. Baillot and Wehinger, “Frédéric II, Roi-philosophe et législateur,” 13.

2. Frederick seems to have failed to implement the legal simplification he advocated. His Codex Fridericiani, which was worked upon during this period and sought to simplify Prussia’s plethora of laws stemming from innumerable traditions and jurisdictions,  was apparently enormous and unwieldy. Frederick writes that in Germany: “there is no circle, no principality, no matter how small, which does not have a different customary law; and these rights, through the length of time, have acquired force of law.”

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

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/11/enlightened-patriarchy-part-2/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/FrederickBerlinCrop.jpg

[2] great philosopher Schopenhauer: http://www.counter-currents.com/2016/03/schopenhauers-critique-of-democracy/

[3] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Laws.png

lundi, 14 novembre 2016

"Against Our Better Judgment" The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel,


"Against Our Better Judgment"
The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, by Alison Weir
Ex: http://www.unz.com
weir.jpgAlison Weir's relatively short book covers the history of Zionism in the United States from the last decades of the 19th century until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. (She is working on a second volume that will carry this history to the present.) Its brevity does not mean, however, that it is in any sense superficial, as it brings out key historical information, all well-documented, that sets the stage for the troubled world in which we now live. While histories of Zionism have usually focused on Europe, Weir shows that American adherents of this ideology have been far more important than generally has been recognized

The basic theses of this book are encapsulated in the title and subtitle. The history of how American Zionists used America to create Israel was “hidden” in two respects. First, it was “hidden” in the sense that American Zionists often worked behind the scenes. More importantly, however, that history is known but has been kept hidden from the general public, who rely on the mainstream media, and exists almost exclusively in works produced by small publishers—often of a scholarly bent—read by only a few. As Weir points out, those who have tried to bring this information to the general public have suffered both venomous verbal attacks and economic threats that quickly silence the message and often destroy the messenger. This treatment obviously serves to prevent others from doing likewise—“Pour encourager les autres.”

America’s support for Israel ran “against our better judgment” in the sense that American foreign policy experts of the era covered by this work recognized that support for Zionist goals would damage American national interest and that this support only came about because of the political power of American Zionism.

While Weir is not a professional historian, she has intensively studied the literature on this subject for years, much of it rather arcane, as well as spending considerable time traveling in the region. Having a Ph.D. in history myself, I would like to point out that the writing of history does not require any specialized talents as are needed in such fields as theoretical physics or medicine, so that intelligent, hardworking laypersons can often produce works of great value. Weir does not purport to have pored over primary sources to discover new information, which is the hallmark of the professional historian’s craft, but rather synthesizes information from existing published studies that are largely unknown to the general public. Moreover, she brings to her work knowledge of the land and the peoples which she has picked up from her travels.

For those who still might find her background insufficient for her task, it should be further added that Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz, who lacks as far as I can tell any college degree in history, manages to produce works on Israel that are picked up by major publishers who would not think of publishing anything done by most academic historians. It might be added that academic historians, who specialize in monographs, would be loath to produce a comparable account of this subject from Weir’s perspective, since it would do little for their careers and might serve as their professional death knell.

While the book’s narrative is very readable and the key points can easily be digested by the average reader, it is nonetheless well-documented. To satisfy the more academic reader, the book has a section of extended endnotes longer than the narrative. I found the endnotes section valuable not only for confirming and expanding upon the content of the narrative but also in serving as a point of departure for additional research. I often switched from my Kindle book to a Web search, coming up with names of related books and articles that I would like to peruse, should I ever have the time to venture to a research library.

The work goes over a large number of little known but very important topics to demonstrate the powerful influence of Zionism over American foreign policy. Space, naturally, precludes me from discussing all the topics in detail so I have focused on those which seem to deal most directly with the major themes of the book.

The early political influence of Zionism is illustrated by the fact that in 1887 a Jewish American was made ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which then controlled Palestine and was thus considered by Zionists as the key country with which to deal. This set the precedent of a Jewish ambassador to this country that was continued for the next 30 years, by which time the Zionist search for outside support had turned elsewhere.

The book brings up the central importance of Louis Brandeis and his disciple Felix Frankfurter in advancing the interests of Zionism. Brandeis was a noted social and economic reformer who was a Zionist and happened to be very close to President Wilson, who would put him on the Supreme Court in 1916, the first Jew to hold such a position. Even after joining the Supreme Court, Brandeis used this access to Wilson to promote Zionist interests, sometimes acting as a go-between for Wilson and British Zionists.

Brandeis would head the international Zionist Central Office during the teens but, perhaps even more significant, he would be a leading member of a secret society, the Parushim, the Hebrew word for “Pharisees” and “separate,” which covertly advanced the interests of Zionism in the United States and Europe. The Parushim was founded in 1913 by a University of Wisconsin philosophy professor, Horace M. Kallen, who ironically is considered to be the father of cultural pluralism in the United States. Obviously this idea conflicted completely with his support for the creation of a Jewish exclusivist state, but it is a contradiction that is rather commonplace among many Jews and liberal gentiles alike.

kallen.jpgKallen was regarded by some as first promoting the idea for what became the Balfour Declaration, which would set the stage for the modern state of Israel. He promoted this scheme in 1915 when the U.S. was still a neutral. He told a British friend that this would serve to bring the United States into World War I. It should be pointed out that at that time, despite serious diplomatic issues regarding German submarine warfare, the great majority of the American people wanted to avoid war and Wilson would be re-elected president in November 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Kallen’s idea for advancing the Zionist goal, however, soon gained traction.

Frustrated in their efforts to achieve a Jewish homeland in Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, the American Zionists turned toward Britain to bring this about. In 1916 as World War I dragged on indecisively, Zionist leaders promised the British that in return for a Jewish homeland in Palestine—which the British could expect to gain from the Ottomans as one of the spoils of a victorious war—American Zionists would work to bring the United States into the war on behalf of Britain and its allies. Many British strategists at the time, such as Winston Churchill, believed that such an event would turn the tide for victory. Weir holds that it “appears” that the Zionists’ activity was one factor in bringing America into the war [1] and cites a number a number of reputable books and leading contemporary figures—such as then-British Prime Minister Lloyd George—that held that Zionists carried out their side of the bargain by pushing the United States into war.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter, dated November 2, 1917 (and coming out in the press one week later), from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Walter Rothschild, a British Zionist leader, officially stating that Britain would use its “best endeavours to facilitate the achievement” of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.

Now even to give attention to the Balfour Declaration in a history of World War I is somewhat outré; to claim that it caused the United States to enter war is one of those ultra-taboos. Although my Ph.D. was in American history with a focus on diplomacy (and a minor in 20th Century European history), never did I come into contact with anything about the Balfour Declaration in my college studies (which, granted, did not deal with the Middle East). I only knew about it from reading what the mainstream historical profession would regard as disreputable authors.

Reference to the Balfour Declaration and the Zionist role in it was considered one of the daring things done by the iconoclastic Israeli “New Historian” Tom Segev who discussed it in his book, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (2000). In a lecture on his book that I heard at the University of Maryland in 2002, Segev, though acknowledging that the British goal was winning over Jews to their side [2], derided the idea of any real Jewish power, attributing that mode of thinking to “anti-Semitism.” In 2010, Segev expressed this view in a review of a new book on the Balfour Declaration: “Obviously there was no ‘Jewish power’ controlling world affairs, but Weizmann [3] successfully pretended that the Jews were in fact turning the wheels of history. For once, the anti-Semitic image of the Jews proved useful — they were believed to be so maliciously dangerous that one would do best to acquire them as allies rather than as enemies.”[4]

segev.jpgAlthough Segev is a daring historian who often rejects the Zionist myths on the creation of Israel, in this case he essentially relies on a classic Zionist-constructed strawman, which involves greatly exaggerating the view that the Zionists (and Jews in general) don’t like. It is highly doubtful that the British foreign office believed that Jews were so powerful as to be “turning the wheels of history.” (If that had been the case, one would think that the British would have offered Jews much more than Palestine from the very start of the war.) Furthermore, as noted earlier, Weir does not subscribe to anything like this Zionist strawman in regard to the Balfour Declaration, or anything else, I should add.

However, what is important is not only whether the American Zionists were able to bring the United States into a war, but that they made a solemn promise to a foreign country that they would try to do so. As a matter of fact, since Zionists such as Brandeis knew much about Wilson’s thinking and undoubtedly were kept abreast on what Germany was likely to do (it being well-known that Germany was suffering from the British “starvation” blockade and that politically powerful voices there wanted to retaliate by pursuing a harsher submarine policy toward neutrals such as the U.S.), they may have realistically thought in 1916 that there was a good chance that the United States would shortly go to war whether they interceded or not, which meant it would be a wise move to make such a deal and be able to get credit for a result that was not of their own making.[5]

It is also of significance that the American Zionists promised to push the U.S. into war not because they believed that it was in their own country’s national interest—as was the case for a number of prominent Americans such as former President Theodore Roosevelt—but solely for what they considered to be in the interests of world Jewry. Ascribing “dual loyalty” to any Jews is regarded as a classic anti-Semitic canard. In this case, however, the American Zionists’ position did not even rise to the level of “dual loyalty,” being purely singular in that it evinced no apparent concern whatsoever for American interests.

Linked to the Balfour Declaration, Weir points out that “American Zionists may also have played a role in preventing an early peace with the Ottoman Empire.”[6] In 1917, the U.S. State Department had heard that the Ottomans were becoming weary of the war, and it decided to send a secret mission to explore the possibility of detaching the Ottoman Empire from its alliance with the other Central Powers. Such a separate peace would likely leave the Ottoman Empire (or Turkey as it would become shortly)[7] in control of its Asian possessions, which would mean that since Britain would not gain Palestine, no home for Jews could emerge there.

This mission was headed by former Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who, though Jewish, was not a Zionist. However, he was persuaded by Zionists such as Brandeis protégé Felix Frankfurter, who was a member of the mission’s delegation, to abandon the effort. In a meeting with Morgenthau, Chaim Weizmann, a leading British Zionist who was alerted by American Zionists as to the danger posed by Morgenthau’s mission, also played a major role in stopping the potentially-peacemaking mission, as is indicated in Weir’s endnotes.[8]

Other obstacles to the Zionists’ goal in Palestine would also arise soon after the end of the war in November 1918. Important Christian Americans who were intimately involved in the Near East and supported self-determination for the Arabs recognized that this could not take place if the Zionists were able to set up an ethnic Jewish enclave on Arab land. They went to the Paris Peace Conference which, among a number of issues stemming from World War I, would deal with the territorial settlement.

As a result of the divergent views on the future status of the territory to be given up by the Ottoman Empire, President Wilson decided to send an investigatory commission to the region, which became known as the King-Crane Commission.[9] In line with Wilson’s goal of national self-determination, the commission sought to discover how the region’s inhabitants wanted to be governed, and they overwhelmingly expressed opposition to a Jewish home in Palestine.


Weir points out that “Zionists through Brandeis dominated the situation, however, and the report was suppressed until after the Peace Accords were enacted.”[10] At the Paris Peace Conference, Weir writes, “[t]he U.S. delegation was forced to follow Zionist directives.”[11]

kingcranebook.jpgOne minor criticism here is that the reader might incorrectly get the impression that the King-Crane Commission dealt solely with Palestine, while it actually involved all the territories severed from, or expected to be severed from, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).[12] The issue of Palestine made up about half of the report on “Syria,” which also included present day Syria and Lebanon. The other two geographical sections of the report were “Mesopotamia” and “Non-Arabic speaking portions of the Former Ottoman Empire (Asia Minor).”[13] Thus the suppression of the commission’s report was likely due not only to opposition by Zionists, but also to other interested parties disturbed by its findings in areas other than Palestine. These parties would include the British, French and Greeks.

In regard to the report’s description of Palestine, however, Weir’s presentation was completely on the mark. The King-Crane report reflected extreme opposition to Zionism expressed by those Muslims and Christians who lived in Palestine as well as by those who lived in neighboring areas.

Weir points out that during the inter-war period, when Palestine was governed by Britain under a League of Nations mandate, which was intended to prepare the country for eventual independence, the American Zionists moved away from openly pushing for the establishment of an exclusivist Jewish state in Palestine since this ran counter to the temper of the times—which reflected American opposition to militant nationalism and dual loyalty, and respect for majority rule and national self-determination. Instead, Zionists focused on the development of Jewish institutions in Palestine, which would serve as a basis for a Jewish state. Zionist leaders, such as David Ben-Gurion, still viewed American support as key to their establishment of a Jewish state.

With World War II on the horizon, Zionists began to return directly to their goal of a Jewish state. A precursor of the current Israel lobby, the American Zionist Emergency Council (AZEC), began in 1939. In order to pressure the U.S. government to support a Zionist state, AZEC worked to establish more than 400 local committees under 76 state and regional branches to promote this goal. These committees distributed Zionist pamphlets, circulated petitions, and engaged in letter writing campaigns to promote the Zionist cause. AZEC also funded books, articles and academic studies for this same purpose.

By the end of World War II, Zionist efforts gave them considerable power in American politics. In order to appeal to the general American populace, they stressed the needs of the many Jewish European refugees, connecting the refugee problem to Palestine, the latter destination purportedly being the only solution to their existing homelessness. By this humanitarian argument, Zionists could thus appeal to many Americans who did not necessarily believe the Zionists’ contention that Jews had a historical right to control Palestine.

As Britain opted to turn over the troublesome issue of Palestine to the United Nations in 1947, Zionists pushed for a partitioning of Palestine between Jews and the indigenous Palestinian population. The partition plan discriminated in favor of the Zionists, since while the Jewish population comprised about 30 percent of Palestine’s population, the plan would award them with 55 percent of the land. And the Zionists’ real goal was not to be content with that amount but to also grab the remainder.

U.S. State Department officials strenuously opposed the partition plan, looking upon this approach as both contrary to America’s professed principle of national self-determination and its vital interests in the Middle East, where a vast majority of the governments and their people were vehemently opposed to Zionism. A leading State Department official in this opposition was Loy Henderson, Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs. Zionists viciously attacked him, demanding his removal and even threatening his family. The State Department chose to move him elsewhere and in 1948 President Truman named him Ambassador to Nepal, which kept him far away from anything to do with Palestine.

Removing Henderson, however, did not make the State Department favorable toward transforming any part of Palestine into a Jewish state. Among the higher level opponents were the head of the State Department‘s Division of Near Eastern Affairs, Gordon P. Merriam; Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, who later became Secretary of State; and George F. Kennan, the State Department‘s Director of Policy Planning, noted as the architect of America’s containment policy against Soviet Communism.

The State Department was not the only part of the executive branch of the United States government that opposed the Zionist goal for Palestine. The newly-created CIA reported in 1947 that the Zionists were seeking goals that would be harmful to both Jews and “the strategic interests of the Western powers in the Near and Middle East.”[14] The Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed partition and expressed the prescient fear that the Zionist aim was to involve the U.S. in their conflict with their Middle East enemies.

Despite this opposition from a consensus of foreign policy and national security experts within his own government, Truman opted to support the Zionist partition plan for political reasons, relying heavily on the views of his domestic political advisor, Clark Clifford, who maintained that the Jewish vote and financial backing were necessary to win the presidential election in 1948. Truman‘s Secretary of State George Marshall, noted for the famed Marshall Plan that helped to rebuild devastated Western Europe, and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal remained staunchly opposed to what they regarded as Truman’s willingness to sacrifice vital national security interests on the altar of domestic politics.

Weir points out that a number of wealthy Zionist Jews provided financial support for Truman’s presidential campaign in 1948, which may put us in mind of Zionist mega-donors of today such as Sheldon Adelson. One of these backers was Abraham Feinberg who funded Truman’s epic whistle-stop train campaign. Truman would give Feinberg credit for his victory. As quid pro quo, the Truman administration remained inert when the CIA later reported that Feinberg was involved in illegal gun-running to Zionist groups in Palestine.


I should add that while Truman has become something of an idol for recent historians, he was looked upon during his time as being driven by what would benefit his own political interest. As the redoubtable journalist H. L. Mencken quipped about Truman’s 1948 campaign: “If there had been any formidable body of cannibals in the country he would have promised them with free missionaries, fattened at the taxpayer’s expense.” In Truman’s defense, however, it should be pointed out that two of his key opponents in the 1948 presidential election, Republican Thomas Dewey and the left-wing Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace, Franklin Roosevelt’s former Vice-President, were both staunchly pro-Zionist.[15]

Weir describes a number of Zionists who maintained personal contact with Truman and likely played a role in shaping his policies. David K. Niles, Truman’s executive assistant, was regularly briefed by the head of the Washington Office of the Zionist Organization of America and was believed to be passing top-secret information to the Israeli government. Truman’s long-time friend and former business partner, Eddie Jacobson, was a staunch Zionist with close access to Truman who would describe his information to be of “decisive importance.”[16] Sam Rosenman, a political advisor to Truman, screened State Department memos to Truman.

Although the United States had announced its support for the partition of Palestine, it was apparent that the partition plan still lacked the necessary two-thirds vote to pass in the UN General Assembly. Consequently, the Zionists were able to get a delay in the vote and used that time to intimidate or bribe opponents to reverse their positions.

For example, Weir notes that Wall Street financier and perennial presidential adviser Bernard Baruch threatened war-torn France that it would be denied aid from the United States if it voted against partition. David Niles was able to get rubber baron Harvey Firestone to tell the Liberian president that he would terminate his planned expansion in his country if it did not vote in favor of partition. Haiti was promised economic aid if it would change its vote and support the measure. Costa Rica’s President Jose Figueres was said to have received a blank checkbook to get his country’s vote.

As a result of this behind the scenes skullduggery, the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, voted in favor of the adoption and implementation of the partition plan as UN General Assembly Resolution 181. Although this resolution is widely believed in the United States to have created Israel,[17] Weir correctly points out that it “was of limited (if any) legal impact” since General Assembly resolutions, as opposed to those of the Security Council, are not binding on member states. Although the resolution recommended that the UN Security Council implement the partition, it never did.[18]

The effect of the General Assembly’s resolution, however, was to increase the fighting in Palestine. While the Zionist myth would have it that the Jews in Palestine were simply a peaceful community set upon by violent Arabs intent on genocide, Weir points out that Zionist military forces had been covertly preparing for war for some time. They had amassed extensive armaments, some of it coming illicitly from the U.S., and their troop numbers exceeded those of their foes even after five Arab governments had joined the fray. The traditional Zionist portrayal of Israel’s war for independence (which, of course, prevented independence for the Palestinians) as a David versus Goliath conflict in which the Jews miraculously overcame overwhelming odds is pure fiction, but it is still believed in many quarters today and continues to generate sympathy for Israel. On May 15, 1948, Zionists announced the establishment of their new state of Israel, for which they did not establish any boundaries.

sniego.jpgA quick aside here: somewhat ironically, in my view, Weir barely touches on the United States decision to recognize Israel. Moreover, what does exist is largely in the endnotes. Although there will be a second volume to Weir’s history, and the cut-off point for this volume has to be somewhere, still the fact that the book does make reference to events in 1948 would seem to have made it appropriate to discuss in some detail the issue of America’s quick recognition of Israel.

A number of interlocking organizations operated in the U.S. to raise money for Zionist paramilitary groups in Palestine, though this goal was kept secret. These organizations were under the direction of the leader of the Irgun Delegation, Hillel Kook, who operated under the name of Peter Bergson. During World War II, these organizations purported to be trying to alert people to the genocide of European Jews and trying to rescue those still alive. By promoting this purpose these organizations were able to attract substantial public support, including from those who would be repulsed by their funding of terrorist activities, which, Weir implies, was their real intent. The latter, she maintains, was made manifest by the organizations’ failure to actually rescue Jews from Europe.

The Irgun group engaged in numerous public activities to raise money, one of the most successful being a pageant entitled “We Will Never Die!” which, woven within the backdrop of the Nazi genocide, celebrated the Jewish contribution to Western civilization. Written by Ben Hecht, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, the pageant included such Broadway and Hollywood celebrities of the era as Edward G. Robinson, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Leonard Bernstein. Forty thousand attended the extravaganza’s New York performances. It went on to play in a number of other large American cities. The group produced a number of other plays and rallies, one of which featured a young Marlon Brando, and raised $1 million.[19]

Some American Zionists, Weir observes, actually planned terrorist activities outside of Palestine in order to influence developments there. One such terrorist activity conceived by a group of American Zionists headed by an Orthodox Rabbi named Baruch Korff consisted of a plan to drop bombs along with threatening leaflets on the British foreign office in London, or anywhere in London if that were too difficult. The airplane pilot sought for this task, however, went to the Paris Police—he and Korff both being in France at the time—and Korff was arrested. Powerful people rushed to Korff’s defense and the charges were dropped. Korff thus was able return to his former activities in America as if nothing had happened. With this particular event thrown down the Orwellian “memory hole,” Korff resurfaced over two decades later as a public figure close to President Richard Nixon, influencing the latter’s Middle East policies.

The amount of money raised for Zionist groups during in the United States during these years is impossible to calculate accurately, but it would be enormous. Weir writes that between 1939 and May 1948 the Jewish Agency for Israel alone raised the equivalent of $3.5 billion in today’s dollars.

David Ben-Gurion, then de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, realized that the international concern for Jewish refugees could be used to advance the cause of a Jewish state by making it appear that no other safe refuges for Jews existed. Weir illustrates this deception by a discussion of the famous ship Exodus, which carried Holocaust survivors to Palestine when the British were not allowing illegal immigration there.

Weir points out that what is generally unknown to the public is that the French were willing to take in those Exodus refugees but Ben-Gurion rejected that solution, forcing those survivors to remain on board the ship for seven months. Weir quotes historian Baruch Kimmerling on the significance of the Exodus affair: “Ben-Gurion‘s strategy in the Exodus affair paid off. The fate of the refugee ship attracted considerable and sympathetic attention around the world, and served the Zionist cause well. Few observers at the time knew that many of the refugees from the Exodus had applied for immigration visas to the United States, and were hardly anxious to settle in Israel . . . . By dramatizing the fate of the survivors, in whom he had little interest except as future residents of the state he was building . . . Ben-Gurion helped to make Israel the world’s chief power broker over Jewish affairs.”[20]

urisexo.jpgWeir includes a brief reference to Leon Uris’s bestselling 1958 novel on the Exodus ship, and though it falls outside the chronological purview of this volume, I would add that the impact of the already mythologized Exodus event was greatly magnified by Uris’s book, which sold over 7 million copies and was turned into a blockbuster movie in 1960 by Otto Preminger, a leading film director of the era. The film has been identified by many commentators as having greatly enhanced support for Israel in the United States by Jews as well as gentiles and in the view of some scholars this movie has had a lasting effect on how Americans view the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Weir even acknowledges that it had initially shaped her thinking on the subject.[21]

While the pro-Zionist propaganda that inundated the American media played up the existence of Jewish refugees who allegedly sought to come to Israel, there was little popular attention paid toward the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were being driven from their homeland as a result of Zionist massacres and other forcible expulsion measures. A State Department study in March 1949 found the American public was “unaware of the Palestine refugee problem, since it has not been hammered away at by the press or radio.”[22]

To underscore the importance of what Weir presents on this subject, it should be pointed out that until fairly recently, Israel’s denial of ever having expelled the Palestinians dominated the public discourse in the U.S. It was alleged that when Arab armies were about to invade the newly-declared state of Israel, Palestinians left their homes in the new Israel at the behest of their leaders, expecting to return with the victorious Arab armies. Beginning in the 1980s, however, Israel’s so-called “New Historians,” relying on newly released Israeli documents, exploded this myth. They concluded that the major cause of Palestinian flight was Israeli military action, which included terrorist massacres and the fear of them.

Even without the discovery of this Israeli documentary evidence, or any other documentary evidence for that matter, the use of the cui bono test would strongly point to Zionist culpability for the removal of the native Palestinians. For the Zionists planned to create a state that was both democratic and Jewish. This would be impossible if a large number of non-Jewish people, who were largely hostile to Zionism, resided within the country. From this fact, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the emptying of Palestine in 1948 was not a serendipitous development from the perspective of the Zionists, but one that was intentionally brought about by them.

Weir observes that U.S. State Department experts at the time were aware of Israel’s inhumane actions and sought to take action to at least moderate Israel’s effort to achieve a permanent removal of Palestinians. The State Department threatened to withhold $49 million of unallocated funds from an Export-Import Bank loan to Israel if it did not allow at least 200,000 refugees to return to their homes. Although Truman sympathized with the Palestinians’ plight, and in early 1948 even briefly considered backtracking from the partition and supporting a UN trusteeship for the entirety of Palestine, he ultimately prevented the State Department’s move from being implemented.

Weir points out that those in the mainstream media who attempted to alert the American people to the reality of the dispossession of the Palestinian people were effectively prevented from doing so by pro-Zionists. The latter relied on hurling the career-destroying charge of “anti-Semitism” and threatening economic measures to harm any media outlet that would dare to disseminate information they deemed to be too negative toward Israel.

The individual whom the Zionists caused to fall the farthest was Dorothy Thompson. Weir deserves much credit here for pulling this once well-known figure out of the Orwellian memory hole. Thompson happens to have been one of the principal figures in my doctoral dissertation titled, ”The Intellectual Wellsprings of American World War II Interventionism, 1939-1941.”[23] And I have added a few additional points to what Weir has in her book to illustrate the high reputation Thompson had at one time.

Thompson was an early and persistent critic of Nazism. She had an interview with Hitler in 1931 before he had become German Chancellor, which was made into a book. Thompson portrayed Hitler and Nazism in a negative light and in 1934, the now Nazi government of Germany expelled her when she attempted to visit the country. From 1934 onward, the bulk of her writing dealt with the danger posed by Nazism to the Western democracies. After the start of World War II in Europe in September 1939, Thompson was a staunch interventionist who initially advocated greater American aid to the allies but by the latter part of 1941 she was advocating American entrance into the war.

doroth.jpgIn 1939, Time Magazine named Thompson the second most popular and influential woman in America behind Eleanor Roosevelt.[24] She spoke out about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Jews in Europe, and urged a relaxation of immigration restrictions so the U.S. could be a safe haven for Jews under threat in Europe. She also was a strong supporter of Zionism.

In early 1945 she took a trip to Palestine where she saw firsthand Jews oppressing Palestinians. She came to realize that the Zionists sought to create a Jewish exclusivist state, not one that would include all of its current inhabitants. Her criticism of Zionism led to charges against her of “anti-Semitism” and even pro-Nazism, as absurd as that was given her background.[25] As a result of this all-out Zionist attack, newspapers began to drop her columns. Especially harmful was her loss of an outlet in New York City—where she had received a large proportion of her income—when the New York Post dropped her column with no other major New York City daily being willing to pick it up. Her radio program and speaking engagements also disappeared. Despite these problems, Thompson would not back away from her criticism of Zionism. And she continued to do so in the dwindling number of newspapers that still took her column, which did not end until 1958.

It is significant that the black-out of Dorothy Thompson has continued after her death, and perhaps even become worse. In the effort to make the subject of American history more inclusive, recent historians have often added women who were little known in their own eras, whereas Thompson who had been an important figure remains unmentioned. It seems likely that she has remained largely unmentioned both for what she had to say about Zionism and also by the fact that she was blacklisted by pro-Zionists, the power of whom one is not allowed to publicly acknowledge. (This contrasts with those Americans who were blacklisted for being pro-Communist, who are now often praised as martyrs because of this treatment.)

To conclude the review, it should be emphasized that this concise book should be of value to a wide audience. The general reader with little background knowledge should easily pick up a number of key points that serve to dispel the many myths that loom large today in the mainstream media, while even those individuals familiar with the subject are almost guaranteed to profit from little known facts, especially in the notes section, that should augment their knowledge. And it is essential that many more Americans become aware of this knowledge if America’s position is to change regarding Israel and the Middle East in general. Such a change is essential not only to bring about some degree of justice for the Palestinians but in order to extricate the United States from the debilitating regional conflicts that its close connection with Israel has entailed. It will be interesting to see how Weir, in her forthcoming volume, deals with the problems America has faced in more recent years that ineluctably derived from the events described in this work.


[1] Alison Weir, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014), Kindle Edition, Kindle Location 364. Weir contends that there were a number of factors that caused the United States to enter World War I in April 1917, some of which she lists, and that “Zionism appears to have been one of those factors.”

[2] Some historians have diluted this Jewish factor, attributing motivation to British foreign policy goals in the Near East. A Jewish homeland allegedly could serve as a buffer zone that would protect the Suez Canal.

[3] Chaim Weizmann was a leading figure in the Zionist movement who served as President of the Zionist Organization and later as the first President of Israel.

[4] Tom Segev, “‘View With Favor’, Review of The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer, International New York Times, August 20, 2010, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/books/review/Segev-t.ht...

In other parts of his review, Segev’s analysis is impressive. For example he writes: “The Balfour declaration thus finds its place among a multitude of fruitless schemes and indulgent fantasies, except, of course, that in this case, surprisingly, the British by and large kept their word. For at least two decades they allowed the Zionist movement to bring hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants into Palestine, and these new arrivals set up hundreds of settlements including several towns, as well as the political, economic, military and cultural infrastructure of the future state of Israel. But if Israel’s existence originated with the British, so did the Palestinians’ tragedy.”

[5] The controversial House-Grey memorandum, developed with Britain in February 1916, stated that at an appropriate time Wilson would call for a peace conference. If the Allies accepted the offer and Germany rejected it or acted intransigently at the conference, the United States would go to war against Germany. And if Germany accepted the offer and a peace conference did take place, the settlement would not be unfavorable to the Allies. Wayne S. Cole, An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations (Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press, 1968), 363

[6] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 449.

[7] The Wikipedia entry for “Ottoman Empire,” states that the “’Ottoman Empire’ and ‘Turkey’ were often used interchangeably, with ‘Turkey’ being increasingly favored both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was officially ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name,” accessed December 13, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire .

[8] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 2668-2669 .

[9] The King-Crane Commission was originally created as the American Section of the Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey, which was also to include British and French members, and be like a number of other fact finding missions stemming from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. These two countries failed to participate. Ken Grossi, Maren Milligan, and Ted Waddelow, Restoring Lost Voices of Self-Determination: Background to the Commission, August 2011, Part of the King-Crane Commission Digital Collection, Oberlin College Archives, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/king-crane/intro.h... .

[10] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 502-503.

[11] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 505.

[12] The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919, http://www.hri.org/docs/king-crane/. The report includes discussions of territory intended to have been taken from Turkey in the Treaty of Sevres, which Turkey never accepted and was not implemented.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Quoted in Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 798.

[15] Wallace had no chance of winning the election but Truman’s backers feared that he could syphon off enough liberal votes in large Northern and Midwestern states to enable Dewey to win the election. The issue of Israel did not play a role in Strom Thurmond’s 1948 campaign in the South, which focused on states’ rights and racial issues.

[16] Quoted in Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Location 894.

King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919.

[17] Jeremy R. Hammond, “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel,” Foreign Policy Journal, October 26, 2010, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/10/26/the-myth-o...

[18] More than this, the UN General Assembly, after the vote, created another committee that came to quite different conclusions. Jeremy Hammond writes: “The Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question was established by the General Assembly shortly after the issuance of the UNSCOP report in order to continue to study the problem and make recommendations. A sub-committee was established in turn that was tasked with examining the legal issues pertaining to the situation in Palestine, and it released the report of its findings on November 11. It observed that the UNSCOP report had accepted a basic premise ‘that the claims to Palestine of the Arabs and Jews both possess validity’, which was ‘not supported by any cogent reasons and is demonstrably against the weight of all available evidence.’ With an end to the Mandate and with British withdrawal, ‘there is no further obstacle to the conversion of Palestine into an independent state’, which ‘would be the logical culmination of the objectives of the Mandate’ and the Covenant of the League of Nations. It found that ‘the General Assembly is not competent to recommend, still less to enforce, any solution other than the recognition of the independence of Palestine, and that the settlement of the future government of Palestine is a matter solely for the people of Palestine.’’’ Hammond, “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel.”

[19] Marlon Brando was very close to Jews before he became a movie star and later donated a considerable amount of money to Zionist causes. He expressed more negative views of Jews toward the end of his life. See: Allan M. Jalon, “How Marlon Brando Became Godfather to the Jews,” Forward, September 16, 2015, accessed December 13, 2015, http://forward.com/culture/320671/how-marlon-brando-becam...; Danielle Berrin, “Marlon Brando and the Jews,” Jewish Journal, July 30, 2014, accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.jewishjournal.com/hollywoodjew/item/marlon_bra....

[20] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 1249-1256.

[21] The movie had an all-star cast (and a very popular, award winning theme song), which included: Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Peter Lawford, Sal Mineo, and Lee J. Cobb.

[22] Weir, Against Our Better Judgment, Kindle Locations 1370-1371.

[23] Stephen John Sniegoski, “The Intellectual Wellsprings of American World War II Interventionism, 1939-1941,” (PhD diss., University of Maryland-College Park, 1977).

My research on Thompson included a visit to the archival collection of her papers at the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, in 1976, where I perused some material dealing with her break with American Jews, which was outside the scope of my dissertation.

[24] Thompson’s correspondence in her manuscript collection at Syracuse University illustrates her importance. The Overview of the Collection states: “Correspondents include authors (John Gunther, Wallace Irwin, Alfred M. Lilienthal, Edgar A. Mowrer, Vincent Sheehan, Johannes Urzidil), literary figures (Jean Cocteau, Rose Wilder Lane, Thomas Mann, Rebecca West), politicians and statesmen (Bernard M. Baruch, Winston Churchill, Ely Culbertson, Ralph E. Flanders, Felix Frankfurter, Charles de Gaulle, Cordell Hull, Clare Boothe Luce, Jan Masaryk, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman).” Overview of the Collection, Dorothy Thompson Papers, Syracuse University Libraries, accessed December 13, 2015, http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/t/thompson_d.htm.

[25] Thompson’s relationship with American Jews actually began to sour toward the end of the war before the emergence of the issue of Zionist mistreatment of Palestinians. She differed with the Jewish establishment regarding her opposition to the Anglo-American incendiary bombing of German cities, which involved the killing of tens of thousands of civilians, and also the demand for a Carthaginian peace with Germany that was reflected in the Morgenthau Plan. She viewed these actions as violating the alleged idealistic purpose of the war, whereas many Jews sought punishment of the German people because of what the Nazis had done to their co-religionists.

dimanche, 13 novembre 2016

Le renouveau de la pensée d’Ernest Renan

À l’heure où les passions religieuses, de nature irrationnelle et parfois mortifère, s’imposent dans le débat politique quotidien, pourquoi ne pas lire Ernest Renan ?

Breton, né en 1823 à Tréguier (Côtes d’Armor), dans une famille à la fois terrienne et maritime et descendant d’émigrés gallois, Ernest Renan, destiné à l’Église catholique romaine, développa, plutôt que d’entrer en religion, la libido sciendi, c’est-à-dire la soif de connaître.

Entre foi et raison, entre dogme et logos, Ernest Renan entreprend une histoire des religions. L’analyse du prophète chrétien dans La vie de Jésus (1863), premier tome d’une Histoire des origines du christianisme qui comprend sept volumes, lui vaut les foudres de Rome. Malgré les qualités recensées de Jésus, qu’il considère plus comme un homme divin qu’un dieu fait homme, La vie de Jésus soulève les passions. Pour Renan, la biographie de Jésus doit être comprise comme celle de n’importe quel autre homme, et la Bible doit être soumise à un examen critique comme n’importe quel autre document historique.

L’abbé Lambert, qui a personnellement connu Renan lors de son séminaire à Saint-Sulpice, à Paris, déclare s’être lavé les mains après avoir mis le livre au feu… Le pape Pie IX lui-même le déclare « blasphémateur européen ». Le mouvement anti-Renan est puissant mais la diffusion de son ouvrage prend de l’ampleur.

Entre l’Orient, où est né le christianisme, où il a longuement voyagé et l’Occident européen, Renan retrouve la paix intérieure devant l’Acropole d’Athènes l’année suivante, en 1864. Il adresse une prière au « souverain Jupiter » dont parlait Dante. La Prière sur l’Acropole paraîtra en 1876.

renanSX350_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgProfondément européen, il prôna l’alliance de la France avec l’Angleterre et l’Allemagne, anticipant le temps des empires.

Honni par les cléricaux et les républicains, ce « conservateur libéral » donna à la fin de sa vie (1882, Qu’est-ce qu’une nation ? ), cette célèbre définition de la « nation », véritable « plébiscite de tous les jours » sans oublier le lien entre le peuple qui la compose : « Ce qui constitue une nation, c’est d’avoir fait de grandes choses dans le passé, et de vouloir en faire encore dans l’avenir », affirma-t-il.

En mai 1892, ce régionaliste avant l’heure (il a publié L’Âme bretonne dès 1854), préside un « dîner celtique » tout en se préparant à la mort. Il quitta son écorce terrestre sans les derniers sacrements.

Ce membre de l’Académie française (1873), candidat malheureux aux élections législatives de Meaux en 1869, biographe de Jésus-Christ (!) ne mériterait-il pas d’être (re) découvert ?

Théoricien du nationalisme comme ciment patriotique plébiscitaire, européen avant les guerres civiles européennes du XXe siècle, homme enraciné dans sa Terre dont le discours repose plus sur la raison que la foi, Ernest Renan est à la croisée de l’ensemble de nos questionnements contemporains.

En 1949, Prosper Alfaric fonda le Cercle Ernest Renan. Cet ancien prêtre, historien spécialiste des religions, fut excommunié en 1933 après avoir publié son ouvrage Le Problème de Jésus et les origines du christianisme pour ses thèses sur l’inexistence historique de Jésus de Nazareth et de Marie. L’œuvre de cet érudit, à l’origine de la plupart des théories mythistes (thèse de l’inexistence historique de Jésus) a été remise à l’ordre du jour par le philosophe normand Michel Onfray qui a préfacé en 2005 la publication d’un regroupement des articles d’Alfaric sous le titre Jésus-Christ a-t-il existé ?

Depuis sa fondation, le Cercle, sans reprendre la thèse mythiste, poursuit la mémoire, au moins littéraire, du philologue et philosophe breton. Il s’évertue à approcher le religieux de la manière la plus large possible, y compris au niveau géopolitique.

Les Cahiers d’Ernest Renan viennent de faire place aux « Nouveaux cahiers ». Dans la première livraison (été 2016) des « Nouveaux cahiers », le président du Cercle Renan, Dominique Vibrac, qui vient de succéder à Guy Rachet, nous livre la deuxième partie de sa réflexion sur le thème de Transcendance et immanence dont la première partie est parue dans le dernier numéro des anciens cahiers (le n°273 tout de même…). Roger Warin revient, quant à lui, sur le séjour des Hébreux en Égypte avant la formation des royaumes d’Israël et de Juda et tente de rapporter la preuve de cette présence, condition sine qua non de l’exil emmené par Moïse et de la descente d’Abraham sur cette même terre. Enfin, Terry Bismuth évoque La religion dans le royaume de Juda. Ces deux derniers travaux illustrent la nécessaire étude du phénomène religieux à travers l’histoire, l’archéologie, les sciences…

Les prochains numéros des Nouveaux cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan se donnent pour mission l’étude des religions à travers la rationalité scientifique.

Bien entendu, cet aspect n’aura pas un caractère exhaustif, Ernest Renan fut aussi un homme politique, un défenseur de l’identité celtique, un véritable patriote et un précurseur de l’ensemble européen.

Les Nouveaux cahiers ne feront donc aucune impasse sur l’homme Renan, qui avait fait de l’Acropole le centre de notre monde.

Un numéro de la première livraison des Nouveaux cahiers sera adressé sous format pdf pour toute demande à l’auteur de ces lignes : franck.buleux@orange.fr

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samedi, 12 novembre 2016

The Ancient Spiritual Roots Of Russophobia


The Ancient Spiritual Roots Of Russophobia

Ex: http://thesaker.is

This article was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-ancient-spiritual-roots-of-...


The term “russophobia” (the hatred and/or fear of things Russian) has become rather popular in the recent years, courtesy of the anti-Russian hysteria of the AngloZionist Empire, but this is hardly a new concept. In his seminal book “Russie-Occident – une guerre de mille ans: La russophobie de Charlemagne à la Crise Ukrainienne” (“The West vs Russia – a thousand year long war: russophobia from Charlemange to the Ukrainian Crisis”) which I recently reviewed here, Guy Mettan places the roots of russophobia as early as the times of Charlemagne. How could that be? That would mean that russophobia predates the birth of Russia by a full two centuries? And yet, Mettan is correct, although even he does not paint the full picture.

What I propose to do today is not to discuss modern russophobia which has numerous causes and forms, but to look far back into history for the ancient spiritual roots of this relatively modern phenomenon.

My thesis will probably trigger even more condescending smirks, expression of outrage and accusations of bigotry and racism than usual. That is fine. In fact, I will welcome them as a visceral reaction to what I propose to uncover below. One glaring weakness of my argument will be that I won’t bother presenting numerous sources as evidence for my assertions. Not only am I not writing an academic paper here, I simply don’t have the time and space needed to substantiate all my claims. Still, all the facts and claims I make below are easily verifiable for anybody with an Internet connection. My goal today is not to convince the naysayers, but to offer a few hopefully useful pointers to those seeking to connect the dots and see the full picture. This being, said, let’s now go far back in time.

A 2000 year old dispute

Those who believe that the Romans crucified Christ better stop reading here and go back to the comfort of ignorance. Those who have actually read the New Testament or, for that matter, the basic Judaic texts on this topic, know that Christ was accused and executed for the crime of blasphemy: He claimed to be the Son of God, the Son of Man (a messianic title), the messiah announced by the prophets and that He was God: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58) (this “I AM” is a direct reference to Exodus 3:14). This claim is what split the Jewish people into those who accepted Christ’s claims and believed Him and those who did not. What is interesting here, is the view which the Jews who did accept Christ had of those Jews who did not. As we all know, Saint John the Theologian wrote the famous words “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Rev 2:9). And Christ Himself said “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39). What we see here is the basis for a claim which was first made in the Apostolic times and which was later fully endorsed and further developed by the Church Fathers: those Jews who rejected Christ thereby lost their “Jewishness” and the “new Jews” are the Christians, regardless of ethnicity, which now have become the new “chosen people”. In our modern times of hyper-political correctness and generalized “ecumenical dialogs of love”, Christians are mostly ignorant of theses facts and, when they are, they dare not mention them in public. At a time when Popes declare that Jews are their “older brothers”, that they need not accept Christ and that Christians and Jews are awaiting the same 2nd coming of Christ, saying that Christianity denies Jews their very Jewish identity is definitely “mauvais ton”. But before the 20th century, this Christian claim that modern “Jews” were not really Jews anymore was common knowledge, both amongst Christians and amongst Jews.

[Sidebar: as I explained it in some details here, modern “Judaism” is not the religion of “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” but the religion of Maimonides, Karo and Luria and has its roots in the teachings of the sect of the Pharisees, the Talmud and the Kabbalah. The closest modern heir to Christ-rejecting Jews of the times of Christ would be the Karaite sect. Modern “Judaism” really ought to be called “Phariseic Talmudism”. For a traditional Patristic look at Phariseic Talmudism, please see here and here]


Conversely, Judaic teaching about Christ are not sympathetic either. A quick read of the Toldot Yeshu or, for that matter, the passages about Christ in the Talmud, will convince anyone in need of convincing that the Pharisees’ hatred for Christ was not satiated with His crucifixion. And lest anybody think that this is all racist drivel by blue-eyed Nazis, here is a good article on this topic from Ha’artez corroborating it all.

Nowadays an uninformed observer might erroneously conclude that there is a big love-fest between Judaics and Christians, but to the extend that this is true, this is solely due to the fact that most modern Christians and Judaics have long ceased to believe, think and act in accordance to their own traditions. The reality is that for traditional Christians, modern Judaics are fallen, lapsed, people who have failed to live up to their election by God and who now are determined to take by force what had been promised to them by God. For traditional Judaics, Christians are idolaters of the worst kind, as they worship a blaspheming magician, born of a promiscuous hairdresser and a Roman legionnaire, who was justly executed for his crimes and who now forever is confined to hell where he boils in excrements. And lest anybody believe that this hostility is only a matter of a long gone past, I would add that while the Judaics are still waiting for as their messiah, the Christian consensus patrum indicates that this Judaic messiah will be the very same person whom Christ and the Apostles called the Antichrist.

Why does all this matter? It matters because at the very core of it all is the claim that Gentiles have replaced Jews as the chosen people of God, that Christians are the “new Jews” and that modern day Jews are simply not Jews at all, not only because most of them are more Khazarian than Jewish, but because their faith, traditions and beliefs are not the ones of the ancient Jewish people as described in the Old Testament. In other words, Christianity says that Jews are not Jews.

A 1000 year old dispute

Western history books usually say that Rome was sacked in 410 and fell in 476. The former is true, but the latter is completely false as it conflates the city of Rome and the Roman Empire. Only the city of Rome and the western Roman Empire came to an end in the 5th century, but that very same Roman Empire continued to exist in the East for a full 1000 years (!), until the 1453 when the Ottomans finally captured the city of Constantinople. In fact, the imperial capital of the Roman Empire had been moved from Rome to the city of Constantinople, the “New Rome”, by the Emperor Constantine in 320. Thus, the Rome which, at various times, Visigoths, Vandals and Ostrogoths sacked was no longer the capital of the Roman Empire.

These two crucial dates, 476 and 1453, are often used to mark the beginning and the end of the Middle-Ages (along with other dates between the 5th and the 15th century). And since I am setting up the crucial dates for my argument, I will add another one here: 1054, the “official” date for the so-called “Great Schism” between, on one hand, Rome (the city) and, on the other, the other four Patriarchates founded by the Apostles: the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople.

At this point, things get complicated and a halfway decent explanation of what really took place would require no less than 100 pages, including a discussion of dogmatic theology, culture, sociology and, of course, politics. The best I can provide at this point are a few bullet-point style sentences summarizing what happened:

The Franks, especially Charlemagne, decided that they would re-create the Roman Empire. To be truly Romans, the Franks also wanted to make their own, original, contribution to Christian theology. They did so by making an addition to the so-called “Symbol of Faith”, or “Credo” in Latin, a text which summarizes the key Christian beliefs. Furthermore, since they were now occupying Rome, the former imperial capital of the Empire, the Franks felt that they were in control of the spiritual capital of the Christian world and that, therefore, the rest of the Christian world ought to accept the primacy of the bishop of Rome – called the “Pope” – and his right to impose a new dogma on the entire Christian world. Following roughly 200 years of tensions between the (Frankish-occupied) Rome and the (still free) eastern Roman Empire the final separation took place in 1054 when the Pope excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople who then returned him the favor. What is important for our purposes is this: not only did the Frankish invasion of Rome mark the end of the Roman civilization in the West, it also cut-off the western world from the Roman Empire which continued to exist for another ten centuries. The process of severance between the two parts of the Empire began in the 5th century following the fall of the city of Rome and continued throughout the following centuries. During the 10th century, Rome suffered during the so-called dark ages (saeculum obscurum) and the so-called the “Rule of the Harlots” (pornokratia). At a time when the Roman Empire in the east was almost at the apex of its glory, the Franks were indulging in an orgy of destruction and corruption which completely changed the face of the western part of the European continent and completely severed the vital cultural and spiritual ties which had kept the Roman Empire together in the past centuries.

During the following 1000 years while the Roman Empire continued its existence in the East, the European Middle-Ages slowly and painfully gave birth to a new civilization, the West European civilization, which really took its first mature shape during the Renaissance with it’s re-discovery of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Whatever form this so-called “re-discovery” took, it is a fact that the 1000 years of the Middle-Ages separate modern western civilization from the Roman civilization and that modern Europe was born not of the Romans, but of the Franks. The (Orthodox) East, however, has never known any “Middle-Ages” and has maintained a cultural and religious continuity to the ancient Christian world and the Roman Empire.

rusofob_pic32.jpgIn the West, the so-called “Roman Catholic Church” (another misnomer – there is nothing Roman or “catholic” – meaning “universal” – about the Papacy as it is Frankish and local) likes to present itself as the original Church whose roots and traditions go back to the Apostolic times. This is simply false. The reality is that the religion which calls itself “Roman Catholic” is a relatively new religion, younger than Islam by several centuries, which was born in the 11th century of a rejection of the key tenets of the 1000 year long Christian faith. Furthermore, from the moment of its birth, this religion has embarked on an endless cycle of innovations including the 19th century (!) dogmas of the Papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception. Far from being conservative or traditionalists, the Latins have always been rabid innovators and modernists.

Nowadays there are many Christian denominations out there, but only the Orthodox Churches can testify to the fact that the Frankish local Church is neither Roman, nor Catholic, that it’s roots are not in the Apostolic times, but in the (dark) Middle-Ages and that far from being a heir to the 2000 year old faith “which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers” to use the words of Saint Athanasios, the Latin faith is nothing but a collection of deviations from the original Christian faith.

The feared and hated witness

Now we see a pattern here. Both for the Judaics and for the Latins, the Orthodox Christians are the only witnesses out there who can (and do!) openly challenge not only their legitimacy, but their very identity. From an Orthodox perspective (and here I am referring to the traditional, Patristic, point of view) modern Jews are not Jews and the Catholics are not catholic. In both cases, we are dealing with very successful frauds, but frauds nonetheless. Orthodox Christians believe that they, and they alone, are both the real Jews and the real Catholics. Modern Jews are nothing but Pharisees while Latins are simply heretics. Jews were called to be the Chosen People while Rome used to be recognized as the “first amongst equals” by the other Patriarchates. Alas, in both cases a tragic fall from grace occurred in a manner reminiscent of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven (“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” Isa 14:12). And to those who would say that such a claim is preposterous, Orthodox Christians would simply point at the immense corpus of Patristic writings which has always supported that claim. The only option for somebody rejecting this claim is to reject Christianity itself.

My argument here is not a historical or theological one. Regardless of whether one accepts or not the Orthodox view of modern “Judaism” and “Roman Catholicism” – it is certain that both Judaics and Latin were quite aware of this view (there were plenty of polemical texts written over the centuries by all sides to this dispute) and that this challenge to their very legitimacy and identity was perceived as a monumental affront and, when supported by an immense and powerful empire like the Russian one, a mortal enemy which had to be either conquered or eliminated.

[Sidebar: Islam. It is interesting to note here that Orthodox Christianity, which Muslims called “Rum” as in Rome, in no way challenges the legitimacy or identity of Islam. While Islam and Christianity have plenty of irreconcilable theological differences, Muslims do not claim to be Jews or Christians. As for Orthodox Christians, they obviously do not claim to be the true or original, Muslims. Thus the co-existence of these two religions is not logically mutually exclusive even if their theologies are fundamentally incompatible].

The modern dispute

It would be ridiculous to claim that the cause(s) modern fear and/or hate of things Russian can all be explained by ancient theological arguments. In reality, neither Russia nor the West are all that religious nowadays. And while there is definitely a religious rebirth taking place in Russia, it remains also true that only a minority of Russians are truly religious or well-versed in Orthodox theology. Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons why some hate/fear Russia which have absolutely nothing to do with religion, including the fact that Russia is, and has always been, an unconquered military superpower, that the Soviet regime has oppressed millions of people in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union and that any more or less sovereign and independent regime in Russia stands as the main obstacle for the West to take control of Russia’s immense resources and many other reasons. As for (truly religious) Judaics and Latins, they are a small minority compared to the vast majority of largely agnostic people around them. In reality, modern russophobia has numerous independent “vectors” all contributing to a grand “sum vector” expressed in the West’s current policies towards Russia. And yet.

rusofob_pic27.jpgRegardless of the actual level of religiosity in Russia, Russia remains the objective historical and cultural heir to the Roman Empire: the First Rome fell in 476, the Second Rome fell in 1453 while the Third Rome fell in 1917.

[Sidebar: A Fourth Rome cannot happen simply because, unlike what happened with the First and Second Rome, the Third one could not “pass on” its role to a hypothetical Fourth one. Seventy years of Communist rule will forever remain and unsurmountable barrier between Russia the Third Rome and modern Russia and no true succession is now possible]

To ignore the historical importance of a Christian Roman civilization which lasted from the 4th to the 20th century would be a major oversight. Those 16 centuries have had a huge impact on the Russian culture, even upon those Russians who are only superficially religious or outright agnostic, and they still can be felt today. The same is true for what is called the “West” nowadays: what is the AngloZionist Empire if not the cultural continuation of the British Empire with the Zionist (and, thus, Judaic) element recently added to it? And don’t let the fact that Protestants and Anglicans are not “Roman Catholics” distract you from the reality that Protestantism itself is just the offspring from the spiritual intercourse between its Latin and Judaic parents, just as Freemasonry – the dominant ideology and worldview today – is the offspring resulting from the spiritual intercourse between of Protestantism and Phariseic Judaism. Whether we are aware of it or not, we live in “civilizational realms” which have ancient roots and our worldview and outlook on life are often shaped by a past which we often know very little about.


There is a clash of civilizations taking place. It does not primarily oppose a putative “Christian West” to Islam. For one thing, the modern “West” has long ceased to be Christian and should now be categorized as post-Christian. Furthermore, the Muslim world is not united and does not have the resources to meaningfully oppose the AngloZionist Empire. Until China, Latin America or some other civilization truly rises up to be able to challenge the current world order, Russia is the only country which will dare to openly challenge the very legitimacy of the western political system and the ideology it has been built upon. Modern Russia is both capable and willing to challenge the dominant western ideology (from Capitalism to the belief that homosexuality is a normal and healthy variation of human sexuality) precisely because of her position as the heir to, and continuator of, the Christian Roman Empire. True, for the past 300 years or so, Russia has been ruled by a generally westernized ruling elite, but that elite itself has always remained a foreign superstructure imposed upon the Russian nation which never truly identified with it. With Putin Russia has finally found a leader who does not represent the interests of the elites, but rather the interests of the vast majority of the population – hence Putin’s stratospheric popularity ratings. And that too frightens the West, especially the western elites who now feel that their rule is threatened by a nuclear superpower which is determined not to let them take over our entire planet. It is impossible to predict what will happen next. But it does appear likely to me that this ancient conflict between two fundamentally opposed spiritualities and civilizations will come to some kind of a resolution, for better or for worse, in the near future.

The Saker

09:12 Publié dans Histoire | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : histoire, russophobie, russie, europe, affaires européennes | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook