Just War, Allies, Brits and Nazis
Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry
I am finally reading Berlin Diary by William L. Shirer, who is better known for The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Berlin Diary records Shirer's experience in Nazi Germany, roughly from 1933 to the entry of the U.S. into the war. Among other things, Shirer did some of the first live radio broadcasts from Germany to the United States.
He reminds a reader constantly of how evil Adolf Hitler and his Nazi crew were, but that is already a given in American historic lore. Without meaning to, I think, he raises a lot of questions about the causes of war and who gets blamed for war.
We all know that Germany was a militarist country that started both World War I and World War II. Except that most calm historical analysis of World War I finds that all of the protagonists (the French Empire, the British Empire, Italy, Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a number of smaller states, notably Serbia) were aggressive, militarist regimes with just of gloss of democratic control that were all eager to go to war because they all believed they would emerge victorious.
Most historians, in contrast, single out a single culprit in in World War II: Adolf Hitler. On the other hand, most now blame the peace treaty that was imposed by the Allies (the British, French, American and Italian Empires) in 1919 for creating the conditions in Germany that allowed the National Socialists to gain power (peacefully, by persuasion).
Recall that German armies, while in trouble, were still on French soil when the government agreed to an armistice (a cease fire, prelude to a peace treaty). The American government and private banks had loaned vast sums of money to the British and French empires, and had turned what seemed like a clear Germany victory into a defeat by jumping in on the British imperialist side late in the war. But President Woodrow Wilson, always wanting to maintain his choir boy self image (if one is in the choir of a white supremacist congregation), promised Germany a just peace if it would stop fighting.
Just Peace, in Wilson's proclamations, included some thing called national self determination. That meant that each nation or ethnic group got its own country. Specifically, Wilson had been lobbied by Polish-Americans to recreate the old nation of Poland.
As is typical of choir boys, Wilson failed to look at the reality on the ground in Europe and around the globe. Lots of towns and cities and even villages had multiple ethnic groups living together. Which country did they get to join?
Germans figured that Woodrow Wilson had promised, in return for the armistice, that all areas that were 50% or more German would be included in the new Germany. Germans had quickly gotten rid of the Kaiser and set up a democratic government. They did not mind losing their colonies, which were just crumbs left over when the Brits and French were subjugating the non-white peoples of the world.
Instead the Versailles Treaty created a rump Germany. France grabbed German speaking areas. Austria was not allowed to join Germany. Poland got large areas that had German majorities. Even Czechoslovakia got some German-majority areas.
Before World War II Hitler had his armies march in and take the German majority areas mentioned above. The Brits and French (and locals who did not like the Nazis) did not like that, but did not want war either. Hitler made the same play for western Poland: it was Germany before World War I, and it would be Germany again.
The British Empire, a racist dictatorship then led by Neville Chamberlain and King George VI, drew the line at the Polish border. Britain did not send troops, or air planes, or ships to help Poland, but called Poland an ally. Germany invading Poland would mean war with Britain. Germany invaded anyway.
Britain and France declared war on Germany. Is it okay to declare war if a nation attacks one of your allies? Most people think yes.
With some very minor exceptions there was no fighting between France, Britain and Germany for months. But the Brits used their superior navy to cut off supplies from Germany. Hitler kept trying to get everyone to agree to a peace (with him keeping western Poland). He also grabbed Norway, Sweden and Denmark, though in all fairness the Brits were trying to do the same thing and just got outmaneuvered. (And the U.S.S.R. grabbed Finland and eastern Poland.)
Which brings us to what most people consider the real beginning of World War II: Hitler's invasion of Holland, Belgium, and France. You can't blame Hitler for invading France, since France declared war on Germany.
So propagandists at the time, and ever since, have decried the invasions of Holland and Belgium. But its not like Holland was sitting there all innocent. If ever there were a bunch of imperialist gangsters living the good life by enslaving people, it was the Dutch. Though they had lost many of their colonies to the French and English over the centuries, they still ran an empire and were racists. There is just no reason to favor them over Hitler, or vice-versa.
The Belgians were notorious for their genocidal governance of Congo. Were they neutral? Not really. They were trying to use their neutrality to force any German attack to try to go through the heavily fortified French frontier. But Belgium was also heavily fortified and full of French and British troops.
If declaring war on Germany was okay because Germany attacked a third party, what was wrong with Germany attacking the British and French in Belgium?
I think Hitler was a borderline-insane racist nationalist thug. That, however, does not excuse the behavior of the racist imperialists thugs of Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, or my own U.S.A. As long as thugs hold power, war is possible.
Most Americans have also forgotten that the Polish regime overthrown by Hitler was fascist. Pretty funny, another example of a big fascist eating a little fascist.
By sitting back and letting the other guys fight each other long enough, President Franklin Roosevelt was able enter the war late with lots of fresh men and armaments and, essentially, take almost the whole world over. Whether that was a good thing or not depends on what kind of world you think we should have. And whether you know the facts about what the American empire has actually meant for the people under its boot heel.
Agree? Disagree? You can comment on this post at Natural Liberation Blog at blogspot.com
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