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Belgium Invades Germany, 1923
February 6, 2016
by William P. Meyers

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What do we forget, and why?

I was studying the Nazis yet again, reading The German Dictatorship by Karl Dietrich Bracher, when I came across this:

At the Paris Conference of January, 1923, Britain and France clashed . . . A few days later, on January 11, French and Belgian troops marched into the Ruhr. [p. 104]

The Ruhr is part of Germany, which lost World War I to the British, French, Russian and American empires. I already knew that France occupied the Rhineland in 1923 as part of its tactics to extract war reparations from Germany, expand its empire, and keep Germany a rump state. I knew that this, along with the Versailles Treaty itself, was one of the things that Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party used to keep Germans angry and build party membership.

But I either had forgotten about Belgium, or the works I had previously read did not mention it. I did read The German Dictatorship in college, for a class, over 40 years ago, but at the time I probably thought Belgium was not important.

I have written a bit in the past about Belgium and its neighbor Netherlands (Holland), so its not like these nations are not on my radar. Holland, of course, was the land of the original capitalist-pirates of the 1600s, a gang of thieves and murderers who tried to drown Indonesia in blood as late as 1949 [See Dutch Bikes, Netherlands Imperialism, and Overpopulation].

Belgium ruled the Belgian Congo in a manner that makes the Islamic State look civilized. The prosperity of Belgium depended largely on the exploitation of the Congo. See World War I, Madness, and World War III and the book King Leopold's Ghost.

Belgium is of little use to ideologists at the moment. It is not an example of the wonders of free market capitalism, or of democratic socialism. It is an example of the benefits of building up a nation through imperialism, and then not blowing the prosperity on trying to maintain a large war machine, as the U.S. is doing now.

IF we consider history a science, we try to know the facts and construct narratives that correspond to the real world relationships that the facts illustrate.

But historical narratives are generally like personal narratives. Each of us wants to be the hero of our own lives. And nationalists, which is to say just about everyone, want to see their nation in a good light as part of their personal narrative. Those who differ may be cosmopolitan or internationalists, or could be sectionalists with an ax to grind.

And so the Belgian invasion of Germany in 1923 is forgotten, at least in the U.S. Perhaps they remember in the Rhineland or Germany or Belgium itself. Here it conflicts with the idea that certain nations, in certain periods, were bad guys who deserved to be carpet bombed or annihilated with nuclear weapons.

Totalitarian nations aim at a single national narrative. In America today we have a few major narratives to choose from, and of course many minor narratives, like those of the Green Party, socialist parties, the Libertarian Party, American Independent Party, etc.

When it comes to international affairs, to me it looks like not only is there little difference in the narratives of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but there is not even much of a difference between Sanders and Christie, Cruz, Rubio, etc. Bernie voted for the war in Afghanistan. He is a socialist and Saddam Hussein was a socialist, so he voted against the Second Iraq War, but he did not resign in protest or anything like that, he kept drawing his $200,000 per year pay.

There is so much history it is hard to keep it all in mind at once. So we fall back on the basic narrative. The British Empire, that vast global graveyard, was evil in 1776 and 1812, but a bastion of Christian Civilization when it was an American ally. American imperialism was a good thing that brought civilization and democracy to American Indian lands and northern Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Philippines. And so forth.

Watch the Bernie Bots, Trump Tarts and Rubio Rubes stick to their narratives. Slimeball politicians? Why, aren't we all, by inclination? Aren't they just telling us what we want to hear?

The Belgian invasion, with France, of Germany in 1923, is now part of my narrative. It was a factor in bringing Hitler to power. Possibly France would have invaded alone, but Belgium joining gave some legitimacy to the project.

That is what's going on when Sanders et. al talk about getting allies to fight with us or for us. It provides political cover. It provides a narrative: the U.S. is not a bully. We are part of an alliance of Good Guys who are just trying to straighten stuff out.

But the U.S. is a bully. It is a fact, if you define the word bully for a nation in any reasonable way. That is why Sanders, Clinton, Bush, Trump et. al all agree that more money needs to be spent on the U.S. military.

Agree? Disagree? You can comment on this post at Natural Liberation Blog at blogspot.com

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