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Germany Against Itself
Banner in Leipzig
Banner in Leipzig
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Though American dissidents are often branded as “anti-American,” many if not most see themselves as opposed only to their government, not their nation or people. At the Occupy camps, for example, the American flag flew freely.

In Germany, however, the dissident crowd are often not just against the state, but their country and, perhaps only subconsciously, even their heritage. Many openly advocate for the dissolution of Germany. Even if this is only youthful, nihilistic posturing, its pervasiveness is telling.

In Leipzig, I’ve encountered this sticker several times, “NO NATION / FIGHT LAW & ORDER / NO BORDER.” All over town, there are versions of the same message, “NO ♥ FOR DEUTSCHLAND / REFUGEES WELCOME” on a bed sheet banner, “MOVE AGAINST STATE AND CAPITAL. NO PEACE WITH GERMANY!” “Germany, you lousy Piece of Shit!” “NO MAN IS ILLEGAL / RIGHT OF RESIDENCE / ANYWHERE.” Taken to its natural conclusion, a billion Chinese can move into Germany tomorrow if they so choose.

Holding a bicycle over his head, a man is ready bring it down on his already bloody victim, lying on the ground. The caption to this lovely sticker? In English, “GOOD NIGHT WHITE PRIDE.”

More astonishingly, there’s this in five-foot tall letters on an otherwise handsome building, “I ♥ VOLKSTOD!! FIGHT THE POLICE.” “Volk” is both nation and people, for no matter how borders are shifted, the nation survives through its people. Even without a homeland, Palestinians can still count themselves as a nation, for example, as long their collective identity remains. Granted, the above death wish for nation and people, I spotted in Connewitz, Leipzig’s hotbed for young radicals, or at least those who dig piercings, tattoos, dreadlocks and graffiti. Similar expressions of self-hatred are by no mean unusual in contemporary Germany, however.

Perhaps heeding the call for a more colorful Germany [bunte Deutschland], Connewitz’ malcontents have thoroughly marred their own neighborhood with messy spray paint, and even gorgeous, brand new buildings are not spared. These neo-punks are no Jean Michel Basquiat’s, that’s for sure, not that I prefer SAMO on walls instead of canvas. Just about every other part of town is also defaced, if not to the same degree.

Punitively flattened at the end of World War II and shamed for 70 years now, many Germans seem to welcome their ongoing erasure as an unending atonement. Japan doesn’t subject itself to such self-flagellation or, for that matter, Russia, whose Red Army committed widespread atrocities on subjugated peoples. In Dresden, I saw a sticker that showed a red flag over the razed city, with this caption, “8 May 1945 / DAY OF LIBERATION / OUR THANKS GO TO ALL THE ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS, PARTISANS AND RESISTANCE FIGHTERS.” Germany had to have Nazism bombed or raped out of them, according to this thinking, so vielen dank to those who chopped her in half and deformed her until this day.

From across the Elbe, Dresden’s famous skyline seems unchanged, but close-up, you can see that most of the stones of its landmark buildings are clearly new. The damaged lesser edifices were never restored. Many are replaced by ugly, Communist-era structures. Now, it’s claimed that only 25,000 civilians were annihilated when Dresden was flattened by American and British bombers, but many people, not just Germans, think the death count must be many times higher. Still lovely, Dresden was once painted by Canaletto.

In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany. It’s as if your average German is, at best, a latent Nazi whose sinister tendencies will flare up if not constantly kept in check. As is, the word “Nazi” itself is ubiquitous in Germany but, ironically, it’s bandied about most liberally by those on the left, for you can hardly walk a few blocks without encountering stickers or flyers denouncing Nazis.

In 1990, a huge Berlin march against nationalism and racism featured on its leading banner a line from Paul Celan, “Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland.” Death is a master from Germany. Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.

A 2014 Gallup poll asked citizens of 65 countries, “Would you be willing to fight for your country?” Nations with the highest percentage saying yes were

Morocco (94%), Fiji (94%), Pakistan (89%), Vietnam (89%) and Bangladesh (86%). Forty-four percent of Americans declared yes. Japan (11%) came in dead last, and Germany (18%) is third from the bottom. The two countries with the fiercest martial spirit from the last century have been pacified, and perhaps wussified, and that’s why one hears of young Japanese men who spend all day, literally, in their childhood room playing video games and looking at porn, and grown men who have cute, wide-eyed little dolls as girlfriends. Some go to brothels only to get it on with sex dolls. Obviously, men who fear real flesh and blood can’t be soldiers.

Yes, many Germans will cheer their unwillingness to fight as welcomed proof that Nazism has been mostly purged out of them. Germany is still a purveyor of mass death, however, through its promiscuous arms sales to Israel and, more recently, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Along with the USA, those are the countries behind the continuing butchery in Syria.

Wandering around Leipzig and Dresden, I see plenty of slogans denouncing Fascism, Nazism, sexism, anti-semitism and homophobia, but no mention of Germany’s complicity in the Syrian War. The incessant discussion in the German media about the refugee crisis also sidesteps this gross, bloody stain on the country’s conscience. Fighting its master’s war, Germany lost 54 soldiers in Afghanistan, but with its passive allegiance to Washington’s scheme against Russia and Syria, Germany is running the risk of losing so much more, perhaps even itself.

ORDER IT NOW

In the past week alone, we have Berlin deciding to house 3,000 refugees in Langenlohnsheim, a village of 4,000. Neither its mayor nor citizens were consulted. At a town hall meeting in Lohfelden, official Walter Lübcke told citizens that if they didn’t like the huge influx of refugees into their district, they should just leave. “Who is against the values here can always leave the country. That is the right of every good German.” This country of 80.62 million people will accept 1.5 million refugees this year, and this was decided on without any input from its citizens. Next year, who knows how many millions will be welcomed by NSA-bugged Merkel. What’s in her closet, I wonder? To protect her own career, Merkel must obey her master.

As long as you have war, you will have refugees, and since it doesn’t look like the USA, with Germany and others in tow, is about to cease causing mass chaos and carnage, this refugee crisis is just beginning. When ordinary Germans dare to challenge Berlin’s diktats, however, they risk being branded as Nazis, Rechtsextreme, braune Esoteriker, Altnazis, Pack, Dunkeldeutschland, Faschisten, Neonazis or Neofaschisten, etc.

Just as with Germany’s self-destructive fealty to the US and Israel, there is no frank discussion here about its refugee policies. Those with questions or grievances, then, are forced to become increasingly strident as they scream from the fringe. Brushed aside and demonized, they might just become the hysterical berserkers they’re already caricatured as. Should xenophobic outbursts explode down the line, they can be traced back to this initial suppression of dialogue.

Since nationalism has become a dirty word among the German left and middle, only anti-immigration groups such as PEGIDA, LEGIDA and KAGIDA can evoke this most basic of concepts without apologies. At an August 31st rally in Leipzig, LEGIDA invited a black African to address the crowd. Son of a Cameroonian diplomat, Ferdinand was born in Germany, and he has studied here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajq_rBvzaVw

Speaking without notes, Ferdinand finished with, “In Germany one has to talk about resurrection, because the German people aren’t asleep—the German people are dead. And when you are dead, you need a ghost, some power to reanimate the corpse or resurrect it […] We want a particular force, and this force, which will cause the people to resurrect, is patriotism.

Without patriotism you cannot accomplish anything. However, with patriotism you can develop talents [and] this hero inside of each and every one of us can be activated. With patriotism, you can move mountains. With patriotism you can move, shake lakes—because I’m a patriot. This is a matter from the heart; it has nothing to do with your head. One has to be a patriot. You Fascists, you have to be patriots. You have to love your country. That’s my message today. Thank you.”

I suspect that most contemporary Germans would dismiss Ferdinand as a raving, rightwing simpleton. Nationalism, though, is judged by Elias Canetti as a primal force that gives meaning and purpose not just to each community, each nation, but to each individual, “We can take it for granted that no member of a nation ever sees himself as alone. As soon as he is named, or names himself, something more comprehensive moves into his consciousness, a larger unit to which he feels himself to be related.”

Since no two peoples see themselves as identical, there is no universal concept of nationalism, but a “crowd symbol” that galvanizes each nation. In times of war, this self-definition becomes akin to a religion.

Regarding the Germans, Elias Canetti observes, “The crowd symbol of the Germans was the army. But the army was more than just the army; it was the marching forest. In no other modern country has the forest-feeling remained as alive as it has in Germany. The parallel rigidity of the upright trees and their density and number fill the heart of the German with a deep and mysterious delight. To this day he loves to go deep into the forest where his forefathers lived; he feels at one with the trees.

Their orderly separation and the stress on the vertical distinguish this forest from the tropical kind where creepers grow in all directions. In tropical forests the eye loses itself in the foreground; there is a chaotic and unarticulated mass of growth, full of colour and life, which effectively precludes any sensation of order, or even of repetition. The forests of the temperate zone, on the other hand, have a conspicuous rhythm. The eye moves along lines of clearly visible trees into a uniform distance. Each individual tree is always taller than a man and goes on growing until it becomes a giant. Its steadfastness has much in common with the same virtue in a warrior. In a single tree the bark resembles a coat of mail; in a whole forest, where there are many trees of the same kind growing together, it suggests rather the uniforms of an army. For the German, without his being clearly aware of it, army and forest transfused each other in every possible way. What to others might seem the army’s dreariness and barrenness kept for the German the life and glow of the forest. He was never afraid in it; he felt protected, one amongst many others. He took the rigidity and straightness of trees for his own law.

The boy who escaped into the forest from the confinement of home, thinking to be alone there and able to dream, actually anticipated his entry into the army. In the forest he found the others waiting for him, true, faithful, and upright as he himself wanted to be; each like every other, for each grows straight, and yet quite different in height and strength. The effect of this early forest romanticism on the German must never be underrated. He absorbed it from countless poems and songs and the forest which appears in these is often called ‘German.’

The Englishman likes to imagine himself at sea, the German in a forest. It is impossible to express the difference of their national feeling more concisely.” [from Crowds and Power, as translated by Carol Stewart]

In 2015, this marching forest has been atomized into so many hand-wringing shrubs or graffiti-spraying haters of homeland. The tall, straight trees, though, are still extant, and their order, strength and steadfastness can still serve as a guide to this hijacked nation.

ORDER IT NOW

Just steps from my apartment, there’s Friedenspark, PeacePark, and sure enough, you can march straight for half a mile between two rows of sheltering trees. Though only a mid-sized city park, it feels like a forest. Blocking out much sunlight, the arched foliage overhead shrouds strollers in a solemn, nave-like ambience. At the far end, there’s a magnificent church that commemorates the 22,000 Russians who died during the three-day Battle of Leipzig in 1813. Losing 54,000 men altogether, the alliance of Germans, Russians and Poles defeated Napoleon’s invading army.

When I showed a young Leipziger the poll about fighting for one’s country, he pointed out that it’s the former colonies that are most willing to defend themselves. “But isn’t Germany also colonized?” I should have said. When will she regain her autonomy and sanity?

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.

 
• Category: History, Ideology • Tags: Germany, Immigration 
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159 Comments to "Germany Against Itself"
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  1. If these demented self-loathing Teutons really hate themselves as much as they say, why don’t they just kill themselves? What are they waiting for? Do they think this demographic replacement is going to be that great? And why the anger & hatred at their opponents? The self-haters are getting what they want, they should be rejoicing, getting out there and miscegenating with that peculiar sense of determination & industriousness the Germans were once renowned for. Their grand finale on the stage of history to have willingly wiped themselves out. Mindful of that old saying about being careful what one wishes for, I hope they enjoy what they’ve wrought upon themselves. I really do.

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    • Replies: @Santoculto
    ''If these demented self-loathing Teutons really hate themselves as much as they say, why don’t they just kill themselves? What are they waiting for? ''

    Because they are not suiciders (on the left, on average), they are just the stupid people who are nurtured in historical and scientific ignorance (partial ignorance). They really believe that all of human beings are biologically equal.

    Literallly put a wain ahead the horse.
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  2. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Seeing how disjointed Germany is absolutely frightens me, as I believe it is also going to be our future here in America.

    For those of you who don’t understand how this happened, you have to understand that America is undergoing a parallel trajectory to Germany. Germany had its Weimar period that had the Jews dominate finance, media, politics, etc etc. Then the native Germans overthrew the Jewish rulers, and the Jews have never forgiven them.

    Years later Germany has been starved to death, raped to death, bombed to death, and it is still not enough. They have to dissolve as a people until they are roaming the earth like some nomadic tribe. Only then will the scales balance.

    Pay attention to what is happening in Germany Amricans! It is going over there sometime soon too.

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    • Replies: @ADP
    It has been 100x worse here for a long, long time. We're way ahead of them in terms of "progress" (according to progressives). As a random blogger once said: America is in the late stages of communism. Our everyday reality is so extreme and the power structure's control so complete, most can't even see it any longer. Our reality is a kind of virtual reality, where all kinds of bizarre third world barbarism and minority backwardness are understood to be rational, noble and desirable.
    , @DevilDocNowCiv
    Bingo, #2 Anonymous. Our kids in public schools are being taught drivel, and as most on this site know we're importing thousands of new socialist leaning kids and adults every year. Before "O," "W" signed a bill that included a Sen. Diane Feinstein amendment that means all kids from any country in the western hemisphere not from Mexico or Canada gets special consideration before deporting. This is optional, depending a given court order, but it gives "O" an excuse to say "we have no choice-we're following a Bush law." Of course, the non Fox media won’t even ask about it-and at this point, Fox has moved on, too.

    If we don't want to slide into Euro softness and the kind of overt socialism that half the country that votes Dem is crazy about, we need to vote Trump if purely on the strength of the strongest anti-immigration nominee. It actually might be our last voting chance to turn it around, before we get demographically changed into a firm majority socialism loving country.
  3. In 1813 Poles were at Napoleon’s side.

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    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi szopen,

    Yes, my mistake! Fifteen thousand Poles fought with Napoleon. The "Army of Poland" was actually Russian.


    Linh
  4. @szopen
    In 1813 Poles were at Napoleon's side.

    Hi szopen,

    Yes, my mistake! Fifteen thousand Poles fought with Napoleon. The “Army of Poland” was actually Russian.

    Linh

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  5. “Refugees Welcome” on a bedsheet banner.!!!! Won’t the “refugees” (overwhelmingly male) misconstrue this effusive hospitality as a brazen invitation to rape the pretty blonde frauleins?

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  6. Well conceived and written, with great imagination.

    I’m an American of German stock and back during the VietNam war days, didn’t want to enlist to fight what I thought of as a unwinnable and immoral war. By luck (lottery), I found myself relieved of the obligation to enlist. But prior to the drawing I had been haunted by nightmares, in one of which I found myself running, escaping to the forest where I sought refuge. I found a place to sit, rest and meditate in a clearing on a hillside overlooking a valley. A military truck loaded with armed soldiers drove by below me, intent upon rounding up foot draggers and deserters.

    Why I fled to a forest I don’t know since I had never lived in one. So you have intuited a connection that had been buried in my collective unconscious which was revealed to me, a Westerner, only in my dreams

    But like today’s Germans, I too fled from causing further mayhem. Perhaps because all of us knew by then that we would be called upon to engage in something like My Lai and just didn’t want that on our conscience. Better to renounce worldly fame and riches than buy them at the price of one’s Soul.

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  7. INCORRECT TO EQUATE AMERICAN PATRIOTS TO GERMAN ALIENISTS.
    ALIENISM AND NECROPHILIA —A UNIQUELY JEWISH MENTAL ILLNESS.

    Thanks for the interesting article, Sir.

    However, early on, it seems you are trying to equate the American “dissident right”, who are basically patriotic and against immigration, to German alienists, who are pro-immigration and anti-white.

    I do not think the 2 groups are the same in ideology but the polar opposite. Some people call the alienists “antifascists”, whatever that means. Others call them basically alienists or lib-barbarians.

    About the alienists in Germany welcoming the “refugees”, let us not be fooled. I will not be surprised if most of these banners are organized by the Judaists, or their shabbat goy. This is just staged and organized probably.

    A Jewish woman with white skin color and red hair color named Annette Kahane is heavily involved in bringing in raping murdering blacks to attack her nation and, by corollary, her and her family, given the fact that white skin and red hear are heavy releasers in blacks leading an uncontrollable urge to attack the target and become a “migrant” into the white target with red hair:

    http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2015/10/stasi-roots-of-the-german-jewish-anti-racist-left-and-its-program-of-destroying-ethnic-germany/

    So why would a white woman with red hair (Annette Kahane) want more black men invading her country who would then be able to easily invade (rape and murder) her? Is she mentally retarded or mentally ill, that is the question.

    Also, I do not think most of the German people support this invasion–they are against this invasion, but their politicians are forcing this invasion upon them, against the public will. And that is a crime.

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  8. You are behind the times, Linh. It’s the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized. Germany colonizes Greece by imposing one unworkable diktat after another, colonizes Europe by inviting in millions of military-age Muslim men tromping through the Balkans, and is colonized by the U.S., which in turn is being colonized by 11 million illegal immigrants with many more to come.

    Your psychologizing about German self-hatred is sophomoric. While the holocaust is still the topic of far too many history-channel features on public broadcast television, most Germans are more preoccupied with just getting through the day. The festive 2006 world soccer championships hosted here made it official, the world (yes, including Israel) likes Germany and no longer holds the 1933-45 period against them.

    In reality, the “hate Germany” posters and chants by the “antifas” comes from a different wellspring. The German economy is a high-tech industrial civilization, competing not with its neighbors but with Japan, Korea, Singapore. Salaries for engineers are very high, but so are the demands made of them. Getting into an engineering course at a university and toughing it out until graduation is brutally hard. Most pupils realize they will never be good enough long before graduating high school. Some choose a course in business administration or the law, others (usually already with a corresponding family background) learn a trade.

    But vast numbers are warehoused in state universities studying some silly subject like anthropology or gender studies. They know their only chance of evading a lifetime driving a cab or flipping hamburgers is to get into civil service with permanent job security, or failing that, a job as a journalist. But the competition is fierce, so the signaling of one’s Green-Red social justice warrior credentials in order to be accepted into the ranks becomes a full-time occupation. Anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, anti-men, anti-white, anti-nation and of course, anti-Nazi, too.

    Are there Nazis in Germany today? Depends on your definition, but by most standards they are very few in number. No matter, it’s on the list of antis to be checked off. And it’s very handy because any time you want to experience the thrill of power, find someone to call a Nazi and see him ostracized.

    As the late German aphorist Johannes Gross said, the courage to combat Nazis grows in proportion to the length of time since the end of the Third Reich.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    Can you tell me what Germans make of the statement by Merkel when she said multiculturalism was a failure in light of her present open European borders stance? Does anyone question her about it? Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?
    Even keeping in mind typical political duplicity this seems particularly outrageous.
    , @Sam Shama

    You are behind the times, Linh. It’s the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized.
     
    Quite.

    Fact of the matter is the world changes far too rapidly for many commentators stuck in circles of one manner of phobia or another. Perhaps Germans and more generally the global cognoscenti, the tech-imbued, trained populations are offering a bold view of the new world. Certainly life is competitive and stressful, but the fruits of a world bereft of ultra-nationalism are surely to be preferred over hearkening the unfounded warnings of 'lost' culture etc.
    , @Wally
    Well, there are the 'Nazis' with the mythological '6M & gas chambers' and there are the 'Nazis' without the mythological '6M & gas chambers'.

    The '6M & gas chambers' are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the 'holocaust' scam debunked here:
    www.codoh.com
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:
    http://forum.codoh.com

    The 'holocaust' storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth? Real truth needs no protection from scrutiny.
  9. germany is getting fucked over hard.

    anyone figured out why merkel is doing this? what is the purpose of the one giving her the orders?

    if germany goes down, europe would go down by losing a leg.

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    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    Merkel is post-menopausal and childless and, according to Whiskey, is separated from her husband. In sum, the old bat is going daft and acting out of misplaced compassion for "refugees" instead of her own posterity.

    Really, all of aging, childless Germany is going daft. Probably a heavy NGO footprint in the country as well, employing the few young people around to spray self-loathing graffiti.

    http://imgur.com/x3LxYWF

    Anyway, that's my theory.
    , @anonymous

    what is the purpose...?
     
    Zero-percent interest rates can't pump up real-estate prices any further, but immigration-induced demand shocks can.
  10. @Astuteobservor II
    germany is getting fucked over hard.

    anyone figured out why merkel is doing this? what is the purpose of the one giving her the orders?

    if germany goes down, europe would go down by losing a leg.

    Merkel is post-menopausal and childless and, according to Whiskey, is separated from her husband. In sum, the old bat is going daft and acting out of misplaced compassion for “refugees” instead of her own posterity.

    Really, all of aging, childless Germany is going daft. Probably a heavy NGO footprint in the country as well, employing the few young people around to spray self-loathing graffiti.

    View post on imgur.com

    Anyway, that’s my theory.

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  11. Interesting and well-written stuff. Thank you.

    The Germans don’t do anything by halves, do they? Either they are attempting to conquer the world or they are ready to shrink into nothingness. It would be interesting to know how Chinese and former Soviets look back on their 20th century and how eager they would be to defend their homelands.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That's totally what happened happened in WW1 and WW2.
    Aren't people here getting tired of all these "just so" stories about topics they know next to nothing about?
    , @German_reader
    Well, as Churchill said, they're either at your feet or at your throat.
  12. @Stubborn in Germany
    You are behind the times, Linh. It's the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized. Germany colonizes Greece by imposing one unworkable diktat after another, colonizes Europe by inviting in millions of military-age Muslim men tromping through the Balkans, and is colonized by the U.S., which in turn is being colonized by 11 million illegal immigrants with many more to come.

    Your psychologizing about German self-hatred is sophomoric. While the holocaust is still the topic of far too many history-channel features on public broadcast television, most Germans are more preoccupied with just getting through the day. The festive 2006 world soccer championships hosted here made it official, the world (yes, including Israel) likes Germany and no longer holds the 1933-45 period against them.

    In reality, the "hate Germany" posters and chants by the "antifas" comes from a different wellspring. The German economy is a high-tech industrial civilization, competing not with its neighbors but with Japan, Korea, Singapore. Salaries for engineers are very high, but so are the demands made of them. Getting into an engineering course at a university and toughing it out until graduation is brutally hard. Most pupils realize they will never be good enough long before graduating high school. Some choose a course in business administration or the law, others (usually already with a corresponding family background) learn a trade.

    But vast numbers are warehoused in state universities studying some silly subject like anthropology or gender studies. They know their only chance of evading a lifetime driving a cab or flipping hamburgers is to get into civil service with permanent job security, or failing that, a job as a journalist. But the competition is fierce, so the signaling of one's Green-Red social justice warrior credentials in order to be accepted into the ranks becomes a full-time occupation. Anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, anti-men, anti-white, anti-nation and of course, anti-Nazi, too.

    Are there Nazis in Germany today? Depends on your definition, but by most standards they are very few in number. No matter, it's on the list of antis to be checked off. And it's very handy because any time you want to experience the thrill of power, find someone to call a Nazi and see him ostracized.

    As the late German aphorist Johannes Gross said, the courage to combat Nazis grows in proportion to the length of time since the end of the Third Reich.

    Can you tell me what Germans make of the statement by Merkel when she said multiculturalism was a failure in light of her present open European borders stance? Does anyone question her about it? Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?
    Even keeping in mind typical political duplicity this seems particularly outrageous.

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    "Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?"

    No, in fact she still claims she's against multiculturalism...she said so in a talk show in early October. I have no idea how she reconciles this with her current open borders position...I suppose she thinks of multiculturalism as a situation where different legal systems like Sharia get official recognition. But apparently importing millions of Muslims is no problem as long as the values of the German Grundgesetz (= the constitution) are upheld, it will work out just fine in the end and the migrants will eventually become model citizens.
    Frankly, I don't think there's much sense in trying to understand what goes on in Merkel's head...the woman's pretty stupid in my opinion. The question that concerns and depresses me is rather how someone with such obvious intellectual limitations can end up in such a powerful position.
  13. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Zach
    Interesting and well-written stuff. Thank you.

    The Germans don't do anything by halves, do they? Either they are attempting to conquer the world or they are ready to shrink into nothingness. It would be interesting to know how Chinese and former Soviets look back on their 20th century and how eager they would be to defend their homelands.

    That’s totally what happened happened in WW1 and WW2.
    Aren’t people here getting tired of all these “just so” stories about topics they know next to nothing about?

    Read More
  14. @iffen
    Can you tell me what Germans make of the statement by Merkel when she said multiculturalism was a failure in light of her present open European borders stance? Does anyone question her about it? Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?
    Even keeping in mind typical political duplicity this seems particularly outrageous.

    “Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?”

    No, in fact she still claims she’s against multiculturalism…she said so in a talk show in early October. I have no idea how she reconciles this with her current open borders position…I suppose she thinks of multiculturalism as a situation where different legal systems like Sharia get official recognition. But apparently importing millions of Muslims is no problem as long as the values of the German Grundgesetz (= the constitution) are upheld, it will work out just fine in the end and the migrants will eventually become model citizens.
    Frankly, I don’t think there’s much sense in trying to understand what goes on in Merkel’s head…the woman’s pretty stupid in my opinion. The question that concerns and depresses me is rather how someone with such obvious intellectual limitations can end up in such a powerful position.

    Read More
    • Agree: Stubborn in Germany
    • Replies: @iffen
    Thanks.
    Something else that I wondered about was what is the situation with the Turks and others that came in the 60’s and 70’s? Are they and their children all citizens now? I don’t remember reading about a lot of conflict involving those immigrants. Is my impression correct? Did they mostly assimilate and that perhaps gave people the idea that mass Muslim immigration is nothing to worry about?
  15. @Zach
    Interesting and well-written stuff. Thank you.

    The Germans don't do anything by halves, do they? Either they are attempting to conquer the world or they are ready to shrink into nothingness. It would be interesting to know how Chinese and former Soviets look back on their 20th century and how eager they would be to defend their homelands.

    Well, as Churchill said, they’re either at your feet or at your throat.

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  16. @German_reader
    "Does she say she was mistaken or that she has changed her mind?"

    No, in fact she still claims she's against multiculturalism...she said so in a talk show in early October. I have no idea how she reconciles this with her current open borders position...I suppose she thinks of multiculturalism as a situation where different legal systems like Sharia get official recognition. But apparently importing millions of Muslims is no problem as long as the values of the German Grundgesetz (= the constitution) are upheld, it will work out just fine in the end and the migrants will eventually become model citizens.
    Frankly, I don't think there's much sense in trying to understand what goes on in Merkel's head...the woman's pretty stupid in my opinion. The question that concerns and depresses me is rather how someone with such obvious intellectual limitations can end up in such a powerful position.

    Thanks.
    Something else that I wondered about was what is the situation with the Turks and others that came in the 60’s and 70’s? Are they and their children all citizens now? I don’t remember reading about a lot of conflict involving those immigrants. Is my impression correct? Did they mostly assimilate and that perhaps gave people the idea that mass Muslim immigration is nothing to worry about?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stubborn in Germany
    In the 1960s, many Turkish gastarbeiter were imported to Germany to meet its then demand for labor. They followed on guest workers from places like Italy, Spain, Portugal and former Yugoslavia. In fact, there was enough supply of labor from those places to meet German demand, but Turks were imported for two reasons:

    -- German industry felt that if Spaniards are willing to work for less than Germans and Turks willing to work for less than Spaniards, the Turks should get the nod

    -- The U.S. was putting pressure on Germany to take Turkish guest workers because Turkey wanted to get rid of their surplus labor and threatened to make trouble in NATO

    After the 1973 "oil shock", demand for unskilled labor in Germany dropped, so the government declared a stop to recruitment. However, the Turkish guest workers liked it so much in Germany they decided to stay, aided by do-gooders especially in mainline churches and public intellectuals like (Swiss) author Max Frisch, who said, "We called for workers but found that human beings came". Family reunification ensured that their numbers stayed high.

    For a long time, not many Turks took German citizenship. The principal reason was that they would have had to renounce Turkish citizenship, which they were unwilling to do. However, Germany changed its laws to accommodate them and now they can be dual citizens of both Turkey and Germany, which is why Erdogan comes to Germany often to campaign for their votes.

    Turkish-Germans and Turks in Germany are more frequently on welfare and on average more likely to commit crimes, but compared to the Arabs they are almost a model minority. (Gypsies are the most criminal group and I think for best-integrated immigrants it's a tie between Vietnamese and Jews from the former Soviet Union.)
    , @German_reader
    A lot of Turks now have German citizenship; the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship (the Social Democrats insisted on it because they know Turks in Germany mostly vote for left-wing parties, and the Christian Democrats went along with it).
    I wouldn't say Turks in general have assimilated, there are success stories, but there's also a large Turkish (or Kurdish) underclass that has achieved little and is semi-reliant on welfare payouts. Occasionally there's violence, really stupid cases, like some underclass Turkish youths beat to death some unlucky German for some trivial reason (though to be fair, the opposite also happens, there have been some racist murders of Turks by Neo-Nazis). But on the whole, it's not that bad compared to Britain or France (I can't quite imagine Turks in Germany committing something like Rotherham or the sort of rioting that has occurred in Britain, France and Sweden). So yes, it may well be that Germans have gotten a wrong impression from Turkish immigration...they'll be in for a severe shock when it turns out that the new arrivals will be a lot more trouble than the "Gastarbeiter" and their descendants ever were.
  17. @iffen
    Thanks.
    Something else that I wondered about was what is the situation with the Turks and others that came in the 60’s and 70’s? Are they and their children all citizens now? I don’t remember reading about a lot of conflict involving those immigrants. Is my impression correct? Did they mostly assimilate and that perhaps gave people the idea that mass Muslim immigration is nothing to worry about?

    In the 1960s, many Turkish gastarbeiter were imported to Germany to meet its then demand for labor. They followed on guest workers from places like Italy, Spain, Portugal and former Yugoslavia. In fact, there was enough supply of labor from those places to meet German demand, but Turks were imported for two reasons:

    – German industry felt that if Spaniards are willing to work for less than Germans and Turks willing to work for less than Spaniards, the Turks should get the nod

    – The U.S. was putting pressure on Germany to take Turkish guest workers because Turkey wanted to get rid of their surplus labor and threatened to make trouble in NATO

    After the 1973 “oil shock”, demand for unskilled labor in Germany dropped, so the government declared a stop to recruitment. However, the Turkish guest workers liked it so much in Germany they decided to stay, aided by do-gooders especially in mainline churches and public intellectuals like (Swiss) author Max Frisch, who said, “We called for workers but found that human beings came”. Family reunification ensured that their numbers stayed high.

    For a long time, not many Turks took German citizenship. The principal reason was that they would have had to renounce Turkish citizenship, which they were unwilling to do. However, Germany changed its laws to accommodate them and now they can be dual citizens of both Turkey and Germany, which is why Erdogan comes to Germany often to campaign for their votes.

    Turkish-Germans and Turks in Germany are more frequently on welfare and on average more likely to commit crimes, but compared to the Arabs they are almost a model minority. (Gypsies are the most criminal group and I think for best-integrated immigrants it’s a tie between Vietnamese and Jews from the former Soviet Union.)

    Read More
  18. I always considered myself pro-German and Germans tell me I speak their language well. But enough is enough. If they really want to die out, let them. What I cannot forgive is that they want to wipe out other countries such as Poland and Slovakia, who were the victims of their brutality.

    Germany may produce gifted scientists, but as a people they are overgrown children. If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century.

    They have been nothing but trouble since they were unified in 1870.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Well, I wouldn't even want to know what you're ideas would be, if you suddenly considered yourself anti-German.
    , @German_reader
    "If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century."

    I think a lot of people in southern Germany (the productive regions of the country) would actually be fine with breaking connections to the annoying do-gooders in the West and North...an independent Bavaria (perhaps eventually in some sort of confederation with Austria) might work quite well.
    And I agree with your comments regarding Merkels bullying of Eastern European states (it's also striking how Germans in general behave towards countries like Poland or Belarus which suffered horrendously under German occupation...there's very little of the sense of "guilt" that crops up so often in other contexts, but quite a bit of the traditional German arrogance towards Eastern Europeans)...just be aware that Merkel and her ilk don't speak for all, or even the majority, of Germans.

    , @Big Bill
    Who is it that "cannot forgive"? Hitler? The soldiers of the Wehrmacht 1938-1945? The SS 1932-1945? The concentration camp guards?

    Their children? Their grandchildren? Their great-grandchildren?

    How long will their blood-guilt continue? Is it possible to ever atone for their race-guilt?

    Heck, even mamzerim [Jewish bastards] are permitted to rejoin the Jewish people after ten (10) generations.

    How many generations must the Germans suffer for their parents' sin before they are permitted to rejoin the human race?
  19. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Astuteobservor II
    germany is getting fucked over hard.

    anyone figured out why merkel is doing this? what is the purpose of the one giving her the orders?

    if germany goes down, europe would go down by losing a leg.

    what is the purpose…?

    Zero-percent interest rates can’t pump up real-estate prices any further, but immigration-induced demand shocks can.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Leftist conservative

    what is the purpose…?

    Zero-percent interest rates can’t pump up real-estate prices any further, but immigration-induced demand shocks can.

     

    exactly...the establishment and the elite are trying to keep the growth ponzi scheme going...


    the battle in the developed nations is the elites/establihsment vs the white majority...the white majority stands in the way of growth and lower wages via mass immigration and integration into society...that is the way it has been for many decades....the elite use propaganda in the educational system to create self-loathing whites.
    Anti-white multiculti propaganda pumped into young and malleable minds creates self-loathing whites.

    As adults, self-loathing whites are more likely to accept this growth via immigration ponzi scheme.

  20. Thoughtful essay, Linh. At some point, German intellectuals and political leaders will have to just plain recognize that the deleterious aspects of German history have been used pretty sordidly by political hustlers everywhere as an all-purpose exculpatory tool for their own (the hustlers’) misdeeds. The former Communist countries, especially, get a good scrub-up of their murderousness because they didn’t have their official and unofficial documents fall into the hands of conquering powers as Germany did.

    Which country leads the world in stationing her troops in other countries under one pretext or another the past 100 years? Germany isn’t even close. Does that make a difference? I don’t know. Reality is that since 1945 there’ve been military engagements of all sorts in which the justifications have been pretty darned feeble, the consequences horrific, and Germany’s played either no part, or at most, a client-state role.

    Former Chancellor Kohl’s appearance with WWI hero and later author Ernst Juenger back around 1990 may serve as a model of tactful rehabilitation of German military history.

    Read More
  21. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @German_reader
    Well, as Churchill said, they're either at your feet or at your throat.

    Does this include yourself?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    No, but I'm only German on my mother's side, so I'm not typical :-)
  22. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @22pp22
    I always considered myself pro-German and Germans tell me I speak their language well. But enough is enough. If they really want to die out, let them. What I cannot forgive is that they want to wipe out other countries such as Poland and Slovakia, who were the victims of their brutality.

    Germany may produce gifted scientists, but as a people they are overgrown children. If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century.

    They have been nothing but trouble since they were unified in 1870.

    Well, I wouldn’t even want to know what you’re ideas would be, if you suddenly considered yourself anti-German.

    Read More
  23. @iffen
    Thanks.
    Something else that I wondered about was what is the situation with the Turks and others that came in the 60’s and 70’s? Are they and their children all citizens now? I don’t remember reading about a lot of conflict involving those immigrants. Is my impression correct? Did they mostly assimilate and that perhaps gave people the idea that mass Muslim immigration is nothing to worry about?

    A lot of Turks now have German citizenship; the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship (the Social Democrats insisted on it because they know Turks in Germany mostly vote for left-wing parties, and the Christian Democrats went along with it).
    I wouldn’t say Turks in general have assimilated, there are success stories, but there’s also a large Turkish (or Kurdish) underclass that has achieved little and is semi-reliant on welfare payouts. Occasionally there’s violence, really stupid cases, like some underclass Turkish youths beat to death some unlucky German for some trivial reason (though to be fair, the opposite also happens, there have been some racist murders of Turks by Neo-Nazis). But on the whole, it’s not that bad compared to Britain or France (I can’t quite imagine Turks in Germany committing something like Rotherham or the sort of rioting that has occurred in Britain, France and Sweden). So yes, it may well be that Germans have gotten a wrong impression from Turkish immigration…they’ll be in for a severe shock when it turns out that the new arrivals will be a lot more trouble than the “Gastarbeiter” and their descendants ever were.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship
     
    Stubborn in Germany says,

    However, Germany changed its laws to accommodate them and now they can be dual citizens of both Turkey and Germany, which is why Erdogan comes to Germany often to campaign for their votes.
     
    You both can’t be correct.
  24. @Anonymous
    Does this include yourself?

    No, but I’m only German on my mother’s side, so I’m not typical :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I have already noted that many of the "German" commenters here have a rather distanced attitude towards "their" people.
  25. @22pp22
    I always considered myself pro-German and Germans tell me I speak their language well. But enough is enough. If they really want to die out, let them. What I cannot forgive is that they want to wipe out other countries such as Poland and Slovakia, who were the victims of their brutality.

    Germany may produce gifted scientists, but as a people they are overgrown children. If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century.

    They have been nothing but trouble since they were unified in 1870.

    “If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century.”

    I think a lot of people in southern Germany (the productive regions of the country) would actually be fine with breaking connections to the annoying do-gooders in the West and North…an independent Bavaria (perhaps eventually in some sort of confederation with Austria) might work quite well.
    And I agree with your comments regarding Merkels bullying of Eastern European states (it’s also striking how Germans in general behave towards countries like Poland or Belarus which suffered horrendously under German occupation…there’s very little of the sense of “guilt” that crops up so often in other contexts, but quite a bit of the traditional German arrogance towards Eastern Europeans)…just be aware that Merkel and her ilk don’t speak for all, or even the majority, of Germans.

    Read More
  26. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @German_reader
    No, but I'm only German on my mother's side, so I'm not typical :-)

    I have already noted that many of the “German” commenters here have a rather distanced attitude towards “their” people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Well, you know, it's a bit difficult to feel love for the fatherland when a sizable part of Germans really is stupid enough to fall for that whole "Mutti" Merkel crap and thinks Merkel is just wonderful and will take care of everything. The eternal guilt-trip over the 3rd Reich also doesn't help. And a lot of Germans really are conformist and authoritarian, it's just that nowadays this manifests itself in support for "antifascism", antiracism, multiculturalism etc. It's always about being "respectable", holding the right sort of opinions, drawing the right lessons from Germany's Nazi past...of course similar trends exist in most Western countries (and I suppose certain peoples like those gullible, naive Swedes are even more contemptible)...but yeah, I'm feeling somewhat alienated from German society.
  27. @German_reader
    A lot of Turks now have German citizenship; the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship (the Social Democrats insisted on it because they know Turks in Germany mostly vote for left-wing parties, and the Christian Democrats went along with it).
    I wouldn't say Turks in general have assimilated, there are success stories, but there's also a large Turkish (or Kurdish) underclass that has achieved little and is semi-reliant on welfare payouts. Occasionally there's violence, really stupid cases, like some underclass Turkish youths beat to death some unlucky German for some trivial reason (though to be fair, the opposite also happens, there have been some racist murders of Turks by Neo-Nazis). But on the whole, it's not that bad compared to Britain or France (I can't quite imagine Turks in Germany committing something like Rotherham or the sort of rioting that has occurred in Britain, France and Sweden). So yes, it may well be that Germans have gotten a wrong impression from Turkish immigration...they'll be in for a severe shock when it turns out that the new arrivals will be a lot more trouble than the "Gastarbeiter" and their descendants ever were.

    the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship

    Stubborn in Germany says,

    However, Germany changed its laws to accommodate them and now they can be dual citizens of both Turkey and Germany, which is why Erdogan comes to Germany often to campaign for their votes.

    You both can’t be correct.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    ? I think, Stubborn in Germany and I meant the same thing...it's now possible for Turks to keep their Turkish citizenship when they're naturalized in Germany.
  28. @Anonymous
    I have already noted that many of the "German" commenters here have a rather distanced attitude towards "their" people.

    Well, you know, it’s a bit difficult to feel love for the fatherland when a sizable part of Germans really is stupid enough to fall for that whole “Mutti” Merkel crap and thinks Merkel is just wonderful and will take care of everything. The eternal guilt-trip over the 3rd Reich also doesn’t help. And a lot of Germans really are conformist and authoritarian, it’s just that nowadays this manifests itself in support for “antifascism”, antiracism, multiculturalism etc. It’s always about being “respectable”, holding the right sort of opinions, drawing the right lessons from Germany’s Nazi past…of course similar trends exist in most Western countries (and I suppose certain peoples like those gullible, naive Swedes are even more contemptible)…but yeah, I’m feeling somewhat alienated from German society.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    So you have decided to follow the Merkel route and elect a new people for yourself?
    Lucky you, not everyone is in the happy position to choose.
  29. @22pp22
    I always considered myself pro-German and Germans tell me I speak their language well. But enough is enough. If they really want to die out, let them. What I cannot forgive is that they want to wipe out other countries such as Poland and Slovakia, who were the victims of their brutality.

    Germany may produce gifted scientists, but as a people they are overgrown children. If they do survive as a people, Germany should be broken up into myriad of tiny countries as it was in the eighteenth century.

    They have been nothing but trouble since they were unified in 1870.

    Who is it that “cannot forgive”? Hitler? The soldiers of the Wehrmacht 1938-1945? The SS 1932-1945? The concentration camp guards?

    Their children? Their grandchildren? Their great-grandchildren?

    How long will their blood-guilt continue? Is it possible to ever atone for their race-guilt?

    Heck, even mamzerim [Jewish bastards] are permitted to rejoin the Jewish people after ten (10) generations.

    How many generations must the Germans suffer for their parents’ sin before they are permitted to rejoin the human race?

    Read More
    • Replies: @22pp22
    I don't care about WW2. I care about them inviting in the entire Third World. That is what I cannot forgive.
  30. @iffen

    the current government even has introduced the possibility of dual citizenship
     
    Stubborn in Germany says,

    However, Germany changed its laws to accommodate them and now they can be dual citizens of both Turkey and Germany, which is why Erdogan comes to Germany often to campaign for their votes.
     
    You both can’t be correct.

    ? I think, Stubborn in Germany and I meant the same thing…it’s now possible for Turks to keep their Turkish citizenship when they’re naturalized in Germany.

    Read More
  31. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @German_reader
    Well, you know, it's a bit difficult to feel love for the fatherland when a sizable part of Germans really is stupid enough to fall for that whole "Mutti" Merkel crap and thinks Merkel is just wonderful and will take care of everything. The eternal guilt-trip over the 3rd Reich also doesn't help. And a lot of Germans really are conformist and authoritarian, it's just that nowadays this manifests itself in support for "antifascism", antiracism, multiculturalism etc. It's always about being "respectable", holding the right sort of opinions, drawing the right lessons from Germany's Nazi past...of course similar trends exist in most Western countries (and I suppose certain peoples like those gullible, naive Swedes are even more contemptible)...but yeah, I'm feeling somewhat alienated from German society.

    So you have decided to follow the Merkel route and elect a new people for yourself?
    Lucky you, not everyone is in the happy position to choose.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    I don't feel lucky at all...rather despondent and powerless. And I don't really have the option of shedding my German identity either...in any case, my father's country (Britain) is in even worse a state than Germany.
  32. @JackOH
    Thoughtful essay, Linh. At some point, German intellectuals and political leaders will have to just plain recognize that the deleterious aspects of German history have been used pretty sordidly by political hustlers everywhere as an all-purpose exculpatory tool for their own (the hustlers') misdeeds. The former Communist countries, especially, get a good scrub-up of their murderousness because they didn't have their official and unofficial documents fall into the hands of conquering powers as Germany did.

    Which country leads the world in stationing her troops in other countries under one pretext or another the past 100 years? Germany isn't even close. Does that make a difference? I don't know. Reality is that since 1945 there've been military engagements of all sorts in which the justifications have been pretty darned feeble, the consequences horrific, and Germany's played either no part, or at most, a client-state role.

    Former Chancellor Kohl's appearance with WWI hero and later author Ernst Juenger back around 1990 may serve as a model of tactful rehabilitation of German military history.

    But, but…. it’s okay, we’re the good guys.

    Read More
  33. @Stubborn in Germany
    You are behind the times, Linh. It's the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized. Germany colonizes Greece by imposing one unworkable diktat after another, colonizes Europe by inviting in millions of military-age Muslim men tromping through the Balkans, and is colonized by the U.S., which in turn is being colonized by 11 million illegal immigrants with many more to come.

    Your psychologizing about German self-hatred is sophomoric. While the holocaust is still the topic of far too many history-channel features on public broadcast television, most Germans are more preoccupied with just getting through the day. The festive 2006 world soccer championships hosted here made it official, the world (yes, including Israel) likes Germany and no longer holds the 1933-45 period against them.

    In reality, the "hate Germany" posters and chants by the "antifas" comes from a different wellspring. The German economy is a high-tech industrial civilization, competing not with its neighbors but with Japan, Korea, Singapore. Salaries for engineers are very high, but so are the demands made of them. Getting into an engineering course at a university and toughing it out until graduation is brutally hard. Most pupils realize they will never be good enough long before graduating high school. Some choose a course in business administration or the law, others (usually already with a corresponding family background) learn a trade.

    But vast numbers are warehoused in state universities studying some silly subject like anthropology or gender studies. They know their only chance of evading a lifetime driving a cab or flipping hamburgers is to get into civil service with permanent job security, or failing that, a job as a journalist. But the competition is fierce, so the signaling of one's Green-Red social justice warrior credentials in order to be accepted into the ranks becomes a full-time occupation. Anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, anti-men, anti-white, anti-nation and of course, anti-Nazi, too.

    Are there Nazis in Germany today? Depends on your definition, but by most standards they are very few in number. No matter, it's on the list of antis to be checked off. And it's very handy because any time you want to experience the thrill of power, find someone to call a Nazi and see him ostracized.

    As the late German aphorist Johannes Gross said, the courage to combat Nazis grows in proportion to the length of time since the end of the Third Reich.

    You are behind the times, Linh. It’s the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized.

    Quite.

    Fact of the matter is the world changes far too rapidly for many commentators stuck in circles of one manner of phobia or another. Perhaps Germans and more generally the global cognoscenti, the tech-imbued, trained populations are offering a bold view of the new world. Certainly life is competitive and stressful, but the fruits of a world bereft of ultra-nationalism are surely to be preferred over hearkening the unfounded warnings of ‘lost’ culture etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    OK. I started to pay attention to your comments. What does a phobia have to do with the subject at hand? What is ultra-nationalism? Can't we just make do with ordinary nationalism?
    , @Stubborn in Germany
    We're not on the same page here, I'm afraid. I'm not saying that open borders are great, go with the flow, enjoy the ride. Quite the contrary. A majority of Germans were in favor of letting all "refugees" in very briefly, right after the ph0tos of the drowned Kurdish boy who was washed up on a Turkish beach (possibly a planned propaganda coup by the Turkish government). It was only a moment, but that was all it took for Merkel to pounce.

    Before that moment, and for several weeks now that the effects of massive media brainwashing have worn off, Germans were and are against uncontrolled mass immigration. And for very good reasons. However, the damage is already done ... and continues to mount. Germany is becoming more Afghan, Libyan, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean, Cameroonian, Albanian. Hard times ahead for Germany's women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the "wrong" sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted, the welfare state will be greatly diminished. Some of the worst consequences will not materialize for another generation or two, but I find that to be inadequate consolation.

    Where I differ with the author is I don't share his belief that Germany has no say in setting its policies, that the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility. Sorry, there are plenty of reasons for German malaise that have nothing to do with Soros, the government of Israel, Freemasons, or the U.S. military-industrial complex, and I have described one of them (the resentment felt by those unsuited for a high-paying, highly demanding job in a high-tech economy).

    One thing that I've noticed is that ethnic Germans born into any large-size community of people with German ancestry in other countries do not seem to be afflicted to the same extent by this prevalence of social justice warriors. Instead, whether they are from Paraguay, Brazil, Kasakhstan, Russia or Chile, they are generally cheerful, honest, hardworking, and not interested in playing games of virtue signaling. Admittedly my personal sample size is small.

  34. @Sam Shama

    You are behind the times, Linh. It’s the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized.
     
    Quite.

    Fact of the matter is the world changes far too rapidly for many commentators stuck in circles of one manner of phobia or another. Perhaps Germans and more generally the global cognoscenti, the tech-imbued, trained populations are offering a bold view of the new world. Certainly life is competitive and stressful, but the fruits of a world bereft of ultra-nationalism are surely to be preferred over hearkening the unfounded warnings of 'lost' culture etc.

    OK. I started to pay attention to your comments. What does a phobia have to do with the subject at hand? What is ultra-nationalism? Can’t we just make do with ordinary nationalism?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam Shama
    The Intelligentsia tend to craft the direction of culture and such notions as enlightenment, humanism and tolerance. These ideas have not disappointed Europe, and suffering only resulted when stark departures from these traditions were in effect. In the case of Germany I would start with perhaps Dürer, then Luther and Goethe. Mrs Merkel seems to understand this. Rather than I spend a great deal of time boring you about things I am sure you are familiar with, I might simply point to my agreement with the commenter at #44.

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/germany-against-itself/#comment-1200585
  35. Strangely enough, this self-hatred didn’t become dominant until the Anglo-American Cold War victory. Ethnic German immigrants got priority before then and Germany had the Jus sanguinis for citizenship.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kilo 4/11
    Must be that reunification brought this virus with it, along with Merkel. The east would certainly have been strenuously indoctrinated in Soviet vilification of Germany. Yet everyone thought the influence could only operate in one direction, from west to east.
  36. @Sam Shama

    You are behind the times, Linh. It’s the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized.
     
    Quite.

    Fact of the matter is the world changes far too rapidly for many commentators stuck in circles of one manner of phobia or another. Perhaps Germans and more generally the global cognoscenti, the tech-imbued, trained populations are offering a bold view of the new world. Certainly life is competitive and stressful, but the fruits of a world bereft of ultra-nationalism are surely to be preferred over hearkening the unfounded warnings of 'lost' culture etc.

    We’re not on the same page here, I’m afraid. I’m not saying that open borders are great, go with the flow, enjoy the ride. Quite the contrary. A majority of Germans were in favor of letting all “refugees” in very briefly, right after the ph0tos of the drowned Kurdish boy who was washed up on a Turkish beach (possibly a planned propaganda coup by the Turkish government). It was only a moment, but that was all it took for Merkel to pounce.

    Before that moment, and for several weeks now that the effects of massive media brainwashing have worn off, Germans were and are against uncontrolled mass immigration. And for very good reasons. However, the damage is already done … and continues to mount. Germany is becoming more Afghan, Libyan, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean, Cameroonian, Albanian. Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted, the welfare state will be greatly diminished. Some of the worst consequences will not materialize for another generation or two, but I find that to be inadequate consolation.

    Where I differ with the author is I don’t share his belief that Germany has no say in setting its policies, that the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility. Sorry, there are plenty of reasons for German malaise that have nothing to do with Soros, the government of Israel, Freemasons, or the U.S. military-industrial complex, and I have described one of them (the resentment felt by those unsuited for a high-paying, highly demanding job in a high-tech economy).

    One thing that I’ve noticed is that ethnic Germans born into any large-size community of people with German ancestry in other countries do not seem to be afflicted to the same extent by this prevalence of social justice warriors. Instead, whether they are from Paraguay, Brazil, Kasakhstan, Russia or Chile, they are generally cheerful, honest, hardworking, and not interested in playing games of virtue signaling. Admittedly my personal sample size is small.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam Shama

    Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted,
     
    That is a quite a list of future difficulties and frictions you foresee. Of course seeing as it is your country you ought to have a better grasp of reality, whereas I can only point out that there are many countries far more ethnically diverse than Germany that are doing just fine. Mind you I am not claiming that they do not have their communal frictions; they do indeed. However to me 'hard times' as in economic hardships are the least of worries for Germany. You might prefer a more equal society, which is a function of proper economic regulation and structuring, although it is also quite clear that a technologically advanced high-income nation like Germany needed the European Union and more specifically the Eurozone to obtain the benefits of a relatively weak currency in order to foster and promote its export driven goal: in other words, I agree with your own charactersation of Germany's 'colonisation' of Greece as appropriate. Without the periphery nations, a weak Euro would not have been possible. So we do know of the period under the Reichsmark which upon replacement by the DM lead to the great wirtschaftswunder, followed much later by at least two decades of stagnant or feeble growth, conditions that arguably seeded the ideas for the Euro.

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its "social consequences" with a fair dose of equanimity.

    Which is why I am not convinced about your apprehensions regarding the prospects for German women? Homosexuals, Yazidis, etc. etc. Really?
    , @Anonymous
    What about ordinary German men?
    I more and more doubt that you are German.
    , @annamaria
    "...the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility."
    On point.
  37. @Stubborn in Germany
    We're not on the same page here, I'm afraid. I'm not saying that open borders are great, go with the flow, enjoy the ride. Quite the contrary. A majority of Germans were in favor of letting all "refugees" in very briefly, right after the ph0tos of the drowned Kurdish boy who was washed up on a Turkish beach (possibly a planned propaganda coup by the Turkish government). It was only a moment, but that was all it took for Merkel to pounce.

    Before that moment, and for several weeks now that the effects of massive media brainwashing have worn off, Germans were and are against uncontrolled mass immigration. And for very good reasons. However, the damage is already done ... and continues to mount. Germany is becoming more Afghan, Libyan, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean, Cameroonian, Albanian. Hard times ahead for Germany's women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the "wrong" sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted, the welfare state will be greatly diminished. Some of the worst consequences will not materialize for another generation or two, but I find that to be inadequate consolation.

    Where I differ with the author is I don't share his belief that Germany has no say in setting its policies, that the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility. Sorry, there are plenty of reasons for German malaise that have nothing to do with Soros, the government of Israel, Freemasons, or the U.S. military-industrial complex, and I have described one of them (the resentment felt by those unsuited for a high-paying, highly demanding job in a high-tech economy).

    One thing that I've noticed is that ethnic Germans born into any large-size community of people with German ancestry in other countries do not seem to be afflicted to the same extent by this prevalence of social justice warriors. Instead, whether they are from Paraguay, Brazil, Kasakhstan, Russia or Chile, they are generally cheerful, honest, hardworking, and not interested in playing games of virtue signaling. Admittedly my personal sample size is small.

    Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted,

    That is a quite a list of future difficulties and frictions you foresee. Of course seeing as it is your country you ought to have a better grasp of reality, whereas I can only point out that there are many countries far more ethnically diverse than Germany that are doing just fine. Mind you I am not claiming that they do not have their communal frictions; they do indeed. However to me ‘hard times’ as in economic hardships are the least of worries for Germany. You might prefer a more equal society, which is a function of proper economic regulation and structuring, although it is also quite clear that a technologically advanced high-income nation like Germany needed the European Union and more specifically the Eurozone to obtain the benefits of a relatively weak currency in order to foster and promote its export driven goal: in other words, I agree with your own charactersation of Germany’s ‘colonisation’ of Greece as appropriate. Without the periphery nations, a weak Euro would not have been possible. So we do know of the period under the Reichsmark which upon replacement by the DM lead to the great wirtschaftswunder, followed much later by at least two decades of stagnant or feeble growth, conditions that arguably seeded the ideas for the Euro.

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its “social consequences” with a fair dose of equanimity.

    Which is why I am not convinced about your apprehensions regarding the prospects for German women? Homosexuals, Yazidis, etc. etc. Really?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stubborn in Germany
    You might want to look into Andrew Hammel's two blogs to review the past couple of months:

    www.andrewhammel.typepad.com

    and the single-issue blog started a few weeks ago at

    www.germanimmigration.eu

    If, after spending perhaps an hour browsing the archives, you are still sanguine about Germany's prospects then fair enough, let's agree that we disagree. After all, not only is it difficult to predict the future, more importantly we all differ in the weights we assign to specific expected (positive or negative) outcomes.

    , @Stubborn in Germany

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its “social consequences” with a fair dose of equanimity.

     

    One more comment. German expats sent by their employers (large corporations) to work overseas are usually "organization men" who know that it's best to be cautious and not rock the boat, hence they tend to make bland statements and avoid controversy. In any case they are in a high enough income bracket not to have to deal with the consequences of unfettered immigration up close and personally after they return.

    What I was describing in a previous comment was not the Siemens or Daimler expat but the ethnic Germans from Blumenau (Brazil) or with roots in the Mennonite settlements of Paraguay. Those that I have met almost seem to come from a time warp (in a good way) when it comes to straight talk and being upfront and honest, including about things they do not want.
    , @Anonymous
    Too bad that the "migrant" crisis interfered with the "Fourt Reich" narrative that you are so eager to push.
  38. @Sam Shama

    Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted,
     
    That is a quite a list of future difficulties and frictions you foresee. Of course seeing as it is your country you ought to have a better grasp of reality, whereas I can only point out that there are many countries far more ethnically diverse than Germany that are doing just fine. Mind you I am not claiming that they do not have their communal frictions; they do indeed. However to me 'hard times' as in economic hardships are the least of worries for Germany. You might prefer a more equal society, which is a function of proper economic regulation and structuring, although it is also quite clear that a technologically advanced high-income nation like Germany needed the European Union and more specifically the Eurozone to obtain the benefits of a relatively weak currency in order to foster and promote its export driven goal: in other words, I agree with your own charactersation of Germany's 'colonisation' of Greece as appropriate. Without the periphery nations, a weak Euro would not have been possible. So we do know of the period under the Reichsmark which upon replacement by the DM lead to the great wirtschaftswunder, followed much later by at least two decades of stagnant or feeble growth, conditions that arguably seeded the ideas for the Euro.

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its "social consequences" with a fair dose of equanimity.

    Which is why I am not convinced about your apprehensions regarding the prospects for German women? Homosexuals, Yazidis, etc. etc. Really?

    You might want to look into Andrew Hammel’s two blogs to review the past couple of months:

    http://www.andrewhammel.typepad.com

    and the single-issue blog started a few weeks ago at

    http://www.germanimmigration.eu

    If, after spending perhaps an hour browsing the archives, you are still sanguine about Germany’s prospects then fair enough, let’s agree that we disagree. After all, not only is it difficult to predict the future, more importantly we all differ in the weights we assign to specific expected (positive or negative) outcomes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sam Shama
    Thanks. I will read them and come back if I should have anything interesting to add.
  39. @Sam Shama

    Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted,
     
    That is a quite a list of future difficulties and frictions you foresee. Of course seeing as it is your country you ought to have a better grasp of reality, whereas I can only point out that there are many countries far more ethnically diverse than Germany that are doing just fine. Mind you I am not claiming that they do not have their communal frictions; they do indeed. However to me 'hard times' as in economic hardships are the least of worries for Germany. You might prefer a more equal society, which is a function of proper economic regulation and structuring, although it is also quite clear that a technologically advanced high-income nation like Germany needed the European Union and more specifically the Eurozone to obtain the benefits of a relatively weak currency in order to foster and promote its export driven goal: in other words, I agree with your own charactersation of Germany's 'colonisation' of Greece as appropriate. Without the periphery nations, a weak Euro would not have been possible. So we do know of the period under the Reichsmark which upon replacement by the DM lead to the great wirtschaftswunder, followed much later by at least two decades of stagnant or feeble growth, conditions that arguably seeded the ideas for the Euro.

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its "social consequences" with a fair dose of equanimity.

    Which is why I am not convinced about your apprehensions regarding the prospects for German women? Homosexuals, Yazidis, etc. etc. Really?

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its “social consequences” with a fair dose of equanimity.

    One more comment. German expats sent by their employers (large corporations) to work overseas are usually “organization men” who know that it’s best to be cautious and not rock the boat, hence they tend to make bland statements and avoid controversy. In any case they are in a high enough income bracket not to have to deal with the consequences of unfettered immigration up close and personally after they return.

    What I was describing in a previous comment was not the Siemens or Daimler expat but the ethnic Germans from Blumenau (Brazil) or with roots in the Mennonite settlements of Paraguay. Those that I have met almost seem to come from a time warp (in a good way) when it comes to straight talk and being upfront and honest, including about things they do not want.

    Read More
  40. @Big Bill
    Who is it that "cannot forgive"? Hitler? The soldiers of the Wehrmacht 1938-1945? The SS 1932-1945? The concentration camp guards?

    Their children? Their grandchildren? Their great-grandchildren?

    How long will their blood-guilt continue? Is it possible to ever atone for their race-guilt?

    Heck, even mamzerim [Jewish bastards] are permitted to rejoin the Jewish people after ten (10) generations.

    How many generations must the Germans suffer for their parents' sin before they are permitted to rejoin the human race?

    I don’t care about WW2. I care about them inviting in the entire Third World. That is what I cannot forgive.

    Read More
  41. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Stubborn in Germany
    We're not on the same page here, I'm afraid. I'm not saying that open borders are great, go with the flow, enjoy the ride. Quite the contrary. A majority of Germans were in favor of letting all "refugees" in very briefly, right after the ph0tos of the drowned Kurdish boy who was washed up on a Turkish beach (possibly a planned propaganda coup by the Turkish government). It was only a moment, but that was all it took for Merkel to pounce.

    Before that moment, and for several weeks now that the effects of massive media brainwashing have worn off, Germans were and are against uncontrolled mass immigration. And for very good reasons. However, the damage is already done ... and continues to mount. Germany is becoming more Afghan, Libyan, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean, Cameroonian, Albanian. Hard times ahead for Germany's women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the "wrong" sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted, the welfare state will be greatly diminished. Some of the worst consequences will not materialize for another generation or two, but I find that to be inadequate consolation.

    Where I differ with the author is I don't share his belief that Germany has no say in setting its policies, that the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility. Sorry, there are plenty of reasons for German malaise that have nothing to do with Soros, the government of Israel, Freemasons, or the U.S. military-industrial complex, and I have described one of them (the resentment felt by those unsuited for a high-paying, highly demanding job in a high-tech economy).

    One thing that I've noticed is that ethnic Germans born into any large-size community of people with German ancestry in other countries do not seem to be afflicted to the same extent by this prevalence of social justice warriors. Instead, whether they are from Paraguay, Brazil, Kasakhstan, Russia or Chile, they are generally cheerful, honest, hardworking, and not interested in playing games of virtue signaling. Admittedly my personal sample size is small.

    What about ordinary German men?
    I more and more doubt that you are German.

    Read More
  42. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Sam Shama

    Hard times ahead for Germany’s women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the “wrong” sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted,
     
    That is a quite a list of future difficulties and frictions you foresee. Of course seeing as it is your country you ought to have a better grasp of reality, whereas I can only point out that there are many countries far more ethnically diverse than Germany that are doing just fine. Mind you I am not claiming that they do not have their communal frictions; they do indeed. However to me 'hard times' as in economic hardships are the least of worries for Germany. You might prefer a more equal society, which is a function of proper economic regulation and structuring, although it is also quite clear that a technologically advanced high-income nation like Germany needed the European Union and more specifically the Eurozone to obtain the benefits of a relatively weak currency in order to foster and promote its export driven goal: in other words, I agree with your own charactersation of Germany's 'colonisation' of Greece as appropriate. Without the periphery nations, a weak Euro would not have been possible. So we do know of the period under the Reichsmark which upon replacement by the DM lead to the great wirtschaftswunder, followed much later by at least two decades of stagnant or feeble growth, conditions that arguably seeded the ideas for the Euro.

    My German friends in this country (9 of them actually) are quite happy, and as you perfectly describe, they are accomplished professionals, hard-working and pleasant humans who view immigration positively and any of its "social consequences" with a fair dose of equanimity.

    Which is why I am not convinced about your apprehensions regarding the prospects for German women? Homosexuals, Yazidis, etc. etc. Really?

    Too bad that the “migrant” crisis interfered with the “Fourt Reich” narrative that you are so eager to push.

    Read More
  43. “the alliance of Germans, Russians and Poles defeated Napoleon’s invading army”

    Not quite. An alliance of Germans and Russians defeated the French and the Poles…

    Read More
  44. As a young German I need to clarify several points of this article from my point of view:
    First of all: No German of my generation is guilt-racked! The Nazi era is a historical period that all German students study in history class. These studies raise a certain awareness and sensibility to the topic that might not be as pronounced in other countries. However, it is not an aspect connected to individual, personal identity. Consequently, the current fight against Nazis has nothing at all to do with guilt, but has everything to do with thinking, caring about, and actively engaging in politics. It has everything to do with openly advocating tolerance and actively dismissing xenophobia.

    Concerning the stickers and banners, they neither advocate the dissolution of Germany, nor are they connected to self-hatred. They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders. In that those stickers carry inherently political messages, they are directed both at the population who reads them, encouraging them to think, and to the government. For those Americans married to patriotism, it might be impossible to think about politics outside of a national framework, but the point here is that a kind of theoretical thinking detached from the set framework of nation-states and borders might be a fruitful way of thinking about politics. Not a realist one, I know that, just a different one.

    To me, the article oversimplifies complex matters. Two examples illustrate this: First, the comment on Japan, which establishes a causal connection: the failing social interaction of the Japanese youth and its ways of dealing with this are rooted in the nation having been pacified and consequently “wussied.” In my opinion, the isolationist tendencies of the Japanese youth should be explained along detailed social analysis instead of simply denouncing them as wussies afraid of people and therefore also afraid of military action. Second, there is this sentence: “Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.” At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death. If people do not “love” Germany in a patriotic manner it does not necessarily mean they want to see it dissolve. It is possible to feel positively emotionally attached to your country, foremost to your culture, without patriotically “loving” it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders
     
    This means that Germany will no longer exist.

    At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death.
     
    Nationalism is bound to the nation state, if you lose your state it is very likely that you will lose your national identity.

    Thank you for your input. Most of us are aware of the problems that have come with nationalism and nation states. It is a value call for some of us. We don't want to give up our national states.
    , @Sam Shama
    One word: Bravo!
    , @German_reader
    Without borders that are vigorously defended and enforced, Europe and Germany will be overrun by a never-ending flow of migrants from the failed states of Africa and parts of the Islamic world...eventually Europeans might well become despised and powerless minorities in what were once their own countries. It's really as simple as that.
    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that's wrong with today's Germans...it's like they're living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.
    , @22pp22
    That has to be the most wussified thing I have ever read. Thank God I am a Kiwi.
  45. I definitely appreciate & learn from all photography & writing Linh Dinh is providing from Germany.

    Starting elementary public school in the late 1950s, and having seen what I have seen develop in America, I believe my country was deftly Occupied (colonized) directly after the November 1963 assassination of J.F.K. The 9/11 event advanced the Occupation.

    To date, I am 63-years old, and I know I am wrong sometimes when making political judgements on hometown and national events & politics… , in short, I err. While living in a small town, surrounded by concrete, I delight in what Linh Dinh shows me about Germany.

    The world is pretty much fucked for an extended period of time. I really think that as the “Superpower” US government, led specifically by the 1% and Wall Street/Big Banks, managed to colonize the USA, and through such global expansion, use of frightening military force & control of commerce, it’s quite natural for European nations to become colonized as well.

    Meanwhile, Leipzig is a long way from Scranton, PA, and I am very pleased that Linh Dinh makes me think about faraway life & culture. An intelligent writer above mentioned how he missed the boat about how we’re all colonizers/colonized. I have been on-the-dismal-road with Linh, and although I err sometimes, he seems very well prepared to be able to Captain a ship back home to Euramerica. Thank you.

    Read More
  46. @GL
    As a young German I need to clarify several points of this article from my point of view:
    First of all: No German of my generation is guilt-racked! The Nazi era is a historical period that all German students study in history class. These studies raise a certain awareness and sensibility to the topic that might not be as pronounced in other countries. However, it is not an aspect connected to individual, personal identity. Consequently, the current fight against Nazis has nothing at all to do with guilt, but has everything to do with thinking, caring about, and actively engaging in politics. It has everything to do with openly advocating tolerance and actively dismissing xenophobia.

    Concerning the stickers and banners, they neither advocate the dissolution of Germany, nor are they connected to self-hatred. They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders. In that those stickers carry inherently political messages, they are directed both at the population who reads them, encouraging them to think, and to the government. For those Americans married to patriotism, it might be impossible to think about politics outside of a national framework, but the point here is that a kind of theoretical thinking detached from the set framework of nation-states and borders might be a fruitful way of thinking about politics. Not a realist one, I know that, just a different one.

    To me, the article oversimplifies complex matters. Two examples illustrate this: First, the comment on Japan, which establishes a causal connection: the failing social interaction of the Japanese youth and its ways of dealing with this are rooted in the nation having been pacified and consequently “wussied.” In my opinion, the isolationist tendencies of the Japanese youth should be explained along detailed social analysis instead of simply denouncing them as wussies afraid of people and therefore also afraid of military action. Second, there is this sentence: “Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.” At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death. If people do not “love” Germany in a patriotic manner it does not necessarily mean they want to see it dissolve. It is possible to feel positively emotionally attached to your country, foremost to your culture, without patriotically “loving” it.

    They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders

    This means that Germany will no longer exist.

    At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death.

    Nationalism is bound to the nation state, if you lose your state it is very likely that you will lose your national identity.

    Thank you for your input. Most of us are aware of the problems that have come with nationalism and nation states. It is a value call for some of us. We don’t want to give up our national states.

    Read More
  47. @GL
    As a young German I need to clarify several points of this article from my point of view:
    First of all: No German of my generation is guilt-racked! The Nazi era is a historical period that all German students study in history class. These studies raise a certain awareness and sensibility to the topic that might not be as pronounced in other countries. However, it is not an aspect connected to individual, personal identity. Consequently, the current fight against Nazis has nothing at all to do with guilt, but has everything to do with thinking, caring about, and actively engaging in politics. It has everything to do with openly advocating tolerance and actively dismissing xenophobia.

    Concerning the stickers and banners, they neither advocate the dissolution of Germany, nor are they connected to self-hatred. They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders. In that those stickers carry inherently political messages, they are directed both at the population who reads them, encouraging them to think, and to the government. For those Americans married to patriotism, it might be impossible to think about politics outside of a national framework, but the point here is that a kind of theoretical thinking detached from the set framework of nation-states and borders might be a fruitful way of thinking about politics. Not a realist one, I know that, just a different one.

    To me, the article oversimplifies complex matters. Two examples illustrate this: First, the comment on Japan, which establishes a causal connection: the failing social interaction of the Japanese youth and its ways of dealing with this are rooted in the nation having been pacified and consequently “wussied.” In my opinion, the isolationist tendencies of the Japanese youth should be explained along detailed social analysis instead of simply denouncing them as wussies afraid of people and therefore also afraid of military action. Second, there is this sentence: “Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.” At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death. If people do not “love” Germany in a patriotic manner it does not necessarily mean they want to see it dissolve. It is possible to feel positively emotionally attached to your country, foremost to your culture, without patriotically “loving” it.

    One word: Bravo!

    Read More
  48. @Stubborn in Germany
    You might want to look into Andrew Hammel's two blogs to review the past couple of months:

    www.andrewhammel.typepad.com

    and the single-issue blog started a few weeks ago at

    www.germanimmigration.eu

    If, after spending perhaps an hour browsing the archives, you are still sanguine about Germany's prospects then fair enough, let's agree that we disagree. After all, not only is it difficult to predict the future, more importantly we all differ in the weights we assign to specific expected (positive or negative) outcomes.

    Thanks. I will read them and come back if I should have anything interesting to add.

    Read More
  49. @iffen
    OK. I started to pay attention to your comments. What does a phobia have to do with the subject at hand? What is ultra-nationalism? Can't we just make do with ordinary nationalism?

    The Intelligentsia tend to craft the direction of culture and such notions as enlightenment, humanism and tolerance. These ideas have not disappointed Europe, and suffering only resulted when stark departures from these traditions were in effect. In the case of Germany I would start with perhaps Dürer, then Luther and Goethe. Mrs Merkel seems to understand this. Rather than I spend a great deal of time boring you about things I am sure you are familiar with, I might simply point to my agreement with the commenter at #44.

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/germany-against-itself/#comment-1200585

    Read More
  50. @Anonymous
    So you have decided to follow the Merkel route and elect a new people for yourself?
    Lucky you, not everyone is in the happy position to choose.

    I don’t feel lucky at all…rather despondent and powerless. And I don’t really have the option of shedding my German identity either…in any case, my father’s country (Britain) is in even worse a state than Germany.

    Read More
  51. @GL
    As a young German I need to clarify several points of this article from my point of view:
    First of all: No German of my generation is guilt-racked! The Nazi era is a historical period that all German students study in history class. These studies raise a certain awareness and sensibility to the topic that might not be as pronounced in other countries. However, it is not an aspect connected to individual, personal identity. Consequently, the current fight against Nazis has nothing at all to do with guilt, but has everything to do with thinking, caring about, and actively engaging in politics. It has everything to do with openly advocating tolerance and actively dismissing xenophobia.

    Concerning the stickers and banners, they neither advocate the dissolution of Germany, nor are they connected to self-hatred. They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders. In that those stickers carry inherently political messages, they are directed both at the population who reads them, encouraging them to think, and to the government. For those Americans married to patriotism, it might be impossible to think about politics outside of a national framework, but the point here is that a kind of theoretical thinking detached from the set framework of nation-states and borders might be a fruitful way of thinking about politics. Not a realist one, I know that, just a different one.

    To me, the article oversimplifies complex matters. Two examples illustrate this: First, the comment on Japan, which establishes a causal connection: the failing social interaction of the Japanese youth and its ways of dealing with this are rooted in the nation having been pacified and consequently “wussied.” In my opinion, the isolationist tendencies of the Japanese youth should be explained along detailed social analysis instead of simply denouncing them as wussies afraid of people and therefore also afraid of military action. Second, there is this sentence: “Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.” At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death. If people do not “love” Germany in a patriotic manner it does not necessarily mean they want to see it dissolve. It is possible to feel positively emotionally attached to your country, foremost to your culture, without patriotically “loving” it.

    Without borders that are vigorously defended and enforced, Europe and Germany will be overrun by a never-ending flow of migrants from the failed states of Africa and parts of the Islamic world…eventually Europeans might well become despised and powerless minorities in what were once their own countries. It’s really as simple as that.
    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that’s wrong with today’s Germans…it’s like they’re living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.

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    • Agree: Stubborn in Germany
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that’s wrong with today’s Germans…it’s like they’re living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.
     
    I couldn't agree more. The extent of the detachment from reality is mind-boggling.
  52. @Anonymous
    Seeing how disjointed Germany is absolutely frightens me, as I believe it is also going to be our future here in America.

    For those of you who don't understand how this happened, you have to understand that America is undergoing a parallel trajectory to Germany. Germany had its Weimar period that had the Jews dominate finance, media, politics, etc etc. Then the native Germans overthrew the Jewish rulers, and the Jews have never forgiven them.

    Years later Germany has been starved to death, raped to death, bombed to death, and it is still not enough. They have to dissolve as a people until they are roaming the earth like some nomadic tribe. Only then will the scales balance.

    Pay attention to what is happening in Germany Amricans! It is going over there sometime soon too.

    It has been 100x worse here for a long, long time. We’re way ahead of them in terms of “progress” (according to progressives). As a random blogger once said: America is in the late stages of communism. Our everyday reality is so extreme and the power structure’s control so complete, most can’t even see it any longer. Our reality is a kind of virtual reality, where all kinds of bizarre third world barbarism and minority backwardness are understood to be rational, noble and desirable.

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  53. @The Albino Sasquatch
    If these demented self-loathing Teutons really hate themselves as much as they say, why don't they just kill themselves? What are they waiting for? Do they think this demographic replacement is going to be that great? And why the anger & hatred at their opponents? The self-haters are getting what they want, they should be rejoicing, getting out there and miscegenating with that peculiar sense of determination & industriousness the Germans were once renowned for. Their grand finale on the stage of history to have willingly wiped themselves out. Mindful of that old saying about being careful what one wishes for, I hope they enjoy what they've wrought upon themselves. I really do.

    ”If these demented self-loathing Teutons really hate themselves as much as they say, why don’t they just kill themselves? What are they waiting for? ”

    Because they are not suiciders (on the left, on average), they are just the stupid people who are nurtured in historical and scientific ignorance (partial ignorance). They really believe that all of human beings are biologically equal.

    Literallly put a wain ahead the horse.

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  54. @GL
    As a young German I need to clarify several points of this article from my point of view:
    First of all: No German of my generation is guilt-racked! The Nazi era is a historical period that all German students study in history class. These studies raise a certain awareness and sensibility to the topic that might not be as pronounced in other countries. However, it is not an aspect connected to individual, personal identity. Consequently, the current fight against Nazis has nothing at all to do with guilt, but has everything to do with thinking, caring about, and actively engaging in politics. It has everything to do with openly advocating tolerance and actively dismissing xenophobia.

    Concerning the stickers and banners, they neither advocate the dissolution of Germany, nor are they connected to self-hatred. They advocate the dissolution of the concept of nation, state, capital, and borders. In that those stickers carry inherently political messages, they are directed both at the population who reads them, encouraging them to think, and to the government. For those Americans married to patriotism, it might be impossible to think about politics outside of a national framework, but the point here is that a kind of theoretical thinking detached from the set framework of nation-states and borders might be a fruitful way of thinking about politics. Not a realist one, I know that, just a different one.

    To me, the article oversimplifies complex matters. Two examples illustrate this: First, the comment on Japan, which establishes a causal connection: the failing social interaction of the Japanese youth and its ways of dealing with this are rooted in the nation having been pacified and consequently “wussied.” In my opinion, the isolationist tendencies of the Japanese youth should be explained along detailed social analysis instead of simply denouncing them as wussies afraid of people and therefore also afraid of military action. Second, there is this sentence: “Nationalism is conflated with death, and that’s why all guilt-racked Germans must fight against it, but the absence of nationalism is also death. It is the drawn out death of Germany.” At this point, there is no explanation of why the absence of nationalism necessarily equals death. If people do not “love” Germany in a patriotic manner it does not necessarily mean they want to see it dissolve. It is possible to feel positively emotionally attached to your country, foremost to your culture, without patriotically “loving” it.

    That has to be the most wussified thing I have ever read. Thank God I am a Kiwi.

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  55. Thilo Sarrazin’s title said it all: Deutschland schafft sich ab.

    But then this is not the first time Germany’s leaders have sold their souls to the devil.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Perhaps you should take a hard look at your own leaders, past and present.
  56. A Lebanese-born film director pens an open letter: http://www.epochtimes.de/feuilleton/rettet-deutschland-ein-libanesischer-filmregisseur-imad-karim-warnt-vor-islamisierung-a1276761.html

    ===
    I have no time to do a full translation, so here is a brief summary instead.
    ===
    Came to Germany at at age 19. He was a voracious reader, studying history beginning with Federal Republic of Germany, then moving back in time: Germany split into two, World War II, the Nazi era, Weimar republic, World War I, stirrings of German nationalism in 1848/49, and still further back.

    Hiked across Germany, enjoyed the diversity, the variety of dialects and folk customs.

    Read Brecht’s “Three Pennies Opera” in German after having read it in Arabic first. Sang internationalist songs with leftists, stayed up late in heated disputes with nationalist conservatives, learned to appreciate their point of view.

    Lived in Berlin-Neukölln, heavily immigrant part of town. Sampled the cuisines in local restaurants, from German pork schnitzels to Italian pizza, Turkish doner, Lebanese felafel.

    Visited Arab families, joined them and their German neighbors on barbeques. Life was pleasant and peaceful.

    A few years ago, went back to his old neigborhood in Neukölln, did not recognize it. His Arab leftist friends are now bearded old men. They divorced their German wives and married cousins from the old country.

    All are now pious, observant Moslems firmly convinced that Germany will soon become Islamic, and Christians and Jews who do not convert will have to pay poll tax as 2nd-class citizens.

    After recounting a few more troubling experiences, he writes:

    I came to Germany as a stranger and Germany received me with all its force. Today Germany comes to me in a strange way and I cry tears of blood because I cannot protect it. [...]

    At age 57 I am no longer young, but you, my children, will save Germany. This is a humanistic, not a chauvinistic appeal. Tell Merkel, tell all the political elite, the Greens, the media, the courts and everybody: YOU decide who may join you and who may not, for that is your legitimate right to self-determination as a people. [... ]

    Imad Karim

    Ex-Moslem and crazy for Germany and for freedom

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  57. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Auntie Analogue
    Thilo Sarrazin's title said it all: Deutschland schafft sich ab.

    But then this is not the first time Germany's leaders have sold their souls to the devil.

    Perhaps you should take a hard look at your own leaders, past and present.

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    • Replies: @Auntie Analogue
    "Perhaps you should take a hard look at your own leaders, past and present."

    Perhaps you might grasp that tu quoque is not an argument, and grasp that the topic of Mr. Dinh's post is not the United States but Germany?
  58. The willingness of modern Germans to do penance for World War 2 is odd given that we now know that large parts of the holocaust narrative were either wildly exaggerated or outright lies.

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    • Replies: @marylou
    ctober 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm GMT

    The willingness of modern Germans to do penance for World War 2 is odd given that we now know that large parts of the holocaust narrative were either wildly exaggerated or outright lies.

    The Germans do not know that. and they have it stuffed down their throat ad nauseum.
    Besides, if you dare to have a different belief on the matter it is jail for you.


    According to an article in the "Donau Kurier"
    IG-Metall demands the firing of employees who show hostility to foreigners

    IG Metall demands a non-compromising procedure against xenophobic employees. Firms should fire anyone who makes openly racist and xenophobic commentaries on the Internet.

    An Article in "die Welt" went a step further, you can have your children taken away if you complain too loudly.
  59. Overall, I have to agree with GL, but would like to add some information and a couple of thoughts:

    I find it rather misleading that the article uses the subculture in Connewitz and Leipzig as a prime example for German anti-nationalism, since Connewitz is the home base for Leipzig’s Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action). The Antifa is a nationwide, decentralized political group on the far left, even though each group follows slightly different paradigms. The Antifa in Leipzig is largely influenced by lefty anarchism and in comparison to the movement in other German cities, let alone the countryside, a rather big movement. Moreover, while the article states that these stickers and spray paint are “all over town,” I doubt that you will find them in more bourgeois parts of Leipzig (in fact, in these parts graffiti is usually removed by the owner of the building in a couple of days) and Germany. Thus, when making claims such as “Similar expressions of self-hatred are by no means unusual in contemporary Germany, however,” please specify what these “similar expressions of self-hatred” are and where they can be found in Germany, because neither do I see the “self-hatred” of the group expressed in these activities, nor do I perceive this as a nationwide movement.

    Even though it is totally correct that many Germans do not argue in favor of nationalism, these stickers in Connewitz are rather a product of Leipzig’s subculture and not part of a mainstream movement. The pervasiveness of the anti-nationalist slogans might be overwhelming for US Americans, but not that unusual for people in Germany who think critically about the concept of the nation (which does not mean that all of us want Germany to resolve or hate its culture).
    While I have to admit that many of the Antifa’s activities are pretty much pointless, I have to agree with GL that these groups offer some alternative thoughts on the role of the nation and the interrelation between the nation and the individual that are not subject in mainstream media and culture. There is also more to these alternative thinking individuals than graffiti or stickers: Some cultural networks, such as Conne Island, organize presentations in order to provide a platform to discuss these concepts.
    By all means, when walking through the streets of Connewitz, I feel neither the guilt nor self-hatred that these folks seem to project according to the article, but rather that they are tolerant regardless of what race, gender, or culture a person is, which does not apply to all parts of Leipzig, let alone other parts of Eastern Germany.

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  60. @Anonymous
    Perhaps you should take a hard look at your own leaders, past and present.

    “Perhaps you should take a hard look at your own leaders, past and present.”

    Perhaps you might grasp that tu quoque is not an argument, and grasp that the topic of Mr. Dinh’s post is not the United States but Germany?

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  61. Wally [AKA "BobbyBeGood"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Stubborn in Germany
    You are behind the times, Linh. It's the 21st century, we are all colonizers and colonized. Germany colonizes Greece by imposing one unworkable diktat after another, colonizes Europe by inviting in millions of military-age Muslim men tromping through the Balkans, and is colonized by the U.S., which in turn is being colonized by 11 million illegal immigrants with many more to come.

    Your psychologizing about German self-hatred is sophomoric. While the holocaust is still the topic of far too many history-channel features on public broadcast television, most Germans are more preoccupied with just getting through the day. The festive 2006 world soccer championships hosted here made it official, the world (yes, including Israel) likes Germany and no longer holds the 1933-45 period against them.

    In reality, the "hate Germany" posters and chants by the "antifas" comes from a different wellspring. The German economy is a high-tech industrial civilization, competing not with its neighbors but with Japan, Korea, Singapore. Salaries for engineers are very high, but so are the demands made of them. Getting into an engineering course at a university and toughing it out until graduation is brutally hard. Most pupils realize they will never be good enough long before graduating high school. Some choose a course in business administration or the law, others (usually already with a corresponding family background) learn a trade.

    But vast numbers are warehoused in state universities studying some silly subject like anthropology or gender studies. They know their only chance of evading a lifetime driving a cab or flipping hamburgers is to get into civil service with permanent job security, or failing that, a job as a journalist. But the competition is fierce, so the signaling of one's Green-Red social justice warrior credentials in order to be accepted into the ranks becomes a full-time occupation. Anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, anti-men, anti-white, anti-nation and of course, anti-Nazi, too.

    Are there Nazis in Germany today? Depends on your definition, but by most standards they are very few in number. No matter, it's on the list of antis to be checked off. And it's very handy because any time you want to experience the thrill of power, find someone to call a Nazi and see him ostracized.

    As the late German aphorist Johannes Gross said, the courage to combat Nazis grows in proportion to the length of time since the end of the Third Reich.

    Well, there are the ‘Nazis’ with the mythological ’6M & gas chambers’ and there are the ‘Nazis’ without the mythological ’6M & gas chambers’.

    The ’6M & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    http://www.codoh.com
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    http://forum.codoh.com

    The ‘holocaust’ storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth? Real truth needs no protection from scrutiny.

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  62. @German_reader
    Without borders that are vigorously defended and enforced, Europe and Germany will be overrun by a never-ending flow of migrants from the failed states of Africa and parts of the Islamic world...eventually Europeans might well become despised and powerless minorities in what were once their own countries. It's really as simple as that.
    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that's wrong with today's Germans...it's like they're living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.

    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that’s wrong with today’s Germans…it’s like they’re living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.

    I couldn’t agree more. The extent of the detachment from reality is mind-boggling.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fnn
    This guy puts it well:
    http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/10/fashism/#more-58477

    Since the dismemberment of Germany at the end of the Second World War, the cosmology of the left has been one of a Manichean war between the fasces and the dildo. Fascism becomes the evil superego haunting the leftist ego—they position themselves as eternally fighting the forces of fascism in order to bring about their false-utopian program of mocha-colored liberation, equality and the destruction of all non-colonial identities.
     
  63. I posted this news in the “Flagless Germany” thread (now deceased), but it is probably more appropriate here. This post combines the salient points of two in the Flagless thread, edited for the combination and the different focus of this discussion.

    Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken, and guilt-soaked Germans can lift their heads off the floor a little now (but not too much).
    In a speech last week at the 37th Zionist Congress, Netanyahu went a long way to exonerating Hitler at the expense of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. The meeting’s official transcript makes no mention of this, but the latter’s visit to Berlin on Nov 28, 1941 was, according to Netanyahu actually all about convincing an astonished Fuehrer to eliminate Jewry in situ instead of deporting them.

    “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, “If you expel them, they’ll all come here.” “So what should I do with them?” he asked. He said, “Burn them.” “

    http://www.pmo.gov.il/English/MediaCenter/Speeches/Pages/speechcongress201015.

    As one can imagine, the uproar from “Holo-historians” came immediately, as did the rebuttal from Germany. He was roundly condemned, but did Bibi really go rogue?
    Whatever else he is, Netanyahu is an experienced politician and apparently spoke from a prepared text, so this was no accidental faux pas, and I’m sure he knew well what flack he’d be catching for it.

    Assuming it was a calculated statement made at a tipping point in Middle East affairs, the audience and the point he made would have been well considered. I think we can count on it being more than historical colour. The upshot is that, as the Holocaust story was itself created and promoted for specific socio-political effects, the Israeli govt is re-directing the narrative towards new socio-political goals. He has since defended his revision vigorously, and AFAIK we haven’t heard any dissenting voices from the cabinet.
    So, the fact that a revision is underway, and the direction it seems to be taking, has portentous geo-political implications. I’m not sure they’re to Germany’s advantage, and some of them are surely not. One thing I’m sure of, Bibi will try to stick with it unless it becomes completely untenable, or other events overrun it.

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  64. Germany is not a sovereign country. It is still under American direction. A secret agreement guarantees American control.

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  65. Living in Sweden, I’m no stranger to what’s being described here myself.
    The problem is multi-faceted – in its essence the perfect storm of opportunistic market-liberals, bleeding heart leftists and conservatives having been pushed to the fringes of politics.

    The most important aspect however is the political apathy and illiteracy by European young adults. Most are so naive, tunnel-visioned and disconnected that what should be THEIR battle – the issue of who controls and inhabits their nation tomorrow – is fought by no one. Instead the common thing to do is distract oneself with superficial things like entertainment and attempt “three monkey”-politics, hoping societal change won’t affect oneself personally.

    In a democracy, this is the worst possible scenario. Going back two generations, most people had at least some political stance. This ranged from the politically active “worker” – engaged in unions and local politics – to the educated middle class reading news papers and at the very least being able to name the prime minister or ruling party.
    Today, the worker is no longer an industrial machinist, but rather a proletarian serving fast food or wiping someone’s behind. The middle class, even the educated, rather opens a magazine about the latest cooking or Google widget, than a regular news paper.

    This is quite beautiful, since it indicates our people are free to shy away from politics and do what they wish – something not afforded to someone living in a more oppressive society. However the fundamental power dynamics of the world remain unchanged. If no one does the dirty work in their respective nation’s parliament – that share of power is being handed over to someone else. And even if German or Swedish 25-year old students rather study something like history or media – influence over environment and economy still comes from the traditional industries.

    All this power and influence is being shifted away from an assertive, engaged general population, to a selected few who know how society really works. Meanwhile people run around with wooden signs thinking they’re making a difference proclaiming things like “NATURE IS GOOD” or “I’M NOT A NAZI”. Forgive me if I offend anyone, but this strikes me as typically American grassroots politics: talks, discussions, speeches – but no cunning ability to play the system or make any real change. Europe used to be different, even the lowest paid were unionized, voted and most of all engaged.
    Instead now we have the same miserable condition, where citizens are either too self-centered to care about anything societal, or too naive and dumb to figure out how to accomplish political change – while a very tiny group of people makes all their decisions for them above their heads.

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  66. @dfordoom

    Really, your comment is a perfect example for everything that’s wrong with today’s Germans…it’s like they’re living in a fantasy land, unable to realize any danger other than the long-defeated Nazis.
     
    I couldn't agree more. The extent of the detachment from reality is mind-boggling.

    This guy puts it well:

    http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/10/fashism/#more-58477

    Since the dismemberment of Germany at the end of the Second World War, the cosmology of the left has been one of a Manichean war between the fasces and the dildo. Fascism becomes the evil superego haunting the leftist ego—they position themselves as eternally fighting the forces of fascism in order to bring about their false-utopian program of mocha-colored liberation, equality and the destruction of all non-colonial identities.

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  67. Linh Dinh,
    Impressive essay, and kudos for Ron Unz to bringing you the site. (The work of every other writer on the site was previously known to me). My sense is that you exaggerate German self-hate a bit, (I was there for a week in August for a wedding, know several Germans, but don’t speak the language) But there is an important kernel of truth in the fact that the word Nazi is used continuously, (and never by the right) which is absent from all the other commentary on this bizarre, perhaps world historical, episode.

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  68. Q: How did it happen that Germans came to hate themselves?

    A: By design, plan and execution —

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    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
    PS You really have to watch thru to the very end and the last comment by the narrator, about how the noble British were doing all of this -- starving Germans, humiliating them, brainwashing them -- in order to teach them to be "Christians like us."


    USA coordinated and echoed the British brutish triumphalism and violent revenge-fantasies come to life

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvcf9DKSpPw
  69. @SolontoCroesus
    Q: How did it happen that Germans came to hate themselves?

    A: By design, plan and execution ---

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8XG-nbM3BE

    PS You really have to watch thru to the very end and the last comment by the narrator, about how the noble British were doing all of this — starving Germans, humiliating them, brainwashing them — in order to teach them to be “Christians like us.”

    USA coordinated and echoed the British brutish triumphalism and violent revenge-fantasies come to life

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  70. Leftist conservative [AKA "radical_centrist"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @anonymous

    what is the purpose...?
     
    Zero-percent interest rates can't pump up real-estate prices any further, but immigration-induced demand shocks can.

    what is the purpose…?

    Zero-percent interest rates can’t pump up real-estate prices any further, but immigration-induced demand shocks can.

    exactly…the establishment and the elite are trying to keep the growth ponzi scheme going…

    the battle in the developed nations is the elites/establihsment vs the white majority…the white majority stands in the way of growth and lower wages via mass immigration and integration into society…that is the way it has been for many decades….the elite use propaganda in the educational system to create self-loathing whites.
    Anti-white multiculti propaganda pumped into young and malleable minds creates self-loathing whites.

    As adults, self-loathing whites are more likely to accept this growth via immigration ponzi scheme.

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  71. Leftist conservative [AKA "radical_centrist"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    wanna know why I am on this site and other dissident right sites? Because I like see propagandized rightwingers getting their faces shoved into reality. In the comments on this article I can see how far along rightwingers are in acknowledging reality. What is reality? For one, it is the fact that mass immigration is not really here because the Left wants it here, it is here because Capital wants it here. That fact is becoming more and more obvious to many rightwingers on various dissident right sites.

    And right after that realization, many of these rightwingers will come to the realization that anti-white multiculturalism is also just a tool of Capital.

    Another fact yet to be realized is that their beloved enemy, the Left, is itself merely a tool of Capital. And not really Leftist at all. But not too many dissident right writers and commentators realize this yet.

    Some of the leftwingers on their sites have also started to realize that mass immigration is hurting americans. recently, Bernie Sanders accidentally let slip his knowledge of this realization when he blurted out that ‘open borders’ was a plan by the plutocrats to depress wages. The cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy on democraticunderground.com was delicious that day, I tell you what.

    Nothing better than seeing propagandized conservative/progressive drones get their noses rubbed into reality.

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  72. If around at the time, I might have argued that the war guilt clause was dishonest and even a mere sop to hysterical electorates in the allied nations. On the other hand, putting most if not all blame on the loser was not wholly out of line with historical practice and, given the scale and duration of the Great War, the absolutist approach of the allies on this point should hardly have been unexpected.

    But that clause aside, this statement:

    “It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany.”

    requires allegiance to a false narrative on two counts, three perhaps.

    1. It assumed Versailles was a rougher handling of Germany than warranted or when compared to past norms. This is false. Germany defeated France in 1871 after a fairly short war in which Germany itself suffered nothing beyond battle casualties. It still imposed harsh terms including annexation of territory, punitive indemnity, and occupation until that indemnity was paid. Germany defeated Russia in 1917 after three years of harder war during which, save in early 1914, the German homeland was not harmed by the Russians. Germany nevertheless imposed fantastically punitive terms. Why exactly are we all supposed to assume that Germany, itself defeated, was entitled to more loving treatment than it itself typically imposed on the vanquished. Whether or not we believe in moralizing concepts like “war guilt”. Whining like schoolgirls when paid back in their own favoured coin is not becoming a nation as great as Germany then was. Anyone prepared to dish it out should be prepared to take it.

    2. Germany eventually recovered from the hyperinflation and related problems of the period 1919-23. And their debts were eventually given restructuring within the norms of the international system. Not to mention plenty of American commercial investment. They were doing fine, as well as anyone else, during the period before the worldwide Great Depression. So at least as far as bankruptcy and starvation are concerned, the Versailles excuse was no valid argument for Germany to be seeking vengeance on anyone. If you want to cite Versailles’ cessions of German territory, that’s another thing. Those cessions had not been redeemed and formed a German grievance. As to how well that grievance was justified, I can only refer back to past German policy on territorial demands by the victors against the vanquished.

    and a possible 3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing. If Hitler’s war aims had been to right the Versailles settlement, he could have imposed those terms in 1939-40 instead of annexing most of Poland and turning its heartland into a slaughterhouse of Jews, not to mention the intellectual classes of the Poles, whose existence might have threatened the German project of expunging a Polish national identity. That might have bought him a happy peace even from Britain after France had fallen. If for one second anyone had believed those were the end of his war aims.

    Then again, I am confused. I have been hearing for a while about all “the Jews” allegedly did to Germany before Hitler and have yet to see any actual testable claims. They certainly were not responsible for the defeat of German arms in France. Germany threw all its reserves into the 1918 offensives and still couldn’t win. And then the allies did the same, and did win. 1919 was going to look like mess for the Germany army. Which is why Ludendorff famously panicked, at least at first. If the Germans hadn’t been a bunch of hypocrites, they would have blamed the army leadership for the defeat, because that’s where blame rightly belonged.

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    • Replies: @OutWest
    Can’t argue with your facts. You’re correct that Versailles was yet another harsh treatment of the loser as was the centuries-old habit in Europe. But, contrasted with a less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.
    , @5371
    You have written much nonsense.
    1. Reparations imposed after WW1 were more than an order of magnitude greater than the indemnity of 1871. The annexation of territory in 1871 was largely along the linguistic frontier, just as France had annexed Savoy and Nice in 1860. (The worst territorial injustice of 1919 was done when the treaty of St. Germain forbade the Germans of Austria, Bohemia and Moravia from national unification). The circumstances of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles were utterly different - Germany fighting for survival and needing any available resource, the allies unchallenged masters of the globe.
    3. I suppose you felt that no tirade against the Hun could be complete without such remarks, even though they had nothing to do with the phrase you apparently wrote to take exception to. Despicable on your part.
    , @SolontoCroesus

    3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing
     
    You're ignoring several glaring facts:

    a. 800,000 German civilans starved in WWI, a result of Allied blockade to which Chaim Weizmann was a contributor if not fully complicit. Starving civilians was supposed to have been outlawed by "Christian civilizations" such as the British represented themselves.

    b. The starvation famine extended past the time of Germany's armistice; this was done to force Germany to sign the Versailles treaties.

    c. Germans were not permitted to have any representation at Versailles but several dozens if not a hundred or more jewish and zionist persons were present and wielded great influence. Edmund Black wrote in "The Transfer Agreement," "zionist Jews returned from Versailles with a dual victory: they had acquired a homeland for Jews in Palestine, and also protection of minority rights in those states where they dwelt."

    The first statement refers to the Balfour declaration which Weizmann negotiated with the British government -- Palestine to Jews in exchange for Jewish assistance in involving USA in the war.

    As Niall Ferguson argues, the British had lost the war two or three times, but they stayed involved, against all logic. It was the combined effect of civilian starvation that demoralized German troops, and Pershing's American army's appearance on the scene, that turned the tide in Britain's favor.

    Jews did indeed stab Germany in the back -- Germany had been one of Jewry's primary supporters in a relatively respectful plan for Jews to establish colonies in Palestine; the Warburgs were leaders and financiers of the plans and resented Weizmann's -- and especially Revisionist zionist Jabotinsky's violent, "Iron Wall" schemes and behaviors. But the latter won out over the German Warburgs, and Netanyahu carries on that tradition. (Netanyahu's father was an acolyte of Jabotinsky).

    d. To compound the felony, Bolshevik Jews flooded into Germany from Poland and Russia at the time when Germany was struggling with hyperinflation & war debts & revolutionary turmoil. Jews attempted to take over German politics & culture, and Bolshevik Jews made overt efforts to overthrow the German government. Numerous street riots punctuated the interwar years.

    It's important to recognize that animosity toward Jewish migrants from Russia and Poland bubbled up from the "German street,' it was not a to-down phenomenon. As NSDAP consolidated power it actually calmed the atmosphere of ordinary Germans toward Jews.

    Statements like those of idiot Ben Carson had to have been written by hasbara central: that NSDAP disarmed ordinary Germans (actually, Freikorps was the primary target of 'getting guns out of the hands of thugs') was a good thing for Jews and not the other way around.

    e. Yes indeed, Germany was reestablishing its economy. German Jews were participating. BUT zionists in Britain and USA were intent on fulfilling one of the major tenets of zionism: the "in-gathering of diaspora Jews to Palestine." The zionist project especially needed wealthy German Jews -- the zionist project was threatened with bankruptcy just as most other places were in Depression. Zionists needed German Jewish wealth to bail it out, so US zionists provoked turmoil in German and then a war: first, by means of the Jewish economic war on Germany intended to cause in Germans the same terror they had experienced during WWI famine, and to cripple Germany economically.
    Hitler's major crime was to run Germany's economy without reliance on Jewish-Anglo (New York - London) central bank-debt financing systems. This was unforgivable.
  73. @Stubborn in Germany
    We're not on the same page here, I'm afraid. I'm not saying that open borders are great, go with the flow, enjoy the ride. Quite the contrary. A majority of Germans were in favor of letting all "refugees" in very briefly, right after the ph0tos of the drowned Kurdish boy who was washed up on a Turkish beach (possibly a planned propaganda coup by the Turkish government). It was only a moment, but that was all it took for Merkel to pounce.

    Before that moment, and for several weeks now that the effects of massive media brainwashing have worn off, Germans were and are against uncontrolled mass immigration. And for very good reasons. However, the damage is already done ... and continues to mount. Germany is becoming more Afghan, Libyan, Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Syrian, Tunisian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean, Cameroonian, Albanian. Hard times ahead for Germany's women, Jews, Yasidis, Muslims belonging to the "wrong" sect, homosexuals, people who like to crack a joke, men looking to marry, Christians, atheists, and on and on. GDP growth will be impacted, the welfare state will be greatly diminished. Some of the worst consequences will not materialize for another generation or two, but I find that to be inadequate consolation.

    Where I differ with the author is I don't share his belief that Germany has no say in setting its policies, that the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility. Sorry, there are plenty of reasons for German malaise that have nothing to do with Soros, the government of Israel, Freemasons, or the U.S. military-industrial complex, and I have described one of them (the resentment felt by those unsuited for a high-paying, highly demanding job in a high-tech economy).

    One thing that I've noticed is that ethnic Germans born into any large-size community of people with German ancestry in other countries do not seem to be afflicted to the same extent by this prevalence of social justice warriors. Instead, whether they are from Paraguay, Brazil, Kasakhstan, Russia or Chile, they are generally cheerful, honest, hardworking, and not interested in playing games of virtue signaling. Admittedly my personal sample size is small.

    “…the fault for current problems (in particular, the ongoing Million Muslims March) can be laid on the U.S. doorstep, and that they are victims of some kind of plan to keep memory of the holocaust fresh in order to maintain German docility.”
    On point.

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  74. @random observer
    If around at the time, I might have argued that the war guilt clause was dishonest and even a mere sop to hysterical electorates in the allied nations. On the other hand, putting most if not all blame on the loser was not wholly out of line with historical practice and, given the scale and duration of the Great War, the absolutist approach of the allies on this point should hardly have been unexpected.

    But that clause aside, this statement:

    "It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany."

    requires allegiance to a false narrative on two counts, three perhaps.

    1. It assumed Versailles was a rougher handling of Germany than warranted or when compared to past norms. This is false. Germany defeated France in 1871 after a fairly short war in which Germany itself suffered nothing beyond battle casualties. It still imposed harsh terms including annexation of territory, punitive indemnity, and occupation until that indemnity was paid. Germany defeated Russia in 1917 after three years of harder war during which, save in early 1914, the German homeland was not harmed by the Russians. Germany nevertheless imposed fantastically punitive terms. Why exactly are we all supposed to assume that Germany, itself defeated, was entitled to more loving treatment than it itself typically imposed on the vanquished. Whether or not we believe in moralizing concepts like "war guilt". Whining like schoolgirls when paid back in their own favoured coin is not becoming a nation as great as Germany then was. Anyone prepared to dish it out should be prepared to take it.

    2. Germany eventually recovered from the hyperinflation and related problems of the period 1919-23. And their debts were eventually given restructuring within the norms of the international system. Not to mention plenty of American commercial investment. They were doing fine, as well as anyone else, during the period before the worldwide Great Depression. So at least as far as bankruptcy and starvation are concerned, the Versailles excuse was no valid argument for Germany to be seeking vengeance on anyone. If you want to cite Versailles' cessions of German territory, that's another thing. Those cessions had not been redeemed and formed a German grievance. As to how well that grievance was justified, I can only refer back to past German policy on territorial demands by the victors against the vanquished.

    and a possible 3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing. If Hitler's war aims had been to right the Versailles settlement, he could have imposed those terms in 1939-40 instead of annexing most of Poland and turning its heartland into a slaughterhouse of Jews, not to mention the intellectual classes of the Poles, whose existence might have threatened the German project of expunging a Polish national identity. That might have bought him a happy peace even from Britain after France had fallen. If for one second anyone had believed those were the end of his war aims.

    Then again, I am confused. I have been hearing for a while about all "the Jews" allegedly did to Germany before Hitler and have yet to see any actual testable claims. They certainly were not responsible for the defeat of German arms in France. Germany threw all its reserves into the 1918 offensives and still couldn't win. And then the allies did the same, and did win. 1919 was going to look like mess for the Germany army. Which is why Ludendorff famously panicked, at least at first. If the Germans hadn't been a bunch of hypocrites, they would have blamed the army leadership for the defeat, because that's where blame rightly belonged.

    Can’t argue with your facts. You’re correct that Versailles was yet another harsh treatment of the loser as was the centuries-old habit in Europe. But, contrasted with a less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    I'll definitely buy that on some level.

    Even in 1919, Keynes and others could come up with solid reasons why the Versailles settlement was unwise for all concerned. I'm fairly well persuaded. I'm only ever fired up by the idea that Germany was treated with undue harshness by that settlement and that this formed a valid grievance for Hitler's Germany.

    It's worth remembering that the generous settlement of 1945 involved unconditional surrender, military occupation and the assumption of all German state powers by the Allies, enormous physical destruction, much worse economic upheaval and hunger in Germany, and fairly serious messing with the mechanisms of German public administration and law far out of proportion to anything done in 1918-19, not to mention even more and more significant territorial cessions than those imposed at Versailles. So ultimately generous, but not so much at first. I think it's more that Germany had to have its defeat made more clear, and Europe as a whole and the wider strategic circumstances had to be ready for a settlement like that of 1949-51.
    , @SolontoCroesus

    less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.
     
    less vindictive?

    15 million Germans were "transferred" out of their homes,
    millions of Germans were sent to Russian gulags where a huge proportion died
    Germans were deliberately kept on near-starvation rations for a year and more
    German women were raped and brutalized; forced to prostitute to feed their children

    Chas Freeman spoke recently in DC. He observed that the USA follows a trajectory of brutality from Sherman to US destruction and cruelty to Germans & Japanese during and after WWII, to American war crimes in Viet Nam, to US kill-with-impunity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

    "broken the aggression habit?" No, more like migrated it to the exclusive franchise of Anglo- USA/zionists.
  75. @OutWest
    Can’t argue with your facts. You’re correct that Versailles was yet another harsh treatment of the loser as was the centuries-old habit in Europe. But, contrasted with a less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.

    I’ll definitely buy that on some level.

    Even in 1919, Keynes and others could come up with solid reasons why the Versailles settlement was unwise for all concerned. I’m fairly well persuaded. I’m only ever fired up by the idea that Germany was treated with undue harshness by that settlement and that this formed a valid grievance for Hitler’s Germany.

    It’s worth remembering that the generous settlement of 1945 involved unconditional surrender, military occupation and the assumption of all German state powers by the Allies, enormous physical destruction, much worse economic upheaval and hunger in Germany, and fairly serious messing with the mechanisms of German public administration and law far out of proportion to anything done in 1918-19, not to mention even more and more significant territorial cessions than those imposed at Versailles. So ultimately generous, but not so much at first. I think it’s more that Germany had to have its defeat made more clear, and Europe as a whole and the wider strategic circumstances had to be ready for a settlement like that of 1949-51.

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  76. @random observer
    If around at the time, I might have argued that the war guilt clause was dishonest and even a mere sop to hysterical electorates in the allied nations. On the other hand, putting most if not all blame on the loser was not wholly out of line with historical practice and, given the scale and duration of the Great War, the absolutist approach of the allies on this point should hardly have been unexpected.

    But that clause aside, this statement:

    "It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany."

    requires allegiance to a false narrative on two counts, three perhaps.

    1. It assumed Versailles was a rougher handling of Germany than warranted or when compared to past norms. This is false. Germany defeated France in 1871 after a fairly short war in which Germany itself suffered nothing beyond battle casualties. It still imposed harsh terms including annexation of territory, punitive indemnity, and occupation until that indemnity was paid. Germany defeated Russia in 1917 after three years of harder war during which, save in early 1914, the German homeland was not harmed by the Russians. Germany nevertheless imposed fantastically punitive terms. Why exactly are we all supposed to assume that Germany, itself defeated, was entitled to more loving treatment than it itself typically imposed on the vanquished. Whether or not we believe in moralizing concepts like "war guilt". Whining like schoolgirls when paid back in their own favoured coin is not becoming a nation as great as Germany then was. Anyone prepared to dish it out should be prepared to take it.

    2. Germany eventually recovered from the hyperinflation and related problems of the period 1919-23. And their debts were eventually given restructuring within the norms of the international system. Not to mention plenty of American commercial investment. They were doing fine, as well as anyone else, during the period before the worldwide Great Depression. So at least as far as bankruptcy and starvation are concerned, the Versailles excuse was no valid argument for Germany to be seeking vengeance on anyone. If you want to cite Versailles' cessions of German territory, that's another thing. Those cessions had not been redeemed and formed a German grievance. As to how well that grievance was justified, I can only refer back to past German policy on territorial demands by the victors against the vanquished.

    and a possible 3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing. If Hitler's war aims had been to right the Versailles settlement, he could have imposed those terms in 1939-40 instead of annexing most of Poland and turning its heartland into a slaughterhouse of Jews, not to mention the intellectual classes of the Poles, whose existence might have threatened the German project of expunging a Polish national identity. That might have bought him a happy peace even from Britain after France had fallen. If for one second anyone had believed those were the end of his war aims.

    Then again, I am confused. I have been hearing for a while about all "the Jews" allegedly did to Germany before Hitler and have yet to see any actual testable claims. They certainly were not responsible for the defeat of German arms in France. Germany threw all its reserves into the 1918 offensives and still couldn't win. And then the allies did the same, and did win. 1919 was going to look like mess for the Germany army. Which is why Ludendorff famously panicked, at least at first. If the Germans hadn't been a bunch of hypocrites, they would have blamed the army leadership for the defeat, because that's where blame rightly belonged.

    You have written much nonsense.
    1. Reparations imposed after WW1 were more than an order of magnitude greater than the indemnity of 1871. The annexation of territory in 1871 was largely along the linguistic frontier, just as France had annexed Savoy and Nice in 1860. (The worst territorial injustice of 1919 was done when the treaty of St. Germain forbade the Germans of Austria, Bohemia and Moravia from national unification). The circumstances of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles were utterly different – Germany fighting for survival and needing any available resource, the allies unchallenged masters of the globe.
    3. I suppose you felt that no tirade against the Hun could be complete without such remarks, even though they had nothing to do with the phrase you apparently wrote to take exception to. Despicable on your part.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    I didn't say the reparations were the same in scale. [Nor should they have been, given the relative scale of the two wars, where they were fought, and who suffered what in them. Both were punitive in nature given the relative scales of the wars, the German demand in 1871 all the more so because all the damages were in France anyway.]

    I merely said that the Germans were happy with disproportionately punitive reparations and abusive territorial annexations when it suited them. If proposing in 1919 to repay them in their own coin, the allies were perfectly reasonable to take into account the more than 4x longer duration of the war, the immensely greater scale of the destruction, and the fact that all the major destruction in the west had taken place on the soil of allied countries France and Belgium. None of which depends on "guilt" or blame for the war.

    So- the 5 billion francs France had to pay after 1871, and actually had paid before 1875, amounted arguably to about 20 billion modern US dollars [straight conversion to 1873 USD and then adjusted for US inflation- a crude measure to be sure, but I've seen figures that value the French reparations higher than that].

    The French in 1871 lost a war of less than a year in which all the physical destruction was on their own soil and the Germans suffered only military casualties, spoilage or loss of military equipment, and cash value of food and other goods to support the army. This statement from the Prussian Finance Minister reeks of the most breathtaking cynicism in this regard:

    "The German nation had after all suffered so many additional losses in blood and material goods which are beyond all accounting that it is entirely justified to assess the price of the war generously and in addition to the estimated sum to demand an appropriate surcharge for the incalculable damages."

    I don't think the term politely rendered as BS does justice to the good Minister's assessment.

    The Germans of 1918 lost a war of over 4 years in which almost all physical damage was on the soil of their enemies, in the west primarily again being French soil, and in which said damage was immensely greater than that of 1871, even if any of the damage of 1871 had been on the soil of victorious Germany. Which it was not.

    So in 1871 the French, defeated, had to pay 20 billion dollars to the victor to defray the military costs of victory and imaginary German collective suffering. And then pay themselves to repair the damage to their own country. I'm sure they didn't like it but it was the price of defeat. They paid their debts fast and rebuilt their country.

    In 1918 the Germans, defeated, had to pay reparations whose amounts seem to vary quite a bit. The wiki gives a 2015 dollar value of 165-billion for the German 1921 offer, 436 billion for the London Schedule of 1921, 362 billion for the 1919 Young plan, and 82-89 billion actually paid by Germany by 1932.

    So a lot more than France had paid. But, again, factor in the 4x length of the war and much more than 4x greater level of damages caused. And, of course again, that this time the victorious ally chiefly pushing the reparations was actually the country on which most of the damage had been inflicted.

    Factor in also the amount of loans and guarantees the Americans gave to Germany in this period, not to mention the immense capital investment in German industry by the US, the idea that German public finances were crippled for that whole decade, that their economy was permanently damaged or even severely weakened during it, or that the reparations as a whole constituted an undiluted, war-worthy grievance unique to German experience is absurd. If you don't want to pay reparations like that, don't lose the biggest and most destructive war in history to that point to a country on which most of the damages were inflicted. And don't have a track record of asking that same country for reparations for imaginary suffering.

    Similarly with territorial annexations. In 1871, known to be against Bismarck's better judgment, Germany annexed Alsace and part of Lorraine. It roughly followed a language line, but there was little evidence for any irredentism by local people. It was annexed for punitive and military reasons, not German demographic solidarity. That's fair. Victor's reward. In 1919, France limited itself to their return and a temporary administration of the Saar that was eventually ended by plebiscite. It also had adjustments made in favour of Belgium. These also could be justified on local grounds. And victor's reward. No valid grievance for Germany.

    The major territorial cessions demanded of Germany in the north and east also followed linguistic lines reasonably enough. It did leave some Germans in Poland, but then the pre-1918 borders had pulled a whole lot of Poles into Germany [result of the annexations of Polish soil by Prussia in the partitions that extinguished the old Polish state].

    The Germans had never been too concerned about linguistic or ethnic lines where it involved adding more territory to Germany, nor were they worried about cultural or ethnic cleansing when it was carried out against such populations by Germany. These things were only bad when carried out by French or Poles against Germans. No valid grievance for Germany there either, unless one is to assume that Germans are Very Special people who are entitled to complain under circumstances denied to others when suffering the same at Germany's hands, or that German annexations and ethnic cleansing is subject to a Brezhnev doctrine, never to be reversed even when they lose.

    I sympathize, and would have sympathized then, with the claims of Austrian and Bohemian/Moravian Germans. But they had never been citizens of the German state founded by Bismarck, nor had many wanted to be, nor had that Germany necessarily wanted them. It was to all their advantages to have a second state ruled largely by Germans. Letting them go "home" for the first time to the German Reich would have amounted to letting Germany make annexations. Large ones, of rich and militarily important territory. That's a pretty ballsy demand to make on behalf of a defeated power. Would Bismarck have entertained any claims by France on Belgium as compensation for Alsace in 1871?

    That was a very valid practical description of German circumstances in 1917 versus Allied ones in 1919. So what? Germany's practical need to try one last time to win the war is irrelevant once that gamble fails. The point is they were more than happy to impose truly epic abusive terms on the Russians, terms which would have been in force even after the putative German victory. Or do you contend they would suddenly have given it all back in a fit of magnanimity after defeating France and Britain in the West?

    Again, my point here was at no point that the terms of Versailles were the best course. But they were neither inconsistent with past norms, nor inconsistent with the scale of damages suffered by [this time victorious] France, nor administered without compensation in terms of loans and investment [mainly by the US], nor ultimately crippling to Germany, which had recovered prior to the 1929 crash, which was not Versailles related.

    You'll walk a long mile to find anyone more Germanophile than I am, outside the realm of German-Americans. I would appear to be orders of magnitude more Germanophile than any of the Germans cited in the article, or indeed possibly a majority of contemporary Germans. But just as I am disgusted by their excess of self-destructiveness and post-nationalist mincing about today, so I have no time for the hysterical overstatements of grievance from the nationalist movements of the 1920s and the Nazis of the 1930s. It's as if Germans have to be whining about something. Perhaps Churchill had it right - at your feet or at your throat.

    As to the Jews- I raise it because the Germans kept raising it in their claims at that time. Hitler claimed well in advance that he expected to have to fight a war against Jewry, an enemy whose description as he offered it amounted to a demon out of fantasy fiction, and he fully identified that enemy with Germany's defeat in World War 1 and with the potential extinction of Germany he believed was being waged after it.

    Germany was militarily defeated in the West in 1918. It was going to be defeated worse in 1919. This was the fault, if of anyone other than impersonal correlation of forces, of the state and military leadership. Not Jews. Jews didn't lose the spring offensives or collapse the front in the face of the British summer offensive or the American one. The stirrings of revolution and the collapse of the armed forces really got underway after the request for armistice talks became public. I don't know who first leaked it or whether that was a Jew. But the demand came from Ludendorff, who was not a Jew. He was just neurasthenic in the clutch. Sure there were plenty of Jews among socialist and communist agitators. There were also Jews who were faithful bourgeois and loyal soldiers, just as there were communists who were Aryan Germans. When the generals told the Kaiser the army would not fight for him, neither the generals nor most of the soldiers who were expected to betray their oaths were Jews. I doubt many of the mutinous sailors were Jews. On the far left, Haase and Luxemburg were Jews. Liebknecht was not. Among the centre-left, Ebert and Erzberger were Catholics and Scheidemann was a Protestant.

    So the "November Criminals" of the armistice [ie the patriots who saved their country from inevitable invasion, severe damage and worse terms and then took the blame from the leaders of the army afraid to admit their own failure] were not notably Jewish nor driven by an recognizably Jewish motives, the revolutionaries included plenty of non Jews from the sailors and soldiers to the top of the socialist leadership and the new republic. Ebert, socialist leader and first leader of the republic, and ironically the instigator of the stab in the back myth as a sop to the generals ["as you return undefeated from the battlefield" not], was a lapsed Catholic.

    Weimar was run predominantly by Christian socialists and Catholic centrists, as befitted the demographics of Germany. It's corrupt cultural life embraced countless Aryan Germans, just as the pillars of bourgeois rectitude included plenty of Jews.

    And yet somehow all was ultimately to be blamed not only on those German Jews, but on the shtetl inhabitants of Poland and Ukraine and Lithuania, most of whom would not have even heard of Versailles, many of who perhaps didn't really know about Brest-Litovsk.

    It would have been better if Ludendorff had just admitted he had lost the war, and had made the likely endgame significantly worse than it needed to be by his own, albeit temporary, panic in August-September 1918. And if not a few other leaders had just admitted they had fought a good fight but simply could not beat all the other major powers at once, and had made it worse by inattention to the global picture and the necessity of not getting the US on the wrong side. I quite appreciate that their honour forbade these courses to them, ditto the interests of their class, but it needn't have been a national humiliation for Germany or led to its dissolution in wholesale revolution.

    Of course, if Ludendorff, the last couple of imperial chancellors and foreign ministers [Zimmermann especially] and all the aforementioned reportedly non-Jewish politicians of 1918-19 were in fact Jewish, then I rescind all comments. Anyone want to tell Ludendorff's shade that he was a Jew all along?
  77. @random observer
    If around at the time, I might have argued that the war guilt clause was dishonest and even a mere sop to hysterical electorates in the allied nations. On the other hand, putting most if not all blame on the loser was not wholly out of line with historical practice and, given the scale and duration of the Great War, the absolutist approach of the allies on this point should hardly have been unexpected.

    But that clause aside, this statement:

    "It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany."

    requires allegiance to a false narrative on two counts, three perhaps.

    1. It assumed Versailles was a rougher handling of Germany than warranted or when compared to past norms. This is false. Germany defeated France in 1871 after a fairly short war in which Germany itself suffered nothing beyond battle casualties. It still imposed harsh terms including annexation of territory, punitive indemnity, and occupation until that indemnity was paid. Germany defeated Russia in 1917 after three years of harder war during which, save in early 1914, the German homeland was not harmed by the Russians. Germany nevertheless imposed fantastically punitive terms. Why exactly are we all supposed to assume that Germany, itself defeated, was entitled to more loving treatment than it itself typically imposed on the vanquished. Whether or not we believe in moralizing concepts like "war guilt". Whining like schoolgirls when paid back in their own favoured coin is not becoming a nation as great as Germany then was. Anyone prepared to dish it out should be prepared to take it.

    2. Germany eventually recovered from the hyperinflation and related problems of the period 1919-23. And their debts were eventually given restructuring within the norms of the international system. Not to mention plenty of American commercial investment. They were doing fine, as well as anyone else, during the period before the worldwide Great Depression. So at least as far as bankruptcy and starvation are concerned, the Versailles excuse was no valid argument for Germany to be seeking vengeance on anyone. If you want to cite Versailles' cessions of German territory, that's another thing. Those cessions had not been redeemed and formed a German grievance. As to how well that grievance was justified, I can only refer back to past German policy on territorial demands by the victors against the vanquished.

    and a possible 3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing. If Hitler's war aims had been to right the Versailles settlement, he could have imposed those terms in 1939-40 instead of annexing most of Poland and turning its heartland into a slaughterhouse of Jews, not to mention the intellectual classes of the Poles, whose existence might have threatened the German project of expunging a Polish national identity. That might have bought him a happy peace even from Britain after France had fallen. If for one second anyone had believed those were the end of his war aims.

    Then again, I am confused. I have been hearing for a while about all "the Jews" allegedly did to Germany before Hitler and have yet to see any actual testable claims. They certainly were not responsible for the defeat of German arms in France. Germany threw all its reserves into the 1918 offensives and still couldn't win. And then the allies did the same, and did win. 1919 was going to look like mess for the Germany army. Which is why Ludendorff famously panicked, at least at first. If the Germans hadn't been a bunch of hypocrites, they would have blamed the army leadership for the defeat, because that's where blame rightly belonged.

    3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing

    You’re ignoring several glaring facts:

    a. 800,000 German civilans starved in WWI, a result of Allied blockade to which Chaim Weizmann was a contributor if not fully complicit. Starving civilians was supposed to have been outlawed by “Christian civilizations” such as the British represented themselves.

    b. The starvation famine extended past the time of Germany’s armistice; this was done to force Germany to sign the Versailles treaties.

    c. Germans were not permitted to have any representation at Versailles but several dozens if not a hundred or more jewish and zionist persons were present and wielded great influence. Edmund Black wrote in “The Transfer Agreement,” “zionist Jews returned from Versailles with a dual victory: they had acquired a homeland for Jews in Palestine, and also protection of minority rights in those states where they dwelt.”

    The first statement refers to the Balfour declaration which Weizmann negotiated with the British government — Palestine to Jews in exchange for Jewish assistance in involving USA in the war.

    As Niall Ferguson argues, the British had lost the war two or three times, but they stayed involved, against all logic. It was the combined effect of civilian starvation that demoralized German troops, and Pershing’s American army’s appearance on the scene, that turned the tide in Britain’s favor.

    Jews did indeed stab Germany in the back — Germany had been one of Jewry’s primary supporters in a relatively respectful plan for Jews to establish colonies in Palestine; the Warburgs were leaders and financiers of the plans and resented Weizmann’s — and especially Revisionist zionist Jabotinsky’s violent, “Iron Wall” schemes and behaviors. But the latter won out over the German Warburgs, and Netanyahu carries on that tradition. (Netanyahu’s father was an acolyte of Jabotinsky).

    d. To compound the felony, Bolshevik Jews flooded into Germany from Poland and Russia at the time when Germany was struggling with hyperinflation & war debts & revolutionary turmoil. Jews attempted to take over German politics & culture, and Bolshevik Jews made overt efforts to overthrow the German government. Numerous street riots punctuated the interwar years.

    It’s important to recognize that animosity toward Jewish migrants from Russia and Poland bubbled up from the “German street,’ it was not a to-down phenomenon. As NSDAP consolidated power it actually calmed the atmosphere of ordinary Germans toward Jews.

    Statements like those of idiot Ben Carson had to have been written by hasbara central: that NSDAP disarmed ordinary Germans (actually, Freikorps was the primary target of ‘getting guns out of the hands of thugs’) was a good thing for Jews and not the other way around.

    e. Yes indeed, Germany was reestablishing its economy. German Jews were participating. BUT zionists in Britain and USA were intent on fulfilling one of the major tenets of zionism: the “in-gathering of diaspora Jews to Palestine.” The zionist project especially needed wealthy German Jews — the zionist project was threatened with bankruptcy just as most other places were in Depression. Zionists needed German Jewish wealth to bail it out, so US zionists provoked turmoil in German and then a war: first, by means of the Jewish economic war on Germany intended to cause in Germans the same terror they had experienced during WWI famine, and to cripple Germany economically.
    Hitler’s major crime was to run Germany’s economy without reliance on Jewish-Anglo (New York – London) central bank-debt financing systems. This was unforgivable.

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    • Agree: HdC
    • Replies: @annamaria
    Thank you for the enlightening summary
    , @random observer
    a) So the British Cabinet and Admiralty adopt the same naval strategy they had been trying on for nearly 200 years against continental rivals, with considerable success, and somehow Jews are responsible because one famous Zionist supported it? Let's go ahead and say every Jew on earth supported it, which is hardly likely since that would have included German Jews on the frontline not to mention millions of Jews in eastern Europe who hadn't a clue. I am pretty confident that if there had been no Jews in the world in 1914 the British would have imposed the exact same blockade at the same time and for the same reasons. The suggestion that Jews, or even Weizmann could be blamed for British naval policy is beyond lunacy.

    Blame the British for it, fine. That would at least put responsibility where it belonged. It was and is absurd to blame the Jews or any particular Jews.

    As for British responsibility, nobody called it a war crime when it was used against France. Nor does anyone spend any time condemning other historical blockade strategies, which were and are implemented quite commonly by any power that has command of the sea against weaker opponents that cannot challenge it in that environment. [Southerners might have complaints against the Union in this regard, but since no one recognized them as a state, no violation of international law could be claimed even in theory.] Of other countries that have faced a blockade only advocates for Germany ever complain, and therefore only Britain gets blamed for using the method. They were just more consistent and better at it. To be expected given the geography.

    Also, the German U-boat campaigns in both wars, which had the same objective, were not and are not considered to have been war crimes. You could make valid points that the Germans committed war crimes when they started sinking ships without warning, or the British did using Q-ships, but the U-boat campaign to interdict commerce was not itself a war crime. It too was a blockade designed to starve Britain out.

    Both things were legitimate. The maritime and strategic-level equivalent of siege, or of the countless strategies of economic war adopted by all parties to deprive their enemies of needed resources or to seize resources for themselves.

    I don't see what claims about being a Christian civilization have to do with anything. All the major parties other than the Turks claimed to be Christian powers and all were doing nasty stuff of rough moral equivalence [in the first war]. I am no immediately aware that the British had agreed to give up blockade strategy.

    b) Of course it was. Legal state of war was still in place. The existence of that state of war, obvious until a peace treaty was signed, was the authority to continue such things as the blockade, to hold POWS, and to intern the German sailors along with their ships, also as POWs. Standard practices both before and after the Hague Conventions. Common practice by winning powers everywhere prior to peace agreements being signed. Past German practice too. Nothing wrong with it. The November 11 Armistice required the Allies to suspend offensive operations and they did. That's what they agreed to. They used the leverage provided by the persistence of a state of war to pressure the Germans to sign the peace treaty on their preferred terms. And they imposed the other armistice conditions in the meantime like internment of the fleet to make it harder for the Germans to later reject the armistice and resume the fighting.

    That's what you do when you are winning. The Germans clearly agreed on November 11 that the Allies must be winning, or they would not have accepted the armistice conditions. They could have kept on fighting. They knew perfectly well that would result in even worse terms in some armistice they'd have to sign in 1919, and it likely would have made the eventual peace treaty circa 1920-1 even worse. They could have gambled on doing better in 1919. They decided they were losing and were going to lose and could not fight on.

    If they had really wanted to end the war faster, they could always have shown up at Versailles and begged to surrender at discretion.

    c) Your section c does not list any Jewish reps at Versailles demanding anything be done to hurt Germany, nor identify any gains by these Jews that involved inflicting harm on Germany. I reiterate. I asked for testable claims that the Jews either set out to hurt GERMANY, or had indeed done so. Showing up to demand the victors give them the homeland in Palestine the British had promised does not harm Germany. Asking for guarantees of minority rights in Europe does not harm Germany. It probably would have helped some Germans in other countries if it had ever been implemented. But it certainly did not harm Germany.

    Ferguson's point you offer is interesting. There's no arguing that the British and French were as fully exhausted on every level. It was perfectly possible that the German 1918 offensives could have broken the British lines and in the aftermath provoked a panic that would have seen the Allies fold like Germany later did. But it didn't work out like that. When the Allies launched their offensives, the Germans did break, yield much more territory, permanently, and demand an armistice.

    [The proportions of troops involved were about 2.6 French to 1.8 British to 1.9 American, but the largest gains were on the British and French fronts, with each of those armies inflicting greater damage on the Germans than that done by the US army. The US army's contribution was both necessary and highly significant on the ground, let alone for morale. But it wasn't the biggest. It would have been overwhelming in 1919.]

    So what was the illogic of Britain staying in? The Germans had proved unable to defeat them in 1914-17, just as much as they had proved unable to defeat the Germans. There was no more reason for Britain to quit than there was for Germany until the spring of 1918. As I said, each power then put the matter to the final test. The Germans failed.

    On the stab in the back, your case seems to rest in the first part on the argument that leading German Jews wanted Germany to win because they expected German support in Palestine. Sounds like some combination of German patriotism, and fair dealing for friendly future relations between Germany and a future Jewish homeland. That posture should at least have bought a postwar Germany willing to exempt most of its own Jews from collective condemnation and eventual denaturalization followed by slaughter. All that sounds like the leading Jews of Germany, who as its citizens owed it loyalty, were indeed patriots and friends to Germany, just as at the lower levels many served in uniform. And then Germany turned its back on them, blamed them for its national and military failure, and then pulled out knives for them and took their possessions, long before deciding at last to kill them all.

    The Jews you cite most prominently, Weizmann and Jabotinsky, cannot be accused of stabbing Germany in the back because neither owed Germany any national loyalty by either birth or oath. Weizmann was a born Russian subject who studied in Germany for 5 years in the 1890s but never became its citizen, later moved to Britain and was naturalized a British subject in 1910. As such it was right and proper that he took the British part in the war. Anything else would have been disgraceful in its own right. He did not owe Germany patriotism, it was never his country.

    Jabotinsky was also a born Russian subject. One might argue that as a revolutionary he was a traitor to the Tsar, but I can't find anything quickly that involved him doing anything to fight against Russia or the Russian monarchy. He was always about Zionism and the Ottomans. Besides, the Tsar's claims on him would be moot by the time of Versailles. As he had never been German, he did not owe allegiance to Germany and cannot be accused of having betrayed it.

    Similarly, unless you are going to tell me the vast Jewish populations of the Russian and Austrian Empires were conspiring at Versailles against Germany [one would wonder why they would be doing that- they'd have been better conspiring against Poland], perhaps they should have been exempted from Hitler's wrath, whether rhetorical or eventually physical.

    I don't see why American Jews had any less right to argue for the course of action by the US they favoured, as German or Irish Americans had right to argue for the US staying out of the war. Said Jews were either citizens, voters, taxpayers [and political donors] like the rest, or they were not. Nor is there any difference between American Jews listening to the entreaties of British Jews to enter the war on the side of Britain, and American gentiles listening to the entreaties of British gentiles to enter the war on the side of Britain. Besides, hyper-Virginian Wilson and his White Protestant administration entered the war to enhance American power and impose his personal and class values on the world. He succeeded only partly on the latter, but massively on the former count.

    d) Worth noting in passing that in the Russian Bolshevik party, Jews were a small minority of 5-7% though a higher percentage of the leaders [still not the majority]. So their blame for Russia is only partial. Far less than the blame that belongs to the German intelligence service, the real enablers of the October Revolution. The most cunningly successful intelligence operation in history, in that it knocked Russia from the war and enabled Brest-Litovsk and led to a devastating civil war, but with the most appalling blowback in history for Germany first in 1919 and then in 1941-5. I raise all that only to note the irony involved in the Bolsheviks then flooding their people into by-then defeated Germany to bring Germany into the revolution. Turnabout is fair play.

    The bigger questions here are:

    1. What about all the German socialists and communists who were not Jews? Like Liebknecht, for an obvious one. And most if not all of the naval mutineers, most of the members of the USPD and the eventual KPD, not least the Rotfrontkampfverband street militias. Were these robust Aryan German workers, lawyers, journalists and agitators a mere pack of puppets in a Jewish led clown show? That speaks ill of the German blood, to say the least.

    2. What about the fact that neither the Russian nor the German communists who were ethnic Jews considered themselves either religious Jews [they were Marxists after all] or Zionists [they were internationalists after all not ethnonationalists].? If you are a Jew by ethnic ancestry fine. But if you neither practice the faith nor endorse the Zionist political ideology, and adhere to the materialist internationalist secular philosophy of an internationalist and deeply anti-Semitic lapsed German Jew who also held the religion and Jewish ethnoculture in contempt, do not practice Jewish culture and carry on policies that cannot recognizably be considered Jewish in content, as minority players in political movements whose actual ideology is being made clear, in what remaining sense is your policy "Jewish"?

    Or to put both in another way, why is the "Jewish" part more important than the "Bolshevik" part in your formulation?

    To be fair, the Nazis also set out to kill all the communists who hadn't switched sides fast enough and joined the NSDAP, including plenty of the majority of non-Jewish communists. Very even-handed. Clearly they hated communists as communists and aimed to do away with them. But then they also set out to kill German Jews as such, including the majority who were not communists. Clearly they also hated Jews as Jews and aimed to do away with them, communist or not.

    I'm not sure what "Jews attempted to take over German politics and culture" is supposed to mean.

    At no point were Jews in anything resembling a position to take over German politics from the overwhelmingly [if often lapsed] Catholic and Protestant politicians who ran the republic. Nor was there any Jewish movement aiming let alone able to impose a Jewish government. The Communists were not all Jews, their ideology was neither Judaism nor Zionism. They wanted to create a communist Germany, not a Jewish Germany. I seriously doubt it could have looked any different from the eventual DDR the survivors clapped together after WW2. That is to say dowdy, Aryan, and stylistically roughly like NS Germany. Granted, it might have had more Jews since they wouldn't all be dead. Then again, the Stalinists might still at least have purged them all. It certainly wouldn't have been a Jewish regime.

    Nor, dismissing the notion that the communists were a primarily Jewish force, did the communists try to overthrow the German state any more than the fringe right did. Or stage any more street riots. The whole history of 1918-32 is both fringes trying to overthrown lawful government. Whatever you think of the republic as a German state, it is worth remembering that by the standards of pre-1918 Germany it was at least as legitimate as Nazi Germany. Weimar's political institutions were more liberal, but they far more resembled those of the empire than Hitler's government did. The Kaiser's government acted through law and procedure, granted rights to Germans, submitted at least core domestic matters to a free parliament, and did not massacre its own citizens. It was not run based on the charisma of a populist street performer backed by thugs and murderers and based on the murder of its own citizens in situations that were in some degree still illegal even under their own arbitrary regime.

    German culture was carrying on trends, many of them decadent to be sure, already well established in the arts of prewar Germany and of other European countries, which continued in those countries as they did in Germany, and were fully engaged in by gentiles at every level. Nor were the contents of these arts Jewish in any particular way. Chagall was not more decadent than Picasso.

    It's not more than a matter of taste, but to a devotee of older forms of European art there isn't much qualitative or spiritual difference between the stuff the Nazis called decadent and the cheesy poorly executed claptrap they promoted. Just as Stalinist art in Russia was not better than the stuff he condemned.

    e) This section does not make any sense of any kind and I cannot even begin to unpack the internal logic of the strategy you propose.
  78. @OutWest
    Can’t argue with your facts. You’re correct that Versailles was yet another harsh treatment of the loser as was the centuries-old habit in Europe. But, contrasted with a less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.

    less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.

    less vindictive?

    15 million Germans were “transferred” out of their homes,
    millions of Germans were sent to Russian gulags where a huge proportion died
    Germans were deliberately kept on near-starvation rations for a year and more
    German women were raped and brutalized; forced to prostitute to feed their children

    Chas Freeman spoke recently in DC. He observed that the USA follows a trajectory of brutality from Sherman to US destruction and cruelty to Germans & Japanese during and after WWII, to American war crimes in Viet Nam, to US kill-with-impunity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

    “broken the aggression habit?” No, more like migrated it to the exclusive franchise of Anglo- USA/zionists.

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    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    And let's not forget Eisenhower's concentration camps where a million or so were killed.
  79. We should all thank the jews for finally showing the World that Hitler was right about them all along. Now they have allied with the Muslims who live only to wipe them off the face of the Earth as violently as possible and alienated and marginalised anyone that might want to save them they can finally get what they have wanted. EXTINCTION? Is that the plan?

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  80. @SolontoCroesus

    3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing
     
    You're ignoring several glaring facts:

    a. 800,000 German civilans starved in WWI, a result of Allied blockade to which Chaim Weizmann was a contributor if not fully complicit. Starving civilians was supposed to have been outlawed by "Christian civilizations" such as the British represented themselves.

    b. The starvation famine extended past the time of Germany's armistice; this was done to force Germany to sign the Versailles treaties.

    c. Germans were not permitted to have any representation at Versailles but several dozens if not a hundred or more jewish and zionist persons were present and wielded great influence. Edmund Black wrote in "The Transfer Agreement," "zionist Jews returned from Versailles with a dual victory: they had acquired a homeland for Jews in Palestine, and also protection of minority rights in those states where they dwelt."

    The first statement refers to the Balfour declaration which Weizmann negotiated with the British government -- Palestine to Jews in exchange for Jewish assistance in involving USA in the war.

    As Niall Ferguson argues, the British had lost the war two or three times, but they stayed involved, against all logic. It was the combined effect of civilian starvation that demoralized German troops, and Pershing's American army's appearance on the scene, that turned the tide in Britain's favor.

    Jews did indeed stab Germany in the back -- Germany had been one of Jewry's primary supporters in a relatively respectful plan for Jews to establish colonies in Palestine; the Warburgs were leaders and financiers of the plans and resented Weizmann's -- and especially Revisionist zionist Jabotinsky's violent, "Iron Wall" schemes and behaviors. But the latter won out over the German Warburgs, and Netanyahu carries on that tradition. (Netanyahu's father was an acolyte of Jabotinsky).

    d. To compound the felony, Bolshevik Jews flooded into Germany from Poland and Russia at the time when Germany was struggling with hyperinflation & war debts & revolutionary turmoil. Jews attempted to take over German politics & culture, and Bolshevik Jews made overt efforts to overthrow the German government. Numerous street riots punctuated the interwar years.

    It's important to recognize that animosity toward Jewish migrants from Russia and Poland bubbled up from the "German street,' it was not a to-down phenomenon. As NSDAP consolidated power it actually calmed the atmosphere of ordinary Germans toward Jews.

    Statements like those of idiot Ben Carson had to have been written by hasbara central: that NSDAP disarmed ordinary Germans (actually, Freikorps was the primary target of 'getting guns out of the hands of thugs') was a good thing for Jews and not the other way around.

    e. Yes indeed, Germany was reestablishing its economy. German Jews were participating. BUT zionists in Britain and USA were intent on fulfilling one of the major tenets of zionism: the "in-gathering of diaspora Jews to Palestine." The zionist project especially needed wealthy German Jews -- the zionist project was threatened with bankruptcy just as most other places were in Depression. Zionists needed German Jewish wealth to bail it out, so US zionists provoked turmoil in German and then a war: first, by means of the Jewish economic war on Germany intended to cause in Germans the same terror they had experienced during WWI famine, and to cripple Germany economically.
    Hitler's major crime was to run Germany's economy without reliance on Jewish-Anglo (New York - London) central bank-debt financing systems. This was unforgivable.

    Thank you for the enlightening summary

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  81. I’m not inclined to conflate the U.S.WW2 action with the Soviet rampage in Berlin and elsewhere, though war is certainly nasty. And you’d have a point that the Marshall Plan had a political as well as humanitarian aspect. Same with the Berlin Airlift. But whatever the ends the U.S. motivators the means were substantially more humanitarian than oppressive.

    Viet Nam was a surrogate war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, i.e. containment in accord with Kennan’s recommendation. The U. S. lost that campaign but won the (Cold) War.
    Had Libya not bombed the 747 it would probably still be extant.

    While I can support the aggression towards Stalin’s World Communism and understand the effort to spread democracy, I do agree that it has reached the point of diminishing returns –diminished to failure. It’s time for the U.S. to embrace isolation except in the case of true threat as opposed to provocation. The world doesn’t want to be saved, at least not on U.S. terms.

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    • Replies: @annamaria
    "Had Libya not bombed the 747 it would probably still be extant."
    What the majority of Libyan population had to do with the tragedy? You mean, the US civilians of all ages deserve to lose their livelihood and way of life because of the deeds of some stupid warriors like the arms-chair general Cheney or the obnoxious ideologist Wolfowitz? Have you heard about the ongoing drone war (by the US) and about the illegality of the Iraq War? The number of the victims is on a scale of millions... What then should be the fate of the US civilians according to your rules?

    "The world doesn’t want to be saved, at least not on U.S. terms."
    Saved? - Please read carefully the following words by a truly courageous person, the US Marine General Smedley Butler: "...Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line."
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-24/paul-craig-roberts-our-soldiers-died-profits-bankers
  82. @SolontoCroesus

    less vindictive treat after WW2, both Germany and Japan (Japan was mimicking Germany and England in the empire business) have broken the aggression habit and the European cycle has, at least, been dormant.
     
    less vindictive?

    15 million Germans were "transferred" out of their homes,
    millions of Germans were sent to Russian gulags where a huge proportion died
    Germans were deliberately kept on near-starvation rations for a year and more
    German women were raped and brutalized; forced to prostitute to feed their children

    Chas Freeman spoke recently in DC. He observed that the USA follows a trajectory of brutality from Sherman to US destruction and cruelty to Germans & Japanese during and after WWII, to American war crimes in Viet Nam, to US kill-with-impunity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

    "broken the aggression habit?" No, more like migrated it to the exclusive franchise of Anglo- USA/zionists.

    And let’s not forget Eisenhower’s concentration camps where a million or so were killed.

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  83. @Johnny Smoggins
    The willingness of modern Germans to do penance for World War 2 is odd given that we now know that large parts of the holocaust narrative were either wildly exaggerated or outright lies.

    ctober 25, 2015 at 5:11 pm GMT

    The willingness of modern Germans to do penance for World War 2 is odd given that we now know that large parts of the holocaust narrative were either wildly exaggerated or outright lies.

    The Germans do not know that. and they have it stuffed down their throat ad nauseum.
    Besides, if you dare to have a different belief on the matter it is jail for you.

    According to an article in the “Donau Kurier”
    IG-Metall demands the firing of employees who show hostility to foreigners

    IG Metall demands a non-compromising procedure against xenophobic employees. Firms should fire anyone who makes openly racist and xenophobic commentaries on the Internet.

    An Article in “die Welt” went a step further, you can have your children taken away if you complain too loudly.

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  84. I don’t think most readers are going to know that volkstod means death of the people.

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  85. @5371
    You have written much nonsense.
    1. Reparations imposed after WW1 were more than an order of magnitude greater than the indemnity of 1871. The annexation of territory in 1871 was largely along the linguistic frontier, just as France had annexed Savoy and Nice in 1860. (The worst territorial injustice of 1919 was done when the treaty of St. Germain forbade the Germans of Austria, Bohemia and Moravia from national unification). The circumstances of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles were utterly different - Germany fighting for survival and needing any available resource, the allies unchallenged masters of the globe.
    3. I suppose you felt that no tirade against the Hun could be complete without such remarks, even though they had nothing to do with the phrase you apparently wrote to take exception to. Despicable on your part.

    I didn’t say the reparations were the same in scale. [Nor should they have been, given the relative scale of the two wars, where they were fought, and who suffered what in them. Both were punitive in nature given the relative scales of the wars, the German demand in 1871 all the more so because all the damages were in France anyway.]

    I merely said that the Germans were happy with disproportionately punitive reparations and abusive territorial annexations when it suited them. If proposing in 1919 to repay them in their own coin, the allies were perfectly reasonable to take into account the more than 4x longer duration of the war, the immensely greater scale of the destruction, and the fact that all the major destruction in the west had taken place on the soil of allied countries France and Belgium. None of which depends on “guilt” or blame for the war.

    So- the 5 billion francs France had to pay after 1871, and actually had paid before 1875, amounted arguably to about 20 billion modern US dollars [straight conversion to 1873 USD and then adjusted for US inflation- a crude measure to be sure, but I've seen figures that value the French reparations higher than that].

    The French in 1871 lost a war of less than a year in which all the physical destruction was on their own soil and the Germans suffered only military casualties, spoilage or loss of military equipment, and cash value of food and other goods to support the army. This statement from the Prussian Finance Minister reeks of the most breathtaking cynicism in this regard:

    “The German nation had after all suffered so many additional losses in blood and material goods which are beyond all accounting that it is entirely justified to assess the price of the war generously and in addition to the estimated sum to demand an appropriate surcharge for the incalculable damages.”

    I don’t think the term politely rendered as BS does justice to the good Minister’s assessment.

    The Germans of 1918 lost a war of over 4 years in which almost all physical damage was on the soil of their enemies, in the west primarily again being French soil, and in which said damage was immensely greater than that of 1871, even if any of the damage of 1871 had been on the soil of victorious Germany. Which it was not.

    So in 1871 the French, defeated, had to pay 20 billion dollars to the victor to defray the military costs of victory and imaginary German collective suffering. And then pay themselves to repair the damage to their own country. I’m sure they didn’t like it but it was the price of defeat. They paid their debts fast and rebuilt their country.

    In 1918 the Germans, defeated, had to pay reparations whose amounts seem to vary quite a bit. The wiki gives a 2015 dollar value of 165-billion for the German 1921 offer, 436 billion for the London Schedule of 1921, 362 billion for the 1919 Young plan, and 82-89 billion actually paid by Germany by 1932.

    So a lot more than France had paid. But, again, factor in the 4x length of the war and much more than 4x greater level of damages caused. And, of course again, that this time the victorious ally chiefly pushing the reparations was actually the country on which most of the damage had been inflicted.

    Factor in also the amount of loans and guarantees the Americans gave to Germany in this period, not to mention the immense capital investment in German industry by the US, the idea that German public finances were crippled for that whole decade, that their economy was permanently damaged or even severely weakened during it, or that the reparations as a whole constituted an undiluted, war-worthy grievance unique to German experience is absurd. If you don’t want to pay reparations like that, don’t lose the biggest and most destructive war in history to that point to a country on which most of the damages were inflicted. And don’t have a track record of asking that same country for reparations for imaginary suffering.

    Similarly with territorial annexations. In 1871, known to be against Bismarck’s better judgment, Germany annexed Alsace and part of Lorraine. It roughly followed a language line, but there was little evidence for any irredentism by local people. It was annexed for punitive and military reasons, not German demographic solidarity. That’s fair. Victor’s reward. In 1919, France limited itself to their return and a temporary administration of the Saar that was eventually ended by plebiscite. It also had adjustments made in favour of Belgium. These also could be justified on local grounds. And victor’s reward. No valid grievance for Germany.

    The major territorial cessions demanded of Germany in the north and east also followed linguistic lines reasonably enough. It did leave some Germans in Poland, but then the pre-1918 borders had pulled a whole lot of Poles into Germany [result of the annexations of Polish soil by Prussia in the partitions that extinguished the old Polish state].

    The Germans had never been too concerned about linguistic or ethnic lines where it involved adding more territory to Germany, nor were they worried about cultural or ethnic cleansing when it was carried out against such populations by Germany. These things were only bad when carried out by French or Poles against Germans. No valid grievance for Germany there either, unless one is to assume that Germans are Very Special people who are entitled to complain under circumstances denied to others when suffering the same at Germany’s hands, or that German annexations and ethnic cleansing is subject to a Brezhnev doctrine, never to be reversed even when they lose.

    I sympathize, and would have sympathized then, with the claims of Austrian and Bohemian/Moravian Germans. But they had never been citizens of the German state founded by Bismarck, nor had many wanted to be, nor had that Germany necessarily wanted them. It was to all their advantages to have a second state ruled largely by Germans. Letting them go “home” for the first time to the German Reich would have amounted to letting Germany make annexations. Large ones, of rich and militarily important territory. That’s a pretty ballsy demand to make on behalf of a defeated power. Would Bismarck have entertained any claims by France on Belgium as compensation for Alsace in 1871?

    That was a very valid practical description of German circumstances in 1917 versus Allied ones in 1919. So what? Germany’s practical need to try one last time to win the war is irrelevant once that gamble fails. The point is they were more than happy to impose truly epic abusive terms on the Russians, terms which would have been in force even after the putative German victory. Or do you contend they would suddenly have given it all back in a fit of magnanimity after defeating France and Britain in the West?

    Again, my point here was at no point that the terms of Versailles were the best course. But they were neither inconsistent with past norms, nor inconsistent with the scale of damages suffered by [this time victorious] France, nor administered without compensation in terms of loans and investment [mainly by the US], nor ultimately crippling to Germany, which had recovered prior to the 1929 crash, which was not Versailles related.

    You’ll walk a long mile to find anyone more Germanophile than I am, outside the realm of German-Americans. I would appear to be orders of magnitude more Germanophile than any of the Germans cited in the article, or indeed possibly a majority of contemporary Germans. But just as I am disgusted by their excess of self-destructiveness and post-nationalist mincing about today, so I have no time for the hysterical overstatements of grievance from the nationalist movements of the 1920s and the Nazis of the 1930s. It’s as if Germans have to be whining about something. Perhaps Churchill had it right – at your feet or at your throat.

    As to the Jews- I raise it because the Germans kept raising it in their claims at that time. Hitler claimed well in advance that he expected to have to fight a war against Jewry, an enemy whose description as he offered it amounted to a demon out of fantasy fiction, and he fully identified that enemy with Germany’s defeat in World War 1 and with the potential extinction of Germany he believed was being waged after it.

    Germany was militarily defeated in the West in 1918. It was going to be defeated worse in 1919. This was the fault, if of anyone other than impersonal correlation of forces, of the state and military leadership. Not Jews. Jews didn’t lose the spring offensives or collapse the front in the face of the British summer offensive or the American one. The stirrings of revolution and the collapse of the armed forces really got underway after the request for armistice talks became public. I don’t know who first leaked it or whether that was a Jew. But the demand came from Ludendorff, who was not a Jew. He was just neurasthenic in the clutch. Sure there were plenty of Jews among socialist and communist agitators. There were also Jews who were faithful bourgeois and loyal soldiers, just as there were communists who were Aryan Germans. When the generals told the Kaiser the army would not fight for him, neither the generals nor most of the soldiers who were expected to betray their oaths were Jews. I doubt many of the mutinous sailors were Jews. On the far left, Haase and Luxemburg were Jews. Liebknecht was not. Among the centre-left, Ebert and Erzberger were Catholics and Scheidemann was a Protestant.

    So the “November Criminals” of the armistice [ie the patriots who saved their country from inevitable invasion, severe damage and worse terms and then took the blame from the leaders of the army afraid to admit their own failure] were not notably Jewish nor driven by an recognizably Jewish motives, the revolutionaries included plenty of non Jews from the sailors and soldiers to the top of the socialist leadership and the new republic. Ebert, socialist leader and first leader of the republic, and ironically the instigator of the stab in the back myth as a sop to the generals ["as you return undefeated from the battlefield" not], was a lapsed Catholic.

    Weimar was run predominantly by Christian socialists and Catholic centrists, as befitted the demographics of Germany. It’s corrupt cultural life embraced countless Aryan Germans, just as the pillars of bourgeois rectitude included plenty of Jews.

    And yet somehow all was ultimately to be blamed not only on those German Jews, but on the shtetl inhabitants of Poland and Ukraine and Lithuania, most of whom would not have even heard of Versailles, many of who perhaps didn’t really know about Brest-Litovsk.

    It would have been better if Ludendorff had just admitted he had lost the war, and had made the likely endgame significantly worse than it needed to be by his own, albeit temporary, panic in August-September 1918. And if not a few other leaders had just admitted they had fought a good fight but simply could not beat all the other major powers at once, and had made it worse by inattention to the global picture and the necessity of not getting the US on the wrong side. I quite appreciate that their honour forbade these courses to them, ditto the interests of their class, but it needn’t have been a national humiliation for Germany or led to its dissolution in wholesale revolution.

    Of course, if Ludendorff, the last couple of imperial chancellors and foreign ministers [Zimmermann especially] and all the aforementioned reportedly non-Jewish politicians of 1918-19 were in fact Jewish, then I rescind all comments. Anyone want to tell Ludendorff’s shade that he was a Jew all along?

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    • Agree: Stubborn in Germany
    • Replies: @5371
    Your comment is very long, but mostly about irrelevancies.
    Indemnities and punitive terms were not invented in 1871. Ask any Prussian how generously they were treated after Jena.
    French war guilt for 1870 is as uncontroversial as such ever can be. German guilt for 1914 is the reverse.
    France did not ask for Belgium in 1871, but had in the 1860s, and then the problem had been not the attitude of Prussia, but that of England.
    The peace settlement robbed the Germans of their old states, but forbade them, as a body, to form a new one.
    You certainly have the Prussians where you want them in November 1918. If they suppress the revolution, you can denounce them as bloodthirsty reactionary monsters. If not, as traitors.
    If you think there was no problem with the way many prominent Jews bore themselves in the Germany of the early 1920s, you disagree with many contemporary observers, including diplomats from the victorious allies.
  86. @OutWest
    I’m not inclined to conflate the U.S.WW2 action with the Soviet rampage in Berlin and elsewhere, though war is certainly nasty. And you’d have a point that the Marshall Plan had a political as well as humanitarian aspect. Same with the Berlin Airlift. But whatever the ends the U.S. motivators the means were substantially more humanitarian than oppressive.

    Viet Nam was a surrogate war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, i.e. containment in accord with Kennan’s recommendation. The U. S. lost that campaign but won the (Cold) War.
    Had Libya not bombed the 747 it would probably still be extant.

    While I can support the aggression towards Stalin’s World Communism and understand the effort to spread democracy, I do agree that it has reached the point of diminishing returns –diminished to failure. It’s time for the U.S. to embrace isolation except in the case of true threat as opposed to provocation. The world doesn’t want to be saved, at least not on U.S. terms.

    “Had Libya not bombed the 747 it would probably still be extant.”
    What the majority of Libyan population had to do with the tragedy? You mean, the US civilians of all ages deserve to lose their livelihood and way of life because of the deeds of some stupid warriors like the arms-chair general Cheney or the obnoxious ideologist Wolfowitz? Have you heard about the ongoing drone war (by the US) and about the illegality of the Iraq War? The number of the victims is on a scale of millions… What then should be the fate of the US civilians according to your rules?

    “The world doesn’t want to be saved, at least not on U.S. terms.”
    Saved? – Please read carefully the following words by a truly courageous person, the US Marine General Smedley Butler: “…Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-24/paul-craig-roberts-our-soldiers-died-profits-bankers

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    • Agree: geokat62
    • Replies: @OutWest
    Actually I agree with you. I think it’s factual that that Libya was being confrontational and crossed the red line (when that counted) with the 747 bombing. And we all have to pay for the sins of our leaders. As Hitler noted, politicos can always provoke a war. Even though it made no sense for Japan to attack the U.S, -they could and did get their oil from Indonesia- FDR managed to provoke them to get in on the action.

    What is being overlooked is that leaders derive their power from threats and emergencies with war leading the list thereof. Also, there’s social entropy that usually means that, even with a cruel leader, i.e. Kaddafi, social anarchy after an overthrow is worse than the original problem. Maybe we should live with the effective elsewhere rather than pursue the (for our purposes) ideal.

    That said, it is tricky to discern a true and/or building threat from empty provocation. But we in the U.S. are way overboard in precautionary and preemptive action.
  87. @Anonymous
    Seeing how disjointed Germany is absolutely frightens me, as I believe it is also going to be our future here in America.

    For those of you who don't understand how this happened, you have to understand that America is undergoing a parallel trajectory to Germany. Germany had its Weimar period that had the Jews dominate finance, media, politics, etc etc. Then the native Germans overthrew the Jewish rulers, and the Jews have never forgiven them.

    Years later Germany has been starved to death, raped to death, bombed to death, and it is still not enough. They have to dissolve as a people until they are roaming the earth like some nomadic tribe. Only then will the scales balance.

    Pay attention to what is happening in Germany Amricans! It is going over there sometime soon too.

    Bingo, #2 Anonymous. Our kids in public schools are being taught drivel, and as most on this site know we’re importing thousands of new socialist leaning kids and adults every year. Before “O,” “W” signed a bill that included a Sen. Diane Feinstein amendment that means all kids from any country in the western hemisphere not from Mexico or Canada gets special consideration before deporting. This is optional, depending a given court order, but it gives “O” an excuse to say “we have no choice-we’re following a Bush law.” Of course, the non Fox media won’t even ask about it-and at this point, Fox has moved on, too.

    If we don’t want to slide into Euro softness and the kind of overt socialism that half the country that votes Dem is crazy about, we need to vote Trump if purely on the strength of the strongest anti-immigration nominee. It actually might be our last voting chance to turn it around, before we get demographically changed into a firm majority socialism loving country.

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  88. You are absolutely right, James Ennis.
    Given Komossas former position, maybe more people in Germany will listen to this very OBVIOUS fact;
    Germany has not been a sovereign country since it was crushed in WWII.
    Also, Germany is NO Democracy either. It’s a joke to even call it that.

    Other books had already been published on this subject.
    “Die Souveränitätslüge” by Heiko Schrang. There is a video related to the book, unfortunately German audio and Portuguese subs, could not find it with English subs; For those who understand German or Portuguese

    ‘Die Souveränität Deutschlands: Souverän ist, wer frei ist’ by Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider is another great book on the subject of German vassalage.

    The former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which is one of Germany’s largest newspapers, was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service, spinning the news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents.
    Udo Ulfkotte reveals in his bestseller ‘Bought Journalists’, how he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
    REad it at

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-cia-infiltrated-germanys-mainstream-media/5408833

    Watch @;

    SolontoCroesus
    Very good posts sir! Keep up the good work.

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  89. The French in 1871 lost a war of less than a year in which all the physical destruction was on their own soil and the Germans suffered only military casualties, spoilage or loss of military equipment, and cash value of food and other goods to support the army. . . .

    So in 1871 the French, defeated, had to pay 20 billion dollars to the victor to defray the military costs of victory and imaginary German collective suffering. And then pay themselves to repair the damage to their own country. I’m sure they didn’t like it but it was the price of defeat. They paid their debts fast and rebuilt their country.

    . . . If you don’t want to pay reparations like that, don’t lose the biggest and most destructive war in history to that point to a country on which most of the damages were inflicted.

    This calculus relies on who suffered most damage and who lost vs who won.

    Parties have less control over winning or losing than they do over starting or not starting a war; Napoleon III started the Franco-Prussian war –

    “Alarmed by Bismarck’s territorial ambitions and the Prussian army’s crushing defeats of Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866, French Emperor Napoleon III vowed to bring Prussia to heel.” http://www.amazon.com/Franco-Prussian-War-German-Conquest-1870-1871/dp/052161743X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1445912180&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=jeff+wawro

    but he did not have the requisite personal or military skills to perform on his “vow” —

    French defeat was primarily due to the haphazard military reforms enacted by Napoleon III. While the emperor did push the chassepot and mitrailleuse, he allowed the legislature to veto funds for artillery modernization and he squandered millions on adventures like Mexico and his own personal embezzlements of public funds. Napoleon III also over-spent on his navy to match English strength http://www.amazon.com/review/R2R7QEYZ9R6HOU/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=052161743X&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books

    If you don’t want to pay reparations like that, don’t start then lose a war.

    Alsace Lorraine, which Napoleon lost to Germany when France lost that war, was a major irritant in the Dreyfuss affair. It was still a neuralgic ache in the French body politic at Versailles, and Clemenceau exploited the opportunity to exact revenge.

    As for the Jews — most histories of World War I ignore zionism as well as the movement and activities of Jews throughout the war zone, from Russia to Baghdad, but this period and these regions were times and places of enormous ferment and development for newly-emancipated Jews; for Jews of the Haskalah movement; for zionism, and for the first Jewish claims to Palestine. To ignore the activities of Jews in this era and conflict is to make Swiss cheese of the history.

    Edwin Black’s statement in “The Transfer Agreement” carries great importance: “Jews returned from Versailles in triumph.” Jews had no state in World War I yet Jews won World War I.
    In a 1937 letter to his son, David Ben Gurion wrote:

    “We must always keep in mind the fundamental truths that make our settlement of this land imperative and possible. They are two or three: it is not the British Mandate nor the Balfour Declaration. These are consequences, not causes. They are the products of coincidence: contingent, ephemeral, and they will come to an end. They were not inevitable. They could not have occurred but for the World War, or rather, they would not have occurred if the war had not ended the way it did. http://nakbaeducation.com/the-ben-gurion-letter/

    It was not an accident that World War I “ended the way it did;” that ending, as well as the Balfour declaration that Ben Gurion also labels a “consequence” were the outcomes of the efforts of Chaim Weizmann to persuade the British to stay in a war that the British were losing, and of Louis Brandeis to persuade Woodrow Wilson to take USA into the war on the side of the British, in order to fulfill Weizmann’s bargained-for exchange: Weizmann obtained for Baron Rothschild the Balfour Declaration which gave Jews “a homeland in Palestine” in exchange for Weizmann’s assistance in sustaining the British blockade that starved German civilians entry into war in order to ensure a victory that the British were otherwise unable to achieve.

    German civilians paid the cost of the Jewish acquisition of “a homeland for Jews in Palestine.”

    The British lost WWI just as much as the French and Germans lost World War I, but Jews won a dual victory from World War I. ( USA also triumphed.)

    Likewise, World War II saw France defeated, Russia decimated, the British empire fragmented, Italy dispossessed of its sovereignty and dignity, but once again, Jews, who were not parties to the war, were one of its two victors: World War II cemented the Jewish claim to Palestine (and US also triumphed).

    Tony Greenstein and Shraga Elam http://shraga-elam.blogspot.ch/2012/07/would-there-be-no-state-of-israel.html discuss the interactions among Zionists and Nazis that converged to ensure the creation and prosperity of the Jewish state http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2012/07/zionist-collaboration-with-nazis-edwin.html

    “It was the most important Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion who coined the concept “Shoah is power” (as he put it, “there’s a big catastrophe – and that’s power” 25 October 1942) [1], . . .
    Indeed many historians disagree about the claim that the State of Israel came into being only because of the Shoah, but it is impossible to deny that by means of the German reparations payments the State of Israel survived economic collapse in the 1950s, armed itself with conventional and nuclear weapons and to this very day makes use inflated use of the “cudgel” of the Holocaust in order to silence all criticism of Israel, even when it is justified. That is to say that the Shoah is a very important asset for the State of Israel.

    Not only did the State of Israel occupy Palestinian territories but it also illegally appropriated to itself and colonized the right to speak in the name of all Jews, and especially of the Shoah victims, despite the fact that during the Nazi era the leadership of the Jewish Agency, that is, the pre-state government, adopted a policy that was very problematic, to put it as mildly as possible.
    Soon after the rise of the Nazis to power the cornerstone of what can be called “the Holocaust Industry” . . . was laid

    Note that no German Jew was even sent to a concentration camp much less ‘holocausted,’ before late in 1938, yet the “cornerstone of the holocaust industry was laid” shortly after Hitler’s Jan. 1933 rise to power.

    In summary, Jews were not passive but were active, even causal agents in World War I and World War II; moreover, Jews were among the chief beneficiaries of WWI and WWII; and of all state- and non-state actors in those two wars, Jews were the one group whose gain-to-loss quotient was higher than any other group.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    My reference to the location of the damages and who suffered them in the wars of 1870-1 and 1914-18 was in part to note the irony that most of the damages were in France, whether it won or lost, but more importantly, and clearly, identified as

    1. a response to an earlier comment criticizing the relative scale of 1919 versus that of 1871 reparations, and arguing that this was proportionate to the relative scales of the wars, and,

    2. a response to the German [then] or 'pro-German' [here, for lack of a more useful encompassing term] hypocrisy of whining about Germany having to pay reparations to a victorious France in 1918 when they had expected as a victorious Germany in 1871 to be repaid for damages. If it is legitimate in 1871, it is legitimate in 1919.

    and 3. intended to note an additional layer of interest as follows.

    Germany in 1871 characterized its losses in a manner that it had not suffered. It was less that all the physical damages were in France [they were defeated, they didn't get to ask for costs] than that there were NOT such damages in Germany at all. The Prussian Finance Minister's extravagantly wounded rhetoric made it sound as though Germany had been pillaged in a second, abbreviated version of the 30 years war. It had at home suffered nothing at all. I realize the role of rhetoric in statecraft. I am merely condemning this example for its obvious cynicism.

    In other words I neither denied the right of the Germans to impose any indemnity in 1871, or indeed even that indemnity amount, nor claimed they were at fault in the war of 1870 nor denied that the French were. I merely condemned German histrionics in the way the demand was presented and noted the irony that they were just as hysterical in 1919 when on the other side.

    The Germans were perfectly entitled to impose the indemnity they chose on France to pay for military losses and occupation costs, their true costs. Regardless of the fact that the French had suffered comparable military losses. Germany won, France lost. By that same token, in 1919 France and its Allies were entitled to impose on Germany an indemnity to pay for their huge military losses, regardless of the fact that Germany had suffered comparable military losses. They won, Germany lost. France and the Allies were entitled to also impose indemnity calculated to pay for physical damages to France and Belgium, which had actually hosted the war, in a way that Germany could not reasonably claim in 1871. This also justifies the larger total indemnity. This time the physical destruction was all on the soil of the winners.

    Neither did I above claim that the Germans were "guilty" of World War 1. I explicitly disclaimed such arguments to this point. These questions have never been more than rhetoric. The Germans imposed an indemnity on France in 1871 because they were the winners. The French and the other Allies imposed an indemnity on Germany in 1919 because they were the winners, and they imposed an indemnity proportionately larger given the wildly greater scale of damages. The Germans were not entitled to complain at this normal procedure, whether or not it was wise for all concerned.

    ------------

    On the larger issues, on which I find your tripartite division quite elegant, I would say these:

    1. Who suffered most damage is relevant only in the postwar accounting, and only if that country is on the winning side. Vae Victis, if I might quote Emperor Wilhelm II.

    2. Who won and who lost is the only consideration relevant overall. Certainly it is the only consideration that actually mattered to Germany in 1871. I cannot believe Bismarck, Roon or Moltke cared about or believed in "war guilt" or their strategies in the period 1864-70 would be inexplicable. Germany imposed reparations because it could. Fair ball. I might add that guilt or innocence appeared to play no role in what we can discern of German aims in the event of overall victory in 1914-18 either. They aimed to win and impose a settlement of their choosing. They lost and so a settlement was imposed on them.

    3. War Guilt- "Deserve's got nothing to do with it". Nobody in charge ever really thinks it does when the time comes, but everybody always claims so. France and the Allies in 1919 no more or less than the Germans in 1871.

    ------

    But I'm a creature of the late 20th century Anglo-Saxon liberal world order no less than anyone. I cannot escape nor necessarily wish to entirely evade questions of war guilt or not.

    But I will confine myself to the terms you set.

    The French are "guilty" for 1870 if the fact that they declared war first is the only consideration. No consideration of the plans, stratagems, military preparations or diplomatic actions can be considered. If they were, French guilt would not be at all unique. Stupidity, perhaps, not guilt. France had its diplomatic and strategic goals, Prussia had its. Bismarck was much smarter and his country better prepared than Napoleon III or France. But French behaviour no more tended to produce the war than Prussian, save that they declared first.

    So that is the criterion we have left.

    If first declaration of war is the only relevant factor, then Germany is guilty for 1914 for its having been first to declare war on both Russia [August 1] and France [August 3], not to mention having invaded French soil at Longwy already on August 2, before declaring war. Russian mobilization or French provocation cannot be considered.

    One might argue that the British prevaricated and ultimately declared war on Germany, not the other way around. And that counts somewhat against Britain, though even in the duplicitous mess that was their policy, they had notified Germany to respect Belgian neutrality. Scrap of paper the treaty may have been, but it was in force and we are legalists here. And of course, all that doesn't discount Germany having declared war first on both Britain's allies.

    On the Jewish topics, I have made points in reply in an earlier post that I hope appears just above this one, and don't aim to repeat myself. I write long as it is, admitted.
  90. I think many intellectuals understand the dangers of Versailles:

    On 14 November 1918 Orage wrote of the coming peace settlement (embodies in the Treaty of Versailles): “The next world war, if unhappily there should be another, will in all probability be contained within the clauses and conditions attaching to the present peace settlement.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Richard_Orage

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  91. @random observer
    I didn't say the reparations were the same in scale. [Nor should they have been, given the relative scale of the two wars, where they were fought, and who suffered what in them. Both were punitive in nature given the relative scales of the wars, the German demand in 1871 all the more so because all the damages were in France anyway.]

    I merely said that the Germans were happy with disproportionately punitive reparations and abusive territorial annexations when it suited them. If proposing in 1919 to repay them in their own coin, the allies were perfectly reasonable to take into account the more than 4x longer duration of the war, the immensely greater scale of the destruction, and the fact that all the major destruction in the west had taken place on the soil of allied countries France and Belgium. None of which depends on "guilt" or blame for the war.

    So- the 5 billion francs France had to pay after 1871, and actually had paid before 1875, amounted arguably to about 20 billion modern US dollars [straight conversion to 1873 USD and then adjusted for US inflation- a crude measure to be sure, but I've seen figures that value the French reparations higher than that].

    The French in 1871 lost a war of less than a year in which all the physical destruction was on their own soil and the Germans suffered only military casualties, spoilage or loss of military equipment, and cash value of food and other goods to support the army. This statement from the Prussian Finance Minister reeks of the most breathtaking cynicism in this regard:

    "The German nation had after all suffered so many additional losses in blood and material goods which are beyond all accounting that it is entirely justified to assess the price of the war generously and in addition to the estimated sum to demand an appropriate surcharge for the incalculable damages."

    I don't think the term politely rendered as BS does justice to the good Minister's assessment.

    The Germans of 1918 lost a war of over 4 years in which almost all physical damage was on the soil of their enemies, in the west primarily again being French soil, and in which said damage was immensely greater than that of 1871, even if any of the damage of 1871 had been on the soil of victorious Germany. Which it was not.

    So in 1871 the French, defeated, had to pay 20 billion dollars to the victor to defray the military costs of victory and imaginary German collective suffering. And then pay themselves to repair the damage to their own country. I'm sure they didn't like it but it was the price of defeat. They paid their debts fast and rebuilt their country.

    In 1918 the Germans, defeated, had to pay reparations whose amounts seem to vary quite a bit. The wiki gives a 2015 dollar value of 165-billion for the German 1921 offer, 436 billion for the London Schedule of 1921, 362 billion for the 1919 Young plan, and 82-89 billion actually paid by Germany by 1932.

    So a lot more than France had paid. But, again, factor in the 4x length of the war and much more than 4x greater level of damages caused. And, of course again, that this time the victorious ally chiefly pushing the reparations was actually the country on which most of the damage had been inflicted.

    Factor in also the amount of loans and guarantees the Americans gave to Germany in this period, not to mention the immense capital investment in German industry by the US, the idea that German public finances were crippled for that whole decade, that their economy was permanently damaged or even severely weakened during it, or that the reparations as a whole constituted an undiluted, war-worthy grievance unique to German experience is absurd. If you don't want to pay reparations like that, don't lose the biggest and most destructive war in history to that point to a country on which most of the damages were inflicted. And don't have a track record of asking that same country for reparations for imaginary suffering.

    Similarly with territorial annexations. In 1871, known to be against Bismarck's better judgment, Germany annexed Alsace and part of Lorraine. It roughly followed a language line, but there was little evidence for any irredentism by local people. It was annexed for punitive and military reasons, not German demographic solidarity. That's fair. Victor's reward. In 1919, France limited itself to their return and a temporary administration of the Saar that was eventually ended by plebiscite. It also had adjustments made in favour of Belgium. These also could be justified on local grounds. And victor's reward. No valid grievance for Germany.

    The major territorial cessions demanded of Germany in the north and east also followed linguistic lines reasonably enough. It did leave some Germans in Poland, but then the pre-1918 borders had pulled a whole lot of Poles into Germany [result of the annexations of Polish soil by Prussia in the partitions that extinguished the old Polish state].

    The Germans had never been too concerned about linguistic or ethnic lines where it involved adding more territory to Germany, nor were they worried about cultural or ethnic cleansing when it was carried out against such populations by Germany. These things were only bad when carried out by French or Poles against Germans. No valid grievance for Germany there either, unless one is to assume that Germans are Very Special people who are entitled to complain under circumstances denied to others when suffering the same at Germany's hands, or that German annexations and ethnic cleansing is subject to a Brezhnev doctrine, never to be reversed even when they lose.

    I sympathize, and would have sympathized then, with the claims of Austrian and Bohemian/Moravian Germans. But they had never been citizens of the German state founded by Bismarck, nor had many wanted to be, nor had that Germany necessarily wanted them. It was to all their advantages to have a second state ruled largely by Germans. Letting them go "home" for the first time to the German Reich would have amounted to letting Germany make annexations. Large ones, of rich and militarily important territory. That's a pretty ballsy demand to make on behalf of a defeated power. Would Bismarck have entertained any claims by France on Belgium as compensation for Alsace in 1871?

    That was a very valid practical description of German circumstances in 1917 versus Allied ones in 1919. So what? Germany's practical need to try one last time to win the war is irrelevant once that gamble fails. The point is they were more than happy to impose truly epic abusive terms on the Russians, terms which would have been in force even after the putative German victory. Or do you contend they would suddenly have given it all back in a fit of magnanimity after defeating France and Britain in the West?

    Again, my point here was at no point that the terms of Versailles were the best course. But they were neither inconsistent with past norms, nor inconsistent with the scale of damages suffered by [this time victorious] France, nor administered without compensation in terms of loans and investment [mainly by the US], nor ultimately crippling to Germany, which had recovered prior to the 1929 crash, which was not Versailles related.

    You'll walk a long mile to find anyone more Germanophile than I am, outside the realm of German-Americans. I would appear to be orders of magnitude more Germanophile than any of the Germans cited in the article, or indeed possibly a majority of contemporary Germans. But just as I am disgusted by their excess of self-destructiveness and post-nationalist mincing about today, so I have no time for the hysterical overstatements of grievance from the nationalist movements of the 1920s and the Nazis of the 1930s. It's as if Germans have to be whining about something. Perhaps Churchill had it right - at your feet or at your throat.

    As to the Jews- I raise it because the Germans kept raising it in their claims at that time. Hitler claimed well in advance that he expected to have to fight a war against Jewry, an enemy whose description as he offered it amounted to a demon out of fantasy fiction, and he fully identified that enemy with Germany's defeat in World War 1 and with the potential extinction of Germany he believed was being waged after it.

    Germany was militarily defeated in the West in 1918. It was going to be defeated worse in 1919. This was the fault, if of anyone other than impersonal correlation of forces, of the state and military leadership. Not Jews. Jews didn't lose the spring offensives or collapse the front in the face of the British summer offensive or the American one. The stirrings of revolution and the collapse of the armed forces really got underway after the request for armistice talks became public. I don't know who first leaked it or whether that was a Jew. But the demand came from Ludendorff, who was not a Jew. He was just neurasthenic in the clutch. Sure there were plenty of Jews among socialist and communist agitators. There were also Jews who were faithful bourgeois and loyal soldiers, just as there were communists who were Aryan Germans. When the generals told the Kaiser the army would not fight for him, neither the generals nor most of the soldiers who were expected to betray their oaths were Jews. I doubt many of the mutinous sailors were Jews. On the far left, Haase and Luxemburg were Jews. Liebknecht was not. Among the centre-left, Ebert and Erzberger were Catholics and Scheidemann was a Protestant.

    So the "November Criminals" of the armistice [ie the patriots who saved their country from inevitable invasion, severe damage and worse terms and then took the blame from the leaders of the army afraid to admit their own failure] were not notably Jewish nor driven by an recognizably Jewish motives, the revolutionaries included plenty of non Jews from the sailors and soldiers to the top of the socialist leadership and the new republic. Ebert, socialist leader and first leader of the republic, and ironically the instigator of the stab in the back myth as a sop to the generals ["as you return undefeated from the battlefield" not], was a lapsed Catholic.

    Weimar was run predominantly by Christian socialists and Catholic centrists, as befitted the demographics of Germany. It's corrupt cultural life embraced countless Aryan Germans, just as the pillars of bourgeois rectitude included plenty of Jews.

    And yet somehow all was ultimately to be blamed not only on those German Jews, but on the shtetl inhabitants of Poland and Ukraine and Lithuania, most of whom would not have even heard of Versailles, many of who perhaps didn't really know about Brest-Litovsk.

    It would have been better if Ludendorff had just admitted he had lost the war, and had made the likely endgame significantly worse than it needed to be by his own, albeit temporary, panic in August-September 1918. And if not a few other leaders had just admitted they had fought a good fight but simply could not beat all the other major powers at once, and had made it worse by inattention to the global picture and the necessity of not getting the US on the wrong side. I quite appreciate that their honour forbade these courses to them, ditto the interests of their class, but it needn't have been a national humiliation for Germany or led to its dissolution in wholesale revolution.

    Of course, if Ludendorff, the last couple of imperial chancellors and foreign ministers [Zimmermann especially] and all the aforementioned reportedly non-Jewish politicians of 1918-19 were in fact Jewish, then I rescind all comments. Anyone want to tell Ludendorff's shade that he was a Jew all along?

    Your comment is very long, but mostly about irrelevancies.
    Indemnities and punitive terms were not invented in 1871. Ask any Prussian how generously they were treated after Jena.
    French war guilt for 1870 is as uncontroversial as such ever can be. German guilt for 1914 is the reverse.
    France did not ask for Belgium in 1871, but had in the 1860s, and then the problem had been not the attitude of Prussia, but that of England.
    The peace settlement robbed the Germans of their old states, but forbade them, as a body, to form a new one.
    You certainly have the Prussians where you want them in November 1918. If they suppress the revolution, you can denounce them as bloodthirsty reactionary monsters. If not, as traitors.
    If you think there was no problem with the way many prominent Jews bore themselves in the Germany of the early 1920s, you disagree with many contemporary observers, including diplomats from the victorious allies.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    This time I'll try to be more concise. You wrote short, you deserve short(ish) in reply.

    Almost all my points were in reply to others. If I was irrelevant, no more than those to whom I replied.

    I didn't say the Germans invented punitive terms in 1871 or blame them for the phenomenon. I indeed stressed that they were SOPs, and that this applied just as much to the victors of 1919 as of 1871. My criticism of the Germans was not that they imposed punitive terms when they won, but that they expected to evade them when they lost.

    French war guilt of 187o versus German war guilt of 1914- let me repeat that I not only did not originally raise this ideological dispute, I originally very loudly disclaimed it as meaningless. Nevertheless, if it is deemed relevant, see my last post. Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.

    French claim on Belgium of 1871 [which I stated I was making up for these purposes]- I had hoped that I was clear that this somewhat arbitrary notion was merely in response to the previous notion that Germany was somehow entitled to claim the German-speakers of the Habsburg lands after 1918. Defeated powers rarely are allowed to make large annexations of rich, populous, strategically significant lands on purely ethno-linguistic grounds. The idea that Germany would or should have been permitted this is absurd. And although many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds, they had not hitherto ever been its citizens. They lived in the territories they had long lived in.

    [Even Bohemia. It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands. It fairly early had its own King, not initially a German but a Slav dynasty. If the German landowners ended up running the place with a Habsburg king, still and all it was throughout the same Bohemia. In 1919 they just had to yield the rule of it again. If they wanted to live in Germany among Germans, they could go west to their distant ancestors' country. Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority. It might not have been easy at first, but they didn't try any harder than the Czechs, who were the majority in what had originally been theirs to begin with.]

    If the peace settlement robbed the Germans of something, that's because they lost. My original point. It was not cosmically unfair for the allies to apply to Germany the standards that had been applied to losing powers before, including by Germany. Unless Germans are special.

    The Germans of Germany did not lose their state. They lost territory that included Germans, just as they had formerly annexed territory that included non-Germans. The Germans of Austria did not lose their state. The Habsburgs lost their empire. The Germans of Austria kept a state. They just weren't allowed to keep all of its territory that included all their Germans, forcing those to live as minorities among others. Just as once they had ruled extensive territories full of non-German majorities. These are harsh terms, but they were not applied uniquely to the German situation when compared to normal practice of the past. So they did not form a unique German grievance.

    I don't know what you mean about the Prussians of 1918. Certainly from my perspective now, I wouldn't have had much objection to them suppressing the revolution. I don't much care for communists, although had I lived at the time I would have still wanted my side [I'm Canadian] to win the war. Given that stipulation was pretty well in place on November 11, I would have hardly had any problem with the Germans keeping their emperor and kings etc. But that's me. Had I lived then as a German, I might have preferred a more liberal government under the monarchs and various other reform measures, but there was a reasonable chance that I could have gotten that from the non-socialist parties, and even grudgingly from the royals and nobles and army, given they had already made some reformist moves. I can't say I would have wanted a republic particularly, I like my constitutional monarchy now. I certainly would not have wanted a Soviet republic, though I might have been deluded were I in certain working class occupations. One has to consider one's own interests and sitting here I don't know what my place might be if transported back to that time and place.

    As far as calling the Prussians traitors, I only recall noting that a whole swath of officers, soldiers and sailors [Prussian and other German] would not fight for their emperor to whom they had sworn oaths. I sympathize with the rank and file. Who wants to be last to die in a defeat? I even sympathize with the officers, who in some cases may have agonized before asking the emperor to release them and who wanted to go home and suppress the revolution, still as officers of Germany. I merely raised this issue in response to the usual canard about home-front Jews being disloyal, by indicating the vast numbers of non-Jews disinclined to fight on. If the Jews were traitors, so were the mutinous sailors, to cite the most obvious case. And vastly more numerous.

    As to the Jews, I'm sure allied diplomats did think that. I just need examples.

    I want to hear about Jews, ie GERMAN Jews who as citizens owed loyalty to Germany not Jews who were loyal to their own countries, who actually contributed anything at all significant to Germany losing the war. They don't have to have been as responsible as Ludendorff or the army or the government or any other officer/aristocrat heroes who actually led Germany into war against almost every other Great Power and then proved less effective than they hoped, and then evaded all blame for their defeat on the battlefield and even claimed it hadn't happened. Although it would be nice if the accusations against Jews would at least bear serious comparison to comprehensive military defeat as a cause for Germany's loss. That was a pretty big gloss over by the postwar right, and indeed most Germans.

    But there does have to be something about their contributions to defeat to which their Jewishness is relevant, and clearly it has to be something that was done by all or at least most Jews, and something that cannot equally be laid to the door of millions of German Gentiles.

    The Nazis and their early forebears and cohorts were blaming all Jews as Jews for Germany's position, and in a way that was not considered as comprehensive for any other subcategory of German citizen.

    So I don't aim to endorse claims about Horowitz the small town war profiteer or Wolowitz the communist agitator, when I could easily cite Rabinowitz the patriotic bourgeois with a son on the Western Front or Rosenthal who was killed at Verdun. Or for that matter cite Rupprecht Steinmetz the impeccably Aryan profiteer and [real one this time] Karl Liebknecht the Aryan leader of the German communists.

    The Nazis and their kindred set the terms by their claims. It needs to be shown that "the Jews" qua Jews were undermining Germany, in such numbers that warranted expelling and ultimately killing all of them, to a degree that exceeded their roles as merely individuals or members of parties that were not explicitly or mainly Jewish, and did not warrant exempting every Jew [ie GERMAN CITIZEN] guilty of nothing, and to a degree that was not true of any Aryan German.

    You might find these terms restrictive. They are the terms required by Nazi claims.
  92. @SolontoCroesus

    3. Germany under Hitler decided to take out much of their alleged and tenuously justified grievances on people who had not been participants in Versailles- their own Jewish citizens, repaid in harsh coin for their loyal service to the Kaiser, and the Jewish citizens of neighbouring countries, paid with murder for being hapless shtetl-dwellers whose influence on the statecraft of 1919 had been less than nothing
     
    You're ignoring several glaring facts:

    a. 800,000 German civilans starved in WWI, a result of Allied blockade to which Chaim Weizmann was a contributor if not fully complicit. Starving civilians was supposed to have been outlawed by "Christian civilizations" such as the British represented themselves.

    b. The starvation famine extended past the time of Germany's armistice; this was done to force Germany to sign the Versailles treaties.

    c. Germans were not permitted to have any representation at Versailles but several dozens if not a hundred or more jewish and zionist persons were present and wielded great influence. Edmund Black wrote in "The Transfer Agreement," "zionist Jews returned from Versailles with a dual victory: they had acquired a homeland for Jews in Palestine, and also protection of minority rights in those states where they dwelt."

    The first statement refers to the Balfour declaration which Weizmann negotiated with the British government -- Palestine to Jews in exchange for Jewish assistance in involving USA in the war.

    As Niall Ferguson argues, the British had lost the war two or three times, but they stayed involved, against all logic. It was the combined effect of civilian starvation that demoralized German troops, and Pershing's American army's appearance on the scene, that turned the tide in Britain's favor.

    Jews did indeed stab Germany in the back -- Germany had been one of Jewry's primary supporters in a relatively respectful plan for Jews to establish colonies in Palestine; the Warburgs were leaders and financiers of the plans and resented Weizmann's -- and especially Revisionist zionist Jabotinsky's violent, "Iron Wall" schemes and behaviors. But the latter won out over the German Warburgs, and Netanyahu carries on that tradition. (Netanyahu's father was an acolyte of Jabotinsky).

    d. To compound the felony, Bolshevik Jews flooded into Germany from Poland and Russia at the time when Germany was struggling with hyperinflation & war debts & revolutionary turmoil. Jews attempted to take over German politics & culture, and Bolshevik Jews made overt efforts to overthrow the German government. Numerous street riots punctuated the interwar years.

    It's important to recognize that animosity toward Jewish migrants from Russia and Poland bubbled up from the "German street,' it was not a to-down phenomenon. As NSDAP consolidated power it actually calmed the atmosphere of ordinary Germans toward Jews.

    Statements like those of idiot Ben Carson had to have been written by hasbara central: that NSDAP disarmed ordinary Germans (actually, Freikorps was the primary target of 'getting guns out of the hands of thugs') was a good thing for Jews and not the other way around.

    e. Yes indeed, Germany was reestablishing its economy. German Jews were participating. BUT zionists in Britain and USA were intent on fulfilling one of the major tenets of zionism: the "in-gathering of diaspora Jews to Palestine." The zionist project especially needed wealthy German Jews -- the zionist project was threatened with bankruptcy just as most other places were in Depression. Zionists needed German Jewish wealth to bail it out, so US zionists provoked turmoil in German and then a war: first, by means of the Jewish economic war on Germany intended to cause in Germans the same terror they had experienced during WWI famine, and to cripple Germany economically.
    Hitler's major crime was to run Germany's economy without reliance on Jewish-Anglo (New York - London) central bank-debt financing systems. This was unforgivable.

    a) So the British Cabinet and Admiralty adopt the same naval strategy they had been trying on for nearly 200 years against continental rivals, with considerable success, and somehow Jews are responsible because one famous Zionist supported it? Let’s go ahead and say every Jew on earth supported it, which is hardly likely since that would have included German Jews on the frontline not to mention millions of Jews in eastern Europe who hadn’t a clue. I am pretty confident that if there had been no Jews in the world in 1914 the British would have imposed the exact same blockade at the same time and for the same reasons. The suggestion that Jews, or even Weizmann could be blamed for British naval policy is beyond lunacy.

    Blame the British for it, fine. That would at least put responsibility where it belonged. It was and is absurd to blame the Jews or any particular Jews.

    As for British responsibility, nobody called it a war crime when it was used against France. Nor does anyone spend any time condemning other historical blockade strategies, which were and are implemented quite commonly by any power that has command of the sea against weaker opponents that cannot challenge it in that environment. [Southerners might have complaints against the Union in this regard, but since no one recognized them as a state, no violation of international law could be claimed even in theory.] Of other countries that have faced a blockade only advocates for Germany ever complain, and therefore only Britain gets blamed for using the method. They were just more consistent and better at it. To be expected given the geography.

    Also, the German U-boat campaigns in both wars, which had the same objective, were not and are not considered to have been war crimes. You could make valid points that the Germans committed war crimes when they started sinking ships without warning, or the British did using Q-ships, but the U-boat campaign to interdict commerce was not itself a war crime. It too was a blockade designed to starve Britain out.

    Both things were legitimate. The maritime and strategic-level equivalent of siege, or of the countless strategies of economic war adopted by all parties to deprive their enemies of needed resources or to seize resources for themselves.

    I don’t see what claims about being a Christian civilization have to do with anything. All the major parties other than the Turks claimed to be Christian powers and all were doing nasty stuff of rough moral equivalence [in the first war]. I am no immediately aware that the British had agreed to give up blockade strategy.

    b) Of course it was. Legal state of war was still in place. The existence of that state of war, obvious until a peace treaty was signed, was the authority to continue such things as the blockade, to hold POWS, and to intern the German sailors along with their ships, also as POWs. Standard practices both before and after the Hague Conventions. Common practice by winning powers everywhere prior to peace agreements being signed. Past German practice too. Nothing wrong with it. The November 11 Armistice required the Allies to suspend offensive operations and they did. That’s what they agreed to. They used the leverage provided by the persistence of a state of war to pressure the Germans to sign the peace treaty on their preferred terms. And they imposed the other armistice conditions in the meantime like internment of the fleet to make it harder for the Germans to later reject the armistice and resume the fighting.

    That’s what you do when you are winning. The Germans clearly agreed on November 11 that the Allies must be winning, or they would not have accepted the armistice conditions. They could have kept on fighting. They knew perfectly well that would result in even worse terms in some armistice they’d have to sign in 1919, and it likely would have made the eventual peace treaty circa 1920-1 even worse. They could have gambled on doing better in 1919. They decided they were losing and were going to lose and could not fight on.

    If they had really wanted to end the war faster, they could always have shown up at Versailles and begged to surrender at discretion.

    c) Your section c does not list any Jewish reps at Versailles demanding anything be done to hurt Germany, nor identify any gains by these Jews that involved inflicting harm on Germany. I reiterate. I asked for testable claims that the Jews either set out to hurt GERMANY, or had indeed done so. Showing up to demand the victors give them the homeland in Palestine the British had promised does not harm Germany. Asking for guarantees of minority rights in Europe does not harm Germany. It probably would have helped some Germans in other countries if it had ever been implemented. But it certainly did not harm Germany.

    Ferguson’s point you offer is interesting. There’s no arguing that the British and French were as fully exhausted on every level. It was perfectly possible that the German 1918 offensives could have broken the British lines and in the aftermath provoked a panic that would have seen the Allies fold like Germany later did. But it didn’t work out like that. When the Allies launched their offensives, the Germans did break, yield much more territory, permanently, and demand an armistice.

    [The proportions of troops involved were about 2.6 French to 1.8 British to 1.9 American, but the largest gains were on the British and French fronts, with each of those armies inflicting greater damage on the Germans than that done by the US army. The US army's contribution was both necessary and highly significant on the ground, let alone for morale. But it wasn't the biggest. It would have been overwhelming in 1919.]

    So what was the illogic of Britain staying in? The Germans had proved unable to defeat them in 1914-17, just as much as they had proved unable to defeat the Germans. There was no more reason for Britain to quit than there was for Germany until the spring of 1918. As I said, each power then put the matter to the final test. The Germans failed.

    On the stab in the back, your case seems to rest in the first part on the argument that leading German Jews wanted Germany to win because they expected German support in Palestine. Sounds like some combination of German patriotism, and fair dealing for friendly future relations between Germany and a future Jewish homeland. That posture should at least have bought a postwar Germany willing to exempt most of its own Jews from collective condemnation and eventual denaturalization followed by slaughter. All that sounds like the leading Jews of Germany, who as its citizens owed it loyalty, were indeed patriots and friends to Germany, just as at the lower levels many served in uniform. And then Germany turned its back on them, blamed them for its national and military failure, and then pulled out knives for them and took their possessions, long before deciding at last to kill them all.

    The Jews you cite most prominently, Weizmann and Jabotinsky, cannot be accused of stabbing Germany in the back because neither owed Germany any national loyalty by either birth or oath. Weizmann was a born Russian subject who studied in Germany for 5 years in the 1890s but never became its citizen, later moved to Britain and was naturalized a British subject in 1910. As such it was right and proper that he took the British part in the war. Anything else would have been disgraceful in its own right. He did not owe Germany patriotism, it was never his country.

    Jabotinsky was also a born Russian subject. One might argue that as a revolutionary he was a traitor to the Tsar, but I can’t find anything quickly that involved him doing anything to fight against Russia or the Russian monarchy. He was always about Zionism and the Ottomans. Besides, the Tsar’s claims on him would be moot by the time of Versailles. As he had never been German, he did not owe allegiance to Germany and cannot be accused of having betrayed it.

    Similarly, unless you are going to tell me the vast Jewish populations of the Russian and Austrian Empires were conspiring at Versailles against Germany [one would wonder why they would be doing that- they'd have been better conspiring against Poland], perhaps they should have been exempted from Hitler’s wrath, whether rhetorical or eventually physical.

    I don’t see why American Jews had any less right to argue for the course of action by the US they favoured, as German or Irish Americans had right to argue for the US staying out of the war. Said Jews were either citizens, voters, taxpayers [and political donors] like the rest, or they were not. Nor is there any difference between American Jews listening to the entreaties of British Jews to enter the war on the side of Britain, and American gentiles listening to the entreaties of British gentiles to enter the war on the side of Britain. Besides, hyper-Virginian Wilson and his White Protestant administration entered the war to enhance American power and impose his personal and class values on the world. He succeeded only partly on the latter, but massively on the former count.

    d) Worth noting in passing that in the Russian Bolshevik party, Jews were a small minority of 5-7% though a higher percentage of the leaders [still not the majority]. So their blame for Russia is only partial. Far less than the blame that belongs to the German intelligence service, the real enablers of the October Revolution. The most cunningly successful intelligence operation in history, in that it knocked Russia from the war and enabled Brest-Litovsk and led to a devastating civil war, but with the most appalling blowback in history for Germany first in 1919 and then in 1941-5. I raise all that only to note the irony involved in the Bolsheviks then flooding their people into by-then defeated Germany to bring Germany into the revolution. Turnabout is fair play.

    The bigger questions here are:

    1. What about all the German socialists and communists who were not Jews? Like Liebknecht, for an obvious one. And most if not all of the naval mutineers, most of the members of the USPD and the eventual KPD, not least the Rotfrontkampfverband street militias. Were these robust Aryan German workers, lawyers, journalists and agitators a mere pack of puppets in a Jewish led clown show? That speaks ill of the German blood, to say the least.

    2. What about the fact that neither the Russian nor the German communists who were ethnic Jews considered themselves either religious Jews [they were Marxists after all] or Zionists [they were internationalists after all not ethnonationalists].? If you are a Jew by ethnic ancestry fine. But if you neither practice the faith nor endorse the Zionist political ideology, and adhere to the materialist internationalist secular philosophy of an internationalist and deeply anti-Semitic lapsed German Jew who also held the religion and Jewish ethnoculture in contempt, do not practice Jewish culture and carry on policies that cannot recognizably be considered Jewish in content, as minority players in political movements whose actual ideology is being made clear, in what remaining sense is your policy “Jewish”?

    Or to put both in another way, why is the “Jewish” part more important than the “Bolshevik” part in your formulation?

    To be fair, the Nazis also set out to kill all the communists who hadn’t switched sides fast enough and joined the NSDAP, including plenty of the majority of non-Jewish communists. Very even-handed. Clearly they hated communists as communists and aimed to do away with them. But then they also set out to kill German Jews as such, including the majority who were not communists. Clearly they also hated Jews as Jews and aimed to do away with them, communist or not.

    I’m not sure what “Jews attempted to take over German politics and culture” is supposed to mean.

    At no point were Jews in anything resembling a position to take over German politics from the overwhelmingly [if often lapsed] Catholic and Protestant politicians who ran the republic. Nor was there any Jewish movement aiming let alone able to impose a Jewish government. The Communists were not all Jews, their ideology was neither Judaism nor Zionism. They wanted to create a communist Germany, not a Jewish Germany. I seriously doubt it could have looked any different from the eventual DDR the survivors clapped together after WW2. That is to say dowdy, Aryan, and stylistically roughly like NS Germany. Granted, it might have had more Jews since they wouldn’t all be dead. Then again, the Stalinists might still at least have purged them all. It certainly wouldn’t have been a Jewish regime.

    Nor, dismissing the notion that the communists were a primarily Jewish force, did the communists try to overthrow the German state any more than the fringe right did. Or stage any more street riots. The whole history of 1918-32 is both fringes trying to overthrown lawful government. Whatever you think of the republic as a German state, it is worth remembering that by the standards of pre-1918 Germany it was at least as legitimate as Nazi Germany. Weimar’s political institutions were more liberal, but they far more resembled those of the empire than Hitler’s government did. The Kaiser’s government acted through law and procedure, granted rights to Germans, submitted at least core domestic matters to a free parliament, and did not massacre its own citizens. It was not run based on the charisma of a populist street performer backed by thugs and murderers and based on the murder of its own citizens in situations that were in some degree still illegal even under their own arbitrary regime.

    German culture was carrying on trends, many of them decadent to be sure, already well established in the arts of prewar Germany and of other European countries, which continued in those countries as they did in Germany, and were fully engaged in by gentiles at every level. Nor were the contents of these arts Jewish in any particular way. Chagall was not more decadent than Picasso.

    It’s not more than a matter of taste, but to a devotee of older forms of European art there isn’t much qualitative or spiritual difference between the stuff the Nazis called decadent and the cheesy poorly executed claptrap they promoted. Just as Stalinist art in Russia was not better than the stuff he condemned.

    e) This section does not make any sense of any kind and I cannot even begin to unpack the internal logic of the strategy you propose.

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    • Replies: @HdC
    Falsehood in one, falsehood in all, as a legal principle would have it.

    Germany was starved AFTER the WWI ceasefire which Germany had agreed to because of the US President's proposal to stop the war.

    German U-boats sank British and American ships DURING the wars, AFTER Britain and France declared war on Germany.

    Quite a difference.

    HdC
  93. @SolontoCroesus

    The French in 1871 lost a war of less than a year in which all the physical destruction was on their own soil and the Germans suffered only military casualties, spoilage or loss of military equipment, and cash value of food and other goods to support the army. . . .

    So in 1871 the French, defeated, had to pay 20 billion dollars to the victor to defray the military costs of victory and imaginary German collective suffering. And then pay themselves to repair the damage to their own country. I’m sure they didn’t like it but it was the price of defeat. They paid their debts fast and rebuilt their country.

    . . . If you don’t want to pay reparations like that, don’t lose the biggest and most destructive war in history to that point to a country on which most of the damages were inflicted.
     
    This calculus relies on who suffered most damage and who lost vs who won.

    Parties have less control over winning or losing than they do over starting or not starting a war; Napoleon III started the Franco-Prussian war --

    "Alarmed by Bismarck's territorial ambitions and the Prussian army's crushing defeats of Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866, French Emperor Napoleon III vowed to bring Prussia to heel." http://www.amazon.com/Franco-Prussian-War-German-Conquest-1870-1871/dp/052161743X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1445912180&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=jeff+wawro
     
    but he did not have the requisite personal or military skills to perform on his "vow" --

    French defeat was primarily due to the haphazard military reforms enacted by Napoleon III. While the emperor did push the chassepot and mitrailleuse, he allowed the legislature to veto funds for artillery modernization and he squandered millions on adventures like Mexico and his own personal embezzlements of public funds. Napoleon III also over-spent on his navy to match English strength http://www.amazon.com/review/R2R7QEYZ9R6HOU/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=052161743X&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books

     

    If you don’t want to pay reparations like that, don’t start then lose a war.

    Alsace Lorraine, which Napoleon lost to Germany when France lost that war, was a major irritant in the Dreyfuss affair. It was still a neuralgic ache in the French body politic at Versailles, and Clemenceau exploited the opportunity to exact revenge.

    ---

    As for the Jews -- most histories of World War I ignore zionism as well as the movement and activities of Jews throughout the war zone, from Russia to Baghdad, but this period and these regions were times and places of enormous ferment and development for newly-emancipated Jews; for Jews of the Haskalah movement; for zionism, and for the first Jewish claims to Palestine. To ignore the activities of Jews in this era and conflict is to make Swiss cheese of the history.

    Edwin Black's statement in "The Transfer Agreement" carries great importance: "Jews returned from Versailles in triumph." Jews had no state in World War I yet Jews won World War I.
    In a 1937 letter to his son, David Ben Gurion wrote:

    "We must always keep in mind the fundamental truths that make our settlement of this land imperative and possible. They are two or three: it is not the British Mandate nor the Balfour Declaration. These are consequences, not causes. They are the products of coincidence: contingent, ephemeral, and they will come to an end. They were not inevitable. They could not have occurred but for the World War, or rather, they would not have occurred if the war had not ended the way it did. http://nakbaeducation.com/the-ben-gurion-letter/ "
     
    It was not an accident that World War I "ended the way it did;" that ending, as well as the Balfour declaration that Ben Gurion also labels a "consequence" were the outcomes of the efforts of Chaim Weizmann to persuade the British to stay in a war that the British were losing, and of Louis Brandeis to persuade Woodrow Wilson to take USA into the war on the side of the British, in order to fulfill Weizmann's bargained-for exchange: Weizmann obtained for Baron Rothschild the Balfour Declaration which gave Jews "a homeland in Palestine" in exchange for Weizmann's assistance in sustaining the British blockade that starved German civilians entry into war in order to ensure a victory that the British were otherwise unable to achieve.

    German civilians paid the cost of the Jewish acquisition of "a homeland for Jews in Palestine."

    The British lost WWI just as much as the French and Germans lost World War I, but Jews won a dual victory from World War I. ( USA also triumphed.)

    Likewise, World War II saw France defeated, Russia decimated, the British empire fragmented, Italy dispossessed of its sovereignty and dignity, but once again, Jews, who were not parties to the war, were one of its two victors: World War II cemented the Jewish claim to Palestine (and US also triumphed).

    Tony Greenstein and Shraga Elam http://shraga-elam.blogspot.ch/2012/07/would-there-be-no-state-of-israel.html discuss the interactions among Zionists and Nazis that converged to ensure the creation and prosperity of the Jewish state http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2012/07/zionist-collaboration-with-nazis-edwin.html

    "It was the most important Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion who coined the concept “Shoah is power” (as he put it, “there’s a big catastrophe – and that’s power” 25 October 1942) [1], . . .
    Indeed many historians disagree about the claim that the State of Israel came into being only because of the Shoah, but it is impossible to deny that by means of the German reparations payments the State of Israel survived economic collapse in the 1950s, armed itself with conventional and nuclear weapons and to this very day makes use inflated use of the “cudgel” of the Holocaust in order to silence all criticism of Israel, even when it is justified. That is to say that the Shoah is a very important asset for the State of Israel.

    Not only did the State of Israel occupy Palestinian territories but it also illegally appropriated to itself and colonized the right to speak in the name of all Jews, and especially of the Shoah victims, despite the fact that during the Nazi era the leadership of the Jewish Agency, that is, the pre-state government, adopted a policy that was very problematic, to put it as mildly as possible.
    Soon after the rise of the Nazis to power the cornerstone of what can be called “the Holocaust Industry” . . . was laid"
     
    Note that no German Jew was even sent to a concentration camp much less 'holocausted,' before late in 1938, yet the "cornerstone of the holocaust industry was laid" shortly after Hitler's Jan. 1933 rise to power.

    In summary, Jews were not passive but were active, even causal agents in World War I and World War II; moreover, Jews were among the chief beneficiaries of WWI and WWII; and of all state- and non-state actors in those two wars, Jews were the one group whose gain-to-loss quotient was higher than any other group.

    My reference to the location of the damages and who suffered them in the wars of 1870-1 and 1914-18 was in part to note the irony that most of the damages were in France, whether it won or lost, but more importantly, and clearly, identified as

    1. a response to an earlier comment criticizing the relative scale of 1919 versus that of 1871 reparations, and arguing that this was proportionate to the relative scales of the wars, and,

    2. a response to the German [then] or ‘pro-German’ [here, for lack of a more useful encompassing term] hypocrisy of whining about Germany having to pay reparations to a victorious France in 1918 when they had expected as a victorious Germany in 1871 to be repaid for damages. If it is legitimate in 1871, it is legitimate in 1919.

    and 3. intended to note an additional layer of interest as follows.

    Germany in 1871 characterized its losses in a manner that it had not suffered. It was less that all the physical damages were in France [they were defeated, they didn't get to ask for costs] than that there were NOT such damages in Germany at all. The Prussian Finance Minister’s extravagantly wounded rhetoric made it sound as though Germany had been pillaged in a second, abbreviated version of the 30 years war. It had at home suffered nothing at all. I realize the role of rhetoric in statecraft. I am merely condemning this example for its obvious cynicism.

    In other words I neither denied the right of the Germans to impose any indemnity in 1871, or indeed even that indemnity amount, nor claimed they were at fault in the war of 1870 nor denied that the French were. I merely condemned German histrionics in the way the demand was presented and noted the irony that they were just as hysterical in 1919 when on the other side.

    The Germans were perfectly entitled to impose the indemnity they chose on France to pay for military losses and occupation costs, their true costs. Regardless of the fact that the French had suffered comparable military losses. Germany won, France lost. By that same token, in 1919 France and its Allies were entitled to impose on Germany an indemnity to pay for their huge military losses, regardless of the fact that Germany had suffered comparable military losses. They won, Germany lost. France and the Allies were entitled to also impose indemnity calculated to pay for physical damages to France and Belgium, which had actually hosted the war, in a way that Germany could not reasonably claim in 1871. This also justifies the larger total indemnity. This time the physical destruction was all on the soil of the winners.

    Neither did I above claim that the Germans were “guilty” of World War 1. I explicitly disclaimed such arguments to this point. These questions have never been more than rhetoric. The Germans imposed an indemnity on France in 1871 because they were the winners. The French and the other Allies imposed an indemnity on Germany in 1919 because they were the winners, and they imposed an indemnity proportionately larger given the wildly greater scale of damages. The Germans were not entitled to complain at this normal procedure, whether or not it was wise for all concerned.

    ————

    On the larger issues, on which I find your tripartite division quite elegant, I would say these:

    1. Who suffered most damage is relevant only in the postwar accounting, and only if that country is on the winning side. Vae Victis, if I might quote Emperor Wilhelm II.

    2. Who won and who lost is the only consideration relevant overall. Certainly it is the only consideration that actually mattered to Germany in 1871. I cannot believe Bismarck, Roon or Moltke cared about or believed in “war guilt” or their strategies in the period 1864-70 would be inexplicable. Germany imposed reparations because it could. Fair ball. I might add that guilt or innocence appeared to play no role in what we can discern of German aims in the event of overall victory in 1914-18 either. They aimed to win and impose a settlement of their choosing. They lost and so a settlement was imposed on them.

    3. War Guilt- “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it”. Nobody in charge ever really thinks it does when the time comes, but everybody always claims so. France and the Allies in 1919 no more or less than the Germans in 1871.

    ——

    But I’m a creature of the late 20th century Anglo-Saxon liberal world order no less than anyone. I cannot escape nor necessarily wish to entirely evade questions of war guilt or not.

    But I will confine myself to the terms you set.

    The French are “guilty” for 1870 if the fact that they declared war first is the only consideration. No consideration of the plans, stratagems, military preparations or diplomatic actions can be considered. If they were, French guilt would not be at all unique. Stupidity, perhaps, not guilt. France had its diplomatic and strategic goals, Prussia had its. Bismarck was much smarter and his country better prepared than Napoleon III or France. But French behaviour no more tended to produce the war than Prussian, save that they declared first.

    So that is the criterion we have left.

    If first declaration of war is the only relevant factor, then Germany is guilty for 1914 for its having been first to declare war on both Russia [August 1] and France [August 3], not to mention having invaded French soil at Longwy already on August 2, before declaring war. Russian mobilization or French provocation cannot be considered.

    One might argue that the British prevaricated and ultimately declared war on Germany, not the other way around. And that counts somewhat against Britain, though even in the duplicitous mess that was their policy, they had notified Germany to respect Belgian neutrality. Scrap of paper the treaty may have been, but it was in force and we are legalists here. And of course, all that doesn’t discount Germany having declared war first on both Britain’s allies.

    On the Jewish topics, I have made points in reply in an earlier post that I hope appears just above this one, and don’t aim to repeat myself. I write long as it is, admitted.

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  94. @5371
    Your comment is very long, but mostly about irrelevancies.
    Indemnities and punitive terms were not invented in 1871. Ask any Prussian how generously they were treated after Jena.
    French war guilt for 1870 is as uncontroversial as such ever can be. German guilt for 1914 is the reverse.
    France did not ask for Belgium in 1871, but had in the 1860s, and then the problem had been not the attitude of Prussia, but that of England.
    The peace settlement robbed the Germans of their old states, but forbade them, as a body, to form a new one.
    You certainly have the Prussians where you want them in November 1918. If they suppress the revolution, you can denounce them as bloodthirsty reactionary monsters. If not, as traitors.
    If you think there was no problem with the way many prominent Jews bore themselves in the Germany of the early 1920s, you disagree with many contemporary observers, including diplomats from the victorious allies.

    This time I’ll try to be more concise. You wrote short, you deserve short(ish) in reply.

    Almost all my points were in reply to others. If I was irrelevant, no more than those to whom I replied.

    I didn’t say the Germans invented punitive terms in 1871 or blame them for the phenomenon. I indeed stressed that they were SOPs, and that this applied just as much to the victors of 1919 as of 1871. My criticism of the Germans was not that they imposed punitive terms when they won, but that they expected to evade them when they lost.

    French war guilt of 187o versus German war guilt of 1914- let me repeat that I not only did not originally raise this ideological dispute, I originally very loudly disclaimed it as meaningless. Nevertheless, if it is deemed relevant, see my last post. Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.

    French claim on Belgium of 1871 [which I stated I was making up for these purposes]- I had hoped that I was clear that this somewhat arbitrary notion was merely in response to the previous notion that Germany was somehow entitled to claim the German-speakers of the Habsburg lands after 1918. Defeated powers rarely are allowed to make large annexations of rich, populous, strategically significant lands on purely ethno-linguistic grounds. The idea that Germany would or should have been permitted this is absurd. And although many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds, they had not hitherto ever been its citizens. They lived in the territories they had long lived in.

    [Even Bohemia. It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands. It fairly early had its own King, not initially a German but a Slav dynasty. If the German landowners ended up running the place with a Habsburg king, still and all it was throughout the same Bohemia. In 1919 they just had to yield the rule of it again. If they wanted to live in Germany among Germans, they could go west to their distant ancestors' country. Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority. It might not have been easy at first, but they didn't try any harder than the Czechs, who were the majority in what had originally been theirs to begin with.]

    If the peace settlement robbed the Germans of something, that’s because they lost. My original point. It was not cosmically unfair for the allies to apply to Germany the standards that had been applied to losing powers before, including by Germany. Unless Germans are special.

    The Germans of Germany did not lose their state. They lost territory that included Germans, just as they had formerly annexed territory that included non-Germans. The Germans of Austria did not lose their state. The Habsburgs lost their empire. The Germans of Austria kept a state. They just weren’t allowed to keep all of its territory that included all their Germans, forcing those to live as minorities among others. Just as once they had ruled extensive territories full of non-German majorities. These are harsh terms, but they were not applied uniquely to the German situation when compared to normal practice of the past. So they did not form a unique German grievance.

    I don’t know what you mean about the Prussians of 1918. Certainly from my perspective now, I wouldn’t have had much objection to them suppressing the revolution. I don’t much care for communists, although had I lived at the time I would have still wanted my side [I'm Canadian] to win the war. Given that stipulation was pretty well in place on November 11, I would have hardly had any problem with the Germans keeping their emperor and kings etc. But that’s me. Had I lived then as a German, I might have preferred a more liberal government under the monarchs and various other reform measures, but there was a reasonable chance that I could have gotten that from the non-socialist parties, and even grudgingly from the royals and nobles and army, given they had already made some reformist moves. I can’t say I would have wanted a republic particularly, I like my constitutional monarchy now. I certainly would not have wanted a Soviet republic, though I might have been deluded were I in certain working class occupations. One has to consider one’s own interests and sitting here I don’t know what my place might be if transported back to that time and place.

    As far as calling the Prussians traitors, I only recall noting that a whole swath of officers, soldiers and sailors [Prussian and other German] would not fight for their emperor to whom they had sworn oaths. I sympathize with the rank and file. Who wants to be last to die in a defeat? I even sympathize with the officers, who in some cases may have agonized before asking the emperor to release them and who wanted to go home and suppress the revolution, still as officers of Germany. I merely raised this issue in response to the usual canard about home-front Jews being disloyal, by indicating the vast numbers of non-Jews disinclined to fight on. If the Jews were traitors, so were the mutinous sailors, to cite the most obvious case. And vastly more numerous.

    As to the Jews, I’m sure allied diplomats did think that. I just need examples.

    I want to hear about Jews, ie GERMAN Jews who as citizens owed loyalty to Germany not Jews who were loyal to their own countries, who actually contributed anything at all significant to Germany losing the war. They don’t have to have been as responsible as Ludendorff or the army or the government or any other officer/aristocrat heroes who actually led Germany into war against almost every other Great Power and then proved less effective than they hoped, and then evaded all blame for their defeat on the battlefield and even claimed it hadn’t happened. Although it would be nice if the accusations against Jews would at least bear serious comparison to comprehensive military defeat as a cause for Germany’s loss. That was a pretty big gloss over by the postwar right, and indeed most Germans.

    But there does have to be something about their contributions to defeat to which their Jewishness is relevant, and clearly it has to be something that was done by all or at least most Jews, and something that cannot equally be laid to the door of millions of German Gentiles.

    The Nazis and their early forebears and cohorts were blaming all Jews as Jews for Germany’s position, and in a way that was not considered as comprehensive for any other subcategory of German citizen.

    So I don’t aim to endorse claims about Horowitz the small town war profiteer or Wolowitz the communist agitator, when I could easily cite Rabinowitz the patriotic bourgeois with a son on the Western Front or Rosenthal who was killed at Verdun. Or for that matter cite Rupprecht Steinmetz the impeccably Aryan profiteer and [real one this time] Karl Liebknecht the Aryan leader of the German communists.

    The Nazis and their kindred set the terms by their claims. It needs to be shown that “the Jews” qua Jews were undermining Germany, in such numbers that warranted expelling and ultimately killing all of them, to a degree that exceeded their roles as merely individuals or members of parties that were not explicitly or mainly Jewish, and did not warrant exempting every Jew [ie GERMAN CITIZEN] guilty of nothing, and to a degree that was not true of any Aryan German.

    You might find these terms restrictive. They are the terms required by Nazi claims.

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    • Replies: @5371
    [Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.]

    No, this is very far from being true of every such criterion. Allowing a Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to be offered the Spanish throne, then after his withdrawal apologising for the whole episode but in terms less completely abject than the French government would have preferred, can by no stretch of the imagination be described as an offence adequate to a declaration of war. Nothing comparable can be said of the transactions of 1914.

    [many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds]

    Many? Almost all.

    [It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands]

    No, there was no distinction in principle between an H.R.Emperor and a German King. Election made him king, then only coronation was required to make him emperor.

    [Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority]

    The great majority did not live "among" them, but as a compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands.

    [They are the terms required by Nazi claims]

    But this exchange started not with "Nazi claims" but with Linh Dinh's reference to the "Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany". That would have been accepted by most people in the US and even in Britain in the 30s, and should not have been perceived as outrageous now.
  95. @random observer
    This time I'll try to be more concise. You wrote short, you deserve short(ish) in reply.

    Almost all my points were in reply to others. If I was irrelevant, no more than those to whom I replied.

    I didn't say the Germans invented punitive terms in 1871 or blame them for the phenomenon. I indeed stressed that they were SOPs, and that this applied just as much to the victors of 1919 as of 1871. My criticism of the Germans was not that they imposed punitive terms when they won, but that they expected to evade them when they lost.

    French war guilt of 187o versus German war guilt of 1914- let me repeat that I not only did not originally raise this ideological dispute, I originally very loudly disclaimed it as meaningless. Nevertheless, if it is deemed relevant, see my last post. Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.

    French claim on Belgium of 1871 [which I stated I was making up for these purposes]- I had hoped that I was clear that this somewhat arbitrary notion was merely in response to the previous notion that Germany was somehow entitled to claim the German-speakers of the Habsburg lands after 1918. Defeated powers rarely are allowed to make large annexations of rich, populous, strategically significant lands on purely ethno-linguistic grounds. The idea that Germany would or should have been permitted this is absurd. And although many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds, they had not hitherto ever been its citizens. They lived in the territories they had long lived in.

    [Even Bohemia. It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands. It fairly early had its own King, not initially a German but a Slav dynasty. If the German landowners ended up running the place with a Habsburg king, still and all it was throughout the same Bohemia. In 1919 they just had to yield the rule of it again. If they wanted to live in Germany among Germans, they could go west to their distant ancestors' country. Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority. It might not have been easy at first, but they didn't try any harder than the Czechs, who were the majority in what had originally been theirs to begin with.]

    If the peace settlement robbed the Germans of something, that's because they lost. My original point. It was not cosmically unfair for the allies to apply to Germany the standards that had been applied to losing powers before, including by Germany. Unless Germans are special.

    The Germans of Germany did not lose their state. They lost territory that included Germans, just as they had formerly annexed territory that included non-Germans. The Germans of Austria did not lose their state. The Habsburgs lost their empire. The Germans of Austria kept a state. They just weren't allowed to keep all of its territory that included all their Germans, forcing those to live as minorities among others. Just as once they had ruled extensive territories full of non-German majorities. These are harsh terms, but they were not applied uniquely to the German situation when compared to normal practice of the past. So they did not form a unique German grievance.

    I don't know what you mean about the Prussians of 1918. Certainly from my perspective now, I wouldn't have had much objection to them suppressing the revolution. I don't much care for communists, although had I lived at the time I would have still wanted my side [I'm Canadian] to win the war. Given that stipulation was pretty well in place on November 11, I would have hardly had any problem with the Germans keeping their emperor and kings etc. But that's me. Had I lived then as a German, I might have preferred a more liberal government under the monarchs and various other reform measures, but there was a reasonable chance that I could have gotten that from the non-socialist parties, and even grudgingly from the royals and nobles and army, given they had already made some reformist moves. I can't say I would have wanted a republic particularly, I like my constitutional monarchy now. I certainly would not have wanted a Soviet republic, though I might have been deluded were I in certain working class occupations. One has to consider one's own interests and sitting here I don't know what my place might be if transported back to that time and place.

    As far as calling the Prussians traitors, I only recall noting that a whole swath of officers, soldiers and sailors [Prussian and other German] would not fight for their emperor to whom they had sworn oaths. I sympathize with the rank and file. Who wants to be last to die in a defeat? I even sympathize with the officers, who in some cases may have agonized before asking the emperor to release them and who wanted to go home and suppress the revolution, still as officers of Germany. I merely raised this issue in response to the usual canard about home-front Jews being disloyal, by indicating the vast numbers of non-Jews disinclined to fight on. If the Jews were traitors, so were the mutinous sailors, to cite the most obvious case. And vastly more numerous.

    As to the Jews, I'm sure allied diplomats did think that. I just need examples.

    I want to hear about Jews, ie GERMAN Jews who as citizens owed loyalty to Germany not Jews who were loyal to their own countries, who actually contributed anything at all significant to Germany losing the war. They don't have to have been as responsible as Ludendorff or the army or the government or any other officer/aristocrat heroes who actually led Germany into war against almost every other Great Power and then proved less effective than they hoped, and then evaded all blame for their defeat on the battlefield and even claimed it hadn't happened. Although it would be nice if the accusations against Jews would at least bear serious comparison to comprehensive military defeat as a cause for Germany's loss. That was a pretty big gloss over by the postwar right, and indeed most Germans.

    But there does have to be something about their contributions to defeat to which their Jewishness is relevant, and clearly it has to be something that was done by all or at least most Jews, and something that cannot equally be laid to the door of millions of German Gentiles.

    The Nazis and their early forebears and cohorts were blaming all Jews as Jews for Germany's position, and in a way that was not considered as comprehensive for any other subcategory of German citizen.

    So I don't aim to endorse claims about Horowitz the small town war profiteer or Wolowitz the communist agitator, when I could easily cite Rabinowitz the patriotic bourgeois with a son on the Western Front or Rosenthal who was killed at Verdun. Or for that matter cite Rupprecht Steinmetz the impeccably Aryan profiteer and [real one this time] Karl Liebknecht the Aryan leader of the German communists.

    The Nazis and their kindred set the terms by their claims. It needs to be shown that "the Jews" qua Jews were undermining Germany, in such numbers that warranted expelling and ultimately killing all of them, to a degree that exceeded their roles as merely individuals or members of parties that were not explicitly or mainly Jewish, and did not warrant exempting every Jew [ie GERMAN CITIZEN] guilty of nothing, and to a degree that was not true of any Aryan German.

    You might find these terms restrictive. They are the terms required by Nazi claims.

    [Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.]

    No, this is very far from being true of every such criterion. Allowing a Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to be offered the Spanish throne, then after his withdrawal apologising for the whole episode but in terms less completely abject than the French government would have preferred, can by no stretch of the imagination be described as an offence adequate to a declaration of war. Nothing comparable can be said of the transactions of 1914.

    [many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds]

    Many? Almost all.

    [It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands]

    No, there was no distinction in principle between an H.R.Emperor and a German King. Election made him king, then only coronation was required to make him emperor.

    [Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority]

    The great majority did not live “among” them, but as a compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands.

    [They are the terms required by Nazi claims]

    But this exchange started not with “Nazi claims” but with Linh Dinh’s reference to the “Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany”. That would have been accepted by most people in the US and even in Britain in the 30s, and should not have been perceived as outrageous now.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    Again noting that I don't consider "war guilt" a real thing, especially in these classic policy-driven wars of choice like 1870. And that I did not initially raise any questions of guilt for either war. Only victory or defeat.

    But that was a selective summary of the events leading up to the French declaration of war in 1870.

    Prussia had its strategic goals, which it had been pursuing through war and diplomacy, with the end of erecting a new German state power-bloc in the heart of Europe under its command, which would be the dominant power of the continent from its creation. Perfectly reasonable. To this end it had waged war on Denmark in conjunction with Austria and on Austria in conjunction with Italy. [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ] Prussia had strategic goals and they pursued them by all means available. The longer term implications, obvious to all, included the downgrading of French status and influence and the replacement of a genuine historical threat from France to Germany by a very obvious contemporary threat from a now stronger Germany to a now weaker France. The Hohenzollern candidacy was a good, if outlying, move, either to secure an encircling position through alliance or just as provocation at the right time. Just as the doctored Ems Dispatch was a cunning terminal gambit in diplomacy. There is nothing illegitimate about Prussian statesmen having pursued these ends, or even necessarily used these means.

    France had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement via Spain or the emergence of a superior German power to its east. If it was prepared to pursue these ends through war in 1870, how is that different from what Prussia had been doing for 6 years to pursue its ends? If France was pursuing angry brinksmanship diplomacy, how is that different except in sophistication of manner from Bismarck's diplomacy toward the same end, namely a victorious war?

    The only distinction is that France jumped the gun first in declaring said war because it expected to win quickly and easily. Which is also the position of Germany in 1914.

    And I will elaborate one further point. If you don't consider French interests in 1870 a valid rationale for aggressive diplomacy or declaration of war, then consider this amended version of my sentence above:

    [Germany in 1914] had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement [by France and Russia] or the emergence of a superior [Russian] power to its east.

    That was the rationale the German military and political leaders offered for their policy in the lead up to and in the crisis of 1914, and held to through the war. It was not at all unreasonable. Neither was it different from French policy in 1870.


    -------------


    [Almost all] and [...compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands]. Fair enough. Again, so what? By what right would Germany claim annexations of such territory and peoples after losing a huge war, and by what precedents would the Allies have been required to concede territorial expansion to a defeated enemy? France was treated quite leniently by the Allies of 1814 and even 1815, not least because they had ultimately claimed to be fighting Bonaparte, not France, and in favour of the King. But France was not permitted to make new annexations of lands just because the people spoke French or wanted to be French, nor even to retain previously annexed lands whose people spoke French and wanted to remain French [the French bulk of what would later be Belgium is actually germane here]. You don't get to make demands like that when you lose.

    My point about the Germans left in the former Habsburg empire was mainly that they may well have wanted to join Germany, but that doesn't mean they had any claim to do so. They had not been citizens of the German Reich, the state created in 1871 and continuing beyond 1918, and which would have been making the annexations, nor had their homelands ever belonged to it. The Germans of Austria enjoyed complete dominance of a state that was in direct continuity to the bulk of the German-speaking part of their former empire. The Germans of Bohemia or elsewhere were in a crappier position, but their lands had also never belonged to the aforementioned Reich nor had they been citizens of it.

    ---------


    [Short version first for this bit: The German Reich of 1919-1945 (or 1990) was the German Reich founded in 1871. It was not the Holy Roman Empire, did not inherit the Roman Emperor's rights, and even if it had Bohemia was not part of the German kingdom in those former times.]

    Not to delve too deeply into German imperial 'feudalism'/proto-federalism pre-1806. But I am well aware that the King of the Eastern Franks/King of the Germans/King in Germany/King of the Romans was the same man as the Emperor-elect from the time of Otto I. The distinction in principle was usually only a brief period of time, and not a distinction in practice apart from the niceties of coronations, and not even that after Charles V.

    What I am saying is that Bohemia was not within the emperor's subject lands as German King, a distinction that did exist in theory and practice and a status already conceded to the early Przemyslid Dukes [who were already in place] and certainly conceded by the fairly early recognition of the Przemyslid Bohemian ruler as a King. It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire. It could be bound to the German king by bonds of obligation and the practical reality that the German king was in practice emperor, but it could not be his subject as if a German principality. The King of Bohemia was a King for centuries in his own right. And for the first few, was not a German and not the same man as the Emperor.

    The Bohemian King was one of only 4 Kings in the classical empire [German, Italian, Burgundian and Bohemian], and the only one of the kingly titles not held by the Emperor himself. That is to say, the empire contained 4 Kingdoms ruled by two Kings, one of whom was superior as emperor but the other was still a King.

    [This was the reason for the problem of how to recognize the Hohenzollerns as kings for nearly 100 years. The Bohemian King was supposed to be the only other King in the empire because his lands were not German lands. The Prussian ruler could not be a king for his lands inside the empire, because they were inside the German realm, one of the Emperor's own Kingdoms. Most had been born as German marches at a time when Bohemia was already a Slavic Dukedom which when first organized was outside the emperor's suzerainty altogether, and which was taken on board the imperial system intact. The solution in 1701 was to grant the Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia the official title "King in Prussia", which allowed him to be given precedence as a King, whose Kingdom comprised the former Duchy of Prussia, never part of the empire. The electoral and other lands held by the Hohenzollern ruler inside the empire were integrated parts of his state, the heart of that state. But not part of his "Kingdom". Conceding to an aging Frederick the Great the new title King OF Prussia for all his lands was a epochal imperial concession and one of the last nails in the coffin.]

    The Bohemian ruler's realm being a Kingdom, it had specified obligations to the emperor and rights from him including electoral dignity, feudalisms rather like treaty bonds. But he was not a subject of the German Crown nor were his subjects. He was only feudally bound to the emperor as emperor, by specified terms, as a fellow King.

    [Even had the Bohemian Crown been integrated with the titles in imperial possession the same way as the German, Burgundian and Italian Crowns, that would not make the Kingdom of Bohemia a part of the German realm in law any more than Italy or Burgundy had been. The fact that the Bohemian Crown was held independently of the other 4 [3 royal and 1 imperial] Crowns and for centuries by different persons, merely but significantly reinforces this distinction. ]

    The waters were certainly muddied when the Habsburgs became de facto hereditary in the imperial and associated Crowns, and for a long time de jure hereditary in the Bohemian Crown. But at no point was the Bohemian Crown ever integrated with the imperial/German/burgundian/Italian titles, let alone subsumed within the German one. It was always held independently by the Habsburgs and retained its peculiar status in the empire as its own Kingdom not of the German Crown. Demonstrated as late as the convoluted events of 1740.

    And not to be too frank, but all of that is neither here nor there. This historical linkage was broken forever in 1806 by the absence of a Roman Emperor.

    The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state, let alone one ruled by a Prussian King or even a Reichstag dominated by Prussian representatives and sitting in the Prussian capital.

    The German Emperor crowned in 1871 neither was nor claimed to be the successor of the Holy Roman Emperor. That would have been an insult too far, as the then-King of Bohemia and Emperor of Austria had a better claim to that status.

    The only 'German' linkage for Bohemia after that was the rule of the Habsburgs and the common institutions of the Cisleithanian lands and of the AH empire, such as they were. By that standard, the initial claims by "German-Austria" to include the German parts of Bohemia made some sense. Claims by the sovereign state the German Reich did not.

    [Your mileage may vary, but for what it's worth I am assuming that the Austrian government's position that the Anschluss was illegal is valid, since that was also the position of the Austrian state at the time. As such, the German Reich did not lawfully inherit Austria's potential claim to the Bohemian-German lands, a case one might otherwise have made. ]


    ---------

    "In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany..."

    I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles, that it is evident that what was done to Germany at Versailles was somehow uniquely unjust as the Nazis believed, that the Nazis goals and actions were just in proportion to Versailles, and the enemies they chose to identify and their actions against those enemies constituted valid repudiation of and response to Versailles.

    These conclusions are all false. In the case of the alleged Jewish threat to Germany before, during and after Versailles, and the stab in the back legend more generally, they are ludicrously false.

    Not to mention that if Germany was bankrupt and starving when Hitler came to power and launched his program, it was because of the worldwide depression affecting everyone, not just Germany. Not in any way a product of Versailles. If it had been, Germany would not have been prospering before 1929. If Versailles is not a cause for the conditions that get Hitler elected, then it is not the justification for his actions. If Germans wanted to reverse the results of their defeat in 1918, that's different. But as I have pointed out, they were not treated unfairly in defeat. They were treated normally. They could start a second war to reverse it, but I can do without the part with the special pleading in justification.

    As for my reference to Nazi claims, merely responding to the notion in earlier comments that there was some sort of logic to singling out Jews en masse as a collective enemy in all this.
  96. @annamaria
    "Had Libya not bombed the 747 it would probably still be extant."
    What the majority of Libyan population had to do with the tragedy? You mean, the US civilians of all ages deserve to lose their livelihood and way of life because of the deeds of some stupid warriors like the arms-chair general Cheney or the obnoxious ideologist Wolfowitz? Have you heard about the ongoing drone war (by the US) and about the illegality of the Iraq War? The number of the victims is on a scale of millions... What then should be the fate of the US civilians according to your rules?

    "The world doesn’t want to be saved, at least not on U.S. terms."
    Saved? - Please read carefully the following words by a truly courageous person, the US Marine General Smedley Butler: "...Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line."
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-24/paul-craig-roberts-our-soldiers-died-profits-bankers

    Actually I agree with you. I think it’s factual that that Libya was being confrontational and crossed the red line (when that counted) with the 747 bombing. And we all have to pay for the sins of our leaders. As Hitler noted, politicos can always provoke a war. Even though it made no sense for Japan to attack the U.S, -they could and did get their oil from Indonesia- FDR managed to provoke them to get in on the action.

    What is being overlooked is that leaders derive their power from threats and emergencies with war leading the list thereof. Also, there’s social entropy that usually means that, even with a cruel leader, i.e. Kaddafi, social anarchy after an overthrow is worse than the original problem. Maybe we should live with the effective elsewhere rather than pursue the (for our purposes) ideal.

    That said, it is tricky to discern a true and/or building threat from empty provocation. But we in the U.S. are way overboard in precautionary and preemptive action.

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  97. “…we all have to pay for the sins of our leaders.”
    Think for a sec about your mom and your small children. The “eye for an eye” has a civilized alternative: the Geneva Conventions and such. Otherwise, those Americans that had lost their boys and girls to the lies of Cheney-Bush “leadership” and neocons’ cabal, should have started already to hunting and punishing the families of these war mongers.

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  98. “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, not in England, not for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determines the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That’s easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    Herman Goring
    He got that right.

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  99. @5371
    [Any criterion left that makes France guilty in 1870 makes Germany guilty in 1914, stupid as both notions may be to me.]

    No, this is very far from being true of every such criterion. Allowing a Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen to be offered the Spanish throne, then after his withdrawal apologising for the whole episode but in terms less completely abject than the French government would have preferred, can by no stretch of the imagination be described as an offence adequate to a declaration of war. Nothing comparable can be said of the transactions of 1914.

    [many of the former Habsburg subject Germans wanted to join Germany on ethnic and linguistic grounds]

    Many? Almost all.

    [It had been an adjunct of the HRE, but never part of the German King's lands]

    No, there was no distinction in principle between an H.R.Emperor and a German King. Election made him king, then only coronation was required to make him emperor.

    [Or they could give up irredentism and try to live as citizens as best they could among the people who had for centuries been the regional majority]

    The great majority did not live "among" them, but as a compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands.

    [They are the terms required by Nazi claims]

    But this exchange started not with "Nazi claims" but with Linh Dinh's reference to the "Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany". That would have been accepted by most people in the US and even in Britain in the 30s, and should not have been perceived as outrageous now.

    Again noting that I don’t consider “war guilt” a real thing, especially in these classic policy-driven wars of choice like 1870. And that I did not initially raise any questions of guilt for either war. Only victory or defeat.

    But that was a selective summary of the events leading up to the French declaration of war in 1870.

    Prussia had its strategic goals, which it had been pursuing through war and diplomacy, with the end of erecting a new German state power-bloc in the heart of Europe under its command, which would be the dominant power of the continent from its creation. Perfectly reasonable. To this end it had waged war on Denmark in conjunction with Austria and on Austria in conjunction with Italy. [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ] Prussia had strategic goals and they pursued them by all means available. The longer term implications, obvious to all, included the downgrading of French status and influence and the replacement of a genuine historical threat from France to Germany by a very obvious contemporary threat from a now stronger Germany to a now weaker France. The Hohenzollern candidacy was a good, if outlying, move, either to secure an encircling position through alliance or just as provocation at the right time. Just as the doctored Ems Dispatch was a cunning terminal gambit in diplomacy. There is nothing illegitimate about Prussian statesmen having pursued these ends, or even necessarily used these means.

    France had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement via Spain or the emergence of a superior German power to its east. If it was prepared to pursue these ends through war in 1870, how is that different from what Prussia had been doing for 6 years to pursue its ends? If France was pursuing angry brinksmanship diplomacy, how is that different except in sophistication of manner from Bismarck’s diplomacy toward the same end, namely a victorious war?

    The only distinction is that France jumped the gun first in declaring said war because it expected to win quickly and easily. Which is also the position of Germany in 1914.

    And I will elaborate one further point. If you don’t consider French interests in 1870 a valid rationale for aggressive diplomacy or declaration of war, then consider this amended version of my sentence above:

    [Germany in 1914] had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement [by France and Russia] or the emergence of a superior [Russian] power to its east.

    That was the rationale the German military and political leaders offered for their policy in the lead up to and in the crisis of 1914, and held to through the war. It was not at all unreasonable. Neither was it different from French policy in 1870.

    ————-

    [Almost all] and [...compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands]. Fair enough. Again, so what? By what right would Germany claim annexations of such territory and peoples after losing a huge war, and by what precedents would the Allies have been required to concede territorial expansion to a defeated enemy? France was treated quite leniently by the Allies of 1814 and even 1815, not least because they had ultimately claimed to be fighting Bonaparte, not France, and in favour of the King. But France was not permitted to make new annexations of lands just because the people spoke French or wanted to be French, nor even to retain previously annexed lands whose people spoke French and wanted to remain French [the French bulk of what would later be Belgium is actually germane here]. You don’t get to make demands like that when you lose.

    My point about the Germans left in the former Habsburg empire was mainly that they may well have wanted to join Germany, but that doesn’t mean they had any claim to do so. They had not been citizens of the German Reich, the state created in 1871 and continuing beyond 1918, and which would have been making the annexations, nor had their homelands ever belonged to it. The Germans of Austria enjoyed complete dominance of a state that was in direct continuity to the bulk of the German-speaking part of their former empire. The Germans of Bohemia or elsewhere were in a crappier position, but their lands had also never belonged to the aforementioned Reich nor had they been citizens of it.

    ———

    [Short version first for this bit: The German Reich of 1919-1945 (or 1990) was the German Reich founded in 1871. It was not the Holy Roman Empire, did not inherit the Roman Emperor's rights, and even if it had Bohemia was not part of the German kingdom in those former times.]

    Not to delve too deeply into German imperial ‘feudalism’/proto-federalism pre-1806. But I am well aware that the King of the Eastern Franks/King of the Germans/King in Germany/King of the Romans was the same man as the Emperor-elect from the time of Otto I. The distinction in principle was usually only a brief period of time, and not a distinction in practice apart from the niceties of coronations, and not even that after Charles V.

    What I am saying is that Bohemia was not within the emperor’s subject lands as German King, a distinction that did exist in theory and practice and a status already conceded to the early Przemyslid Dukes [who were already in place] and certainly conceded by the fairly early recognition of the Przemyslid Bohemian ruler as a King. It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire. It could be bound to the German king by bonds of obligation and the practical reality that the German king was in practice emperor, but it could not be his subject as if a German principality. The King of Bohemia was a King for centuries in his own right. And for the first few, was not a German and not the same man as the Emperor.

    The Bohemian King was one of only 4 Kings in the classical empire [German, Italian, Burgundian and Bohemian], and the only one of the kingly titles not held by the Emperor himself. That is to say, the empire contained 4 Kingdoms ruled by two Kings, one of whom was superior as emperor but the other was still a King.

    [This was the reason for the problem of how to recognize the Hohenzollerns as kings for nearly 100 years. The Bohemian King was supposed to be the only other King in the empire because his lands were not German lands. The Prussian ruler could not be a king for his lands inside the empire, because they were inside the German realm, one of the Emperor's own Kingdoms. Most had been born as German marches at a time when Bohemia was already a Slavic Dukedom which when first organized was outside the emperor's suzerainty altogether, and which was taken on board the imperial system intact. The solution in 1701 was to grant the Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia the official title "King in Prussia", which allowed him to be given precedence as a King, whose Kingdom comprised the former Duchy of Prussia, never part of the empire. The electoral and other lands held by the Hohenzollern ruler inside the empire were integrated parts of his state, the heart of that state. But not part of his "Kingdom". Conceding to an aging Frederick the Great the new title King OF Prussia for all his lands was a epochal imperial concession and one of the last nails in the coffin.]

    The Bohemian ruler’s realm being a Kingdom, it had specified obligations to the emperor and rights from him including electoral dignity, feudalisms rather like treaty bonds. But he was not a subject of the German Crown nor were his subjects. He was only feudally bound to the emperor as emperor, by specified terms, as a fellow King.

    [Even had the Bohemian Crown been integrated with the titles in imperial possession the same way as the German, Burgundian and Italian Crowns, that would not make the Kingdom of Bohemia a part of the German realm in law any more than Italy or Burgundy had been. The fact that the Bohemian Crown was held independently of the other 4 [3 royal and 1 imperial] Crowns and for centuries by different persons, merely but significantly reinforces this distinction. ]

    The waters were certainly muddied when the Habsburgs became de facto hereditary in the imperial and associated Crowns, and for a long time de jure hereditary in the Bohemian Crown. But at no point was the Bohemian Crown ever integrated with the imperial/German/burgundian/Italian titles, let alone subsumed within the German one. It was always held independently by the Habsburgs and retained its peculiar status in the empire as its own Kingdom not of the German Crown. Demonstrated as late as the convoluted events of 1740.

    And not to be too frank, but all of that is neither here nor there. This historical linkage was broken forever in 1806 by the absence of a Roman Emperor.

    The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state, let alone one ruled by a Prussian King or even a Reichstag dominated by Prussian representatives and sitting in the Prussian capital.

    The German Emperor crowned in 1871 neither was nor claimed to be the successor of the Holy Roman Emperor. That would have been an insult too far, as the then-King of Bohemia and Emperor of Austria had a better claim to that status.

    The only ‘German’ linkage for Bohemia after that was the rule of the Habsburgs and the common institutions of the Cisleithanian lands and of the AH empire, such as they were. By that standard, the initial claims by “German-Austria” to include the German parts of Bohemia made some sense. Claims by the sovereign state the German Reich did not.

    [Your mileage may vary, but for what it's worth I am assuming that the Austrian government's position that the Anschluss was illegal is valid, since that was also the position of the Austrian state at the time. As such, the German Reich did not lawfully inherit Austria's potential claim to the Bohemian-German lands, a case one might otherwise have made. ]

    ———

    “In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany…”

    I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles, that it is evident that what was done to Germany at Versailles was somehow uniquely unjust as the Nazis believed, that the Nazis goals and actions were just in proportion to Versailles, and the enemies they chose to identify and their actions against those enemies constituted valid repudiation of and response to Versailles.

    These conclusions are all false. In the case of the alleged Jewish threat to Germany before, during and after Versailles, and the stab in the back legend more generally, they are ludicrously false.

    Not to mention that if Germany was bankrupt and starving when Hitler came to power and launched his program, it was because of the worldwide depression affecting everyone, not just Germany. Not in any way a product of Versailles. If it had been, Germany would not have been prospering before 1929. If Versailles is not a cause for the conditions that get Hitler elected, then it is not the justification for his actions. If Germans wanted to reverse the results of their defeat in 1918, that’s different. But as I have pointed out, they were not treated unfairly in defeat. They were treated normally. They could start a second war to reverse it, but I can do without the part with the special pleading in justification.

    As for my reference to Nazi claims, merely responding to the notion in earlier comments that there was some sort of logic to singling out Jews en masse as a collective enemy in all this.

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    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
    Your lengthy and informative history left out one critically important factor: the birth and growth of zionism.

    --

    As Yossi Alpher explained in his book on Israel's periphery doctrine, the Jewish people have always achieved their goals by operating through other, stronger state's forces, political systems and institutions.

    Jews had been part of the German "geographical expression" since at least 700 AD. German victory in 1871 and German unification motivated Jews from all over the region, especially the industrially, academically and politically less-successful Eastern European regions, to flock to the new German state and take advantage of its institutions and the foundation laid for economic prosperity.

    The haskalah movement in Russia emerged at about the same time, ~1881, together with heightened interest in the return to zion -- to Palestine.

    Germans collaborated with Jews in establishing settlements in Palestine; Arthur Ruppin, who "produced Hebrew culture in Palestine," was born and educated in Germany and incorporated German organizational, political, social and economic systems -- including eugenics -- in the framework of the nascent Jewish colonization project in Palestine. Theodore Herzl had petitioned the Kaiser to assist German Jews to "exodus" (Herzl's word) to Palestine.

    This spirit of intellectual and institutional sharing and support of Germans for the Jewish (as well as German) colonies in Palestine persisted into the years of the first war.

    Chaim Weizmann was from Belarus. When war erupted in 1914, Weizmann deduced that the Jewish zionist project could become a major beneficiary of the war; he made the bet -- against all odds -- that the British would win, and he worked his way into the British decision-making class in order to position Jews for that beneficence. It is not a slur to state that Weizmann's assistance to British naval efforts in WWI, and his efforts at drawing the USA into the war on Britain's side, were the quid pro quo for the Balfour Declaration which gave Jews a "homeland for Jews in Palestine."

    Obviously, the British victory came at the expense of the German people.
    , @5371
    The first part of your comment seems to assert that merely because Prussian interests differed from French, the actual details of their conflict are irrelevant, and a declaration of war after slim or no provocation, if it is French, is merely "angry brinksmanship diplomacy".

    [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ]

    False. The casus belli was Austria's breach of treaty concerning the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein.

    [It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire.]

    No, the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. That they were not included in any of the Reichskreisen does not contradict this; neither were the lands of the Reichsritterschaft or other territories like Dithmarschen.

    [The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state]

    It continued the thousand-year history of Bohemian integration into the Germanic body. That integration could be questioned by Czech nationalists, but such questioning could not extend to the Germans who inhabited a large portion of Bohemia and Moravia. The allies with their Fourteen Points persuaded Germany to an armistice by promising a new world built on the principle of national self-determination. In so doing, they abolished all the presuppositions on which the kleindeutsche Lösung had rested. Thereafter, self-determination could not, without revolting hypocrisy and injustice, be denied to the Germans, whether they had formerly lived in the Austrian or German empire.

    [I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles,]

    Indeed. And do you really disagree with that? No reasonable person, on the other hand, could think that the other clauses of the sentence which you start thus are actually implied by Dinh's statement.
  100. @random observer
    Again noting that I don't consider "war guilt" a real thing, especially in these classic policy-driven wars of choice like 1870. And that I did not initially raise any questions of guilt for either war. Only victory or defeat.

    But that was a selective summary of the events leading up to the French declaration of war in 1870.

    Prussia had its strategic goals, which it had been pursuing through war and diplomacy, with the end of erecting a new German state power-bloc in the heart of Europe under its command, which would be the dominant power of the continent from its creation. Perfectly reasonable. To this end it had waged war on Denmark in conjunction with Austria and on Austria in conjunction with Italy. [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ] Prussia had strategic goals and they pursued them by all means available. The longer term implications, obvious to all, included the downgrading of French status and influence and the replacement of a genuine historical threat from France to Germany by a very obvious contemporary threat from a now stronger Germany to a now weaker France. The Hohenzollern candidacy was a good, if outlying, move, either to secure an encircling position through alliance or just as provocation at the right time. Just as the doctored Ems Dispatch was a cunning terminal gambit in diplomacy. There is nothing illegitimate about Prussian statesmen having pursued these ends, or even necessarily used these means.

    France had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement via Spain or the emergence of a superior German power to its east. If it was prepared to pursue these ends through war in 1870, how is that different from what Prussia had been doing for 6 years to pursue its ends? If France was pursuing angry brinksmanship diplomacy, how is that different except in sophistication of manner from Bismarck's diplomacy toward the same end, namely a victorious war?

    The only distinction is that France jumped the gun first in declaring said war because it expected to win quickly and easily. Which is also the position of Germany in 1914.

    And I will elaborate one further point. If you don't consider French interests in 1870 a valid rationale for aggressive diplomacy or declaration of war, then consider this amended version of my sentence above:

    [Germany in 1914] had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement [by France and Russia] or the emergence of a superior [Russian] power to its east.

    That was the rationale the German military and political leaders offered for their policy in the lead up to and in the crisis of 1914, and held to through the war. It was not at all unreasonable. Neither was it different from French policy in 1870.


    -------------


    [Almost all] and [...compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands]. Fair enough. Again, so what? By what right would Germany claim annexations of such territory and peoples after losing a huge war, and by what precedents would the Allies have been required to concede territorial expansion to a defeated enemy? France was treated quite leniently by the Allies of 1814 and even 1815, not least because they had ultimately claimed to be fighting Bonaparte, not France, and in favour of the King. But France was not permitted to make new annexations of lands just because the people spoke French or wanted to be French, nor even to retain previously annexed lands whose people spoke French and wanted to remain French [the French bulk of what would later be Belgium is actually germane here]. You don't get to make demands like that when you lose.

    My point about the Germans left in the former Habsburg empire was mainly that they may well have wanted to join Germany, but that doesn't mean they had any claim to do so. They had not been citizens of the German Reich, the state created in 1871 and continuing beyond 1918, and which would have been making the annexations, nor had their homelands ever belonged to it. The Germans of Austria enjoyed complete dominance of a state that was in direct continuity to the bulk of the German-speaking part of their former empire. The Germans of Bohemia or elsewhere were in a crappier position, but their lands had also never belonged to the aforementioned Reich nor had they been citizens of it.

    ---------


    [Short version first for this bit: The German Reich of 1919-1945 (or 1990) was the German Reich founded in 1871. It was not the Holy Roman Empire, did not inherit the Roman Emperor's rights, and even if it had Bohemia was not part of the German kingdom in those former times.]

    Not to delve too deeply into German imperial 'feudalism'/proto-federalism pre-1806. But I am well aware that the King of the Eastern Franks/King of the Germans/King in Germany/King of the Romans was the same man as the Emperor-elect from the time of Otto I. The distinction in principle was usually only a brief period of time, and not a distinction in practice apart from the niceties of coronations, and not even that after Charles V.

    What I am saying is that Bohemia was not within the emperor's subject lands as German King, a distinction that did exist in theory and practice and a status already conceded to the early Przemyslid Dukes [who were already in place] and certainly conceded by the fairly early recognition of the Przemyslid Bohemian ruler as a King. It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire. It could be bound to the German king by bonds of obligation and the practical reality that the German king was in practice emperor, but it could not be his subject as if a German principality. The King of Bohemia was a King for centuries in his own right. And for the first few, was not a German and not the same man as the Emperor.

    The Bohemian King was one of only 4 Kings in the classical empire [German, Italian, Burgundian and Bohemian], and the only one of the kingly titles not held by the Emperor himself. That is to say, the empire contained 4 Kingdoms ruled by two Kings, one of whom was superior as emperor but the other was still a King.

    [This was the reason for the problem of how to recognize the Hohenzollerns as kings for nearly 100 years. The Bohemian King was supposed to be the only other King in the empire because his lands were not German lands. The Prussian ruler could not be a king for his lands inside the empire, because they were inside the German realm, one of the Emperor's own Kingdoms. Most had been born as German marches at a time when Bohemia was already a Slavic Dukedom which when first organized was outside the emperor's suzerainty altogether, and which was taken on board the imperial system intact. The solution in 1701 was to grant the Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia the official title "King in Prussia", which allowed him to be given precedence as a King, whose Kingdom comprised the former Duchy of Prussia, never part of the empire. The electoral and other lands held by the Hohenzollern ruler inside the empire were integrated parts of his state, the heart of that state. But not part of his "Kingdom". Conceding to an aging Frederick the Great the new title King OF Prussia for all his lands was a epochal imperial concession and one of the last nails in the coffin.]

    The Bohemian ruler's realm being a Kingdom, it had specified obligations to the emperor and rights from him including electoral dignity, feudalisms rather like treaty bonds. But he was not a subject of the German Crown nor were his subjects. He was only feudally bound to the emperor as emperor, by specified terms, as a fellow King.

    [Even had the Bohemian Crown been integrated with the titles in imperial possession the same way as the German, Burgundian and Italian Crowns, that would not make the Kingdom of Bohemia a part of the German realm in law any more than Italy or Burgundy had been. The fact that the Bohemian Crown was held independently of the other 4 [3 royal and 1 imperial] Crowns and for centuries by different persons, merely but significantly reinforces this distinction. ]

    The waters were certainly muddied when the Habsburgs became de facto hereditary in the imperial and associated Crowns, and for a long time de jure hereditary in the Bohemian Crown. But at no point was the Bohemian Crown ever integrated with the imperial/German/burgundian/Italian titles, let alone subsumed within the German one. It was always held independently by the Habsburgs and retained its peculiar status in the empire as its own Kingdom not of the German Crown. Demonstrated as late as the convoluted events of 1740.

    And not to be too frank, but all of that is neither here nor there. This historical linkage was broken forever in 1806 by the absence of a Roman Emperor.

    The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state, let alone one ruled by a Prussian King or even a Reichstag dominated by Prussian representatives and sitting in the Prussian capital.

    The German Emperor crowned in 1871 neither was nor claimed to be the successor of the Holy Roman Emperor. That would have been an insult too far, as the then-King of Bohemia and Emperor of Austria had a better claim to that status.

    The only 'German' linkage for Bohemia after that was the rule of the Habsburgs and the common institutions of the Cisleithanian lands and of the AH empire, such as they were. By that standard, the initial claims by "German-Austria" to include the German parts of Bohemia made some sense. Claims by the sovereign state the German Reich did not.

    [Your mileage may vary, but for what it's worth I am assuming that the Austrian government's position that the Anschluss was illegal is valid, since that was also the position of the Austrian state at the time. As such, the German Reich did not lawfully inherit Austria's potential claim to the Bohemian-German lands, a case one might otherwise have made. ]


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    "In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany..."

    I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles, that it is evident that what was done to Germany at Versailles was somehow uniquely unjust as the Nazis believed, that the Nazis goals and actions were just in proportion to Versailles, and the enemies they chose to identify and their actions against those enemies constituted valid repudiation of and response to Versailles.

    These conclusions are all false. In the case of the alleged Jewish threat to Germany before, during and after Versailles, and the stab in the back legend more generally, they are ludicrously false.

    Not to mention that if Germany was bankrupt and starving when Hitler came to power and launched his program, it was because of the worldwide depression affecting everyone, not just Germany. Not in any way a product of Versailles. If it had been, Germany would not have been prospering before 1929. If Versailles is not a cause for the conditions that get Hitler elected, then it is not the justification for his actions. If Germans wanted to reverse the results of their defeat in 1918, that's different. But as I have pointed out, they were not treated unfairly in defeat. They were treated normally. They could start a second war to reverse it, but I can do without the part with the special pleading in justification.

    As for my reference to Nazi claims, merely responding to the notion in earlier comments that there was some sort of logic to singling out Jews en masse as a collective enemy in all this.

    Your lengthy and informative history left out one critically important factor: the birth and growth of zionism.

    As Yossi Alpher explained in his book on Israel’s periphery doctrine, the Jewish people have always achieved their goals by operating through other, stronger state’s forces, political systems and institutions.

    Jews had been part of the German “geographical expression” since at least 700 AD. German victory in 1871 and German unification motivated Jews from all over the region, especially the industrially, academically and politically less-successful Eastern European regions, to flock to the new German state and take advantage of its institutions and the foundation laid for economic prosperity.

    The haskalah movement in Russia emerged at about the same time, ~1881, together with heightened interest in the return to zion — to Palestine.

    Germans collaborated with Jews in establishing settlements in Palestine; Arthur Ruppin, who “produced Hebrew culture in Palestine,” was born and educated in Germany and incorporated German organizational, political, social and economic systems — including eugenics — in the framework of the nascent Jewish colonization project in Palestine. Theodore Herzl had petitioned the Kaiser to assist German Jews to “exodus” (Herzl’s word) to Palestine.

    This spirit of intellectual and institutional sharing and support of Germans for the Jewish (as well as German) colonies in Palestine persisted into the years of the first war.

    Chaim Weizmann was from Belarus. When war erupted in 1914, Weizmann deduced that the Jewish zionist project could become a major beneficiary of the war; he made the bet — against all odds — that the British would win, and he worked his way into the British decision-making class in order to position Jews for that beneficence. It is not a slur to state that Weizmann’s assistance to British naval efforts in WWI, and his efforts at drawing the USA into the war on Britain’s side, were the quid pro quo for the Balfour Declaration which gave Jews a “homeland for Jews in Palestine.”

    Obviously, the British victory came at the expense of the German people.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    I have not a whit of argument with any of that until right near the end.

    I merely contend that

    1. a Jew who was not a German citizen, like Weizmann who you have cited or any other British or French or American or Russian Jew [Jabotinsky, eg.] or any other Jew who was not a German citizen, did not owe loyalty to Germany and cannot be accused of betraying an allegiance he did not owe. His actions in his own interest, the interest of the "host" country of which he was a citizen [in Weizmann's case the United Kingdom], or the interests of the 'Jewish people' as he defined them, cannot be regarded as stabbing Germany in the back.

    2. Just as a Jew who was not a German citizen did not owe Germany allegiance in time of war or at any other time, a Jew who WAS a British subject [Weizmann or any other such] DID owe loyalty to the United Kingdom up to and including support for the British war effort. Anything less would make him a traitor to the United Kingdom. Jabotinsky or other Russian Jews to my mind owed allegiance to the Tsar, a prospect I am sure would have struck most of them as painful in the extreme, but by the time under discussion would have been moot, as there was no Tsar and no Russian Empire. And in any case, proper loyalty due the Tsar would mean that Russian Jews also owed it to him to oppose the German war effort.

    3. American Jews, as American citizens and taxpayers, had the same rights as any other American citizens and taxpayers to promote the American course of action they considered best. Ideally, this would be defined by the interests of the United States. But if the Jews pushed America to act in the interests of a Jewish homeland, this can scarcely be regarded as morally inferior to the arguments of German Americans who opposed America going to war with their homeland, or Irish Americans who just wanted Britain to lose. These also were particularist arguments unrelated to the interests of the United States.

    4. As you say, Weizmann was from Belarus. As I said, he was a born Russian subject who later became a British subject. Nowhere in that is any requirement on him, by birth, law or oath, that he be loyal to Germany. I am a Canadian by birth. I don't owe loyalty to France or Mexico.

    5. I am aware of the strong German support for Zionist projects in the pre and early war years, and certainly support broader awareness of them as a counterbalance to some of the early, and certainly milder than in Russia or France, anti-Semitism that could be found. It would offer a much more balanced picture of Germany in those times. But German efforts in this area were the product of the same combination of forces as British ones, namely: cultural sympathy, religious sympathy, support for the idea the Jews would build a modern and progressive society in a dusty Ottoman backwater, a certain idea in both Germany and Britain that their nations were destined to have a special role in the support of the Jewish people and perhaps had a spiritual bond with them, and hard core state policy competing for influence in the Middle East. Kaiser Wilhelm didn't tour the Middle East before the war just to stand in Saladin's tomb, though I've no doubt the romanticism appealed to him. [The Germans and British were also competing for Muslim allies, and the Germans had supplanted Britain as the patron of the Ottoman Empire. The French and the Russians had Christian clients in the region.] None of that entitled Germany to any greater support from international Jewish communities than Britain might ask for, and certainly did not entitle Germany to the loyalty of Jews who were not Germans and who, indeed, were citizens of countries at war with Germany.

    6. It wasn't really against all odds. Everybody in 1914 overestimated French power and Russian power, so oddsmakers could easily have called the war at 50-50. Also, Britain and France DID win. Germany failed to defeat them in battle in France. And if the Allied victory in 1918 included the contribution of the US, so what? Diplomacy is an instrument of war too. I repeat. Of the powers in the field at the start, Britain and France won the war. And if your condemnation of Weizmann is that he made a bet on Britain "against all odds", what of it? Guess he gambled rightly. Clever clogs. And, to flog a dead horse, Weizmann was I suppose entitled to make any gamble he wanted as a Zionist, since he owed no loyalty to Germany. Just as well, from my point of view, that the gamble he made was on Britain, since as a British Subject he owed loyalty to Britain. If he had thrown Zionist support to Germany, I would now be calling him a traitor. The different is I would be right. He was BRITISH, not German.

    7. Again, that Weizmann supported British naval policy is irrelevant both to that policy and to whether or not his actions constituted a betrayal of Germany. The blockade was the core naval strategy of Britain against a continental foe and would have been under any and all conditions given the geography and British naval superiority. Weizmann's nonexistence or different attitude would have made no difference to it being adopted, nor did his support of it strengthen it as a tool of British policy, nor put any extra ships in the water or men on them. Him supporting it would have been of no more significance than random Joe in Liverpool supporting it, and far less significant that the fact it was the default policy of the naval and political establishment, and a very good policy for British strategy. Neither did his supporting it mean he was betraying Germany, whatever his reasons for doing so. He was not German and did not owe Germany the loyalty it was due from its own citizens. He was British, and duty bound to support British war policies. Germany was the enemy, and he supported his country against its enemy. If he did it for cynical Zionist reasons, no foul. He nevertheless did what was his duty by supporting his country in its war. Ditto for helping win American support. He was British. If he expected a quid pro quo, fine. In pursuing that end, he took actions that helped Britain, the country of which he was a citizen and to which he owed allegiance. In no way does any of this give Germany a claim to criticize him or his actions one whit more that they had right to criticize the actions of any other British Subject who rightly and properly supported the British war effort.

    I remain fascinated by this idea that Jews around the world who were not German citizens and in many cases never had been, and who were in fact citizens of countries fighting against Germany, somehow owed something to Germany and not to the war efforts of their own countries, and that their efforts to support their countries' war against Germany, or indeed to bring their countries into war against Germany, somehow constitute a betrayal of Germany or a stab in Germany's back, over and above the war efforts of all the non-Jewish citizens of those same countries. Did Wilson betray Germany when he took America onto the Allied side, thus creating justification to kill all Virginians? Normal nationalist resentments aside, I don't recall the interwar Germans deciding that they had to kill all the British because of Asquith or Churchill, or indeed all the Welsh because Lloyd George had turned into a real fire-breather. These British subjects were not accused of stabbing Germany in the back. That would have been rightly regarded as insane. No less for Weizmann.


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    So let's eliminate the betrayal, stab in the back question and all the overheated rhetorical twaddle that went with it, just for a second. You can't betray something to which you do not owe loyalty in the first place. At which point there is no justification for treating the Zionists as a special case, as betrayers of Germany in contrast to Germany's other enemies around the world during the war, or for directing any special venom at them not directed at others.

    Let's just consider the Zionist international movement around Weizmann in question as an enemy to Germany in the war because they supported the British war effort.

    Given that the Zionists' contribution to the defeat of Germany cannot be compared in scale to the millions of gentile men the British Empire and France put into the field, the national treasuries stored up by the taxes of hundreds of millions of their citizens and subjects, the weapons and ships produced by British and French companies and their gentile workers, the statecraft and aggressive policies of their political and military leaders, and the riches stored up over generations by their still mainly gentile bankers around the world, the nationalist/imperialist/geopolitical interests Britain and France were pursuing, and the populist anti-German opinions of many of their people before 1914, more than enough to get them in the streets cheering, why were Jews to be identified for blame with greater venom than gentile British or French?

    The British and French establishments went to war for what they saw as British and French gain. Whether or not you wish to consider that purely as establishment gain, it was not primarily Jewish gain. British and French politicians didn't set out to defeat Germany for Jewish gains. And they got what they wanted, no less than the Zionists. More, perhaps.


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    So why the focus on the Jews?

    Again it came back to this question of stab in the back. Which by definition can apply only to Jews who were German citizens.

    So now I need to see evidence to back up the claims being made not only by the Nazis but by many of the early fringe nationalists.

    German nationalists who focused on this question chose to categorize an entire body of German citizens as traitors, as agents of a worldwide conspiracy whose aim was to destroy Germany, and whose efforts had played the main role in defeating Germany in 1918 [after all, the rhetoric always implied that the allies couldn't possibly have really militarily defeated Germany]. They deemed this sufficient to demand persecution of them all including the many who will have served faithfully, or worked hard, or just tried to live out the war as befitted their stations and ages, just as other Germans.

    I need to see evidence that German Jews betrayed Germany for Jewish interests, and that they did so in sufficient numbers that it can constitute at least in theory a black mark against all German Jews [many will contend this is already an unacceptable leap]. That is to say, "[German] Jews" betrayed Germany, not Jewish individuals among the larger, non-betraying body of loyal Jewish citizens, for Jewish reasons, and out of proportion to all the gentile Germans whose actions in the war might have undermined the war effort.

    A Jew who deserts the front is not doing so because he is a Jew but because war is desperate and terrifying, he is matchable by a Gentile who does so for the same reasons, and cancelled by a Jew who dies at the front.

    A Jew who profits from contraband goods at home is not doing so because he is a Jew but because lying a cheating and ripping people off is a common human survival trait especially in war and widely distributed among all humans, he is matchable by a Gentile who does the same things for the same reasons, and cancelled by a Jew who has done no such thing.

    A Jew who is a communist revolutionary is doing it because he is a communist, not a Zionist, he is matchable by a Gentile who is also a communist and also seeks a communist Germany, and cancelled by a Jew who is a bourgeois or a monarchist [there were plenty] who loathes the idea of a communist Germany.

    And few if any of the German Jews who might have engaged in any of the above activities were doing so as agents of Weizmann or international Zionism, any more than the Gentile Germans who were engaged in all of the same activities. One generally doesn't desert or engage in profiteering as part of geopolitics, communism has a substantial domestic political/ideological element and to the extent it served foreign purposes it was Moscow's hope for world socialist revolution, not Weizmann's hope for a Jewish state in the Middle East.

    That for the question of the stab in the back itself. The additional element driving nationalist anti-Semitic grievances, namely that this Zionist plot was the main factor in Germany's defeat in 1918, was and is mere German vanity. Britain and France, vile imperialist and plutocratic powers though they might be, couldn't possibly really want to keep Germany down if it weren't for the Jews' machinations. Germany is wonderful and its imperial ambitions and naval policy wouldn't hurt those countries at all if they weren't deluded by Jews. The British wouldn't have adopted a blockade if it weren't for the Jews. The American establishment couldn't have been convinced it was in their interest to go to war against Germany if it weren't for the Jews of America [ie. US citizens pushing a line just like others] and Britain [ie Britons loyal to Britain and pushing for British interests]. [It plainly did benefit America's military and commercial position and the interests of WASP American plutocrats.] And Germany could still have defeated all of them militarily if it hadn't been for the German Jews at home whose activities were somehow responsible for the incompetent diplomacy of Germany and the ultimate incapacity of the German army to win in France, not to mention responsible for the panic at HQ that determined the timing of the German demand for armistice and the rapid pace of collapse. Entirely without regard to the motives or impact of the millions of Gentiles involved at every level from the Kaiser and ministers and generals down to the lowest private or seaman or Bolshevik.
  101. @random observer
    Again noting that I don't consider "war guilt" a real thing, especially in these classic policy-driven wars of choice like 1870. And that I did not initially raise any questions of guilt for either war. Only victory or defeat.

    But that was a selective summary of the events leading up to the French declaration of war in 1870.

    Prussia had its strategic goals, which it had been pursuing through war and diplomacy, with the end of erecting a new German state power-bloc in the heart of Europe under its command, which would be the dominant power of the continent from its creation. Perfectly reasonable. To this end it had waged war on Denmark in conjunction with Austria and on Austria in conjunction with Italy. [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ] Prussia had strategic goals and they pursued them by all means available. The longer term implications, obvious to all, included the downgrading of French status and influence and the replacement of a genuine historical threat from France to Germany by a very obvious contemporary threat from a now stronger Germany to a now weaker France. The Hohenzollern candidacy was a good, if outlying, move, either to secure an encircling position through alliance or just as provocation at the right time. Just as the doctored Ems Dispatch was a cunning terminal gambit in diplomacy. There is nothing illegitimate about Prussian statesmen having pursued these ends, or even necessarily used these means.

    France had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement via Spain or the emergence of a superior German power to its east. If it was prepared to pursue these ends through war in 1870, how is that different from what Prussia had been doing for 6 years to pursue its ends? If France was pursuing angry brinksmanship diplomacy, how is that different except in sophistication of manner from Bismarck's diplomacy toward the same end, namely a victorious war?

    The only distinction is that France jumped the gun first in declaring said war because it expected to win quickly and easily. Which is also the position of Germany in 1914.

    And I will elaborate one further point. If you don't consider French interests in 1870 a valid rationale for aggressive diplomacy or declaration of war, then consider this amended version of my sentence above:

    [Germany in 1914] had its own strategic goals, namely to preserve its theoretical number one position in Europe and prevent either encirclement [by France and Russia] or the emergence of a superior [Russian] power to its east.

    That was the rationale the German military and political leaders offered for their policy in the lead up to and in the crisis of 1914, and held to through the war. It was not at all unreasonable. Neither was it different from French policy in 1870.


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    [Almost all] and [...compact mass which bordered uncontroversially German lands]. Fair enough. Again, so what? By what right would Germany claim annexations of such territory and peoples after losing a huge war, and by what precedents would the Allies have been required to concede territorial expansion to a defeated enemy? France was treated quite leniently by the Allies of 1814 and even 1815, not least because they had ultimately claimed to be fighting Bonaparte, not France, and in favour of the King. But France was not permitted to make new annexations of lands just because the people spoke French or wanted to be French, nor even to retain previously annexed lands whose people spoke French and wanted to remain French [the French bulk of what would later be Belgium is actually germane here]. You don't get to make demands like that when you lose.

    My point about the Germans left in the former Habsburg empire was mainly that they may well have wanted to join Germany, but that doesn't mean they had any claim to do so. They had not been citizens of the German Reich, the state created in 1871 and continuing beyond 1918, and which would have been making the annexations, nor had their homelands ever belonged to it. The Germans of Austria enjoyed complete dominance of a state that was in direct continuity to the bulk of the German-speaking part of their former empire. The Germans of Bohemia or elsewhere were in a crappier position, but their lands had also never belonged to the aforementioned Reich nor had they been citizens of it.

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    [Short version first for this bit: The German Reich of 1919-1945 (or 1990) was the German Reich founded in 1871. It was not the Holy Roman Empire, did not inherit the Roman Emperor's rights, and even if it had Bohemia was not part of the German kingdom in those former times.]

    Not to delve too deeply into German imperial 'feudalism'/proto-federalism pre-1806. But I am well aware that the King of the Eastern Franks/King of the Germans/King in Germany/King of the Romans was the same man as the Emperor-elect from the time of Otto I. The distinction in principle was usually only a brief period of time, and not a distinction in practice apart from the niceties of coronations, and not even that after Charles V.

    What I am saying is that Bohemia was not within the emperor's subject lands as German King, a distinction that did exist in theory and practice and a status already conceded to the early Przemyslid Dukes [who were already in place] and certainly conceded by the fairly early recognition of the Przemyslid Bohemian ruler as a King. It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire. It could be bound to the German king by bonds of obligation and the practical reality that the German king was in practice emperor, but it could not be his subject as if a German principality. The King of Bohemia was a King for centuries in his own right. And for the first few, was not a German and not the same man as the Emperor.

    The Bohemian King was one of only 4 Kings in the classical empire [German, Italian, Burgundian and Bohemian], and the only one of the kingly titles not held by the Emperor himself. That is to say, the empire contained 4 Kingdoms ruled by two Kings, one of whom was superior as emperor but the other was still a King.

    [This was the reason for the problem of how to recognize the Hohenzollerns as kings for nearly 100 years. The Bohemian King was supposed to be the only other King in the empire because his lands were not German lands. The Prussian ruler could not be a king for his lands inside the empire, because they were inside the German realm, one of the Emperor's own Kingdoms. Most had been born as German marches at a time when Bohemia was already a Slavic Dukedom which when first organized was outside the emperor's suzerainty altogether, and which was taken on board the imperial system intact. The solution in 1701 was to grant the Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia the official title "King in Prussia", which allowed him to be given precedence as a King, whose Kingdom comprised the former Duchy of Prussia, never part of the empire. The electoral and other lands held by the Hohenzollern ruler inside the empire were integrated parts of his state, the heart of that state. But not part of his "Kingdom". Conceding to an aging Frederick the Great the new title King OF Prussia for all his lands was a epochal imperial concession and one of the last nails in the coffin.]

    The Bohemian ruler's realm being a Kingdom, it had specified obligations to the emperor and rights from him including electoral dignity, feudalisms rather like treaty bonds. But he was not a subject of the German Crown nor were his subjects. He was only feudally bound to the emperor as emperor, by specified terms, as a fellow King.

    [Even had the Bohemian Crown been integrated with the titles in imperial possession the same way as the German, Burgundian and Italian Crowns, that would not make the Kingdom of Bohemia a part of the German realm in law any more than Italy or Burgundy had been. The fact that the Bohemian Crown was held independently of the other 4 [3 royal and 1 imperial] Crowns and for centuries by different persons, merely but significantly reinforces this distinction. ]

    The waters were certainly muddied when the Habsburgs became de facto hereditary in the imperial and associated Crowns, and for a long time de jure hereditary in the Bohemian Crown. But at no point was the Bohemian Crown ever integrated with the imperial/German/burgundian/Italian titles, let alone subsumed within the German one. It was always held independently by the Habsburgs and retained its peculiar status in the empire as its own Kingdom not of the German Crown. Demonstrated as late as the convoluted events of 1740.

    And not to be too frank, but all of that is neither here nor there. This historical linkage was broken forever in 1806 by the absence of a Roman Emperor.

    The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state, let alone one ruled by a Prussian King or even a Reichstag dominated by Prussian representatives and sitting in the Prussian capital.

    The German Emperor crowned in 1871 neither was nor claimed to be the successor of the Holy Roman Emperor. That would have been an insult too far, as the then-King of Bohemia and Emperor of Austria had a better claim to that status.

    The only 'German' linkage for Bohemia after that was the rule of the Habsburgs and the common institutions of the Cisleithanian lands and of the AH empire, such as they were. By that standard, the initial claims by "German-Austria" to include the German parts of Bohemia made some sense. Claims by the sovereign state the German Reich did not.

    [Your mileage may vary, but for what it's worth I am assuming that the Austrian government's position that the Anschluss was illegal is valid, since that was also the position of the Austrian state at the time. As such, the German Reich did not lawfully inherit Austria's potential claim to the Bohemian-German lands, a case one might otherwise have made. ]


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    "In the popular mind, Nazism is seen in a vacuum. It’s as if there was no Treaty of Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany..."

    I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles, that it is evident that what was done to Germany at Versailles was somehow uniquely unjust as the Nazis believed, that the Nazis goals and actions were just in proportion to Versailles, and the enemies they chose to identify and their actions against those enemies constituted valid repudiation of and response to Versailles.

    These conclusions are all false. In the case of the alleged Jewish threat to Germany before, during and after Versailles, and the stab in the back legend more generally, they are ludicrously false.

    Not to mention that if Germany was bankrupt and starving when Hitler came to power and launched his program, it was because of the worldwide depression affecting everyone, not just Germany. Not in any way a product of Versailles. If it had been, Germany would not have been prospering before 1929. If Versailles is not a cause for the conditions that get Hitler elected, then it is not the justification for his actions. If Germans wanted to reverse the results of their defeat in 1918, that's different. But as I have pointed out, they were not treated unfairly in defeat. They were treated normally. They could start a second war to reverse it, but I can do without the part with the special pleading in justification.

    As for my reference to Nazi claims, merely responding to the notion in earlier comments that there was some sort of logic to singling out Jews en masse as a collective enemy in all this.

    The first part of your comment seems to assert that merely because Prussian interests differed from French, the actual details of their conflict are irrelevant, and a declaration of war after slim or no provocation, if it is French, is merely “angry brinksmanship diplomacy”.

    [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ]

    False. The casus belli was Austria’s breach of treaty concerning the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein.

    [It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire.]

    No, the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. That they were not included in any of the Reichskreisen does not contradict this; neither were the lands of the Reichsritterschaft or other territories like Dithmarschen.

    [The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state]

    It continued the thousand-year history of Bohemian integration into the Germanic body. That integration could be questioned by Czech nationalists, but such questioning could not extend to the Germans who inhabited a large portion of Bohemia and Moravia. The allies with their Fourteen Points persuaded Germany to an armistice by promising a new world built on the principle of national self-determination. In so doing, they abolished all the presuppositions on which the kleindeutsche Lösung had rested. Thereafter, self-determination could not, without revolting hypocrisy and injustice, be denied to the Germans, whether they had formerly lived in the Austrian or German empire.

    [I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles,]

    Indeed. And do you really disagree with that? No reasonable person, on the other hand, could think that the other clauses of the sentence which you start thus are actually implied by Dinh’s statement.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    On 1870 vs 1914:

    1. I contended correctly that both France and Prussia were concerned with their relative power position in 1870 rather than trifling considerations of ethics or honour [I feel quite confident Bismarck would agree with this characterization and that dismissive language], both had been pursuing their goals in that era by both diplomatic and military means, that Prussian diplomatic policies had the goal of weakening and isolating France just as much as French diplomatic policies had the goal of keeping Prussia weaker than itself and maintaining French influence, that Prussian policy was clearly aimed at generating a favourable situation by war if diplomacy could not be adequately effective, and that Bismarck's diplomacy was aimed at creating that war if necessary. The doctored Ems Dispatch is hard to contextualize otherwise. Bismarck's wounded ethics and Wilhelm's allegedly wounded honour were as bogus as France's claims of insult to its amour-propre. I make no condemnations. It was a demonstration of mastery on Bismarck's side and foolish self-regard by the French.

    2. I contended correctly that these motivations, ambitions and fears map onto 1914. Germany, like France before her, feared encirclement and being made a weaker power in general and in desired spheres of influence to its east in particular, feared an economically expanding Russia fully as much as France feared a union of German-speaking states under Prussia which was also becoming if not already industrially superior to France, and that like France Germany believed that war to break up this constellation of forces and change the game was to its interest, and sooner rather than later. Even that the circumstances of the moment were forcing its hand in 1914, much as France felt in 1870. This is consistent with public remarks of German statesmen before the war, German statesmen and generals speaking and writing during the war, and the mountainous piles of self-regarding reminiscences after the war.

    3. The declaration of war is the final stage. I didn't contend that decision was identical with the angry brinksmanship diplomacy. The angry brinksmanship diplomacy is what the French government and ambassador were up to beforehand. The Prussians/NDB were also engaged in brinksmanship diplomacy, although I concede they were smart enough to keep the tone more clever than angry. That was part of the strategy, demonstrably. Worked well.

    4. Which goes to my original point several phases back. The distinction between France and Prussia in 1870 was that France made the decision to go to war, not Prussia. That is the exact distinction I applied to Germany in 1914. Which was correct. I originally applied no "guilt" to either case. Both powers clearly made these choices for reasons of strategic power and survival, as they saw it. Both decisions might have been smart if they had calculated the odds right. Both were ultimately defeated and worse off.

    If preventive war is a legitimate choice for Germany in 1914, it is a legitimate choice for France in 1870. Unwise, to be sure, for both. But that's hindsight.

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    On 1866 and how it relates to 1870 and 1914 for these purposes.

    To restate the premises in reverse order from the 1914 "war guilt" question:

    The only thing that distinguished German actions in 1914 from those of their enemies was that they declared war first on France and Russia and actually militarily attacked France first [let's ignore that they did it the day before declaring war]. First to decide that war was the way out, and act officially on that decision by declaring it.

    This was also the only thing that distinguished French actions in 1870. They chose war and declared it.

    If France is 'guilty' in 1870, then Germany is 'guilty' in 1914. Neither one had a real casus belli if one doesn't accept big picture strategic fear, but only concrete aggressive action. My original point being not that France had such a casus belli from Prussia in 1870, remember, but that its actions were equivalent in this regard to Germany's actions in 1914. [If France had declared war on Germany on August 2 1914, it would have had a casus belli of the most robust kind. German invasion already under way on its soil.]

    By this standard, 1866 is quite remarkable. I believe Austria not only asked for the partial mobilization of the Confederation troops against Prussia but also declared war first. On the other hand Prussia had given them a REAL casus belli. The Austrians had done nothing of the sort in reverse. Prussia had been first to actually go to war, by invading Holstein. I don't see how that makes Prussia not the aggressor.

    The first consideration is that Prussia had aimed to annex Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg as provinces of Prussia and been frustrated by the Austrians' insistence they remain distinct members states of the German confederation albeit under a joint protectorate/condominium of Austria and Prussia as the senior members of the confederation.

    The Gastein Convention settling this dispute ended with Lauenburg in personal union with Prussia, with the King as its Duke; Schleswig remaining a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia, and Holstein a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia.

    This agreement certainly gave Prussia a good deal and they agreed to it but it didn't settle their desire to annex the whole lot to the Prussian Kingdom nor settle their wider strategic concern, pushing the Austrians out of German affairs.

    I don't see anything in the Gastein Convention that says Austria, as administrator of Holstein, could not endorse Frederick as its Duke, or convene the Diet of Holstein to adjudge his claims, or for that matter ask for a ruling on the inheritance of this confederation member state from the diet of the German Confederation. Therefore I cannot accept that Austrian actions in doing these things abrogated the Gastein Convention. Especially since if these bodies had endorsed Frederick, Austria would have installed him, as was its right as administrator of the Duchy. What it amounted to was Prussia assuming it could dictate the fate of the Duchy placed under Austrian supervision, while tolerating no interference with Schleswig under its own control.

    The Prussians probably figured that as Duke of Holstein, Frederick would use that position to advance his old claim to Schleswig as well. That might be considered a provocation if he had actually been permitted to take his seat in Holstein, and had then advanced his claim to Schleswig, AND the Austrians had then backed that claim, AND had refused diplomacy and prepared for war over Schleswig. That kind of panicked look to future power alignments is exactly what France was doing in 1870. What actually happened is that the Prussians short-circuited all that speculation and interfered in the administration of Holstein by declaring the Gastein Convention null and invading Holstein.

    The Gastein convention was in force until the Prussians declared it otherwise. Even then, there need not have been war. The Gastein convention had not ended a pre-existing state of war between Prussia and Austria. Therefore its abrogation by Prussia did not automatically re-create a state of war. What did was the invasion of Holstein by Prussian troops.

    ------

    I did not argue the status of the Bohemian Crown on the basis of it not being part of any of the kreise, which were a fairly late innovation in the life of the empire.

    I argued that it was a distinct Kingdom as distinct from the Emperor's lands as German King, which it was, and from long before the kreise system existed at any rate. Before the Interregnum or the Golden Bull of 1356.

    Let me put it more succinctly (I know I have promised before). The Emperor in his person was also the German King, King of Italy, and King of Burgundy. These titles all went with the title of Emperor, although the election as King of the Romans/Germans [whichever variant] was of course often followed by delay in the papal coronation as emperor in the times that was deemed necessary. The crowns of Burgundy and especially Italy were occasionally bestowed in separate ceremonies, with some delay required, especially in the early centuries. But all of these crowns were from an early date assumed to go along with the imperial patrimony. The Crown of Bohemia was never at any time considered to go automatically with the titles of the German King/Roman Emperor, not even when in the medieval period it was a couple of times held by the Roman King, not even during the several centuries when the Habsburgs held the lot.

    If the automatic possession of the Crown of Burgundy and the Crown of Italy, as well as the German Crown, as part of a package borne always by the Emperors cannot be used to justify a German national state's modern claim on most of eastern France and northern Italy, which alas I contend it cannot, then the separate status of the Crown of Bohemia, constitutionally distinct and always elected separately, and even usually hereditary, cannot be used to support a German national state's claims on Bohemian lands in the 19th century or 20th.

    Now at greater length.

    Bohemia started as a Slav Duchy, and before the time of Otto I at that. It was outside the Frankish empire as left by Charlemagne's heirs. It was outside Louis the German's kingdom or any subsequent version of the kingdom of the eastern Franks/Germans. It was outside Otto's realm as well. It was certainly not a German stem duchy. In this regard it was similar to the first Polish Duchy and, ethnicity aside, the original Hungarian realm.

    In this period, the scope of the Emperor's role over all Christendom remained unclear. Some would argue that he had residual superiority over all kings let alone independent duchies in the former Frankish lands, or even Latin Christendom. The assumption that his recognition was required for things, alongside or separate from that of the Pope, did not necessarily mean that these things became part of the Empire, let alone the German, Italian, or Burgundian realms' lands. Imperial relations with France were long troubled by such issues. The Emperor's say so was necessary to elevate the Polish Duke to a King. It did not make the Polish Duchy or Kingdom a part of the Empire at all, let alone part of the Emperor's lands as German/Roman King. When Philip of Swabia recognized Ottokar of Bohemia, heir of a long line of hereditary Slavic Dukes, as King of Bohemia in 1198 he cemented its separateness from the German lands as much as its relationship with the empire.

    Granted that Bohemia's status vis a vis the empire ended up a lot closer than Poland's. Helped to develop that way by the number of times in the high middle ages that a Bohemian king was elected King of the Romans, and by the later Habsburg supremacy.

    Nevertheless:

    Separate Duchy never inside the realms of Charlemagne, his heirs, Louis the German or Otto I, nor any successor.

    Native dynasty in place with hereditary succession before Otto I and still in power in 1198.

    Native ruler recognized as a King in 1198.

    Same native ruler recognized as a king on hereditary basis, this being the centuries old Slavic dynasty being recognized as Kings in perpetuity now, in 1212 by the Golden Bull of Sicily. This Bull situates Bohemia and Moravia as indivisible and autonomous within the Empire. As a Kingdom, it is clearly outside the lands of the German Crown, as it always had been. Kingdoms were not part of Kingdoms. The Bull laid out quite limited obligations to the Emperor by the King.

    Charles IV further defined the segregated status of Bohemia in 1346.

    Or to summarize yet again, Bohemia unlike Poland ended up a [limited] part of the Empire. It was not part of the German lands under the German Crown.

    And as I said in an earlier post, none of that mattered all that much after 1806, as there was no Emperor and no Empire. At no point after that did any ruler claim to be the Roman Emperor, no one ever proclaimed the Empire once again extant, nor was any duly constituted Imperial Diet according to the last constitutional forms ever assembled, not even to proclaim that the empire was restored and would now proceed to modernize its institutions. There was no Holy Roman Empire after 1806. Therefore no imperial claims, limited as they were, survived regarding Bohemia. And they were never specifically GERMAN claims.

    -------

    The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state, ie it was neither sovereign nor national nor a state, nor claimed to be one. All its member states retained full Westphalian sovereignty unto themselves. The Crown of Bohemia remained one of the titles of the Austrian Emperor, who was a sovereign represented at the Confederation Diet. The Confederation is even less of a precedent for Bohemia being a potential part of a "German" national state.

    I don't know what 'integration into the Germanic body' is. I appreciate the romance of the drang nach osten or ostsiedlung as much as the next guy, but I try to stay away from biological metaphors like integration into the national body, or absorption, lest parasitic allusions also leap to mind.

    As to the rest of the settler question, what can I say? Even if they last centuries, unless settler peoples remain on top or demographically swamp the natives quickly and become the majority, sooner or later they get asked to assimilate with the native people or they get kicked out. The German-speakers of Bohemia had been subjects of the Crown of Bohemia within [amazingly] stable borders for hundreds of years, into which they had come as settlers. In an age of ethnolinguistic nationalism based on majorities, the way to stay at home was to assimilate. Or you could leave. Or stay put and quiet, keep your culture and deal with the majority in theirs. This was the German view, especially after 1871, except for that generous last bit. That's how the Poles of Prussian-annexed eastern Germany experienced it. Naturally, when they got some of their territory back, the Poles returned the favour.

    The earliest Germans of Bohemia immigrated to Bohemia from the 12th century under Przemyslid patronage, in the typical manner of eastern Europe. Also typically of that not especially ethnonationalist time, they could form towns and farm colonies and speak German. [Not unlike the Jews.] They grew in number in the 14th century, and after the Habsburg ascendancy in 1526. That doesn't mean they were expanding the borders of Germany, or creating a German claim on Bohemia, or that they were there under any terms other than the patronage of the Bohemian ruler, who for centuries before and after their first arrival was a Czech, a Hungarian/Pole/Lithuanian, or a transplanted Frenchman. [And as I said, when the ruler was a GErman later on, it was still distinct from 'Germany', still had Czech nobles, and still a Czech majority]. It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany, nor did the majority population at any time cease to be Slavs.

    Sucks to move from a pre-nationalist to a nationalist time when one is a minority. But the Germans worked hard to assimilate Poles, Danes, and others. They did more or less absorb Wends and Sorbs. I don't see why the Czechs, who never ceased to be the majority of the more or less unchanging territory of Bohemia, were not entitled to that privilege.

    Give it another 100 years. If there is a Germany left, ask me whether the Turks and Kurds are entitled to self-determination and to have their communities ruled by Turkey. Or the Republic of Imperial Kurdistan, or whoever.

    The peril of being a colonial people that never exceeds the natives in number is that sometimes you get expelled. Or you get asked to assimilate if you want to stay on. [In this context by analogy to the Poles of Germany is false of course. The Germans of Bohemia had settled in Bohemia. The Poles of Germany had been living in Poland until the Prussians helped carve it up. ]

    -------

    The Americans [the Associated Power] had cooked up the 14 Points. Cheap morale and PR gambit as it was, I agree. None of the Allied Powers agreed to them at any point. They vehemently rejected them including in the run up to November 1918. Germany was never offered an armistice on the basis of the 14 Points. Germany seized on them itself, Ludendorff specifically included, as a gambit in their own right as a way to ask for an armistice without admitting they were losing and as a PR tool to reframe Germany's position in world opinion.

    The Germans asked for an armistice at Ludendorff's insistence because they were losing and he was panicking and blame-shifting as fast as possible.

    If the Germans had sought an armistice solely because they had faith in the brave new world that the 14 Points implied, they could have decided to keep fighting when the armistice they were offered did not live up to it. Again, they were losing and needed the armistice more than the Allies did.

    The armistice they actually signed, the commitments the Allies made, did not include them. There is nothing in the armistice that ends the 'presuppositions' of the small-Germany solution. By definition, the armistice promises only what it contains. The Germans signed because they were losing the war.

    Just as the armistice, so the peace treaty. The terms of the peace are what is agreed to in the treaty. The armistice did not commit the Allies to let Germany annex territory or make any reference at all to the self-determination of anyone anywhere. It was an armistice. It laid out relevant terms for an armistice. The peace treaty laid out revisions of borders in the favour of the winners, and in the favours of peoples the winners considered to have been on their side, or to have been hard done by by the old order, in accordance with the principles of self-determination as the Allies thought could best be applied given the mix of peoples and the division of Europe among the winners of the war and the losers of it. None of the treaties promised that Germany could annex territory or that any borders would be revised so that German-speakers wishing to become citizens of Germany for the first time could take their homelands with them into the Reich.

    --------------------------------------------

    Maybe this is a rhetorical thing. If I were to say that something is explicable in terms of something else that pre-existed, indeed it need not mean "justifiable" or "justified". But it does mean the pre-existing thing has to explain the new thing.

    A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles. Restore the 1914 borders and the colonies, or comparable borders and colonies or compensation therefore, get reparations from the allies to pay for the costs of both the original and a new war, and just generally beat tar out of all the 1918 victors and humiliate them in turn. Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more. He set out to get more. Much, much more.

    Similarly, the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad, is not explicable in terms of what happened in the first war or at Versailles. Not outside the looking glass, at any rate.

    Similarly the identification of the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles. It had other, recent, global causes. And certainly did not affect Germany alone or disproportionately.

    If one is to say that Nazism can be explained or understood by reference to Versailles, then that is false. Some form of revanchism that looked like a 5% solution of Nazism, with different aims and targets, could be explained by Versailles. What the Germans actually signed up for and did cannot be.
  102. @random observer
    a) So the British Cabinet and Admiralty adopt the same naval strategy they had been trying on for nearly 200 years against continental rivals, with considerable success, and somehow Jews are responsible because one famous Zionist supported it? Let's go ahead and say every Jew on earth supported it, which is hardly likely since that would have included German Jews on the frontline not to mention millions of Jews in eastern Europe who hadn't a clue. I am pretty confident that if there had been no Jews in the world in 1914 the British would have imposed the exact same blockade at the same time and for the same reasons. The suggestion that Jews, or even Weizmann could be blamed for British naval policy is beyond lunacy.

    Blame the British for it, fine. That would at least put responsibility where it belonged. It was and is absurd to blame the Jews or any particular Jews.

    As for British responsibility, nobody called it a war crime when it was used against France. Nor does anyone spend any time condemning other historical blockade strategies, which were and are implemented quite commonly by any power that has command of the sea against weaker opponents that cannot challenge it in that environment. [Southerners might have complaints against the Union in this regard, but since no one recognized them as a state, no violation of international law could be claimed even in theory.] Of other countries that have faced a blockade only advocates for Germany ever complain, and therefore only Britain gets blamed for using the method. They were just more consistent and better at it. To be expected given the geography.

    Also, the German U-boat campaigns in both wars, which had the same objective, were not and are not considered to have been war crimes. You could make valid points that the Germans committed war crimes when they started sinking ships without warning, or the British did using Q-ships, but the U-boat campaign to interdict commerce was not itself a war crime. It too was a blockade designed to starve Britain out.

    Both things were legitimate. The maritime and strategic-level equivalent of siege, or of the countless strategies of economic war adopted by all parties to deprive their enemies of needed resources or to seize resources for themselves.

    I don't see what claims about being a Christian civilization have to do with anything. All the major parties other than the Turks claimed to be Christian powers and all were doing nasty stuff of rough moral equivalence [in the first war]. I am no immediately aware that the British had agreed to give up blockade strategy.

    b) Of course it was. Legal state of war was still in place. The existence of that state of war, obvious until a peace treaty was signed, was the authority to continue such things as the blockade, to hold POWS, and to intern the German sailors along with their ships, also as POWs. Standard practices both before and after the Hague Conventions. Common practice by winning powers everywhere prior to peace agreements being signed. Past German practice too. Nothing wrong with it. The November 11 Armistice required the Allies to suspend offensive operations and they did. That's what they agreed to. They used the leverage provided by the persistence of a state of war to pressure the Germans to sign the peace treaty on their preferred terms. And they imposed the other armistice conditions in the meantime like internment of the fleet to make it harder for the Germans to later reject the armistice and resume the fighting.

    That's what you do when you are winning. The Germans clearly agreed on November 11 that the Allies must be winning, or they would not have accepted the armistice conditions. They could have kept on fighting. They knew perfectly well that would result in even worse terms in some armistice they'd have to sign in 1919, and it likely would have made the eventual peace treaty circa 1920-1 even worse. They could have gambled on doing better in 1919. They decided they were losing and were going to lose and could not fight on.

    If they had really wanted to end the war faster, they could always have shown up at Versailles and begged to surrender at discretion.

    c) Your section c does not list any Jewish reps at Versailles demanding anything be done to hurt Germany, nor identify any gains by these Jews that involved inflicting harm on Germany. I reiterate. I asked for testable claims that the Jews either set out to hurt GERMANY, or had indeed done so. Showing up to demand the victors give them the homeland in Palestine the British had promised does not harm Germany. Asking for guarantees of minority rights in Europe does not harm Germany. It probably would have helped some Germans in other countries if it had ever been implemented. But it certainly did not harm Germany.

    Ferguson's point you offer is interesting. There's no arguing that the British and French were as fully exhausted on every level. It was perfectly possible that the German 1918 offensives could have broken the British lines and in the aftermath provoked a panic that would have seen the Allies fold like Germany later did. But it didn't work out like that. When the Allies launched their offensives, the Germans did break, yield much more territory, permanently, and demand an armistice.

    [The proportions of troops involved were about 2.6 French to 1.8 British to 1.9 American, but the largest gains were on the British and French fronts, with each of those armies inflicting greater damage on the Germans than that done by the US army. The US army's contribution was both necessary and highly significant on the ground, let alone for morale. But it wasn't the biggest. It would have been overwhelming in 1919.]

    So what was the illogic of Britain staying in? The Germans had proved unable to defeat them in 1914-17, just as much as they had proved unable to defeat the Germans. There was no more reason for Britain to quit than there was for Germany until the spring of 1918. As I said, each power then put the matter to the final test. The Germans failed.

    On the stab in the back, your case seems to rest in the first part on the argument that leading German Jews wanted Germany to win because they expected German support in Palestine. Sounds like some combination of German patriotism, and fair dealing for friendly future relations between Germany and a future Jewish homeland. That posture should at least have bought a postwar Germany willing to exempt most of its own Jews from collective condemnation and eventual denaturalization followed by slaughter. All that sounds like the leading Jews of Germany, who as its citizens owed it loyalty, were indeed patriots and friends to Germany, just as at the lower levels many served in uniform. And then Germany turned its back on them, blamed them for its national and military failure, and then pulled out knives for them and took their possessions, long before deciding at last to kill them all.

    The Jews you cite most prominently, Weizmann and Jabotinsky, cannot be accused of stabbing Germany in the back because neither owed Germany any national loyalty by either birth or oath. Weizmann was a born Russian subject who studied in Germany for 5 years in the 1890s but never became its citizen, later moved to Britain and was naturalized a British subject in 1910. As such it was right and proper that he took the British part in the war. Anything else would have been disgraceful in its own right. He did not owe Germany patriotism, it was never his country.

    Jabotinsky was also a born Russian subject. One might argue that as a revolutionary he was a traitor to the Tsar, but I can't find anything quickly that involved him doing anything to fight against Russia or the Russian monarchy. He was always about Zionism and the Ottomans. Besides, the Tsar's claims on him would be moot by the time of Versailles. As he had never been German, he did not owe allegiance to Germany and cannot be accused of having betrayed it.

    Similarly, unless you are going to tell me the vast Jewish populations of the Russian and Austrian Empires were conspiring at Versailles against Germany [one would wonder why they would be doing that- they'd have been better conspiring against Poland], perhaps they should have been exempted from Hitler's wrath, whether rhetorical or eventually physical.

    I don't see why American Jews had any less right to argue for the course of action by the US they favoured, as German or Irish Americans had right to argue for the US staying out of the war. Said Jews were either citizens, voters, taxpayers [and political donors] like the rest, or they were not. Nor is there any difference between American Jews listening to the entreaties of British Jews to enter the war on the side of Britain, and American gentiles listening to the entreaties of British gentiles to enter the war on the side of Britain. Besides, hyper-Virginian Wilson and his White Protestant administration entered the war to enhance American power and impose his personal and class values on the world. He succeeded only partly on the latter, but massively on the former count.

    d) Worth noting in passing that in the Russian Bolshevik party, Jews were a small minority of 5-7% though a higher percentage of the leaders [still not the majority]. So their blame for Russia is only partial. Far less than the blame that belongs to the German intelligence service, the real enablers of the October Revolution. The most cunningly successful intelligence operation in history, in that it knocked Russia from the war and enabled Brest-Litovsk and led to a devastating civil war, but with the most appalling blowback in history for Germany first in 1919 and then in 1941-5. I raise all that only to note the irony involved in the Bolsheviks then flooding their people into by-then defeated Germany to bring Germany into the revolution. Turnabout is fair play.

    The bigger questions here are:

    1. What about all the German socialists and communists who were not Jews? Like Liebknecht, for an obvious one. And most if not all of the naval mutineers, most of the members of the USPD and the eventual KPD, not least the Rotfrontkampfverband street militias. Were these robust Aryan German workers, lawyers, journalists and agitators a mere pack of puppets in a Jewish led clown show? That speaks ill of the German blood, to say the least.

    2. What about the fact that neither the Russian nor the German communists who were ethnic Jews considered themselves either religious Jews [they were Marxists after all] or Zionists [they were internationalists after all not ethnonationalists].? If you are a Jew by ethnic ancestry fine. But if you neither practice the faith nor endorse the Zionist political ideology, and adhere to the materialist internationalist secular philosophy of an internationalist and deeply anti-Semitic lapsed German Jew who also held the religion and Jewish ethnoculture in contempt, do not practice Jewish culture and carry on policies that cannot recognizably be considered Jewish in content, as minority players in political movements whose actual ideology is being made clear, in what remaining sense is your policy "Jewish"?

    Or to put both in another way, why is the "Jewish" part more important than the "Bolshevik" part in your formulation?

    To be fair, the Nazis also set out to kill all the communists who hadn't switched sides fast enough and joined the NSDAP, including plenty of the majority of non-Jewish communists. Very even-handed. Clearly they hated communists as communists and aimed to do away with them. But then they also set out to kill German Jews as such, including the majority who were not communists. Clearly they also hated Jews as Jews and aimed to do away with them, communist or not.

    I'm not sure what "Jews attempted to take over German politics and culture" is supposed to mean.

    At no point were Jews in anything resembling a position to take over German politics from the overwhelmingly [if often lapsed] Catholic and Protestant politicians who ran the republic. Nor was there any Jewish movement aiming let alone able to impose a Jewish government. The Communists were not all Jews, their ideology was neither Judaism nor Zionism. They wanted to create a communist Germany, not a Jewish Germany. I seriously doubt it could have looked any different from the eventual DDR the survivors clapped together after WW2. That is to say dowdy, Aryan, and stylistically roughly like NS Germany. Granted, it might have had more Jews since they wouldn't all be dead. Then again, the Stalinists might still at least have purged them all. It certainly wouldn't have been a Jewish regime.

    Nor, dismissing the notion that the communists were a primarily Jewish force, did the communists try to overthrow the German state any more than the fringe right did. Or stage any more street riots. The whole history of 1918-32 is both fringes trying to overthrown lawful government. Whatever you think of the republic as a German state, it is worth remembering that by the standards of pre-1918 Germany it was at least as legitimate as Nazi Germany. Weimar's political institutions were more liberal, but they far more resembled those of the empire than Hitler's government did. The Kaiser's government acted through law and procedure, granted rights to Germans, submitted at least core domestic matters to a free parliament, and did not massacre its own citizens. It was not run based on the charisma of a populist street performer backed by thugs and murderers and based on the murder of its own citizens in situations that were in some degree still illegal even under their own arbitrary regime.

    German culture was carrying on trends, many of them decadent to be sure, already well established in the arts of prewar Germany and of other European countries, which continued in those countries as they did in Germany, and were fully engaged in by gentiles at every level. Nor were the contents of these arts Jewish in any particular way. Chagall was not more decadent than Picasso.

    It's not more than a matter of taste, but to a devotee of older forms of European art there isn't much qualitative or spiritual difference between the stuff the Nazis called decadent and the cheesy poorly executed claptrap they promoted. Just as Stalinist art in Russia was not better than the stuff he condemned.

    e) This section does not make any sense of any kind and I cannot even begin to unpack the internal logic of the strategy you propose.

    Falsehood in one, falsehood in all, as a legal principle would have it.

    Germany was starved AFTER the WWI ceasefire which Germany had agreed to because of the US President’s proposal to stop the war.

    German U-boats sank British and American ships DURING the wars, AFTER Britain and France declared war on Germany.

    Quite a difference.

    HdC

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    • Replies: @random observer
    Loud sigh.

    My reference to the U boat campaign was clearly a response to the broader charge offered earlier that the blockade was an inherently uncivilized method of war, unchristian, a clear black mark against Britain long before November 1918 and somehow different from any war policy carried on by Germany. [The Germans actually tried on that notion back in the day themselves.] That allegation was clear, and so was my response to it.

    The British adopted blockade to starve out Germany, the Germans used U-boats to starve out Britain. That is the response to the charge that the British blockade was a uniquely uncivilized method of war. It was well within norms, and Germany had its own method toward the same ends.

    See above. Short version of this point- Germany did not 'agree' to a ceasefire because of Wilson's proposal. Germany ASKED FOR a ceasefire because its generals admitted they were losing the war and had panicked. Germany tied their request to the 14 points because they hoped this would land the good deal. They HAD NOT been offered an armistice on the basis of the 14 points at any time, and neither the British nor the French had ever agreed to grant one, or to do anything else on the basis of the 14 points. The armistice Germany was eventually offered, and signed because they were losing, made no commitments related to the 14 points.

    The legal state of war ends with the peace treaty. Not before. Germany was at war with the Allies until it signed at Versailles and ratifications were exchanged.

    Nothing in the November 11 Armistice says that the war is over. It required the Allies as well as Germans to cease offensive operations on the Western Front and in the air, and does end 'hostilities' at sea, all so long as the Germans meet the many Allied conditions.

    In defining the naval terms, the Germans are required to cease all their operations, turn over ships, U boats, stores etc. The Allies also commit to cease hostilities and did so. They were not hunting or sinking any German vessels or firing on anything, nor killing anyone at sea. Stopping doing those things seems to me an entirely fair equivalent to the end of the U boat campaign, since the latter was also about open hostilities and killing at sea as well as the interdiction of supplies as such.

    [The Allies may have fired against any vessels not honouring the armistice terms, I don't know. But then they would have been replying to a German violation, not committing a violation themselves.]

    The blockade of Germany as such did continue past November 1918. Seems unfair. Again, legal state of war, armistice terms the Germans signed. Such things always tilt in favour of the winner. The Armistice explicitly permits the continuation of the blockade without restriction or duration, although the presumption would be the eventual peace treaty. It does indicate the Allies will look to 'provision' Germany during the interim, and then concedes them total discretion in defining that.

    Hard terms. All one-sided. The Germans signed it. They were losing the war. If they didn't believe they were losing the war, the didn't have to sign.

    The terms of the Armistice were the only Allied commitments to Germany prior to the peace of July 1919.

    No promises to Germany were broken, no international laws or norms exceeded in any way at all.

    If you want mercy above and beyond the requirements of international law, the legal state of war, and the actual terms of the Armistice, I've got that. The Allies announced the end of the full blockade, on January 17 1919. Under no obligation to do so. They did require the food be loaded by German ships in Allied ports under supervision, but I find no evidence that the quantity was restricted. Just the procedures. Consistent with the armistice and reasonable to ensure only food was shipped.

    The Germans considered that since the Armistice was not a peace treaty and fighting might resume [notice the German government's clear awareness of this pertinent and elementary fact], and was afraid the allies would seize the ships under the armistice. They refused and told the Americans the food shortages would not be 'critical' until late spring. The supervised shipments eventually started in March.

    The peace treaty was signed in July 1919 and open commerce in food and so far as I can see anything else other than treaty-controlled war materiel resumed immediately.
  103. @SolontoCroesus
    Your lengthy and informative history left out one critically important factor: the birth and growth of zionism.

    --

    As Yossi Alpher explained in his book on Israel's periphery doctrine, the Jewish people have always achieved their goals by operating through other, stronger state's forces, political systems and institutions.

    Jews had been part of the German "geographical expression" since at least 700 AD. German victory in 1871 and German unification motivated Jews from all over the region, especially the industrially, academically and politically less-successful Eastern European regions, to flock to the new German state and take advantage of its institutions and the foundation laid for economic prosperity.

    The haskalah movement in Russia emerged at about the same time, ~1881, together with heightened interest in the return to zion -- to Palestine.

    Germans collaborated with Jews in establishing settlements in Palestine; Arthur Ruppin, who "produced Hebrew culture in Palestine," was born and educated in Germany and incorporated German organizational, political, social and economic systems -- including eugenics -- in the framework of the nascent Jewish colonization project in Palestine. Theodore Herzl had petitioned the Kaiser to assist German Jews to "exodus" (Herzl's word) to Palestine.

    This spirit of intellectual and institutional sharing and support of Germans for the Jewish (as well as German) colonies in Palestine persisted into the years of the first war.

    Chaim Weizmann was from Belarus. When war erupted in 1914, Weizmann deduced that the Jewish zionist project could become a major beneficiary of the war; he made the bet -- against all odds -- that the British would win, and he worked his way into the British decision-making class in order to position Jews for that beneficence. It is not a slur to state that Weizmann's assistance to British naval efforts in WWI, and his efforts at drawing the USA into the war on Britain's side, were the quid pro quo for the Balfour Declaration which gave Jews a "homeland for Jews in Palestine."

    Obviously, the British victory came at the expense of the German people.

    I have not a whit of argument with any of that until right near the end.

    I merely contend that

    1. a Jew who was not a German citizen, like Weizmann who you have cited or any other British or French or American or Russian Jew [Jabotinsky, eg.] or any other Jew who was not a German citizen, did not owe loyalty to Germany and cannot be accused of betraying an allegiance he did not owe. His actions in his own interest, the interest of the “host” country of which he was a citizen [in Weizmann's case the United Kingdom], or the interests of the ‘Jewish people’ as he defined them, cannot be regarded as stabbing Germany in the back.

    2. Just as a Jew who was not a German citizen did not owe Germany allegiance in time of war or at any other time, a Jew who WAS a British subject [Weizmann or any other such] DID owe loyalty to the United Kingdom up to and including support for the British war effort. Anything less would make him a traitor to the United Kingdom. Jabotinsky or other Russian Jews to my mind owed allegiance to the Tsar, a prospect I am sure would have struck most of them as painful in the extreme, but by the time under discussion would have been moot, as there was no Tsar and no Russian Empire. And in any case, proper loyalty due the Tsar would mean that Russian Jews also owed it to him to oppose the German war effort.

    3. American Jews, as American citizens and taxpayers, had the same rights as any other American citizens and taxpayers to promote the American course of action they considered best. Ideally, this would be defined by the interests of the United States. But if the Jews pushed America to act in the interests of a Jewish homeland, this can scarcely be regarded as morally inferior to the arguments of German Americans who opposed America going to war with their homeland, or Irish Americans who just wanted Britain to lose. These also were particularist arguments unrelated to the interests of the United States.

    4. As you say, Weizmann was from Belarus. As I said, he was a born Russian subject who later became a British subject. Nowhere in that is any requirement on him, by birth, law or oath, that he be loyal to Germany. I am a Canadian by birth. I don’t owe loyalty to France or Mexico.

    5. I am aware of the strong German support for Zionist projects in the pre and early war years, and certainly support broader awareness of them as a counterbalance to some of the early, and certainly milder than in Russia or France, anti-Semitism that could be found. It would offer a much more balanced picture of Germany in those times. But German efforts in this area were the product of the same combination of forces as British ones, namely: cultural sympathy, religious sympathy, support for the idea the Jews would build a modern and progressive society in a dusty Ottoman backwater, a certain idea in both Germany and Britain that their nations were destined to have a special role in the support of the Jewish people and perhaps had a spiritual bond with them, and hard core state policy competing for influence in the Middle East. Kaiser Wilhelm didn’t tour the Middle East before the war just to stand in Saladin’s tomb, though I’ve no doubt the romanticism appealed to him. [The Germans and British were also competing for Muslim allies, and the Germans had supplanted Britain as the patron of the Ottoman Empire. The French and the Russians had Christian clients in the region.] None of that entitled Germany to any greater support from international Jewish communities than Britain might ask for, and certainly did not entitle Germany to the loyalty of Jews who were not Germans and who, indeed, were citizens of countries at war with Germany.

    6. It wasn’t really against all odds. Everybody in 1914 overestimated French power and Russian power, so oddsmakers could easily have called the war at 50-50. Also, Britain and France DID win. Germany failed to defeat them in battle in France. And if the Allied victory in 1918 included the contribution of the US, so what? Diplomacy is an instrument of war too. I repeat. Of the powers in the field at the start, Britain and France won the war. And if your condemnation of Weizmann is that he made a bet on Britain “against all odds”, what of it? Guess he gambled rightly. Clever clogs. And, to flog a dead horse, Weizmann was I suppose entitled to make any gamble he wanted as a Zionist, since he owed no loyalty to Germany. Just as well, from my point of view, that the gamble he made was on Britain, since as a British Subject he owed loyalty to Britain. If he had thrown Zionist support to Germany, I would now be calling him a traitor. The different is I would be right. He was BRITISH, not German.

    7. Again, that Weizmann supported British naval policy is irrelevant both to that policy and to whether or not his actions constituted a betrayal of Germany. The blockade was the core naval strategy of Britain against a continental foe and would have been under any and all conditions given the geography and British naval superiority. Weizmann’s nonexistence or different attitude would have made no difference to it being adopted, nor did his support of it strengthen it as a tool of British policy, nor put any extra ships in the water or men on them. Him supporting it would have been of no more significance than random Joe in Liverpool supporting it, and far less significant that the fact it was the default policy of the naval and political establishment, and a very good policy for British strategy. Neither did his supporting it mean he was betraying Germany, whatever his reasons for doing so. He was not German and did not owe Germany the loyalty it was due from its own citizens. He was British, and duty bound to support British war policies. Germany was the enemy, and he supported his country against its enemy. If he did it for cynical Zionist reasons, no foul. He nevertheless did what was his duty by supporting his country in its war. Ditto for helping win American support. He was British. If he expected a quid pro quo, fine. In pursuing that end, he took actions that helped Britain, the country of which he was a citizen and to which he owed allegiance. In no way does any of this give Germany a claim to criticize him or his actions one whit more that they had right to criticize the actions of any other British Subject who rightly and properly supported the British war effort.

    I remain fascinated by this idea that Jews around the world who were not German citizens and in many cases never had been, and who were in fact citizens of countries fighting against Germany, somehow owed something to Germany and not to the war efforts of their own countries, and that their efforts to support their countries’ war against Germany, or indeed to bring their countries into war against Germany, somehow constitute a betrayal of Germany or a stab in Germany’s back, over and above the war efforts of all the non-Jewish citizens of those same countries. Did Wilson betray Germany when he took America onto the Allied side, thus creating justification to kill all Virginians? Normal nationalist resentments aside, I don’t recall the interwar Germans deciding that they had to kill all the British because of Asquith or Churchill, or indeed all the Welsh because Lloyd George had turned into a real fire-breather. These British subjects were not accused of stabbing Germany in the back. That would have been rightly regarded as insane. No less for Weizmann.

    ———-

    So let’s eliminate the betrayal, stab in the back question and all the overheated rhetorical twaddle that went with it, just for a second. You can’t betray something to which you do not owe loyalty in the first place. At which point there is no justification for treating the Zionists as a special case, as betrayers of Germany in contrast to Germany’s other enemies around the world during the war, or for directing any special venom at them not directed at others.

    Let’s just consider the Zionist international movement around Weizmann in question as an enemy to Germany in the war because they supported the British war effort.

    Given that the Zionists’ contribution to the defeat of Germany cannot be compared in scale to the millions of gentile men the British Empire and France put into the field, the national treasuries stored up by the taxes of hundreds of millions of their citizens and subjects, the weapons and ships produced by British and French companies and their gentile workers, the statecraft and aggressive policies of their political and military leaders, and the riches stored up over generations by their still mainly gentile bankers around the world, the nationalist/imperialist/geopolitical interests Britain and France were pursuing, and the populist anti-German opinions of many of their people before 1914, more than enough to get them in the streets cheering, why were Jews to be identified for blame with greater venom than gentile British or French?

    The British and French establishments went to war for what they saw as British and French gain. Whether or not you wish to consider that purely as establishment gain, it was not primarily Jewish gain. British and French politicians didn’t set out to defeat Germany for Jewish gains. And they got what they wanted, no less than the Zionists. More, perhaps.

    ———-

    So why the focus on the Jews?

    Again it came back to this question of stab in the back. Which by definition can apply only to Jews who were German citizens.

    So now I need to see evidence to back up the claims being made not only by the Nazis but by many of the early fringe nationalists.

    German nationalists who focused on this question chose to categorize an entire body of German citizens as traitors, as agents of a worldwide conspiracy whose aim was to destroy Germany, and whose efforts had played the main role in defeating Germany in 1918 [after all, the rhetoric always implied that the allies couldn't possibly have really militarily defeated Germany]. They deemed this sufficient to demand persecution of them all including the many who will have served faithfully, or worked hard, or just tried to live out the war as befitted their stations and ages, just as other Germans.

    I need to see evidence that German Jews betrayed Germany for Jewish interests, and that they did so in sufficient numbers that it can constitute at least in theory a black mark against all German Jews [many will contend this is already an unacceptable leap]. That is to say, “[German] Jews” betrayed Germany, not Jewish individuals among the larger, non-betraying body of loyal Jewish citizens, for Jewish reasons, and out of proportion to all the gentile Germans whose actions in the war might have undermined the war effort.

    A Jew who deserts the front is not doing so because he is a Jew but because war is desperate and terrifying, he is matchable by a Gentile who does so for the same reasons, and cancelled by a Jew who dies at the front.

    A Jew who profits from contraband goods at home is not doing so because he is a Jew but because lying a cheating and ripping people off is a common human survival trait especially in war and widely distributed among all humans, he is matchable by a Gentile who does the same things for the same reasons, and cancelled by a Jew who has done no such thing.

    A Jew who is a communist revolutionary is doing it because he is a communist, not a Zionist, he is matchable by a Gentile who is also a communist and also seeks a communist Germany, and cancelled by a Jew who is a bourgeois or a monarchist [there were plenty] who loathes the idea of a communist Germany.

    And few if any of the German Jews who might have engaged in any of the above activities were doing so as agents of Weizmann or international Zionism, any more than the Gentile Germans who were engaged in all of the same activities. One generally doesn’t desert or engage in profiteering as part of geopolitics, communism has a substantial domestic political/ideological element and to the extent it served foreign purposes it was Moscow’s hope for world socialist revolution, not Weizmann’s hope for a Jewish state in the Middle East.

    That for the question of the stab in the back itself. The additional element driving nationalist anti-Semitic grievances, namely that this Zionist plot was the main factor in Germany’s defeat in 1918, was and is mere German vanity. Britain and France, vile imperialist and plutocratic powers though they might be, couldn’t possibly really want to keep Germany down if it weren’t for the Jews’ machinations. Germany is wonderful and its imperial ambitions and naval policy wouldn’t hurt those countries at all if they weren’t deluded by Jews. The British wouldn’t have adopted a blockade if it weren’t for the Jews. The American establishment couldn’t have been convinced it was in their interest to go to war against Germany if it weren’t for the Jews of America [ie. US citizens pushing a line just like others] and Britain [ie Britons loyal to Britain and pushing for British interests]. [It plainly did benefit America's military and commercial position and the interests of WASP American plutocrats.] And Germany could still have defeated all of them militarily if it hadn’t been for the German Jews at home whose activities were somehow responsible for the incompetent diplomacy of Germany and the ultimate incapacity of the German army to win in France, not to mention responsible for the panic at HQ that determined the timing of the German demand for armistice and the rapid pace of collapse. Entirely without regard to the motives or impact of the millions of Gentiles involved at every level from the Kaiser and ministers and generals down to the lowest private or seaman or Bolshevik.

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  104. @5371
    The first part of your comment seems to assert that merely because Prussian interests differed from French, the actual details of their conflict are irrelevant, and a declaration of war after slim or no provocation, if it is French, is merely "angry brinksmanship diplomacy".

    [Worth noting as an aside that by the standard you are applying for France in 1870, Prussia was indisputably the aggressor against Austria in 1866. ]

    False. The casus belli was Austria's breach of treaty concerning the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein.

    [It was a Kingdom that was subordinate to the Emperor by a fairly limited feudal sort of pact, but was not part of the German realm within the empire.]

    No, the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were an integral part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. That they were not included in any of the Reichskreisen does not contradict this; neither were the lands of the Reichsritterschaft or other territories like Dithmarschen.

    [The Bohemian Crown was also a member of the German Confederation 1815-66, which was not a sovereign state, and certainly not any kind of precedent for Bohemian integration into a German national state]

    It continued the thousand-year history of Bohemian integration into the Germanic body. That integration could be questioned by Czech nationalists, but such questioning could not extend to the Germans who inhabited a large portion of Bohemia and Moravia. The allies with their Fourteen Points persuaded Germany to an armistice by promising a new world built on the principle of national self-determination. In so doing, they abolished all the presuppositions on which the kleindeutsche Lösung had rested. Thereafter, self-determination could not, without revolting hypocrisy and injustice, be denied to the Germans, whether they had formerly lived in the Austrian or German empire.

    [I see no way around the implication of this statement that, if one considers Nazism in the context of Versailles, it becomes more explicable in the context of what was done to Germany at Versailles,]

    Indeed. And do you really disagree with that? No reasonable person, on the other hand, could think that the other clauses of the sentence which you start thus are actually implied by Dinh's statement.

    On 1870 vs 1914:

    1. I contended correctly that both France and Prussia were concerned with their relative power position in 1870 rather than trifling considerations of ethics or honour [I feel quite confident Bismarck would agree with this characterization and that dismissive language], both had been pursuing their goals in that era by both diplomatic and military means, that Prussian diplomatic policies had the goal of weakening and isolating France just as much as French diplomatic policies had the goal of keeping Prussia weaker than itself and maintaining French influence, that Prussian policy was clearly aimed at generating a favourable situation by war if diplomacy could not be adequately effective, and that Bismarck’s diplomacy was aimed at creating that war if necessary. The doctored Ems Dispatch is hard to contextualize otherwise. Bismarck’s wounded ethics and Wilhelm’s allegedly wounded honour were as bogus as France’s claims of insult to its amour-propre. I make no condemnations. It was a demonstration of mastery on Bismarck’s side and foolish self-regard by the French.

    2. I contended correctly that these motivations, ambitions and fears map onto 1914. Germany, like France before her, feared encirclement and being made a weaker power in general and in desired spheres of influence to its east in particular, feared an economically expanding Russia fully as much as France feared a union of German-speaking states under Prussia which was also becoming if not already industrially superior to France, and that like France Germany believed that war to break up this constellation of forces and change the game was to its interest, and sooner rather than later. Even that the circumstances of the moment were forcing its hand in 1914, much as France felt in 1870. This is consistent with public remarks of German statesmen before the war, German statesmen and generals speaking and writing during the war, and the mountainous piles of self-regarding reminiscences after the war.

    3. The declaration of war is the final stage. I didn’t contend that decision was identical with the angry brinksmanship diplomacy. The angry brinksmanship diplomacy is what the French government and ambassador were up to beforehand. The Prussians/NDB were also engaged in brinksmanship diplomacy, although I concede they were smart enough to keep the tone more clever than angry. That was part of the strategy, demonstrably. Worked well.

    4. Which goes to my original point several phases back. The distinction between France and Prussia in 1870 was that France made the decision to go to war, not Prussia. That is the exact distinction I applied to Germany in 1914. Which was correct. I originally applied no “guilt” to either case. Both powers clearly made these choices for reasons of strategic power and survival, as they saw it. Both decisions might have been smart if they had calculated the odds right. Both were ultimately defeated and worse off.

    If preventive war is a legitimate choice for Germany in 1914, it is a legitimate choice for France in 1870. Unwise, to be sure, for both. But that’s hindsight.

    ———-

    On 1866 and how it relates to 1870 and 1914 for these purposes.

    [MORE]

    To restate the premises in reverse order from the 1914 “war guilt” question:

    The only thing that distinguished German actions in 1914 from those of their enemies was that they declared war first on France and Russia and actually militarily attacked France first [let's ignore that they did it the day before declaring war]. First to decide that war was the way out, and act officially on that decision by declaring it.

    This was also the only thing that distinguished French actions in 1870. They chose war and declared it.

    If France is ‘guilty’ in 1870, then Germany is ‘guilty’ in 1914. Neither one had a real casus belli if one doesn’t accept big picture strategic fear, but only concrete aggressive action. My original point being not that France had such a casus belli from Prussia in 1870, remember, but that its actions were equivalent in this regard to Germany’s actions in 1914. [If France had declared war on Germany on August 2 1914, it would have had a casus belli of the most robust kind. German invasion already under way on its soil.]

    By this standard, 1866 is quite remarkable. I believe Austria not only asked for the partial mobilization of the Confederation troops against Prussia but also declared war first. On the other hand Prussia had given them a REAL casus belli. The Austrians had done nothing of the sort in reverse. Prussia had been first to actually go to war, by invading Holstein. I don’t see how that makes Prussia not the aggressor.

    The first consideration is that Prussia had aimed to annex Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg as provinces of Prussia and been frustrated by the Austrians’ insistence they remain distinct members states of the German confederation albeit under a joint protectorate/condominium of Austria and Prussia as the senior members of the confederation.

    The Gastein Convention settling this dispute ended with Lauenburg in personal union with Prussia, with the King as its Duke; Schleswig remaining a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia, and Holstein a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia.

    This agreement certainly gave Prussia a good deal and they agreed to it but it didn’t settle their desire to annex the whole lot to the Prussian Kingdom nor settle their wider strategic concern, pushing the Austrians out of German affairs.

    I don’t see anything in the Gastein Convention that says Austria, as administrator of Holstein, could not endorse Frederick as its Duke, or convene the Diet of Holstein to adjudge his claims, or for that matter ask for a ruling on the inheritance of this confederation member state from the diet of the German Confederation. Therefore I cannot accept that Austrian actions in doing these things abrogated the Gastein Convention. Especially since if these bodies had endorsed Frederick, Austria would have installed him, as was its right as administrator of the Duchy. What it amounted to was Prussia assuming it could dictate the fate of the Duchy placed under Austrian supervision, while tolerating no interference with Schleswig under its own control.

    The Prussians probably figured that as Duke of Holstein, Frederick would use that position to advance his old claim to Schleswig as well. That might be considered a provocation if he had actually been permitted to take his seat in Holstein, and had then advanced his claim to Schleswig, AND the Austrians had then backed that claim, AND had refused diplomacy and prepared for war over Schleswig. That kind of panicked look to future power alignments is exactly what France was doing in 1870. What actually happened is that the Prussians short-circuited all that speculation and interfered in the administration of Holstein by declaring the Gastein Convention null and invading Holstein.

    The Gastein convention was in force until the Prussians declared it otherwise. Even then, there need not have been war. The Gastein convention had not ended a pre-existing state of war between Prussia and Austria. Therefore its abrogation by Prussia did not automatically re-create a state of war. What did was the invasion of Holstein by Prussian troops.

    ——

    I did not argue the status of the Bohemian Crown on the basis of it not being part of any of the kreise, which were a fairly late innovation in the life of the empire.

    I argued that it was a distinct Kingdom as distinct from the Emperor’s lands as German King, which it was, and from long before the kreise system existed at any rate. Before the Interregnum or the Golden Bull of 1356.

    Let me put it more succinctly (I know I have promised before). The Emperor in his person was also the German King, King of Italy, and King of Burgundy. These titles all went with the title of Emperor, although the election as King of the Romans/Germans [whichever variant] was of course often followed by delay in the papal coronation as emperor in the times that was deemed necessary. The crowns of Burgundy and especially Italy were occasionally bestowed in separate ceremonies, with some delay required, especially in the early centuries. But all of these crowns were from an early date assumed to go along with the imperial patrimony. The Crown of Bohemia was never at any time considered to go automatically with the titles of the German King/Roman Emperor, not even when in the medieval period it was a couple of times held by the Roman King, not even during the several centuries when the Habsburgs held the lot.

    If the automatic possession of the Crown of Burgundy and the Crown of Italy, as well as the German Crown, as part of a package borne always by the Emperors cannot be used to justify a German national state’s modern claim on most of eastern France and northern Italy, which alas I contend it cannot, then the separate status of the Crown of Bohemia, constitutionally distinct and always elected separately, and even usually hereditary, cannot be used to support a German national state’s claims on Bohemian lands in the 19th century or 20th.

    Now at greater length.

    Bohemia started as a Slav Duchy, and before the time of Otto I at that. It was outside the Frankish empire as left by Charlemagne’s heirs. It was outside Louis the German’s kingdom or any subsequent version of the kingdom of the eastern Franks/Germans. It was outside Otto’s realm as well. It was certainly not a German stem duchy. In this regard it was similar to the first Polish Duchy and, ethnicity aside, the original Hungarian realm.

    In this period, the scope of the Emperor’s role over all Christendom remained unclear. Some would argue that he had residual superiority over all kings let alone independent duchies in the former Frankish lands, or even Latin Christendom. The assumption that his recognition was required for things, alongside or separate from that of the Pope, did not necessarily mean that these things became part of the Empire, let alone the German, Italian, or Burgundian realms’ lands. Imperial relations with France were long troubled by such issues. The Emperor’s say so was necessary to elevate the Polish Duke to a King. It did not make the Polish Duchy or Kingdom a part of the Empire at all, let alone part of the Emperor’s lands as German/Roman King. When Philip of Swabia recognized Ottokar of Bohemia, heir of a long line of hereditary Slavic Dukes, as King of Bohemia in 1198 he cemented its separateness from the German lands as much as its relationship with the empire.

    Granted that Bohemia’s status vis a vis the empire ended up a lot closer than Poland’s. Helped to develop that way by the number of times in the high middle ages that a Bohemian king was elected King of the Romans, and by the later Habsburg supremacy.

    Nevertheless:

    Separate Duchy never inside the realms of Charlemagne, his heirs, Louis the German or Otto I, nor any successor.

    Native dynasty in place with hereditary succession before Otto I and still in power in 1198.

    Native ruler recognized as a King in 1198.

    Same native ruler recognized as a king on hereditary basis, this being the centuries old Slavic dynasty being recognized as Kings in perpetuity now, in 1212 by the Golden Bull of Sicily. This Bull situates Bohemia and Moravia as indivisible and autonomous within the Empire. As a Kingdom, it is clearly outside the lands of the German Crown, as it always had been. Kingdoms were not part of Kingdoms. The Bull laid out quite limited obligations to the Emperor by the King.

    Charles IV further defined the segregated status of Bohemia in 1346.

    Or to summarize yet again, Bohemia unlike Poland ended up a [limited] part of the Empire. It was not part of the German lands under the German Crown.

    And as I said in an earlier post, none of that mattered all that much after 1806, as there was no Emperor and no Empire. At no point after that did any ruler claim to be the Roman Emperor, no one ever proclaimed the Empire once again extant, nor was any duly constituted Imperial Diet according to the last constitutional forms ever assembled, not even to proclaim that the empire was restored and would now proceed to modernize its institutions. There was no Holy Roman Empire after 1806. Therefore no imperial claims, limited as they were, survived regarding Bohemia. And they were never specifically GERMAN claims.

    ——-

    The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state, ie it was neither sovereign nor national nor a state, nor claimed to be one. All its member states retained full Westphalian sovereignty unto themselves. The Crown of Bohemia remained one of the titles of the Austrian Emperor, who was a sovereign represented at the Confederation Diet. The Confederation is even less of a precedent for Bohemia being a potential part of a “German” national state.

    I don’t know what ‘integration into the Germanic body’ is. I appreciate the romance of the drang nach osten or ostsiedlung as much as the next guy, but I try to stay away from biological metaphors like integration into the national body, or absorption, lest parasitic allusions also leap to mind.

    As to the rest of the settler question, what can I say? Even if they last centuries, unless settler peoples remain on top or demographically swamp the natives quickly and become the majority, sooner or later they get asked to assimilate with the native people or they get kicked out. The German-speakers of Bohemia had been subjects of the Crown of Bohemia within [amazingly] stable borders for hundreds of years, into which they had come as settlers. In an age of ethnolinguistic nationalism based on majorities, the way to stay at home was to assimilate. Or you could leave. Or stay put and quiet, keep your culture and deal with the majority in theirs. This was the German view, especially after 1871, except for that generous last bit. That’s how the Poles of Prussian-annexed eastern Germany experienced it. Naturally, when they got some of their territory back, the Poles returned the favour.

    The earliest Germans of Bohemia immigrated to Bohemia from the 12th century under Przemyslid patronage, in the typical manner of eastern Europe. Also typically of that not especially ethnonationalist time, they could form towns and farm colonies and speak German. [Not unlike the Jews.] They grew in number in the 14th century, and after the Habsburg ascendancy in 1526. That doesn’t mean they were expanding the borders of Germany, or creating a German claim on Bohemia, or that they were there under any terms other than the patronage of the Bohemian ruler, who for centuries before and after their first arrival was a Czech, a Hungarian/Pole/Lithuanian, or a transplanted Frenchman. [And as I said, when the ruler was a GErman later on, it was still distinct from 'Germany', still had Czech nobles, and still a Czech majority]. It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany, nor did the majority population at any time cease to be Slavs.

    Sucks to move from a pre-nationalist to a nationalist time when one is a minority. But the Germans worked hard to assimilate Poles, Danes, and others. They did more or less absorb Wends and Sorbs. I don’t see why the Czechs, who never ceased to be the majority of the more or less unchanging territory of Bohemia, were not entitled to that privilege.

    Give it another 100 years. If there is a Germany left, ask me whether the Turks and Kurds are entitled to self-determination and to have their communities ruled by Turkey. Or the Republic of Imperial Kurdistan, or whoever.

    The peril of being a colonial people that never exceeds the natives in number is that sometimes you get expelled. Or you get asked to assimilate if you want to stay on. [In this context by analogy to the Poles of Germany is false of course. The Germans of Bohemia had settled in Bohemia. The Poles of Germany had been living in Poland until the Prussians helped carve it up. ]

    ——-

    The Americans [the Associated Power] had cooked up the 14 Points. Cheap morale and PR gambit as it was, I agree. None of the Allied Powers agreed to them at any point. They vehemently rejected them including in the run up to November 1918. Germany was never offered an armistice on the basis of the 14 Points. Germany seized on them itself, Ludendorff specifically included, as a gambit in their own right as a way to ask for an armistice without admitting they were losing and as a PR tool to reframe Germany’s position in world opinion.

    The Germans asked for an armistice at Ludendorff’s insistence because they were losing and he was panicking and blame-shifting as fast as possible.

    If the Germans had sought an armistice solely because they had faith in the brave new world that the 14 Points implied, they could have decided to keep fighting when the armistice they were offered did not live up to it. Again, they were losing and needed the armistice more than the Allies did.

    The armistice they actually signed, the commitments the Allies made, did not include them. There is nothing in the armistice that ends the ‘presuppositions’ of the small-Germany solution. By definition, the armistice promises only what it contains. The Germans signed because they were losing the war.

    Just as the armistice, so the peace treaty. The terms of the peace are what is agreed to in the treaty. The armistice did not commit the Allies to let Germany annex territory or make any reference at all to the self-determination of anyone anywhere. It was an armistice. It laid out relevant terms for an armistice. The peace treaty laid out revisions of borders in the favour of the winners, and in the favours of peoples the winners considered to have been on their side, or to have been hard done by by the old order, in accordance with the principles of self-determination as the Allies thought could best be applied given the mix of peoples and the division of Europe among the winners of the war and the losers of it. None of the treaties promised that Germany could annex territory or that any borders would be revised so that German-speakers wishing to become citizens of Germany for the first time could take their homelands with them into the Reich.

    ——————————————–

    Maybe this is a rhetorical thing. If I were to say that something is explicable in terms of something else that pre-existed, indeed it need not mean “justifiable” or “justified”. But it does mean the pre-existing thing has to explain the new thing.

    A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles. Restore the 1914 borders and the colonies, or comparable borders and colonies or compensation therefore, get reparations from the allies to pay for the costs of both the original and a new war, and just generally beat tar out of all the 1918 victors and humiliate them in turn. Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more. He set out to get more. Much, much more.

    Similarly, the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad, is not explicable in terms of what happened in the first war or at Versailles. Not outside the looking glass, at any rate.

    Similarly the identification of the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles. It had other, recent, global causes. And certainly did not affect Germany alone or disproportionately.

    If one is to say that Nazism can be explained or understood by reference to Versailles, then that is false. Some form of revanchism that looked like a 5% solution of Nazism, with different aims and targets, could be explained by Versailles. What the Germans actually signed up for and did cannot be.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Again, I admire your industry but find you diffuse and persistently wrong-headed, and time does not allow for me to answer more than a small fraction of the points you make - but then few of them bear directly on what was originally at issue.

    Your comparison of 1870 with 1914 is such an evasion. You hide from the unprovoked French attack of 1870 in the swampy ground of policies, wishes and dreams common to both parties. Faced with the iron demands placed on Germany in 1914 by the ties of alliance and practical military exigency, you divorce cause from effect to portray an imaginary wilfulness on the part of one participant.

    Your account of 1866 likewise fails to recognise the flagrant Austrian breach of the terms of the Gastein convention by referring the question to the federal assembly in Frankfurt.

    The analogy of the Bohemian with the Italian and Burgundian crowns fails to operate. Neither the king of Italy or of Burgundy was an elector. Bohemia had once not been part of any German realm, but so had the territories of the Chatti or Hermunduri. It was emphatically part of such a realm for many centuries. There was no German crown distinct from the empire. Bohemia and Moravia's integration into the corpus Germanicum is not a "biological metaphor" of mine, but was an acknowledged constitutional fact.

    [The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state]

    It was not a sovereign state, though it embodied aspirations to develop into one, but certainly it was national, as its name declares.

    [It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany]

    No Bohemia separate from Germany existed for this to be necessary. In a new world of national states, they could no more be obliged to live in one state with the Czechs than Holsteiners or Mecklenburgers.

    The allies did endorse the 14 Points, and did so repeatedly, and dropped their translation from the air over German territory.

    [A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles.]

    Good. Because that's the policy that there was.

    [Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more.]

    Unless by "his writing and speaking before the war" is meant "such passages from Mein Kampf as I can interpret in conformity to my assertions, but no other writings or speeches", this is false.

    [the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad] was not clearcut or consistent in reality, only now in retrospective imagination.

    [the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles] but that it should be perceived as such is immediately comprehensible. People who have suffered severely from one cause, which still operates, and then being to suffer severely from another, are not given to make nice distinctions between the various reasons for their misery.
  105. @HdC
    Falsehood in one, falsehood in all, as a legal principle would have it.

    Germany was starved AFTER the WWI ceasefire which Germany had agreed to because of the US President's proposal to stop the war.

    German U-boats sank British and American ships DURING the wars, AFTER Britain and France declared war on Germany.

    Quite a difference.

    HdC

    Loud sigh.

    My reference to the U boat campaign was clearly a response to the broader charge offered earlier that the blockade was an inherently uncivilized method of war, unchristian, a clear black mark against Britain long before November 1918 and somehow different from any war policy carried on by Germany. [The Germans actually tried on that notion back in the day themselves.] That allegation was clear, and so was my response to it.

    The British adopted blockade to starve out Germany, the Germans used U-boats to starve out Britain. That is the response to the charge that the British blockade was a uniquely uncivilized method of war. It was well within norms, and Germany had its own method toward the same ends.

    See above. Short version of this point- Germany did not ‘agree’ to a ceasefire because of Wilson’s proposal. Germany ASKED FOR a ceasefire because its generals admitted they were losing the war and had panicked. Germany tied their request to the 14 points because they hoped this would land the good deal. They HAD NOT been offered an armistice on the basis of the 14 points at any time, and neither the British nor the French had ever agreed to grant one, or to do anything else on the basis of the 14 points. The armistice Germany was eventually offered, and signed because they were losing, made no commitments related to the 14 points.

    The legal state of war ends with the peace treaty. Not before. Germany was at war with the Allies until it signed at Versailles and ratifications were exchanged.

    Nothing in the November 11 Armistice says that the war is over. It required the Allies as well as Germans to cease offensive operations on the Western Front and in the air, and does end ‘hostilities’ at sea, all so long as the Germans meet the many Allied conditions.

    In defining the naval terms, the Germans are required to cease all their operations, turn over ships, U boats, stores etc. The Allies also commit to cease hostilities and did so. They were not hunting or sinking any German vessels or firing on anything, nor killing anyone at sea. Stopping doing those things seems to me an entirely fair equivalent to the end of the U boat campaign, since the latter was also about open hostilities and killing at sea as well as the interdiction of supplies as such.

    [The Allies may have fired against any vessels not honouring the armistice terms, I don't know. But then they would have been replying to a German violation, not committing a violation themselves.]

    The blockade of Germany as such did continue past November 1918. Seems unfair. Again, legal state of war, armistice terms the Germans signed. Such things always tilt in favour of the winner. The Armistice explicitly permits the continuation of the blockade without restriction or duration, although the presumption would be the eventual peace treaty. It does indicate the Allies will look to ‘provision’ Germany during the interim, and then concedes them total discretion in defining that.

    Hard terms. All one-sided. The Germans signed it. They were losing the war. If they didn’t believe they were losing the war, the didn’t have to sign.

    The terms of the Armistice were the only Allied commitments to Germany prior to the peace of July 1919.

    No promises to Germany were broken, no international laws or norms exceeded in any way at all.

    If you want mercy above and beyond the requirements of international law, the legal state of war, and the actual terms of the Armistice, I’ve got that. The Allies announced the end of the full blockade, on January 17 1919. Under no obligation to do so. They did require the food be loaded by German ships in Allied ports under supervision, but I find no evidence that the quantity was restricted. Just the procedures. Consistent with the armistice and reasonable to ensure only food was shipped.

    The Germans considered that since the Armistice was not a peace treaty and fighting might resume [notice the German government's clear awareness of this pertinent and elementary fact], and was afraid the allies would seize the ships under the armistice. They refused and told the Americans the food shortages would not be ‘critical’ until late spring. The supervised shipments eventually started in March.

    The peace treaty was signed in July 1919 and open commerce in food and so far as I can see anything else other than treaty-controlled war materiel resumed immediately.

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  106. 1. Weizmann was not acting as a loyal British subject he was using British forces to defeat Germany for the benefit of Jews, who were the only victors in/of WWI. Weizmann manipulated British leaders by accusing them of antisemitism — Leonard Stein, Weizmann’s right-hand man and biographer describes the three categories of antisemitism that Weizmann assigned to those he thought would be most useful to his cause. Lord Balfour was deemed the most likely to comply with Weizmann’s wishes because his antisemitic attitudes were hidden/subconscious, in Weizmann’s estimation. See Leonard Stein, “The Balfour Declaration.”

    2. U boats targeted British military. The Allied blockade targeted German civilians. British archives record the hand-wringing that some British leaders demonstrated over what they considered to be violations of laws of war at the time, and deviations from British “values.” The latter is hard to reconcile with Churchill’s starvation of Bengalese, and with the starvation Iranians endured in WWI when Britain occupied Iran and used it for transit as well as foodstuffs. see http://www.irdc.ir/en/content/13734/print.aspx
    and
    The Great Famine & Genocide in Iran: 1917-1919
    by Mohammad Gholi Majd

    Germany was defeated by means of starving German civilians. Not sporting. Cowardly. Allies repeated the cowardly tactics in the firebombing of Germany and Japan.

    3. The states of former Ottoman empire WERE promised self-determination as part of his 14 Points. That promise was betrayed in preference for Wilson’s support for fulfillment of the Balfour agreement. Wilson was heavily influenced by Bernard Baruch and at least a dozen other zionists who surrounded him at Versailles.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    1. That's all very well but I have only two points in reply. First is that none of that constitutes a stab in the back against Germany, which was the original issue. Neither Weizmann nor any other Jew who was not a German citizen can be accused of stabbing Germany in the back because they did not owe allegiance to Germany. And secondly, that's appalling self interest on his part. Still doesn't constitute treason against the UK, or betraying Britain, or performing a stab in the back against Britain, or anything else. Weizmann and any like him thought they could get British support for a homeland by backing Britain, fine. If they did nothing else but help wheedle the US into the war, then they supported the British war effort significantly. Which is what they owed Britain as its subjects. The suggestion that Britain warred on Germany for 4 years solely for the Jewish interest is absurd. The British political and economic establishment wanted Germany reduced in power for their own reasons. They just didn't realize what that would cost.

    2. Merchant shipping are not "British military" and the purpose of sinking them was to deprive the UK of the things it needed most from overseas. Including, first and foremost, the lion's share of national food supply. Also other things partly for the civilian economy. This is exactly what the blockade was aimed at towards Germany.

    I am not about to enter into a debate that starts with the absurd premise that Britain can be singled out for criticism for starving colonial or other subjugated peoples in a debate in which the other party being considered is Germany.

    On bombing civilians in the second war. The only thing that distinguishes the UK in this regard is that it was better at it than Germany. Also, if we are entering WW2 country, I would note that bombers could be shot down by fighters and flak, and were, in huge numbers with huge casualties. Engaging in it is orders of magnitude less cowardly than rounding up millions of civilians in territory you already control, who are making no contribution of the slightest and most non-combatant kind to your enemy's war effort, and mass shooting them into pits or gassing them. Killing civilians by area bombing is disgusting and with modern capabilities and sensibilities would be regarded as a war crime, but it demanded actual risk and combat of its participants and many were killed in action. The Germans did things that were identifiable war crimes in the law of the time, killing millions at no personal risk to the killers. If the game was cowardice in the act of mass murder, the Germans won.

    3. What does that have to do with the issue under discussion, which is what did the Allies commit to with regard to Germany, and did they act accordingly? As I indicated, the Allies promised nothing to Germany with regard to the 14 points, and they fulfilled their commitments. The Armistice was upheld, and the peace treaty signed. No promises outside those documents existed. I repeat, no country other than the US actually endorsed the 14 points on any level, and no element of the armistice cited any part of them. By definition, the peace treaty's promises are only those contained in the treaty.

    AS with the Germans, so the Ottomans. A speech by the President of the United States based on the research of his own think tank does not necessarily constitute a promise even by the United States, insofar as it presumes the outcome of talks that haven't even started at the time it is given. It certainly does not bind the Allied Powers. A commitment in diplomacy is what gets made in an agreement. Ideally written. Sometimes verbal. The 14 points weren't even the latter, ever.

    But just for fun, point 12 is this, with comments added:

    "The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty [doesn't set a timeline, or define the borders of the Turkish portion, as that demands actual negotiations and agreement] but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule [doesn't define these as to number, identity or borders, nor how large the group has to be to get called a 'nationality'; What about the Assyrians...? Or the Jews already in Palestine? Or the Kurds or Armenians?] should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development [does not define these terms; note it does not say 'sovereignty'], and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees."

    Given this level of vagueness, I don't see how what the British and French did is actually inconsistent with Point 12. The British took only 12 years to get an Iraqi state independent. Sure they got themselves economic concessions and a status of forces agreement. I don't see how that violated Point 12. The French set up their mandate in such a way that the local clans, sects and potentates had considerable power, more or less how the Ottomans ran things. How did that violate Point 12? It didn't commit France to set up a sovereign nation state of Syria, which would have been a remarkable engagement since there had never been such a thing, nor any single 'nationality' with that identity.

    Also, I can hardly stress enough, that doesn't even matter because nothing was promised with reference to Point 12's specific terms. The 14 Points did not constitute a commitment by anyone to anything, certainly not by countries like Britain and France which never supported them, and were in no way at any time an agreement among any countries.

    If your point is in specific reference to the Arabs of Palestine, I'm not sure what the British owed them. They were not allies and were owed nothing. And, of course, the British actually did try to offer them a state, the first such Arab state in Palestine that would have ever existed. Apparently about 3/4 wasn't good enough. Sucks to have an all-or-nothing mindset, but I admire it.

    The only allies to whom the British actually owed anything among the Arabs were the Hejazi Hashemites. They got two kingdoms out of all this [Jordan and Iraq]. Feisal may have been peeved to get kicked out of Syria, but it's not as though he or his followers had ever held Syria or had any claim on it. He lost Syria and fabled Umayyad Damascus. He was given, through no military effort by his people, Iraq and fabled Abbasid Baghdad. A big reward for a fairly petty contribution to British victory, notwithstanding Hollywood.
  107. The United States Navy’s WWII submarine blockade against Japan succeeded splendidly. Nazi Germany’s Admiral Dönitz could only dream that his U-boats would have enjoyed such success in blockading the United Kingdom.

    Blockade is simply the naval version of land warfare’s encircling siege: both versions have been applied and resisted since time immemorial.

    The late nineteenth and early twentieth century international conventions attempted to lay down rules for blockade, but rules in warfare have always been more often breached than followed.

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  108. @random observer
    On 1870 vs 1914:

    1. I contended correctly that both France and Prussia were concerned with their relative power position in 1870 rather than trifling considerations of ethics or honour [I feel quite confident Bismarck would agree with this characterization and that dismissive language], both had been pursuing their goals in that era by both diplomatic and military means, that Prussian diplomatic policies had the goal of weakening and isolating France just as much as French diplomatic policies had the goal of keeping Prussia weaker than itself and maintaining French influence, that Prussian policy was clearly aimed at generating a favourable situation by war if diplomacy could not be adequately effective, and that Bismarck's diplomacy was aimed at creating that war if necessary. The doctored Ems Dispatch is hard to contextualize otherwise. Bismarck's wounded ethics and Wilhelm's allegedly wounded honour were as bogus as France's claims of insult to its amour-propre. I make no condemnations. It was a demonstration of mastery on Bismarck's side and foolish self-regard by the French.

    2. I contended correctly that these motivations, ambitions and fears map onto 1914. Germany, like France before her, feared encirclement and being made a weaker power in general and in desired spheres of influence to its east in particular, feared an economically expanding Russia fully as much as France feared a union of German-speaking states under Prussia which was also becoming if not already industrially superior to France, and that like France Germany believed that war to break up this constellation of forces and change the game was to its interest, and sooner rather than later. Even that the circumstances of the moment were forcing its hand in 1914, much as France felt in 1870. This is consistent with public remarks of German statesmen before the war, German statesmen and generals speaking and writing during the war, and the mountainous piles of self-regarding reminiscences after the war.

    3. The declaration of war is the final stage. I didn't contend that decision was identical with the angry brinksmanship diplomacy. The angry brinksmanship diplomacy is what the French government and ambassador were up to beforehand. The Prussians/NDB were also engaged in brinksmanship diplomacy, although I concede they were smart enough to keep the tone more clever than angry. That was part of the strategy, demonstrably. Worked well.

    4. Which goes to my original point several phases back. The distinction between France and Prussia in 1870 was that France made the decision to go to war, not Prussia. That is the exact distinction I applied to Germany in 1914. Which was correct. I originally applied no "guilt" to either case. Both powers clearly made these choices for reasons of strategic power and survival, as they saw it. Both decisions might have been smart if they had calculated the odds right. Both were ultimately defeated and worse off.

    If preventive war is a legitimate choice for Germany in 1914, it is a legitimate choice for France in 1870. Unwise, to be sure, for both. But that's hindsight.

    ----------

    On 1866 and how it relates to 1870 and 1914 for these purposes.

    To restate the premises in reverse order from the 1914 "war guilt" question:

    The only thing that distinguished German actions in 1914 from those of their enemies was that they declared war first on France and Russia and actually militarily attacked France first [let's ignore that they did it the day before declaring war]. First to decide that war was the way out, and act officially on that decision by declaring it.

    This was also the only thing that distinguished French actions in 1870. They chose war and declared it.

    If France is 'guilty' in 1870, then Germany is 'guilty' in 1914. Neither one had a real casus belli if one doesn't accept big picture strategic fear, but only concrete aggressive action. My original point being not that France had such a casus belli from Prussia in 1870, remember, but that its actions were equivalent in this regard to Germany's actions in 1914. [If France had declared war on Germany on August 2 1914, it would have had a casus belli of the most robust kind. German invasion already under way on its soil.]

    By this standard, 1866 is quite remarkable. I believe Austria not only asked for the partial mobilization of the Confederation troops against Prussia but also declared war first. On the other hand Prussia had given them a REAL casus belli. The Austrians had done nothing of the sort in reverse. Prussia had been first to actually go to war, by invading Holstein. I don't see how that makes Prussia not the aggressor.

    The first consideration is that Prussia had aimed to annex Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg as provinces of Prussia and been frustrated by the Austrians' insistence they remain distinct members states of the German confederation albeit under a joint protectorate/condominium of Austria and Prussia as the senior members of the confederation.

    The Gastein Convention settling this dispute ended with Lauenburg in personal union with Prussia, with the King as its Duke; Schleswig remaining a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia, and Holstein a Duchy and confederation member administered by Prussia.

    This agreement certainly gave Prussia a good deal and they agreed to it but it didn't settle their desire to annex the whole lot to the Prussian Kingdom nor settle their wider strategic concern, pushing the Austrians out of German affairs.

    I don't see anything in the Gastein Convention that says Austria, as administrator of Holstein, could not endorse Frederick as its Duke, or convene the Diet of Holstein to adjudge his claims, or for that matter ask for a ruling on the inheritance of this confederation member state from the diet of the German Confederation. Therefore I cannot accept that Austrian actions in doing these things abrogated the Gastein Convention. Especially since if these bodies had endorsed Frederick, Austria would have installed him, as was its right as administrator of the Duchy. What it amounted to was Prussia assuming it could dictate the fate of the Duchy placed under Austrian supervision, while tolerating no interference with Schleswig under its own control.

    The Prussians probably figured that as Duke of Holstein, Frederick would use that position to advance his old claim to Schleswig as well. That might be considered a provocation if he had actually been permitted to take his seat in Holstein, and had then advanced his claim to Schleswig, AND the Austrians had then backed that claim, AND had refused diplomacy and prepared for war over Schleswig. That kind of panicked look to future power alignments is exactly what France was doing in 1870. What actually happened is that the Prussians short-circuited all that speculation and interfered in the administration of Holstein by declaring the Gastein Convention null and invading Holstein.

    The Gastein convention was in force until the Prussians declared it otherwise. Even then, there need not have been war. The Gastein convention had not ended a pre-existing state of war between Prussia and Austria. Therefore its abrogation by Prussia did not automatically re-create a state of war. What did was the invasion of Holstein by Prussian troops.

    ------

    I did not argue the status of the Bohemian Crown on the basis of it not being part of any of the kreise, which were a fairly late innovation in the life of the empire.

    I argued that it was a distinct Kingdom as distinct from the Emperor's lands as German King, which it was, and from long before the kreise system existed at any rate. Before the Interregnum or the Golden Bull of 1356.

    Let me put it more succinctly (I know I have promised before). The Emperor in his person was also the German King, King of Italy, and King of Burgundy. These titles all went with the title of Emperor, although the election as King of the Romans/Germans [whichever variant] was of course often followed by delay in the papal coronation as emperor in the times that was deemed necessary. The crowns of Burgundy and especially Italy were occasionally bestowed in separate ceremonies, with some delay required, especially in the early centuries. But all of these crowns were from an early date assumed to go along with the imperial patrimony. The Crown of Bohemia was never at any time considered to go automatically with the titles of the German King/Roman Emperor, not even when in the medieval period it was a couple of times held by the Roman King, not even during the several centuries when the Habsburgs held the lot.

    If the automatic possession of the Crown of Burgundy and the Crown of Italy, as well as the German Crown, as part of a package borne always by the Emperors cannot be used to justify a German national state's modern claim on most of eastern France and northern Italy, which alas I contend it cannot, then the separate status of the Crown of Bohemia, constitutionally distinct and always elected separately, and even usually hereditary, cannot be used to support a German national state's claims on Bohemian lands in the 19th century or 20th.

    Now at greater length.

    Bohemia started as a Slav Duchy, and before the time of Otto I at that. It was outside the Frankish empire as left by Charlemagne's heirs. It was outside Louis the German's kingdom or any subsequent version of the kingdom of the eastern Franks/Germans. It was outside Otto's realm as well. It was certainly not a German stem duchy. In this regard it was similar to the first Polish Duchy and, ethnicity aside, the original Hungarian realm.

    In this period, the scope of the Emperor's role over all Christendom remained unclear. Some would argue that he had residual superiority over all kings let alone independent duchies in the former Frankish lands, or even Latin Christendom. The assumption that his recognition was required for things, alongside or separate from that of the Pope, did not necessarily mean that these things became part of the Empire, let alone the German, Italian, or Burgundian realms' lands. Imperial relations with France were long troubled by such issues. The Emperor's say so was necessary to elevate the Polish Duke to a King. It did not make the Polish Duchy or Kingdom a part of the Empire at all, let alone part of the Emperor's lands as German/Roman King. When Philip of Swabia recognized Ottokar of Bohemia, heir of a long line of hereditary Slavic Dukes, as King of Bohemia in 1198 he cemented its separateness from the German lands as much as its relationship with the empire.

    Granted that Bohemia's status vis a vis the empire ended up a lot closer than Poland's. Helped to develop that way by the number of times in the high middle ages that a Bohemian king was elected King of the Romans, and by the later Habsburg supremacy.

    Nevertheless:

    Separate Duchy never inside the realms of Charlemagne, his heirs, Louis the German or Otto I, nor any successor.

    Native dynasty in place with hereditary succession before Otto I and still in power in 1198.

    Native ruler recognized as a King in 1198.

    Same native ruler recognized as a king on hereditary basis, this being the centuries old Slavic dynasty being recognized as Kings in perpetuity now, in 1212 by the Golden Bull of Sicily. This Bull situates Bohemia and Moravia as indivisible and autonomous within the Empire. As a Kingdom, it is clearly outside the lands of the German Crown, as it always had been. Kingdoms were not part of Kingdoms. The Bull laid out quite limited obligations to the Emperor by the King.

    Charles IV further defined the segregated status of Bohemia in 1346.

    Or to summarize yet again, Bohemia unlike Poland ended up a [limited] part of the Empire. It was not part of the German lands under the German Crown.

    And as I said in an earlier post, none of that mattered all that much after 1806, as there was no Emperor and no Empire. At no point after that did any ruler claim to be the Roman Emperor, no one ever proclaimed the Empire once again extant, nor was any duly constituted Imperial Diet according to the last constitutional forms ever assembled, not even to proclaim that the empire was restored and would now proceed to modernize its institutions. There was no Holy Roman Empire after 1806. Therefore no imperial claims, limited as they were, survived regarding Bohemia. And they were never specifically GERMAN claims.

    -------

    The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state, ie it was neither sovereign nor national nor a state, nor claimed to be one. All its member states retained full Westphalian sovereignty unto themselves. The Crown of Bohemia remained one of the titles of the Austrian Emperor, who was a sovereign represented at the Confederation Diet. The Confederation is even less of a precedent for Bohemia being a potential part of a "German" national state.

    I don't know what 'integration into the Germanic body' is. I appreciate the romance of the drang nach osten or ostsiedlung as much as the next guy, but I try to stay away from biological metaphors like integration into the national body, or absorption, lest parasitic allusions also leap to mind.

    As to the rest of the settler question, what can I say? Even if they last centuries, unless settler peoples remain on top or demographically swamp the natives quickly and become the majority, sooner or later they get asked to assimilate with the native people or they get kicked out. The German-speakers of Bohemia had been subjects of the Crown of Bohemia within [amazingly] stable borders for hundreds of years, into which they had come as settlers. In an age of ethnolinguistic nationalism based on majorities, the way to stay at home was to assimilate. Or you could leave. Or stay put and quiet, keep your culture and deal with the majority in theirs. This was the German view, especially after 1871, except for that generous last bit. That's how the Poles of Prussian-annexed eastern Germany experienced it. Naturally, when they got some of their territory back, the Poles returned the favour.

    The earliest Germans of Bohemia immigrated to Bohemia from the 12th century under Przemyslid patronage, in the typical manner of eastern Europe. Also typically of that not especially ethnonationalist time, they could form towns and farm colonies and speak German. [Not unlike the Jews.] They grew in number in the 14th century, and after the Habsburg ascendancy in 1526. That doesn't mean they were expanding the borders of Germany, or creating a German claim on Bohemia, or that they were there under any terms other than the patronage of the Bohemian ruler, who for centuries before and after their first arrival was a Czech, a Hungarian/Pole/Lithuanian, or a transplanted Frenchman. [And as I said, when the ruler was a GErman later on, it was still distinct from 'Germany', still had Czech nobles, and still a Czech majority]. It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany, nor did the majority population at any time cease to be Slavs.

    Sucks to move from a pre-nationalist to a nationalist time when one is a minority. But the Germans worked hard to assimilate Poles, Danes, and others. They did more or less absorb Wends and Sorbs. I don't see why the Czechs, who never ceased to be the majority of the more or less unchanging territory of Bohemia, were not entitled to that privilege.

    Give it another 100 years. If there is a Germany left, ask me whether the Turks and Kurds are entitled to self-determination and to have their communities ruled by Turkey. Or the Republic of Imperial Kurdistan, or whoever.

    The peril of being a colonial people that never exceeds the natives in number is that sometimes you get expelled. Or you get asked to assimilate if you want to stay on. [In this context by analogy to the Poles of Germany is false of course. The Germans of Bohemia had settled in Bohemia. The Poles of Germany had been living in Poland until the Prussians helped carve it up. ]

    -------

    The Americans [the Associated Power] had cooked up the 14 Points. Cheap morale and PR gambit as it was, I agree. None of the Allied Powers agreed to them at any point. They vehemently rejected them including in the run up to November 1918. Germany was never offered an armistice on the basis of the 14 Points. Germany seized on them itself, Ludendorff specifically included, as a gambit in their own right as a way to ask for an armistice without admitting they were losing and as a PR tool to reframe Germany's position in world opinion.

    The Germans asked for an armistice at Ludendorff's insistence because they were losing and he was panicking and blame-shifting as fast as possible.

    If the Germans had sought an armistice solely because they had faith in the brave new world that the 14 Points implied, they could have decided to keep fighting when the armistice they were offered did not live up to it. Again, they were losing and needed the armistice more than the Allies did.

    The armistice they actually signed, the commitments the Allies made, did not include them. There is nothing in the armistice that ends the 'presuppositions' of the small-Germany solution. By definition, the armistice promises only what it contains. The Germans signed because they were losing the war.

    Just as the armistice, so the peace treaty. The terms of the peace are what is agreed to in the treaty. The armistice did not commit the Allies to let Germany annex territory or make any reference at all to the self-determination of anyone anywhere. It was an armistice. It laid out relevant terms for an armistice. The peace treaty laid out revisions of borders in the favour of the winners, and in the favours of peoples the winners considered to have been on their side, or to have been hard done by by the old order, in accordance with the principles of self-determination as the Allies thought could best be applied given the mix of peoples and the division of Europe among the winners of the war and the losers of it. None of the treaties promised that Germany could annex territory or that any borders would be revised so that German-speakers wishing to become citizens of Germany for the first time could take their homelands with them into the Reich.

    --------------------------------------------

    Maybe this is a rhetorical thing. If I were to say that something is explicable in terms of something else that pre-existed, indeed it need not mean "justifiable" or "justified". But it does mean the pre-existing thing has to explain the new thing.

    A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles. Restore the 1914 borders and the colonies, or comparable borders and colonies or compensation therefore, get reparations from the allies to pay for the costs of both the original and a new war, and just generally beat tar out of all the 1918 victors and humiliate them in turn. Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more. He set out to get more. Much, much more.

    Similarly, the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad, is not explicable in terms of what happened in the first war or at Versailles. Not outside the looking glass, at any rate.

    Similarly the identification of the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles. It had other, recent, global causes. And certainly did not affect Germany alone or disproportionately.

    If one is to say that Nazism can be explained or understood by reference to Versailles, then that is false. Some form of revanchism that looked like a 5% solution of Nazism, with different aims and targets, could be explained by Versailles. What the Germans actually signed up for and did cannot be.

    Again, I admire your industry but find you diffuse and persistently wrong-headed, and time does not allow for me to answer more than a small fraction of the points you make – but then few of them bear directly on what was originally at issue.

    Your comparison of 1870 with 1914 is such an evasion. You hide from the unprovoked French attack of 1870 in the swampy ground of policies, wishes and dreams common to both parties. Faced with the iron demands placed on Germany in 1914 by the ties of alliance and practical military exigency, you divorce cause from effect to portray an imaginary wilfulness on the part of one participant.

    Your account of 1866 likewise fails to recognise the flagrant Austrian breach of the terms of the Gastein convention by referring the question to the federal assembly in Frankfurt.

    The analogy of the Bohemian with the Italian and Burgundian crowns fails to operate. Neither the king of Italy or of Burgundy was an elector. Bohemia had once not been part of any German realm, but so had the territories of the Chatti or Hermunduri. It was emphatically part of such a realm for many centuries. There was no German crown distinct from the empire. Bohemia and Moravia’s integration into the corpus Germanicum is not a “biological metaphor” of mine, but was an acknowledged constitutional fact.

    [The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state]

    It was not a sovereign state, though it embodied aspirations to develop into one, but certainly it was national, as its name declares.

    [It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany]

    No Bohemia separate from Germany existed for this to be necessary. In a new world of national states, they could no more be obliged to live in one state with the Czechs than Holsteiners or Mecklenburgers.

    The allies did endorse the 14 Points, and did so repeatedly, and dropped their translation from the air over German territory.

    [A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles.]

    Good. Because that’s the policy that there was.

    [Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more.]

    Unless by “his writing and speaking before the war” is meant “such passages from Mein Kampf as I can interpret in conformity to my assertions, but no other writings or speeches”, this is false.

    [the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad] was not clearcut or consistent in reality, only now in retrospective imagination.

    [the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles] but that it should be perceived as such is immediately comprehensible. People who have suffered severely from one cause, which still operates, and then being to suffer severely from another, are not given to make nice distinctions between the various reasons for their misery.

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    • Replies: @random observer
    C'mon. Please stop accusing me of irrelevancy. My original comment addressed a line in the article and at every stage I have been offering points on criticisms raised by others. Usually in order. I didn't even originally accuse Germany of 'war guilt' in 1914 and still have not done that.


    The object of my description of the issues at stake in 1870 was that the French decision to go to war and declare war was not unprovoked, unless Germany's decision to go to war and declare war in 1914 was also unprovoked. The motives of France in 1870 were the same as those of Germany in 1914.

    Since you use the term 'unprovoked French attack' I assume you refer to the fact that in 1870 French troops actually started the operations of the war by invading the Prussian Rhine Province at the Saar. Quite right. I don't know what 'unprovoked attack' means in this context, though. I had already addressed the question of whether the declaration of war had valid cause and provocation. Once war was declared, an attack is a valid move.

    If we compare this to Germany in 1914, I was and am prepared to consider Germany's decision to declare war against France a valid one. At no time have I claimed otherwise and I have explicitly denied the validity of the concept 'war guilt' at every stage. On the other hand, for the trifling importance it may have, at least in 1870 the French declared war before invading Prussia. Germany declined the same courtesy in 1914, at least by a day.

    "Iron demands" is tendentious and would be self-serving if offered by an official spokesman for 1914 Germany through the mists of time. If you mean practical military exigency, I assume you mean that the railroad timetables and mobilization schemes of the General Staff did not permit going to war with Russia first or only but demanded France be defeated first. I don't see how the rigidity of German general staff planning constitutes a valid provocation by France. "Practical military exigency" is not casus belli, obligation, or provocation. Indeed, it is a very good 3-word summary for the sort of considerations I was raising myself.

    Sure the French were also aiming at war with Germany in 1914. Germany jumped the gun first for its own reasons. Solid ones, with sound policy requirements driving them. That statement accurately described conditions in 1870 as well.

    If your contention is that Prussia was not aiming to have war with France in 1870, we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't know how to look at Prussian policy in 1870 and arrive at that conclusion.

    ----

    Admittedly I can only read the terms of the Gastein Convention in translation. If you find in the original German something that says Austria could not refer the status of a confederation member to the confederation's adjudication, I am prepared to concede a casus belli for Prussia in 1866. Certainly that was Prussia's contention. I only ask for something that validates that contention rather than taking it at face value.

    I don't think it eliminates the pretty undeniable object of Prussian policy being war with Austria, but it would mean they at least waited for Austria to provoke them. That would give a legal case to Prussia.

    On the other hand, if we are to stick with these legal matters, what about Prussia's attempt to interfere with Austrian supervision of Holstein? Where does the convention permit Prussia a say in that? Prussia wanted no part of a condominium arrangement and had rejected one. That would constitute a prior casus belli for Austria of comparable strength. First legal breach by Prussia, just as later first military action.

    Sidebar- Win or lose the point. Thanks for this. I cannot wait to inform one friend in particular that I have been engaged in an online debate about the Schleswig-Holstein Question, at least part of it. That will win me a permanent gold medal for internet obscurantism. Even without the Bohemian topics being mentioned. [Addendum- I've done that. I earned a laugh.]

    -------

    True, neither the King of Italy nor of Burgundy was ever an elector. They were the Emperor himself and the titles passed on together. The King of Bohemia was for centuries someone else, his crown passed by heredity or on occasion by the estates of Bohemia, and not at anytime alongside the election of the King of the Romans or by the authority of the Diet or any of the other electors, or by the authority of the Emperor himself. Other princely titles, throughout the German lands and his other kingdoms, long had to be ratified by the Emperor and could be altered by him, although the decline of imperial power certainly weakened these powers, subjected them to new juridical procedures, and strengthened the rights of the princes. The Crown of Bohemia was never part of any of that.

    How does being an elector for the King of the Romans mean the Kingdom of Bohemia is more integrated with the Empire than being identical with the King of the Romans?

    I don't see how referring to German tribes from over 500 years before there was a German realm is relevant. Bohemia was outside the German realm when there actually was a German realm. I offered comparisons to rulers, states, peoples and territories that existed contemporaneously with the German realm and had legal relations with emperors not unlike those of Bohemia. Even had status conferred on them by the emperor not unlike Bohemia.

    I did not contend that Bohemia was identical with Poland, for example, mentioning only to point out that recognition of a royal title by the emperor was not automatically an indication that the king in question was part of his realms. As it happens, Bohemia did have a more subject relation to the emperor than Poland, but this was not at all clear in the middle ages given the murky area between being a subject of the emperor and merely being one of the other realms of Christendom who all acknowledged him as senior . [Finally denying this medieval notion was one of the reasons Henry VIII's England proclaimed itself an 'empire' as a matter of law, even though he did not call himself an emperor. It indicated ultimate unlimited sovereignty].

    The King of Bohemia was considered a subject of the Emperor in several documents, not others. His rights and duties were spelled out and were different and vastly more limited than those of any other elector, let alone any other prince of the empire. And he was a King. That may make him subject of the German King as Emperor, but it doesn't make his kingdom part of the German lands. It could not be. Another King might be subordinate to the German King, but not in the German King's own lands. One realm one king was an oddly rigid principle for such a ramshackle entity, but there you go. There could not be another King inside the realm of the German King.

    Again, the otherwise seemingly non-germane reference to 18th century Prussia is the key marker here. Bohemia could be a Kingdom within the empire because it was not within German lands. Brandenburg and the other Prussian agglomerations inside the empire WERE German lands, having started as marches. Thus the nearly century-long diplomatic foofaraw about how to promote the Hohenzollern elector to the status of a king, and the conclusion that he could only be a king in right of lands outside the empire altogether. The Emperor conceded otherwise only in the 1780s, and it was rightly recognized throughout Europe as nearly a terminal act of constitutional suicide and an act of enormous symbolic importance even in an empire that already conceded almost unlimited sovereignty to its members after 1648.

    My point in referring to the other Crowns was more to note that, right to the end, there was a difference between being in the empire or a subject of the emperor and being part of the German lands. Presuming for a second that being part of the German realm before 1806 would be relevant to a nationalist claim in modern times.

    Perhaps I could have avoided this debate, admittedly of marginal relevance, by sticking only to what has several times been my final point in it. Which was that whatever you assess about these issues, every one of them is permanently terminated in 1806. If there is no Roman Emperor, no Empire, not even a properly constituted Diet that claims to be that of the Empire and to be able to elect an Emperor, then there are no claims to be made of allegiance to the same. Certainly not claims by a purely German realm or a German national state, a new thing. And certainly not by the German Reich founded in 1871, which was the German state in existence in 1919-45.

    -------

    I don't see how the German Confederation embodied aspirations to develop into a sovereign national state when the princes who formed it explicitly reserved all sovereignty to themselves, sovereignty most of them had gained only recently and of which they were durably jealous. None would have signed on to a confederation with the aim of German unity and sovereignty in mind, and I cannot believe the Austrian Emperor would have accepted the presidency of a body that had that goal, which would mean the end of his throne and empire at some point. For that matter, the Prussian kings had no such Germany in mind, for the same reason.

    Also, the Confederation was an instrument of Austrian policy, in particular, to suppress all aspirations to German nationalism and unity. Which is why the liberals and nationalists tended to hate it with such vehemence.

    I suppose many may have had such aspirations for it at some point. But then so do many Europeans now. That doesn't mean the EU is a sovereign state, that it represents the aspirations of a majority to become one, or that this is what its members actually all signed on for. Or that all its parts would necessarily sign on to a tighter version.

    -------

    I admit I would not like to be considered a member of a colonial people if my ancestors had been in a place 500+ years during times when ethnicity was less of a political issue. But when in the new age of ethnic nationalism you start identifying as a separate people and arguing that you have a right to take your homeland of settlement into the relatively new ethnostate of your people at the expense of the majority of said homeland, or even to alter that homeland's 1000 year old borders in favour of the ethnostate of your people so you can live in the latter, expect objections and offers to let you leave. I concede I don't know what the time limit should be to create claims like that. The French had people living in the northern departments of Algeria for over 100 years and had annexed them to France. The various Balkan types figured they could both hold on to lands inhabited by Turks or kick them out back to Turkey after the Balkan Wars.

    And of course Germany figured it was entitled to build a national state from 1871 and hold on to all the Prussian lands full of Poles, and mightily resented losing any of it to a reborn Poland after 1918. And aimed to get it all back and then some. If Germans can rule Poles in their ancestral homes, then Poles or Czechs can rule Germans.

    -----------

    Propaganda leaflets are not commitments or promises, let alone agreements, and the objections of the Allies to the 14 points were and are well known. The Germans asked for an armistice because they needed one and hoped to use Allied propaganda to their advantage in talks. When they were offered one that did not contain the 14 points, they signed it because they had to. If they didn't want to sign, they could have gone on fighting. The Armistice by definition contains the total of Allied commitments to Germany prior to the peace. It's terms were upheld.

    ----------

    Neither Hitler's statements in public before the war, nor his views in Mein Kampf, nor in his later published second book which predated the war, nor his actual war policies or later published table talk from the war era were limited to revision of the Versailles settlement. He was even explicit that those who wanted only to restore Germany's territory and position from 1914 were fools who had too narrow a vision.

    I'd be willing to consider the Anschluss and the annexation of the Sudetenland as alternative territorial annexations equivalent to restoring pre-Versailles Germany. Arguably better and more justifiable on ethnic grounds than taking Polish lands. Probably strategically and economically more useful, and tending to a Germany actually capable of being better off than in 1914, but fair enough. But Hitler went to war with Poland anyway, and when he crushed it he didn't stop at reclaiming lands lost in 1914. He directly annexed even more than that, all inhabited by Poles, and then assumed German sovereignty over the general government, which he used as part of an explicit policy of extinguishing the Polish state, nation and culture. Which the Russians had not even done when they ruled central Poland. By the end of 1939, when nothing the Allies were doing constrained his actions, Hitler had already gone far beyond revising the Versailles settlement. Just as he said he would.

    ------

    Many German nationalists early on, and the Nazis throughout, kept harping on about Jews as though they were principal architects of both Germany's defeat and of Versailles and all its implications. They directed plenty of vitriol and violent abuse at German Jews because of this, escalating when the movement coalesced around the NSDAP and entered power. Hitler, Goebbels and probably others wrote and spoke at length about the Jewish Enemy.

    As this was a false description of the defeat of Germany and the Versailles settlement and both a calumny against innocent German citizens and the rationale for the eventual murder of countless innocents in cold blood and at no personal risk to the killers, I see no way that any of it can be considered either a policy of revising the Versailles settlement or explicable in the context of Versailles.

    ------

    People who suffered from one cause a decade earlier, whose operation has not had a negative impact on Germany for an intervening period of 6 years of prosperity, whose terms have been revised repeatedly in their favour to ensure they no longer impede prosperity, and whose country is suffering to the same degree and for the same reasons as the victors after 1929, are not entitled to blame those victors for the same conditions for which they are not responsible. If a large fraction of the people can be forgiven for thinking these things, it was incumbent on the officials, press, and politicians who knew better to tell them the truth. What the German state did, at least when Hitler came to power if not before, was fuel these falsehoods to the point of lunacy.

    And, again, since the Jews were not responsible for it even in 1919-23, any part of German political discourse that blamed them for either the period 1919-23 or 1929+ was an absurd lie. The lie part makes it unjustifiable. The absurd part makes it irrational. Put the two together, I say that the course of German attitudes on Germany's condition in the 1930s and what to do about it can be considered explicable only to those with limited access to the information, and it was the duty of officials and opinion formers who knew better to inform them properly, not make it worse.

    Absurd calumnies against fellow citizens, taking away their rights and eventually their citizenship, wrecking their property and sending low-lifes in cheap uniforms to beat up old men and women in the street were not valid responses to Versailles or even the Depression. Refraining from these things is not merely making a "nice distinction" between sources of their misery. It is making a big, stonking obvious distinction between their misery and people who have done nothing to cause it. And all of these things were done before the second war, and cannot be blamed on its exigencies, the Russian threat, whatever.

    As it happens, making distinctions, at least where the issue in question is stripping the citizenship of innocent fellow citizens, stealing their goods, locking them up or beating them in the street, to exclude as being much later on the mass murder part, is an duty incumbent on any man who wants to call himself a free citizen. If you want to abuse someone, at least identify the enemy correctly and use things like law. Don't hand power and even your own rights over to the disposition of a gang of mincing street toughs and psychopathic chicken farmers.

    For example. Note that the Jews in question before 1939 were Jews who were citizens of Germany, many of whom had been since it was permitted, and resident centuries longer. Others had been lawfully admitted and were not necessarily citizens of anywhere else. None was a citizen of a country at war with Germany let alone posing a threat to it.

    Compare the US or Canada interning Japanese. These processes embodied many of the things GErmany did to the Jews before 1939, including [localized] removal and internment, confiscation of property [it was supposed to be temporary but much was stolen]. It didn't include state-sanctioned destruction of said property, assault or murder. And they didn't end up years later being murdered en masse. And it at least required that the people in question have some kind of specific tie to an enemy nation at war with the US and Canada, and comprising the same ethnicity, and the state of war actually being already on. And even then it was wrong. Ethnic Japanese who were US citizens or British subjects had their rights violated and should have been given presumption of innocence until any particular individual did something. Those who were nationals only of Japan could have been interned, pending investigation, or for duration, or until repatriation could be arranged, as a legitimate action toward genuine enemy aliens in war. Ditto for how the allies handled GErmans and Italians.

    But again, wildly less abusive and violent, required actual state of war, and the people in question had to have some actual legal connection to a state at war with the Allies.

    Not the same as what the GErmans were doing to the Jews before 1939, in time of peace, who were GErman citizens and normally nothing else. For no reason recognizable to a sane responsible citizen, whatever his economic condition.
  109. @SolontoCroesus
    1. Weizmann was not acting as a loyal British subject he was using British forces to defeat Germany for the benefit of Jews, who were the only victors in/of WWI. Weizmann manipulated British leaders by accusing them of antisemitism -- Leonard Stein, Weizmann's right-hand man and biographer describes the three categories of antisemitism that Weizmann assigned to those he thought would be most useful to his cause. Lord Balfour was deemed the most likely to comply with Weizmann's wishes because his antisemitic attitudes were hidden/subconscious, in Weizmann's estimation. See Leonard Stein, "The Balfour Declaration."

    2. U boats targeted British military. The Allied blockade targeted German civilians. British archives record the hand-wringing that some British leaders demonstrated over what they considered to be violations of laws of war at the time, and deviations from British "values." The latter is hard to reconcile with Churchill's starvation of Bengalese, and with the starvation Iranians endured in WWI when Britain occupied Iran and used it for transit as well as foodstuffs. see http://www.irdc.ir/en/content/13734/print.aspx
    and
    The Great Famine & Genocide in Iran: 1917-1919
    by Mohammad Gholi Majd


    Germany was defeated by means of starving German civilians. Not sporting. Cowardly. Allies repeated the cowardly tactics in the firebombing of Germany and Japan.

    3. The states of former Ottoman empire WERE promised self-determination as part of his 14 Points. That promise was betrayed in preference for Wilson's support for fulfillment of the Balfour agreement. Wilson was heavily influenced by Bernard Baruch and at least a dozen other zionists who surrounded him at Versailles.

    1. That’s all very well but I have only two points in reply. First is that none of that constitutes a stab in the back against Germany, which was the original issue. Neither Weizmann nor any other Jew who was not a German citizen can be accused of stabbing Germany in the back because they did not owe allegiance to Germany. And secondly, that’s appalling self interest on his part. Still doesn’t constitute treason against the UK, or betraying Britain, or performing a stab in the back against Britain, or anything else. Weizmann and any like him thought they could get British support for a homeland by backing Britain, fine. If they did nothing else but help wheedle the US into the war, then they supported the British war effort significantly. Which is what they owed Britain as its subjects. The suggestion that Britain warred on Germany for 4 years solely for the Jewish interest is absurd. The British political and economic establishment wanted Germany reduced in power for their own reasons. They just didn’t realize what that would cost.

    2. Merchant shipping are not “British military” and the purpose of sinking them was to deprive the UK of the things it needed most from overseas. Including, first and foremost, the lion’s share of national food supply. Also other things partly for the civilian economy. This is exactly what the blockade was aimed at towards Germany.

    I am not about to enter into a debate that starts with the absurd premise that Britain can be singled out for criticism for starving colonial or other subjugated peoples in a debate in which the other party being considered is Germany.

    On bombing civilians in the second war. The only thing that distinguishes the UK in this regard is that it was better at it than Germany. Also, if we are entering WW2 country, I would note that bombers could be shot down by fighters and flak, and were, in huge numbers with huge casualties. Engaging in it is orders of magnitude less cowardly than rounding up millions of civilians in territory you already control, who are making no contribution of the slightest and most non-combatant kind to your enemy’s war effort, and mass shooting them into pits or gassing them. Killing civilians by area bombing is disgusting and with modern capabilities and sensibilities would be regarded as a war crime, but it demanded actual risk and combat of its participants and many were killed in action. The Germans did things that were identifiable war crimes in the law of the time, killing millions at no personal risk to the killers. If the game was cowardice in the act of mass murder, the Germans won.

    3. What does that have to do with the issue under discussion, which is what did the Allies commit to with regard to Germany, and did they act accordingly? As I indicated, the Allies promised nothing to Germany with regard to the 14 points, and they fulfilled their commitments. The Armistice was upheld, and the peace treaty signed. No promises outside those documents existed. I repeat, no country other than the US actually endorsed the 14 points on any level, and no element of the armistice cited any part of them. By definition, the peace treaty’s promises are only those contained in the treaty.

    AS with the Germans, so the Ottomans. A speech by the President of the United States based on the research of his own think tank does not necessarily constitute a promise even by the United States, insofar as it presumes the outcome of talks that haven’t even started at the time it is given. It certainly does not bind the Allied Powers. A commitment in diplomacy is what gets made in an agreement. Ideally written. Sometimes verbal. The 14 points weren’t even the latter, ever.

    But just for fun, point 12 is this, with comments added:

    “The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty [doesn't set a timeline, or define the borders of the Turkish portion, as that demands actual negotiations and agreement] but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule [doesn't define these as to number, identity or borders, nor how large the group has to be to get called a 'nationality'; What about the Assyrians...? Or the Jews already in Palestine? Or the Kurds or Armenians?] should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development [does not define these terms; note it does not say 'sovereignty'], and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.”

    Given this level of vagueness, I don’t see how what the British and French did is actually inconsistent with Point 12. The British took only 12 years to get an Iraqi state independent. Sure they got themselves economic concessions and a status of forces agreement. I don’t see how that violated Point 12. The French set up their mandate in such a way that the local clans, sects and potentates had considerable power, more or less how the Ottomans ran things. How did that violate Point 12? It didn’t commit France to set up a sovereign nation state of Syria, which would have been a remarkable engagement since there had never been such a thing, nor any single ‘nationality’ with that identity.

    Also, I can hardly stress enough, that doesn’t even matter because nothing was promised with reference to Point 12′s specific terms. The 14 Points did not constitute a commitment by anyone to anything, certainly not by countries like Britain and France which never supported them, and were in no way at any time an agreement among any countries.

    If your point is in specific reference to the Arabs of Palestine, I’m not sure what the British owed them. They were not allies and were owed nothing. And, of course, the British actually did try to offer them a state, the first such Arab state in Palestine that would have ever existed. Apparently about 3/4 wasn’t good enough. Sucks to have an all-or-nothing mindset, but I admire it.

    The only allies to whom the British actually owed anything among the Arabs were the Hejazi Hashemites. They got two kingdoms out of all this [Jordan and Iraq]. Feisal may have been peeved to get kicked out of Syria, but it’s not as though he or his followers had ever held Syria or had any claim on it. He lost Syria and fabled Umayyad Damascus. He was given, through no military effort by his people, Iraq and fabled Abbasid Baghdad. A big reward for a fairly petty contribution to British victory, notwithstanding Hollywood.

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  110. @5371
    Again, I admire your industry but find you diffuse and persistently wrong-headed, and time does not allow for me to answer more than a small fraction of the points you make - but then few of them bear directly on what was originally at issue.

    Your comparison of 1870 with 1914 is such an evasion. You hide from the unprovoked French attack of 1870 in the swampy ground of policies, wishes and dreams common to both parties. Faced with the iron demands placed on Germany in 1914 by the ties of alliance and practical military exigency, you divorce cause from effect to portray an imaginary wilfulness on the part of one participant.

    Your account of 1866 likewise fails to recognise the flagrant Austrian breach of the terms of the Gastein convention by referring the question to the federal assembly in Frankfurt.

    The analogy of the Bohemian with the Italian and Burgundian crowns fails to operate. Neither the king of Italy or of Burgundy was an elector. Bohemia had once not been part of any German realm, but so had the territories of the Chatti or Hermunduri. It was emphatically part of such a realm for many centuries. There was no German crown distinct from the empire. Bohemia and Moravia's integration into the corpus Germanicum is not a "biological metaphor" of mine, but was an acknowledged constitutional fact.

    [The German Confederation of 1815-66 was not a sovereign national state]

    It was not a sovereign state, though it embodied aspirations to develop into one, but certainly it was national, as its name declares.

    [It certainly did not mean that they got to assume that centuries hence they got to take their lands out of Bohemia and into Germany]

    No Bohemia separate from Germany existed for this to be necessary. In a new world of national states, they could no more be obliged to live in one state with the Czechs than Holsteiners or Mecklenburgers.

    The allies did endorse the 14 Points, and did so repeatedly, and dropped their translation from the air over German territory.

    [A German war policy in the 1930s or 1940s designed to reverse the Versailles settlement would be explicable in the context of Versailles.]

    Good. Because that's the policy that there was.

    [Hitler was very clear in his writing and speaking before the war that this goal was wholly inadequate for German needs and that his policy demanded more.]

    Unless by "his writing and speaking before the war" is meant "such passages from Mein Kampf as I can interpret in conformity to my assertions, but no other writings or speeches", this is false.

    [the identification of the Jews, in and out of Germany, everywhere, as the paramount enemy and chief culprit of Versailles, and target of German vengeance at home and abroad] was not clearcut or consistent in reality, only now in retrospective imagination.

    [the economic and political condition of Germany in 1929-33, the period that actually brought the Nazis to power, is not explicable in terms of Versailles] but that it should be perceived as such is immediately comprehensible. People who have suffered severely from one cause, which still operates, and then being to suffer severely from another, are not given to make nice distinctions between the various reasons for their misery.

    C’mon. Please stop accusing me of irrelevancy. My original comment addressed a line in the article and at every stage I have been offering points on criticisms raised by others. Usually in order. I didn’t even originally accuse Germany of ‘war guilt’ in 1914 and still have not done that.

    The object of my description of the issues at stake in 1870 was that the French decision to go to war and declare war was not unprovoked, unless Germany’s decision to go to war and declare war in 1914 was also unprovoked. The motives of France in 1870 were the same as those of Germany in 1914.

    Since you use the term ‘unprovoked French attack’ I assume you refer to the fact that in 1870 French troops actually started the operations of the war by invading the Prussian Rhine Province at the Saar. Quite right. I don’t know what ‘unprovoked attack’ means in this context, though. I had already addressed the question of whether the declaration of war had valid cause and provocation. Once war was declared, an attack is a valid move.

    If we compare this to Germany in 1914, I was and am prepared to consider Germany’s decision to declare war against France a valid one. At no time have I claimed otherwise and I have explicitly denied the validity of the concept ‘war guilt’ at every stage. On the other hand, for the trifling importance it may have, at least in 1870 the French declared war before invading Prussia. Germany declined the same courtesy in 1914, at least by a day.

    “Iron demands” is tendentious and would be self-serving if offered by an official spokesman for 1914 Germany through the mists of time. If you mean practical military exigency, I assume you mean that the railroad timetables and mobilization schemes of the General Staff did not permit going to war with Russia first or only but demanded France be defeated first. I don’t see how the rigidity of German general staff planning constitutes a valid provocation by France. “Practical military exigency” is not casus belli, obligation, or provocation. Indeed, it is a very good 3-word summary for the sort of considerations I was raising myself.

    Sure the French were also aiming at war with Germany in 1914. Germany jumped the gun first for its own reasons. Solid ones, with sound policy requirements driving them. That statement accurately described conditions in 1870 as well.

    If your contention is that Prussia was not aiming to have war with France in 1870, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t know how to look at Prussian policy in 1870 and arrive at that conclusion.

    —-

    Admittedly I can only read the terms of the Gastein Convention in translation. If you find in the original German something that says Austria could not refer the status of a confederation member to the confederation’s adjudication, I am prepared to concede a casus belli for Prussia in 1866. Certainly that was Prussia’s contention. I only ask for something that validates that contention rather than taking it at face value.

    I don’t think it eliminates the pretty undeniable object of Prussian policy being war with Austria, but it would mean they at least waited for Austria to provoke them. That would give a legal case to Prussia.

    On the other hand, if we are to stick with these legal matters, what about Prussia’s attempt to interfere with Austrian supervision of Holstein? Where does the convention permit Prussia a say in that? Prussia wanted no part of a condominium arrangement and had rejected one. That would constitute a prior casus belli for Austria of comparable strength. First legal breach by Prussia, just as later first military action.

    Sidebar- Win or lose the point. Thanks for this. I cannot wait to inform one friend in particular that I have been engaged in an online debate about the Schleswig-Holstein Question, at least part of it. That will win me a permanent gold medal for internet obscurantism. Even without the Bohemian topics being mentioned. [Addendum- I've done that. I earned a laugh.]

    ——-

    True, neither the King of Italy nor of Burgundy was ever an elector. They were the Emperor himself and the titles passed on together. The King of Bohemia was for centuries someone else, his crown passed by heredity or on occasion by the estates of Bohemia, and not at anytime alongside the election of the King of the Romans or by the authority of the Diet or any of the other electors, or by the authority of the Emperor himself. Other princely titles, throughout the German lands and his other kingdoms, long had to be ratified by the Emperor and could be altered by him, although the decline of imperial power certainly weakened these powers, subjected them to new juridical procedures, and strengthened the rights of the princes. The Crown of Bohemia was never part of any of that.

    How does being an elector for the King of the Romans mean the Kingdom of Bohemia is more integrated with the Empire than being identical with the King of the Romans?

    I don’t see how referring to German tribes from over 500 years before there was a German realm is relevant. Bohemia was outside the German realm when there actually was a German realm. I offered comparisons to rulers, states, peoples and territories that existed contemporaneously with the German realm and had legal relations with emperors not unlike those of Bohemia. Even had status conferred on them by the emperor not unlike Bohemia.

    I did not contend that Bohemia was identical with Poland, for example, mentioning only to point out that recognition of a royal title by the emperor was not automatically an indication that the king in question was part of his realms. As it happens, Bohemia did have a more subject relation to the emperor than Poland, but this was not at all clear in the middle ages given the murky area between being a subject of the emperor and merely being one of the other realms of Christendom who all acknowledged him as senior . [Finally denying this medieval notion was one of the reasons Henry VIII's England proclaimed itself an 'empire' as a matter of law, even though he did not call himself an emperor. It indicated ultimate unlimited sovereignty].

    The King of Bohemia was considered a subject of the Emperor in several documents, not others. His rights and duties were spelled out and were different and vastly more limited than those of any other elector, let alone any other prince of the empire. And he was a King. That may make him subject of the German King as Emperor, but it doesn’t make his kingdom part of the German lands. It could not be. Another King might be subordinate to the German King, but not in the German King’s own lands. One realm one king was an oddly rigid principle for such a ramshackle entity, but there you go. There could not be another King inside the realm of the German King.

    Again, the otherwise seemingly non-germane reference to 18th century Prussia is the key marker here. Bohemia could be a Kingdom within the empire because it was not within German lands. Brandenburg and the other Prussian agglomerations inside the empire WERE German lands, having started as marches. Thus the nearly century-long diplomatic foofaraw about how to promote the Hohenzollern elector to the status of a king, and the conclusion that he could only be a king in right of lands outside the empire altogether. The Emperor conceded otherwise only in the 1780s, and it was rightly recognized throughout Europe as nearly a terminal act of constitutional suicide and an act of enormous symbolic importance even in an empire that already conceded almost unlimited sovereignty to its members after 1648.

    My point in referring to the other Crowns was more to note that, right to the end, there was a difference between being in the empire or a subject of the emperor and being part of the German lands. Presuming for a second that being part of the German realm before 1806 would be relevant to a nationalist claim in modern times.

    Perhaps I could have avoided this debate, admittedly of marginal relevance, by sticking only to what has several times been my final point in it. Which was that whatever you assess about these issues, every one of them is permanently terminated in 1806. If there is no Roman Emperor, no Empire, not even a properly constituted Diet that claims to be that of the Empire and to be able to elect an Emperor, then there are no claims to be made of allegiance to the same. Certainly not claims by a purely German realm or a German national state, a new thing. And certainly not by the German Reich founded in 1871, which was the German state in existence in 1919-45.

    ——-

    I don’t see how the German Confederation embodied aspirations to develop into a sovereign national state when the princes who formed it explicitly reserved all sovereignty to themselves, sovereignty most of them had gained only recently and of which they were durably jealous. None would have signed on to a confederation with the aim of German unity and sovereignty in mind, and I cannot believe the Austrian Emperor would have accepted the presidency of a body that had that goal, which would mean the end of his throne and empire at some point. For that matter, the Prussian kings had no such Germany in mind, for the same reason.

    Also, the Confederation was an instrument of Austrian policy, in particular, to suppress all aspirations to German nationalism and unity. Which is why the liberals and nationalists tended to hate it with such vehemence.

    I suppose many may have had such aspirations for it at some point. But then so do many Europeans now. That doesn’t mean the EU is a sovereign state, that it represents the aspirations of a majority to become one, or that this is what its members actually all signed on for. Or that all its parts would necessarily sign on to a tighter version.

    ——-

    I admit I would not like to be considered a member of a colonial people if my ancestors had been in a place 500+ years during times when ethnicity was less of a political issue. But when in the new age of ethnic nationalism you start identifying as a separate people and arguing that you have a right to take your homeland of settlement into the relatively new ethnostate of your people at the expense of the majority of said homeland, or even to alter that homeland’s 1000 year old borders in favour of the ethnostate of your people so you can live in the latter, expect objections and offers to let you leave. I concede I don’t know what the time limit should be to create claims like that. The French had people living in the northern departments of Algeria for over 100 years and had annexed them to France. The various Balkan types figured they could both hold on to lands inhabited by Turks or kick them out back to Turkey after the Balkan Wars.

    And of course Germany figured it was entitled to build a national state from 1871 and hold on to all the Prussian lands full of Poles, and mightily resented losing any of it to a reborn Poland after 1918. And aimed to get it all back and then some. If Germans can rule Poles in their ancestral homes, then Poles or Czechs can rule Germans.

    ———–

    Propaganda leaflets are not commitments or promises, let alone agreements, and the objections of the Allies to the 14 points were and are well known. The Germans asked for an armistice because they needed one and hoped to use Allied propaganda to their advantage in talks. When they were offered one that did not contain the 14 points, they signed it because they had to. If they didn’t want to sign, they could have gone on fighting. The Armistice by definition contains the total of Allied commitments to Germany prior to the peace. It’s terms were upheld.

    ———-

    Neither Hitler’s statements in public before the war, nor his views in Mein Kampf, nor in his later published second book which predated the war, nor his actual war policies or later published table talk from the war era were limited to revision of the Versailles settlement. He was even explicit that those who wanted only to restore Germany’s territory and position from 1914 were fools who had too narrow a vision.

    I’d be willing to consider the Anschluss and the annexation of the Sudetenland as alternative territorial annexations equivalent to restoring pre-Versailles Germany. Arguably better and more justifiable on ethnic grounds than taking Polish lands. Probably strategically and economically more useful, and tending to a Germany actually capable of being better off than in 1914, but fair enough. But Hitler went to war with Poland anyway, and when he crushed it he didn’t stop at reclaiming lands lost in 1914. He directly annexed even more than that, all inhabited by Poles, and then assumed German sovereignty over the general government, which he used as part of an explicit policy of extinguishing the Polish state, nation and culture. Which the Russians had not even done when they ruled central Poland. By the end of 1939, when nothing the Allies were doing constrained his actions, Hitler had already gone far beyond revising the Versailles settlement. Just as he said he would.

    ——

    Many German nationalists early on, and the Nazis throughout, kept harping on about Jews as though they were principal architects of both Germany’s defeat and of Versailles and all its implications. They directed plenty of vitriol and violent abuse at German Jews because of this, escalating when the movement coalesced around the NSDAP and entered power. Hitler, Goebbels and probably others wrote and spoke at length about the Jewish Enemy.

    As this was a false description of the defeat of Germany and the Versailles settlement and both a calumny against innocent German citizens and the rationale for the eventual murder of countless innocents in cold blood and at no personal risk to the killers, I see no way that any of it can be considered either a policy of revising the Versailles settlement or explicable in the context of Versailles.

    ——

    People who suffered from one cause a decade earlier, whose operation has not had a negative impact on Germany for an intervening period of 6 years of prosperity, whose terms have been revised repeatedly in their favour to ensure they no longer impede prosperity, and whose country is suffering to the same degree and for the same reasons as the victors after 1929, are not entitled to blame those victors for the same conditions for which they are not responsible. If a large fraction of the people can be forgiven for thinking these things, it was incumbent on the officials, press, and politicians who knew better to tell them the truth. What the German state did, at least when Hitler came to power if not before, was fuel these falsehoods to the point of lunacy.

    And, again, since the Jews were not responsible for it even in 1919-23, any part of German political discourse that blamed them for either the period 1919-23 or 1929+ was an absurd lie. The lie part makes it unjustifiable. The absurd part makes it irrational. Put the two together, I say that the course of German attitudes on Germany’s condition in the 1930s and what to do about it can be considered explicable only to those with limited access to the information, and it was the duty of officials and opinion formers who knew better to inform them properly, not make it worse.

    Absurd calumnies against fellow citizens, taking away their rights and eventually their citizenship, wrecking their property and sending low-lifes in cheap uniforms to beat up old men and women in the street were not valid responses to Versailles or even the Depression. Refraining from these things is not merely making a “nice distinction” between sources of their misery. It is making a big, stonking obvious distinction between their misery and people who have done nothing to cause it. And all of these things were done before the second war, and cannot be blamed on its exigencies, the Russian threat, whatever.

    As it happens, making distinctions, at least where the issue in question is stripping the citizenship of innocent fellow citizens, stealing their goods, locking them up or beating them in the street, to exclude as being much later on the mass murder part, is an duty incumbent on any man who wants to call himself a free citizen. If you want to abuse someone, at least identify the enemy correctly and use things like law. Don’t hand power and even your own rights over to the disposition of a gang of mincing street toughs and psychopathic chicken farmers.

    For example. Note that the Jews in question before 1939 were Jews who were citizens of Germany, many of whom had been since it was permitted, and resident centuries longer. Others had been lawfully admitted and were not necessarily citizens of anywhere else. None was a citizen of a country at war with Germany let alone posing a threat to it.

    Compare the US or Canada interning Japanese. These processes embodied many of the things GErmany did to the Jews before 1939, including [localized] removal and internment, confiscation of property [it was supposed to be temporary but much was stolen]. It didn’t include state-sanctioned destruction of said property, assault or murder. And they didn’t end up years later being murdered en masse. And it at least required that the people in question have some kind of specific tie to an enemy nation at war with the US and Canada, and comprising the same ethnicity, and the state of war actually being already on. And even then it was wrong. Ethnic Japanese who were US citizens or British subjects had their rights violated and should have been given presumption of innocence until any particular individual did something. Those who were nationals only of Japan could have been interned, pending investigation, or for duration, or until repatriation could be arranged, as a legitimate action toward genuine enemy aliens in war. Ditto for how the allies handled GErmans and Italians.

    But again, wildly less abusive and violent, required actual state of war, and the people in question had to have some actual legal connection to a state at war with the Allies.

    Not the same as what the GErmans were doing to the Jews before 1939, in time of peace, who were GErman citizens and normally nothing else. For no reason recognizable to a sane responsible citizen, whatever his economic condition.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Once again I won't be able to address more than a selection of the points you raise, many of them interesting; my criterion will have to be my sense of their importance to the original debate.

    Prussia knew that war was possible, and had tried hard to ensure - with success, as it turned out - that if it came it would be war against France only. Only hindsight could imagine a masterful plot by Prussia to lure an opponent to perdition; most contemporaries had thought France would win. If Prussia bears equal responsibility with France, a traveller who is armed and skilled with weapons bears equal responsibility with the highwayman.

    The crucial decision in the July crisis of 1914 was Russia's to begin pre-mobilisation measures after the Austrian ultimatum. Only after learning of that did Serbia decide not to fully accept its terms.

    In 1866 Austria's demolition of the agreements previously concluded between the two powers concerning the duchies clearly precedes Prussia's resort to voies de fait as the only remaining way to preserve her rights.

    Since there could be no emperor without an elector from Bohemia, there could be no Bohemia outside the empire. The greater includes the lesser. A Czech national home could have no claim to the territories of that electoral Bohemia, but only to such lands as might be requisite to fulfil its own purpose.

    Between 1933 and 1939 Germany consistently presented herself as seeking only the revision of intolerable conditions created by the Versailles system. If an indictment of national policy and attitudes in this period is sought, rather than one of Adolf Hitler's whole career, the prosecutor will have to show that those claims were demonstrably false at the time they were made.
  111. If anyone is still going to be reading this thread, perhaps I should return my own themes to the original larger issue in Linh Dinh’s column, beyond even the Versailles reference.

    I am a Canadian. My country, like the US or Australia, is a country of colonization, settlement, expansion, and ultimately incorporating substantial immigration from a range of sources into a country whose laws, customs, and institutions were largely created by English speakers of British origin. With exceptions, even partly true of Quebec [they operate a Westminster system of government although they have civil law for civil purposes. ]

    I would appear from my father’s researches to have multiple strands of uninterrupted Anglo-Scottish and Scotch-Irish working class (or equivalent) ancestors back to the 17th century. Which, Scotland being what it was, probably means a good chance there was little else but maybe some Norse or French [probably not French- not to many poor French coming in] back 1000 years. My people came to Canada with my grandfather. Compare someone who is a native born citizen of the US, whose family came from Britain after WW2. Maybe earlier. The comparable stage of US cultural development would be more like after the civil war.

    I figure I am myself a native born citizen, of citizen parents of, for those to whom such things matter, the primary founding people of my country. I yield equality in right of pride in country only to those of the same people and perhaps a few others who can claim deeper roots in this land. The French, with exception for certain perennial cultural points of contention, as well. They were part founders of our modern state, for all that they operated within an Angl0-Saxon framework. And they had come here to a wilderness and built a colony with much success. Aboriginals for long title to the land, but with the caveats I consider appropriate regarding a people who had not founded states comparable to those of Europe, nor operated a system of sovereignty and controlled immigration, nor provided the framework of law and economy for those who first settled here from Europe. These latter built the state themselves.

    With all these assumptions in mind, and likely others I have forgotten, there is a limit to which any Canadian can think of our nation and state in blood and soil terms, still truer for me and those like me of modest tenure. But that limit is not zero. And we are entitled to think of it in Steve’s Citizenist terms without any limit at all. And to note correctly that the founding peoples were not welcomed by an intact state as immigrants, but built it as colonists. Even immigrants of my grandfather’s generation, at a time when Canada and Britain still had one citizenship, had to be reviewed and selected to settle in the Dominion, with all manner of work and health requirements, and no welfare. We do not have to regard accepting immigrants as our obligation in return for our own privileges, nor yield the right to choose those we will accept. Neither do we have to yield to our country’s redefinition to any degree we do not wish for the benefit of immigrants. Nor do we have to define it solely in terms of values and ideology, and any values and ideology we do use should be of deep roots in history. And not only those of the post-1968 Liberal party, or even the pre-1968 one.

    For all Canada’s modern diversity shibboleths, not incomparable to America’s, that is how I see my country.

    I have an idea how I’d see my country had I grown up British. No idea how I would see my country were I contemporary middle aged German, let alone a young one. Here I have great sympathy with Linh Dinh’s criticisms.

    Were I myself, but suddenly transposed into the head of a German of today, I like to think I would believe as follows.

    I would not gloss over the second world war as a reaction to Versailles, nor would I consider what my country did as either a justified or rational response to it. I would not shirk from some blame. Of the countries suffering in the Depression or similar interwar traumas, some remained liberal democracies. Some produced various authoritarian governments. Italy produced Fascism in a time of relative prosperity, but a system I could see as a sane if not to my taste response to national problems. Nobody, with the exception perhaps of Hungary with the Arrow Cross, produced a fascist-like party quite as extreme in its beliefs or actions as the NSDAP. And it took war and German help to put them in power, and that only in 1944. I would not equate the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country’s control with aerial bombing of civilians in defended cities in my country, of which form of war my country was also a practitioner within the limits of its capability.

    I would however note that other countries, not least Russia, have done things comparable in all ways to the holocaust including exceeding it in numbers, and their comments on the subject, at least, are no longer welcome.

    I would not refrain from an apologetic attitude for specific things, but at this late date I would keep it sporadic and dignified. The time for regular repetition is past, and that abjectness even 60 years ago was sufficient if delivered in an adult manner to other adults. It is not necessary to be an emotional wreck about being German [I once saw a German grad student who fit that description on the subject, and that 20 years ago], still less to prance about like a fool in street protests.

    To the extent of Germany’s actions that constituted possible returns to something resembling the 1914 status quo, I would call it justifiable. Within that, using military methods against armed enemy nations in open warfare of all kinds I would call legitimate, and comparable to the deeds of other nations against others, including in their wars with Germany.

    To charges that Germany in 1914 or even 1939 desired world power and used all means to push that end, I would agree and call it morally equal to the deeds of other countries in similar positions pursuing similar goals. Though on the strength of the record, I would not have high praise for the subtlety, diplomatic skills, or military imagination and foresight of Wilhelm II’s Germany, or ultimately even Hitler’s. Just reading accounts of the antics of Wilhelm’s court suggests an embarrassing clown show. I would not regard these elements as such as a stain on Germany or even its geopolitical aspirations so much as unworthy of it and unqualified to design those aspirations.

    What I would not do:

    1. Be unaware of the whole scope of my country’s history and its achievements in all fields. Or that these put Germany in the top ranks of the greatest civilization humanity has produced.

    2. Assume that 1933-45 or even 1900-45 are the only important periods or that the weaknesses of those times [which was not all of those times either] cancel out the towering accomplishments of the German world.

    3. Assume, therefore, that I am obligated to subsume my nationhood in Europe, or subsume its ethnicity to that of Asia or Africa.

    4. Assume that while I, personally, do not believe that Germany correctly handled its own citizens in the period 1933-45, or many of the citizens of other countries, that this translates to obligations to the citizens of other countries today, who do not have a German citizen’s claim on German rights and laws, including right to enter, and whose countries and troubles are not caused by Germany.

    I took less time with this than previous posts. But would not wish to be associated with antifas or liberals when the larger subject of national and civilizational survival is at stake.

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Excellent post, as were the others by you in this thread.

    Please keep to it as you have much to say and do in quite well.

    (I am not writing this just because you told us that you are of Scotch-Irish descent.)
    , @SolontoCroesus
    random observer,
    re:

    I would not equate the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country’s control with aerial bombing of civilians in defended cities in my country, of which form of war my country was also a practitioner within the limits of its capability.
     
    Curtiss LeMay, who led the aerial bombing campaign, and Robert McNamara, who was involved in it, would and did equate the aerial bombing of civilians with crimes against humanity. Historian Charles Evans Hughes called the firebombing of Germany "modern history's first use of weapons of mass destruction as a means of terror," where terror is defined as the use of violence against civilians to achieve political aims.

    That pilots who carried out firebombing raids against German (and Japanese, but this context is Germany) faced defensive tactics and frequent loss of life is irrelevant: if the actions were war crimes, the defense that "pilots were at risk" amounts to an assassin or mass murderer risking or losing his life in carrying out his crime. No western legal system provides a defense for a loss sustained in the commission of a crime.

    The fire bombings of Germany and Japan were not collateral damage, nor were they whimsical -- the desperate strategy of the moment: they were planned, even before a war was imminent: in October 1938 FDR and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. began the mass production of bombers; in 1939 FDR signed the executive order to acquire Dugway, in the Utah desert, where chemical weapons to be used against Germany were developed and tested, and where, by 1942, Jewish and American architects and chemists, in collaboration with US Air Force, built precise replicas of working-class German's housing, and developed and practiced the most effective means of creating a firestorm to destroy the maximum number of civilian structures with the maximum loss of human life. The structures built at Dugway were furnished by the Jewish staff of Hollywood studios and included beds and a crib, assuming that the residents of such dwellings would be young families with infants.

    The British also built such structures to practice destroying German civilian structures.

    To the best of my knowledge (with the certainty that you will correct me if I'm wrong), the Germans did carry out that form of mock-up and practice of mass killing.

    The firebombing of Germany cost the lives of an estimated 600,000 German civilians, and, to use the term favored by British "Bomber" Harris, "de-housed" 7- to 10-million Germans. In a recent radio broadcast Robert Kagan observed that USA is a virtually invulnerable fortress, or at least was so during WWII: German U-boats attacked shipping, especially around North Carolina's outer banks, but the continent was never penetrated by Germans, FDR's propaganda declarations about a "map and plan of German forces to enter thru Mexico and travel through the heart of the nation to the precincts of DC" notwithstanding.
    Germany, on the other hand, had been scouted out and a strategy laid before the guns of WWI had cooled: another war against Germany would employ air power and would take out German manufacturing (and oil) resources.

    It seems reasonable to conclude that forced labor, and camps to house and employ forced labor, was implemented by Germans in response to the destruction of German war materiel manufactures and the German labor force. Tit for tat, with the difference that encamped forced laborers were fed, clothed and housed, while German workers were incinerated and de-housed.



    You allude to a holocaust of Jews, and that notion has, of course, become what some call a "social fact."
    Robert Cohen wrote recently:

    Holocaust denial will remain a fringe issue. The documentation is secure in its veracity and overwhelming in its volume. If anything, today’s school children are in danger of thinking that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin went to war against Hitler because of what was happening to the Jews. - http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/auschwitz-revisited#sthash.wbk3eXuj.dpuf
     
    The passage contradicts itself: Documentation declared to be "secure in its veracity and overwhelming in its volume " actually verifies an implicit misapprehension: Cohen's use of the qualifier, "in danger of thinking" implies that the war waged against Hitler was, verily, not because of what was happening to the Jews; that is merely the "dangerous" notion that "today's school children" -- and adults -- have been led to believe through an "overwhelming volume" of mendacity.

    In other words, I do not believe that your claim that Germany carried out,

    the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country’s control
     
    can be substantiated, and by implication, Robert Cohen agrees with me.

    Were Jews killed? Certainly, and many of them. Were they deliberately targeted, by the millions, simply because they were Jews? I don't think those assertions are "secure in their veracity and voluminous in documentation." There is far more verifiable documentation of the deliberate plan and execution of the plan to commit mass murder against German and Japanese civilians than there is of German plans to carry out mass murder of Jews. The "Jews as victims" narrative works as long as the principles of hasbara pertain -- the Jewish side of the story is told mendaciously, and the German side of the story is told not at all.

    Moreover, as Martin Amis stated before an audience at the Jewish Heritage Museum late last year, http://www.unz.com/ldinh/flagless-germany/#comment-1192001

    “The Stalin crime that most neatly corresponds to the holocaust is the terror famine in the Ukraine in 1933 where — it’s not known but something like, 7- 8- 9-million peasants were starved to death, even tho the granaries were full. . . .
    [The terror famine was] very comparable to the holocaust, but, the difference is, Stalin really had no choice: his intention was to break the peasantry and collectivize them;. And um if he had decided on something sort of more Bukharin-like it would have been uh abandoning the Socialist experiment, and betraying the revolution, so he had to go forward, he had to be as hard as nails to get that through.” http://www.c-span.org/video/?322861-1/book-discussion-explaining-hitler-zone-interest
     
    Stalin carried out the first of his planned genocides well before Hitler and the NSDAP had encamped a single Jew in Germany; in fact, between 1933 and late 1938, NSDAP quelled violence against Jews, and aided zionists in carrying out Louis Brandeis's February, 1933 directive that "all Jews must leave Germany." (This highly credibly documented fact, that Brandeis directed that all Jews must leave Germany, uttered in the first half of February 1933, is, in my estimation, the most important fact of the history of that era, but that's a tangential discussion for another time.)

    If Stalin's genocide of "7- 8- 9-million peasants" was justifiable, according to Martin Amis, because "Stalin had no choice . . .he had to go forward . . . to get the revolution through;" and if that genocide apparently was not a cause for distress to either Churchill or FDR, who allied with Stalin and even gave him Berlin and Poland to carry out additional acts of mass slaughter, why is it not equally justifiable for the German military to have killed those who had interfered with the German revolution, and with the German effort to provide for the wellbeing of its citizens?

    On more than one occasion Max Hastings, preeminent British historian of WWII, has said that Stalin should be considered far more brutal than Hitler, "but for the holocaust." But if, as Robert Cohen implies, the facts of the holocaust cannot be "verified or voluminously documented," then Hitler is knocked out of the running, and Zbigniew Brzezinski's perspective prevails: "Stalin was the most brutal mass murderer in all of history." German civilians were among his victims, in acts that had the approbation and acquiescence of American political and military leaders.
  112. @random observer
    C'mon. Please stop accusing me of irrelevancy. My original comment addressed a line in the article and at every stage I have been offering points on criticisms raised by others. Usually in order. I didn't even originally accuse Germany of 'war guilt' in 1914 and still have not done that.


    The object of my description of the issues at stake in 1870 was that the French decision to go to war and declare war was not unprovoked, unless Germany's decision to go to war and declare war in 1914 was also unprovoked. The motives of France in 1870 were the same as those of Germany in 1914.

    Since you use the term 'unprovoked French attack' I assume you refer to the fact that in 1870 French troops actually started the operations of the war by invading the Prussian Rhine Province at the Saar. Quite right. I don't know what 'unprovoked attack' means in this context, though. I had already addressed the question of whether the declaration of war had valid cause and provocation. Once war was declared, an attack is a valid move.

    If we compare this to Germany in 1914, I was and am prepared to consider Germany's decision to declare war against France a valid one. At no time have I claimed otherwise and I have explicitly denied the validity of the concept 'war guilt' at every stage. On the other hand, for the trifling importance it may have, at least in 1870 the French declared war before invading Prussia. Germany declined the same courtesy in 1914, at least by a day.

    "Iron demands" is tendentious and would be self-serving if offered by an official spokesman for 1914 Germany through the mists of time. If you mean practical military exigency, I assume you mean that the railroad timetables and mobilization schemes of the General Staff did not permit going to war with Russia first or only but demanded France be defeated first. I don't see how the rigidity of German general staff planning constitutes a valid provocation by France. "Practical military exigency" is not casus belli, obligation, or provocation. Indeed, it is a very good 3-word summary for the sort of considerations I was raising myself.

    Sure the French were also aiming at war with Germany in 1914. Germany jumped the gun first for its own reasons. Solid ones, with sound policy requirements driving them. That statement accurately described conditions in 1870 as well.

    If your contention is that Prussia was not aiming to have war with France in 1870, we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't know how to look at Prussian policy in 1870 and arrive at that conclusion.

    ----

    Admittedly I can only read the terms of the Gastein Convention in translation. If you find in the original German something that says Austria could not refer the status of a confederation member to the confederation's adjudication, I am prepared to concede a casus belli for Prussia in 1866. Certainly that was Prussia's contention. I only ask for something that validates that contention rather than taking it at face value.

    I don't think it eliminates the pretty undeniable object of Prussian policy being war with Austria, but it would mean they at least waited for Austria to provoke them. That would give a legal case to Prussia.

    On the other hand, if we are to stick with these legal matters, what about Prussia's attempt to interfere with Austrian supervision of Holstein? Where does the convention permit Prussia a say in that? Prussia wanted no part of a condominium arrangement and had rejected one. That would constitute a prior casus belli for Austria of comparable strength. First legal breach by Prussia, just as later first military action.

    Sidebar- Win or lose the point. Thanks for this. I cannot wait to inform one friend in particular that I have been engaged in an online debate about the Schleswig-Holstein Question, at least part of it. That will win me a permanent gold medal for internet obscurantism. Even without the Bohemian topics being mentioned. [Addendum- I've done that. I earned a laugh.]

    -------

    True, neither the King of Italy nor of Burgundy was ever an elector. They were the Emperor himself and the titles passed on together. The King of Bohemia was for centuries someone else, his crown passed by heredity or on occasion by the estates of Bohemia, and not at anytime alongside the election of the King of the Romans or by the authority of the Diet or any of the other electors, or by the authority of the Emperor himself. Other princely titles, throughout the German lands and his other kingdoms, long had to be ratified by the Emperor and could be altered by him, although the decline of imperial power certainly weakened these powers, subjected them to new juridical procedures, and strengthened the rights of the princes. The Crown of Bohemia was never part of any of that.

    How does being an elector for the King of the Romans mean the Kingdom of Bohemia is more integrated with the Empire than being identical with the King of the Romans?

    I don't see how referring to German tribes from over 500 years before there was a German realm is relevant. Bohemia was outside the German realm when there actually was a German realm. I offered comparisons to rulers, states, peoples and territories that existed contemporaneously with the German realm and had legal relations with emperors not unlike those of Bohemia. Even had status conferred on them by the emperor not unlike Bohemia.

    I did not contend that Bohemia was identical with Poland, for example, mentioning only to point out that recognition of a royal title by the emperor was not automatically an indication that the king in question was part of his realms. As it happens, Bohemia did have a more subject relation to the emperor than Poland, but this was not at all clear in the middle ages given the murky area between being a subject of the emperor and merely being one of the other realms of Christendom who all acknowledged him as senior . [Finally denying this medieval notion was one of the reasons Henry VIII's England proclaimed itself an 'empire' as a matter of law, even though he did not call himself an emperor. It indicated ultimate unlimited sovereignty].

    The King of Bohemia was considered a subject of the Emperor in several documents, not others. His rights and duties were spelled out and were different and vastly more limited than those of any other elector, let alone any other prince of the empire. And he was a King. That may make him subject of the German King as Emperor, but it doesn't make his kingdom part of the German lands. It could not be. Another King might be subordinate to the German King, but not in the German King's own lands. One realm one king was an oddly rigid principle for such a ramshackle entity, but there you go. There could not be another King inside the realm of the German King.

    Again, the otherwise seemingly non-germane reference to 18th century Prussia is the key marker here. Bohemia could be a Kingdom within the empire because it was not within German lands. Brandenburg and the other Prussian agglomerations inside the empire WERE German lands, having started as marches. Thus the nearly century-long diplomatic foofaraw about how to promote the Hohenzollern elector to the status of a king, and the conclusion that he could only be a king in right of lands outside the empire altogether. The Emperor conceded otherwise only in the 1780s, and it was rightly recognized throughout Europe as nearly a terminal act of constitutional suicide and an act of enormous symbolic importance even in an empire that already conceded almost unlimited sovereignty to its members after 1648.

    My point in referring to the other Crowns was more to note that, right to the end, there was a difference between being in the empire or a subject of the emperor and being part of the German lands. Presuming for a second that being part of the German realm before 1806 would be relevant to a nationalist claim in modern times.

    Perhaps I could have avoided this debate, admittedly of marginal relevance, by sticking only to what has several times been my final point in it. Which was that whatever you assess about these issues, every one of them is permanently terminated in 1806. If there is no Roman Emperor, no Empire, not even a properly constituted Diet that claims to be that of the Empire and to be able to elect an Emperor, then there are no claims to be made of allegiance to the same. Certainly not claims by a purely German realm or a German national state, a new thing. And certainly not by the German Reich founded in 1871, which was the German state in existence in 1919-45.

    -------

    I don't see how the German Confederation embodied aspirations to develop into a sovereign national state when the princes who formed it explicitly reserved all sovereignty to themselves, sovereignty most of them had gained only recently and of which they were durably jealous. None would have signed on to a confederation with the aim of German unity and sovereignty in mind, and I cannot believe the Austrian Emperor would have accepted the presidency of a body that had that goal, which would mean the end of his throne and empire at some point. For that matter, the Prussian kings had no such Germany in mind, for the same reason.

    Also, the Confederation was an instrument of Austrian policy, in particular, to suppress all aspirations to German nationalism and unity. Which is why the liberals and nationalists tended to hate it with such vehemence.

    I suppose many may have had such aspirations for it at some point. But then so do many Europeans now. That doesn't mean the EU is a sovereign state, that it represents the aspirations of a majority to become one, or that this is what its members actually all signed on for. Or that all its parts would necessarily sign on to a tighter version.

    -------

    I admit I would not like to be considered a member of a colonial people if my ancestors had been in a place 500+ years during times when ethnicity was less of a political issue. But when in the new age of ethnic nationalism you start identifying as a separate people and arguing that you have a right to take your homeland of settlement into the relatively new ethnostate of your people at the expense of the majority of said homeland, or even to alter that homeland's 1000 year old borders in favour of the ethnostate of your people so you can live in the latter, expect objections and offers to let you leave. I concede I don't know what the time limit should be to create claims like that. The French had people living in the northern departments of Algeria for over 100 years and had annexed them to France. The various Balkan types figured they could both hold on to lands inhabited by Turks or kick them out back to Turkey after the Balkan Wars.

    And of course Germany figured it was entitled to build a national state from 1871 and hold on to all the Prussian lands full of Poles, and mightily resented losing any of it to a reborn Poland after 1918. And aimed to get it all back and then some. If Germans can rule Poles in their ancestral homes, then Poles or Czechs can rule Germans.

    -----------

    Propaganda leaflets are not commitments or promises, let alone agreements, and the objections of the Allies to the 14 points were and are well known. The Germans asked for an armistice because they needed one and hoped to use Allied propaganda to their advantage in talks. When they were offered one that did not contain the 14 points, they signed it because they had to. If they didn't want to sign, they could have gone on fighting. The Armistice by definition contains the total of Allied commitments to Germany prior to the peace. It's terms were upheld.

    ----------

    Neither Hitler's statements in public before the war, nor his views in Mein Kampf, nor in his later published second book which predated the war, nor his actual war policies or later published table talk from the war era were limited to revision of the Versailles settlement. He was even explicit that those who wanted only to restore Germany's territory and position from 1914 were fools who had too narrow a vision.

    I'd be willing to consider the Anschluss and the annexation of the Sudetenland as alternative territorial annexations equivalent to restoring pre-Versailles Germany. Arguably better and more justifiable on ethnic grounds than taking Polish lands. Probably strategically and economically more useful, and tending to a Germany actually capable of being better off than in 1914, but fair enough. But Hitler went to war with Poland anyway, and when he crushed it he didn't stop at reclaiming lands lost in 1914. He directly annexed even more than that, all inhabited by Poles, and then assumed German sovereignty over the general government, which he used as part of an explicit policy of extinguishing the Polish state, nation and culture. Which the Russians had not even done when they ruled central Poland. By the end of 1939, when nothing the Allies were doing constrained his actions, Hitler had already gone far beyond revising the Versailles settlement. Just as he said he would.

    ------

    Many German nationalists early on, and the Nazis throughout, kept harping on about Jews as though they were principal architects of both Germany's defeat and of Versailles and all its implications. They directed plenty of vitriol and violent abuse at German Jews because of this, escalating when the movement coalesced around the NSDAP and entered power. Hitler, Goebbels and probably others wrote and spoke at length about the Jewish Enemy.

    As this was a false description of the defeat of Germany and the Versailles settlement and both a calumny against innocent German citizens and the rationale for the eventual murder of countless innocents in cold blood and at no personal risk to the killers, I see no way that any of it can be considered either a policy of revising the Versailles settlement or explicable in the context of Versailles.

    ------

    People who suffered from one cause a decade earlier, whose operation has not had a negative impact on Germany for an intervening period of 6 years of prosperity, whose terms have been revised repeatedly in their favour to ensure they no longer impede prosperity, and whose country is suffering to the same degree and for the same reasons as the victors after 1929, are not entitled to blame those victors for the same conditions for which they are not responsible. If a large fraction of the people can be forgiven for thinking these things, it was incumbent on the officials, press, and politicians who knew better to tell them the truth. What the German state did, at least when Hitler came to power if not before, was fuel these falsehoods to the point of lunacy.

    And, again, since the Jews were not responsible for it even in 1919-23, any part of German political discourse that blamed them for either the period 1919-23 or 1929+ was an absurd lie. The lie part makes it unjustifiable. The absurd part makes it irrational. Put the two together, I say that the course of German attitudes on Germany's condition in the 1930s and what to do about it can be considered explicable only to those with limited access to the information, and it was the duty of officials and opinion formers who knew better to inform them properly, not make it worse.

    Absurd calumnies against fellow citizens, taking away their rights and eventually their citizenship, wrecking their property and sending low-lifes in cheap uniforms to beat up old men and women in the street were not valid responses to Versailles or even the Depression. Refraining from these things is not merely making a "nice distinction" between sources of their misery. It is making a big, stonking obvious distinction between their misery and people who have done nothing to cause it. And all of these things were done before the second war, and cannot be blamed on its exigencies, the Russian threat, whatever.

    As it happens, making distinctions, at least where the issue in question is stripping the citizenship of innocent fellow citizens, stealing their goods, locking them up or beating them in the street, to exclude as being much later on the mass murder part, is an duty incumbent on any man who wants to call himself a free citizen. If you want to abuse someone, at least identify the enemy correctly and use things like law. Don't hand power and even your own rights over to the disposition of a gang of mincing street toughs and psychopathic chicken farmers.

    For example. Note that the Jews in question before 1939 were Jews who were citizens of Germany, many of whom had been since it was permitted, and resident centuries longer. Others had been lawfully admitted and were not necessarily citizens of anywhere else. None was a citizen of a country at war with Germany let alone posing a threat to it.

    Compare the US or Canada interning Japanese. These processes embodied many of the things GErmany did to the Jews before 1939, including [localized] removal and internment, confiscation of property [it was supposed to be temporary but much was stolen]. It didn't include state-sanctioned destruction of said property, assault or murder. And they didn't end up years later being murdered en masse. And it at least required that the people in question have some kind of specific tie to an enemy nation at war with the US and Canada, and comprising the same ethnicity, and the state of war actually being already on. And even then it was wrong. Ethnic Japanese who were US citizens or British subjects had their rights violated and should have been given presumption of innocence until any particular individual did something. Those who were nationals only of Japan could have been interned, pending investigation, or for duration, or until repatriation could be arranged, as a legitimate action toward genuine enemy aliens in war. Ditto for how the allies handled GErmans and Italians.

    But again, wildly less abusive and violent, required actual state of war, and the people in question had to have some actual legal connection to a state at war with the Allies.

    Not the same as what the GErmans were doing to the Jews before 1939, in time of peace, who were GErman citizens and normally nothing else. For no reason recognizable to a sane responsible citizen, whatever his economic condition.

    Once again I won’t be able to address more than a selection of the points you raise, many of them interesting; my criterion will have to be my sense of their importance to the original debate.

    Prussia knew that war was possible, and had tried hard to ensure – with success, as it turned out – that if it came it would be war against France only. Only hindsight could imagine a masterful plot by Prussia to lure an opponent to perdition; most contemporaries had thought France would win. If Prussia bears equal responsibility with France, a traveller who is armed and skilled with weapons bears equal responsibility with the highwayman.

    The crucial decision in the July crisis of 1914 was Russia’s to begin pre-mobilisation measures after the Austrian ultimatum. Only after learning of that did Serbia decide not to fully accept its terms.

    In 1866 Austria’s demolition of the agreements previously concluded between the two powers concerning the duchies clearly precedes Prussia’s resort to voies de fait as the only remaining way to preserve her rights.

    Since there could be no emperor without an elector from Bohemia, there could be no Bohemia outside the empire. The greater includes the lesser. A Czech national home could have no claim to the territories of that electoral Bohemia, but only to such lands as might be requisite to fulfil its own purpose.

    Between 1933 and 1939 Germany consistently presented herself as seeking only the revision of intolerable conditions created by the Versailles system. If an indictment of national policy and attitudes in this period is sought, rather than one of Adolf Hitler’s whole career, the prosecutor will have to show that those claims were demonstrably false at the time they were made.

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    • Agree: HdC
    • Replies: @random observer
    The original debate was whether or not the Third Reich's policies can be explained in terms of Versailles, whether one considers the requirements laid down by Linh Dinh's allusion to be that the latter must justify the former, or whether the latter must merely be sufficient rational explanation for the former. That continues to seem a reasonable debate to have. As a derivative of that, the debate extended to whether or not the Versailles settlement was in fact 'unjust' in the context of how WW1 began and how it ended.

    To take the narrower question first. I contended and still contend that the Versailles settlement, however unwise it seems in retrospect and seemed unwise to some at the time, was not unjust in the context of the scale of the war just ended and the fact that the Germans were the defeated party. Which they were. They ultimately failed to win victory in France, even after winning in the East. The Allies did win victory in France. It does not matter to what degree the Americans made that possible [though I advanced some points]. The Germans had failed to defeat the British and French repeatedly up to that point. The Germans and Allies stood in the field for over 3 years against one another, neither able to win. British diplomacy secured it a powerful new ally. German diplomacy was not up to the challenge of preventing that and to a modest degree made it worse. As German foreign policy and strategy from before 1914 had already tended to do. Diplomacy is a tool of war also. The victors did what victors do, and commensurate with the scale of events. The one thing I never did was claim German "war guilt" in 1914, and more than once explicitly denied it. [It was the first sentence of my first comment on this post, #73, and I have repeated the point several times.] I am perfectly willing to consider Germany's choice for war in the circumstances of 1914 as a valid one, albeit without a casus belli as an earlier age would have understood it. That the war guilt clause was a calumny I agree, I simply don't agree that the Versailles settlement required that charge or would have needed to be gentler without it.

    The original allusion in the column itself was broader still, namely to young Germans of today considering the Third Reich in a vacuum, 'as if there had never been a Versailles that bankrupted and ultimately starved Germany'. [Not unlike German nationalists of the interwar era, who despite being all too aware of the war experience, seemed so often to cast Versailles as though it came out of nowhere.] Responding to that phrase as offered also means considering the actions of said Reich in the round, not only specific diplomatic complaints made before 1939. It includes policies implemented during the war, and whether or not these can be considered rational attempts to revise the Versailles settlement, or suggest more exaggerated goals. I contend that the latter was true, and well before the exigencies of total war or Allied pressure can be considered mitigating factors. And if one adds domestic policies implemented by the Reich before the war, which were also depicted as actions against an enemy in a post Versailles context but which plainly had nothing to do with Versailles, the point is clearer yet that the Third Reich was set early on courses that exceeded anything resembling restoring the German position and status of 1914.

    So far I summarize. More below, more point to point:

    For me the relationship with 1870 is simply this. If you must have a direct, legal provocation to have a casus belli, then Germany no more had one in 1914 against France than France had against Prussia in 1870. The motives for war by Germany in 1914 were the imperatives of geopolitics and, as you put it yourself, 'practical military necessity' [I think I phrased that right]. Those aren't provocations. I don't for a second deny that practical military necessity was a huge consideration for Germany in her position of 1914, or that they may well have had little or no choice. Although I did add that the military necessity was heavily driven by the pre-war assumptions and planning failures of the General Staff. My only point is that France did not provide a casus belli in 1914.

    Hyperbole is an effective tactic, but it has its limits. I did not say that there was "a masterful plot by Prussia to lure an opponent to perdition" in 1870. I merely contended that they had a 6 year track record of provocative policy towards a series of opponents and were in a position to take advantage of mistakes. Similarly, while I might agree it is false that "a traveller who is armed and skilled with weapons bears equal responsibility with the highwayman", that assumes the traveller is not sending notes to the local highwaymens' pub announcing their intention to travel the road, buy up more property on it, and start collecting tolls themselves, and then riding up said road to await events while proclaiming to just be on a Sunday wander while softly whistling Watch on the Rhine.

    "The crucial decision in the July crisis of 1914 was Russia’s to begin pre-mobilisation measures after the Austrian ultimatum. Only after learning of that did Serbia decide not to fully accept its terms." Agreed. Definitely a driver of German military timetables against Russia and, thanks to Germany's own plans, demanding they mobilize against France and attack westward, as well. Sound thinking, given the strategic balance and German plans in place. Still not a provocation by France let alone a casus belli for Germany against France, unless we accept that these strategic and military operational considerations rise to the level of a legal provocation. Or concede that it can be valid to go to war under such pressures, without such a provocation.

    [I can see a stronger case for Russian provocation of Germany, given Russian mobilization against Germany and against Germany's treaty ally Austria. Still not really a "provocation" in the 19c sense. One can do whatever one likes with one's army on home soil. It's a casus belli when you attack or violate some agreement, or deprive someone of agreed rights. Nobody had done that to Germany. Unless, again, the strategic position was itself a valid reason for Germany to go to war.]

    "In 1866 Austria’s demolition of the agreements previously concluded between the two powers concerning the duchies clearly precedes Prussia’s resort to voies de fait as the only remaining way to preserve her rights." As I said, ready to concede 1866 as soon as you show me what terms of the Gastein Convention Austria violated by referring the matter of the Duke of Holstein to the Diet, and how this effort to resolve a matter within the agreed purview of Austria violated Prussian rights. Other than Prussia saying so. On the face of it, Prussia intervening in the administration of Holstein looks like meddling with Austrian rights.

    I didn't say that Bohemia was outside the empire. I said it was outside the German lands. That the German King and the Emperor were after Otto I always the same does not mean that the German lands and the Empire were one and the same, not when there were throughout clear differences between the status and legal requirements pertaining to Bohemia's relationship with the Emperor and those of all the various states that did form German lands. The status of Bohemia's ruler as a King is the most significant element here. As late as the 18th century, it was presumed a central tenet of the law that there could be only one king in the German lands, namely the Emperor in his capacity as king of those lands.

    So what you're saying is that despite the fact that Bohemia proper's boundaries had not changed in a thousand years, it had started as a Czech ruled state full of Czechs and no Germans, was not even clearly within the empire when first recognized as a kingdom, maintained a Czech majority at all times in its history, maintained a Czech nobility, and maintained a monarchy distinct from the imperial throne for its whole history, nevertheless the Czechs should have had to leave their lands if they wanted a national state. I don't necessarily disagree on some level- history has laws all its own. If we are abandoning principles such as legalism, boundaries, and ethnic self-determination, then only power remains. In that case, in the event of final German victory, I guess they could have removed all the Czechs. Of course, since the Germans were defeated, perhaps the Czechs should have kicked the Sudeten Germans out by 1920. Pity the Allies would not back that up. Just as well they seized their miraculous second chance in 1945.

    Since Adolf Hitler was defining the terms of policy 1933-39 as well as beyond, and the policy he implemented as early as his 1939 defeat of Poland fit more closely with his written claims than with a focus on mere revision of Versailles, these considerations are relevant to assessing whether his Germany was only interested in revising Versailles.

    Also, what "intolerable conditions"? This goes back to my earliest reaction to the Versailles linkage in the column.

    The most likely candidate for that label was the demilitarization of the Rhineland, otherwise by then acknowledged German soil by the Allies. Hardly inexplicable, and no harm to the residents, but still a limit on German sovereignty. Or the limits on the German military. Again, hardly inexplicable but a real limit on German sovereignty. These were imposing no burdens on Germans and posing no threat to Germany at the time. Hardly intolerable, save for a people unwilling to admit they had just lost the biggest ever war and paid the usual prices. Still, I could certainly see these as grievances, and worth pressing for revision. Years had passed, after all. Worth noting that Hitler unilaterally repudiated military restrictions as early as 1935 and garrisoned the Rhineland in 1936 without war. With these measures, sovereignty was restored. The main allied response was to move to enter into arms control pacts with Germany, a pretty large recognition of Germany's military sovereignty and that perhaps times had moved on.

    The modest, and heavily non-German-speaking [with exceptions, obviously], territories Germany had to cede at Versailles were consistent with being a defeated power and not out of line with such concessions demanded of past losing powers. They didn't have to like these losses, but under the circumstances of defeat and considering that many of them had been acquired by war or other annexation in the first place, it was cheeky [cynical and useful ploy, really, but cheeky if German rhetoric is to be taken at face value as indication of actually wounded sentiment] to call them intolerable even in 1933. It would not at all have been unreasonable for the Allies to insist that Germany make its peace with them.

    As I said above, for my part I would nevertheless not consider it unreasonable if Germany had gone to war either to restore its borders of 1914, with all the ethnic problems they had, OR to gain equivalent German-speaking territory to restore Germany's demographic, economic and strategic position in Central Europe. The territories Hitler annexed by the end of 1938, German-speaking albeit not and never part of the German Reich that went to war in 1914, substantially exceeded those lost after Versailles. [Those lost at Versailles appear to have been 81,492 km sq., counting Alsace-Lorraine ceded as a pre-Armistice condition. Austria alone was worth 83,879. I can't seem to find the land area for the Sudetenland also annexed 1938.] Yet Hitler still goes to war with Poland to get more. I appreciate the value of Danzig and its German majority, but Germany still went to war to get back all the Prussian territory at lost at Versailles, most of which had substantial Polish majorities, and in the end directly annexed even more than that, also majority Polish.

    Applying the most generous interpretation, and presuming for a moment that these issues were in any way 'intolerable' or unjustified, Hitler had revised the Versailles settlement by the end of 1938 at the outside. If there were Germans still outside the Reich who once had been in it, so there were many Germans and more importantly huge territories never in the Reich that now were. More than fair compensation. And as Hitler pressed for those last Germans, he pressed also for lands that had only minority Germans at best even inside the 1914 Reich, and then exceeded even these borders. Even presuming we exclude the General Government lands.

    The reparations schedule had been revised repeatedly in Germany's favour and balanced by American loans and investment before the Depression, let alone Hitler.

    Clearly, intolerable was a term of art.
  113. @random observer
    If anyone is still going to be reading this thread, perhaps I should return my own themes to the original larger issue in Linh Dinh's column, beyond even the Versailles reference.

    I am a Canadian. My country, like the US or Australia, is a country of colonization, settlement, expansion, and ultimately incorporating substantial immigration from a range of sources into a country whose laws, customs, and institutions were largely created by English speakers of British origin. With exceptions, even partly true of Quebec [they operate a Westminster system of government although they have civil law for civil purposes. ]

    I would appear from my father's researches to have multiple strands of uninterrupted Anglo-Scottish and Scotch-Irish working class (or equivalent) ancestors back to the 17th century. Which, Scotland being what it was, probably means a good chance there was little else but maybe some Norse or French [probably not French- not to many poor French coming in] back 1000 years. My people came to Canada with my grandfather. Compare someone who is a native born citizen of the US, whose family came from Britain after WW2. Maybe earlier. The comparable stage of US cultural development would be more like after the civil war.

    I figure I am myself a native born citizen, of citizen parents of, for those to whom such things matter, the primary founding people of my country. I yield equality in right of pride in country only to those of the same people and perhaps a few others who can claim deeper roots in this land. The French, with exception for certain perennial cultural points of contention, as well. They were part founders of our modern state, for all that they operated within an Angl0-Saxon framework. And they had come here to a wilderness and built a colony with much success. Aboriginals for long title to the land, but with the caveats I consider appropriate regarding a people who had not founded states comparable to those of Europe, nor operated a system of sovereignty and controlled immigration, nor provided the framework of law and economy for those who first settled here from Europe. These latter built the state themselves.

    With all these assumptions in mind, and likely others I have forgotten, there is a limit to which any Canadian can think of our nation and state in blood and soil terms, still truer for me and those like me of modest tenure. But that limit is not zero. And we are entitled to think of it in Steve's Citizenist terms without any limit at all. And to note correctly that the founding peoples were not welcomed by an intact state as immigrants, but built it as colonists. Even immigrants of my grandfather's generation, at a time when Canada and Britain still had one citizenship, had to be reviewed and selected to settle in the Dominion, with all manner of work and health requirements, and no welfare. We do not have to regard accepting immigrants as our obligation in return for our own privileges, nor yield the right to choose those we will accept. Neither do we have to yield to our country's redefinition to any degree we do not wish for the benefit of immigrants. Nor do we have to define it solely in terms of values and ideology, and any values and ideology we do use should be of deep roots in history. And not only those of the post-1968 Liberal party, or even the pre-1968 one.

    For all Canada's modern diversity shibboleths, not incomparable to America's, that is how I see my country.

    I have an idea how I'd see my country had I grown up British. No idea how I would see my country were I contemporary middle aged German, let alone a young one. Here I have great sympathy with Linh Dinh's criticisms.

    Were I myself, but suddenly transposed into the head of a German of today, I like to think I would believe as follows.

    I would not gloss over the second world war as a reaction to Versailles, nor would I consider what my country did as either a justified or rational response to it. I would not shirk from some blame. Of the countries suffering in the Depression or similar interwar traumas, some remained liberal democracies. Some produced various authoritarian governments. Italy produced Fascism in a time of relative prosperity, but a system I could see as a sane if not to my taste response to national problems. Nobody, with the exception perhaps of Hungary with the Arrow Cross, produced a fascist-like party quite as extreme in its beliefs or actions as the NSDAP. And it took war and German help to put them in power, and that only in 1944. I would not equate the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country's control with aerial bombing of civilians in defended cities in my country, of which form of war my country was also a practitioner within the limits of its capability.

    I would however note that other countries, not least Russia, have done things comparable in all ways to the holocaust including exceeding it in numbers, and their comments on the subject, at least, are no longer welcome.

    I would not refrain from an apologetic attitude for specific things, but at this late date I would keep it sporadic and dignified. The time for regular repetition is past, and that abjectness even 60 years ago was sufficient if delivered in an adult manner to other adults. It is not necessary to be an emotional wreck about being German [I once saw a German grad student who fit that description on the subject, and that 20 years ago], still less to prance about like a fool in street protests.

    To the extent of Germany's actions that constituted possible returns to something resembling the 1914 status quo, I would call it justifiable. Within that, using military methods against armed enemy nations in open warfare of all kinds I would call legitimate, and comparable to the deeds of other nations against others, including in their wars with Germany.

    To charges that Germany in 1914 or even 1939 desired world power and used all means to push that end, I would agree and call it morally equal to the deeds of other countries in similar positions pursuing similar goals. Though on the strength of the record, I would not have high praise for the subtlety, diplomatic skills, or military imagination and foresight of Wilhelm II's Germany, or ultimately even Hitler's. Just reading accounts of the antics of Wilhelm's court suggests an embarrassing clown show. I would not regard these elements as such as a stain on Germany or even its geopolitical aspirations so much as unworthy of it and unqualified to design those aspirations.

    What I would not do:

    1. Be unaware of the whole scope of my country's history and its achievements in all fields. Or that these put Germany in the top ranks of the greatest civilization humanity has produced.

    2. Assume that 1933-45 or even 1900-45 are the only important periods or that the weaknesses of those times [which was not all of those times either] cancel out the towering accomplishments of the German world.

    3. Assume, therefore, that I am obligated to subsume my nationhood in Europe, or subsume its ethnicity to that of Asia or Africa.

    4. Assume that while I, personally, do not believe that Germany correctly handled its own citizens in the period 1933-45, or many of the citizens of other countries, that this translates to obligations to the citizens of other countries today, who do not have a German citizen's claim on German rights and laws, including right to enter, and whose countries and troubles are not caused by Germany.

    I took less time with this than previous posts. But would not wish to be associated with antifas or liberals when the larger subject of national and civilizational survival is at stake.

    Excellent post, as were the others by you in this thread.

    Please keep to it as you have much to say and do in quite well.

    (I am not writing this just because you told us that you are of Scotch-Irish descent.)

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  114. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Hello Linh Dinh,
    Hats off for this lucid take on Germany,after such a short time here.

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  115. Linh Dinh, your observations on Germany, and random observer, your extensive comments, were on my mind as I enjoyed the MET’s HD simulcast of Tannhäuser.

    It’s a story of sin and redemption in a traditionally and deeply Christian context.

    The thoughts that I’m kicking around in thinking about Tannhäuser are that forgiveness is, ultimately, impossible in This World; salvation can be achieved to ensure one’s admission to heaven in the next world, but there did not seem to be a way to re-enter the community of people, to regain one’s status and acceptance in the human family here-and-now.

    Coincidentally, several days ago I met a woman (in a business/commerce context) who was born in Germany 73 years ago. She lives in USA but is still a German citizen, and retired from a high-profile professional career. She told me that she now spends her time “doing what good I can do for others.”

    Wagner wrote Tannhäuser in the mid-19th century. Does it reflect something inherent in the German/Christian psyche, or, more specifically, the way Christianity is expressed by Germans?

    Other random thoughts From Tannhäuser — this business of “white” culture is nonsense.

    What is “white?”

    There is German culture, and Italian, French, and, as lffen alluded (#14) Scotch Irish culture, or perspective, in any event, but to speak of white culture is the null set.

    That’s one of the perplexing realities of American “culture.” Because USA is Scotch Irish, and Anglo, Italian, African, Mexican-South American, and German — who, by the way, comprise the largest group in the USA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_American — we don’t really have a distinctly Americanish culture or world view. Germans did not colonize USA, but to my mind and my observation, Germans made the greatest contributions to USA creativeness, prosperity, organization, and community. The response of the Amish people at Nickel Mines to the killing of their children in a schoolhouse marked them as America’s moral lodestar. (Yes, the Amish are of Swiss origin, but the movement extended to Germany. There is more in common between German Lutherans and the Amish than there is between Italian-American Catholics and Southern Baptists.)

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    • Replies: @random observer
    Ahh, easily my favourite Wagner music. The Pilgrim's Chorus in particular has been tugging my heartstrings for nearly 30 years. And I'm only just short of 45, so that's got to be worth something to Wagner's extra credit.

    I have yet to ever see the whole performance, or even hear it in live broadcast. Did you watch the video broadcast or only hear the audio track?

    I was unable to get to our nearest theatre showing it on the 31st live but I believe there are to be encores in January. Looking forward to it.

    Interesting thoughts, especially on the question of Christianity and Germany. Much of what is most beautiful and moving in Christmas as we know it in the past 200 years is of course deeply German. There is more to be said than I can say here for a culture that can produce Silent Night and Tannhauser in one lifetime.
  116. Thanks to all for the extremely intelligent comments. FWIW-my personal feeling is that the 1914-1945 period, and afterwards, presents with a cauldron of facts that no one really likes much.

    Even the benefit of liberation from Nazi occupation in the West has been fairly persuasively called into question by a disinterested American scholar writing for a general audience a few years back. If my memory’s okay, he argues that the experience of liberation for many ordinary people meant carpet bombing, rape, plunder, corruption, and civic demoralization.

    My point, I guess, is that there may be very few good lessons of general applicability to be drawn from that particularly horrific and complex period. My free advice to intellectuals and politicians would be to use the 1914-1945 period sparingly as a guide to action, and simply get on with the business of today using the facts as they are today.

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    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus

    My point, I guess, is that there may be very few good lessons of general applicability to be drawn from that particularly horrific and complex period. My free advice to intellectuals and politicians would be to use the 1914-1945 period sparingly as a guide to action, and simply get on with the business of today using the facts as they are today.
     
    Francis Bacon is known as father of English Enlightenment. He often spoke in metaphors: "When you are on the wrong path, having [technology] to speed your way only gets you to the wrong place faster."

    The condition of the world today broadly suggests that we are on the wrong path.

    It seems important to de-complexify the history of 1914-1945 -- not that difficult a project if one relies on facts and truths courageously spoken -- in order to figure out how and where western civilization got on the wrong path, and how to correct the error of its ways.

    Unz forum evidences a commitment to genetic influence if not determination.

    Many articles and comments proclaim the superiority of Ashkenazi Jews.

    It is almost universally accepted that Germans between 1914 and -- today -- are murderous and guilty of a murderous essence.
    In a 2007 interview, Norman Finkelstein observed that now that their mighty military has suffered absolute defeat, the German people are "the most morally conscious of all people."

    We should, therefore, assume either that this moral consciousness is a new state, or that it was a state that characterized Germans earlier and that the period of offense was an aberration.

    The Jewish people -- and it is as legitimate to refer to Jews as a collective, given the commitment to genetic influence mentioned above, and in view of the oft-repeated references to "Nobel prizes" and "higher than average IQ," -- if all these can be advanced as characteristics of "the Jewish people, " then so also may other characteristics.

    Those other characteristics include behaviors that the world can witness today by those who get their information about the torments endured by Palestinians from other-then-MSM. Israelis appear to be a savage lot. Avigail Abarbanel has written that psychopathology, "a detachment from reality," and a blood-lust to harm Iranians, characterizes a large portion of Israeli society.

    Is that behavior on the part of Israeli Jews an aberration or is it genetic?

    How does Occam's razor cut? Germans aberrant in their immorality then but moral now?
    Jews aberrant in their immorality now but moral then?
    How to test these propositions?
    What we know is that Germans are not permitted to either lie or speak realities as they experienced them.
    What we know is that Jewish people have contrived the information systems of much of the world to support only the narrative that is acceptable to Jews.
    What does that tell us about the truth-value of that narrative?

    In sum, Jack/OH, I disagree entirely with your "free advice."
  117. @JackOH
    Thanks to all for the extremely intelligent comments. FWIW-my personal feeling is that the 1914-1945 period, and afterwards, presents with a cauldron of facts that no one really likes much.

    Even the benefit of liberation from Nazi occupation in the West has been fairly persuasively called into question by a disinterested American scholar writing for a general audience a few years back. If my memory's okay, he argues that the experience of liberation for many ordinary people meant carpet bombing, rape, plunder, corruption, and civic demoralization.

    My point, I guess, is that there may be very few good lessons of general applicability to be drawn from that particularly horrific and complex period. My free advice to intellectuals and politicians would be to use the 1914-1945 period sparingly as a guide to action, and simply get on with the business of today using the facts as they are today.

    My point, I guess, is that there may be very few good lessons of general applicability to be drawn from that particularly horrific and complex period. My free advice to intellectuals and politicians would be to use the 1914-1945 period sparingly as a guide to action, and simply get on with the business of today using the facts as they are today.

    Francis Bacon is known as father of English Enlightenment. He often spoke in metaphors: “When you are on the wrong path, having [technology] to speed your way only gets you to the wrong place faster.”

    The condition of the world today broadly suggests that we are on the wrong path.

    It seems important to de-complexify the history of 1914-1945 — not that difficult a project if one relies on facts and truths courageously spoken — in order to figure out how and where western civilization got on the wrong path, and how to correct the error of its ways.

    Unz forum evidences a commitment to genetic influence if not determination.

    Many articles and comments proclaim the superiority of Ashkenazi Jews.

    It is almost universally accepted that Germans between 1914 and — today — are murderous and guilty of a murderous essence.
    In a 2007 interview, Norman Finkelstein observed that now that their mighty military has suffered absolute defeat, the German people are “the most morally conscious of all people.”

    We should, therefore, assume either that this moral consciousness is a new state, or that it was a state that characterized Germans earlier and that the period of offense was an aberration.

    The Jewish people — and it is as legitimate to refer to Jews as a collective, given the commitment to genetic influence mentioned above, and in view of the oft-repeated references to “Nobel prizes” and “higher than average IQ,” — if all these can be advanced as characteristics of “the Jewish people, ” then so also may other characteristics.

    Those other characteristics include behaviors that the world can witness today by those who get their information about the torments endured by Palestinians from other-then-MSM. Israelis appear to be a savage lot. Avigail Abarbanel has written that psychopathology, “a detachment from reality,” and a blood-lust to harm Iranians, characterizes a large portion of Israeli society.

    Is that behavior on the part of Israeli Jews an aberration or is it genetic?

    How does Occam’s razor cut? Germans aberrant in their immorality then but moral now?
    Jews aberrant in their immorality now but moral then?
    How to test these propositions?
    What we know is that Germans are not permitted to either lie or speak realities as they experienced them.
    What we know is that Jewish people have contrived the information systems of much of the world to support only the narrative that is acceptable to Jews.
    What does that tell us about the truth-value of that narrative?

    In sum, Jack/OH, I disagree entirely with your “free advice.”

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    • Replies: @Kilo 4/11
    You have written about as masterly a summation of this issue as I have ever seen, and I have been trying to plumb its depths for nearly two decades.

    Anyone who has a grasp of just how badly the West has gone astray, of how much that was beautiful, good and true has been destroyed, must know that all trails lead back to 1914. Fixing the blame for the genesis, and outcome, of the Great War is a prerequisite for understanding anything and everything that has happened since, and the source of the best insight into our present enemies.
  118. @random observer
    If anyone is still going to be reading this thread, perhaps I should return my own themes to the original larger issue in Linh Dinh's column, beyond even the Versailles reference.

    I am a Canadian. My country, like the US or Australia, is a country of colonization, settlement, expansion, and ultimately incorporating substantial immigration from a range of sources into a country whose laws, customs, and institutions were largely created by English speakers of British origin. With exceptions, even partly true of Quebec [they operate a Westminster system of government although they have civil law for civil purposes. ]

    I would appear from my father's researches to have multiple strands of uninterrupted Anglo-Scottish and Scotch-Irish working class (or equivalent) ancestors back to the 17th century. Which, Scotland being what it was, probably means a good chance there was little else but maybe some Norse or French [probably not French- not to many poor French coming in] back 1000 years. My people came to Canada with my grandfather. Compare someone who is a native born citizen of the US, whose family came from Britain after WW2. Maybe earlier. The comparable stage of US cultural development would be more like after the civil war.

    I figure I am myself a native born citizen, of citizen parents of, for those to whom such things matter, the primary founding people of my country. I yield equality in right of pride in country only to those of the same people and perhaps a few others who can claim deeper roots in this land. The French, with exception for certain perennial cultural points of contention, as well. They were part founders of our modern state, for all that they operated within an Angl0-Saxon framework. And they had come here to a wilderness and built a colony with much success. Aboriginals for long title to the land, but with the caveats I consider appropriate regarding a people who had not founded states comparable to those of Europe, nor operated a system of sovereignty and controlled immigration, nor provided the framework of law and economy for those who first settled here from Europe. These latter built the state themselves.

    With all these assumptions in mind, and likely others I have forgotten, there is a limit to which any Canadian can think of our nation and state in blood and soil terms, still truer for me and those like me of modest tenure. But that limit is not zero. And we are entitled to think of it in Steve's Citizenist terms without any limit at all. And to note correctly that the founding peoples were not welcomed by an intact state as immigrants, but built it as colonists. Even immigrants of my grandfather's generation, at a time when Canada and Britain still had one citizenship, had to be reviewed and selected to settle in the Dominion, with all manner of work and health requirements, and no welfare. We do not have to regard accepting immigrants as our obligation in return for our own privileges, nor yield the right to choose those we will accept. Neither do we have to yield to our country's redefinition to any degree we do not wish for the benefit of immigrants. Nor do we have to define it solely in terms of values and ideology, and any values and ideology we do use should be of deep roots in history. And not only those of the post-1968 Liberal party, or even the pre-1968 one.

    For all Canada's modern diversity shibboleths, not incomparable to America's, that is how I see my country.

    I have an idea how I'd see my country had I grown up British. No idea how I would see my country were I contemporary middle aged German, let alone a young one. Here I have great sympathy with Linh Dinh's criticisms.

    Were I myself, but suddenly transposed into the head of a German of today, I like to think I would believe as follows.

    I would not gloss over the second world war as a reaction to Versailles, nor would I consider what my country did as either a justified or rational response to it. I would not shirk from some blame. Of the countries suffering in the Depression or similar interwar traumas, some remained liberal democracies. Some produced various authoritarian governments. Italy produced Fascism in a time of relative prosperity, but a system I could see as a sane if not to my taste response to national problems. Nobody, with the exception perhaps of Hungary with the Arrow Cross, produced a fascist-like party quite as extreme in its beliefs or actions as the NSDAP. And it took war and German help to put them in power, and that only in 1944. I would not equate the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country's control with aerial bombing of civilians in defended cities in my country, of which form of war my country was also a practitioner within the limits of its capability.

    I would however note that other countries, not least Russia, have done things comparable in all ways to the holocaust including exceeding it in numbers, and their comments on the subject, at least, are no longer welcome.

    I would not refrain from an apologetic attitude for specific things, but at this late date I would keep it sporadic and dignified. The time for regular repetition is past, and that abjectness even 60 years ago was sufficient if delivered in an adult manner to other adults. It is not necessary to be an emotional wreck about being German [I once saw a German grad student who fit that description on the subject, and that 20 years ago], still less to prance about like a fool in street protests.

    To the extent of Germany's actions that constituted possible returns to something resembling the 1914 status quo, I would call it justifiable. Within that, using military methods against armed enemy nations in open warfare of all kinds I would call legitimate, and comparable to the deeds of other nations against others, including in their wars with Germany.

    To charges that Germany in 1914 or even 1939 desired world power and used all means to push that end, I would agree and call it morally equal to the deeds of other countries in similar positions pursuing similar goals. Though on the strength of the record, I would not have high praise for the subtlety, diplomatic skills, or military imagination and foresight of Wilhelm II's Germany, or ultimately even Hitler's. Just reading accounts of the antics of Wilhelm's court suggests an embarrassing clown show. I would not regard these elements as such as a stain on Germany or even its geopolitical aspirations so much as unworthy of it and unqualified to design those aspirations.

    What I would not do:

    1. Be unaware of the whole scope of my country's history and its achievements in all fields. Or that these put Germany in the top ranks of the greatest civilization humanity has produced.

    2. Assume that 1933-45 or even 1900-45 are the only important periods or that the weaknesses of those times [which was not all of those times either] cancel out the towering accomplishments of the German world.

    3. Assume, therefore, that I am obligated to subsume my nationhood in Europe, or subsume its ethnicity to that of Asia or Africa.

    4. Assume that while I, personally, do not believe that Germany correctly handled its own citizens in the period 1933-45, or many of the citizens of other countries, that this translates to obligations to the citizens of other countries today, who do not have a German citizen's claim on German rights and laws, including right to enter, and whose countries and troubles are not caused by Germany.

    I took less time with this than previous posts. But would not wish to be associated with antifas or liberals when the larger subject of national and civilizational survival is at stake.

    random observer,
    re:

    I would not equate the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country’s control with aerial bombing of civilians in defended cities in my country, of which form of war my country was also a practitioner within the limits of its capability.

    Curtiss LeMay, who led the aerial bombing campaign, and Robert McNamara, who was involved in it, would and did equate the aerial bombing of civilians with crimes against humanity. Historian Charles Evans Hughes called the firebombing of Germany “modern history’s first use of weapons of mass destruction as a means of terror,” where terror is defined as the use of violence against civilians to achieve political aims.

    That pilots who carried out firebombing raids against German (and Japanese, but this context is Germany) faced defensive tactics and frequent loss of life is irrelevant: if the actions were war crimes, the defense that “pilots were at risk” amounts to an assassin or mass murderer risking or losing his life in carrying out his crime. No western legal system provides a defense for a loss sustained in the commission of a crime.

    The fire bombings of Germany and Japan were not collateral damage, nor were they whimsical — the desperate strategy of the moment: they were planned, even before a war was imminent: in October 1938 FDR and Henry Morgenthau, Jr. began the mass production of bombers; in 1939 FDR signed the executive order to acquire Dugway, in the Utah desert, where chemical weapons to be used against Germany were developed and tested, and where, by 1942, Jewish and American architects and chemists, in collaboration with US Air Force, built precise replicas of working-class German’s housing, and developed and practiced the most effective means of creating a firestorm to destroy the maximum number of civilian structures with the maximum loss of human life. The structures built at Dugway were furnished by the Jewish staff of Hollywood studios and included beds and a crib, assuming that the residents of such dwellings would be young families with infants.

    The British also built such structures to practice destroying German civilian structures.

    To the best of my knowledge (with the certainty that you will correct me if I’m wrong), the Germans did carry out that form of mock-up and practice of mass killing.

    The firebombing of Germany cost the lives of an estimated 600,000 German civilians, and, to use the term favored by British “Bomber” Harris, “de-housed” 7- to 10-million Germans. In a recent radio broadcast Robert Kagan observed that USA is a virtually invulnerable fortress, or at least was so during WWII: German U-boats attacked shipping, especially around North Carolina’s outer banks, but the continent was never penetrated by Germans, FDR’s propaganda declarations about a “map and plan of German forces to enter thru Mexico and travel through the heart of the nation to the precincts of DC” notwithstanding.
    Germany, on the other hand, had been scouted out and a strategy laid before the guns of WWI had cooled: another war against Germany would employ air power and would take out German manufacturing (and oil) resources.

    It seems reasonable to conclude that forced labor, and camps to house and employ forced labor, was implemented by Germans in response to the destruction of German war materiel manufactures and the German labor force. Tit for tat, with the difference that encamped forced laborers were fed, clothed and housed, while German workers were incinerated and de-housed.

    You allude to a holocaust of Jews, and that notion has, of course, become what some call a “social fact.”
    Robert Cohen wrote recently:

    Holocaust denial will remain a fringe issue. The documentation is secure in its veracity and overwhelming in its volume. If anything, today’s school children are in danger of thinking that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin went to war against Hitler because of what was happening to the Jews. – http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/auschwitz-revisited#sthash.wbk3eXuj.dpuf

    The passage contradicts itself: Documentation declared to be “secure in its veracity and overwhelming in its volume “ actually verifies an implicit misapprehension: Cohen’s use of the qualifier, “in danger of thinking” implies that the war waged against Hitler was, verily, not because of what was happening to the Jews; that is merely the “dangerous” notion that “today’s school children” — and adults — have been led to believe through an “overwhelming volume” of mendacity.

    In other words, I do not believe that your claim that Germany carried out,

    the mass murder of millions of defenceless civilians in territories under my country’s control

    can be substantiated, and by implication, Robert Cohen agrees with me.

    Were Jews killed? Certainly, and many of them. Were they deliberately targeted, by the millions, simply because they were Jews? I don’t think those assertions are “secure in their veracity and voluminous in documentation.” There is far more verifiable documentation of the deliberate plan and execution of the plan to commit mass murder against German and Japanese civilians than there is of German plans to carry out mass murder of Jews. The “Jews as victims” narrative works as long as the principles of hasbara pertain — the Jewish side of the story is told mendaciously, and the German side of the story is told not at all.

    Moreover, as Martin Amis stated before an audience at the Jewish Heritage Museum late last year, http://www.unz.com/ldinh/flagless-germany/#comment-1192001

    “The Stalin crime that most neatly corresponds to the holocaust is the terror famine in the Ukraine in 1933 where — it’s not known but something like, 7- 8- 9-million peasants were starved to death, even tho the granaries were full. . . .
    [The terror famine was] very comparable to the holocaust, but, the difference is, Stalin really had no choice: his intention was to break the peasantry and collectivize them;. And um if he had decided on something sort of more Bukharin-like it would have been uh abandoning the Socialist experiment, and betraying the revolution, so