Thursday, March 4, 2010 109 Comments

World War II: primary sourcebook

Dear reader: can you possibly still have anything to learn about World War II? Let's see.

This cataclysmic event happened in the lives of those now living. It shaped the world we live in today. Blah de blah de blah. You have seen it all on the History Channel. UR is not the History Channel.

The question, still, is easy to answer. The answer is: "yes." You actually have a lot to learn about World War II. Basically, there are three forces in this war: the Allies, the Communists, and the Nazis. To what extent do you understand these parties?

As an educated person in the year 2010, your historical understanding of the Third Reich is almost perfect. In fact, even an uneducated person in the year 2010 has a fine understanding of Nazi Germany. This is why, here at UR, we so seldom mention Hitler. You already know your Nazis. National Socialism was both original and good; the good parts were not original, and so are unimportant; the original parts were not good; and there was a third part, which was neither.

The Nazi-ology of the best-educated today is terrifyingly accurate and complete, if charged perhaps with a little too much emotional contempt to really be sub specie aeternitas. This is appropriate in a primary source, like Fritz Reck or Victor Klemperer; it is not permitted to the historian. So, for instance, I much prefer Michael Burleigh to Richard Evans. Professor Burleigh's goal is to explain National Socialism; Professor Evans I find too obsessed with denouncing it. But neither will be found engaging in any fundamental misrepresentation, for they just don't need to. Sorry, Nazis.

The Nazi-ology of the uneducated is simply the refined critical judgment of the educated, boiled down to an emotional essence. The essence is true. Which is fortunate, because there is a lot of it around. To osmose into the skulls of the uneducated, and worse the ineducable, the molecule must be small and the ambient concentration high. That's democracy for you.

Hence we depart from Nazis and proceed to Communists. Here our awareness declines; but not by much. The academic understanding of the Soviet Union is remarkably good, at least in the Stalin period. Pre-Stalin and post-Stalin, the history is much weaker; but our period today is Stalin. Moreover, the academic picture of the Stalin era is emotionally appropriate; the best work is neither falsely impersonal in the Dryasdust vein, nor marred by invective. Of course, there is still a lingering core of sympathizers, but hope has deserted them and emphysema will do the rest.

Popular understanding of the Communist phenomenon is quite weak. Again, it is best for Stalin, but this is not saying much. I'd say most people understand 20th-century Communism about as well as I understand 18th and 19th-century Freemasonry, and I don't understand Freemasonry at all. For instance, they simply cannot understand how it could possibly matter whether their President, Barack H. Obama, "is or ever has been" a Marxist. Fortunately, as Bismarck put it, God takes care of fools, drunks and the United States - though His patience with the latter shows signs of shortening.

And finally: the Allies. No one knows fsck-all about the Allies.

That's the point of this primary sourcebook, a long post composed entirely of fair-use excerpts from period sources on the Allied side. You want proof? You can't handle the fscking proof. But this is UR, so we'll give it to you anyway. Grown men will run screaming from this post. They will break down in tears, like little girls.

Let's start with a picture. I feel it is essential to begin by engaging the visual imagination:


This image appeared in LIFE magazine, August 16, 1943. Mrs. Moldbug cleaned it up for possible publishing purposes, but Google has generously brought us the original image - in a Mobil ad, flying horse and all. If you read the text under the picture, you will see that there is nothing even slightly facetious about it:
Just as fast as American refineries can get into production of a sensational new aviation gasoline --- United Nations' bomber fleets will be given a new - far wider cruising range for their deadly blows at Axis Europe!
I have no joke. I just like saying: "United Nations' bomber fleets." At least they weren't throwing their bombs out of black helicopters! Ha ha.

Now, run your eyes along that image again. Savor the names of the towns. Before Flying Horsepower, with that old, off-brand aviation gas, "Present Range with Block-Busting Loads," UN bomber fleets could hit Paris, Berlin, Munich... but haven't we heard it already? Another raid on Munich? Film at 11. Frankly, after a point, you're just making the bricks bounce. (Though here's one thing you can say for the United Nations: we never bombed Paris. At least, not seriously.)

But with Flying Horsepower... new vistas appear. New territories, gentlemen, to liberate from the air, with our amazing flying machines! Prague! You should have stayed a cockroach, Kafka. Salzburg! Just call it Salieri's revenge. And if we push the gas to its last drop... Venice! We can bomb Venice! We'll show you some Death in Venice, Herr Oberstuermfuehrer Mann.

This is what we do when we read a primary source. We surrender, aghast, to the spirit of the age. In the context of American public opinion, 1943, here is nothing unusual or striking about the language of this one Mobil ad - this image of extraordinary, homicidal revenge on the entire continent of Europe, endorsed implicitly and with gusto by the entire LIFE-reading public, and enacted by... by.... the - United Nations? Funny, we never covered that in Model UN.

Of course, you know that we bombed Germany in the war. What you don't know is why. There are a couple of answers to this question which may be kicking around your head. They are not correct answers, but they resemble correct answers. So let's dispel them.

One: we know that, at the same time as Mobil's New Super Fuel is leading the Pentagon to lick its lips and fantasize lovingly about stretching its deadly blows to Axis Florence, the Jews of Europe are being exterminated in death factories in Poland. Are these historical events in any way causally connected?

The answer is "no." At least, "no" in the obvious sense of the word. One can make a case that the Allied bombing of Germany motivated the Holocaust - it certainly didn't hurt. Christopher Browning (not a Nazi) describes German Ordnungspolizei receiving a motivational speech before being sent to shoot Jewish women and children in Poland; they are told that their own women and children are being incinerated by British bombers (true and verifiable) - dispatched by the Jews, who control Britain (untrue, but un-verifiable - for any but the most sophisticated and cosmopolitan of Germans, a set which certainly did not include Hitler). But the causality of the Holocaust leads us into the dark swamp of Hitler Studies, which is not our destination today.

One cannot, however, make a case that the Holocaust motivated the bombing of Germany. The Holocaust has almost no bearing on any study of the Allies' war, for the simple reason that almost no one on the Allied side knew a damned thing about it. Far from being Allied atrocity propaganda, the reports were if anything suppressed.

Why? Because the Holocaust did not fit the narrative. The idea that World War II was about the Jews was the Nazi narrative, not the Allied narrative. In both Anglo-American and Russian propaganda, the Nazis were equal-opportunity oppressors - their obsession with the Jews was a mere pretext in their cunning plan for world domination. When the Holocaust was revealed and the terrible sincerity of the anti-Semitic obsession became clear, the masters of public opinion both East and West faced a delicate transition in their interpretation of National Socialism. Thus, for instance, the Russian suppression of Grossman and Ehrenburg's Black Book.

That transition was accomplished. Indeed, it was accomplished so effectively that millions, nay billions today assume, without even thinking about the matter, that the Allies fought the war (a) to save the Jews, (b) to take revenge for the Jews, or (c) something like that. There is thus no space in their brains for the question: before we hated the Nazis for killing the Jews, what did we hate them for? What were the bomber pilots, the LIFE readers, thinking?

Two: we also know that the Nazis bombed London. This suggests another simple answer: the Allies are bombing Germany to retaliate for the Blitz. Unfortunately, this answer is the reverse of the truth. It was the Germans who were retaliating.

If you doubt this, as of course is your right, I direct you to a fascinating volume called Bombing Vindicated, written by one J.M. Spaight, "Principal Assistant Secretary, Air Ministry," 1944. As some Nazi has already pirated this entire volume and uploaded it to archive.org, I will not quote extensively from it, but the source is certainly both authentic and authoritative - and a fine illustration of the proximate, though not ultimate, cause of the "New Zone of Destruction" mentality. On the specific question of Hitler's motivation, Spaight writes (p. 41):
So little did he relish the idea of long-distance raiding that he initiated no attack of this kind in the first ten months of the war (see the following chapter for the facts). The German air force was then the most powerful in the world. Its bombers may not have been, individually, as good as ours, but there were more than twice as many of them; and our anti-aircraft defences were notoriously weak in the early part of the war. Then, if ever, would have been the time to launch massed air attacks on Britain. No such attacks came.
[...]
They showed their stupidity when they kept on harping, once the raids on London had begun, on the retaliatory nature of the attacks on the city. Again and again the German official reports emphasised the reprisal element in the action of the Luftwaffe. They kept screaming, in effect: We are hitting you because you hit us first. If you stop bombing us, we'll stop bombing you. That, too, was the recurrent note in Hitler's periodical denunciations of our air offensive. He added to his diatribes a good deal of sob-stuff about war on women and children - as if the German airmen had never machine-gunned the pitiable refugees crowding the roads in France.
"Sob-stuff." Spaight is a fascinating psychological case - all those interested in the psychology of mass violence should be sure to have a look at Bombing Vindicated. He reaches a kind of pinnacle of sanguinary high weirdness with this segment (p. 118):
The Archbishop of York on Bombing

Dr. Garbett, the Archbishop of York, had some wise things to say on this subject in the York Diocesan Leaflet in June, 1943. He had been asked, he said, to join in protests against the bombing of German and Italian towns. He gave some reasons for not being able to consent. 'The real justification for continuing this bombing is that it will shorten the war and may save thousands of lives. Those who demand the suspension of all bombing are advocating a policy which would condemn many more of our soldiers to death, and would postpone the hour of liberation which will alone save from massacre and torture those who are now in the power of the Nazis.'

'Often in life,' the Archbishop went on, 'there is no clear choice between absolute right and wrong; frequently the choice has to be made, of the lesser of two evils, and it is a lesser evil to bomb a war-loving Germany than to sacrifice the lives of thousands of our own fellow-countrymen who long for peace and to delay delivering millions now held in slavery... However much we may deplore the sufferings of the civilian population and the destruction of their homes, and of beautiful buildings, we must continue to use our superiority in the air as a means of ending the war as speedily as we can, and then build up some strong central international order which will by force maintain peace until it is willingly accepted by all the nations.'
That first paragraph sounded almost reasonable. And then, somehow, we got back to the United Nations! Peace through aerial incineration of civilians - for the United Nations. What is it about the United Nations? Ya can love the UN, ya can hate it, ya can just not care. But how many children would you turn into flaming torches for it? Yeah, me too.

Which is why I say: no one knows fsck-all about the Allies. Dear reader, do you believe me now? Read and learn.

Our first primary source is from a fascinating book called Advance to Barbarism (1948, London) (here is another excerpt), by the British fascist historian F.J.P. Veale. I can find very little information on Veale, but he was associated with the Mosleyites. Then again, so was Harold Nicolson. The intellectual (and social) quality of the far right has greatly declined over the last century. Dean Inge wrote a preface for Advance to Barbarism. Of course, nobody these days knows Dean Inge from Dean Ing.

As a fascist, even a British fascist, this man should not be trusted. None of the works I present today are in any sense trustworthy. If you want trustworthy sources, you are reading the wrong century. (Note also that the text below is not from the original Advance to Barbarism - but a revised edition, 1968. An apparently complete copy of the whole is in the Google cache here.) Also, if I were writing this, I would have used more commas.
Tardily professional historians have at last begun to realise that the events of the first half of the 20th century have presented them with a problem of unique difficulty.

From the first it was apparent that 1914 was destined to be a memorable date in history because in that year began a war in which a vast number would be doomed to die violent deaths and which would certainly lead to sweeping changes in the map of Europe if only for the worse. For a decade historians limited themselves to investigating the origins of this struggle which they explained to their own satisfaction by attributing it to the chance that Germany was ruled by an emperor who was obsessed by an insane ambition to conquer the world. From patriotic motives, at first to assist the war effort and later to justify the dictated terms of peace, professional historians, many of them men of great eminence and learning, laboured to confirm and endorse the Wicked Kaiser Myth.

Once however this had been exposed as an impudent propaganda fiction, they failed to find any generally acceptable explanation for the blind homicidal frenzy that seized the nations of Europe during the period, 1914-1918, and ultimately they became resigned to leaving the problem for solution to the psychologists and psychiatrists.Thus the First World War came to be regarded as a bizarre episode of history, mainly as a grim warning to posterity of the consequences of allowing greed and pugnacity to overcome reason.

The conclusion that the great struggle which broke out in Europe in 1914 resulted from a pathological wave of hysteria which afflicted the most advanced nations of mankind in that year is now held up for admiration as the most remarkable achievement of modern historical research. But this diagnosis was first put forward over thirty years ago by Field-Marshal Lord Allenby who bluntly declared, "The Great War was a lengthy period of general insanity." [...]

Not until after 1939 when another world war broke out, rendered inevitable by the terms of peace imposed on the vanquished after the First World War, was it realized how profound were the effects which the latter struggle had had on the character, outlook and ethics of the average Western civilized man. Since the times when the Dark Ages had gradually evolved into the Middle Ages, the story of civilization in Europe had been one of slow but steady upward progress. The advance of civilization apart from occasional fluctuations remained continuous until the beginning of the 20th century, by which time it had come to be regarded as an established law of nature that progress was an automatic process of unending duration. As the late Dean Inge observed, belief in Progress became a kind of religion with most educated men. Apart from the steady accumulation of scientific knowledge, arbitrary violence had become controlled by the rule of law, manners had become milder, and in warfare primitive savagery had become modified by the tacit adoption at the end of the 17th century which, later codified at the conventions of Geneva and the Hague, became known as the Rules of Civilized Warfare.

The fundamental principle of this code was that hostilities should be restricted to the armed and uniformed forces of the combatants, from which followed the corollary that civilians must be left entirely outside the scope of military operations. It was widely believed that war, being an essentially barbarous method of settling international disputes, was bound ultimately to die out. With seemingly full justification the outlook at the beginning of the 20th century was one of unclouded optimism.

As early as 1770, by which time the horrors of the Thirty Years War had become generally forgotten, the Comte de Guibert could express the already prevailing complacency by writing:

"Today the whole of Europe is civilized. Wars have become less cruel. Save in combat no blood is shed; prisoners are respected; towns are no more destroyed; the countryside is no more ravaged; conquered peoples are only obliged to pay some sort of contributions which are often less than the taxes they pay to their own sovereign."

In the 19th century this happy state of affairs was taken for granted: no one dreamed that it would shortly come to an abrupt end. To us it seems fantastically unreal, now that prisoners of war are faced with the prospect of being subjected to war-crimes trials at the pleasure of their captors, or of being sent to work indefinitely as slave labour; towns with their inhabitants are obliterated by terror bombing; conquered peoples are uprooted from their homelands and mass-deported abroad; and the property of the vanquished is either appropriated as a matter of course by the victors, or simply destroyed.

The war which broke out in Europe in 1914 seemed at first indistinguishable from the civil wars which previously had periodically devastated that continent. During the struggle, however, quite unforeseen by any one, civilization began a retrograde movement without a parallel in history. While the struggle lasted this retrograde movement was not generally perceived but after the wave of optimism generated by the creation of the League of Nations had faded, the realization dawned that somehow the times had become out of joint. Working below the surface a profound psychological change had been taking place. Many of the men then living in obscurity who in the next decade were to rise to power and fame – for example Yagoda, Stalin's chief of the G.P.U. during the Great Purge, Heinrich Himmler, the S.S. leader, and Adolf Eichmann, the organiser of systematic genocide – might have been reincarnations of men who had flourished the times of the Merovingian Kings. Even the outlook of so irreproachable a character as Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard with his then novel recipe for victory – "bomb the enemy civilian population until they surrender" – was nearer akin to that of an Iroquois war chief than to that of a professional European soldier of the 19th century.

Hardly perceptible for twenty-one years, when hostilities were resumed in 1939 the reversion to primitive practices in warfare soon became headlong until at last all pretence of complying with the Rules of Civilized Warfare was abandoned and both sides tacitly adopted the principle that any act was justifiable if it held out even a remote hope that it might stave off the frightful consequences of defeat.

An explanation is clearly needed to account for the fact that governments composed of educated men, reared in the 19th century and brought up to accept as a matter of course the standards of conduct then accepted by everyone, should have so quickly and easily overcome their natural repugnance and adopted and carried out such enormities as the systematic extermination of a defenceless minority on account of its racial origin, the mass-deportation of enemy populations numbering millions, and the deliberate slaughter of enemy civilians by terror bombing in order to generate among the survivors a disposition to surrender unconditionally.

It was many years after hostilities had ceased in 1945 before historians realized that this problem existed. In Germany the thinking powers of historians were for long paralysed by the ruthless brainwashing to which they with the rest of their countrymen were subjected in 1945 to force them to accept the propaganda fictions of the victors. In Britain and the United States historians were so preoccupied investigating the crimes against humanity committed by the vanquished that they overlooked the background of concentrated terror bombing against which these crimes had been committed. They failed to realize that genocide and terror bombing were not isolated phenomena but symptoms of the same retrograde movement which had mysteriously overtaken Western civilization.

It is commonly assumed that genocide and terror bombing were accepted respectively by the governments of Germany and Britain without protest or opposition from those they ruled who, it is assumed, were as completely subject to the spirit of the times as their rulers. The facts as now disclosed do not support either assumption but the subject remains uninvestigated.
[...]
The situation in Britain was very different. There was no official prohibition on expressions of opinion as such, but persons who ventured to express opinions which the authorities deemed might hamper the war effort were put in prison without a trial or even without a specific complaint against them. With regard to the bombing of the enemy civilian population, everyone knew that civilians in Germany were being slaughtered wholesale but it was believed that this was an unavoidable by-product of an air offensive against military objectives. The comforting reflection was accepted that the German civilian population could at any moment bring its sufferings to an end by surrendering unconditionally.

It would not indeed be correct to say that what was officially termed "the strategic bombing offensive" was carried out to the last day of the war without opposition, protest or misgivings. Questions were asked in Parliament as to the character of this air offensive which were fully reported in the Press with the answers given. Certainly it cannot be said that the Ministers of the Crown upon whom fell the duty of answering these questions, resorted to evasion or equivocation. In accordance with the British tradition they kept a stiff upper lip and gave clear and emphatic replies, without any signs of embarrassment such as might have been expected from them having regard to the fact that as recently as March 1942 Mr. Churchill's War Cabinet had accepted the plan laid before it by Professor Lindemann by which 'top priority' as an objective for air attack was in future to be given to "working-class houses in densely populated residential areas."
Fine. So: we've established that this happened, and that it was crazy. But, duh, we knew that. Evaluated by the standards of 2010, the golden age of the "human shield," the Allied strategic bombing of World War II seems demented at best and psychopathic at worst. The standards of 2010 are perhaps no less warped in the opposite direction, but (like Veale) I always feel free to follow the standards of previous centuries. By the standards of previous centuries, it remains demented and psychopathic.

But the strategic bombing of Europe and Japan is not World War II. It is not even the Allied World War II. It is, if I may sound a little too much like Jean-Marie Le Pen, a detail of that war. The bombing makes us ask what the Allies were thinking. But they were thinking about a lot more than the bombing.

So let me pull the camera back and look at the emotional roots of the war. I'm going to start with an Allied source by a German writer, Heinrich Hauser, author of the very unusual tract The German Talks Back (1945). Written in America to explain postwar Germany to Americans, not from the point of view of a German liberal but that of a German national-conservative, this work was published with an introduction and footnotes by Hans Morgenthau (no relation to Henry Morgenthau, whom we shall meet later) which frequently quarrel with the text itself. The result can only be described as wacky and wonderful, at least in a scholarly sense.

Here we see the strange psychological relationship between Germany and America that developed between the wars. We'll see the American side next - let's start with the German side. Hauser's presentation, while a little - um - cinematic, is I believe basically accurate.
The crucial test to which the American government in Germany ought to subject all claimants and lobbyists is, of course, "Just how many followers do you have? How many hale and hearty democrats can you deliver?" An honest question, to which in honesty the non-Nazified functionaries of the old Weimar Republic can only answer: "None. Unfortunately, the people have become estranged from us. The young generation has forgotten us and doesn't care about democracy. After thirteen years of Hitler, what can you expect?"

This is perfectly true, except that for once it is not Hitler who must take all the blame if American ideas don't work out in occupied Germany. That blame must be shared by German gullibility and American gullibility alike. The truth is that the fathers of the present generation ate sour grapes from America, and now the children's teeth are set on edge.

I will spare you the well-worn argument about Wilson's Fourteen Points, and how the Germans felt let down when they got the Treaty of Versailles instead. No: what you have forgotten, or never became conscious of, is that for ten years after the First World War Germany's most popular slogan was "Wir amerikaniseieren uns!" ("We must Americanize ourselves.") Rarely, perhaps never in history, was there a defeated nation so completely enamored of the victor's efficiency as the Germans after 1919. "American mate'riel has won the war? So than everything American must be superior. Let's imitate them, let's Americanize ourselves." Such was German logic.

Every American who visited Berlin during those reconstruction years will remember to waht ridiculous lengths that German logic went: American bars and American-style nightclubs, American jazz bands, if possible with one "real imported" Negro at the saxophone. American cafeteries and American movie houses were ubiquitous. The neatly dressed German wore "shimmy" shoes and a suit of American cut. American cars rolled on the streets with a new and surprising noiselessness, and in if an American asked his way in German he got an English answer. The dollar was the Elite-Valuta- the elite-professionals of the Kurfuerstendamm demanded it from even their German customers. And the first skyscrapers begain to raise their steel skeletons over the trees of the Tiergarten.

We imitated everything. The National Assembly imitated your Constitution, and the Reichswehr your Sam Browne belt. Industrialists copied your production systems, workers adapted themselves to your speed-up systems, and poets sang in praise of the assembly line. We introduced your week end and your bookkeeping. We blossomed out in Rotary Clubs and poured sugar into our perfectly good wine to ape the sweet tooth of America.

We really meant it all. Sure, the people were disappointed that their Wilsonian dream hadn't come true after all, but then they still clung to their dream of America. What kind of dream?

"If you will only be good democrats and work like hell and be modern and progressive as we are, then you can live like Americans." That was the siren song which in a thousand variations sounded from across the ocean, and the people listened as starry-eyed as ever Hitler listened to a Wagner opera. They dreamed of the electric refrigerator that would one day be theirs, and of the vacuum cleaner, and, above all, of that cheap little car.
[...]
For a time the carrot worked; the ugly 19th-century brick-and-plaster houses of Germany's Main Streets put on pants: facades of concrete reaching to the second floor and framing modern stores with neon lights. Cities built new municipal buildings and parks and hospitals for themselves. Yes, it was done with American loans - to a large degree, at least. Industry modernized itself and installed new machinery. Yes, American money helped do that, too. It looked almost like prosperity on the face of it, and a typical German crowd looked almost like a normal American crowd.
[...]
It must not be forgotten that private enterprise in Germany had suffered a major blow a few years before the Nazis came to power. In 1930, the great depression hit the economic body of Germany, which owing to malnutrition had a low resistance anyway. And the most significant thing about it was that "Wir amerikanisieren uns," the slogan of the 'twenties, backfired on us with a vengeance.

When the United States retracted her private loans, the first establishments to topple were the ones that had taken the loans. These included the municipalities that had gone farthest along the American way of modernity, and the industries that had gone the limit with American production methods, thereby accumulating an unduly high overhead. The workers on the American-style assembly lines were the first to be thrown on the dole. The most progressive farmers, who had invested heavily in modern American implements, were the first to surrender to the sheriff's sale.
[...]
The cheapest kind of amusement, which even those on the dole could afford once a week, which indeed was thrown in as part of the dole, was a ticket to the movies. People thronged the movie houses, partly for the warmth, partly to snatch an hour of sleep in half-comfort, partly to forget their misery, and partly for the show. And the show always included a newsreel and some slapstick comedy from the U.S.A.

Never shall we forget - we, the unemployed of the depression years in Germany - those nauseating scenes that Hollywood projected for us on the silver screen as ostensibly representing the American way of life. Never shall I forget the incredulous stare at first, and then the tightening of lips, and then the gleam of hatred in the people's eyes...

"So that's the way those fellows live over there in America... did you see those brats throwing pie at each other's faces, and all besmeared, and the whipped cream dripping all over?... And the girls in the sexy bathing suits, swimming in a pond full of apples and banging them around... Don't forget the ones who got their buttocks measured by a bunch of fellows - a beauty contest, they called it... And that other hussy in the beauty parlor; got her hair all plastered with yolk of egg. I've seen it. Real eggs, at least a dozen....
[...]
In that other thing, College Fun or whatever it was, did you see how they wrecked the place, smashed up the furniture and all? Did you think that was funny? No, I call that beastly, and I could have taken a stick and smashed their skulls, and never be sorry I did it."
Here is the psychology of the German reaction. This reaction, of course, eventually produced its poisoned fruit - Hitler. But Hitler was anything but the cause of Weimar's collapse. That collapse included many other figures and forces on the right. The victory of Hitler over all the other would-be Hitlers (few of whom were anywhere near as crazy) is simply one of history's tragic contingencies.

For a front-row view of this victory, we go to another fascinating volume, Germany Turns the Clock Back (1933) by Edgar Mowrer. Here, for the first time, we see the familiar tone of New Deal radical journalism - the ancestor of our own beloved "mainstream media." Mowrer was a leading figure in the OFF/OWI and later the ADA. If you want to ask why the Americans who read LIFE Magazine in 1943 thought what they thought, the answer is that the likes of Edgar Mowrer were telling them what to think.
Now, when I ordered Germany Turns the Clock Back from my library, I assumed given the publication date that I would be getting the perspective of the American press on the Nazi seizure of power. Wrong. The book was actually completed in late 1932. As a result, we have an even more invaluable picture: the Weimar Republic in the throes of collapse, with no definite sense of what will come next. Hitler is certainly important, but not yet all-important. From the foreword:
In the following pages Mr. Mowrer has carried the story of the collapse of German democracy through the Reichstag elections of November 6. Since then Adolf Hitler has failed again in his efforts to win the German Chancellorship, and Lieutenant-General Kurt von Schleicher, the brains of the Group that has ruled Germany since June, has come out into the open as the head of a new Cabinet. Colonel von Papen and Baron von Gayl are no longer members of the Government, though still quite as important as they ever were in the secret conferences of the Group. Chancellor von Schleicher has not altered his original policies in the slightest, but finds it wise to speak more gently to the German electorate than Chancellor von Papen used to. Some of the Emergency Decrees against free speech and the freedom of the press have just been lifted, and to the amusement of Berlin, a gentleman known as Dr. Friedrich Syrup has become Minister of Labor. Nothing more need be said to bring Mr. Mowrer's book up to date.

The Publishers - Dec. 21, 1932
Dr. Syrup actually has nothing on my favorite German of the Third Reich period - Fritz Vitamin. At least, I was intoning some page containing this name to Mrs. Moldbug, and "Fritz Vitamin" is what she heard. "Fritz Vitamin!" she said. Or, rather, Hauptmann Friedrich Wiedemann - Hitler's commander in the First World War; later, personal assistant; later, Nazi consul to San Francisco; active, with Tom Cruise, in the resistance... sadly, Wiedemann never published a memoir, though his colleague Reinhard Spitzy did. But the ear, once tuned - "Fritz Vitamin!" - picks him up everywhere, the Third Reich's Zelig or Batz. Who was Fritz Vitamin? What did he know? What was his role? Please report any sightings to UR, Dept. Hit. Stud.

But anyway. Let's get back to Mowrer. The special tone of New Deal journalism is immediately evident. The more of this material you read, the more nauseating it becomes. p.11:
Ask a German Democrat who was responsible for the German reaction. "The Allies," he will reply with bitterness. Ask the same question of nearly any foreigner living in Germany and the answer is, "The German Republicans."

Both are right [...] Unquestionably, the co-authors of the entire German reaction, including both Hitler and the Barons, were the Allied makers of the Versailles Treaty and the early German Republicans.

But could a better treaty have been made...? I think it could... Somewhat as follows:

The Allied Armies do not accept Ludendorff's request for an armistice on terms they later set aside by brute force. They continue the war a little longer until the German people realize the futility of further resistance.
[...]
The is no amputation of East Prussia, no Polish Corridor or Free City of Danzig. Poland is reconstituted with the port of Memel, on the periphery of Germanism, and a strip of what is now Lithuania. Later, Poland indignantly refused the suggestion of such an exchange. In 1919 the Poles would have had to make the best of it.
Note that besides his amusing giveaway of Poland, Mowrer, about the most adverse possible witness, has just sold you about 85% of the famous Dolchstosslegende. Specifically, he has accepted the following points:

(a) WWI ended when Germany proposed an armistice (not a surrender) under the Fourteen Points, and the Allies accepted under these terms. (Everyone accepts this.)

(b) Further resistance by Germany, if futile, was not obviously so.

(c) In the Treaty of Versailles, the Allies reneged on these armistice terms in a deceitful manner. (Everyone accepts this).

(d) They were able to do so because the November Revolution had eliminated the possibility of German resistance.

If you agree that an honorable German government would have held the lines and resumed fighting when the punitive terms of Versailles were proposed, you are at full-on 100% Dolchstoss. You're basically entitled to start your own hair-metal band. If you believe that Germany had no choice but to surrender - my own guess - you cannot be too concerned that armistice morphed into unconditional surrender. (I am at the same 85%.)

However, either interpretation paints both the Allies and the "early German Republicans" (or, as Hitler would put it - "November criminals") in a rather nefarious light. Exactly as Mowrer admits.

So that was his solution to the German problem in 1919. What is his solution in 1932? p. 15:
Republican historians of some future day may have a curious tale to tell of the first Republicans who managed to throw away nearly full power in so few years.

What should they have done? What must any new regime do that comes to power by revolution? Occupy the key positions within the State, of course. Place its own people in all positions of responsibility or control, eliminate, bribe or fetter and even gag its potential opponents at least until it has definitely solidified its own position. Wipe out dangerous traces of the past. Destroy former symbols and substitute new ones for them. Embark upon a vast campaign of education to make clear to the people the evils of the old and the benefits of the new. A revolution must be a break with tradition. In Germany the Republicans themselves left intact a bridge over which the old figures came streaming into the present so soon as they realized that they had nothing to fear.

What would such a program have meant to Germany? It would have meant the immediate creation of a Republican Guard from the democratic fragments of the old Army - an easy task. The ruthless elimination from the bureaucracy of all persons who could not accept the Republic in their hearts. Such persons, once removed, should have received pensions only so long as they abstained from anti-Republican activities. At the least hostile word or deed their pensions should have been forfeit.
[...]
Necessary as well would have been the rewriting of the school books with the elimination of the feudal spirit and the servile adulation of the former princes. Instead the new textbooks would have insisted on the responsibility of the Imperial statesmen for the war and its terrible consequences, thus driving a wedge between the permanent Germany, the people, and a transitory group of rulers. They would have stigmatized servility and exalted individual freedom, thus dulling the radiance of Prussianism.

And since the spirit of greed lodges easily in the republic, special laws should have been provided for the severe punishment of commercial and political corruption among the rich and highly placed, while the common misdeeds of the poor, such as petty larceny, should have been dealt with mildly as the normal outcome of misery and mis-education.

And finally, the Republic should have instituted a number of public spectacles of and holidays in its own honor, and not stinted money on making them popular. It should have rewarded distinguished service with high-sounding republican titles, publicly martyred whatever political dead it might have, and honored its own leaders under all circumstances.
Wow, Mr. Mowrer! Don't hold back, please. Are you sure you've laid it out there on the table? Any more plans you'd like to tell us about? Because clearly, I'm not the only one who's been reading Mr. Defoe's Shortest-Way With the Dissenters. I have to say - thanks for the recipe. Maybe someone should forward it to Sarah Palin. "Republicans" indeed!

Not that it was exactly a secret. The irony, of course, is that this is exactly what was done to Germany after the next war. Nor was Germany the only place it was done!

What's especially wonderful is that this agenda is simply set out as what it is: a plan for national subjugation. Many can play at that game! Have played it in the past; will play it in the future. We continue on to page 36:
Hans Henning Grote, a baron by birth, was interested in the antithesis between German Nationalism and Occidental liberalism. Important for us are two small sentences, typical of the amount of arrogance that can be induced by impotent nationalist amour propre: "If Germany goes down, the European Christian world will go down with it. Not today or tomorrow, but in the time of our children and grandchildren."
Ya think? Alas, the Internet is silent on this mysterious Baron Grote. p. 45:
Obviously enough, when the young Germans later aspired back to Prussianism, it was not primarily out of a lust for war or a perverse desire to kowtow and be kicked. It was because they had been taught to see in old Prussia a model of political splendor and the incarnation of all that the democratic Republic lacked.

"Breeding, order, service to society, iron discipline, unconditional authority, political leadership, a strong army, a solid, incorruptible bureaucracy, national prosperity produced by the tenacious energy of its inhabitants and the iron thrift of its princes, popular Christian and patriotic education, and beside the individual's attachment to law, a generosity of spirit, a liberalism of opinion, a religious tolerance found nowhere else - that together is Prussia."

This enthusiastic description, by the National-Socialist leader, Joseph Goebbels (Voelkischer Beobachter, April 14, 1932), goes far to explain the accompanying clamor for a return to Prussian ideals.
These are indeed the Prussian ideals. But alas, those ideals were not quite what Germany got. A tricky fellow, that Goebbels. "A liberalism of opinion." p.87:
The German military policy was the most candid thing in the world: the re-acquisition of power and unlimited national sovereignty. It was carried through with rare consistency.
Unlimited national sovereignty! These reactionary Teutonic fiends, you see, aim at nothing less than unlimited national sovereignty. As opposed what? As opposed to "some strong central international order which will by force maintain peace until it is willingly accepted by all the nations." Dr. Goebbels versus Archbishop Garbett. (Or Benjamin Franklin Trueblood.) Here, dear reader, is your 20th century. p.101:
This Republic the mass of the people accepted with comparative enthusiasm, but largely in the naive faith that it would secure them better treatment at the hands of the Allies. When this faith collapsed, many would have been for giving up the Republic, had this seemed feasible... One may say that the ineptitude of the Treaty of Versailles, the political infantility of the German people, the brutal penury induced by economic depression, and a skillful Nationalist propaganda were chief agencies through which this people was again brought to believe in reaction.
I can't imagine how that might have happened. p. 112:
Pre-eminent among the dispensers of hatred was Alfred Hugenberg. To put the German clock back to 1914 was the aim of this man's life. Like so many of the passionate advocates of Prussian aristocracy, he was neither aristocrat nor Prussian. He was successively an official, an agricultural expert, a leader in agrarian banking, a manager in the great firm of Krupp.

During the war he struggled manfully against "premature peace" or "peace without annexation." After the war he become the leader of unvarnished reaction and, before the rise of Adolf Hitler, the most outstanding person in the reactionary camp. Thanks largely to his control of the greatest publicity organization in Germany, Hugenberg obtained control of a hundred and fifty-odd newspapers, and through his news agency, the Telegraphen Union, supplied vast material to about 200 provincial sheets too poor to keep correspondents in the capital. With this organization in his hand, the small official from Hanover, whose waving mustaches made him look surprisingly like a seal, could wield a power greater than that of Beaverbrook in England or Hearst, Curtis or Scripps-Howard in the United States.
[...]
This man fought without romanticism, without great wit or intelligence, without fire, but with a cold determination that is unique in German politics. His program? Conservative! Against Poland and against France. Against reparations and the Versailles treaty. For Kaiser and nobility, for the Army and the bureaucracy. For the economic privileges of the Prussian Junkers and the West German industrialists! The better to carry on his fight, he lived almost like a miser. His millions were left to the firm and devoted exclusively to the great cause of German Toryism. His internal enemies were socialism, labor, democracy, the German Republic - and the hysteria of Adolf Hitler.

How he worked became apparent in the output of his moving picture company, the Ufa. In Hugenberg's hands, the Ufa became a refined instrument of reactionary propaganda. The studios at New Babelsberg became the heirs and disseminators of the dear old spirit of nearby Potsdam. Wise to the fact that one cannot make a nation reactionary against its will, Hugenberg set out to make it want to be reactionary. Here and there, in the midst of pictures dealing with this, that, and everything, appeared one that glorified the German past. Not the revolutionary past of course, but the Monarchist, Military, Prussian, servile past.
[...]
Gradually, "national awakening" spread over the country. "Sleepers," who had dreamed that Germans might still be moderately happy even if enchained, began to prick up their ears and lift protesting voices. Out of every little hole of an office in the provinces, teachers, lawyers, judges, officials, parsons, who had somehow managed to swim over from the old regime and whom the mild Republic had neglected to eliminate, began openly to propound that reaction they had long bred and nourished in private.
You have to love that "neglected to eliminate."

What we're starting to see here is Germany's sin. Long before Germany murdered the Jews, invaded Poland or even elected Hitler, Germany had sinned in the eyes of Edgar Mowrer. By rejecting "Republicanism," it had rebelled against the new international order of which it was destined to become a part.

Therefore, it had to be punished. And hence the bombers. Or so I believe. p. 117:
My friend the banker is an Israelite. His nose is of the super-Hittite sort, his gestures are Oriental in amplitude, his manners are correctly cosmopolitan and his business interests are scattered throughout half a dozen countries. Yet to a somewhat bewildered gathering in a drawing-room in plutocratic Berlin, he unctuously explained how for years he had been a heavy subsidizer of the National-Socialists, a group of people whose war cry runs: "Germany awake and perish the Jew." No one who knows the banker could possibly imagine him subject to suicidal mania. Why therefore did he seek to strengthen his a movement that wrote upon its boldest banner his own extinction as financier and Jew? A cynic might suggest that he hoped by his assistance to purchase a physical and financial immunity for himself in the expected Third Empire. But he did not say that. He explained that he was supporting his avowed despisers because they were "friendly to capital." He would, he said, assist the very devil, could the latter be persuaded to lead a fight on that most ruinous influence in the contemporary world, "Marxism."

As might be expected, the meaning of "Marxism" was not altogether clear, for in the jargon of the reaction, "Marxism" was applied to anything from free abortion, atonal music and the flat roofs of the latest architecture, to the learned exegesis of the doctrines of Karl Marx. The banker - who has no particular objection to abortion - often explained that by "Marxism" he means socialism, which brought about the ruin of post-war Germany, the world economic depression and constituted the greatest threat to Occidental civilization. Out of this heated utterance it resulted that the "Marxism" he was paying the National-Socialists for destroying, had nothing common with the music of Schoenberg or Hindemith. What was it, then?
Knowing the ways of journalists, I rather suspect that Mowrer's "Israelite" banker is something of, um, a composite. I also feel that Mr. Mowrer has quite a bit of nerve in describing anyone other than himself as "unctuous." Nonetheless, as we'll see, he'll understand his Marxism in time. p. 118:
"At least, you concede that the Marxists are traitors!" This was another common piece of propaganda. Behind it are various shades of meaning. It was meant that the workmen made the revolution, the infamous "November crime," which took the rule out of the hands of a few groups and "for a time" gave it to the German people. A half truth for there was, strictly speaking, no revolution in Germany. The people took the power only after it had fallen from the hands of the princes and generals, and used it with such tolerance that within a few years these disinherited ruling classes were able to snatch most if it back for themselves. The "stab-in-the-back" fairy-tale, according to which the undefeated Army had to submit because the people betrayed it, is one of the quaintest legends ever concocted to account for heroic failure. It was the generals who first weakened in Germany.
See above. Also note that wonderful word, "workmen." A number of words could be used to describe Kurt Eisner, but I'm not sure I see him as, say, a plumbing contractor.

You see, a foreign correspondent like Edgar Mowrer occupies a very peculiar place in the life of a country like Germany. Because he and his friends in the foreign press lead American opinion on Germany, and America is a democracy, they lead American policy toward Germany. And, naturally, they have friends in Germany, and enemies in Germany; and they feel that American policy should result in their friends running Germany, and their enemies... not running Germany.

So, in a sense, when Germany moves to the right, it is rebelling against the nascent international community - and against Edgar Mowrer. And thus his anger. Later expressed in tons of TNT. Moreover, since Germany is rebelling, Germany too feels an anger - and that anger, too, seems ugly in the calm light of 2010. It is ugly. It is, after all, Hitler. Thus these hideous forces clash. p. 125:
The final charge against the Social-Democrats was that wherever possible they instituted "party rule." The prejudice against party rule was one of the strangest kinks in the German brain. It revealed the fact that the Germans had not understood the essence of democracy or of government. A politically awakened people is no more than the sum of its political parties and party rule is neither more nor less than the will of the majority. The claim to stand "above the parties" is therefore inept or it is camouflage. For soon as any practical matter is under consideration, difference of opinion will emerge. This difference of opinion is the basis of party existence. In Germany the word "non-partisan" or "super-partisan" practically always turned out to mean militaristic, reactionary, anti-Republican. The former Imperial Government was, we are told, "above parties." In point of fact it was the practical possession of a single class, who managed to do just about anything they pleased. Naturally, they claimed to be non-partisan.

Yet despite this patent warning, almost the first act of Fritz Ebert as President was to declare that he too stood "above parties." Therefore, instead of carrying out the will of the people who elected him, he apparently felt the duty of protecting the Republic's enemies. Just why Ebert should have imagined it to be the duty of the President of the German Republic to do anything but suppress the reactionaries, the generals and the former sovereigns, is one of those mysteries that lie so thick around the Republic's decline.
Another big Irony Cross for Mr. Mowrer. p. 180:
Unquestionably, the determination of the Allies, chiefly the French and the Belgians, to hold to the substance of a one-sided peace, was one of the most terrible handicaps the Democrats had to endure. Since democracy was new and experimental, it needed popularity. To be popular, success were necessary. The Allies consistently refused the Republic any brilliant successes. Should the fall of German democracy prove definite, some of the blame falls on foreign heads.

But not all of it, by a very long shot. In all matters relating to public life, the Germans, being intense subjectivists, shut within their problematic selves, unable to see with others' eyes, have an instinct for doing the wrong thing that partakes of genius. According to Lord d'Abernon, Gustav Stresemann himself complained that the "ignorance of the German nationalists, particulary of the country party (Junkers), regarding foreign policy was almost incredible. One could not discuss foreign policy with them for they said they were totally indifferent to the opinion of foreign countries."
[...]
Consider the situation: a politically retrograde people goes over to self-government. Unprepared. Almost unwillingly. Hopelessly divided. A numerically weak but highly daring and unscrupulous minority opposes democracy in the name of the dictatorship of the proletariat. A numerically strong but temporarily discredited minority wishes to restore the old regime, or something very like it. The remainder, the Republicans, are a majority divided into several groups, separated by such stout wedges as property and religion. What must the rulers do?

Clearly, establish, if only for a time, a system that will automatically exclude all but Republican parties from politics. This could be done either by outlawing anti-Republican parties for ten years, or by adopting an electoral system that would automatically give a firm majority to the greatest single group of Republicans, which, by iron control of army, bureaucracy, schools, etc, would be in a position to stave off possible insurrection from right or left, while allowing the democratic idea time to grow in the minds of the people.
It is difficult to avoid the impression that Mr. Mowrer has, indeed, discovered the true essence of democracy. His solution is indeed excellent; it was tried later, and it worked; his analysis is, on almost every point, unimpeachable. We shall get back to him a little later.

But first, let's hop across the Atlantic, roll the clock forward a little, and see the situation from the British point of view. Stripping ourselves of the awful reek of the New Deal press, we return to the refreshing British voice of F. A. Voigt, perhaps this post's most reliable source. From his Unto Caesar (1938), prologue:
This book was finished before the middle of February, 1938. Since then, the union of Germany and Austria - the "Anschluss" - has been achieved. In little more than a month the balance of power has been weighted heavily against Great Britain, while the ascendancy of the Germans and Italians in Spain has increased the menace to her communications in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.

On the 24th March, Mr. Neville Chamberlain said in the House of Commons that, while England could not guarantee the independence of Czechoslovakia, a central European war might have consequences that might compel England to act in defense of her own security. There is no statesman more determined than Mr. Chamberlain to confine the purpose of his foreign policy to the bare defense of British interests, and his words show, more than the words of any other man could show, that the destiny of Great Britain is entwined with the destiny of Europe as a whole.

It would now seem that the danger of precipitating a general European war will deter Hitler from an armed attack on Czechoslovakia. Mr. Chamberlain's warning will have made him doubly alive to that danger, all the more so as the warning is to be followed by an increase, long overdue, in the speed and volume of British rearmament. It would seem that Czechoslovakia will be "masked" like a fortress that cannot be assaulted with impunity. But she will be invested and will be menaced by political and economic pressure from without and by disruption from within. He will then be on the Rumanian border and will, by peaceful penetration and various forms of pressure, including the menace of rebellion among the large Hungarian and the smaller German minorities, try to achieve an ascendancy over Rumania that would place her rich supplies of raw material, especially oil, at his disposal.

Nor will Poland, the Baltic States, and Russia be able to elude the German challenge.

A month ago it seemed that the Spanish civil war might go on for another year, or even more, and perhaps end inconclusively...

It may be that, if General Franco wins the war, the German and Italian troops will leave. But the German and Italian political and commercial agents, their military, technical, and administrative experts, their institutes and educational establishments, their subsidized newspapers, their propagandists, their open and secret clubs and societies, will remain. For a long time to come, Spain will be under German and Italian influence.

England and France will be compelled to develop a counter-influence, for even the discreetest ascendancy of any foreign Powers in Spain threatens one of the main arterial systems of the British Commonwealth.
Ie, the British Empire. For Voigt is a late Asquithian Liberal Imperialist. And he regards it as essential for Britain to fight Germany, to preserve the Empire - or rather, Commonwealth.

Now, Hitler too was an Imperialist - although anything but a liberal. He was, in fact, a huge fan of the British Empire; he wanted desperately to make peace with it; his symbol, the swastika, was ripped off from Kipling, and much of his ideology was as well. His ideal, stated repeatedly in his books, was that Germany would rule the European continent, and England would continue to rule the seas. No doubt in the most Kiplingesque manner.

So the Voigts of the world are caught between the Hitlers and the Mowrers. There is no place for the Empire - except as a symbolic, meaningless "Commonwealth" - in Mowrer's vision. Mowrer's is a universal vision; he is not satisfied until the entire planet adopts American democracy, and even then he will fantasize about exporting it to Mars.

But Voigt still believes. And his understanding of the new Germany is much deeper than Mowrer's, although in fairness informed by seven more years:
No expression of the Marxian vocabulary is more derisive than "petit bourgeois," "Kleinbuerger," "kleiner Mann," or "little man," denoting the "small shopkeeper" or other humble persons of the "lower middle" class.

For the "little man" the Marxist feels far greater hatred than for the "capitalist." The "little man" is worse than "counter-revolutionary." He is unrevolutionary, and to be unrevolutionary is, in the eyes of the Marxist, to be a kind of leper. Marxists are habitually contemptuous of the "petit bourgeois mind" as not a mind at all, but something reptilian, something infinitely mean and ignominious.
[...]
In one respect the Marxist is right. The "petit bourgeois" is revolutionized. But he has his own ideas about revolution. He becomes a revolutionary - not as a "proletarian," not even on the side of the "proletariat," not in fulfillment of the dialectical process, not in the manner so prophetically announced by Marx and Lenin, but in defiance of their teaching; not to destroy the capitalist order, but to transform it; not to establish a transnational dictatorship in which the State will "wither away," but one in which the State will be re-established with greater solidity than before, a State armed with terrible coercive power, a State that will send Marxists to prison, concentration camps, or to execution, and will replace the Marxian myth by a myth of its own.
Mowrer, whose hate we can feel, and who hates aristocracy, identifies the German reaction as essentially aristocratic. Voigt sees that Hitler has defeated the Barons; he sees the essentially petit-bourgeois, Sarah-Palin nature of the Nazi phenomenon. Not that Hitler and Sarah Palin are anything like each other; they just appeal to the same social class, that's all.

And what political system is it, under which shopkeepers can overcome barons? Well, I certainly wouldn't call it feudalism. Again: no Weimar, no Hitler. p. 177:
The greatest extension of international, social, and religious peace ever achieved has been achieved within the British Commonwealth. Throughout a quarter of the world the satanic forces that engender war and revolution are curbed, thanks to the Pax Britannica, with which a benevolent Providence has associated the Pax Americana and the Pax Gallica.

The Pax Europaica is one of these ideals that transcend practical statesmanship, which is necessarily short-sighted and bent on the fulfillment of immediate tasks. Excessively far-sighted statesmanship may be very dangerous, and to pursue an international ideal by political means is to invite a general catastrophe.

The Pax Europaica would certainly be in the interest of the British Commonwealth, but to enforce it is beyond the power of the Commonwealth (we often forget that the greatest power - even the power of the Commonwealth - is limited). England is under the absolute necessity of defending western Europe because that defense is self-defense. That necessity imposes a terrible burden and is attended by fearful dangers. The burden and the dangers must be borne, but to augment them in the pursuit of an ideal that is, in any case, unattainable in so short a time as one generation, would be madness. The Pax Britannica would be shaken and, perhaps, fall to pieces, British vital interests would suffer profound and perhaps irretrievable injury, and the ideal would certainly not be achieved but would, in all likelihood, be buried forever in the irretrievable ruin.
[...]
The true lover of peace will be more concerned with peace in the concrete than peace in the abstract; with defending his and his country's peace, rather than with chimerical schemes for extending peace beyond the limits of the possible. He will always reflect whether its extension beyond the frontiers of his own country will be an extension not of peace, but of war. Even a seemingly small extension of peace may be dangerous, as the extension of the Pax Britannica to western Europe is. Inherent in universal peace is the menace of universal war - "indivisible peace" is "indivisible war."
[...]
The modern effort to establish universal peace is perhaps for this reason mainly an English effort. After the armistice, the English experienced a prodigious revulsion against war. But they also felt an island security which could no longer be menaced, seeing that the German fleet had been destroyed. Their pacifism acquired a messianic character - they were less concerned with saving their fellow-countrymen than with saving all mankind from war. Their own security made them more accessible than any other nations to utopian dreams of universal peace - and blinder to the danger inherent in such utopian dreams.
[...]
Monstrous proposals, like the proposal to create an international air force that would emerge - from some Alpine stronghold, presumably - and bomb the cities of the alleged aggressor, found a considerable following in the post-war years. Such inhuman phantasmagoria had an affinity with the secular religions of the European continent. Indeed, English militant pacifism had something in common with the Marxian dreams of a universal realm of peace, justice and well-being. As we have seen, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is inseparable from its own opposite. It can only come about by violence.The threat of universal war as a means of establishing universal peace is a peculiarly English conception that has crystallized in the doctrine of "sanctions." This doctrine is analogous to the doctrine of the proletarian dictatorship which would establish social peace by making class-war permanent and universal. "Sanctions" are the counterpart of the revolutionary terror - the purpose of either is peace, but the effect of both is the consolidation, through war or the threat of war (whether between classes or nations), of power in the hands of those hold it.
[...]
To erect the "punishment of the aggressor" into a general system would be to concentrate immense power into a few hands and establish an abominable and universal tyranny. In nothing is the evil inherent in universal systems of enforced morality more evident than in the doctrine of "sanctions." It was against such systems that Karl Barth uttered one of his great warnings:

"That men should, as a matter of course, claim to possess a higher right over their fellow-men, that they should, as a matter of course, dare to regulate and predetermine almost all their conduct, that those who put forward such a manifestly fraudulent claim should be crowned with a halo of real power as though they had been invested with the authority of God, that the Many should conspire to speak as though they were the One, that a minority or a majority - even the supreme democratic majority of all against one - should assume that they are the community, that a quite fortuitous conduct or arrangement should be regarded as superior to the solid organization of the struggle for existence and should proclaim itself to be the peace which all men yearn after and which all should respect; this whole pseudo-transcendence of an altogether immanent order is the would that is inflicted by every existing government - even by the best - upon those who are most delicately conscious of what is good and right. The more successfully the good and the right assume concrete form, the more they become evil and wrong - summum jus, summum injuria.

Supposing the right were to take the form of theocracy, supposing, that is, superior spiritual attainment were concreted into an ideal Church and all the peoples of the earth were to put their trust in it; if, for example, the Church of Calvin were to be reformed and broadened out to be the League of Nations - this doing of the supreme right would become the supreme wrong-doing. This theocratic dream comes abruptly to an end when we discover that it is the Devil who approaches Jesus and offers Him all the kingdoms of the world. It ends also with Dostoevsky's picture of the Grand Inquisitor. Men have no right to possess objective right over other men. And so, the more they surround themselves with objectivity, the greater is the wrong they inflict upon others."
[...]
There is no reason to suppose that a universal system of "sanctions" would abolish war even for a time. One evil would be replaced by a greater evil. Private wars would be abolished - only world wars would be allowed.
This material, in my mind, approaches real greatness. Throughout the book we can see Voigt struggling with his own thesis; he can see that the vision of universal order is a vision of destruction, but he does not quite know how to set it aside. p.191:
England is the only Great Power exposed to the permanent danger of total and permanent defeat in war.

The United States have absolute security. They are exposed neither to blockade, nor invasion, nor attack from the air. Not one of their vital interests can be menaced. Unless their whole fleet engages in some rash enterprise far from its bases, they are safe from major defeat. And even major defeat would not expose them to conquest by a foreign foe. The United States can never be less than a Great Power.
[...]
Of all the Great Powers, England is the most vulnerable. On her armed strength depends her own existence - and the existence of others. She can never share the enviable state of the small countries on the north-western fringe of Europe. Without her, these countries would be threatened with extinction. If it were not for the British command of the sea, Holland would be absorbed by Germany, and her colonial empire would be at the mercy of Japan. It is very doubtful whether Denmark would exist at all if she were not situated on the fringe of the Pax Britannica. Norway and Sweden have a certain security in their remoteness - but the security of Norway, at least, is made doubly secure because England could not tolerate an alien conquest or penetration that would give a foreign navy the use of the Norwegian coast.

Belgium cannot exist as an independent nation without Britain and France. It is not even sure that Swiss independence would survive if the Swiss had not the French for neighbors and the French had not the English for allies.
[...]
England's general interest is in the national independence of existing States within their present frontiers and therefore, in the European status quo. But that interest is not so vital that she can make every change in that status a casus belli. Indeed no change in the territorial status anywhere in Europe, except in the west and in the Mediterranean area, can be a casus belli for England. But so delicate is the European equilibrium and so far-reaching may the consequences be if it is upset, that any territorial change anywhere in Europe may, by involving other Powers (especially France), lead to a situation so full of danger that she must always reserve to herself the possibility of intervening in defense of her vital interests.

Nor is the question purely political. The triumph of the militant, imperialistic Powers would promote the spread of protection and of tied economies. German expansion in central and eastern Europe would extend the area of German "self-sufficiency." Whether Germany achieves political domination, or even a decisive political and commercial influence, tariffs and systems of quotas, subsidies and import and export licenses are promoted to the advantage of Germany and to the exclusion of other countries.

Loss of trade in an area so extensive as the prospective Pan-German Empire and the zones of German ascendancy beyond the borders of that Empire would be a very serious matter for England.
[...]
While avoiding direct intervention in the affairs of central and eastern Europe, [England] must always be able to impinge on the central and eastern European situation, using her influences and her good offices to preserve the status quo. A general anti-German policy would be excessively dangerous and costly. Any general coercive system would be fatal to England if it were to dominate her policy. Isolation would be no less fatal. Her path must run clear of a utopian universalism and an equally utopian isolationism.
[...]
The principal antithesis in the world today is not between Berlin and Moscow, London or Rome, but between London and Berlin. Without this antithesis, a Pax Europaica or a United Europe would be possible.

The greatest - and perhaps unattainable - political need of Europe today is that a relationship, such as exists between London and Washington, should also exist between London, Paris and Berlin. If England, France and Germany are united, not in any federation or any centrally directed system, or indeed any system of any kind, but by virtue of a certain fundamental identity of outlook and by a common civilization (no other unity can be real), then Europe is united, and the dream of all "good Europeans," the Pax Europaica, will have come true.

The Pax Europaica cannot be achieved by protocols or treaties, by pacts, by alliances, by mutual assistance or by the League of Nations. It can only come about through a spiritual change - in Germany, but also in France and England.
Here we see the tragedy of the British "appeasers" of the late '30s. Between the Congress of Vienna and the rise of Germany, Britain had enjoyed effective world supremacy, as the US does now. Liberal Imperialism foundered on this rock; it could not let Germany become a world power equal to the British, for Germany was not liberal.

Yet, by opposing Germany and denying it Westphalian parity, Britain made Germany hateful and paranoid, for Germans saw themselves being treated as an inferior in a world system in which it was not just formally an equal, but economically and militarily an equal. Thus the harder Britain worked to deny Germany equality, the less deserving of that equality Germany became.

The appeasers of the '30s inherited the final dilemma of this epic conflict. From the perspective of British interests, the right decision was clearly to abandon the Little Entente-type states created after World War I, whose adherence to democratic principles was anyway quite a bit less than stellar, and allow Germany to create her empire in the East. Yet this decision was both a release of power, which is always difficult for the powerful, and an empowerment of dangerous and illiberal forces beyond the control of Britain or anyone. Unlimited national sovereignty!

Another decision, of course, would have been to support Poland and Czechoslovakia to the hilt. This might not have restrained all future Hitlers; it probably would have restrained Hitler. But ultimately, it would have been necessary to back this bluff with actual war. Hence the course of universal peace, later followed.

But, through the natural tensions in her political system, Britain wound up following a course between these two poles, and one which was clearly worse than both. Seeking to avoid war and preserve her Empire - excuse me, "Commonwealth" - she got war, and lost her Empire. And lo, did Edgar Mowrer inherit the earth. Along with Moscow, for a time.

Here, again, is the tragedy of Voigt's liberal realism. He dabbles with actual, real realism - and rejects it. He ends up, with Mowrer, trying to convert Germany to "good thinking." That this can only be done with bombs, and that it can only end in the death of the British Empire, he at some level knows; but he cannot reject his geopolitics, his commercial advantage, his trade routes, all the cant of late Imperialism. Hence the war sucks him and his country in.

We know his geopolitical cant is cant. Let's see a brief paragraph from an American friend of Voigt's, Walter Lippmann - definitely one of the five creepiest intellectuals of the 20th century. I only have space for one paragraph from Lippmann's US Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic (1942). But compare its geopolitical analysis to Voigt's:
The fall of France in 1940 was a conclusive demonstration that France is a member of the great defensive system in which the American republics live. The fall of France laid Spain and Portugal open to the possibility of invasion and domination. This in turn opened up the question of the security of the Spanish and Portuguese island stepping-stones in the Atlantic. The fall of France gave Germany the sea and air bases from which Britain was besieged and American shipping along our Eastern shore and in the Caribbean subjected to a devastating raid. The fall of France uncovered the West Coast of Africa from above Casablanca to Dakar, and opened up the threat, in the event of a German victory in Europe, of a sea-borne and air-borne invasion of South America...
Following which, Hitler will invade Texas. From Mexico! Believe it or not, serious and influential Americans actually worried very seriously about this scenario at the time.

So, to Voigt (who is probably one of the last people to use the plural), "the United States have complete security." Britain, however, will suffer economic disaster if cut off from its vital export markets in Bulgaria. And so on. I think Voigt actually believes his cant - I'm not so sure about Lippmann. Again, the two are personal friends.

But even Lippmann feels wholesome next to our next source - Henry Morgenthau, Jr. No relation to Hans.

I present these excerpts from Morgenthau's Germany Is Our Problem (1945) without much comment. I don't feel much is required. Actually, I suspect that just as the Morgenthau Plan (the Wikipedia entry, at least at present, is remarkably strong) itself was the work of Morgenthau's aide, Harry Dexter White, this book is not the work of the Treasury Secretary himself, but of some unknown OWI hack. It certainly has the unmistakable OWI feel.

It is also important to note that Germany Is Our Problem was published after the war (it contains a quote dated June 1945, and was published in October, I believe) - so it cannot be attributed entirely to wartime bloodlust. Indeed, Morgenthau policies continued in Germany well into 1947. Copies of this book were widely distributed to postwar administrators.

From the prologue:
As for Germany, that tragic nation which has sown the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind - we and our Allies are entirely agreed that we shall not bargain with the Nazi conspirators, or leave them a shred of control - open or secret - of the instruments of government.

We shall not leave them a single element of military power - or of potential military power.

But I should be false to the very foundations of my religious and political convictions, if I should ever relinquish the hope - and even the faith - that in all people, without exception, there lives some instinct for truth, some attraction toward justice, and some passion for peace - buried as they may be in the German case under a brutal regime.

We bring no chage against the German race, as such, for we cannot believe that God has eternally condemned any race of humanity. For we know in our own land how many good men and women of German ancestry have proved loyal, freedom-loving, peace-loving citizens.

There is going to be stern punishment for all those in Germany responsible for this agony of mankind.

The German people are not going to be enslaved - because the United Nations do not traffic in human slavery. But it will be necessary for them to earn their way back into the fellowship of peace-loving and law-abiding nations. And, in their climb up that steep road, we shall certainly see to it that they are not encumbered by having to carry guns. They will be relieved of that burden - we hope, forever.

- President Roosevelt
FDR, too, has that telltale New Deal tone. There's a specific sense of humor, or what passes for humor. For Stalin too it might well have passed. (In fact, of course, the United Nations did traffic in human slavery. Once you know your liar, the sound of him lying is unmistakable. He cannot let the lie pass by omission; he must go out of his way to emphasize it.)

Morgenthau (who was a close personal friend of FDR), p. 190:
"These Krauts ain't so bad!"

The words, uttered by an American soldier who had just been presented with a glass of beer, a smile from a pretty girl and a flower from a small child, sum up the reason why United States troops should not be a part of the long-term army of occupation in Germany. The unidentified private who expressed this opinion in tones indicating a pleasant surprise was one of the first to enter Cologne. He shared the views of many thousands.

A day or two later, one of his comrades, Sergeant Francis Mitchell, explained to newspapermen why Americans could not hold much of a grudge against their civilian enemies. The sergeant had been fighting hard for weeks, but without a great deal of hate in his heart. He was doing a hard job efficiently. He knew from reading and from talking that the Nazis were guilty of horrible brutalities. But he could not connect these bloody excesses with the smiling, apparently friendly people in Cologne. He and his fellows just hadn't been trained to resist kindness from a good-looking fraulein or a motherly woman or a gentle old man or a wistful child. He thought it was very pleasant that young women offered him beer, that housewives gave him food, that all the people cheered and waved as they were being liberated.

Americans are pretty proud of fellows like Sergeant Francis Mitchell. It is good to know that they can fight so well and not lose the sympathy for others, the response to kindness and the consideration that makes them good citizens. Bitter and brutal experiences have neither embittered not brutalized them. But by the same token it has not equipped them to appraise the significance of the German reaction to their presence. It is quite natural for the average Germans to become meek and inoffensive characters to all appearances whenever they are confronted with soldiers or the obvious label of arbitrary authority. It is not conscious hypocrisy that makes them anxious to please a conqueror, fawning and a little subservient, for they have been trained in obedience to force rather than in obedience to justice.

No men in the armies of the United Nations are likely to be so susceptible as Americans to the danger of this people's bid for compassion. The misery of hunger and cold is bound to be extreme in Germany this winter. Until the workers in her heavy industry have begun to raise food crops and rebuild houses, there will be malnutrition and exposure for her people. The only possible way to avoid it would be to divert food and materials and labor from other European nations even more in need of them.

But the American soldier in the army of occupation has not seen the devastation of Poland and Russia, Yugoslavia and Greece, Norway and Czechoslovakia. He has seen little of the suffering of France, Belgium and Holland, and may well look upon that little as the inevitable destruction of the battlefield. In his heart he compares the lot of Germans with the lot of the city or town or countryside from which he came in the States. The tendency is for him to believe the Germans are more destitute and miserable than any other people. They are sure to tell him so. Soon he will become, if he is not now, a ready victim to a campaign for more lenient treatment of Germany.

On the other hand, the argument that it is more important to feed Greeks than Germans seems extremely logical to a Greek soldier. It is not difficult to persuade a French poilu that it is better to keep French homes warm this winter than provide fuel for German homes. It seems only just to a Russian infantryman that Russian cities get material for reconstruction rather than that German factories be rebuilt. Stories of continued shortages in their own home communities harden British, Belgian, Dutch and other troops against the demands of Germans to have their own shortages relieved.

Therefore, it is not merely a sentimental desire to get our own men back that prompts the proposal that they should leave Germany soon. The tasks in which they should participate need not take long. They should help supervise the complete dismantling of the Reich. They might be on hand to hasten the dismantling of German heavy industry. Then they should give way to the troops of our European allies.
[...]
The history of the American occupation of the Rhineland after World War I illustrates the dangers that would be confronted if a new, long-term American army of occupation is formed now. Twenty-five years ago, the Americans, homesick and bored and without very much to do, were subjected to a barrage of German propaganda. German sufferings were intruded upon their notice and greatly exaggerated.

"Germany is on the verge of starvation," cried the German Armistice Commission. "The harsh injustice terms of the Allies merely precipitated this tragedy. Famine leads to anarchy and Bolshevism, which now menace Germany."

"The German food supply is on the brink of a catastrophe," mourned the Vossische Zeitung on December 15, 1918. "The decision remains with our enemies whether they will pay the price to save Germany from hunger and anarchy."

"If," warned the Vorwaerts, "we do not succeed in giving food, light, heat, shelter and clothing to the people, then we are lost, because first comes hunger, then anarchy, civil warfare, the fall of the state, and on the heels of this, the intervention of a merciless enemy."

Actually the Germans were a great deal better off than a great many other peoples of Europe. Colonel I. L. Hunt, officer in charge of civil affairs in the Rhineland during the occupation, considered the German estimates of the food situation grossly exaggerated. He said:

"That there was a considerable shortage of foods, particularly those to which the German was accustomed, and of food luxuries, cannot be denied, but that seventy million people were on the verge of starvation is untrue. It is perfectly true that the comparative scarcity of accustomed articles of food, and the probability of the condition becoming more pronounced, was producing an ever-increasing social unrest. This is particularly so, as the condition was depicted in more or less exaggerated form and constantly held before the people in public print."

Nevertheless, the German propaganda was effective among our own troops of occupation. In April, 1919, the United States Army began the sale of flour from army stocks at cost prices to the civilian population. Later bacon, sugar, rice, lard, salmon and milk were similarly furnished. At the time, the hunger Germany complained about, but was not actually experiencing, was a horrible reality in Central Europe. Even neutral Scandinavians were undernourished because they could not yet get supplies from abroad. The Army explained that its distribution in Germany was made "in order to allay the social unrest due to scarcity or impending scarcity of food, and to the nondistribution of allotted supplies." The "impending scarcity" was German propaganda; the failure to distribute allotted supplies was the fault of the Germans, if it existed.

Another feature of the American occupation was the inability of the Army to prevent fraternization between its soldiers and the German civilians. Whenever one loophole was closed, another was discovered. A month after the Armistice, the first of a long series of anti-fraternization orders was issued.
[...]
There are better was of checking venereal disease among our troops than marrying them off to German girls or even permitting them to "associate with decent women." One way is to bring them home, and leave the police work to troops who can be given furloughs to go back to their own countries and meet their own women.

Nobody wants Americans to behave so that they will be cordially hated in the lands through which they pass. But the whole purpose of an army of occupation is to enforce unpalatable terms. That the American troops were not very good at this is evidenced by the appeal of the German Foreign Minister against withdrawal of the Americans from the Rhineland in 1922. They were to be replaced by other Allied forces. Secretary of State Hughes received from the German Foreign Minister a note protesting the change because it would remove the "impartial and moderating influence of the American power of occupation." A report of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, summed up the popular German reaction:

"The departure of a train filled with soldiers bound for the United States furnished evidence of the friendly relations... The sight of the throngs of Germans gathered about the train, of the sorrowful and in some cases tear-stained countenances, and the shouted farewells made it difficult to realize that those leaving were soldiers of an army of occupation or that the crowds were composed of inhabitants of an occupied area."

A dozen years later those same sorrowing, tearful Germans were busily and openly preparing for another war, convinced that the Americans were a foolish degenerate lot who could never rouse themselves in time to meet a real danger.

This time the occupation is at once harder and more heart-rending. Allied troops are not confined to the Rhineland. They are not, as in 1918, stationed in cities virtually untouched by war. This time, there may well be real hunger, not just "impending scarcity of food." Millions of demobilized Germans have been returning to bombed-out homes and wrecked places of business. The sanitation and health conditions seem intolerable to an American.

Besides the pressure which our men's sympathy might create to divert supplies from countries even more devastated than Germany, there is a danger of weakening controls for which the armies of occupation are a guarantee. To an American soldier it may well seem unfair that an apparently goodhearted German who has fed him beer and a hard luck story should not get a little piece of machinery from abroad. It may well seem harsh that an unhappy businessman should not smuggle out a few concealed assets to a brother in America or Switzerland. The American may be persuaded much more easily than a Frenchman or an Englishman or a Russian to turn the other way from sheer goodness of heart while the transaction is completed. That very transaction may be a strong link in the chain leading to the rebuilding of Germany for another war.

The European's memory of five years of starvation is not so short or easily discarded as the American's recollection of his war training and combat. It is quite natural that the European has the more fixed determination to carry through a realistic program to prevent future German aggression. It is not an unusual citizen whose father was killed at the front between 1914 and 1918. If during this war his mother was bombed out of her house only once by the Luftwaffe, she would be considered lucky. His wife and children have been deprived of everything they owned, driven from one place to another like cattle, suffered years of malnutrition. They are accounted the fortunate ones among their acquaintances, for many families have been tortured and murdered by the Germans or perhaps taken off to Germany to serve in virtual slavery.

These men are not likely to be very susceptible to German pleadings of the 1920 model, nor even similar assaults upon their sympathy in the streamlined manner of more modern propaganda. It is no reflection on the good sense of the American that he might be inclined to fall for it. His experience has not fitted him, any more than it has fitted his relatives at home, to carry out a cold, unfriendly but entirely necessary program.
If this doesn't creep you out, there may be something wrong with your creepy-sensor. Also, note that in practice, by "European allies" Morgenthau basically means "Russians." On the radical end of the New Deal at this time, there is a very strong desire to leave the rubble of Europe in the hands of our friends, the Russians - not just up to the Elbe, but to the Rhine. And why should this be a problem? Russia is, after all, the strong right hand of the United Nations...

Let's jump back to p. 56 and see a little more of this cold, unfriendly but entirely necessary program:
If Germany makes a serious attempt to feed herself, she can do so. The use of low-cost labor will make up for the loss of territory and machinery. But we can expect her to make the effort only if she is forced to it by refusal of the United Nations to take over the responsibility from the German people. If we feed them ourselves - and it would have to be from stores of food which hungry millions of our allies need - the Germans will not undertake the necessary agricultural reform. They will, if they run true to their form of the last one hundred years, prefer to intrigue for a return of heavy industry and war.
[...]
Millions of man-years of good hard work could be put into draining swamps, terracing hills for cultivation, clearing cut-over forest, putting back into productive use the vast acreage ruined by being turned into army camps, artillery proving grounds, training fields, etc.

The transition from factory to farm will be much easier for Germans than for most urban dwellers. Even more than with us, the present generation of industrial workers has been recruited from farms. An even greater number are the sons and daughters of farmers. Besides, the German worker has kept a closer touch with the soil than most others. Millions of them have had subsistence gardens which were often almost small farms of anything up to an acre. Even before the Nazis came to power Berlin alone counted 198,000 such garden plots within the city limits and 247,000 in surrounding territory; Hamburg had 96,000 inside the city.

The Nazis intensified this practice, and in addition sent all youths out for a few weeks each year to work on real farms. The combination of these factors makes millions of German workers almost farmers before they get their land.
[...]
Even if the safety of Europe did not demand that most of them become farmers, the immediate needs of their own country would. Germans will have to raise their own food within a few years no matter what course the United Nations take, short of starving Allies for the sake of enemies. There will be little enough for a long time for the Belgians, Hollanders, Poles, Greeks, Czechs, Yugoslavs and others who have been hungry for years because the Germans plunged the world into war.

Furthermore, the twelve-acre farms of former steel, chemical and electrical workers can get into production a great deal more rapidly than the steel mills of Essen. Under current world conditions, the only way we can be sure sixty million Germans will eat is to get a great many of them on the land as soon as possible, and keep them there.
[...]
Adding all these factors together, it seems unlikely that Germany could achieve within the next few years a level of nonagricultural employment as high as she had in 1933. The depression will be at least as bad. Based on the number of Germans employed in 1939, that would mean a postwar employment for Germans of 10,000,000, which would also seem to be a minimum for some time to come unless many go on the land. The manufacturing, mining, and construction industries alone would drop 7,800,000 from the payrolls, even if heavy industry were to be left on the 1933 basis. (That was the year the Nazis really started the war.) [MM: my italics] Another 2,200,000 would be jobless in the service trades, transportation, public service and public utilities.

The existence of millions of destitute and probably desperate families would be an offense both to humanity and to world security. The only practical solution is to put most of them to work on the land and on labor battalions outside Germany [MM: my italics] repairing the damage they have done. But once the postwar chaos has been reduced to some kind of order, most of the industries which Germany could no longer acquire will be able to revive. On the basis of 1933 statistics - and with the elimination of heavy industry - that would give an industrial population of 6,660,000 divided approximately as follows:

Mines and quarries: 900,000
Optical products (nonmilitary): 100,000
Textiles: 850,000
Paper and allied products: 190,000
Printing and allied industries: 275,000
Leather and leather products: 120,000
Rubber products (not synthetics): 50,000
Sawmills, furniture and wooden goods: 610,000
Musical instruments: 40,000
Food processing, etc: 1,450,000
Apparel and other fabricated textiles: 1,050,000
Construction: 1,025,000

This list gives pretty much the measure of the industries Germany should be allowed to retain. With 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 in transportation, public utilities and trade, they offer her a well rounded life for her people. Of course it will take years. But she will be able to achieve full employment without the opportunity for hasty conversion of industry to a war basis.
[...]
Germany will have to import a certain amount of metal or metal products for such homely items as nails, hammers, screw drivers and spare parts of machinery. But imports of steel should be checked to see that amounts in excess of needs for needles, razors, etc, are not slipping through. An even closer check on chemicals and the apparatus for scientific research must be made.

Even if the memorandum of the meeting in Strasbourg's Rotes Haus had not proved the importance that the Nazis attach to scientific laboratories, the whole course of German preparations for aggression would give us the key to their methods. It must be one of the aims of Allied policy to circumvent the plans of German leaders to organize hidden laboratories for war under the guise of studying the peaceful sciences, whether pure or applied.

The nature of modern research gives us the clue to our course. The solitary inventor working alone, in secret and in poverty is not the source of most of our industrial progress any longer. Research is organized on a large scale, without a great deal of method, a great deal of apparatus and a great many workers. The sum of their toil frequently adds up to genius, but it would not have given practical results if that many scientists had been working individually without co-ordination of effort.

Therefore, the teeth can be drawn from Germany's scientific war machine by forbidding the organization of the elaborate laboratories of her past. Elimination of heavy industry will help here, because it is precisely these industries which have sponsored the most research. The electrical, metallurgical and chemical industries generally account for most of the factory-financed research in any large country.

Equal vigilance must be directed to rooting out centers of German research abroad. Those centers already have been established; they were part of the careful German preparation for defeat, since the Germans, as we now know, began preparing for World War III just after they paused their high tide of conquest in World War II. On the basis of evidence now available, this preparation to carry out scientific studies under foreign cloaks began in 1943.
[...]
It will not be possible to prevent German scientists from setting up laboratories in their homes or hidden in barns. But it will be possible to check the importation of scientific equipment, without which their work will be extremely slow if not impossible. It will be possible to deprive them of their organized centers of research, which will make it difficult for them to gain the benefit of each other's experiments.

There will remain to Germany her medical laboratories and the like. They will not be a substitute for the research once carried out in the Reich. The result may well be that the world will have to wait for a few discoveries of benefit to its health and well-being until they are made by non-Germans. The experience of the past is that the sum of all the lives saved by German discoveries would represent but a tiny fraction of the lives expended in fighting the two world wars, to which German scientific genius contributed much more than it did to the arts of peace.
The exiled German communist Guenter Reimann reviewed Germany Is Our Problem in Commentary, January, 1946. Reimann's review is behind a paywall, except for the first paragraph:
Shortly after Hitler's rise to power prominent Nazi politicians drew up a plan for the “solution of the Jewish problem.” Under its terms the Jews of Europe, and perhaps those of other continents as well, were to be deported to Kenya in Africa. Nazi propagandists stressed that their plan was extremely humane: several million Jews, by dint of hard manual labor, would live and prosper as farmers tilling the virgin African soil. But the entire plan was sheer propaganda. The real intentions of the Nazis were to exterminate the Jews, in accordance with their thesis that their elimination would resolve Europe's social crisis.
Ya can sort of see where he might be going with that.

But speaking of Communism, Morgenthau (or his ghostwriter) has a little more for us:
It is not very persuasive nor does it help to bring about an effective world organization, to have a widely read magazine print the charge by an insignificant and disgruntled former foreign service officer of the Russian government that Communism is a growing menace to American freedom. [MM: the Saturday Evening Post had printed parts of Alexander Barmine's memoir One Who Survived, ghostwritten by his friend Victor Serge - an excellent book, and a notable exception to the Mission-to-Moscow type of propaganda that of course dominated the US press at this time.]

Although the man was obscure and his knowledge of the current situation sadly out of date, an attempt to scare the reader was evident in the highly misleading heading which claimed that the article exposed the existence of a new Communist conspiracy in America. And [America's] hope of enduring friendship with Russia will have to be strong to survive such attacks as that made by another popular magazine late in 1944. A Russian proposal for oil concessions in northern Iran was twisted into a prediction of a break in Anglo-Russian relations. The twist consisted of conjuring up a Russian plot to evade Teheran pledges and dominate Russia's neighbors.

The harm in such propaganda is not so much that we read it but that we might act upon it. Certain elements of the press have carried it on for years. Only because they are notoriously unreliable has the damage to our foreign relations been relatively slight. But it can become more serious if the same line appears in the pages of journals with a better reputation, particularly those widely read for their views on international affairs.

Advocates of this blueprint of war never advance any reasonable grounds for supposing that America really is threatened by Russia or the spread of communism. Nor do they offer any evidence for supposing that a strong Germany would protect us. All the facts point to exactly the opposite conclusion.

Ever since the United States became a country, our ideologies have been almost scurrilously antagonistic. At the same time, our relations have been not only consistently peaceful but actually friendly in the pinches. Even when one of us liked the other's form of government least, we have intervened on behalf of the people. Although the rebellion of the thirteen colonies against King George of England seemed abominable to the Czar of Russia, the Russians nevertheless adopted a policy of armed neutrality which in practice favored the new United States. Again during our Civil War, despite a theoretical leaning toward the beliefs of the South, Russia took the stand that dismemberment of the Union would be opposed to Russian interests. She virtually warned England and France against recognizing the Confederacy, which they were inclined to do.

America reciprocated when Russia was being threatened by an Allied force in Siberia in 1919. The United States troops were there more for the purpose of watching the Japanese than of fighting Russians. During the course of the peace conference, both Wilson and Lloyd George went home for a short time and in their absence the conferees were whipped up to a mood of more active intervention. Wilson heard of it in mid-ocean and, although thoroughly disliking the Communistic philosophy, promptly dispatched a radio message to the effect that the only course he would agree to was speedy withdrawal of all Allied troops from Russian soil.
[...]
Of course not all advocates of a strong postwar Germany are Red baiters. Some disagree with proposals for removing German heavy industry on grounds of mistaken humanity, but there is no concealed animosity for or fear of Russia lurking behind their arguments.

Others are not so scrupulous in presenting their motives. Unwittingly they are adopting the propaganda line most favorable to the Germans, for any return to the cordon sanitaire policy toward Russia is a preparation for World War III. That policy could never be imposed upon the American people openly. The attempt is being made, therefore, to lead them into this policy secretly and by way of blind allies. Those making this attempt are proposing to dedicate the lives of our children to a purpose which they decline even to discuss with the parents. They may think their intentions are good, but good intentions make a proverbially dangerous paving, and no secret cabal ever brought anything good to this country.

If American democracy is to play its full part in winning and maintaining peace, it must be through the free play of democratic processes. That means full discussion of policies on their merits with all the arguments and all the facts before the public. For the sake of our friendship with Russia, as well as for the proper development of our own democracy, the case for and against building up Germany as a bulwark against Communism should be brought into the open. The people, whose instincts in the matter are sounder than the judgment of any cloistered "statesmen," will know how to deal with it.
Creepy shit, dear reader. No doubt about it. Your friendly local public library has a copy of Germany Is Our Problem - check it out. You'll never watch Band of Brothers or wax sappy about the "Greatest Generation" in quite the same way. (Disclaimer: not only did my own dear grandfather fight Hitler in the US Army - but he was a party-line Communist, too, just like whatever wonderful person wrote the above.)

And finally, we advance to the Cold War - which is really part of World War II, or at least was caused by it (setting aside Wilson's pro-Soviet intervention in 1919 - Woodrow Wilson is the reason there was ever a Soviet Union to begin with).

We come back to two of our old friends, Edgar Mowrer and Walter Lippmann - now on different sides of the Cold War divide. Mowrer has become a Cold War hawk; apparently he really does believe in democracy. He's depressed. Lippmann is a Cold War dove; it's all geopolitics, engagement and "realism" for him.

From Mowrer's The Nightmare of US Foreign Policy, 1948, p. 98:
Sometime in the middle thirties President Roosevelt and his Secretary of State began to be aware of the inordinate nature of the aggressors' ambitions. And as good public servants they began warning their countrymen against banking too heavily upon the policy of isolation and neutrality.

But at no time did they actually throw the full facts on the table and beg their fellow citizens for permission to take action that would have stopped the aggressors and prevented or postponed the coming struggle.
[...]
Yet the effect of twenty years' repetition of an outdated creed - the virtue of aloofness - was such that few citizens seem to have understood immediately that the United States could easily be drawn into the conflict.

When, therefore, Roosevelt and Hull were finally forced to the conclusion that the Axis powers, if successful elsewhere, would eventually move against the United States, they had - as the State Department subsequently explained - "to move within the framework of a gradual evolution of public opinion in the United States away from the idea of isolation expressed in 'neutrality' legislation and toward realization that the Axis design was a plan of world conquest in which the United States was intended to be a certain, though perhaps ultimate, victim..."
Many people still believe in this. There is almost no evidence for it. There was little or no joint coordination between the "Axis" as a whole, as with the Allies. Hitler certainly planned to conquer Eastern Europe and Russia; Italy had its little empire in Africa; Japan wanted China, Indochina and Indonesia. It is not terribly clear that their governments would have been terribly worse than the people who in fact ended up ruling these places. It is also quite clear that Hitler never planned to invade Texas through Mexico, although doubtless if he'd been given the opportunity, etc.

But essentially, what we have here is a party saying: we had to conquer the world, or someone else would have. The theory certainly cannot be disproved! And thus it falls. p. 92:
Whatever its causes, American paralysis in the face of growing peril was not due to any lack of information, not even among the general public. The American newsmen abroad predicted the successive steps of the world crisis with consistent accuracy. They foresaw that Mussolini would be a persistent source of trouble and disorder. They recognized that Hitler meant murder. They knew and warned that the Spanish Civil War would be a curtain-raiser to World War II unless the democratic Spanish Republic was saved. They howled from the housetops that Japan's invasion of China was no local incident, but a great step toward the creation of a Far Eastern monopoly.

Most of them foresaw that if World War II came, America would have to get into it to save itself. These typewriter Cassandras were not believed.
Despite the grimness of the events, I simply cannot suppress a chuckle at this line. p. 104:
The job facing the President was to save the American people in the teeth of their conviction that isolation and neutrality meant security.

For this task the President was specially equipped. His complicated mind was capable of the needed efforts on both the psychological and military planes. His self-confidence carried him serenely along a knife-edge, where a slip on one side would have meant defeat for the Allies, and on the other, repudiation by his own people. His extrovert love of improvisation and his lack of candor saved him from constitutional doubts.
"His extrovert love of improvisation and his lack of candor saved him from constitutional doubts." Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest President ever - Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Lo, when He invented the Man from Hyde Park, God cast his golden smile on our noble Republic. p. 144:
No foreign policy that enabled the United Nations to win World War II could be called a failure. Yet no policy that left the United States with a new adversary as powerful and ruthless as the beaten Axis could be called a success.

In winning the war, FDR left nothing to chance. In planning for peace, he bet the future of the American people on one card: that the Soviet Union would prefer peace and collaboration with the West to armed and ideological expansion. He was warned of the risk. He acknowledged the risk. He deliberately took the risk. And he lost.

About one third of formerly independent Europe, well over one hundred million people, had passed under Soviet control. Some nations had been totally absorbed - gone to join the other captive peoples in the Russian bear's belly. Others had fallen victim to native communist bailiffs. The rest of continental Europe, war-devastated, ill-armed, disunited, wormy with local communists bent on delivering their own countries to Stalin, lived on in constant fear. A major international traffic artery like the mighty Danube River was cut into two pieces. Nothing but the presence of American and British forces on the continent stood between Western civilization and total submergence.
[...]
Over the planet Earth the red star of Moscow shone with a ruddy light that looked to some like "liberation," to others more like an approaching inferno.
It's not a failure, it's not a success. It's a failess! Or a succure. p. 157:
In Spain, once the United Nations victory in Europe was assured, it would have been both simple and proper to have eliminated Dictator Franco and re-established the democratic Spanish Republic.
[...]
How explain that Secretary Hull's stern anti-fascism was never applied against Argentina or against Spain? Both stood for the negation of democratic principles. Only German greed in North Africa prevented Franco Spain from going to war on Hitler's side. Both governments could have been eliminated by a minimum of effort - the Farrell-Peron regime in Argentina by a Pan-American joint demarche, the Franco regime in Spain (for which American nonintervention in the Spanish Civil War bore some responsibility) by a naval blockade once the war with Germany was virtually complete.
As Mandelstam wrote of Stalin: "he pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom." p. 231:
The old world was dead.

Even the landmarks had vanished. Never again could Americans afford to indulge in that indifference toward matters foreign which their fathers had affected. Never again could they ignore military maneuvers in Pskov, a riot in Zanzibar, a palace revolution in Arabia, or a famine in Bengal.
There's only one cure for the nightmare of US foreign policy: more US foreign policy. p. 254:
Around the necks of the American peeople, unseen but irksome as an iron chain, hung an inescapable syllogism.

Once admitted that the Air-and-Atom Age required the abolition of war, once granted that this required a permanent preponderance of power, then no possible alliance of sovereign states, no limited federation of the kind suggested by Henry Adams forty years ago (the "Atlantic Combine") and revived by modern thinkers, was good enough.

The requisite alternative to empire was a voluntary federation strong enough to keep world order by the enforcement of world law.

Such a voluntary federation was clearly the proper goal for American statesmen.

Unhappily, between the goal and the reality yawned an abyss.

The only universal voluntary organization, the UN, was an unfinished bridge leading nowhere.

On one side of the gulf was a vast and "uncontained" Soviet bloc animated by an unswerving purpose and a proselyting faith and supported in almost every country by fanatical disciples and organized disorder squads.

On the other side were the majority of mankind, but unorganized, unallied, unfederated, a mere congeries of sovereign states united by nothing but their common opposition to communism and to domination by Russia. No Grand Alliance existed to supply so much as a temporary preponderance of power. No United States of Europe was yet in being. No concrete steps toward an "Atlantic Combine" had been taken. There was still no Far Eastern Alliance or Middle Eastern Alliance temporarily able to block Russian expansion in those areas.

In short, nothing stood between the Russian bloc and the achievement of a world Union of Socialist Soviet Republics but the power of the United States.

Yet at this juncture, in such a crisis, it seemed to many observers that the drowsy leaders of the world's greatest democracy were aiming at nothing more than the preservation of an outworn system of sovereign states. Within this system they were even continuing their country's dreary diplomatic pattern of weakening potential allies and strengthening potential enemies.

Would they awaken and use their country's power in time?

This was the nightmare of US foreign policy in 1948.
And on, and on, and on. As you see, it is simply impossible to disentangle this madness. It folds over and over and over on itself, like the iron in a Japanese sword - history as a great strudel of lies.

You cannot unpeel the 20th century layer by layer. You have to sense the whole insane pattern. You have to cut the Gordian knot. You can't believe in this but not that - you have to deny the whole thing. For the 20th is the century of democracy, and democracy is the political apotheosis of nonsense. Until you understand and accept this, you will never make any headway.

Otherwise, you are back to listening to the likes of Walter Lippmann. Imagine a debate between him and Edgar Mowrer - now firmly in the neoconservative camp, it seems. Here is Lippmann ten years later, in The Communist World and Ours, 1958:
During the last two weeks of October, 1958, my wife and I were in the Soviet Union, almost all of the time in Moscow. We traveled as tourists although we had discussed our visit with the Soviet Embassy in Washington and it had been agreed in advance that my main purpose would be to understand Soviet foreign policy in relation to the United States. Except for a bit of sightseeing in Leningrad, we did not go anywhere else in the vast expanses of the Soviet Union, and I know nothing at firsthand about the internal condition of the Soviet Union. But from an interview, which lasted for two hours, with Mr. Khrushchev himself, supplemented by various talks with Soviet officials and Soviet editors, I think I came to understand better than I had before what are the mainsprings and the controlling ideas of Soviet foreign policy.
[...]
The cause of the bad relations is the suspicion, felt on each side of the Iron Curtain, that the other side intends to commit aggression. The suspicion arises from a belief that in the long run neither side can tolerate the other. The Soviet Union is now entering upon the climactic years - the next seven or ten years - in which it means to surpass the United States, not in the material comforts of ordinary life but in productivity per capita. The Communist leaders are certain that as they achieve this goal, the great mass of the poorer and undeveloped peoples will rally to them. No doubt, wherever they can, they will promote this rally by propaganda and by infiltration and by subversion.

But we delude ourselves if we do not realize that the main power of the Communist states lies not in their clandestine activity but in the force of their example, in the visible demonstration of what the Soviet Union has achieved in forty years, of what Red China has achieved in about ten years.

The inner moving force of Soviet suspicion is the belief that the United States and the governments of the non-Communist countries will, unless compelled to do so, never allow Russia and China to consummate the revolution which they are leading in Asia and in Africa.
[...]
The Communists are expanding in Asia because they are demonstrating a way, at present the only obviously effective way, of raising quickly the power and the standard of living of a backward people. The only convincing answer to that must be a demonstration by the non-Communist nations that there is another and more humane way of overcoming the immemorial poverty and weakness of the Asian peoples.

This demonstration can best be made in India, and there is little doubt in my mind that if we and our Western partners could underwrite and assure the success of India's development, it would make a world of difference. It might be decisive in turning the tide. It would put an end to the enervating feeling of fatality and of inevitability, to the sense that Communism is the only wave of the future, that there is only one way of internal salvation, and that the West is impotent and too lazy to do anything but let the future go by default.
[...]
But we must not exaggerate. We must not jump to the conclusion that the Communist movement is destined to expand until it has conquered the whole world. There are, of course, many on both sides of the Iron Curtain who think that this will happen. I talked to some Communists in Moscow - Mr. K was not one of them - who said, in effect, that this is one world and that Communism is bound to rule it.
[...]
Both these views are extreme and each is, I believe, derived from the same very human and common fallacy. It is the fallacy of assuming that this is one world and that the social order to which one belongs must either perish or become the universal order of mankind. But looking at the history of the globe, the truth, as I see it, is that there has never been one world, that there has never been a universal state or a universal religion.
[...]
The Communist revolution which began in Russia and has spread to China is not a repetition of the English and the French Revolutions. It is a new historical phenomenon which comes out of a convulsive awakening of the submerged masses demanding a better life for themselves. The dictators who lead this massive uprising rule the people despotically. But he would be a rash man, I think, who would say that such great masses of backward people could be persuaded by democratic methods to accept the discipline and the sacrifices which are necessary to rapid formation of capital in a primitive economy.
Anyway. I feel no need to further abuse you with this nonsense. The point is: if you feel there's anything even slightly holy about any 20th-century political system, it is long since time you were disabused.

Our political system is a human one, not a holy one. The people who said and did these things were human, like us. They had some idea of the good for which they were striving. They felt that, in order to achieve a greater good, it was necessary to commit a lesser evil. The good they sought was not realized; the evil swallowed them up, as evil does. And, if we look them in the face, if we read their words and scan their advertisements and experience them directly, we sense the presence of evil.

Yet evil is in all of us; history is full of evil; and their lesser evils, for all we know, might have averted greater. It would be as much a mistake to condemn and ridicule these people, as it is to worship and revere them. I do condemn and ridicule; but only as a matter of balance. Get the plaster saints out of your history; get the cartoon demons out as well; replace them with nothing but reality, considered with whatever sympathy and judgment you apply to the world you live in.

109 Comments:

Anonymous The Monster from Polaris said...

"if you feel there's anything even slightly holy about any 20th-century political system, it is long since time you were disabused"

Or, in Kipling's words:

Holy State or Holy King--
Or Holy People's Will--
Have no truck with the senseless thing,
Order the guns and kill!
(MacDonough's Song)

Words which should be inscribed above the front door of any institution teaching wannabe politicians.

March 4, 2010 at 4:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mowrer's is a universal vision; he is not satisfied until the entire planet adopts American democracy, and even then he will fantasize about exporting it to Mars.

My Coke-Shot-Through-Nose moment.

Scott W.

March 4, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Anonymous John said...

I think this might've been a new record set today for sheer length of post. This one might be longer even than Den Beste.

Lies lies lies, that's what history is, and Mencius is just another in a long line of people trying to get the rest of us to understand that, props to him.

March 4, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice the Bomber ad's sentence structure? Try it with Yoda's voice: "New zone of destruction a new super fuel will create. Mmmmmm."

March 4, 2010 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet, by opposing Germany and denying it Westphalian parity, Britain made Germany hateful and paranoid, for Germans saw themselves being treated as an inferior in a world system in which it was not just formally an equal, but economically and militarily an equal. Thus the harder Britain worked to deny Germany equality, the less deserving of that equality Germany became.

Substitute "China" for "Germany" and "USA" for "Britain" and you have the problem of the next two decades in a nutshell.

March 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Contemplationist said...

Holy $hit that was long! Hence, perfect for killing time at work.
So this totally confirmed my suspicion that the New Dealers would rather have Commies as friends than the rabble of Europe.

From the final paragraph, sure I don't keep cartoon devils, but surely if any few people are deserving of the devil label they include Stalin, pol Pot, Mao, Hitler, and to a lot lesser degree--- Woodrow Wilson.

Without fail, the more i discover of what Wilson involved himself into, the more evil is uncovered. The federal reserve --> great depression, mass imprisonment of political enemies, changing the balance of power in Europe by intervening in the Great War - Treaty of Versailles madness, the League of Nations.

March 4, 2010 at 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Paul Milenkovic said...

What am I supposed to learn from this?

As Poppa met Momma in Chicago, Poppa having gotten there in 1947, starting out from in late 1941 from Zagreb, Momma having gotten there in 1948, starting from Indija circa 1945, a town somewhere between Belgrade and Novi Sad, absolutely nothing Mr. Moldbug, that is nothing that I don't already know.

OK, so Good War and Greatest Generation are all a big fat myth, but mythology is often the narrative style for expressing deeper truths in the fashion of ol' Joe Campbell. I suppose iconoclasm and myth busting also serve some purpose, and I am curious as to what it is.

On strand of the "Allied leaders had feet of clay" narrative is from the Left. Something along the lines of we fought the "Good War" and "dropped the Bomb" to fight the Axis, but somewhere along the line we lost our moral compass to deploy a first-strike nuclear arsenal (yes, first-strike was the doctrine and MAD was hand-wringing -- I can supply evidence for making this case) against our Russian buddies.

The second strand is from the Right, from Pat Buchanan (and who else, really?), where moral equivalency is drawn between the London Blitz and the Firebombing of Hamburg, and the Holocaust wasn't quite what it was made out to be, you see, the human skeletons in the liberated camps to the contrary.

It is more clear to me where the moral hand-wringing from the Left was leading (surrender quietly to the Russians). Where the Right was/is leading with this is more of a mystery, although many question Mr. Buchanan's moral purity.


Anyway, you made your point, and on another thread, I learned something about Mr. Roosevelt's advisor Mr. Morgantheau. I was informed of something I didn't know about the 1946-47 period of the Allied Occupation. My parents spent that period in Austria and Germany, but as refugees from the "Nazi-conquered territories", they may have 1) either enjoyed privileged status relative to German civilians, or 2) as camp-dwelling refugees, they may have regarded their privation as having to do with residing in camps in the post-war aftermath and not as something inflicted as an intent of American policy. As karmic justice, whatever long-term health damage was inflicted on my parents by this came out of the Medicare Trust Fund until 2009.

So tell me Mr. Moldbug, what is your point?

March 4, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Aneesh Mulye said...

Congratulations, Mencius. You have outdone yourself.

March 4, 2010 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Walter Lippmann wounds relatively sane. Jeffrey Rogers Hummel said many of the same things in these lectures from the 70s.

March 4, 2010 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

And yet to me, the ad seems no more horrifying than usual. It is perhaps more chainsaw-massacre horrifying than Lovecraft horrifying, but it's hard to say exactly, I've become inured.


I'm confused as to how a source can be both in every sense untrustworthy and basically accurate. For the purposes of reading this post I decided to throw out the 'trust' dimension and only estimate accuracy. But that's just what I always do.


Yes, Voigt is clearly great. I had to think pretty hard to figure out why I think so, but it's because his descriptions are actually explanatory. I can see how they could actually be true and how they could actually lead to what actually happened.

(I'm amused at how Baron Grote and Voigt made successful specific predictions, though I wonder how much of that success is in throwing away all their peers who didn't.)

By contrast, Mowrer is almost pure moralizing, barely suggesting an actual explanation. His business is in oughts and especially who one ought to look down upon. Even the question 'for what reason' doesn't seem to interest him much. He indulges in counterfactuals too often to spend enough time on the regular factuals.

March 4, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Mencius, those of us who generally agree with you are dependent on your interpretations for a variety of reasons. One of which is, lacking historical training or experience, the ambiguity in the sources cannot be reliably resolved.

As such, you can quote less and analyze or summarize more. It will make what you think clearer without sacrificing a great deal of verifiability.

Additionally, I sincerely doubt those who disagree will suddenly find your analysis agreeable just because they can see one step further back. One example is, again, lack of historical training and experience. Ambiguity leads to confirmation bias leads to support of the propositions opposite to the ones you see in these texts.

Come to think, that's also a reason not to bother quoting that extensively for your supporters either. Although I did read most of these quotes, except Morgenthau's flack, who was just too muzzy. Bloody prose equivalent of cotton batten.

My main motivation here is that these analyses are the actual foundations of your reaction.

"...it had rebelled against the new international order of which it was destined to become a part.
Therefore, it had to be punished. And hence the bombers. Or so I believe"


If you can show us all of your foundational beliefs, we, and especially I, can check whether your conclusions actually follow.

With at least some primary text quoting, I at least can tell whether I need to review the actual data, and I suspect I'm not alone.

But generally, for both furthering your thought and changing it, the work is going to be found between the primary texts and neocameralism, not at either node.

Also generally, people are pretty good at observation. If you ask a person what they saw, it's often going to be pretty close what you'll see if you go to the same place. It's just the steps after that where the diaspora begins.

(To be precise, if you ask a person 'is prison a deterrent' you'll typically get bullshit, even if they're a warden. If you ask them about a specific conversation with a prisoner or a not-yet-caught criminal about prison, you'll get gold.)

I think I see this in Voigt and his inferiors as well. A primary source is as close as you can get to going yourself to history. Voigt cares more about saying what happened and what he sees, while Mowrer only wants his reader to share his thoughts; he almost demotes himself to secondary source.

For example, Mowrer's 'lack of candor.' Politicians lie, duh. Was FDR's lack special in some way, did he lack candor more perfectly than usual, or was this, in fact, just politics as usual? How did it actually save FDR from doubts?
Compare Voigt;
"It would now seem that the danger of precipitating a general European war will deter Hitler from an armed attack on Czechoslovakia."
True or false...you can see how Hitler might have been deterred by the possibility of replaying The Great War.

March 4, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I think in some sense in this post we are expected to come to our own conclusions, but MM hopes they aren't cartoons of the reality either in picturing them holy or demonic... certainly neither Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia look good under a light, and even though the Allies may be comparably better, the light reveals them to be quite a load of rabble as well.

In other words, for various reasons, none of them is an example to uphold or follow...

All other conclusions I think can be considered the reader's own.

March 4, 2010 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Porphyrogenitus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 4, 2010 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Porphyrogenitus said...

(Previous post removed because of coding error >_<).

"Walter Lippmann [s]ounds relatively sane."

Yup, especially the part about China's rapid advance during the height of the Great Leap Forward, and what a sterling example that would set for people throughout Asia and Africa who wanted to follow in Mao's footsteps. (Pol Pot comes to mind as an adopter, and Mughabe in Africa as a more recent one).

Nothing could be saner than to praise the rapid advance of Soviet and Maoist economics, and their impending overtaking of us in productivity.

Though I seem to recall people these days ridicule CIA assessments of the eras you refer to (50s & 70s) that asserted the same thing.

A conclusion is either risible, or it's not. Though perhaps you meant "relatively sane, judging by low standards, considering the abysmal comparisons" - the tallest pygmy syndrome might be the way in which you mean "relatively sane" - he manages, as one might expect from one of the masters of manipulating public opinion - to sound reasonable while selling a load, rather than engaging in amaturish frothing-at-the-mouth.

Some of the sanest people in the world are the best grifters. The overtly insane tend to be ineffective grifters.

March 4, 2010 at 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Truth(er) said...

I am unclear on something. If Spaight claims that Hitler was against civilian bombing in the first 10 month of the war, and if Hitler was retaliating against Allied bombing, then does that mean that the Allies bombed Hitler first?

If so, then that would've occurred sometime before the London Blitz, that is, sometime before 1940.

So when did the Allies bomb Germany that caused the Luftwaffe to bomb in retaliation?

March 5, 2010 at 2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when did the Allies bomb Germany that caused the Luftwaffe to bomb in retaliation?

The details are in Veale's book.

March 5, 2010 at 3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also want an answer to Truth(er)'s question.

March 5, 2010 at 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Nazi-like slaughter of Polish peasants allegedly carried out by a largely Jewish group of pro-Soviet partisans:
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/03/more-on-jews-poles-and-peasants.html
(...)
One interesting piece i need to read is The Massacre At Koniuchy. This is an account of a massacre of as many as 300 Polish peasants (mostly women and children) by pro-Soviet "partisans." What that means is this: during the war there were groups of pro-Soviet "partisans" (many of them Jews) who lived in the forests of eastern Poland, mostly what’s now Byelorussia, Lithuania and NE Poland. They lived by "foraging:" i.e., robbing the peasants who themselves lived on the knife’s edge of starvation, caught between the German Nazis and the Communist "partisans." If the peasants voluntarily surrendered supplies they were accused of colaboration by the Nazis, if they resisted they were accused of collaboration by the communists. This massacre, according to the diaries and accounts of Jewish participants, was expressly designed to teach the peasants in the area a "lesson."
(...)

None of us are surprised that such things happened-but you obviously have to be very careful about discussing them. Considering the countless such massacres carried out by Axis and Communist forces on the Eastern Front how much should be made of one such incident?

But in the West a similar massacre
would be etched in history:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane

March 5, 2010 at 3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also want an answer to Truth(er)'s question.

There are links to the full texts of both the Spaight and Veale books.

March 5, 2010 at 4:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, gigantic post. Also, one line from TGGP.

I'd like to create a new law called the Moldbug-TGGP inverse law: the longer a UR post, the shorter a TGGP response. Or if you are mathematically inclined, as Mencius approaches infinity, the limit of a TGGP is zero.

March 5, 2010 at 4:29 AM  
Anonymous mnuez said...

Mency, unlike maybe 90% of your commenters I actually (read) and understand you. That being the case I owe you a particular debt of gratitude because the lion's share of your writing actually goes towards my varied mental pleasures.

There are too many trite ways for me to comment on this post which, admittedly, I'm still only half way through (I read slowly and seriously, unlike most of the morons who only think they read you but haven't a half-ass of a clue as to what you or any of your multi-paragraphed quotees are saying) and I hate an encore but I feel that I should comment somehow.

First of all it's bittersweet to see you growing up. You're far less insane than you were a couple of years back. You've gone from being an enfant terrible to a crusty old man in a rather short span and I have mixed feelings about the thing.

Furthermore it's interesting how your worldview appears to be formed against two opposing contexts, that of Bay Area college kids and classical Reactionary thought. In the same piece you manage to view Americans as people uninterested in Barack Obama's alleged interest in Marxism (attesting to the peculiar region of the continent you happen to spend most of your time in) and take as an obvious given that you're speaking to an audience that will view Mowrer as a fiend rather than as a classical god to be admired and fussed over as an unheeded prophet.

Again, your contexts are strange. you should get out more often.


More substantially, while I could spend an eternity or two alternating between mocking you and telling you how genuinely appreciative I am of you, there's really only one single point that frustrates me about you. It's been a point that's frustrated me about you from the very start. Your insanities I can easily comprehend but your abject failure to apprehend the most simple and obvious of issues really impels me to give you a good shaking.

Your paradigm never wavers or doubts in its definitions of good an evil. It's good when rich people like you are granted the freedom to be as you will and it's bad when rich people like yourself are forced to sacrifice some tiny element of freedom of cash so that poor people will suffer less.

That's not what frustrates me though when I look at your intelligence. I get that and have no problem with it at all.

What makes me want to shake you so hard that I'd be brought up on charges before the Hague is that you give no hint (beyond your opening interview at Two Blowhards at least) that this is all relative and dependent upon the perspective of the viewer.

You're a wonderfully honest guy (or at least often take great pleasure in over-acting the part of one) but you never bring yourself to state clearly and unequivocally that there's no such thing as objective morality and that your chosen definitions for good and evil then are based on little more than your own self interest.

I'd keep my physical distance from you if you openly admitted to taking pleasure in the skinning of black-haired 30 year old Jewish guys and therefore regarded my capture, fattening and skinning as a moral good from the only reference point that matters, Mencius's. But I'd lose no respect for your reasoning skills.

This utterly holistic and internally confined view that you have however of moral rights and wrongs that never recognizes that you're simply analyzing battle strategies from the vantage point of an apolitical general rather than from the Lord's own bench leaves me disappointed by the fact that you're not only crazy, but stupid too.

mnuez

March 5, 2010 at 5:47 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

"As an educated person in the year 2010, your historical understanding of the Third Reich is almost perfect. In fact, even an uneducated person in the year 2010 has a fine understanding of Nazi Germany."

How so? Most people regard Hitler as a madman who wanted to take over the world - more or less the Lippmann view. Few people take the view that Hitler "just" wanted a war in eastern Europe, and thus that Britain and the USA had the option to stay out of it. If this view is true then most people have a profoundly flawed view of Hitler. You have argued more than once against the customary historical understanding of Nazi Germany, which indicates you think this understanding is far from perfect.

"The academic understanding of the Soviet Union is remarkably good, at least in the Stalin period."

Except for all those Great Purge Deniers and Soviet Espionage Deniers and Ukraine Famine Deniers and those who think Stalin was an innocent victim in 1941 (basically, everyone except Viktor Suvorov) and those who think Stalin had nothing to do with the North Korean attack in 1950 and those who think poor Stalin was a victim of American imperialism and so on and so on.

It is impossible for the academic understanding of the Soviet Union to be remarkably good, because American academia is hopelessly biased - the "progressives" control the message. These are the people who are still proclaiming Alger Hiss's innocence in 2010, for God's sake. You might as well expect a "remarkably good", objective history of the Third Reich from David Irving as a good history of Stalin's USSR from American academia.

If 1933 to 1945 was a fight to the death between Communism, Fascism, and Democracy, then we should not expect the academic propaganda factories of Democracy to produce good histories of the period, and in particular, we cannot expect them to write "good" histories of two of the actors (Fascism and Communism) while writing "bad" histories of the third (Democracy). The US-Soviet relationship is so central to the history of the Roosevelt administration that you cannot possibly write "truth" about the USSR while writing "falsehood" about the USA. You have to write falsehood about both, because much of what Stalin was doing, especially from 1942 to 1945, was the product of American policy. What Stalin did in Germany and Manchuria in 1945 (and to some extent, even as late as 1948) directly resulted from his talks with FDR at Tehran and Yalta. The history of the period is additionally polluted because of the subsequent struggle, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, over US policy towards the USSR. Some (Brahmins) wanted to continue the Roosevelt line of detente, others (Vaisyas and Optimates) wanted to pursue confrontation. The latter tried to paint Stalin as an aggressive madman and Roosevelt as a naive (or treacherous) appeaser; the former had to paint Stalin in as positive a light as possible, or at least as a victim of what America did. If Stalin were accurately represented as a positive actor seeking to increase Soviet power, then Roosevelt's policies would be discredited, and by extension, any current (post-1945) effort to pursue detente would be impossible.

The effort to control the past in order to control present policy towards the USSR / Russia by no means stopped in the 1950s, because the Brahmin (Establishment, Cathedral) effort to pursue detente with the USSR / Russia contined even to this very day. They have to distort the Cold War history of America and the Soviet Union, representing the former as bad, aggressive, and imperialist, and the latter as an innocent party simply responding to American aggression. To represent the USSR as actively seeking to expand its own power and influence, necessarily at America's expense, would undermine the case for detente with the USSR. If they are just victims of our blundering and our aggression, why then, we should stop provoking them and all will be well!

March 5, 2010 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

(cont'd)

The "standard" version of events is that evil Fascism attacked Democracy and then attacked Communism, forcing Democracy and Communism to cooperate to destroy the Fascist menace. This version of events means that Fascism's efforts to cooperate with Democracy in order to gain a free hand to attack Communism, and Communism's strategy of using Fascism against Democracy in the hopes that both would be fatally weakened, have to be papered over or discredited. In viewing a three-way struggle in which each party acted upon the other two, you cannot lie about just one of them when you write the history of the period, you have to lie about all three or tell the truth about all three.

"Indeed, it was accomplished so effectively that millions, nay billions today assume, without even thinking about the matter, that the Allies fought the war (a) to save the Jews, (b) to take revenge for the Jews, or (c) something like that."

I don't know anyone who actually thinks this. Are there any history books that make this case? I think most people assume the Allies fought the war because those crazy madmen Hitler and Tojo attacked them.

As for strategic bombing, the Brits were incinerating civilians because there was quite literally nothing else they could do to Germany. They tried daylight bombing, got punished, and the technology for night precision bombing wasn't there until mid to late 1944. So, it was either incinerate civilians or do nothing. The most morally (and militarily) indefensible British action was to continue area attacks after night precision bombing did become possible in 1944. The Americans were not trying to incinerate civilians (German ones, anyway) - they thought they could make daylight attacks on industrial targets to cripple the German economy. In point of fact, this strategy was viable, although the forces to do this weren't in place until mid to late 1944. Until then, though, the Americans, like the Brits, had to do something to Germany. Sitting around building up forces in Britain and otherwise doing nothing to Germany from 1942 to 1944 while the Soviets were taking it in the ass simply wasn't an option.

March 5, 2010 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Re: reliability - I think there is a difference between reliability of observations and reliability of conclusions. MM doesn't make it clear, but often with the 20th century you see the guys who think straight working with wrong observations and those who observe properly have an irrational monkey on their back.

One thing about the Nazis (from what I have read) is that they are in one sense terribly sane; they record exactly what happened in detail, but in the other sense incredibly insane; their conclusions don't make sense. But maybe that's 'evil' - in some traditions good is regarded as the only thing with real existence, and evil as a deprivation of that. Therefore insanity (detachment from reality) and evil must dovetail at points. Evil more commonly being the insanity of the spirit, but insanity being evil in the mind.

Those who think straight and see straight pretty much seemed to have been apolitical.

Then again it is telling that in that time (early 1900's) Chesterton had said it was the most hyper-rational who were the most insane, not the irrational. It might have been an observation that only applied most greatly to men of his time, or it could have been simply always the case.

By the way, I think 20th century history is difficult for relativists, in particular, Jewish ones (I think.) Because if you take a clear look at all of the players, none of them look really good. In effect, the more you look at (say) the Allies, the better it makes the Nazis look. If you're not a relativist, this is not a problem; evil is still evil and wrong is still wrong, even if the allies were more wicked than we supposed. But if you're not, in some way attacking the allies is in effect magnifying the Nazis. I don't think any of us is free of the taint of relativism, and the Kipling quote from the top of the comments is apropos to set you right. He is simply echoing a Psalm he was probably familiar with: "Do not put your trust in princes, nor the sons of men, from whom no salvation comes."

March 5, 2010 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

So when did the Allies bomb Germany that caused the Luftwaffe to bomb in retaliation?

The details are in Veale's book.


Bah. The Brits bombed Germany after Germany had terror-bombed the shit out of Poland, killing 40,000+ civilians. Victims, they are not. The Brits did not authorize raids on Germany until the Germans had flattened Rotterdam. Technically, the Germans killed British civilians before the British killed any German civilians.

March 5, 2010 at 7:04 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

What makes me want to shake you so hard that I'd be brought up on charges before the Hague is that you give no hint (beyond your opening interview at Two Blowhards at least) that this is all relative and dependent upon the perspective of the viewer.

You call him stupid and crazy because he doesn't believe something that is not merely stupid and crazy, but evil as well.

Moral relativists need a damn good shaking at the very least.

March 5, 2010 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger 忍著 said...

逛到你的部落格,第一個感覺就很好,希望每次更新都是美好的開始,也祝你天天都都開心喔........................................

March 5, 2010 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Moral relativism is a species of truth relativism.

Well, relative to me, it's objectively false, and relative to the relativist, my idea is true for me. Oops.

"Moral relativism has the unusual distinction—both within philosophy and outside it—of being attributed to others, almost always as a criticism, far more often than it is explicitly professed by anyone."


If morals aren't in any sense objective, the truth is not relativism, but moral nihilism.


JP,

"The Brits bombed Germany after Germany had terror-bombed the shit out of Poland, killing 40,000+ civilians. Victims, they are not."

I'm glad that's not what MM said, then.

"the Allies are bombing Germany to retaliate for the Blitz. Unfortunately, this answer is the reverse of the truth. It was the Germans who were retaliating."

The Blitz refers to the bombing of England primarily, not Poland.

"They kept screaming, in effect: We are hitting you because you hit us first. If you stop bombing us, we'll stop bombing you."

Assuming they weren't lying, the Blitz could have been ended at any time by England. (I would totally have lied about that, or decided post-hoc to continue the Blitz if I had the resources.)

This is not a narrative of victimology, it's not Mowrer. This is simply a narrative of causation. If you wish to layer on some victimology, he's attacking the allies, not defending the axis.

River Cocytus said,
"But if you're [relativist], in some way attacking the allies is in effect magnifying the Nazis."

I thought you don't like relativism, JP?

March 5, 2010 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

I'm glad that's not what MM said, then.

I'm glad I didn't say he did, then.

The Blitz refers to the bombing of England primarily, not Poland.

Poland is relevant to the question of who started terror bombing civilians first. The answer is clearly Germany.

Assuming they weren't lying, the Blitz could have been ended at any time by England.

It is completely fatuous to think so.

Germany was trying to gain air superiority and to force Britain to quit the war. German air raids weren't going to stop if Britain stopped raiding Germany. German air raids were only going to stop if Britain quit the war. Britain's choice was (a) keep fighting, bomb Gemany, get bombed; (b) keep fighting, don't bomb Germany, get bombed anyway; or, (c) quit the war and don't get bombed. "Keep fighting, don't bomb Germany, and don't get bombed" was not an option.

This is not a narrative of victimology, it's not Mowrer. This is simply a narrative of causation. If you wish to layer on some victimology, he's attacking the allies, not defending the axis.

British bombing of Germany did not cause German bombing of Britain. This is preposterous, no matter how often Hitler screamed his attacks were "retaliatory" (duh, what else is he going to say?).

What caused German bombing of Britain was Britain being at war with Germany. That and U-boat attacks were the only things Germany could do to Britain. Just as when Britain bombed Germany later because there was little else she could do, they had to drive the nail with the hammer they had, even though the hammer wasn't very accurate or effective.

I thought you don't like relativism, JP?

I have no problem with criticism of the Allies, and there is plenty of grounds for it. However, not all criticism is justified or true. The Allies should be attacked for the right reasons, not for the wrong reasons.

March 5, 2010 at 9:14 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

I'm glad that's not what MM said, then.

I'm glad I didn't say he did, then.

The Blitz refers to the bombing of England primarily, not Poland.

Poland is relevant to the question of who started terror bombing civilians first. The answer is clearly Germany.

Assuming they weren't lying, the Blitz could have been ended at any time by England.

It is completely fatuous to think so.

Germany was trying to gain air superiority and to force Britain to quit the war. German air raids weren't going to stop if Britain stopped raiding Germany. German air raids were only going to stop if Britain quit the war. Britain's choice was (a) keep fighting, bomb Gemany, get bombed; (b) keep fighting, don't bomb Germany, get bombed anyway; or, (c) quit the war and don't get bombed. "Keep fighting, don't bomb Germany, and don't get bombed" was not an option.

This is not a narrative of victimology, it's not Mowrer. This is simply a narrative of causation. If you wish to layer on some victimology, he's attacking the allies, not defending the axis.

British bombing of Germany did not cause German bombing of Britain. This is preposterous, no matter how often Hitler screamed his attacks were "retaliatory" (duh, what else is he going to say?).

What caused German bombing of Britain was Britain being at war with Germany. That and U-boat attacks were the only things Germany could do to Britain. Just as when Britain bombed Germany later because there was little else she could do, they had to drive the nail with the hammer they had, even though the hammer wasn't very accurate or effective.

I thought you don't like relativism, JP?

I have no problem with criticism of the Allies, and there is plenty of grounds for it. However, not all criticism is justified or true. The Allies should be attacked for the right reasons, not for the wrong reasons.

March 5, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

Pooh, sorry for the double post.

March 5, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

For the 20th is the century of democracy, and democracy is the political apotheosis of nonsense.

. . .

They felt that, in order to achieve a greater good, it was necessary to commit a lesser evil. The good they sought was not realized; the evil swallowed them up, as evil does.

March 5, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

For what it's worth, the British may have hatched a plan to bomb German civilian targets in the expectation of provoking a German retaliation, because the German bombing of British airdromes in the Battle of Britian was perilously close to succeeding. If so, it worked. The bombing of London gave British fighters the respite they needed.
The truth is, Allied bombing of military targets never worked if German materiel production could be judged, and bombing accuracy was very poor even in daylight. Daylight runs were considered by the British to be suicide, so they ran at night where there was no pretense of accuracy and let the Yanks commit suicide.
All those bombers, what to do with them?

March 5, 2010 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

The truth is, Allied bombing of military targets never worked if German materiel production could be judged,

Yes, it did work. Without the bombing their production would have been even higher. Production in countries not being bombed rose even more rapidly than in Germany (duh).

and bombing accuracy was very poor even in daylight.

It was poor by today's standards of GPS accuracy that allows one bomb per target.

It was good enough to achieve significant military and economic effects at the time. Attacks on oil and transportation were extremely effective and ensured Germany's collapse. Aside from their direct effects, the daylight raids forced the Luftwaffe to come up and fight; this allowed us to kill it and gave us air superiority before the Normandy invasion.

March 5, 2010 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Porphyrogentius:
Yes, I did use the word "relatively" for a reason. Mowrer in particular displays Andrew Sullivanesque qualities: irrational both before and after he flips.

At my blog I've recently been discussing the claim that communism was not actually bad for economic growth. I don't find the theory credible (as evidenced by my responses at LW), but I'm not going to dismiss it out of hand. Russia was beaten handily by Germany in WW1 (even as the Germans had to concentrate more on the western front), whereas Stalin reversed the Wehrmacht and grabbed a chunk of Germany. That poses a problem for theories of communist inefficiency which Bryan Caplan grapples with here. Even the Gapminder folks who are proponents of neoliberalism and hold the Chinese switch from crazy communism to sort-of-capitalism responsible for their great recent growth claim that Mao greatly improved Chinese health and lifespan (Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains why that might be). Additionally, Lippmann is concerned with the perception of communism. Communism primarily appealed to backward agriculturally-based countries who saw it as a route to modernization, independence and power. Lippmann says that communism will be defeated by providing better examples (and note that he says they "mean" to surpass, not that they actually will), and I would say history has confirmed that.


Regarding the bombing of civilians in WW2, the Luftwafe was originally focused on tactical bombing (their official doctrine was that strategic bombing was counterproductive). The "blitzkrieg" is an integration of airpower with ground units. Even the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War was an example of tactical bombing, as it was a means to win a particular ground battle. It was the Brits who pioneered "strategic" bombing in which the metric is not contribution toward winning a particular battle but destroying people and materiel. After the war American analysts claimed that strategic bombing was not effective but essentially a waste of pilots. Robert Pape takes an extended look at airpower in "Bombing to Win", Robert Farley has a more condensed argument (advocating that the airforce no longer be an independent branch) here.


Anonymous March 5, 2010 4:29 AM:
Get a handle.

You are free to come up with any prescriptive law you like, but as a descriptive law your inverse is wrong. The length of my comments is significantly correlated with the length of the post I'm responding to. A great portion of any particular comment of mine is taken up by quotes of MM which I respond to. The smaller the post, the less there is to respond to. Yesterday I happened to be rather busy, hence the short comment.

March 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

mnuez:
Perhaps you were too busy patting yourself on the back for your reading comprehension to notice that MM has indeed remarked on the subjective nature of morality, citing Hume.


JP:
Thanks for making those points on WW2 so I don't have to. Though I would quibble that Hitler did want war with France, even if it wasn't as urgent as war in the east.

"Except for all those Great Purge Deniers and Soviet Espionage Deniers and Ukraine Famine Deniers"
Are there any of them arount today?

Greg Cochran mocked Suvorov's theory (though I don't think he's read Suvorov himself) here.

"These are the people who are still proclaiming Alger Hiss's innocence in 2010, for God's sake"
Who?


Alrenous:
Yes, that is why I don't call myself a "relativist", I don't believe moral beliefs have any objective truth value. I wouldn't use the term "nihilist" because nihilists (at least the classic revolutionary kind) are dissatisfied with what currently exists and want to get rid of it all.


JP:
I'm not an expert on the history of airpower in WW2, but Wikipedia says "October [1940] is regarded as the month regular bombing of Britain ended." It seems the Germans gave up because bombing was costly and wasn't giving much benefit.


Some stuff I've come across that might be of interest to others. There's a hubbub about quantitative social science applied to war. And a whole bunch of people are complaining that the U.S has too much democracy, leading to too little accountability.

March 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Nanonymous said...

@TGGP: Greg Cochran mocked Suvorov's theory (though I don't think he's read Suvorov himself) here.

Cochran is 100% right there.

March 5, 2010 at 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Get a handle."

Get a grip. It was a joke you aspie.

inb4 typical aspie reponse of "HURP DURP I DUNNA UNNASTAN JOKE."

March 5, 2010 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Dan Kurt said...

re: " Nanonymous said...
"Greg Cochran mocked Suvorov's theory (though I don't think he's read Suvorov himself)"

Unless one reads Russian no one has read Suvorov as only One of the three Suvorov books in the ICE BREAKER series has been translated into English.

Some credence is given to that view of Suvorov. One who does is Andrei Navrozov of THE YALE LITERARY DIGEST fame. ( Yale took the DIGEST back from Andrei after Andrei resurrected the dormant magazine, perhaps because it was too high a quality and too conservative). Andrei is a displaced Russian and now a displaced American as he lives and writes from Europe. One can listen to a Podcast that covers the thesis of Suvorov by Andrei Navrozov by downloading for free the Jeff Nyquist Show #58 ( release date 2/26/08 ) from the iTunes Store. The interview is 59:21 in length.

Dan Kurt

March 5, 2010 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

TGGP: wouldn't other conditions have an effect on the efficiency of communism, economically?

Meaning, I think, even if communism is really a stupid idea economically - perhaps it is only so mostly in the long run. Therefore if you are a believer in it, you can find plenty of examples where it boosted instead of damaged production or growth. This does not prove necessarily that it is a good idea economically, but that under certain conditions it might work for this end.

Also, I suppose if you believe it will hearken in the next age where normal economy won't matter, the prospect of long term inefficiency and ultimate collapse may be small considerations.

March 5, 2010 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

Mnuez,

Apart from being a little puffy, you give us this:

but you never bring yourself to state clearly and unequivocally that there's no such thing as objective morality

It's clear and unequivocal that there is such a thing as objective morality.

Relative morality is what got us into this damned mess.

March 5, 2010 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

JP:

So, it was either incinerate civilians or do nothing.

Bah.

Negotiate Peace
Give the Continent to Hitler
Fight Hitler's Troops
Build better anti-aircraft guns
Insist on ground-only fighting

I'd give more options but it would just be tiresome. The mass-slaughter of people is only an option to the evil.

March 5, 2010 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous blue anonymous said...

TGGP,

> claim that Mao greatly improved Chinese health and lifespan (Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains

That is one awesome podcast, however there is something else that probably looms larger in Mao's case. And that is that the Chinese were malnourished and overcrowded, and much less so after Mao killed a considerable proportion of them. The average person would have wound up with more property and more productive land to work, as the worst acres were abandoned.

Regarding nihilism, there are two meanings that are pretty well separate. Moral nihilism and philosophical nihilism of a more technical bent refer, respectively, to disbelief in objective moral truth or in objective truth period. Value nihilism, the tendency to set the value of personal, civilizational, and/or general existence very low or below zero, is a different matter. "Moral nihilism" is a stock phrase, but I'm not sure truth nihilism or value nihilism have agreed-on names. It seems like they are often or usually just called nihilism.

March 5, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

JP,

"I'm glad I didn't say he did, then."

Then I must ask who precisely you're trying to contradict that "Victims, they are not."

Truth(er) said,
"I am unclear on something. If Spaight claims that Hitler was against civilian bombing in the first 10 month of the war, and if Hitler was retaliating against Allied bombing, then does that mean that the Allies bombed Hitler first?"

Spaight does not claim this. Spaight claims that Germany bombed London in retaliation for English strategic bombing in Germany. He has several strategic explanations as to why Germany would have preferred to use the Luftwaffe elsewhere.

Spaight claims British strategic bombing began in June 1940, while the London Blitz did not begin until September.

If you wish to claim that Germany killed civilians first, and play that victimology, you can go right ahead. But it has nothing to do with Spaight, or with Truth(er)'s question.

Spaight:
"After Poland had been crushed we fully expected the weight of the German blow in the air to fall on us. It did not."

"Poland is relevant to the question of who started terror bombing civilians first. The answer is clearly Germany."

This is too imprecise.

Spaight (same page):
"One thing is certain, and that is a thing that should be made clear, for it is commonly misunderstood: the bombing of Warsaw or Rotterdam was not in parallel with the bombing of London.
[...]
When Warsaw and Rotterdam were bombed, German armies were at their gates. The air bombardment was an operation of the tactical offensive."


Intriguingly, Spaight then anticipates your argument.

"Purblind, the Germans thought they could get away with these very brutal bombardments, just because the bombers were operating with an investing army, and still maintain the de facto ban on the bombing of objectives outside the battle-zone. They were soon undeceived. They are, au fond, stupid people as a whole."

Indeed, even seventy years later they can't escape.

Both Spaight and La Wik are also imprecise here. Whether the bombs' civilian casualties were collateral or intended is not specified.

It doesn't matter who terror bombed whom. (Except perhaps to you? But then your comment has nothing to do with the rest of this page?) The question is whether the Blitz was retaliation or not - its proximate causes.

"It is completely fatuous to think [that Hitler wasn't lying about the Blitz]."

That's why it was an assumption.
Also, re-read my parenthetical.

Spaight anticipates you again.
"Many will say [Hitler's speeches] were merely the hysterical screams of a neuropath."

"German air raids weren't going to stop if Britain stopped raiding Germany. "Keep fighting, don't bomb Germany, and don't get bombed" was not an option."

This is in complete contradiction to Spaight. Source?

Spaight (again, same page):
"For that and other reasons, hereafter given, I am personally convinced that the proposal [to restrict bombing] was seriously meant, that is, was intended to be accepted. I can not subscribe to the view that Hitler brought it forward [with tongue in cheek]; not in the least because he was incapable of doing so, but simply because it was unquestionably in his interest."

March 5, 2010 at 8:25 PM  
Anonymous blue said...

> Then I must ask who precisely you're trying to contradict that "Victims, they are not."

If I recall, one of MM's above sources tended to argue that they were victims and/or were justified. I think he was referring to that writer rather than MM.

March 5, 2010 at 8:46 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

@TGGP

Russia was beaten handily by Germany in WW1 (even as the Germans had to concentrate more on the western front), whereas Stalin reversed the Wehrmacht and grabbed a chunk of Germany. That poses a problem for theories of communist inefficiency

I can resolve your perplexity. What you need to understand is that the Soviet military-industrial complex was made in the USA. See chapter 1 of Walter Scott Dunn's The Soviet Economy and the Red Army. Commies don't have to be efficient of the Capitalists build the factories for them. =)

Regarding the bombing of civilians in WW2, the Luftwafe was originally focused on tactical bombing (their official doctrine was that strategic bombing was counterproductive)

No. Corum says the LW thought terror bombing was counterproductive, but they had a large and well-developed theory and doctrine of strategic bombing against military and economic targets.

After the war American analysts claimed that strategic bombing was not effective but essentially a waste of pilots.

No. Which "analysts", anyway? Pape is an idiot. There are much better studies of strategic bombing than that - like Richard G. Davis and Alan J. Levine.

Are there any of them arount today?

Yeah! J. Arch Getty and Robert Thurston are Great Terror Deniers. Read John Earl Haynes "In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage" for Soviet Espionage denial.

Proclaiming Alger Hiss's innocence: Kai Bird and Victor Navasky.

March 5, 2010 at 11:26 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

Negotiate Peace
Give the Continent to Hitler


Contemptible and utterly calamitous for British national interest, but other than that, a fine idea!

Fight Hitler's Troops

The British were fighting Hitler's troops as best they could in peripheral theaters. As Britain could not possibly match Germany on the ground in Europe, this was not a serious alternative to strategic bombing.

Build better anti-aircraft guns

This could hurt Germany when it attacked Britain, but did nothing to solve Britain's problem of how to strike back at Germany.

Insist on ground-only fighting

Again, this amounts to doing nothing effective to Germany from May 1940 until the US enters the war and the US and Britain invade France in June 1944. So, for four years, Britain does nothing. Politically and militarily this is a non-starter.

Thanks for the amusing list of bad ideas, though.

March 5, 2010 at 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robbo speaking:
Actually, I'm not sure there is really a distinction between tactical bombing as one facet of Blitzkreig and terror bombings of civilian populations, but if Guernica 1937 and Poland Sept 1939 were Blitzkreig, the award for starting terror bombing goes to Russia's November 1939 bombing of Helsinki.

@JP said...

" Negotiate Peace
Give the Continent to Hitler

Contemptible and utterly calamitous for British national interest, but other than that, a fine idea!"

Of course when you see how fantastically well the British national interest was served by the war - death, destruction, impoverishment and the rest - you've simply got to agree

March 6, 2010 at 1:47 AM  
Anonymous mko2 said...

"Contemptible and utterly calamitous for British national interest, but other than that, a fine idea!"

I really have no dog in this fight and don't know much about WWII. But I am always curious when I hear people talk about "national interest".

Could you please elaborate to me how Hitler taking over Poland and Bulgaria threatens the British national interest?

March 6, 2010 at 4:04 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

mko2, read the material MM has presented. The British Empire, because it is simultaneously both a. British and b. throughout the world, it is possible for far-flung events to be considered a threat to British national interest. In this time it is the United States who tends to act most in this regard, but I do not think we use the same language.

You create a confusing situation where a country does something which is not an attack against a particular country, but that particular country retaliates anyway, because their national interests, we suppose, are cast so widely abroad.

March 6, 2010 at 4:58 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

blue,

Could you point out which one? I can't figure it out.


mko2,

A contemporary example is the position of Canada.
Lacking a nuclear arsenal, there's little Canada itself could do to deter a Russian attack. Say they decide they want Alert in Nunuvut, so they take it. It's not immediately obvious that this is bad - you know, one Canuck dies, four are deported. Not exactly catastrophe.

The U.S. immediately has a hysterical hissy fit. America cannot allow Russia any entrenched positions this side of the arctic circle, nuclear arsenal or no. The difference between defending a beach and defending a beachhead is enormous. And yes, if they stayed, it would mean war.

I'm fairly sure Canada is aware of this, and it's why we can afford such a pitifully small military.

Incidentally, all three countries probably have contingency plans for invasion of each other. I can confirm that Canada and the US have mutual invasion plans. Frankly it would be stupid not to.

March 6, 2010 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger britan said...

Hotel reservations

March 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

JP:

Why would Britain have to attack Germany on the Continent? Anti-aircraft guns would have been fine.

March 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous The Unnamed said...

Mowrer: "Place its own people in all positions of responsibility or control, eliminate, bribe or fetter and even gag its potential opponents at least until it has definitely solidified its own position. Wipe out dangerous traces of the past. Destroy former symbols and substitute new ones for them. Embark upon a vast campaign of education to make clear to the people the evils of the old and the benefits of the new."

MM: "this is exactly what was done to Germany after the next war. Nor was Germany the only place it was done!"

Is MM alluding to the post-war domestic agenda of the American establishment?

In high school history many Americans heard how veterans returning from formerly Nazi Europe began to see our racial systems as similar to the ideology they had defeated.

But how many of us have put two and two together?

The post-war cultural conflicts in the United States can be understood as denazification applied at home.

For instance, take the Frankfurt School's Herbert Marcuse. In his essay Repressive Tolerance he wrote:

"Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate... It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War."
==

This alarmism resembles claims about Nazis invading Texas. The so-far winning side in the U.S. culture wars has simply treated Texans like Nazis.

Fans of UO will instantly see the connection with Marcuse's wartime service: "Marcuse first worked for the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) on anti-Nazi propaganda projects. In 1943 he transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. His work for the OSS involved research on Nazi Germany and denazification."

Is anyone doing MM-like readings of domestic American history?

The closest example I know is E. Michael Jones' The Slaughter of Cities: Urban Renewal as Ethnic Cleansing. He holds that ethnic Catholic neighborhoods were seen as a national security threat (Nazi-symps) and a political threat. So some Machiavels supposedly used urban renewal and the civil rights movement as a cover for those cultures' destruction.

March 6, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

Actually, I'm not sure there is really a distinction between tactical bombing as one facet of Blitzkreig and terror bombings of civilian populations, but if Guernica 1937 and Poland Sept 1939 were Blitzkreig, the award for starting terror bombing goes to Russia's November 1939 bombing of Helsinki.

Huh? The September 25 air attack on Warsaw was a terror attack. Throwing incendiaries out the door of a Ju-52 transport can have no other purpose.

Of course when you see how fantastically well the British national interest was served by the war - death, destruction, impoverishment and the rest - you've simply got to agree

What were the options available to Britain? With the fall of France, Britain's time as an independent great power was at an end. She was then destined to be someone else's junior partner and client state - the only question was whose. If Britain quit the war in 1940, then she would be either Hitler's client state or Stalin's client state, depending on the outcome of Barbarossa. If Britain stayed in the war, then she could hope to become America's client state, which is what actually happened. Britain made the right choice.

The idea that Germany would leave Britain alone after conquering the USSR, and that Britain would have a shred of political independence in that situation, is utterly asinine.

Could you please elaborate to me how Hitler taking over Poland and Bulgaria threatens the British national interest?

When Hitler attacked Poland despite the British guarantee, then it was unquestionably in Britain's national interest to fulfill the terms of the guarantee. It is never in a great power's national interest for their guarantees to be worthless.

Why would Britain have to attack Germany on the Continent? Anti-aircraft guns would have been fine.

LOL, when you're at war with someone, you typically seek to attack them.

Bombers were the only means Britain had to attack Germany. It would have been stupid, and politically unacceptable, not to use them.

To be sure, there were better ways to bomb Germany than the way the RAF actually did. But not to bomb Germany at all was not an option to be taken seriously at the time, and cannot be taken seriously even 70 years after the fact.

March 6, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mko2: British national interest:

Foreign countries can be in one's national interest because they contribute to the national defense as an ally or a counterbalance to a third power, as a market for one's exports, source of natural resources, etc.

The example of any loss of Britain to Germany at this time is extreme:

1) Because Britain's economic, political, and military interests were predominant, imperial, and global, any disruption of the status quo and any turning of even a neutral power to an enemy was against Britain's national interest.

2) Any enlargement of Germany was a threat to Britain's national interest, both as an insane and expansionistic state under Hitler and as the industrial and military power which the other Powers historically feared.

Other than this, the British Empire depended on Continental markets, and they needed countries on Germany's eastern front, which historically counterbalanced Germany as wedged between hostile powers.

March 7, 2010 at 1:54 AM  
Anonymous mko2 said...

Alrenous,

Your example is irrelevant. If the US and Russia were enemies, Russia invading Canada brings the Russian army into direct contact with the American border. That’s a serious threat.

A precursory look at a map will show you that Germany invading its eastern neighbors, even if it went all the way to Vladivostok, only takes the German army away from Britain. That’s not a serious threat.

Anonymous,

Britain was not dependent on its exports to Eastern Europe. In any case, that’s a fucking dumb excuse. Why would you be willing to fight and kill your own children to defend people who buy from you so they can buy from you? The world is huge and others will buy your crap. In any case, you would not be defending the British “national interest”, you’d simply be defending the profits of whichever British firms happen to be exporting crap to Eastern Europe at that time. And why the fuck should British soldiers die to defend the profits of corporations?

And do you realize that you just restated that it is a threat to the national interest because it is a threat to the national interest?

Germany growing, on its own, is not a threat. Germany attacking Britain is a threat. Those are two very different things. No one suspects that Germany wanted to invade England, let alone America. In fact, taking over Eastern Europe and trying to rule over the millions of unruly tribes in it would’ve left Hitler with enough on his hands that he would not have considered coming near England. Had England just made it clear that it minds its own business and that if Hitler comes near Britain, all of the British might would fight him, he would’ve steered clear. By pretending that the “British national interest” includes things which Hitler really wanted, which were none of Britain’s business, Britain was making conflict inevitable.

As always, the myth of national security is invoked by criminal corporatist regimes to defend their own interest at the expense of their people. It ends up screwing everyone over.

March 7, 2010 at 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with JP. Both world wars were fairly economically deterministic. With Hitler holding France, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland USSR, and the rest, he would have been in a position to cow Anglophonia. The US had a population of only about 150 million. Other pops can be seen here if you scroll down to page 10. Whether he or more probably his successor would actually choose to overrun Anglophonia is sort of beside the point. Either way he would have told it what was what.

Obviously, I realize that not all these pops are equally productive. Russia is no Germany on a per capita basis. And they weren't Germans. Their morale wouldn't have been perfect. But the idea that Hitler couldn't have made them work is not plausible. Had some area country rebelled Hitler would have just leveled and decimated it like Putin leveled Grozny. That's how the game is played when you are really serious.

I'm speaking pretty objectively on this: I hate both sides. I loathe that Hitler started the fateful fratricidal war for no apparent reason but the good of one single nation out of our whole civilization, but given that the accursed war had started I'm not sure I am necessarily glad he lost.

March 7, 2010 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

mko2,

Perceptions are all that matter. Whether the resulting arrangement would have been objectively stable or not is what's actually irrelevant. The allies thought it wasn't, and thus acted as if it wasn't.

March 7, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

For instance, take the Frankfurt School's Herbert Marcuse.

May I ask why the Frankfurt School keeps being brought up as this hugely evil monstrosity/boogeyman?

For the most part, the counter culture radicals of the 1950's and 1960's in the US and Europe weren't aware of the Frankfurt School because the School was mostly immersed in obscure literary and scholarly analysis.

Jean Paul Sartre's existentialist allies like Michel Foucault were much more widely read among the general than the more academic Frankfurt School.

Dr Alfred Kinsey "the father of the sexual revolution" is most closely associated with the sexual revolution of the 1960's, not the Frankfurt School.

Now, it is true Marcuse became involved in the 1960's revolution but only after the counter culture revolution was in full swing.

Removing the Frankfurt School from the 1960's equation would not have made the left any less powerful than it became, so I'm sort of wondering why four obscure guys in an Ivory Tower get all of this blame pinned on them.

March 7, 2010 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Re: Britain and Germany,

Had Britain allowed Hitler dominate Eastern Europe it is possible Hitler would have left Britain alone.

The problem with the "Let Britain give Continental Europe to Hitler" "strategy" is that Adolf wasn't playing with a full deck of cards even when the Wehrmacht was winning left and right. Considering his psychological profile, there was no good reason Britain should have trusted Hitler not to break a promise to leave Britain alone.

If Britain had surrendered Europe to the Third Reich, Germany might have left Britain alone. But whether Britain would actually have been spared by a victorious Hitler would be a decision entirely dependent on whatever mood Hitler was in on any particular day.

Handing the absolute and final power to decide Britain's existence to Adolf Hitler's mere fiat was probably not a good idea from the British perspective.

March 7, 2010 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

A precursory look at a map will show you that Germany invading its eastern neighbors, even if it went all the way to Vladivostok, only takes the German army away from Britain. That’s not a serious threat.

It is a serious threat, because it enlarges the already strong German continental power base, incorporating massive new resources into the German economy, and eliminates Germany's enemies on the continent, allowing her to focus on building air and naval power to attack Britain. Sheesh, this is geopolitics 101, people.

Germany growing, on its own, is not a threat.

Yes it is - and particularly if Germany is controlled by the Nazis.

Germany attacking Britain is a threat.

Hey, so let's do nothing and let Germany grow powerful by attacking other people, until she is finally ready to come and attack us! Yeah, what a great strategy!

In fact, taking over Eastern Europe and trying to rule over the millions of unruly tribes in it would’ve left Hitler with enough on his hands that he would not have considered coming near England.

Rubbish. And in any event all you're doing with that strategy is temporarily putting off the day that Germany can threaten your very existence, which would be irresponsible for any British government to do.

Had England just made it clear that it minds its own business and that if Hitler comes near Britain, all of the British might would fight him, he would’ve steered clear.

And someday, when Germany controls everything from the Rhine to the Urals, and doesn't have to worry about holding off Russia any more, Hitler decides he doesn't need to steer clear of Britain any more and can trample on her interests all he wants. Ooops!

By pretending that the “British national interest” includes things which Hitler really wanted, which were none of Britain’s business, Britain was making conflict inevitable.

Poland was none of Hitler's business, either!

Hitler made conflict inevitable, not Britain. The decision for peace or war was entirely his, and he chose war. If Hitler had not attacked Poland in defiance of the British guarantee, then WW2 would never have happened.

the myth of national security is invoked by criminal corporatist regimes to defend their own interest at the expense of their people.

Allowing Hitler to run wild on the European continent, even if he says, "I promise (cross my heart and hope to die) to attack you last, I mean, not to attack you!" is inconsistent with any definition of national security.

Britain did not go to war because of some "corporatist" interest. British corporations understood very well that war was bad for business.

Had Britain allowed Hitler dominate Eastern Europe it is possible Hitler would have left Britain alone.

Yeah, but Britain couldn't know that they'd be left alone until Hitler had vastly augmented his power. What did the record suggest in September 1939 about Hitler being trustworthy and wanting to leave people alone? Hmmmm, gee, let me think...

March 7, 2010 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Yeah, but Britain couldn't know that they'd be left alone until Hitler had vastly augmented his power. What did the record suggest in September 1939 about Hitler being trustworthy and wanting to leave people alone? Hmmmm, gee, let me think...

Well said.

The Unnecessary War contrarians think if they point out it wasn't 100% certain Hitler would have invaded Britain after conquering Russia then this proves Britain was foolish to fight Germany.

Well, sure, I will concede nobody can be 100% sure whether or not a victorious Reich would have eventually attacked a neutral Britain or if Hitler would have been content with with his Eastern European Empire and called it a career.

However, the burden of proof isn't on the conventional WWII historians to prove Hitler was certain to attack Britain no matter what Chamberlain's reaction to Poland was.

The burden of proof is on the contrarians to show Britain (and France) would have been better off today to have stayed neutral after the invasion of Poland and placed their destiny entirely in the hands of a militarily invincible Continental Nazi Empire.

March 7, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Anonymous The Unnamed said...

Undiscovered Jew,

Re: Marcuse, I take your point about overblown influence and I did not imply he was the major agent of change. He is useful as one data point among many and some of his writings describe a roadmap followed by the cultural revolution.

I agree re: Kinsey's influence being greater, but curiously invocations of Kinsey often attract the critiques you leveled at my mention of Marcuse.

March 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous so long -- from a boring jerk said...

Considered retarded here at my desk is the suggestion that it was creepy to want to rule and partly de-industrialize Germany, the irrational harvester. Apparently once the Battle of Berlin died down, Mencius would have had the occupiers say: "Gosh, what a kick in the pants it all was! I'll just get on home, kiss my best girl, and enjoy reading Juenger 'til it's time to shoot, hack, and burn our way back to Brandenburger Tor once again in World War III -- props to my dead homieez!!"

Fuck Hitler's Germany, fuck any single country. This aftermath was about making a sustainable future for the brothers of Europe. In fact, it would have been helpful to have done that beforehand. If we want to kick the Allies for something, why not the usual: Versailles? Why'd Anglophonia fail to reign in the weak and irrational Gallia back then -- and did that failure perhaps have anything to do with the democratic nature of the Anglophonian regimes? Or if not, what caused it? That's what I think merits being pondered in the key of Mencius.

Obviously the other catastrophe of the Allies was their failure to control their minds manfully. We got disoriented amongst the enormities, and so we young are now raised as the servants to all the touchstones of Hitler in their antitheses, because our real soul and tradition had gotten lost somehow. If Mussolini had adenosine in his DNA, we'll have 5-fluoruracil instead, if it withers us all. If Hitler (plus other high-ranking Nazis) respired glucose and O2 into water + CO2 + energy, by Fuck we'll make the exact inverse our basis. We gave up on thinking. The result is a civilization whose social, spiritual, and biological basis is decaying at rate that's hard to pin down exactly, but it doesn't look good. We got tears in our eyes among the enormities, which we failed to wipe away according to the rigid laws of this planet. Our soldiers sacrificed magnificently, and our intellectuals promptly blurred everything real with their weakling, unattended tears. That unlawful abdication is our pan-European tragedy, and I wonder also whether democracy had anything to do with the failure of that intellectual milieu to right itself and bring itself back to sensible regulation.

And on the other hand, what about Hitler's accession to power? What if Mencius' betes noires were right and the Weimar republicans really should have stuck it to parties of an anti-republican bent far more energetically. Would that have obviated Hitler? And would the whole West have developed healthily in his absence, or at least healthily enough? In that case, should I really care that Germany didn't get to express their true destiny because of democracy-imposition from abroad?

March 7, 2010 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

I take your point about overblown influence and I did not imply he was the major agent of change.

Ok.

I agree re: Kinsey's influence being greater, but curiously invocations of Kinsey often attract the critiques you leveled at my mention of Marcuse.

I think even Kinsey's influence is overblown because intellectuals normally don't have the power to drive events.

Rather, I think intellectuals just board societal changes that are already going to leave the station.

The sexual revolution illustrates my point. The sexual revolution was mostly caused by larger societal trends such as birth control and not really Alfred Kinsey's theories or Hugh Hefner's entrepreneurship.

Removing even Kinsey and Hefner from the picture would not have altered the course of the sexual revolution.

However, politicians do have power to influence cultural trends.

March 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Anonymous March 5, 2010 5:53 PM:
I apologize for not making myself clear. "Handle" is jargon dating back to CB-radio days. It is a means of referring to someone, often a pseudonym. It is difficult to carry on a conversation with someone who gives no means of being referred to, especially if there are multiple people going by "Anonymous". My statement was not asking you to "get a grip".
Now get a handle.


Dan Kurt:
Never heard of Jeff Nyquist before, dissapointed that I'd have to pay money for his podcasts. I think MM has referenced Navrozov though, is he an historian?


River Cocytus:
Yes, I've heard that theory before and found it plausible. Communism seems focused on industrialism, which had already been extensively developed in western europe. This is similar to the "catch-up growth" models, which say poorer countries can grow more quickly because they are "standing on the shoulders" of giants from rich countries. Kenny's theory is that communism had different effects on different countries, primarily by determining economic/trade blocs. East German was removed from the rich bloc it had previously been in with West Germany, but poor countries to the east (including Russia itself) benefitted by adding such central european countries to their bloc. This helps to explain China's post-Deng growth: the U.S decided to partner up with it (against the Soviets) and added it to a rich trade bloc.


G. M. Palmer:
It's not clear enough for MM, mnuez or me. Disagreements don't get resolved by stating that the answer is "clear" or "obvious", but by actually making it obvious to the other party.


blue anonymous:
Glad you like the podcast, it's one of my favorites as well. Your Malthusian theory reminds me of Greg Clark on the Black Death.


JP:
The description of Dunn's book at amazon makes it sound like the Soviets built the factories, but American engineers gave technical assistance.

You are right that they distinguished terror-bombing from strategic bombing.

I hadn't heard of the Kai Bird Hiss vs Foote controversy. I found an article where he and his co-author say "We do not propose to address the larger question of whether Hiss was guilty or innocent of espionage". Later on they implicitly seem to accept Whittaker Chambers' claim that Hiss' involvement with the Soviets was from 1936-38 (whereas ALES started in 1935 and continued through WW2). This detractor of Bird says "The historical case against Alger Hiss does not ride on the question of the identity of ALES. While it is unlikely that Wilder Foote was the GRU agent with the cryptonym ALES, even if he was, that discovery alone would not vindicate Hiss." I haven't read John Earl Haynes' book, but this page critical of such "revisionists" indicates that they don't outright deny the Terror. Getty thinks there was a dysfunctional bureaucracy with incomplete control, which is MM's theory for why most "totalitarian" states do not behave like Fnargl. Thurston suggests that the purges (distinct from agricultural collectivization or the Holdomor) were popular with the masses. Similarly, Sheila Fitzpatrick focuses on rural trials they conducted themselves.

March 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

"This could hurt Germany when it attacked Britain, but did nothing to solve Britain's problem of how to strike back at Germany."
It occurs to me that in game-theoretic terms that could actually be an advantage. If the other party believes you are building up an offensive capability, they have a motive to pre-emptively attack. If it is clear that your weapons are purely defensive, there is less reason to. Thinking back to those Hummel lectures mentioned earlier, the political effects of having a prolonged militarized border could help explain the divergent paths of North Korea and Vietnam.


The Unnamed:
My co-blogger wrote about another Frankfurt Schooler, Max Horkheim, and his ideas of "militant democracy" here.

Peter Brimelow has linked the backlash against Nazism with later American racial politics, dubbing it "Hitler's revenge". I think the Cold War was also important. The Soviet Union sought to exploit minorities as troublemakers and used a lot of anti-imperialist/colonialist/racialist rhetoric (the U.S has played the same game to destabilize disfavored regimes). American leaders who may not have been particularly sympathetic to reform themselves went along as a way of defanging the Soviet critique of America.

"Fans of UO"
Unqualified Offerings?

After Mencius recommended "Slaughter of Cities" at GNXP, I asked what my favorite internet anti-semite racist thought of it. His response is here.


JP:
How would things be different as a German client state compared to an American client state?

"It is never in a great power's national interest for their guarantees to be worthless."
Was it then in Britain's interest to make such a guarantee in the first place?


Anonymous March 7, 2010 1:54 AM:
Get a handle. Why does Germany taking over Continental markets mean Britain can't trade with them any more?


The Undiscovered Jew:
The Frankfurt School is often blamed for "critical theory" and modern political correctness. So even if they aren't to blame for the 60s, maybe they are for the 90s (which agnostic pans as the peak of PC).

March 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

JP:

when you're at war with someone, you typically seek to attack them.

Yes, if your point is to conquer them. And if you do that, then you are just as culpable as the party that "started" the war.

Ergo MM is right.

March 7, 2010 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Alrenous said...

Undiscovered Jew,

"Removing the Frankfurt School from the 1960's equation would not have made the left any less powerful than it became, so I'm sort of wondering why four obscure guys in an Ivory Tower get all of this blame pinned on them."

I don't have the facts, but logic suggests two possibilities. The less interesting is that you also don't have the facts, and the School did somehow exert a subtle, sinister influence. Certainly, I've seen this before. For example, the movement to import the Prussian gymnasium system to the US circa 1860, which was ludicrously sinister, successful, and secretive.

The more interesting possibility is that the Frankfurt School's beliefs match closely to the zeitgeist, and so can be used as a kind of metonymy; even though the movement did not ascend the ivory tower to kneel at Frankfurt's feet, they may as well have.

I personally object to mentions of it. I always skip them, as I'm not up on Frankfurtism, and the text in question never suffers; they contain little content.

March 7, 2010 at 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

What do you make of Gary Krupp, a jew engaged in defending Pope Pius 12 ?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/nyregion/08pius.html?hp

March 8, 2010 at 2:39 AM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

TGGP:

I'm not terribly interested in "proving" whether or not there is objective truth and morality.

It is, however, quite clear, despite your misgivings, that what creates nonviolent order is good and what creates violent chaos is bad.

That is, rules of behavior--especially as codified in Judeo-Christian Western culture--are good and anarchy is bad.

March 8, 2010 at 6:09 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

when you're at war with someone, you typically seek to attack them.

Yes, if your point is to conquer them. And if you do that, then you are just as culpable as the party that "started" the war.


Nope. Air attacks on the enemy homeland do not imply you are trying to "conquer" the enemy, merely that you are trying to reduce his military and economic capabilities (and to send a political message by doing so). While sending ground troops into the enemy's country definitely indicates you are trying to conquer him, air attacks carry no such implication. Air attacks can support an effort to achieve desired political end-states far short of unconditional surrender. Indeed, we have seen since WW2 that airpower is often used when the intention is definitely not to conquer the enemy country: e.g. US air attacks on North Vietnam 1965-72, on Iraq (1991), on Serbia (1999).

Thus, one cannot conclude from the simple fact that Britain bombed Germany that Britain was trying to "conquer" Germany. Moreover, in 1940 and 1941, Britain was not, in fact, trying to "conquer" Germany with bombing. It couldn't! It didn't have the military capability to do so! During this period, RAF attacks were directed primarily against the German oil industry and the German aircraft industry, a target set entirely inconsistent with an effort to conquer Germany.

That aside, the idea that trying to conquer the enemy makes one "culpable" for continuing the war is asinine. It is particularly asinine when applied to Nazi Germany. In all the history of war, it is hard to find a better example of an enemy nation with whom it would have been less desirable or possible to achieve a compromise peace. The moral and political culpability for starting and continuing the war rests entirely with Berlin. (Apropos of which, Berlin did not "start" the war, Berlin started the war, no irony quotation marks. The Panzers rolled across the Polish border as a result of Hitler's freely made,deliberate choice.)

March 8, 2010 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

this page critical of such "revisionists" indicates that they don't outright deny the Terror

Holocaust deniers are still held to be deniers even if they do not deny the Holocaust outright, but only deny its extent, or that it resulted from deliberate German policy, or that Hitler authorized it. Similarly, in my view those who deny the extent of the Great Terror or that Stalin authorized it are Terror Deniers.

Soviets built the factories, but American engineers gave technical assistance

Americans designed, built, and equipped the factories, and trained Soviets how to use them. A complete turnkey operation.

If the other party believes you are building up an offensive capability, they have a motive to pre-emptively attack. If it is clear that your weapons are purely defensive, there is less reason to.

Again, the reason Germany bombed Britain was not that Britain bombed Germany, but that Britain was at war with Germany. Britain was going to get bombed whether it bombed Germany or not.

Was it then in Britain's interest to make such a guarantee in the first place?

Nope.

How would things be different as a German client state compared to an American client state?

If you do not believe there is a significant and self-evident difference between the USA and Nazi Germany, I am not sure I can possibly explain it to you.

March 8, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

TGGP,

Peter Brimelow has linked the backlash against Nazism with later American racial politics, dubbing it "Hitler's revenge".

The same anti-Nazi backlash was what killed eugenics as a political force in Europe even before the European war started.

According to this interesting book I'm glancing through about the history of Eugenics in America and Europe, The British Eugenics Society in the early and mid 1930's tried (unsuccessfully) to distinguish their eugenic policies from the policies of Nazi Germany.

For example, on page 172, some British eugenics supporters advertised to the public that the British eugenics society had managed to attract a large number of British Jews, unlike the American version. And, again, this was before the war started.

However there was nothing that could save eugenics in America and Europe because of Hitler.

Even before the Nuremberg trials revealed Nazi human experimentation, reports of forced sterilization of German citizens caused a collapse in parliamentary support for voluntary sterilization laws by 1939.

I highly recommend reading pages 160-172.

Also, on page 117, the author notes how the pre-1933 German eugenics supporters were not anti-semitic and the leading German eugenics journal assumed Jews were "virtually" members of the "Aryan" race:

In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity

By Daniel J. Kevles

March 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

"caused a collapse in parliamentary support for voluntary sterilization laws by 1939."

To clarify, I was discussing voluntary sterilization laws in the British parliament.

March 8, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

TGGP,

The Frankfurt School is often blamed for "critical theory" and modern political correctness.

Again, intellectuals mostly just jump aboard broader societal trends that are destined to happen with or without the participation of individual intellectuals. Rarely do intellectuals create a macro-societal trend.

If the "critical theory" had never existed, there would have been the various forms of French existentialism, post-modernism and post-structuralism to take the place of "critical theory", just as the sexual revolution would have taken place without Dr Alfred Kinsey and Hugh Hefner.

Alrenous,

I don't have the facts, but logic suggests two possibilities. The less interesting is that you also don't have the facts, and the School did somehow exert a subtle, sinister influence. Certainly, I've seen this before. For example, the movement to import the Prussian gymnasium system to the US circa 1860, which was ludicrously sinister, successful, and secretive.

I don't think the Frankfurt school used any subterfuge to advance their ideas. The school was fairly open about what they wanted society to look like, so you can't say other academics and society was somehow tricked or deceived into supporting Critical Theory.

March 8, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

Undiscovered Jew - people have, of course, been fornicating, committing adultery, buggery, etc., since time immemorial. What distinguishes Marcuse, Kinsey, Hefner & Co. from this common human tendency is that for the first time in history, they succeeded in a campaign to justify such behavior morally. Such efforts had been made in the past but had always been beaten back; e.g., the French libertines of the early seventeenth century like Theophile de Viau, the British Hellfire clubs and the marquis de Sade in the eighteenth, Magnus Hirschfeld in the 1920s.

Thus we find Marcuse pontificating in "Eros and Civilization" about the horrors of the patriarchal family and the restrictive bounds of procreative sexuality; Kinsey (the secret bisexual and paedophile) cooking the data in his highly publicized reports; and Hefner taking pornography out from under the counter, all at about the same time in the 1950s. Marcuse was the philosopher of modern libertinism, Kinsey the provider of pseudo-scientific evidence suggesting everyone was already behaving in such fashion, and Hefner the popular pamphleteer. It is an hypothesis contrary to fact to suggest that without them, matters would have proceeded as they have done. How can we know what would have happened if, say, Marcuse had not been allowed entry into the United States, if Kinsey's "research" had been exposed for the falsehood it was before it reached print, or if Hefner had been shut down by the local morals squad as countless pornographers were before him?

The error of Christian fundamentalists and others who agitate for laws to prevent abortions and otherwise to reimpose the sexual morality that was prevalent as recently as fifty or sixty years ago is to assume that restoration is possible without a broad change in popular mores. However it is another question entirely whether those mores would have become what they are had the laws governing sexual behavior not been substantially thrown out by complaisant courts in the 'sixties.

Such laws functioned as long as they were left in place. They served as a cork would in a bottle containing a volatile poison. One only has to compare the incidence of illegitimate childbirth today with what it was fifty years ago. It would not have risen to today's levels had not the leadership of society, seduced by meretricious ideas, removed the stopper and let the toxic vapors escape. It is, of course, nearly impossible to put them back into the container now, but it would have been much easier for the powers-that-were not to have listened to those voices back in the 'fifties that urged them to open it.

March 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Alrenous:
The metonymy thing sounds interesting, except that some (not all) of the members were hostile to said zeitgeist.


G. M. Palmer:
We weren't discussing mere moral realism, but the meta-issue of whether it is clear. The existence of the people listed is evidence that the truth may not be so clear.

"That is, rules of behavior--especially as codified in Judeo-Christian Western culture--are good and anarchy is bad."
How about Christian anarchism?


JP:
"and to send a political message by doing so"
That's what we usually call terrorism.

"While sending ground troops into the enemy's country definitely indicates you are trying to conquer him"
Sometimes they just raid. Raiding is all airpower can do, as it can't hold territory.

"In all the history of war, it is hard to find a better example of an enemy nation with whom it would have been less desirable or possible to achieve a compromise peace"
How about Stalin?

I forgot to link to the page on Soviet revisionism.
Extreme "functionalists" are not generally considered deniers. Götz Aly is one such who believes that the Holocaust was a bottom-up process from the lower ranks of the German bureaucracy, rather than stemming from Nazi leadership (similar to Getty's "conflict school" view of the Soviet bureaucracy). Daniel Goldhagen is the opposite, an extreme "intentionalist", notable for his view that German public opinion was quite sympathetic to Jewish extermination (similar to Thurston's view of Soviet popular opinion). Then there is the question of extent, and I'll admit that the 6 (or 12, depending on which category of victims) million is a common litmus test for denialism. But even there many orthodox holocaust historians have differed and not been tarred with the denier brush. L. A. Rollins provides a number of examples (Raul Hilberg and Gerald Reitlinger, most notably) in "The Holocaust as Sacred Cow", which appears in The Myth of Natural Rights and Other Essays. Full disclosure: I wrote a foreword to the titular essay.

"If you do not believe there is a significant and self-evident difference between the USA and Nazi Germany"
I'm not asserting anything either way, I'm asking you to give your view.


The Undiscovered Jew:
Interesting stuff. Sweden continues its eugenics until 1975. Sweden in also interesting in that I think it serves as a very effective counter-example to Mencius' "allies conquered Europe" theory of Euro-progressivism.


Michael S:
Didn't late Rome get pretty degenerate? I could just be getting that from propaganda rather than real history though.

Somewhat on this subject, agnostic suggests that popular culture has little to do with our actual acts and may actually be inversely related.

"fifty years ago. It would not have risen to today's levels had not the leadership of society, seduced by meretricious ideas, removed the stopper and let the toxic vapors escape"
agnostic suggests things were already going bad in the late 50s.

March 8, 2010 at 8:20 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

That's what we usually call terrorism.

Not always. Striking purely military targets also sends a political message.

"While sending ground troops into the enemy's country definitely indicates you are trying to conquer him"
Sometimes they just raid. Raiding is all airpower can do, as it can't hold territory.


When 21st Army Group and 12th Army Group cross the German border, it ain't just a raid.

"In all the history of war, it is hard to find a better example of an enemy nation with whom it would have been less desirable or possible to achieve a compromise peace"
How about Stalin?


The Finns managed it twice.

It would have been desirable, from Hitler's standpoint, to reach a compromise peace with Stalin. Hitler should have tried harder to achieve it, but then his own past behavior made the possibility of achieving it problematic to say the least.

Extreme "functionalists" are not generally considered deniers.

Maybe not by you, but that is what they are.

Götz Aly is one such who believes that the Holocaust was a bottom-up process from the lower ranks of the German bureaucracy, rather than stemming from Nazi leadership

(shrug) That's bullshit, and his views have rightly received a severe spanking.

I'm not asserting anything either way, I'm asking you to give your view.

My view is that it is self-evident that it is much worse to be a Nazi client state than to be an American client state.

March 8, 2010 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger G. M. Palmer said...

TGGP:

The only way Christian Anarchism can make sense is if a CA argues that we don't need laws and government because we must govern ourselves.

However, this should only apply within communities that are fully CA since removing rules from the fallen is simply madness.

But you're not interested in learning and improving--you're interested in nitpicking debates--which does nothing to improve the world.

March 9, 2010 at 5:16 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

Then I must ask who precisely you're trying to contradict that "Victims, they are not."

Veale, as well as A.C. Grayling and Jorg Friedrich, among others.

The “authoritative” nature of the Spaight essay is undercut by the fact that he works at the Air Ministry and is writing during the war. What else would we expect him to say but that the RAF is doing great things, the RAF is winning the war, the enemy hates and fears RAF bombing? He is trying to justify the enormous resources Britain put into the strategic bombing campaign, and he wants Britain to invest even more resources in strategic bombing for the rest of the war. But let’s leave that aside. More importantly, a large number of historical errors and errors of interpretation undercut the essay’s authoritativeness. For example,

After Poland had been crushed we fully expected the weight of the German blow in the air to fall on us: It did not fall. Why? The explanation was really simple. (I am not being 'superior'; I was as much at sea as anyone about the reasons for 'the lull in the air'.) It was that to have bombed this country otherwise than in connection with an attempted landing here would have been, in the German view, a misuse of the air arm, a misappropriation of it to a purpose which it was not intended to fulfil. It would have been militarily inexpedient; no question of ethical or humanitarian inhibition came into the matter. It was simply that the role of the strategic air offensive would have been out of character in the drama of Germanic air warfare.

This is utterly wrong. The reason Germany did not attack Britain by air after conquering Poland is that the German Army and Luftwaffe had to redeploy and refit in preparation for the attack on the West. Far from being a walkover, the Polish campaign cost the Luftwaffe 25% of its initial front-line strength in damaged and destroyed aircraft, and thus an immediate attack in the West, let alone on London, was out of the question. In addition, such an attack would have required the conquest of bases in Holland and Belgium, bringing about a clash of ground forces for which Germany was unprepared. If Germany had simply flown over those countries en route to attack London, then those countries would have invited Allied ground troops onto their territory to defend them, making the German task of conquest in the spring of 1940 much, much harder. Even if Germany had flown over these countries unhindered, Germany simply could not have attacked London effectively from German bases, since German bombers had insufficient range and German fighters would have been unable to protect them. The result would
have been a great slaughter of German aircraft right before Germany needed all her aircraft for the spring offensive in the West. In sum, the reason Germany did not launch a "strategic air attack on London" in late 1939 was not because this was "out of character" for a German air force that did not believe in “strategic” bombing. No, the reason Germany did not do this was that it would have been (a) logistically impossible, (b) operationally impossible, and (c) strategically catastrophic.

March 9, 2010 at 6:48 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

Spaight says,

One thing is certain, and it is a thing which should be made clear, for it is commonly misunderstood: the bombing of Warsaw or of Rotterdam was not in parallel with the bombing of London... When Warsaw and Rotterdam were bombed, German armies were at their gates. The air bombardment was an operation of the tactical offensive.

Also utterly wrong. Just because your Army is at the gates of a city, does not mean that any bombs you drop on the city are "part of the tactical offensive" and thus "not terror bombing". In fact, in World War II, cities were terror bombed with an enemy army at their gates all the time. Warsaw and Rotterdam were simply two early examples of this. The intent of the German air attacks on these cities was to break the morale of the inhabitants and make the enemy surrender without any further fighting. This was very different from tactical support of ground operations.

On page 105, Spaight says directly that Hitler began attacking cities first:

If Hitler had been a man of far-ranging vision—if, in fact, his 'intuition' had been worth its salt—he would never have sent the Luftwaffe to batter Warsaw in September, 1939. He would have used the artillery of the German army to reduce the city and kept the bombers away from it. Then he might have come into the controversy about the bombing of towns with clean hands. As it was he chose to set a precedent for the bombing of centres of population in this war at its very outset and thereby prejudiced his position as the advocate of the mutual abandonment by the belligerents of the practice of strategic bombing. In short, it was he who really began the battles of the towns. He is probably very sorry now that he ever did so.

March 9, 2010 at 6:49 AM  
Anonymous JP said...

And furthermore (page 150),

Even if Warsaw is left out of account on the ground—vide German propaganda—that the city was invested and had refused to surrender, it is still undeniable that the Germans bombed undefended towns in Norway before we ever dropped a bomb in Germany… That the Germans, having so set the pace in Norway, should protest in the name of humanity when we, having caught them up, stiffened the going for them in the Ruhr, is an indication of the amazing obtuseness of the Teutonic mentality. Have they then forgotten what happened in April, 1940? Those raids in Norway could not be explained away as reprisals. And why, given those raids, was it such a shock to the righteous Germans when we bombed the Ruhr? Why was it a 'Churchill crime'? Why should Essen or Duisburg or Dortmund be inviolate when Elverum and Kristiansund and Reknes were not? It is cheap and easy to ask rhetorical questions in a book published here about the enemy's apparently inconsequent process of thought, but this really is a puzzle.

Final comments on Spaight:

Purblind, the Germans thought they could get away with these very brutal bombardments, just because the bombers were operating with an investing army, and still maintain the de facto ban on the bombing of objectives outside the battle-zone. They were soon undeceived. They are, au fond, stupid people as a whole.

Why are we taking as authoritative truth the word of a British guy in 1943 who dismisses the Germans as "stupid people"? This remark is itself stupid.

Later in the book he says (and there is a lot more in this vein),

From some of the German outbursts one would think that it amounted merely to dumping high explosives and incendiaries from the upper reaches of the air upon sleeping towns. That was a grossly distorted picture of the reality.

In fact that is exactly the reality of what Bomber Command was doing.

March 9, 2010 at 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

TGGP - Looking at the linked paper in your column I note that many of the indicators cited were based on self-reporting; e.g., the number of persons reporting that they had pre-marital sex, etc. Such data should be viewed with scepticism for obvious reasons.

I noted that the paper claimed that the incidence of gonorrhoea fell from 1946 through 1957 and then started to rise. This is a more useful measure since it is based on required reporting by third parties under public health statutes. If indeed gonorrhoea began to rise in 1957 that is some evidence that the decline in standards of sexual morality had begun by then. We note that Marcuse had published his "Eros and Civilization," and Kinsey his notorious reports, before this date, and Hefner had already begun his career in soft-core porn.

Rates of illegitimate birth are another more trustworthy indicator. In 1950, the bastardy rate amongst women of all races was only 3.9% of births. From 1950-60, this rate rose by 36%; from 1960-70, it rose again by 102%; from 1970-80, it rose further by 72%; from 1980-90, it was up by 52%; and from 1990-2002, up by 21%.

It is evident that the greatest acceleraton in illegitimate births took place between 1960-70, but needless to say it would be a mistake to look at the declining percentages of increase in subsequent decades as indicating any sort of mitigation! Rather they suggests that the acceleration is approaching some sort of asymptotic limit. In 2002 bastards amounted to 33.8% of live births to women of all races, a nearly ten-fold increase since 1950. The racial composition of these births is as follows: 22.9% amongst non-Hispanic whites, 43.4% amongst Hispanics, and 68.0% amongst blacks. The probability is that we will see more rapid increases amongst whites and Hispanics in the future than amongst blacks, simply because these last are already so much closer to the high end of the scale.

What accounts for such a phenomenon? It isn't only, or even mainly, the degradation of popular culture. The plain fact is that a paternal state, engineered by the political elite, stepped during the 1960s into the role previously occupied by fathers, and thus rendered the traditional role of the latter as the principal support of their families superfluous. Had not this perverse incentive been given in the first place, or had it been curtailed when Daniel Moynihan raised the first alarms about it during the 1960s, it is altogether probable that we would not now have such large numbers of children for whom their fathers take no responsibility. That is not the fault of a spontaneously degraded popular culture, but rather of an elite that not only permitted but positively encouraged its degeneration.

March 9, 2010 at 4:10 PM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Michael S,

The LBJ welfare state clearly inflicted the most damage on the black underclass.

But I doubt "degradation of culture" was the impetus behind the sexual degeneracy of the 1960's.

Hollywood movies were actually extremely pro-family values in the 1960's but the sexual revolution happened anyway.

Also, re Hefner, Marcuse, and Kinsey,

I still maintain all of those guys just jumped aboard a train that was going to leave the station.

If Hefner had never been born, there surely would have been other Men's Magazine publishers to take his place.

Contraception, increased female college participation, and the demand for white collar labor (which financially liberated women from the need to have a husband's income) were what caused the sexual revolution.

Hefner just gave the people what they wanted. Without Hef, somebody else would have filled the vacuum. It's not like Hefner and Kinsey put a gun to people's heads and told them to engage in sexual hedonism against everyone's will.

March 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Billare said...

Took me 4 hours just to read the thing...

March 10, 2010 at 4:45 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I think it was a combination of the two - but most properly, you can't expect a wealthy and largely hedonistic young generation to respond to morality. What UJ says is true, in that these things enabled the hedonistic state in which morality was talked about only because it was considered 'the right thing to do' not because there was a great comprehension of *why* it was important or right. It was right in the sense of a series of propositions, like a school test.

But, I think this attitude had been brewing since at least the 20's, which thought that sin = wrong but feels good, morality = right but repressive...

'twere only a matter of time until the depression lifted and a new generation came along that hadn't yet learned life's hard lessons.

Add to that women working, contraceptives, etc...

March 10, 2010 at 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

Undiscovered Jew - You write that "Hefner just gave the people what they wanted." One might say that equally of Al Capone. However, he ended up in Alcatraz while Hefner ended up in the Playboy mansion.

People have always had baser instincts, and there have always been entrepreneurs eager to cater to them. What distinguishes Hefner from earlier pornographers is that the powers-that-be did nothing to stop him. What distinguishes Kinsey from earlier self-proclaimed scientific investigators of sexual behavior like Magnus Hirschfeld is that the powers-that-be did nothing to stop him. What distinguishes Marcuse from earlier philosophers of sexual libertinism like the marquis de Sade or Theophile de Viau is that the powers-that-be did nothing to stop him.

If Hefner, Kinsey, or Marcuse had not existed, perhaps others like these people had come along, and perhaps the elites of the day would not have suppressed them. The matter of fact, however, is that when people of this kidney appeared in past ages, the elites of those times did suppress them.

The matter at issue is thus not one of the baser instincts that people have perennially displayed, but rather of the failure of will on the part of the ruling elite in the late 1950s - early 1960s to do as their predecessors in ages past had always done, which was to protect the society in their charge from those who encouraged people to indulge those baser instincts.

And why did that elite fail in this task? Because, as the saying goes, ideas have consequences - and they had fallen into the thrall of pernicious ideas.

March 10, 2010 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

JP:
"Striking purely military targets also sends a political message."
A good point. Would we then regard the recent attacks by IRA factions on barracks to be not terrorism? I'm open to a number of definitions of terrorism which may depend on whether the perpetrators or targets are state-assets, but the one based on purpose seems to tap the most into the reasons "terrorism" has its current connotations.

"The Finns managed it twice."
They also managed to live at peace with Hitler, as did a number of other states.

"It would have been desirable, from Hitler's standpoint, to reach a compromise peace with Stalin."
Germany's standpoint perhaps, but destroying the "Judeo-"Bolshevik regime and seizing eastern lebensraum was always of primary importance to Hitler.

"Maybe not by you, but that is what they are."
Not just not by me, it's the conventional wisdom again. To borrow an argument from L. A. Rollins again, it's silly to define your own position as the legitimate one making the rest "deniers". He gave as an example perhaps the premier Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg for estimating the number of deaths at 5.1 million, but Hilberg also happened to be a moderate functionalist. Like Rollins, I'm going to assume others won't categorize Hilberg as a denier, so the question would then be making a thresh-hold more explicit and applying it to the Soviet case.

"That's bullshit, and his views have rightly received a severe spanking."
I'm sure he's been criticized and I'm not here to stump for his views. Hasn't Getty likewise been criticized? And is Thurston worse than Goldhagen, who is not at all a functionalist?

"My view is that it is self-evident that it is much worse to be a Nazi client state than to be an American client state."
Rather than simply "good" and "bad" I'd like to know in what specific ways you think it would be different.

March 10, 2010 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

G. M. Palmer:
"The only way Christian Anarchism can make sense is if a CA argues that we don't need laws and government because we must govern ourselves."
Like I said, I haven't read that much on the subject but I think that is the general gist. Throw in some "if men were angels" and "who watches the watchers". The circumstances of Christianity's birth make it particularly suited for anarchism. Unlike Judaism and Islam it was not the creed of a governing body, and hence placed less emphasis on legalism.

"But you're not interested in learning and improving--you're interested in nitpicking debates--which does nothing to improve the world."
I am interested in learning, but unlike Marx I don't expect for my learning to improve the world, or change it any significant way. I don't expect anyone else here to have much effect either.


Michael S:
"approaching some sort of asymptotic limit"
That theoretical limit would be 100%, a good deal more than 33.8 (or the 22.9 among whites).

I find it plausible that the paternal (and filial, most welfare is for the old) state has had such an effect. But the greater earning ability of women also makes it easier for them to support a child on their own. By the way, the kerfuffle over Unz' article on Hispanic immigration led me to this racist's complaint that conservatives focus too much on single-mothers as an explanation for black dysfunction.


River Cocytus:
"But, I think this attitude had been brewing since at least the 20's, which thought that sin = wrong but feels good, morality = right but repressive..."
See also, Roundheads vs Cavaliers.

March 10, 2010 at 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

TGGP - I suppose the asymptotic limit for bastardy is 100%, assuming that organized society falls completely to pieces and mankind reverts completely to a state of nature, red in tooth and claw. However bad we think things may be, that is highly unlikely.

Marriage and the normal (patriarchal) family preceded the existence of any modern state - as did religion - and both will doubtless persist beyond it in some form or other. They are natural institutions and not creations of the state. In practice the asymptotic limit is going to be less than 100%, because significant numbers of people in any event and will find some means to consecrate their decision. Indeed, the disintegration of the state would probably encourage more reliance on the family, inasmuch as state-administered welfare, particularly AFDC, has played a large role in discouraging the formation of stable families.

As for the ability of working single women to support children, the "Murphy Brown" phenomenon is much overstated. According to Charles Murray (Wall Street Journal, 29 Oct. 1993), women with college degrees contribute only 4% of white illegitimate births, while women with high school diplomas or less contribute 82%. Women family incomes over $75,000 contribute only 1% of white illegitimate births, while those with family incomes under $20,000 contribute 69%. This, bearing in mind that bastardy amongst whites is lower than the average for all women, is a striking contradiction of your claim that working women find it easier to support a child on their own. Bastardy is strongly correlated with poverty.

March 11, 2010 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

In my preceding post the third sentence of the second paragraph should read:

In practice the aymptotic limit will be less than 100%, because significant numbers of people will choose to form traditional families in any event, and will find some means to consecrate their decision.

March 11, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Anonymous The Undiscovered Jew said...

Michael S,

There were many thinkers and public intellectuals in the 1950's and 1960's who told everyone the sexual revolution would be a disaster but elites went along with it anyway.

The elites yielded to sexual liberation, against the advice of others, because they were having a great time at the Playboy Mansion and swinger parties.

Again, nobody tricked the elites, the elites did what they wanted.

March 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey if you don't like the sexual revolution I suggest moving to a place like Afghanistan where they know how to keep that kind of stuff under lock, key, and chador. And no cucumbers!

Besides the terrible killings inflicted by the fanatics on those who refuse to pledge allegiance to them, Al-Qa'eda has lost credibility for enforcing a series of rules imposing their way of thought on the most mundane aspects of everyday life.
They include a ban on women buying suggestively-shaped vegetables, according to one tribal leader in the western province of Anbar.
Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes, a Sunni elder, told Reuters: "They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails were pointed upward, which they said was haram.
"They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men."

March 12, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

Undiscovered Jew -

Of course the elites were not tricked; they willingly embraced the philosophical justification of their libertinism. They were happy to have within their ranks learned apologists for their peccadilloes.

What was lacking was any sense of alarm on their parts about what would happen if such behavior spread to the masses. Elites in the past also did what they wanted, but were conscious of the need to be discreet about it. Sir Francis Dashwood, for example, could cavort in the privacy of Medmenham with the high-class prostitutes he and his Hellfire cronies brought down from London, without making any public suggestion that similar conduct on the part of the vulgar mob was appropriate. Having been brought up on the classics, past generations of the governing class were aware of the maxim "quod licet Jovis non licet bovis."

Anon. of 3/12 at 10:48, it's a cheap shot to equate being concerned about the rising rate of illegitimate births and the many adverse social consequences that follow upon it, with the extremities of the Taliban. Afghanistan is a dysfunctional polity, but so are the inner cities of the USA. The character of the dysfunction is different in each case, but no sensible person would wish to live with either. I suspect you are able to be flippant, dismissing the human tragedy of one while pointing to the absurdity of the other, only because you are relatively insulated from both.

March 12, 2010 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous A Different Anonymous said...

Michael S - "it's a cheap shot to equate being concerned about the rising rate of illegitimate births and the many adverse social consequences that follow upon it, with the extremities of the Taliban."

Well sure, but it's also a cheap shot to equate buggery and pornography with illegitimate births; those two seem, if anything, more likely to bring the rates down. And even fornication and adultery only contribute to the problem in the absence of birth control. Your argument isn't an argument for stricter sexual morality, it's an argument for an abortion clinic on every corner.

March 12, 2010 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

Different Anon. - Abortion has not reduced illegitimate births among the lumpenproletariat. Instead it has been used by women of the more affluent classes to avoid the inconvenience pregnancy and childbirth would pose to their careers.

Even as AFDC has encouraged fecundity amongst the lower classes, the availability of contraception and abortion on demand have cut down on births precisely within those social strata best fitted to raise children. Rather than serving eugenic purposes, as Margaret Sanger and their other pioneering advocates claimed, abortion and birth control have had dysgenic consequences.

They have reduced middle- and upper-class birth rates, not the birth rates of the poor. They have not cut down on bastardy. In 1950, when the rate of illegitimate birth was less than 4%, abortion was everywhere a crime, and contraceptive devices were contraband. By 2002, when there was practically an abortuary on every corner, and condoms were sold over the counter, illegitimate births were 33.8%. Your argument does not agree with historical data.

As for pornography, it is part of the general sexualization and coarsening of popular culture, and is part of the same set of phenomena as are the rising incidence of bastardy and venereal disease. One need not argue cause and effect to make that observation.

Buggery seems mainly to be a highly efficient vehicle for the spread of an as-yet incurable and ultimately fatal venereal disease. That disease is vastly predominant among two groups of people: men who commit buggery, and recreational users of intravenously-taken drugs. It is almost non-existent in the rest of the population. While it does not affect the rate of illegitimacy, the spread of AIDS is, like it, reflective of the same climate of hedonistic indulgence. To joke about the "sexual revolution" is to dismiss the serious casualties that have been and continue to be incurred by its veterans.

March 12, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Buggery seems mainly to be a highly efficient vehicle for the spread of an as-yet incurable and ultimately fatal venereal disease. "

That must explain its popularity.

" it's a cheap shot to equate being concerned about the rising rate of illegitimate births and the many adverse social consequences that follow upon it, with the extremities of the Taliban."

I don't think so. You're either for sex or against it.

"Ezra Pound has remarked somewhere that Frazer's Golden Bough, all 12 fat volumes, can be condensed into a single sentence, to wit: All religions are either based on the idea that copulation is good for the crops or one the idea that copulation is bad for the crops." -- RA Wilson

March 12, 2010 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Michael S. said...

Anon. - People often do what is bad for them.

Smoking cigarettes seems to me to be mainly a highly effective way to encourage the development of lung cancer and heart disease. The data are overwhelmingly persuasive on this point.

Would you dismiss them, as you did my observation about sodomy, by saying "that must explain its popularity"?

To say one must either be for sex or against it is to oversimplify the question to the point of fatuity. It is like saying that one must either be for fire or against it. Fire is beneficial when, safely contained within a furnace, it warms your house. It is far from beneficial when, uncontrolled, it burns your house down. Copulation, carefully contained within due bounds, reproduces the species and provides for the continuation of society. Outside those bounds it can be destructive force, both individually and socially.

It should be no surprise that Frankfurt-school Marxists sought at every turn to destroy the sexual morality of what they derided as "bourgeois society." They recognized the normal patriarchal family as the basic building-block of that society. A Marxism that failed, like the Leninist version, to destroy the family, could not succeed in the complete demolition of pre-existing institutions that was a necessary condition for the rebuilding of society along utopian lines. The spores of this particular outcropping of the collectivist blight can be found in Marx's own gibes against "the claptrap of the bourgeois family" in his "Communist Manifesto," and in Engels's "The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State."

Left-wing antipathy to the traditional family is seen in various manifestations: the family-destroying subsidy of bastardy amongst the lumpen element through welfare - the attack on marriage - the taxation of inheritances, etc. The people behind these policies know very well that the pre-communist society they want to replace depends upon matrimony and patrimony, and therefore that both must be extirpated. You are a fool if you don't believe such views have obtained currency amongst our policy-making elite. You have only to view the results their policies have achieved. Do you think these are accidental?

March 12, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was lacking was any sense of alarm on their parts about what would happen if such behavior spread to the masses.

Are you kidding? They were not only aware of it, they were counting on it. All part of the great long-term war of the brahmins on the vaisyas. Undermine vaisya traditional morality, you undermine the political power of conservatism on a lot of fronts.

March 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM  
Anonymous so long - from a boring jerk! said...

U-Jew,
That history of eugenics earned the applause of Gould and Kamin. Therefore I personally wouldn't believe a word it says, unless I checked to see that the cited source had not been misrepresented.

March 13, 2010 at 2:56 PM  
Anonymous so long said...

TGGP,

> Peter Brimelow has linked the backlash against Nazism with later American racial politics, dubbing it "Hitler's revenge". I think the Cold War was also important. The Soviet Union sought to exploit minorities as troublemakers and used a lot of anti-imperialist/colonialist/racialist rhetoric (the U.S has played the same game to destabilize disfavored regimes). American leaders who may not have been particularly sympathetic to reform themselves went along as a way of defanging the Soviet critique of America.

Can you say more about that, or point to any accounts? What class of Americans did this propaganda target -- intellectuals I assume? What was the venue for publication? And considering that they had persecuted their Jews, how did they neutralize "pot kettle black?"

Wik states:

"Radzinsky [Stalin biographer] also viewed the persecution of Jews by Stalin as a means of provoking the US."

"by the mid-1950s the state persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West and domestically"

March 13, 2010 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger LFC said...

I haven't read all of this extremely long post, nor have I read all of the comment thread, so if something like this has been said earlier, I apologize for the repetition.

The post attempts to have some fun with 'United Nations,' simultaneously playing on and gliding over the fact that, during WW2, 'United Nations' was basically another, more formal, self-adopted phrase for the Allies' alliance; it was a synonym for the Allies. (I'm oversimplifying somewhat, and one can make a case that the future UNO existed in embryo before 1945, but the basic point stands.)
So these attempted jokes about the 'United Nations' are really not very funny, imo; one wouldn't support measures that might seem desperate or extreme to preserve the 'United Nations' (of course not!), but would one support such measures in an effort to defeat Hitler? Answering yes to the second question is effectively the same as answering yes to the first (and my own answer in both cases is yes, with qualifications that would take too long to go into here.)

March 17, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger LFC said...

Just to clarify: My comment above is definitely not intended to be a blanket defense of the Allies' bombing of civilians in WW2 (I think the judgments would depend, among other things, on the time frame in question; and I think it is very difficult and probably impossible, in retrospect, to defend, e.g.,the fire-bombing of Japanese cities or the destruction of Dresden.) My point had rather to do with the way the post used 'United Nations.'

March 17, 2010 at 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Historical Rigor, Nigga said...

Hitler wasn't even human, he was actually a bogey man. Everyone here has a perfect picture of him and NS Germany, as all Americans do, by virtue of their public education, according to Mencius. He actually said that.

The only person I'm aware of alive today, who has a "perfect," i.e., complete, unadulterated picture of Adolf Hitler (he did have a first name, and parents) and 3rd Reich functionaries, to the extent humanly possible within a single lifetime of study, is David Irving. His conception of the personalities involved in the second world war is based on the complete contemporary record, constructed from the archives, private memoirs and biographies, diaries, journals, and interviews of the people, and governments, actually involved.

The work has been done, it's up to the individual to decide if he wants to know the real circumstances of history or retain the comic book, propaganda versions of history promulgated by states and ideologues.

A first step toward understanding Hitler would be to read Hitler's Table Talk and Hitler's War by David Irving. For a broader understanding of the second world war, Churchill's War vol I & II. All four of these works, as a mere start, are available like so much else freely online for anyone interested. If you haven't read these four works, you don't know everything, perhaps anything, about the subject.

Hitler's Table Talk

Hitler's War and The War Path

Churchill's War vol. I

Churchill's War, vol. II

Hitler's Second Book (PDF) (Hitler's unpublished manuscript, c. 1928, outlining his future foreign policy goals and then-world outlook)

Of course, a reading of his autobiography and a broad sampling of his speeches will give you a glimpse into the political-propaganda image Hitler and the Nazi party intended to portray to the German public, and observe how it differs from the non-public and *real* sources which make up the other works mentioned.

Then there is the German Propaganda Archive maintained by Calvin College (not Coolidge).

This is not an endorsement of any kind of political viewpoint, merely a recognition that there is objective reality, which is one thing, and there is biased garbage and propaganda, both anti-Hitler and pro-Hitler, all over the place. You have to able to distinguish between the two and cull from the mass of literature what is linked to real research, documentation, and viewed in the light of contemporary sources, not just hind-sighted bias and obvious propaganda.

It's your own mind, your choice whether you have an realistic or a fantastic view of historical eras and personalities. For MM to claim that Americans have an accurate impression of historical Nazi Germany is beyond disingenuous.

March 28, 2010 at 3:26 AM  
Anonymous Suvorov, Marcuse, etc. said...

Icebreaker is online here.

Click my handle for links to reviews of Suvorov's works.

There's a detailed analysis of the Frankfurt School
here. (Chap. 5)

March 28, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
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March 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM  
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March 31, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

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