At the End of the Day

A Change of Heart

For much of my life, I have felt that the Second World War was one that, had I been of volunteering age at the time, I would’ve felt motivated to join ‘on the side of democracy’. It was one of the many things about which the Weekend Maoists and I disagreed when I was at University. And for years afterwards, it was something I found kept me at odds with pacifists in general.

My father volunteered for the RAF in 1938 after the Munich ‘agreement’. He’d taken out Mein Kampf from the local library, read it and decided that “this ‘itler bloke” was a brick short of a load. So when Chamberlain was hailed on his return from Berchtesgarden, Pop decided Churchill was the only one with his head screwed on the right way. He volunteered to be a pilot. My grandmother – a highly intelligent and cynical woman – hit the roof. Her husband had gone to fight the War to end all Wars, and come back a broken man whose job had disappeared.

To everyone’s great relief, Dad was turned down on the pretty understandable bases of having poor depth perception and colour blindness. If he’d been accepted, there is a 1% chance that I’d be here now. But I was always proud of my father – a ragged-arsed Salford Catholic – for reading Mein Kampf long before the Prime Minister did.

Today, my view is to honour the dead and recognise their apparent sacrifice. But not to glorify the insanity that got them killed. The Red Mist came down last year when David Cameron insisted on celebrating and going all Remembrance-teary about the start of The Great War – easily the most ridiculous act of obscene blood-letting in history. Celebrate the end of it by all means, but not the start for crying out loud.

As I get older and have more time to develop a lifelong interest in the history of politics, I have (for about ten years now) been a member of the pacifist camp. Not, I hasten to add, a Peace Camp: I don’t think I could bear the constant sound of tuneless voices warbling over battered and badly-played guitars. But I’ve come to believe that we should object to all wars, regardless of the issues or the stated intent of “my side”.

The short-term event that most convinced me of this need to switch positions was the Blair-Bush Iraq War. But actually, the calumny of that utterly destructive conflict was kicking at the already rusty hinges of a rotten door in my left cortex. And it was the study of historical outcomes that finally did for the door.

The best way to look at this, it seems to me, is to think about what folks in 1945 felt they’d achieved at the end of hostilities. They pointed to the defeat of Nazism, the end of Hitler’s reign of terror, and the United Nations sitting in constant session to ensure World Peace forever. Shortly afterwards, the optimism of the era was forever immortalised by Frank Capra’s film A Wonderful Life…in which James Stewart took on the evil lying neolib Potter, and thus kept the greedy barbarians at bay – with only his mutual savings & loan company with which to help the poor folks afford decent homes.

Now let’s survey the reality of the years since then.

To beat the Nazis, Britain bankrupted itself. The only help it got from the Yanks was brave men in the USAF, and on D-Day. The Germans who’d lost got Marshall Plan aid: we got a bill from Washington for Lend Lease. We did not go to war to defend the Jews, we did it to defend the Empire. By 1946, British soldiers were shooting Greek communists. By 1950, our Empire had largely disappeared. By 1948 – Anno Slogini – we were indirectly at war with our former Communist allies in Korea. After that came the Nuclear Arms race, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the flourishing of a USSR every bit as murderous as Nazi Germany. The UN has been in permanent standoff mode ever since.

In 1962, the World came to the brink of Nuclear War over soviet missiles in Cuba. 28 years later, the Soviet Union collapsed.

Had the Nazis won World War II, how long do we think the regime could’ve survived – 20 years? 50 years? I would argue that five things doomed the Nazi State from Day one:

1. It was hopelessly over-bureaucratic, because Hitler worked on the basis of creating two jobs for every problem in Government: the divide-and-rule principle.

2. The sheer cost of running an Empire stretching from Dublin to Vladivostok would have bankrupted Germany and left them in a state of exhausting constant rebellion control. Beyond Vladivostok lay Beijing – presumably controlled by the Japanese. Hitler, the ultimate megalomaniac, would’ve turned on them sooner rather than later.

3. Adolf’s favourite banker Hjalmar Schacht gave the Führer his image of economic miracle-worker in the 1930s by using an early form of nonsense QE that created jobs to build secret arms caches and transport networks. While these ensured the easy movement of troops and armoured vehicles, German export income floundered: without a general war, Nazi Germany would’ve been bankrupt by 1943 at the latest. In a world where poorly exploited Soviet and North African oil still couldn’t compete with Texas, American commercial victory would’ve been inevitable.

4. The German expulsion of Jewish University brainpower in the late 1930s led to a flood of immigrants, direct and indirect, into the US. A huge proportion of these enriched American technology: not just in nuclear weapons, but also in the early development of computers and digital communications. They also went into Wall Street and made it a powerhouse with which Berlin – despite Speer’s bloated designs for Nazi grandeur – could never have competed.

5. Despite his policy of divide and rule within the Nazi Party, Hitler was in very poor health from 1942 onwards. This was a result of his unhealthy lifestyle, growing mental issues, and adoration of his favourite quack, Herr Doktor Morell. Moves would’ve begun to replace him….either from the likes of Heydrich or the brown eminence Martin Bormann – perhaps even from the SS and Gestapo. His removal (or death) would most probably have generated a state of permanent civil war within the Party – and hastened the ultimate collapse of the regime.

It is, I know, a weird position to adopt; but the reality is that – had appeasement been continued to its logical conclusion – the following outcomes would’ve been highly likely:

* The Soviet Gulags recorded by Solzhenytsin would never have become the killing machines of the 1950s

* Britain today would be a republic devoid of debt

* The US would still be militarily isolationist

* Israel would not exist where it does

* The fascist version of communism would be dead and buried as an idea in contemporary politics

* Globalist neoliberalism as an idea would be rejected as neo-Nazi on the grounds of being dysfunctional

* There would be no former Soviet States in eastern and central Europe creating havoc at the core of EU finances.

Now let’s compare that (potentially flawed) alternative present with the one we have:

* A European superstate adopting the same tactics against Greece as those used by the Nazis against Czechoslovakia in 1938, and the Soviets against Hungary in 1956. That is – in whatever form, it makes no difference – MIGHT IS RIGHT.

* An interfering US Empire that has become a serial nuisance in Eastern Europe, North Africa, South America and Asia….propping up fascist dictators wherever it meddles, and leaving behind inhuman anarchy after its armies leave the Theatre of War.

* A Government in Britain introducing the same narrow ideas of individual liberty espoused by both the Nazi and Soviet apparatchiks – of which the concept of ‘non-violent extremism’ is just the latest illogical output.

* A UK and US political process completely controlled by corporates with the same values as Krupp, Thyssen and IG Farben

* A resurgence of Islamist Jihadism that would never in a million years have reached its contemporary murderous levels without the incessant muddled interference of the Texas/Pentagon/State Dept/Wall Street axis of ignorance.

* A mad banker/multinational corporation model of humanity that sees ordinary citizens as glorified robots born to consume, borrow, work for peanuts, borrow more, consume again…and then be left to fend for themselves after being hammered into a small cube on the refuse disposal site of life.

Was the Second World War worth fighting in the light of such projections and realities? No, it most certainly wasn’t. I have written many times that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. But I now doubt very much if violence is required to bring down the mania of greed and control.

To be parochial for a brief paragraph, I will ask this final question: is yelling slogans, marching with placards and burning parked vehicles likely to produce an end to the nascent corporacratic State in Great Britain? The answer is an even more emphatic no: it will simply give the hijacked Conservative Party an excuse to introduce more and more and more censorship.

What the Brits need now is new, non-violent and legal  internet-led crowd-sourcing strategies to starve the Beast that is busy eating our liberal democratic constitution. The same thing, for sure, applies in the United States.

So there we are: I am become a fluffy pacifist. Were someone about to kill my children, and I had that reprobate in the sights of a high-powered rifle, I would unhesitatingly kill him. What I wouldn’t do afterwards is persuade myself via spurious arguments that I’d done the right thing. We are all human, imperfect and weak. If only the Left could grasp that obvious fact, and learn to be more pragmatic.

Earlier at The Slog: Truth about Osborne lies emerging in great floods of tears

22 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Now this is The Slog at his very best…Heretic but it makes sense.
    I think we Greeks are a solid proof for your thoughts, as we fought the Nazis with teeth and nails only to get the shaft afterwards, by both former enemies and allies.

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  2. A UK and US political process completely controlled by corporates with the same values as Krupp, Thyssen and IG Farben

    Or the Ford corporation who supplied both sides of the war? Corporations are corporations because being big means they don’t have to think very hard – which is where your other point comes into play. Might is only right to the person with the strongest arm, and it usually means they haven’t thought things through. But then, being strong means you can have your way irrespective of it being any good.

    As to Nazi Germany, you are right: it would have burned itself out. All that expansionism was simply to keep their finances going; without new lands to keep them filled, Germany would have collapsed. With a side-long glance, the US is doing the same today with its money printing.

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  3. Excellent, thought-provoking article John, thanks.

    RE – the second last paragraph of your article (in bold), I really like this article, too –

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogmay12/resisting-feudalism5-12.html

    …in terms of suggesting ways that anyone can make a start on ‘starving the beast’ in a manner which might also improve their lives at the same time. That article introduced me to the concept of ‘social defeat’ (point 8) which I find interesting. I hope that the article might be of interest to you John as well as possibly other slog readers.

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  4. all true enough, but i would hate to tally the human costs of that Nazi expansion prior to it’s implosion. and, although we can speculate on what would not have happened, we really have little idea what the results of that expansion or its demise would look like. i will take the messy history we have and join you in the side-long glance at the U.S. QE exceptional, exuberant, expansionism.

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  5. I wonder if the war didn’t keep Germany together in the way it kept British souls together during the war.

    The pity is that the Americans funded this cuckoo in the nest that we called Hitler.

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  6. ‘What the Brits need now is new, non-violent and legal internet-led crowd-sourcing strategies to starve the Beast that is busy eating our liberal democratic constitution. The same thing, for sure, applies in the United States.’

    #JustStop

    The ‘I Want It Now’ generation is over, you used to see a good deal in a shop when you were passing, if you didn’t grab the chance then it was gone. ‘Buy It Now’.

    The always on, always available internet of things has changed everything.

    That ‘thing’ I suddenly have the desire to buy will still be available tomorrow, gone are the days of unavailable, in fact if I put off purchasing until I’m sure that ‘thing’ is neccessary to my life I will probably get an improved version for a lessor price.
    (technological improvement is deflationary)

    #JustStop and #Think

    Whilst I might desire it right now, the ‘thing’ will only take up space until I’m ready to use it, because it will be available when I actually need it, do I need to buy it now ?

    #JustStop buying things now, you don’t need them now.

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  7. You do understand that you collateralise today your future demand according to mathematical principles.
    (ain’t maths brilliant, there’s no end to it)

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  8. Mosul a city of over 1 million inhabitants was taken over by a band of 800 Jahadies. Not good news for the Shiites, Kurds, Christians and Yazidis in the town. Just as a Nazi take over of Great Britain would have been bad news for the Jews of Britain. But since you are a Gentile John you can join the peace loving Beatles in a rousing rendition of “Let it be Let it be”. As long as your ox is not being gored no problem……….Sieg Heil….baby.

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  9. I have always found that it takes all sorts; you kill the bigger beast with lots of different approaches.
    Silent protect, articulate dissent, a little undercover mischief, and a bit of bloodletting.
    Our final enemy, our own governments and their financial allies and uniformed thugs, should easily be beaten from within, by electing individuals to Parliament. But they have blocked that route with fat salaries, pensions, perks and expenses, and have encouraged big corporations and big unions to make sure it stays that way.
    If we want a different world for ourselves, some folks will leave to start afresh, some folks will withhold taxes, some folks will cash in their savings, some folks will just sit down and play dumb, some folks will let down government tyres, and some folks will just sign up for an easy life of servitude.
    It will either take a long time, or be quite quick.

    There were some great lines in the movie Apocalypse now. Kurtz says he realised the Vietnamese could never be defeated when he saw that they had cut off the (US-)inoculated arms of their children. No matter how small and overwhelmed they might appear, they would triumph in the end.


    A.O.B.
    I just found out yesterday that my UK bank, who make nice money out of me, have determined that I no longer need an overdraft on my business account. Not because they perceive I am a risk, but, well, just because…. I have been given one month to settle up, most generous of them. Oh, and by the way, they say, we are moving the management of your account 200 miles away, thank you very much.
    I am now mulling over my retaliation.

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  10. Interesting article with which I have a lot of agreement. The only quibble I have is your comment on the Marshall Plan. Wikipedia gives a breakdown of the distribution of the monies from this Plan and it shows the UK had a larger share than anyone else. However you also have to look at the additional loans made to the UK outside this plan to get a true picture. If I remember correctly Maynard Keynes attempted to negotiate better terms for the repayment of the Lend Lease but ran into US obduracy. I worked for American Organisations for my most of my working life and I am always reminded of a saying by old boss “You play ball with me and I will ram the bat up your a**e”!

    A side affect of the repayment of the Lend Lease was “Tacit repayment of Lend-Lease by the British was made in the form of several valuable technologies, including those related to radar, sonar, jet engines, antitank weaponry, rockets, superchargers, gyroscopic gun sights, submarine detection, self-sealing fuel tanks, and plastic explosives as well as the British contribution to the Manhattan Project. Many of these were transferred by the Tizard Mission. The official historian of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, James Phinney Baxter III, wrote: “When the members of the Tizard Mission brought the cavity magnetron to America in 1940, they carried the most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores.”

    So the UK ceded ownership of some of the major technologies of WWII. Add to this the contribution made both pre and post war by German scientist and engineers, coupled with the dynamic development of an unbombed American manufacturing industry and you can see why the American economy became so dominant.

    With regard to the UK use of the aid, I believe it was misused by an over indulgence in Nationalisation and not enough was spent on rebuilding of UK industry?

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  11. ‘What the Brits need now is new, non-violent and legal internet-led crowd-sourcing strategies to starve the Beast that is busy eating our liberal democratic constitution’.

    Well gather your cyber arms then as a major battle is due and it concerns all of our sovereignty!

    ‘There are no benefits which we gain by virtue of UK membership of the EU that are not open to us through other means. Thus, the game played by the CBI is classic misdirection. The fat cats want to keep us focused on the wrong issues, fighting battles of their choosing so we can be defeated in detail.
    In fact, this coming referendum is our chance to correct a historical error, where the British nation joined in a dangerous experiment in political integration in the mistaken belief that it would solve our problems at home and abroad.
    With the passage of time, the magnitude of that error has become more and more apparent. And if final stages of integration – already on the drawing board – are allowed to unfold with Britain still a member of the EU, we will be trapped in a nightmare from which there is no escape.
    It is vital, therefore, that we ignore CBI propaganda about “benefits”. We must not engage on their choice of battlefield. The “benefits” they speak of are ours to enjoy in or out of the EU. And we are better off out. We need to focus on the real issues – our issues, not theirs. People need to know that the fate of their nation is at stake. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by the self-serving corporate élites.
    All the fat cats are interested in is their “bottom line”. They think they can keep more cash by sticking close to Brussels, with not the slightest concern for the welfare of the British people and their needs.
    While they offshore their profits to the shadiest tax havens they can find, they weep crocodile tears about the dangers of leaving the EU. All they are actually doing is looking after their own interests. They will tell any number of lies to get their way, which is precisely what they are doing now.
    They need to be told that how we the people choose to be governed is no business of theirs. No matter how big and important they think they are, no “fat cat” has any more votes than any other individual. It is what the people think that matters. Democracy, not corporate greed, is what matters.
    We must define the issues in this referendum campaign – not the “fat cats” who are trying to distort to debate in order to line their pockets with our cash. They live happily with dictators and want a “rip-off Britain”, knowing that pickings are easiest when democracy is weak. Our democracy must come before fat-cat pay-cheques and pension pots.
    The fat cats need to mind their own business, and keep their grubby mitts out of our politics’

    http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=85589#disqus_thread

    PS Great post

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  12. Tell me this: would your bank notice you’d gone? Their systems are designed to make money, they are not designed to look where it’s coming from. When all banks have automated systems of this kind, do you think a different bank would treat you any differently?

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  13. The biggest corporates are the banks.
    http://www.themoneymastersDOTcom is an article introducing Bill Still’s 3.5 hour documentary showing how the banksters have gained control of the West:

    wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcom/watch?v=iDBSiI13tE
    Or put in search box: The Money Masters (1996) [ FULL DOCUMENTARY ]

    Shows how Rothschilds have financed both sides of every war since the Napoleonic.

    Google: All wars are bankers wars

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  14. I think you are drawing together two discrete strands of history, and failing to recognise the important historical fact which bridges between the two, ie was it necessary to fight Nazi Germany, to which the answer must be an unequivocal ‘yes’ (you will have seen all the historical film and pictures, as I have, of mass executions on the edge of mass graves, of burning villages and towns across Europe, of country roads with bodies hanging from the trees, and on and on and on) and, could Britain have escaped the crippling debt? Almost certainly not, and not at all with honour.

    Because, and this is the bridging fact, Britain had failed to meet its obligations as the world Imperial Power; because it could not. Parkinson (of The Law) was right; Imperial failure was signified at its apogee in the first decade of the 20th Century (and had been pre-figured by German industrial superiority demonstrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851) The Imperial Power had failed to raise its game; in education, especially technical education: in productivity: in military innovation (apart from Fisher’s Dreadnoughts): and especially in a failure to direct the best minds into technology, research and managerial innovation.

    Britain was in hock to America, morally as well as financially, from 1916 on. And a succession of, mainly Conservative, incompetent and inadequate governments cemented failure into the national psyche during the course of those hundred years.

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  15. Regarding the war debt Britain also was a beneficiary of Marshall Aid (in fact receiving a third more aid then Germany !!) as well as a 50 year loan of 5 billion dollars at 2%. This was finally paid off in 2006 after a few payment extensions. A great deal of this money was pissed against the wall by the Attlee Government in a failed attempt at creating a glorious socialist workers paradise. The Germans spend their Marshall aid money wisely and by 1960 West Germanys industrial output passed that of the UK and was double the seize by 1970.

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