Democracies are peaceful, these spread peace and are the answer to a war-torn world. Toppled dictatorships ought to be replaced with democracy for a more peaceful planet.
Let’s take a closer look.
Democracies are peaceful, these spread peace and are the answer to a war-torn world. Toppled dictatorships ought to be replaced with democracy for a more peaceful planet.
Let’s take a closer look.
Why can there be subjects of historical inquiry that are off limits?
It is currently illegal in many European nations to question the official or generally accepted account of the holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War. This is no distortion nor exaggeration. European readers are well aware of these restrictions.
Our purpose here is not to dissect the official holocaust story, but rather to question the possible reasons or motivations for restricting objective and open inquiry into the official history of the holocaust, and stifling open discussions of the results of such inquiries that are made.
An interesting historical item about Paris: beneath the city lies the world’s largest ossuary (a place or receptacle for the bones of the dead). We only came across this fact quite recently and found it interesting. Paris cemeteries were emptied of their dead beginning in the 1780s, and their bones were interred in the extensive tunnel system (former limestone mines and quarries) that lies beneath the city’s streets. Estimates range from 6 to 7 million individuals have had their bones placed in this tunnel network. We had wondered why in photos of Paris we do not see many tall buildings. The presence of these extensive tunnels 60 feet below the surface prevents the large, heavy and deep foundations needed for modern sky scrapers.
Below the streets of modern Paris, every day is the day of the dead.
The anniversary of the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany in 1945 prompts us to post these thoughts on means and ends.
If the desired objective to be achieved through action is morally licit, the means employed to achieve that end must also be morally licit. In other words, the ends do not justify the means.
The world was understandably and justifiably outraged at the news earlier this week that a young Jordanian air force pilot had been burnt alive by the murderous group known as ISIS. This was a heinous and horrible action and is rightly condemned by all peoples.
In this essay, we look at how the official history of the Holocaust has been used since 1945, and afterward we add a few relevant, important questions to the discussion. For readers in Canada, Germany, and in various other European countries where it is forbidden by law to cast doubt on the official history of the Holocaust, please note that we are not doing so in this essay. (We are not engaging in so-called “holocaust denial”.)
how the Holocaust has been used: the victorious Allies
The official Holocaust story (that we have all heard many times throughout our lives) has been used by the victorious Allies to provide cover for themselves by diverting attention away from their crimes and atrocities. Collective guilt for the war and for the Holocaust was post facto pressed upon all the Germans, civilian and military alike, to justify and rationalize the punitive and lethal actions taken against the defeated Germans after the end of the war in May, 1945. As well, there was a need on the part of the Western democracies (Britain and the US) to divert or distract attention (and scrutiny) from their war time alliance with the Soviet Union, a murderous regime whose objective was the destruction of western civilization and the spread of communism world wide. The Holocaust was also convenient to Stalin and his cohorts in the USSR for diverting attention away from their horrific crimes (including, but certainly not limited to, the Holodomor in the Ukraine in 1932-3, a forced starvation (man-made famine) of 5 to 7 millions of peasants who had resisted collectivization). The Soviets committed many heinous crimes and outrages before, during, and after the war.
Here is a little more on Allied war crimes (we have previously written on these crimes).
Allied war crimes – both during and after the war. The terror bombing campaign of German cities started and pursued relentlessly by the British led to the deaths of several hundred thousand (by conservative estimates) German civilians. The mass rapes (possibly more than 2 million German women and girls were victimized) and murders committed by the barbarous Red Army in late 1944 and in 1945 as eastern Germany was overrun and occupied. The Bolshevik commissars were exhorting the Red Army soldiers to commit these crimes. After the war, throughout the late 1940s, millions (12 to 14 million) of ethnic Germans were forcefully expelled from eastern territories (formerly German and now part of Poland) to journey on foot to the western zones of occupation. Millions perished during these expulsions. Also, there was a punitive, purposeful program of starvation in the western zones of occupation – particularly in the French zone and most viciously in the American zone of occupation – directed at both the disarmed German military and the civilian population. (We have cited documented references for this in earlier essays in February 2014. We are not making this up.) Let us not overlook that several nations conquered by the Germans, or allied with Germany, were captives of the Soviet Union and its communist system after the war and remained so until the break up of the Soviet Union decades later.
The Holocaust is what we read about in the history texts in our high schools and colleges. There have been many television documentaries over many years on the Holocaust. There have been Hollywood movies about it. There are hundreds of books that have been published about the Holocaust or episodes or incidents in it. We do not read of, or hear of, these heinous, horrific Allied war crimes against the German people. The Holocaust has been used to divert attention away from these Allied atrocities.
how the Holocaust has been used: Israel and reparations
It must be said that the Holocaust has been used to make the post war West German government (to 1989, then a united Germany) pay several tens of billions of dollars in reparations to the state of Israel, and to survivors over many years. Attempts were made in the mid to late 1990s to make Swiss banks pay compensation to Holocaust victims because the Nazis deposited seized Jewish money into such banks during the war. Opportunistic lawyers ended up taking much of these recovered monies. Thus, survivors and their heirs saw little of it.
The Holocaust has also been used to stifle or blunt any criticism of Israel. The Israelis pretty much maintain an apartheid system towards the Palestinians. This apartheid approach to dealing with the Palestinians has led to hopelessness and despair in many of these people, especially among the youth. (We condemn the attacks of Hamas on Israel, but we also condemn the harsh treatment of these people by Israel.) The specter of the Holocaust serves to blunt criticism of Israel as the victims (of the Holocaust) cannot themselves be villains or victimizers, or so the thinking goes.
Some may assert that the Holocaust has been used as a moral justification for the founding of the modern State of Israel after the war. This is somewhat misleading. Zionists were in Palestine in the 1920s, 1930s and the early 1940s agitating for a state of their own. The British authorities there at the time (under their post World War One mandate in this former Ottoman province) had clashes with these Zionists.
Why is there a Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C.?
The US Holocaust Museum – why here? We can all agree that the Holocaust of European Jewry did not happen in the US. (This museum had its annual operating budget subsidized with federal (i.e taxpayer) money in the 1990s. We do not know if this subsidy continues today.)
Why not a museum or a memorial of some kind to the victims of injustices that occurred here in the US?! One readily thinks of the victims of slavery. Also, the Native Americans (American Indians) suffered harsh treatment, forced expulsions from their lands, broken treaties, etc.
There were small protests and sidewalk pickets at the museum in the 1990s by local African-Americans. Their signs and placards read “move it to Israel”. Not everyone thought this museum appropriate on the mall in Washington. (Also, this museum is not in character with the architecture of the various memorials and monuments in Washington. It is a rather ugly edifice on the mall in Washington.)
This Holocaust Museum in Washington only deals with the Jewish “holocaust” of the 1940s in Europe. There is no mention of other mass killings elsewhere in the world.
Why is there no mention of other genocides in this museum? And, this directly leads us to our next question.
Why the exclusivity of Jewish suffering?
This fixation on the Holocaust, its singularity, prompts another question: Why the exclusivity of Jewish suffering?
Excluding the Holocaust of European Jewry in the 1940s, here is a listing of some of the major genocides and targeted mass killings of the 20th century in chronological order. Armenians during World War One (killed by the Ottoman Turks), the Holodomor of Ukrainians by the Soviets 1932-3, Stalin’s purges of 1937, German and Japanese civilians incinerated in their cities by the Allies, Germans who died in the expulsions after the war and by the Allied policy of starvation in post war Germany, the crimes of the Communist regime in China under Mao that killed millions of Chinese, the Chinese conquest (early 1950s) and brutal occupation of Tibet that killed many Tibetans, Cambodia (late 1970s) under Pol Pot, the ongoing (large scale) female infanticide in China that began with the one child policy (1979), and Rwanda in the mid 1990s.
Is the murder of an innocent Jewish person more heinous, more horrific than the murder of a baby Chinese girl, or of a Rwandan, or a peasant of the Ukraine, or a German housewife, etc.? Put differently, is the life of a Jew of intrinsically greater value than the lives of any of these others?
We must condemn all murders (and all forms of murder) or we have no authentic claim to being truly moral. (Similarly, we must condemn all war crimes – even those committed by the victors.)
That is how we see it. The charge of “anti-Semitism” is often thrown around to stifle debate about any aspect of the Holocaust. We reject this and believe in free and open inquiry.
copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com
intriguing question: independent invention or diffusion of ideas in the ancient world
What are the people like on the yonder shore? Are they like us? Are they so very different?
An interesting item of note from the distant past is that not infrequently ideas and inventions would develop or appear at roughly the same time in many different cultures or societies, sometimes in societies separated by large distances. What might explain this? There are 2 fairly obvious possibilities. An idea or technological advance might be developed in one culture and then spread by diffusion (via trade, commerce, conquest, etc.) to other peoples in other areas. Another possibility is that the idea or technological advance might be invented in more than one area with there being no interaction between the areas of separate development. Arguments can be made for both these scenarios.
Consider agriculture, perhaps it would be more accurate to say horticulture. Yes, this developed at different times in different places widely separated from each other. Yet, what accounts for the separate development? Diffusion of the ideas for plant cultivation cannot be ruled out. But, neither can the possibility of different peoples independently coming to the practice of horticulture at different times be discarded.
People in the distant past may have moved about and had more interactions with neighboring groups perhaps more than we modern folks assume they did. Transportation and communication were low tech in ancient times but these were not non-existent. As well, the common factors in the experiences of humans in different environments across the globe could have played a significant role in spurring independent invention.
I think both independent invention and diffusion of ideas played a part in man’s development and growth over the millenia. 2 things are worth bearing in mind. First, despite humans’ predilection for obsessing on differences between and among individuals and groups, the reality is that we humans have much more in common than we have differences. The vast majority of humans who have ever lived were born with the same 5 senses, 2 legs, 2 arms, one head, etc. We all, no matter where we live on the planet, experience night and day (even if these are seasonal as in the high latitudes) and seasonal changes. We all have the physical need to eat and drink and for shelter to keep body and soul together. We have so many common experiences because we have the same needs and limitations common to the human condition. 2. Carl Jung referred to the collective unconscious and to archetypes. It may be that at deeper levels of our minds we humans are able to tap into universal ideas. Such a collective unconscious accessible to all, or to at least for many, could help to explain ideas appearing among groups of humans in widely separated parts of the globe.
If there is a moral to this story, it could be that the challenge for modern humans that must be faced and successfully met is to recognize, at long last, that we share a common humanity and we must constructively and peacefully resolve our various differences (disputes, antagonisms) if we, as a species, are to survive long on this planet. How much true progress could be made if we chose to work together rather than against each other? One can only wonder and hope.
Copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com
the second world war – causes, culpability and lessons
“Might makes right.” – but not on this blog.
Why do I write this essay? Wars will occur until we stop the hate, the covetousness and the greed. Wars will occur as long as we unethical humans feel it is easier or preferable to take the fruit of our neighbor’s efforts (or his natural resources) than to work harder and smarter ourselves. Wars are never win-win propositions. In most cases, wars turn out to be lose-lose activities.
If we can learn from history – and there are many who feel that we humans do not learn from the study of history – and we can act ethically, we can work to prevent the scourge of war.
I write this essay in the hopes that it will serve to help others to resist the manipulation by their governments and news media that call for war, needless wars.
In an age of propaganda, misinformation and disinformation, seeking the objective truth is politically incorrect.
Before proceeding, it needs to be said that we are not “pro-German” nor “anti-German”.
As the section on causes is rather lengthy, let us take up the lessons first.
What lessons can we draw from the multiple causes of the war?
The first lesson we can draw is that an unjust peace will not be a lasting peace. The bitter fruits of the punitive Versailles Treaty after the First World War are relevant here. One lesson is that we cannot trust the victors’ history of the conflict, and more to the point, we cannot trust governments and news media in a crisis to report the objective truth. Misinformation is spread and objective truths are suppressed. Misdeeds of “enemy” nations are often fabricated or exaggerated, while misdeeds of one’s own country and/or of friendly nations are down played or ignored. Another lesson is that the responsibility for a war (the “blame” if you prefer) is usually multi-party. The major powers all had culpability for driving Europe to war in 1939 (and in late 1941, driving the world to war, with the US entry into the conflict). One lesson that is sure to be controversial is that powerful special interests, not clearly seen by the public, are often at work to foment war. One of these powerful special interests is that of international finance, the banksters. Yet another disturbing lesson is that the Allied military and political leaders of the time proved to be as hateful and bloodthirsty (or more so) than the Germans were claimed to be. (Consider the relentless Allied bombing of civilians in Germany during the war, and the post war occupation of Germany where the Germans were systematically starved in the mid to late 1940s. References to these and other Allied crimes (including the Morgenthau Plan) were in our previous essay – see link below.)
Concerned citizens: Do not be stampeded into war by dishonest governments and other forces (special interests) acting behind the scenes that profit from war.
It has been observed by others that the principal consequence or effect of the Second World War was to make large areas of the globe safe for communism (China and east Asia, and central and eastern Europe).
causes and culpability
We now note several causes of the war. Now that the emotions have calmed, and the passionate war frenzy is long past, important and relevant facts are slowly becoming more widely known.
First off, we are not excusing Hitler and Germany for their portion of the responsibility for the war. Hitler did tell his generals in November, 1937 to prepare for war. He was envisioning a war in the East with the Bolshevik state (Soviet Union). He really did not want a wider war nor a war with the western democracies. (Once war broke out, he made several peace overtures to Britain.)
Hitler made a major mistake in absorbing the rest (the non-German parts) of Czechoslovakia in early 1939 after the Munich agreement. This destroyed his credibility in the West, so that he was not believed when he said he only wanted Danzig joined to the Reich and a land transport corridor to East Prussia early in the crisis of 1939 over Poland. The British guarantee in early 1939 (of British protection) to Poland emboldened the Polish government not to negotiate with Hitler over land access to East Prussia, and not to make any concessions. Polish treatment of ethnic Germans in Poland (former German territories prior to 1918) was becoming increasingly harsh and hostile during 1939.
(Once war broke out: It is important to note that with Britain aggressively moving (in early 1940) to occupy or place its troops in nations either friendly to Germany (Norway) or neutral (the Low countries), Hitler moved quickly to occupy these nations so as to protect Germany. Again in the spring of 1941, with British involvement in the shifting alliances within the Balkans, Germany had to secure its southern flank prior to invading the Soviet Union in June. If Britain had not decided to go to war with Germany in 1939, had Britain stayed out of the conflict on the continent, it is very likely that there would have been no war in the West, and it is possible that the Balkans would have been spared German occupation.)
However, there were other contributing factors (causes) and culpability for the conflagration that was World War II.
The Versailles Treaty after World War I caused much suffering and severe economic dislocation in Germany in the 1920s. As well, ethnic Germans were treated harshly in the German territories that were given to newly established nations after the war (in Poland, and in the Austrian territory given to Czechoslovakia). The French acquired some territory from Germany and occupied other German territory where they mistreated German civilians. All this served to create the environment, the situation, in which a man like Adolf Hitler could come to power. This unjust treaty was forced on to Germany by the victorious allies after WW I.
American culpability is thoroughly documented in Back Door To War, The Roosevelt Foreign Policy 1933 – 1941, by Charles Callan Tansill (1952, Regnery, 5th printing 1971. This tome of several hundred pages has been reprinted recently by another publisher. We read this book in the summer of 2007.) US State Department documents make the case against President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR), who wanted to provoke Germany and Japan into attacking the US. Why? FDR needed a war to get the US out of its economic depression which FDR’s so-called New Deal had failed (abysmally) to do. (FDR greatly feared that he might be voted out of office in a future election because of the continuing economic hardship Americans were suffering.) Once the US refused to sell raw materials to Imperial Japan, the Japanese sought such needed raw materials through conquest of the Dutch East Indies and British Malaya. For such conquest to succeed, US naval forces in the Pacific would have to be neutralized, thus the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. As well, the diplomatic correspondences of 1939 make it clear that FDR was exhorting France and Britain to go to war with Germany and FDR was telling these nations’ diplomats that the US would be in the war at the end (thus assuring them of American military support). Franklin Roosevelt did all he could to turn 2 regional wars (in Europe and in east Asia) into a worldwide war. (Readers are encouraged to see our earlier essay, linked to below, on suppressed history.)
British world empire has much culpability for the war in Europe. Despite the “official” British concern for the integrity of Poland’s borders and territory, Britain was acting on its long held “balance of power” policy as regards the continent (Europe). Britain did not want any continental power becoming too powerful nor dominant on the continent. Germany posed the threat of becoming the dominant power on the continent. Why should Britain care about this? (German General von Manstein, in his postwar memoirs – Lost Victories, criticized the British for not seeking a global balance of power instead of a European one. Germany was the only European nation that could balance or offset the Soviet threat from the East.) The British Empire, based on the history of its actions, operated under the rules of “me first, and nobody else second”. The British did not want any competition, potential or actual. And, the war monger Churchill (along with the others in his war time government) after becoming prime minister in May, 1940, rejected all German offers of peace.
At the time of the German invasion of the USSR in June, 1941, Stalin’s Soviet Union had the world’s largest army by far in manpower, tanks and field artillery. Stalin wanted to impose communism on all of Europe. (The communists had been calling for worldwide revolution for decades.) Between September, 1939 and the end of June, 1940, the Soviet Union invaded and annexed eastern Poland, the 3 Baltic states, a section of northeastern Romania (northern Bukovina and Bessarabia), and fought a war with Finland to acquire territory. Odd, is it not, that Britain did not declare war on the USSR when it invaded Poland from the east on 17 September, 1939?! Because of the size of its armed forces and its aggressive acquisitions of territories bordering the Reich (most of which were permitted under the German-Soviet pact of August, 1939), Hitler was moved to invade Russia in a pre-emptive strike. (There is now much controversy as to a planned Soviet invasion of Germany, but Hitler did not feel he could afford to wait.) Note that 2 dictatorial regimes were seizing territory and making entire peoples captive in Europe at the time, but only one regime is universally blamed for the entire war.
Hitler was a threat to the profits of international finance. His barter system of exchange with neighboring countries (whereby Germany exchanged its quality manufactured goods for foodstuffs and raw materials from its neighbors) was depriving international finance of some profits to be made on international commerce. International finance feared that such a circumventing of its power could be contagious (with other countries adopting the barter practice) and thus deprive it of even more profits over time. For international finance (largely based in London at the time), Hitler and thus Germany had to be destroyed.
Hitler is universally condemned for his policies against the Jews. However, what is not widely known is that prior to the anti-Jewish laws enacted in Germany in 1934 and 1935, world Jewry had organized a boycott against the National Socialist regime very early on. Within several weeks of Hitler becoming German Chancellor, a call to boycott German goods was made in late March, 1933. (This is seen in the infamous headlines from The Daily Express in London on March 24, 1933: “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott German Goods”.) If you think this is not true, Hitler responded to this Jewish orchestrated boycott in an address to the National Socialist Party on 28 March 1933. Hitler’s order can be found in the Voelkischer Beobachter, No. 88, March 29, 1933.
We must clarify this for the reader.
The National Socialists had come into power and that meant that the communists had failed in their bid for power in Germany. Hitler’s party had defeated the communists in the elections that helped Hitler to become chancellor. The communist leadership in Germany was largely made up of Jews. Not every Jew was a communist, far from it, but nearly every communist leader was Jewish. (This Jewish leadership of communist movements was true also in Russia where most of the Bolshevik leaders were ethnic Jews. This is not “anti-Semitism”, but simply a historical fact that you can verify for yourself.) After the failed communist revolution of 1905 in Tsarist Russia, the Tsarist government began taking steps to protect itself and cracked down on communist agitators. This led many Jewish communists to flee to Germany where the Kaiser allowed them to take up residence. These Jewish communists saw the National Socialists as their enemies. As well, the National Socialists saw the communists, led mainly by Jews, as their enemies. Recall that the 2 factions had been fighting in the streets of German cities for years prior to Hitler coming to power. They knew each other well, so to speak.
As a Jewish friend of mine was fond of saying “the truth is the truth”. Many truths are inconvenient, even uncomfortable to face.
Germany depended upon its exports of manufactured goods to feed itself. This boycott, which reached even to the US, deprived, to the extent that the boycott was successful, Germany of the means to provide for its citizens. Was this not a form of economic warfare directed against Germany?! The intent of this boycott of German goods in international markets was to cripple Germany economically – actually to prevent Germany from recovering from the very severe economic dislocation following World War I and the punitive Versailles Treaty.
Churchill, Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, and the many accessories (both known and those working behind the scenes) wanted war and wanted Germany destroyed.
Demonizing Hitler, and placing the entire blame for the war on Germany, diverts attention away from British, and Soviet, and, yes, American culpability for what became a world war.
The interested reader is directed to our earlier essay on WW II.
And, our recent essay on Allied war crimes:
Regarding the legacy of the British Empire: