Chapter Twenty Five
The Rise of Fascism
Italy had been on the side of the Allies which fought the Central Powers during World War One. In 1919, after the war, Benito Mussolini, an injured veteran of several months of trench warfare, formed the Italian Combat Squad and squads of armed veterans called Blackshirts formed the core of this Fascist organization. Fascism is a political ideology under which the personal liberty of the citizen is subordinate to the demands of the state, the party, or society in general. It calls for a strong leader who is followed without question and has dictatorial powers, or at least that’s the way it winds up. One of the concerns of the Father of the American Constitution, James Madison, was that war might destroy the republic because war tended to increase the power of the chief executive, the president, and therefore might make him a dictator. Communism, on the other hand, as outlined by Karl Marx and Lenin has never existed as a nation-state’s government in reality. It would be a classless society where everything was owned in common and each person was provided for according to his needs. What we have called Communist countries has in all actuality been Socialist, a step on the way to Communism according to Marx. Socialism is another socio-economic system whereby distribution of private property is controlled by the state. It is very difficult to differentiate between modern nations that are Fascist, which can be a type of Socialism, from a so called “free country” such as the United States which is now far more of a socialist country and in no way resembles the country at its beginnings. Things tend to run together in the modern world.
The purpose of the Blackshirts was to terrorize socialists, anarchists, and communists in Italy after World War One. The government turned a blind eye to their growing power and within two years the National Fascist Party was formed with Mussolini at its head who was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament. In 1922, the party made its March on Rome and the reigning government was undermined by the Italian king’s recognition of Mussolini as Prime Minister.
Mussolini’s stated purpose was a totalitarian state with himself as the head, which he accomplished in the first days of 1925. He created a police state and outlawed all opposing political parties by 1928. As once a Fascist state controls the minds of the people by propaganda and false news, it must seek outside victims, Mussolini set up a puppet regime in Albania and increased the Italian presence in Libya, bombed Corfu, a Greek island, and set up a navy base on another Greek island. In 1935 he would invade Ethiopia.
World War One had been ended by an armistice on November 11, 1918 but it took six months to hammer out a treaty at the Paris Peace Conference. Under the provisions of the treaty the Central Powers were to completely disarm, pay all the damages and costs of the war to the Entente (Allied) Powers, and to give up their colonial possessions. The treaty satisfied no one, not Germany who claimed it was designed to destroy them as a nation nor France who had lost 1.5 million men and 400,000 civilians and wanted control of Germany’s industry and war making ability. The treaty mainly supported, without stating it this way, the supremacy of Britain’s worldwide empire.
The Versailles Treaty was responsible for humiliating the German people and creating what Matthew Hughes and Chris Mann call in their 2000 book, Inside Hitler’s Germany, Life under the Third Reich, “a people without hope”. The “unfairness” of the Versailles Treaty is hard to accept completely due to the one sided treaties that Germany imposed on defeated Romania and Russia at Bucharest and Brest Litovsk in 1918 and their plans for European domination if successful in “the Great War”, as World War One was called.
However, in the eyes of many in Germany the Versailles Treaty was an attempt to crush and eliminate the German nation. Germany as a nation or collection of German speaking states united as one modern nation-state was only just accomplished during the Franco-Prussian War of 1871. Japan, as well, can only trace its emergence from its own Medieval period into a modern nation-state as a result of the Meiji Restoration aka known as a Revolution between 1862 and 1869. So, as modern nation-states, rather than primary possessions of a local king or potentate, Japan and Germany were recent creations. This may account for the turn quickly to an almost Assyrian type of fascism and near worship of the state as an entity representing the military might and even the soul of a race of people.
There were others in the world rather than Germans who agreed with this concept. John Maynard Keynes, the famous British economist wrote Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in 1919. Many in Germany even denied that Germany had actually been defeated in 1918 as Germany proper had never been occupied by foreign troops. The German Army had simply withdrawn in good order from France and Belgium. The Nazi party later called this the “stab in the back” and accused Marxists and Jews on the home front of betraying the nation. Many front line German troops could not face defeat, particularly Corporal Adolf Hitler. The frontline troops didn’t feel beaten. A veteran named Herbert Richter wrote that they felt angry because they had not come to the end of their strength, as he put it. The Kaiser, or German emperor, abdicated his throne and moved to the Netherlands and the Weimar Republic was set up. Allied forces then moved into Germany and set up permanent occupation zones in the Rhineland. There had been an abortive left wing revolt called the Spartacus revolt in Berlin in 1919 so the government met in Weimar. German POW’s had not been returned and the British Naval blockade continued still, starving the German population to try to force them to agree to the Versailles settlement.
The Weimar Republic received little support from the Allied powers but stayed in power until Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. The frontline veterans of World War One became the right wing paramilitary organization, Freikorps, or Free Corps. Their purpose was to fight the threat of a communist takeover. The Ehrhardt Brigade of the Freikorps wore the Swastika, which had been worn by them while fighting the Russians in the Baltic. One of the main activities of both Germany and Japan was in trying to contain Communist Russia which was sandwiched between them and who, once consolidating its power in its own territory was intent on spreading its atheist ideology around the world. The Third International or the Communist International, was founded in Moscow in
1919, called the Comintern for the purpose of spreading Communism around the world by force, if necessary, and creating an international Soviet state.
Germany was a divided nation, with right wing and left wing (communist) groups fighting for dominance and with the right wing rejecting compliance with the Versailles Treaty. The French occupation forces in the Rhineland included brutal African troops from the French colonies and mass rape and abuse of German women was encouraged. The French were called sadists. France had lost nearly 2 million people in World War One and were, as one historian said, “bled white”. Their hatred of the Germans and desire for revenge was great. Later, the Nazis would project a particular hatred of the mixed race offspring and even under the Weimar Republic both the mixed race offspring of rape and of voluntary liaisons were forcibly sterilized. German men later reported being fearful of going to work and leaving their wives and daughters at home alone during this early period of French occupation.
The French occupation of the industrial Ruhr valley to force the payment of reparations united Germans against a common enemy. A plan of passive resistance was called for by the German government against the occupation by French and Belgian troops. The Germans used strikes, sabotage, and dissent to fight the occupation. As the Ruhr was occupied, Germany’s economy collapsed. The German currency, the mark, was useless. One person wrote of paying four billion marks for a sausage roll. With runaway inflation and a worthless currency, Germans were forced to keep their pay in laundry baskets, there were so many notes. It was reported that a thief would steal the basket before he would the money due to the basket having a greater barter value than the money. Every single German citizen was affected with an end to trade, bankrupt businesses, food shortages, and unemployment. The fact was that you could work until you dropped but still could not feed and clothe your family.
Runaway inflation killed the Weimar Republic, because it killed not only money and property, but destroyed faith in the meaning of property and money. Social chaos resulted. Right wing groups like the Nazi Party flourished under such conditions. There were many paths to the Nazi party from outright political action to membership in nature groups that wanted to return to a simpler form of life. The hatred of the Jews which the Nazi’s linked to Marxism, and the betrayal at the end of the war they believed caused the end of the war also brought anti-Semites, into the party.
Then, beginning in 1925 the economy picked up a bit, but then took a nose dive with the rest of the world’s economy in the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. These years in between 1925 and 1929 were tough years for the Nazi’s because optimism came back into favor. There was an economic revival and a boon in the artistic and intellectual life of Germany. Berlin became the entertainment capital of Europe. When the crash of 1929 hit Germany, there became clear economic reasons for Germany to choose a type of the anti-Christ, Adolf Hitler, war hero and charismatic leader, to lead them.
As an Austrian he began to associate Marxism with being Jewish early in Vienna where he spent six years as an artist. Had war not broken out in 1914 he may have spent the rest of his life as a second rate artist but anyone, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can be raised up by Satan, if willing. He petitioned King Ludwig III of Bavaria to join the Bavarian part of the German Army. Hitler had a cause now, discipline, and his first real job. He later referred to the war years as the best of his life. Hitler spent the war years as a dispatch runner and was apparently very courageous although his leaders felt he had no leadership potential and he never arose beyond the rank of corporal. Always in the thick of the action he barely escaped death in November 1914 when a French shell destroyed a command post he had just left, killing everyone. He received the Iron Cross, Second Class, Germany’s version of our Medal of Honor. He would later say that the day he received the award was the happiest day of his life.
Hitler neither smoked or drank, or visited brothels. Also, he was known to be humorless and serious and the only affection or emotion he displayed was when his pet dog was killed. In 1916 he was injured by a British shell and spent time in a Berlin hospital. The demoralized behavior of people he saw reinforced his “stabbed in the back” view of Germany’s fate in the war. Again, back at the front he was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, nominated for the 1918 award by a Jewish officer who claimed that Hitler had singlehandedly captured 15 soldiers although most historians insist that he won it for delivering a message through intense enemy fire. A month before the armistice which ended the war he was gassed with mustard gas and partially blinded. The news he received in the hospital of Germany’s defeat shattered him.
World War One had shattered the youth of Europe and many thousands of men returning from the frontline were unable to cope. They were, indeed, a “lost generation”. Hitler was given the job of spying on political parties for the army in Munich after the war. Hitler supposedly joined the German Workers’ Party in 1919 but there is much question about whether or he deliberately joined them or not. Some say, that as a pragmatist he wanted to vent his political views but needed an established party. Hitler’s speeches began attracting members to the party and in 1921 he took over the party and changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The German name was shortened to Nazi from NAtional SoZIalist. They were given uniforms and a new salutation, “Heil Hitler!”. They also appropriated the Swastika. The art of creating slogans was pre-eminent in the Nazi Party as Hitler’s henchmen like Ernst Rohm, child molester and pervert, battled communists and social democrats. Hitler was adored and followed. This serious, humorless, brave little corporal who rarely showed emotion, a second rate artist from a dying city in the dying empire of Austria-Hungary, had experienced somehow at some time a transformation into a dynamic politician and leader. Read John 13:27.
Hitler led an attempted coup in Munich in 1923, called the Beer Hall Putsch, as a prelude to a national revolution against the Weimar Republic. It failed and Hitler was imprisoned. He became a national figure by his speeches during his court trial. In prison
he wrote Mein Kampf, or My Struggle. It’s free to read online. His messianic vision of himself and his hatred of Jews was clearly revealed in his book. Hitler was to have a profound influence on modern history. His success in dominating Germany caused its ruin.
In 1929, Wall Street crashed and later government decisions worsened a depression that might have been short lived. America called in its loans to Germany. Today, America is credited as 25 to 33% of the world’s economy. If America goes down then so does the world, at least temporarily. America’s response toward Germany during the Great Depression that followed the Great Stock Market Crash worsened this second collapse of the German economy and doomed the Weimar Republic. During the depression the Nazi Party’s popularity increased again. As the Weimar democracy seemed to be failing Hitler’s fortunes began to rise. Weimar President, former General Paul Von Hindenburg, and the ruling elite saw how Hitler seemed unstoppable and hoped to be able to control him. Finally, Hitler’s party had won enough seats in the Reichstag, Germany’s ruling body, for him to become Chancellor. Hitler came into power through a democratic vote. The Communist Party didn’t take him seriously. Almost no one did. Elements of Germany’s ruling powers, such as the army who wanted to rearm Germany and the judiciary who had given lenient sentences to right wing extremists along with industrialists backed by Wall Street who knew Hitler would crush labor unions were on his side.
The Nazi economic miracle after 1933 up until the war began in 1939 was neither completely capitalist as the state controlled important areas of production nor was it completely socialist as capitalists still played a big part. Americans such as Henry Ford were influential with Hitler. Hitler had all of Ford’s books translated into German and had, at one point, Ford’s picture in his office. In 1937, Henry Ford received an award from the German government. There are books that underscore how Wall Street played a part in Hitler’s success. Surprisingly, on the board of directors of a bank charged with consorting with the Nazi government during World War Two was Prescott Bush, President George Bush’s grandfather.
Another major player in Hitler’s rise to power was the Roman Catholic Church. John Cornwell in his book, Hitler’s Pope, The Secret History of Pius XII, reveals how Eugenio Pacelli, the papal nuncio at the time, signed a Concordat with Hitler causing the Catholic Center Party to not resist his rise to power. In fact, the book Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker states that Pacelli told the Center Party in a letter that the current Pope was concerned about the rise of Communism and that they were to support Hitler. Mussolini, fascist dictator in Italy, had received similar cooperation by the Catholic Church in not resisting his rise to power and as a result of the Lateran Treaty the Vatican was established as an independent state and Catholicism was made the official religion of Italy. In the Authorized Version of the Bible, the word “let” can mean to prevent depending on the context. Keep that in mind and read 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and remember
these statements. Here in history, something evil holds something more evil back until it’s time to unleash it.
In Japan during the era of the weak emperor Taisho (1912-26), the political power shifted from the oligarchic clique (genro) to the parliament and the democratic parties. In the First World War, Japan joined the Allied powers, but played only a minor role in fighting German colonial forces in East Asia. At the following Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Japan's proposal of amending a "racial equality clause" to the covenant of the League of Nations was rejected by the United States, Britain and Australia. Arrogance and racial discrimination towards the Japanese had plagued Japanese-Western relations since the forced opening of the country in the 1800s, and were again a major factor for the deterioration of relations in the decades preceding World War two. In 1924, for example, the US Congress passed the Exclusion Act that prohibited further immigration from Japan. After WW1, Japan's economical situation worsened. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the world wide depression of 1929 intensified the crisis. The Great Kanto Earthquake was one of the worst in history and destroyed Tokyo and Yokohama, killing nearly 140,000 people.
The Treaty of Portsmouth, which President Theodore Roosevelt presided over in 1905, saw both Japan and Russia agree to evacuate Manchuria and return it to China. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 Japan began extending its influence into Manchuria to halt the spread of Bolshevism, Russia’s form of communism. But, still, Russia controlled Outer Manchuria by 1925. Japan saw the threat of communism overshadowing Asia as a future and very real threat. American pressure forced Japan out of Russian controlled territory.
During World War One a powerful Chinese warlord had gained control over Manchuria and tired to have his Manchurian Army resist all foreign influences. Both Russia and Japan had their eyes on the rich mineral resources of Manchuria, though, and Japan was successful in assassinating the warlord. In 1931 a portion of a railway owned by Japan was dynamited by Japanese officers in the Mukden Incident. The Japanese blamed it on Chinese saboteurs and invaded Manchuria.
The former Chinese emperor, Pu-Yi, and his entourage were invited to come rule over the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. His acceptance of the title, Emperor of Manchukuo resulted in Japanese control through the officers of the new state. With Chinese forming underground units to fight against Japanese domination it took several years of fighting to pacify the country.
Russia’s disastrous entry into World War One on the side of the Entente, or Allies, and its defeat by Germany helped to create a chaotic political situation. The Imperial Government of Czar Nicholas was toppled in March of 1917. The Russian Provisional Government intended to establish liberal Democracy and to keep fighting Germany. The
communist, Vladimir Lenin, who had been living in Switzerland, was sent by Germany back into Russia to hopefully create unrest enough to stop Russia from continuing to oppose it. This is ironic in view of the defeated Germany’s hatred of communists later. Lenin led the Bolshevik movement to seize power from the provisional government. The new Russian leaders such as Alexander Kerensky had accused Lenin of being a paid German agent, which may have been true.
In any event, the Bolsheviks took over the country and murdered the Tzar and his family. The New Russia which eventually called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consolidated its rule over time over all of the former Russian Empire and its sights were set on world domination of the communist ideal if not outright rule by the Soviet government. Russia did exit the war with Germany and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk after initially rejecting it due to Germany’s demands for Russian controlled territory. For one, the Germans demanded the independence of Poland and Lithuania which Bolshevik negotiator, Leon Trotsky, rejected.
In the final treaty which the Russians were forced to accept, facing an invasion of Finland and Petrograd the Bolshevik capital, the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Turkish Ottoman Empire, they lost a third of their population, half of her industry, and 9/10 of her coal mines. Russia lost all claims to Poland, Belarus, Latvia, and the Ukraine and these territories were ceded to the German Empire. The Ottoman Turks received all lands lost in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Germany broke the treaty just before its own defeat due to Soviet Propaganda and the Ottoman Empire invaded Armenia (Turkey had murdered 1.5 million Armenians during World War One in its own holocaust) thereby negating its part of the treaty. Then, right after that the Central Powers were defeated rendering all considerations a huge mess to be sorted out by the “great” powers who had won; Britain, France, and the United States of America.
As Germany withdrew from the territories it held a power vacuum left behind a chaotic scrambling for control. The Russian Civil War of 1918-1920 ensued with White Russians who wanted a return of Imperial Rule and the Bolsheviks who ruled Russia to a degree fighting. White Russians (not a racial designation but in contrast to the Reds or Communists) were supported by a joint American-Allied invasion of Eastern Russia which failed. A Russo-Polish war also helped settle the territorial squabbles and resulted in the Ukraine being returned to Russia but Poland and the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia becoming independent.
Germans claimed that the wasteful dispositions of their limited resources in the occupied Russian Territories weakened their Western Front against the Entente (Allied) Powers. Truthfully, this was compounded by an underestimation of the impact America’s forces would have and of how fast it would take to marshal them. In any event, Russia became the Soviet Union officially in 1922 and was first recognized by Ireland and then by the British Empire.
The Bolsheviks, like Hitler, enjoyed the support of Wall Street corporate powers. On the Bolshevik side it was thought that the new government would grant monopolies to international corporations and to a corporation a level playing field is inferior to a monopoly. For Hitler, his brutal suppression of labor unions and his mixture of state control and monopoly capitalism was the favored mode of capitalist expression by the mighty men of finance and industry.
Lenin died in 1924 and Josef Stalin assumed control which he consolidated throughout the 1920’s. He introduced five year plans to upgrade the primitive Russian industrial machinery. He instituted collective agricultural practices basically stealing private farmers’ (kulaks) property for state use. You can find this type of thinking in the American practice of “eminent domain” whereby private property is stolen for state use or for use by private business working in the interests of the government. The Kulaks rebelled, often with sabotage of the farms and Stalin hounded them and persecuted them as class enemies killing and imprisoning in prisons called gulags several million.
America, while ostensibly an enemy to anti-Christian and anti-Capitalist communism had a history of extending great amounts of aid to support the Soviet government. This became a great bone of contention during the 1960’s as President Johnson sent aid to the Soviet Union while we fought them by proxy in Vietnam. It’s always been as if there was more behind the scenes in our relationship with communism than what was on the surface. Herbert Hoover, future president, as the head of the American Relief Administration, not only sent food aid to starving post war Belgium but also to the starving Soviet Union in 1921-1923.
The Great Worldwide Depression officially started on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929 although many countries saw their economies slide the previous year. The economies of countries ground to a halt and things like construction which practically stopped and farm prices collapsing destroyed incomes and created food shortages. In the USA, an abundance of cheap credit and the growing indebtedness of business and consumer, farmer and city dweller, hit the proverbial wall when a typical business downturn forced them to stop buying the cheap goods the cheap credit afforded which resulted in layoffs and further reductions in spending and a shrinkage of the economy. This is an oversimplification and certainly would make an interesting study. The many economic theories about the Depression blame either the government or the free market for failing. Some even claim that the Great Depression was manipulated by corporate interests who would have a benefit from the formation of fascist and socialist like governments that resulted in Europe and the Americas as a result.
In any event, 25% unemployment, runs on banks for massive withdrawals of funds, defaults on loans, and bank failures were epidemic. By 1933, American depositors had lost $140 billion dollars in failed banks and by the end of the 1930’s nine thousand American banks had failed and. The world was in economic chaos. This chaotic economic state turned the tide for the growing Fascist governments. The depression
didn’t end until massive rearming for war created a new prosperity. One theory is that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930 depressed farm exports which caused banks heavily supporting that economic sector to fail creating a ripple effect through the banking industry.
Some sources say the Great Depression was probably caused by incompetent money policy on the part of the newly formed Federal Reserve Banking System which controls America’s money supply. Panic and widespread runs on banks could have possibly been slowed by emergency lending rather than letting the money supply shrink. Another argument is the opposite notion that during the twenties the Fed increased the money supply so much that the resulting unsustainable credit boom was bound to burst. In fact, the Great Depression was predicted in February of 1929 by economists Ludwig Von Mises and August Von Hayeck.
The president during the first years of the depression was Herbert Hoover. Presidents are often blamed for the economic condition of the country at the time of an election and Mr. Hoover lost in 1932 to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, governor of New York, and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The next several decades of human history were deeply affected by this American President’s foreign policy decisions.
From almost as soon as FDR took office the American public was mentally prepared through intense and ongoing propaganda, conditioned, for war, in spite of the fact that they were sick of war and wanted little to do with foreign military involvement, particularly for another war in Europe. Taking from the work of historians including Carroll Quigley, various writers in Harry Elmer Barnes’ Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, and Charles Callan Tansill among others, the buildup to World War Two appears to me, to take place along the following lines.
The main objective of American foreign policy from 1900 had seemed to be the preservation of the British Empire according to Tansill in his Back Door to War, Roosevelt Foreign Policy, 1933-1941. Strong and deep ties existed between both governments when Britain began to view America as a potential ally in coming wars. Carroll Quigley, in his classic Tragedy and Hope and The Anglo-American Establishment outlines the close working relationship between Britain and America throughout the twentieth century.
In fact, some economic theories on the cause of the Great Depression have to do with America helping out Britain’s struggling economy after World War One which is too complicated a topic to discuss here. If you are interested in economics I would recommend books found at this website;
In any event, Anglo-American cooperation in an attempt to dominate the world began in 1899 and during President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration a warning was sounded to anyone who thought of trying to take advantage of Britain’s troubles during the latter part of the Boer War.
In the Far East the Anglo-American alliance was definitely pro-Japanese as Japan tried to wrest control of North China from its enemy, Imperial Russia. Even the American Press was pro-Japanese when Japan launched its surprise attack on Russia at Port Arthur in 1904. The New York Times praised the heroism and resourcefulness of the Japanese Navy and the St. Louis Dispatch applauded the action as well. The Cleveland Plain Dealer likened the Japanese action to Sir Francis Drake’s action at Cadiz that embarrassed the King of Spain. They sure would change their tune when it was American sailors being killed thirty seven years later.
Japan gained substantial advantages by way of the terms of the treaty which President Theodore Roosevelt sponsored making Japan the dominant power in the Far East. Although President Roosevelt’s goal was to keep the powers in the area in balance by being at odds with each other just short of war, the fact was that in 1907 Japan and Russia agreed to cooperation in limiting their spheres of influence in Mongolia and Manchuria. Britain had wanted just such a partnership as in looking for future allies in the war she knew was coming with Germany the Empire had hoped to be able to buy an ally with parts of China it controlled as payment. As Russia and Japan became more dominant in Northern China the colonial control of the European powers and American over China called the Open Door was in trouble.
President Roosevelt himself was not sold on the status quo in China and was more than willing to sign the Root-Takahira Agreement in 1908 which granted Japan a free hand in Manchuria in return for refraining from aggressive moves toward the American colony of The Philippines. At this time, America, a new colonial power, having acquired its overseas empire less than a decade earlier at the expense of Spain was pro-Japanese and pro-British in its inclinations. In 1910 Roosevelt wrote to then President Taft that we should take no step that would make Japan feel insecure in North China. It was clear that Mr. Roosevelt viewed Japan as having as clear an interest in Asia as the USA did in South America. He felt that we had no real pressing interest in Manchuria anyway, and certainly nothing to go to war over.
The wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt was lost on those who followed him in office. President Taft believed firmly in what was called “dollar diplomacy” in the Far East and decided to support big business in placing large investments in China as the underpinning of American Foreign Policy. A further plan was created by which the railways in Manchuria would be placed under international control with America being one of the controllers. As this was at odds with what the British Foreign Office would have liked the plan was rejected by them. The British government spent a great deal of time offering other commercial deals with the US government. If the German Foreign Office
had been as astute as the British there would have been no American entry into World War One. Not only was political accord with America achieved, in spite of the fact that we had fought two wars against Britain and very nearly fought a third one over their meddling in the American Civil War and their very nearly acknowledging the government of the Confederacy as a legitimate one as well as having numerous disputes over fishing, but a great deal of business was done with British firms.
After 1914 British propaganda was able to convince the Americans of my grandfather’s generation that their war was our war. Even so, in a type of repeat of events before the War of 1812, Britain seized numerous American ships under the flimsiest of pretexts. Our anglophile president at that time, Mr. Wilson, was even pushed to demand some kind of naval action to protect our property. Still, nothing was done against Great Britain. On February 4, 1915, Germany placed a “war zone” around the British Isles. After February 18 any merchant ship found in that zone would be sunk. On February 10, the US threatened Germany with dire consequences if any American ship was sunk. In any event we have already discussed the results of these actions. However, if America had not entered World War One it would probably have ended in a stalemate and the historians of the era insist that there would have been no World War Two. The Versailles Treaty of 1919 was badly handled and the old balance of power in Europe was destroyed. World War Two resulted because of the failures in diplomacy after World War One.
The Treaty of Versailles was the cornerstone of the “peace” that existed between the World Wars. Poland was given the German city of Danzig so that it would have access to the Baltic Sea. Germany deeply resented the interference with German speaking people who suffered under Polish misadministration.
In the Far East, things changed drastically after FDR took office. He chose a policy of opposition to the Japanese position of supremacy in Asia. He chose to support China, a nation in conflict under the control of various war lords, a weak government under Chiang Kai Shek and a powerful Communist revolution led by Mao Tse Tung. These two parties had been the heirs of the revolution started by Sun Yat Sen. The Kuomintang under Chiang split from the Communists in 1927. In the struggle against Japanese domination, however, the Kuomintang and the Communists cooperated with a great deal of aid from Soviet Russia. Japan tried to appeal to FDR by declaring that it was the only bulwark of Anglo-American capitalism in the region and that it was a barrier against Soviet Russia. FDR was not interested in Japanese pleas of friendship and pro-capitalist ideals and chose to support China, embroiled in what seemed like a never ending Civil War and only united against Japan.
There is no question that Japan was a ruthless, brutal fighting machine which engaged in atrocities that we find, in retrospect, unforgiveable. That being said, there may have been no Cold War, no Korea, no Vietnam, and no Jihad against America had FDR decided to support Japan and to even cooperate with the Japanese domination in Northern China in particular.
In any event, Japan founded a puppet state in Manchuria named Manchukuo, starting in 1932. With Japanese investment and a rich base of natural resources, Manchukuo became an industrial powerhouse, a capitalist bastion in a region beset by burgeoning communism. The Vatican acknowledged the new state in 1934. Only 23 of the then existing roughly 80 other countries on earth did during its existence. It has come to light that part of the huge Japanese investment in Manchukuo was raised by the drug traffic. Increasingly, FDR fought diplomatically and economically to stop Japanese successes.
In Europe, Hitler’s initial success can be attributed to economic hardships brought on by the Great Depression and resentment created by the Versailles Treaty and the manipulations of France and Great Britain. Great Britain had a policy of always supporting the second most powerful nation in the continent of Europe against the most powerful as a way of balancing its enemies off against one another. Since France was the most powerful Britain secretly supported Germany in a number of ways, particularly in helping to rebuild the German Navy. However, the fact that Britain would not agree that Germany’s colonies should be returned, colonies lost under the Versailles agreement, was a serious point of contention between the two.
Both Hitler and Japan repeatedly made overtures of friendship toward America during the 1930’s. Both claimed to be fighting the good fight against Soviet Russia inspired communism. During the decade preceding World War Two American exports to Japan were greater than our exports to China and Russia combined but eventually we would attempt to choke the ability of Japan to conduct its agenda by cutting off the oil we supplied them.
But, before that happened, let’s look at Hitler, one of history’s greatest evils. He created in Germany an absolute dictatorship that revolved around the cult of the Fuhrer, the Leader. Once in power, Hitler was ruthless to all who went against him, even his friends. In 1934 he personally conducted a bloody purge of his stormtroopers. More than 150 of the senior members of the brown shirted SA were shot, many of them still shouting Heil Hitler at their execution. The purge was called “the Night of the Long Knives”. After the murders and executions of even innocent people who were just in the way had died down Hitler announced, “In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and therefore I became the Supreme Justice of the German People..Everyone must know that in future time if he raises his hand to strike at the state, then certain death will be his lot.”
Racial laws were codified in Nazi Germany and the Jews became a prime target. It started out with beatings and boycotts of Jewish shops, then vandalism and the destruction of property. The 1935 Nuremburg Laws stripped Jews of citizenship and they were forbidden to marry. With a brief interlude around the 1936 Berlin Olympics for PR purposes the propaganda and maltreatment of the Jews continued unabated. One good sourcebook is Nazi Germany and the Jews by Saul Friedlander. False stories were spread about the Jews and they were depicted in movies as being subhuman. Then, in 1938, the
persecution exploded in Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass. Jewish homes were raided and businesses destroyed by the Stormtroopers, the SS, and the police would do nothing. The average German went along with the brutality and was swept up in the hysteria and violence. More than 1000 synagogues were destroyed and over 400 Jews were murdered that night. America withdrew their ambassador and a boycott of German goods began but nothing was done that could have helped the Jewish people.
Now Jews were forbidden to own businesses or shops, to participate in trades and commerce. The goal was a Jewish free economy. Jews were banned from schools, universities, movie theaters, and sports facilities. Certain areas were called Aryan only and no Jew was permitted to enter. Hitler was bent on a policy of extermination. He still blamed the Jews for Communism and the defeat of Germany in World War One. The Nazi’s tried forced emigration but that was unsuccessful. The infamous Adolf Eichmann even visited Palestine and met with Arab leaders to try to increase Jewish resettlement there. Then, Germany copied something that Britain had done in the Boer War in creating what were called Concentration Camps.
In 1933 three Concentration Camps; at Dachau, Buchenwald, and Sachsenhausen, were created. Jews, communists, Catholics and Protestants who didn’t cooperate, socialists, and anyone voicing disagreement with the government were sent to these camps. Soon, others were needed and were placed at Ravensbruck, Belsen, Gross Rosen, and Papensburg. When Poland was invaded extermination camps were built to effect the extermination of the Jews, called the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question”. Conditions inside the camps were horrible to the extreme with starvation and extreme cruelty enacted on helpless inmates of both sexes and all ages. Eugenics, the study of controlled selective breeding to manipulate the human race genetically had become the rage for the intellectual elite of the west in the early years of the 20th century. Hitler carried it to such an extreme along with forced sterilization and experimental surgeries, experimentation on living persons, and bizarre surgical tortures that the Eugenics movement’s leaders were forced to disguise their efforts after the war in controlling and manipulating the world’s populations. The modern environmental movement, even including the current craze about global warming, can be directly traced back to these people.
SS guards, chosen from the worst elements in the Nazi Party, tortured and worked inmates beyond the capacities of physical endurance. People were literally worked to death. Four types of people were classified; opponents of the Nazi’s, “inferior racial groups” like Jews and Gypsies, criminals, and “shiftless” elements such as homosexuals. Pseudo-scientific experiments were conducted on mentally ill people and retarded children. Once World War Two got under way certain groups marked for extermination such as Jews, Gypsies, and the Mentally Ill were gassed and euthanized in death camps and asylums.
Even if ordinary Germans had wanted to resist the effort might have been useless. Ever since the Reichstag Fire in 1933 which the Nazi’s had used as an excuse to consolidate power, civil liberties had been extinguished. No one could safely speak out against the wickedness of the government. At times entire areas of towns were cordoned off and SA brownshirts, SS stormtroopers, and Gestapo would go from house to house looking for anything anti-Nazi. With the surveillance apparatus that the Nazi’s had in place, organized resistance was virtually impossible.
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s had created a nation where their idea of the Aryan race was lifted up as the model of perfection and all others were inferior. To Hitler, the German people were people of destiny who were to lead the world in a thousand year Reich. It was to be a golden age where “inferior” peoples were to be subdued to forced to fall at the feet of the superior German. To Hitler, the ideal man was the stereotypical blonde haired, blue eyed German, although many Germans, including Hitler, did not meet this standard. The myth of the Aryan superman dominated the Nazi ideology. If you recall the ancient Persians referred to themselves as Aryans. The Nazi’s were also heavily into the occult.
Japan had a similar ideology regarding racial superiority. Reading in Raymond Lamont-Brown’s Kempeitai, Japan’s Dreaded Military Police I learned that beginning in 1868, Japan’s international activities were ruled by three basic tenets; 1) Japan is the center of the world, with its ruler, the Tenno or emperor, a divine being, who derives his divinity through ancestral descent from Amateratsu – Omikami, the Goddess of the Sun, whom I have told you before is the Japanese equivalent of Ishtar, 2) Japan’s pantheon of gods, the kami, had Japan under their special protection and that the people and soil of Japan or Dai Nippon and all of its institutions were superior to all others, and 3) That Japan had a divine mission to bring all nations under submission to the emperor. Like the Aztecs, the Japanese saw their cruelties as divinely inspired and like the Islamicist their conquest of the world was inevitable in their minds. The guiding principle was called Hakko Ichiu, The Whole World Under One Rule, which meant Japanese domination.
Japan spent the 1930’s in a spending spree building a mighty army and navy to facilitate its plans to fulfill its territorial dreams, at least in Asia. They created the concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere which became a slogan for Japanese attempts at domination of Asia.
In 1937, after successfully conquering Shanghai, the Japanese launched an attack on the Chinese capital of Nanking. As outlined in Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking Japanese soldiers began an “orgy of cruelty seldom if ever matched in world history.” What they did in this city is more akin to what the Mongols did in Central Asia hundreds of years before. Chinese people were gunned down by machine gun and used for bayonet practice, even being soaked with gasoline and burned alive. The streets of the city were littered with corpses and stunk with the decay of rotting flesh for months. Some scholars
put the death toll in just a few months as high as 350,000 people. More people died in this one Chinese city than were lost by some entire countries in the coming war.
In 1933 FDR’s government established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union’s dictator, created a highly centralized economy with forced and rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture. This resulted in famines and millions of Russians dead. He instituted Great Purges against those who were not willing to cooperate with his vision of the country and thousands were sent to the Gulags. He had Leon Trotsky, a former colleague executed. Stalin, it was said by Trotsky, was a monster compared to Lenin, and that “rivers of blood separated Stalin from Lenin”.
Although he supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 against the Nationalists supported by Fascist Germany and Italy, after Great Britain and France signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler he began to seek cooperation with Hitler. We’ll begin the next class with the Munich Agreement and the buildup to war.
Now, to sum up, we have several monsters coiled and ready to strike. There is the fading British Empire, an suspicious and vengeful France, a Germany dominated by a madman, a Japan desiring domination of at least Asia, if not the world, led by a demoniac emperor who believed he was descended from a devil, a bloodthirsty communist dictator, and an American president not sure which evil work is in the best interest of his country, the traditional alliance with Great Britain, or his preference for policy favoring China. All are preparing for war. World War One didn’t actually end, the combatants just took a breather, with some of the players changing sides.
The coming war would take the lives of 60 million people in a horror of bloodshed unprecedented in human history. Before the war and during it, Hitler would be responsible for the death of six million Jews in what is called the Holocaust, Japan is credited with killing 10 million Chinese although many were probably killed in the Civil War and disputes between war lords as well, and Stalin is given credit with killing 40 million Russians. Bob Jones, Sr. is credited with saying that Hell is the judgment on sin hereafter, but war is its judgment in this present world.
The stage has now been set for World War Two, the greatest conflagration in the history of the world. The final scenes before the eruption of worldwide armies and mass murder will be told in the next class.
In the world of entertainment, the silent movie ran its course until 1927 and then one of the first, if not the first “talkie”, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson hit the big screen. Some favorites of silent movie fans were the D.W. Griffith World War One era blockbusters about the Civil War, The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. International hits included the1927 French epic, Napoleon. With talkies came the inevitable celebrity self-pat-on-the-back and the Academy Awards began in 1929 with the swashbuckling
silent film hero and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Douglas Fairbanks, presiding. The first movie to win an Academy Award was Wings , about World War One fighter pilots. Other notable movies of the 1930’s, as the “Golden Age” of Hollywood began, were westerns like John Wayne’s into to the screen, Stagecoach, adventures like Tarzan, the Ape Man with the Olympic swim hero, Johnny Weissmuller, and Captains Courageous. During this era the Hollywood Babylon began to emerge in full swing with wild stories of violence, drunken orgies, rape, and murder tantalizing a public that was growing increasingly immune to shame caused by sin.
Music, in the 1920’s, was dominated by the excess of the time, which was called by some, The Roaring Twenties. With Prohibition in America, alcoholic drinks were provided by bootleggers and rumrunners who smuggled the swill in to the well off while the poorer folks made bathtub gin. Young, trendy women were called flappers and if they were hotsy-totsy they were the bee’s knee’s or the cat’s pajamas and if you had to leave quickly because the coppers were onto your shenanigans you left 23 skiddoo. Louis Armstrong was popular playing his trumpet as popular music began to be called by vulgar, sexually oriented names given to the different forms by the African Americans who created them. Ragtime became Jazz music where a musician played a gig and boogie woogie was popularized in the late 1930’s. Jazz was very popular in the nightclubs of Europe during the 1920’s and 1930’s. African-American rhythms began to dominate popular music and the adoption of the various styles by white musicians lent the flesh based music respectability. Music had degenerated from Baroque where the spirit’s delight in God was exalted, to Classical where the soul’s need for expression was honored to fleshy, carnal African-American musical forms straight from the demon possessed jungles of West Africa where Voodoo and devil worship is ordinary through the slave culture and into the poorer sections of America’s cities and then all over the western world. Eventually, rock and roll, another music form with a vulgar slang phrase for a title would literally conquer the world. The beat, the rhythm, and the consequences of such music is wicked as the form of the music carries its own sinfulness in it and even if a modern singer throws in a “God” or a “Jesus” once in awhile the music is still wicked and in no way can be considered a suitable Christian form of musical expression.
Sports was dominated by heroes in Baseball, which was considered the national pastime, with heroes like Babe Ruth and the doomed Lou Gehrig taking the stage. Boxing had its giants like Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, and the young Joe Louis. The Olympics were popular and the giant of Christian lore, Eric Liddel, “The Flying Scotsman”, hero of the movie Chariots of Fire, won the Men’s 400 meter sprint in 1924 before going on to martyrdom as a missionary in China suffering from a brain tumor and malnutrition in a Japanese prison camp.
The American Professional Football Association formed with eleven teams in 1920. Soccer’s World Cup championship began in 1930. The Stanley Cup became the supreme trophy of the National Hockey League in 1926 after having been in use since 1892 as an award for Canada’s top amateur hockey team. Golf saw one of its greatest, Bobby Jones,
competing during this time period and in racing Daytona Beach became the place to set world speed records in the 20’s and 30’s. 1926 saw the beginning of professional tennis in Europe.
In science, British Archaeologist, Leonard Woolley, excavated ancient Ur in 1922 and deduced a great deal about Sumeria. He, unfortunately, drew false conclusions about the relationship between the Flood of Noah and evidence of a flood he found in underground layers in that area. Edwin Hubble, the astronomer, worked during this era and is credited with discovering that the Andromeda Nebula was a different galaxy than our Milky Way. In 1924, two US Army biplanes flew around the world. Clarence Birdseye and Charles Seabrook develop a process for freezing cooked foods in 1925 and patented in 1926 it gave birth to our frozen dinners. In 1926 Richard Byrd will fly over the North Pole for the first time.
Robert Goddard launches the world’s first liquid fuel rocket in 1926 and in 1927 Charles Lindbergh would become the number one American hero by flying to France in his plane, The Spirit of Saint Louis, in the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight which aviatrix (that’s a female aviator), Amelia Earhart does in 1928. In 1929, James Doolittle of future war fame will fly solely on instruments for the first time, taking off and landing.
The world’s longest suspension bridge, the George Washington Bridge, opens in 1931 between New York and New Jersey. The iron lung is invented in 1931. The cardiac pacemaker in invented in 1932. In 1928, Anthropologist Margaret Mead published her landmark and flawed Coming of Age in Samoa.
There are many more earth shaking and world changing inventions in the period between the wars but I want to get back to the world political situation. In June of 1925 there was an Arms Traffic Convention at the League of Nations meeting in Geneva which resulted in the Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of poison gas in warfare. The US refused to sign it. In October of that year the Locarno Conference guaranteed the Franco-German and Belgo-German borders, an agreement between Germany and Poland and German and Czechoslovakia, and the fateful agreement between France and Poland and France and Czechoslovakia that if Germany attacked either, the war weary and battered France would come to their aid. Hitler would later violate all of these agreements and France would regret its commitments. The Three Power Naval Conference, held in 1927 between England, the US, and Japan failed to reach an agreement on the size of navies as the US and Japan had no intention of being limited. A conflict was heating up over dominance of the Pacific.
Ironically, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact renounced aggressive war. Signed even by Japan and Germany, it made no provision for sanctions against those who violated it. In 1932-34 a World Disarmament Conference was held in Geneva but adjourned without the nations agreeing on anything substantial. Many diplomats held out for the hope that the armies of the world could be defanged. The US proposed the abolition of “all” offensive
weapons. In 1933, Germany and Japan both dropped out of the League of Nations stating in so many words that lying, hypocrisy, and double dealing were no substitutes for honest diplomacy. After the US and the United Kingdom denied Japanese demands for equality, that country dropped out of both the Washington and London Naval Treaties. Japan would declare a sort of Asian version of the Monroe Doctrine declaring that, as the United States declared that the Americas were its rightful sphere of influence, so was Asia Japan’s.
In 1935, Germany would denounce the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty due to the other nations’ failure to disarm. Hitler announced a massive rearmament program. The Five-Power Naval Conference in 1935, another attempt to reach an agreement with Japan, failed as that nation refused to be limited in the size of its Navy in comparison to Britain and the United States.
Great Britain drove a wedge between itself and France with its 1935 Anglo-German Naval Agreement giving Germany the green light to rebuild its Navy as long as it didn’t exceed 35% of British tonnage although there was no way to determine if this was being honored. Also in 1935, Britain failed in its attempt to lead the League of Nations to invoke sanctions against Italy and the latter invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war in October. By mid-November 51 nations had joined in embargoes against Italy for everything from raw materials to credit. Finally, in May of 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia. Ras Tafari, who had become Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, in 1928, now saw Mussolini claiming the title.
In Spain, the Civil War of which Ernest Hemingway wrote so famously about, began in 1936 with a military revolt and ended in 1939 with Fascist dictator Franco, the only Fascist dictator to survive World War Two, taking Madrid and declaring victory. Besides the writings of Hemingway, an eyewitness, some of the great tragedies of this Civil War in which the Fascist dictators supported Franco, were the ruthless bombing and massacre at Guernica by German Luftwaffe pilots flying for Franco and the German bombing of Almeria. Many of Germany’s Luftwaffe aces got their baptism under fire during the Spanish Civil War.
Although America was unprepared for war, Roosevelt encouraged Great Britain to make promises to Poland and Czechoslovakia that it was unable to keep, encouraging them to defy Hitler when he made offers and ultimatums to them. Germany wanted a war with the Soviet Union over the Ukraine to satisfy the historic German desire to “drive to the east” (drang nach osten) to get “lebensraum” or living space for Germans but some historians claim that Germany was baited into a war with Britain and France who had both made promises to the Eastern European countries that they were simply unable to keep, particularly after Germany had reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936 and rebuilt its military might after the Allies had evacuated it in 1930. Joseph Stalin made Germany’s vision of Eastern and Central European dominance possible by agreeing to a non-aggression pact with Russia’s natural enemy.
As Carroll Quigley has made clear in his Tragedy and Hope and as Curtis Dall has in his work on FDR, FDR, My Exploited Father In Law there is a powerful elite, unseen by the public, that acts behind the scenes to move world events along. Who these people are we can only surmise but the results of their attentions was about to be a disaster for the world, which would change in ways unimaginable to the diplomats furiously at work trying to save it before the coming torrent of death and destruction, unsurpassed in human history since the Great Flood.