Last night marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today is the 96th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The Wall existed in the first place because Soviet fascism knew no other way to keep its captives inside the cage. It was also a direct result of the collapse of Germany in 1945. Idiot holocaust denial claptrap about numbers aside, Hitler came to power on the back of an inflationary depression for which the Jews were largely blamed…and in which the currency was referred to as Jüdenkonfetti. My father read Mein Kampf in 1937, and immediately volunteered for the RAF. He was right wing, but an idealist with insight who knew the Nazis were coming.
You may think all these somewhat random observations, but in fact they are closely interlinked. What we should Remember on the Remembrance Sunday is just how we much can learn from the past…and just how little changes in the future if we don’t learn from the past. You may need to read that twice or more often. Then continue as normal.
The First World War began in August 1914 because a collection of six treaties had been signed, a very obscure radical had assassinated a fairly obscure Archduke, and two sides of the same Royal family were playing a game called Battleships. Somewhere between 8 and 10 million people died as a result. For nothing. You can be certain it was for nothing, because Germany remained bitter about losing, and that too was a major factor in Hitler’s rise to power. The Arab nations who fought against the Turks were cheated out of their gains – a spectre still with us today – and Hungary lost two thirds of its territory simply because it was part of the losing Hapsburg dynasty’s empire.
The Second World War began on September 3rd 1939. Billed as a fight to eleminate fascism, it did this by taking the most cruel fascist regime in history, the USSR, to its bosom after 1941. In fact, the war was fought against Germany and Japan to protect three Empires: the British, American, and Russian. Thirty years on, weapons had become more efficient, and the idea of bombing folks was considerably more in vogue….as indeed it still is today. So this time, 48 million people died. For nothing. You can be certain it was for nothing, for the following reasons:
1. The two main winners claimed it as a victory for liberty and democracy. 70 years on, both countries are bankrupt, and heading pell-mell towards corporacratic dictatorship. Viciously brutal religious fascists are murdering infidels on an industrial scale. The Special Relationships solution to this is….to bomb folks. In Vietnam, the solution was…to bomb Cambodia. In Iraq, the solution was to bomb Baghdad. Some bombing of Syria is already taking place.
2. The third winning combatant no longer exists, having collapsed under the weight of its own repression. It has been replaced by a vaguely official mafia of moguls, and the condition of the average Russian citizen is as bad as ever.
3. The alleged main loser was divided into two countries, and given billions in Marshall Aid. 70 years on, it is the dominating member of a European Union who size and illberal tendencies would’ve pleased Adolf Hitler no end. In 2014, a United Germany has meted out the precise same brainless austerity it last donated to Greece in 1944.
4. The Grossdeutschland created by Hitler went for Lebensraum in the East. After the fall of the USSR, the EU did precisely the same thing, and it has had exactly the same effect on Russia’s dictator as it had on Stalin: an uneasiness and new invasions to deter the spread of Brussels am Berlin. In turn, just as Hitler found the Eastern States truculent and passionately nationalist, so to are the newer EU members refusing to do the Superstate’s bidding.
5. Today, the vast majority of “thinking progressives” vilify Israel. Anti-semitism in central, east and south eastern Europe is as nastily casual as it ever was. Israel hasn’t covered itself in glory, but 75 years after the Iranian Ba’ath Party held secret meetings with SS representatives – following which a letter bulging with fulsome praise for annihilation plans for the Jews was dispatched to the Reichschancellery – Iraelis still find themselves surrounded by hostile Arabs as bitter as ever about the way they were cheated in 1919, 1926, and 1947.
Nearly 60 million dead. For nothing. History has carried on into a future which George Orwell foresaw as early as 1948.
After the War in Britain, Labour swept to power on a mood of radical change and forward to a better, classless future for all. Today, the same snotnosed, superior and patronising socio-educational elite that drove pre-Empire loyalist Toryism is in control…and more powerful than ever, comprising as it does the great majority of both Coalition and Shadow Cabinets.
“Remember the glorious dead” say these same idiots – many of whose grandparents profiteered in both Wars. There is no glory in any death that achieves nothing.
On Remembrance Sunday, this is what we should remember:
War solves nothing and changes precious little. And ideologies reverse progress.