2. The Prelude to WW2
|1. Introduction||2. Nazisme - Kommunisme|
|3. Hitler's Ambitions||4. The Jews|
|5. Negotiations||6. The Morgenthau Plan|
|7. Terror||8. The Results of War|
|9. Winston Churchill||10. Literature|
This article is mainly based on the book: "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War - How Britain lost its Empire and the west lost the World by Patrick J. Buchanan.
"Thus the question this book addresses is not whether the British were heroic." writes Buchanan, "that is settled for all time. But were their statesmen wise? For if they were wise, how did Britain pass in one generation from being mistress of the most awesome of empires into a nation whose only hope for avoiding defeat and ruin was an America that bore no love for the empire? By 1942 Britain relied on the United States for all necessities of national survival: the mutions to keep fighting, the ships to bring her supplies, the troops to rescue a continent from which Britain had been expelled in three weeks by the panzers of Rommel and Guderian. Who blundered? Who failed Britain? Who lost the Empire? Was it only the appeasers, the guilty men?"
For their crimes, Hitler and his collaborators, today metaphors for absolute evil, received the ruthless justice they deserved. But we cannot ignore the costs of Churchill's wars, or the question: "Was it truly necessary that fifty million had to die to bring Hitler down?"
Hitler believed in the superiority and salvific power of Nazi ideology for Germany, he did not believe in imposing it or exporting it to the west. In May 1942, he admonished his comrades: "I am firmly opposed to any attempt to export National Socialism. If other countries are determined to preserve their democratic systems and rush to their ruin, so much the better for us."
Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck is received by Adolf Hitler. Beck bows deeply. All negotiations between Poland and Germany on Danzig and the corridor were carried out with the most exquisite courtesy on both sides. Hitler explained very patiently what benefits Poland could gain from cooperation with Germany. However, Beck did not give an inch. Photo Pinterest.
Hitler was right. All of Britain's bad decisions were made under pressure of excited voters' moods. When the mood of the English voter turned in favor of little Belgium on August 4, 1914, the opponents of war lost courage and voted for the declaration of war against Germany. Lloyd George knew that the draconian Versailles Peace in 1919 would create a new war in a few decades, but he did not dare to oppose the voters' mood, which was probably in favor of a hard peace as revenge for their fallen sons. The press and voters humiliated Chamberlain and Halifax in 1938 because they believed they had cowardly yielded to Hitler's threats in Munich. Therefore, in 1939, no British politician dared to take the necessary steps to push Britain's Ally, Poland, to begin negotiations with Hitler on the German city of Danzig, which wanted to be reunited with Germany - and this led step by step to the most dreadful war that the world has yet seen.
Winston Churchill is escorted through a factory yard by female workers in 1918. Photo Pinterest.
When Mussolini proposed an international conference a few days after the German attack on Poland, the English government - for fear of the voters' judgment - asked for the unrealistic precondition that the German forces should withdraw behind their own borders. When the war was declared, the Social-Democratic Labor Party pointed to Winston Churchill as head of a government with the support of all political parties. Winston Churchill was a popular and colorful politician who instinctively understood to adapt to the voters' feelings. He stood - as the voters - on a consistent and irreconcilable war politic against Germany. He carried out the entire war until England was bankrupt and ruined, without ever seeking opportunities for peace. A few years after the war, Britain lost all of its empire and was, by rejoicing voters, reduced to the multi-ethnic, social-democratic welfare state that we know today - A European nation, a little more important than Switzerland.
Hitler appeals for friendship and peace. Winston Churchill rejected all of Hitler's peace proposals without hesitation. Photo Daily Mirror.
However, there was a flaw in Hitler's logic. He believed that the democratic Western European nations would destroy themselves because of the irrational and harmful decisions of ignorant and emotional voters, yet he expected that they would react rationally - in accordance with their own interests - to his peace proposals, which we now know they did not. And to the misfortune of Germany, they brought the Third Reich down with them. Franz Halder, the German Army Chief of General Staff, wrote in his diary on July 13 1940: "The Fuhrer is greatly puzzled by Britain's persisting unwillingness to make peace."
In connection with the question of whether Hitler's Germany had ever been a threat to America, Buchanan compares the ideological threat of Nazism and Communism to his own country, the United States. One can think that the picture has been very similar in Great Britain.
In US cultural and intellectual circles, communism had immense appeal. The Roosevelt administration was honeycombed with Soviet spies, communists and collaborators.
As an ideology, Nazism was handicapped by the narrowness of its appeal. It was not even an ideology of white supremacy - Hitler was prepared to turn Slavs into serfs - but of Aryan supremacy. Communism appealed to peoples of all colours and continents who wish to throw off the yoke of colonialism and bring an end to European domination. It offered all mankind a vision of a paradise on Earth. It was based on the individuals dreams of a perfect and just society of the future free from the economic crisis and the humiliation by unemployment.
Poster for the movie "The Great Dictator" with Charlie Chaplin from 1940, where he made fun of Hitler. It was a great success. But a similar film where Chaplin made fun of Lenin or Stalin could not possibly have been produced. There would have been demonstrations in front of the cinemas and possibly in the cinemas, activists would protest against anti-communism. The audience would have found it tasteless to laugh at the revolutionary icons that had such idealistic motives. Photo Wikipedia.
In Holywood, communism made such inroads by the late 1930's that anti-communist films could not be made, and pro-Soviet films were routinely turned out. Hitler's rabid anti-semitism meant that Nazism was dead on arrival - To Americans, Hitler and Mussolini were figures of Chaplinesque ridicule, but Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky all had acolytes and admirers in government, in the press and on faculties and within the student bodies of America's elite colleges and universities.
As we have learned after Hitler's death, Nazims' roots were shallow and easily pulled up. But marxists' beliefs and ideology - even after the failure and collapse of the Soviet state - retain a hold on the minds of men and reappear constantly in new mutations.
In Great Britain, all families had lost a son, a brother, a father or an uncle in the First World War - only twenty years before - killed by the Germans. And even before then, Germans were widely hated and despised, most likely because Germany was a growing industrial competitor of Great Britain. It must have been easy for at an ambitious politician to promote himself as an enemy of Germany and Hitler as representatives of true evil.
However, in 1939, Stalin had killed thousand times more people than Hitler and if an ambitious politician wanted to fight evil it should have been much more relevant for him to confront Stalin and the Soviet Union than Hitler and Germany. But Lenin and Stalin had ardent supporters everywhere, more or less openly declared. Such a politician would probably have experienced strong political headwind. He would have been ridiculed, attacked on his personality and his personal life would have exposed.
A Gulag labor camp. Stalin was far ahead of Hitler in 1939 in terms of terrorism, killings and evil in general. He had reintroduced slavery in the Gulag labor camps and he had restored serfdom in the countryside villages where the peasants were not allowed to leave the land. Photo BBC Picture Archive.
Winston Churchill was an intelligent and flexible politician. He condemned the Soviet rule very early, in 1919: "Of all the tyrannies in history" he told an audience in London that April, "the Bolshevik tyranny is the worst, the most destructive, the most degrading". The atrocities committed under Lenin and Trotsky were "incomparably more hideous, on a larger scale and more numerous than any for which the Kaiser is responsible"
But he soon realized - perhaps even unconsciously - that attacking Hitler, Nazism and Germany represented the path of least resistance to success, fame and career. Only after many years of war with "blood sweat and tears" He returned to his opposition to the Soviet Union with his famous "Iron Curtain speech" in Fulton, Missouri, on March 1946.
"The issue of this chapter", writes Buchanan, "is not whether that Hitler was crude, cruel and ruthless, or that the barbarism that his Nazi regime degenerated into was rivaled only by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, but whether Hitler ever sought war with the West."
Looking back at each of the crises and how he responded, the answer would seem to be "No".
In 1934, Hitler had been nearly hysterical that the Austrian Nazis, who had assassinated Dollfuss, would drag him into a confrontation with Mussolini.
Hitler described the days of March 1936, when he sent three lightly armed battalions into the Rhineland with orders to pull out immediately if they met French resistance as the "most nerve-cracking" of his life.
Dollfuss and Mussolini as number one and two from left. In 1934, Mussolini regarded Austria as Italian area of interest. Hitler became immensely relieved that the murder of Dollfuss did not bring him contradiction to Mussolini and Italy. Dollfuss was physically a little man, but brave. Photo Pinterest.
In March 1938 at the Anschluss, when Mussolini sent word that he would not interfere if Hitler sent his army in, Hitler was almost hysterical with gratitude and relief.
In August 1939, when - after the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact exploded - Chamberlain reaffirmed his alliance with Poland, a stunned Hitler put off his invasion a week to find a way out of a war with Britain.
Hitler never wanted a war with Britain. As his naval treaty showed - accepting a Kriegsmarine one-third the size of the Royal Navy, then declining to build up to the limits alotted.
Having fought four years on the western front Hitler had formed indelible ideas as to why Germany lost the war - "The crucial lesson Hitler drew from defeat was that Germany must never again fight a two-front war". But - strange enough - never the less he did.
Berliners cut up a horse on the street during the hunger blockade in 1918. Photo Bundes Archieve.
Secondly, Hitler knew the longer a war went on, the weaker Germany would become relative to her potential enemies, like USA and Russia, which compared to Germany could benefit from close to endless resources in populations and arable lands. Germany was a European power, not yet a world power. Hitler understood this.
Hitler had also concluded that der Kaiser's decision to built a High Sea Fleet to challenge the Royal Navy was a big mistake. And what good had the High Sea Fleet done for Germany? It had not stopped the British Expeditionary force from crossing the Channel to defeat the Schlieffen Plan. It had proved incapable of defending Germany's colonies. It had failed to break the blockade that had starved Germany into submission.
This led to the third lesson Hitler took from the war. Germany could not defend overseas colonies against the Anglo Saxon sea powers. Her colonies would always be hostages to British and US fleets.
Thus, before a new war was undertaken Germany must achieve economic self-sufficiency in Europe.
World War I British warships. Photo I09.
Autarky is a word that often recurs in Hitler's talk. By autarky, Hitler meant that Germany must find within defensible borders all the resources needed to sustain her at war. Never again should Germany rely on imports. British and US warships should not intercept and starve her out, as they had in the Great War.
Hitler's conclusions: Since an overseas empire was indefensible, the new German empire must be created, not in Africa of Asia, but in Central and Eastern Europa, where the Royal Navy's warships and American Fleets could not reach. That he expresses quite clearly in Mein Kampf: "We must stop the endless German movement to the South and West of Europe, and turn our gaze to the land of the East" - "If we speak of soil in Europe today, we can primarily have in mind only Russia and her vassal border states."
A.J.P. Taylor and other historians contend that Hitler's foreign policy was more traditional and in ways less ambitious than that of der Kaiser, who saw Germany as a great sea power, a colonial power and a global power. Hitler did not rule out return of lost colonies in Africa, but this was never where his ambitions and interests lay.
The Siegfried Line also called the West Wall. Photo ibiblio.org.
To Hitler, Great Britain was Germany's natural ally and the nation and empire he most admired. He did not covet British colonies. He did not want or seek a fleet to rival Royal Navy. He did not want to bring down the British Empire. He was prepared to appease.
There is other evidence that Hitler never intended to invade Western Europe. Because German war strategy was to take the offensive from day one, der Kaiser built no new defensive fortifications to match the great French forts of Toul and Verdun. Hitler, however, for three and a half years, after his army entered the Rhineland, invested huge sums and tens of millions of man-hours of labor constructing his West Wall. Taylor asks: "If Hitler was all along planning an invasion of France, why did he, at monstrous costs, build purely defensive fortifications up and down the Rhineland?"
It is believed by some that the Nazis killed about 6 million Jews in Ausswitch, Treblinka and similar extermination camps. No one knows the exact number, but there is no doubt that it was many.
Buchanan writes: "For what happened to the Jews of Europe, Hitler and his collaborators in the unspeakable crimes bear full moral responsibility. The got the just punishment for people who participate in mass murder, as they deserved."
Killing and expulsion of ethnic and religious minorities is nothing new, it has happened many times in history. For example, right now extensive persecution and expulsion of Christians in the Middle East are going on, including church-burnings, killings and humiliations. The Middle Eastern churches were the first Christians in the world after Jesus had suffered death on the cross. Europe was first Christianized centuries later. The Iraqi Chaldeans, Egyptian Copts, Lebanese Maronites, Syrian Orthodox Church, Armenian Christians and the Assyrian Evangelical Church are persecuted and terrorized throughout the Middle East by fanatic Muslims.
Burnt out Coptic kite in Giza in Egypt after it was attacked by an agitated mob. Photo France 24.
The Muslim pogroms against Christians occur mostly by a mob after the Friday-prayer gathers outside a church or other places, where they can find Christians or other infidels, and apparently spontaneously, motivated by their "righteous indignation" commit their misdeeds in greater or lesser understanding with the authorities.
The genocide of the European Jews took place in a much more logical and efficient manner. Auschwitz, Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen and the other camps were placed logistically optimally in relation to cities with large Jewish populations. The victims were systematically arrested and taken to the camps in freight wagons on rails built for the purpose, where they were put to death with scientifically developed methods.
Displacement and killing of unwanted minorities can be traced in many places in history.
Armenian children under the Turkish genocide of the Armenians. Photo The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
In 1002, the English king Ethelred ordered that all Danes who stayed in the country should be killed on St. Brice's Day. The Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal around 1490. The Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572 initiated the persecution and expulsion of the Huguenots from France.
The Chinese Boxer uprising was an attempt to cleanse the country of "foreign devils", which was the European missionaries and merchants, and the term "foreign" devils itself suggests that they earlier in history had disposed of an unwanted minority of more domestic devils that looked like Europeans.
In the shelter of the First World War, the Turks killed several million Christian Armenians and Greeks.
Stalin displaced many unwanted ethnic minorities to Siberia. In 1946, the surviving 1.5 million Japanese in the Manchukuo protectorate in North China were sent to their homeland, Japan, on American warships. The "problem" with the many German-speaking groups everywhere in Eastern Europe - in the now Russian East Prussia, modern Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and even in Russia - was solved by exterminating some and ethnically cleanse the remaining areas.
A group of Bantu Negroes preparing for an attack on a remote living white farmer family in South Africa. Photo Capitalists Exploits.
The Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya around 1952 aimed to kill or oust the European farmers.
In 1962, a million French people were expelled from Algiers by a ruthless Arab terror, which also targeted European women, children and elderly. A representative of the liberation movement FLN stated that if there was only one Frenchman left in Algiers, the revolution would have been in vain.
Today, white South African farmers are regularly killed by violent groups of Bantu Negroes belonging to the ethnic majority in South Africa.
All of this is today often explained as either xenophobia, which describes an irrational and unfounded fear of foreigners, or - if white men are the victims - as suppressed peoples' righteous struggle against imperialist exploiters. But such attacks on minorities can really, to a large extent - but not always - be perceived as a people's resistance against being "conquered from within" or, so to speak, to be "body-snatched" as a nation, as it in relatively recent time happened in both Lebanon and Kosovo.
Jewish men arrive at Ausswitch maybe in 1943-44. They look like all other European men and boys, and it's hard to see that they should belong to a particular Jewish race. Photo Folksbildingsnettet
Before and during the Second World War, the historic Jewish communities of European states disappeared. Either the Jews fled to Israel and the United States, or they were killed in extermination camps like Ausswitch and Treblinka. In Western Europe, in recent decades, they have been replaced by even larger Muslim parallel-societies.
The historic European Jews had more to offer than the modern Muslim minorities, just think of Sigmund Freud, Felix Mendelsohn, Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein, all of whom were more or less of Jewish origin.
Jewish women and children arrive at Ausswitch, perhaps in 1943-44. They look like any other European women and children. Foto Folksbildingsnettet.
Many Jewish students studied medicine and law in order to become self-employed as doctors and lawyers thereby avoiding potential anti-semitism by employers. For example, in 1925 in Germany, 26% of all lawyers and 15% of all doctors were Jewish, yet Jews constituted only 1% of the general population. President Roosevelt confirmed this when he told French military leaders in 1943 at the Casablanca Conference about "the understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors and similar in Germany, were Jews."
In 1935 Hitler imposed the Nuremberg laws, discriminating against Jews in every way of life. Yet, though viciously anti-semitic, Hitlers Reich had not gone genocidal. Nazi policy had been to make life so miserable in Germany that the Jews would leave. Six weeks after Munich, however, came Kristallnacht. Synagogues were torched, Jewish businesses smashed and ransacked, and Jews attacked, brutalized and lynched. Before Kristallnacht, perhaps half of the Jewish population had fled Germany. Of those, who remained, perhaps half fled after the night of terror 9. November 1938.
Jewish children who survived Ausswitch. Again, they look like ordinary European children and you can not recognize a special, genetically determined Jewish race. Photo Una Atalaya en el Cucaso.
Hitler considered Judaism and Communism to be identical. On the six anniversary of his assumption of power, January 29 1939, he made a speech to the Reichtag: "- If the International financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the Earth, and thus the victory of the Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."
The Nazis learned from the Turkish extermination of the Christian Armenians in shelter of the First World War. They seized the opportunity to exterminate the Jews in shelter of the Second World War. Goebbels wrote in his diary in February 1942: "World Jewry will suffer a great catastrophe - der Fuhrer realizes the full implications of the great opportunity offered by this war". On March 7 1942, the ominous phrase, "a final solution of the Jewish question" appears in Goebbel's diary.
The details of the Holocaust were laid down at the infamous Wannsee Conference in a suburb of Berlin on 20. January 1942.
5. September 1939 Taylor says that after the German attack on Poland, Mussolini called for a European five-power conference. Halifax and Chamberlain presented the proposal respectively in the upper house and the lower house. But influenced by the agitated mood of British voters, they demanded that a precondition for the conference must be that the German army should retreat to their original positions prior to the war. Then the Italians dropped the proposal and let history take its course. They knew that such a thing Hitler would never accept.
The headline in the Arkansas Hope Star Newspaper 6. October 1939. Foto Hope Star Newspaper Archives.
6. October 1939 Following Ian Kershaw's "Fateful Choices", Hitler made a "peace offer" to Britain and France after Poland had surrendered; "It was turned down without hesitation".
13. May 1940 in his first address to the House as prime minister, Churchill declared: "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory, victory at all cost." Churchill was true to his word, it was he alone, who refused to consider any agreement to end the war at Dunkirk. It was also he who rejected Hitler's offer of peace in July 1940.
25. May 1940 Halifax's met the Italian ambassador in Britain, Giuseppe Bastianini. Italy had not yet entered the war. The conversation quickly came to a possible Italian mediation between the Allies and Germany.
Churchill's "Victory at all costs Speech" 13. of May 1940: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." - "You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for." Foto BBC archieve.
The following morning, Halifax reported on this conversation to the War Cabinet, saying that "in his opinion, they had to face the fact that it is not so much a matter of forcing a total defeat on Germany, but about securing the independence of our own empire and, if possible, the independence of France." Considering France's imminent fall and British forces' encirclement in Dunkirk, he believed that the United Kingdom should investigate the possibility of a negotiated settlement with Adolf Hitler, mediated by the still-neutral Italian leader Benito Mussolini. After pretending to have taken this idea into consideration, Churchill outperformed Halifax by - two days later - convening a meeting of a bigger parliamentary group, the twenty-five-man Outer Cabinet, arguing to continue the war and got support. Churchill claimed to have told the French Prime Minister, Reynaud, that Britain was not ready to "give in to anything. We would rather fight than be slaves for Germany."
Halifax's and Chamberlain's statements were highly diplomatic and indirect, while Churchill expressed himself bold and straightforward. It suggests that Winston Churchill stood on the politically secure ground of British democracy, the favour of voters - the vast majority of British voters were likely advocating giving the hated Germans a sound beating.
English and French soldiers are waiting to be evacuated on the beach at Dunkirk. In only three weeks, the combined French and English armies had been beaten by the German panzers and Stuka bombers. Hitler held back his armor force in order not to ruin the possibility of peace negotiations. Churchill organized an emergency evacuation and proclaimed it a victory. Photo Wikipedia.
26. May 1940 the evacuation of the encircled British army from the port and beach of Dunkerque in northern France was initiated. It lasted until June 4. Hitler issued his stop order to his Panzers, letting the British army escape at Dunkirk.
He stated in his Testament of 26. February 1945: "Churchill was quite unable to appreciate the sporting spirit of which I had given proof by refraining from creating an irreparable breach between the British and ourselves. We did, indeed, refrain from annihilating them at Dunkirk. We ought to have been able to make them realize that the acceptance by them of the German hegemony established in Europe, a state of affairs to the implementation of which they had always been opposed, but which I had implemented without any trouble, would bring them inestimable advantages."
Buchanan refers to Ian Kershaw: Even after Britain and France had declared war on Germany, Hitler confided to his inner circle: "If we on our side avoid all acts of war, the whole business will evaporate. As soon as we sink a ship and they have sizable casualties, the war party over there will gain strength." (Albert Speer Inside the Third Reich)
The headline of Birmingham Gazette 19. March 1940. Many think that the Pope and the Vatican also worked for peace in Europe. Photo Pinterest.
10. June 1940 or about. In his postwar book, "The Other Side of the Hill" Liddel Harts relates a conversation Hitler had at Charleville, after Dunkirk, with general von Rundtstedt and two of his staff, Sondenstern and Blumentritt. The latter told Liddel Hart the conversation had come around to Great Britain: "He (Hitler) then astonished us by speaking with admiration of the British Empire, of the necessity for its existence and of the civilization that Britain had brought into the world - He compared the British Empire with the Catholic Church - saying they were both essential elements of stability in the World. He said that all he wanted from Britain was that she should acknowledge Germany's position on the continent. The return of Germany's lost colonies would be desirable but not essential and he would even offer to supply Britain with troops if she should be involved in any difficulties anywhere - He concluded by saying that his aim was to make peace with Britain on a basis that she would regard compatible with her honour to accept."
This suggests that Hitler was prepared to be very flexible in possible peace negotiations with the UK.
25. June 1940 After the fall of France, tells Buchanan, Hitler telephoned Goebbels to lay out the terms of a deal with England. Britains empire was to be preserved, but Britain would return to Lord Salisbury's policy of "splendid isolation" from the power politics of Europe. Here is an entry from Goebbel's diary: "Der Fuhrer - believes that it (the British Empire) must be preserved if at all possible. For if it collapses, then we shall not inherit it, but foreign and even hostile powers take it over. But if England will have no other way, then she must be beaten to her knees. The Fuhrer, however, would be agreeable to peace on the following basis: England out of Europe, colonies and mandates returned. Reparations for what was stolen from us after the World War."
German aircraft sent thousands of flyers over England, calling for peace. Hitler could not understand why the English would absolutely have war. Photo eBay.
Ribbentrop wrote that after Dunkirk Hitler was enthused with making a quick peace with England. Hitler outlined the peace terms he was prepared to offer the British: "It will only be a few points, and the first point is that nothing must be done between England and Germany which would in any way violate the prestige of Great Britain. Secondly, Great Britain must give us back one or two of our old colonies. That is the only thing we want."
19. July 1940 Hitler took the initiative to end the war after the fall of France in June 1940. In a victory speech on July 19, 1940, Hitler declared that it had never been his intention to destroy or even harm the British Empire. Hitler made a general peace offer in the following words: "In this hour I feel it is my duty before my conscience to appeal once more to reason and common sense in Great Britain as much as elsewhere. I consider myself in a position to make this appeal, since I am not the vanquished, begging favors, but the victor, speaking in the name of reason. I can see no reason why this war must go on."
22. July 1940 Great Britain officially rejected Hitler's peace offer.
Alan Clarke, defense aid to Margaret Thatcher, believes that only Churchill's obsession with Hitler and "single-minded determination to keep the war going" prevented his accepting Germany's offer to end the war in 1940: "There were several occasions when a rational leader could have got, first reasonable, then excellent terms from Germany. Hitler actually offered peace in July 1940 before the Battle of Britain started. After the RAF victory, the German terms were still available, now weighed more in Britain's favor".
5. December 1940 Hitler voiced his puzzlement to the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin over Great Britain's refusal to accept his peace offers. Hitler felt he had repeatedly extended the hand of peace and friendship to the British, and each time they had blacked his eye in reply. Hitler said, "The survival of the British Empire is in Germany's interest too because if Britain loses India, we gain nothing thereby".
Sven Hedin meets Adolf Hitler during the Berlin Olympics in 1936. The Swedish explorer explored the last white spots on the map in Central Asia. Hitler was a great admirer of Hedin, and it was mutual, leading to that Hedin lived the last part of his life in Sweden relatively unnoticed. Foto Wikipedia.
14. August 1940 during the Battle of Britain, Hitler called his field marshals into the Reich Chancellery to impress upon them that victory over Britain must not lead to the collapse of the British Empire: "Germany is not striving to smash Britain because the beneficiaries will not be Germany, but Japan in the east, Russia in India, Italy in the Mediterranean, and America in world trade. This is why peace is possible with Britain - but not so long as Churchill is prime minister. Thus we must see what the Luftwaffe can do, and wait for a possible general election."
It was in all probability the ordinary Britons fascination with war and hatred of Germans that kept Winston Churchill in power through thick and thin. The German strategy of bombing British cities was unsuccessful, it only strengthened the voters' support for the war.
10. May 1941 Hitler's second in command, Rudolf Hess, landed with a parachute in Scotland. His plan was to contact the Duke of Hamilton, who was an influential member of the English-German Friendship Association.
Rudolf Hess had studied geopolitics - Here he is seen (on the right) together with his professor in geopolitics, Karl Haushofer - from around 1920. Photo The History Press.
Hess had studied geopolitics in his youth. He knew Hitler's plan to attack the Soviet Union and he knew that Germany could not win a two-front war. In the Spandau prison, he told the journalist Desmond Zwar that Germany could not win a war on two fronts: "I knew that what I had to say would have received his approval. Hitler had great respect for the English people."
In Scotland, Hess was quickly taken into Home Army's custody. The Duke of Hamilton, who was wing commander at a nearby military airfield, had a conversation with him the following day under four eyes. Rudolf Hess declared: "I am on a mission for humanity. Der Fuhrer does not want to defeat England and wants to stop fighting."
After the war, Albert Speer discussed the purpose of the flight with Hess, who told him that: "the idea had been inspired to him by supernatural forces in a dream. We would guarantee England its empire, and in return, it should give us free hands in Europe."
The American journalist, Hubert Knickerbocker, who had met both Hitler and Hess, speculated that Hitler had sent Hess with a message to Winston Churchill about the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union and an offer of a negotiated peace or even an anti-Bolshevik partnership.
Soldiers and policemen in Eaglesham inspect the wreckage of the Messerschmitt ME-110 in which Nazi leader Rudolf Hess made his solo flight to Scotland in May 1941. Photo Inconvenient History.
Following the meeting with Hess, Hamilton arranged a meeting with Churchill through the Foreign Ministry. They met in Ditchley where Churchill stayed for the weekend. They had some initial conversations that evening, and Hamilton followed Churchill back to London the next day, where both met with members of the War Cabinet.
Hitler feared that his allies, Italy and Japan, would perceive Hess' act as an attempt by Hitler to secretly initiate peace negotiations with the British, therefore he ordered the German press to characterize Hess as a lunatic who made the decision to fly to Scotland all alone, without Hitler's knowledge or approval. Hitler contacted Mussolini to reassure him.
Rudolf Hess was detained in British custody until the end of the war, where he was sent back to Germany to be brought to court in the Nurnberg process. He served his life sentence in the West German Spandau prison until his death, allegedly by suicide, as 93-year-old.
22. June 1941 Germany began Operation Barbarossa, which was the attack on the Soviet Union.
Some of the 91,000 German soldiers taken prisoner at Stalingrad together with a similar number of Romanians, Italiens and Hungarians. Within a matter of weeks over a quarter of them would be dead. Less than 6,000 Germans survived the Soviet labour camps and returned to Germany in the early 1950's. The battle at Stalingrad was the turning point of the war. Germany lost 25% of its army in one stroke. After Stalingrad and after Hitler had declared war on the United States, Germany's fate was sealed. It then took another two years and millions of soldiers' lives to end the war. Photo Medium.
German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had told Rep. Hamilton Fish that cooperation between England and Germany was essential for the maintenance of peace. Hitler had even "offered to place fifteen German army divisions and the entire fleet at the disposal of the British government to support her empire in case of war anywhere in the world."
11. December 1941 Hitler declared war on the USA.
19. November 1942 the Red Army broke through on both sides of the German positions at Stalingrad, and it became clear that the German army was stuck at Stalingrad and was about to be surrounded.
14. January 1943 the Casablanca Summit in French Morocco began. Present were American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Joseph Stalin had sent his apologies on the ground that his presence in the Soviet Union was necessary because of the battle of Stalingrad, which still was ongoing.
The summit in Casablanca in January 1943. From left to right: General Henri Giraud, President Franklin Roosevelt, General de Gaulle and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Stalin had sent his apologies as he was busy with the battle of Stalingrad. Foto IWM.org.
The most important decision at the meeting in Casablanca was the demand for Germany's unconditional surrender. Thus all future talk about peace negotiations was excluded. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American general and later president, believed that this decision prolonged the war by several years. One can add that it probably also extended the lists of combat deaths with millions of soldiers' lives and secured Europe's complete destruction, economically, culturally and politically.
According to former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Charles Bohlen, "Responsibility for this unconditional surrender doctrine rests almost exclusively with President Roosevelt".
New York Times correspondent Drew Middleton, who was in Casablanca at the conference, later revealed in his book, "Retreat From Victory", that Churchill said he had been "startled by the announcement (of unconditional surrender). I tried to hide my surprise. But I was his (Roosevelt's) ardent lieutenant". It indicates a weak - but very late - recognition by Churchill of the need for peace. He had rejected all of Germany's peace proposals so far and had never himself sought peace.
Already in 1942, Great Britain was totally dependent on American supplies of weapons, ammunition, fuel, etc. as they had been during the First World War. Roosevelt's words were law, and Churchill was his "ardent lieutenant".
The Liberty ship SS John W. Brown on the Great Lakes in the year 2000. John W. Brown is one of only two surviving World War II Liberty Ships. Liberty ships very simple and cheap ships designed for mass production, which were built to transport supplies from the United States to Europe during the Second World War.
Just as during the First World War, the US kept the war going from the first day by providing the weaker part, the Allies, with weapons, ammunition, fuel, food and many other supplies. To solve this enormous transport task, engineers constructed a cheap ship with a simple design that was easy to build, suitable for mass production. They were built with a dock-time of only 24 days. Eighteen American shipyards built 2,710 Liberty ships between 1941 and 1945. In addition, 534 ships of a somewhat improved type called Victory ships were built. Furthermore, 550 rapidly constructed tankships called T2 and T3 were placed into service. During 1943 American and Canadian shipyards produced 140 freighters per month. Moreover, the Americans seized, as we know, hundreds of neutral ships as they could find opportunities to do so, to use them for the transport across the Atlantic. A very large part of A.P. Moeller's fleet was in this way seized by the Americans, and the young Maersk McKinney Moeller had to go to New York after the war to demand them delivered to the rightful owner. Photo Wikipedia.
1943 The exact date is not known by the author. It is said that the head of German military intelligence, Canaris, in 1943 was in contact with British agents in occupied France. He was led blindfolded to the nunnery, Passion of Our Blessed Lord - where he met the local head of the British intelligence service - Canaris wanted to know the conditions of peace if Germany got Hitler out of the way. Churchill's reply, which was sent to him two weeks later, was simple: "unconditional surrender" which Churchill had recently agreed with Roosevelt.
In September 1944, Churchill crossed the Atlantic for a summit with Roosevelt at Quebec's Citadel. At the banquet on September 13 the US Treasury Secretary Morgenthau and his deputy, Harry Dexter White, a Soviet spy, were seated at Churchill's table, where the secretary laid out his Morgenthau Plan, devised by White.
Henry Morgenthau on the left with President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the wheel. Morgenthau was the only Jew in Roosevelt's cabinet, and some have speculated that the plan was the Jewish revenge on Germany for the Holocaust. Photo: Focus.de
The plan "envisaged turning the Ruhr into a ghostland." It aimed at reducing overall German living standards in order to prevent Germany's reemergence as an aggressive power. It prohibited assistance to the German agricultural sector and banned the production of oil, rubber, merchant ships, and aircrafts. "The industrial region of Saar was to be destroyed - All machinery and factory equipment were to be turned over to the Russians", writes Gregor Dallas. Germany was to be converted into an agricultural Nation.
When one US official pointed out to Morgenthau that Germany's population could not survive on farming, that millions would starve, Morgenthau suggested the allies to ship the surplus Germans to North Africa.
Historian Gregor Dallas describes the initial reaction of Churchill: "Morgenthau had only got through a few sentences when Churchill began fidgetting and muttering. When he got to the end, the secretary received a "verbal bashing" such he had never received in his life." Churchill said the plan - the "Morgenthau Plan" - as it has gone down in history - "was unnatural and un-Christian and unnecessary." - "I am all for disarming Germany, but we ought not to prevent her from living decently," said Churchill "I agree with Burke. You cannot indict a whole nation."
Churchill, however, was informed by aides that "Stage II" of lend-lease, on which the economic survival of Britain depended, might depend on his support of the Morgenthau plan. By Friday the fifteenth he was broken. "The future of my people is on the stake," he told a protesting Eden. "and when I have to choose between my own people and the German people, I am going to choose my own people".
Morgenthau's plan for the new de-industrialized Germany from his 1945 book "Germany is Our Problem".
East Prussia was to be shared between Poland and the Soviet Union, as it happened and still is today. The southern part of Silesia should be transferred to Poland. The Germans who had not yet fled had to be deported. South Schleswig was to be transferred to Denmark. Remaining Germany was to be divided into three parts:
- A Northern German State that resembles an enlarged East Germany.
- A Southern German State resembling an enlarged Bavaria.
- An International Zone, which includes the rest, mainly the Rhineland including the Ruhr area, Germany's industrial center.
For all parts of Germany must be secured "the total destruction of the whole German armament industry, and the removal or destruction of other key industries which are basic to military strength."
The International Zone or the Ruhr area, which was considered the heart of the German arms industry, should have a particularly harsh treatment. Not only the weapons industry, but all industry had to be destroyed: "all industrial plants and equipment not destroyed by military action shall either be completely dismantled and removed from the area or completely destroyed. All equipment shall be removed from the mines and the mines shall be thoroughly wrecked." - "all people and their families within the area having special skills or technical training should be encouraged to migrate permanently from the area and should be as widely dispersed as possible."
In Washington, a storm broke over the savage peace to be imposed. Secretary of war, Stimson, memoed Roosevelt that the Morgenthau Plan was a flagrant violation of the principles of the Atlantic Charter and his own words "freedom from want and freedom from fear". A responsible person leaked the plan to the newspapers. In a week the US press was ablaze and Roosevelt was backpedaling. Churchill, however, would carry the plan to Stalin and Molotov.
In the autumn 1944 U.S. presidential election campaign, Roosevelt's opponent, Thomas Dewey, pointed out that the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, made use of the plan to raise even more soldiers and effort in the defense of the Fatherland inflicting tens of thousands of extra casualties on British and American troops in the battles that followed its publication. "The publishing of this Plan," claimed Dewey, "was as good as ten fresh German divisions."
The relative distribution of Marshall aid to European countries. The Marshall Plan was an economic follow-up to the Truman doctrine, which signaled an active policy against the spread of communism. US politicians believed that economic crises gave rise to the spread of communism. On the other hand, a strong, united and rebuilt Western Europe would be a military counterweight to the Soviet Union and weaken the influence of the Communist parties in the individual countries. Furthermore, the idea behind the Marshall Aid was that the US itself could avoid an economic crisis, relying on trading with their European partners. Recipients of Marshal Assistance should commit themselves to be members of the OECD International Economic Organization. Photo Wikipedia
A later memorandum drafted by Churchill and Roosevelt also in September 1944 was based on the original Morgenthau plan and provided for "eliminating the war-making industries in the Ruhr and the Saar - looking forward to converting Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." The two state leaders must have been quite aware that German agriculture could only feed two-thirds of the country's inhabitants and their plan would cause extensive famine.
The Morgenthau plan remained in force until July 1947, where it was replaced by the Marshall Plan, which was named after US Secretary of State George Marshall.
The attack on the old Hanseatic city of Lubeck on the night of 28. March 1942 created a firestorm that caused severe damage to the historic center, with bombs destroying three of the main churches. The bombing was regarded as a major success for RAF Bomber Command. Foto Bundesarchiv.
"The same day Churchill took office as prime minister in May 1940, he ordered the bombing of civilians", writes Buchanan.
Buchanan writes that only twenty-four hours after the German army invaded France, Bomber Command sent eighteen Whitley bombers on a night run far from the front on Westphalia. "This raid on the night of May 11 1940, although in itself trivial, was an epoch-making event, since it was the first deliberate breach of the fundamental rule of civilized warfare that hostilities must only be waged against the enemy combatant forces."
After the fall of France, Churchill wrote a somber letter to Lord Beaverbrook, minister of air production: "When I look round to see how we can win the war, I see there is only one sure path. We have no continental army which can defeat the German military power. The blockade is broken and Hitler has Asia and probably Africa to draw from. Should he be repulsed here or not try invasion, he will recoil eastward, and we have nothing to stop him. But there is one thing that will bring him down and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland."
"By late 1940", the historian Paul Johnson writes, "British bombers were being used on a great and increasing scale to kill and frighten the German civilian population in their homes".
In the early hours of 25 July 1943, nearly 800 RAF Halifaxes and Lancasters launched a 50-minutes bombing raid on the Third Reich's second largest city, Hamburg. The pilots used the neo-Gothic spire of St Nikolai's church in the city's historic heart as a landmark and killed 1,500 people.
Three nights later, just after midnight, the bombers returned. What was to follow was immeasurably worse. The RAF's target was the city's overcrowded working-class districts, Hammerbrook, Hamm and Borgfelde, to which many of those, who had lost their homes in the previous bombardment, had fled. Unusually warm weather and heavy loads of incendiaries combined to create a hurricane-like firestorm which caused 40.000 to die. Photo Bundesarchiv.
Paul Johnson writes on: "The policy, initiated by Churchill, approved in cabinet, endorsed by parliament and, so far can be judged, enthusiastically backed by the bulk of the British people - thus fulfilling all the conditions of the process of consent in a democracy under law - marked a critical stage in the moral declension of humanity in our times."
"So far air strategy was concerned", writes A.J.P. Taylor. "The British outdid German frightfulness first in theory, later in practice, and a nation which claimed to be fighting for a moral cause gloried in the extent of its immoral acts"
Churchill meets Stalin in Moscow in 1942. From left to right Churchill, William Averell Harriman, who was Roosevelt's trusted man, Stalin and Molotov. Stalin scorned the British and said the British soldiers would lose their fear as soon as they started to fight. It was important for Churchill to prove to Stalin that Great Britain really did something in the war against Tyskland. Photo Library of Congress.
In his first meeting with Stalin in 1942, Churchill brought up the Royal Air Force bombing of German cities to ingratiate himself with the tyrant by impressing upon him how ruthless Britain intended to be: "Churchill now spoke of the bombing of Germany. This was already considerable, he said, and would increase. Britain looked upon the morale of the German civilian population as a military target. We sought no mercy and we would show no mercy." Britain hoped to "shatter" twenty German cities, as several had already been shattered. "If need be, as the war went on, we hoped to shatter almost every dwelling in almost every German city." (Johnson).
Churchill brought a Frederick Lindemann into the War Cabinet as a science advisor. Lindemann presented his paper early in 1942: "The bombing must be directed especially against German working-class houses. Middle-class houses have too much space around them and so are bound to waste bombs."
Foto taken from an airplane over Dresden showing incendiary fires burning in Dresden during the second heavy attack on the night between 13 and 14 February. Photo RAF Film Production.
British propaganda broadcasts charged that the Luftwaffe had begun the bombing of cities by brutally targeting London. But it was the British who first targeted civilians, and they were proud of it. "To achieve the extirpation of Nazi tyranny there are no lengths of violence to which we will not go," Churchill told the parliament on 21. September 1943.
Before leaving for Yalta, Churchill ordered operation Thunderclap, massive airstrikes to de-house German civilians to turn them into refugees to clog the roads over which German soldiers had to move to stop a Red Army offensive. Air marshall Arthur "Bomber" Harris put Dresden on the target list.
Buchanan reports: "In two waves three hours apart, 650.000 incendiary bombs rained down on Dresden's narrow Streets and baroque buildings, together with another 1,474 tons of high explosives - the fires burned for seven days.
Dresden's old buildings after the attack. Dresden was a civilian city with no military significance. Photo Bundesarchiv.
More than 1.600 acres of the city were devastated (compared to 100 acres burned in the German raid on Coventry) and melting streets burned the shoes off those attempting to flee. Cars untouched by fire burst into flames only from the heat. Thousands sought refuge in the cellars where they died robbed of oxygen by the flames before the building above them collapsed.
Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who was one of twenty-six thousand Allied prisoners of war in Dresden, helped clean up after the attack, remembers tunneling into the ruins to find the dead sitting upright in what he would describe in "Slaughterhouse Five" as "corpse mines". Floating in the static water tanks were the boiled bodies of hundreds more.
The morning after the Lancasters' strike, five hundred B-17 arrived over Dresden in two waves with three hundred fighter escorts to strafe fleeing survivors. Estimates of the dead in the firestorm range from 35.000 to 250.000. The Associated Press reported, "Allied war chiefs have made the long-awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of German populated centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler's doom."
One of the warning signs that dotted Gruinard Island until its decontamination in 1990. Photo TSPL.
Air Marshall Harris implies that Churchill gave the order to incinerate Dresden: "I will only say that the attack on Dresden was at the time considered a military necessity by much more important people than myself."
By 1944 Churchill commissioned the preparation of five million anthrax-cakes to be dropped onto the pastures of north Germany to poison the cattle and through them the people. As the Glasgow Sunday Herald reported in 2001: "The aim of operation Vegetarian was to wipe out the German beef and dairy herds and then see the bacterium spread to the human population. With people then having no access to antibiotics, this would have caused many thou sands - perhaps even millions - of German men, women and children to suffer an awful death." The anthrax-cakes were tested on Gruinard Island off Wester Ross in Scotland, which was not cleared of contamination until 1990.
Measured by the size of the armies, the scope of the battles and the length of the casualty lists, Second World War was less a war between Fascism and Freedom than it was a war between Nazism and Bolshevism. Hitler lost, Stalin won.
The American Lend-Lease program. The Lend-Lease Act was the system by which the U.S. gave away $50 billion in military aid in 1941-45. There was no repayment required. $31 billion went to Britain, $11 billion to the Soviet Union, $3 billion to France, and $1.6 billion to China. In addition, Canada operated a similar program of aid to Britain, and Britain had its own program of aid to others, especially the Soviets. Photo Consevapedia.
"Most of the fighting and dying in the bloodiest of all wars, to bring down Hitler's Reich, was done on the Eastern Front." Buchanan cites Davies: "The Third Reich was largely defeated not by the forces of liberal democracy, but by the Red Army of another mass-murdering tyranny. The liberators of Auschwitch were servants of a regime that ran an even larger network of concentration camps of their own."
On the western front, the war played out very much like the First World War. The United States kept the war going by supplying weapons, ammunition, fuel and food to the weaker part, that was Great Britain.
Convoy over the Atlantic Ocean. Sailing supplies to Great Britain was dangerous. For example, during 1941 and 1942, the German Navy sank 2,963 allied vessels. Often a dozen convoys with more than 20,000 men crossed the Atlantic at the same time, with speeds between seven and nine knots. Bad weather and fog was a blessing for the convoys, as it made U-boat operations very difficult, on the other hand too much smoke from the ships funnels, was a deadly give away which could be seen many miles away. Foto Rhiw.com.
Six months after invading the Soviet Union, however, Hitler had been stopped in the East and had declared war on the United States. Nazi Germany was doomed. She would take three years to die and take millions with her. Germany would be destroyed and Fascism forever disgraced. But the price would be scores of millions of deads and the devastation of Europe. And the peace of 1945, Stalin's peace East of the Elbe, would make Ian Smuts' "Carthaginian peace" of 1919 appear magnanimous. The true winner of the greatest war in history would be the USA and the Soviet-Union.
"Churchill had devoted his life to three causes: the preservation of the empire, keeping socialism at bay and preventing any hostile power to dominate Europe. By July of 1945, all three had been lost and Churchill dismissed by the people he had led to war."
Convoy to Murmansk. A total of 78 convoys delivered four million tons of vital cargo and munitions to the Soviet Union - allowing the Red Army to repel the Nazi invasion. The cost in lives was horrific. More than 3,000 seamen perished in the treacherous waters of the Arctic Ocean, among them many Scandinavians. Photo Daily Mirror.
What had all that "Blood, sweat, toil and tears" produced? In Eastern and Central Europe, Hitler's rule had given way to Stalin's. Pax Britannica had given way to Pax Americana. And for this, the British Empire had sacrificed itself. Yet, there was this notable success: Britain had restored Ethiopia's emperor to his throne. Said one caustic critic, "It had been ironically said that the British brought Haile Selassie back to Addis Ababa in order to bring the Russians into Vienna, Berlin and Port Arthur."
The United States was the last of the great powers to go to war. The United States emerged as the first nation on Earth, unrivaled in the air or at the sea, with the fewest casualties, four hundred thousand, relative to her population. Save for Pearl Harbor and the Aleutans, the homeland had been unmolested - Leadership of the West would pass forever from Britain and Europa to the United States.
Stalingrad's ruins. Photo Pinterest
The Soviet Union. While Russia lost millions of soldiers and civilians and suffered devastation, Stalin emerged from the war as the most powerful Czar in history, with the Red Army occupying Berlin, Vienna and Prague.
Great Britain. From Norway to France, Greece, Crete and Libya, Great Britain lost every battle to the Germans - until El Alamein in 1942. She would end the war with four hundred thousand dead and a Pyrrhic victory, and never again be great.
France would be occupied for four years, the Vichy Era was marked by widespread collaboration. French Indochina would be overrun by Japan. By war's end, Syria and Lebanon were gone. In 1954, the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu and run out of Vietnam by General Giap and Ho Chi Minh. In 1962, France was driven out of Algeria by the terror tactics of the FLN. North Africa was gone and France's Sub-Saharan empire was crumbling.
The Katyn massacre. During the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 - as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - they took somewhere between 250,000 and 450,000 prisoners, but most of them were quickly released. The rest were detained in camps in the Western Soviet Union. On March 5 1940, the Soviet Politburo headed by Stalin decided that the 25,700 remaining Polish prisoners should be executed. The order was signed by Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov and Mikojan. The executions began on April 4 and were carried out every night for a long time. About 8,000 were officers in the Polish army, in addition, there were gendarmes, landlords, factory owners, priests and lawyers. At the massacre, much of the Polish national elite was wiped out. Most of the executed were buried in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk.
Buchanan writes that Churchill knew of the massacre, but continued to make deals with Stalin - trusting that he would keep them. Photo: Kresy Family.
Poland, trusting in her war guarantee, suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths resisting the Nazi onslaught in September 1939. The Polish officer corps would be massacred by Stalins's NKVD in killing fields like Katyn Forrest - Poland's Home Army, at the urging of the Red Army on the far side of the Vistula, would rise in Warsaw in 1944. And as the Red Army looked on, refusing to help, the Polish Home Army and Warsaw's civilian population would suffer great losses of perhaps more than 100.00 fallen during two months and finally be annihilated by the Wehrmacht and the SS. "The cream of Poland's patriotic and democratic youth had been eliminated," writes a historian.
Ethnic Germans being driven out of Silesia, sometime in the 1940's. Photo Pinterest.
Germany would end the war in total ruin, with millions of civilians dead from the carpet bombing of the Allies and the reprisals of the Red Army. In one of the great exodus of human history, thirteen to fifteen million Germans would be driven out of lands their ancestors had lived on for centuries. Millions would perish in the long orgy of rape and revenge. The problem of German minorities in European countries would be solved by exterminating some and "ethnically cleansing" the rest.
Two million Germans would die in the largest forced transfer of populations in history, a crime against humanity of historic dimensions in which twenty times as many Germans were driven from their homes between 1944 and 1948 as the 600.000 Palestinians of the of 1948, and more Germans died than all the Armenians who perished in the Turkish massacres of First World War. The territories of East Prussia, Pomerania, East Brandenburg, Silesia, Danzig, Memel and the Sudetenland were relentlessly and ruthlessly "cleansed" of Germans, whose families had inhabited them for centuries.
Of the Stalinized states of Central and Eastern Europe, it may be said: They were now more ethnically pure than they had been before the war.
Italy would be bombed and invaded by Anglo-American forces and Mussolini was executed by communist partisans, his body hanged upside down with that of his mistress Clara Petacci. Well before the war's end, his New Roman Empire had vanished.
In 1939 Stalin had killed many of his own party comrades from 1917 and millions of other Russians. He had reintroduced slavery for millions in labor camps in northern Russia and Siberia, and he had reintroduced serfdom because he had forbidden the peasants to leave their villages. His popular support was probably insignificant. He was rescued on the edge of the abyss in 1939 by that his worst enemies went to war against each other, Britain and France declared war on Germany, and then they endorsed Stalin by making him an equal partner in the war against "the prince of ultimate evil" and provide him with massive material support. The West created themselves their arch enemy the Soviet Union. After the worst war ever, he became the greatest Zar in Russia's history. His power stretched from Vladivostock to Berlin. Photo Pinterest.
The Baltic republics, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, seized by Stalin in June 1940 as his booty from his pact with Hitler, would suffer untold horrors, with the cultural, political religious and intellectual leaders of the three tiny nations disappearing forever in the labour and death camps of the Gulag Archipelago.
Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania and Eastern Germany would end up as captive nations of a new Soviet Empire, ceded to Stalin by Churchill and Roosevelt. They would suffer half a century of tyranny at the hands of the politicians who ruled Eastern Europe for the Politbureau.
An important motivation for Buchanan to write his book was that powerful forces among Western media wanted to appoint Winston Churchill to the twentieth century's great hero and that he wanted to prevent.
The British ultimatum to Germany expired on 4. August at 11.00 and thus Britain was at war against Germany. In this fateful moment, Lloyd George sat with his disconsolate prime minister in his office and later told a friend: "Winston dashed into the room, radiant, his bright, his manner keen, one word pouring out after another, how he was going to send telegrams to the Mediterranean, the North Sea, and God knows where. You could see he was a really happy man."
A selection of the young Churchill's toy soldiers exhibited in Blenheim Palace north of Oxford. Photo "Hey! - What? - What did you say."
Churchill was exhilarated. Six months later, after the first battle of Ypres, with tens of thousands of British soldiers in their graves, he would say to Violet Asquith: "I think a curse could rest on me - because I am so happy. I know this war is sashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment and yet - I enjoy every second."
Maurice Hankey said: "Churchill was a man of total different type from all his collegaues. He had a real zest for war. If war there must be, he at least could enjoy it"
As a boy, Winston Churchill had a large collection of toy soldiers. He got his first set of soldiers, when he was seven years old. When he was a teenager he was still playing war games - longer time than other boys - with a set that had grown to 1,500 pieces. Most are today exhibited in Churchill's childhood home, Blenheim Palace.
But he didn't have much luck with the real soldiers. Almost all military projects launched by Winston Churchill failed catastrophically.
It was the Boer War that made Churchill famous and revealed the qualities that would make him both admired and distrusted all his life.
Drawing of armored train. Photo Pinterest.
Sailing to South Africa as a correspondent for the Morning Post, Churchill was anxious to see battle up close. With 150 soldiers in three trucks, attached in front and behind the engine, Churchill rode an armored train north to scout out Boer infested territory south of the besieged town of Ladysmith in Natal.
As the train chugged on, Churchill observed Boers on horseback, observing him. The Boers let the train pass, then piled rocks on the tracks. Further north, the train drew fire from a Boer field gun. Immediately, it went into reverse and roared back down the tracks, slamming into the rocks. The trucks were derailed and Boer sharpshooters with Mausers and a field piece began to pour fire into the British. Churchill helped clear the trucks to enable the engine to flee south with fifty survivors, mostly wounded. He, along with fifty-eight other British, were forced to surrender - a debacle and humiliation for the British army. The Boers had suffered only four wounded.
Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria, escaped, and returned to South Africa. Few incidents in his young life are more instructive in understanding the future leader Churchill would become. In this incident, Churchill had shown both reckless daring and dismal judgement. General Redvers Buller, the commander in South Africa, described the operation as one of "inconceivable stuidity."
Winston Churchill as a reporter for the Morning Post newspaper in South Africa during the Boer War in 1899. Photo C. Peter Chen.
Lloyd George said of Churchill: "Poor Winston - A brilliant fellow without judgment which is adequate to his fierce impulse. His steering gear is too weak for his horse-power"
Robert Boothby, the personal assistant to Churchill as Chancellor, who looked to him to lead the conservatives, who wished to stand up to the dictators, wrote Churchill after his five minutes disaster (supporting Edward III's abdication filled with emotions and brandy") "What happened this afternoon makes me feel that it is almost impossible for those who are most devoted to you personally to follow you blindly - in politics. Because they cannot be sure where the hell you are going to be landed next."
As a military strategist Churchill was involved in two of the greatest blunders of the First World War.
First came the Antwerp fiasco of 1914, where he sent his untested naval brigade to help defend Antwerp and went over to command the resistance, only to see Antwerp seized by the Germans in weeks and his naval unit decimated and interned in neutral Holland for the rest of the war.
Churchill's marines march into Antwerp. Photo Pinterest.
Then came the Dardanelles disaster and his resignation as First Lord. The campaign was MacArthurian in concept: to breach the Dardanelles with battleships, seize Constantinople, convince the Balkan neutrals to join the Allies and open a new supply route to Russia.
But the execution was appalling. Churchill had violated Nelson's dictum: "Ships do not fight forts". The Royal Navy's attempt to force the Dardanelles without landing ground troops to assault the Turkish forts from the rear resulted in the loss of three battleships and the crippling of three more on the first day. There followed weeks of delay as the Turks fortified Gallipoli. Then came the British-French-Anzac invasion that resulted in months of battle, two hundred thousand casualties and the worst Allied rout of the war.
In September 1939, Churchill returned to the Admiralty and began to urge an invasion of neutral Norway to cut Germany off from Swedish iron ore, which during the winter, when Sweden's closest port was iced over, was transported across Norway to Narvik, then to Germany. Attlee and Labour had balked at any violation of Scandinavian neutrality, and the cabinet went back and forth on the wisdom of mining neutral waters and seizing Narvik.
Throughout the war, the German economy and warfare depended on imported Swedish iron ore. From Malmberget and Kiruna it was transported by the iron ore railway to Lule� and from there transported by ship to Germany. However, in the winter, the Bothnian Bay is iced over and the ore was instead shipped from Narvik. Photo Wikipedia.
Churchill, however, tipped Britain's hand to Berlin. On 17. February the destroyer Cossack intercepted the dry cargo ship, Altmark, in Norway's coastal waters rescueing British prisoners being taken to Germany for internment. Most were seamen from merchant ships sunk by the Graf Spee. An infuriated Hitler now feared the British would invade Norway and turn his northern flank. He ordered plans prepared to preempt the British with an invasion of his own.
Andrew Roberts wrote: "The captured records of Hitler's conferences reveal that in early 1940 he still considered "the maintenance of Norway's neutrality to be the best course for Germany". but that in February he came to the conclusion that: "The English plan to land there and I want to be there before them". His definite decision to order an attack on Norway was taken a few days after Churchill had ordered the British destroyer HMS Cossack to sail into Norwegian waters and board the German ship Altmark in order to liberate British prisoners. Churchill capitalized on this success and much was made of the event."
On 9. April, despite Churchill's assurances that the Royal Navy had absolute command of the North Sea, German troops seized Oslo and five other Norwegian ports, including Narvik, within hours of the anticipated arrival of British marines.
Narvik during the Second World War. The fighting was about control of the Narvik port for the shipping of iron ore and the behind area against Sweden, including the iron-ore railway. When the Allied forces arrived, the area was already occupied by German troops. Despite large numerical superiority the Allies never managed to capture Narvik and the iron-ore railway. Photo Norsk Telegrambyraa.
According to Roberts, Churchill had blabbed his Norwegian plan at a secret meeting of neutral press attaches, and German intelligence had picked up vital information on the British attack.
Both Lloyd George and George Kennan reached the conclusion that the British themselves by violating Norwegian neutrality had drawn Hitler into Scandinavia.
To ensure access to Norway, the Germans also occupied Denmark on 9. April 1940.
When the Allies arrived at Narvik, the city and the area up to the Swedish border were already occupied by three German Bergj�ger divisions. Despite overwhelming numerical superiority, the Allies were unable to recapture the entire Narvik area. The expedition force included British forces, units from the French Foreign Legion, Polish units and parts of the Norwegian Army. After three months of hard fighting, they gave up and pulled the troops back to Great Britain. The historian Henrik O. Lund writes: "The Germans achieved most of their objectives in what must be viewed as a stunning military success in face of overwhelming odds."
The crew of the English destroyer HMS Hardy in Ofotfjord near Narvik. After hard fighting, the ship was sunk by German destroyers and the surviving part of the crew had to manage 350 meters through the cold water to the coast. Foto MailOnline.
Two years later under pressure from Stalin to open a second front, Churchill, now prime minister, launched a cross Channel raid on the French port of Dieppe. A bloodbath ensued, with two-thirds of the six thousand commandoes, mostly Canadians killed, wounded or captured, and RAF losses of three to one against the Luftwaffe. Canadians have never forgotten what an officer called the bloodiest nine hours in Canadian military history. Many blame Churchill for the loss of their bravest sons in an assault even German defenders regarded as a suicidal sacrifice of brave soldiers.
At Munich, Chamberlain had agreed to the transfer of 3,25 million Sudeten Germans to Berlin, rather than fight a futile war to keep them under a Czech rule they wished to be rid of. At Teheran and Yalta, Churchill signed away one hundred million Christians to Stalin's terror and agreed to let him annex the Baltic States and 40% of Poland, the nation for whose "integrity" Britain had gone to war. At his wartime summits with Stalin, Churchill also agreed to the ethnic cleansing of thirteen to fifteen million Germans from their ancestral homes, two million of whom would die in the exodus. He agreed to Stalin's use of Germans as slave laborers and to the forced repatriation of millions of Russians, Ukrainians and Cossacks to a barbaric Asiatic regime he had called "the foulest murderers in all of history".
Left: Captured Cossacks. After Normandy, thousands of German prisoners, who were ethnic Russians, fell into Britsh hands and were transferred to England. As they had been captioned fighting in German uniforms, they were entitled under the 1929 Geneva Convention to treatment as POW's But when their disposition was discussed in London, an exasperated Churchill memoed Sir Alexander Cadogan of the foreign office: "I thought we had arranged to send all the Russians back to Russia - We ought to get rid of them as soon as possible. This was our promise to Molotov as I understood it."
Right: Churchill and Stalin in Moscow 1942. On 13 October 1944 Churchill wrote to his wife, Clementine, from Moscow: I have had very nice talks with the Old Bear (Stalin). I like him the more I see him.
"Poor Neville Chamberlain believed he could trust Hitler. He was wrong. But I don't think I am wrong about Stalin," said Churchill on his return from Yalta. He declared to the House: "I know of no government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet government"
But how could a statesman of Churchill's rank- twenty-five years after he had described Bolshevism as the bloodiest tyranny in history - place his trust in a despot who had massacred, starved and murdered millions of his own countrymen? Upon what ground could Churchill stand to condemn his dead rival Chamberlain for having briefly trusted Hitler, when he, Churchill, admits to having trusted Stalin to respect "the sovereignty, independence and freedom of Poland?"
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Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat American Literature.
The Morgenthau Plan fpp.co.uk.
The 1945 air raid on Dresden fpp.co.uk
Norway 1940: The Siege of Narvik Historigraph Youtube
Battle of the Atlantic Rhiw.com
Britain's Cossack Betrayal Warfare History Network
Churchill believed he could charm anyone MailOnline
"Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War - How Britain lost its empire and the West lost the World" by Patrick J. Buchanan. - Three River Press New York.