History… Truth or Propaganda? Part I

“He who controls the past controls the present and he who controls the present controls the future…,” George Orwell.

The manipulation of history is nothing new – it is an age old art – Voltaire once described history as a lie commonly agreed upon. The Romans took it to its zenith – following their adoption of Christianity, they destroyed the massive ancient library at Alexandria, Egypt, and with it was lost perhaps forever, much esoteric knowledge and the true history of the ancient world. In their attempts to vanquish foes, they claimed the Druids conducted human sacrifice on a gargantuan scale, broiling hundreds of victims in a huge wickerwork colossus. Military domination wasn’t enough – they had to manufacture false or exaggerated scenarios to turn the people against their enemies, thus ensuring public support.

Even then, the Romans knew the value of spin and disinformation. As Harry Elmer Barnes proclaimed “the truth is always the first casualty in war”. It the victors who write the history books in which their actions and objectives will be fully justified, whilst the losers will be portrayed in the worst possible light….

This is well illustrated in relation to Germany in the 20th. century. Ever since the late 19th. century Germany had its own plans to become a major independent power. It took two world wars to destroy German ambitions. Between the wars, attempts were made to dismember the German state – French troops illegally occupied the industrial heartland of the Ruhr in 1923 and at the same time communist agitators tried to form a separatist Bavaria, which came very close to succeeding [1]. Though not remotely in the same league as Stalin’s communist regime in Russia, which murdered many millions of their own people, the Nazi regime was manipulative, repressive and totalitarian, even though Hitler’s National Socialist party enjoyed substantial public support, becoming the largest single party following the 1932 election, as a result Hitler was requested by Chancellor Hindenberg to take over as his successor in 1933. They successfully lifted Germany out of the great depression and couldn’t help but gain massive public support for doing so.

Nor, it seems, was Hitler a madman intent on ruling the world, as he is now so often portrayed. What he was intent upon doing, was to unite all Germans in a single state, primarily as a bastion against a perceived Bolshevik Russian threat from the east, and in particular to recover the territories which were severed from Germany at the Versailles peace treaty in 1919. To understand German actions, one must understand one of the aims of Bolshevism was to be spread “revolution” across the globe using whatever means were necessary. Sooner or later expansion west into Europe by Stalin was seen as inevitable by the Nazis. Fearing this, the last thing Hitler wanted was a war against Britain and France, whom the Germans saw ultimately as facing the same threat from the east as themselves. In parts of Poland, which were German until 1919, Germans suffered serious discrimination that the Poles were unwilling to address. Furthermore, Poland had made a number of irregular military incursions into German territory at the end of August 1939 [2]. This was the catalyst for the German invasion on 1st. September 1939 that then caused Britain and France to declare war on Germany.

World War Two

For nine months there was a “phoney war” – very few hostilities between Germany and France and Britain, yet it is obvious that Germany’s vastly superior military machine could have annihilated British and French forces, which were wholly unprepared to fight a major war in 1939. Was the reason for not doing so, because Hitler still hoped that Britain and France could be persuaded to join Germany against the common foe Russia which, by May 1940 had already annexed part of Finland, and effectively taken military control of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and parts of eastern Europe? Only when it was clear that this was not to be the case, particularly after Britain was the first combatant to violate Norwegian neutrality and was hinting that Belgium might be the base for an attack on Germany – only then did Germany move into Norway and launch blitzkrieg through the low countries and into France, hoping to knock out France and Britain in a short campaign, before dealing with the threat to the east.

Even then, Hitler refrained from ordering his Panzer divisions to destroy the British army at Dunkirk, which they could so easily have done, allowing it to escape largely intact – in the belief that Britain might still sue for an honourable peace. However it was not to be – those in the British government such as Lord Halifax and Rab Butler who were in favour of peace were ousted in favour of Winston Churchill now seen by some as having always been intent on war whatever the cost [3]. The final attempt by Germany to secure peace with Britain, appears to have been the secret flight to Scotland by Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess on 10th. May 1941. By this time, Hitler knew what has never been made widely known, namely that Russia was massing a vast army along its western borders ready for an attack on to Germany. It is clear that the Red Army existed as an offensive army from the military principles agreed by Stalin before the war. “war preparations are preparations for attack – defensive measures serve solely to protect preparations for attack and the execution of attack – the red Army is the most offensive of all armies” [4].

Was the Hess mission a desperate bid by Germany to avoid a war on two fronts by securing peace in the west, and to persuade Britain that the real threat lay to the east? Hess was arrested soon after landing in Scotland. Subsequently he was kept confined in Spandau jail, Berlin for 40 years or more after the war. Was this to ensure that he could never make public the real reasoning behind his mission? In the end the Germans pre-empted a Russian invasion with a massive attack of their own – operation Barbarossa – designed to deal a quick knock out blow to the Russian military machine. By the end of 1941, it was clear that it had failed in its objective, but it led to the most horrific campaign of World War 2 in which both sides did terrible things.

In the eastern theatre, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour which brought the U.S. into the war officially took everyone completely by surprise. However a new book “Day of Deceit: the Truth about Roosevelt And Pearl Harbour” reveals that President Roosevelt and his top advisers were aware of a planned Japanese attack as was Winston Churchill. The military at Pearl Harbour were kept in the dark. Economic sanctions were used to help provoke an attack, because it was reckoned that without the US entering the war, Britain had little hope of defeating Germany. With Germany and Japan tied by an alliance, war against Japan by the US meant war against Germany as well. The so called “surprise” led to public outrage and immediate support for entering the war. At the end of the war it was President Truman who ordered the dropping of 2 atomic bombs on Japan and perpetrated the lie that has lasted for over 50 years, that the reason was to save lives and shorten the war. In fact Japan was making peace moves, which the U.S. government chose to ignore in order to create the excuse to demonstrate the full horrors of the bomb, for the purpose basically of demonstrating US power and scaring the Soviet Union. [5]

No war can be fought unless it is supported by banks and big business. Brief mention has already been made about banks funding both sides, but big business also supported both sides. Allied business supported Hitler – the international ties of big corporations enabled them to pursue their own policies in war – US firms collaborated with their German sister companies through holding companies in neutral countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Liechtenstein, whilst the British and American governments turned a blind eye, or covertly approved what was happening. How would British and American citizens and service men have reacted had they known that Standard Oil of New Jersey shipped the enemy’s fuel through neutral Switzerland, or that Ford trucks were built for use in France by the occupying German army with authorisation from head office in Michigan, or that the head of ITT flew to Berne Switzerland to help improve German communications systems and the V1 bombs that later devastated London. Or that ITT built the Focke Wulfs that dropped bombs on British and American troops? As Telford Taylor US Chief Counsel At the Nuremburg trials observed: “if all the accomplices of the of the Nazi war criminals were in the dock today, the entire ruling class of the capitalist world would be found guilty..” [6]

1 See the English translator’s introduction to the 1939 English edition of Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle)
2 See the Barnes Review – Nov/Dec 2001 page 62. The Barnes Review is an excellent bi-monthly magazine that “seeks to bring history into accordance with the facts.” Available from 130 Third Street SE, Washington D.C. 20003. www.barnesreview.org.
3 Barnes Review – Nov/Dec 2001 “History you may have missed” also “World War 2 – an unnecessary war” – Barnes Review May/June 2002 which sets out more of the determined efforts Hitler made to secure peace with Britain., all of which were rejected out of hand by Churchill.
4 See “Stalin’s War of Extermination 1941-45” by Jaochim Hoffman reviewed in the Barnes Review Jan/Feb 2002. Also “Stalin’s Secret War Plans – Why Hitler Invaded the Soviet Union” and “Operation Barbarossa and the Survival of Europe” – the Barnes Review – Nov/Dec 2000.
5 See the book by Gar Alperovitz – “The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb”
6 See “Trading with the Enemy – how allied multi-nationals supplied Nazi Germany throughout World War 2” (1983) by Charles Higham