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Sunday, July 10, 2011

False history syndrome

Yes, left-wingers also falsify history. Unlike conservatives, they usually don't do so "in cold blood" -- that is to say, lefties don't knowingly spew fake facts. But spew they do.

Example: Frank Schaeffer's argument against religious fundamentalism in AlterNet. I agree with his general viewpoint. But his recounting of the history of World War I is ridiculous.

First, he offers a quote indicating that Woodrow Wilson considered himself a religious man. He then argues (without evidence) that religion -- and not any external events, such as German U-boats repeatedly sinking American ships -- was the sole factor which caused Wilson to ask for a declaration of war against Germany.
What did Wilson's religious idealism actually achieve? Germany's loss of World War One led to the rise of Hitler, and the Second World War. Wilson picked sides between two equally tarnished nationalistically-inspired colonial contenders and weighed in. So Wilson set the stage for the rise of Hitler and World War Two. With no World War Two there would be no Israel because there would have been no holocaust.
I doubt that even a horse could produce horseshit so pure.

Schaeffer's argument is that Wilson should have told Congress: "Yes, the Germans are sinking our ships and invading other countries -- but let's forgive them. They have among their number a corporal who (according to my crystal ball) will do even worse things one day if Germany suffers a defeat in this war. So it's better for us to allow Germany to do whatever it wants right now."

For generations, school children in the U.S. and the U.K. have been told that WWI was a pointless squabble between interchangeable imperialistic elites. This is a myth. Fact: Germany invaded Belgium and France in 1914. The Germans had no good reason to be there, yet there they were. To claim moral equivalence between Germany and its victims is disgusting and unforgivable.

If Germany had won the first World War, what really would have happened?

Germany would have eliminated democracy across Europe. They certainly planned to annex Beligum and industrialized France. Even Germany's intellectuals were allied to the goals of militarism and despotism. In essence, a kind of madness -- a proto-Nazism -- had spread across that land.

We forget that the Germans first re-introduced slave labor to Europe not (as is commonly believed) under Hitler but under the Kaiser. Roughly 120,000 Belgians were captured and forced to work in German factories. Would Germany, having gotten a taste of slavery, have given up the practice after victory? I strongly doubt it.

Germans stole agricultural, economic and industrial resources throughout the conquered territories. They practiced theft on the grandest of scales, and they would hardly have ceased their thieving after the war. Had they prevailed, the Germans would have paid no price for the massive number of atrocities they perpetrated against innocent non-combatants during the war. (No, WWI atrocity stories were not all a matter of propaganda.)

But even those outcomes seem insignificant when we consider German plans for Poland and the Baltic states. The concept of "lebensraum" was well known in this time period; Hitler did not invent it. Documents which remain little-known (except to specialists) reveal that the Germans made post-war plans to expel some two million Poles (primarily Jews) from Poland in order to create "living space" for German colonists. The military high command had made tentative plans to reduce the unwanted populations through starvation.

In other words, the Holocaust would have begun much earlier. And there would have been no countervailing power to stop it.

Would a German victory in WWI have prevented the rise of Nazism? No. That answer seems counter-intuitive, but the argument presented here is persuasive.

There would have been this key difference: The Nazi movement (which probably would have called itself something else) would have gained control not of a defeated nation but of the greatest power on earth.
The big difference would have been that Germany would been immensely stronger and more competent by the late 1930s than it was in the history we know. That another war would have been brewed by then we may be sure. Hitler was only secondarily interested in revenge for the First World War; his primary goal had always been geopolitical expansion into Eastern Europe and western Asia. This would have given Germany the Lebensraum to become a world power. His ideas on the subject were perfectly coherent, and not original with him: they were almost truisms. There is no reason to think that the heirs of a German victory in 1918 (or 1919, or 1920) would have been less likely to pursue these objectives.
At the time America entered WWI, Russia had left the field, freeing up German manpower and giving her an enormous amount of resources. If Woodrow Wilson -- easily the most misunderstood and unfairly maligned president in our history -- had not decided to enter the conflict, the Allies would certainly have lost. All of Europe would have resembled Spain under Franco -- or perhaps France under Petain.

Eventually, Britain and Russia would have been conquered. Using slave labor from those vanquished nations, the Germans would have been free to attack the United States -- a country without allies. America would today be a vassal of Germany. We would still be living in an age of barbarism.

Fortunately, Wilson made the decision he made. He was prompted not by religious fundamentalism but by a realistic assessment of a serious threat.

Could the victorious Allies have prevented the rise of Hitler? I believe so. After the Great War, the Allies could have exercised much greater control over Germany, imposing a strict demilitarization. Because of its aggression, Germany had lost its right to sovereignty. For at least a full generation, the country should have been administered directly -- and, to be frank, rather ruthlessly -- by Britain, France and the United States.

America should never have permitted her great industrialists to fund the Nazis. Specifically, our government should have cracked down on Henry Ford. Alas, Ford's connection to Hitler has been erased from history. The virulently anti-Semitic automotive magnate is now considered a hero by the tea partiers and the John Birchers. (If, as Glenn Beck alleges, Hitler was a "leftist," why did Henry Ford -- who hated socialism as much as he hated Jews and unions -- fund the Nazi party?)

Incidentally, both the radical right and the easily-duped left have colluded to create the false impression that the Bush family funded the rise of Adolf Hitler. This is not true. When the Nazis were developing their muscles, Bush-related banking interests capitalized industrial development in the Weimar Republic -- the democratic government that Hitler hoped to overthrow.

We are never going to right this country's course until we correct the lunatic version of history which has captured our public discourse. As the little green guy in the movie once said: You must unlearn what you have learned.
Ignorance is not as bad as what people think they know that isn't true.
Please view this as I used a video section of your "shoes for Obama" challenge.
Would you please consider it "fair use?"
the video is here:
Or as Firesign Theater once said,"Everything you know is wrong".
(Part 1 of rant)

"For generations, school children in the U.S. and the U.K. have been told that WWI was a pointless squabble between interchangeable imperialistic elites. This is a myth. Fact: Germany invaded Belgium and France in 1914. The Germans had no good reason to be there, yet there they were. To claim moral equivalence between Germany and its victims is disgusting and unforgivable."

Straw man alert!

It wasn't a squabble, and the elites weren't exactly interchangeable, but I doubt that many schoolchildren in the US or UK are told these things. An inter-imperialist conflict it certainly was: a war against the working class. (It ended because working class people fought back, especially in Germany, beginning in Wilhelmshaven. If they hadn't, many more - perhaps millions more - would have been killed).

Would you say the elites in Britain, France, the US, and Russia weren't imperialist?

Are you retrospectively taking sides in WW1 because some lefties who talk about imperialism talk shit? Does 'down with both sides' sound too ultra-leftist? Be aware that the revolutionary workers' movement in Germany that ended WW1 was in large part consciously anti-nationalist and probably the strongest such movement that Europe has ever known. The only movement that it compares to is the IWW in the US (the greatest long-lasting organisation in the history of the working class, lest I be called Eurocentric), and even they didn't scare the local elite as much as the movement did in Germany.

Sure, the German rich wanted control over industrialised northern France. What happened when they lost the war was that the French rich took control over what for a few generations had been part of industrialised Germany - Straßburg/Strasbourg. French troops even went into the Ruhr in 1923. (I was told in Baden-Baden that allied leaders made sure that that traditional playground for 'international white trash’ aristocrats and other rich scumbags didn't get damaged too much in WW2. Last I heard, a big percentage of the casino was still owned by the 'prince' of Bavaria. Ah, ‘democracy'!).

(part 2 follows)
(part 2 of rant)

'War for democracy' was just the US elite's line, for internal propaganda reasons and to gain favour with elites in a few European cities where some of the local rich were into all this 'birth of a nation' shit. Budapest, Prague, Vienna, yes. Dublin, Munich, no. Helsinki, not really.

At the end of WW1, the elite in Britain didn't give up any of its colonies. (To bring Ireland into this would just confuse matters). 'Democracy' is an effect of the bourgeoisie's use of its mass media anyway.

Sure, the freemasons stopped marching down the street, and official war memorials got put up all over the place. That and the vote. Thanks, your lordships!

Germany would have eliminated democracy across Europe.

Would Frenchwomen have noticed? They got the vote in 1946 if memory serves.

Frankly, so what? It wasn't democracy that ended the Nazi concentration camps. Or the Soviet ones. But it did help the Nazis take power.

We forget that the Germans first re-introduced slave labor to Europe not (as is commonly believed) under Hitler but under the Kaiser. Roughly 120,000 Belgians were captured and forced to work in German factories.

Enough of this 'plucky little Belgium' thing! The Belgian regime was up to its rosary beads in involvement with slavery. Leopold! Congo!

What was the Weimar Republic's 'democracy' good for? It arose on the basis of the violent smashing of the working class revolutionary movement. Aided, not hindered, by proto-Nazis.

I don't like coming across as an ultra-leftist most of the time nowadays. But there's no good reason to move away from 'down with both sides in WW1'. Why should conscripted workers from Glasgow or Newcastle have obeyed a bunch of in-bred monarchist public schoolboys, and murdered conscripted workers from Berlin or Munich? (Similar argument applies with regard to soldiers in the racially-segregated US army)
Don't worry about a thing.
You're largely right, anyone emotionally moved visiting the slaughterhouse Great War battle sites should keep in mind the German invaders were not going to leave of their free will. I have not read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism - that is something some else should do so I don't have to - but I understand he fingers Wilson as one of the seminal Liberal Fascists who after seeding socialism with the Federal Reserve plunged the US needlessly into WWI because of airy-fairy idealism and so he could found the League of Nations. Jonah is too stupid and lazy to do original research. These arguments have been around for a long time.
"False history syndrome"
YES ! Vast False history syndrome ...
"Nazi movement (which probably would have called itself something else)"
-> Definetly HAS,namely, because, long before, and even before the end of WWI, this started under the REAL name :"Anti-Bolschewistische Front".
Because, them German IMPERIALISTS (as contrary to "THE germans"), in line with their International "counter"parts, after 17.October (Nov.)1917 had well established the REAL thread.
(and still are).
Only AFTER the United German National Banksters Front under Zionist Deutsche Bank President Paul Mankiewitzc leadership couldn't handle their repression of the heroically fighting German Proletariat -mislead by their Social Democrat "leaders"- the nationalist posing as "socialist" were put in place to "solve the mess".
"Alas, Ford's connection to Hitler has been erased from history."(Nope, not even from memory)
As well as "Incidentally, both the radical right and the easily-duped left have colluded to create the false impression that the Bush family funded the rise of Adolf Hitler."
BOTH "allegations" are NOT any "leftist" "allegations, BUT Propaganda efforts of the right, by means of putting a blame on but one or two, the other financiers of the anti-bolshevist effort go unacounted for (old trick of the illusionists).The others stay in the shade.This can be elaborated.On demand.
(I posted this as the second comment about 6 hours ago, but blogger had a tim-out and Ihad to finish)
So, I can only agree with b. in most points. ("Sure, the freemasons...??)and (the Nazi concentration camps. Or .. the Soviet ones ..)
And could not have said it better.
"Antibolschevism" (made in USA) ->
I'm interested to read through these links to see what they say. Haven't done so yet, but I will.

However, I've been of the opinion that the reason Wilson entered the war, despite campaigning on 'he kept us out of war,' and the extreme isolationist bent of the American people at the time, was the Balfour Declaration and related machinations, including the entreaties of Bernard Baruch (and a legendary perhaps true payment of cash monies, along with quashing some unpleasant scandal problems relating to Wilson's tenure at Princeton).

Is it your view that this is anti-Semitic balderdash?

b, what you have to say is laughable. Pure intellectual masturbation.

By your reasoning, any country that had a less-than-perfect democracy deserved to be crushed by a despotism. Similarly, if Belgium had behaved abominably in Africa in previous decades -- as it had -- then it deserved to be invaded, have its resources stolen and its laborers enslaved.

This is a perfect replication of George Bush's rationale for invading Iraq. Your identifying initial is no longer b -- it's W.

"But that's different!" No it isn't.

This is precisely what Orwell warned against: A Marxist view of history that, in its zeal to condemn the very real imperfections of existing democracies, makes excuses for totalitarianism or seeks a false equivalence between a dysfunctional democracy and an outright despotism.

I'm reminded of the Spanish anarchists who did everything to undercut the Republic they should have been defending. What did they accomplish, with their insistence on ideological purity (which was really just a cover for exercising the dictates of their Ids)? All they ever did was desecrate the graves of some nuns -- while the cameras were rolling! -- and thereby engender many thousands of new recruits for Franco's army.

When I was young, it was fashionable to teach that the American Civil War was not about slavery. It was about tarrifs or states' rights or, well, ANYTHING but slavery. This silly pretense served the interests of both southern revanchists and liberal intellectuals. Finally, at some point during the 1980s or 90s, the country woke up. It became intellectually permissible to admit the obvious: OF COURSE that war was about slavery.

Similarly, I think the world is beginning to wake up and smell the decades of bullshit that have surrounded WWI. It really WAS a war to defend democracy. An anti-democratic military despotism tried to take over all of Europe -- and after that, they surely would have had a go at the rest of the world. They had formed plans to kill and deport millions in order to gain lebensraum. They needed to be stopped -- and so they were, at enormous cost.

Yes, the matter really was that simple. Yes, the powers that had to do the stopping were themselves governed by people with unclean hands. So what? Stopping Germany was no less necessary.
"America would today be a vassal of Germany. We would still be living in an age of barbarism."

This statement is so ludicrous, it's almost Bachmannesque!

"The Germans had no good reason to be [in Belgium and France]"

Germany had one objective in August, 1914:
1.) Avoid being invaded YET AGAIN by that perennial aggressor nation, France.

Ever since 1871 (you remember, that war *France started* because it felt insulted over the wording of a telegram?) France had openly agitated for a war of "revenge." Still, four decades of peace, largely thanks to German diplomacy.

In 1914, following the Sarajevo assassination, Russia was the FIRST to mobilize. Germany justifiably responded by launching its mobilization plan, which -- foolishly -- had only one option: a sweep through neutral Belgium to hit the Russian's ally, France.

But, as Niall Ferguson reveals in The Pity of War, Britain and France ALSO planned to violate Belgium's (& the Netherland's) neutrality! They just got beat to the punch.

The assassinated archduke, btw, was a reformer who, upon assuming the A-H crown, planned reforms to elevate the status & rights of the empire's slavs. That was not liked by the mini-imperialist Serbs, or their mega-imperialist ally, Russia, who was now looking for an excuse to augment its empire with some pieces of the Balkans.

Under the laws of war, Germany was justified in sinking neutral ships in British waters. The US simply had no causus belli. Moreover, a recent dive of the wreck of the Lusitania revealed that, contra international law, it was carrying small arms to England.

Towards the end of the war, Germany offered to evacuate Belgium and pay generous reparations. The Belgians were eager to accept, but Leopold was a virtual hostage to the Entente, he was forbidden.

The "war aims" you impute to Germany were late-war objectives, nearly identical in scope and timbre to Entente plans, and like them, devised to 'compensate' for the enormous costs & loss of lives. Even so, those German designs never included "conquering France & England." Hmm, a central european economic union dominated by Germany -- glad that never came to pass! And Brest-Litovsk 1918 was nearly identical to the situation circa 1991.

"Germany would have eliminated democracy across Europe."

Of the major combatants in WWI, Germany boasted the:
* only public health care system;
* best labor laws: wages, hours, pensions, & working conditions;
* only uncensored wartime press;

German, like Great Britain, was a constitutional monarchy, but unlike Britain, had universal male suffrage. Also unlike Britain, Belgium, France or US, Germany did not practice wide-spread & brutal imperialism abroad. Let's not even bring up Russia. Now, which country, again, is the "despotic" one, and which the "less-than-perfect democracy"?

"Even Germany's intellectuals were allied to the goals of militarism and despotism."

The leaders of all the combatants are culpable for precipitating war. (Grey and the British high command can be singled out for signing a secret alliance with France, as can the German GS for coming up with only one war plan). Their citizens cannot be blamed for their patriotism. To single out Germans is specious, especially when of all the nations, the French populace exhibited an especial jingoism & penchant for war.

In short, your counter-revisionist history is utter lunacy, itself based on post-war revisionist lies, and tinged with an odious racism against Germans.
tamerlane, your words are flabbergastingly silly. Virtually all historians are in agreement that Bismarck engineered the Franco-Prussian war. Jonathan Steinberg makes this clear in his Bismarck biography, to cite just one example. BISMARCK HIMSELF said that he started the war, regarding his deliberate editing of the Ems Dispatch.

The rest of your diatribe holds that since Germany had a superior social welfare system, it deserved to toss two million Poles out of their homes -- or starve them into non-existence -- in order to gain a little lebensraum.

To achieve German unification, Bismarck had to engineer a war with France, because France was prepared to go to war to prevent it. And yes, everyone, even hagiographers like Marcks & Ludwig, acknowledge that.

That Bismarck could so easily precipitate a war by a judicious editing of the Ems dispatch does not reflect poorly on him, rather on the unbalanced, aggressive temperament of the French nation. Do you recall the subject of the telegram? Nap III was lecturing the sovereign of Prussia, telling him he'd better keep his nephew off the Spanish throne (since the Spanish throne was Nap dynasty turf) or else. However curtly edited, all the Ems dispatch said was: "mind your own business!"

Perhaps you think Bismarck should have given in to France's greedy demands for "compensation" -- the entire German left bank of the Rhine -- to condone German unification? The weaker Italy had to pay that sort of ransom with Savoy.

The French were arrogant, insolent, full of hubris, and thoroughly deserved the ass-kicking they got in 1870. The return of the German province they stole in 1664 was proper. (One nice side-effect of the Franco-Prussian war: it forced the French to abandon their military occupation of Rome & the Papal States. thus completing Italian unification.)

It's also noteworthy that, after the imperialist Nap III was captured, the republican govt that replaced him was even more rabid in their prosecution of the unjust war, "a la outrance!", even employing terrorist tactics. A barbaric people, indeed!
All I can say, tamerlane, is -- you are talking to the wrong damned Francophile. (Who also happens to be a bit of a Teutonophobe, as you clearly are not.)

There's a growing consensus that Napoleon III was a reasonably advanced ruler. He used to tell one of his courtiers -- I forget which one -- that since he (NIII) was half a socialist and Eugenie was a royalist, that he (the courtier) was the only Bonapartist left.

Of course the French were keen to prosecute the war after Sedan. Gambetta can be faulted not for being too militant against the Prussians but for wanting to make deal.

You seem to forget who was in whose country. What the Germans did in France was...well, barbaric. During the siege, they shot women who had gone out to glean potatoes at night.

Suddenly you've changed your tune from "Bismarck didn't start the war" to "Bismarck HAD to start the war to achieve unity." Well, fuck THAT.

You know who else is barbaric? You. Don't post here again. You will not printed.
Obstruction of "argumentum ex auctoritate"
("-phile", "-phobe", "-half a socialist (??)", "Bonapartist" (He himself about himself (!)),
"the French", "Of course" (!),"the Prussians","who was in whose country" (proletarians HAVE none),
"the Germans".
"Appeal to authority as logical fallacy
A (fallacious) appeal to authority argument has the basic form:
A makes claim B;
there is something positive about A that (fallaciously) is used to imply that A has above-average or expert knowledge in the field, or has an above-average authority to determine the truth or rightness of such a matter
therefore claim B is true, or has its credibility unduly enhanced as a result of the proximity and association.
The first statement is called a 'factual claim' and is the pivot point of much debate. The last statement is referred to as an 'inferential claim' and represents the reasoning process. There are two types of inferential claim, explicit and implicit.
The converse, that (fallaciously) relies on something negative about the source and claims that therefore the conclusion is probably false, is called an ad hominem argument."

I know, as You have admitted recently in a post, all You're up to, is stearing people up.

BUT, then again, does playing prisoner games help ANYbody " in a dangerous (for ALL of humanity)situation?
(i can : Tit-for-tat, moderated version, with SOME forgiveness.)
"But let us not forget that it is the governments and the ruling classes of Europe who enabled Louis Bonaparte to play during 18 years the ferocious farce of the Restored Empire."
... ...
"It was Bismarck who conspired with that very same Louis Bonaparte for the purpose of crushing popular opposition at home, and annexing Germany to the Hohenzollern dynasty."

The Civil War in France (Marx,Engels)
The First Address July 23, 1870
[The Beginning of the Franco-Prussian War]

-> no gobelish here, guarantee ..
Oh Christ. Here come the fucking Marxists. For years, all I knew of the Franco-Prussian war and the Commune came from the Marxists. I was pretty shocked to learn what REALLY happened.

Look, any more anonymous nonsense will go unpublished, all right? Fair warning.

Hell, it's not as though anyone is still reading this thread.
Hey, I was still reading it. Although I can't rememver why. ;)
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