Wednesday, 13 January 2010

We Need European Reconciliation Day

German and British soldiers in France
by Robert Edwards

European Action No 25 , November/December 2009

As editor of European Action, I have an obligation to respond to supporters on important European issues. Tony Rawlings asked me to include something on what he described as ‘the need for a European remembrance’, an extension of our own national rite. I gave this some thought and came up with the necessity for something that would unite Europeans through a process of healing ... because, for too long, so much had divided us as Europeans. The word ‘reconciliation’ seemed more appropriate, rather than simple remembrance. Reconciliation demands an active participation whereas to remember is always a passive activity. Action must always follow clear thought, as Oswald Mosley would often tell us.
Since a lad, I have always wondered why the remembrance of war in the conflicts of the Twentieth Century seemed to be the sole prerogative of one side. The inference is obvious ... that the ‘other side’ is collectively guilty and therefore evil and should play no part in our own collective grief. Such an attitude is, of course, nonsensical because collective guilt will unfairly condemn the innocent, those who stood by helplessly ... or the many who were basically decent and honourable on all sides in wartime .
Let us get down to the issue without beating about the bush. Germany has for too long borne the brunt of the most hate-fuelled media campaign, the main perpetrator of which has been the lie industry known as Hollywood. The subject of this hate, thus the victim, has always been the German soldier ... der Landser, the equivalent of the British Tommy. Nowhere is he publicly honoured and nowhere is his sacrifice recognised in a sympathetic way. The German soldier has to bear all the inglorious baggage and the entire guilt, taken off the shoulders of Allied soldiers, to become the sole carrier as iconic war criminal. He is also identified as being essentially the ‘evil Nazi’ in Hollywood image-making.
In both wartime and peacetime, this demonisation of der Landser has had repercussions throughout the European continent. The ‘anti-Bolshevik’ struggle in wartime developed into a pan-European fighting force during the Second World War. Just about every country had large sections of its manhood enrolled as ‘foreign volunteers’ in the struggle against Bolshevik Russia ... and later these men were to be condemned for fighting on the losing side. Their undoubted heroism, alongside their German brothers, was to be misrepresented as a crime by the tribunals and the revenge courts. The division of Europe was thus worsened by the ‘collaborationist’ legend which to this day has left its deep scars, particularly in France.

FASCISM AND EUROPE

This is not simply a question of ideology. In March 1945, Benito Mussolini gave an interview to Magdalena Mollier. He said,
“This morning in my room a little swallow got trapped. It flew about, it flew desperately, until it fell exhausted on my bed; a little trembling creature. I caressed it and gradually, it calmed down; and in the end it dared to look at me. I went to the window, I opened my hand. It was still stunned, did not understand immediately … then it opened its wings and, with a cry of joy, it flew to liberty. I will never forget that cry of joy. The only doors that will open for me are those of death. And it is also just. I have erred and I shall pay. I have never made a mistake following my instinct, but always when I obeyed reason. I do not blame anyone, I do not reproach anyone apart from myself. I am responsible, just as much for the things that I did well, that the world can never deny me, as for my weaknesses and my decline. My star has set. I work and make an effort, even though knowing that everything is a farce. My star has set, but I did not have the strength or the courage to retire in time. Have you ever seen a prudent, calculating dictator? They all become mad, they lose their equilibrium in the clouds, in quivering ambitions and obsessions. And it is actually that mad passion which brought them to where they are. A brave Borghese would never discomfort himself so much. There is no doubt that we are heading towards, in short, a Socialist époque. I see the salvation of Europe only in a socialist union of European states. A formidable block that will defend our civilisation and existence against the Red materialism of the Bolsheviks and for us more or less damaging experiments of the American type. Soon the German, French, Spanish, Italian etc. question will be of no interest; only Europe will be of interest. Everyone will realise it. If in time or not, who knows?”
The selfless Mussolini knew what was coming, both to himself and to the Europe he loved. Like that other great ex-socialist, Oswald Mosley, he could see beyond his own fascism and the errors of that creed ... far too nationalistic. Europe needed more than the sum of separate insular attitudes.
Emerging from prison without charge or trial, imprisoned purely for campaigning for a negotiated peace in 1940, Mosley declared that there were some whose hands were not stained with blood from the Brothers’ War and that it is these people, those who joined to form the new Union Movement, who could unite Europe so that Europeans would never fight each other again in unnecessary war.

ATROCITY PROPAGANDA

There has always been one major stumbling block on the way to the creation of that all-embracing European brotherhood and it is the anti-German legacy of the black propaganda of the Second World War. Indeed, we could go back to the First World War with the absurd canard of the hated ‘Hun’ eating roasted Belgian babies on the end of a bayonet. Millions of Englishmen were led to believe this atrocity propaganda and it resonated into the coming major conflict. Anti-German sentiment covers the greater part of the Twentieth Century. As National Europeans we must reject it completely as poisonous nonsense because its sole intention is to perpetuate division and animosity among Europeans.
It is for this reason we object to the hijacking, on the part of the British National Party, of the symbolism from one side in the Brothers’ War — the Spitfire, Churchill, Vera Lynn and so on. The narrow and insular nationalistic message is obvious and this expropriation being completely unprincipled. It is no wonder its leader is shunned by most of the far-Right in the European Parliament.
War atrocities were nothing new in the last century. They go back thousands of years and they are committed by all sides to some degree or another. Why nations go to war is always a contentious issue but largely the reasons are economic. All the other high-flown talk of freedom and democracy is but a fanciful screen to hide the more prosaic criminal intent. The true perpetrators, if they triumph, will gain the means of publicity and hang the defeated in an orgy of moral indignation in order that the entire world remains enslaved to international finance capitalism.
In 1945, the entire German nation faced the ignominy of being defeated in both body and soul. The German soldier became the devil incarnate, fit for purpose as everyone’s hate figure. The revenge courts legitimised this.
The true story of the fate of these soldiers in defeat has recently emerged, revealing a murderous plan that the Allies attempted to conceal from the world. The American General Eisenhower ordered the death by starvation of over a million German prisoners of war, left out in the open without sanitation, food or water. The blame for these ‘lost’ soldiers was first placed on Russia whose German POWs were packed off to Siberia as slave labour but many did eventually return from Soviet captivity. Not so those in American captivity. Summary executions of German prisoners by American GIs was also commonplace. American criminality was endemic as it is now.

A NEW CZECH CRISIS?

The point I am making here is that in war we ordinary folk are always the victims and losers and that the only true victors are those who re-write history for themselves and for their own personal gain. In all cases, it is the same kind of people who also make the biggest profits out of the misery in the world and continue to do so to this day.
The legacy of the events leading up to the Second World War have been focused on recent wrangling over the Lisbon Treaty ... most noticeably by the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus. The issue here is the Sudetenland and the fears that Germans may wish to claim their former homes. Indeed, there are many other parts of Central Europe that are traditionally and historically German and this problem could divide Europe unless resolved for all time. President Klaus seems only to enflame the issue, awakening memories of Chamberlain and Hitler meeting in an attempt to resolve another past crisis.
As time passes we find that old scores are never permanently settled because Germany, as with the conditions of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, suffered territorial losses with the added condition of becoming a divided nation.
President Klaus has been given an opt-out as a sweetener to putting his signature to the Lisbon Treaty, a step towards a kind of European unity. He says he will not raise any more conditions but this condition on its own will sour relations between member states for a long time to come.
The opt-out denies the rights of ethnic Germans to reclaim their property in the former Sudetenland. In other words, Klaus wants to legitimise the ‘ethnic-cleansing’ of Sudeten Germans, decreed by Czechoslovak President Eduard Benes after the Second World War. This was a terrible time for German civilians, as with many other nationalities, as Germany now comes to terms with the suffering of its own people. Czech Social Democrat, Jan Hamacek, claims the opt-out is ‘superfluous’ and therefore may not be legitimate ... which leaves the issue more like an open festering wound rather than a genuine healing. Europe will not realise genuine union of its peoples when a lack of historical sensitivity is used in political horse trading. Reconciliation requires facing the past honestly and only then comes justice.