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Saturday, 4 November 2017

Remembering The Rassenverräter: Race War Between Germanic Peoples

by Frank Hilliard

Great Britain Declares War On Germany


Once again, the mournful lament of The Last Post; once again, the rainy day with leaves falling from the trees; once again, the National War Memorial covered in paper poppies. Once again, it's November 11, the anniversary of the end of the War to End All War.

I realize the sacrifice on all sides is what we now remember, but there's something else we don't remember, don't want to remember. There is the awful truth behind WWI and thus behind most of the tragedies and horrors of the 20th Century.

First let me dispose of the ostensible cause of the war; the British "guarantee" of Belgian neutrality as expressed in the Treaty of London, 1839. It's worth pulling up a copy of the treaty and reading it for yourself. See if you can find any guarantee, by anyone, of any country's territorial integrity. The operative clause is article VII, which reads as follows:
Belgium, within the limits specified in Articles I, II, and IV, shall form an independent and perpetually neutral State. It shall be bound to observe such neutrality towards all other States.
Just on the face of it, most clearly in the second sentence, the onus is on Belgium to adopt a policy of neutrality towards other states. If you dig a little deeper in historical files, you find the treaty was arrived at to end a civil war in the Netherlands between the Netherlands and its southern provinces. The trade-off arrived at in London was that the Netherlands would recognize Belgian independence if Belgium never again sought French help to make war on the Netherlands. Simple enough.

Over the years, notably in 1870 and again in the Memorandum respecting Belgian Neutrality and Britain's Obligation to Defend it, dated 15 November 1908, Britain sought to reinterpret the treaty to mean the obligation was on it, and the other big power signatories, to defend Belgian territory. However, if words mean anything, and in diplomatic treaties, words mean everything, there is no such obligation and never was. The British obligation to Belgium is pure invention.

So, given that the Liberal government of the day was more against than for joining the war, how was it that Britain declared war on Germany, an act that provoked Berlin crowds to cry "Rassenverrat!" (race treason) on the night it did so.1

Most commentators agree the deciding factor was a speech given to the Commons by the Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey. Grey admitted there were no secret agreements binding Britain to helping France but then he went on to discuss "British interests." Historian Barbara Tuchman describes this part of his speech as "a tangled skein" involving trade routes, and then goes on to discuss Belgian neutrality. But let's go to the speech itself and see what he said.
Let us suppose the French fleet is withdrawn from the Mediterranean; and let us assume that the consequences — which are already tremendous in what has happened in Europe even to countries which are at peace — in fact, equally whether countries are at peace or at war — let us assume that out of that come consequences unforeseen, which make it necessary at a sudden moment that, in defence of vital British interests, we should go to war; and let us assume which is quite possible — that Italy, who is now neutral [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] — because, as I understand, she considers that this war is an aggressive war, and the Triple Alliance being a defensive alliance her obligation did not arise — let us assume that consequences which are not yet foreseen and which, perfectly legitimately consulting her own interests — make Italy depart from her attitude of neutrality at a time when we are forced in defence of vital British interest ourselves to fight — what then will be the position in the Mediterranean? It might be that at some critical moment those consequences would be forced upon us because our trade routes in the Mediterranean might be vital to this country?
This takes some unpacking, but the meaning of Grey's hypothetical example is clear. He's saying that a) if Britain doesn't defend the French ports and France has to instead, then b) if Italy then joins Germany and Austria, then c ) British trade routes to India might be threatened since Britain would then d) not have French support and e) would be opposed by Italy. Got that?

Let me put the issue a different way. Britain should keep France from being defeated by Germany (in order to maintain British trade routes in the Mediterranean) and therefore should send its Army to France. That and the Belgian business. The one issue is hypothetical and the other is spurious. So, what else is the reason? Grey uses too many words, but what he's really getting at is the danger of German domination of Europe.
I am sure that France has the power to defend herself with all the energy and ability and patriotism which she has shown so often [Loud cheers.] — Still, if that were to happen and if Belgium fell under the same dominating influence, and then Holland, and then Denmark, then would not Mr. Gladstone's words come true, that just opposite to us there would be a common interest against the unmeasured aggrandisement of any power? [Loud cheers.]
Ah, at last, the issue is revealed: German power, referred to as "any power." Let's see what Prime Minister Gladstone said in 1870 speaking of the Treaty of London, 1839:
The circumstance that there is already an existing guarantee in force is, of necessity, an important fact, and a weighty element in the case to which we are bound to give full and ample consideration. There is also this further consideration, the force of which we must all feel most deeply, and that is, the common interest against the unmeasured aggrandisement of any Power whatever."
What that means is that Britain should oppose the enlargement of any European country's political or economic power through the conquest of Belgium. So, with that, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia and, eventually, the United States, went to war against Germany. The toll: 16.5 million military and civilian deaths, 20 million wounded. And for what? To preserve British trade routes to India and to damage the German economy.

The very, very rich irony is that now the European Union is based in Belgium and is dominated by Germany. Had Sir Edward come down with a bad cold Aug. 3, 1914 we would have been spared WWI, Communism, Nazism, WWII, the Nuclear Arms race, Communist China, Korea, Vietnam and God knows what else.

The one thing we would also have avoided is a race war among the three great Germanic peoples: Germany, Britain (made up of Ango-Saxons) and France (the Franks). Germany accused Britain of being race traitors. The crowds in Berlin were right. It was, and we were.

That's what we should be remembering this Nov. 11.




[1] Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August, p. 152

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