By Patrick Brogan
“Wenn der Reiter nichts taugt, ist das Pferd schuld.” – Old German proverb
If the rider is no good, it’s the horse’s fault. A few years ago, I bought a book on the movement of peoples around the world in a second-hand book shop. It was written by two German academics and what struck me was the sense of Germany’s drive to be at the centre of Europe politically since the Middle Ages. This extends back to Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, through to the Weltpolitik of the late 19th Century and culminated with Hitler’s Third Reich. What if the techniques behind Weltpolitik are different, but the ultimate goal is the same? Same rider, different horse.
Although there are those that long for the days of the German Empire so much that they don’t recognise the modern state, the Reichsburger, and those that want Nazism as the dominant political force, the vast majority of Germans want a federal democratic state at the heart of a European community. Indeed, on the face of it, that’s what has happened. What are the origins of the EU, though? Was it founded with the best possible intentions? Regular readers and listeners of our podcast will know I’m very sceptical of the EU, maybe not to a Nigel Farage level, but sceptical none-the-less. There are a number of reasons for this. Before I get into that, there is an important point I would like to address.
The Vagaries of History
Well, it’s two points, actually. Firstly, the idea that people being on opposite sides of the spectrum in a conflict is a fallacy. Europe is a great example. By the end of 19th Century, all the European royal families were related and inbred. By World War I, the ‘main powers’ were fighting countries run by their cousins. The English royal family is German through and through. From the 18th Century onwards they were the House of Hanover, until they became Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Indeed, some of the earlier Georges could speak only limited English. This is why the royal family have that nasally, Germanic tone in their voices. Why on Earth did Britain always go to war against the Germans? So, this idea that two nations going to war because they’re totally at odds with each other and have no common ground is false.
Look at the resemblance between these three men, especially Edward and Nicholas. The Tsar also has a striking resemblance to Dmitry Medvedev.
The second is probably more important. When one nation is defeated, they don’t all of a sudden disappear. This mumpsimus. (Yes, I do use Word of the Day on Dictionary.com!) History is simplified for teaching purposes. A lot of the complexity is condensed. So, some the little nuances and ironies are overlooked. People that played both sides in a war, or those that were allowed change side, for example. Indeed, many companies that have carefully constructed an image of being ultra-American traded with and played both sides during World War II, Ford and Coca-Cola are just two of many. Actually, this collaboration with Hitler’s Germany is what spawned Fanta. Another reason to hate it. Some the political elite also have links to Nazism. Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of US presidents, worked for a company that “financed Hitler’s rise to power” and supported the National Socialists after they took over the Reichstag.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Many former ardent Nazis went over to the other side. Operation Paperclip was designed to bring the best brains from Germany to the US, usually the reason given is because they didn’t want these people either in Germany, where they could regroup, or even worse, on the Soviet side. President Truman explicitly forbade the entry of the most fervent of Nazi Party members. His orders seem to be ignored. Many of those that partook in the worst of the crimes, extermination of people, human experiments and mass murder, found their way across the Atlantic.
NASA and the CIA
The creation of both of these organisations are heavily indebted to Hitler’s henchmen. Wernher von Braun, the man that created the Vengeance rockets, the V-1 and V-2, became very influential within the creation of NASA and the Apollo Space Programme even though his rockets terrified most Europe, including Britain, with its German royal family. Wernher von Braun is just one of many, as can be viewed here. Did they bring the ideology over with them? Certainly, some of them did. There is a theory about major NASA events taking place on Hitler’s birthday, 20th April. I had a quick look, but could see no evidence of this.
The Central Intelligence Agency also has its links to Nazism. Many of those brought over through Operation Paperclip played a key role in US intelligence. This information is available through declassified papers and the American Government has admitted to as much. More can be viewed here and an overview is available through the Corbett Report. Over a thousand former Nazis in total ended up working for the US in some way. To claim none of these had no loyalty to Nazi ideology is absurd.
The reason I’ve wrote more than 8oo words without getting to the crux of the article is because I want it to be clear, history is made up of the stories of human beings which are complex, thus history is complex. If you scratch the surface of any period of history you will see it is more layered than what we are taught at school. One side is always evil, the other inherently good. As we now know, this is nonsense. Even when it comes to World War II.
“The Nazis did not lose the war, they just changed sides.” That’s an oft used quote to explain some of the more interesting and troubling developments of the 20th century. Is there any truth to it? Yes, we have seen evidence of this already. They were others that didn’t get as far as the Americas. Many settled in Madrid. Spain was a perfect destination as it was Fascist under Franco’s rule and had managed to stay out of the war.
Die Spinne and ODESSA
ODESSA was a name given to either one organisation or a collective that was a sort of a secret service. It was set up by officers who saw the writing was on the wall towards the end of the war. Its main aim was to secure safe passage out of Germany to places where they could avoid prosecution. Die Spinne (the Spider) was something similar. It was based in Madrid and apparently run by Otto Skorzeny and Reinhard Gehlen.
Skorzeny and Gehlen
Both of these men led extraordinary lives. Otto Skorzeny was described as “the most dangerous man in Europe”. He led a daring raid to save Mussolini in what could easily be made into a Hollywood action film. After this, he was Hitler’s go to man for seemingly impossible situations. Afer the war, he set up a small company in Madrid that many felt was a front for more subversive activities. This was the setting up and running of Die Spinne. This group rehoused many former Nazis in Spain and Spanish speaking South American countries. It has also been suggested that the Austrian Intelligence services assisted Die Spinne.
Skorzeny spent time in Argentina, protecting and advising the Peróns and carried out a similar role in Egypt. He also lived in Kildare in Ireland from time-to-time but was never given a full visa and his time in Ireland was sporadic. He also had a role in Israel, too. As a slight aside, Albert Folens, the man responsible for making so many school books in Ireland, also has a murky past connected to Naziism. Gehlen also had an influential life, post-war. He ended up in the CIA and had a good personal relationship with Allen Dulles, the head of that organisation. More can be viewed in those links above.
Clearly these men, and many other Nazis that escaped justice, not only had a decent standard of living, but they were back where they had been in Hitler’s regime, in positions of power and influence. How far did this influence extend and what were they up to in Madrid? As a secretive organisation, it may be impossible to ever tell. If you go through the internet you will see rumours that Skorzeny, Gehlen and co set up a group called the German Geopolitical Centre in Madrid. Its ultimate goal? To set up the EU to rule Europe through diplomacy. I see many references to it on the Internet, but none mention the source or any evidence backing up the claims or whether it ever really existed. However, Hollywood may have warned us of a Nazified Europe, and one director in particular.
Stanley Kubrick; A Clockwork Orange, a Warning of Fascism?
“I just feel I’m not trying to associate JLB HQ with the Nazis, that would be reductive. I just want to hint at certain similarities in terms of the unquestioning approach both power structures want their underlings to adopt.” Mark Corrigan, Peep Show
Replace JLB with the European Union and essentially, this is what the next part is about. This idea or theme comes from film critic Rob Ager. Before I start, I would suggest people go on his website and view the video titled “A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and the survival of Nazi pathology”, it only costs €4.50 to download. What Ager is suggesting is the National-Socialists didn’t take over Europe, but many of the founding fathers of the European project share similar ideologies, or pathology as Ager puts it, to Fascism, but in a more subtle way and this is what Kubrick was warning us about.
The video is nearly 40 minutes long, so I’m just going to skim over some of the ideas. Firstly, if anyone has watched the film, you’ll be aware of the importance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Ludwig van’s ninth as Alex refers to it. This is not mentioned in Anthony Burgess’ novel. How come? What Rob Ager puts across is that Kubrick felt this is a very important piece music, especially politically. It is no secret the Fascists in Germany adored this composer. The year A Clockwork was released, the European Union adopted Ode to Joy, the music of the fourth movement of the ninth symphony, as its anthem.
This doesn’t sound like much on its own. Consider the numerous images of or referring to Nazis throughout the film. From the fight with Billy Boy and his Nazi clad gang and the flashing images of the Ludovico treatment. It is a film full of Nazi imagery. Then there is the Nazi flag itself. Ager is suggesting that the EU flag is not necessarily based on the Nazi one but on the same principles. This is not uncommon. Flags, like most other cultural motifs, take themes from each other whether they realise it or not. There is only so much you can realistically do with a flag and so, there is repetition. The same sun-disk, wreath and sky are prominent in both. View the proposed EU flags below to see this reoccurring theme.
The Pan-Europa flag that was suggested as a flag for the European community.
A very Swastikaesque looking flag
The quality isn’t great, but the swastika is still very clear. Both pics are taken from this site.
The previous three flags were also proposed as early forerunners of the current EU flag. These and more are available from this site.
It might be easy to dismiss Ager’s claims were it not for Kubrick’s other films. This film, warns of how easy a nuclear war may be started, it also clearly references Operation Paperclip. Strangelove himself is clearly a Nazi and addresses the president as Mein Führer more than once in the film. As Peter Sellers, the actor who played him, once said in an interview; “Strangelove was never modeled after Kissinger—that’s a popular misconception. It was always Wernher Von Braun.”
Kubrick’s films seem to have some warning encoded, in Dr. Strangelove this is blatantly obvious. Was he hinting at something else apart from an impending thermonuclear war? Was he warning us society had been taken over by the very people we were told were the definition of evil just a few years before? Personally, I feel there is an element of this. This makes Ager’s claim of a hidden message of a Nazi pathology taking over Europe a lot more credible. To mark the 50th anniversary of the film, The New Yorker published an article about how accurate Kubrick was in relation to what could have happened in real life.
What Stanley Said
Is there anything the director said himself about fascism? Yes, there are two important quotes. Firstly; “People have written about the failure of culture of the twentieth century; the enigma of Nazis who listened to Beethoven and sent millions off to gas chambers.” I’ll let you take from that what you will. However, there is an important retort he made about accusations that A Clockwork Orange was promoting Fascism. This film “warns against the new psychedelic fascism- the eye-popping, multimedia, quadrasonic, drug-oriented conditioning of human beings by other human beings- which many believe will usher in the forfeiture of human citizenship and the beginning of zombiedom.” Kubrick was very rarely as explicit about spelling out what his films meant. He couldn’t be clearer.
The Architects of Modern Europe
Who are the architects of the modern European community? The EU sites people like Konrad Adenauer, Joseph Bech, Winston Churchill, Sicco Mansholt and Alcide De Gasperi as the main driving forces behind the rebuilding of Europe. Most of these men either fought against the German occupation of Europe or suffered at the hands of it and sometimes both. All had reasons to see the overthrow of the Nazis. On that basis, none of these men would want to see former Nazi members in positions of power at any cost. History is much more complicated than that, though.
Konrad Adenauer led an interesting life. He was voted as the Greatest German of All Time in 2003, and not without good reason. Apart from his list of achievements, which were many, one of the most impressive things about him was his attitude when he was down and out. He was elected Mayor of Cologne in 1917. When the National-Socialists were becoming more prominent, they started a smear campaign against him. This lasted until they came into power and then they dismissed him. His life during this time was difficult. He was without a job and money. The Nazis regularly arrested him and he was sent to some of their toughest prisons.
He endured the war and went on to become German Chancellor, from 1949 to 1963. He was pivotal in establishing peace in Europe, particularly when he signed the Treaty of Élysée with French premiere Charles de Gaulle. All good so far. Adenauer was the founding father of Christian Democratic Union (CDU), uniting Catholics and Protestants.
He saw the coal and steel industries as hugely important to securing peace on the continent. This is a speech outlining such thoughts; “If we succeed in creating an organisation that allows the French to see everything that goes on in steel manufacturing and coal mining in Germany – and if, in turn, the Germans can see what’s happening in these fields in France – then this system of mutual control is the ideal way to pursue a policy based on trust.” Konrad Adenauer, speaking on 2 July 1966 in Metz
Notice the word control. It is a shared control, but all about control none-the-less. What he was suggesting was a closed market, one where the State was in total control of these industries because they didn’t want it falling into the hands of people they could not trust. This isn’t any different from what the Nazis did when they were in power. They were doing the opposite to promoting an open and fair market, something that has continued in Europe to this day as we pointed out in this article. And what about the people that Adenauer surrounded himself with?
Dr Hans Globke
Globke’s involvement in running the German State goes back to the Weimar Republic and into the post-Nazi era. Globke was an unscrupulous human being. This an excerpt from a book called The New Germany and The Old Nazis by T.H. Tetens; “When the Nazis decided to carry out the mass liquidation of European Jews, Dr. Globke’s direct superior, Ministerial Counsel Bernard Loesner, himself a Nazi party member, had scruples of conscience and resigned from office. His post was taken over by Dr. Hans Globke. As chief legal adviser and head of the Office of Jewish Affairs, Dr. Globke thus became a direct participant in the gigantic venture to make Germany judenrein. In applying the racial laws Dr. Globke worked hand in hand with the Main Security Office, the headquarters of the SS murder organization. Der Spiegel of September 28, 1960, reported a case which reveals that Dr. Globke had direct dealings with the SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann.
“More than that, the evidence shows that Dr. Globke was a key administrator in the “Final Solution,” the master plan for the extermination of the Jews. The article in Der Spiegel quoted the testimony of a Wehrmacht officer, Max Merten, who together with Eichmann suggested in 1943 that 20,000 Jews in Macedonia (marked for the gas chambers in Auschwitz) should be released and shipped to Palestine. It was obviously not a feeling of humanity, but rather a personal greed for money, as well as a shortage of transportation facilities to the concentration camps, that motivated both Nazis to make this suggestion. . . .” The book also suggests that Globke operated from Die Spinne, those exiled Nazis in Spain.
The London Independent also reports on Globke’s involvement in the Nuremberg Race Laws. Also, it reports on the involvement of leading Nazis in the running of Germany after the downfall of Hitler. Men like Globke stuck around for a long time after. Globke served as chief-of-staff to Adenauer from 1953-1963. Why would a man that was on the receiving end of such harsh punishment at the hands of the Nazis then have them in important roles in his own Government? It doesn’t make any sense. And the doctor was not a one off. The German authorities are running a probe into why so many of Hitler’s deputies stayed in the Chancellory after their leader was defeated.
Heinz Trützschler von Falkenstein
Von Falkenstein is another that spanned the bridge between the old and new Germany. To give you an idea of the role he carried out before and during the war, this is taken from a Der Spiegel article; “Dr. phil. Heinz Trützschler von Falkenstein, 52, has been a member of the Foreign Office since 1934; In 1940, he joined the NSDAP, and during the whole of the war he wrote the Foreign Office ‘s “language regulations” for foreign missions, partly alone, partly with others. He co-contributed to the publication of several Nazi “White Books” – documentary collections for Nazi propaganda campaigns, and was appointed Ribbentrop secretary of the so-called “Europe Committee” in the Foreign Office in 1944. This committee was to gather documents “which would serve the future settlement of the new European order after the end of the war … It is, however, already clear that the future of Europe can only be sustained if Great Germany’s dominance is successfully asserted.”” Notice we have another reference to post-war plans for Europe.
After the war, von Falkenstein was a leading diplomat and ambassador. He served in the German Foreign office and was an ambassador. In fact, like Otto Skorzeny, he spent time in Ireland as the German ambassador here. He was supposed to fulfil a similar role in Yugoslavia but they rejected any notions as he had used Yugoslavian slave labour during the war. Because of this embarrassment, he was passed over for promotion, rather than his dangerous background. Taken from the same article; “”The committee of inquiry does not, in principle, raise any objections to continued employment in the Foreign Office, but recommends that no further promotions be made.” The Committee is opposed to the use of Dr. Trützschler von Falkenstein abroad.
“”Reasons: The use of the man who had been involved in the organization of the war propaganda during the whole of the war in the Political Detachment would be detrimental to the prestige of the Federal Republic.
In particular, the Examining Committee considers it unacceptable that Dr. von Trützschler, as Head of Unit, represents the European policy of the Federal Republic.”
So the Examining Committee only cared about his Nazi past in the sense that it would cause some red faces when dealing with the rest of Europe, not the murdering, racist ideology part.
A pretty cool name don’t you think? Where does he fit in with this story? Apparently, he is one of the architects behind what was called Europaische Wirtschafts Gemeinschaft. Translated to English this is European Economic Community. The theory is Funk and others created a grand plan for Europe which involved a common currency and common plans for agriculture, industry, healthcare, education to name just a few. This in itself is not sinister. It’s an old idea, in fact. The Romans had a single currency and universal laws in their empire which was most of Europe at one stage. Europe having a codified law by itself in is not a bad thing. It’s what’s in those laws that matter.
Some people over react to notions of a single Europe. That’s why I’m a bit sceptical of the Funk theory. It is usually put forward by members of UKIP and Boris Johnson, people who are against any sort of notion of Europe impinging on British sovereignty. Farage and Johnson were more than willing to lie to get Britain out of the EU and didn’t even offer any alternative or solution to what would happen after the British people decided they wanted out. When this was needed, both scarpered. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been slightly distrustful of the EU, one of the first Navigator articles was about the Irish Fisheries and how Europe has greatly benefitted from this. However, when Farage’s party and Johnson are the two most prominent cheerleaders of such conspiratorial notions it must be questioned, if the EU was a Utopian society both would still hark back to the days of empire. In other words, dominance is fine so long as it is British.
The European Project
The European project has been somewhat derailed because it is bending to corporate interests, like most governments. This does not mean it is part of some global Fourth Reich conspiracy, as Conor Cruise O’Brien might have described it. However, it cannot be ignored that many of the leading Nationalist-Socialists escaped with barely a slap on the wrist and went on to become influential in many countries and some even managed to have the same level of control in post-war Germany.
Germany and Germans have always understood and to some degree sought unified systematic control. This not genetic, this a cultural issue. This has extended to wanting control of Europe and given its strategic and industrial advantages, this was a realistic goal to some extent. Germany always wanted to be at the heart of Europe, for good and bad.
The problem is, most of Europe does not feel the same, and they certainly don’t want one country calling all the shots. Make no mistake, Germany, for many of the same reasons as before is calling the shots in Europe. Ask Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. This is of course not referring to the German people themselves, but the banking and corporate bodies within that country. The corporate world has become increasingly good at bending politicians to their will and this, allied to Germany’s wish to be at the heart of Europe, has made the German monied interests the most powerful force within the EU. People have seen and understood this, even if the mainstream media hasn’t. Jonathan Pie’s description of the union is pretty much spot on;
So what can we conclude from this? Many things, really. Firstly, the idea that the Nazis just disappeared because they lost the war is ridiculous. There is ample evidence the opposite happened, they all landed in high ranking jobs. It also must be pointed out that an entire generation of Germans were raised entrenched in fascist dogma. Did they all just decide they were happy to be accountants after defeat in the war? Unlikely. Secondly, Germany had a desire to be at the centre of Europe for centuries. This isn’t a negative point. For them most part, Germany wanted to have a positive impact on the continent and indeed, many Germans to this day want to be involved in the EU and see themselves nearly as European as they are German. And this is the problem. Why should one country dictate the affairs of the continent to the other sovereign nations? And when a nutjob like Hitler rises to power, the problem becomes a lot worse.
Another point is the power of commercial and financial interests influencing governments and law making bodies. Europe is no different and the German banks and financial institutions are the most powerful within the Eurozone. Thus, they have significant power in that regard.
This no grand conspiracy. I’m not trying to convince people there was a Nazi-led plot to take over Europe and the EU is the result of this. The reality is much more complicated than that. There may be elements of that and there are elements of a similar ideology of power from within the EU that are not directly related to Naziism. There is one other important issue I would like to raise before signing off.
The Germanic world produced Siegmund Freud and Edward Bernays. These men fully believed that humanity should be saved from itself and could not be trusted. An elite ruling class was the only way of stopping humanity destroying itself. Both had great skill manipulating the masses. This is one of the cornerstones of the EU, even if they don’t admit to it. Coudenhove-Kalergi is widely acknowledged to be the father of the EU and even he said there should be a ruling class. None of the founding fathers of modern Europe, both political and ideologically, were in favour of a purely democratic society. It’s this attitude, along with the Germanic lust for the figurative and literal middle of Europe that has defined European diplomacy for the best part of two centuries now. This is not an attack on the ordinary German citizen as the have suffered probably worse than the rest of Europe. No, this is a criticism of the German political class, pre-, post, and during the Fascist era. They are the true masters of Europe. But, for how much longer?
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