Preventing Fascism: WWII & Now

Rage against fascism is a good thing. It has to be integrated into moral codes, and institutions. The question arises of how the outbreak of fascism could have been indigenously avoided in the 1930s. After all, we are evolving into a similar situation: an ever deepening socio-economic crisis. Crises call for fascism, always.

Paradoxically, I will argue that, for a republic to be sustainable, anti-fascism has to be imprinted directly and explictly in an intrinsically fascist institution, the military.

Military men have to be imprinted with the notion that all and any order contradicting Republican law ought to be refused (except perhaps for a reason involving a combat situation directly, to be followed by an inquest; drone presidents don’t qualify as combat directly).

Fascism, as the Romans, who conceptualized it, defined it, was the socio-political principle that gave the Republic strength: tie together the weak rods of the individuals around an axe to get immense power of enforcement (justice) and destruction (war). In modern times, the French Republic, explicitly, and the USA  (watch the American eagle clutching a fasces of arrows!) proudly exhibit the notion, which is central to all and any Republic.

Fascism allows weak primates to cling together, act as a super organism. being able to form armies, they conquered the wastes (even Bonobos act this way, and form troops up to 200 individuals, no doubt keeping leopards away).

Thus fascist is an enabling instinct. Fascism is the difference between monkeys as squirrels, and monkeys as world conquerors. Fascists go to the stars, individualists stay in the trees and bushes.

The formation of any troop or army is an application of the fascist principle. Thus the importance of fascism for Rome: for its first four centuries, the Roman republic was continually involved in wars upon which its on-going existence depended, and became the ancient world’s ultimate war machine.

Yet, the fascist instinct can be misused: watch young people going hysterical about the local sport team. That looks innocuous, but countless dictators, in the past, used that madness of young, ignorant, enraged crowds to evil ends.

The three most significant fascisms involved in WWII were the Soviet, Nazi and Imperial Japanese. They had much in common, as proven by the fact that, by 1939, they were military allies (and even earlier, officially, as the “Axis“; or secretly with the USSR).

Of the three the most hopeless, because the most engrained, was Soviet fascism. In the 1930s, Stalin was busy killing most of his army’s upper echelons, after deporting the Tartars from Crimea and dispossessing millions of farmers. He put to work ten million slaves, digging impressive canals.

Stalin’s main opponent had been Trotsky, ex-head of the Red Army. Trotsky was in an awkward position to resist his ex-colleague’s red terror, as he had, himself, been its enforcer in chief previously. besides, the founder, and theoretician of the whole thing, Lenin himself, had made the apology of fascism with his “dictatorship of the proletariat“. By 1939, the USSR had made mass murderous fascism into its fundamental organizational scheme (differently from the Tsarist plutocracy, which had been paying more than lip service to democracy!).

In comparison, Japan and Germany were new to that game.

Thus, if there was a hope to avoid WWII, it had to be with Japan and Germany. Both regimes were, superficially, militaristic. However, both they nearly imploded. Why? Because, in both cases, military men saw the light of truth, and tried to act accordingly.

World War One had been launched by the top half dozen ‘Prussian’ military men, in an on and off conspiracy with the Kaiser. The four top “Prussian General Staff” generals plotted, in 1912, to launch a war against France and Russia, because they thought they could still win it (but not so in the future; they enlisted the reluctant admirals). The result was a giant failure of Germany and civilization. Although the military generation commanding and launching WWI never saw the light, and, indeed, supported Nazism, it was not so for the commanders who followed (and had seen the war from the trenches).

Meanwhile the fascist imperial Japanese military had gone from success to success for more than a generation, defeating the Russians, the Chinese, the Germans. Its leadership became an oligarchy drunk on victory, a typical case of hubris gone completely crazy.

Young officers of lesser rank felt this. They attempted a coup in 1937. It was drowned in blood, and the military dictatorship became worse than ever.

In Germany, it was the exact opposite: the Nazis had hypnotized, and imprinted youth. Yet, the entire upper reaches of the German military had done some serious studies, and drawn their own lessons from WWI. Top german military men were lethally opposed to Hitler. They plotted loud and clear, to overthrow him. They even invited American embassy personnel, just below ambassador rank, to be witness to their reunions. However, they were anxious to justify themselves, relative to the population.

Field Marshalls, and the successive chiefs of the entire armed forces, generals Beck and Halder made the mistake to reach out to the perfidious Anglo-Saxons. The German military wanted them to declare publicly that the Anglo-Saxons would stand with the French Republic against Hitler. The upper military would have then arrested, or killed Hitler and all the top Nazis, and justify themselves to the German nation by saying the Nazis were going to destroy Germany. Because there was no way Germany would win against the exact same coalition of Allies as in World War One.

Instead, of course, the Anglo-Saxons leaders… revealed to the Chancellor-President of Germany, Adolf his name, what was planned. So strong were the plotters, though, that all what Hitler could do was to fire general Beck from his top job. Beck was replaced by Halder, himself respectful of Beck. However the anti-Hitler plotting abated, as the USA seemed determined to support the Third Reich (de facto) and Britain and France let Hitler have his successes. Hitler was condemned to work, for years, conducting a world war, collaborating with his own would-assassin, Halder.

There were many plots against Hitler. All failed, mostly due to happenstance, or too much striving for perfection. Meanwhile the Nazi state grew ever stronger: the SS grew to nearly one million. When finally a full coup was engaged in July 1944, Hitler survived a bomb, and a handful of generals, trying to cover their participation in the coup, went the wrong way at the wrong moment.

The repression was ferocious: Colonel Count Von Stauffenberg had planted the bomb, he was executed the same day. His elder brother, revived many times, was tortured to death. Officially an unbelievable 4,980 were executed (yes, not a typo, nearly five thousands, most of them German army personnel).

Nowadays, the German military venerates the anti-Hitler plotters. It has in its military code that Innere Führung”  (inner guidance) which pledges to defend the Republic and the People.

The best way to fight tyrannical fascism is for the army to thoroughly understand that its own intrinsic fascism has meaning only, and only as, guardian of the Republic, not as a devotee to particular individuals or classes. (Indeed the Roman republic went down when the army’s role went from protecting the republic to personality cult.)

So, to prevent political fascism, one has to incorporate the republican constitution in the military code.

This is no utopia. German military history demonstrates it. The German Military Code (or law) in World War Two said that military men and police could not be ordered to massacre civilians (as had happened in the first few days of World War One). Still, massacres were ordered. However, in about 150 cases, orders were disobeyed, on the ground that the Code forbid it.

None of the cases was prosecuted. The Nazis were terrified that military judges would support those who had disobeyed unlawful orders. and that a lawful disobedience, by then well advertized, would spread through the army.

Better: by 1944, an ex-fanatical Nazi such as Feld Marshall Rommel, was actively prosecuting those who had ordered massacres of civilians in France.

So, of course, if the German republic and German Volk had been included in the military pledge (as it is now!), Nazism would simply never have happened. (Instead Hitler, in degenerate Roman general style, had instituted a pledge to himself!)

One crucial juncture in the ascent of Nazism: when Doctor H. Schacht, head of the central bank, engineered German hyper inflation in 1923, so as not to replace the telegraph poles that had been destroyed all over France by the retreating German army.  Later Schacht, an agent of the top USA banker JP Morgan, became finance and economy minister in the so called Weimar republic, and pushed to bring Hitler to power.

Interestingly, recently, in 2013, the head of the German central bank used lies by Harvard professors to justify the ferocious starving of the European economy, instituted by shutting down necessary government spending (all the money having gone to bankers). Do them German central bankers ever learn?

The Harvard professors mercenaries were, and are, paid by billionaires such as Pete Peterson, and the “foundations” they finance. The modern equivalent of JP Morgan.

Is history repeating itself? Will the Bundeswehr have to realize that, when the head of the German central bank, 90 years later, holds exactly, once again, the discourse ordered by plutocrats from across the Atlantic, the security of the German Volk is compromised?

***

Patrice Ayme

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10 Responses to “Preventing Fascism: WWII & Now”

  1. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Evelyne Le Formal: “Lesson from Nazism: For a republic to be sustainable, anti-fascism has to be imprinted in an intrinsically fascist institution, the military.”

    They never spoke of this at the begining…..but after….

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, Evelyne, yes. I think if there is ONE positive, practical lesson to draw from Nazism, for interior politics (in contrast to what those from the outside can do), that’s it.
      PA

  2. TomAlex Says:

    The reason for the rise of the extremists is not some virus or mass paranoia, not is it punishment from God. It is the complete failure of ‘moderates’ to solve or even address real problems. An analogy I make when I hear such incompetent or self-adoring politicians mourn the rise of extremism is a football team which believes it is so good, it is ready to win the Champions League and gets blown away by a 4th division team. When ‘moderates’ fail to address issues like crime, immigration and joblessness and basically tell people that they must learn to live with these issues, then it is inevitable that people will turn to those who can at least promise a solution. Case in point was the (father) Bush-Dukakis campaign in the US in 1988(although I do not consider either of them extremists): Dukakis was 20 points ahead in the polls, but lost by a landslide because of the Willie Horton case: Namely a furlough program in Massachussets which was abused by Willie Horton who entered a house and did what he did. Americans judged that their security was more important than Dukakis’s statistics of better former inmate integration. The point is that even if a much more extreme candidate was running in the place of Bush, the results would be the same, because in this case the ‘moderate’ proposal was needlessly jeopardizing citizens’ safety and lives. Another analogy is that extremism is like cancer: You do not outlaw cancer(and keep smoking 100 cigarettes a day). Instead you research its causes and attack the causes. Regrettably the trend is to outlaw extremism(and free speech as a collateral damage), effectively allowing a defence like ‘yes, I did beat up this guy, but not because of racial reasons, but because I didn’t like his face or football affiliation’. This is so stupid(as well as dangerous), it is almost beyond belief. It made Wilders into a free speech hero. And it can be easily circumvented(see Erdogan in Turkey rename the party, get rid of the old guard and win): When you do not address the causes and outlaw extremists, you just make them into free speech heroes and give them plenty of room to spread and ultimately win.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear TomAlex: I agree with everything you say. I agree so much, I sort of run my philosophical observations taking what you speak about into account. There is a systematic avoidance of the hard issues. For example, “Mein Kampf” is viewed with horror, to the point of censorship (the old tradition of the “Index” by the Vatican). So, paradoxically, people can’t learn about Nazism, and Hitler is treated like God (read it, become Nazi!).

      Meanwhile the explicitly hyper violent Qur’an (read my compendium on that, a few years back!) is treated, literrally, as religion… All right, because it is, but so was Nazism…

      So, as you point out accurately, there is a systemic avoidance of the crucial issues. The case of Dukakis versus Bush is, indeed, a perfect example. After the Horton fiasco, Dukakis did not improve his chances by being asked what he would feel like if his wife was murdered, and repeating his politically correct

      mentra like a deranged robot.

      In France, right now, only the extreme right and extreme left have seized on the banksters problem with gusto. Should that situation perdure, no wonder if they strnagle the center. The “center” was actually bought off, and deserve to be strangled, for avoiding the issues! ALL the (important) issues.

      After WWII, leaders were more serious, and they tended to embrace the issues, and fix them (see Ike, the Debt, and the Plutocrats!) Thus the resulting expansion. Now we have a case reminding us, throughout the West, with what was going on in the Eighteenth Century (excpet the French king Louis XVI really tried to reform, but lacked the balls to love the fight, and smashed the Plutos… So each time reforms were decided, he backed-off, when implementation was in full swing (as when full market solutions were tried). Nowadays, the needed reforms, so far, have not been implemented.

      Number one reform ought to be the re-regulation of the money creating system… Otherwise said, sending the banksters to jail, and seizing their properties
      PA

  3. TomAlex Says:

    “So, paradoxically, people can’t learn about Nazism, and Hitler is treated like God (read it, become Nazi!). ”
    Exactly. Or, watch the ‘Godfather’ and become a mafia member. We’re talking THAT kind of intellectual giants. And, of course such intellectual giants get ultra-high paid posts in governments and the Commision and make these ultrawise decisions.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Indeed, arguably, the mafia we are facing now, tied to tax havens, international finance, fossil fuels, the enemy-industrial complex, bureaucracies, “private” universities, “private” banks and government all over, all entangled, what I call the global plutocracy, is, by far, the largest mafia that ever was.

      Their ultimate symbol was the attribution of the label of “Nobel laureate” to Obama, apparently for having made more drone strikes than Bush (What else? Everything else is more far fetched, like suggesting he, or his sponsors, threatened to kill the families of the Nobel committee if he did not get the prize?).
      Intellectual giants, no doubt, and smarter than the Cyclop in Homer’s book…
      PA

  4. Dominique Deux Says:

    The very real issue of having an army which resists fascism, while embracing it as a tool for obvious operational reasons, is not Germany’s only. An army’s loyalty is to its country and therefore its values. If that country’s values very clearly and deliberately reject fascism, the army is at no risk of going fascist on it, even though it has to operate on fascist lines. Thus the onus is on the country to educate itself out of fascism, not on the army to put on a flimsy democratic mask.

    I once was a member of a institution (“commission armées-jeunesse”) which more or less tried to foster mutual understanding between France’s army (then relying on conscription) and its recruitment base, the country’s youth. I recall a meeting with senior German officers, who displayed impressive commitment to democracy and anti-fascism. Said a French officer to me, after the meeting: “all this really means is that, if they’re ordered to shoot you, they’ll weep before, during and after”.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Sorry if I gave the impression that essay targetted Germany alone! It did not! I do agree with what you say: the best safety is for the society to be fully versed in anti-fascist values (so waht happened in Algeria? And with the OSA?). However, I still think that soldiers ought to be imprinted on respecting human rights, and be told it’s their primary duty to defend said rights. EXPLICITLY!

      I think that, if they are ordered to shoot you, they should question it. And, as I pointed out during WWII all those who refused to obey orders on grounds of human rights, were let go.

      Interesting the exchanges with those officers…
      PA

  5. Dominique Deux Says:

    “so what happened in Algeria? And with the OAS?”

    Two things were demonstrated:

    about the army: that a republic’s army, even in stressful situations and with substantial fascist contamination of the command chain, will stay true to the republic;

    about the French: that despite (or because of) their unusually high (for Europe) level of contamination by authoritarian politics (Communist and Fascist) their vast majority was not about to let either win. This was reaffirmed later, when Le Pen got to the 2nd round of the presidential election – a substantial show of popular support – but the immense majority then voted him down, even though Chirac, the incumbent, was completely discredited.

    Caution: today’s situation is much bleaker on the civilian side. But the army certainly has no golpista inclinations.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      ?”situation is much bleaker on the civilian side“? Not so for the people who were born and raised there, and lost their country. There were millions of those. (More than one million fled, out of six; but certainly much more would have fled, given a chance.)

      Anyway, the Franco-Algerian situation was complex, we still live with it on a global scale. Certainly the case to mess with Afghanistan in 2015 in much weaker than to have done Algeria properly in, say, 1961. The reason to imprint the army on republican and Enlightment principles is what happened during the French Revolution of 1789. When the army was ordered to break the insurrection, its commander refused. His name was LaFayette. Not so in 1871.

      At this point on neeeds just to arrest all banksters, and seize all their properties. It cannot be that divisive…
      PA

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