sexta-feira, 15 de outubro de 2004

Taki fala da WWI

Germany under the Kaiser was not the monstrous regime it was made out to be by the propagandists of the British empire at the time the war broke out. Wilhelmine society was philosemitic compared to other European countries; had the highest ratio of well-educated citizens anywhere on earth; was the center of the arts, including music and literature; and was in the forefront of scientific and medical discoveries.

Yes, it was a militaristic regime, but so were the other powers of Europe, starting with Britain, France, the Austro-Hungarian empire, and Russia. The reason for the war was Germany’s determination to build a fleet rivaling Britain’s. The bulldog said no; Fritz said why not? The war broke out because of miscalculations by everyone involved.

No one, starting with the Kaiser, ever imagined that it would end in such slaughter. Home by Christmas was the cry in both camps. And no, Belgian babies were not killed by crushing their brains against trees, there were very few atrocities against unarmed civilians, and both sides behaved well where POWs were concerned. If America had not intervened in 1917, the Germans would have won, however Pyrrhic a victory. Both sides were totally exhausted, but the German army was outside Paris and in better shape than the Allies.

Enter goody-goody Woodrow Wilson, a criminal as far as I’m concerned, and the man who started the rot of overseas intervention and nation-building. Just imagine how hunky-dory it would have been if Uncle Sam had minded his own business and Germany had won. For starters, there would have been no occupation. Germany would have demanded reparations and settled for a larger part in Southwest Africa. There would not have been a Weimar Republic, nor the hyperinflation that radicalized all of Germany towards the extreme Right and Left.

Hitler would have remained an obscure artist and a beer-hall bore. The Jews would have remained loyal German citizens, well off and respected, if not actually loved. No concentration camps. No Holocaust. My cousin the tsar would have been spared and would have become a reigning rather than a ruling monarch. There would have been no Communist takeover, and as a result 60 to 100 million lives and untold suffering would have been spared. Mao would not have murdered tens of millions, and World War II would have been a figment of Norman Podhoretz’s imagination. Still, it’s all wishful thinking and nothing to do with history.

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