cj.241 re: Global Emergency (long)

1995-07-10

Richard Moore

Dear cj,

It looks like we've got a bit of a discussion kicking off here with some
thoughtful comments from John & Butler.  I'll intersperse some narrative of
my own, and leave you with thoughts at the end...

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Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 00:00:12 -0700
Sender: •••@••.••• (John Lowry)
Subject: Re: cj950707> Your Moderator Returns

>... It seems there's an
>opportunity for face-to-face political discussions (beyond the scope of
>local concerns) even here.

My hope springs from similar experience.  Most of my "deep" conversations
end in a mutual agreement that the situation is most dire and, if we make
it, (the human race, that is) it will be by 'the skin of our teeth.'  This
has prompted the phrase, 'this is a time when the maximum possible
collaborative effort is the minimum necessary for us to survive,' as an
answer to the notion "humanity is the manifestation of nature's death-wish."

However, I find that detailed commentary on how that collaborative effort
might get organized, stops the conversation pretty cold.  It is a dilemma.

John

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rkm>

Our "dire situation" is multi-faceted.  We could start a pool on which
danger will do us in first (pollution, over-population, AIDS, economic
collapse, television, fascism, cultural dissolution, you name it...)  We
each seek the "root" problems, so as to get a handle on things.  But when
that leads to "single issue" movements, we end up dividing ourselves into
rival camps and splitting our energies.

It seems to me we need to better understand what the problems are really
about, even as we seek ways to come together and act collaboratively.  We
need to seek understanding without analyzing _forever_, and we need to find
paths to action/organization, without requiring consensus on every single
issue.  A dilemma, yes, but one we avoid at our peril.

---

In the following piece, Butler shares some thoughts about the origins of
the "cold war" and some other aspects of 20th Century history.  He
initiates some very interesting threads indeed.  As discussion develops, I
think we'll all need to aim for more concise postings, developing a point
or two each time.  But as a kick-off essay, I'm happy to publish his words
without <snips>.

  I'll join you again the end of his tour...

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Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 00:00:23 -0700
Sender: Butler Crittenden <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Old Timers

Richard,

       No doubt many members of CyberRights and CyberJournal develop a
feeling over time that they "know" each other, and you. Each of us
voluntarily joins a community, making the net a massive set of overlapping
and sometimes interlocking communities. The opportunity to actually meet
and discuss face-to-face is rare, but you and I had two such encounters,
which reminds me that many on the net can do the same when they travel or
by taking the time to look up fellow correspondents who live nearby. The
invitation is open to visitors to San Francisco, as no doubt you welcome
personal contact with those traveling to Wexford.

       One theme we touched upon when I took you to the airport [SFO] was our
parents' experience of the 1930s. All my life I've heard "the Depression"
used as the primary explanation of how an entire generation was molded into
a penurious, frightened cohort who could always be counted upon to compare
the present, however troublesome, to the Horrific Past. But as I reflected,
first upon my own parents then upon the '30s in general, it occurred to me
that the majority had jobs -- some three-quarters if memory serves -- and
that we may draw some different "lessons" from that period than the
conventional one (above) that I've accepted blindly for a half century.

       In such times of extreme unemployment and social unrest I think a
sort of quiet fear takes over, where each person (of the vast majority)
turns inward and dons blinders to the pervasive ugly reality. It becomes
"my job" and "my family" -- or today, my "life", as in "get a life". The
"community" fades in importance -- something to let others worry about,
primarily the "others" whose job it is to think about such problems -- the
government and media being two examples. In Germany this took the form of
the citizenry more-or-less consciously succumbing to the "salami tactic" of
the Nazis, who sliced off reason and sanity a sliver at a time until "and
then it was too late". In the U.S. and elsewhere in the West the inward
turn took the form of ignoring who F.D.R. really was -- an aristocrat --
and what he was doing -- saving his fellow capitalist class.

       My parents and grandparents never spoke of the political side of the
Depression. While not themselves economically deprived, their focus of
anxiety was upon the hardships others lived through and "how terrible it
was" -- for others. I think this is essentially what's happening today,
where each person is doing a sort of mental calculus on how long his or her
job will last, what resources he or she has to deal with not having a
"regular" job or when retired, and hang the consequences for everyone else
-- those for whom "how terrible it already is".

       Recently I posted elsewhere an unsupported assertion that the Cold
War did not begin in 1946 and that the Nazis had a lot to do with the
origins of the Cold War. There was only one response to the post, which I'm
delighted to say was from my daughter. I replied:

-------------------------

       You asked for some details on why I said the Cold War did not really
begin after World War II. I'll start with a synopsis of a short chapter by
George Seldes, who lived in Switzerland and died a few days ago at 104.
Seldes has often been called the "dean of American journalism" and wrote
some 100 books. But you'll never hear of him in journalism and history
courses.

====== begin synopsis ======

       George Seldes; Even The Gods Can't Change History, The Facts Speak
for Themselves; Lyle, Stuart; Secaucus, NJ; 1976; Chapter 4: "Foch and the
Origin of the Cold War"

       Seldes begins with a conference of historians in 1972, attended by
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Josseph Starobin, Hans Morgenthau, Barbara
Tuchman, and James MacGregor Burns, who collectively said they couldn't say
when the Cold War started. But NONE mentioned after 1945 -- all finding
support for some earlier date or incident.

        Seldes then suggests January 17, 1919, as the date, when he
attended a rare press conference of French Marshal Foch. First Foch
explained why the Allies had accepted a German surrender rather than
marching on Berlin -- to save an estimated 200,000 Allied casualties after
20,000,000 had died during the war. This was the "big story" -- thought the
reporters, who wanted to leave -- but later Foch admitted that the real
purpose of the press conference was the second item: his emphasis on "the
menace of Bolshevism, the need for permanent occupation of the Rhine line,
the possibility of an army going into Germany as far as the Russian
border...."

       Seldes continues: "Not until eight years later did I learn why Foch
had come to Trier, ... It was to float his ballon d'essai, this triple
trial balloon -- how would the world react to his plan of permanent
occupation of the Rhineland, to an international army in Germany, and most
important, to the containment of Bolshevism, not on the Rhine frontier, but
on Germany's eastern borders." ... "The only enthusiasm for such an
adventure came from the defeated Germans -- they embraced it as a
lifesaver. Not only in 1919, but for the twenty following years, German
industrialists, generals, nobility, and adventurers secretly intrigued or
openly proclaimed their willingness to subsidize or lead troops against the
Soviets."

       In his memoirs, Foch said: "[I]n the early days of Leninism, I
declared to the Ambassador's Conference meeting in Paris [1919] that, if
the states surrounding Russia were supplied with munitions and the sinews
of war, I would undertake to stamp out the Bolshevik menace once and for
all."  Foch's offer was rejected, kind of.

       At the same time British Field Marshal Smuts issued a secret
memorandum warning, in Seldes' words, "not to destroy the German martial
spirit, Germany's armaments, or Junkerism, but to preserve them for action
against the Soviet Union." He also urged that Germany be urged to maintain
a huge army, *larger than the 100,000 the Germans had asked for*. In 1944
it was revealed that the Allies had "also legalized the various Free Corps
that became the nucleus of Hitler's Storm Troops," on "the ground that
these legions would save Germany from the propaganda and the new armies
being formed in Petrograd and Moscow."

       Seldes: "Historic truth, 57 years late: On 19 April 1975
newspapers... published an advance notice of an important television
program to be broadcast on 21 April... The documentary was called 'The
Forgotten War,' subtitled, 'Story of Allied Attack on Russia, 1918-1922.'
The notice said, 'One of the greatest military and political blunders of
the 20th Century -- the 1918 landing of expeditionary forces in Russia by
Great Britain, France, Canada, and the United States, and the subsequent
attempt to crush the new Bolshevik regime -- is portrayed in the
documentary. ... The film reviews the incidents precipitating the Russian
civil war in which 13 million people died. ... The Allies were soon
involved in an attempt to destroy the new Revolutionary regime . ...'"

        Seldes, concluding: "According to the documentary, this failure in
a hot war, at Archangel, Siberia, and 'supplying and supporting the White
Russian armies' in 1918 to 1922, resulted in every attempt, including
Truman's and Churchill's plans during World War II, to engage in the cold
war, which Nixon ended in 1972."

====== end synopsis ======

       Butler comments:

        Of course picking the date of Foch's press conference as the
beginning of the Cold War is more of a rhetorical device than Seldes'
serious attempt to fix a date. Over some seven decades Seldes wrote about
fascism and other major historical forces and events, so a one-page snip is
but a glimpse at and by a journalist. Where did Foch's ideas come from, and
for how long had this thinking been prevalent? Who were his allies and
compatriots?

       I'll try to address other aspects of the origins of the Cold War in
future posts. These will focus on (1) the activities of elites in the U.S.
and abroad who were railing against socialism and communism since at least
1848, (2) the finance of Hitler by primarily U.S. corporations and Wall
Street investment bankers, (3) the collaboration with Hitler by these same
people and corporations before and during World War II, (4) the Germans'
proposals during W. W. II to form an alliance with the Allies and go after
the Soviets, (5) the fake propaganda invented and promoted by certain U.S.
agencies and people after W. W. II that portrayed our wartime ally as "the
evil empire" and arch-enemy, (6) the curious support/finance by some of the
same U.S. businessmen of the Soviet Union and the U.S. assistance of the
U.S.S.R. during the 1920s and '30s, (7) the virtual complete installation
of the Nazis back to power after W. W. II, and (8) the symbiotic
relationship between the Soviet Cold War elite after the war and our own
Military-Industrial Complex, neither of which could have survived without
the other.

       Doug Dowd points out that in 1946 Nazism and fascism were on their
ass -- in the U.S. and in Europe and Japan. Many liberals, progressives,
and labor-union members/leaders thought that it would be possible to
finally turn humankind in a positive direction -- to end war, attain fair
distribution of goods and services, assure good jobs and education for all,
etc.  They thought -- since so many Americans and Europeans were aware of
the collaboration by U.S. corporations and certain men with the Nazis and
Italian Fascists -- that the movement to throw these rascals out would
succeed. However, we know this did not happen. Rather, these reactionary,
selfish forces have grown vastly more powerful than ever. How did this
happen? Certainly the Cold War was/is the major "historical force", which
leaves open the questions of who pulled it off?, and how did they do it?

       Final comment: The Russians had a revolution in 1917 -- a real
revolution, just as ours was real in 1776. From Seldes' account notice that
WE and many other nations attacked the Russians, contributing significantly
to a civil war in Russia in which 13 MILLION PEOPLE DIED. The last shots in
this civil war were fired in the early 1930s. Is it any wonder that the
Russians, by then the U.S.S.R., didn't trust the "West" to honor
commitments and not interfere in their domestic affairs? By the way, a
leader in the West who was deeply involved in financing the war against the
Russians was Herbert Hoover, who later became President. But in 1918 or so
he was taking food relief money donated in dimes and quarters by Americans
and using it to finance the White armies of the West against the Reds, and
before the Russian revolution he and his buddies had oil, timber, and
minerals "concessions" in Russia worth $1 BILLION in the dollars of roughly
1910. In short, follow the money, follow the people, and you'll generally
come to the same place -- a small, powerful, elite group screwing over the
rest of us, and justifying it in the name of high-sounding principles like
"freedom", "democracy", and "market forces".

--------------------------

       I was so intrigued by Seldes on the origin of the Cold War that I've
continued reading this magnificent work -- just completing the chapters on
the Spanish Civil War. Back to the '30s, to the Old Timers, to perhaps
contradict myself. From the beginning to the end, Americans were
overwhelmingly opposed to Franco and the Fascists. Numerous ambassadorial
memoranda and newspaper reports noted the connection between Hitler,
Mussolini, Franco, and the use of Spain as a Nazi laboratory. We're not
talking about "hidden history" in this case. Yet F.D.R. went along with
Churchill and Joseph Kennedy and supported the Nazis. And the main tool to
pull this off?: the Red Menace -- the "thousands" of Soviet troops in Spain
-- "hordes", when there were never more than 570, including doctors and
truck drivers. Today the "hordes" are purveyors of porn on the internet,
terrorists, welfare mothers, incorrect values, etc.


       Regards,

--
Butler Crittenden  --  •••@••.•••
2040 Ellis Street, S.F., CA 94115 -- 415/346-9321
"Imagine the impact of 50,000,000 new voters!  Act toward this end!  Pass
it on!"

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rkm>

Butler ties together events over the whole century, and points at a
continuity which seems to underly what is usually presented as major shifts
in policy.  Is it valid, for example, to claim we (the West) were _ever_
allied with the Soviets??

Early in the war, H. S. Truman said in a newspaper interview that he hoped
the Germans and Russians would fight it out and kill each other off.  And
when Eisenhower first went to England, he felt we were capable of opening
the Western Front years earlier than June, 1944.  But Churchill held him
back until after the Soviets had all but defeated the Germans (at
incredible cost), and began its westward campaign.  When the Normandy
invasion finally did come, it apparently served the goal of limiting the
Russian's westward advance, more than defeating the Nazis.  There were
always _several times_ as many German divisions in the East, as in the
West, and the years of bombing by the West made almost no difference to war
production.  ("Berlin Diary", by a female German Intelligence agent, makes
fascinating reading.)

Much as Stalin was blamed in the western media for establishing the Iron
Curtain and starting the Cold War, the Yalta agreement was welcomed by both
sides, and was the basis for dividing Europe into eastern and western
camps.  The West then used a combination of force, bribery, and intrigue to
establish a fascist-oriented government in Greece, a Mafia-oriented
government in Italy, and in general to assure that the widespread
democratic/leftist sentiment following in the wake of Nazi rule would have
minimal effect on the structure of postwar Western Europe.  It wasn't only
the iron fist of Stalin that forced entire peoples to adopt ideologies and
systems foreign to their aspirations and expectations.  ("Naples, 1944", by
a British intelligence agent, is also fascinating.)

---
---

I think it's important to say something about why this kind of discussion
is important to our current problems.  It is not my goal, nor I believe is
it Butler's, to make out the West as the "bad guys" in comparison to the
Soviets, nor is it to vent our spleen about injustices and distorted
histories.

Instead, our goal is to establish a somewhat realistic historical context,
so that we can make sense of the current world situation.  Only then can we
make rational judgements about where things are heading, and why.  Only
then can we identify where there might be "pressure points" in "the system"
at which we could apply intelligent and beneficial influence.

If the picture we paint appears to be "radical", or "one sided", or
"conspiratorial", I humbly claim that is only in comparison to the _highly_
distorted, pro-capitalist, propaganda version of history which has been
spoon fed to us in the West (both in school and in the media).

There is, after all, a reason why governments/elites lie about history: it
is a people's sense of history which determines their interpretation of
events, and their perception of their own self-interest.  Even the Nazis,
who we think of as ruling with an iron fist, were very sensitive to public
opinion and the effectiveness of their propaganda machine.  Hitler had an
agent who reported to him daily on what people "on the street" were saying.

Perhaps reaching consensus on 20th Century history is too much to ask, but
if we have some common ground of understanding, we'll be able to talk about
current events such as Bosnia and the rape of Eastern Europe by western
capital in a more intelligent light.

-rkm

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 Posted by --  Richard K. Moore --  •••@••.••• --  Wexford, Ireland.
                 Moderator: CYBERJOURNAL (@CPSR.ORG)

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