|The End Game: The End of the Empires
|World War One was the cultural equivalent of the Black Death in that it destroyed the seed of one
generation as well as the next as it melded into an inevitable World War Two. The total costs of the
war were about $332,000,000,000, billions more by today's standards. The Allies maintained that
Germany alone was responsible for the War and therefore liable for all costs and damages incurred
by the victors. The vindictive Treaty of Versailles set the amount at thirty two billion dollars, plus
interest, in annual payments of 500 million dollars, plus a 26% surcharge on exports. This burdened
Germany with outrageously unjust reparations. The US did not support the Treaty: The US had
sacrificed a small fortune and millions of young men for the allegedly noble cause of making the
world safe, not to utterly destroy Germany nor to fatten the pocketbooks a handful of bankers.
U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing now declared "the Versailles treaty menaces the existence of
civilization". Various other parties condemned the Versailles Treaty. Pope Benedict XV condemned it
for "the lack of an elevated sense of justice, the absence of dignity, morality or Christian nobility"
and Pope Pius XI, in his 1922 encyclical "Ubi arcam Dei" called it an artificial peace "which instead
of arousing noble sentiments increases and legitimizes the spirit of vengeance and rancour."
Four empires disappeared after Versailles: the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and the Russian,
and in their place were the newly-hatched and insecure states of Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Poland
and Yugoslavia whereupon the seeds to future conflict would be planted. Four defunct dynasties, the
Hohenzollerns, the Habsburg, Romanovs and the Ottomans together with their ancillary aristocracies
all fell after the war. The Saxon House of Wettin, which had lasted longer than every other German
dynasty and had been in power for 829 years, the longest a European house had ever ruled a land,
ended with the abdication of the good-hearted King Friedrich lll of Saxony on November 13, 1918
following the defeat of Germany in World War One. The British monarchy was still merrily in place.
The Versailles settlement was negotiated without permitting Germany to be involved (Diktat) and
under naval blockade and threat of invasion. Germany lost 74.5% loss of her natural resources and
100% of her colonies under the pretext of providing national self-determination. She lost about 13%
of her territory and 10% of her population: 7 million of her people had to be thereby forsaken,
including three million Germans in the Sudetenland alone. This constituted a traumatic and confusing
situation for ethnic German minorities in these new states. Overnight, they became second class
citizens in homelands they had inhabited for generations, and in some cases centuries. Millions of
ethnic Germans were victimized, harassed, outrageously taxed and deprived of their civil rights.
German property was confiscated by the new nationalistic governments without compensation. To
add further punishment, Germany was forbidden to enter into any union with Austria, adding more
severe hardship to both and destructively breaking their historical cultural bond.
The shortsightedness of the "peace" terms would have horrible effects. The most significant event
triggered by the events at Sarajevo was not the war, with its blatantly financial impetus, but the
virulent rise of Communism, which was directly and indirectly abetted by the victors in their quest to
weaken German and Austrian power for the monetary gain and dominance of a few. In Wilson's War
Message back in 1917, he paid tribute to the Communists in Russia: "Assurance has been added to
our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been
happening in the last few weeks in Russia. Here is a fit partner for a League of Honor." (Public
Papers of Woodrow Wilson). When it appeared that the Communist Revolution was in trouble,
Wilson had sent his personal emissary, Elihu Root, to Russia with one hundred million dollars from
his Special Emergency War Fund to save the toppling Bolshevik regime.
|At Britain's insistence, the Treaty of Versailles was especially punitive toward the Imperial German
Navy, the object of British envy and scorn. The victors promptly snatched and "internationalized"
the Kaiser Wilhelm (Kiel) Kanal, while leaving its maintenance at German expense. The treaty hit the
Imperial Navy harder than all of Germany's armed forces and only permitted Germany a tiny navy.
British fear of any future German maritime success dictated that the Reichsmarine be reduced to a
flotilla of coastal craft, tug-boats and obsolete Dreadnought-era battleships. Not content with that,
they demanded that all merchant ships larger than 1600 tons and half of all those between 1000 and
1600 tons had to be surrendered, and even after confiscating the German merchant navy, it went so
far as to dictate that German cruise ships which were in the process of construction before the war
be completed at German expense and with German labor and then ceded to the victors!
Germany received no compensation for the vast government possessions it lost (estates, forests,
railway tracks, etc.). The Allies proceeded to even confiscate not only public but private German
property all over the world in contrast to all precedent from previous wars when private property had
been held in escrow until ratification of peace treaties, at which time it would revert to its legitimate
owners. Railroads, roads, river crossings, long-distance cables, natural resources and agricultural
lands were all taken gobbled up among the victors, either kept for themselves or given out to the
antagonistic and nationalistic little nations they had created. After all of the back breaking labor and a
small fortune in money and human lives, the Germans were forced to sign off of any rights to the
Berlin-Baghdad Railway, which was one of the original bones of contention.
Germany was forbidden from investing capital in neighboring countries and made to forfeit all rights
"to whatever title it may possess in these countries", and while the Allies were given free access to
the German marketplace without even the smallest tariff, products made in Germany faced high
foreign tariff barriers. Versailles decreed that Germany "undertakes to give the Allies and their
associates the status of most favored nations for five years" while Germany had no such equal status.
Immediately following the war, Germany was rocked by insurgencies as the Bolsheviks and their
communist agents attempted a takeover similar to the revolution in Russia. The Allies, meeting in
Versailles, expressed delight at this fact.
Not content with merely bringing Germany to its knees and picking away at her like vultures, the
victors went one better: The sinister British blockade which had already starved thousands upon
thousands of German civilians continued even after Germany signed an armistice in 1918, party at
the insistence of France, but mostly by young Winston Churchill's demands. In his March 3, 1919
speech to the British House of Commons, Churchill flatly stated: "We are holding all our means of
coercion in full operation...we are enforcing the blockade with vigour. Germany is very near
starvation. The evidence I have received shows the great danger of a collapse of the entire structure
of German social and national life, under the pressure of hunger and malnutrition." Aware of this
gravely inhumane situation, the Royal Navy went so far as to send warships into the Baltic to stop
German fishing boats from catching sardines which provided necessary protein for their hungry
infants and children. Germany's best farmlands, which would have been her salvation, had been
severed from her and given away to the newly created Poland.
Things were very bleak in Germany after the war ended, with unemployment between 20 and 40 per
cent. Humanitarian conditions within Germany had already desperately deteriorated because of
England's merciless hunger blockade throughout the war which is said to have eventually caused the
deaths of a million Germans. Under the long, destructive blockade, the food supply declined until the
diet in Germany was reduced initially to bread and potatoes, and then, with a failed potato crop in
1916, to turnips as the principal staple. 88, 232 Germans starved to death in 1915 and 121,114 in
1916. Only the very young, invalids, expectant mothers and the elderly were permitted milk. The
blockade had also created scarcities in raw materials that were vital to German civilian survival such
as heating coal and fertilizer supplies vital to agriculture.
Yet this sinister blockade continued for seven months after Germany signed an armistice in 1918!The
British blockade which continued to starve innocent people received little or no criticism from others.
John Maynard Keynes quoted an observer who accompanied Herbert Hoover's mission to help the
starving Germans: "Those you might believe are small children are children of seven and eight years:
Tiny faces, with large, dull eyes, overshadowed by huge puffed, rickety foreheads, their small arms
just skin and bones, and above the crooked legs with their dislocated joints the swollen, pointed
stomachs of the hunger edema...." The death rate of children between the ages of 1 and 5 years rose
by 50 per cent and among children from 5 to 15 years by 55 per cent.
The German population plummeted sharply, causing a situation which to this day the mainstream
media discounts or minimizes. Cases of tuberculosis, rickets, influenza, dysentery, scurvy and hunger
edema became common. As Germany experienced near-famine conditions, Thomas Lamont, an
American representative at Versailles, recorded the Allies callous decision to confiscate a substantial
part of what was left of Germany's livestock: "The Germans were made to deliver cattle, horses,
sheep, goats, etc., and a strong protest came from Germany when dairy cows were taken to France
and Belgium, thus depriving German children of milk." Germany was forced to deliver not only large
numbers of livestock, but coal to France, Belgium and Italy, while they themselves were left to
freeze for lack of fuel for heat.
When, on May 7, 1919, Count von Brockdorf-Rantzau addressed the Versailles assembly, over two
months before the blockade was finally terminated on July 12, 1919 (seven months after armistice):
"The hundreds of thousands of non-combatants who have perished since November 11, 1918 as a
result of the blockade, were killed with cold deliberation, after our enemies had been assured of their
complete victory." The ongoing hunger blockade was by far the greatest atrocity of the war, killing
thousands of German civilians unnecessarily. It also fragmented any hopes for recovery. Germany,
like the victors, was in a state of post war shock and mourning, and then made to suffer further by
the enormous and unrecoverable economic losses through the dictates of Versailles.
The USA gained nothing from its contribution the European war but loss and sorrow. Now, as
Germans ate crows, zoo animals and rodents after the war, shunned by the international community,
things grew more perilous for them and the cost of the war absolutely destroyed their present and
future economy. The glorious German Empire was murdered in its youth, its people starved and
humiliated, yet the poisonous anti-German hate propaganda continued to be pumped out to justify
the greed and vindictiveness of the actions of the European victors and to rationalize America's
unwise and unnecessary involvement, which many would shortly question. In fact, there were soon
government inquiries and accusations that the US had been duped into war by British Propaganda.