‘If you are politically wrong- actually it means you are right’
- Terrorism is a new form of warfare and the world is caught in the same catch 22 situation as in the first few decades of the last century.
- World powers are as oblivious as they were to Hitler terror in 1933 and were prepared to buy his sweet talk yet building a massive war machine right under their nose.
First five decades of the 20th century probably were the bloodiest and ugliest years of modern human history. The conspicuous landmarks being the start and end of World War I- 1914-1918, the interim period of upheaval 1919-1938, in Europe, formation of league of Nations on 10 January 1920 to buy international peace, Rise of Nazi Germany (1933-1939), and the Second World War Period of 1939-1945 which ended with surrender of Germany and twin atomic bomb attacks on Japan on 6th and 9th August 1945.
Could the world avoid it? I can’t say. But can we learn from history? Yes we can.
Today the oft repeated quote of George Bernard Shaw ‘If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.’ repeats yet once again; may be more profoundly truer than ever before in our recent contemporary history.
The world is at war with itself yet again. God knows may be bloodier in the end than the last century.
Looking over one’s shoulder one would realize that almost a century ago we were standing at the same point in a politico situational continuum as we are standing today. Let me tell you how. First let me put things in perspective.
World War I began in July 1914 in central Europe and had many interrelated factors or causes for its eruption. Nationalism, Militarization, failed alliances and failure of diplomacy were the major reasons for the nations getting into a full- blown war. Territorial and economic rivalries led to this war where ten million people lost their lives and twenty million were wounded.
The war stopped on 11 November, 1918, it took several months before a peace treaty, ‘Treaty of Versailles’ could be signed, on 28th June 1919.The negotiation process, took six months at the Paris Peace Conference, and finally, it was the big four i.e. British, French, Italy and US that mostly negotiated and decided the terms of the supposedly very harsh treaty.
Germany was not allowed to participate in the negotiation process as they had lost the war. Treaty blamed Germany and held it fully responsible to start the war and cause destruction. It was clearly elaborated in “War guilt clause’ of the treaty.
Germany was asked to pay for its sins and reparations were to the tune of USD 31.4 Billion at that time, equivalent to USD 442 Billion in 2011. This was very steep and harsh according to the Germans as well as many economists.
It would have taken Germans up to 1988 before they could pay up the whole amount- a total of 68 years! In addition Germany was not allowed to have more than 100,000 troops at a time. There was a restriction on defense production and they were not allowed to manufacture aircraft, tanks and guns beyond certain numbers. Navy was limited to a few battle ships but they were to build ships for the British as a punishment/compensation.
In fact the victors wanted to destroy Germany with an economic blow so that it would never be able to wage war again. It was a deep rooted revenge.
After the treaty was signed, the rest of the Europe was in the mood of ‘And they lived happily ever after’. No one wanted to have war again, public and politicians both across Europe and even America.
But the world was in for a huge horrible surprise and was caught napping basking in the glory of victory, perhaps overconfidence and complacence
Having lost the war was a big Psychological blow for Germany. It was a direct blow to their moral and self-esteem and Germans were “made to believe” that the treaty was very unreasonable. In fact the victors wanted to destroy Germany with an economic blow so that it would never be able to wage war again.
And so much of “bad blood” had been created that the climate was conducive for nations to hit back at each other. Political and social strings were so taught that it was probably waiting to be triggered by something somehow. It was like “Fault Lines” being created in the earth’s lithosphere, creating huge tectonic plates. Whenever they shift, (for any of the many reasons for this) it causes an upheaval on the earth like earthquakes and Tsunami. World was sitting on such a “Political lithosphere” after World War I- waiting for a “Trigger”. And who and what would be the trigger was not understood. Victors could never have possibly imagined that it could even happen- As people cannot imagine or predict an earthquake!
As Robert Leckie wrote in his book “Delivered from Evil” the events did cause Germans harassment driving them in despair into the arms of the devil.” (Hitler and Nazis).
“Some wars have been due to the lust of rulers for power and glory, or to revenge to wipe out the humiliation of a former defeat.”
Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)
Was the blue print of death conveniently ignored?
On July 18, 1925, Volume One of Adolf Hitler’s philosophical autobiography, Mein Kampf , is published. It was a blueprint of his agenda for a Third Reich and a clear exposition of the nightmare that will envelope Europe from 1939 to 1945. The book sold a total of 9,473 copies in its first year. For Hitler, the state was not an economic entity, but a racial one. He had given a blow by blow account of things to come including his hatred for the Jews.
It was not until 1933, the first year of Hitler’s tenure as chancellor of Germany that sales soared to over 1 million. Its popularity reached the point where it became a ritual to give a newly married couple a copy. It became the Bible of Germany for freedom.
As for leadership, Hitler’s Third Reich would mimic the Prussian ideal of absolute authoritarian rule. “There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons… Surely every man will have advisers… but the decision will be made by one man.”
He let the world know his plans loud and clear, there could be no doubts about his intent. One had to be hugely stupid to look the other way and the entire world did.
“Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose”Tom Krause
The world bent backwards to the loud and clear threatening calls of Nazi party under Adolf Hitler.
The first nail in the world’s peace coffin was ‘The Munich Agreement’ to buy piece. It was like a pigeon shutting its eyes to an approaching cat and praying it won’t pounce on him! It was an agreement concluded at Munich on 30 September 1938, by Germany, the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the Kingdom of Italy. It provided “cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory” of Czechoslovakia, despite the existence of the 1924 alliance agreement and 1925 military pact between France and the Czechoslovak Republic, for which it is, also known as the Munich Betrayal. Most of Europe celebrated the Munich agreement, which was presented as a way to prevent a major war on the continent. Adolf Hitler announced it was his last territorial claim in Europe. But the Second World War had already begun.
Hitler bashed on relentlessly. Before attacking Poland on 01 Sep 1939, (marking the beginning of Second World War) after signing these cozy treaties he told his Generals that nothing would happen if they attack. All they could expect will be thumping of the tables in the House of Lords and shouts of ‘Shame, shame’ and he was damn right. (It was like Kadee Ninda) Europe still wanted to avoid a conflict. And rest is as they say history and the world witnessed an unprecedented death and devastation for the next six years.
Estimates of number of people who lost their lives vary between 60- 70 million people dead. The cost of the Second World War is estimated to be a five trillion US Dollars (5000 billions) as of 2010 which would be much more in 2021.
“Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the bastard is dead; the bitch that bore him is again in heat.”
Did Hitler and his Nazi murderers terrorize the world too? You bet they did.
Are you beginning to see a pattern?
If you cannot, let me elucidate.
Terrorism is a new form of warfare and the world is caught in the same catch 22 situation as in the first few decades of the last century. World powers are as oblivious as they were to Hitler terror in 1933 and were prepared to buy his sweet talk yet building a massive war machine right under their nose.
Can you believe it that the world has not been able to decide on the definition of terrorism which has killed in thousands and traumatized in millions for the last several decades?
In November 2004, a Secretary-General of the United Nations report described terrorism as any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”. The international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term “terrorism” is politically and emotionally charged.
These divergences have made it impossible for the United Nations to conclude a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that incorporates a single, all-encompassing, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism.
Terrorists as in case of Hitler are shouting from the roof top- ‘catch me if you can’ and world is still discussing color, caste and religion of terrorism? Are we in Chamberlain mindset (looking the other way?) or are we waiting for a Winston Churchill, a Roosevelt and a Stalin Trio to Para drop from somewhere to save us?
We are well past the high point of 01 Sep 1939 and the beginning of the Second World War and the German Blitzkrieg which drove an arrow through the heart of Europe and France only to be stopped by the English Channel which saved the Great Britain.
The Americans fled from Afghanistan and world watched the Taliban blitzkrieg from 1 May 2021 – 15 Aug 2021. It had similar overtones as Hitler’s acts of Rape of Poland and his cries over the phones to his forward field commanders ‘Is Paris Burning?’
“Is Paris burning?” screamed Hitler hysterically into the telephone in August 1944, addressing General Von Choltitz, the German commander of the occupied French capital. The general disobeyed orders to destroy the city in a move that could have cost him his neck, since Hitler did not take kindly to disobedience.
And on 15 August 2021 world woke up to ‘ Is Kabul burning?’ May not be literally but, symbolically yes. But there was no General Von Dietrich Choltitz to dig his heels against the political powers.
World has done nothing to save the Afghanistan people. They are still discussing the Chamberlain way, how not to act and manage with treatise that are a mere piece of paper. The UN seems to be as helpless as the League of Nations back then. Though much bigger in terms of representation than the League it still doesn’t have a mind or a will of its own and is a multi-willed organization with little resolve and thought. All the powers that matter are buttering their own toasts now the big five and are only looking after their own narrow short term national interest even presiding over the UN Security Council.
These guys need to smell the coffee as they say. Second largest democracy in the world, America is in a quasi-hesitation-al state to openly condemn Pakistan and support India the largest democracy and a superpower in the making openly. It’s time to call a spade a spade and don’t make it a shovel to dig the planet’s grave. Too much politics is bad for politics and too much diplomacy is bad for diplomacy.
India is the only well-meaning sane nation, the largest democracy and a balancing power in the region which needs to be used as a handle of sorts to eliminate terrorism. EU and NATO may be well advised to put all their might together and bank on India to help save the world in this ever melting pot of geopolitics, where national interest is every nation’s first priority- Hitler is around lurking in the dark!
Albeit in its new Avatar
Germany was a nation which was identifiable and was visible to even a naked eye- terrorists are invisible. Hitler could be dealt with aircraft carriers, Battle tanks, guns, mortars and huge armies. Don’t forget what Jim Hightower said “Even a little dog can piss on a big building.”
The world will be able to handle Russia-Ukraine-NATO Tangle too as it is visible on the ground.
Terrorists? No way. But ignoring them will be like ignoring Mein Kampf which detailed the rape of nations. We were deaf then and are we deaf today too? I don’t know how could this be handled but it must be done collectively and with no holds barred on top super white hot priority. There are ants in your pants right now for sure.
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking”
William Butler Yeats
Taliban and Its close ally Pakistan is repeatedly saying we will be democratic, we will do good for our people and we are peaceful people yet cutting the soul of Afghanistan to pieces every day. On the other hand they are openly flouting human rights and declaring Jihad to conquer the world in absolute clear terms as Hitler in his Germanic Bible called mien Kampf, said.
Hitler kept on threatening the world and also kept pacifying the world with similar statements. German Fuhrer said. And I quote
“I speak in the name of the entire German people when I assure the world that we all share the honest wish to eliminate the enmity that brings far more costs than any possible benefits… It would be a wonderful thing for all of humanity if both peoples would renounce force against each other forever. The German people are ready to make such a pledge.”
Adolf Hitler – 14th October 1933
“Take the diplomacy out of war and the thing would fall flat in a week”Albert Einstein