The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe

The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe

To see what is ahead for European unity, look at what is behind.
From the November 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

On May 4, 2012, the Daily Express wrote one of the most shocking articles I have ever read. It was titled “EU Plot to Scrap Britain.” The article described Germany, Italy and France meeting privately to discuss a new form of leadership for the European Union. Britain was excluded from these discussions. This happened four years before the Brexit referendum.

This small faction of European foreign ministers was informally called the “Berlin Group.” Its confidential discussions revolved around combining the presidencies of the European Council and the European Commission. These foreign ministers wanted to merge the two positions and create an EU superpresident, a monolithic position of absolute power greater than that of the president of the United States!

The author of this article, Macer Hall, described the powers of such a European president this way: “Opponents fear the plan would create a modern-day equivalent of the European emperor envisaged by Napoleon Bonaparte or a return to the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne that dominated Europe in the Dark Ages” (emphasis mine throughout).

The EU has yet to realize this plan. But keep watching Europe—you can expect it to happen soon! Many Europeans continue to hope for just such an individual.

Napoleon ruled 200 years ago. Charlemagne ruled 1,200 years ago. Today, most people romanticize and glorify the reigns of these two European emperors. But they forget the bloodshed. They forget the violence these European rulers brought about. They blot out that bloody, bloody history.

It is much more difficult to forget about Adolf Hitler. His Nazi death machine sparked a world war and murdered by the millions. His horrific rule is much more recent. In many ways, he committed some of the worst atrocities in human history—and it happened during the lifetimes of many of us. These facts are well known, and Hitler is still reviled today. What is less well known is that Adolf Hitler was a leader of the Holy Roman Empire, just like Napoleon and Charlemagne!

Adolf Hitler came in the spirit of Charlemagne!

Germany’s World War ii empire was even named the Third Reich—it was a resurrection of an empire that had existed before. The Second Reich was the German Empire from 1871 to 1919. And what was the First Reich? The Holy Roman Empire ruled by Charlemagne!

Europe is now looking to revive that same spirit—the same spirit Hitler had revived. European leaders see problems in Europe, and they want to establish order in Europe once again by creating a new Charlemagne.

The Berlin Group, officially known as the Future of Europe Group, knew that one of the European Union’s most prominent member states would totally reject this plan. So, even though it meant insulting and opposing an important fellow member of the EU, they excluded Britain. For decades, Britain has stood against the idea of an undemocratic bureaucrat receiving Charlemagne-like powers. It has restrained Europe from replacing democracy with an empire.

In response to the meetings of the Berlin Group, then United Kingdom Independence Party Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall said, “This is a truly ridiculous idea that must never be allowed to happen. It sounds as if they are trying to go back to the days of the Holy Roman emperor.”

Britain was forced into a no-win situation. If it remained in the EU, it would have to accept less and less sovereignty, less democracy, more and more integration, and more power for EU leaders. If Britain did not conform to the idea of an EU superpresident, it would either be kicked out of the Union or choose to leave—which is exactly what British voters did in June.

The Brexit referendum facilitated Europe’s plans to build an empire by removing one of its biggest obstacles.

Europe After Brexit

After Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union, the Daily Express published an article about a development in Europe that some have called an “ultimatum.” In the article “European Superstate to Be Unveiled: EU Nations ‘to Be Morphed Into One’ Post-Brexit,” Nick Gutteridge explained that political chiefs within Europe are taking advantage of Britain leaving the EU by revealing blueprints for a giant European superstate. He wrote, “Under the radical proposals, EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels” (June 28).

This development has “sparked fury and panic in Poland,” the article said. Why would Poland be panicking? Could it have something to do with the fact that Poland was one of the first nations to experience the spirit of Charlemagne in World War ii? Poland has a bloody history in dealing with the spirit of Charlemagne! The Polish people know what a powerful Europe with Germany at the forefront means for civilization!

The transfer of power to Brussels is really a monstrous deceit. The power is actually being transferred to Berlin. The whole European project is ultimately about Germany leading a united European army, economy and government. Virtually the whole world knows that fact, but no one wants to talk about it.

Foreign ministers from France and Germany are the main architects behind this plan to unify Europe like we have never seen it unified in modern times.

Post-World War II Solutions

Germany has had a long-term plan to revive the Holy Roman Empire. At the end of World War ii—when the most recent resurrection of that empire was defeated—that plan was already in motion.

In August 1944, German industrialists gathered for a meeting in Strasbourg, France, where they began planning for the future. (You can read the document detailing this meeting at theTrumpet.com/go/922). It was becoming clear that Germany would lose World War ii. These industrialists committed themselves to financing the Nazi Party underground.

Presiding over the meeting was Dr. Scheid, who held the rank of Schutzstaffel Obergruppenführer, one of the highest commands of the Nazi SS! In attendance were representatives of Volkswagenwerk, Rheinmetall, Krupp, Messerschmitt and at least half a dozen other industrial conglomerates. According to an informant, the SS commander ordered the evacuation of industrial material from France into Germany and that Germany “must take steps in preparation for a postwar commercial campaign.”

Dr. Scheid directed that “[e]ach industrialist must make contacts and alliances with foreign firms, but this must be done individually and without attracting any suspicion. Moreover, the ground would have to be laid on the financial level for borrowing considerable sums from foreign countries after the war.”

At a subsequent meeting, the German Armaments Ministry told representatives of Krupp, Rochling and Hecho, “Existing financial reserves in foreign countries must be placed at the disposal of the [Nazi] Party so that a strong German Empire can be created after the defeat.” The Allied communiqué that documented these meetings and their plans to hide funds, resources and even Nazi leaders in foreign countries using German industries was unknown to the world until it was declassified by the U.S. government—in 1996!

This was a plan to resurrect not just the German Reich, but the Holy Roman Empire!

Emperor Charlemagne

In 1995, British economist Bernard Connolly wrote about former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and German statesman Helmut Schmidt’s meeting at a very interesting and very significant location. Connolly writes in The Rotten Heart of Europe: “It was no coincidence, either, that Giscard and Schmidt agreed to accept the Belgian compromise proposal at a bilateral summit in September 1978 at Aachen, Germany, principal seat and burial place of Charlemagne. The symbolism was heavily underlined in both France and Germany; the two leaders paid a special visit to the throne of Charlemagne and a special service was held in the cathedral; at the end of the summit, Giscard remarked that: ‘Perhaps when we discussed monetary problems, the spirit of Charlemagne brooded over us.’”

The spirit of Charlemagne did brood over those men in a way you can’t imagine! They don’t know what the spirit of Charlemagne really is! When EU leaders say they want to revive the spirit of Charlemagne, they don’t fully know what that means!

In fact, they don’t understand the spirit of Charlemagne even from a merely historical standpoint. If they understood even the history of his empire, they would be scared to death!

Pope Leo iii crowned Charlemagne (Charles the Great) emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Dec. 25, a.d. 800. He is honored in history because he reestablished Western Europe for the first time after the fall of the Roman Empire 300 years earlier. But what was his reign like? It was continuous war! It was a bloody empire unlike any that came before it. Charlemagne spilled rivers of human blood, slaying Lombards, Moors and other Muslims, Bretons, Bavarians, Benventians, Slavs, Croats, Byzantines, Bohemians and Danes. But perhaps his cruelest campaign was against the Saxons, which spanned 30 years of continuous war.

Throughout his reign, Charlemagne executed many thousands of Saxons because they refused to be baptized into the Catholic faith. They refused to convert to Catholicism and to submit to the rule of Charlemagne and the pope, so he killed them. Charlemagne’s philosophy was: Convert to Catholic rule, or be executed in the bloodiest fashion.

That is the spirit of Charlemagne.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (15th Edition) says, “The violent methods by which this missionary task was carried out had been unknown to the earlier Middle Ages, and the sanguinary [bloody] punishment meted out to those who broke canon law or continued to engage in pagan practices called forth criticism in Charles’s own circle.”

Violence of this level hadn’t been seen in years! Even Charlemagne’s own advisers questioned his methods. But nothing could stop him! That uncontrolled drive for violence is the spirit of Charlemagne. It’s not something adventurous and romantic; it is disastrous, a spirit of mass hatred and murder!

Why was Charlemagne’s rule so exceedingly bloody? He was led by a different mind.

This is an astounding verse from the Holy Bible. Along with many other verses in Revelation 13, Revelation 17, Daniel 7 and elsewhere, the Bible describes the Holy Roman Empire and its resurrections. As astounding as it might seem, the Bible described this empire in detail centuries and even millennia before those details occurred. Now those details are facts of history!

The wounded beast described in Revelation 13 is the Roman Empire. The wound was inflicted in a.d. 476 when barbarians invaded Italy and sacked Rome. The wound was healed in a.d. 554 in the Imperial Restoration, which resuscitated the empire and established the Holy Roman Empire. This history lines up precisely with what the Bible describes. The Bible also describes this Holy Roman Empire being defeated and then re-resurrected another six times—for a total of seven resurrections. Six of these are now a matter of history: They were led by Justinian, then Charlemagne, then Otto the Great, then the Habsburg Dynasty, then Napoleon, then Hitler.

All of these resurrections came from the same spirit. What spirit is it? Is it the Spirit of God, as they claimed?

The Bible foretells that one more resurrection of this empire is ahead of us. And events in Europe are dovetailing with that prophecy very closely! Western Europe, a supposed modern bastion of democracy and secularism, is about to once again become a unified empire led by a strongman and influenced by the Catholic Church!

And what spirit will that leader have? The same spirit embraced by Hitler, by Napoleon, by Charlemagne.

If you want to know what spirit leads the Holy Roman Empire, look to the same source that—as a fact of history—accurately forecasted its six resurrections over a period of many centuries. That source is the Bible, and it says that this ferocious, constantly reviving, beastly, potently religious power is led by “the dragon” (Revelation 13:2-11).

The facts of history show that this has been true time after time after time over the past 1,400 years. Each of these empires has been an unholy union between the Vatican and worldly European rulers and their armies. Each of these empires has spilled rivers of blood in the name of God. Each of these has been a false religion and a bloody iteration of an evil empire.

The spirit of this empire is the spirit of Satan the devil!

Many people reject the Bible and reject the existence of the devil. But compare what the Bible says to the documented facts of history and ask yourself, Was the Bible right? And if so, could it be right about the existence of the devil? Could it be right that he will lead one more empire to come?

Prove the truth for yourself. And closely watch the spirit of Charlemagne.

Margaret Thatcher Saw the Rising Beast of Europe

Margaret Thatcher Saw the Rising Beast of Europe

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From the November 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

After World War ii, the heritage and the dream of a united Catholic Europe did not die. Some European elites have constantly tried to reunify the Continent. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the one person who stood up against this plan.

She did not fully realize it, but she was standing up against the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!

Yet Thatcher’s own people, even her own parliamentary leaders and others, betrayed her. Many were Euro-enthusiasts, and they did not like what she was doing. They made opposing her politically a top priority. They decided she had to be politically executed, and that is exactly what happened.

In The Rotten Heart of Europe, Bernard Connolly writes, “By mid-1989, many of Mrs. Thatcher’s supporters knew in their hearts that she was politically dead.” She was a great lady, and she was the only one who had the courage to stand up and fight against this dangerous European empire! But she had no chance to survive.

If you look at the timing of Thatcher’s political demise, it looks like the real intensity coming against her began forming in 1986. Perhaps it even began to really intensify on January 16, a date we at the Trumpet watch closely. (Request our free booklet America Under Attack to learn why.)

Why was so much opposition aimed at Prime Minister Thatcher? Because she was fighting against the evil spirit of Charlemagne! That empire was gathering speed like a runaway train about to run over a lot of people! Time has since proved that she was absolutely right about what was happening in Europe. She knew it was all wrong. Yet leaders even in her own country, Britain, did not see what she could see.

Connolly writes that even in the United States, politicians started a whispering campaign against Thatcher to undermine her and get rid of her. America actually gave full backing to Germany becoming the sole great power of Europe! America did that!

Has everyone forgotten what Germany did in World War ii and World War i? Why is it that nobody but Margaret Thatcher would really stand up to it? Where are the men in Israel?

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How Dangerous Ideas Crumbled France in Six Weeks

How Dangerous Ideas Crumbled France in Six Weeks

harWood/keystone/getty images

The results of relying on the wisdom of man
From the November 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

The outbreak of World War i was met with cheering crowds in Paris. Frenchmen and eager youth jumped at the opportunity to join what they thought would be a short, victorious war. Propagandists sprang into action.

“I hope,” wrote France’s minister of public instruction as teachers prepared for the 1914 academic year, “that on the day schools reopen, in every town and every class, the teacher’s first words to his students will raise their hearts to the fatherland and that his first lesson will honor the sacred battle in which our armies are engaged.”

But the years wore on. The Western Front, the main theater of the European war, cut through France’s territory, and its battles cut through its morale. France, with a population of 40 million, saw 8.4 million men go off to war. Nearly 1.4 million never came back. Half of those who survived had been injured, and over 1 million of those had been gassed, disfigured and mangled, suffered amputations and left as permanent invalids. Four years of trench warfare devastated the nation.

Within this atmosphere, a sweeping intellectual change occurred.

When World War ii came around, there were no crowds cheering in Paris. For nine months while Germany conquered Poland, France waited passively behind its fortifications. Then, Germany looked west and rolled into France. The fight was over in six weeks. The Nazis went on to terrorize the Continent in an unparalleled conflict that ended 66 million lives.

How did the nation that had held out during the four years of World War i collapse after just six weeks in World War ii? There is no simple answer. But when the question is explored, we can learn a lesson of eternal importance: Men have an extraordinary ability to ignore danger—and an alarming willingness to follow the intellectuals of the day, no matter how misguided.

Studies done since the world wars have concluded there was little difference in the strength of the French and German armies, on paper. French tanks had the superiority in numbers, quality and firepower while German airplanes were the more advanced machines.

The overwhelming disparity in performance came from a difference, not in firepower, but in mind-set.

In between the world wars, intellectuals searched for the solution for war. Where were they to look? By that time, the Christian worldview had been thoroughly discredited. The warning of the Prophet Jeremiah—“the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”—was thought to no longer apply. Intellectuals looked elsewhere for the answers. Were humans the enemy, or was war itself the enemy?

In France, more than any other democracy, the enticing philosophy of pacifism was planted deepest.

Teaching Pacifism

The war of ideas began in the classrooms. Intellectual authorities who had touted nationalism in World War i altered student textbooks to promote an antiwar mood.

History professor Mona Siegel tracks the changes in her book The Moral Disarmament of France: Education, Pacifism and Patriotism. Even as World War i was raging, protests from teachers labeled as “defeatists” became more common. “The government moved rapidly to silence teachers who protested too loudly or publicly, removing them from their jobs, fining them and, in a few cases, imprisoning them,” she writes. “Ironically, government repression of ‘defeatist’ teachers drew attention to their cause and evoked sympathy from many of their war-weary colleagues. By the mid-1920s, the pacifist beliefs articulated by this small minority from 1914 to 1918 would become the reigning ideology among teachers nationwide.”

War not only had taken France’s sons, it had wrecked its infrastructure and economy. Rebuilding the devastated areas drained government finances. International trade was disorganized because of the war. Debts piled up, and inflation caused many of the rich to send their wealth abroad. Political groups that were pushed aside during the war began to aggressively reappear: The wealthy classes and conservative peasants fought against the socialists and bureaucrats. In short, France’s landscape was ripe for new intellectual solutions.

Just a few years after the war, textbooks that portrayed the war as “heroic French soldiers” triumphing over the tyranny of “brutal German ‘Huns’” were labeled as “bellicose” and had to be replaced. Gaston Clémendot, a school teacher and author of history books, was one of the major figures who decried the 1919–1924 French textbooks as having “a warlike spirit and a patriotic, nationalistic and accusing tone toward Germany.”

Clémendot feared that the history lessons given to the children of France “inspired hatred of foreigners, glorified the experience of battle, and laid the moral groundwork for future wars.” He called upon fellow teachers around the country to abolish the discipline of history in primary schools. “What we need,” he insisted to his colleagues, “is to forget, and history is the opposite of forgetting.”

In 1924, Clémendot was one of the schoolteachers asked to speak at a convention of the French schoolteachers union Syndicat National (sn). There he delivered a two-hour summary of his position. “I say history cannot be pacific,” Clémendot thundered. “I say that it is inevitably bellicose, that history cannot help but support the spirit of war.” He was greeted with a standing ovation, but his proposals were initially turned down.

In the next few years, however, Clémendot was rewarded. French schoolteachers declared the “moral disarmament of France their foremost mission,” according to Siegel. “If teachers pursue their pacifist propaganda,” wrote Madame Roulet, a schoolteacher and sn leader, “war will not come. Certainly, we are humble and small, but we are numerous and everywhere.” Thus, the children who would fold to the Germans 15 years later were intentionally and systematically told not to dwell on their history.

At the same time, antiwar novels flourished. Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, published in 1929, was hugely successful in France. Within 10 days, the French had purchased 72,000 copies; by year’s end, nearly 450,000. Pacifists hailed All Quiet on the Western Front because it portrayed the brutality of war rather than romanticizing it as honorable and patriotic. Germany banned the book and its sequel.

As economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell notes in his book Intellectuals and Society,”Being a pacifist in the 1920s and 1930s was a badge of honor ….” Pacifists were the iconoclastic visionaries. Pacifists wanted peace. Others wanted war.

Outlawing War and the Merchants of Death

The devastation of World War i made preventing war the paramount objective. In the mid-1920s, prominent intellectuals called for “some definite step toward complete disarmament and the demilitarizing of the mind of civilized nations.” Two French intellectuals, Romain Rolland and Georges Duhamel, were among those who published a petition in the New York Times that called for a ban on military conscription, in part, “to rid the world of the spirit of militarism.”

Amid this peacemaking atmosphere, France and the United States developed the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928. It was designed to simply outlaw war. Eventually signed by 62 nations, parties were to renounce the use of war to resolve “disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be.”

One American senator satirically remarked that “what the proclamation of Sinai did not accomplish in 4,000 years, what Christ’s teachings have not achieved in 20 centuries of time, is to be produced by the magic stroke of Mr. Kellogg’s pen.” Many intellectuals put their faith in it.

Influential American philosopher John Dewey lambasted the critics of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. They were, to him, part of the “Old World diplomacy” that had led to the First World War. Those who critiqued the pact were trying to be fashionably “realistic” and displayed the “stupidity of habit-bound minds,” he wrote.

In Europe, antiwar activist Bertrand Russell advocated that if one simply disarmed, “no one would have any motive to make war” on them. “When disarmament is suggested, it is natural to imagine that foreign conquest would inevitably follow and would be accompanied by all the horrors that characterize warlike invasions,” he wrote. “This is a mistake, as the example of Denmark shows. Probably, if we had neither armaments nor empire, foreign states would let us alone. If they did not, we should have to yield without fighting, and we should therefore not arouse their ferocity.”

To French intellectuals, this reasoning did not sound naive or dangerous; it sounded like the only solution.

Intellectuals thus turned on those who manufactured weapons, believing them to be the cause of past wars and possible future wars. Frenchman Romain Rolland, even amid World War i, wrote that the “intellectuals, the press, the politicians, the very members of the cabinets (preposterous puppets!), have, whether they like it or not, become tools in the hands of the profiteers and act as screens to hide them from the public eye.” His label for them, “profiteers of massacre,” became popular in the 1930s, as did the title of a popular book Merchants of Death.

During the decades between the world wars, the French Army adopted a defensive military budget, abiding by the numerous arms control agreements it had signed. Meanwhile, the Germans pressed ahead and remilitarized. It was only in 1936, after civilians began to call for a more offensive orientation, that the government increased the Army’s budget. But it was not enough to secure an advantage over the Germans in 1940.

Blind to German Aggression

Between the world wars, Germany was able to rearm, take back the Rhineland on the border of France (and remilitarize it), and occupy Czechoslovakia without retaliation from surrounding Western democracies. Today it is clear how appeasing Germany led to war. What is less clear is how the surrounding countries were able to rationalize these aggressive German actions away.

The prevailing ideology at the time was that war was the enemy—not people, not nations. The aged people had seen the carnage of modern warfare in person. The young had been taught in school to avoid it at all costs. This kept many intellectuals from blaming Germany for its actions. Instead, they heaped scorn on those who would dare to suggest a military answer to any of the not-yet-violent pushes of Germany.

Those who wanted to avoid blaming Germany needed a scapegoat. An influential body of intellectuals found one in the United States. The approach of anti-American manifestos, as historian Seth Armus explained in his book French Anti-Americanism (1930-1948), moderated the traditional anti-German stance of the right.” For the authors of such manifestos, Armus wrote, “Everything wrong in France and Europe, even the resurgent militarism of Germany, could be blamed on America.” After all, Americans were the ones who demanded the burdensome reparation payments for Germany’s role in starting World War i.

Perhaps the most crucial step in the path to World War ii, and to France’s quick defeat, was Adolf Hitler’s decision in 1936 to march into the Rhineland, a zone that was supposed to be off limits to German troops. According to Paul Schmidt, Hitler’s interpreter, the dictator later said, “The 48 hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life.” Germany’s military resources were wholly inadequate for even a “moderate resistance.” Had the French marched into the Rhineland, the Germans would have had to fall back, embarrassingly.

But the French did not march.

The lack of French political will during Hitler’s march into the Rhineland foreshadowed the political lumbering that would inhibit France during the first six weeks, culminating in its defeat. France’s press spouted the expected pacifist lines, as historian Ernest May described in his book Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France: “Nowhere in France was there the slightest indication that the public wanted or would even tolerate military action on account of German remilitarization of the Rhineland. The satirical weekly Le Canard enchaîné expressed a common view when it said: ‘The Germans have invaded—Germany!’ Communist leaders, supposedly in the forefront of opposition to Nazism, called stridently for preventing ‘the scourge of war from falling anew on us.’ They urged the whole nation [to] unite ‘against those who want to lead us to massacre.’ Socialist spokesmen termed ‘inadmissible any response that risked war,’ saying that even reinforcing the Maginot Line would be ‘provocative.’ The right-wing dailies Le Matin and Le Jour declared that conflict with Germany would benefit only Russia.”

Subsequent advances were treated similarly, in what Thomas Sowell describes as “one-day-at-a-time rationalism.” When the Germans annexed Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland in 1938, some of the French press asked, “Should the French get themselves killed for Beneš, the Free Mason?” The next year, when Hitler demanded annexation of Poland’s port of Danzig—the act that precipitated full attack on Poland—the hallmark of sophistication was the headline “Do We Have to Die for Danzig?”

The Defeat

Yet public opinion had begun to part from elite opinion. A poll in France in 1939 actually showed 76 percent of the public was willing to use force to defend Danzig. It was too late. Within months, Germany attacked Poland. France and Great Britain, upholding their pledge to defend Poland, declared war on Germany. Thus began what the Americans coined the “phony war,” where Western allies, over a period of eight months, undertook little else but preparation and a few small skirmishes.

During this “phony war” period, French intelligence uncovered plans for a German invasion. French generals, deliberating on whether or not the plans were fake, ultimately failed to change their tactics. Hitler drastically changed his and decided to move his troops through the Ardennes forest—a pass the French thought was too dense for tanks to navigate.

Many historians have a hard time explaining why France fell in six weeks. The Germans were able to outflank the French defensive line, but much of its defeat had to do with the poor quality of the French command, both politically and militarily. As historian and diplomat Robin Winks wrote, “[M]uch of Germany and all of her army had for 20 years been focused on one goal—expunging the shame of 1918.” In contrast, France’s political system was fighting itself, pacifism was rampant, and the country had begun rearming too late to maintain its advantage.

Aside from some heroic actions by French soldiers and the impressive patriotism of Gen. Charles de Gaulle—who refused to give up the fight—France crumbled. As the nation lay defeated, the head of the teachers union, which had so ardently worked to instill pacifism in French students, was told, “You are partially responsible for the defeat.”

What Did We Learn?

World-renowned educator and theologian Herbert W. Armstrong often talked of the pendulum swings of human thought throughout the ages. “Humans tend to swing to opposite extremes like pendulums,” he wrote in the August 1957 Plain Truth. One dogma is replaced by another as different intellectuals have their period of influence—with none able to find the truth. In less than a generation, France swung from patriotism to pacifism and avoided the fields of thought in between. It also went from four years of resistance to six weeks until defeat.

In doing so, the greatest minds of France proved, again, that intellectuals must not be blindly trusted.

As British historian Paul Johnson wrote, “The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which have been to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false.”

The men who rejected the Bible’s worldview of humanity—a carnal nature prone to despicable acts—and proclaimed a utopian view of the way to end world conflicts were not the first to do so. Pacifism was not invented by French intellectuals between the world wars. It was merely repackaged for the events of the day.

The same idea has been repackaged again for our day. The enemy is once again said to be war and not individuals.

Schoolteacher Clémendot urged France to forget its history, and the damage was horrendous. Today, American colleges are requiring fewer students to take history courses. Less than one in five students is required to take even one survey course of history or government before he or she graduates.

Humans can rationalize anything away. We can remain calm in the face of imminent danger, not because of heroism, but because sometimes we don’t even know it’s there, or we won’t face it. It begs the question: If a population doesn’t have a good grasp of history, can it determine whether an idea that seems novel and plausible has been tested before and found wholly false? No, unfortunately, it can’t and it won’t.

Is the Global Economic Crisis About to Hit Germany?

Is the Global Economic Crisis About to Hit Germany?

DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images

Deutsche Bank looks tailor-made to give Angela Merkel a headache.

Germany’s biggest banks are in big trouble. That’s not exactly news. Before the financial crisis, Deutsche Bank’s share price was nearly €100 (us$135) a share. At the start of this year it was €21.45 ($24). This week, it hit its lowest value since 1973 and currently stands below €11. Now its situation is so dire that its name is trending on Twitter.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, Germany has been the rock of stability for Europe’s economy. It has weathered the storm with low unemployment, while economic crises upended entire political systems elsewhere in Europe. Now the banks at the heart of Germany’s economy seem on the brink of going under. The global economic crisis that began in 2008 could be about to hit Germany.

This is far more than a problem for rich shareholders. It has implications for German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally, German politics as a whole, the euro crisis, the immigration crisis, and all of Europe. As Geopolitical Futures founder George Friedman wrote a week ago: “Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world, the largest economy in Europe, the lender of last resort, and the foundation of European stability. If Germany weakens or destabilizes, Europe destabilizes, and it is not too extreme to say that if Europe destabilizes, the world can as well.”

The immediate trigger for the uncertainty came on September 16, when the United States Department of Justice announced that the bank could have to pay fines of up to $14 billion to settle claims of miss-selling mortgage-backed securities. Normally, $14 billion would be a trivial sum for a bank. But judging by its share price, Deutsche Bank is only worth $18 billion. The final number it ends up paying will be less—probably by a few billion dollars. But the company is losing billions of euros each year—it seems only a matter of time before the bank is worth less than nothing.

On September 26, the bank denied rumors that it had asked Chancellor Merkel for help with the fine and had been turned down. The rumors sent the share price falling another 7 percent.

Share price and profitability do not determine bank solvency. A catastrophic drop in share price alone doesn’t mean a bank will go under. But it does show the institution has some huge problems. And it does mean that people are quickly losing confidence in the bank.

This summer, the International Monetary Fund (imf) declared Deutsche Bank the most dangerous bank in the world. Among globally systemically important banks, “Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks,” it wrote on June 30.

Deutsche Bank is one of two banks at the core of Germany’s economic system. The other is Commerzbank, and it too is in trouble. It shares Deutsche’s long-term problems. Before the financial crisis, Commerzbank’s share price nearly hit €300 ($415) a share. Now, it’s less than €6. Its problems are also in the news—it announced it would cut 10,000 jobs and give no dividends this year.

Deutsche Bank is older than Germany itself. Known as the Big Three, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank bankrolled Germany’s economy for decades. In the mid-1980s, a German government study found that they control the voting authority of three quarters of shares in most big German companies. Dresdner Bank failed in the 2008 financial crisis and had to be bought out by Commerzbank, so the Big Three is now the Big Two. “Disaggregating Deutsche Bank from the German government’s political goals or the structure of German corporations is impossible,” reported Geopolitical Futures. “They are all inextricably linked.” If either of these banks goes under, a huge number of German businesses will take a major hit.

A crisis in Deutsche Bank would also spread far beyond Germany. The bank has deep links to banks around the world, including many in the United States. It would bring about the worst episode of the euro crisis yet seen. And it would put Ms. Merkel in an impossible position.

A bankrupt Deutsche Bank would trigger a political crisis in Germany, at the same time as the eurozone goes into economic meltdown. Therefore it seems almost certain that Deutsche Bank and probably Commerzbank would get some form of state aid if they were about to go bust.

That would be the lesser of the two evils, but it is still dangerous. In the recent Berlin elections, fringe left-wing parties—the Greens and the Left Party—won around 30 percent of the vote. A lot of Germans would not be happy to see their government bailing out fat cats, as they would see it. The pressure on the Christian Democratic Union to get rid of Merkel would increase.

And Merkel’s whole strategy for the euro crisis would unravel. “[I]f Deutsche does go down, it is looking increasingly likely that it will take Merkel with it—and quite possibly the euro as well,” wrote Matthew Lynn in the Telegraph. He wrote:

The politics of a Deutsche rescue are terrible. Germany, with is chancellor taking the lead, has set itself up as the guardian of financial responsibility within the eurozone. … For Germany to then turn around and say, actually we are bailing out our own bank, while letting everyone else’s fail, looks, to put it mildly, just a little inconsistent. … In truth, it would become impossible to maintain a hard-line in Italy, and probably in Greece as well.And yet, if Deutsche Bank went down, and the German government didn’t step in with a rescue, that would be a huge blow to Europe’s largest economy—and the global financial system. No one really knows where the losses would end up, or what the knock-on impact would be. It would almost certainly land a fatal blow to the Italian banking system, and the French and Spanish banks would be next. …In fact, Merkel is playing a very dangerous game with Deutsche—and one that could easily go badly wrong. If her refusal to sanction a bailout is responsible for a Deutsche collapse that could easily end her chancellorship. But if she rescues it, the euro might start to unravel. It is hardly surprising that the markets are watching the relentless decline in its share price with mounting horror.

But the most disturbing aspect of this story comes when it is put in context with other worrying signs coming from Germany. The German economy depends on exports. Weak growth in the eurozone means that other European nations can’t afford to buy as many goods from Germany. They have so far made up for this lost business by selling to China and the U.S. However, America is now importing less. This is having a knock-on effect on China, meaning that Germany’s last two growing customers will be cutting back simultaneously.

At the same time, international bodies are warning about the health of the entire global economy. With Germany’s reliance on exports, global problems very quickly become German problems. The Bank for International Settlements warned in its quarterly report on September 18 of growing instability in the financial market, especially in China. The instability that it warns of “does not seem to be cataclysmic,” wrote Friedman, “but given that Germany is at the heart of the earthquake, even a moderate shaking will bring it down.”

The annual report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, published on September 22, is more dire. In “UN Fears Third Leg of the Global Financial Crisis—With Prospect of Epic Debt Defaults,” the Telegraph’s international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard warned that the coming crisis could “prove to be the definitive crisis of globalized capitalism, the demise of the liberal free-market orthodoxies ….”

A crisis in just Deutsche Bank, or even in Deutsche and Commerzbank, could possibly be fixed with a bailout. Germany’s debt is manageable, and it is taking in more money in tax revenue than it is spending. But when you view the whole situation, it’s clear that the bank crisis is a symptom of a much deeper sickness—one that cannot be cured so easily. Last week, Friedman warned:

In my view, there is a growing sense in Germany that the German system is failing … the tremors are now being felt by the finest financial analysts in the world: ordinary people who work for a living and need their paychecks to survive. The political base of modern Germany is crumbling ….

Economic crises in the 1930s drove Germans to vote for the Nazis and Communists. Now they are already voting for fringe parties like Alternative for Deutschland and the Left Party. These parties are not the same as Nazis and Communists, but the trend points to the same rejection of mainstream politics.

At the same time, economic troubles in Germany would open up all the old wounds and questions in the euro crisis. Such a crisis would transform Germany and Europe.

We’ve seen this already in Greece. The nation is ruled by Syriza, a party that won only 5 percent of the vote before the financial crisis. The party came from nowhere to govern the country. If the same kind of political earthquake hits Germany, its effects would be felt around the world.

Even if these problems don’t come to a head soon—if investors never test the assumption that the German government will always stand behind its main banks, for example—the weaknesses are still there, ready to ensure that any global crisis rocks Germany to its core.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in 1984 that a massive banking crisis in America “could suddenly result in triggering European nations to unite as a new world power, larger than either the Soviet Union or the U.S.” (co-worker letter, July 22, 1984). The euro crisis exposed that the eurozone cannot function in its current form—it must either fall apart or come together as a superstate. Europe has taken some important steps toward that superstate. But a fresh outbreak of the banking crisis, this time in Germany, would put the eurozone under far more pressure than even in 2008. It would change German politics, while at the same time forcing at least some eurozone countries to unite—two key trends the Trumpet has been forecasting for years.

For more on how an economic crisis could transform Germany and Europe, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “How the Global Financial Crisis Will Produce Europe’s Ten Kings.”

Vladimir Putin’s Moral Fortress

Vladimir Putin’s Moral Fortress

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on September 30, 2016.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is cracking down on the infiltration of Western immorality like pornography and homosexuality. Many Russians are supporting moves to block access to pornographic websites, and one group recently shut down an American exhibit in Moscow that was displaying perverted photographs. What does it say about America’s morals when Communist Russia is cracking down on the nonstop filth flowing out of America? Listen to Stephen Flurry discuss this subject and much more on today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

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http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

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