State the facts on the rise of fascism in Europe—the right-wing swing bleeding from the south and east into Germany—and broadcasters will either shun or seek to minimize your message. If published in the press, the realist’s treatise will be allowed a barrage of “balancing” commentary in reply from those of ostrich-like tendencies who would want us to bury our heads in the sand of the illusion that “it could never happen again.”
Well, it is happening again, and we can be thankful to the editor of this magazine that we are here to give you the plain, non-partisan, unblemished facts connecting the proof of history with current reality, leading to inevitable conclusions which have been prophesied in your Bible for millennia.
Fascism grew out of a period of social and economic disruption in the early 20th century, leading to a feeling of dissatisfaction with the prevailing state of nations by the masses. History will repeat itself.
For almost 70 years, initially under the leadership of the late Herbert W. Armstrong, and latterly under the direction of our editor-in-chief, Gerald Flurry, we have maintained that Europe, led by Germany, will undergo a period of social and economic instability that will allow the rise of an extreme right-wing movement in Europe, producing a prominent leader with similar aspirations to those who rose to power in the 1930s.
The signs of this destabilization in Europe, in particular Germany, are now becoming evident. Reaction to that destabilization is becoming apparent in the right-wing swing in European electorates.
The catalyst that spurred the European Union (EU) into renewed action, leading to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, followed by the more recent Amsterdam Treaty, soon to be followed by the Treaty to be concluded in Nice, France, this December, was the unification of Germany. Paradoxically, the union of East and West Germany also contained within it the seeds of impending social and economic disruption in Germany and thus the EU. West Germany accepted a huge economic burden when the Berlin Wall fell. Since 1990, the Germans have struggled to absorb the massive cost of reconstruction, together with trying to control endemic unemployment, east of Berlin.
Added to the economic problems with which Germany has struggled for a decade is the German electorate’s massive lack of support for the euro, the European monetary unit which Helmut Kohl masterminded and ramrodded into adoption by most of the EU member countries. About two thirds of the German people still oppose replacement of their beloved deutschmark with the euro. Recently, Angela Merkel, the new Christian Democratic Union (cdu) party leader, was shocked by the hostility toward Brussels (EU headquarters) and the euro which she found among cdu constituents.
Germans are also increasingly expressing their deep concern at the prospect of Poland gaining early entry to the EU. East Germany’s skilled workers fear that their prospects of employment will be severely hampered by Polish workers and other central Europeans as Mitteleuropa joins the EU. They fear a flood of East European workers into Germany. In addition, xenophobic attitudes to migrant workers, particularly Turks, have hardened into periodic violence over the past decade.
Exacerbating all these perceived woes of the German populace is the impact of a new style of journalism that is starting to depart from slavish devotion to the EU and is increasingly intent on smashing taboos. As the London-based Spectator magazine observed, “Since November [the new-look German journalism] has smashed Helmut Kohl’s reputation to smithereens. It now seems to be turning its attention to the Kohl legacy: Europe or rather EU integration…. The German press could soon be doing much more to float shocking new attitudes to the EU.”
Shocking new attitudes are already spreading, not just in Germany but throughout the EU.
“Immigrants were targeted… throughout Western Europe, where a racial assault occurred once every three minutes in the mid-1990s, according to the European Parliament. The alarming frequency of xenophobic violence on the Continent coincided with the rise of several radical, right-wing populist parties that successfully tapped into widespread uncertainties precipitated by the end of the cold war” (Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, p. 365).
In fact, Western Europe’s reaction to 20 million immigrants flooding across its borders over the past decade has done much to spur the rise of xenophobic fascists on the Continent. From Vlaams Bloc (Flemish bloc), the most extreme of right-wing populist parties in Western Europe, to the French Jean-Marie Le Pen’s insurgent Front Nacional; from the Freedom Party of Austria’s Jörg Haider and Gianfranco Fini’s Movimento Sociale Italiano (msi), to the recent strengthened vote of Jose Marie Aznar’s rightist Popular Party in Spain and Christopher Blocher’s right-wing Conservative People’s Party’s win in last year’s Swiss elections, the undercurrent in European politics through its period of flirtation with the center-left over the past decade has been a strengthening of populist right-wing expression. This was acknowledged by Martin Lee when he wrote just three years ago about the first post-war alliance between a far-right-wing party and a conservative party—between Italy’s Berlusconi and Fini.
“Although Berlusconi’s government was short-lived, the participation of the msi had huge implications, not only for Italy but for all of Europe. It broke a long-standing, antifascist taboo and established a precedent for conservative politicians, who had previously shunned alliances with the ultra-right. A momentous political threshold had been crossed, which made governing coalitions with neofascists disguised as right-wing populists more acceptable, and more likely, in the future” (ibid., p. 374).
Barely five years later, Austria witnessed the same phenomenon when Haider’s right-wing Freedom Party joined the Conservative People’s Party in a coalition government in February this year. This time the EU member nations engaged in the charade of imposing sanctions on Austria. Less than three months later this token gesture of “disapproval” was already weakening, with half of the EU members indicating they would suspend the short-lived sanctions.
Politics in Europe are in for a sea change. The more astute commentators have grasped the connections which link the platforms of the Green (peace and ecology) parties, the so-called center-left, and the right in European politics. The eco-parties and center left have sought to forge a third way beyond capitalism and communism. The extreme right has its roots in the Third Way—old-fashioned fascism!
“The massive defeat they suffered during World War ii did not refute the innermost convictions of many fascists, who kept pining for the day when they might again inflict their twisted dream of a new order on much of the world” (ibid., p. 11).
Fascism embraces a whole diverse field of weird concepts described by Italian intellectual Umberto Eco as a “fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas.” But fascism is clear on one point: Its ultimate goal is power under totalitarian rule. To arrive at that point, it does not discriminate among its bedfellows.
“The abracadabra of fascism casts a spell over people by diverting economic and social resentments toward national and racial preoccupations. Proclaiming the need for a new spirit and a new man, fascist demagogues have extolled action for its own sake and romanticized violence as regenerative and therapeutic” (ibid., p. 10).
This is the specter stalking Europe today. This is why thinking people express concern about British Prime Minister Tony Blair chiming in with the pope and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to promote the idea of a Third Way—a “new world order,” which, when you scratch the surface, turns out to be old-style fascism rising from the ashes. To the simple minded it all seems to offer simple solutions.
“The brutalization that has articulated itself on the right, and the increase in fascination with it, demonstrates that a growing number of people are allowing themselves to be swayed by simple ‘solutions’” (Daniel Cohn-Bendit, essay: “The Brutal Republic,” The Future of German Democracy, p. 29).
As German author Wilhelm Von Sternburg, born the year that Hitler rolled his tanks into Poland, astutely observes in relation to the resurrection of fascism in his own country, “For it is not the gangs of skinhead thugs who threaten the German republic, but rather the spirit, whose victims they have become. Right-wing extremism, nationalism and racism are spreading again, like cancerous tumors, throughout Germany” (foreword to The Future of German Democracy, p. 16).
Von Sternburg points to the spirit that keeps fascism alive. It’s a spirit which permeates both left and right in European politics, a spirit seeking to create a radical Third Way, neither capitalist nor communist. It’s the same spirit which had its modern roots in the reaction to intellectual developments rising out of the late 18th century on into the early 20th century. Yet this spirit has earlier origins, which may be traced back to that old alliance between the Vatican and the German states in Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire.
“According to the Vatican there is a spiritual Europe, but it stretches from the Atlantic to the Urals; an Ostpolitik that pre-dated even that of the former Federal Republic…. Spiritual matters transcend frontiers” (The Great European Illusion, p. 197).
And, realistically, that’s where we end up every time when we bring this whole question of the spirit driving the EU back to its source—the repetitive drive of Germany to revive the old Holy Roman Empire dream. As Alain Minc, a highly esteemed French intellectual, has observed, “The question we are addressing is not one of Europe, but of Germany. Germany is regaining its place at the center of Europe…. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Time is running out; the future is unfolding under our very eyes. If the evolution of Germany is allowed to run its course, Europe will stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals” (ibid., p. 13).
This is no crackpot! This is one of the most clearly thinking and respected contemporary intellectuals in Europe today! A high-profile French businessman, associate of Carlo de Benedetti (ceo of the Global Olivetti corporate empire), Minc returns to the same theme time and time again in his acute analysis of the European dream—that at its center is Germany. Germany and its history, Germany and its legacy, Germany and its inevitable drive for space and superior power!
And with the U.S. in retreat, Mr. Minc sees the German question as being even more crucial now than at any time since the cold war ended: “[T]he future of a unified Europe depends on Germany, and that Germany is the fiscal point for the drift in the continent. The question of Europe is based around the question of Germany…. To recognize this is…simply to live in the real, rather than the dream world” (ibid., p. 171).
Yet, incisive as Alain Minc’s analytical approach is to the subject of Europe, as astute as are his observations, he admits to not being able to predict the future of current trends in Europe today, nor trends in its region of central focus, Germany.
Mr. Minc likens the 30 years prior to the conclusion of the Maastricht Treaty to three snapshots. The first is of a Europe huddled in the 1960s under the protective wing of the U.S., with “France…exhausted, and Germany full of shame.” The next shot shows, from the ’70s, a more distant America and a stubbornly nationalistic France, and “Germany’s Ostpolitik [eastern foreign policy] is a syrupy version of 19th-century Drang nach Osten” [eastward push]. The third shot, taken in 1992, the year of Maastricht, shows America turning away from Europe toward the Atlantic, “a Western Europe hoping that its identity will miraculously be born out of the single market, and a Germany re-weaving the threads of Mitteleuropa.” Unable to predict the outcome at the time, Minc states, “The fourth or fifth snaps are left to our imaginations” (ibid., p. 226).
Let us fill in the final two frames.
The Future of Fascism
The fourth snapshot shows an isolationist U.S. in the current decade withdrawn to its home continent, the New York Stock Exchange playing poor second fiddle to a Euro bourse based in Frankfurt and measuring performance in something called “the mark.” France, with furrowed brow, is tagging along behind a thrusting Germany as it leads over 20 nations under the 12-star banner of the EU across the Mediterranean, leap-frogging from Gibraltar and Malta into Africa and via Crete and Cyprus into the Middle East. A perplexed Britain, cut adrift from Europe, attempts vainly to board a steamer to America.
The fifth snapshot is painful to view. The lamps burn brightly on the European continent—but all is dark across the English Channel and the Atlantic. It is a mirror image of the first snapshot. But this time, France huddles as part of a group of ten national blocs under the iron wing of Germany, the U.S. is exhausted and Britain is full of shame.
Sound far-fetched? Cleverer people than you and I no longer think so. Their thoughtful treatises are there in abundance for you to read in books like British politician Rodney Atkinson’s Europe’s Full Circle, British author Adrian Hilton’s The Principality and Power of Europe, and numerous others such as those quoted in this and other issues of the Trumpet.
But what about the answers—the outcome of this concerning scenario? This can be learned from but one source—your Bible! Write now for our booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy, and begin to see the future revealed before your very own eyes. Write now! Study the immutable prophecies that predicted this unfolding scenario millennia ago. Follow these events as they continue to unfold to the point where we all shall feel their impact.