An Empire in the Making
Trumpet: In your book on Europe’s Full Circle, you wrote that “Germany bullied its partners into locating the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and insists (under the guise of anti-inflationary sentiments among Germans) that a Euro currency must be a de facto German currency.” When you realize that whoever controls the money controls just about everything, and if we realize Germany’s past, that’s rather a disturbing statement. So, can you explain how that happened?
Atkinson: Yes. I think, really, this has been the best example of how Germany has used the European Union to reestablish its historical aims in Europe. The currency…which of course means the abolition of the national currencies of all those countries that take part in it, is the final blow to the sovereignty of the nations of Western Europe. And it is come rather late in the day of the development of the European Union…. It is the first time, really, that people can observe what’s happening to them—because they have their currency taken away; they have their national central banks taken away. And, of course, where is the center of the new currency?
Now, the European Union has always been “sold” by Germany and by other nations in Europe as a way of putting an end to the hostilities of the past, putting an end to German domination, German nationalism and so on. But here we see, as in other areas, that the European Union, far from being a mitigation and a removal of the threat of German nationalism, is in fact an expression of it…. The German finance minister at the time—when they were talking about setting up a central bank for the euro—said, “It either comes to Frankfurt or the euro will not get off the ground.” Now, you couldn’t get a more nationalistic statement than that.
And the French went along with it. As in so many other aspects of the European Union, the French think that if everything comes under the heading of the European Union, they will have ultimate control…. The French, therefore, agreed to the reuniting of Germany, and the Germans agreed to give up the deutsche mark…. But, in fact, Germany wanted both of those things. And the fact that the central bank had to be in Frankfurt shows exactly how they saw the euro—not as a constraint on Germany but as a very expression of German power.
Trumpet: Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. stated, “A nation denied a conception of its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future” (Disuniting of America). How important is an appreciation of history in determining the future global impact of the EU?
Atkinson: It is absolutely critical to the whole interpretation of what’s happening today…. All the political classes, except the German one perhaps, in Europe have forgotten history. And we are reliving it—in a slightly different form, but in a far more pernicious form. Because, instead of marching armies and guns and airplanes, which are visible, and the ranting and raving of a Mussolini or a Hitler, you can’t see and hear constitutional destruction as it takes place….
The average European citizen could not be expected to have understood what has happened. But what has happened is exactly what was intended during the First World War, during the Second World War. And after the Second World War, a number of those interests—not just German interests, but large corporations, French corporatist ideals, even elements in the British establishment who were very appeasing of Hitler in the ’30s—thought that they could construct a peaceful Europe. It so happens that the methods they chose were to create a system which was not dissimilar from that which the Germans…fought to construct in the first place.
And the European Union has taken on virtually all the characteristics—social, economic, philosophical characteristics—of fascist Europe in the ’30s and ’40s. It is anti-free-trade, anti-Anglo-Saxon; it’s anti-American; it believes in management from the center; it believes in authoritarian structures. It does not believe in personal, individual legal rights based on freedom; it believes instead in handing down rights from the top to the bottom, so that the person who is handing the rights down is the one who has the power, not the individuals who, in theory, have the freedom.
So, I’m afraid, those who have forgotten history are now being condemned to relive the worst aspects of the 20th century in the 21st century in Europe.
Trumpet: This is a quote from Reuters, Arthur Spiegelman, May 10, 1996: “Realizing they were losing the war in 1944, Nazi leaders met top German industrialists to plan a secret post-war international network to restore them to power, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence document…. They were also told ‘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.’
“‘Now that the Nazi secret plan has been confirmed, the central question is whether it has been carried out,’ said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.” Would you say this has been carried out?
Atkinson: Certainly it has been achieved. Whether it was carried out successfully by those who planned it is another question. The kind of Third Way which Nazism represented, i.e., authoritarian collective corporatism combined with a large element of socialism, in an authoritarian state (that is effectively what fascism is)…is not dissimilar to what has happened since 1945…through the destruction of personal capital, through the bypassing of parliament by extra-parliamentary institutions, by the sort of committee-type establishment of new laws as opposed to the democratic processes. All these things have marginalized voters, marginalized members of parliament and marginalized the parliaments themselves, and given more and more power to a small clique of a governing elite—a few people in each government in Europe, for instance—and they have planned, behind closed doors, the construction of a superstate.
Now that, of course, is almost identical to what the Nazis and these big German companies, before…and after the war, wanted…. The fact that they have almost achieved their aims is as much to do with the incompetence and the failure of democracy in our free countries as it is to those sitting down in 1934 and planning it, as this…report reveals.
However…the present structure of the European Union is based almost entirely on the logic of the 1941 Nazi plans, under the title of the European Economic Community, which I analyze in Europe’s Full Circle….
If you can get by stealth what you would otherwise have got by violence, you don’t need concentration camps—because your political opponents are locked up in your constitution and they can’t move. So, I’m afraid the parallels are very, very striking….
American corporations (although…German, French, British were also involved)…who were most supportive of the Nazi regime were Ford and General Motors. Henry Ford was a great admirer of Hitler, and received in 1938…the highest Nazi German order of merit that they could bestow. And the American State Department was very worried during the war, particularly from 1940 onwards, about General Motors, because their subsidiary Opal was the second-biggest producer of tanks for the Nazi army….
Those two companies, Ford and General Motors, are two of the leading proponents of the single European currency of the European Union. And they threaten, in the United Kingdom…that we must abolish our currency and our central bank, and therewith our national self-governments, because they want to make better profits in an integrated Europe. So there’s a direct link between then and now in the form of two major [U.S.] companies.
Trumpet: What’s happening in Europe about the euro?
Atkinson: Well, there are two aspects to it. One, in the United Kingdom the euro is at the very center of the political conflict—between the people on the one hand, and the leaders of the three major political parties on the other…. If we adopt it, it means the abolition of the pound, the abolition of the Bank of England and the abolition of our effective sovereign government. Naturally, the people don’t want this: 75-80 percent of the people say no, and indeed, more than 50 percent of the people now wish to leave the European Union altogether….
Those countries that are in the euro…are all suffering extremely badly, because the euro has collapsed by about 30 percent against the U.S. dollar and by about 25 percent against the pound sterling. And within that currency area, there’s great differences—between a booming Spanish economy, a relatively stagnant German economy, high unemployment in France…(30 percent of people over 55 are unemployed). In Ireland, their interest rate (which applies all over the euro zone)…is causing chaos. And, of course, the rise in the oil price—that is also being exacerbated by the very weak euro.
So, economically and politically, the euro and the European Union are failing and their people see that it’s failing.
Trumpet: How important are developments in the EU to the U.S.?
Atkinson: I recall Fidel Castro who, as you know, is not one of your greatest supporters in this country, saying that he was going to embrace the euro. In other words, it is seen, outside Europe, outside America, as a potential threat. Of course, it’s not a threat, as it’s turned out, because it’s so weak and disastrous. But, of course, a very weak currency is also a threat. Not that it’s going to replace your strong dollar—on the contrary, because it’s so weak it can undercut your strong dollar and threaten, as it has done, your industrial base. Because German and French manufacturers can produce in a very weak euro zone, and then export over here at very cheap prices in U.S. dollar terms….
Politically, we know when it comes to trade negotiations, there is an enormous amount of protection, of agriculture in particular, in Europe. That’s also a great threat. Not so much to America—you have a very strong agricultural sector. But it is a conflict, and it is particularly pernicious for the developing world. Artificially created surpluses of agricultural products in Europe are dumped in the Third World markets and they destroy local developing countries’ economies.
So, there is a very, very great threat for the United States from the European Union, particularly one based on this corporatist, quasi-fascist ethic that I’ve described in Europe’s Full Circle…. Gradually, more and more people are coming to the realization that this is not a benign organization, the European Union; it is a would-be empire in the making, trying to project its power way beyond its borders.
So, politically, economically, in trade terms and in defense terms, the European Union is already showing itself a threat to American interests, and certainly to British interests—not just in Europe but around the world.
Trumpet: The Sunday Times, March 12, 2000, had an article titled, “Ailing Pope Loses Control of the Vatican.” Other newspapers have said that the Catholic Church has made a shift, as they call it, to the right. Is this something that we should be concerned about?
Atkinson: Yes. There is an old saying in Europe, that when two particular forces have a common interest, that means very grave danger for Europe as a whole. And the two forces that they’re talking about are German imperialism and the Vatican. And today, as historically in the so-called Holy Roman Empire, those interests are coming back together. Because they both have an interest in creating a European superstate. Germany, because it’s right in the middle of it and seeks power—economic and political—through that new superstate; and the Vatican, because it sees its ability to influence politically and, of course, religiously, the…makeup of the whole of Europe, through the European Union….
So why is the Vatican asserting itself? I would say, I don’t think it’s moved; it’s just asserting what it’s always believed: that it’s not a church but a state, it regards its believers as citizens. It calls them citizens of the church; it accuses everyone else of being a heretic….
In various parts of the world, be it in Northern Ireland, where there’s a Protestant-Catholic conflict, be it in parts of India, where there is a Hindu-Catholic problem, or in East Timor, where there is a Muslim-Catholic problem, or in Yugoslavia, where there always has been a very vicious Catholic-Orthodox problem—in all these areas we can see how the Vatican, through the naïveté, in many ways, of the Anglo-Saxon world, is reasserting its power and influence.