Catch-22 in Europe

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Catch-22 in Europe

Germany’s push for a European army gives France and Poland the jitters.

It’s been interesting to watch Germany’s return from being the pariah of Europe 50 years ago to a nation now given international respect as a heavyweight on the international scene.

The fractured, penitent society, split asunder by the Berlin Wall, has been transformed, after the Wall fell in November 1989, into a unified, economically powerful nation with significant global influence.

The Trumpet has been observing and reporting on this phenomenon for the past 18 years. Prior to that, Herbert Armstrong had tenaciously prophesied its future reality from the time of Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945 right up to the point of his death on Jan. 16, 1986.

Mr. Armstrong did not live to see the inerrant Bible prophecies that forecast Germany’s revival to lead a literal resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire come to fruition. Now, even some of the very words he used to describe the revival of Germany and the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire are being used by secular commentators to describe the emerging globalist EU giant, under the powerful political motor of a united Germany.

German PR

Germany united east and west under the chancellorship of Helmut Kohl. The nation was encouraged out of an almost-60-year mode of penitence for its massive military sins of World War ii under the pugnacious leadership of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Germany has since projected a softer, more feminine and benign image under the matronly leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany has received a mighty PR boost via massive media coverage over the past few years: The tremendous exposure given to the German Pope Benedict xvi during his election in 2005; the fifa World Cup of 2006; the 2007 50th anniversary celebrations of the Treaty of Rome held in Berlin coinciding with Merkel’s term as president of the EU. Germany is now one of the most popular of tourist destinations.

Symbolism counts for much in Germany. Thus, in order to break free of the psychological torment of the Nazi hair shirt the nation has worn for so long, over the past 10 years the government has enacted a number of symbolic gestures designed to remind the German people of their imperial heritage and historic ties.

First of these was the decision of the Schröder government, enacted in 1998, to relocate the seat of German government from the westward-looking and rather benign city of Bonn to Berlin in the east, historical capital of imperial Germany. Just one year later, the German parliament moved back into the old imperial Reichstag headquarters in Berlin. Not only did these moves consolidate an impression that Germany was now a fully united society, east and west, but they informed the world that Germany was back as a force to be reckoned with in European, if not in world, politics.

Less publicized were two further initiatives by the German government that would have the leaders of the old World War ii Allied victors over Nazi Germany, if it were possible, turning in their graves.

In 2002 the German General Staff was revived under its old name as it was known under the Nazi regime, The Command Staff of the Armed Forces, and its headquarters centralized in Berlin. The international community had so come to trust that Germany had totally changed from its past aggressive history that not one objection was publicly raised to this initiative.

The British and American peoples had by then apparently lost sight of one of the binding promises that their leaders had made as a guarantee that Germany would never be permitted to show the militaristic side of its character again. In February 1945—just a few months before the end of the war—President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill announced the joint American-British policy on Germany. Quote: “It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to insure Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined tobreak up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism …” (emphasis mine).

Just one year later, in 2003 the German security services—the German Federal Intelligence Service (bnd) and the secret police (BfV)—having been deliberately split up after World War ii by the Allies, were again centralized in Berlin. Thus the German security services were returned to their World War ii status as a centrally administered body in the imperial capital. Those with a mind to remember should have shuddered at this move, since the last time Germany’s secret services were administered centrally from Berlin they wielded their cruel and sinister power under Hitler then known by their Nazi regime names, the gestapo and the SS. (As a side note, it is interesting to observe, with Germany being a prime mover behind the much-debated EU constitution, that the German secret police currently go by the name the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.)

This spring has brought forward some overt rhetoric from German political leaders in support of the next German initiative for the EU: the establishment of a unified European police force and a centrally administered European army.

Two nations in particular have been quick to signal their support of a European army: France and Poland.

French and Polish Jitters

From the earliest moves to establish a unified Europe not long after World War ii, France has sought to align itself as closely as possible with Germany. The strategy was to bring France and Germany so closely together that the risks of a repetition of Germany’s past three invasions of France would be quashed. This meant that France had to be in the driving seat in all initiatives involved in the developing unification of Europe.

This strategy worked well under Charles de Gaulle and, to a greater or lesser extent, under the Gaullist presidents of France who followed him up to the time of François Mitterrand, who presided as president of France during the time of German reunification. Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac, who was to follow him as leader of the French Republic, struggled to maintain France’s pseudo-leadership of the unifying Europe against increasingly bellicose German administrations after Germany unified in 1990. Now, with Gaullism dead and President Nicolas Sarkozy bringing his own unique and controversial brand of politics to Brussels, Germany is becoming even more strident in its efforts to lead the European Union.

Why would France and Poland, each so drastically affected by German militarism in the past, be so anxious to support Germany’s calls for a European military force, knowing that Germany has revived its military High Command no doubt with the intent of leading such a centralized force?

France and Poland are in a typical Catch-22 conundrum. They are quite aware of Germany’s history. They are both quite aware of Germany’s status as the dominant political and economic power in the European Union. They are aware of German moves to consolidate European arms manufacture throughout Europe and of the many German investment initiatives throughout Europe that aid in pursuing this course. French and Polish leaders are quite aware that the German horse has already bolted. If they are to avoid a repetition of their past blood-soaked history with Germany, they have but one choice: Embed themselves in the hierarchy of the coming combined European military force so that they have some hope in influencing its future decisions. This they are setting about aggressively to do.

The catch is that Germany knows it is feared by both France and Poland, and thus it will seek to milk these fears to serve its own interests. Already, one of the stoutest of voices calling for a European army, Germany’s vice chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has publicly mentioned that, in the words of EUobserver, “from Berlin’s point of view, France is the key partner for this. Mr. Steinmeier said he had already spoken with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, on concrete steps to improve common areas in the military field. These include the areas of transport, helicopter capacity and procurement. The end result of a consolidation of military capacities must be a European army, said Mr. Steinmeier, according to German news agency dpa” (May 8).

In July, France takes over the EU presidency for the latter half of this year. There is an observable synergy between France and Germany on the question of creating a European military force, though for differing reasons: for Germany, to enhance its power; for France, to contain German belligerence. EUobserver notes that “The German politicians’ comments appear to be in line with the views of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has in the past made several statements on the need for common European defense. … Mr. Sarkozy is expected to return to the issue in the second half of this year, during his stint at the EU helm. The EU treaty, which has to be ratified by all 27 countries to come into force, allows for a group of member states who are politically willing to go forward to structured cooperation in defense” (ibid.).


What about Poland, that benighted nation that has so often seen its soil overrun in multiple Prussian grabs for power? On the very day that the German vice chancellor vocalized the need for a unified European army, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich announced that “Poland has opted to become a full member of the EU and nato-linked military club, Eurocorps, in a move designed to spur on the creation of a significant European defense capability. Warsaw from 2009 is to pledge 3,000 soldiers to the existing 60,000-strong Eurocorps force, hold 15 officer-level posts and forward a deputy director to the Strasbourg-based outfit, Polish media reported” (ibid., May 15).

Eurocorps, though not an EU institution, has strong political links to Brussels. It is a Franco-German initiative, launched in 1992 coincident with the Balkan wars. Eurocorps provides support services to EU, nato and UN operations. It could very well be the microcosm for a new European military force, in particular if nato assets and personnel were to transfer to it under a central command structure.

With an eye to the changing status of nato and an ear to voices being raised in support of a European military force, especially from Germany, Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich also stated, “Our decision to fully join Eurocorps comes from the conviction that Europe is becoming the second pillar of our national security alongside nato. We treat nato as the main security pillar, but we cannot forget Europe is increasing its capabilities and this stands behind our desire to join this process” (ibid.). There’s more to that statement than meets the eye. Unless Poland can get in early, before the formation of the new European army, and obtain more than one seat within its main decision-making levels, then its very future could yet again be determined by the revived German High Command.

Watch for Germany to cleverly use the French presidency of the European Union to manipulate an EU decision in support of the creation of an EU military force. Watch for French and Polish maneuvers to seek positions of influence in that force in efforts to put the brakes on rising German militarism. Especially watch for the EU to develop its strategy to face the nato summit next spring with an ultimatum concerning the future of the Western Alliance.

As you watch, remember this was all prophesied in your Bible millennia ago, portrayed in startling detail though countless magazine articles, letters, books and broadcasts by Herbert W. Armstrong throughout the greater part of the last century. And watch the Trumpet, as we link Bible prophecy to current world events to explain to you why these things are happening and where they are destined to end in the future.