World War Déjà Vu
Millions have written their epitaph in their own blood on history’s battlefields. So it is that, as modern construction and development takes place in Western Europe, historic evidence of the two greatest wars in mankind’s history is continually unearthed.
The remains of hundreds of thousands of soldiers “missing in action” during the first and second world wars rise to the surface over time from the mud of battlefields which once—in some cases almost 60, others over 80 years ago—resounded to the noise of rifle, machine-gun, grenade and cannon.
In Belgium alone, farmers unearth around 2,500 shells annually when they plow their fields. The loud booms that regularly echo across the flat Belgian lowlands, as the army blows up the legacy of old ordnance, are a grim reminder of bloody battles fought across that country’s soil in the Great War of 1914-1918 and in World War ii which exploded just two decades later.
Loss of Memory
But, if “history is the memory of man,” as the masterful historian John Lukacs wrote, what happens when the participants, the eyewitnesses to a great epoch, die out?
In Britain alone, only 71 veterans of the First World War are still alive, compared to the 31,700 who still lived just 25 years ago. As that generation fades away, their firsthand accounts of the history they created are taken to the grave, and a precious resource is lost. All we then have is the evidence they leave behind—medals and mementos, artifacts and diaries, the documented reports of newspapers, journals and government records of the time.
Historians sift the evidence and interpret the results, subject to the bias of a more recent politically correct, liberalized and feminized society. Then the revisionists emerge from the woodwork to weave their psychohistories around the heroes of the past in their efforts to destroy the validity of icons of a better age—an age when men of true valor felt it an honorable thing to put their life on the line for God, king and country.
Yes, we can still read the record of history when the last remaining old warriors of the Great War fade from the scene. But, without their firsthand example to observe, it is impossible for us to understand the emotion, the culture of the time, which led a valiant soldier such as the British Capt. Wilfred Percy of the East Surrey Regiment to kick a football over the top of his trench and urge his men to follow, up and over, into the face of withering enemy fire.
So it is, as these warriors of a bygone age disappear, few are left who can experience the feeling of déjà vu, of having been there before, as the world’s Northern Hemisphere now again begins to exhibit an attitude, a collective mood, tensions and prejudices akin to those of 80 years ago.
For the point is, though countless headstones attest to the carnage and slaughter of global warfare in vast cemeteries such as Ypres, France, these are but reminders to later generations that the two great world wars did actually happen. But the actual memories of what it was like, and of the prevailing conditions that primed the nations of the world for global warfare, are fast disappearing.
This is dangerous. Dangerous, in particular, for a society that is losing its grip on history, especially when it is led by men who evidence no deep appreciation of the lessons of history.
Imagining the Unimaginable
To the masses at the time, the First World War seemed unimaginable. Nothing like it had ever occurred on such a scale, unleashing such terrifying firepower, reaping such massive loss of life, for so little achieved, in all of history. Thus those who experienced it, in so many instances, referred to it as “the war to end all wars.”
It didn’t. If the First World War was unimaginable in its scale of destruction of life, property, environment and a way of life that had endured on the European continent for centuries, the Second World War was utterly incomprehensible.
The problem is, if it was incomprehensible to those who lived through that horrifying experience, “too big for the mind to grasp,” as Weekly Standard contributor David Gelernter described it, then how can the generation currently moving from college to the professions in Western society, its future leaders, even begin to understand it, assuming that they even have a desire to do so?
To the mind of the intuitive, objective analyst, something is happening in Western society that is all too familiar, when viewed through the prism of the history of the period between the two world wars. David Gelernter poses this view: “As the Second World War and its aftermath fade, they reveal a ‘new world order’ that is strangely familiar—amazingly like the Western world of the 1920s, with its love of self-determination and loathing of imperialism and war, its liberal Germany, shrunken Russia, and map of Europe crammed with small states, with America’s indifference to Europe and Europe’s disdain for America, with Europe’s casual, endemic anti-Semitism, her politically, financially, and masochistically rewarding fascination with Muslim states who despise her, and her undertone of self-hatred and guilt” (Weekly Standard, Sept. 23, 2002). To the student of geopolitics, this seems an apt description of prevailing conditions.
For a valid comparison between these two epochs—the time between the great world wars, and the times we are now in—we need first to grasp a historical overview of the 1920s and ’30s.
Versailles and Beyond
When all fell quiet on the Western Front at the armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918, the Allies (Britain, France and the United States) dictated the terms of peace to the aggressor, Germany, within the text of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty established a League of Nations, designed to prevent wars by recourse to international arbitration. It was in fact a treaty specifically with Germany. Separate treaties were signed between the Allies and Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey.
In their efforts to establish peace, the Western Allies, in the words of the treaty, sought “to liberate captive nationalities, to reunite those branches of the same family, long arbitrarily divided, and to draw frontiers in broad accordance with racial and ethnic principles” (George Bohman, The New Compendium of Modern History). The stated goal was self-determination for national groups of common ethnic, racial and cultural affiliation.
The results proved disastrous, due largely to a remarkable change of heart by the victorious Allies. Not possessing a history of innate national aggression (regardless of the claims of the revisionists, particularly in respect of the British Empire), the Allies soon revealed a tendency for heartrending guilt feelings over the penalties they imposed on the aggressors. They were particularly affected by cries of “foul” by the Germans for the reparations leveled on them to pay for their aggression during the war. At that time, German rationalism had already spread its infection throughout the education system of the West, preparing fertile ground for the liberal-socialist dogma that wormed its way into political thought in Britain, France and America.
The day of the bleeding-heart liberal had dawned. In Gelernter’s words, “Horror-struck guilt and self-hatred blossomed into 1930s appeasement, the policy with which Britain and France approached Nazi Germany’s increasingly outrageous violations of the Versailles treaty” (op. cit.).
The appeasing of the aggressor by the Allies during the 1920s and ’30s was to have results, both in Britain and on the Continent, quite foreign to the gung-ho approach that instigated World War i. Despite Winston Churchill’s valiant attempts to rouse the British lion from its post-World War i slumber, the philosophy of appeasement swept through Britain, America and their Western allies like a debilitating disease.
Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, rather than being a policy adopted by the Allies specifically directed toward Hitler, as Gelernter rightly points out, appeasement was then, and is even now, “an entire philosophical worldview that teaches the blood-guilt of Western man, the moral bankruptcy of the West, and the outrageousness of Western civilization’s attempting to impose its values on anyone else” (ibid.).
Such was the general mood in Britain and France as the war clouds gathered yet again in Europe over the heads of marching Nazi storm troopers in the 1930s. By 1933, Churchill was decrying the influence of “a powerful section of our own intellectuals” imposing a “mood of unwarrantable self-abasement” on Britain. This was just the mood the Teutonic tyrant of middle Europe needed to weaken the moral fiber of Britain at that time. It would be an easy task to convert a mood of self-abasement into one of collective, national defeatism.
But for the grace of God and one lone lion who stood for all the best that was British, such a mood may well have prevailed—and the enslavement of the people who once sang with conviction “Britons never, ever, ever will be slaves” assured. Thank God for the watchman Winston Churchill, “a believer in the supremacy of his race and his national destiny” (William Manchester, The Last Lion). Hardly a politically correct observation, but true nonetheless!
The modern manifestation of the self-abasing philosophy of those 1930s British intellectuals is the mind-numbing nonsense of today’s political correctness, which constrains nations of superior achievement from having a right pride in their most positive contributions to society. There exists, to quote Gelernter, a general “contempt for Western ideas, morality, religion and traditions that is so prominent among European intellectuals”—leading, in the face of an enemy, to “this frantic compulsion to do nothing” (op. cit.).
It is a fact that the concept of Western civilization’s bloodguilt, established in the aftermath of Versailles, promoted a philosophy of appeasement that still flourishes today. This has produced what Daniel Pipes, writing for the New York Post, describes as a “self-hating weakness” which is destined to “lead again to disaster, no less than it did leading up to World War ii” (Jan. 28). Full well the words of the ancient prophecy are fulfilled, “And I will break the pride of your power …” (Lev. 26:19).
Midway through the hiatus between the two world wars came the great financial crash of the global depression.
It has been over 70 years since the world economy was struck such a devastating blow. Yet, ominous signs loom. The shedding of labor that accompanied the financial, industrial and economic adjustments following the ballooning of the 1980s “decade of greed” has become endemic. The high-tech era of the 1990s spawned the dot.com bubble, which burst two years ago. In the meantime, the Asian meltdown, the deflation of Japan’s economy, the dashing of the high hopes for a Latin American economic surge, followed by a dramatic slowdown in the industrial engine of Europe—Germany—have brought on leaner times. Atop all this, the U.S. has just emerged from a year of great corporate scandal—the largest-ever bankruptcy, the greatest corporate failure, the greatest commercial fraud—and the nation is gearing for war.
Oil prices hike, stock markets wobble, gold begins to enjoy another heyday. The result is that in January the International Labor Office published its labor index showing world joblessness at an all-time high—6.5 percent of the global labor force (bbc News, Jan. 24).
Alarm bells are beginning to ring. The London stock market posted its longest ever run of consecutive falls over 11 straight days in late January. The global airline industry is largely bankrupt. Tourism, under threat from international terrorism, has fallen dramatically. The major insurers reel from underwriting decades of disasters. Market analysts break with their upbeat spin to offer more serious analyses of the trends: “The effect of fear, uncertainty and shattered confidence hold the market in a vice-like grip of despair,” said David Buik, of spread betting firm Cantor. Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, said the past year had seen “some of the most difficult conditions experienced in financial markets in living memory” (bbc News, Jan. 27). Corporate profit margins in the world’s greatest national economy, the U.S., are at a post-World War ii low. Add to this the double-dip recessions in East Asia.
The world’s political and business elite are worried. At January’s World Economic Forum in Switzerland, speakers issued “dire forecasts about the state of the economy. The harmful impact of war, terrorism and rising oil prices were repeatedly stressed …” (bbc News, Jan. 23).
The paradox is that with all of these negative harbingers of economic gloom hanging overhead, consumerism remains rampant in the English-speaking nations. “For most people, the object of life has ceased to be God or nation and has become personal consumption” (Prospect, December 2002).
It’s as though the mood of the “gay 20s,” an era of abandonment of restraint that followed in the wake of the Great War, and which was suddenly fractured by great economic depression, prevails. The West fiddles while its economies burn. The bubble economy may be pricked, but the leak is minimized as so much more energy is expended in the form of seemingly unlimited consumer credit to keep it inflated.
But leak it will, till enough pressure within finally brings on the burst with a bang. We are breaking laws of finance and economy for which a penalty will have to be paid, just as it was back in 1929. It is inevitable. “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Hag. 1:6).
Anti-Jew, Anti-Brit, Anti-American
The period between the two world wars offers yet another parallel with present-day Europe. Anti-Semitism was a fashionable view in Europe during that time, even as it has risen to the surface over the past few years on that continent.
In a sweeping 21st-century mood which seems intent on burying the guilt of World War ii’s major aggressor nation, Holocaust denial is becoming more than a weird tendency of a few warped minds. In tune with the massive unbalance in the pro-Palestinian reporting of the Middle East conflict, all sympathy for a peoples once threatened by genocide has gone out the window.
This is exacerbated further by some German academics, encouraged by left-leaning pseudo-academics from Britain’s cohort of revisionist historians, actually inferring that Churchill was guilty of war crimes against the Germans! That such utter tripe should even be published in Britain, let alone given airtime, is to the shame of that nation! The reality is that had not Churchill stood alone, as John Lukacs said, for those crucial “five days in London,” such pseudo-historians would not have the freedom today to regurgitate their swill. Freedom of the press would have been ground into British soil by the Nazi bootheel 60 years ago!
Reviewing the emerging geopolitics of a post-Cold War, post-German unification, post-9/11 world, it seems that David Gelernter has a point. The very phrases he uses to describe the interwar period apply aptly to prevailing conditions today!
As the early years of the 21st century progress, the reaction to the United States’ efforts to fill the shoes of global policeman reap charges of “imperialism.” Shades of the “loathing of imperialism” that prevailed between the world wars are again resurfacing. We see the “love of self-determination” that followed the demise of the Soviet Union, with a map of Europe now “crammed with small states.” We see a liberal Germany, uncomfortable in its post-World War i role, emerging as a sullen world political power. We see “America’s indifference to Europe and Europe’s disdain for America,” and its “casual, endemic anti-Semitism.” Given that the EU is the largest contributor of aid to the Palestinians, and Germany is Iraq’s most significant supplier of weaponry and weapons systems, once again we observe, in Gelernter’s terms, Europe’s “politically, financially, and masochistically rewarding fascination with Muslim states who despise her.”
And as we look closer at this emerging order of things, so much reminiscent of those two decades following the Great War, leading up to the Second World War, we see something else. Something startling, something surreal—something reminiscent of the time even before that first great world war.
Like that two-headed phoenix, looking east and west, rising from the ashes of Europe’s and the world’s greatest wars, we see, yet again, a Romanizing, federalizing empire of nation states, brittle as a mix of iron and clay, beginning to coalesce into the world’s greatest political, economic, military and religious power.
Our longtime readers are aware that for 13 years, this magazine has striven to warn of the rise of an aggressive power in Europe. For over 50 years, our mentor in the genre of this unique style of magazine, Herbert W. Armstrong, powerfully warned of this prospect in the magazine he founded, the Plain Truth. Now it is becoming a reality—and our warning must become stronger.
Behind closed doors, minds with a much greater appreciation of history than their British and American counterparts are creating a constitution that will re-establish the entity that led Europe for over 1,260 years: the “Holy” Roman Empire. What is being crafted in Brussels, in secrecy, by the European Convention, right now, is a constitutional document that will soon define the all-encompassing powers of this entity, in the modern guise of the EU.
And make no bones about it, this is not a democracy. It is anything but!
The latest evidence of the federalist, imperialist aims of the EU is revealed in the words of the initial draft clauses of the constitution, released February 6, which will govern this emerging colossus of the north. “The important sentence is article 9: ‘The Constitution and law adopted by the Union Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it by the Constitution shall have primacy over the law of the member states.’ Read it once more: This sentence marks the historic goodbye to the European nation-state and the hello to the European superstate” (www.EUobserver.com, Feb. 9; emphasis mine).
Within the context of the draft text, Britain, the nation which 63 years ago stood alone against the prospect of the enslavement of Europe under the throes of Nazidom, will lose control of foreign policy and defense, and be stripped of its national sovereignty. What Hitler failed to achieve is simply being gained through political subterfuge by the technocrats of Brussels.
“Tim Kirkhope, an mep and Tory justice spokesman, accused the presidium of flirting with ‘dictatorship’” (Telegraph, London, Feb. 7). Many have had such a reaction—so much so that some have predicted the demise of the idea of a federal Europe. “Europe’s political federalization might be at a dead end, but this does not mean that the EU has been for naught—or that its evolution is over” (www.stratfor.com, Feb. 7).
But that idea ignores prophetic reality! We can in all confidence predict that it definitely is not over! It is happening exactly according to biblical prophecy.
Referring to the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire in our time, the Prophet Daniel was inspired to write, “And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay” (Dan. 2:41).
Right now we have a crisis in Europe! Voices of concern are being raised across the Continent at the realization that the presidium of the EU Convention has “lost any connection to the electorate in this world because what is already in the draft is far more than the electorates will accept in most countries” (www.EUobserver.com, op. cit.).
The Religious Connection
One of the most intense debates currently raging in Brussels has to do with the religious underpinnings of the EU. Here the question is how to reconcile East with West.
France, though a nominally Catholic country, is proud of its revolutionary heritage as a secular state. That nation, together with the libertine Nordic countries, has sought to keep church and state separate. Other nations, Germany in particular, seek a clear reference within the EU constitution to Europe’s historical connection with religion.
Rising to the occasion, “Pope John Paul ii has launched an appeal for the inclusion of Christian roots in the future EU Constitution. Speaking before the prayer of the Angelus … Pope Wojtyla said that the inclusion of Christian roots will not run counter to the secular nature of political structures. … He made reference … to Saints Cirillo and Metodio, born in the ninth century, who maintained their teaching links with both the West and the East. ‘I hope that their example will help the Christians of both West and East to find unity …’” (www.EUobserver.com, Feb. 17).
As Justinian found back in the sixth century, the only real glue that will join East with West in Europe is religion.
Yes, the mood in Europe has shifted. The Atlantic alliance is split asunder. The arrangement of convenience between Anglo-America and Europe will now only last as long as it takes the EU to build its own military strike force superior to that of Britain and America. It is clear that the combined factors of the drafting of European-based American troops to the Middle East and threats by Washington to close all U.S. bases in Germany soon will have Johnny come marching home from the Continent.
This pullback of the U.S. from 58 years of deployment in Germany, in particular, will be the stir to action which the “Fatherland” has needed to hike its defense budget and crank German industry into high gear to fill the armaments void. For that nation, this will have a dual benefit. It will not only place German and European security principally under a revived German war machine, it will give the German economy the much-needed boost it is sadly lacking to overcome its present “sick man of Europe” image.
Thus the cycle of history is set to repeat itself one more time.
A re-militarized, dominant Germany, linked with the Vatican via Rome’s religion (in tandem with that of its wayward Eastern daughters), exerting federal rule from the North Sea to the shores of northern Africa, from Iberia to the Urals, will be set to lead that final resurrection of the old “Holy” Roman Empire (Rev. 13:1).
For the third and final time, the flat plains of the European low countries, its traditional battlefields, will be soaked with the blood of the dead. It is as sure as the unbroken Word of God!
Some of the greatest suffering will be borne by those who once understood these prophecies, but who are denied protection from the onslaught due to their rebellion against the God of all revelation: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). Thankfully, many of those saints will repent under the pressure of that great tribulation and, though they lose their physical lives in martyrdom, refusing to bow their knee to the god of the great harlot church (Rev. 17:5-6), they will gain a fast hold on eternal life in the process.
But you need not be one who suffers under this great repetition of history, if you simply will learn the lesson of that history, repent of sin now and worship the true God who foretold it all, from the beginning.