Chapter 1: The Resurgence of Nazi Germany
How could the appalling evil and message of hate inspired by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime during World War ii ever resurface in this sophisticated age? World history and Bible prophecy should strike us like a bolt of lightning with the proper answer to that question! But man has not learned history’s lesson, and Bible prophecy is laughed to scorn.
Yet for those with an open mind, history and prophecy reveal where this modern-day resurgence of Germany is leading. The spirit and message of Hitler did not die when the war ended. It lives on. And soon, its ugly head will resurface to thrust this world into one final all-out battle before Christ returns (Matthew 24:21-22).
In 1941, before the war ended, German author Emil Ludwig wrote a book titled The Germans: Double History of a Nation. Ludwig was not the least bit surprised to find Germany leading nations into another worldwide conflagration. On page 484, he wrote, “A nation that has for a thousand years borne whatever authority was imposed upon it, that never fought of its own will for its freedom, that quickly sought its way back under the yoke when it attained freedom against its will—the world ought to grasp that this German nation as a whole shows no inclination to change. The first error to which we succumbed when we believed after the [First] World War that a new Germany was possible—that first error should protect us against a second.”
We should have learned our lesson from the First World War—the war that was supposed to end all wars. But we didn’t. People shunned Winston Churchill in the years preceding World War ii, even calling him a warmonger. Yet true to Churchill’s prediction, the Nazi war machine set out to rule the world and destroy anything that happened to be in its path. If not for Churchill’s unyielding leadership, the Germans would have realized their goal.
Did the Germans and the rest of mankind finally learn the lesson?
Miracle of the 1950s
Herbert Armstrong described Germany’s devastating destruction in 1944 and 1945 as “one of the worst beatings” ever administered to any nation. “By the end of World War ii,” he wrote, “all cities of over 50,000 population in Germany were left in a heap of ruins, and also a great many smaller towns. Every fourth house in all of Germany was smashed. Most of the cities were 80 percent destroyed. Cologne and Essen were 90 percent destroyed. Of 29 bridges spanning the Rhine, all were destroyed. The view of wreckage over all this major nation was absolutely indescribable. People by hundreds of thousands rendered homeless were dragging their weary feet along clogged and crowded highways impeding traffic, other thousands stomping across fields and sleeping in ditches. The Germans were defeated. War, this time, struck their own Fatherland” (Plain Truth, August 1959).
Western leaders from both sides of the Atlantic assured our peoples that a demoralized Germany would never rise up to strike again. In a signed document about American-British policy on Germany in February 1945, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill said, “It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm and disband all German armed forces, break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism; remove or destroy all German military equipment; eliminate or control all German industry that could be used for military production. … It is not our purpose to destroy the people of Germany, but only when Nazism and militarism have been extirpated will there be hope for a decent life for Germans and a place for them in the community of nations.”
But while Washington and London were promising that Germany would never again be able to strike, Herbert Armstrong was preaching to the whole world that Germany would rise again.
Notice what he said in a report he gave from the United Nations on May 9, 1945: “The war is over, in Europe—or is it? We need to wake up and realize that right now is the most dangerous moment in United States national history, instead of assuming we now have peace!
“Men plan, here, to preserve the peace of the world. What most do not know is that the Germans have their plans for winning the battle of the peace. Yes, I said battle of the peace. That’s a kind of battle we Americans don’t know. We know only one kind of war. We have never lost a war—that is, a military war; but we have never won a conference, where leaders of other nations outfox us in the battle for the peace.
“We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! Hitler has lost. This round of war, in Europe, is over. And the Nazis have now gone underground. In France and Norway they learned how effectively an organized underground can hamper occupation and control of a country. Paris was liberated by the French underground—and Allied armies. Now a Nazi underground is methodically planned. They plan to come back and to win on the third try” (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Volume 2). He said that in 1945! But very few people really believed Mr. Armstrong. Many, even today, ridicule his statements.
Brian Connell wrote Watcher on the Rhine in 1957 to report on the new Germany just 12 years after the war. “You have to look hard in Germany today,” he began his book, “for the visible remnants of defeat. You have to look even harder if you remember the catalepsis of total surrender only a dozen years ago.”
Another historian described Germany’s astonishing recovery after World War ii as the “miracle” of the ’50s. Mr. Armstrong, who visited Germany in 1954 and 1956, witnessed the miraculous turnaround firsthand.
When the West (led by the United States) started rebuilding Germany, even Konrad Adenauer, the German leader after World War ii, said it was “taking a calculated risk.” He knew his own people. He knew Nazism was not dead. It was never destroyed; it just went underground.
Nazism Did Not Die
In his book, Brian Connell sums up the ridiculous situation that developed after World War ii. He wrote that in the spring of 1947, “The vexed problem of denazification, which had been handled up to that time by the Allied authorities, was handed over to the Germans.” Just two years after their defeat, the Germans were actually told to denazify themselves!
Later, using Bavaria as just one example, Connell called the German denazification effort a farce, saying the “Bavarian administration is largely in the hands of those who controlled it under Hitler.” Connell’s research substantiated the claim: “Statistics show that 20,682 of the 49,445 civil servants belonged to the Nazi Party or its affiliates. A total of 14,443 of these were dismissed and later reinstated in the service. Almost all of the 11,000 teachers who were removed for political reasons have been reappointed, representing roughly 60 percent of the teaching staff employed by the Ministry of Education. Sixty percent of the 15,000 employees in the Finance Ministry are former Nazis, and 81 percent of the 924 judges, magistrates and prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice.”
To make matters worse, just four years after the Allies handed the denazification process over to the Germans, “The German government declared officially that the denazification procedure had been terminated” (ibid.). So much for cleansing itself of the Nazi virus!
Public opinion after the war indicated that Nazism was still in full force. Roger Eatwell referred to these revealing opinion polls in his book Fascism: “Although only about 10-15 percent of the population were classified as hard-core Nazi, the researchers found that there was a strong, lingering sense of racism. In 1946, 48 percent of Germans thought that some races were more fitted to rule than others; even more remarkably in 1949, 59 percent were willing to say that Nazism was a good idea badly carried out …. Few claimed to have been opponents of the regime.”
Several other historical documents released in more recent years add to Connell’s evidence that the Germans failed to denazify themselves. In 1991, Mark Aarons and John Loftus released a book titled Unholy Trinity, which told the story of how Vatican-sponsored underground networks illegally smuggled Nazi leaders out of the country after the war. Aarons and Loftus based their findings on newly released U.S. intelligence documents that had been classified for almost 50 years.
In 1996, another shocking intelligence document was released to the public. It revealed that when Nazi leaders realized they were losing the war in 1944, they met with top German industrialists to seek financing for the underground Nazi party “so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat.” This intelligence document, which should have sent shock waves through every newsroom in the world, received only sparse coverage.
And in 1997, Martin Lee, in his fascinating book, The Beast Reawakens, revealed that “there had never really been a clean break from the Nazi past, given that the original leadership of the West German Bundeswehr was recruited directly from the upper echelons of Hitler’s army. (Only 3 out of 217 Bundeswehr generals in 1976 were not Third Reich veterans, and 37 military bases in the Bonn Republic were named after soldiers who made their reputations during the Hitler years.”
From these documented facts and from what we see in Germany today, there are two overriding themes we ought to let sink into our minds. First, the almost overnight transformation of Germany from a devastated nation sifting through rubble and ashes to one of the most dominant and powerful nations in the world was nothing short of miraculous!
Second, and equally miraculous, was the relative ease with which prominent Nazi leaders were either carted away to safety through vast underground networks or else admitted into the same positions they held during Hitler’s regime!
The Wall Comes Down
Ever since the Communist stranglehold on Eastern Europe loosened, and then finally let go during the late ’80s and early ’90s, fascists have been clamoring to fill the power vacuum. Nothing hastened this power changeover more than when the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, exactly 66 years after Hitler was arrested for his famous beer hall putsch. Almost overnight, a neo-Nazi revival was underway in the Fatherland. They had been dwelling underground long enough. The Beast Reawakens, as the title plainly suggests, reveals the insidious details of this sinister revival.
The chronology of events, coupled with some alarming statistics since the wall came down in November 1989, should serve as warning enough that Nazi Germany is storming back, and with a vengeance.
From 1990 to 1991, the number of organized right-wing extremists jumped from 32,000 to 40,000. Not surprisingly, the number of violent racist incidents also increased in 1991. There were 1,483 of these violent incidents recorded that year—10 times more than in 1990. Even more frightening were the surveys indicating 50 to 60 percent of the police in some areas sympathized with the Nazi cause! In preventing racial hate crimes, law enforcement, in some areas, was at best half-hearted.
German officials admitted they had seriously underestimated the Nazi movement.
The situation worsened in 1992, when it was estimated that the number of organized, right-wing extremists exceeded 65,000. There were over 2,100 violent racial incidents in which 17 people were killed. Explosions and fire bombings were up 33 percent over 1991. By this time, observers outside of Germany were beginning to take notice. “The situation had deteriorated to the point,” Martin Lee wrote, “where for the first time since World War ii, immigrants began to flee Germany to hoped-for safe havens in other countries” (ibid.).
One particularly frightening incident occurred in 1992 in the small Baltic seaport of Rostock, located about 100 miles north of Berlin. “In a scene starkly reminiscent of the 1930s, thousands of local residents roared approvingly as a throng of neo-Nazis attacked a refugee center for Romanian Gypsies” (ibid.). The Nazis ended up torching that shelter and another nearby hostel while local police stood by and watched. One officer later admitted, “The police had an arrangement with the rowdies not to intervene.”
Even more disturbing was the admission of government authorities in the state of Mecklenberg that they were aware of neo-Nazi plans to “clean up” Rostock before the torchings occurred. But due to a “shortage of manpower,” they were unable to send in heavily armed riot police. They were able, however, to show up days later when more than 1,000 people, many of them immigrants, turned out to protest the Nazi attacks.
Yet the most shocking event to come out of the week-long hostilities occurred toward the end, when “the German government caved in to the neo-Nazi mob by ordering all refugees out of Rostock. Henceforth, this economically depressed city of 250,000 would be foreigner-free, just like Hoyerswerda and several other ethnically cleansed redoubts in the Fatherland. Next came an official announcement that close to 100,000 Gypsies would soon be deported to Romania and other parts of Eastern Europe” (ibid.).
Hoping to stamp out the fiery racial tensions, the government’s decision to deport immigrants only added fuel to the fire. Emboldened by their victory in Rostock, a new wave of neo-Nazi violence and attacks on foreigners spread into 100 different cities over the next two weeks. As German newspapers splashed startling headlines across the nation, some observers had to ask themselves, “Could it happen again?”
Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s administration, after dawdling for months, finally appeared to clamp down on right-wing extremism in early 1993 when it outlawed certain groups. But it amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist.
That very year, on May 27, the Bundestag buckled under to further neo-Nazi demands when it passed the asylum law, which set firm restrictions on immigrants seeking asylum in Germany. The United Nations and various human rights groups vehemently denounced the law.
Government action like that above confirmed what many outsiders already suspected: that the influence of right-wing extremism was penetrating even the moderate political parties like Kohl’s Christian Democrats.
Something dark and sinister was brewing in the Fatherland. The wave of neo-Nazi violence in 1991 and 1992 frightened German immigrants and alerted the world to the fact that Nazism was not dead, at least not within right-wing circles. But there were rumblings of far greater seriousness unfolding within the highest levels of the German government.
Blatant Fascist Reminders
In the early 1990s, right-wing parties like the Rupublikaner and Deutsche Volksunion began enjoying greater success at the ballot box. Opinion polls at the time explained why. In 1990, just months after the wall came down, one survey revealed that more than a third of Germans from the east and west felt they “need not be ashamed of the legacy of German fascism.”
In 1991, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel polled readers and found that 62 percent felt it better not to “talk so much about the persecution of the Jews.” The following year, 36 percent of Germans surveyed agreed that “Jews have too much influence in the world.” Another survey found that one fourth of German schoolchildren felt that Jewish Holocaust stories were “greatly exaggerated.”
Not surprisingly, right-wingers were finding it easier to attract larger audiences. No doubt, these poll indicators had an effect on the Christian Democrats. In June of 1991, the Bundestag voted to move its capitol from Bonn back to imperial Berlin, headquarters of the Second and Third Reich. The Reichstag, Adolf Hitler’s seat of hate, was completely renovated in anticipation of the move.
Two months later, on August 17, the remains of Frederick the Great were buried at the Sans Souci Palace in what used to be East Germany. Frederick ruled the Prussian Empire from 1740 to 1786. Protected in West Germany until the wall came down, Frederick’s bones were buried in their original resting place outside of Potsdam. Chancellor Kohl, along with 200 other dignitaries and 80,000 others, came to pay their respects. The event was broadcast live on German television. “Some felt that this officially sanctioned display of necrolatry [worship of the dead] would send the wrong message to neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists. Within these circles, Emperor Frederick was venerated as a cult figure because of his martial accomplishments. He often invaded foreign lands and boasted of gobbling up Polish Silesia ‘like an artichoke’” (Lee, op. cit.).
Hitler stood at the foot of Frederick’s grave in 1933 to proclaim the beginning of the Third Reich!
At a time when Germany was experiencing its worst outbreak of Nazi violence since World War ii, Kohl’s administration seemed more than willing to fan the flames of right-wing extremism!
In December of that same year, Germany decided to recognize breakaway Yugoslav republics Slovenia and Croatia despite stiff opposition from the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, and despite the fact that the move again resurrected unsavory memories of Germany’s fascist past.
The EU eventually recognized the two states a month later. The UN also backed away from a direct confrontation with Kohl. And the U.S., which at first blamed the Germans for provoking the Balkan crisis by recognizing the two breakaway states, eventually flip-flopped to support Germany’s decision! (Write for our free booklet The Rising Beast for more information.)
It seemed no one was interested in meeting the Germans head-on. It gives you an idea of how quickly after the Berlin Wall fell, only two years, that Germany ascended to world dominance—marching to its own drum, with little concern for world opinion.
Yugoslavia had existed as one unified country since 1919, with the exception of one particularly deadly interlude: when Hitler made Croatia his own puppet state during World War ii. Over 700,000 Serbs were slaughtered by the Croats during the war, which is why Serbia was more than uneasy about Germany’s snuggle-up to Croatia.
Then-Croatian President Franjo Tudjman refused to disassociate himself from his country’s fascist roots. Yet his shocking stance did not dissuade Germany from pledging its full support. According to Martin Lee, the Germans exported over $320 million worth of military hardware to Croatia between 1992 and 1994. And in 1995, for the first time since World War ii, Germany committed 4,000 troops beyond its borders—inside Croatia, to enforce the tenuous peace agreement.
Since the wall fell in 1989, the world has not only witnessed an alarming upsurge in neo-Nazi violence, we have witnessed the escalating spirit of independence and arrogance within the German nation as a whole. Germany has rapidly risen to the ranks of a bona fide world power.
Today, Germany is third, behind only the United States and Russia, in arms exports. It has a standing army of almost 300,000, the largest in Europe. It has pushed itself to the forefront of influence in the European Union, which is increasing in presence and respectability on the world scene politically, economically and militarily. With France’s help, Germany will soon, very likely, be recognized as a major nuclear power. Add to that the great financial sword Germany is wielding, and you have the makings of a world force to be reckoned with.
The world, especially Europe, is growing increasingly uneasy with the prospect of being dominated by a nation historically prone to bully its neighbors and to acquire a sizable appetite for more living space.
For several decades God’s Church has been warning of the emergence of Germany as the most dominant player in a European Union of nations. The Bible teaches that this force will suddenly catapult the world into the third and final world war.
Yet, even if we set aside Bible prophecy for a moment, there are more than enough modern-day Jeremiahs warning about Germany’s developing links with its fascist past. We have quoted one of these modern writers, Martin Lee, in this chapter. In his words, “Something awful was laid bare by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fascist beast had reawakened and was on the prowl again.” Other well-known books, like Roger Eatwell’s Fascism, Bernard Connolly’s The Rotten Heart of Europe, and Margaret Thatcher’s The Downing Street Years, all serve as Churchillian warnings for a world that has proven itself prone to slumber as events grow worse. Most of the mainstream press is oblivious to the dangerous, foreboding presence developing on the horizon in Central Europe. That’s the way it was before World War ii.
We must wake up and heed the words of this handful of informed and astute political analysts. “You have not anchored Germany to Europe,” Margaret Thatcher said in 1995. “You have anchored Europe to a newly dominant, unified Germany. In the end, my friends, you’ll find it will not work.“ It is Germany’s national character to dominate, she said.
While Germany lay in ruin and ashes after World War ii, Herbert W. Armstrong had the crystal-clear, prophetic vision to see a Germany that would again rise to world dominance. He knew the Nazis were not eliminated altogether. They only hid themselves, like cockroaches when the kitchen light is switched on.
With the implosion of the former Soviet Union and the gigantic power vacuum it left in the heart of Europe, we have seen Mr. Armstrong’s stunning predictions unfold with uncanny preciseness. A few observers are alert to the grave danger set before us. Are you?
Let us now consider where these events inside Germany fit within the framework of biblical history and prophecy.
Sidebar: Dirty Laundry in the German Army
Neo-Nazi-related incidents in Germany have multiplied so much in recent years that most crimes no longer warrant much press coverage in the Fatherland. It appears that racial hate stories are now old news. Like “soft” pornography, off-color language or gratuitous violence, the more we are around it, the less we are shocked—that is, unless something far worse grabs our attention. What will it take for this world, especially those nations that nearly surrendered to the Nazi regime in World War II, to wake up to the frightening stew of racial hate stirring in Central Europe?
Nazism did not die when Hitler’s forces were crushed—it merely went underground. A host of surveys, violent incidents, and even German government policies confirm it.
When the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, the signal to all underground fascists could not have been more clear. It was time to resurface. At first, hate crimes were sporadic and unrelated. But each “success” converted more adherents to right-wing doctrine. Soon, surveys revealed that many German citizens even sympathized with certain Nazi views. In fact, in 1997, a European survey revealed that 34 percent of Germans consider themselves “quite racist” or “very racist.”
In recent years, far-right views have wedged their way into the highest levels of German government. Another sector within the German sphere has also been tainted by Nazi influence—the Bundeswehr, or the German Army.
Fascist Memories in the Balkans
In December 1991, just two years after the Berlin Wall collapsed, with complete disregard for strong world opinion and for the fate of the Serbs, Germany adamantly declared full support for the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from the Republic of Yugoslavia. A violent civil war erupted in Yugoslavia thereafter.
The war in Yugoslavia signaled a new era in the German Army, which had been dormant since World War II. Between 1992 and 1994, the Germans exported more than $320 million worth of military hardware to Croatia. In 1995, Germany agreed to send military transport planes, medical personnel, and other support to the Balkan combat zone. At that time, however, it would not send ground troops. “This would render us part of the problem rather than its solution,” admitted Volker Rühe, the German defense minister. (Over 700,000 Serbs were massacred during World War II by the Nazi regime, which absorbed Slovenia into the Third Reich and created a puppet state in Croatia.) Obviously, Germany knew that any show of force in the Balkans would make the Serbs extremely nervous.
Yet in 1995, not long after Rühe’s statement, Germany committed 4,000 troops inside Croatia to help enforce the so-called peace agreement. It was its first troop deployment outside Germany since World War II.
At first, Germany’s extended effort in the Balkans seemed noble. But it wasn’t long before disturbing reports surfaced, including one where German soldiers in Croatia were heard chanting “Sieg Heil” and “Heil Hitler.”
Even more unsettling was a video discovered in 1997. In it, soldiers who were training for their mission in the Balkans acted out executions and rapes. The question is, how many soldiers were involved and how many officers knew about it? The German defense minister and Chancellor Kohl both insisted that these were only isolated incidents, which is the same argument they used for other such reports.
A Nazi Rally—in the Bundeswehr?
Manfred Roeder is a convicted Nazi terrorist. In 1973, he wrote the foreword in the book Auschwitz Lie. He set up a terrorist group that was linked to several bombings in 1980, including an Italian train station and a Jewish synagogue in Paris. In 1981, he was convicted for killing two Vietnamese immigrants in Germany with a firebomb. The following year, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison. After his early release in 1990, he again joined extreme right-wing organizations. Roeder has been linked to a bevy of right-wing activity for decades. German intelligence even lists him as a terrorist!
So why was this convicted neo-Nazi bomber invited to speak to new recruits at an elite officers academy for the Bundeswehr? Good question. Roeder’s address to the Bundeswehr in May 1995 only became public knowledge in 1997. He spoke about “ethnic German” Russians residing in Kaliningrad—a Russian city on the banks of the Baltic. (German nationalists would like to see the region absorbed into the Fatherland.)
In addition to the speech invitation, Roeder said the German Defense Ministry donated a small amount of cash, vehicles and other tools to his organization in 1993. The whole incident was quite embarrassing for German officials. They suspended the officer in charge of the academy and denied any involvement in the decision-making leading up to the invite. Another “isolated incident.”
The “isolated incidents” have been popping up regularly in the Bundeswehr for several years. There were 72 right-wing incidents in the German Army in 1996. This number had climbed to 135 in 1999 and jumped to 196 in 2000. One particular outrage occurred in the small German town of Detmold. Uniformed German soldiers, while shouting “Wogs out of Germany,” attacked two Turkish immigrants and a 16-year-old Italian boy with baseball bats and knives.
In 1997, the Sunday Telegraph in London quoted Helmuth Priess, a retired lieutenant colonel in the German Army. Priess claimed that there were far too many officers in the army with right-wing sympathies. He recalled one incident where a commanding officer told him to stress the importance of a familiar Nazi motto: “Work makes you free” (a sign bearing that inscription hung above the entrance to Auschwitz). Priess was shocked to hear such admonition—and from a high-ranking officer! He was later startled when he heard the officer became a general.
More recently, 21-year-old Christian Krause, the son of a former German minister, told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he had encountered numerous right-wing extremists during his 10-month stint in the army. According to Krause, at his base there were two or three right-wing incidents a month. At parties, “There were always toasts made to the führer and after drinking alcohol many officers would give each other the Hitler salute ….”
German officials continue to downplay neo-Nazi-related activities within the Bundeswehr. But how much longer can they keep saying that such events are only “isolated” cases—especially when statistics reveal an upward trend in violent incidents?
Time Will Tell
A document that circulates among right-wing circles admonishes converts, for now, to lay low. It says, “They should not even identify themselves as nationalists. They should join the army and the police and see to it that they acquire specialized knowledge and abilities.”
Time will tell if there are thousands more in the Bundeswehr with right-wing sympathies who have, until now, kept a low profile. In the meantime, the number of violent incidents within the Bundeswehr continues to escalate. As that number increases, and as people become more used to it, stories about Nazis infiltrating the German Army will drift further to the back of many papers before they eventually disappear. The stories may disappear, but the Nazis will not.