November 4, 2002
Ok, so life is a corny novel with a bad ending.
History as written is about a bunch of silly characters forever doing each other in or chasing women (men, kids). Stuff gets blown up, burned down or otherwise wasted. Not even a decent page turner, much less a good read.
Not much ever makes it through about all the folks who get ground up and spit out while the novels unravel tediously. Shuck that off since life is, for those kind of folks, brutish, short and savage, no? None of us will ever be those folks, so why worry?
Snapshot. Treaty of Rapallo 1922 with later revisions. Weimar Germany and Soviet Russia agree to overlook, take a pass on mutual reparations and other nasties set up by the Versailles Treaty which ended WW I and set the stage for WW II.
Weimar Germany are the good guys, remember? Nation building, post-WW I fashion. Regime change from the Kaiser. Temporarily Socialist in appearance but that can be handled given a little time. Soviet Russia was THE nominal bad guy even then.
Seems that the Treaty of Rapallo also set the stage for the re-arming of Germany, Weimar or otherwise. Airplane factories in Russia, near Moscow, with German engineers and technicians, began building military airplanes for Germany. Pilots were trained by German instructors at Soviet airfields. Soviet officer training academies, with Prussian faculties, began turning out graduates for a future German army. Joint maneuvers and other training activities added foot soldiers, logicians, engineers, tacticians and strategists made ready for a time when Germany's leaders felt political conditions were right to break the chains on a 100,000-man army allowed by the Versailles Treaty. Face saving outcome for an unfinished grudge fight. All of which gave Hitler a running start when the Nazis took power in 1933.
Weimar Germany in the mid-1920s, with a nominally Socialist government, was carefree and playful, right? Cabaret life and movies galore. Charleston was the rage along with cloche hats. To be a Jew in Germany then had its moments but not big worries.
Yet, the excesses, as some saw it, were sapping the strength of a nation, endangering key international arrangements. In the view of these people, who tended to be old money folks for the most part, some corrective action was needed. The big names of Germany business and industry, Thyssen, Krupp, Bayer, General Motors, Ford, early Brown Brothers, Harriman and the major old money financial institutions, even then international in scope, came together and gradually agreed on a strategy which they backed by money, etc.
Money was filtered to several organizations beginning in the early 1920s. One of them was the nascent National Socialist Party with a firebrand leader named Adolf Hitler. All of them were enemies of Communism, Soviet Communism. Covert and overt battles were fought between the bully boys of right and left. Jews were not yet a target. Not to worry.
Reparation payments and other burdens imposed by the Versailles Treaty payable to France, Great Britain and USA sapped the rebuilding German economy and a legendary inflation set in. Whoops!
Ok, so on one hand the plutocrat- and Prussian-hated Weimar government was working secretly with the dreaded Soviets to rebuild German military forces. The Junkers and Prussians were working these angles. On the other hand, bands who were to coalesce as Brown Shirts and Black Shirts were beating up on Socialists, Communists, labor and each other. Thyssen, Krupp, et al., were working these angles. Both groups intermingled and raised glasses with each other. Their allies in France, Italy, Great Britain and the United States joined in. THE enemy was Soviet Communism.
Point is that the Junkers, Prussians, major business, financial and industrial leadership quickly put aside the differences occasioned by WW I and got back to business as usual. Business as usual means keeping control of resources, making money by monopolizing value-adding and distribution processes and keeping the financial markets under management.
All right, so Hitler turned out to be a bad bet. Gave us the wrong enemy at the wrong time. Unintended consequences. Sorry about that.
Same same after WW II. Same same in 2002.
Bad novel, corny narrative, wooden characters, silly ending.
Play on. How 'bout them Angels! (Or is it Giants?)
See Harper's October 2002 issue.
P. 13, "The Cow Tipping Point." (Got Milk?)
P. 35, "The Road to Babylon, Searching for Targets in Iraq." (Got Lockheed-Martin stock?)
P. 76, "Dick Cheney's Song of America, Drafting a plan for Global Dominance." (Got barf bag?)
Need a novel? See All Quiet on the Western Front. Sets a scene. And then there is always Animal Farm.
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Milo Clark, a founding member of Swans, comes from a classic Eastern Establishment background culminated by a Harvard MBA. Perversely, however, he learned to think. Applying thought, he sees beyond and tries to write about what he sees. He now lives in the rainforest of non-tourist Hawaii near the lava flows.
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