Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt

Making the world safe for Nazis
William Shirer closed his 1960 masterpiece, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, with the judgment that the Nazi regime “had passed into history,” but we cannot be so confident today. On the contrary, the evidence as of 1990 is that World War II did not end as Shirer believed it did, That Nazism did not surrender unconditionally and disappear, that indeed it finessed a limited but crucial victory over the Allies, a victory no less significant for having been kept a secret from all but the few Americans who were directly involved.

The Odessa and Its Mission

Hitler continued to rant of victory, but after Germany’s massive defeat in the battle of Stalingrad in mid-January 1943, the realists of the German General Staff (OKW) were all agreed that their game was lost. Defeat at Stalingrad meant, at a minimum, that Germany could not win the war in the East that year. This in turn means that the Nazis would have to keep the great preponderance of their military forces tied down on the eastern front and could not redeploy them to the West, where the Anglo-American invasion of Italy would occur that summer. Apparently inspired by the Soviet victory, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced at Casablanca, on January 24, 1943, their demand for Germany’s unconditional surrender and the complete de-Nazification of Europe.

Within the German general staff two competing groups formed around the question of what to do: one led by Heinrich Himmler the other by Martin Bormann.

Himmler was chief of the SS (Schutzstaffel, “protective echelon”), the blackshirted core of the Nazi party that emerged as Hitler’s bodyguard in the late 1920s and grew into the most powerful of the Nazi political institutions. After the failure of the attempted military coup of July 20, 1944, which wounded but did not kill Hitler, the SS seized all power and imposed a furious blood purge of the armed services in which some seven thousand were arrested and nearly five thousand killled. The SS was at that point the only organ of the Nazi state.

Himmler’s plan for dealing with the grim situation facing Nazism found its premise in Hitler’s belief that the alliance between “the ultra-capitalists” of the U.S. and “the ultra-Marxists” of the Soviet Union was politically unstable. “Even now they are at loggerheads,” said Hitler. “If we can now deliver a few more blows, this artificially bolstered common front may suddenly collapse with a gigantic clap of thunder.” Himmler believed that this collapse would occur and that the U.S. would then consider the formation of a new anti-soviet alliance with Nazi Germany. The Nazis Would then negotiate “a separate peace” with the United States, separate from any peace with the USSR, with which Germany would remain at war, now joined against the Soviets by the United States.

But Martin Bormann, who was even more powerful than Himmler, did not accept the premise of the separate-peace idea. Bormann was an intimate of Hitler’s, the deputy fuhrer and the head of the Nazi Party, thus superior to Himmler in rank. Bormann wielded additional power as Hitler’s link to the industrial and financial cartels that ran the Nazi economy and was particularly close to Hermann Schmitz, chief executive of I.G. Farben, the giant chemical firm that was Nazi Germany’s greatest industrial power.

With the support of Schmitz, Bormann rejected Himmler’s separate-peace strategy on the ground that it was far too optimistic. The Allied military advantage was too great, Bormann believed, for Roosevelt to be talked into a separate peace. Roosevelt, after all, had taken the lead in proclaiming the Allies’ demand for Germany’s unconditional surrender and total de-Nazification. Bormann reasoned, rather, that the Nazi’s best hope of surviving military defeat lay within their own resources, chief of which was the cohesion of tens of thousands of SS men for whom the prospect of surrender could offer only the gallows.

Bormann and Schmitz developed a more aggressive self-contained approach to the problem of the looming military defeat. the central concept of which was that large numbers of Nazis would have to leave Europe and at least for a time, find places in the world in which to recover their strength. There were several possibilities in Latin America, most notably Argentina and Paraguay; South Africa, Egypt, and Indonesia were also attractive rear areas in which to retreat.  (more...)

The world seen through Nazi spectacles?

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