The German political context after WWI.

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Stugbit
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The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stugbit » 08 Aug 2018 19:53

Hello, Guys.

We can certainly consider Nazi Germany one of the darkest countries for the whole humanity, but It`s a well know fact that many kind of animals react quite aggressively when cornered.

Looking at the geographical centralized position of Germany within Europe, and the political contexts after WWI, one could start to think about parallels.

When we consider Edward Carr book, The Twenty Years` Crisis, we can see how fragile the relations between Germany and the Western Powers were, especially in economic terms. After WWI there was no Marshall Plan for the loser Germany, neither a way of thinking about a united and integrated Europe as it happened after WWII. On the contrary, There was a strong economic push from the Western Powers into creating a quite neo-liberal Germany. In the mind of it`s people, this was felt very badly, as it was somehow a way to cripple their already weak economic power.

As a Brazilian myself, I can tell you how strong those kinds of economic pushes are, as we have had here a strong influence of American Neo-liberal external politics that helped pave a way into a long military dictatorship back in 1964.

On the other hand, in the East, there was the Marxist Soviet Union.

When they made their 1917 revolution, we can`t certainly deny some merits of the Bolsheviks, bringing up a vastly peasant and poor country that was the oppressive Tsarist Empire of Russia. However, when you look at the richer peripherals of the Empire, like the Ukraine and the Caucasus, for example, where instead of a vastly impoverished peasantry, we had some kind of a middle-class established, such revolution merits start to fade away. As we can see clearly today, there was never a communist revolution in a country’s that there were at least some kind of middle-class established. So, when dealing with such segments of it`s society, the Soviet had to rely on totalitarianism, as many people there would be against the revolution itself. That`s the kind of thing that scared much of the more middle-class established Western Europe. As so, one can`t deny the significance of the word “Red Army”, as it meant an army of the whole peasantry of the world who where supposed to take out the bourgeois oppressive class (and by “oppressive class” we can consider it a turve term). So, it was not out of reality that the Soviet had in mind an advance in Europe Westwards.

Given those circumstances I just have showed you, guys, I ask: In what extent do you believe the Western Powers and Soviet Union had responsibility for the Nazi Ascension to power in Germany and it`s actions in the years to come?

More so, in what extent can we consider that the Western Powers were trying to dismantle Germany into a smaller country in force as another pawn and barrier against the East and when we consider the Axis-Soviets talks, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German%E2 ... Axis_talks
the Hitler and Mannerheim recording https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_an ... _recording
I ask: did Nazi Germany had a choice of not enforcing itself again as a empire and consequently getting the world into WWII?

I think those are important questions to think about in a world people are still willing to create walls instead of Marshall Plans…

My best regards!

Stiltzkin
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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stiltzkin » 09 Aug 2018 06:14

You will find many parallels today, it is always a good thing to use the past for prognosis.
When we consider Edward Carr book, The Twenty Years` Crisis, we can see how fragile the relations between Germany and the Western Powers were, especially in economic terms. After WWI there was no Marshall Plan for the loser Germany, neither a way of thinking about a united and integrated Europe as it happened after WWII. On the contrary, There was a strong economic push from the Western Powers into creating a quite neo-liberal Germany.
I agree, this would have been a better path, hence the "Europäische Gemeinschaft für Kohle und Stahl", post war. Japan is a similar case, after receiving access to the global market.
as it was somehow a way to cripple their already weak economic power
Germany was the most powerful economy in Europe at that time (as it is today), despite being hit hard by the recession, in fact, they managed to save a lot of money under the repercussions of the Versaille treaties - it was invested into rearmament, which was quite substantial even before Hitler came to power, telling us something about their intentions. Two World Wars weakened it considerably.
Germany emphasized military effectivenss over diplomatic skill, trying to control Europe, managing to bring overwhelming alliances to the opposing war room, while lacking the population to achieve its goals (the geostrategic location certainly amplified the disadvantages, as well). It is not beneficial to blackmail your neighbors. Aggressive nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism can become weaknesses, i.e. it seems that Germany never considered to propose economic aid to the slavic nations either, they could have pursued such policies in order to tear Belorussia and Ukraine out of Moscow's sphere of power.
Given those circumstances I just have showed you, guys, I ask: In what extent do you believe the Western Powers and Soviet Union had responsibility for the Nazi Ascension to power in Germany and it`s actions in the years to come?
Certainly (especially the Soviet threat in particular, but there ultimately isolation would have sufficed, they made a pact and formed a temporary alliance), but also remember that it is always a choice. The US was hit just as hard by the recession and did not turn facsist. Russia and Germany (historically) tended to steer towards totalitarian regimes, because of a lack of democratic roots. The "brittleness" of the European feudal systems certainly paved a way towards the Great War.
As a Brazilian myself, I can tell you how strong those kinds of economic pushes are, as we have had here a strong influence of American Neo-liberal external politics that helped pave a way into a long military dictatorship back in 1964.
That is subjective and leaves more room for other interpretations, I would not list it as the only reason for any misdeterminations and failures of South American nations, that is an easy way out of taking responsibility.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stugbit » 09 Aug 2018 12:01

Germany was the most powerful economy in Europe at that time (as it is today), despite being hit hard by the recession, in fact, they managed to save a lot of money under the repercussions of the Versaille treaties - it was invested into rearmament, which was quite substantial even before Hitler came to power, telling us something about their intentions. Two World Wars weakened it considerably.
Germany emphasized military effectivenss over diplomatic skill, trying to control Europe, managing to bring overwhelming alliances to the opposing war room, while lacking the population to achieve its goals (the geostrategic location certainly amplified the disadvantages, as well). It is not beneficial to blackmail your neighbors. Aggressive nationalism, ethnocentrism and racism can become weaknesses, i.e. it seems that Germany never considered to propose economic aid to the slavic nations either, they could have pursued such policies in order to tear Belorussia and Ukraine out of Moscow's sphere of power.
I have read a BBC subject once saying that there's many miths surrounding the Treat of Versailles, so it have not had the impacts on Germany we usually think about. However, this is not the Edward Carr position on the matter. He says the Treat brought more damage than helped things, and he's quite a respected thinker in the fields of international relations.

Anyway, My point was focused more in the way the Western Powers were imposing a neo-liberal agenda on Germany, so even if their economy were stronger than we think, there was something that was threatening it. Still, I personally don't think that the economy was that good, as you said it, because as we saw after the 29 crisis, the impact of the crisis on Germany was even bigger than in any other country. No healthy economy would get people having to pay loads of money for a piece of bread as it was during their inflation, but this is a very debatable matter.

About the diplomacy: well, diplomacy is a two way resort. The Germans certainly were not all that diplomatic, this might be true. But the Soviets were? Soviet Union from the beginning of its formation to the end almost invested on armaments. They certainly had much more equipment than Germany had back then. Their whole economy was almost entirely focused on war. Considering all these, and considering that the only source of oil for Germany were in Romania - not far away from Russia - how the Germans would be supposed to act? As Carr states, sole blind diplomacy doesn't exist in a hobbesianic world of competing powers.

Certainly (especially the Soviet threat in particular, but there ultimately isolation would have sufficed, they made a pact and formed a temporary alliance), but also remember that it is always a choice. The US was hit just as hard by the recession and did not turn facsist. Russia and Germany (historically) tended to steer towards totalitarian regimes, because of a lack of democratic roots. The "brittleness" of the European feudal systems certainly paved a way towards the Great War.
The USA didn't turned fascist because it was far away in an isolated continent. There was no World Powers close to its borders competing for anything. there was no pression over it, yet, even not being a fascist country, the USA has had an empirialistic politics against their neighbors. They expanded their territorial over the indigenous, the Mexicans. They turned Cuba, Philipines, Hawaii under their control and all that happened not long before WWII, byt the way...

That is subjective and leaves more room for other interpretations, I would not list it as the only reason for any misdeterminations and failures of South American nations, that is an easy way out of taking responsibility.
You could argue that there's more things than only the USA interference in the military coups in Latin America, I would agree. But you cannot say that this is a subjective matter, because it isn't. There's actually many documents proving the USA relation to the coup. Even the president of the USA himself said publicly they interfered. This is even more blatant when we consider the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile. Pinochet was clearly helped by the US and Chile turned to be the neo-liberal country in the models the North-Americans set under his rule. It was the cold war context and they hunted communists all the way round in LA.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stiltzkin » 09 Aug 2018 18:46

You could argue that there's more things than only the USA interference in the military coups in Latin America, I would agree. But you cannot say that this is a subjective matter, because it isn't. There's actually many documents proving the USA relation to the coup. Even the president of the USA himself said publicly they interfered. This is even more blatant when we consider the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile. Pinochet was clearly helped by the US and Chile turned to be the neo-liberal country in the models the North-Americans set under his rule. It was the cold war context and they hunted communists all the way round in LA.
The premise is simple: The main perpetrators (after the initial catastrophe of WW1 that paved the way for all subsequent conflicts) were the Nazis and Soviets, outside influences played a role but were usually just a consequence of choices. The same can be applied to South America. Japan and South Korea for instance are positive examples of American "interference". They thrived, there are hence more things to consider. America does also not prefer false flag operations to the same extent as Iran or Russia do, which makes this statement even more dubious. This reminds me of the great debate of the impact of colonialism. It is correct to assume that post WW1 policies of the Entente were flawed and (from an economic perspective at least) factors such as the inabililty to devaluate (or gold junctioned rates) cannot be ignored, however they seem to lose value in the context of rearmament. Could a better plan have prevented WW2? Possibly. They should have done what they did after WW2 which would have thwarted their ambitions, or alternatively, simply should not have intervened in the German-French war of 1914.

There is no benefit in longterm wars and the political murder (as e.g. Niall Ferguson stressed out) did not stop until the collapse of the communist regimes deep into the 80s. These were frequently independent of the choices made in Washington.
Note that the United States world presence was caused by Stalin, Hitler and Hirohito, they dragged them on to the world stage against their own will, in which they emerged as the super power post war.
It would be a rather american centric view to merely observe the conflict from this angle, their significance would be highly overstated.

Germany was not a victim. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were aggressive, imperialist, tyrannical regimes, their actions stand rather isolated. This is also in agreement with military expenditures, only these two systems show great investment into the military sector, far outdistancing any other nation at that partiuclar time, especially the United States. Economic growth and rearmament in Germany was already occuring before Hitler came to power. This can be deduced from primary source material. The same goes for the Soviet war machine, which was built up since the 20s. These are the true factors that influenced WW2.

It is true that German militarism is not an (or at least the only) explanation for the outbreak of WW1, the constellation and distribution of power shifted, which did not reflect the realities of the early 20th century anymore. France and Britain refused to accept a "German Union" and especially Britain saw itself threatened, in their "dominion of the seas".
Fact is, the entire European continent was militarized and slid into this conflict, dictated by their structure of treaties. WW1 was primarily a conflict between France and Germany (also directed against British and Russian interests), WW2 on the other hand was a "war of extermination", superimposed by Hitler on the Slavic populations. With this in mind, any decisions made in Washington at that time seem rather incidental. I would even argue that the US lacked the raw military power and skill to defeat the "German Empire" at that time.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stugbit » 09 Aug 2018 23:52

Hello, Stiltzkin.

Is it possible for you to explain your thoughts to me just a little bit more clearly? I`m not a english speaker, and you added many information, it`s difficult for me to understand everything. If you could do so, I would be very pleased.

I was talking to a friend of mine here, who is a marxist, he said the Soviet Union was quite much on the defensive and was not a threat against the West. He believes the Soviet war effort was to hold the counter-revolution forces that came after just before 1917. I think I desagree a little bit with him. In my opinion, in the minds of the revolutionaries the struggle against the opressive class was real, and such class was somehow embodied in the West. The way they handle all the Ukranians and other peoples, like the Cossacks, it was not a defensive position.

Still, I don`t believe that Nazi Germany was a victim back then. What I really asked was the extent of allied responsability in the process before WWII, and even in the ascension of Nazism in Germany. Can that resposability be shared? Or should it be felt only on German laps?


About the USA, it was not Hitler, Stalin or Hirohito that brought them to the international scenary. As I said, it was a process that started well before WWII and even WWI. What would the Thirteen Colonies have to do with Hawaii or Philipines, for stance? The US were growing their might and circles of influence step by step, as the North Americans see themselves somehow as a chosen nation, am I right? By the time just before WWII, they were almost prepared to take the place of UK has once had.

My best regards.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by pugsville » 10 Aug 2018 12:30

Stugbit wrote:
09 Aug 2018 12:01
Still, I personally don't think that the economy was that good, as you said it, because as we saw after the 29 crisis, the impact of the crisis on Germany was even bigger than in any other country. No healthy economy would get people having to pay loads of money for a piece of bread as it was during their inflation, but this is a very debatable matter.
I think you need more understanding of the economy in interwar Germany you are conflating two separate events, he hyper inflation of the early 1920s and the the Great Depression in early 1930s. quite separate events, different effects . After 1929 there was not hyper inflation, Germany was running deficits getting a lot of easy US loans.

The Germany economy on the interwar period was fundamentally shaped by German choices. Germany certainly received much more favorable treatment form the US than France or Britain.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by pugsville » 10 Aug 2018 12:31

Stugbit wrote:
09 Aug 2018 12:01
Still, I personally don't think that the economy was that good, as you said it, because as we saw after the 29 crisis, the impact of the crisis on Germany was even bigger than in any other country. No healthy economy would get people having to pay loads of money for a piece of bread as it was during their inflation, but this is a very debatable matter.
I think you need more understanding of the economy in interwar Germany you are conflating two separate events, he hyper inflation of the early 1920s and the the Great Depression in early 1930s. quite separate events, different effects . After 1929 there was not hyper inflation, Germany was running deficits getting a lot of easy US loans.

The Germany economy on the interwar period was fundamentally shaped by German choices. Germany certainly received much more favorable treatment form the US than France or Britain.

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Re: The German political context after WWI.

Post by Stugbit » 10 Aug 2018 13:31

Yes, I certainly do. That's why I started this topic here.

I really thought that the German economic crisis worsened after 29 crisis.

But why would Edward Carr state the Western Powers had an aggressive economic position towards Germany?

You said loans, but loans have to be paid off. It's not given money.

And nowdays, not only we are seeing China owning a great part of the US debt, but also a trade war between US and China, by the way. In such level that even political opponents like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders agreeing that the US need some kind of protection and an economic reform. When we think about the years 20's and 30's, is there any chance they were living a similar moment back then?

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