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Germany and England

by: Nesta Webster

Chapter II.

Governessing Europe

     Great indignation has been aroused in certain circles lacking in a sense of humour by Herr Hitler’s recent remark that England would be well advised to stop “governessing” Europe.

     The expression in reality was singularly apt and indicated no hostility to the British people, but conveyed advice that many of us would be glad to see laid to heart by our politicians. For it is as much to England’s interest as to Europe’s that she would refrain from putting her finger into every Continental pie and thereby burning it severely. The Daily Express, though in no way sympathetic to Nazi-ism or Fascism, has from the beginning persistently repeated the slogan of “Keep out!” – unless our own vital interests were threatened.

     As I observed in the opening words of “The Surrender of an Empire,” Britain until 1914 had remained in lofty isolation from the dusty arena of Continental strife. So might she have of that infernal machine – the League of Nations, devised, as we now know, at the head Lodge of the Grand Orient of France on the 28th and 29th of June, 1917.

     That it was an infernal machine constructed to blow up the foundations of Europe – for America, whose President was its principal advocate, carefully kept out of it herself – was evident to all but the most incorrigible optimists. For since disputes were henceforth to be settled by a tribunal composed of all the Powers, any conflict between two nations would automatically draw in all the rest so that every war, instead of remaining localized, was bound to develop into a world war.

     Thus, far from proving a scheme for ensuring perpetual peace, its real effect would be to keep Europe in a state of perpetual warfare.

     Moreover, since the sympathies of the League lay clearly on the side of the Left, it’s influence was to promote internal strife and encourage the class war, and those countries which resolutely put down Bolshevism were liable to find the forces of the League arrayed against them.

     Now the League having after some twelve years proved its futility – and in the opinion of many people its harmfulness – and having been deserted in consequence by some of the leading Powers, might have been left to collapse quietly, like a deflating balloon on the shores of Lac Léman and Europe might have been allowed to return to its former method of settling quarrels between nations by conflict between those concerned, without interference from the rest of the world.

     But to this neither England nor France – or, rather, the Leaguists of those countries, for in both there were many disbelievers in the League from the time of its inception – would consent.

     Since the League was defunct the Governments of England and France in close co-operation with Soviet Russia, formed themselves into a coalition described as the Democracies. That is a most ridiculous term since the "Democracies" include Monarchist England, passionately loyal to its King, attached to its ancient traditions and predominantly Conservative, and at the same time Soviet Russia, the most brutal tyranny the world has ever seen.

     However, the countries variously described as the “totalitarian States” – a word not to be found in the dictionary but presumably implying absolute autocracies – or the Dictatorships, are Italy and Germany led by men of the people primarily concerned with improving the lot of the working-classes and supported by the overwhelming majority of the population.

     The Democracies then proceeded to take up the role of the League and arrogate to themselves the right to interfere in the affairs of all other nations, thus constituting themselves a tribunal for – as Hitler expressed it – “governessing” the world.

     Now the first qualifications of a governess are calmness, orderly habits, firmness and an even temper; a woman who perpetually quarreled with her own family, boxed her sisters’ ears, hurled the furniture about and defied the parental authority could hardly be expected to maintain discipline or command respect in the schoolroom.

     The French Chambre des Députés, divided into warring factions, some of them bitterly opposed to their own Government and actually coming to fisticuffs during debates. The rulers of Russia are busily shooting their former colleagues, later on their generals, admirals and airmen. The British Government is battling with rebels against the Constitution in the House of Commons and sending troops out to Palestine in order to crush the revolt of the Arabs at the loss of the freedom promised them.

     All these Democracies seem --  both to Germany and Italy -- hardly qualified to “governess” the rest of Europe, and certainly not those States in which a united people live contentedly under one man who, if a Dictator, nevertheless dictates according to the will of the people.

     Hitler in asking us to “look at home” is really not unreasonable; indeed he showed considerable restraint in not drawing more invidious comparisons between the unrest prevailing in Democracies and the happiness which travelers in Germany observe everywhere amongst the population of that country.

     We are frequently told that there are many secret malcontents in Hitler’s Germany and that in private conversations with travelers they admit their dissatisfaction with the Führer. That may be so, since no form of Government can content everybody and there were many rebels against the German monarchy, still more against the Republic that followed on the war. And foreign travelers on the look-out for grievances are still sure to find them.

     As Monsieur Madelin observes in his book on the French Revolution, men are always discontented under whatever government they live, however excellent it may be, and if people are asked to complain they will do so loudly.

     Doubtless the equalitarian schemes of Herr Hitler, with which we as anti-Socialists must strongly disagree, have met with resentment from the possessing classes but have satisfied the great majority of the population.

     At any rate it is the Germans’ own affair, not ours, and we have no more right to attack the Führer for his system of government than he would have to attack us for our administration of the dole, demanding that it should be replaced by his plan of Labour camps as leading to happier results – which no doubt is true.

     As to the concentration camps of Germany, about which we hear so much, what are we to believe? Returning travelers bring back totally conflicting accounts; the rest of us only know what our papers tell us, and but a short time ago they were telling us that the inmates of our own prisons were treated with inconceivable brutality. We did not believe that; why, then, should we believe all that they tell us about Germany?

     Neither in the internal nor in the external policy of foreign Governments have the Democracies the right to interfere except where their own interests or security are concerned.

     If in the case of Czechoslovakia England and France as victors in the Great War held they were entitled to maintain the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Versailles, however unworkable they had become, what earthly right had they to intervene between Italy, their former ally, and Abyssinia, or between the opposing parties in Spain, which had remained neutral?

     In each case their policy was based on opposition to Fascism, and its only effect was to deprive Abyssinia of any independence it might have enjoyed and to prolong the civil war in Spain. It will be said that Germany and Italy also intervened in Spain, but the fact habitually ignored by our Press and Left politicians is that intervention by the French, Russians, and a few British Communists began in August, 1936, and by the Germans and Italians not until four months later.

     Moscow had determined to set up a Soviet Republic in Spain, and the “totalitarian” states [Italy and Germany] resolved to prevent the execution of a plot which might have set all Western Europe aflame. That was their crime.

     Again, what is the reason for the hatred stirred up against Japan? If that country had begun by attacking us in Hong Kong or Shanghai we should have had every right to oppose her. But she had begun as early as 1919 by resolutely opposing Bolshevism while China allowed itself to be penetrated by the influence of Moscow; in 1920 Lenin declared that it was in China the British Empire would be overthrown.

     So, in spite of the hostile attitude shown to us by the Chinese from the time of the Boxer riots onwards, the kidnapping of the Englishwomen and by the murder of missionaries, the agitation carried out after 1924 by the Kuomingtang working in close co-operation with Soviet Russia, under whose inspiration anti-British riots broke out at Shanghai and Shameen in 1926, the British concession in Hankow was attacked in 1927 to the cry of “Down with British Imperialism!" and finally handed over to Chinese control.

     In spite of all this British sympathies are with “martyred China,” whilst Japan, the land of “bushido,” our ally in the Great War, Japan – who showed us no hostility until we acted for the League of Nations in intervening between her and China – is reviled as the enemy of Great Britain.

     It is now the fashion to speak of the cruelty of the Japanese character and we are asked to believe that the nation which supplied the Cheka with Chinese torturers is kindly in comparison.

     I have been in both countries long ago, and during the week I spent in China I saw cruelty such as I shall never forget all my life. During two months in Japan I saw nothing but kindness, love of nature and of children. And whilst in Canton we passed through terrifying mobs howling execrations at us as “foreign devils", in Japan we met nothing but smiling villagers who crowded round us in welcome and showed never a trace of xenophobia.

     We are told that British businessmen much prefer the Chinese to the Japanese; so they did then, simply because the Chinaman was more to be depended on than the temperamental Japanese. Nevertheless in 1931 it was from British business men in China that my “Surrender of an Empire” containing a chapter on the Chinese question received the greatest encouragement; a series of extracts from it were contributed by them to the Hong Kong Daily Press and republished in pamphlet form at their expense. *

*See Appendix 1

     Can it be mere coincidence that all those countries we are now taught to hate [Japan, Italy and Germany] are those which have shown the strongest opposition to Bolshevism?

Next - Chapter 3:   "The Question of Czechoslovakia"

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