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Post Hitler and Rhineland, Sudetenland
Created by John Eipper on 09/13/17 8:32 AM

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Hitler and Rhineland, Sudetenland (Istvan Simon, USA, 09/13/17 8:32 am)

Eugenio Battaglia's opinions are often diametrically opposite to mine, and once again (September 11th) he does not disappoint.

I have to say that his defense of Hitler is deeply offensive to me personally, because my maternal grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz and my father was almost starved to death, used as slave labor at the Henkel aircraft factory, near the camp at Oranienburg where he had been deported to. A more disgraceful regime than Hitler's can hardly be found. The only thing worse or comparable in recent human History that I can think of is Mao ZeDong's disgraceful regime in China and Stalin's in Russia. Yet Eugenio has the temerity to defend Hitler's decisions in the Rhineland and still much worse, later in the Sudetenland.

So let's just review this history step by step. Eugenio cites ethnic compositions of the Rhineland and Sudetenland in defense of his theory. But ethnic composition has little to do with borders, and therefore his entire argumentation is absurd. To begin with, Eugenio acknowledges in his own post that German ethnicity was only about 50% of the inhabitants of the Rhineland, and an even lower ratio in the case of the Sudetenland. However, all that is besides the point, because even if the ethnic compositions on these lands were 100% German, it still would not follow that Hitler had any rights to annex them to Germany. Ethnic composition only determines borders in the feverishly sick and racist mind of Hitler and his cohorts.

I am of Hungarian Jewish descent and a proud American citizen. Let me state it clearly: the fact that I reside in the United States does not give Hungary any rights over the borders of the United States. If there were say a county of the United States, hypothetically, where Hungarians had settled predominantly, so that let us say again hypothetically 80% of the population in this hypothetical county were ethnic Hungarians, still under this scenario Hungary would have zero rights over this region of the United States.

So having disposed of the logical absurdity of Eugenio's argumentation, let us turn to the actual events in the Rhineland and Sudetenland. Even if we accepted the view that the Versailles Treaty was unjust to Germany, something that I have not conceded, it still would not have given Hitler the right to reoccupy the Rhineland militarily, because there was a treaty that Germany had signed that this would be a demilitarized zone. There was no dispute about the Rhineland being part of Germany. Here the only issue was whether Germany could or not station military forces on this territory. So the answer is no, it could not because it had signed a legally binding treaty that it would not. The Treaty could be renegotiated, if Germany felt that it was unjust, but that is not what Hitler did. He unilaterally moved his troops there.

At the time when this occurred, Germany was still very weak as a military power. So the Generals that advised Hitler, who were a lot saner than him, all advised against it, knowing full well that if France had reacted militarily to the move, Germany would not have had a chance. Indeed the orders were that any mobilization by France would be answered by an immediate withdrawal of German forces. We know this from the German archives captured after the war by the allies. William Shirer's excellent The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich gives a full account of this History.

The case of the Sudetenland, is of course much much worse. For the Sudetenland was not German territory.  It belonged to Czechoslovakia, and Czechoslovakia was a wonderful democratic little country, a much better country than Germany at the time, a cultured highly humane freedom and music-loving country, that is not my own, but nonetheless I greatly admire and love.

Just as an aside that illustrates what an extraordinary little country Czechoslovakia was, my father told me that his train passed through Czechoslovakia on the way to Germany, and the Czechs knew what "cargo" the trains transported, and in every overpass the Czech people threw bread and water bottles onto the train in a display of humanity that moves me to tears to this day.

No matter what the ethnic composition of the Sudetenland was, it does not follow that Hitler had any rights to it, and he did not. Though the Nazis had sympathizers that were creating trouble in the Sudetenland, no democratic elections ever established that this land desired to become part of Germany, and I am fairly sure that in fact if such a choice were presented to them it would not have voted to join Hitler's Germany in free elections that were not vitiated by Nazi storm troopers, as they were in the vote held in Austria.

It is for this reason that Munich was a shameful episode of capitulation by England, a great power, to Hitler's blackmail, to the eternal shame of Neville Chamberlain. Not only he shamefully ceded the Sudetenland to Germany, but in so doing he sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, because the defense of Czechoslovakia depended on the geography of the Sudetenland, so indeed the Czechs had no chance after losing the Sudetenland in defending the rest of their mauled little country.

JE comments:  Irredentism, as Istvan Simon points out, always has a flip side.  A more apt analogy than Hungarians in the US would be the Hispanic populations of, say, New Mexico.  They stayed put while the borders shifted.  The only "successful" settling of border scores since WWII happened in recent memory, with the Russian takeover of Crimea.  Or am I overlooking another example?

Didn't Saddam Hussein use an irredentist justification for his invasion of Kuwait in 1990?  This move led to his downfall.

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  • False-Flag Operations: Germany and Elsewhere (John Heelan, UK 09/14/17 10:34 AM)
    Istvan Simon (13 September) should also review the German false-flag operations Project Himmler (aka Project Konserve): "The goal of this false-flag project was to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which could be used to justify the German invasion of Poland. Hitler also might have hoped to confuse Poland's allies, the United Kingdom and France, into delaying or stopping their declaration of war on Germany."

    Other contemporary false-flag operations were: The strategic railway at Jablunka Pass (Jabłonków Incident), located on the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia; the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz (Gliwice) (this was arguably the most notable of Operation Himmler operations); the German customs station at Hochlinden (today part of Rybnik-Stodoły); the forest service station in Pitschen (Byczyna); the communications station at Neubersteich ("Nieborowitzer Hammer" before 12 February 1936, now Kuznia Nieborowska); the railroad station in Alt-Eiche (Smolniki); Rosenberg in Westpreußen district (per Wikipedia).

    Other nations have used similar excuses, such as Operation Northwood aimed at Cuba and Project TP-Ajax aimed at Iran, Israel's Lavon Affair. More worryingly, Noam Chomsky alleged earlier this year, "Donald Trump's administration could stage a false-flag terrorist attack to maintain the support of voters after they realise his 'promises are built on sand.'" If so, one looks towards the Korean isthmus with some concern.

    JE comments: False-flag operations are the Gold Standard for conspiracy theorists--which may make them, paradoxically, easier to carry out.  Regardless of how genuine an attack is (think 9/11), some will find a false-flag conspiracy.  This Cry Wolf factor makes the real false-flag event deniable.

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  • Had Ethnic Minorities Been Respected, Hitler Would Not Have Risen to Power (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 09/18/17 12:46 PM)
    In response to Istvan Simon (September 13th), not recognizing the rights of minorities is an internationally recognized crime.

    Hitler would have not risen to power if the ethnic Germans had had the possibility of choice according to what President Wilson was preaching. Rhineland and Sudetenland were ethnically German. In my earlier post I simply stated that of the territories taken from Germany after World War I, 54% were German; therefore the shifting of borders was justice only for the remaining 46%.

    Czechoslovakia was a wonderful democratic country only for the Bohemians (even the Slovaks were discriminated against). Likewise, South Africa was a wonderful democratic country for white people and Israel is a wonderful democratic country for Jewish people and not for the occupied Palestinians.

    By the way, Israel's right-wing political parties in the government have voted for the annexation of the West Bank.

    A comparison with communities which immigrated to the US or Argentina or other places is not pertinent.

    Our esteemed editor, when commenting on shifting borders, was correct to mention Crimea, but he forgot the wars for the creation of new nations based on ethnic principles--Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia or better the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo and peacefully Germany (East and West) plus the Czech and Slovak Republics (confirming the division of March 1939), and the dissolution of USSR. Pretty soon we may even have Catalunya and Scotland....

    About Saddam's war against Iran:  was it only irredentism or was some big country meddling and pushing him, also supplying intelligence, etc?

    Of course I strongly sympathize with Istvan's family tragedies and I can understand his feelings, even if I still believe his post was based on misinterpreted data.

    JE comments: My example of Crimea referred to an irredentist "settling of scores," with a larger country taking from a smaller country what it allegedly used to possess. The breakup of Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia is not the same thing, although Albania hypothetically annexing Kosovo, or Romania conquering Moldova, would be close analogies.

    Historians have often argued that there would have been no Hitler had the terms of Versailles been more lenient. But Eugenio Battaglia's ethnic minority argument is harder to accept. Did the unemployed and desperately poor German "mainstream" of 1933 really care about Sudetenland?

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