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David Cameron, the former prime minister, famously declared that supporters of independence from the EU were “Fruitcakes, loons and closet racists”. One long-term opponent of our membership of the EU – and a patron of the Campaign fro an Independent Britain – is proud to identify himself with the first of these epithets.
Lord Walsingham, now aged 92, was a Third Secretary in the German Department of the British Foreign Office in 1950, when the foundations were being laid for the first stage of what is now the EU. It was then called the European Coal & Steel
Community. He was Secretary of the tripartite study group (The UK, USA and France) which totally cancelled the denazification programme in order to rebuild Germany to be a bulwark against the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
In 1950 British intelligence secured details of secret additional clauses in the treaty between France and Germany on the European Coal & Steel Community, which would undercut British heavy industry eventually to undermine Britain’s defence capability so that the European project would dominate Europe unchallenged in the long term.. In spite of having to abandon a promising career in Foreign Office, he felt compelled to resign over the concealment of this plan and the reinstatement of former Nazis in the German government of the time.
As he remarked in conversation about this episode “I suppose I was the first fruitcake”.
In this video which recounts his experience (which lasts approximately 35 minutes), he also gives an interesting, amusing account of the way the Foreign Office worked in those days.
Britain did not join the Coal & Steel Community but never did it make public the ulterior, anti-British intentions of the “Fathers of Europe”. At the time, Britain was heavily indebted to the USA which was backing the EU project and funding the European Movement through the CIA.
The European Coal & Steel Community was intended to be the first step towards a united Franco/German European army but the French National Assembly voted that down in 1954. Jean Monnet, Schuman and colleagues therefore decided that they needed to proceed more gradually as the nations of Europe were not then ready to assent to their dissolution in a single European polity. The European Economic Community was founded on this principle of small, repeated inexorable steps towards “ever closer union”. The process was called “Engrenage” – like a ratchet, it was irreversible. The Treaty of Rome set this up in 1957.
The name “European Economic Community” is highly significant. As a businessman, Monnet well knew the importance of brand loyalty. Every politically aware German of the Nazi era would recognise the “Europaeische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft”, set up to build integration between the countries of Europe after the Nazi victory of 1940 and widely publicised in a collection of papers of the same name, published in Berlin in 1942. Translations of the introduction and main paper are available here. Apart from some descriptions of contemporary events, there is nothing in them which has not come out of the EEC and the EU in the last sixty years. The mindset and geopolitical world outlook are virtually identical.
The post war EU’s biggest project by far, the Common Agricultural Policy, was decided in 1962 but too was based on the clear guidelines, laid down twenty years before in Nazi Berlin (link here). Now, of course, the Nazi version of the EEC turned out to be mostly propaganda because the pressures of war overtook and destroyed it – but many of its intentions, including dominance over central Europe, have been carried into effect under the EU flag since the fall of the Berlin wall.
In fairness, the Nazis were adapters rather than inventors of this project, which had been on official German minds for generations. On 9 September 1914, the Imperial Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg wrote:- “Russia must be pushed back as far as possible from Germany’s Eastern frontier and her domination over non-Russian vassal people broken… We must create a Central European Economic Association through common customs treaties to include France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria-Hungary and perhaps Italy, Sweden and Norway. This association will not have any common constitutional supreme authority and all members will be formally equal but in practice under German leadership and must stabilise Germany’s dominance over central Europe”.
Monnet, Schuman and colleagues added the “common constitutional supreme authority” in the form of the European Commission but the project is still highly congruent with the remarkably stable, long term objectives of Germany’s political class since the 19th century.
Nonetheless, the denazification programme and the resultant reintegration of low- and medium-ranking officials from Hitler’s government into German political life provided a significant impetus to the European project. These men were able to re-package and sell those ideas developed in the 1940s and earlier, thus helping to shape the future direction of what has become the European Union.
Whilst British national newspapers run endless articles on the Nazi era, to the considerable irritation of our German friends, the continuity of Nazi policies and personalities in the post war era has been editorially off limits in Britain’s mainstream media. Now that the German government has budgeted 4 million euros to investigate the influence of Nazi personalities and policies in the post war era, perhaps a balanced, evidence-based debate can, at last, take place.
What they are likely to find may make uncomfortable reading for today’s German government and indeed, supporters of the European Union. One name to have been unearthed, Hans Globke, was asenior civil servant who drafted the notorious Nuremburg race laws in 1935. Following the end of the denazinfication programme, he became chief of staff to Konrad Adenauer, the former West German Chancellor, from 1953 to 1963.
The same article claims that in 1957, around 77 per cent of senior legal experts in the justice ministry had previously been members of the Nazi party.
Of course, this is not the first time that the retention of former Nazi officials by the post-war West German state has been discussed. However, much has remained hidden beneath the surface. It is to be hoped that the German government will not shirk from facing up to any uncomfortable truths which may emerge from its investigation.
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