Saturday, September 9, 2017

What did Joseph Goebbels mean?

Because if you really think about it, in an extremely disturbing and distressing sense, the Nazis won the war.

Goebbels admits that militarily, Nazi Germany had lost the war. It was utterly crushed by the might of the world’s three strongest powers, the United States, Soviet Union and British Empire. By 1945, the Soviets were rushing across Western Poland/Eastern Germany while the Anglo-American armies crossed the German-French border and invaded the Ruhr.

So in what sense did the Nazis win their war? In that the Nazis overturned the entire European social and political order. The Nazis were bent on establishing a new world order and succeeded in doing so, just not the specific one they intended.

Goebbels disturbingly acknowledged how the Nazis in a sense succeeded in one of their goals, the destruction of the old order.

World War Two finished off the work that World War One started. The European Empires were significantly weakened, with Britain losing her crown jewel, India, within 2 years after the conclusion of the war.

 The Nazis absolutely destroyed the European order. European bourgeoise no longer ruled the world. London was the seat of the world’s greatest power. Now, Washington D.C. and Moscow were competing to rule the world. Paris used to be the cultural capital of the world, where artists, writers and thinkers met to discuss, debate and unleash their passions and thoughts. Due to the war, a lot of them immigrated to the United States, safe from war, settling down in New York City.

London during the blitz, 1941

American ships carrying refugees to New York City during the war, in 1941

Don’t believe me? Look at all the political maps you’ll see of the world from the 1890s to 1945 and then the ones you see from 1945–1991. If you look at the late nineteenth century maps and early/mid twentieth century maps, you’ll see them focusing on European colonialism and the extent of European imperial rule in continents such as Africa or Asia. Almost all major maps focus more on European empires than just about any other topic.

Then look at the political world maps (and even specific) from 1945–1991. Most of them focus not on European empires (other than their disintegration). Instead, most focus on the Cold War. The conflict between the United States’ Capitalist led coalition and the Soviet Union’s Communist Internationale.

Map of the world at the end of hostilities, 1945. Anyone can see that Africa and Southeast Asia are still ruled by the European powers.

Map of the world during the Cold War. The “bourgeois” European empires have collapsed, giving way to the Capitalist United States and the Communist Soviet Unions.

Hitler and his Nazi regime did not intend for the world order to be one between the Communists and the Capitalists. Instead of the German flag raised over all of Eastern Europe, the Red Banner of Communism flew in ten European capitals. Instead of the destruction of the capitalist Western allies, it was merely weakened but left strong enough to fight the might of its new foe, the Soviet Union. The Germans did not become a strong people as Hitler envisioned, instead, the Germans lost vast territories and were divided into two states for nearly fifty years. The Jewish populations were intended to be utterly exterminated, with him nearly succeeding in killing over two-thirds of the European Jewish population. Ironically, 70 years later, the Jews have probably never been stronger in history since the fall of the first Jewish states thousands of years ago.

Regardless, he did succeed in his initial goal of tearing down European imperialism, which had been ruling the world for roughly two or three centuries, and setting forth the stage for a new world order. The very one we still live in today.

Edit: Actually, really thinking about it, I think Goebbels isn’t merely acknowledging the effect the Nazi Regime on the world. He’s mocking us. He’s mocking us, claiming that “despite what we’ve done, despite the triumph of good over evil, it was in a sense futile”. The British and French fought to save not only their nations and Western civilization but also their empires. In a sense they lost more than they won in the war.

PS: Yes I know the Allied Powers weren’t exactly “good” and did some very morally ambiguous or even outright wrong things, but do you really want to live in a world where the Nazis and Imperial Japanese won?

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