Thursday, November 1, 2012
How elitist intervention prolonged World War II and perpetuated Nazi horrors
How elitist intervention prolonged World War II and perpetuated Nazi horrors
by John Dombrowski
For more than half a century, every sixth of June, countless patriotic Americans, Britons, Canadians and others gather to pay homage to thousands of young men who "gave their lives for their country" on the beaches of Normandy. More than 200,000 American fighting men were killed in World War II, together with 375,000 British and millions of other nationalities. Most of these deaths occurred after mid-1943, when it was clear to all concerned that the Axis and Japan had lost. Why did the fighting continue for two years after the issue had been decided?
Beginning in the spring of 1997, the American public has been deluged with countless talk shows, TV-magazine features and print-media articles claiming that it was the Swiss government which prolonged the war by that nation's profitable trade with Hitler's Germany. Most prominent among these drum beaters of newly-discovered villainy have been members of the World Jewish Congress led by Edgar Bronfman of the Seagram company. This campaign is focused on forcing the Swiss to change their bank-secrecy laws and open their bank records to prove that Switzerland does not owe billions of dollars to Jewish survivors and descendants of Jewish victims of Hitler's Holocaust.
An interesting fallout from this has been the raising of the issue of why the war did not end earlier.
Historical documents, including diaries, memos, correspondence and published memoirs of the participants make clear that there was a serious effort, coming from many points at the highest level of the German military and intelligence agencies offering, at various times, to surrender Germany's armed forces to the Western Allies.
This effort depended on many highly prestigious intermediaries who kept records of the contacts, conditions and issues involved. Perhaps most prominent were Pope Pius XII (together with the men who were to become Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI); U.S. General Albert Wedemeyer; former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Ambassador George Earle; FDR's son-in-law, Curtis B. Dall; Swiss historian, Carl Jacob Burakhardt; German Ambassador in Rome, Ulrich von Hassell; and prominent leaders of the World Council of Churches.
If the mutually reinforcing information provided by the above-mentioned persons is true and accurate, there is no respectable and plausible reason for World War II to have continued beyond 1943. That it did so, was, above all, to the advantage of Joseph Stalin and the utopian schemers (on both sides of the Atlantic) eager to create a Brave New World on the wreckage and the ashes of the wanton devastation wrought by the Allied Forces in 1944 and 1945. This article is intended to show that the prolongation of the war was not in the least due to the activities of Swiss bankers and industrialists. It was due to the conscious and deliberate efforts of FDR, Winston Churchill, and their advisors. No doubt many of these people are the heroes and idols of Edgar Bronfman and his cohorts.
As Hitler's most experienced diplomat, Franz von Papen had been given a most difficult task. He was to offset British influence in Turkey, prevent that country from joining the Allies, and maintain friendly trade relations to insure continued delivery of the most strategically vital item without which Germany's war effort would grind to a halt: chromium (Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, trans. Richard and Clara Winston Avon Books, 1971, p. 410). There was no other source for this raw material, without which Germany could produce no high-grade steel.
When he arrived in April 1939 (Franz von Papen, Memoirs, trans. Brian Connell New York: Dutton, 1953, p. 446), von Papen found the Turks somewhat cool toward Germany (Ulrich von Hassell, The von Hassell Diaries (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1947), p. 190.), but by 1943 he had established excellent relations with that country's statesmen and military leaders (von Papen, Memoirs, pp. 494-95.). He shared and was able to capitalize on the dominant motivations of the Turks: fear of Russian aggression and desire to stay out of the fighting. Von Papen was perfectly satisfied with Turkey's diplomatic stance that friendship to Britain came first, and was able to assure his hosts that Germany harbored no aggressive intentions toward Turkey (Ibid p. 495).
On March 21, 1943, von Papen, on his own initiative, took advantage of a ceremony honoring Turkey's war dead to again send out peace feelers to "the Western powers, to study again...the role that Germany must play, a historic mission with its roots deep in the sands of time. They would then be better able to appreciate...the Russian giant....(Ibid, pp. 494-96.)"
He appealed to statesmen in Britain and America to help with a new organization of Europe to meet the threat of Russian Communism. He made especially pointed and flattering references to FDR, feeling that was from where the initiative should come. Von Papen writes:
"My remarks were widely reported in the enemy press and my conception of European solidarity was widely commented on. It remained for President Roosevelt to pick up the threads. The reaction in Germany was curious. I expected a violent outburst from (German Foreign Secretary) Ribbentrop because I had again disregarded his instructions not to mention the subject of peace; but nothing of the sort occurred. Perhaps they were afraid to disavow me before the whole world" (Ibid, p. 496).
By mid-April, von Papen took a trip to Berlin and was taken by Ribbentrop, in the latter's train, to Hilter's last Prussian headquarters. During this journey, which took place in the aftermath of the Stalingrad disaster, von Papen saw his government and its policies in a new light. "There was no difference between the Bolshevism they decried and the Nazi regime. There was no point in my arguing with Ribbentrop, and I merely remarked that it was quite clear that my generation had no further part to play under such a system of government (Ibid, p. 496)."
Having been a general staff officer during the First World War, von Papen was astonished at the mess Hitler was making of the military situation, especially by his interference in the tactical decisions of local commanders. On his return to Berlin, he found "morale was at zero." He was invited out to dinner by two high-ranking Nazis, both formerly enthusiastic about Hitler's regime. They informed him now that "the Bolshevist methods introduced by Hitler" could only destroy Germany. One of them was Count Wolff-Heinrich Helldorf, Berlin's chief of police. Through them he was informed of the anti-Hitler conspiracy headed by former army chief of staff, Ludwig Beck, and Carl Goerdeler. But before attempting to kidnap Hitler, the conspirators needed "to know what attitude the Western Powers would adopt toward a Germany liberated from Hitler's leadership and seeking just peace terms(Ibid, p. 498: and Gerhard Ritter, The German Resistance: Carl Goerdeler's Struggle Against Tyranny, trans. R.l. Clark New York: Praeger, 1958)." Von Papen was given the task of ascertaining this.
Most importantly, the opposition to Hitler would have to be assured that the people who were about to risk their lives in an attempt to overthrow Hitler would, if they succeeded, be faced with something better than the "unconditional surrender" formula proclaimed as a British-American war aim at the Casablanca Conference of Churchill and Roosevelt in January 1943. Von Papen needed to know "whether they would grant, to a German Government which met democratic requirements, the rights to which Germany's history and position entitled her. This must be the decisive factor in any further step (von Papen, Memoirs, p. 499; and Albert C. Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports! New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1958, p. 417.)."
Von Papen promised to get in touch with FDR. He decided to ask his friend, Baron Kurt von Lersner (a friend of FDR) to make contact with the former governor of Pennsylvania, Commander George H. Earle, FDR's personal representative (i.e., eyes and ears) for the Balkans, stationed in Istanbul. In the meantime, German Intelligence chief, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, long in contact with the Beck-Goerdeler group, had also decided to make the same attempt through Navy Captain Paul Leverkuehn, an internationally-known lawyer and acquaintance of William J. Donovan, head of the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (Heinz Hoehne, Canaris, trans. J. Maxwell Brownjohn Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979, pp. 482-83; Ritter, Goerdeler's Struggle; and von Papen, Memoirs, pp. 488-89, 499.).
According to U.S. Colonel Curtis B. Dall (who wrote FDR, My Exploited Father-in-Law), Governor Earle, years later, reminisced thus about the incident: ...one morning there was a knock on his (Earle's) hotel room door...and there stood...in civilian clothes...Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the German Secret Service. The gist..was there were many sensible German people...feeling that Hitler was leading their nation down a destructive path. Admiral Canaris continued, saving that the unconditional surrender policy recently announced...the German generals could not swallow.... (A)n honorable surrender from the German army to the American forces...could be arranged. That the real enemy of western-civilization (Soviet Communism) could then be stopped. The German Army, if so directed, would move to the eastern front and stop the Communist Army's march into eastern Europe.
Then followed a meeting with the German ambassador... von Papen, a devout Roman Catholic and strongly anti-Hitler in his feelings (Hamilton Fish, FDR: The Other Side of the Coin New York: Vantage Press, 1962, p. 238.)....
As Dall relates it, Earle soon became convinced of the sincerity of Canaris and von Papen, and strongly persuaded of sinister hidden designs of the Soviet Government, including its objective to establish the USSR as the supreme power in Europe. Commander Earle immediately sent an urgent message to Washington via diplomatic pouch, requesting a prompt reply. A month later, Canaris phoned, as had been agreed, but Earle could only say "I am waiting for news, but have none today." Several months, and several follow-up messages, passed but still no reply. Presumably Earle had informed FDR that this peace probe had the full backing of "the Pope, Papal Secretary of State Maglione, Nuncio Roncali (the later Pope John XXIII), and Bishop Montini (the later Pope Paul VI." (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 484; and von Papen, Memoirs, p. 459.)
According to von Papen's Memoirs (English translation) these peace probes were initiated in April. According to Heinz Hoehne (biographer of Canaris), Earle and Canaris were already face to face in January 1943 (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 483). It is not necessarily a contradiction, as Earle mentions (in the account to Dall, published in Fish's book) that he first met Canaris and then von Papen.
In the Hoehne version, Canaris urges von Papen's friend Lersner ìto keep in touch with Earle at all costs," even after FDR ordered a halt to further negotiations with Canaris, apparently sometime in May. Yet, even after this order came, Lersner let Earle in on the details of the plan of Captain Georg von Boeslager to surround Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia with his 3,000-man cavalry detachment and capture Hitler, Himmler and Bormann (Ibid, p. 484; and von Papen, Memoirs, pp. 498-99).
The original contact between the Beck-Goerdeler group and von Papen was the former Rhodes scholar and German Foreign Ministry official, Adam von Trott zu Solz, a prominent member of Count Helmuth von Moltke's Kreisau circle and well known in Britain and America for his 1939 peace efforts (von Papen, Memoirs, p. 499; Christopher Sykes, Tormented Loyalty (New York: Harper and Row, l969), pp. 280-85, 292-322: and Hans Rothfels, The German Opposition to Hitler, trans. Lawrence Wilson (Chicago: Regnery, 1962), pp. 130-33). By June von Moltke himself came to Istanbul with the suggestion that a German General Staff officer to go to Britain "to arrange with the Western Allies to open up the German Western Front" (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 484; and Hoffmann, German Resistance p. 226)
William J. Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services was able to persuade his old friend, Paul Leverkuehn, of the Abwehr, "to sign a statement, typed on official paper from the German Embassy in Ankara, in which Canaris' representative promised on behalf of the German opposition that German military commanders would offer no resistance if the Allies invaded France" (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 484; and Hoffmann, German Resistance, pp. 226, 598).
On October 4, 1943, von Papen received what he thought might be an answer to his feelers through Commander Earle. An American in his late thirties, traveling on a Portuguese passport, asked to speak to von Papen on behalf of President Roosevelt. He brought with him a roll of microfilm which outlined conditions to serve as a basis of peace, once Hitler had been arrested and handed over to the Allies for "fair trial." The envoy suggested that Hitler be kidnapped during one of his many flights by having his plane land in Allied occupied territory. The peace terms on the microfilm included pre-war borders on Germany's Nest and an independent Poland. The Ukraine was to be formally independent, but economically within Germany's sphere. Von Papen writes:
"I told our emissary that these conditions seemed to provide a solid basis for peace talks. But...Germany would do much better to decline any association with the Ukraine...We then went into further details of a peace settlement in which I presented again my propositions for European unity. I made it quite clear that I could not take any further step until I had written proof from President Roosevelt that he would undertake to negotiate on the basis we had discussed.... No one on the German side could take responsibility for the drastic steps involved merely on the basis of vague generalizations such as President Wilson's fourteen points." (von Papen, Memoirs, p. 505).
The envoy expressed doubt that FDR could be prevailed upon to commit himself in writing. He suggested that von Papen fly to Cairo, where the President was due to arrive shortly, and take it up with him in person. Von Papen declined to risk such a flight out of fear that news of it would be bound to leak out, and he would be stranded as an Èmigre, in which capacity, he could serve no useful purpose. The envoy promised to return to Von Papen after getting in touch with Roosevelt. He never returned, leaving doubts in von Papen's mind regarding the authenticity of his mission (Ibid, p. 505.).
While Commander Earle was still left in doubt as to whether his increasingly urgent messages were getting through to the President the secret service chiefs of Germany, Britain and the U.S. decided on a momentous decision of their own. Wilhelm Canaris, General Menzies, Chief of British Intelligence and William J. Donovan met unofficially, and secretly (of course), at Santander, Spain, in the summer of 1943, for the purpose of searching for a way to get their respective countries to stop fighting (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 484.).
Canaris had been the one to propose the meeting, and he also:
...presented Menzies and Donovan with his peace plan... a cease fire in the West, Hitler to be eliminated or handed over, and continuation of the War in the East. The British general raised few objections and even the... American bowed to the German Admiral's logic.... F. Justus von Linem, an Abwehr officer who was present at Santander recalls: "Donovan, his British colleague and C[anaris] reached an agreement on the basis of C's proposal..." But...Roosevelt called his presumptuous OSS chief to heel and the head of the SIS took pains to minimize the significance of his forbidden trip to Spain vis-a-vis the British Foreign office (Ibid, pp. 484-86.).
Nevertheless, back in Istanbul:
"Governor Earle...then prepared and sent a most urgent message to Roosevelt in Washington, not only via the diplomatic pouch but through Army-Navy channels this time, to make sure the important message got through to FDR." (Fish, FDR, p. 239).
In November, 1943, von Moltke of the Kreisau circle received word that contact with the American President had been established and Alexander Kirk (whom von Moltke had known since 1936) would soon be in Turkey for secret discussions. With the help of Canaris, von Moltke was able to go to Istanbul in December.
But Kirk was not in Istanbul after all. Moltke was under imminent threat of arrest.... He did meet Major-General O.R.G. Tindall, the American Military Attache in Turkey.... the American merely wanted military information from Moltke. (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 227).
At one point Donovan himself flew to New York with a peace offer. Professor Karl Brandt of Stanford University was called in to give his opinion on the authenticity of the resistance movement and the letter containing the peace offer.
The letter said...opposition could not guarantee that the entire western front would remain inactive in the event of an Allied invasion; it had, however, sufficient influence to ensure that counter-measures against an Allied landing would at least be delayed.... Western powers should be prepared to negotiate with a German government formed by the opposition after a coup. (Ibid, pp. 227, 598).
With Brandt's endorsement, the letter was taken, under guard, to Washington. In spite of Donovan's pleadings "President Roosevelt had flatly declined to negotiate with 'these East German Junkers.'" On January 10th, 1944, Kirk wrote to von Moltke, who had offered to come to Istanbul again, that "...war could be ended by nothing other than the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht." The letter never reached him. The Gestapo picked him up on January 19th (Ibid, p. 227; and Sykes, Tormented Loyalty, p. 412).
In March, 1944, von Papen decided to make another effort to persuade FDR, through Earle, to mitigate "unconditional surrender" and accept a separate surrender of the German armies to the Western Allies. He decided, in case of favorable reply to his probe, to secretly fly Earle to Germany for a discussion of terms and conditions with two members of the Beck-Goerdeler resistance group: Count Gottfried Bismarck (grandson of the Iron Chancellor) and Berlin Chief of Police, Count Wolf-Heinrich Helldorf (von Papen, Memoirs, p. 522; and Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports!, p. 418).
A plane had been readied in Istanbul ...upon receipt of the hoped-for favorable reply from Roosevelt, Governor Earle was to fly to an undisclosed spot in Germany there to receive more details leading to surrender terms.... The plane near Istanbul awaited the next step -- and it waited and waited, finally, in effect a purported answer did come. It was that he should take up with the field commander in Europe any proposal for a negotiated peace. Could any procedure have been more impractical or tragic (Fish, FDR, pp. 239-40)?
According to Earle's account of the whole episode, as published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 30, 1959, von Papen's offer of a separate peace in return for handing over Hitler "was explained to President Roosevelt at once, by courier, and rejected." FDR insisted that any attempt at negotiation had to go through Eisenhower, a general with whom von Papen had no contact ...nor was he in a position to make a decision of a purely political nature." Earle flew to Washington for a personal confrontation with the President who forbade him to talk about the matter and sent him "to Samoa as Deputy Governor of 16,000 natives" (von Papen, Memoirs, p. 523; and Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports!, p. 417).
In a certain sense there was not a single year between 1933 and 1945 during which there was not some contact or attempt at contact, between the anti-Hitler opposition and either Britain or the Unites States, or both. However, many of these contacts or feelers did not involve significant opposition figures or organizations and usually had very limited scope.
Beginning in early 1937,"the first 'cell' of the Resistance Movement" was formed by Ludwig Beck, Army Chief of staff, and Carl Goerdeler, who had just resigned as Mayor of Leipzig as a gesture in defiance of Nazi anti-Semitism (Ritter, Goerdeler's Struggle, pp. 35-3G, 75-79). As financial adviser to the Robert Bosch firm of Stuttgart, Goerdeler was sent abroad by his employer "on business" between early 1937 and late 1939 to the U.S., Britain, Switzerland, Palestine and a dozen other countries, making contact with persons interested in the overthrow of Hitler's regime (Ibid, pp. 47, 81, 83, 305, 484; and Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 153).
In September, 1939, Adam von Trott zu Solz, a former Rhodes Scholar with many valuable contacts in England (notably Lord Halifax) was able to leave Germany on a grant from the Rhodes Trust (Sykes, Tormented Loyalty, p. 287; Gallin, Ethical and Religious Factors, pp. 109-111; and Harold C. Deutsch, The Conspiracy Against Hitler in the Twilight War Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1968, p. 151). Von Trott had for years been active in helping persecuted Jews in Germany. He was able to persuade Baron Ernst von Weizsaecker, a high official of the German Foreign Ministry, to temporarily attach him to the Information Department so that he could travel officially to the U. S. Weizsaecker persuaded his ministry "that a mission by Adam to the United States could be of great value to Germany in whose foreign policy American neutrality- was a major objective" (Sykes Tormented Loyalty, p. 287).
Adam had set himself a definite task.... Since the war had broken out the aim of preventing it was now translated into terms of confining it and bringing it to an end as soon as possible...by an anti-Nazi uprising in Germany. This uprising needed the encouragement of... a close and generous definition of 'war aims', in which neutral America would be associated.... There must be the strongest guarantee that anti-Nazism would not be rewarded by Draconian terms of settlement. (Never did he forget the lesson of Weimar.)
. . . He thought that the independence of Czechoslovakia and Poland ought to be restored in full, but the union with Austria maintained and the Polish corridor redrawn to remove a perennial grievance ( Ibid, p. 291).
Von Trott had no doubts about Nazi brutality and fanaticism, but he wanted a post-Hitler government to build upon the positive achievements of the Nazi-regime "notably the Labor Corps, which had swiftly relieved the misery of unemployment in Germany; the masterly network of...roads: the revitalized social services and the slum clearance." (Ibid, pp. 291-92).
Almost immediately upon disembarking in New York, von Trott came under the strong suspicion of the FBI of being a Nazi spy and sending radio messages back home (Hoffmann, German Resistance, pp. 116-17; and Sykes, Tormented Loyalty p. 293). This suspicion would continue to hound him throughout his stay in the U.S., in spite of his spending much of his time with prominent Americans associated with the Foreign Policy Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Institute of Pacific Relations. Von Trott had no doubt that he was being followed and that his telephone conversations were being monitored, but at first he was convinced it was being done by the Nazis. "It was only slowly that he realized that this shadowing was the work of the FBI."(Sykes, Tormented Loyalty, p. 296).
In Washington, through an intermediary, von Trott was able to get a memorandum on peace terms with post-Hitler Germany to Assistant State Secretary, George Messersmith, on November 13th, 1939. The latter's response was enthusiastic. He had 24 copies made and distributed to prominent people, including FDR. "...it seems that the President himself had read the paper with approval" (Ibid, p. 302; Hoffmann, German Resistance, pp. 114-1G; and Deutsch, Twilight War, p. 151). One copy went to "a man much esteemed by the President," Felix Frankfurter. "...Adam's meeting with him in Boston in 1937 had been particularly happy. He looked forward to meeting him again, but...he knew how bitter this leading Zionist had become against Germany" (Sykes, Tormented Loyalty, p. 303).
The two of them hit if off very badly this time. Frankfurter resented the implications "that the Treaty of Versailles had led to the rise of Hitler." And von Trott's open candor, the very trait that endeared him to most people, infuriated his host, causing Frankfurter to find his remarks intolerable and insulting" (Ibid. pp. 303-04; and Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 117). According to von Trott's account of the meeting, the fatal remark to Frankfurter was: "Would you react so strongly against the plan (put forward in the memorandum) if you were not a Jew?"
From this time on Adam's mission began to fail. Mistrust increased. Undoubtedly this mistrust was helped on agitation against him maintained strenuously by Felix Frankfurter.... To this day the mistrust persists in America. It came from many different quarters. It's main origin was that FBI conviction that Adam was not only a Nazi agent but Hitler's master-spy. As usually happens when a name is blackened by rumor, many chance circumstances seem to afford proof of iniquity. Adam's enforced secretiveness as to what he was doing seemed to mark him out as following the trade of espionage, but his openness in moments of indiscretion pointed, in the eyes of the FBI, to the same conclusion (Sykes, Tormented Loyalty, pp. 304-05).
With the failure of von Trott's mission began the habit of turning down or disregarding peace overtures by members of the anti-Hitler opposition. With the rapid conquest of Western Europe by the German army in 1940, Hitler's popularity soared and the hopes of the opposition plummeted (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 205; and Ritter Goerdeler's Struggle, pp. 100-125). Beck, Goerdeler, Ulrich von Hassle, Wilhelm Canaris, Helmuth von Moltke and others of the top leaders opposed to littler had no doubt that Germany was bound, eventually, to lose the war which at the moment seemed so glorious. But they also knew that if they overthrew Hitler now they would be condemned by the vast majority of their compatriots for having betrayed their country at its moment of victory and having caused its defeat. For most, especially the army generals, it seemed too bitter a remedy a hopeless situation.
In spite of the gloomy prospects, Helmuth von Moltke's Kreisau circle maintained contact during 1940 with Alexander C. Kirk, the American Chargé in Berlin. To contact the British they depended on Albrecht Haushofer, son of the famous geopolitician, General Karl Haushofer. Albrecht was a friend of Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, in spite of the fact that his mother was half Jewish. On September 19, 1940, Haushofer wrote a letter to the Duke of Hamilton who had access to both the King and Churchill. The letter was an invitation for a get-together "somewhere like Portugal for a highly important discussion..." Although the letter reached the Duke, Haushofer received no answer.
In January, 1941, the Swiss professor, Carl Jacob Burckhardt, approached Ulrich von Hassell in Geneva to convey to him
...private word from London that people there were still ready to conclude a negotiated peace with Germany... somewhat on the following basis: reestablishment of Belgium, Holland and some form of Poland minus the former German provinces; Denmark and the Czech area remain German spheres of influence; the former German colonies restored. None of this could be done with Hitler, however, whose word no one believed any more (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 208).
It seems more than likely that this was the peace offer that induced Hess to fly to Britain on May 10, 1941,in search of the Duke of Hamilton, in order to make peace between Germany and Britain. Hitler apparently blamed the Haushofers, at least in part, for the flight of his deputy. Albrecht was arrested immediately upon his return from Switzerland and not released until the summer of 1941 (Gallin, Ethical and Religious Factors, pp. 122-23). In increasing disfavor, he was killed by an SS-squad in April 1945 (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 209).
In May, 1941, James D. Mooney, President of the General Motors Overseas Corporation, traveled incognito to Germany posing as Frederico Stallforth (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 477). He talked with a large number of high-ranking military officers, including generals Walter von Brauchitsch and Wilhelm Keitel. At a luncheon with a group of officers, where several expressed the hope that war with the United States would not occur, Mooney "replied that neither the United States nor Britain would make peace with the present German Government. In answer to a question of one officer concerning what the situation would be if there were a change in government, Mooney replied, "that probably the whole regime would have to be replaced by a constitutional one." He also expressed the belief that a constitutional monarchy on the British model would be acceptable (Hoffman. German Resistance, p. 212).
The next day one of the officers present at the luncheon came by for a private talk. He vas assured that it was possible that "the army would be acceptable as a negotiating partner."
The officer stated these conditions:
(1) No double-crossing of Germany, as happened after Germany's acceptance of Wilson's Fourteen Points. (2) The Army to remain in control to avoid chaos. ...Stallforth said it should be possible...and he mentioned...Donovan.... The German officer mentioned. Falkenhausen, Lialder, Stuepnagel and Hassell (Ibid, p. 212).
By October, Mooney had returned from the United States and informed von Hassell that "the proposition had been well received." Von Hassell suggested a cease fire between Germany and Britain on the condition that the existing government be removed and occupied territories vacated, "except the Saar, Austria and Danzig. Poland got German East Prussia and Germany the Polish Corridor, and the Allies waived reparations" (Hoehne, Canaris, p. 478).
On his return from Paris in January, 1942, von Hassel visited Burokhardt in Geneva. The latter told him, "in the view of government circles close to Lord Halifax and Churchill peace could still be concluded with a 'decent Germany.'" At this point Britain was willing to use Germany's 1914 borders as "a perfectly practical basis for peace talks" (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 212). This was after von Hassel had refused Mooney's telephoned invitation from New York "to meet some 'authorized person' in Lisbon." Von Hassel wanted to know by whom the person was "authorized", and was reluctant to expose himself to the many eyes watching Lisbon. He also had some doubts concerning Mooney himself. Furthermore, he did not know, how he could prove for
whom he (von Hassell) was speaking (von Hassell, Diaries, pp. 217-18).
From von Hassel's point of view, a new complication was the August, 1941, Churchill-Roosevelt declaration of the "Atlantic Charter," in effect a statement of ,joint war-aims nearly- four months before the United States' formal entry into the war. Particularly bothersome was paragraph 8, "which certainly would be interpreted by our generals as proof that England and America are not fighting only against Hitler but also want to smash Germany and render her defenseless" (Ibid, p. 203).
It also seems that Britain was using information obtained through the Mooney ("Stallforth") talks with the German military as ammunition in its propaganda war. For example "English radio broadcast to the effect that Papen had said indiscreetly that before long the regime would be overthrown by a military dictatorship under Falkenhausen" (Ibid, p. 208).
Von Hassell later found out that von Papen had said nothing remotely resembling the statement attributed to him by the British. But Falkenhausen had been mentioned to Mooney as a leading member of the opposition (see above).
On the other hand, von Hassell's diary makes clear the urgency felt by leaders of the opposition to get peace talks going before it would be too late.
"In Berlin I saw Popitz, Oster and Dohnanyi and also visited General Olbricht. They were unanimously convinced that it would soon be too late. Then our chances for victory are obviously gone or only very slim there will be nothing to be done." (Ibid, p. 209)
German ambassador to Turkey, von Papen, had been continually sending out unauthorized peace feelers, and getting the carpet by Ribbentrop for having done so. His offer to resign was rejected and Ribbentrop began to treat him better.(Ibid, p. 217).
However, von Hassell and much of the military leadership were convinced by this time that Britain and the United States would never make peace with Hitler (Ibid, p. 240). On the other hand, General Jodl and many others were equally certain that the Western Allies were fighting not to get rid of Nazism but to destroy Germany, thus getting rid of Hitler would only play into their hands by creating chaos and causing a civil war (Anne Armstrong. Unconditional Surrender: The Impact of the Casablanca Policy Upon World War II New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1961, pp. 276-77). Von Hassell also found out through Burckhardt that powerful people in Britain were just as opposed to the traditional German aristocracy as they were toward the Nazis who were trying to annihilate that aristocracy (Von Hassell, Diaries, pp. 209, 240).
As late as September, 1941, von Hassel had been assured by Mooney ("Stallforth") that FDR's policy "was to bring about the downfall of Hitler; if this succeeded, peace would be possible." In response to von Hassel's query about the restoration of the monarchy, Mooney indicated "Prince Louis Ferdinand would be downright popular." As for the other members of the regime, Mooney "pointed to Ribbentrop as the principal mischief maker. Halifax...has indicated that Ribbentrop bears the chief responsibility for the war" (Ibid, pp. 213-14). However, about this same time Bulgaria began to doubt the possibility of an ultimate German victory and began to look for a way to disassociate herself from her axis alliance and even within Germany it became "apparent that in Himmler's outfit they are seriously worried and looking for a way out." By January, 1942, von Hassell notes in his diary, those,
"...who joined the party out of honest idealism...cannot cope with what is happening in Russia: mass murders of Jews which demoralize both the perpetrators and the onlookers and immeasurably befoul our honor as a nation.... brutal treatment of the Russians, and, of late...the Ukrainians as well, exceeding anything yet known." (Ibid, pp. 213, 21G, 242)
The transformation of the attitude toward peace probes from the German opposition is probably best exemplified by the experiences of the American head of the Associated Press bureau in Berlin, Louis P. Lochner. Toward the end of September, 1941, when it became known that Lochner would soon be returning to the United States, he was approached by Ernst von Harnack on behalf of the German organized opposition to Hitler. In November, he was taken to a meeting of at least a dozen persons representing the leadership of the now dissolved free labor movement, of several former political parties, and of the non-Nazi dominated "Confessional" (fundamentalist) Lutheran churches. Also present were personal representatives of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and former army chief of staff, General Ludwig Beck, representing the government which would take over upon the overthrow of Hitler's regime.
Lochner was chosen because he was known to be a friend of FDR and of Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, both of whom knew one another (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 214). He was commissioned by the group to inform the American President "in the greatest detail of the opposition's composition, aims, and activities. He was also to ask the President to say something on the form of government America would prefer for a Germany liberated from Hitler (Gallin, Ethical and Religious Factors, p. 124; and Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 214).
Because of mutual declarations of war following December, 1941, Lochner's trip home was delayed by half a year. In June, 1942, he desperately and insistently attempted to get through to FDR "saying that he had personal and confidential messages from Prince and Princess Louis Ferdinand...and secret information on resistance groups in Germany which he might not confide to anyone else.
After all attempts to see the President in person failed, Lochner went back to Chicago and wrote from there. No answer ever came from the White House but the Washington office of the Associated Press informed him, "that there was no desire to receive his information and he was requested to refrain from further efforts to transmit it" (Hoffmann, German Resistance, p. 215).
Peter Hoffmann concludes:
"The United States was not merely fighting the Nazi regime but a people permeated by an illiberal ideology who had learnt nothing from a fearful defeat.... (A) total victory must be won. Looked at in this light, the American government, as Lochner was informed, could only be embarrassed if it learnt and was forced to acknowledge that an anti-Hitler opposition existed in Germany, capable of taking over the government."
An indication that the new "Germany must be destroyed" attitude went into effect at about the same time in Britain was indicated by British reaction to the Ecumenical Council of Churches' efforts to find a way out, which originated with Helmuth von Moltke's Kreisau Circle. Adam von Trott zu Solz together with the German Protestant clergymen, Dr. Hans Schoenfeld and Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier, drafted a memorandum on possible peace terms with the Western Allies and "handed it to Dr. W.A. Vissert Hooft, Secretary General of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, intended for Sir Strafford Cripps, the British Lord Privy Seal" (Ibid, p. 216).
The memorandum pleaded for solidarity between the German resistance movement and the "civilized world" on the basis of opposition to "destruction so vast...even the victors would suffer from extreme poverty....totalitarian control...increasing even in liberal countries...tendency to anarchism and the abandonment of all established civilized standards...the threat of bolshevization.... The memorandum asked that the Western Allies not decry in public "statements and appeals of the German opposition" (Ibid, p. 216). It attempted to portray the horrors of world revolution which the German resistance saw as the sole alternative to a negotiated peace between Germany and the Western Allies.
Among peace feelers, this document was probably unique in that it spelled out in detail why the resistance movement needed to count on at least the passive cooperation of Britain and the United States if it were to successfully supplant Hitler's regime with one enjoying the broad backing of all significant sectors of the German populace. It indicated that the elimination of Hitler would still leave in place the power of the Gestapo which would likely foment "Nazi revolts after the coup," and the hatred toward Germans in the occupied territories which would make an orderly withdrawal difficult. Cripps read the memorandum with enthusiasm and handed it to Churchill, "who thought it 'very encouraging' as he noted in the margin." He gave no answer to it (Ibid, pp. 217-18).
During May, 1942, German pastors Hans Schoenfeld and Dietrich Bonhoeffer separately traveled to Sweden for meetings with Vissert Hooft and Bishop Bell of the Ecumenical Movement. It vas in this context that Bonhoeffer acknowledged that he prayed for the defeat of his own country. Nevertheless, pastors Bonhoeffer and Schoenfeld explained that it made no sense for "the resistance movement accepting all the perils...if the Allied governments intended to mete out to a Germany purged of Hitler and his minions exactly the same treatment as to a Hitler-Germany" (Ibid, p. 220).
When Bishop Bell returned to England he got in touch with Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden on June 20, 1942. Eden's response was that he could envisage "the possibility that...the two pastors were being used by the German government to put forward peace feelers; similar attempts....were being made...in Turkey and Spain." At this point Bishop Bell gave Eden a secret memorandum dealing with the substance of what was discussed with the pastors representing the resistance, including the resistance objective "to eliminate the Hitler regime including Himmler, Goering, Goebbels and the heads of the Gestapo, the S.S. and the S.A." (Ibid, p. 221).
The resistance also asked whether Britain would like to see a revival of the monarchy in Germany, and if so, would they approve of Prince Louis Ferdinand. The movement pledged itself to "renounce-aggression, repeal the Nuremberg laws and cooperate an international solution of the Jewish question." They also pledged the next government to make good the damage wreaked by German armed forces. They would settle for either private or public response to their feelers.
Bishop Bell, incidentally, had pumped Bonhoeffer for the names of the leaders of the opposition (nearly all of whom were executed following July 20, 1944), so Eden knew with what level of opposition he was dealing. Yet on July 17, 1942, Eden responded to Bishop Bell that he had come to the conclusion that it would not be in Great Britain's national interest to reply." Copies handed to the American Ambassador in London to be passed on to the State Department in Washington did not even evoke a response (Ibid, p. 220-23).
Simultaneously with the climax of the Battle of Stalingrad, when on January 24, 1943, the German sixth Army was cut in two by Soviet forces, Roosevelt and Churchill announced the policy of "Unconditional Surrender" (Armstrong, Unconditional Surrender, p. 119). At precisely the moment when the German armed forces lost the possibility of waging an offensive war, the Western Allies declared what became in effect "total war," such as had not been seen in Western civilization since the destruction of Carthage. To underscore the point, Anglo-American bombing policies now concentrated on the civilian population, at the expense of strategic military targets (Ibid, p. 166; and David Irving, The Destruction of Dresden New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1963, pp. 32-53).
Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta
All that fanatical Nazi rage could do at this point was to take revenge on war's most helpless victims. The number of concentration camp victims (mainly Jews and Poles) during 1943 (the first year that the 'facilities' were functioning fully was probably something near the ratio of 5:1 of concentration camp victims to German civilians killed in bombing raids (Arthur D. Hiorse, While Six Million Died New York: Random House, 1968, pp. 222-224; and David Irving, Hitler's War New York: Viking Press, 1977), pp. XIV, XV, 291, 303, 326-30, 393, 510, 525, 575, 631).
That Western civilization returned to pre-Christian standards was made clear by "Stalin's demand at the Teheran Conference (November, 1943) for four million Germans to serve as forced labor in the USSR indicating in the words of Admiral Doenitz that in the event of our submitting "we should have no rights whatever, but would be wholly at the mercy of our enemies" (Armstrong, Unconditional Surrender, p. 147).
At least one person not directly involved in the conflict saw what was at stake:
Pope Pius XII in June, 1944, warned President Roosevelt...that "the temple of peace would stand and endure only if... not alloyed with vindictive passion or any elements of hatred." The Pope explained...that he considered the demand for "unconditional surrender" incompatible with Christian doctrine (Ibid, p. 262).
German General Heinz Guderian claims that "the demand for 'unconditional surrender' certainly contributed to the destruction of every hope in Germany for a reasonable peace." He called FDR the "gravedigger not only of Germany but also of Europe" and says that the "entire civilized world" will have to pay for Roosevelt's policy. "With the destruction of Germany
Europe was deprived of the dam against Bolshevism. He considers the policy an unmitigated disaster from every angle. "The effect...on the Army was great. The soldiers...were convinced...that our enemies...were no longer fighting...against Hitler...but against their efficient, and therefore dangerous, rivals for the trade of the world" (Ibid, pp. 141-42).
"...some members of the anti-Nazi resistance movement insist that this proclamation disrupted their organization overnight.... (Generals) Kluge and Flanstein, for example, now refused implement their opposition to Hitler since the Allies seemed determined to destroy Germany...(General Alfred) Jodl warned that there was now clearly no political solution possible, that there was only one way out -- a fight to the finish -- that capitulation under the Casablanca Formula would mean the end of the German nation... (T)he German people...were soon fired by Goebbels... with determination for the all-out program he called Total War" (Ibid, pp. 119-20).
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