Thoughts about D-day (2)


 It might be said that everyone should have abided by the decisions of the Versailles Conference in these things, even if they felt that they had not got their entitlement as participants in the victorious Entente.  But, with the rejection of Versailles by the American Congress, and the demoralising of France by Britain, Versailles was effectively Britain.  And Britain had subverted Versailles by collaborating with Germany—not with Weimar Germany but with Nazi Germany—to break the conditions which it imposed on Germany.

Britain collaborated with Hitler in many breaches of Versailles:  it authorised the building of a German Navy, allowed the expansion of the Army, the militarisation of the Rhineland, the merger with Austria, and it intimidated the Czechoslovak Government into giving Hitler the Sudetenland, which had never been part of the German state.  Then it decided to make the comparatively trivial issue of Danzig into a war issue.

Britain had refused requests from Germany and Austria to merge when both states were democracies, but it allowed the merger, when both states had become Fascist.  This had a particularly alienating effect on Italy, which had been a supporter of Austrian independence, and had been prepared to act in defence of it until Britain sold the pass.

(And it might be mentioned that, following the decline of Social Democracy, Austria was governed by a patriotically Austrian form of Fascism that was in conflict with the German form, and that some of these Austro-Fascists later took part in the 'Anti-Fascist War'.)


After taking its Army out of its War in July 1940, Britain would not allow other wars to run their course as local wars.  It needed to pull them into the ambit of its own War, which it was intent on developing into another World War.  That was its policy of spreading the War.

At the same time it put a major effort into persuading United States public opinion that Germany was intent on a conquest of America.  It was an absurd idea which had little influence on American neutrality.  The US made good business out of the War, making weapons for Britain and taking its assets in payment.  When it went to war it was for its own purposes.  Its "manifest destiny" had told it for a generation that it must make war on Japan—which had been driven into the conflicts of world affairs by American warships in the 1850s.  It set up its war with Japan—whose outcome was never in doubt—and Hitler conveniently declared war on it as a nominal ally of Japan, although Japan was neutral in the German/Russian War.

The USA was the great prize in Britain's campaign to spread the War.  But, by the time Germany declared war on the USA, the character of Britain's War had been changed utterly by the acquisition of Russia as an ally.


The Anti-Fascist War was the Russian war of defence against the German invasion.

Fascism had developed after 1918 in the European states whose internal life had been disrupted by the Great War and in which the fundamentalist class-war socialism of the Bolshevik Revolution was becoming a mass movement.  Pre-War European Liberalism, reduced to tatters by the War, had little power of resistance.  Western capitalist civilisation was saved by the Fascist movement, whose originator was Mussolini—so said the great Western hero of the Anti-Fascist War, Winston Churchill.

Mussolini's Fascism had its roots in his alliance with Britain at the start of the 1914 War.  The Italian Government, supported by the Catholic Church and the Socialist Party, declared neutrality in the War.  Mussolini, a prominent figure on the revolutionary wing of the Socialist Party, founded a movement to enter the War as an ally of Britain for an irredentist nationalist purpose.  That combination of radical Socialism and militant Nationalism flourished in the post-1918 situation when Britain denied Italy much of what it had been promised in 1915.

National Socialism, which reconciled the disrupted masses to the continuation of the capitalist market with some modifications, and which overcame the chaos of fundamentalist party conflict by the establishment of authoritative government by a Party drawn from Left and Right, saved Capitalism from Communism between the Wars, and was widely recognised as having done so.

Then, as a consequence of the bizarre conduct of British foreign policy, Britain found itself in a dependent alliance with Communism against the force which Churchill had recognised as having saved Europe from Communism.

And then there was nothing for it but to churn out the propaganda of the Anti-Fascist War—the Communist war against Fascism.  British propaganda had to appear to be committed to the Soviet account of the War while waiting for a return of the situation in which anti-Soviet propaganda could be resumed.  And so for three years it saturated the world with Soviet propaganda and helped to generate a strong Communist movement in Europe.

Then, with the defeat of Germany, it reverted to the status quo ante.  The Anti-Fascist War led to the development of a strong, militant Communist movement in Greece.  And so, after the War, liberal-democratic Britain had to take part in the Greek Civil War and help the Fascist collaborators to put down the Communists.

Fascism was not formally rehabilitated after the "Anti-Fascist War" of the West had served its purpose, but situations requiring Fascist treatment recurred and were supported.  The name was out of favour, but not the thing.  And there was a discreet pretence that the Fascist regimes in Spain and Portugal, which continued for a generation after the War, were not really Fascist at all.

(And Professor Tom Garvin of University College Dublin went as far as saying that the actual Fascist Party in Ireland was the anti-Fascist Party, Fianna Fail, while the party that said it was Fascist, Fine Gael, was the democratic party.)


The Second World War streamlined the world.  It cast aside the multi-polar structure of five or six major Powers and divided the world between two Superpowers.  And, looked at from a Western viewpoint, it reduced political culture, or ideology, to a simple spurious division between Freedom and Communism.

There was no integrity in the War which produced this simplification.  What it was about changed from year to year.  And there is no integrity, and no realism, to the ideological straitjackets into which the post-War world was set.  And this lack of integrity has become particularly evident since the collapse of Communism and the triumph of Freedom 25 years ago.