Current Concerns: After your previous books “Hitler’s American teachers” and “Strippenzieher hinter den Kulissen” (Off-stage puppetmasters) you deal with the background of the eternal war against Russia in “Der Griff nach Eurasien” (Getting hold of Eurasia), your latest book. What prompted you to write this book, and what are – in a nutshell – its main ideas?
Hermann Ploppa: You already referred to my first two books. As by-products of my research for these I gained so much information about what really happened in the 20th century that I could not keep all of that to myself. The traditional narrative about the causes of Hitler’s success was the start. It became clear quite soon that Hitler didn’t make millions for his power base just with his “charisma” or his allegedly hypnotising gaze and rhetorical talent. And that there had been some other sources in addition to membership fees and occasional donations by German industrialists. To put it bluntly, Fascist organisations are not really ideological endeavours, but sub-contractors to corporations, trusts, secret services or the military. The German Nazi party was showered with incredible sums of money by Anglo-American corporations in order to secure Germany’s integration into the Anglo-American power matrix. Because, and that brings me to the core thesis of my current book, traditionally Germany had entertained close relations with Russia. Prussia in particular had a special relationship with Russia. And when Germany’s further development had been hindered by the dictated Versailles peace treaty of 1920 neither the Reich government nor the military had second thoughts about starting close, or one might even say intimate relations with the recently founded Soviet Union by signing the treaty of Rapallo in 1922. This included arms development for the air-force as well as tanks. And this policy was suddenly and brutally put to an end by the Hitler dictatorship. After the Second World War the Western powers enforced the partition of Germany in-order to turn West Germany into an explosive hub of nuclear and conventional weapons. In my book I explain how despite the Western alliance all chancellors tried to achieve more national sovereignty in cooperation with France or the Soviet Union.
At present we are in a difficult situation. Because meanwhile the successor states of the Warsaw treaty have emerged between Germany and Russia, whose governments fully endorse the aggressive position of the USA against Russia. Those states have started to form the Intermarium1 as a frontline against Russia. Germany finds herself in a dangerous middle position: there are no real options for new development in the West. And the German federal government cuts us out from the dynamic future options of Eurasia, keyword: New Silk Road, and supports the russophobic doctrine of the USA instead. Which is a suicidal recipe in my opinion.
The first chapter of your book is dedicated to the influential British geographer Halford Mackinder and his heartland-theory from the time before the First World War. Why?
Everybody is focussed today on the remark made by George Friedman at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, in which he states that the aim of US foreign policy had always been to drive a wedge between Germany and Russia to prevent such an alliance to be on equal footing with the USA. However, there is nothing new about this remark. The same agenda was promoted by Halford Mackinder, who was tremendously influential as a British intellectual at his time. Mackinder saw clearly that the English were about to lose their grip on the earth when technical progress of railways and automobiles would challenge their maritime monopoly. On the one hand they would like to exploit the continental Eurasian plate themselves in terms of its huge natural resources. On the other hand, Mackinder figured that the English were too few to conquer this landmass all on their own and would need to outsource this task to imperial sub-contractors. Therefore, Mackinder explicitly warned against an alliance between Germany and Russia. His agenda became the great leitmotif of both England and the US in the 20th century. Both states were prepared to wage extremely destructive wars for this end. Only thanks to a string of lucky coincidences the world escaped another torched-earth scenario after the Second World War.
How are the roles distributed in this “getting hold of Eurasia” project, within the Anglo-Saxon powers and their economic and financial interests acting, i.e. not only England but also the USA etc.?
By dividing the natural resources of Eurasia between themselves Britain and the USA hoped for an enormous increase of their economic potentials, and at the same time the natives of this landmass are regarded as consumers of goods. These are still the same goals the First World War had been fought for. But then the relatively stable Soviet Union was established. Reluctantly, trade relations and later even diplomatic relations were started, but at the same time the attempts to destroy the hated communist system with military and covert means never stopped.
Which role does NATO play today?
After the end of the Second World War, both Britain with their operation unthinkable and the USA with their operation dropshot favoured the plan to destroy the Soviet Union militarily when they were still suffering from the consequences of the war. When it became clear that this plan wouldn’t work the US government started the Marshall Plan in-order to rebuild the Western European states within their sphere of influence first. As soon as this had been accomplished NATO was founded. From this time on the regenerated Western European Allies had to finance their Anti-Soviet arms race themselves. “Getting hold of Eurasia“ had now become a US American project financed by the Western European tax payers via NATO.
The role of Germany in this scenario has always been ambiguous: On the one hand cooperation with Russia, on the other hand frontline state for the attack on Russia and the Soviet Union. How can this be explained?
It is a game of dialectics. On the one hand the USA have built extremely influential networks in the Federal republic of Germany over decades from which the elites were recruited. Every chancellor made his or her career thanks to these networks. On the other hand, once they are in office all chancellors inevitably come to realise that they can’t completely ignore the common good of their country. First and foremost, they realise this in connection with the German economy. For that reason, chancellor Ludwig Erhard responded to the contact offers of the Soviet leader Chruschtschow regarding a possible German reunification in connection with massive developmental aid for the Soviet economy. Erhard’s predecessor Adenauer went even further. He started to work towards an alliance between the Federal republic with France as a European power-political counterbalance to the US. Helmut Kohl later agreed with Gorbachev on the German-Soviet co-operation. This would have had the potential to bring the Federal republic on equal footing with the USA at once. But the Soviet Union was dissolved by Russian president Jelzin and so this option disappeared as well. Chancellor Merkel has tried to keep the road to the East open to a certain extent by the German membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. But the German government fully endorses the aggressive US policy against Russia, which is bound to be detrimental for Germany in the long run.
You mention politicians in your book who have tried to pursue their own ways independently of the US American imperial claim, for-instance the before-mentioned Nikita Khrushchev, Charles de Gaulle and also Konrad Adenauer, whom you mentioned as well, but also one US president, namely Dwight D. Eisenhower. What characterised their policies?
Indeed, I have looked more closely at three eminent politicians. All three of them have a record of mainly positive achievements: Chruschtschow remarkably improved the social situation of the Soviet population and on top of that he frustrated all US ambitions to attack the Soviet Union by the successful development of an intercontinental rocket system. De Gaulle basically reinvented France during the Second World War and during the Cold war he constantly worked towards less dependency of Europe on the USA. Eisenhower used his enormous prestige as a World War general to prevent nuclear strikes of the US military once he had become president. I use their example to show that modern societies may be governed by networks only but no longer single-handedly by individuals, however impressive human beings they might be.
You write that there might be alternatives to the “death of the lemmings” and to the confrontation mode. Which role might the citizens of the Western countries play in this regard? Which practical advice would you offer to those who want to oppose the “getting hold of Eurasia” project?
Indeed, the citizens must insist on their rights much more energetically than they used to. It is not enough to make your little cross every four years as part of the Americanised ballot event. For a start, there are still existing traces of former participation in how the society is organised. All kinds of participation in the ownership of our economy are elements of real participation. In Switzerland this works very well with the flourishing co-operative system. To a much lesser extent we still have this in Germany as well, and it must be regenerated. Moreover, we have-to implement direct democracy in Germany, something else which has been working well in and for Switzerland for 150 years now. In addition, we need to politically support small firms and traders who trade with partners in Russia and China. Interconnecting with these states is a contribution to peace. The Future belongs to the Eurasian economy of the New Silk Road, not to the extremely artificial bond to a partner who is divided from us by 8,000km of ocean and who is obviously determined to shipwreck not only themselves but all their allies with them. As it is put in the fairy tale of the Town Musicians of Bremen: Anywhere you will find something better than death.
Thanks a lot for the conversation, Mister Ploppa . •
(Translation Current Concerns)
1 The “Intermarium” was a proposal made by the Polish Marshal Józef Piłsudski after the First World War for a confederate, predominantly Slavic state structure, which was to extend from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea and was strategically directed both against Germany and the still young Soviet Union. At Poland’s request, this initiative of the interwar years was continued in 2016, now with the new name “Three Sees Initiative”. Its members are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Austria. At the 2020 Security Conference in Munich, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged financial support of USD 1 billion for this initiative.
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