September 17, 2008

JUST BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T MUCH OF AN OPPONENT...:

Their struggle (Niall Ferguson, September 13 2008, Financial Times)

In September 1942 Heinrich Himmler had an imperial vision. In the 20 years after Germany’s victory in the war, “the Germanic peoples” would grow in number from 83 million to 120 million and would resettle all the land Germany had conquered from Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Soviet Union. They would go forth and multiply in splendid new provinces with names such as “Ingermanland”. Autobahns and high-speed railways would connect a “string of pearls” – fortified German outposts – as far as the Don, the Volga and ultimately even the Urals. In Himmler’s words, the German conquest of “the East” would be “the greatest piece of colonisation which the world will ever have seen”.

In reality, the Nazi empire turned out to be the least successful piece of colonisation ever seen. Launched in 1938, the campaign to expand beyond Germany’s 1871 borders peaked in late 1942, by which time the empire encompassed around one-third of the European land-mass and nearly half its inhabitants – 244 million people. Yet by October 1944, when the Red Army marched into East Prussia, it was gone, making it one of the shortest-lived empires in all history, as well as one of the worst. [...]

The short duration of the Nazi empire was, of course, primarily for military reasons. Once the Third Reich was embroiled in a war with not only the British Empire but also the Soviet Union and the US, its empire was surely doomed. [...]

In many ways Hitler’s Empire was the reductio ad absurdum of a concept that by 1945 had passed its historical sell-by date. It had seemed plausible for centuries that the road to riches lay through the exploitation of foreign peoples and their land. Long before the word Lebensraum was coined, empires had contended for new places to settle, new people to tax. Yet in the course of the 20th century, it gradually became apparent that an industrial economy could operate perfectly well without colonies. Indeed, colonies might be something of a needless burden.


...doesn't mean we shouldn't have crushed the. The America Firsters were right that they were no threat, but America is never about putting itself first for very long.


Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2008 11:17 AM
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