State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

IV. By Their Fruits




“When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn—when, instead of the continuous progress which we have come to expect, we find ourselves threatened by evils associated by us with past ages of barbarism—we naturally blame anything but ourselves.”              -F. A. Hayek

                Quigley writes quite often endorsing the Round Table leadership, and reminding us how good their motives are.  A small sample of this praise:

 “…They were gracious and cultured gentlemen of somewhat limited social experience who were much concerned with the freedom of expression of minorities and the rule of law for all, who constantly thought in terms of Anglo-American solidarity, of political partition and federation, and who were convinced that they could gracefully civilize the Boers of South Africa, the Irish, the Arabs, and the Hindus…” (Page 954).

          It is necessary to decide if these are great people who should be supported as leaders, or if they are not to be trusted with such power.  What were the results of this quest to “gracefully civilize the Boers”?  Quigley’s account is this:

          “By 1895 the Transvaal Republic presented an acute problem.  All political control was in the hands of a rural, backward, Bible-reading, racist minority of Boers, while all economic wealth was in the hands of a violent, aggressive majority of foreigners (Uitlanders), most of whom lived in the new city of Johannesburg.  The Uitlanders, who were twice as numerous as the Boers and owned two-thirds of the land and nine-tenths of the wealth of the country, were prevented from participation in political life or from becoming citizens (except after fourteen years’ residence) and were irritated by a series of minor pinpricks and extortions (such as tax differentials, a dynamite monopoly, and transportation restrictions) and by rumors that the Transvaal president, Paul Kruger, was intriguing to obtain some kind of German intervention and protection.  At this point in 1895, Rhodes made his plans to overthrow Kruger’s government by an uprising in Johannesburg, financed by himself and Beit, and led by his brother Frank Rhodes, Abe Bailey, and other supporters, followed by an invasion of the Transvaal by a force led by Jameson from Bechuanaland and Rhodesia.  Flora Shaw used The Times to prepare public opinion in England, while Albert Grey and others negotiated with Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain for the official support that was necessary.  Unfortunately, when the revolt fizzled out in Johannesburg, Jameson raided anyway in an effort to revive it, and was easily captured by the Boers.  The public officials involved denounced the plot, loudly proclaimed their surprise at the event, and were able to whitewash most of the participants in the subsequent parliamentary inquiry.   A telegram from the German Kaiser to President Kruger of the Transvaal, congratulating him on his success “in preserving the independence of his country without the need to call for aid from his friends, was built up by The Times into an example of brazen German interference in British affairs, and almost eclipsed Jameson’s aggression.

    Rhodes (L) and Beit (R)

          “Rhodes was stopped only temporarily…  For almost two years he and his friends stayed quiet, waiting for the storm to blow over.  Then they began to act again.  Propaganda, most of it true, about the plight of the Uitlanders in the Transvaal Republic flooded England and South Africa from Flora Shaw, W. T. Stead, Edmund Garrett and others; Milner was made high commissioner of South Africa (1897); Brett worked his way into the confidence of the monarchy to become its chief political adviser during a period of more than twenty-five years (he wrote almost daily letters of advice to King Edward during his reign, 1901-1910).  By a process whose details are still obscure, a brilliant, young graduate of Cambridge, Jan Smuts, who had been a vigorous supporter of Rhodes and acted as his agent in Kimberley as late as 1895 and who was one of the most important members of the Rhodes-Milner group in the period 1908-1950, went to the Transvaal and, by violent anti-British agitation, became state secretary of that country (although a British subject) and chief political advisor to President Kruger; Milner made provocative troop movements on the Boer frontiers in spite of the vigorous protests of his commanding general in South Africa, who had to be removed; and, finally, was precipitated when Smuts drew up an ultimatum insisting that the British troop movements cease and when this was rejected by Milner.

         Jan Smuts

          “The Boer War (1899-1902) was one of the most important events in British imperial history.  The ability of 40,000 Boer farmers to hold off ten times as many British for three years, inflicting a series of defeats on them over that period, destroyed faith in British power.  Although the Boer republics were defeated and annexed in 1902, Britain’s confidence was so shaken that it made a treaty with Japan in the same year providing that if either signer became engaged in war with two enemies in the Far East the other signer would come to the rescue” (Pages 136-138).

          So, were the problems solved that had been the reason for this long and bloody war?  Here are some of the political results of the war:

          “Jameson’s party, under his successor, Sir Thomas Smartt (a paid agent of the Rhodes organization), had dissident elements because of the growth of white labor unions which insisted on anti-native legislation.  By 1914 these formed a separate Labour Party under F. H. P. Creswell, and were able to win from Smuts a law excluding natives from most semiskilled or skilled work or any high-paying positions (1911).  The natives were compelled to work for wages, however low, by the need to obtain cash for taxes and by the inadequacy of the native reserves to support them from their own agricultural activities.  By the Land Act of 1913 about 7 percent of the land area was reserved for future land purchases by natives and the other 93 percent for purchase by whites.  At that time the native population exceeded the whites by at least fourfold” (Page 139).

          This example was chosen because it demonstrates how this group has operated from the beginning.  Wars and oppressions have inevitably followed the very skillful, secret maneuvers of this group.  They were in the middle of the diplomatic issues surrounding World War I.  They (the international bankers) profited from the post war reparations more than anyone, and left Germany with major problems.  Another example will show how they encouraged Hitler, maybe with the best of intentions, but with the worst of results.

          “One of the effusions of this group was the project called Union Now, and later Union Now with Great Britain, propagated in the United States in 1938-1945 by Clarence Streit on behalf of Lord Lothian and the Rhodes Trust.  Ultimately, the inner circle of this group arrived at the idea of the “three-bloc world.”  It was believed that this system could force Germany to keep the peace (after it absorbed Europe) because it would be squeezed between the Atlantic bloc and the Soviet Union, while the Soviet Union could be forced to keep the peace because it would be squeezed between Japan and Germany.  This plan would work only if Germany and the Soviet Union could be brought into contact with each other by abandoning to Germany Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Polish Corridor” (Page 583).

          The British people were against this idea, so they used propaganda to try and get the results they wanted.

“…The appeasers swallowed the steady propaganda (much of it emanating from Chatham House, The Times, the Round Table Groups, or Rhodes circles) that the Germans had been deceived and brutally treated in 1919. …” (Page 583)

          “As a result of these attacks and a barrage of similar attacks on the treaty which continued year after year, British public opinion acquired a guilty conscience about the Treaty of Versailles, and was quite unprepared to take any steps to enforce it by 1930.  On this feeling, which owed so much to the British idea of sportsmanlike conduct toward a beaten opponent, was built the movement for appeasement.  This movement had two basic assumptions:  (a) that reparation must be made for Britain’s treatment of Germany in 1919 and (b) that if Germany’s most obvious demands, such as arms equality, remilitarization of the Rhineland, and perhaps union with Austria, were met, Germany would become satisfied and peaceful.  The trouble with this argument was that once Germany reached this point, it would be very difficult to prevent Germany from going further (such as taking the Sudetenland and the Polish Corridor).

          “The “peace at any price” people were both few and lacking in influence in Britain, while the contrary, as we shall see, was true in France.  However, in the period August 1935 to March 1939 and especially in September 1938, the government built upon the fears of this group by steadily exaggerating Germany’s armed might and belittling their own, by calculated indiscretions (like the statement in September 1938, that there were no real antiaircraft defenses in London), by constant hammering at the danger of an overwhelming air attack without warning, by building ostentatious and quite useless air-raid trenches in the streets and parks of London, and by insisting through daily warnings that everyone must be fitted with a gas mask immediately (although the danger of a gas attack was nil).

          “In this way, the government put London into a panic in 1938 for the first time since 1804 or even 1678.  And by this panic, Chamberlain was able to get the British people to accept the destruction of Czechoslovakia, wrapping it up in a piece of paper, marked “peace in our time,” which he obtained from Hitler, as he confided to that ruthless dictator, “for British public opinion.”  Once this panic passed, Chamberlain found it impossible to get the British public to follow his program…he had to adopt the dangerous expedient of pretending to resist (in order to satisfy the British public) while really continuing to make every possible concession to Hitler…” (Page 584)

      Chamberlain and Hitler   

          “Chamberlain’s motives were not bad ones; he wanted peace so that he could devote Britain’s “limited resources” to social welfare; but he was narrow and totally ignorant of the realities of power, convinced that international politics could be conducted in terms of secret deals, as business was, and he was quite ruthless in carrying out his aims, especially in his readiness to sacrifice non-English persons, who, in his eyes, did not count” (Page 585).

          We can’t lay the blame for World War II on the Rhodes group, but their secret deals definitely enabled Hitler.  Perhaps, if they weren’t so caught up in the three-bloc-world idea, they may have been able to see Hitler for who he was, as much of the rest of the world did.  However, other atrocities, which may compare to World War II, have been real, if unintended consequences of the methods and power of these secret groups.

6 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Troy B.

     /  April 17, 2011

    I find this to be true, that secret machinations for personal ambition or profit often bring unintended results. Results that too often cause pain and heartache to not only the schemer, but the completely innocent. As I read this section, I realized I have always operated under the belief that Germany was treated unfairly and thus became ripe for manipulation by Hitler. I had never considered or realized the possibility of other schemes occurring. I have to teach this stuff next year so it may do me well to revisit some of these major events.

  2. Ben

     /  April 21, 2011

    4-20-2011 This evening on the O’Reilly Factor, Dennis miller gave the following quote when discussing Al Gore. “Beware of Prophets whose motive is Profit.”

  3. Troy B.

     /  April 23, 2011

    True. We should consider the intent with which people proclaim their messages. However, the message might still be true even though the messenger is flawed.

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