By Theodore Shoebat
French President Emmanuel Macron is encouraging Poland to renew relations with France as a way to fill the vacuum caused by Brexit. Macron also placed an emphasis on cultivating stronger collective defense between EU states, a message that is said with the purpose of appealing to Poland who fears Russian encroachment, especially with the situation of Ukraine. Macron, in a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, made an expression of solidarity:
“I’ll be happy the day Polish people can tell each other: ‘The day I’m attacked, I know Europe can protect us’. Because that day, the sense of European belonging will be indestructible”
Macron is attempting to calm the Poles from their consternation over France’s attempt to warm relations between Poland and Russia in 2019. In the press conference with Duda, Macron told Poland: “France has not become pro-Russia, like I hear sometimes, France is neither for nor against Russia. France is pro-European”.
In December of 2019, Macron affirmed at the NATO summit that Russia is “no enemy” but “a partner and neighbor.” But Polish officials hold that there should be no attempts made to better ties with the Kremlin. In his joint press conference with Duda, Macron stated that he wants to revive trilateral relations between Germany, France and Poland and stated that these three countries “bear responsibility for Europe’s future” and indicated that his statements were a response to the effects of Brexit when he described the press conference as “pretty special, a few days after Brexit, because it also shows our will, between strategic partners, big European powers, being able to … reactivate a productive dialogue and make our Europe stronger, more sovereign, more united.”
But for Poland to be an equal to Germany in power is impossible, because for centuries Germany has worked to oppress, enslave and even exterminate the Poles.
With Britain absent from the EU, the British have lost their power to control Germany who is going to use this opportunity to only grow her military strength.
Trump, the president revered by the American Right, helped to facilitate Brexit by having such friendly relations with Nigel Farage and praising Boris Johnson. Trump said “I would say [the British] are better off without [the E.U.], personally”. Soon after the November, 2016 election, Aaron Banks, the one who bankrolled Brexit, wrote: “Nigel and Donald love each other… The media don’t really get how deep the links go.” In another message Banks wrote: “We are in daily contact with the Trump campaign—Brexit playbook!”
What nobody has observed in the media is that Brexit is a catalyst to the next European war.
Poland and Germany currently have political tensions which have been clearly seen in recent years. In December of 2017, the EU triggered the first part of Article 7 (Article 7.1) against Poland, and thus is close to barring the country from having a vote in EU councils. This has never happened before in the history of the EU, and it took place as a response to the Polish government’s encroachment on its Supreme Court since it wanted to purge it of judges deemed too Left-wing. In July of 2018, Poland, in complete disobedience to Germany, sacked a third of its Supreme Court judges who were described by Poland’s governing Law and Justice party as a caste of crooks. Poland is now being monitored by the European Union and could actually become the target of sanctions if the next stage of Article 7 (Article 7.2) gets unleashed on the EU state.
On February 4th of 2020, Polish President Andrzej Duda authorized a law allowing government officials to punish judges for actions deemed as harmful, according to the New York Times:
“Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday signed into law much-criticized legislation that gives politicians the power to fine and fire judges whose actions and decisions they consider harmful.
The legislation has drawn condemnation from the European Union and international human rights organizations as well as from Poland’s opposition and some judges”
Macron is trying to subside tensions and bring harmony between Germany, France and Poland. But here is the issue that nobody in media wants to point to: You cannot establish harmony between Germany and Poland because Germany wants to be number one in Europe. Macron’s attempt to get Poland to somehow fill in the gap dug in by Brexit is impossible on account of the realty of German ideals of supremacy that are rooted in a deep history of aspirations of power and domination in Europe.
German Hatred For Poles
To have a clearer understanding of the history of German-Polish tensions, one should look to an historical region called the Province of Posen. With the crushing and tearing apart of the French Empire, the German territories that were once under Napoleon were broken up and divided amongst the Allies who fought the French. Prussia, which had done much of the heavy fighting, was denied by Czar Alexander the right to rule over the German territories on the left bank of the Rhine. The Czar dreamt of a liberal kingdom of Poland and established “Congress Poland”.
But Prussia did eventually get Polish territories, and the biggest one was the Province of Posen, a strip of territory which connected West Prussia with Silesia. (See Taylor, German History, p. 45). In addition to Posen, the Germans of Prussia would also control another region heavily inhabited by Poles: West Prussia. It was this immense Polish population that would impede Prussian (Germanic) domination (and lets not forget that it was the Prussian Germans who would create the German empire, that is the first united Germany of 1871). To reference A.J.P. Taylor, “the Polish question” would “define the limits of German power.” (Ibid, p. 47).
Czar Alexander regretted giving Posen to the Prussians who feared that their Polish subjects would be attracted to the Russians’ Congress Poland. The Prussians tried to control the Poles of Posen by gaining the favor of the poorer classes and telling the Poles that their national character would be respected and preserved. The Prussians allowed Posen to have the Polish coat-of-arms and the prestigious title of Grand Duchy and the peasants were given better rights than the other Polish regions. Posen, in the words of Taylor, “was for some years the freest and most Polish part of the partitioned lands” (Ibid, p. 59). Posen, because of its freedom and preservation of Polish culture, became the center for Polish liberation ideology against Russian control over other Polish territories. In 1830 a Polish revolt against Russia ignited but was crushed in 1831 and the Polish government under Czardom, “Congress Poland,” was forced under the control of the Russian military. Prussia then turned on the Poles of Posen, ceasing the rights and prestige granted to them and commencing a policy of Germanization in the region (Ibid, p. 60).
The hatred for Russia which was seething in Posen was witnessed by the Germans who, instead of suppressing it, knew that they could use the anger to their advantage. Radical German nationalists, who hated the Poles, devised a plan to start a war against Russia through the Poles of Posen. People who despised the Poles were now posing as supporters of the Polish cause for freedom. The plan was to get the Poles to fight the Russians to liberate Poles in Czarist controlled territory, and once they got their victory, to then force them under German control.
The plan ended up working because the Poles (knowing German conspiracy), instead of fighting the Russians, turned on the Germans, giving them the pretext they needed to force them completely under German control. At the end of April of 1848, Prussian forces crushed the Polish fighters and expelled the Polish administrators in Posen. The Germans then split up the Grand Duchy of Posen, declaring the larger portion to be German while the remaining fragment was a place where Germans had privileges that the Poles would be denied from having (Ibid, pp. 85-86).
For many decades, the Poles would be used as the cause for German unity; in order for Germany to remain strong and united, the Polish enemy needed to be kept in line. Otto von Bismarck, the uniter of Germany, presented himself as the champion of the “national” cause of Germany. Even the map of Bismarck’s Germany had to be constructed in a way that marketed this idea: it illustrated German borders as containing not only East and West Prussia but also Posen which had never been within German borders before.
The suppression of the Poles became a manifestation of German unity: for their oppression was a necessity for unification. This oppression involved the persecution of the Catholic Church, the promotion of German schools and the denial of Posen’s autonomy. The anti-Catholic hysteria was no doubt rooted in the patriarch of German nationalism, Martin Luther, who said: “We consider everything allowable against the deception and depravity of the Papal antichrist” (Wiener, Luther, p. 47) Germany’s anti-Polish policy meant having another ally, Russia, which also struggled against the Poles. Anti-Polish sentiment is what helped unite Bismarckian Germany with Czarist Russia. In fact, Czarist Russia supported Bismarck’s anti-Polish and anti-Catholic Kulturkampf policy since it, too, was in conflict with the Catholic Poles. (Taylor, pp. 150-151, 140).
Germany and Russia
Russia’s alliances with Germany have always been out of geopolitical goals of expansion and influence. In 1870 Bismarck’s Prussia went to war against France and in 1871 the French surrendered. As a result, France had to give away the lands of Alsace and Lorraine which had been French for two hundred years. Also as a result of this victory, the German princes were induced to give their allegiance to Wilhelm I, and on January 18th, 1871, through the might of Prussia, Germany was officially a united country.
Russia could have stopped the rise of Germany but refused because of one thing: the Black Sea. In 1856, a war between Russia and the Ottomans (called the Crimean War) was concluded through the Treaty of Paris which stipulated that no navy ships could be in the Black Sea. The intention of this was to block Russian encroachment in the Black Sea. The Russians obviously hated this and in 1870 took advantage of the Prussian-French war by denouncing the Treaty of Paris and deploying navy ships into the Black Sea.
The Germans also wanted to nullify the Treaty of Paris in spite of England and this brought them to agreement with the Russians. England wanted the Treaty of Paris to be maintained, but Bismarck argued that since England did not help the Germans fight the French, then why should they honor the Treaty? The Germans were eclipsing British power by taring apart the Treaty of Paris and thus allowing Russia to put her ships in the Black Sea (ibid, 125; Gardner, The Failure to Prevent World War 1, p. 48).
While Germany and Russia have always had tensions, they have also had points of agreement and collaboration. They have both shared hatred for the Poles and this was seen from the 19th century all the way to when the Third Reich and the Soviet Union split Poland in half and butchered the Poles by the millions.
In our own times Russia invaded Ukraine and took Crimea to have direct access to the Black Sea (just as Russia wanted the Black Sea in 1870); Russian backed separatists have also been fighting Ukrainians over eastern Ukraine (Donbas) where there are many ethnic Russians who support Moscow. Germany (alongside France) just recently pushed Ukraine to sign onto the Steinmeier Formula (proposed by Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier) which would give autonomy to the two regions of Donbas, Donetsk and Luhansk, thus creating two Russian satellites within Ukraine.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, signed onto the Steinmeier Formula which caused an uproar of controversy in his country. What is interesting is how Germany, which has used Russia’s invasion of Crimea as a reason to boost its military, pushed for this formula which would benefit Russia’s encroachment into Ukraine. Another thing that ties into this is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is almost complete, will be owned by Berlin, and will allow for natural gas to transport directly from Russia to Germany.
Russia has been transporting natural gas to Europe through Poland and Ukraine and thus has to pay transit fees to these countries. A major deterrence for Ukraine against Russia is the fact that Russia has to go through Ukraine to flow out natural gas. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline bypasses Ukraine and thus lowers her power. Poland has been very worried about this pipeline because she sees it as a Russian geopolitical strategy to remove Polish leverage. The German newspaper, Die Welt, observed that the ones who will endure the worst effects of Nord Stream 2 will be the Poles and Ukrainians: “The losers [will be – ed.] Poland, Ukraine and those European countries for which the security requirement is justified, which want to curb rather than fuel the Russian need for aggression”.
The Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia, has reported that Nord Stream 2 is not about economic gain as it is for geopolitical power, stating that it will “deprive Ukraine of important sources of influence, leaving it more subordinate to the Kremlin, supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine”. The United States has slapped sanctions onto European companies involved in Nord Stream 2 and this has angered the Germans who view this as America trying to control their industrial decisions. What we are viewing is a German backlash against American power as she strives to expand herself in Europe and make the European Bloc an even bigger global powerhouse especially now that Britain is out of the way.
In the 19th century, in the age of European imperialism, each country would get what lands it could grab: the French took North Africa (with the exception of Egypt which Britain had taken); Russia went across Asia (until it had to deal with resistance from Britain in Persia and Japan in Korea); Austria-Hungry dominated the Balkans, and England had the largest of the European empires. But where was Germany to go? She was right in the middle of Europe, right in between Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. Germany was not to conquer lands across the oceans, but to conquer Europe herself. In the words of Taylor:
“For Germany it was all or nothing: either to maintain static and unchanged the Reich created by Bismarck in 1871, or to overthrow the European order in a bid for European domination.” (Ibid, p. 155)
German nationalism and an ideology of supremacy was very strong in German intellectual circles. The German politician and writer, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Jordan, declared in regards to the Poles of Posen that the right of the stronger is the determining factor and “healthy national egoism” required that Posen be German. This “healthy national egoism” would be the seed germinating into the Third Reich’s “blood and iron” (Ibid, p. 86).
The idea of German supremacy would perpetuate and mutate, and one can see this from the 19th century to the 20th century. One can see this in the concept of Mitteleuropa, or the idea of a Europe united by Germany. The idea goes back to the 19th century thinker and politician, Karl Ludwig von Bruck. The Minister of Commerce (and a powerful merchant), Bruck believed that Germany’s manifest destiny did not lie westward across the oceans (like the British Empire), but within Europe, within the Balkans and beyond even to Turkey (Ibid, pp. 99-100).
This idea did not die. In the middle of the First World War, a German politician and Protestant pastor named Friedrich Naumann wrote a book entitled, Mitteleuropa, in which he advocated for a Central European integration with the “minor” states placed under German rule. In the 1920s and 1930s, the politician and philosopher, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, strongly advocated for the idea of Paneuropa, which was to be a political and economic union that would protect Central Europe from geopolitical and economic encroachments from Russia and the Anglosphere (the UK and the US) (see Varoufakis, And the Weak Suffer What They Must? ch. 2, p. 46). The concept of Mitteleuropa-Paneuropa would still not die. One very famous German politician would declare his vision of a Europe united under Germany:
“The people of Europe understand increasingly that the great issues dividing us, when compared with those which will emerge and will be resolved between continents, are nothing but trivial family feuds … I am convinced in fifty years Europeans will not be thinking in terms of separate countries.”
These words were exclaimed by Joseph Goebbels in 1940 (ibid, p. 202). One major Nazi diplomat, Hans Frohwein, would echo these views in 1943:
“The solution to economic problems … with the eventual object of a European customs union and a free European market, a European clearing system and stable exchange rates in Europe, looking towards a European currency union.” (ibid, 303)
Today we have a free European market and a European customs union in the European Union, and in this period of Brexit we have one of the most powerful European politicians, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, saying things like:
“It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands.”
And we have Jean-Claude Juncker who, when he was the President of the EU Commission, said in 2018:
“At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence”
These statements have been recently coming out the European Union, and in such rhetoric we see a resistance to American power which shows the continuation of the concept of Coudenhove-Kalergi’s Paneuropa. Now that Britain is no longer in the EU, the Bloc has lost its biggest contributor to defense. This is going to lead to Germany filling up this gap, widening herself and expanding towards her ultimate vision of Mitteleuropa, going from just being the economic powerhouse to becoming also the militarist powerhouse over Europe.
Brexit has been praised by its supporters as meaning more freedom for the British. But how does this mean more freedom when the British have forfeited their position to veto German attempts at creating a German led pan-European military force? Britain, by leaving the EU, has thrown away all the power she had as the main contributor to European defense, because now with her gone, German will gladly take her position and boost herself as the defender of Europe. Obama was correct when he pointed out that “It leverages UK power to be part of the EU.”
France is trying to prop up Poland, but given the long history of German oppression of Poles, Germany will not allow for Poland to be her equal because that would hinder Germanic domination.
Germans, wanting to have their Mitteleuropa-Paneuropa, with Germany as the big powerhouse controlling Europe, got what they wanted when Britain left the Union, because now Germany’s biggest obstacle to her plans of pan-European defense is gone. Germany will bolster her power, and with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, both Russia and Germany will increase their power while weaker states like Ukraine and Poland will lose leverage. We can entertain ourselves with the common modern fantasy that Europe will not have another war, but centuries of history bring such an idea to nought, and a millennia of experience laughs at our hubris.