by John Beaty
First Printing, December, 1951
For more than a thousand years a fundamental problem of Europe, the source, seat, and historic guardian of Western civilization, has been to save itself and its ideals from destruction by some temporary master of the men and resources of Asia. This statement implies no criticism of the peoples of Asia, for Europe and America have likewise produced leaders whose armies have invaded other continents.
Since the fall of the Roman Empire of the West in 476 A.D., a principal weakness of Western Europe has been a continuing lack of unity. Charlemagne (742-814) - who was crowned Emperor of the West in Rome in 800 - gave the post-Roman European world a generation of unity, and exerted influence even as far as Jerusalem, where he secured the protection of Christian pilgrims to the shrines associated with the birth, the ministry, and the crucifixion of Christ. Unfortunately, Charlemagne's empire was devided shortly after his death into three parts (Treaty of Verdun, 843). From two of these France and Germany derived historic boundaries - and a millennium of wars fought largely to change them!
After Charlemagne's time, the first significant power efforts with a continent-wide common purpose were the Crusades (1096-1291). In medieval Europe the Church of Rome, the only existing international organization, had some of the characteristics of a league of nations, and it sponsored these mass movements of Western Europeans toward the East. In fact, it was Pope Urban II, whose great speech at Clermont, France, on November 26, 1095, initiated the surge of feeling which inspired the people of France, and of Europe in general, for the amazing adventure. The late medieval setting of the epochal speech is re-created with brilliant detail by Harold Lamb in his book, The Crusades: Iron Men and Saints (Doubleday, Doran & Co., inc., Garden City, New York, 1930, Chapters VI and VII ).
The Pope crossed the Alps from schism-torn Italy and, Frenchman himself, stirred the people of France as he rode among them. In the chapel at Clermont, he first swayed the men of the church who had answered his summons to the meeting; then, surrounded by cardinals and mail-clad knights on a golden-canopied platform in a field by the church, he addressed the multitude:
You are girded knights, but you are arrogant with pride. You turn upon your brothers with fury, cutting down one the other. Is this the service of Christ? Come forward to the defense of Christ.
The great Pope gave his eager audience some pertinent and inspiring texts from the recorded words of Jesus Christ:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (The Gospel According to Saint Mattew, Chapter XVIII, Verse 20).
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name,s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Saint Matthew, Chapter XIX, Verse 29).
To the words of the Saviour, the Pope added his own specific promise:
Set forth then upon the way to the Holy Sepulcher. . . and fear not. Your possessions here will be safeguarded, and you will despoil the enemy of greater treasures. Do not fear death, where Christ laid down His life for you. If any should lose their lives, even on the way thither, by sea or land, or in where Christ laid down His life for you. If any should lose their lives, even on the way thither, by sea or land ,or in strife with the pagans, their sins will be requited them. I grant this to all who go, by the power vested in me by God (Harold Lamb, op.cit., P.42).
Through the long winter, men scanned their supplies, hammered out weapons and armor, and dreamed dreams of their holy mission. In the summer that followed, they "started out on what they called the voyage of God" ( Harold Lamb, op. cit., p. VII)
As they faced East they shouted on plains and in mountain valleys, "God wills it."
Back of the Crusades there was a "mixture of motives" (Encyclopedia Britannica, Fourteenth Edition, Vol. VI, p. 722). The immediate goal of those who made the journey was the rescue of the tomb of Christ from the non-Christian power which then dominated Palestine. Each knight wore a cross on his outer garment and they called themselves by a Latin name Cruciati (from crux, cross), or soldiers of the cross, which is translated into English as Crusaders. A probable ecclesiastical objectives were the containment of Mohammedan power and the protection of pilgrims to the Holy Land (encyc. Brit., Vol. VI, p.722
Inspired by the promise of an eternal home in heaven, alike for those who might perish on the way and those who might reach the Holy Sepulcher, the Crusaders could not fail. Some of them survived the multiple perils of the journey and reached Palestine, where they captured the Holy City and founded the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099). In this land, which they popularly called Outremer or Beyond The Sea, they established the means of livelihood, built churches, and saw children and grandchildren born. The Latin Kingdom's weaknesses, vicissitudes, and final destruction by the warriors of Islam, who had been driven back but not destroyed, constitute a vivid chapter of history - alien, however, to the subject matter of The Iron Curtain Over America.
Many of the Crusaders became members of three military religious orders. Unlike the Latin Kingdom, these orders have survived, in one form or another, the epoch of the great adventure, and are of significant interest in the middle of the twentieth century. The Knights Hospitalers - or by their longer title, the Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem were "instituted" upon an older charitable foundation by Pope Paschal II in 1113 (Encyc. Brit. Vol. XIX, pp. 836-838). The fraternity of the Knights Templars (Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon) was founded not as a Hospital but directly as a military order about 1119, and was installed by Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem, in a building known as the "Temple of Solomon" - hence the name Templars (Encyc. Brit., Vol.XXI, pp. 920-924). Both Hospitalers and Templars are fairly well known to those who have read such historical novels as The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott.
The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem maintained its rule for nearly a hundred years, 1099-1187 (see Lamb, op. cit., and The Crusade: The World's Debate, by Hilaire Belloc, Cassell and Company, Ltd., London, 1937). Still longer the Crusaders held Acre on the coast of Palestine. When their position on the time of its dissolution (1306-1312) as an international military brotherhood. The Hospitalers move to the island of Rhodes, where their headquarters buildings - visited and studied by the author still stand in superb preservation facing the waters of the Inland Sea. From Rhodes, the Knights of the Hospital moved to Malta hence their later name, Knights of Malta - and held sovereignty on that famous island until 1798.
The two principal Mediterranean orders and their history, including the assumption of some of their defense functions by Venice and then by Britain, do not further concern us. It is interesting to note, however, as we take leave of the Templars and the Hospitalers, that the three Chivalric Orders of Crusaders are in some cases the direct ancestors and in other cases have afforded the inspiration, including the terminology of knighthood, for many of the important present-day social, fraternal, and philanthropic orders of Europe and America. Among these are the Knights Templar, which is "claimed to be a lineal descendant" of the Crusade order of similar name; the Knights of Pythias, founded in 1864; and the Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882 (quotation and dates from Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, 1934, p. 1370).
The third body of medieval military-religious Crusaders was the Knighthood of the Teutonic Order. This organization was founded as a hospital in the winter of 1190-91 - according to tradition, on a small ship which had been pulled ashore near Acre. Its services came to be so highly regarded that in March, 1198, "the great men of the army and the [Latin] Kingdom raised the brethren of the German Hospital of St. Mary to the rank of an Order of Knights" (Encyc. Brit., Vol. XXI, pp. 983-984). Soon, however, the Order found that "its true work lay on the Eastern frontiers of Germany" (Encyc. Brit., Vol. XXI, p. 894). Invited by a Christian Polish Prince (1226) to help against the still unconverted Prussians, a body of knights sailed down the Vistula establishing blockhouses and pushed eastward to found Koenigsburg in 1255. In 1274, a castle was established at Marienburg and in 1309 the headquarters of the Grand Master was transferred (Encyc. Brit., Vol. XIV, p. 886) from Venice to this remote border city on the Nojat River, an eastern outlet of the Vistula (The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia to 1786, by Sidney Bradshaw Fay, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1937).
It was to the Teutonic Order that the Knight of Chaucer, edited by Clarence Griffin Child, D. C. Heath & Co., Boston, 1912, p. 150). Chaucer's lines (prologue to the Canterbury Tales, II., 52-53): Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce tell us that this Knight occupied the seat of Grand Master, presumably at the capital, Marienburg, and presided over Knights from the various nations assembled in "Puce" (Prussia) to hold the pagan East at bay. In his military-religious capacity Chaucer's Knight "fought for our faith" in fifteen battles, including those in Lithuania and in Russia (Prologue, II., 54-63).
The Teutonic Knights soon drove eastward, or converted to Christianity, the sparsely settled native Prussian people, and assumed sovereignty over East Purssia. They encouraged the immigration of German families of farmers and artisans, and their domain on the south shore of the Baltic became a self-contained German state, outside the Holy Roman Empire. The boundaries varied, at one time reaching the Gulf of Finland ( see Historical Atlas, by William R. Shepherd, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1911, maps 77, 79, 87, 99, 119). "The hundred years from 1309 to 1409 were the Golden Age of the Teutonic Knights, Young nobles from all over Europe found no greater honor than to come out and fight under their banner and be Knighted by their Grand Master" (Fay, op. cit., pp. 32-33). As the years passed, the function of the Teutonic Knights as defenders, or potential defenders, of the Christian West remained unchanged.
Those who founded the Teutonic Order on the hospital ship in Palestine spoke German and from the beginning most of the members were from the various small states into which in medieval times the German people were divided. As the Crusading spirit waned in Europe, fewer Knights were drawn from far-off lands and a correspondingly larger number were recruited from nearby German kingdoms, duchies, and other autonomies.
Meanwile, to Brandenburg, a neighbor state to the west of the Teutonic Order domain, the Emperor Sigismund sent as ruler Prederick of Hohenzollern and five years later made him hereditary elector. "A new era of prosperity, good government, and princely power began with the arrival of the Hohenzollerns in Brandenburg in the summer of 1412" (Fay, op. cit., pp. 7-9).
After its Golden Age, the Teutonic Order suffered from a lack of religious motivation, since all nearby peoples including the Lithuanians had been converted. It suffered, too, from poor administration and from military reverses. To strengthen their position, especially against Poland, the Knights elected Albert of Hohenzollern, a cousin of the contemporary elector Joachim I (rule, 1499-1535), as Grand Master in 1511. Unlike Chaucer's Knight, a lay member who was the father of a promising son, Albert was a clerical member of the Teutonic Order. He and his elector cousin were both great grandsons of Frederick. the first Hohenzollern elector (Fay, op. cit., Passim).
In most German states in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, "things were not right," "there was discontent deep in men's hearts," and "existing powers," ecclesiastical as well as lay, "Abused their trust." The quoted phrases are from an essay, "Luther and the Modern Mind" (The Catholic World, October 1946) by Dr. Thomas P. Neill, who continues:
This was the stage on which Luther appeared when he nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door at Wittenberg on Hallowe'en of 1517. The Catholic Church had come on sorry days, and had there been no Luther there would likely have been a successful revolt anyway. But there was a Luther.
The posting of the famous "ninety-five theses" by Martin Luther foreshadowed his break, complete and final by the spring of 1522, with the Church of Rome. Since the church in Germany was temporarily at a low ebb, as shown by Dr. Neill, Luther's controversy with its authorities won him "the sympathy and support of a large proportion of his countrymen" (Encyc. Brit., Vol.XIV, p. 944).
The outcome was a new form of Christianity, known later as Protestantism, which made quick headway among North Germans and East Germans. Its adherents included many Teutonic Knights, and their German chief was interested. Still nominally a follower of the Church of Rome, Albert visited Luther at Wittenberg in 1523. "Luther advised: Give up your vow as a monk; take a wife; abolish the order; and make yourself hereditary Duke of Prussia". (Fay, op. cit., p. 38). The advice was taken.
Thus since a large proportion of its members and its chief had embraced Protestantism, the Knighthood severed its slender tie with the Church of Rome. In the words of the Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. I, p. 522), "Albert of Hohenzollern, last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order" became "first Duke of Prussia."
In this manner the honorable and historic heritage of extending Christianity in the lands south of the Baltic passed from a military-religious order to a Germany duchy. Prussia and not the Teutonic Order now governed the strategically vital shore land of the southeast Baltic, between the Niemen and Vital shore land of the southeast Baltic, between the Niemen and Vistula rivers.
Proud of their origin as a charitable organization and proud of being a bulwark of Christianity, first Catholic and then Protestant, the people of Prussia, many of them descended from the lay knights, developed a "strong sense of duty and loyalty." From them came also" many of the generals and statesmen who helped to make Prussia great. . ." (Fay, op.cit., p. 2)
This duchy of Prussia was united with Brandenburg in 1618 by the marriage of Anna, daughter and heiress of the second Duke of Prussia, to the elector, John Sigismund (Hohenzollern). Under the latter's grandson, Frederickk William, the "Great Elector" (reign, 1640-1688), Brandenburg-Prussia became second only to Austria among the member states of the Holy Roman Empire some of its territory, acquired from the Teutonic Order, extending even beyond the loose confederation and it was "regarded as the head of German protestantism" (Encyc. Brit., Vol. IV, p. 33 and passim).
By an edict of the Holy Roman Emperor, the state of Brandenburg-Prussia became the kingdom of Prussia in 1701; the royal capital was Berlin, which was in the heart of the old province of Brandenburg. Under Fredirick the Great (reign, 1740-1768), Prussia became one of the most highly developed nations of Europe. A century later, it was the principal component of the German Empire which the Minister-President of prussia, Otto von Bismarck, caused to be proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles (January 18, 1871).
Prussia's historic function, inherited from the Teutonic Order of standing as a bastion on the Baltic approach to Europe, was never fully forgotten by the west. The Hohenzollern monarchy was the strongest Protestant power on the continent and its relations with the governments of both England and America were intimate and friendly. The royal family of England several times married into the Prussian dynasty. Frederick William II of Brandenburg-Prussia, later to be Frederick, first king of Prussia (see preceding paragraph) helped William of England of Orange, the archenemy of Louis XIV of France, to land in England, where he became (1688) co-soverign with his wife, Mary Stuart, and a friend and helper of the American colonies. It was a prussian Baron, Frederick William von Steuben, whom General George Washington made Inspector General (May, 1778), responsible 1815 Prussian troops under Field Marshal von Bluecher helped save Wellington's England from Napoleon. In 1902 Pruce Henry of Prussia, brother of the German Emperor, paid a state visit to the United States and received at West Point, Annapolis, Washington, and elsewhere, as royal a welcome as was ever accorded to a foreign visitor by the government of the United States. The statue of Frederick the Great, presented in appreciation, stood in front of the main building of the Army War College in Washington during two wars between the countrymen of Frederick of Hohenzollen and the countrymen George Washington, an evidence in bronze of the old Western view that fundamental relationships between peoples should survive the temporary disturbances occasioned by wars.
The friendly relationships between the United States and Germany existed not only on the governmental level but were cemented by close racial kinship. Not only is the basic blood stream of persons of English descent very nearly identical with that of Germans; in addition, nearly a fourth of the Americans of the early twentieth century were actually of German descent (Chapter IV, below).
Thus, in the early years of the twentieth century the American people admired Germany/ It was a strong nation, closely akin; and it was a Christian land, part Protestant and part Catholic, as America had been part Catholic since the Cavaliers leave to Virginia and the Puritans to New England. Moreover, the old land of the Teutonic Knights led the world in music, in medicine, and in scholarship. The terms Prussia and Prussian, Germany and German had a most favorable connotation.
Then came World War I (1914), in which Britain and France and their allies were opposed to Germany and her allies. Since the citizens of the United States admired all three nations they were stunned at the calamity of such a conflict and were slow in taking sides. Finally (1917), and to some extent because of the pressure of American zionists (Chapter III, below), we joined the Entente group. which included Britain and France. The burden of a great war was accepted by the people, even with some enthusiasm on the Atlantic seaboard, for according to our propagandists it was a war to end all wars. It was pointed out, too, that Britain among the world's great nations was closest to us in language and culture, and that France had been traditionally a friend since the Marquis of Lafayette and the Count of Rochambeau aided General Washington.
With a courage fanned by the newly perfected science of propaganda, the American people threw themselves heart and soul into defeating Germany in the great "war to end all wars." The blood-spilling the greatest in all history and between men of kindred race was ended by an armistice on November 11, 1918, and the American people entertained high hopes for lasting peace. Their hopes, however, were soon to fade away. With differing viewpoints, national and personal, and with the shackles of suddenly revealed secret agreement between co-belligerents. President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Premier Georges Clemenceau of France, and Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy had much difficulty in agreeing on the terms of peace treaties (1919), The merits or shortcomings of which cannot in consequence be fully chalked up to any one of them.
It remains indisputable, however, that in what they agreed to in the treaty made with Germany at Versailles (June 28, 1919) and in the treaty made with Austria at St. Germain (September10,1919) the four American delegates, dominated by President Wilson, departed at least to some extent from our tradition of humane treatment of a defeated enemy. The heavily populated German nation was deprived of much territory, including vital mineral areas and a "Polish Corridor" which, under the terms of the treaty, separated the original duchy of Prussia from the rest of the country. Germany was deprived also of its merchant fleet and was saddled with an impossible load of separations, As a consequence, the defeated country was left in a precarious position which soon produced an economic collapse. The Austro Hungarian Empire, ancient outpost of the Teutonic peoples and of Western Christian civilization on the Danube Valley invasion route from Asia, was destroyed at St. Germain. The result was the serious general economic dislocation to be expected from the collapse of an imperial government, and the inevidable dire distress to the people, especially in the capital city of Vienna (population over 2,000,000), which was left with little sustaining territory, except scenic and historic mountains. Moreover, although Austro-Hungary was broken up under the theory that its people should be put into small pigeon-hole nations on racial and linguistic considerations, the new Czechoslovakia state was given 3,500,000 persons of German blood and speech.
In this treatment of Germany and Austria our leaders not merely set up conditions conducive to the extreme distress of millions of people; they also by those same conditions flouted the recognized principles of sound military and national policy, for the strategic use of victory demands that the late enemy be drawn into the victor's orbit as friend and ally. As one example of the strategic use of victory, our War of 1812, with Britain, was followed by an earnest bilateral effort at the solution of mutual problems by the Monroe Doctrine (1823) in the field of international relations, and by the crumbling of unused forts on the U.S. Canadian border. As a second example, Britain's war with South Africa, which ended in 1902, was followed by such humanity and fairness that a defeated people, different in speech and culture, became an ally instead of an enemy in the great war which began only twelve years later in 1914.
The crash in Germany came in 1923, when German money lost its value,. There was terrible suffering among the people everywhere and especially in the cities and industrial areas. As the mark's purchasing power approached zero, a widow would realize from her husband's life insurance "just enough to buy a meal" ("Inflation Concerns Everyone," by Samuel B. Pettengill, Reader's Digest, October, 1951). "Berlin in 1923 was a city of despair. People waited in the alley behind the Hotel Adlon ready to pounce on garbage cans immediately they were placed outside the hotels kitchen." A cup of coffee "cost one million marks one day, a million and a half the next and two million the day following" (Drew Pearson, March 22, 1951).
In hunger and desperation, many Germans blamed their troubles on Jews, whom they identified with Communism. "The fact that certain Jews, such as Kurt Eisner, Toller, and Levine, had been leaders of Communist Movements [1918, 1919]. . .gave the conservatives the opportunity of proclaiming that the Jews were responsible for the national misfortunes and disorders" (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, pp. 366,367). The German attitude was intensified by the new power German Jews acquired in the terrible year 1923 from using funds derived from rich race-conscious Jews inn other countries and by an inrush of Jews from the destroyed Austro-Hungarian Empire and from the East. "Some of those Eastern European Jews took an active part in the speculation which was rampant in Germany because of the unstable currency and the shortage of commodities" (America's Second Crusade, by William Henry Chamberlin, Henry Regnery Company, 1950, pp. 30, 31). The influx from the East had also the effect of reviving the viewpoint of certain earlier Germans that Jews were not assimilable but were really invaders. "In 1880 the learned but fanatical Professor Treitschke's phrase, 'Die Juden sind unser Unglueck' [The Jews are our misfortune], gained currency all through the German empire" (H. Graetz, Popular History of the Jews, Vol. VI, by Max Raisin, The Jordan Publishing Co., New York, 1935, p. 162). Also, "according to Grattenauer's Wider die Juden (1803), the Jews of Germany were, as early as that period, regarded as 'Asiatic Immigrants' " (Univ. Jew. Encyc., Vol. I, p 341).
This fateful German-Jewish tension was destined to have a major role in the history of the United States, and will be dealt with further in subsequent chapters.
The Immediate result of the events of 1923 was an increase of Jewish power in the Reich. "Bled white" in World War I, like Britain and France, Germany bent to its economic tragedy without significant resistance, but the resentment of the people at being starved and humiliated (as they believed) by a minority of less than one percent smoldered like live coals awaiting almost any fanning into flame. Our usual helping hand so generously extended in the Japanese earthquake tragedy of 1923 and in other calamities -- was withheld, while this small group increased its control (for some idea of the extent of the control by Jews in the city of Berlin five years after Hitler assumed power, see the Reader's Digest for May, 1938, p. 126).
After 1919, anti-German propaganda in the United States did not cease, as was strategically desirable, but was continued unremittingly in the press and by the new opinion-controlling medium, the radio. Americans were taught to hate Germany and Germans and to loathe Prussia and Prussians, not any longer as a war-time "psychological" attack, but as a permanent attitude.
The task of the propagandists was made easier by the appearance on the world's stage (1933) of the demagogue Adolph Hitler, whose assumption of the combined offices of Chancellor and President of Germany (Chapter IV, below), under the alien and repugnant title of "Furhrer," shocked the sensibilities of the American people who were accustomed to a Republican form of government with the still effective checks and balances of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches.
In 1936, Britain was making efforts to establish workable arrangements with Germany. Symbolically, and with much publicity, a thousand German war veterans were entertained in England by a thousand British war veterans. A naval ratio, most favorable to Britain, had been agreed upon. The President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had in his first year of office (1933) recognized the Communist Government of Russia (Chapter III, Below), but was otherwise "isolationist" in his general attitude toward Europe. Then on October 5, 1937, in Chicago, he made an about-face (Chapter IV, below), in his famous "Quarantine" speech against Germany. Though his sudden "fears" had no foundation in facts--as known then or as discovered later--our policy was charted, and England, forced to a decision, became a partner in our anti-German action. With no enthusiasm, such as was generated in 1919, the American people soon found themselves (December, 1941) involved in a second and even more frightful World War against two of our former allies, Japan and Italy, and against our World War I opponent, Germany ( see Chapters IV and V, below).
The propagandists against Germany and the German people did not cease, however, with Hitler's defeat and death (1945) and the resultant effacement of his government and his policies. After Hitler, as before Hitler, these propagandists did not allow the American public to realize the strategic fact that a country like an individual needs friends and that a permanent destructive attitude toward a nation because of a former ruler is as stupid, for instance, as a hatred for the people of an American state because of an unpopular ex-governor.
Thus, instead of correcting our error of 1919 and making certain at the end of World war II to draw a properly safeguarded but humanely treated Germany definitely into our orbit, we adopted in 1945 an intensified policy of hate, denied the Germans a peace treaty more than six years after the suspension of active warfare, and took additional steps (Chapters IV, VI, and VIII, below) which could have had no other purpose -- concealed of course, even from some of those who furthered it -- than the final destruction of Germany.
Woodrow Wilson, despite the terrible and still largely undocumented pressures upon him, had at least preserved Prussia at the close of World War I. Franklin Roosevelt, however, tossed it from his failing hands to the minority (see Chapter II) who, with converts to their Marxist concept of statism, had succeeded the Romanov Czars as masters of Russia. With Malta lost in 1798 and Prussia destroyed in 1945, the temporal state-structures of the Crusaders and their successors ceased to exist.
Under the preaching of Urban II, most of the Western World had developed a frenzy of unity; under Roosevelt II, or rather under those who manipulated him, it did so again. The goal this time, however, was not the defense of Europe or the rescue of the of Christ; the goal, on the contrary, was a monstrous surrender of the Western heritage of Christian civilization. Yes, it was actually the United States of America which was mainly responsible for destroying the successor state to the Teutonic Knights and for delivering the ruins, with the hegemony of Europe, to the Soviet Union, The new Communist power of our creation.