Archive for December, 2009

SOVIET AND NAZI EMPIRE PLANS

December 29, 2009

The Soviets planned a global empire through insurrections and coups from 1917 well into the 1920s. Stalin in the final years of the 1940s believed the Soviets could rule the world. The Nazis thought they could form a world empire maybe together with the Japanese (Asia).

A Soviet World Empire

In 1917 the Russian revolution led to continued civil war on a world scale. The ideas of V.I. Lenin included calls for revolutionary violence: “Marxists have never forgotten that violence will be an inevitable accompaniment of the collapse of capitalism on its full scale and of the birth of a socialist society.” (Selected works, Vol. VIII, p. 215) Lenin predicted a whole era of wars – imperialist wars, civil wars, national wars. “Only insurrection can guarantee the victory of the revolution” (Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 327). “The purpose of insurrection must be, not only the complete destruction, or removal of all local authorities and their replacement by new…but also the expulsion of the landlords and the seizure of their lands” (Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 377). “Complete Communism will know no more war. A real, assured people’s peace is possible only under Communism. But the goal cannot be reached by peaceful, ‘pacifist’ means; on the contrary, it can be reached only by civil war against the bourgeoisie.” (Fundamentals of Communism, p. 31).

One of Lenin’s highranking officers in the secret police, Cheka, Latsis, in clear words expressed the fate of the bourgeois class: “We are not waging war against particular individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeois as a class. Don’t look for evidence to prove that the accused acted by deed or word against the Soviet power. The first question you should ask him is: To what class he belongs, what is his origin, his training, and his occupation. This should determine the fate of the accused. Herein lies the meaning and the essence of the Red Terror.” (S.P. Melgunov, Krasnyi Terror” v. Rossii, 1918 – 1923, Berlin 1924, second edition, p. 72).

Already in 1917 Lenin had declared: “The French revolutionary people…remoulded the whole system of strategy, they broke all the old laws and customs of war: and in place of the old army they created a new revolutionary people’s army and introduced new methods of warfare” (War and the Workers, London 1940, p. 7).

Bolsheviks were victorious in the Russian civil war and similar civil wars occured in Germany, Hungary and other European countries. Late in 1918 the Soviets had concluded a secret “treaty” with the German communist leader Karl Liebknecht. A Russian army would take to the offensive to support a communist uprising in Berlin. A similar treaty was concluded with Hungarian communist leader Bela Kun. In 1919 Soviet representative Karl Radek developed a plan for revolutionary war against Germany. Russian prisoners of war still in Germany would be offensively used.

Comintern was founded in 1919 and provided revolutionary training for communists from a large number of countries in the 1920s and the1930s. Comintern produced a number of manuals dealing with strategy and tactics of uprisings and irregular warfare (The Road to Victory, a theoretical discussion of Marxism and Revolution by Alfred Lange, The Armed Uprising by A. Neuberg, a pseudonym).

Stalin’s saw the road to conquest of the industrialised West as proceeding via Asia. Training was later continued on a global scale by CPSU in the Soviet Union. Also Stalin and the Soviets were active in fomenting unrest in Germany between communists and social democrats (“The Comintern engineered the fight between the German communists and the social democrats…to bring Hitler to power, not because they were political perverts but because they wanted a big war in the West…They would have preferred a military conservative government. They took Hitler. He was the lesser evil”, “I myself thought at first the Russian communist were just dumb. Gradually, I realized myself that this was a very big strategy to get one of the great wars of modern times going. This took some time, but it succeeded in 1939” (Testimony of Dr. Karl August Wittfogel, US Senate, Washington D.C. 1951, pp. 323 f.).

After decades of civil war the communists took power in China in 1949. The Chinese communists had undertake uprisings in the 1920s, but these failed. Mao Tse-tung now changed the strategy of revolutionary movement. He created a revolutionary army, went ahead and captured territory and proved his thesis in practice. Mao emphasized the need for a prolonged civil war.

Nazi Plans to Rule the World

In Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe (Penguin Press, 2008, 768 pages) Hitler in 1940-41 found himself ruler of an empire larger than Napoleon’s. Nazi rule over this empire was bullyng and crude, just as was the rule of the Russians in the Soviet empire. domination, though bullying and crude, was not entirely negative, because it did get rid of feudalism.

In 1942, Albert Speer visited Hitler in Ukraine. He discussed with Hitler his favorite subject: what the world would look like after the German victory. He predicted the German forces with their allies would have taken the Soviet Caucasus:

If in the course of the next year we manage to cover only the same distance … by the end of 1943 we will pitch our tents in Teheran, in Baghdad and on the Persian Gulf.

The grand total of 127 million real or potential Germans would be available to colonize the conquered territories
The Nazis did not get to Baghdad. But they occupied large parts of Eastern Europe. General Plan East was the blueprint for these parts of the empire getting rid of around 60 million people. Visionary Nazis did not want to stop even at the Urals, the traditional border between Europe and Asia. What would happen if Germany was to rule Great Asia and an independent India? Reinhard Heydrich, the ruler of what had been Czechoslovakia, spoke of sending millions of Czechs to Siberia

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STEN STURE DEN ÄLDRE – EN BÄTTRE LANDSFADER?

December 28, 2009

Under (s) långa maktinnehav hamrades budskapet om Gustav Vasa som landsfader in.

Här ett stycke ur en skrift publicerad av Skatteverket om det svenska högskattesystemets fader:

Gustav Vasa skapade ordning och reda i landets finanser och administration… Jordeböckerna blev ett instrument för kontroll av skatteindrivningen…

På ett markant sätt skiljer han sig från tidigare regenter genom att lyckas få så gott som fullständig kontroll över rikets finanser.

Ökad kontroll. Skattesystemet ordnades och reglerades under Gustav Vasas tid…

Så långt Skatteverket. Sverige ligger 2009 i topp då det gäller skatteuttag i världen. Ibland reflekterar man om inte Sten Sture den äldre (1440 – 1503) borde vara landsfader. Han var riksföreståndare 1470 till 1497 och sedan från 1501 till 1503.

Sveriges själständighet tryggades för 25 år fram efter slaget vid Brunkeberg den 10 oktober 1471. Det var under Sten Stures tid som Uppsala universitet grundades. De vanliga människorna i dåtidens Sverige visade riksföreståndaren varm tillgivenhet och han betraktades som Engelbrekts efterföljare.
Sten Sture den äldre är begravd i Strängnäs domkyrka i en prakfull sarkofag av grön marmor, som Gustav III år 1774 lät ställa upp i domkyrkans kor. Särskilt starkt stöd hade riksföreståndaren från Sveriges bönder.

Det finns ett storslaget Sten Sturemonument i Uppsala av Carl Milles, som restes på 1920-talet. Därtill en skiss till ett magnifikt monument (i brons), som nu finns på Nationalmuseum.

Efter andra världskriget har (s) arbetat intensivt för att skjuta Sten Sture den äldre i bakgrunden och framhäva ”skattekungen” Gustav Vasa som landsfader. Han borde nu när socialdemokratin försvagas i Sverige och hela EU lyftas fram som den kanske mäktigaste och mest helgjutna politiska pesonligheten i regentlängden.

ARTHASHASTRA 100 YEARS – 1909 – 2009

December 25, 2009

It was in 1909 that Dr. R. Shamashastri published a manuscript from fourth and third century BC India. He had discovered in 1904. It was a book about statecraft, power and governance by Kautilya, an adviser to the Indian king Chandragupta.

The Indian researcher worked in the city of Mysore at the Oriental Research Institute (ORI). It was founded in 1891 by the then Maharaja of Mysore State. Its aim was to collect, edit and publish rare manuscripts in Sanskrit and other ancient languages. The most famous publication was that of Kautilya.

The manuscript was written on palm leaves. Brittle palm leaves were cut to a standard size of 15 centimeter by 3,5 centimeter. Sometimes they were scrubbed with a paste made of ragi and then used for writing. It was similar to the use of papyrus in ancient Egypt. The ORI uses lemon grass oil to preserve the old manuscripts.

What is so special about Arthashastra. Its author has been compared to Machiavelli of renaissance Italy and Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist that has been compared to Karl von Clausewitz, the dominating strategist of the West.

Kautiliya was the main adviser to Chandragupta Maurya (around 317 – 293 BC), the king who firs united India into an empire. Kautilya wrote about willingness to make treaties he knew he would brake. Also he approved of secret agents who sowed discord among the enemies. Further he recommended the use of women as weapons of war. Spreading disinformation was another method that could be applied in both statecraft and warfare.

Arthashastra can be translated as “science of politics”. Kautilya believed, like Thomas Hobbes that the goal of science was power. In the world of geopolitics and international relations it was only “natural” that nations used dissension and force. A political realist then and now believed and believes that there will always be conflict in world politics. Kautilya wrote around 100 years after ancient Greek historian worked on his History of the Peloponnesian War.

A leading Western commentator on Kautiliya is Professor Roger Boesche of California (The First Political Realist: Kautiliya and His Arthashastra, Landham. Md: Lexington Division of Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).

WESTWARD MARCH OF CIVILIZATION?

December 23, 2009

Introduction

Since around 6000 BC civilization has been moving in a westward direction. It started with Mesopotamia, then Egypt and Persia to be followed by Greece and Rome. Then came the time of the oceanic power of England which was a small island off the coast of continental Europe. The kingdoms and empires of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans have all gone under. During the reign of Elizabeth I England would start to lead civilization to its final conclusion.

Of course there was much debate over the role of the continental powers. Was Spain, France or the Holy German Empire the true successors of Rome?

What changed everything was Columbus’ discovery of America. Nothing more fundamental took place after the Creation. One would think that Spain or Portugal had taken the place of earlier empires but it was Britain that came to be the heir and take up oceanic development in the coming centuries.

In the eighteenth century it became clear, however, that heliotropism was to be reality in America. It is not hard to determine at what point the real development of the United States to world influence started. It was the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 that was the starting point of the westward movement of the United States west of the Mississippi river. Naturally the place of the United States in the heliotropic movement of civilization would not have been started in earnest if it had not been for the American Revolution. Already before that revolution, however, the Exodus of the Puritans provided the base for the belief of providence of the land in the West.

Some Decay of Europe

Heliotropism influenced European thinking in the eighteenth century. Europeans to a great extent then believed in the decay of Europe. Italian priest F. Galiani in 1776 wrote that Europe was transmigrating to America. Religion, law, art, science and everything would be rebuilt across the Atlantic. Louis Mercier, a Frenchman, believed America would recreate the nations of antiquity. History moves from East to West, wrote Joseph Mandrillon, another Frenchman.

Germans did also contribute. Journalist E.M. Posselt claimed that a new force was rising in the West like an oak on a lonesome mountain and probably to be the arbiter of world events.

British historian John Robert Seeley in his great work “The Expansion of England” (1863) saw the movement of civilization from East to West, away from Italy and Germany settling further West.

Alexis de Tocqueville and Others

Frenchman de Tocqueville, who wrote about democracy in America, was fascinated by the rise of the two large territorial powers. He predicted that America and Russia would in the future rule the world (and actually there was a bipolar world during the last half of the twentieth century when the United States and the Soviet Union were superpowers).

But de Tocqueville was not first. Danish diplomat Konrad G.F.E. von Phiseldeck, today largely forgotten, already in 1820 predicted that the United States would play an important world role in the future. The balance of power was shifting westward and Europe would have a position between West and East.

German nineteenth century political scientist Julius Froebel foresaw an American movement westward to the Pacific Ocean. This would lead to superiority. A time would come when world civilization would have its seat in America.

The Monroe Doctrine

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when the United States bought 900,000 square miles of territory west of the Mississippi river from Napoleonic France, has been mentioned as the true start of the westward movement of the Americans. Twenty years later the Monroe Doctrine heralded the isolationism of the government in Washington D.C. The United States would not involve itself in European affairs and European nations were to keep away from the Western hemisphere. During the whole nineteenth century America stood outside of history and concentrated on its own development. The position in the Western hemisphere was strengthened. The Western frontier in America was closed around 1900. In the century that passed the United States had grown territorially and in population to megasize. It was now a power to be reckoned with internationally and it started to take over the British role of world sea power.

World War I, then Tyranny

World War I meant the end of European power. Europe was utterly devastated by a war in which the United States participated only marginally. Meanwhile such totalitarian ideologists as Maxmilien Robespierre and Karl Marx had created a theoretical base for tyrannical rule in Europe. V.I. Lenin, Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler would be their heirs and initiate class and race war. The German Nazis would exterminate six million Jews in Europe and Lenin as well as Stalin would wage terror warfare against the Russian people. The United States once more came to the rescue in Europe during World War II and helped rebuild the wartorn continent.

Last Civilization and Its Survival

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and the bipolar interval ended that had lasted almost half a century. Strategic pressure, imperial overstretch and internal revolt brought down the Soviet empire. Most of the time the United States had successfully matched the missile threat of the tyrants in Moscow. It was not until 2001 that the America took seriously its leading role in the world, realizing that a new American century had begun. The march of civilization was over. Starting a new era, 8,000 years of history was completed. After a nineteenth century of building continental American power and a twentieth century of the United States defending liberty, civilization had come to rest in America. The new position of the United States was challenged in 2001 with an attack on Washington and New York City by terrorists of radical Islam. Their terrorist network wants to destroy the West and has openly declared that it seeks weapons of mass destruction for this purpose.

The warning of many from the 1990s is still valid. The United States must have the economic and military strength to protect itself and thereby the rest of the West. In addition it must be able to bring liberty and democracy to the dangerous area of the Middle East. The present struggle must also keep focused on the next civilizational struggle, the one with China. In this it is important that India is looked upon as an ally and rival of China. With two strong strategic partners in Asia, Japan and hopefully India, the present threats to civilization on the Hobbesian World Island can be met.

During the many centuries civilization has risen and defeated disasters and revolutions. The final could be in America. Now is the time to defend that civilization against tyrannical regimes. New technologies offer new hope. These technologies can, however, also be used by tyrants and terrorists for destruction. The final rest of civilization in America would not mean that we have entered an era of perpetual peace. Rather it will in the future be an increasingly hard fight in the new Hobbesian era in which fanatics and fanatical regimes are challengers. These have been left behind by the march of civilization. They are now seeking to make up for lost opportunities.

HISTORIC GUERRILLA RESISTANCE IN EUROPE – FIFTH IN A SERIES

December 19, 2009

Conclusion

If one compares the three resistances in Scania, Blekinge and Halland, Vendée, Spain and Prussia which span over a period of over 150 years (1658 – 1814) there are a number of similarities. The occupying forces from Sweden and France used similar repression techniques.

The wars were brutal and punishments of the guerrillas severe. There are of course differences. The territory in what is now southern Sweden was recently acquired by Sweden from Denmark. The latter country supported the guerrilla war against the Swedes (by invasion and financing of partisan units in the area).

What was called eastern Denmark had been under Danish rule from around 1000 AD, so the cultural roots were solid. Thus the government in Stockholm believed Swedenization to be an important method to pacify the three provinces. First, however, the guerrilla (supported by Denmark) had to be utterly defeated.

In the case of Vendée it was a province that had long been French. The area was pro-Catholic-royalist and (like in the Swedish case) countryside population reacted against conscription of its young men into the revolutionary armies of the French Republic. The religious aspect was important in both areas.

In the case of Spain a foreign state (Napoleon’s France) attempted to conquer and invaded with large regular forces a foreign country. The king of Spain was replaced by one of Napoleon’s brothers on the throne. An external British expeditionary force supported the Spanish.

In the seventeenth century the guerrilla resisters in Scani, Halland and Blekinge had no internationally famous painters or writers to describe the horrors of the war. Also Scandinavia was a remote region in Europe while France and Spain are in the central and southern part of the continent. Sweden and Denmark were small countries in northern Europe (although Sweden aspired to create an empire).

Vendée was in the 1990s brought to international attention by Nobel Prize winner in literature, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who visited the area in 1993 and spoke (and wrote) of the horrors there in the eighteenth century. In Spain Goya experienced the Peninsular War first hand and there are a number of famous watercolors and paintings describing the horrors of the conflict. In all, however, much the same methods were used in southern Sweden as in Vendée and Spain. These three devastating partisan wars deserve closer international comparative study.

HISTORIC GUERRILLA RESISTANCE IN EUROPE – FOURTH IN A SERIES

December 18, 2009

The Resistance in the Provinces of Scania, Halland and Blekinge in Sweden

The seventeenth century guerrilla resistance is internationally almost unknown: that of inhabitants of the Danish provinces of Scania, Blekinge and Halland in what was then eastern Denmark resisting Swedish occupation from 1658 to 1679. The three provinces had become Swedish in 1658. The year 2008 was thus the 350th anniversary of the Peace of Roskilde (Denmark), which transferred Scania and the other territories to Sweden from Denmark. Those guerrillas who resisted had no Goya to depict their often brutal treatment by the occupiers.

The comparative study of popular resistance against foreign occupiers in Europe makes a fascinating study but has so far not been undertaken in a systematic fashion. There is almost no literature in English on the seventeenth century case of Swedish occupation.

The Northern Wars 1611 to 1679

The historical background to the Northern Wars (1611 – 1679) can be found in the establishment of a Swedish empire in the Baltic Sea area. It started with the Swedish acquisition of Estonia in 1560. The decision of Gustavus II Adolphus to intervene on the side of the German Protestants in the Thirty Year’s War (1618 – 1648) in 1630 resulted in further expansion of the empire. The intervention was not only based on economic grounds but motivated also by a combination of reasons: political, religious and strategic factors. Sweden was at the time to a great extent financially dependent on France but was still able to pursue an independent German policy.

When the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, Queen Christina, went into selfimposed exile in Rome her cousin Charles X Gustavus succeeded her on the throne. In 1655 he launched a war on Poland. From a military point of view the campaign was brilliant but threatened to end in an indefinite stalemate (due to much Polish guerrilla resistance). The Swedish king was more or less saved by Denmark’s declaration of war in 1657. The Swedish army could leave Poland and turn its attention to Denmark. The result of the war was that Denmark had to hand over three of its provinces on the southern end of the Scandinavian peninsula to Sweden: Scania (Skaane), Blekinge and Halland 1). What followed after the Peace of Roskilde in 1658 is given a short introductory description below.

Resisting in Former Eastern Denmark in 1658 – 1679

Sweden failed to completely defeat Denmark in 1658-1659. The Danes were unreconciled to Sweden’s permanent possession of the economically and strategically vital provinces, especially Scania. In the year 1676 Denmark declared war on Sweden to regain the lost provinces. Danish troops landed on the coast of Scania. The pro-Danish inhabitants rose up in revolt supporting the invading Danish forces.

The Danish crown formed detachments of partisans loyal to Denmark (free-shooters or friskyttar). These irregular Danish units joined with local guerrillas (although the term guerrilla is a modern term and was not introduced until the Peninsular War when Spaniards resisted French occupation). They were called ‘snapphanar’ by the Swedes (which means brigand in English). The large Danish invasion army was only with great difficulty and bloodshed defeated in the Battle of Lund in 1676.

One of the main reasons for the resistance in the three provinces was the forced enlistment of locals into the Swedish army. The conscripts were brought to military training centers, often in chains. Those who managed to avoid enlistment hid in the wooded areas on the old national border to Sweden or fled to Denmark.

Attacks were carried out against Swedish troop columns. Guerrillas in Loshult captured Swedish wagon train with money worth around 30,000 riksdaler (the Swedish currency) to be used as pay for the troops. The treasure was hidden and has fascinated historians until today. The value of the total catch is today estimated to have been between 70 to 80 million Swedish kronor or over 10 million U.S. dollars.

The guerrillas were also effective bridge destroyers (to be compared to ‘bridge burners’ in America during the war in 1861 – 1865.

In Scania the parish blacksmiths specialized in making long barrelled rifles used by the guerrillas. Bullets and gunpowder (made by salpeter, carbon and sulphur) were often locally produced.

The cruelty of the warfare was extensive. The Swedish occupants initiated both personal and collective punishments for guerrillas as a warning. Piercing on the stake was common.

Collective punishment was used by the Swedish army if a soldier was killed in a parish and the guerrillas responsible could not be captured. Farms were burned to the ground and farmers and their families, who could not escape, were killed.

By 1679 resistance came to an end. When Denmark once more invaded in the beginning of the eighteenth century during the Great Northern War few irregulars of the lost territories joined the Danish cause. Many Scanian guerrillas in 1679 fled to Denmark. They were not particularly well treated by the Danes.

HISTORIC GUERRILLA RESISTANCE IN EUROPE – THIRD IN A SERIES

December 17, 2009

Prussian Resistance Against Napoleon

Carl von Clausewitz in 1812 drew up a plan for Prussian partisans in which all male citizens between 18 and 60 would be armed with muskets, scythes and pitchforks. The only uniform would be a padded hat and provincial insignia. They were to hinder French occupying officials, capture detachments and attack convoys. This force was to conduct ambushes and lend support to the regular army.

In 1808 Gneisenau wrote that Prussia’s only hope lay in a national insurrection and three years later Scharnhorst submitted a plan to the Prussian king which recommended guerrilla resistance. By definition partisan or guerrilla resistance is supposed to be spontaneous. So the creation of the Landsturm in Prussia was unique in that it was organized by the government, guerrilla resistance enacted by law from above. The law of 21 April 1813, called for all able-bodied men who were not already in the army or the Landwehr, to join the Landsturm. No uniforms were to be used, to avoid recognition by the enemy. When the French approached inhabitants in that area the guerrillas were to abandon their villages and organize under already by the king nominated officers. From the woods they would then harass the enemy. As they retreated they were to take away corn and food, burn mills, bridges and boats and fill the wells.

But in reality the Landsturm was not effective because the ruling elite feared a popular struggle which could give the partisans ideas of rising against their Prussian masters. The operations of the Prussian guerrilla were thus hampered by many qualifications and regulations. The partisans were to be under command of the provincial and local authorities.

Gatherings of local units were to be sanctioned by army or corps commanders. Any assembly without authority of the Landsturm was to be regarded as mutiny. The result was that the defensive guerrilla war only lasted three months and was ineffective. It was a people’s war without the people.

HISTORIC GUERRILLA RESISTANCE IN EUROPE – SECOND IN A SERIES

December 16, 2009

The Guerrilla War against the French in Spain (the Peninsular War)

The birth of guerrilla warfare on a large scale was in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars (the word guerrilla is of Spanish origin meaning “little war”). When Napoleon’s armies invaded Spain in 1807 the Spanish people put up determined resistance. An attempt was made by the Spaniards in the beginning to base the struggle around the regular Spanish army. As the army suffered defeat after defeat it had to be replaced by 10,000 British regulars in 1808 under Sir John Moore. This force was driven out of Spain in 1810, but replaced by other British regulars.

Spanish resistance continued in small bands. French estimates conclude that between 1810 and 1812 100 soldiers per day were killed by the guerrillas. Although ambuscades and assassinations dominated some Spanish guerrilla forces grew to such a size that they could fight semi-regular war. There can be no doubt about which forces were more important and certainly both contributed to the final defeat of the French.

Spanish guerrillas kept thousands of French troops occupied while the British expeditionary force was essential to bring the war to a victorious end. It is clear, however, that the Spanish guerrillas could not have defeated the French on their own. Spanish resistance was welcomed in all countries occupied by French forces and was an important moral booster for the anti-Napoleonic resistance.

An initial battle against the French was won at Bailén, which put an all too optimistic faith in the Spanish army. After Bailén defeat after defeat followed. The partisan resistance in Spain had the nature of minor clashes. Guerrilla commands attacked French scouts, messengers and stragglers but after 1810 the attacks grew in number. Most of the war beside the campaigns of the British regular forces was on the petty level of assassinations and ambuscades but some commands did actually move up to mobile regular warfare. At the peak of his capacity guerrilla leader Espoz y Mina had around 8,000 men under his command and at least once, at Aibar in 1810, he defeated a French force in a set battle.

Support for resistance against the French grew. A leading supporter in Germany for armed uprisings and resistance to Napoleon was the Prussian author Heinrich von Kleist 2). Not only did he write one of the foremost partisan warfare theater plays in literary history, Die Hermannschlacht (presently in German called Die Varusschlacht.

Von Kleist and his poems were also inspired by the short war of Austria against Napoleon, when an attempt was made to follow the Spanish model. The Austrians unleashed a propaganda war against the French. Notable participants in this effort were the Prussians Friedrich Gentz and Friedrich Schlegel. Spanish anti-French propaganda was translated into German.

Heinrich von Kleist continued the psychological war against Napoleon from Berlin. Before his early death in November 1811 he was the leading author and poet of national resistance against foreign invaders. His play Die Hermannschlacht has been described, as mentioned above, as the greatest guerrilla literature of all times. Von Kleists poem An Palafox , a homage to the defenders of the Spanish city of Zaragoza, is an important contribution to national world guerrilla literature.

Later Prussia actually planned for fighting guerrilla warfare against the French after the regular army was defeated by Napoleon at Saalfeld, Jena and Auerstadt. In 1813 all male Prussians were called up for service in the Landwehr, a militia type of organization. But the regular army and the Landwehr was also to be supported by a Landsturm, a guerrilla type force. Both Karl von Clausewitz, and Prussian military leaders Gneisenau and Scharnhorst supported armed partisan resistance to Napoleon. More on the Prussian guerrilla effort in the next part of the series.

Antirevolutionary Struggle in Vendée Against the Jacobin Regime

The rule of the French republic after the revolution in 1789 was total. The nobility abolished and priests who refused to swear allegiance to the government were deported or replaced with “loyal” clergy.

In the French area of Vendée (then called Bas-Poitou, an area of around 800 square kilometers) the farmers resented that their King Louis XVI had been executed in January 1793. The spark that ignited the resistance against the revolution was the decision of Paris in February 1793 to raise an army of 300,000 men. The conscription was refused in Vendée and riots followed. The Chouans, the anti-revolutionary farmers, turned on the “Blues”, the term for the Republican troops, and called on a carter, Jacques Cathelineau, to lead them. Nature was on the side of the counterrevolutionaries. In the lower coastal region marshland abounded and in the central and upper areas there was the bocage, narrow roads and paths through high hedgerows. It was perfect terrain for ambush and swift retreat. The irregulars had another advantage: in the beginning Paris could only muster small forces of untrained conscripts as most of the well trained forces were committed in the border areas in a full scale war against France’s anti-revolutionary enemies. Later Cathelineau was joined by another peasant general, Jean-Nicolas Stofflet. There were also leaders from the local aristocracy as Henri de la Rochejaquelein and the Duc of d’ Elbée.

Early victories of the resistance turned later to defeat from reinforced regular army units. In an epic 200 kilometer march north, after crossing the Loire, the Vendeans attempted to capture a Channel port to receive aid from the British. That failing they had to give up and return. At Le Mans 10,000 of the insurgent army was cut down by heavily armed Republican soldiers. Tens of thousands perished of hunger and sickness. In December just a few thousand could return to Vendée.

Now the government in Paris decided to set an example. It sent so called “columns of hell” (colonnes infernales) to lay waste to every village and kill the remaining population. From early 1794 these death-squads moved from village to village burning, pillaging and massacring. Only a few Vendéeans managed to hide in the forests and continue guerrilla warfare. Remaining resistance generals signed a peace treaty with Paris. Although the conflict in reality ended with the death of the aristocrat leader and general Francois-Athanase Charette de la Contrie new insurgencies started later, the latest in 1815.

HISTORIC GUERRILLA RESISTANCE IN EUROPE – FIRST IN A SERIES

December 16, 2009

Introduction

In 2008 Spain was commemorating the start of guerrilla resistance against the French in 1808. As part of the commemoration the Prado Museum in Madrid presented an exhibition named “Goya in Times of War” (April 15 to mid-July 2008). Naturally a number of exhibits were related to the guerrilla war in the beginning of the 19th century.

One watercolor is titled One Can’t Look showing a prisoner draped in cloth with ropes hanging from his wrists. The epic paintings The Second of May and The Third of May are here centerpieces related to the war. The latter focuses a white shirted guerrilla with his arms outstretched before a French firing squad. The first depicts a previous day’s battle, in which Spanish insurgents viciously had attacked Napoleon’s Mameluke soldiers. The etchings ‘Disaster of War’ show the lingering effects of brutal occupation of foreign countries.

There were in all 200 paintings, etchings and drawings in this first Goya retrospective since 1996. Goya personally had witnessed the war of resistance against the French.

NON-SOCIALIST PARTIES HAVE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IN EU-PARLIAMENT

December 14, 2009

The Christian Democrats of the European People’s Party (EPP) is the largest political group in the European parliament. They hold 265 seats. The liberals have 84 seats and finally the Greens with 55 seats. The new Conservative group European Conservatives and Reformists is adding 84 seats to th total.

That leaves the Socialist (which includes the communists) group with 184 seats of the 736 member European Union Parliament. Around 25 percent for the dwindling Socialist and Communist parties.

In the first half of next year the Spanish socialists will chair the Union. Their proposals will not stand a chance in parliament. One can anticipate that their agenda will be voted down although the EU is known as a union of compromise.

An important representative of the East European non-socialists will be Ryszard Legutko of the Polish Law and Justice Party. In Brussels he sits on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Security and Defense. He will hopefully be a voice for strengthening of defense in the Old Continent. The time has passed when Europeans could count on the United States for protection. A small but steady increase of defense budgets should be on the agenda of the European Parliament in 2010.