by Greg Maybury (updated 11 May)
“I have no doubt about it: England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves to take the Austro-Serbian conflict as an excuse for waging war against us….the stupidity and ineptitude of our ally (Austria-Hungary) is turned into a snare for us….The net has been suddenly thrown over our head, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted purely anti-German world policy against which we have proved helpless….From the dilemma raised by our fidelity to…Austria, we are brought into a situation which offers England the desired pretext for annihilating us under the hypocritical cloak of justice. A magnificent achievement which even those for whom it means disaster are bound to admire.”
Comments attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany (1888-1918), upon his realization that war was inevitable and that all Germany’s efforts to avoid it were undermined at every turn by the “Secret Elites” of the British Empire — dutiful servants of his uncle King Edward VII (1901-1910) — who unbeknown to him had been willfully, stealthily and meticulously plotting the destruction of his beloved Fatherland for two decades prior.
“Yet it is necessary…to feign, greatly, and to dissemble, for men are so simple, and so prone to obey the exigencies of the moment, that he who deceives will always find someone ready to be deceived.”
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
The War of the Over-Privileged Belligerents
Whilst it may not always be treated as accepted wisdom, Winston Churchill’s indelible sound-bite “History is written by the victors” is an all too familiar refrain for many people when engaged in everything from casual after-dinner discourse, to studied dissection of, past events. It is up there with George Santayana’s “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, and Henry Ford’s “History is (more or less) bunk”. Although less familiar, Churchill – presumably musing on how one might not simply influence but arbitrarily pre-determine, the collectively desired outcome of historical events – observed the following as well: “the first quality that is needed is audacity”. All of these insights referencing the nature and substance of war have singular relevance to the narrative herein.
With this in mind, if Gerry Docherty and James Macgregor’s meticulously researched, myth-busting ‘must-read’ Hidden History – The Secret Origins of the First World War is anything to go by, the Great Pontificator was right on both counts. Which is to say, whether writing (or rewriting) history, or demonstrating “audacity” in the pursuit, preservation and expansion of empire, Churchill and his conspiratorial contemporaries (the so-called Milner Group, or as referred to by the authors, the “Secret Elites”), arguably have few peers.
As the epigraph above amply illustrates, when on the eve of what was to become known as the Great War the ‘pfennig’ finally dropped for the naïve, hapless Kaiser Wilhelm, he was all but moved to marvel at the sheer mastery of the grand deception he’d been subjected to. Yet even he barely knew the half of it!
It’s no exaggeration to say that in this cognitive dissonance inducing account of the intrigues leading to the war’s outbreak, these two Scotsmen have debunked everything we think we know about it. To be sure they are not the first to provide a revisionist interpretation of the causes and origins of this most pivotal event. They in fact openly acknowledge those who have bravely traversed similar pathways, some at the expense of their own academic credibility and professional well-being. Those cited include Sidney Bradshaw Fay, Harry Elmer Barnes, John S. Ewart, and Professor Carroll Quigley, to name a few.
Quigley was the better known of these; he wrote two seminal tomes, Tragedy and Hope, and The Anglo-American Establishment, the latter especially delving into the imperial cabals who comprised Alfred (Lord) Milner’s Secret Elites (aka “Milner’s Kindergarten”). And although the authors go further and deeper, it is to Quigley they acknowledge their biggest debt. As for the Secret Elites, Quigley for his part was unequivocal. After observing that, “…this secret society was created by Cecil Rhodes and his principal trustee, Lord Milner, and continues to exist to this day”, he presents a succinct introduction to the overarching Hidden History narrative:
“No country that values its safety should allow what the Milner group accomplished – [that] a small number of men would be able to wield such power in administration and politics, [to] exercise such influence over the avenues of information that create public opinion, and [to] monopolize so completely the writing and teaching of the history of their own period.” [My emphasis]
In their Introduction the authors waste little time preparing us for what follows. After noting on the one hand that “[T]he history of the First World War is a deliberately concocted lie” yet duly acknowledging the “very real….sacrifice, heroism, horrendous waste of life, [and] misery that followed”, they continued to persistently plough the field of ugly reality that was the Great War:
“…the truth of how it all began and how it was unnecessarily and deliberately prolonged beyond 1915 has been successfully covered up for a century. A carefully falsified history was created to conceal the fact that Britain, not Germany, was responsible for the war. Had the truth become widely known after 1918, the consequences for the British establishment would have been cataclysmic”. [My emphasis]
As a former (now decidedly ‘rehabbed’) history teacher, this unflinching exposé is something to behold. I now have to contend with the uncomfortable reality that most of what I’ve taught my students over the years about this event was indeed, “bunk”. Courtesy of my own “studied dissection” of the people, situation and circumstance of modern history in general – itself triggered by another more recent history diverting event, that of 9/11 – this at once paralyzing, yet strangely liberating, realisation admittedly has been a work in progress for some time. The upshot is that in good conscience I could no longer teach the history prescribed by the current curriculum here in Australia or anywhere else in the Western education system, the content of which is unlikely to change anytime soon,.
The Great Gamers of Whitehall
Be that as it may, Docherty and Macgregor have in one fell swoop peeled away any remaining scales from my eyes. Those readers prepared to consider this alternate, yet convincing narrative, will I suspect experience a similarly jarring epiphany. In this the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign (to which I will return soon), for want of a better word, the timing is ‘perfect’. As a committed writer and researcher on such matters, understanding the real origins of this War to End all Wars (itself a designation that qualifies as one of history’s cruelest deceptions) is critical to understanding what is happening now geopolitically with the U.S. or more specifically, with the unholy Anglo-American-Israeli alliance. It is also crucial in determining where things could be heading in the not too distant future, and what is likely to transpire in the process.
In order to more fully appreciate what might have motivated England to take this path, a stroll down memory lane is timely at this point.
Since Napoleon’s defeat in 1815 at Waterloo in Belgium, the British Empire began playing the “Great Game” in earnest. Britain’s great unipolar moment had arrived, and she had the motive and the means to take full advantage of the opportunity if she played the “Game” for keeps. The designation “Great Game” alluded to the geo-strategic rivalry between the British Empire and the Czarist (Russian) Empire for control of Central Asia from circa 1815 until around the fag-end of the 19th Century, the region still considered to be the most strategic piece of real estate on the planet, not just because of the geography itself, but because of what’s in the ground.
In the latter part of the century, after the rise of Germany in the wake that country’s unification in 1871, a few of England’s ruling elites became unnerved by the threat this development ostensibly heralded for Britain’s then global supremacy and most importantly, its ability to maintain pole position in the Old World Order. At all costs and by whatever means, Britain was utterly, ruthlessly determined no country would threaten her designation as the Empire du jour, the one on which it was famously said “the sun never set”. Accordingly, circa 1890 especially, Germany’s remarkable economic, technological and industrial growth – along with its military expansion and presumed imperial ambitions – would become Britain’s sole foreign policy obsession, albeit one more malevolent than ‘magnificent’.
It was in this milieu that the Secret Elites first came together in 1891 to plot the Empire’s trajectory, one that would ultimately lead to the Great War. The “Great Game” was still on, but the chief rival – if not the endgame – had changed. Such was their resolve, the Secret Elites had already ‘prophesied’ that not only was war with the Teutonic upstart inevitable, they embarked on a mission from God, King, Country and Empire to ensure that that prophesy became self-fulfilling. The goal here then was nothing less than crushing Germany before it got out of the imperial starting gate. As it turned out Germany didn’t see it coming. This itself is no small indication the country’s own imperial ambitions such as they were, were not as ambitious nor as threatening as the Secret Elites made out at the time, nor as the history books would have us all believe. If all this sounds unnervingly familiar, that’s because it probably is, a point to which we will return.
The Dispensable Pawns of Empire
As for the war itself, it was the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 that at once reveals the hidden agenda of the Secret Elites in bringing about the war. At the same time it showcases much of the central narrative about how and on what basis it was conducted thereafter. Whilst aptly described by one Aussie Gallipoli veteran Charles Watkins as an “amateurish, do-it-yourself cock-up”, doubtless Watkins and his fellow Diggers were unaware said “cock-up” was never meant to succeed from the off, and probably remained so until their dying day.
From the perspective of the Secret Elites, we might safely say the “failure” of the Gallipoli campaign was one of the most successful gambits of the war. Simply put, the whole endgame of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign was designed to fail. It was initiated by the British to hoodwink their Russian allies into thinking they had a chance of defeating the Turks and [of] taking Constantinople, thus acquiring their long desired warm water port and theretofore facilitating their own expansionist ambitions. This was something the Great Gamers in Whitehall never had any intention of allowing. It was all a ruse to keep the Czarist regime from suing for peace, as by November 2014, having already lost over a million men, the Russians realized they had bitten off much more than they could chew.
In short the whole Gallipoli thing had nothing directly to do with the overarching strategy of winning the war; indeed, it had everything to do with prolonging it. Given what followed for the next three and a half years – not to mention the long-term blowback from the war overall – the implications of this alone are staggering. One imagines that if any of the Aussie and Kiwi Diggers who survived this campaign (and indeed the longer war), had ever been apprised of the real backstory behind its genesis, most would have had singular difficulty believing it. Doubtless they’d have been appalled even more so to discover the lengths to which the Secret Elites – the Empire’s self appointed praetorian guard – went both in the planning stages and during the Gallipoli campaign itself to guarantee that it failed.
And for those who might’ve been inclined to consider an alternative to the “cock-up” theory of the Gallipoli tragedy, it is impossible to imagine how this would have affected them. Either way, even now we might ‘cue the sound’ of long departed Anzacs spinning furiously in their eternally designated plots of land (at least those ‘fortunate’ enough to be identified and receive a proper burial) at such knowledge or more broadly, any suggestions the larger war was fought for reasons other than the one they believed in and fought for. Lest We Forget indeed!
In a follow-up article published on the eve of the ANZAC Centenary, Docherty and Macgregor present in graphic detail the backstory behind the Great War’s arguably greatest travesty and its outcome. After observing Gallipoli “was a lie within the lie” that was the First World War, they then grimly observed the following:
“The Gallipoli landings went ahead on 25 April 1915 with the terrible slaughter and wounding of many incredibly brave young men, dispensable pawns on Imperial Britain’s chessboard….By late 1915….the British government began withdrawal from the corpse strewn peninsula. The last Allied troops were taken off on 9 January 1916, leaving behind 62,266 of their comrades. The majority of the dead on both sides have no known graves. Many of the 11,410 Australians and New Zealanders who died suffered unspeakable deaths, [were] deliberately sacrificed on the altar of British imperialism.”
The Kids in the Kindergarten
From at least 1904 – shortly after the Second Boer War (itself little more than a dress rehearsal for the showdown with Germany), and fully ten year’s before the eventual outbreak of the War – Lord Milner’s “Kindergarten” clique literally conspired then at every turn to spark this cataclysmic conflagration. To say they left no stone unturned in their efforts to realise their grand plan is no overstatement. One example will suffice herein. This was the dogged manner in which various members of the Secret Elites coerced, cajoled and curried favour in the pre-war years with the various dominions and colonies specifically amongst their respective media outlets and leading politicians of the day – Australia, India, New Zealand, Canada to name the obvious ones – to ensure that once war began, there would be unstinting loyalty from all and sundry to the cause of empire. It was of course an astonishing political, diplomatic and public relations achievement, yet one we can now safely say, came at great cost for all those dominions and colonies, with little or nothing to show for it.
It should be noted that, as first Lord of the Admiralty at the time, of all of the Cabinet ministers the aforementioned Churchill was according to the PM at the time Herbert Asquith, “the most eager for war…..[he was] bellicose, and demanding immediate mobilization”. Indeed, so hot to trot for the conflagration was our chap ‘Winnie’ – a man who by any measure is ‘deserving’ of his own revisionist narrative – that even after Cabinet refused at one crucial point in their pre-war deliberations to give him permission to mobilise the Royal fleet, he went ahead and did so anyway! A warmonger to be sure, and many would argue even at this stage, well on the way to a deserved – yet rarely acknowledged – reputation as a war criminal par excellence.
Of course as history also records, Churchill went on to become Britain’s wartime leader in the fight against Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler, himself no less than a singular creation of the Secret Elites and their immediate successors. Although a story for another time, in this we can safely say all Churchill was doing was cleaning up the mess he and his ilk had so assiduously worked to create from the off. But without American treasure, and especially Russian blood – not to mention all the other allies – this time it would have been England that had bitten off more than it could chew.
Yet as history tells it, ‘winning’ the Great Game was something of a Pyrrhic victory for the Empire. By 1945 it had gone all pear-shaped for the British as a direct result of imperial overreach brought on by monumental hubris, avarice and greed, fuelled by an absolute, insatiable – and ultimately corrupting – lust for geographical dominion, exploitation, and power even Lord Acton (he of the “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” dictum) might never have imagined the human condition capable of mustering absolutely. And now with Uncle Sam intent on playing his own version of the “Great Game” (swap China, Iran and Russia for Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) – with the remnants of the British Empire now playing second fiddle – we’re clearly heading toward another Great War scenario.
Which is to say one does not need to be a descendant of Nostradamus to see where this might be heading. With current world events and developments uncannily echoing those of the time and which are still being defined by its ongoing blowback, for the imperially inclined, the Great War is the gift that just keeps on giving. Just ask the Zionists in Israel, along with their fellow travellers the ‘Kosher Nostra’ neo-cons and their ‘useful goyim’ in Washington! In so many respects these folks are all rightful heirs of the Secret Elites, and guardians of their treacherous, cold-blooded legacy. If these folks continue to have their way, the next War to End all Wars may actually live up to its name, something they all appear to be completely oblivious to or unconcerned about. Which brings to mind Albert Einstein (who plainly had nukes in mind) when he said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
The Resurrection of Perfidious Albion
For even casual surveyors of the present geopolitical landscape, not all of this should come as a surprise. As Hidden History reveals, it was America’s current partner in criminal imperial enterprise that created the original business model of Empire two hundred years ago and spent the next hundred plus years finessing said model. The Americans didn’t just learn from the masters. Many would argue the ‘pupils’ are hell-bent on showing their former ‘teachers’ a clean pair of hegemonic boot-heels.
In his 1993 book called A Century of War – Anglo-American Oil, Politics and the New World Order, William Engdahl, brings this to the fore. After noting the “peculiar genius” of English foreign policy lay in its “skillful manipulation” of the shape-shifting alliances and relationships within Europe especially, and more broadly globally, when they perceived such relationships to be shifting in one direction or another (and in Europe such seismic shifts were a work in more or less perpetual ‘progress’), Engdahl this to say:
“English diplomacy cultivated this cynical doctrine, which dictated that England never held sentimental or moral relations with other nations as sovereign respected partners, but rather, England developed her ‘interests.’ English alliance strategies were dictated strictly by what England determined at any given period might best serve the definition of English ‘interest'” [My emphasis].
Docherty and Macgregor’s book underscores Engdahl’s assessment unequivocally. All of which is to say that, if from Napoleon’s time the British Empire played The Great Game, then since 1945, and especially in earnest after the Soviet Union imploded in 1992, America has taken control of the way the “game” is played, decides who gets to play – or more precisely, who has to play and on whose terms – and makes up its own rules as it goes along. And after 9/11, it has been open slather. Meet the New Empire, same (almost) as the Old Empire!
And if starting the Great War itself and then blaming the Germans was not enough, the British (along with the French, and the Johnny-Come-Lately Americans) compounded the tragedy exponentially by imposing on Germany via the 1919 Treaty of Versailles a set of impossible reparation conditions and penalties. According to American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen this knowingly – yes knowingly – set the stage for the Next War to End All Wars (aka World War II) 20 years later. Of course this war – the most obvious example of the blowback to be had from the Original War to End all Wars – was one which lasted two years longer, killed and/or wounded over twenty million more people, and created considerably more havoc and devastation across an even greater expanse of our favourite planet. And it should be noted, even more blowback. The Cold War anyone? The War on Terror anyone?
Moreover, not only to the WWI ‘victors did the spoils go’, said “victors” also got to write the history, almost all of which is “bunk”. That is, they then convinced the world it was all Germany’s fault, a monumental lie that we have all been swallowing for one hundred years, and force-feeding successive generations the same lie. Even in its current decrepit, decayed state, the ancien régime of “Perfidious Albion” that was the British Empire still has a lot to answer for. And then some! Why? Because we’re all still paying for it now, and will be for some time to come!
At this point, the big question here for us all is this: Will current or future generations of Australians, New Zealanders, even Brits themselves – or anyone else – on Uncle Sam’s imperial alliance dance card continue to buy into the Great Game 2.0? Given our own history of unstinting, obsequious support of the two Empires in question and the execrable wars that inevitably result from their respective, recidivistic hegemonic ambition, the answer to that query appears obvious.
Stumbling over the Truth
Whether it was in the Second Boer War or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or any other execrable and avoidable conflict in between and beyond, it seems then the best way for us to truly honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice is to both understand – and then come to terms with – the real reasons why our forbears were fighting, crying, bleeding and dying. It certainly was not in the cause of democracy, freedom, life, liberty, peace, love, understanding, human rights, and the pursuit of happiness. It never has been. It never will be! If we cannot come to terms with this long dormant reality, “Lest we Forget” becomes a meaningless, hollow, empty chant.
For Australians and New Zealanders alike, from this pivotal point onwards – i.e. 2015 – when it comes to both commemorating, extolling and embracing the ‘virtues’ of the ANZAC tradition (as distinct from the myth), and bowing our heads every April 25 in solemn remembrance of our ‘baptism of fire’ as a nation at Anzac Cove (not to mention in the putrid, blood-drenched, interminable trenches cum graves along the Western Front) it now behooves everyone of us still – young or old, veteran or non-veteran – to come to grips with a fuller understanding of the real history behind the First World War and Britain’s hitherto hidden, yet wholly reprehensible, role in planning and then triggering that conflict.
And since it is the aforementioned Churchill that is the most remembered – and most undeservedly revered – of the Great War plotters, it seems apposite to include herein – then ‘riff on’ – a pricelessly pompous piece of Winstonian profundity, to wit: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
The duplicitous old blowhard should know! Truth be told, Churchill and his coterie of conspirators didn’t so much as “stumble over the truth” before picking themselves up and “hurrying off as if nothing had happened”; they assassinated said truth with extreme and amoral prejudice, then buried it deep in the ground and did everything in their power to ensure that no-one – in their own lifetimes and decades beyond – would ever exhume what was in the hole. They then went on to create their own reality and convince themselves and everyone else who would listen (of whom there was no shortage) there was no other reality than their own. With this in mind, we might paraphrase the aforementioned Henry Ford; for Churchill and his ilk – along with their imperial heirs on either side of the Big Pond playing the Great Game as we speak – one imagines it was, and still is, very much a case of, “you can have any version of history you like, as long as it’s ours!”
Never mind the reality, [just] feel the myth!
There can be no doubt Docherty and Macgregor deserve our eternal gratitude for bringing this appalling – and for many, inconvenient – truth to our attention. Yet despite being published two years ago, all indications point to this book having all but been buried by the mainstream media, with negligible reviews forthcoming in that time. As I’m given to understand, the sales have reflected this sad reality. Consequently I fear their story will never reach that all important critical mass of folks that will be required to bring those still playing the Great Game of Empire to account. Until and unless that happens, we are doomed to keep repeating history, until such time as ‘history’ finally catches up with us and destroys us. In such an instance there will be no victors, just victims.
It is appropriate to finish off with a word about Gallipoli (again). In the separate article cited earlier, after noting that in Britain, New Zealand and Australia, Gallipoli has been turned into an “heroic-romantic myth”, Docherty and Macgregor maintain it is a myth nonetheless “promoted by court historians and pliant journalists in order to hide the stark truth.” Although the myth derives from Gallipoli, it goes way beyond that event. There is the unquestioning reverence for our military and our propensity to unstintingly celebrate our military history and those who made it. Much of this ‘reverence’ one suspects is often both feigned and strained, and appears the first and last refuge of too many people – especially in the media and in political circles – whose insight into our involvement in the various military conflicts is scant at best. And their knowledge of the reasons for why these conflicts erupted in the first instance, on what basis they have been conducted (by both sides), along with the political exigencies and economic realities that have been the true causes of these conflicts, one might argue is even less complete. As far as they are concerned, it seems here it may just be a case of, “never mind the reality, [just] feel the myth”!
To underscore this, the recent dismissal of SBS journalist Scott McIntyre in Australia for private comments he made on social media which purportedly went against the grain of accepted ‘reality’ that is the essence of that seemingly indestructible, unassailable ANZAC myth, is a testament to the collective power it commands in our national identity and the manner in which it fuels our individual personal pride in what it means to be Australian. Far from being just a parochial Australian based news-story, such was the fallout from the McIntyre sacking even Glen Greenwald from the Intercept in the U.S. weighed into the controversy.
But it seems that that power prevails for all the wrong reasons. And as McIntyre found to his professional detriment (and doubtless personal dismay), woe betide anyone who dares question it. With this in mind, it just might be time for us all to reassess the whole basis upon which we commemorate not just Gallipoli but the Great War itself, not to mention all the other ones that followed in its wake. I cannot imagine a more appropriate point to begin that journey of understanding than to read Hidden History. And when they bring themselves to do so, I imagine that many will read it and weep!
For those folks who take the time to do so, I suspect that April 25 will assume a whole new meaning and import next time it comes round. As it should.
Perth Australia, May 2015
Hidden History is available from all good bookstores and online retailers. To read exclusive extracts from their book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, please visit the authors’ blog at firstworldwarhiddenhistory.wordpress.com/
Readers should keep in mind that as the title suggests, the book only covers the lead up to the war’s beginning. It is my understanding that their website will function as a portal going forward for the publication of future articles, and will feature ongoing commentary and additional content covering the respective centenary war years themselves. I have it on good authority the authors have many more myths to mangle about this event, including the backstory of how America herself was drawn into the conflict. Readers can subscribe to regular updates as new content is published.