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UFPPC ( Digging Deeper LXX 2009, 7:00 p.m.

January 26,

Guido Giacomo Preparata, Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich (London and Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2005).
List of Figures. 7 maps, tables, diagrams. Acknowledgments. UW Tacoma, for “unwavering support,” and colleagues there (x). Publisher; friends. A Chronology of Germany’s Undoing, 1900-45. 3 pp. Preface. Attacks historiography of the period (xiv-xv). Thesis: “for 15 years (191933), the Anglo-Saxon elites tampered with German politics with the conscious intent to obtain a reactionary movement, which they could then set up as a pawn for their geopolitical intrigues” (xv-xvi). Modern societies are oligarchies; democracy is cynically dismissed as “a sham” (xvi n.3). Circa 1900, Britain “contrived in secrecy a plan for a giant encirclement of the Eurasian landmass” (xvii). After 1918, “an astounding political maneuver” whose “premeditated purpose” was “to ensnare the new, reactionary German regime in a two-front war (World War II)” (xvii). Both the Bolshevik Revolution and the survival of Germany’s “dynastic clans” were part of the plan (xviii). Everything that ensued was calculated by Britain, whose elites “succeeded” (xviii-xix). Thus “the Anglo-American fraternities” are “far worse than Nazism” (xix). Claims this is not “yet another grotesque conspiracy theory” but a thesis supported by “clues and solid evidence” (xix). Ch. 1: Introductory: The Eurasian Embrace: Laying Siege to Germany with World War I, 1900-18. The Second Reich (1-8). Sir Halford Mackinder’s article, “The Geographical Pivot of History,” Geographical Journal (1904) (8-12). Evidence that Britain plotted “the destruction of Germany” as its “chief objective” is “elaborate diplomatic activity” (12-13). Britain wanted to be attacked (13). “From the beginning Britain was the aggressor, not Germany” (14; 1420). Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand engineered by Britain (20-22). The failure to destroy Germany meant another plot was required (22-41). Ch. 2: The Veblenian Prophecy. From the Councils to Versailles by Way of Russian Fratracide, 1919-20. Postwar German politics (42-57). Hitler becomes politically active (57-60). The Allies ensured that the Whites would fail to defeat the Bolshevik Revolution (60-74). Germany had been lured into surrender with Wilson’s Fourteen Points, then subjected to harsh Versailles Treaty (74-80). Thorstein Veblen’s books and essays from 1915 to 1920 praised as “clairvoyant” (80-88). Ch. 3: The Meltdown and the Geopolitical Correctness of Mein Kampf : Between the Kapp and the Beerhall Putsch, 1920-23. Weimar was a “sham” imposed by the West whose only purpose was to gestate a reactionary movement (8993). The 1920 libel trial of Matthias Erzberger (93-98). Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln supposedly provoked, then caused to fail, supposedly at British behest, the KappLüttwitz putsch of March 1920 (98-111). The assassination of Weimar Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau on Jun. 24, 1922, honest but victim of his own naïveté for “fail[ing] to acknowledge the devilish entrapment into which the British had fitted Germany after the war” (113; 112-21). Though Preparata admits there is “no basis” (121) for it “provoke[ed] a Nazi coup by engineering a financial landslide,” he nevertheless maintains that Britain must have realized that the reparations scheme would have some such effect (121-30). Analysis of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which Preparata regards as correct in its geopolitics except for his notion that Britain could be brought to ally itself with Germany (130-38). Ch. 4: ‘Death on the Installment Plan,’ Whereby Governor Norman Came to Pace the Damnation of Europe, 1924-33. The gold standard the “peculiar creation” of Montagu Norman, governor of the Bank of England (138-40). Preparata acknowledges “meager document[ation]” (141) but insists “the known facts are by themselves amply

sufficient to incorporate seamlessly into the main narrative of the Nazi incubation a reinterpretation of the disquieting intermission of 1930-32” (141). Money and banking (“the ‘Grid,’ the banking network”) explained as “an enormous fraud” (142), a “prodigious swindle” and “awesomely savage cult” (147; 141-47—for a saner explanation of money and banking, see James Tobin’s article “Financial Intermediaries” and Marcello de Cecco’s “Gold Standard” in The World of Economics edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman [New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1991], 261-79 & 315-29, respectively). Montagu Norman, viewed as “secretive” and “god-like,” and his push to return to the gold standard, though “[v]irtually nothing is known” of the details of his activity (147-59). Hjalmar Schacht, governor of Germany’s central bank, and the Dawes plan—really “largely a J.P. Morgan production” directed by Montagu Norman and forcing France out of the Ruhr (159-65). Morgan’s loans to I.G. Farben—an immense industrial cartel formed in 1925, which dominated the chemical industry—played a key role in Germany’s rearmament, which amounted to “collaboration with the German military-industrial complex” (though Preparata admits there is “meager evidence” of this) (165-71). Under Norman’s leadership, the Bank of England deliberately crashed sterling, ended the gold standard in September 1931, then refurbished the “gold hoard” (again, Preparata admits that “evidence is ‘scanty’”) (171-87). Schacht and others (“the puppet Papen” [198]) collaborated with Anglo-American interests to sink the Weimar Republic (187-201). Ch. 5: The Reich on the Marble Cliffs: Fire, Legerdemain and Mummery all the Way to Barbarossa, 1933-41. Hitler’s consolidation of power (202-11). Details of how the Third Reich financed itself with tax certificates and “work-creation bills” (Arbeitsbeschaffungswechsel), a form of public spending financed by central bank credit (this was the subject of Preparata’s Ph.D. dissertation, to which he alludes, however, only fleetingly [xv]) (211-23). Allied trade and finance also helped Hitler, which Preparata denies can be attributed merely to corporate greed (226; 223-28). Rather, it is said to be the accomplishment of

“a monolithic structure,” the “British establishment,” whose “true core” was “the Milner group,” around the “oligarchical mastermind” Lord Alfred Milner (cf. 39) and including Sir Eric Simon, Jan Smuts, Geoffrey Dawson (editor of The Times), Lord Lothian (Philip Kerr), Lord Halifax (Edward Wood), Samuel Hoare, which managed the policy of appeasement (229; 228-36). (Preparata says, citing David Irving, that “the anti-Nazi faction led by Churchill was turned with Jewish funding into a faster, more articulate and most secret outfit known as The Focus. As was the expressed wish of its leader, no detailed record of the group’s formation and activities has ever been divulged” [236; cf. 243]; later he asserts that Churchill was engaged in a “conspiracy” with his political opponent, Neville Chamberlain [256], and it is Irving’s controversial interpretation that guides his account of the early stages of World War II.) The Nazis never realized that their attempts to come to terms with England were doomed (244-54). In the early stages of the war, the Nazis were elaborately duped by the British; Rudolf Hess was “some form of collateral” to commit England to holding off the Americans for a while so that they could have a “free hand” in the East, only then deciding to “dispatch” the “creature” they had “nurtured for over a quarter of a century” (262; 256-62). Ch. 6. Conclusion. Present U.S. policy “is a direct and wholly consistent continuation of the old imperial strategy of Britain” (263). The role of Bolshevik Russia remains “one of the greatest enigmas” (264). Those holding other views are “faithful activists of the empire” (265). Mocks the orthodox narrative of the rise of Nazism (265-68). Those who “choose to believe” this “cock-and-bull story” (which is also “an insult”) do so “for the sake of psychological tranquility” because peoples are “simple” and trust “constituted authorities” who are “nothing but high battlements hiding oligarchy and lies, both of which must come to an end” (268).
Notes. 26 pp. Select Bibliography. 291 books. Index. 7 pp.

About the Author. Guido Giacomo Preparata was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in the U.S., France, and Italy. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Economy and Economic History at the University of Southern California in 1998, with a dissertation entitled “Money for the Third Reich: The Nazis’ Financial Legerdemain, 1933-1938” (he also wrote an earlier M.A. thesis at USC entitled “The Transition from Steam to Electric Power in American Manufacturing: Protecting the Infant Industry: Cosmopolitan vs. Nationalist Economics; Bank Lending, Interest, and Monopoly.” He taught for several years at the University of Washington-Tacoma. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Jordan in 2005. He is also the author of “Hitler’s Money: The Bills of Exchange of Schacht and Rearmament in the Third Reich,” American Review of Political Economy 1 (October 2002): 15-27, and The Ideology of Tyranny: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent (2007). [Critique. Conjuring Hitler is a full-blown conspiracy theory, accusing “the AngloAmerican establishment” of world-historical crimes and attributing to it the successful management of world events since about 1900. Virtually every event of in the British politics in the 1920s and 1930s is held to have been a sham behind “stock masks” (231). As the white supremacist and anti-Semitic web sites that have taken up discussion of Preparata’s volume suggest, Conjuring Hitler, with its oracular style, is a fine example of what Richard Hofstadter called, in a famous

November 1964 Harper’s Magazine essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Hofstadter wrote: “In the history of the United States one finds it, for example, in the antiMasonic movement, the nativist and antiCatholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders’ conspiracy, in many alarmists about the Mormons, in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers’ conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing, and on both sides of the race controversy today, among White Citizens’ Councils and Black Muslims.” Hofstadter noted that “this term is pejorative, and it is meant to be; the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style.” In Preparata’s case, we have a “sound demand” (that national and world politics be liberated from the overweening influence of finance capital) advocated in the classic paranoid style. In this case, a spectacular effect (the rise of Nazism) is taken to require explanation by means of an elaborate intention that is then asserted as an efficient cause. But history depends on evidence, and there is little of that here, despite the apparatus of scholarship (which reveals itself to be thin when scrutinized). Hofstadter again: “A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen.” —Mark Jensen]