Archive for category Politics
The Ergenekon verdicts in Turkey coincided with the current events in Egypt where some prefer to call it a revolution and others a coup. Whether it was a revolution or a coup, the one sure thing is, there’s a military dictatorship, a deep schism in society, and a defense minister that’s highly praised by millions of Egyptians. We expected Turkey PM Erdogan to surely condemn the latest events, but some didn’t get why his stance was so convulsive, almost causing a temporal end with Egypt’s new relations with Turkey. So in order to get the full idea of the official Turkish reaction, we shall go 89 years back in time.
New Turkey, quivering Turkey
In 1924, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Father of Turks) established the Turkish Republic, which is one of the Ottoman Empire’s leftovers after the great first war that also shaped the current map/borders of the Arab world (Sykes-Picot agreement). And since the Ottoman Empire was a multi-cultured empire, with large numbers of religious and racial minorities, a serious problem burst out after the establishment of the republic of who is worthy of being a Turk. Anatolia (Current Turkey) had several minorities of Kurds, Alevis, and non-Muslim minorities of Jews, and Christians (Armenians, and Greeks). But Ataturk already made up his mind, and despite his extreme secular outlook, he decided that only a Sunni Secular citizen is the state’s rightful owner. Mustafa Kemal decided to start quickly the modernization process of the new Turkey when he and his associates established the Republican People’s Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP). In March, 1924, the Grand National Assembly abolished the Caliphate, the highest of the Sunni institutions in the Muslim world, leaving non-Turkish Muslims in a shock all over the Muslim countries. Declared Ankara the new capital of the republic instead of Istanbul, which was the metropolitan city of the Ottoman Empire, and the Byzantine one before it (Constantinople). One may understand the motives behind these reforms since Mustafa Kemal was establishing a modern state on a Western nationalist standards, but the upcoming reforms were indeed outlandish that caused a deep unrest in the Turkish society for decades to come. In 1925, religious orders, and Sufi brotherhoods were closed down. Most of them went udnerground and practiced in secret their religious practices until they emerged later in the 1940s in a more liberal form. Changed the Islamic holiday on Friday and replaced it with the Christian day of Sunday. In 1928, Mustafa Kemal changed the alphabets from Arabic to Latin, and the Arabic script was prohibited after Ataturk’s visit to central Anatolia to introduce the people to the new Turkish language. In 1932, the Diyanet changed the call to prayers (Azan) from Arabic to Turkish, making it the one and only country where the call to prayers was performed in Turkish. All of these arbitary actions caused unrest among the Turkish society, especially the conservative ones where they perceived it as an assault on Islam’s constants and principles. Any act of remonstrance was terminated by force.
Obliteration of minorities
After deciding who is worthy of being a Turk in the new republic (Sunni Secular Muslim), Ataturk launched a ferocious campaign on both Kurds and Alevis. When the Caliphate fell, Kurds felt that nothing more bonds them with the new government, since it was established on nationalism. In 1925, the Kurdish leader Sheikh Said Piran made an army of 15,000 Kurds and took over the city of Diyarbakir. The uprising was contained easily by the military forces through massive air bombardment, and Sheikh Said was hanged along with his followers. The Kurdish uprisings continued all through the 20s and the 30s, and the military intervention was always the only choice by Turkish authorities, and since then, Kurds never really felt they belonged to Turkey except for a very few times in it’s modern history.
In 1935, a genocide took place in the Alevi province of Dersim. A society of 70,000 Alevis was eradicated through full military operation in the summer for two consecutive years. The military attacked all whether they were supportive of the government or not. Men, women, and children were executed, assimilated, and transported to new areas. It was a process called by the government “Civilizing the others”, similar to the Nazi slogans during WWII.
As a result of modernization processes, as it was described by Ataturk, a powerful layer of society adapted Ataturk’s methods during the late 30s, and the whole 40s period. It was simply called Kemalism, and this powerful layer of society was formed of Military officers, wealthy businessmen, and Judges, they later formed the guardian state that orchestrated the coups of 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997. In 1950, Turkey entered a new period in its modern history when they held the first democratic elections since the republic.
In 1950, Turks had their first democratic elections, where Adnan Mendres and his Democratic Party won the elections from the famous Kemalist CHP. And since the very first day, it was clear that a battle was on the run between the elected institution and the Kemalist guardian state when Adnan Mendres and his DP restored Azan in Arabic all over Turkey for 5 times a day which was a relief to a large majority of Muslims, but this decision was regarded by the army , and the CHP as a counter-revolution against the Kemalist republic. And across the ruling years of Adnan Mendres and his DP, the CHP and the Socialist Left would look for the military for a revolution from above.
The years of Adnan Mendres witnessed a notable improvement in the economic front and the educational sector. Four universities were established (The Middle East Technical University, The Blacksea Technical university, The Ataturk university, and The Aegean university). But the army wanted to interfere, and since it was facing a democratically elected institution, it had to find a good reason for its interference. In 1955, a series of pogroms took place which was called the 6/7 September pogroms when an organization called “Cyprus is Turkish” started looting lists of shops and properties of Non-Muslims(as a reply to an assault on the house where Mustafa Kemal was born). The attacks were carried out simultaneously in Istanbul, Izmir, and Iskenderun. Lots of churches were vandalized, dozens of Greeks and Armenians were murdered, and about 400 women been raped. The Leftist Turkish author Kerem Oktem wrote “In fact these events had been planned well in advance by the clandestine ‘Council for Mobilization Research’, better known under its later epithet, ‘Special War Office’. Officer Sabri Yirmibesoglu, an undercover agent of the office and later director of the National Security Council, confirmed that the ‘6/7 September was a job of the Special War Office.’ It was a marvellous organization. And it attained its goals’. Not only had the attack on Mustafa Kemal’s house been carried out by an operative of the Turkish Intelligence services, even the hundreds of thousands of copies of the Istanbul Ekspres newspaper, which galvanized parts of the mob into action, had been prepared well in advance. The pogroms served at least two goals. Even though the government had verifiably only limited responsibility for the events, they served as one of the main charges in the indictment against Mendres and the Democratic Party after the coup of 1961.”
In 1960, the guardian state moved into action when the military officer Alparsalan declared on the radio that the armed forces had taken over the administration of the state, that the national assembly had been closed, and the constitution has been suspended. Adnan Mendres was tried for the 6/7 September pogroms, and the threat to the Secular/Kemalist nature of the state. And despite the CHP’s intervention, the army executed Adnan Mendres, his finance minister, and his foreign minister. And with this intervention, it was the first visible appearance of the guardian state (Army-Judiciary-Bureaucracy) in politics where they acted out as the rightful owners of the state.
Years following the 1960 coup
Unfortunately the coup had the blessings of both the Kemalist CHP and the Socialist Left that it was described in history as the Leftist coup. But as any other Military coup, the 60s marked the decade of Leftist persecution where thousands of Leftists been jailed and executed. And through a decade of weak vulnerable Turkey, with street chaos between Islamists and Leftists, and with the coup of 1971, Kerem Oktem says “The left would realize that the guardian state did not feel any moral obligation towards its one time collaborators.”
Ironically, the constitution post the 1960 coup was very liberal in term of individual freedoms, but indeed it gave a more powerful role for the military to interfere in political life. In 1965, the elections brought the heirs of the DP back to the political scene, it was the time of the Justice Party and Suleyman Demirel. We have to mention that despite the incessant interferance of the guardian state in political life, Turks seemed to know what they want since they always voted for Conservative Democrats under different party names. But things weren’t as rosey as Turks thought its going to be. The 60s marked the active decade of the leftists. Streets were filled with anti-imperialist protests with “Yankees go home” slogans. The Turkish left was led by a law student named Deniz Gezmis who organized the 1968 boyott in Istanbul University and led negotiations with Demirel’s government. A new rightist group was formed, it was Islamist, it called itself “Assocations for the struggle against Communism”. Am sure the reader will conclude from the name that constant clashes took place in the streets between Islamists and Leftists. And since the guardian state saw no actual threat from Islamists, it used them to beat down the Turkish left. With every single clash between the protesters, Police just watched with pleasure as chaos spread by time. On February 16th, 1969, bloody Sunday has arrived when 70,000 members of the Revolutionary Worker’s Unions protested against the government despite the latest elections in the same year. Four protesters and One Policeman were killed. Kerem Oktem writes “As the country was shaken down by bomb explosions for which no one claimed responsibility, bank robberies by radicalized socialists and battles between rival student groups, the Chief of the General Staff and the commanding officers met regulary to agree on the modalities of the looming intervention”.
Two years later, in 1971, the leftist People’s liberation front led by Deniz Gezmis, kidnapped four US soldiers. It seemed like it was the golden chance for Army Generals to strike. Army Units launched full attack on students, killing more than two and injuring hundreds, horrified by the events, Deniz Gezmis released the US soldiers to prevent further bloodshed, but it was too late. The next day, armed forces declared on the radio that they have taken over the country and issued a momerandum that accused both the parliament and the government of leading the state into anarchy and chaos. We can’t bear responsbility of the unfortunate events of the 60s alone to the guardian state that made sure the battle between students unions to be always on fire. But we also have to bear responsbility to both the leftist Marxists and the rightsit Islamists, who participated by their naivety in creating the suitable nature for the 1971 coup. But again, I personally believe that none of these events could’ve been unfolded with such brutality if it wasn’t fo the 1960 coup that ousted the very first elected government and president in Turkish modern history. When random killings, protestes, bombings, and bank robberies continued even after the coup, the junta government declared that the 1960 constitution is too luxurious for us, therefore they quickly changed more than fourty articles in the constitution, restricting human rights, individual freedoms, and gave a bigger role for the military. Ten-Thousands political activists were jailed, and Deniz Gezmis was executed at the prime age of 24 when he was accused of being the prime enemy of the state.
Years following the 1971 coup
The guardian state took over the political shere despite the Parliament’s survival. Eleven governments came and went along the decade following the coup. None of them were able to address the people, face the protests, strikes, and the economical collapse. The longest lasted three years, while the shortest was voted down after a month. The first pro-coup elections took place in 1973 which resulted in an odd coalition of Leftists led by Ecevit, and Islamists led by Erbakan. A new crisis was on the horizone when the Turkish army occupied Greek Cyprus, killing more than 5000 Greek Cypriots. After several years of government somehow in control over few bank robberies, in 1978, an Islamist/Nationalist mob targeted an Alevi community in the city of Maras. The army refused the governor’s reuqest to interfere and maintain order, they simply looked the other way. A week later, a hundred Alevi were killed and their properties were looted. But as usual, bringing back harsh memories of the 6/7 pogroms in 1955, Kerem Oktem testifies “It is now an established fact that the events were planned by groups within the army and executed by extreme nationalist followers of Alparsalan Turkes[Yes the same one behind the 6/7 pogroms].” And due to such massacre, chaos rose again with random bombings, bank robberies, political fractions shootings, political assassiantions, and the rise of organized Turkish mafia that was used by different politicians to assassinate each other. This organized crime was indeed the right hand of the guardian state through out the 70s. And amidst this social and political chaos, the guardian sate strikes again with the 1980 coup led by General Evren [who was lately convicted for the 1980 coup in the Ergenekon trial in 2013] where lots of Turks consider it to be the most viscious and bloody coup in their history. Kerem Oktem summarzies “Turkey in the summer of 1980 was a country at war with itself. Political assassinations, communitarian violence, random killings, and militant activism had brought daily life to a standstill. On the surface, the military stepped in to save the nation. In fact, Evren and his co-conspirators assumed power, after they realized that the behind-the-scenes politics of the last three decades had not produced the desired results, i.e. a country and society that operated within the narrow confines set by the military elites and guardians of the state.”
That will be the end of part 1 since I found it almost impossible not to mention lots of events and since I tried to be very brief about the Turkish political scene under the constant military coups. The years following the 1980 coup till the rise of Erdogan’s AKP and it’s on-going struggle with the guardian state needs a separate article where many details can not be simply ignored.
Hitler was born on the 20th of April, 1889 in Austria. He was the 4th child of 6, his mother was named Clara, and she was the 3rd wife to his father. Hitler lived a disturbing childhood where his father constantly beat him. scholars suggest that this part of his childhood might have shaped his personality. He was a smart student but failed his 6th grade class when he first attended Realschule school, and for a year he attended the class with Ludwig Wittgenstein who is one of the most famous philosophers of the 20th century although Ludwig was 2 years older than Hitler. Hitler wanted to be an artist, rebelling on his father who wanted him to be a Customs Officer, and when his father died in January, 1903, he wasn’t improved in school, he simply left it when he turned 16 and got no certificate.
Starting from the year 1905, Hitler lived a bohemian life in Vienna, and was refused twice by the Art Academy in both 1907 and 1908 because he wasn’t suitable for the field of art. They advised him to study architecture because it suited him more. He was convinced of this advise where he wrote in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle) the following “In only few days, I realized from the bottom of my heart that I wanted to be an architect. And actually, taking this road was very difficult for me because it was necessary to finish high school and I didn’t, which was very essential”.
Hitler said that the very first anti-Semite feelings showed up when he was in Vienna where lots of Jews inhabited it, fleeing away from the organized killings they suffered in Russia. Antisemitism was formed in Hitler through various ways, through the music of Wagner who was one of the leaders of the Pan-Germanic movement that aimed to unite all of the German speaking people in Europe under one flag. Also through the writing of Martin Luther (the founder of Protestantism) about the deceiving of the Jews named “On the Jews and their lies”, and in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler pointed out that Martin Luther was a great thinker and warrior, along with Wagner. Hitler’s antisemitism was first the result of religious intolerance but later was transformed into racism where he stated many times that the Jews are the enemies of the Aryan race. Hitler blamed the Jews on the German defeat of the first World War, and also the economical failures of Germany because most of Germany’s bankers during and after the first World War were Jewish business men.
Hitler received some of his father’s possessions in 1913 where he later moved to Munich, he wrote in Mein Kampf that he’s eager to live in the real Germany. In Munich, he showed even more interest in architecture, and of course this helped him from fleeing the Military duty service in Austria but later the Munich police arrested him, and after physically checking him, Austria declared that he’s not suitable for Military service. When Germany entered the first World War in 1913, he begged the King of Bavaria, Ludwig III to allow him to serve in the army, and the King agreed, so Hitler eventually joined the Bavarian army.
During the years of the first World War, Hitler became more sure than ever that he was born to be Germany’s savior. His anti-Semite longings grew stronger and the war taught him to be merciless and ruthless. He described war as the best thing the man can ever experience, and he was shocked due to the German surrender in 1918. He like other nationalists and right wingers believed in the Stab-in-the-back legend which is a notion that widely believes that the German army wasn’t defeated but rather betrayed by civilians on the home front, especially the republicans who overthrew the monarchy. The German government leaders who signed the surrender on November 11, 1918 were called the November traitors.
Entering the World of Politics
In July, 1919, Hitler was appointed a spy in the German Police “The Verbindungsmann” to penetrate the DAP party. And while spying on the party, Hitler was affected by the DAP’s leader Anton Drexler who was anti-Semite, and anti-Capitalism. Hitler became active in the party, and Drexler showed a deep interest in Hitler’s talents in speeches, and after few years, Hitler claimed that he was the 7th founder of the Party.
In an attempt to increase the popularity of the party, they changed their name to The National Socialist German Workers’ Party…….commonly known in English as the Nazi Party.
Hitler was thrown out of the army in 1920, but his party colleagues showed a big and deep support for him. He became perfect in giving speeches, and had a bad reputation outside his party of his arrogance, racism, and anti-Semite speeches that targeted Jews and Marxists. Hitler arranged a coup in 1923 but failed, and was jailed due to that failed attempt. The party was banned in Bavaria after that attempt, but Hitler convinced the PM of Bavaria that the Nazi party will try to reach to authority through the legitimate ways of democracy.
Rise to rule and domination of the Nazi party (1933)
In 1933, Hitler along with his party rose to rule in a full democratic elections by telling the masses that he would save Germany from the economical recession that strike the world, and to put an end to both the Versailles treaty that humiliated Germany in WWI and the increasing powers of the Jews who stabbed the Germans in the back during the war.
Hitler began taking the precautions of migrating the Jews out of Germany through signing an agreement with the Zionist leaders on August 25, 1933, that was designed to help facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine. This agreement was called The Haavara Agreement, and although it helped the Jews migrate, it forced them to give up most of their possessions to Germany before departing. Those assets would later be transferred to Palestine as German export goods. This operation was run by a Zionist citrus planting money called Hantoea which took money from prospective immigrants and then use this money to buy German goods. These goods, along with the immigrants, would then be shipped to Palestine. In Palestine, import merchants would then buy the goods from the immigrants, liquidating their investment. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the continuation of the Haavara agreement seemed no longerpossible, so in 1940, the underground Zionist group Lehi (Militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine) met with Von Hentigo to propose direct military cooperation with the Nazis for the continuation of the Jewish migration to Palestine, this proposal however did not produce results because the Jews at the time represented a massive labor force for Germany in the concentration camps.
Hitler believed that the woman’s role is to stay in her house and raise the children of the next generations, and through his charming effective speeches and the brilliant propaganda done by the propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, he was able to convince most of Germany’s women to stay at their houses and leave a space for unemployed men to take over their jobs which of course resulted in a massive economical advance which led to the developing of the infrastructure that was described as the biggest developing series of projects Germany ever had. The farmers and the workers felt a productive change in their lifestyle and their salaries increased, although the party had to decrease it right before the war. Hitler’s government had a deep interest in a new architectural vision done by the most famous architect under the Reich, Albert Speer who was also the minister of arms and ammunition during the war.
Hitler had a major paramilitary organization formed in 1925 was called the Schutzstaffel…..or in a more famous way, the SS unit which was under Heinrich Himmler’s command. It was originally existent for the personal safety of Hitler, but during the years of war (1939-1945), the SS committed crimes against humanity and spread terror in 1939 through arresting commies, Jews, gypsies, and even Catholic Christians. It’s Einsatzgruppen unit, or Death Squads, were personally responsible for the crimes committed in the concentration camps which were famously known as the Holocaust that took the lives of 6 million Jews, 3 million Poles, 1.5 million gypsies, and thousands of gays, lesbians, and mentally and physically handicapped due to the straight gun shooting, or death cause of medical experiments, exhaustion, hunger and cold.
Hitler wouldn’t have reached that position and condition of control without the help of his ministers who were without any exaggeration brilliant in what they do. We’ll take the most important of them one by one, to shed the light on the the role they played during these 10 years of inferno.
1- Joseph Goebbels : Was a German politician and the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany. He’s considered to be one of Hitler’s closest associates and the most devoted Nazi in the party, he truly believed in the ideology that shaped it. The very first act he did after being appointed a minister in 1933 was the burning of the books that were rejected by the Nazis, he totally grasped control over the media, arts, and information in Germany. Goebbels stated in his diaries that his major influences were Friedrich Nietzsche, Oswald Spengler, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain. He knew very well how to manipulate the masses into attracting them to the Nazi disease of intolerance and racism; his techniques are widely used by most of the world’s media to drug the people’s minds. He explains his work by saying “If you tell a lie long and loud enough, people will eventually start to believe it”. A technique looks like it’s doing it’s job pretty well. Goebbels showed full support to Hitler concerning the Jewish matter when he wrote “With regard to the Jewish Question, the Führer is determined to make a clean sweep of it. He prophesied that, if they brought about another world war, they would experience their annihilation. That was no empty talk. The world war is here [this was the week Germany declared war on the United States]. The annihilation of Jewry must be the necessary consequence. The question is to be viewed without any sentimentality. We’re not there to have sympathy with the Jews, but only sympathy with our own German people. If the German people has again now sacrificed around 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, the originators of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.” and in 1942, Goebbels continued to press on the final solution of the Jewish question to be carried out quickly as soon as possible when the Wehrmacht forces were able to control Eastern Soviet Russia which will allow them to deport all the inhabitant Jews there to their concentration camps. He wrote “The Jews are now being deported to the east. A fairly barbaric procedure, not to be described in any greater detail, is being used here, and not much more remains of the Jews themselves. In general, it can probably be established that 60 percent of them must be liquidated, while only 40 percent can be put to work. A judgment is being carried out on the Jews which is barbaric, but fully deserved.” . At the end of the war, during the battle of Berlin, Goebbels speeches became suicidal and apocalyptic, knowing that the end is near and nowhere to run, but as he became more depressed, he even became more ruthless especially when a German army general came to him and said that the situation in Berlin is devastating, soldiers aren’t trained enough and victory is far from the sight, Goebbels reply was “Their endless faith of final victory can compensate the situation.” then his general replied to him by saying that without weapons, the soldiers cannot fight and got no chance, therefore, their death would be useless, Goebbels finally replied in rage and said “I will not feel sorry for them….I repeat, I will not feel sorry for them. The people brought this to themselves, this might be a surprise to you but do not deceive yourself, we haven’t forced the people on anything, they gave us authorization and now they pay for it’s price.”. The idea of surrendering never came to Hitler’s mind despite the continuing requests and pleads by his army generals and his associates except for Goebbels who thought the same like Hitler, that surrender is no option. When Goebbels knew that Hitler committed suicide, he said “‘It is a great pity that such a man is not with us any longer. But there is nothing to be done. For us, everything is lost now and the only way left for us is the one which Hitler chose. I shall follow his example”. On the 1st of May, 1945, the Vice-admiral Hans-Erich Voss saw Goebbels and told him that him and other 10 generals would leave and offered him to leave with them but Goebbels replied “The captain must not leave his sinking ship. I have thought about it all and decided to stay here. I have nowhere to go because with little children I will not be able to make it.”. Later on the evening, Goebbels arranged with the SS dentist, Helmut Kunz to inject his 6 children with morphine and wait till they become unconscious and crush an ampule of cyanide in each of their mouths. Helmut’s testimony stated that he injected the kids with morphine, but then it was Magda Goebbels who crushed the cyanide ampules in her kids’ mouths. All of her kids’ names started with the letter H,….Helga (12 years Old), Hildegard (11 Years Old), Helmut (9 Years Old), Holdine (8 Years Old), Hedwig (7 Years Old), and Heidrun (4 Years Old). Afterward, Goebbels and his wife Magda went outside the bunker to the outer gardens where Goebbels shot his wife and later shot himself dead. It was the end of Joseph Goebbels….the propaganda monster of the 20th century.
2- Heinrich Himmler : Himmler was a military commander, a leading member of the Nazi party, Chief of the German Police, and the Minister of Interior from 1943. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany, and one of the directly responsible for the Holocaust. He was in the first World War, and when the war was over, he studied agriculture in Munich, worked in a Chickens farm but didn’t succeed. He later joined the Nazi party in 1925 in the SS unit, and Hitler appointed him his personal guard. Himmler was able to develop the SS in a short period of time, making it one of the most well trained militias. The members of the SS special forces in 1929 were 250, and by the year 1933, it became 52,000. Himmler made sure to check himself the purity of the applicant’s blood because Hitler refused to accept any non-Aryan in his units. Himmler had 2 secret speeches known as the Posen Speeches, speeches concerned the treating of Eastern European peoples which said “One basic principle must be the absolute rule for the SS men : We must be honest, decent, loyal and comradely to members of our own bloodand to nobody else. What happens to a Russian, to a Czech, does not interest me in the slightest. What other nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary, by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an antitank ditch interests me only insofar as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished.”, concerning the extermination of the Jews that said “I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. It’s one of those things that is easily said: ‘The Jewish people are being exterminated’, says every party member, ‘this is very obvious, it’s in our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination, we’re doing it, hah, a small matter.’ […] But of all those who talk this way, none had observed it, none had endured it. Most of you here know what it means when 100 corpses lie next to each other, when 500 lie there or when 1,000 are lined up. To have endured this and at the same time to have remained a decent person – with exceptions due to human weaknesses – had made us tough. This is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned. […] We have the moral right, we had the duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who wanted to kill us.”, Albert Speer remark and the discussion of the Ghetto Warsaw uprising which said “This entire ghetto was producing fur coats, dresses, and the like. Whenever we tried to get at it in the past we were told: Stop! Armaments factory! Of course, this has nothing to do with Party Comrade Speer. It wasn’t your doing. It is this portion of alleged armaments factories that Party Comrade Speer and I intend to clear out in the next few weeks.” and also some other speeches that had similar contents and phrases. In 13 March, 1945, Himmler left the leadership and fled away, trying to negotiate his surrender to the allies as long as he won’t be convicted in the trials after the War. When Hitler knew of that he flew into rage, made him angry because he always believed that Himmler was second in loyalty only to Joseph Goebbels that he only called him the loyal Heinrich. At the end of the war, Himmler tried to escape the allies through disguising but the British forces arrested him in Bremen in the 22nd of May, 1945. He was supposed to be sent to trial in Nuremberg, but he committed suicide due to a portion of poison.
3- Herman Goering : Goering was one of the most famous leaders of Nazi Germany. He’s the founder of the Gestapo (The Secret Police). In 1922, he joined the Nazi party and was the head of the SA unit, the minister of economy, and the commander chief of Air force. When Hitler became chancellor of the Third Reich in 1933, he made Goering a minister of the Reich without any specific area of responsibility, which means he was not the head of a ministry. Goering was responsible of Jewish businessmen getting removed from the German economic system. In 1941, he ordered Heydrich to make a plan for the final solution of the Jewish question (The Holocaust). During the war, he was responsible for the loss of air battle against Great Britain which made his ranks in the Nazi party go down and became a source of hatred among the masses for his wealth. On the 20th of April, 1945, he left Hitler’s birthday party, telling him that he had important things to do in Southern Germany. He sent a telegram to Hitler from Berchtesgaden asking Hitler to take over the affairs of the State. Hitler said that this is a telegram of a traitor and a man who shows disrespect to the Fuhrer. During Goering’s sending of the telegram, he started communicating with the allies asking for negotiations concerning his surrender. When Hitler knew of this, he ordered the arresting of whom he called the addicted traitor. On the 9th of May, 1945, Goering surrendered to the Americans and was brought to the Nuremberg trials. He was the third highest ranking Nazi officer to be tried in Nuremberg and he was found guilty. Goering was very defensive in his trial claiming that he was never an anti-Semite, never believed in these atrocities, and had several Jews who had offered to testify on his behalf. However, Albert Speer reported that in the prison yard at Nuremberg, after someone made a remark about Jewish survivors in Hungary, he had overheard Goering say “So, there are still some there? I thought we had knocked off all of them. Somebody slipped up again.”. Goering appeared to be winning the trial through making jokes and finding holes in the prosecution’s case, but he was found guilty and was sentenced to death by hanging by stating “There is nothing to be said in mitigation. ForGoering was often, indeed almost always, the moving force, second only to his leader. He was the leading war aggressor, both as political and as military leader; he was the director of the slave labour programme and the creator of the oppressive programme against the Jews and other races, at home and abroad. All of these crimes he has frankly admitted. On some specific cases there may be conflict of testimony, but in terms of the broad outline, his own admissions are more than sufficiently wide to be conclusive of his guilt. His guilt is unique in its enormity. The record discloses no excuses for this man.” Goering appealed to the court’s deaths sentence if he were shot as a soldier and not executed like a criminal, and the appealing was not accepted. Goering spoke about war and extreme nationalism with Captain Gilbert as recorded in Nuremberg’s diary “Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. …voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”. Defying the court’s death sentence, Goering committed suicide by taking a potassium cyanide capsule the night before he was to be hanged.
4- Albert Speer : We mentioned this name few times for now due to his importance. Albert Speer was the architect of Nazi Germany, and indeed a genius he was. He was so talented that he became inside Hitler’s inner circle, and of course we might just assume Hitler’s respect for Speer due to Hitler’s love for architecture that he was about to study during his years in Vienna. By the orders of the Fuhrer, Speer made plans of Berlin’s reconstruction. He had deep respect for Hitler especially when he firstly joined the party in 1930. Speer attended several rallies for the party and was disturbed of how Goebbels drove the masses in a frenzy through his fiery speeches. Speer couldn’t end his impression that Hitler made on him, so he applied to join the Nazi party in 1931. Speer was responsible for most of the rallies that took place since the Nazi rise to rule in 193. In 1934, Hitler appointed Speer as the party’s chief architect. Speer was under a strong psychological pressure when he started doing the works and orders of the Fuhrer “Soon after Hitler had given me the first large architectural commissions, I began to suffer from anxiety in long tunnels, in airplanes, or in small rooms. My heart would begin to race, I would become breathless, the diaphragm would seem to grow heavy, and I would get the impression that my blood pressure was rising tremendously… Anxiety amidst all my freedom and power!”. Stalin was a big fan of Speer’s works, and asked him to visit Moscow to get to know the works of the Architect of the Reich closely, but Hitler of course refused, from the fear that Stalin would lay his hands on Speer and put him in a rat hole. Speer had great powers being so close to Hitler that sometimes Nazi officials went around to him to seek direct orders from the Fuhrer. Also Speer was responsible for the labor force in camps which used the most brutal methods, he later commented “the conditions for these prisoners were in fact barbarous, and a sense of profound involvement and personal guilt seizes me whenever I think of them.”. When the third Reich fell, Speer was tried in Nuremberg and been accused of being part of conspiracy against world peace, planning, and waging wars of aggression and lastly crimes against humanity.Speer during the trial admitted his responsibility and said “In political life, there is a responsibility for a man’s own sector. For that he is of course fully responsible. But beyond that there is a collective responsibility when he has been one of the leaders. Who else is to be held responsible for the course of events, if not the closest associates around the Chief of State?”. Speer during the trial was straightforward, honest, and wasn’t beating around the bush. Speer testified that in 1945, he planned to assassinate Hitler by dropping a canister of poison gas into the bunker’s air tank. He said that his plans failed due to a high wall that been built around the air intake. He stated that he was driven by despair when he realized that Hitler refused to surrender and decided that it’s about time for the German people to be extinct due to their loss. Speer said that he simply showed no mercy to the people. Speer was sentenced 20 years in prison and the court’s judgment stated that Speer was one of the few men who had the courage to tell Hitler that the war was lost and to take steps to prevent the senseless destruction of productive facilities and the robbing of civilians lives. Speer spent his full sentence in the Spandau prison in Eastern Germany and he spent most of his time reading classic novels, ancient Egyptian history and biographies. When he was released in 1966, he released 2 best selling books, Inside the Third Reich, and Spandau : The Secret Diaries and later he wrote a third book called Infiltration that revolved around the SS. Speer died in 1981 while he was visiting London and was known of being the Nazi who said sorry.
3- Martin Bormann : Bormann was Hitler’s private secretary and the head of the Party Chancellery. He had an immense power inside the party, was considered to be the closest to Hitler, and had the power to control the access to Hitler. In 1927, he joined the Nazi party and by the orders of Himmler, he became a member of the SS. In 1933, Bormann became the Reich Leader of the party, and in 1941, he served as the personal secretary for Rudolf Hess. In the same year he became the head of the party chancellery and proved to be a mastermind of political infighting. Bormann was responsible for Hitler’s paper works and, without exaggeration, he held the deepest secrets of the Fuhrer and the Nazi party. Bormann’s power grew in 1942 and established off-shore companies that financed Hitler’s needs in the war. Bormann was an atheist who said more than one time that Christianity is incompatible with Nazism, seeing that the Church’s influence is dangerous to the Nazi goals. Hitler master-planned the Kirchenkampf operation (The Church struggle) which was supposed to be operated by Bormann. The operation aimed to bring down the Churches under the control of the State by taking charge of Church finances and governance structures, therefore, the Nazi regime increased it’s imprisonment of resistant clergies, and of course Bormann had in his hands all of the personal files of Germany’s clergies. Some historians like Roger Griffin argued that Hitler and Bormann didn’t only want to control the Churches but also wanted to fully eradicate the Church institution from the future of Nazi Germany. Bormann was the most enthusiastic one among the Nazi officials who was eager was Hitler to fully eradicate the Jews and made sure that Jews from all around Europe be gathered in the ghettos especially Auschwitz to enslave them stating “The permanent elimination of the Jews from the territories of Greater Germany can no longer be carried out by emigration but by the use of ruthless force in the special camps of the East.”. There was an underground battle of influence and power between Bormann and Himmler, but Bormann’s influence was stronger. One day Himmler talked to Bormann on the phone concerning the 40,000 Jews of Poland in ghetto Warsaw and Himmler showed his concerns from Bormann’s using the word extermination rather than the codeword “resettled”, so Bormann ordered the apologetic Himmler not to report on this by phone but by SS couriers. On the 28th of April, 1945, Bormann stated that “Situation very serious . . . Those ordered to rescue the Fuhrer are keeping silent . . . Disloyalty seems to gain the upper hand everywhere . . .Reichskanzlei a heap of rubble.” Bormann and Goebbels witnessed and signed Hitler’s last will that was given to his personal secretary Traudl Junge. On April the 30th and right before he commits suicide, Hitler ordered a breakout for his loyal associates including Bormann and Goebbels; Goebbels refused the order of the Fuhrer which was the first of it’s kind and prefered to stay with him, while Bormann left the Fuhrerbunker with the SS doctor and leader of Hitler youth. Bormann’s route of escape was walking by railways to Lehrter Station and he was never found. The 5th Soviet army was able to put his hands on his diaries. In Nuremberg he was tried in absentia, receiving a death sentence. Rumors and of sightings were reported about Bormann after 20 years, some suggest that he had a plastic surgery while moving from a different European city to the other, some others claimed that he was living well in South America. Reinhard Gehlen, a general in the German army who served as Chief intelligence-gathering of the Eastern front and one of the most notorious Nazis employed by the United States during the Cold War, wrote in his diaries that Bormann was a Soviet Spy, and his awkward disappearance from Berlin at the end of the war was due to his fleeing to his Russian master. The hunt for Bormann lasted 26 years with no success, searching for him from Paraguay to Moscow, and from Norway to Egypt. On December the 7th, 1972, Dr. Hugo Blaschke identified the skull of Bermann and his remains near the Lehrter station. Turned out that he committed suicide with a cyanide capsule to avoid the allies arresting which of course ended Reinhard‘s claims that Bormann was a Soviet spy.
Friedrich Nietzsche Influence
The famous German philosopher, Nietzsche, is sometimes best described as the Prophet of Nazism and the black devil of philosophy. He was an anti-Democracy, anti-Socialism, anti-Christianity, anti-Judaism and indeed a social Darwinist. His belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution led him to the denial of religions along with compassion itself. Nietzsche described the moral man as the “Sick Man” saying that “The sick are the great danger of man, not the evil, not the ‘beasts of prey.’ They who are from the outset botched, oppressed, broken those are they, the weakest are they, who most undermine the life beneath the feet of man, who instill the most dangerous venom and skepticism into our trust in life, in man, in ourselves…Here teem the worms of revenge and vindictiveness; here the air reeks of things secret and unmentionable; here is ever spun the net of the most malignant conspiracy – the conspiracy of the sufferers against the sound and the victorious; here is the sight of the victorious hated.”. Therefore, Nietzsche’s doctrines had their effect on atheism, nihilism, existentialism, and postmodernism. He had a famous statement which was “God is dead” that suggested that if God truly died once as Christianity claim, then it should lead to the loss of any universal perspective, therefore, killing in our souls everything that got to do with sympathy or morality. The victorious should simply wipe out that weak from existence as it is the natural order of life and evolution.
Nietzschism is considered to be the cornerstone of the most radical doctrines like Nazism, Fascism, and recently, Zionism, but many opinions suggest that if Nietzsche had lived during WWII, he would not have been a Nazi. “Had he lived in that era, Nietzsche might not have become a Nazi. His works include numerous condemnations of anti-Semitism and nationalism (and thus were selectively censored by Elizabeth). But the best measure of Nietzsche’s contribution and importance to Nazism is not in conjectures about what Nietzsche might have thought about Nazism, but in the actual reverence of the Nazis for him.” – The Pink Swastika.
Hitler and the Nazi party found in Nietzsche’s philosophy everything they needed to fully construct their ideology that was responsible for the eruption of the Second World War. Nietzsche’s Superman became Hitler’s Super-Nation.Dr. Abdel Wahab el-Messeri says “Nietzschism was the racist manifestation of Romanticism, or we can say it’s the Romanticism of the racist, imperialist age, for it is the philosophical expression of the Darwinist vision of reality. And we’d like to differ here between Nietzsche’s writings and Nietzschism. Nietzsche’s writings is a complex, overlapped, and contradictory issue. But what happened that some main thoughts were isolated from Nietzsche’s system. And these thoughts, and not Nietzsche’s writings, contributed in shaping the understanding of many Europeans in the last decades of the 19th century.” and then he adds “And Nietzschism is the individual, western nihilistic philosophy that expresses the best expression concerning the cultural, and economical conditions for the western society at the height of the Capitalist revolution and the Imperialist expansion.”. Nietzschism can also be described as a Godless religion or atheism that declared him dead, and abstracts the world into it’s materialistic form that’s fully bounded to the rationality of absolute power. What Nietzsche in my opinion simply did was applying Darwin’s theories of evolution on Man in a philosophical understanding, and Nazism was the rational result.
Hitler’s contradictions, or smart policy ?
Hitler in his speeches used to praise Christianity and God, making the masses fall into a hysterical enthusiasm. But was he really a devoted Christian ?. Most of the resources we have says the opposite. Hitler’s table talk is a title given to a series of wartime conversations by Hitler, which were transcribed from 1941 to 1944. His remarks were recorded by Martin Bormann. It was later published by different editors, under different titles, in 3 different languages. And here are some excerpts from the book.
“The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practices a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.”
As it’s obvious, his criticism to Christianity was very strong, and he never believed in it. He in fact had his plans of ending the influence of Christianity in Germany right after the War, but of course he lost it. Some would find it weird when they know that Hitler respected Islam and favored it on Christianity. “Had Charles Martelnot been victorious at Poitiers, then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world.”. Sounds like he had the sort of wrong information about Islam as a blood thirsty religion that aims for bloodshed. But later he retreats and says “Without Christianity, we should not have had Islam. The Roman Empire, under Germanic influence, would have developed in the direction of world-domination, and humanity would not have extinguished fifteen centuries of civilization at a single stroke.” . But he just doesn’t stop right there in attacking Christianity but he instead wages his war on religion itself “Originally, religion was merely a prop for human communities. It was a means, not an end in itself. It’s only gradually that it became transformed in this direction, with the object of maintaining the rule of the priests, who can live only to the detriment of Society collectively.”
The fact of an Islamic cooperation with the Nazis cannot be ignored, especially when the grand mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Amin al-Husayni recruited Muslims for the SS, that there was a whole separate SS unit of Muslims. Also the rise of Nazism in Germany did not target Muslims. But what’s the secret behind these acts ?, was Hitler comfortable with the Islamic ideology, or was it something else ?. Albert Speer says that Hitler only cooperated with the Muslims because he felt the antisemitic views they shared (which appeared only afterthe rise of Zionism that aimed to occupy Palestine and declare it a national land of the Jews, especially that the Jewish Golden age existed at the time of the Islamic rule of the Iberian Peninsula) and Hitler found it a golden chance to gain the Muslims hearts towards him especially that most of the Arab-Muslims lands were occupied by the Great Britain and France. He simply aimed to gain the support of the natives in case the battleground moved from Europe to the Middle East. Albert Speer later wrote in his book “Inside the Third Reich” about Hitler’s respect to Islam by saying “Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous natives, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.”. Hitler simply followed the famous saying we all know“The Enemy of my enemy, is my friend”. And it becomes clear when he expresses his original thoughts to Bormann, saying “I m going to become a religious figure. Soon I’ll be the great chief of the Tartars. Already Arabs and Moroccans are mingling my name with their prayers. Amongst the Tartars I’ll become Khan. The only thing of which I shall be incapable is to share the sheiks’ mutton with them. I’m a vegetarian, and they must spare me from their meat. If they don’t wait too long, I’ll fall back on their harems!”.
Hitler was full of contradictions, one second he says he’s a devoted Catholic, and the other second he disses everything about Christianity. This indeed helped him to shape his unidentified character that some argue till this day about his religious beliefs, whether he’s a believer or not, whether he’s even an atheist or not, but the sure thing that his ideology was not the reflection of any religious doctrine, especially the Abrahamic ones.
The Concentration Camps were indeed the black mark that shall be forever remembered in Germany and Europe for it cost the lives of millions and millions whether Jews, Gypsies, Commies, Homosexuals, and handicapped. We’ll mention some of the very famous Concentration Camps that had the biggest roles of this hyena’s crime.
Ghetto Warsaw : It was the largest of all Jewish ghettos in Nazi occupied Europe during WWII. It was established in the Polish capital in 1940 with over 400,000 Jews living in an area of 1.3 Square miles. The Ghetto was split into two areas, the small area for the rich jews, and the large area for the poor and middle-classed Jews. 300,000 died in the Ghetto, 100,000 died due to the spread of disease and random killings, while the others died from starvation and exhaustion due to work. At the end of 1942, an Uprising took place in the Ghetto but of course failed and the Nazis managed to re-control it.
Auschwitz : was one of the largest concentration camps that had three main camps and another 45 sub-camps. The camp was based on the thoughts of Himmler concerning the final solution. The camp had Jews, Gypsies, Russians, and others. The camp fell in 1945 by the hands of the Soviets.
The Nazi method of extermination wasn’t random but according to very scientific studies. They only killed what they described as useless consumers like babies, pregnant women, the sick, and the elders. The ones who were healthy were taken care of and left for work, but after time, most of them died from starvation and exhaustion. Medical examinations took place which was inhumane and cannot be described, and after the War, the US had the full access to all of it’s results which of course considered to be unethical.
End of Road
At the final days of the Reich, Hitler was unaware of the defeat he’s having, moving units and armies on maps that did not exist on the battleground. The rumors that were spread by his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that claimed that the Americans are gonna stand with the Germans against the Soviets didn’t work and the soldiers were sure that the war was lost. When Hitler finally realized the defeat, he committed suicide along with his mistress Eva Braun on April the 30th, 1945. It marked the end of Nazism. After his suicide, there were series of another suicides committed by his army generals and soldiers. Nazism fell, along with Germany itself.
When the war ended, and the third Reich fell, it wasn’t the end of imperialism for it took place from Europe to the States in the shape of an American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of War on terror. The World did not simply live in peace, and a third war might just be on the edge of the World with the rising tension between US, Iran, Israel, Russia, Europe, and China. If there’s a future war, the battleground will take place in the Middle East instead of Europe, which tells us all that what man learned from history, that man never learns from history as Hegel said. I finished my posts about War, or to be more specific, Wars ideology, whether they were religious as in the Crusades or taking the form of Nationalistic one as in WWI and WWII. Hope you liked my analysis, and I welcome any corrections or positive criticism.
We previously discussed the rise of Soviet Russia and the human rights violations they committed in the name of Communism. We analyzed the conditions of religious groups and minorities like Orthodox Christians, and Muslims and how they suffered under this regime right after the Bolshevik revolution till the beginning of WWII. We’re about to discuss Mussolini’s fascism and how he rose to rule.
All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. – Mussolini
Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. – Mussolini
Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism. – Mussolini
Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. – Mussolini
Mussolini came to power after the “March on Rome” in 1922, and was appointed Prime Minister by King Victor Emmanuel. In 1932 Mussolini wrote (with the help of Giovanni Gentile) and entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism. Fascism is the opposite of Marxism, Socialism, it simply believes in holiness and heroism. Fascism is anti-democracy and anti-religious freedom as well, it deprives it’s citizens from their rights.
Despite Mussolini’s fascism he was able to solve major problems for Italy. His domestic achievements from the years 1924 – 1939 were the improvement of job opportunities, public transportation and the Italian ecomonic battles that were a series of economic policies that were designed to increase the potential of Italy becoming a great power by reclaiming land, placing emphasis on home-grown produce and having a strong currency.
Mussolini described himself as an atheist and so many times he shock his audience by calling on God to strike him dead. He was convinced that modern science proved that God doesn’t exist and that Jesus was ignorant and mad. He considered religion to be a fallacy, disease of the psyche, and accused Christianity of promoting resignation and cowardice. But the main influence for Mussolini was the doctrines of the famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who was known of his disrespect for Christianity and religions, thinking that the strong should crush the poor without mercy for it is a world of the jungle…a Darwinist world. According to Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini found in Nietzsche the justification of his crusade on Christianity, charity, resignation, and goodness. He valued Nietzsche’s concept of the superman, “The supreme egoist who defied both God and the masses, who despised egalitarianism and democracy, who believed in the weakest going to the wall and pushing them if they did not go fast enough.”
Mussolini dneounced the Catholic Church and believed that Socialists who were Christians or who accepted religious marriage should be expelled from the party. But despite his attacks on the Catholic Church, he later in 1925 had a priest to perform a religious marriage for himself and his wife Rachele who he had married in a civil ceremony 10 years earlier. Mussolini was simply trying to gain more popularity on the behalf of praising the Catholic Church.
Mussolini’s war crimes were mainply positioned in it’s colonies, especially in Libya and of course the famous Domenikon Massacre. Domenikon is a village in central Greece in Thessaly, where Greek partisians attacked Italian soldiers and killed them. The Italians surrounded the village and arrested 150 men, ranging from 14 to 80, they held them as hostages and later they executed them.
After his fall from power in 1943, Mussolini began talking about God, conscience, and moral obligations, but Mussolini’s widow, Rachele, stated that Mussolini remained irreligious until the later years of his life.
On April the 17th, 1945, Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were stopped by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini while they were heading to Switzerland to board a plane to escape to Spain. The next day he was executed along with his mistress and most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic.
April the 18th, 1945, marked the end of Mussolini and Fascism in Italy, and it was also the year that marked the fall of Nazism and the Second World War. Our next post will discuss Hitler’s Nazism…..the ideology that shock the world.
The First World War left Europe in ruins due to blind nationalism that took over its countries. It left vulnerable societies and regimes full of hatred. Empires that lasted for hundreds of years finally fell and new orders just took place. Communism was rising in Russia with its oppressive regime, spreading out atheism among its leaders, and by their turn oppressing any institution under the Soviet border that had/have a history of any religious ideology. Fascism was rising in Italy on the hands of Benito Mussolini who believed in the Fascist negations of anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism. Nazism was rising in Germany when Hitler legitimately reached to power along with his Nazi party in a hundred percent democratic elections, influencing the masses through his charismatic nationalist speeches and reminding them of the glory days of the Germanic race. Western democracies, victorious but exhausted from the First World War had to face this rising threat on the European lands from regimes that may look like adopting awkward ideologies but in fact, they only interpreted some of it in a professional way that aimed to turn men to Gods and turn Earth to heaven but merely turned men to hunters and Earth to a vast jungle.
I intend to discuss each one of these ideologies in a separate post to comprehend the historical issue that we’re about to discuss, which’s the Second World War, a War that left more than 50 million dead and indeed considered to be the deadliest War in our history.
Communism begins where atheism begins, but atheism is at the outset still far from being communism; indeed it is for the most part an abstraction – Karl Marx
You know they are fooling us, there’s no God – Joseph Stalin
Indeed the Bolshevik revolution brought everything new to Russia; a new economical order and indeed a new ideology.
The USSR was hostile to all forms of religion because it was “the opiate of the masses” according to Karl Marx. The state was committed to the destruction of any religious doctrine although Christians and Muslims had a degree of religious freedom right after the revolution, but later the Soviet Union destroyed Churches and Mosques, executed religious leaders and enforced atheistic education in all schools claiming that it’s the time of the true atheistic science.
Despite the un-ending efforts of extracting religion out of the people, the Soviet goals failed and the majority of the Soviet population kept on their religious beliefs. The Communist party held many tactics to end the influence of religion. The majority of these tactics were oppressive and inhumane. Orthodox Christians were sent to labor camps, mental hospitals and prison camps. They subjected the Christian prisoners to mind control operations and psychological punishments in order to force them give up their religious beliefs. Many others were executed and imprisoned.
Protestant Christians were held in mental hospitals while being tortured, executed and even some were deprived of their parental rights. There were 3 anti-religious campaigns before the Second World War, Anti-Religious campaign 1917-1921, Anti-Religious campaign 1921-1928, and Anti-Religious campaign 1928-1941.
The first campaign aimed to separate between the Church and the State in every mean and to enforce atheistic doctrines to schools and forbid any religious teachings.
In the second campaign, the authority passed a resolution called for wide-scale organization, and cooperation in the task of anti-religious agitation and propaganda among the broad masses of the workers, using the mass media, films, books, lectures, and other devices. The Church leaders replied and demanded freedom of religion under the constitution. The Communists replied with massive anger, executing 28 bishops and 6,775 priests, and despite the mass protests in support of the Church, its leaders had to submit due to oppression. In 1922, The Soviets built their very first concentration camp, the Solovki Camp which was established and built in the Solovki Islands in the White Sea. 8 metropolitans, 20 archbishops, and 47 bishops of the Orthodox Church were found dead along with tens of thousands of the laity. Most of them were executed by fire.
In the Third campaign, the Orthodox Christian Church and members suffered badly in the 1930s. The number of the Orthodox Christian Churches in the Russian republic fell from 29,584 to less than 500. During the purges of 1937 and 1938, the Church records show that 168,300 Russian Orthodox clergy were arrested, over 100,000 were shot. But campaign started to slow down and took a more moderate road due to the approach of World War II and it eventually ended with the starts of the War.
As for the Muslims, they suffered mass killing under the Tsars were the Eastern Orthodox Church was the official religion. Muslims after the revolution had a degree of religious freedom and were even held powerful positions in new Communist Russia and on the 24th of November 1917, Lenin declared: Muslims of Russia….all you whose mosques and prayer houses have been destroyed, whose beliefs and customs have been trampled upon by the Tsars and oppressors of Russia. Your beliefs and practices, your national and cultural institutions are forever free and inviolate. Know that your rights, like all those of the people of Russia, are under the mighty protection of the revolution.
When Stalin came to rule, he shut down many mosques, turned them all to warehouses. Religious leaders were persecuted and executed, religious schools were closed, the governments forced women to take off their hijab (claiming that it’s a kind of oppression) but this backfired and the veil even became more popular among the workers, whereas prior to this was mostly used by the middle wealthier class.
During Stalin’s regime, Crimean Tatar Muslims were victims of mass deportations that began on May the 17th, 1944. 193,865 Crimean Tatars were deported. From May to November, 10,105 Crimean Tatars died of starvation in Uzbekistan, nearly 30,000 died in exile.
This was a very briefed look at the conditions of religious institutions under the Soviet regime right after the revolution till the beginning of the Second World War.
In the last post we talked about the Muslims conquering of the Iberian Peninsula that was merely based on political goals. We talked and concentrated on the Spanish Inquisitions and the ordeal of the Muslims and the Jews in the Spanish cities after the fall of Granada, the last Muslim city in 1492 AD due to the surrender of Abu Abdullah Muhammad to Isabella and Ferdinand. This post will discuss WWI and the reasons behind its ignition, and the conclusion of this war in the result of the fall of an Empire that lasted for 600 years, which was the Ottoman Empire that led later to the secret Sykes – Picot agreement between the governments of France and UK. An agreement that set the cornerstone of the French – British imperialism in the Middle East that marks one of the darkest ages of Arabs and Muslims. We’ll also talk about the Versailles treaty that humiliated Germany and was the spark that forced Hitler in 1933 to avenge his country’s dignity through re-building his country in a way that reflected some of the ideologies that we should stand by and discuss deeply, because the Nazi model is indeed considered to be the most unique phenomena of world’s political and social history concerning the scientific ways of eradication and also mass and mind manipulation. Our discussion about WWI will concentrate more on agreements and treaties more than battles, because my aim after all is to discuss and find the ideologies and reasons that ignited wars that mark our human history, the same way we discussed the Crusades in a very biased way along with the Inquisitions.
The world was heading to its doom; the Imperial powers were getting greedy day after day. Britain, France, Germany, and Italy were the biggest imperial powers of the world at the time with the Ottoman Empire being the legitimate representative of the Muslims around the world. The conflicts between these imperial powers were the basic reasons behind WWI that manifested itself through the “Economical situation – The factor of Nationalism – International alliances – Arms race – International conflicts”. The industrialized nations aimed to control more of natural resources outside its boundaries in Asia and Africa which resulted in a direct conflict between them. Germany before the war was a rising economical power that was a threat to France and Britain and of course they tended to ally with the Ottoman Empire to promote its trade and were given important privileges from the Ottoman Empire like Berlin – Baghdad railway. Britain rejected this project because it was a threat to its interests in the Arabian Peninsula and its transporting routes to India which reflected deeply the conflict between the major imperial forces. The Nationalism factor was actually the biggest factor that ignited this war; the rising of Pan – Germanism in Germany in 1891 sought to unify the German speaking populations of Europe in a single nation state known as “Greater Germany”. Pan – Slavism was a movement in the mid 19th century that aimed to unify all of the Slavic people under one banner, the main focus was aimed at the Balkans where the south Slavs had been ruled for centuries by other empires like The Byzantine Empire, Austria – Hungary, The Ottoman Empire and Venice; this movement was supported by Russia that re-ignited the historical Russian goals of conquering Istanbul and free southern Slavs from the Turkish – Austrian rule. The rising of the revenge French movement in France which aimed to revenge from the German occupation of Alsace and Lorraine, it was a movement that ignited the tension between the Germans and the French.
There were historical alliances before the First World War and they were 3 alliances in particular; the league of the 3 Emperors (Germany, Austria, and Russia), the triple alliance (Germany, Austria, and Italy), triple entente (France, Britain, and Russia).
The international crisis prior to the First World War also had a big role like the First Moroccan crisis over the international status of Morocco between March 1905 and May 1906. Germany resented France’s increasing domination on Morocco and insisted on an open door policy that would allow German business access to its market, but with an International conference being held in Algeciras in Spain, 13 countries backed France including Italy, Spain, Russia, and Britain with Austria – Hungary supporting Germany. Despite the peaceful solution that was offered by the Algeciras international conference, it only worsened the tension between Germany and France that ultimately led to the First World War
The Balkan crisis was about the Balkan wars between 1912 and 1923; the Ottoman Empire ended Macedonia’s revolution in 1912 which resulted in a declaration of war by Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia on the Ottoman Empire. The conflict between the Balkan League about the sharing of Bulgaria later resulted in the declaration of war on Bulgaria from Greece, Serbia and Romania. Austria was tensed from the defeat of Bulgaria that increased the Serbian influence therefore it forced the Balkan states to recognize the Albanian independence.
The decisions of Berlin’s international conference in 1878 stated that Austria occupies Bosnia & Herzegovina and runs them in the name of the Ottoman Sultan, Bulgaria becomes an independent state with paying an annual tribute to the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey regains both Macedonia and Edirne.
The beginning of War
On the 28th of June, 1914 the heir of Austria – Hungary throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated along with his wife in Sarajevo on the hands of a racist nationalist Serbian student named Gavrilo Princip. Austria declared war on Serbia; a day after the declaration, Russia mobilized its forces. On the 30th of July, Germany mobilized its forces. In the 1st of August, France mobilized its forces. Germany declared war on Russia when Germany found a refusal to its offer of de-mobilizing the Russian forces then declared war on France and occupied Belgium which forced the UK to enter the war due to Germany’s violation of Belgium’s neutrality. Chemical weapons were first used during this war, and also the bombing of cities from the air was the first time to be used in a war. The Ottoman Empire was the historical nemesis of Russia but the Ottomans did not enter the war till the 29th of October when the Ottoman navy attacked the Russian ports in the Black Sea and the Turks started invading Russia which forced the allies to declare war on the Ottoman Empire. Italy remained out of the War in 1914 justifying the fact that Austria – Hungary did not enter a defensive war.
In 1915, Germany accomplished great military victories over the Russians, and the Serbs that resulted in the German – Austrian control over the Balkans. Germany’s armies were steady against the offensives of UK and France which caused a deep disturbing in the British community, and in the 23rd of May 1915, Italy declared war on Austria – Hungary after the allies’ promise of giving Italy lands in case they entered the war and defeated the axis forces.
A Shift of events
In 1916, two major battles took place; the battle of Verdun and the battle of the Somme. The Germans launched a surprise attack on the city of Verdun in the 21st of February in 1916 and surrounded the city for 11 months; the French defensive armies were led by Philippe Petain who managed to perfectly lead his French armies in this battle that forced the Germans to retreat. The French casualties were high, 60,000 died, 101,000 missed, and 210,000 wounded, a total casualty of 371,000. The German casualties were 337,000 men. As for the Somme battle, the old German army was destroyed and Germany had to rely later on its young recruits, the British army lost in the first day of the battle around 60,000 soldiers, but the Brits eventually won this crucial battle. During this battle, the tanks were used for the first time, and the Russians during this year were able to lead an offensive attack on Austria and captivated around 450,000 soldiers from both the Austrian and Hungarian armies, this encouraged Romania to declare war on Austria and Hungary but the Germans replied and declared war on Romania and were able to conquer Bucharest in 6 weeks.
The great Arab Revolution (1916)
The Ottoman Empire was the legitimate representative of the Muslim world, and in the Islamic rule, nationalism has no place for it is the unity between all the people of the same faith. All non-Turks people during the rule of the Ottomans held powerful positions. But during the last years of the Ottoman rule of the Arabian Peninsula under the name of the Sultan and with the nationalist control of the Parliament in Turkey that encouraged the rising of racism against non-Turks, the Arabs aimed for independence. Al-Sharif Hussein declared the revolution on the Turks in the name of the Arabs to form a one united and strong Arab legion to declare war on the Ottoman Empire. The Brits promised the Arabs of recognizing their independence if the Arabs helped them in their war against the Turks. And by this way the Brits were able to divide this Empire from its heart, putting an end to an Empire that lasted 600 years.
In the 10th of June 1916, the Arab forces led by Thomas Edward Lawrence (The Intelligence officer) were able to defeat the Turkish forces in Makkah and Madinah, and declared them to be Arab states. Arabs kept on marching towards Sham and with the help of the Brits; the Arabs were able to defeat the Turks in Damascus. And despite the English promises of establishing a one united Arab state, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1916 that exposed the Sykes – Picot secret agreement between the governments of UK and France with the assent of Russia showed the English-French ambitions concerning the assets of the Ottoman Empire after its expected fall. Britain was allocated control of areas between the sea, and river Jordan, Jordan, Southern Iraq, and a small area including ports of Haifa and Acre to allow access to the Mediterranean. France was allocated control of south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Russia was to get Istanbul (Constantinople), the Turkish straits, and the Ottoman Armenian villages. The agreement was seen by many as a turning point between the Western/Arab relations because the agreement did negate the promise made to Arabs for a national homeland in the area of greater Syria, in exchange for their siding with the British forces against the Ottomans.
Another Shift of event
In 1916, a naval war happened in the North Sea between the naval German forces and the British ones. The German navy tried to end the surrounding of the British navy to Germany but despite the strong German offense, their navy retreated. And Germany during this time targeted any trade ship that crossed the sea in order to starve Britain and force it to surrender. This led to the US entrance of war in April, 1917 especially when the US knew that Germany tried to lure Mexico into attacking the US in exchange of joining 3 US states to Mexico.
1917 witnessed the success of the Russia revolution and the exiting of Russia from the war. This year also witnessed a very strong French attack on Germany with the help of the British forces but the French lost.
The End of war (1918)
The Russian exiting from war encouraged Germany to get advantage of its 400,000 soldiers that were placed on the Russian borders to make them fight against the Brits and the French. The Germans were able to destroy the fifth British army in March 1918, and the battles went on and on this year that cost thousands and maybe millions of souls and money. The war cost this year was around 10 million dollars per hour.
The allies started to wage their wars on the Germans that resulted in a very strong defeat to the German forces. The 8th of August 1918 was considered a black day in the history of Germany where they were defeated by the both the French and the British armies, and Germany started to collapse which led to the captivation of a quarter of a million German soldier in 3 months. Germany called for an unconditional truce but France and UK refused where it led to the establishment of the republic rule in Germany.
The truce that ended the war was signed in November the 11th, 1918 after 4 years and a half of war that cost the lives of 10 million soldiers and the wounding of 21 million.
WWI resulted in the collapse of the German Empire, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Tsarist Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. While the most important result of this war that its truce and treaties allowed the European countries to wage a Second World War that was ignited in 1939.
The conflicting European countries had to buy their necessities from countries that weren’t at war like US, Canada, Australia, and Argentina, the thing that made Europe in debt for these countries. And after war, Europe found itself obliged to pay its debts to these countries from its gold reserves which resulted in the appearance of the recession.
The United States was the biggest recipient of this war, for the States after the war accumulated 45 Percent of the world’s Gold which made it the biggest creditor in the World.
The World has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living. – Omar Bradley.
To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. – Michael Servetus.
Only the dead have seen the end of war. – Plato.
Countless wars been waged across history for various reasons, for political influence, for religious domination and others. But is there a real main reason that caused the eruption of war which follows set of certain rules that can be applied on every conflict?, the answers will vary and the most famous ones of them usually goes to saying that “Religions are responsible for every war ever happened in history”, while others would suggest that “Religion is a tool for war like any other ideological or political doctrine”. The truth gets lost in the ruins of theories reflecting the pointing finger strategy that everybody does according to their adaption of the ideology that fits them well in their private and social life, whether these ideologies are religious (Jewish – Christian – Islamic – Buddhist – Pagan – etc.) or nihilistic, agnostic, atheistic that usually blame religions for wars especially at the times of the Crusades in the 11th and the 12thcentury, and the Inquisitions from the 15th century to the 17th, and those two main ideological conflicts and wars represent the peak of the religious conflict between the East and West (Muslims vs. Christians) or between West and west (Catholics vs. Protestants) or East and East (Sunnis vs. Shiites). Indeed lots of wars took place in the name of religion and God, blood been spilled, and thousands of soldiers been killed if not close to millions. But, was really religion the hidden force behind those wars, or was it the mere materialistic purposes of leaders who found out that using religion as a tool of control over the helpless and the ignorant through twisting religious doctrines and holy books by men of religion to serve their political purposes of materialistic gains as the best current way to assemble the largest number of soldiers who are willing to defend their faith till the last drop of their blood?. What about the two major wars of history (WWI – WWII) that literally cost the lives of millions and millions (The total number of military and civilian casualties in WWI, were over 35 million. There were over 15 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. WWII was the deadliest military conflict in history, over 60 Million people were killed, which was over 2.5% of the world’s population, The USSR alone lost over the 20 Million soldiers and civilian in this war.).
Was those 2 major wars a religious conflict? Or a due to the indoctrination of other ideologies that even may oppose religious morality and teachings in its basics?. The answer lies in fair and biased analysis of wars history (especially the major conflicts) without the extreme pointing finger policy of clashed ideological participants and free-thinkers.
There is few evidences show that the policy of the crusades princes, when they rushed with their imperialistic attempts, was only aiming for pure worldly gains. – John Lamont.
The crusades were the first experience of western imperialism that was adapted by western nations outside their boundaries to quest for a large-scale economical gain. – Thompson.
The Arabian Empire was heading towards its doom at this time because of the Turkish influence inside the Muslims armies. Each and every ruler tried to grab independence for the state he ruled, through battling with opponents around the Empire. Seljuk Turks were rising in Asia and their influences reached Sham and were also considered a big threat to Christian Europe, they were a powerful Sunni force. In Egypt, the Fatimids were ruling with a strong force, and they represented a powerful Shiite force that considered the Sunni Seljuk Turks as a great threat to the future of Shiite existence in Egypt. However, the capitals of the Islamic empire still were the dominating capitals of the world especially in Science. Capitals like Baghdad, Cordoba, Seville and Cairo were the main source of the world’s sciences at the time. But with the problems that started shaking the Arab world, the Byzantine Empire rose once more with spreading the influence of Orthodox Christianity and Greek language among western and eastern nations with Constantinople being the biggest main market in the world. At the mean time in Europe (that was slowly developing), the nations started wrapping around their masters and their castles, to save them from the barbarian Northern tribes raids on their countries, this sort of policy made Feudalism stronger and gave its owners a more powerful influence that allowed them to enslave farmers and workers. Those Feudalists had the real power while Kings were only rulers by name. Rome and Constantinople were ruling Europe, the first aimed to unite Europe under the Catholic Church while the second had its own power through art, and its control of the trade in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Byzantine Empire wanted to make sure that this kind of trade remained in its power because it guarantees its superiority and greatness. The Sea trade between the Eastern Muslim Empire and the Byzantine Empire was very big and large scaled through the ports of Venice. The European societies in the west were deadly scared of the Norman tribes in the North; some of these tribes joined the forces of the Frankish armies whom by their turn joined Castile’s re-conquests wars with Cordoba’s king in Andalusia while other Norman tribes joined the Arab forces when Muslims asked them for help during their wars with Castile and Aragon.
So Arabs and Byzantines remained the masters of knowledge in the world at the time, but the Turks wanted to prove themselves so they started invading Anatolia, capturing Armenia and even capturing the Byzantine Emperor himself in 1071 AD. The few losing battles of the Byzantine Empire led to the rise of the Catholic Pope’s influence in Europe. The European cities started to call for kicking out the Turks from Eastern Europe, and the Turks were Muslims therefore, the idea of war on Islam spread around Europe. The Turks on many times assaulted the Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, but those Christian pilgrims exaggerated these assaults and started describing to the people of Europe that Muslims are barbarians, cannibals, wolves and enemies of the Christ but the English historian Edward Gibbon writes about these claims and says “Those accusations were only the results of ignorance and racism, and these are portraits that’s being repulsed by Koran and being denied by the history of Arab conquerors with their tolerance with Christianity in social life, legislations and laws.”. There were assaults on some Christian pilgrims but they indeed weren’t systematic and can only be described as individual acts. These wars were described as Crusades because the soldiers used to paint the cross on their shields, and armors. But also not every person who had a cross painting on his armor was being led to war for spiritual goals, some of princes and Kings only went to war for glory and conquest more lands that can lift their own flags on and increase their economical power from West to East. Lots of criminals decided to join the marching European armies and paint the cross on their armors hoping for redemption, the reason of this act can be interpreted through understanding the poverty and the bad economical condition of western Europe that forced the people to be drowned in ignorance and poverty, they saw that the war in the East might form a new hope for them.
During the preparations of the Crusades, the Fatimids got into war with the Sunni Seljuk Turks and were able to claim Jerusalem in 1097 AD after one month of Antioch’s fall in the hands of the crusaders, the Fatimids offered an ally with the crusaders in order to back them up against the Seljuk Turks, but the crusaders always aimed at Jerusalem (As you can notice there were possible Muslim-Christian allies against other Muslim forces, and later we’ll show a Muslim-Christian ally against Christian forces as well, after all the Crusades may be the biggest religious war in history but in its details it was full of personal economical materialistic gains). “The weird thing that needs some thinking that it took Muslims sometime to realize the real goals of the Crusades, especially when the Fatimids in Egypt thought of a possible alliance with the new invading forces to back them up against the Sunni Seljuk Turks in Sham and the Sunni Abbasids in Baghdad, but the Fatimids were wrong and the Crusaders didn’t waste the chance of conquering Jerusalem and defeating the Fatimid forces there” says Dr. Saied Ashour. Jerusalem fell in the hands of the crusaders in 1099 AD, they committed horrible crimes especially against the Christians of Palestine; They kicked them out of their homes and churches and took over their monasteries. The Crusades improved the economical and social conditions of the western European countries, literature started to flourish, and navigation started to spread more around Venice and Genoa that eventually tied its relations more with the ports of Syria and Palestine. With this economical improvement, an intellectual renaissance took place and people started to read about the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle that were of course translated by the Muslim philosopherIbn Rushd. The Umayyad rule in Andalusia (Spain) wasn’t weakened, for Arabic remained the language of science and cities like Toledo hosted many students coming from Western Europe in hunger for science and philosophy.
The Byzantine Empire started to fall, and the Western countries that participated in the Crusades started to economically and intellectually flourish, and with the defeat of the Seljuk Turks in Sham and the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the road to the rest of the Arabian lands became widely opened for the crusades.
The Crusades ruled these lands for many years, and after sometime, appeared a leader who’s considered to be the most controversial leader at the time. Saladin who grew up at the times of the European domination of Sham, we won’t discuss his biography for it needs a whole book for it, but we’ll only shed the light on some of his actions. The very first thing Saladin did was capturing Egypt from the Fatimids after deadly battles between his armies and allied Fatimids-Crusader forces in Egypt. He was able to end the Shiite rule in Egypt and declared it to be a Sunni state and then later he headed towards the Sham lands that were controlled by the Muslims and declared them to be a Sunni states as well, the Muslim forces for the first time since the Crusades, were partially united for one purpose (to retain the raped land from the invading Crusades). Saladin after a series of battles and wars with the Crusaders was able to surround Jerusalem and refused to attack it for it has a special place for him in his heart. The debate inside the city of Jerusalem was at the peak of its time for the Orthodox Christians preferred the rule of Muslims than the rule of invading Catholics. When the crusade forces inside the city of Jerusalem realized that this is a losing battle, they decided to surrender under the condition of their protection by Saladin’s forces. Saladin retained Jerusalem in 1187 AD, the stories concerning his justice towards the Christian pilgrims and soldiers after their surrender is very well known and being praised by Western historians more than Arabian ones. But his victories didn’t last that long for the 3rd Crusade was launched from Europe towards the city of Acre. Bloody battles took place between Saladin’s forces and the new crusade invasions for this city which lasted 2 years, and eventually fell in the hands of the Crusades and the retreat of Saladin’s to Jerusalem knowing that this is the number one wanted city by the crusaders. From the funny situations that we should talk about is the relationship between the European soldiers and the Muslim ones. During the war lots of soldiers from the both sides used to stop battling and talk with each other and sometimes even celebrate and dance if their leaders decided the battle to be stopped. Another incident that we should stop at, that during the battles of Acre, a famine took place at the camps of the crusaders, the normal thing is to leave them die because the supplies that are being sent from Europe will take a long time to reach them, but most of the Muslim traders used to sell them food and water for the highest prices, and of course without these forms of profitable trades, the Crusaders could’ve died during the surrounding of Acre.
Battles between both Saladin and Richard took a long time, varied between a victory for this and a victory for that, but later Richard with his smartness realized that the process of re-capturing Jerusalem again from Saladin is an impossible task and he already lost thousands of soldiers during battles on coastal cities and he’d probably need a doubled aid and troops from Europe just to have a chance to enforce a proper attack on the well protected city of Jerusalem. Both knew that the only way would be the negotiations where they both sent each other different gifts and showed respect.
“Friendly and trade relations that existed between Muslims and Christians before the Crusades, did not entirely vanish after the Crusades attempt to control Sham, and didn’t end after the Crusades control over these lands”. – J.A. Hammerton.
“It wasn’t strange when a Christian leader was backed by Muslims against other Christian leaders as much as there was a Christian backing for a Muslim leader against other Muslim leaders”. – Philip Khuri Hitti.
At the end of the year 1203 AD, a Crusade fleet appeared in front of the Byzantine beaches and managed to invade Constantinople. This Crusade was different for it was a Christian crusade against another Christian Empire and later the new invaders created the rule of Feudalism in Constantinople. Some historians argue that the Crusades originally even before its attack on the Muslim lands, aimed for the fall of Constantinople and uniting it with the Catholic Church.
In the 13th century, the battle between the Muslims and the Crusaders in the East was erupting, and the battles between the Moors and Spaniards were determining the future fate of flourished Muslim Spain. But at the same time a different kind of battle or conflict started between the Papal power and the Imperial one. The hero of this battle was the Emperor Frederic II. He was the son of a German father and a half Italian mother; he was raised in Sicily amidst the Arabian culture and the Western one that was instructed by the Normans. He spoke 6 languages, Arabic was one of them, he loved literature and science, and these combinations made of him a much tolerant Emperor, and more liberal than others, and we can say that the Italian renaissance started at the time of Frederic II with his passion of science. He always preferred the Arab life style and was a personal friend with the Muslim Geographical Idrisi.
Arabic language at his time was among the languages that were officially recognized, with Muslims and Christians living together in harmony. He refused to participate in the Crusades against the East or the attack on Kairouan.
A new rising power and invasion struck both the Muslims and the Crusaders. It was the Mongols. A fearsome power that committed one of the worst blood bathes in history in the Abbasid capital city of Baghdad. Mongols claimed to be Catholics, coming to help the Crusaders but the Crusaders themselves refused to help or aid the Mongols and after some time the Muslim Memluk Egyptian forces were able to end the existence of the Mongol attacks in Sham and the Muslim Empire. The last of wars took place between the Memluks and the Crusaders, and ended with the full retreat of the Crusaders from Sham and occupied territories in the East. And in 1303 AD, Muslims retained the island of Arwad which ended the very last existence of Crusaders.
Friendly relations at the time of the Crusades
Historians say that the casualties of the Crusades from the both sides is about 5 million, which’s a very big number compared to the kind of population back then. “Those who were responsible for the Crusades realized that such wars did not result in an effective change compared to the large number of soldiers and materials they used. Lots of Crusaders retreated back to their countries knowing that such wars that were enforced for the sake of Eastern Christians, were useless especially that the Christian pilgrims had the right of pilgrimage in Jerusalem under the Muslim rule of Sham” – J. A. Hammerton – History of the World.
Lots of them felt that what they’re doing wasn’t instructed by The Messiah, the Prophet of love and peace, and that the spreading of their faith is by Persuasion and not war. Majority of crusaders were freed due to their living amidst the Muslims. No doubt that lot of Muslims and Christians knew that such wars in reality weren’t anything but wars for the sake of a better economical and political influence, and battles that are being fed by personal gains and greed. Crusades were described as religious wars in order to attract the largest possible number of soldiers and win the masses sentiments through the false indoctrination of religion scriptures by Popes and Feudalists. Some of Christian princes and leaders allied with Muslims and fought under their banner while also lots Muslims Turkish mercenaries fought with the Crusaders against the Muslim armies, while there were Armenian mercenaries who sided with Muslims against Christians. That’s how we see that Muslims and Christians themselves didn’t look at these wars as a mere religious ones, but also a war of economical influence.
It is strange how the Crusades ended with the opposite of what it once called which was the alliance of the Catholics with the Byzantines against the Muslims while it ended with the Crusade invasion of Constantinople in 1204 AD, leaving it in the year of 1261 after they divided the Empire and made it an easy target later for the Ottoman Empire that had later its role in history.
The Crusaders used to treat their Muslim employees in a good manner the same way Christians were treated in a good manner especially under the rule of Saladin. They allowed Arabs to own their own lands and didn’t assault on the villages Sheikhs. Unlike Jews, Muslims under the Crusades had the right of owning a private property. Muslims in Crusade occupied territories had their religious freedom as long as they stay in peace and work for their agriculture and manufacture. And those were one of the main things that helped the relations to be tied with both Muslims and Christians at the time. During peace, both soldiers from the 2 sides used to communicate and relate, forgetting the blood and hate of war “In yesterday’s wars you find the soldiers stabbing by sword and spears, throwing bows and suddenly in between a day and a night, the enemies of yesterday become the friends of today” – Grousset : Hist. des Croisades, III.
Muslims themselves used to participate in Christian weddings that even some political figures denounced this act but couldn’t stop it. The relations were tied more than the war leaders ever imagined. The common people had their own lives, treating their Christian visitors in good manners, both not caring about who wins whether the Crusades or the Muslims, what mattered was the trade and the friendship. In Jerusalem, the Christian used to pray and next to him by few yards the Muslims used to have their turn of prayers. In a way, the Crusades had its beautiful side that manifested through the traditions of the common people and the combination of both Western culture and Eastern one. A Crusade Prince during the wars once said “The fight between Muslims and Franks is a fraternal suicide”. Yes, the most thing I care about is the friendly relationships between Muslims and Christians during the times of the worst so-called (Religious wars) in history……The Second part will analyze and discuss the reasons of both WWI and WWII, summing their casualties and investigating the ideologies that those 2 wars had embraced. Was it Religious?….And will also shed the light on the Inquisitions that are indeed considered to be merely religious.
- Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah the Prophet of Islam was born in the Arabian peninsula in the 26th of April, 570 AD. And then Islam appeared amongst the Arabian tribes in 610 AD at the time where those tribes were separated from the great civilized empires around them like the Persian Empire and the Roman one. And in 632 AD, the Prophet Muhammad died and after his death by only 100 years, the Muslim armies were standing at the gates of Paris in the famous battle of Tours or (Poitiers) that took place in 732 AD. The appearance of Islam in the Arab world on the hands of Muhammad and his message created a vast powerful empire that the Arabs or the empires around them never knew. Syria was conquered in 634 AD, Damascus was conquered in 635 AD, India and Egypt were conquered in 641 AD, Cartagena was conquered in 647 AD, Samarkand (Uzbekistan) was conquered in 676 AD, Andalusia (Spain & Portugal) was conquered in 710 AD, and then the Muslim armies stopped in France in 720 AD. The Muslim preachers reached China delivering the Muslim Caliphate’s message to “Taichung” who by his turn allowed the preachers to spread their message amongst the Chinese people. The Muslim Empire ruled from China and India from the east passing by the Middle east and reaching to Andalusia and Southern France in the west. This rule lasted for over the 1000 year. Islam started to back down and fall in Andalusia after a 700 year of rule, retreating under the inhumane strikes by the inquisitions, leaving behind the best civilization Spain ever knew, and the best civilization medieval Europe ever looked at. It was a civilization that shone at the time where historians described this era as the dark ages. But again this civilization finds its way to Europe through the east this time under the Ottoman rule that conquered Constantinople on the hands of Mehmet II or Mehmet the conqueror at the year 1453 AD when he was only 21 years old. And then again the Ottomans surrounded Vienna for the last time in 1682 AD (329 years ago), while the Muslim rule in India fell 304 years ago, after an era that was described by H.G.Wells as “The most beautiful and the greatest era India has ever lived through it’s history” (The Mongols dynasty from 1526 – 1707).
- Muslims grasped the Phoenicians field of glass treatment, and took from Egyptians the textile arts. They benefited from the Syrians in the field of cotton treatment and from Persians in the field of silk treatment as well.
- The Arab chemists were the first ones to come up with soap. They built a huge paper factory in Baghdad and benefitted from the Chinese methods in paper industry. It was transferred to Andalusia and through Andalusia , the paper industry knew it’s way to Europe with Samarkand city being known as the best city of paper production at the time.
- Baghdad’s population in the 11th century reached the 2 million and was the biggest city in the world at the time being.
- In the time of the Caliphate Al-Ma’mun there was around 11,000 churches, hundreds of Jewish synagogues and Fire worshippers. The first University that was ever made (according to Guinness records) was called “Bayt al-Hikmah” that was created at the time of “Harun al-Rashid” and his son “Abdullah al-Ma’mun” in 840 AD.
- “Bayt al-Hikmah” university used to teach sciences of Koran, Hadeeth, Fiqh, Linguistics, History, Civilization, Astronomy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Music, and Engineering.
- Education at its primary phase was for free and every student from all around the great Muslim Empire used to head to Makkah, Madinah, Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad in their seek for education.
- The Caliphate “Al-Naser” used to search and debate with the famous philosopher “Ibn-Rushd” about the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato at the time where the nobles, kings and queens of Europe where bragging about their illiteracy. The Umayyad Caliphate used to own a library that holds 400,000 folder, while we saw “Charles V” the king of France who was called “The Wise” after 400 years, bragging about his library that held 1000 folder only.
- “Ahmad al-Ya’qubi” mentioned that he in 891 AD, counted more than a 100 library in Baghdad alone. Al-Najjaf small library owned more than 40,000 folder, “Abi al-Fida'” (was one of the Kurdish princes) owned in his library 70,000 folder, “Al Mo’ayad” library at the south of the Arabian peninsula owned more than 100,000 folder, “Maraghah” library had 400,000 folder, whilst the biggest library of all was located in Cairo and called “Al Aziz” owned 1,600,000 folder (It had 6,500 folder for mathematics, 1,800 folder for philosophy).
- During the Muslim rule in Andalusia, most of the people of Andalusia knew how to read and write at the time were writing and reading in Europe was a matter of priests and men of Church. The Andalusian civilization was a temptation for the priests, men of church, and education seekers so they all came from all parts of Europe in seek of knowledge in the universities of Cordoba, Seville and Toledo, getting their knowledge from the Muslim scientists and professors.
- In the year 850 AD, there was about 34 hospitals around the Muslim Empire. Damascus’s hospital was being run with generous money by the Caliphate and was well equipped for both the rich and the poor, was also being run by 24 different doctors.
- Water systems were created in Sarajevo before London by 148 years and before Vienna by 378 years while public bathrooms were spread around the Muslim Empire.
- The Caliphate “Al-Mansur” ordered to translate the astronomy books that were written 450 years BC. “Ibrahim Zarkali” created Toledo scale. “Ibn al-Haytham” (who was a Muslim scientist from Andalusia) wrote an important book about optics, and this book became the main source for Europe’s scientists like “Roger Bacon”.
- With all these historic facts concerning the history of the Islamic Empire, why Islam is pictured they way we see it nowadays as a religion of intolerance, terrorism and savagery?. With un-believable bragging we see lots of European historians while documenting the history of mathematics, jumping with ease from “Euclid” the Greek who died the year 720 BC to the very first levels of mathematics in Europe, ignoring thousands of years in-between where mathematics were developed on the hands of lots of Muslim mathematicians as if mathematics died, got mummified and buried till Europeans came and extracted it’s secrets out of the underworld.
- In these Islamic centuries, “Ibn Ahmad” the mathematician was able to come up with the number “Zero” and suggested it to be used by mathematicians in his book “Keys of Sciences”. And nowadays mathematicians know the great importance of this number that formed the basics of Computer knowledge. “Gerard da Cremona” in the 12th century, translated “Muhammad Ibn Moussa Ibn Shaker” book “Calculation of Circles and equations”, translated “Al-Khawarizmi” book “On Algebra and Mucabala”, translated “Jabir Ibn Aflah” book “Elementa Astronomica” and translated works by “Al-Razi”. He over all translated 87 books from the Arabic language.
- “Muhammad Ibn Jabir al-Batani” in the 10th century is considered to be the one who put the basic laws of Trignometry. Expressions like Sine, Cosine, Tangent, Cotangent, and Trignometric system are all Islamic expressions and “Hassan al-Marakichi” added on those expressions the first Trignemtric tables, and all of them were put by Muslim scientists.
- So it is unfair to put labels like “ignorance, terrorism and savagery” alongside Islam. This article would be one of many future articles that put the spot light on the accomplishments of the Islamic Empire in its different aspects, whether military ones, philosophical, religious, or scientific.
- Islam means to create a human being balancing between his soul and body and a society that its laws along with its social and economical institutions prevent this balance and doesn’t violate it. – Alija Izetbegovic`.