Re: [OPE] fascism / opposing imperialist military interventioninLibya

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Sat Apr 16 2011 - 03:27:00 EDT

On 2011-04-15 16:19, Paul Cockshott wrote:
> Have any of you read Fischer’s /Griff nach Weltmacht/, or in
> English *Germany’s Aims in the First World War*. When it came out
> in 1960 it was groundbreaking work, being the first work by a
> German academic historian to document in detail using original
> sources the imperialist and offensive motivation of the German
> state in launching the war.
> It is particularly enlightening in laying out the details of just
> what ‘redivision of the world’ really meant in terms of concrete
> territorial and economic objectives at that time. It is also
> interesting to see the interplay between availability of capital
> for export and military power. One on the things he brings out,
> which I had not realises, was despite its industrial strength the
> Reich was short of capital, and had in the two years prior to the
> war been loosing out to British and French capital in both Turkey
> and the Balkans because of its inability to provide the capital
> funds required to complete things like the Istanbul to Baghdad
> railway and the improvement of dock and other provision in Turkey.
> There was perceived as being an immediate danger that Turkey would
> move into the sphere of influence once more of France and Britain.
> Likewise Germany had been unable to provide credit required by the
> Greek state which had to raise loans on the Paris market.
> This weakness in ability to export capital stemmed from a serious
> structural balance of payments deficit on Germany’s part,
> something that I had previously been unaware of.
> What is astonishing was the extent to which the Great Powers were
> willing to secretly agree to divide up spheres of influence among
> each other even to the loss of other European powers.
> Between 1912 and 1913, Germany and Britain had apparently agreed
> between themselves to divide up the Portuguese colonies in Africa,
> with Germany getting the northern parts of Mozambique and the West
> of Angola, and Britain the rest. Britain apparently agreed this on
> the basis that should the Portuguese state go bankrupt as was
> anticipated, then the colonies would be handed over in return for
> a bailout package from London and Berlin. Germany apparently hoped
> for a more unconditional seizure of the territory.
> Looking back one can see some remarkable continuities with the
> situation 100 years later:
> 1.The issue of bailouts of Portugal and Greece, are as topical
> today as then. Instead of colonies being the price, privatisations
> of other state assets are likely to serve the same role.
> 2.The at times inverse relationship between financial and military
> aggressiveness and power. States running big trade surpluses today
> like China and Germany are able to exert political influence
> through the offer of credit in a similar way to France 100 years
> ago. Although the USA has by far the greatest industrial and armed
> power, it lacks the capital to pursue this sort of policy as
> Germany did in 1911. This provides a motivation for the
> substitution of naked force for economic power.
> 3.The longstanding policy of German Imperialism of promoting
> mittel Europa as an alternative basis to be able to stand up to
> the truly global powers : seen in the early 1900s as being the
> British Empire, the Russian Empire, the American and Chinese
> empires. Today the list would be Russia, America, China and India
> with the latter being the bulk of the old British Empire. This
> policy Bethman Hollweg, put forward as a war aim in 1914, was
> essentially the same as that temporarily imposed by a subsequent
> Chancellor in 1940, and continued by pacific means by Adenauer
> and Kohl with the formation of the EU. Hollweg had hoped for a
> quick victory in the west under which France would be incorporated
> into mittel Europa, with French capital providing the funding for
> the long term build up of economic and armed resources to
> challenge Russia, Britain and America.


//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Sat Apr 16 03:28:11 2011

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Apr 30 2011 - 00:00:03 EDT