Wednesday, September 25, 2013

British surrender of LEROS spoils the smooth panty lines of WWII narratives

WWII began in early September 1939 and ended in early September 1945 : a net package of precisely six years with a seemingly nicely symmetrical 50/50 narrative arc about it.

(Conveniently for that oh so smooth narrative arc, truly significant events usually did occur around each of the seven Septembers.)

So go ahead ---- pick up any book on WWII at random and watch how smoothly the author's narrative is sure to unfold --- all the while bulldozing over any awkward facts in the process !

It will claim, for example , that for the first three years of the war, almost to a day, ie from early September 1939 to early September 1942, the Allies falter and fall back while the Axis advance ever forward.

Indeed, that month does mark the furthermost geographic advances of both Germany and Japan.

But then - almost on a dime, the tide turns - and now all the advances go to the Allies.

 From this moment forth the Axis only retreats , until its final formal defeat three years later, almost to the day.

(Here insert Stalingrad, Guadacanal, the Torch landings and El Alamein for colour illustration).

LEROS is one of the bumps in the panty liner of WWII narratives...

But then factor in the September 8th 1943 abject surrender of a sizeable British force on the island of Leros to the victorious Germans , more than a year later after the tide supposedly 'turned' , a big part of the little known British disaster called The Dodecanese campaign.

Little known today - though much remarked upon at the time - because it foils completely this nice smooth narrative arc and raises too many awkward questions about the whole Allied spin on WWII , as seen in virtually every book ever written on the war.

Seventy five years on, the whole world constantly pats itself on the back for the part its grandparents valiantly played in stopping the horrible horror and total evil of Nazism.

But if this is truly so, why were the Russians irrationally fighting to the death rather than surrender to the Nazis, even when beaten, only two months into their war, while the British were still rationally surrendering upon defeat to the Jerries, more than three years into their war ?

I do believe a lot of interesting and important things happened between 1939 and 1945, but the military battles were not among them.

Rather, WWII's  military actions were often deeply influenced by the results of mental conclusions already made, long in advance.

Made by the elites of the various nations of the world, all gauging each other in terms of the psychic distance between their elite values and the elite values of  any other potentially aggressor nation.

The conclusions reached decided whether that nation actively and determinedly declared war against other nations at war or whether the declaration of war was merely a formality, forced on them from the outside and not followed by any real action.

Or perhaps they decided to remain Neutral. If so, how 'neutral' ? Very friendly neutral ? Neutral Neutral ? or Hostile Neutral ?

In particular, the judged psychic distance between the various nations went into the political and military thinking of all nations as they pondered how readily they might surrender to the enemy , in the face of a likely military defeat.

Would they in the elite then all be lined up and quickly shot , or would they be treated with dignity as officer POWs and as the new passively collaborating administrative and commercial underlings ?

The conclusions reached then now seem startling in our present day eyes.

 The elites of the Western Allies and of the overseas Neutrals simply didn't think in ,the early 1940s, that their values and those of the ordinary German people and elites were all that far apart, deep down.

(The same goes for the elites of the 'colored' world, about the Japanese.

Excepting that the Slavs felt very differently about the Germans ---- as did the Chinese about the Japanese. And vice versa. As a result, most of the casualties of WWII occurred around these two combat zones.)

Back to the peoples of the Western Allies and their comparatively mild dislike of ordinary Germans .

Polls during WWII in Britain and America clearly demonstrate the existence of this view - even among ordinary people - and that it grew in popularity as the war went on. By contrast, Jews became less ,not more, popular as the war went on.)

So the people of the West didn't really want to go to war with the Germans, not merely to defend the interests of some unknown bunch of far off slavic peasants that the Germans were bringing their civilizing campaign upon.

And they didn't fear going into captivity as officer POWs or acting as the collaborating elite of a newly occupied subject nation within the German empire.

So why occur unnecessary military and civilian losses when you are clearly beaten ?

The Nazis were a bit of a different matter. They clearly did go too far, of course, way,way too far in actually acting upon their dislikes.

But even their dislikes were also largely in tune with the other countries' elites at that time.

They didn't like Socialist trade unionists, Modernist artists and intellectuals, Communists, Jews, Gypsy travellers, Homosexuals, Coloreds and those hopelessly deformed from birth --- but then who did - really ?

Most of the world's elite , in the early 1940s, believed as a fundamental of reality, that all Humanity could be scientifically divided into those Nature deemed worthy of full citizenship and those deemed worthy only of lesser citizenship - or worse.

Only a few - like Henry Dawson - among the world's elite, disagreed strongly with that global scientific consensus.

The elites of all the nations of WWII : victims, bullies, bystanders and reluctant intervenors were generally were united in sharing the supposedly scientific values of exclusion.

By contrast, fewer of our (younger) elites still feel so today and the (younger) non-elites among us are far more powerful overall, and most of them tend to favour values of inclusion.

Between the younger 'us' and our older grandparents and great grandparents there is a complete moral and scientific volte face of 180 degrees.

Until we accept that, we are going to keep getting the true history of WWII completely wrong .....

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