Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Nature Magazine applauds Hitler's occupation of a part of Czechoslovakia

Willie Soon sent me the PDF file with the original layout of a Nature Magazine article applauding the Munich Treaty, the September 30th 1938 agreement between the four main powers of Europe. Here you have a HTML version of the one-page text:
The Promotion of Peace (Editorial, Nature, vol. 142, No. 3597, October 8, 1938)
I didn't know about that text. It is a great example showing how bad idea it may be for magazines such as Nature to write about things they don't really understand – especially politics. Willie also sent me three articles published in Nature between 1939 and 1940 – those were significantly more pro-Czech and anti-Nazi. But let me discuss The Promotion of Peace.
The agreement arrived at by the four-power conference, which met at Munich on September 30 to find a peaceful solution of the conflicting rights of Czechs and Germans to territory assigned to Czechoslovakia by peace treaties which followed the Great War, ...
This half-sentence tries to sound as a neutral, matter-of-fact historical proposition but it's very far from it. Since 1918, both Czechs and Germans who lived in the Sudetenland were citizens of Czechoslovakia and they only had "rights to territory" that are expected for individual citizens. And the laws of Czechoslovakia guaranteed that these rights simply couldn't be conflicting.

Collectively, only Czechoslovakia as a whole had a right to the territory. Czechs and Slovaks were a majority in Czechoslovakia which meant that they had the upper hand – but this asymmetry was nothing else than the mirror image of the role of German-speaking folks and others within Austria-Hungary up to 1918.

The sentence above is also highly misleading because it indicates that the Prague control over the Sudetenland was invented after the First World War. While the loss of Germany and Austria in the Great War implied their reduced political power after 1918, it is simply not true that the Sudetenland belonged under Prague because of peace conferences after the First World War. The Sudetenland had had a local capital in Prague for the previous 900 years or so. Bohemia was never split into pieces in that period.

Sometimes, Prague was just an autonomous local capital while the main capital was the imperial one in Vienna. Sometimes, Czechia was independent. Twice, Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. And the Bohemian Kingdom sometimes lived in the personal union with the Poles or the Hungarians and it sometimes controlled territories up to the Baltic or Adriatic Sea. During the late 19th century, Austria-Hungary respected many autonomous rights of the nation states within the empire so many bureaus were located and many decisions affecting the Czech lands were made in Prague, anyway.

For centuries, Czechs and Germans co-existed rather peacefully on the territory of the Sudetenland. (13th century kings deliberately invited skillful Germans to economically raise the area and it worked.) In the 1930s, the tensions ran high and they looked like tensions between Czechs and Germans. But this description is already distorting the reality of the 1930s because most of the tension was really a tension between Nazis and non-Nazis. It just happened – for reasons that are not so hard to understand – that the group of Nazis on the territory almost exactly coincided with the ethnic Germans and the non-Nazis on the territory almost exactly coincided with the Czechs.

OK, the first paragraph continued:
...marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the world, and will be gratefully welcomed by scientific workers in natural and national fields as a significant stage in the progressive ethical evolution of the human race.
You may see that it's the same grandiose "progressive" language that writers in Nature – and elsewhere – like to embrace these days, too. Mindless inkspillers simply decide to maximally back certain political efforts which is why they describe these efforts as "progressive", "ethical", and link them to science as well as the whole "human race". Their calling themselves "the human race" sounds better than if they called themselves a bunch of stinky Hitler sycophants or deluded climate hysterical crackpots which is what they actually are.

Needless to say, it was simply a lie that scientific workers gratefully welcomed this increasing influence of the Third Reich. Almost no Czech intellectuals "welcomed" this development. And for somewhat different reasons, Jewish and non-fascist scientists were alarmed by the ballooning influence of the Nazis, too.

This distortion of the scientists' opinions is something we know from editorials written in the modern era, too. For example, we often read breathtaking lies about the scientific workers' support for the climate hysteria and the devastating policies that are usually justified by the hysteria. The similarity in the politicization of science and the distortion of the scientists' attitudes to Nazism and to the climate hysteria is striking.
The British people have expressed their enthusiastic admiration for the self-sacrifice and unceasing endeavour exercised by Mr. Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister, to secure this end.
Fortunately, Chamberlain was superseded by Winston Churchill whose attitudes towards the Third Reich were very, very different. Again, you may see the demagogic distortion of the truth. "The British people" admired the appeasement policies, the readers were told in 1938. Which British people? Clearly, Churchill and those British people who thought he was the right prime minister to fight against the Third Reich must have thought differently. And just to be sure, Winston Churchill was not born after 1938.
Suggestions have been made that a national tribute fund should be opened, and Sir Charles Hyde has put, at the disposal of the University of Birmingham the sum of £10,000 to provide a Neville Chamberlain fund or scholarship. Appropriate recognition, independent of nationality, could be given by the Nobel peace prize, which is awarded "to the person who shall have most or best promoted the fraternity of nations and the abolition or dissemination of standing armies and increase of peace congresses".
Oh, sure. Chamberlain was so great that he should have gotten the Nobel peace prize! Thankfully, in 1938, they chose a bureau for (real, at that time) refugees affiliated with the League of Nations, the inter-war predecessor of the U.N. Chamberlain could have won the following Nobel peace prize, in 1939, but the decision was made about 1 month after the war started – a war that Neville Chamberlain helped to start – so maybe too many people have figured out that it would be too ludicrous to reward this guy for peace – one of the most important guys who made it possible for the worst conflict in the human history to erupt.

Between 1939 and 1943, no Nobel peace prizes were awarded because of the war. The Swiss Red Cross got the last war-time Nobel peace prize in 1944.

Also, don't overlook the recommendation in the editorial that Chamberlain should have gotten a "scholarship". Do you really need a "scholarship" to climb into Hitler's aßhole? What does it have to do with "scholarship"? The editorial was a classic open admission of the fact that some people wanted science and the Academia to be mere servants of some political causes. Nowadays, some of their followers are equally open about their placing politics above science. You may see people who similarly defend "scholarship" for the crackpots who promote the climate hysteria, among other things that have nothing whatever to do with science.
The immediate object of the meeting between Mr. Chamberlain, M. Daladier, Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini, reinforced by letters from President Roosevelt, was to find a peaceable settlement of a bitter dispute between Czechs and Germans; and though the people of Czechoslovakia naturally regard the terms imposed upon them as harsh, they and other nations would suffer far more if active hostilities had eventually to determine them.
There was no meaningful "bitter dispute" between Czechs and Germans that any fair judge or referee could consider at all. Most of the Germans in the Sudetenland simply became Nazis and decided that their being Germans gave them the right to change borders and do similar things regardless of the laws of countries they inhabit and regardless of the opinions of all non-Germans. So the Sudetenland was annexed by the Third Reich after the Munich treaty that is known to Czechs as the "Munich Betrayal".

But without the betrayal – which meant that France and indirectly the U.K. were pissing on its defense treaties with Czechoslovakia – there was zero support for the utterly ludicrous demands of the Nazis in the Sudetenland. Assuming at least some basic rule of law, there couldn't have been any dispute and there wasn't any dispute between Czechs and Germans. Everything was crystal clear.

Also, note the verbal exercise saying that it didn't matter that the damn Czechs didn't like it. It just doesn't matter that a whole nation is treated in this way. Hitler represents the world peace, Nature argued, so the interests of Adolf Hitler simply had to be placed above the interests of any damn nation. Again, this absurd and super-arrogant upside-down logic is being used these days as well when it's being said that the economic interests of whole nations don't matter because Al Gore who is the world's savior needs to earn some extra bucks for his carbon indulgences.
Even more important than the agreement of the four great European powers as to new boundaries between Germany and Czechoslovakia was the declaration signed by Mr. Chamberlain and Herr Hitler as the result of a further talk.
Right. Mr Chamberlain gets a special praise because he wasn't just one of the four leaders who signed the despicable treaty. He was the #1 leader among the three who has penetrated most deeply to Herr Hitler's aß. Mr Chamberlain was really an amazing aßclimber who must have been worshiped by the Nature Magazine.
"We regard," it says, "the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again.
It's stupid beyond imagination. If you make a visibly aggressive leader of Germany stronger by giving him a big fraction of the territory of your highly industrialized ally for free, you clearly increase, and not decrease, the probability that the German leader will try to defeat you as well within less than two years from now.
We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries, and we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe."
Well, Herr Hitler chose more effective and straightforward methods to deal with any other questions in the following year, 1939.
This is, indeed, a step forward in the promotion of peaceful methods of settling disputes between nations; and however much we may deplore the intolerance of intellectual freedom, and the persecution of a defenceless minority, by which Germany is suppressing the advancement of knowledge and the rights of man, the declaration of the new Anglo-German undertaking makes the outlook much brighter.
The Munich Treaty was, indeed, a major step towards the war that later made "the Great War" look not so great, after all. If you think that the outlook becomes much "brighter" when the leader who prosecutes a defenseless minority and suppresses the advancement of knowledge captures 1/3 of the world's #10 economy (at that time), maybe you should see both your eye doctor and your psychiatrist.
Sixty years ago, another Prime Minister, Disraeli, avoided a war between Russia and Britain by the Treaty of Berlin, as the result of consultation with the councils of Europe, and secured his "peace with honour". We hope and believe that the resolution now made between the German Fuhrer and Chancellor and the British Prime Minister will have more lasting influence than that reached by Disraeli, of whose treaty it was said soon afterwards:
Now, in 2017, almost no one knows who was Disraeli, what was the Treaty of Berlin, and what kind of a war was avoided. These justifications obviously didn't pass the test of time.
"Once 'peace with honour' home was brought;    
And there the glory ceases.
For peace a dozen wars has fought,    
And honour's all to pieces."
These words were probably meant to sound like some impressive poetry. Thankfully, I didn't understand this poetry and after it enters my brain through one ear, it leaves through the other.

At any rate, I am amazed by the similarity with the passionate, ideologically driven – mostly left-wing – writers of the modern era who also love to write similar garbage about politics and who never hesitate to make some really preposterous statements and inflate the absurdity contained in these statements so that they sound as their own caricature. Everyone who writes similar editorials about his support for the climate hysteria or diversity or similar fashionable "causes" of the day will look equally ludicrous in a few years or decades.

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