transcript-Scapegoating-Germany
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James Bacque discusses his in-depth research into the fate of the many millions of German citizens who went missing or died from intentional starvation after the end of World War Two, detailed in his second book on post-war Germany, Crimes and Mercies – The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation 1944 to 1950; Potsdam Protocol the formal declaration of intent to destroy Germans and Germany; the forced expulsion of 15 million Germans as starving, penniless refugees from their ancestral lands in Germany’s eastern provinces; Germany loses one third of her pre-war territory; Marshall Plan a fraud; Herbert Hoover and others’ humanitarian efforts stave off famine worldwide; Britain plotting the destruction of Germany since 1895; human rights denied to all Germans.
This is Guns and Butter.

Hoover said six million died, and I believe him.  I think he’s right.  And that was at the point of around 1947 or 1948, I think, and millions more went on dying after that.  You know, when you start to feed a person who’s been starving, he doesn’t get better right away; he’s maybe got a disease and then he goes down.  So that’s a minimum figure, six million Germans dead after the war, plus two million prisoners of war and beyond that, well, who knows?  I think millions.  I think the total of Germans killed by Allied action after the war was around 10 to 14 million, somewhere in there.

I'm Bonnie Faulkner.  Today on Guns and Butter, James Bacque.  Today's show:  Scapegoating Germany.  James Bacque is a Canadian writer and researcher, a former journalist, book editor and publisher, and is well known for his books on the history of post-war Germany.  His best sellers, Other Losses and Crimes and Mercies, have revealed atrocities committed by the Allies against German POWs and civilians after World War Two.  Today we have an in-depth discussion of one of his most famous books, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944 to 1950.  We discuss the intentional starvation of millions of German civilians by the Allied Occupation, the destruction of German industrial production, the forced expulsion of 15 million Germans from Germany’s eastern provinces, and the heroic work of Herbert Hoover and others to stave off massive famine worldwide.

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Bonnie Faulkner:  Jim Bacque, welcome back.

James Bacque:  Thank you very much, Bonnie.

Bonnie Faulkner:  I’ve just read your Crimes and Mercies:  The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944 to 1950, published in 2007.  Crimes and Mercies is a follow up to Other Losses that documented the crimes committed against German prisoners of war by American occupation forces.  How would you characterize American treatment of German civilians after World War Two ended in 1945?

James Bacque:  Unbelievable, and I hardly could believe it myself when I first started finding out.  When I was living in France in 1988 and ’89, I was doing research in a book about the French Résistance, or resistance, and in the research for that book, I encountered a couple of guys who had been German prisoners in a French camp.  They told me of the horrors of the French camp, where they were almost starved to death and that the Americans were doing the same thing.  And I didn’t believe it, because I grew up during the war, in Canada and you Americans were my Allies.  I just could not believe that these Germans had been starved to death, because I knew that everybody treats a prisoner of war fairly because of the Geneva Convention, and how could the Americans have done this?  But they did. 

So when I confirmed that, I was on the edge of writing my first book, Other Losses, and then when I was doing the research for that I found that the Allied policy towards Germany was double:  We wanted to kill them off after the war.  We killed more people by Allied action after the war than died during the war.  That’s really hard to believe, but it’s quite true.  But the Americans and the Canadians together changed that policy while it was in force with one part of the government and the army, another part of our societies, the churches and normal people and so on, charities, the Red Cross stepped in to feed the people that we were deliberately starving.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You write that the whole nation of Germany was converted into a starvation prison.

James Bacque:  Yeah.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Seven million civilians died after the war in addition to one-and-a-half million German prisoners of war.  Could you describe some of the circumstances that German civilians found themselves in, in the immediate aftermath of World War II?

James Bacque:  Oh.  Well, of course, their cities had been bombed and set on fire, and all of their young men and middle-aged men were flung into camps to die in starvation conditions.  They didn’t have a roof over their head, and so disease spread all over the place and they died in their millions.  Eisenhower sent out an order on May the 7th, 1945, from his headquarters in Frankfurt, telling all German civilians through their remaining little bits of government like municipal and metropolitan governments, telling those Germans that it was a crime now, under the American occupation to gather food together for the purpose of taking it to the prisoners in the camps.  So not only were the prisoners in the camps starving and the civilians starving, but they were forbidden to help each other, and of course they died in their millions—as I say, more after the war than during the war.  Who could believe that?  But there it is.

Bonnie Faulkner:  There are heartbreaking descriptions in your book about how German women and children were living in dark, flooded basements under heaps of rubble without any food.  For how long did these conditions continue?

James Bacque:  They were worse in the cities than elsewhere.  They were, of course, not so bad in farming country because the bombs were concentrated on cities and factories and so it’s really hard to say, but the worst conditions in Germany lasted from late 1945 through 1946 to about 1949.  So there were three years when people were starving to death and being exposed to death.  When I say exposed to death I mean rain on their heads.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Wasn’t there a prevention by the US forces to not even allow charity packages to go into Germany?

James Bacque:  Yes, that’s right.  Eisenhower turned back trainloads of food that the Red Cross got in to Germany, and he said, “No, they can’t have it.”  And so the food which had been collected in parts of Europe and Canada was sent back.  So much food was sent back that they apologized to the government of France under General Charles de Gaulle, apologized to them for using up so much rolling stock and time on the tracks.  In the meantime, of course, people for whom that food had been destined starved to death.  It was a deliberate policy of the US Army implemented by Eisenhower with the approval of Roosevelt, and he was pretty much under the thumb of Henry C. Morgenthau, who was the Secretary of the Treasury.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Could you talk about what the Morgenthau Plan consisted of?  Now, this plan, which was publicly so-called canceled, was actually integrated into the JCS-1067 policy for post-war Germany.

James Bacque:  That’s right.

Bonnie Faulkner:  What was in the Morgenthau plan?  What was the plan? 

James Bacque:  To kill as many Germans as they could get away with, without notice; in other words, to do in the German people, to commit genocide against Germany, if they could get away with it.  And if the press noticed or the Congress, which it did, then they would stop and slow down a bit.  They succeeded very largely in destroying Germany.  There was hardly any Germany left in 1960 to ’65 and the only Germany that was left, was hardworking slaves, who were being run by the capitalist organizations of the UK and the USA and the communists in Russia.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You mention General Charles de Gaulle in your book.  Did Charles de Gaulle play any role with regard to the starvation of Germans? 

James Bacque:  Oh, yes, of course.  When the prisoners were taken into the French camps—many of them delivered by the Americans, against the Geneva Convention; you weren’t allowed to transfer prisoners against their will—when that was happening, Charles de Gaulle was premier of France, begging for German slaves, which he put to work in France, and they died in large numbers, about a quarter of a million of them.

Bonnie Faulkner:  According to your book Britain, Canada and the US outfitted the USSR with all of their military equipment and food.  The USSR was still being helped by the West in 1948.  Why was Germany seen as a greater threat than the Soviet Union?

James Bacque:  Well, in the first place, you’re not quite correct about the supply of armaments and so forth to the Soviets.  We did send a lot of airplanes, tanks, railway cars and railway tracks to the Soviets and it was essential to their winning their war, but we did not keep it up in such huge quantities as late as 1948 or ‘49.  I think at that point what was going over to them was mainly clothing and food, especially food.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Then why was Germany seen as a greater threat than the Soviet Union?

James Bacque:  Well, at first – Remember, we’re talking about something that changed very rapidly.  In 1945 Germany was still a threat; we had to make war on them, we thought.  In 1946, of course, they’d been beaten and they surrendered, and Germany was seen to be a threat only by people who were already filled with hatred and fear of the Germans and it wasn’t a real thing at all.  It just was a leftover.  It was like war momentum; it was a momentum in our feelings, and it went on to killing Germans for many years.  At the same time, there was rising up another sentiment amongst different people in the West, who wanted to make Allies of the Germans so we could fight against the Russians using German help.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You write that, “The Ruhr industrial region of Germany remained 75% intact after the war and that in Germany overall, industrial regions remained 80 to 85% intact.  So how is it that German industrial production was only 25%?

James Bacque:  German industrial production was very high at the end of the war, nearly high enough to sustain the war, but not quite, which was one of the reasons they lost.  The Allies then destroyed the remaining capacity of the Germans to produce arms and steel and coal and so on, to the point that they knocked out about 75% of German industrial production, including the production of oil, fishing fleets in the North Sea and the production of fertilizer.

That meant that the Germans could not produce their own food, nor were they allowed to manufacture for exports so that they could buy food abroad.  And if they somehow managed to evade that ban, then the Allies—who controlled everything in Germany; just absolutely everything was under our control—and if the Germans did manage to earn a little bit of foreign money to buy food abroad, then we stole it from them by falsifying the accounts.  This is one of the worst disasters ever inflicted on anybody, anywhere.

Bonnie Faulkner:  One of the most amazing stories woven throughout your book Crimes and Mercies, is the role played in both world wars by the 31st American President, Herbert Hoover.  You write that, “Herbert Hoover practically invented the idea of universal human rights.” What was Hoover’s contribution to human rights at the close of World War I, before he ever even became president in 1929?

James Bacque:  For one thing, during the First World War, Hoover rounded up a lot of money.  He was a millionaire at a time when a millionaire really meant something; he was a billionaire, too, probably.  In any case, he rounded up all the money and he rounded up shipping to help Americans who were trapped in Europe during the First World War to get across the Atlantic safely back home again.  And then at the end of the war, he rounded up food—well, he did it during the war, too, to feed Belgians and starving kids in Northern France—and Churchill opposed him.  He was a real old tyrant, that Churchill, god he was vicious and funny, too.

The Americans under Hoover, with the help of President Wilson, were not only saving American lives but they were putting food into the mouths and stomachs of young Poles, kids in Germany itself and Belgium and so forth, and that was partly a relief, a private relief organized by Hoover.  He would buy food from surplus countries such as Canada and take that food over, ship it over and feed starving children in Poland and even starving prisoners of war in Russia.  There were Germans starving to death in Russian camps that Hoover was helping to feed.

Bonnie Faulkner:  If World War I ended in 1918, then why did Winston Churchill have a British blockade on Germany in 1919?

James Bacque:  Vengeance and hatred and fear.  He wanted to force the Germans to agree to the most horrible kind of peace terms you could imagine, by which they would lose their army, part of their government, part of their territory and billions and billions and billions of money, whatever kind you want, in reparations, which was part of the run-up to the Second World War.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Do you know how it is that Herbert Hoover got involved helping stave off starvation after World War I as a private citizen?  I mean, he wasn’t even in politics then, was he?

James Bacque:  No, he was a miner living in London, England, very rich, with connections all over the world.  I think my grandfather knew him, but I’m not sure.  My grandfather was also a rich miner in Canada.  Hoover was rounding up some help for Americans stranded in Europe, and his kindness and his relief efforts led to more and more of the same.  When you do something really good like that, then it leads to more.  There’s always a need for that sort of thing.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You write that there is shocking evidence of Roosevelt’s hostility toward Herbert Hoover’s humanitarian efforts to feed the starving.  Why was the Roosevelt Administration and the State Department—in other words, I guess, the Democrats—so prejudiced against Hoover?

James Bacque:  Boy, that’s a big question.  Anyway, I’d be glad to answer it.  Part of it was politics, that Roosevelt was in trouble, running against Hoover.  Part of it was that Roosevelt was in favor of big business and helping big business even though he pretended not to be.  Part of it was that the American war machine was revving up and Hoover was against that; he didn’t want to see American boys going over to fight in Europe.  And part of it was the way the Canadians were playing the devil’s advocate, trying to get the Americans to come into the war.  So Roosevelt was a hypocrite and a liar and a deceiver of the worst possible kind and a war monger pretending to be a peace maker.  All of this was, of course, again, the ideas that Hoover stood for and the principles that he stood for.

Bonnie Faulkner:  It sounds basically like Herbert Hoover opposed the US entry into World War II and Roosevelt was very much supporting it?

James Bacque:  Yeah, that’s right.  Roosevelt wanted to get the US into the war.  He saw an opportunity, because the British Empire would collapse because of the war, and it did; that’s what happened.  And Roosevelt was standing there, helping to bankrupt the British by charging them big bucks for all of the armaments that they sent over, and so the British Empire was bankrupt by the year 1941, according to Lord Beaverbrook, who was one of Churchill’s cabinet ministers.  There was just no way the British could finance a war themselves.  So Roosevelt, seeing his opportunity, gave marginal support to the British to keep them going until he, Roosevelt, was able, according to some Americans, to foment a war in the Pacific, which inevitably meant the Americans would go into the war in Europe as well.

Bonnie Faulkner:  So then, is it your analysis, generally, that Roosevelt’s motivation into getting the US into World War II, was so that the US could take over the British Empire?

James Bacque:  Only partly.  He also thought that he hated the Germans.  He didn’t know them very well, but he hated them, and a lot of people did in the Western world.  Nobody knows exactly why, except that they were a threat.  And why people would think the Germans were a threat when, mainly what they wanted to do was to trade with us, but that was a threat, too, because if the Germans trade with you, that means you don’t have your factories open, you’re importing stuff. 

The same thing is going on right now between the US and China.  There are people in the US hating China, because they work hard and are successful in exporting their cheap labor, and the same thing was partly happening between the Americans and the Germans. 

Bonnie Faulkner:  What can you tell us about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?  It’s commonly believed, of course, that the invasion of Poland by Germany is what set off World War II.  Why did Britain challenge Germany not to invade Poland?  And why did the Germans and the USSR both invade Poland?  What was it about Poland that made Germany and the USSR invade?

James Bacque:  In the first place, the Poles had hardly ever been a country on their own.  They’d been first ruled by the Russians and then by the Germans and then by the Russians again, and they were only briefly free, with their own king and government and so on.  But they were always fighting for their independence, because they wouldn’t give in.  But the Germans wanted to get the Russians on their side to invade Poland to make it easier for themselves, so they wanted to fight against only one enemy, which in that case would be the Poles at the start. 

Then the British saw the chance to jump on the Germans while they were occupied in Poland, to fight the Germans and beat them, they hoped.  But that had begun not in 1939, which is the date of the invasion, but it started in about 1895 in Great Britain, when a group of very powerful people, including the future kind—that would be King Edward VIII who was Prince Edward, Prince of Wales at that time—he got together with Cecil Rhodes, the rich guy from South Africa who found diamonds, and Lord Natty Rothschild, a rich member of the Rothschild banking family of Frankfurt, and many other British nobility who were afraid of German factories and German production. 

Also, the German birth rate was very high.  You’ve got to remember that at this point in time, 1895, the British could not feed themselves, nor could the Germans.  So the Atlantic trade was extremely important because all of the food, extra food, that both Britain and Germany needed, had to be shipped across from Saskatchewan and Kansas through Montreal and New York.  And because of that, the Royal Navy became the protector of the British, and the German Navy had to be built up, or so the Germans thought. 

There was no real need for a war at all, because these nations were all easily able to trade with each other.  They knew how to do that; they were doing it already.  But the crazies in London, under Rothschild and Churchill and Lord Gray and the eventual King, Edward VIII, were just out of their heads.  Who knows?  I can’t explain why they were so crazy, but they were, and fear was at the foundation of it. 

And Poland fell between two huge powers who were going to ruin each other and Poland, which is what happened, if they didn’t solve their problems.  So the war that began in a secret cabal, in London with Lord Rothschild and Churchill and the King, went on from 1914 to 1918.  And it wasn’t over in 1918 either, of course, because it started up again in 1939.  And all of that is why Poland got ground to dust and the British got ground to dust as well and, of course, the Germans.

Bonnie Faulkner:  So then, would you characterize both world wars as an inter-capitalist rivalry basically between England and Germany? 

James Bacque:  I wouldn’t do the Marxist analysis.  You don’t need it.  When you see the facts on the ground without any kind of framework over them, you see them fighting for trade, fighting for food and fighting, as they thought, for their country and their loyalty which was really – and now you can get a Marxist analysis, which was really for capitalism and royalty and so on. 

But that’s only part of it.  The real fight was a matter of fear and stupidity because at the end of all of this—and winning—at the end of all of this, the British were bankrupt and out of empire.  They just had to leave their empire to the Americans and to the Indians and South Africans and so on, and they were starving.  If Canada hadn’t produced so much wheat for them from 1945 on, or even before, the British would have starved to death. 

Then you see the Germans could not be put down.  They were working hard and by 1960 or ‘65 the Germans were the richest people in Europe.  And that was what the war had been designed, by the British, to prevent.  Nothing is stupider, nothing more destructive could possibly be imagined and therefore all of this had to be hidden and we had to be driven to the front with propaganda and lies and the worst kind of deceit.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You mentioned King Edward VIII of Great Britain.  Now, wasn’t he responsible, even before he became King, of orchestrating this triple entente of France, Russia and Great Britain aligned against Germany?

James Bacque:  Yes, he was a part of that and that’s all described in a wonderful book called Hidden History.  It is not yet been censored out of existence; you can still get it through Amazon.  So I advise your listeners and mine, too, to go there quick and get it while you can.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Yes, thank you.  I have ordered that book.

James Bacque:  It’s very important for your work Bonnie.  You’ve done the right thing, I think.

Bonnie Faulkner:  What was the Potsdam Protocol?

James Bacque:  It was just the formal declaration of the intent to destroy Germans and Germany, only not in such bad language that the press would come out against it.  But the major intent of it was to destroy Germans and Germany according to the Morgenthau Plan, which was founded in hatred and fear of the Germans and for vengeance against them.  It was founded by Henry C. Morgenthau and he persuaded Roosevelt and Churchill to adopt it as formal policy under JCS-1067, which was declared at their meeting in Quebec City, in 1944.  Later it was implemented when the Americans and British had gone into Germany and began running the place.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Yes, and wasn’t the public then deceived into believing that the Morgenthau Plan had been discarded?

James Bacque:  Yes, that was a major deception.

Bonnie Faulkner:  As a result of the seizures of land and the expulsions in the east by Poland and the USSR, about 12 million starving penniless refugees poured into the remainder of Germany.  Could you talk about the expulsion of 15 million Germans from the eastern provinces and the Sudetenland into the Occupied Zones in 1945 to 1950?  Did these compulsory population transfers constitute ethnic cleansing?

James Bacque:  Oh, yes, very much so, because the land was confiscated, the people were kicked out, they were starving and they were never allowed any kind of recompense, ever, at any point.  So they were just dumped into Germany.  They were starved to death and they constituted a great number of the eventual dead in Germany caused by the Allied vengeance.  That’s all it was; there was no need for this population transfer at all.  There was plenty of food in the West for all of these people.

Bonnie Faulkner:  How big of a tract of land are we talking about in these eastern provinces that were emptied of their German populations?  Had this area been a part of Germany proper?

James Bacque:  Oh, yes.  It was one third of the German territory at the start of the war, and Germany was already quite a big country then, not nearly as big as the US or Canada, of course, but a little bit bigger than France.  And now, after the war, with the seizure of the land, Germany was one of the smaller countries. 

So one-third of the territory was taken away, famous old countries like Prussia, which had been a kingdom, were just exterminated and the people gone, and Brandenburg and Silesia and other places like that, famous places, just eliminated and the people tortured and butchered and starved and we can’t imagine what went on.  There’s a great American scholar called Alfred de Zayas, who’s written a wonderful book about it, published by the University of Nebraska Press and it’s available via Amazon and you can buy it under the title Nemesis at Potsdam.  His name is Alfred de Zayas.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Alfred de Zayas, of course, wrote the foreword to your book Crimes and Mercies.

James Bacque:  Yes, he’s a great American and a great scholar.  That’s one of the things about the United States that I really like and hold onto, and it’s true in many other countries as well, that the establishment, the people in power, right at the very top, even today has amongst it fine people who have a good heart and values that encompass humanity and not just some narrow section of it—people who believe in accuracy in history and who do not want endless war, and one of those persons is Alfred de Zayas and another person, a wonderful man was Colonel Ernest F. Fisher, who helped me with my research, who was an army historian.  You could not imagine anyone more central to US power than a man like Ernie Fisher, a Colonel, who was writing official history of the US Army, and many others like him who helped me, even though I was in their terms a “bomb-throwing revolutionary.”  When I say bomb throwing what I mean is, a guy who threw a metaphorical bomb under the stately procession of the liars and cheats, like Roosevelt and Churchill and Eisenhower, who were wrecking the republic that Ernie Fisher and Hoover and many others were trying to save.

Bonnie Faulkner:  And in what manner were Germans expelled from their homeland in Germany’s eastern provinces?  According to your book, over two million Germans are known to have died in the expulsions and Chancellor Adenauer wrote that six million of them died.

James Bacque:  That’s right.  Chancellor Adenauer was in charge of the German government from 1949, so he really knew what was going on and he was helped by Herbert Hoover, who was in charge of a relief program and who therefore knew all the statistics that there were about people starving to death.  So that’s the most accurate figure that you could possibly get.  It was approved by Robert Murphy, too, who was the US Ambassador to Germany at the time.  Hoover said six million died and I believe him.  I think he’s right, and that was at the point of around 1947 or 1948 I think, and millions more went on dying after that.  You know when you start to feed a person who’s been starving, he doesn’t get better right away; he’s maybe got a disease and then he goes down.  So that’s a minimum figure:  six million Germans dead after the war plus two million prisoners of war and beyond that, well, who knows?  I think millions.  I think the total of Germans killed by Allied action after the war was around 10 to 14 million, somewhere in there.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Yeah, that’s an astonishing figure and quite well hidden from the public.

James Bacque:  That’s right.  And when you raise the subject people say, “Well, look what the Germans did.”  But the Germans never did anything as bad as that.  That’s 10 to 14 million people.  Whatever they did was far fewer and it may have been just as evil in the intent but it was also a genocide, the way it was against the Germans.

Bonnie Faulkner:  In the foreword to your book Crimes and Mercies, Alfred de Zayas states that, “the situation of the victims of Potsdam have grown worse, that all Germans have been deprived of human rights.”

James Bacque:  That’s right.

Bonnie Faulkner:  “Freedom of expression has been severely restricted by legislation elevating history to dogma—”

James Bacque:  That’s right.

Bonnie Faulkner:  “—protected by criminal law enforced through jail sentences.”

James Bacque:  Yup.

Bonnie Faulkner:  De Zayas states that, “This is a return to the days of the Inquisition.”

James Bacque:  Yup.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Are Germans considered collectively guilty and therefore they have no rights?

James Bacque:  It’s so bad in Germany that the whole generation has got PTSD and they’re trying to cope with that now by psychiatric means, which will relieve the Germans of the burden of guilt for the crimes they undoubtedly committed, whether at war or in civilian terms.  And those people are dying just the way Canadian Indians are dying, from lack of faith in themselves, a sense of guilt and shame foisted on them by the Canadian people and Canadian government. 

We foisted that horror onto the German people, and they’re dying as a result.  The German birth rate is the lowest in Europe and it’s not even replacement—it doesn’t even replace the people who die—and that’s the way it’s been for many years.  Germans lack faith in themselves because they’ve been lied to about their ancestors and all the crimes that they committed, including war guilt.  It’s quite plain who started the war and yet the Germans are lied to, and if you protest against it, you go to jail.  Quite a few people are in jail right now in Germany, as a result of protesting against this sort of defamation.

Bonnie Faulkner:  Well, and Germany is still occupied territory, right?

James Bacque:  That’s right.  There are between 90 and 100 American military bases in Germany and there are all kinds of other weights upon the German psyche. 

Bonnie Faulkner:  You write that in 1947, two years after the war, the world was saved from starvation.  How was this accomplished?

James Bacque:  By the generosity of the American people and the American Army.  One of the people in charge of this transport of food was a guy called Robert Patterson.  He was in Truman’s cabinet, and he helped to organize the shipment of food across the Atlantic.  Also helping him was not only Herbert Hoover, but McKenzie King, who was the prime minister of Canada.  You remember that little country way off to the north of you, up where the glaciers are?  You remember that, Bonnie?

Bonnie Faulkner:  That’s right.

James Bacque:  And that’s where you get your ice, from Canada, but you also get your wheat, and the Canadians contributed gigantic amounts of wheat to feed the starving in the world and so did the Americans.  And it’s one of the reasons that guys like me can keep on going, because we just couldn’t be writing about the truth about all our horrible actions in the world without something like this to show that there’s more than that in our lives, there’s more than that to our societies, there’s more than that.  There’s generosity, good heartedness and a desire to be kind to other people.  We do that, we really do do that and so do you Americans and not only us, but many others around the world.  But the most spectacular event of world charity ever was the feeding of people, the enemies, the former enemies after the Second World War, mainly people that we had  forced to starve.  How about that for irony?

Bonnie Faulkner:  How big was Canada’s involvement in World War II?  What kind of a role did they play?

James Bacque:  It was very important.  They were there to help the British when the British needed it most, in 1939, 1940, 1941 before the enormous American war machine got rolling.  They were also very important because they were trying to persuade Roosevelt to give arms to the British or at least sell arms, and that was not permitted under American law.  So the Canadians were telling lies, propaganda lies to Roosevelt and Morgenthau and many others in the United States.  They had a huge propaganda effort and bribery.  They were bribing American columnists and newspaper men and people like William Randolph Hearst to convince them that Americans ought to go into the war, which was a lie.  It was not a good thing for the Americans at all, but the Canadians were in there, pitching to make the war worse for everybody. 

They then, after the war, put together all kinds of money and food to feed the starving British, who brought the disaster down on their own heads, because of that moron Winston Churchill, and the Canadians put up all kinds of money to keep the British from starvation.  Canada still had food rationing, not only in 1945 when the war ended, but in 1946, 1947 and 1948 because we were giving so much food away around the world.  When I talked to a Canadian cabinet minister about that—his name was Mitchell Sharp—I said to him, “Why did the Canadians do this?  The war was over.”  And he said, “Because it’s what we do.”

Bonnie Faulkner:  Now in your book you write quite a bit about Herbert Hoover’s involvement with staving off the starvation of millions and millions of people worldwide.  Hoover was 72 years old, according to your book, at the time and traveled 35,000 miles by a slow, propeller-driven plane?

James Bacque:  That’s right and sometimes those planes were not even heated properly.  He would be up there with not enough oxygen maybe and maybe it was a bit cold and it would take a long time to get where he was going, not like a jet today.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You write that, “Hoover’s estimate that the food campaigns had save 800 million lives from at least one fatal famine shows the astounding scale and compass of the work.  Even 10% of that number of lives saved was more than had been lost in the entire war, the most devastating in human history.  Yet today this immense unprecedented charity is largely forgotten.” Do you think that history has treated Herbert Hoover fairly?

James Bacque:  Oh, no.  He was a great man who did a great job against terrible odds, and he didn’t have much help in the United States, although he had enough to get it done.  No, I don’t think he has been treated fairly.

Bonnie Faulkner:  You have an interesting little description in your book about some of the fundraising dinners that Herbert Hoover had hosted in the United States, $1,000-a-plate dinners to raise money to stave off the starvation of millions of people and that what he served at these dinners was rice and potatoes?

James Bacque:  Yeah, that’s right.  Marvelous.  And he got people to come and eat it too and give the money.  Think of the power of that man, the magnetism, the personal charisma, wow.  He was a Quaker, did you know?

Bonnie Faulkner:  Yes, that’s in your book, that his parents were Quakers.

James Bacque:  Yeah, his mother was a Canadian from Southern Ontario.

Bonnie Faulkner:  It’s sad that in popular lore he’s always made fun of and somehow the stock market crash and Depression is blamed on him.

James Bacque:  Yeah, it was a fault of capitalism, of markets, if you like, which really had nothing to do with Hoover.

Bonnie Faulkner:  What about the 1948 Marshall Plan funds for reconstruction and development, money that was given to European countries on a matching fund basis.  Each European country had to put up as much money as was taken out of the fund.  I didn’t know this.

James Bacque:  Alfred de Zayas, that great scholar, has written this up and he’s told me what all the figures meant.  The most important thing from the German point of view was not that the Marshall Plan put up a lot of money to help the Germans.  That’s not it at all.  What the Marshall Plan did do, from the German point of view, was to remove the impediments that the Americans had placed upon German industry in the way of currency restrictions, in the way of forbidding people to grow food, in the way of forbidding people to manufacture oil, in the way of forcing people in Germany not to be able to use phone lines across the Occupied Territories.  Just think of that.  They couldn’t make phone calls even properly.  And restoring mail service and banking and all of that. 

All of that infrastructure of industry was impeded under the OMGUS, which is the American Office of Military Government, and prevented the Germans from working as hard as they needed to do.  As soon as that impediment was removed, bingo.  The shops filled up, the Germans were at work again and the mighty engine in the middle of Europe that was the German economy revived and provided production and profits for everybody, just the way it is now. 

It was our stupid vengeance that ruined the Germans and it was only removing the vengeance that changed anything.  We shouldn’t be proud of the Marshall Plan; we should be ashamed of what went on before it.  Furthermore, the Germans paid back 90% of the money that they were advanced under the Marshall Plan.

Bonnie Faulkner:  That’s right.  According to your book, Germany was excluded form Marshall Funds for the first year and given the least when they were included, but is the only country to have repaid the money.

James Bacque:  That’s right, and I got all that information from Alfred de Zayas, the great scholar who had worked with the UN and as a lawyer.  I’m confident of the statistics and the analysis.  I’m absolutely sure that de Zayas is right.

Bonnie Faulkner:  According to your book, the Western Allies hid what they were doing under a false accounting system.  The Americans took from Germany at least 20 times what Germany retained from the Marshall Plan.  Do you think that the Marshall Plan has been exaggerated?

James Bacque:  It’s a giant fraud.  It makes schoolchildren today think, “Oh, well, we were good guys after all.  The Germans were the really nasty ones and then after the war, we were nice to them.” That’s a complete lie and it’s fooling people to this day.  As long as people go on believing these war-induced propaganda fictions, they’ll never know the truth.  And the truth is that we’re masterminded by evil people—or I shouldn’t say evil; I mean frightened people—in Washington and London and self-interested people who are like the ones whom Eisenhower warned the Americans against in the military-industrial complex. 

Bonnie Faulkner:  How would you characterize George Marshall?

James Bacque:  He was a smart guy with a good head on his shoulders and probably a pretty good Secretary of State in a very hard time, so he was okay.  I think he was pushed around by Roosevelt and Truman and Eisenhower.

Bonnie Faulkner:  What do you think is the most important or a couple of the most important points that people should take away from the experience of World War II?

James Bacque:  You are being lied to.  You are being lied to.  You are being lied to.  They are telling you lies.  It’s all lies.  Don’t believe them for a minute.

Bonnie Faulkner:  James Bacque, thank you very much.

James Bacque:  Thank you, Bonnie.  And you can be sure I’m not lying to you.


I've been speaking with James Bacque.  Today's show has been:  Scapegoating Germany.  James Bacque is a Canadian writer and researcher, a former journalist, book editor and publisher.  His most famous books, Other Losses and Crimes and Mercies:  The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944 to 1950, have revealed atrocities committed by the Allies against German POWs and civilians after World War Two.  Other Losses is also available as a one-hour documentary on DVD, directed by James Bacque, which includes unique archival footage and new interviews with survivors of Allied vengeance in conquered Germany.  His many books and film are available through his website at jamesbacque.com. 

Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango.  Visit us at gunsandbutter.org to listen to past programs, comment on shows, or join our email list to receive our newsletter that includes recent shows and updates.  Email us at faulkner@gunsandbutter.org.  Follow us on Twitter at gandbradio.