14 DECEMBER 1996, Page 95

High life

Stop the German-bashing


Which brings me to the point I wish to make on this our last free Christmas. The Spectator's editorial of 16 November called the first world war the 'just war', pronounc- ing the expositions of the futility theory themselves futile. I beg to disagree. The first world war would have been the just war only if Germany had won it. And before any patriots out there reach for their shot- guns, let me explain.

I have never believed that Germany was a threat to Europe at the turn of the century. The belligerent noises she made were the same belligerent noises that governments make when trying to keep stronger neigh- bours from extending their empires. The anti-German hysteria began with Gladstone and it was basically an anti-Bismarck cam- paign. Gladstone and liberals of his sort demonised the Germans and nationalism by painting them as bloodthirsty warmongers. Basically, Germany was propping up the Austro-Hungarian Empire as well as the Ottoman one, while Britain undermined the set order for no rational reason. The great Otto von Bismarck spoke contemptuously of liberals and history proves him right.

Liberalism is responsible for the present state of affairs, where feminist, homosexu- al, environmental and animal rights lobbies manage to pervert democratic procedures and impose extremist minority views on a powerless majority. Liberalism in the 20th century endorses reckless government spending, shameless personal conduct, spineless reaction to crime and the kind of surrender to bureaucracy that the Heaths, Howes, Hurds and Heseltines of this world have decided is good for us. In fact, the average, law-abiding, church-going, patriot- ic Englishman has much more in common with Otto von Bismarck than with Heath and his kind.

But back to the first world war. It was not only the greatest catastrophe the human race had ever seen, it became even worse when Germany lost it. It brought about the end of the dynasties, a disaster in itself. The end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire led, as a direct result, to the slaughter going on in the Balkans as I write 78 years on. If Germany had won the war there would have been no Communist Soviet Union, no Red China. Hundreds of millions would not have been slaughtered in the name of socialism and rent-free dachas for the party elite. Had Germany won the war, there would obviously never have been a Hitler. Millions of Jews would have remained in their homelands, especially in Germany, and today the Middle East would not be the nuclear powder-keg it is. The benevolent Ottoman Empire would have chugged along with friendly Arab pashas doing its bidding; the price of a barrel of oil would be 25 cents and rising with inflation.

And what about England? What would have happened to the British Empire had Germany won? Easy. Absolutely nothing. The loss of prestige, perhaps, would have undermined British influence in the Empire, but nothing a quick put-down of rebellion would not have fixed. A larger German presence in Africa would have been a blessing, in view of what has hap- pened to that miserable continent. Clowns like Daniel Goldhagen would not make millions out of phoney theories about all Germans being willing executioners of Jews. The theory of the 'German Gene' — one that is passed from generation to gen- eration undetected by outsiders — which holds that Germans from Martin Luther to Thomas Mann to Adolf Eichmann are one and the same type, would not have made fortunes for German-haters. Hollywood would not have had the German stereotype to bash ad nauseam. Finally, the best peo- ple in Europe, the Germans, would not go on being judged only by the 12 years which produced Hitler and his gang.

So, just as the two opposing sides of the two best people of Europe exchanged gifts on the western front long ago on Christmas Day, let's call a halt to German-bashing, keep the Huns at arm's length by staying out of the Berlin-Brussels axis, and dream how marvellous the world would be today had Fritz managed those last few miles to Paris. A very happy Christmas to you all.