The British Empire Bid for Undisputed World Domination, 1850-1870

Against Oligarchy
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
Schiller Institute Food For Peace Conference, Chicago, IL, Feb. 22-23, 1992

« Against Oligarchy – Table of Contents

(The following paper is a transcription of a tape recording at the above conference of an oral presentation by Mr. Tarpley.)

I would like to attempt to illustrate the Versailles thesis in a certain amount of detail. I would say to people at the beginning, the best seats are emphatically here in the front part of the auditorium, because if you don’t see these maps, it will be a little difficult to follow. So I urge you if you can, come up to the front.

The Versailles thesis has been referred to several times in the course of today’s proceedings, and it is, in short, the idea that the world system or world order which is presently collapsing around our ears is rooted above all in the events of the first World War between 1914 and 1918; and then in the Versailles Treaty of 1919, actually in the Peace of Paris of 1919.

The thesis goes on to specify that World War I itself was the consequence of British geopolitical geostrategic decisions that were made in the period around 1870, in the wake of the American Civil War. The British, from 1870 to 1914, actively sought a general conflagration for the purpose of destroying civilization and for preserving the British Empire against the challenges that had emerged.

Now the theme in this is constantly the British quest for the single empire. Lyndon LaRouche referred to it before, I believe – the idea of a single new Roman Empire, an empire that would encompass the entire world, which would be under the ultimate domination of what the British considered to be an Anglo-Saxon master race. It would be oligarchical, colonial, imperialistic, malthusian; [it would] condemn large areas of the world to depopulation, poverty, and so forth, [and would be directed to] the preservation of the British Empire.

As we will see, the British came very close to establishing just such a single empire in the period between 1848 and 1863. That is the period we’ll look at in some detail, because it’s a period that’s very like our own today, a period when the British – the Anglo-Americans – came close to establishing this kind of universal domination, the new Roman Empire.

In the course of this, I will have to simplify some things. We can certainly clarify some of those in the discussion, and I will have to proceed somewhat from the point of view of the British thrust in these directions, and you’ll see the areas that pop up. We will also see the irony of history, that if the British between 1850 and 1860 came close to establishing their worldwide dominion, the irony is that the world then blew up in their faces – especially around the events of the American Civil War, the Russian cooperation with Lincoln during the Civil War – to the point where, by about 1870, the British had to fear a convergence of the United States, Russia, and a united Germany, in such a way that the future of the British Empire would have been put in jeopardy, [even] might have been terminated.

In the course of this, as you’ll see, – and this is Lyn’s [Lyndon LaRouche’s] tremendous merit, to be able to do this given the conditions that he’s working under – we will develop a radically new view of the last 200 years of history which you will not find in any textbook. Indeed, from the point of view of this concept, you will see what a tissue of lies the history of the last 200 years as presented in Anglo-American sources actually is, particularly the official U.S. version of World War I and World War II, which is a complete tissue of lies. Any idea of German war guilt for World War I has to go out the window, and it has to yield to the idea that World War I was a British creation which the British schemed for the best part of a half century to bring about.

[Display MAP OF EUROPE as redrawn at Congress of Vienna, 1815]

The question is, where do you start some kind of a review like this? We could usefully start it at the time of the American Revolution. What I thought we would do, though, is to skip to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, simply specifying that in the period before 1815 the British were able to extend their colonial domination to vast areas of the world, including India and so forth, with of course the new nation – the United States – standing out as a barrier, as a challenge, to British imperialism. So let us leap to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, what many people know as the Europe of the Congress of Vienna, as you see here. This was Europe as the map was redrawn by the oligarchs gathered at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. So here’s our starting point.

Remember that in the world outside of Europe at this point, the British dominate. They rule the seas, their only significant challenge coming from the United States. Here’s Congress of Vienna Europe. Notice that Poland is completely submerged, Italy is divided, the Turkish Ottoman Empire extends far into continental Europe, and in the middle of everything you’ve got this crazy quilt of Germany divided into dozens and dozens of petty states. Notice also that Belgium has been added to the Netherlands.

This is the Europe that you associate with Metternich, Prince Metternich, the guy who was ruling here in Vienna at that time, the chief minister of the Hapsburg Court. This is the Europe of the Holy Alliance. It is a condominium in which the British are obliged to co-exist with Metternich and the kinds of Central European oligarchs that he represents. Metternich is a very, very ugly figure, needless to say. The British are forced to deal with him almost as an equal. However, what you see – and this I think is a characteristic of the period – [is that] after about 1820 the British begin to drop out of the Congress of Vienna system. They stop going to the congresses; they stop signing the declarations; rather, what they do is to assume a position of splendid isolation and at the same time foment revolutions against all of their alleged allies on the continent of Europe. And in particular, the names of Mazzini, Karl Marx, Bakunin, the First International Workingmen’s Association, plus all of the French socialists – Louis Blanc, Fourier, and all these other people – [all these constitute] a society of British agents for the destabilization of Metternich and company on the continent of Europe.

The British started a revolution here, in Serbia – they created that revolution in 1817. The British have been allied with Serbia for about two hundred years, and the Serbs have endured a monumental bloodletting as a result, as have the victims of the Serbs. The British created modern Greece in 1821; and the word went out from London that the British oligarchs would support everybody’s revolutions, except of course their own. And they fomented these things, and this is what gave birth to the revolutions of 1848.

I have to caveat this, as Al Haig would say, by saying 1848 is also other things. There are a lot of very good people active in 1848, but the general thrust of the British policy is clearly [that] the British were destabilizing Austria, Russia, and Prussia for balance of power purposes.

Let me show you what happened in 1848, in case people have forgotten this. Basically every government in Europe was overthrown. The French July monarchy in the person of bourgeois King Louis Philippe of Orleans was overthrown in favor of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, a British agent and adventurer. Every government in Italy was overthrown; in particular, Mazzini succeeded in creating his Roman republic, and in forcing the pope to flee from Rome. Metternich himself was forced to flee from a revolution in Vienna; you had Kossuth in Hungary; every government in Germany was overthrown – not necessarily the monarch, but certainly the prime ministers; similar things in Spain, and so forth. The only country that escaped this was Russia, where there was no internal revolution.

With one fell swoop, the British had succeeded in overthrowing every government on the continent of Europe, in particular forcing Metternich to disguise himself as an Englishman and flee to London.

[Display NEXT MAP: 1848]

Here is this extremely interesting period between the 1848 revolutions and the turning points of the American Civil War, and this is something you won’t find in any history book. This is an absolutely original concept that LaRouche has developed. Let us look at the tremendous worldwide offensive of the British imperialists back in the 1850’s.

First of all, free trade. Where did free trade ever come from? Free trade was introduced by the British in 1846 and in the following years. Before that, as you may remember, they had Corn Laws, which set up very high tariffs to keep the price of grain extremely elevated, but this was then turned around, because they could look forward to the idea of being able to loot the world, and therefore they favored free trade.

The British were able to install their puppet, Napoleon III. He had studied the wars of Napoleon I, his ancestor, and had concluded that Napoleon’s big mistake was fighting the British. So as so often happens in the history of French imperialism, here’s a French imperialist who believes that the way to have a French empire is to be a junior partner to the British. That’s exactly what he did. This is then acted out in the Crimean War, where the British and French join together to invade Russia, the only country that had survived those 1848 destabilizations.

We also got, in terms of a worldwide offensive, a reorganization of British rule in India. This is the famous Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, which led to the end of the direct rule of the British East India Company out there, and the creation of a British Viceroy of India. Prime Minister Disraeli made Queen Victoria the Empress of India.

In China, the Second Opium War fits precisely into this period. This is the British grabbing a whole series of ports and other bases on the coast of China, and it was clear at the time that they were about to go into China to partition the entire country. They wanted to occupy China militarily as they had India.

And Kansas. How does Kansas fit it? Well, Kansas is the beginning of the American Civil War. Bleeding Kansas, with gangs of pro-Confederate and pro-Union, or pro-slavery and pro-abolitionist groups, fighting it out in continuous bloodletting. Filibustering expeditions by proto-Confederates into Latin America, and the creation of this Hapsburg Maximilian Empire in Mexico. You look at this together, [and] there’s not one continent of the entire globe where the British are not in a tremendous offensive. The idea is that the single empire, the universal monarchy, is within their grasp.

Now, pause for a second. It’s very similar today. If you look at this, it looks like the British on paper have wrapped up the entire world. And you could say, if you look at the map, if you calculate, you could say, well, it really looks like the Anglo-Americans have dominated the world, and that the Anglo-Americans will continue to dominate the world for the next century. But let me just anticipate that it’s not going to be so.


Here’s the Crimean War. Here we are on the Black Sea, and what do we find here? The Ottoman Empire, of course; Russia up here, so who goes in? The British and the French bust through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, and they actually invaded the Crimea here. This was one of the largest amphibious war operations, the largest up to that time to be sure. And they succeeded in defeating the Russian army, although what they find is that their forces were not significant enough to push further inside the country.


This is the city of Balaclava. [Do] you remember Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade?” This is one that Fred Wills could quote at great length. The charge of the Light Brigade took place here. This is the British invasion fleet, Anglo-American invasion, and there are some very large Russian forts in the background, and that’s what the British threw their Light Brigade against. So here we are in the Crimean War.


Maximilian! Remember him? The Hapsburg heir who was placed on the throne of Mexico by a French army, sent by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte? There he is. The idea was to begin to reintroduce direct colonialism, by British or British puppet states, into Mexico, Central America, and Ibero-America in general, while the U.S. was so tied down by the Civil War that the Monroe Doctrine could not be asserted by Washington.

[Display MAP OF INDIA]

In India, as we saw, the Sepoy Mutiny led to a vast reorganization of British colonialism in the area, sending out a viceroy from London, and before too long Queen Victoria was proclaimed “Empress of India,” with this great empire, ruling over maharajahs and other local potentates.

[But] we have to pay special attention to the 1850’s in the United States, and Lyn has been very emphatic about this. If you look at the United States in the 1850’s, then you have to conclude that the place was a dead duck – lost. Why?

Let’s start with the leadership. Let’s look at the great series of presidents: Millard Fillmore, starting in the 1850’s; Franklin Pierce, the ancestor of Barbara Pierce, Barbara Bush; and James Buchanan. This was the president under whose term the Civil War actually began to break out. (Someone said that this shows that one President Buchanan was enough.) What happened under these [men]? This is typical: Here’s Jefferson Davis, wearing his uniform of major general of the United States Army. He was not just a major general; he was the Secretary of War under these administrations.

So what you had under presidents like Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan [were] Confederate traitors – like Jefferson Davis – members of the British Scottish Rite Freemasons, proto- Confederate slave holders, traitors, the scum of the earth; they could make great careers in the United States Army. And, of course, later on this was the same Jefferson Davis who became the president of the Confederate States of America, that despicable puppet state.

Don’t be fooled by the Confederacy. Don’t be fooled by that Sir Walter Scott aura of chivalry, and J.E.B. Stuart wrapped up in God knows what he’s palmed off as the ethos of the Confederacy. This was based on human slavery, this was one of the most despicable proto-fascist states that has ever been seen on the face of the earth. Davis was the president.

People like Ulysses S. Grant, that you see here, could not make a career in the army. It’s interesting to see that while Jefferson Davis was getting promoted, generals like Sherman and Grant were forced out of the U.S. military service. They had to go into business – into the private sector – to try to earn a living.

Here’s a typical Confederate. We’ve talked a lot about him. Judah P. Benjamin, [who] was the secretary of the treasury of the Confederate States of America. At the end of the Civil War, he fled to Britain, where he lived. This is precisely the kind of British imperialist agent that you find in the upper reaches of the Confederate government. He is of course an agent in particular of the Rothschild family of London, and this mixture of what you would have to call Zionism and Confederacy today is what animates an organization like the Anti-Defamation League. That’s exactly what this is. The ADL today continues the characteristic mentality of Judah Benjamin.

And then you look in the Union officer corps. How about this guy? He thinks he’s Napoleon, or he’s checking if he’s still got his wallet. That’s George McClellan, who in 1861-62 was the commander of all the Union armies. And here he is at Antietam.

This is the battle where McClellan had a good chance to destroy the Confederate Army under Lee. But he refused to do that. McClellan refused to attack on many occasions, because he wanted a negotiated peace. He said, “I can sit down with Robert E. Lee and work this out, and Abraham Lincoln doesn’t really belong in this, because he doesn’t understand these things the way I do.” This is an interchange where Lincoln is basically telling him, “Why didn’t you pursue Lee? You could have destroyed him on the battlefield, and you refused to do it. Now the Civil War’s going to go on for three more years.”

Here’s the way this was viewed in a carton of the day. This is pro-McClellan propaganda. Here’s Lincoln on the one side, and Jefferson Davis on the other, and here’s George P. McClellan who’s trying to reconcile them, mediating between them if you will. And of course he was the Democratic presidential candidate in 1864, and if it hadn’t been for Sherman at Atlanta and Phil Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley and the naval battles off Cherbourg, France and Farragut at Mobile Bay, then McClellan might have won, and that would have been the end of the Union – because that was the idea, that the negotiated settlement would leave the Confederate States of America in existence as a British puppet state.

Now let’s look at the way in which this world, which seemed lost, blew up in the face of the British.

A reforming czar in Russia, Alexander II. He came in the midst of the Crimean War, just as his country was under tremendous attack. [He] came in with a vast program of reforms, in particular the freeing of the serfs in 1861. Then we’ve got the turning point year of 1863: the Emancipation Proclamation, the twin Union victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg especially, and, as we will see, the arrival of the Russian fleets in New York and San Francisco.

The Seven Weeks’ War. This is one that’s hardly known. This was the [1866] defeat of Austria by Prussia, which was the immediate prelude to the complete unification of Germany [in 1871]. The collapse of Maximilian’s Hapsburg Empire in Mexico, [and] German unification completed. And as we’ve stressed, what came out of these events, this tremendous turnaround of the 1860’s, when all seemed to be lost, was a convergence of the United States, Russia, and Prussia – or call it Germany by that time – which attracted the attention of key forces in Japan and China. If you go back to Japan in this period, the reforming forces in Japan divide pretty much between pro- American and pro-German.

Here was a potential for a new combination in the northern hemisphere – the United States, Russia, Prussia, plus China and Japan – that would have been sufficient to dominate the world, and finish off the British Empire once and for all. Let’s take a look at how this went.

Of course the principal figure in this is Abraham Lincoln, who administered one of the most severe defeats that British imperialism has ever had to absorb in the last 200 years.

This is Lincoln’s ambassador. This is the original Cassius Clay, Cassius Clay of Kentucky. He was the Union ambassador to St. Petersburg at the time of the Civil War, and he secured really the only military assistance from any foreign power for Lincoln and for the Union.

This is Admiral Lisovsky. The photographer here is Mathew Brady, and Mathew Brady, the great Civil War photographer, had his studio in New York City. And here’s the Admiral, the commander of the Russian Atlantic Fleet. Did he come all the way to have his picture taken? Obviously not.

The Russian fleet arrived in September and October. It sort of came in one ship after another, over a period of a couple of weeks. In September and October the Russian Atlantic fleet arrived in New York City, and they had been ordered by the Czar to place themselves under the command of Lincoln in the case of war between Britain and France on the one side and the Union on the other. Russia was going to join in that war. They had just fought the Crimean War against the British and the French, and they were ready to continue fighting. Similarly, another Russian fleet came to San Francisco, and spent the winter of 1863-64.

Here is another photograph by Mathew Brady. These are actual sailors of the Russian Atlantic fleet, who came into New York City in the fall of 1863 and played a key role in the saving of the Union. [The photo] was a token of the fact that if, for example, Napoleon III sent an army to fight the United States, then he would probably have to deal with Russia on the continent of Europe. As Gideon Welles, the secretary of the navy for Lincoln in those days, said: “Thank God for the Russians.”

Here’s that other one that I just mentioned. This is a war you almost never hear about in the United States, a war between Prussia on the one side and Austria on the other. This is the Seven Weeks’ War. The Prussian army was capable, within a period of about 50 days, of vanquishing the Austro-Hungarian forces. I think what the interesting thing about this is, this took place in 1866. What has never really been looked into is the relation of Gettysburg on the one side with German unification on the other. Would it have been possible for Germany to achieve unification, if Lincoln had not won the Civil War? I would submit to you that Gettysburg and Vicksburg are key turning points of world history, also in the sense that they opened the door to the unification of Germany.

One interesting fact: The kingdom of Hanover, here, which is of course where the British royal family comes from, was an island. It had ceased to exist as a result of this war. The Prussians simply put an end to the existence of Hanover. I can assure you the British didn’t like that, [and] would have done something about this if they had not been so thoroughly defeated in the U.S. Civil War.

Here’s unified Germany. Again, if you look at this map with the colors, you can see the crazy quilt that had existed – Bavaria down here, Baden Wurttemburg over here, Mecklenburg- Schwerin, and so forth. This was now brought together as one powerful unified national state by 1871. So, U.S., Russia, and Prussia.

However, the British Empire was of course very powerful at this point. Many people think, they tend to situate the British Empire high point back in the days of George III. Well, these are figures from 1909, and they will show you that in 1909 the British dominated one-quarter of the population of the world [within] the British Empire. One quarter of the world’s population was subject to the British Empire, and about one-fifth of the world’s land surface. There are other accounts that will tell you it’s about 25 percent of the population, and indeed 25 percent of the land surface. Remember that the British Empire got even bigger after the First World War by absorbing German colonies, so much so that the entire coastline of the Indian Ocean was completely British controlled. This was then called “the British Lake.”

And there, of course, is the old Brzezinski arc of crisis, which is simply the axis of British colonialism around the Indian Ocean.

What could the continental Europeans do to resist this kind of British domination? Well, this is the railway system on the continent of Europe at about 1900. I think that one interesting thing to us as you look at it is that it’s clear there are three key points in the European railroad system: there’s Paris, there’s Berlin, and there’s Vienna. That’s Budapest over there – think of that as a kind of second center. The only thing that comes close is Milan, but then you’ve got the Alps here, with a low density of railroads there.

So it’s clear that a European infrastructure and railroad triangle, here, does comprehend the densest area of industrial and infrastructural development. At the same time, there were railroads being built out here into the Russian Empire; in particular, we have to mention here the great Count Sergei Witte, who grew up as an employee of the Russian imperial railway system. He worked first of all in the railway ministry, became transportation minister, and later finance minister. And what he promoted was the building of this Trans-Siberian railway, the greatest infrastructural project of the 19th century, greater even than Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad. As you see, it goes all the way from St. Petersburg up here, all the way across Central Asia. The original form of it went across Manchuria to Harbin and then to Vladivostock; later on, a second line was added up here, to avoid Chinese territory. It linked up to the Chinese railway system – for example from Harbin to Beijing and to these other areas here – Darien, Port Arthur, and so forth.

There is also a Russian system, as you see. Just to follow this a little bit, there’s a second railway system which is called the Transcaspian, which gets right down to the base of the Caspian Sea, comes right across to Iran, and – look – here’s British imperialism in India, coming up against the Russian Empire, with just this little Afghani buffer state in between.

So look at this tremendous ability of Witte’s project to reach out and create an actual Eurasian railroad bloc. As was mentioned before, Witte’s strategic concept was that France, Germany, and Russia should not fight each other. They should make an alliance against Britain in particular. That would have spared them all the carnage of World War I, and it would have robbed the British of their geopolitical strategy. The British geopolitical strategy, of course, was to dominate the United States, dominate Japan if they could, and then go into the so-called heartland, and play the forces of the heartland against each other, play France against Germany, Germany against Russia, and so on down the line. Witte’s strategic concept would have made World War I impossible.

And here’s the other great railroad project. This is now the Berlin to Baghdad Railway. You only see the Asia Minor part of it here, the Balkan and Asia Minor parts, but suffice it to say that this started in Berlin, came down here through the Hapsburg dominions, across the Bosporus on barges, went through Anatolia, through what is today Syria, and then into Mesopotamia, Iraq, reached Baghdad, reached Kirkuk, Mosul, Basra, and finally Kuwait. And this was going to be built between about 1900 and 1915. It was never completed. This would have provided an alternate route to India; it would have challenged the British domination of their empire lifeline. This was primarily the idea of Georg von Siemens of the German industrial family, but it was pursued also as a goal of German foreign policy. And if you put together the two maps that I’ve just shown you, the Trans-Siberian Railway and this Berlin to Baghdad railway, you would have made Berlin the rail hub of the universe, with the ability to call on an entire Eurasian hinterland, and of course this the British were determined to avoid at all costs.

Now some people may ask: If the British decided in 1870 or thereabouts, if Disraeli, Gladstone, Lord John Russell, Queen Victoria, and a few other people sat down at the table and said, “Well, let’s have World War I,” and they did that in 1870, and that’s about what they did, why did it take so long for World War I to come about?

I would simply point to a couple of questions of Bismarck’s foreign policy. The guy who superintended the creation of united Germany was, of course, Bismarck. He’s a mixed figure: part monster, part realpolitiker. Bismarck as a realpolitiker was a great realist. He knew that there could be no general war in Europe as long as Germany and Russia maintained good relations. This picture you see up here is the alliance system created by Bismarck. And you can see the result of it is that Germany has plenty of allies, [and] France has none. France cannot start any wars – [even with] these pro-British governments in Paris – and the British are forced to stay off the continent of Europe pretty much. And I particularly would stress the good relations between Berlin and St. Petersburg, between Germany and Russia, first under the so-called Alliance of the Three Emperors – Dreikaiserbund – and then the so-called Reinsurance Treaty.

So from 1870 to 1890 or thereabouts, this is what Europe looked like. The bottom part shows what happened when Bismarck was forced out of the scene [in March, 1890 by] the lunatic Emperor William II (this is the guy you remember from the World War I period) when he came in. Kaiser Wilhelm did not understand; he rejected the importance of an alliance with Russia. This allowed France to make an alliance with Russia in 1894, and very soon after that the British were brought into this, and you have the Triple Entente of Russia, England and France, all directed against Germany. Germany is left with only one real ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, [though] this was not a good ally. With allies like this you don’t really need enemies, and the way for World War I was actually clear.

The other thing to stress about this is the colonial rivalry in Africa. Lyn has talked about the Fashoda incident of 1898; there it is. The British wanted to unite a strip of territory from Cairo all the way down to the Cape. This was the way the British wanted to put Africa together. There were some French imperialists who said no, we’re going to start over here in Dakar, and go to Djibouti; and these two groups clashed in Fashoda, and the mentality that won out on the French side under Theophile Delcasse was the idea that if you want to have an empire, you’ve got to do it with the British, because you’re not strong enough to do it against them; therefore, make a deal with British imperialism. That’s the key to the Entente Cordiale of 1904.

With that, everything is ready for World War I. Here you see Europe as it was in July and August of 1914. The Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire here; the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and as you can see, a very large Germany. The British had played their Eastern Question card; the Eastern Question meant their desire to destabilize the Ottoman, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian Empires.

The thing that we have to stress about the way the war was conducted is that the United States fought on the wrong side. That’s one of the key turning points in which the twentieth century went wrong. It was wrong for France to ally with the British against Germany, but it was doubly wrong for the United States to go into World War I on the side of the British. The catastrophes of this century would have been avoided to a very large degree if, for example, the United States had refused to back the British, but had rather insisted on arbitrating the war – ending the war by forcing a just peace on all the contending parties. That would have made all the difference. That would have created a much better world than the one that we’re confronted with today.

And here’s the fighting. You see these fighting fronts? There’s a western front over here, there’s a tremendous eastern front, an Italian front, there’s a Balkan front, there’s a Russian-Turkish front out here, and look: even out here there was a Kuwait front. Norman Schwarzkopf, where are you? This was done by the British. They were attacking Baghdad.

And, of course, the reality of World War I is that this is the greatest single tragedy, the greatest single hecatomb of western civilization. Nine million dead. These are French troops getting out of their trucks. They’re going to fight the battle of Verdun, where, over a period of 6 or 8 months, more than a million men were killed.

It’s about 9 million killed outright, 20 million wounded, and if you add in the Spanish flu of 1919 and a few other things, you get up to the area of about 25 million to 30 million dead as a result of World War I. And the majority of [those were from] Germany and France, the two most developed countries of western Europe.

Here is now the Europe that emerged after the peace of Paris. So this is now Versailles, we’re now in the midst of Versailles, bringing World War I to an end. You can see the changes that have been made, a very large Poland up here, a rather large Czechoslovakia, a large Rumania, a fairly large Hungary. Notice also that Yugoslavia has been created. Probably the most typical territorial change of Versailles, this Peace of Paris of 1919, is the existence of Yugoslavia. You can also see the creation of Finland and Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, up here in the Baltics.

The territorial system that came out of this was vastly unpopular. Nobody was really satisfied with all of this. It awakened desires on the part of various groups, nobody liked it. It was fought in particular by Ataturk in Turkey, [and] there was a mass movement in China against the idea that the German colonial possessions were transferred to the Japanese under this same treaty. In Italy there was so much discontent that it led to the rise of fascism. Similarly in Germany, and so on down the line.

Here’s Germany as it came out of World War I. Notice the areas that were taken away; and now, of course, the Oder-Neisse line over here is the border of Germany.

I would stress in the Versailles system the way in which the Ottoman Empire was partitioned in 1919. This was all the Ottoman Empire. Everything that you think of as being the Middle East – including Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia – all of these were created at the Peace of Paris – in particular the Treaty of Sevres. Israel took a little bit longer to create, but basically the mandate of Palestine under the British is what then later became Israel.

Hungary, Austria: this empire ceased to exist. Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians, Slovenians, Croatians, and others departed this empire, and I of course have to apologize for this map. This is a U.S., sort of a pro-Woodrow Wilson map, because it lists “Yugoslavs” as Serbs, Croatians, and Slovenes, and of course that’s precisely what Yugoslavia was all about. This did not have anything to do with the wishes of those involved. This was a reward to Serbia by the British and their friend, Woodrow Wilson.

And Russia: the Russian Empire was dismembered. Here we see Finland taken off, the Baltic States taken off, Bessarabia, today Moldova taken off, areas in the Transcaucasus taken off. The Russian Empire has already been through one dismemberment in the 20th century. It’s now going through the second dismemberment. And we must warn that unless economic dirigistic policies are introduced in these new states to make them viable, to make them prosperous, to make them stable, then as Helga was saying earlier there is every danger that those states will be re-engulfed by a Russian Empire within about 15 or 20 years, or even less. In this [1919] case, it took about 15 or 20 years for the Russian Empire to make its comeback under Stalin.

The other thing about Versailles that I would like to stress very much is the financial arrangements, because here we can really see the degree to which today’s world is an extension of the Versailles system.

Germany, under the Treaty of Versailles, was required to pay $32 billion of reparations. It was said that the Germans bore the war guilt, that they were responsible for World War I. Big lie! But the reason for the big lie was that they [therefore] had to pay $32 billion. It’s hard to calculate that in today’s terms. Those were gold dollars, those were real dollars, maybe $32 trillion is some idea of what that would have meant today, and because of the 5 percent interest rates, this was going to be paid over about 60 to 70 years. By one calculation, the Germans would have wound up their payments about 1990. They would have just finished paying for World War I two years ago. [But the amount owed] was going to go up to about $100 billion because of the accrued interest over the period. So let’s say, $100 trillion of reparations.

The French had borrowed $25 billion during the war, and the British and the French had borrowed about $10 billion from the United States. So here’s the merry-go-round. Germany of course was not allowed to export. They were kept blockaded for a long time. They had to pay these reparations to the British and the French. Notice that the French had to also pay the British. The French and the British then paid the United States and the Wall Street bankers under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, and then refinanced the Germans so that they could keep paying. And that is a system of usury and destruction. It of course meant that the heart of Europe would be economically depressed; that Germany would be depressed economically, that there would be no development of the Third World as a result of European capital goods being sent out. It virtually guaranteed fascism and bolshevism advancing against the middle class societies; and it had within it the seeds of World War II. In other words, what Lord Keynes said about this – that it would require economic slavery in Germany – was absolutely accurate. It was a way of squeezing Germany until you could hear the pips squeak, as Keynes said.

So let’s just summarize what we’ve gone through on this Versailles system.

What we’ve done here is to compare the Versailles arrangements of 1919 with the Yalta arrangements of 1945, which have now collapsed. The Versailles System had a League of Nations. Who was in the Security Council? The U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. Those were the Big Five. The U.S. didn’t even join it, but the British wanted to run the world that way, as a condominium. And of course under the U.N. we’ve got the Security Council.

Under Versailles, you have the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. It’s still there. This is widely considered today to be more powerful than the IMF and the World Bank and the other institutions that were put up under the Yalta system after the Second World War. We’ve mentioned the $32 billion in reparations, the $10 billion in war debts, the immense internal debts of all these countries. After the Second World War there was the demontage of German industry, simply taking it out, primarily by the Russians, but above all [by] the conditionalities of the IMF as they have been imposed on the former colonial sector.

Continuing this comparison, under Versailles you had a war guilt clause saying that Germany was responsible for World War I, and under Yalta, the same thing. Collective guilt. Every German is responsible for everything that Hitler did. Typical are the geographic changes that I’ve just mentioned; Yugoslavia is a very typical one. Under Yalta, it’s the two Germanys, not simply cut down, but even divided.

And then, look at the Middle East as one example of what this meant for the Third World. Under the League of Nations there were these mandates. The British got the mandate of Palestine. That then became Israel. The British Foreign Office with the Balfour Declaration announced that it was going to create the state of Israel. This was then included in the secret British-French Sykes-Picot accords, and finally the Treaty of Sevres, which was the treaty with the Ottoman Empire.

What does that lead to? To your typical Yalta arrangement of endless wars of Israel against the Arab states. All these Middle East wars, 1948, 1956, 67, 69, 73, the Iran-Iraq War of ’80, and finally the Gulf War of 1991. That brings us pretty much up to the present time.

I haven’t been able, for reasons of time, to go into certain postwar events that are better known. A couple of things to say in conclusion.

What is the purpose of all this? Why did the British insist on this? The British insist on a world system or a form of organized chaos, which is what you see here, based on an irrational principle of arbitrary power – Oligarchy – the idea that the British royal family, the British House of Lords, and the British aristocracy and oligarchy have the God-given right to rule [as] the Anglo-Saxon master race. And they can inflict suffering on the entire rest of the world in the name of this lunatic, imbecilic principle of their power. Therefore, the purpose of this entire system is to crush humanity. Sure, you can say its really directed against Germany to keep the Germans down, to keep them divided; to keep the Germans and the Russians at each other’s throats; to keep the French and the Germans at each other’s throats. It also implies that the United States is subjected to colonial rule, which you see.

So all of these great nations are humiliated, each in its own way, by this Versailles System. But the purpose of it ultimately is to crush the entire human race, because one of the effects of this entire system is the poverty and economic backwardness of the developing sector today, which is directly due to these Versailles and Yalta arrangements.

We also have to ask ourselves: What is the center of evil in the world? Well, for a while there was Hitler and the Nazis. This was certainly very evil, Mussolini and the fascists. The Bolshevik Party has gone out of existence – Stalin’s party, Lenin’s party, is really no longer there. It could be reconstituted, I suppose. Mao and his heirs in China are still in power, but it looks like their future is going to be a limited one. So ultimately you have to ask yourself: What is the problem of evil in the 20th century in particular, because it has turned out not to be fundamentally, in the last analysis, any of those, but rather, the British oligarchy. British geopolitical thinking. The idea of dividing the world along these lines, and creating a series of endless wars.

We also have to recall, as we saw back in the 1850’s, that when the British seemed to be on the verge of taking everything, that is the moment when the intrinsic weaknesses of their system pop out. This is an Anglo-American system that destroys its enemies, to be sure, but it destroys its sponsors and its owners with an even greater certitude. It’s a system that literally devours its own flesh – as you see today, when it looks like the Anglo-Americans are ready to take over the entire world, but at the same time they’re collapsing internally so fast that they will not be able to impose any permanent world order of any type.

And I think finally, what it means for us, is that this is a tremendous opportunity, because there is now a complete political and strategic vacuum, and economic vacuum, all around the world. There is a vacuum of ideas, a vacuum of strategy, [and] a political vacuum. Look at the 1992 Democratic candidates for president – the five-pack, the dwarves – and you can see that that is a vacuum of personalities, policies, and ideas. This is now the time to advance to fill that vacuum.

We must take advantage of the fact that the systems that have controlled the world in a certain manner of speaking, for the past 70 to 90 years, that these are now collapsing in front of our eyes, creating tremendous political opportunities.

You cannot engage in politics today unless you have this kind of a scope – unless you go back to the Congress of Vienna, 1848, the British drive toward the single empire, and then that convergence of Lincoln, Alexander II, and united Germany that gave the British such a scare that they started World War I and created the Versailles System.

« Against Oligarchy – Table of Contents