What living and learning has taught me is that history tends to always be falsified, and historians who insist on the truth suffer for it.
My generation associated dystopias, such as George Orwell’s 1984, with the Soviet Union, a country in which explanations were controlled and criticism of Stalin would land a person in the Gulag. We thought of the United States and our life here much differently. But with the passage of time the difference between life in the Soviet Union in the 20th century and life in the Western world today is disappearing.
Today, the journalist Julian Assange is undergoing the same kind of state terror and torture as any Soviet dissident, if not worse. The Western media is as controlled as the Soviet media, with print, TV, and public radio serving as a propaganda ministry for government and the interest groups that control government. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter are systematically denying their platforms to those who express views not supportive of the ruling order and its agendas. It has turned out to be easy to get rid of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech as the media have neither the ability nor the intention of exercising it.
It was a mistake for my generation to associate Orwell’s Memory Hole and falsified history only with fictional or real dystopias. Falsified history was all around us. We just didn’t know enough to spot it.
What living and learning has taught me is that history tends to always be falsified, and historians who insist on the truth suffer for it. It has been established that many of the ancient historians are unreliable, because they were “court historians” who sought material benefit by writing to please a ruler.
In my time many an historian has written for income from book sales by enthralling the public with tales of glorious victories over demonized enemies that justified all the sons, grandsons, brothers, fathers, uncles, husbands, friends, and cousins who were sacrificed for the sake of capitalist armaments profits. No publisher wanted a truthful account that no one would buy because of the stark portrayal of the pointlessness of the deaths of loved ones. Everyone, or almost so, wants to think that their loss was for a noble cause and was “worth it.”
With few exceptions, English speaking historians have put the blame for both world wars on Germany. This is false history. The first real historian of World War I, or what was called at the time the Great War or the World War, was Harry Elmer Barnes. Barnes was Professor of Historical Sociology at Smith College and the William Bayard Cutting Fellow in History at Columbia University. His book, The Genesis of the World War, was published in 1926 by Alfred A. Knopf in New York.
Instead of covering up, as expected, the allied crimes and treachery against Germany, Barnes told the truth. The German Kaiser, a relative of the British and Russian royal families, was known throughout the world as a peacemaker, praised by the New York Times for that role. It is a known and indisputable fact that the German government acted for peace until Germany, the last power to mobilize, had to mobilize or be overrun by Russia and France, who were allied with the British against Germany. Never before in history has the very last power to mobilize been blamed for starting a war. But facts never get in the way of court historians.
The genesis of the war was the desire on the part of two of the Russian Tsar’s ministers for Constantinople and the French president for territory, Alsace-Lorraine, lost to Germany in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. These schemers used Austria’s response to the assassination of the Austrian archduke in Serbia, which they likely orchestrated, to declare war as Germany was the protector of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
American president Woodrow Wilson secured an armistice to the World War, which had senselessly destroyed millions of lives, by promising Germany that if she agreed to an armistice, there would be no territorial losses for Germany and no reparations. When Germany agreed to the armistice, it was Germany that occupied territories of the opposing camp. There were no foreign troops on German territory.
As soon as Germany disengaged, the British put into effect a food blockade that forced starving Germans to submit to the exploitative Versailles Treaty that violated every promise that President Wilson had made.
Some intelligent people, including the most famous economist of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes, said that the Versailles Treaty, an exercise in coverup for who caused the war, guaranteed a future war. And they, not the grasping corrupt establishment, were right.
For his truth-telling efforts, Harry Elmer Barnes was declared by the court historians to be a German agent paid to write a false history. As Barnes’ voice was greatly outnumbered, the history of the Great War remained, for most, falsified throughout the 20th century.
Barnes was vindicated in 2014 when Christopher Clark at Cambridge University published The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. Clark added to Barnes’ evidence that the Great War resulted from a plot by two Russian government ministers and the president of France to steal coveted territory from Germany and Turkey.
But one hundred years after the war who is around to care? All the people who died in the war as well as their bereaved families who suffered from the plot of three evil men are dead and gone. The consciousness of the world has already been distorted by a century of false history, a false history that set up Germany for blame again, this time for World War II.
Stay tuned, the lies about World War II are even more grand.
This article was originally published at PaulCraigRoberts.org on May 9, 2019.