The Historian Who Sold Out





Mr. Fleming's latest book is The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I (Basic Books, 2003). He is a member of the board of directors of HNN.

HNN FUND RAISING DRIVE
If you like the service HNN provides, please consider making a donation.

With historians heavily involved in either defending or damning the war in Iraq, it might be good time to ponder the case of Viscount James Bryce, the historian who sold out.

From the start of World War I, stories of German atrocities filled British and American newspapers. Most emanated from the German march through Belgium to outflank French defenses in their drive on Paris. Eyewitnesses described infantrymen spearing Belgian babies on their bayonets as they marched along, singing war songs. Accounts of Belgian boys with amputated hands (supposedly to prevent them from using guns) abounded. Tales of women with amputated breasts multiplied even faster.

At the top of the atrocity hit parade were rape stories. One eyewitness claimed the Germans dragged twenty young women out of their houses in a captured Belgian town and stretched them on tables in the village square, where each was violated by at least twelve "Huns" while the rest of the division watched and cheered. At British expense, a group of Belgians toured the United States telling these stories. President Woodrow Wilson solemnly received them in the White House.

The Germans angrily denied these stories. So did American reporters with the German army. Early in 1915, the British government asked Viscount Bryce to head a royal commission to investigate the atrocity reports. Bryce was one of the best known historians of the era; he had written widely praised books on the American government and on Irish history, sympathetically portraying the Gaels hard lot under British rule. In 1907, he had collaborated with an Anglo-Irish diplomat, Roger Casement, to expose horrendous exploitation of Indian peoples on the Amazon by a British rubber company. From 1907-1913, he had served as British ambassador in Washington, where he became a popular, even beloved figure. It would have been hard to find a more admired scholar.

Bryce and his six fellow commissioners, an amalgam of distinguished lawyers, historians and jurists, "analyzed" 1,200 depositions of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen atrocious German behavior. Almost all the testimony came from Belgians who had fled to England as refugees; some were statements from Belgian and British soldiers, collected in France. The commissioners never interrogated one of these eyewitnesses; that task was left to "gentlemen of legal knowledge and experience" -- lawyers. Since the asserted crimes took place in what continued to be a war zone, there was no on site investigation of any report.

Not a single witness was identified by name; the commissioners said this was justified in the case of Belgians by the fear that there might be German reprisals against family members. But British soldier witnesses remained equally anonymous, for no apparent reason. Nevertheless in his introduction, Bryce said he and his fellow commissioners had tested the evidence "severely."

The Bryce Report was released on May 13, 1915. British propaganda headquarters in Wellington House, near Buckingham Palace, made sure it went to virtually every newspaper in America. The impact was stupendous, as the headline and subheads in the New York Times make clear.

GERMAN ATROCITIES
ARE PROVED, FINDS
BRYCE COMMITTEE


Not Only Individual Crimes, but
Premeditated Slaughter
in Belgium

YOUNG AND OLD MUTILATED

Women Attacked, Children Bru-
tally Slain, Arson and
Pillage Systematic

COUNTENANCED BY OFFICERS

Wanton Firing on Red Cross and
White Flag: Prisoners and
Wounded Shot

CIVILIANS USED AS SHIELDS


On May 27, 1915, Wellington House operatives in America reported to London: "Even in papers hostile to the Allies, there is not the slightest attempt to impugn the correctness of the facts alleged. Lord Bryce's prestige in America put skepticism out of the question." Charles Masterman, the head of Wellington House, told Bryce: "Your report has swept America."

Among the few critics of the Bryce Report was Sir Roger Casement. "It is only necessary to turn to James Bryce, the historian, to convict Lord Bryce, the partisan," Casement wrote in a furious essay, "The Far Extended Baleful Power of the Lie." By this time Casement had become an advocate of Irish independence. Few people paid any attention to his dissent, which was dismissed as biased. Clarence Darrow, the famously iconoclastic American lawyer, who specialized in winning acquittals for seemingly guilty clients, was another skeptic. He went to France later in 1915 and searched in vain for a single eyewitness who could confirm even one of the Bryce stories. Increasingly dubious, Darrow announced he would pay $1,000, a very large sum in 1915 -- more than $17,000 in 21st Century money -- to anyone who could produce a Belgian or French boy whose hands had been amputated by a German soldier. There were no takers.

After the war, historians who sought to examine the documentation for Bryce's stories were told that the files had mysteriously disappeared. This blatant evasion prompted most historians to dismiss 99 percent of Bryce's atrocities as fabrications. One called the report "in itself one of the worst atrocities of the war."
More recent scholarship has scaled down the percentage of the Bryce Report's fabrications; several thousand Belgian civilians, including some women and children, were apparently shot by the Germans in the summer of 1914 and Bryce more or less accurately summarized some of the worst excesses, such as the executions in the town of Dinant. But even these latter day scholars admit Bryce's report was seriously "contaminated" by the rapes, amputations and speared babies. They blamed this lapse on hysteria and war rage. This amounts to giving Bryce a free pass.

Correspondence between the members of the Bryce committee survived the destruction of the documents; it reveals severe doubts about the tales of mutilation and rape. One of the committee's secretaries admitted that he had been given numerous English addresses of Belgian women supposedly made pregnant by German rapes but could not locate a single case. Even the story of a member of Parliament sheltering two pregnant women turned out to be fraudulent. Bryce apparently brushed aside this negative evidence.

Lord Bryce the scholar should have known -- and almost certainly did know - -that tales of spearing babies and cutting off the breasts of murdered women were standard "hate-this-enemy" fables hundreds of years old, So were mass rapes in fields and public squares. He should have rejected such fabrications out of hand. Instead, he lumped them all into a general condemnation of the German army and people.

Why didn't Bryce dismiss the fabrications and concentrate on the German executions of civilians? Because that opened a very sticky subject. A high percentage of the Belgian Army were "home guards" who wore no uniforms except for an insignia pinned to their shirts or hats. The Germans, desperately trying to win in the West before the invading Russian Army smashed through their lightly held lines in the East, were infuriated by these seemingly civilian combatants, and showed them no mercy. They were entitled to do so by the rules of war in 1914. Some German field commanders obviously lost their heads and retaliated excessively against whole towns, such as Dinant. But a defense of sorts could be mounted, even for these men. The ensuing debate would have produced yawns in newspaper readers. They wanted what Bryce gave them -- blood and lust and horror.

The Bryce Report unquestionably helped England win the war. It convinced millions of Americans and other neutrals -- it was translated into 27 languages -- that the Germans were beasts in human form. No one except a few outsiders such as Casement ever reproached Lord Bryce for these vicious lies. He went to his grave loaded with royal and academic honors.

From a perspective of a hundred years, we ought to take a harsher view. The Bryce Report has obvious connections to the British decision to maintain the blockade of Germany for seven months after the armistice in 1918, causing the starvation deaths of an estimated 600,000 elderly and very young Germans. This was far and away the greatest atrocity of World war I and it made every German man and woman hunger for revenge. By creating blind hatred of Germany, Bryce sowed the dragons teeth of World War II.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Friedrich Paul Berg - 6/23/2003

Calling the Bush regime "the Nazi regime in Washington" is so unfair to the Nazis. I am sure that Hitler and the Nazis would never have been so stupid.

They would certainly have recognized the true motives, in an instant, of the neo-cons at the American Enterprise Institute.

Friedrich Paul Berg


Josh Greenland - 6/18/2003

"Oh Kulif -- why don't you learn to spell -- "heared"?????
Christ, what blatent stupidity!!!!!"

Cuz thet's how folks talk down in the Holler whar Kulif grew up.

BTW, where did you learn to spell blatant?


Chris Cahill - 6/18/2003

Really relevant piece in the aftermath of Kosovo and Iraq. However, you might have mentioned the fate of Sir Roger Casement-hanged in an English jail for the "crime" of wanting his country to be freely governed by Irishmen or, indeed, Irishwomen.Is this not the great cry of Americans and Brits: Freedom!

Chris Cahill,
35 Grand Meadow Crescent, Edmonton,AB, Canada


Jerry Greenberg - 6/18/2003

It has often been said that truth is the first casualty of war. And in the case of Bush's war, that casualty occurred before the war even began. Bush justified his war on the basis of a fabricated story that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. He swore that this was so and grandly announced that he would produce the proof. But now, 3/4 of the year later, the proof has yet to be produced. And yet, Bush and his henchmen uses this phony story has their fig leaf for war of aggression against the Republic of Iraq. When their lie was exposed, they did not withdraw their troops. Instead they arrogantly engaged in a brutal occupation of that forlorn country. The motive for the war's pretty obvious; they were after the oil fields. The whole world knows it. But Bush and his henchmen do not have the oil fields. Iraq is not secure. The Iraqis continue to grimly fight back, inflicting new casualties on Bush's imperial troops everyday. The Iraqis are fighting for their own freedom on their own turf. Bush's troops are fightinmg for Halliburton to get the oil. Bush's supply lines stretch ten thousand miles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who's gonna win. As long as Bush and his henchmen retain power the killing will continue and the world will be under threat. The Nazi regime in Washington needs to be removed and brought before courts of competent jurisdiction to be tried convicted and sentenced as required.


bluebeard - 6/17/2003

Oh Kulif -- why don't you learn to spell -- "heared"?????
Christ, what blatent stupidity!!!!!


Ben Cosin - 6/17/2003

a British citizen, I have opposed British imperialism since at least the wretched Suez adventure of 1956. And British propaganda since 1914 has certainly been high up in the perfidy stakes (I believe Goebbels learned a lot of his trade while studying it).
Indeed, the struggle 1914-8 might well have been contained had Grey and Asquith not in effect tricked the Liberal Cabinet/Parliamentary party into war. The British empire was indeed over-extended by 1919-22 (not just Ireland, but Chanak/Anatolia/Thrace, Mesopotamia, Amritsar...) If Ogle is a conservative (no reason why he should be) he should be pleased at the ending of any or all empires. British progressives (not inlcuding the neocon Blair) largely are, and indeed oppose extensions and recrudescences of empires, too. WAs US intervention in 1917 that great an idea? see Eugene Debs, Randolph Bourne etc.
But we have been brought up to see the British ruling class as exceptionally cunning and durable, since at least 1688...
I wonder what sources Ogle relies on? For WWII, what is his opinion of Charmley's Churchill- the End of Glory?


P T Garrett - 6/17/2003

Once again we have recently relearned what we have always learned from the well documented history of war propaganda - not a damn thing. Yesteryear's speared babies were this year's vast WMD stockpile just moments away from being unleashed on our homes.
Perhaps what is needed is the creation of the James Bryce War Propaganda Trophy (of a speared baby?) to be awarded to the most aggregious practioners of the ancient art of fomenting war hysteria. Without a doubt this year's trophy would have to be shared by P Bush and PM Blair for a truely infamous job. However an honorable mention for best technical assist to the winners would have to go to Fox News.

PT



Tom Woods - 6/14/2003

I think people reading what I posted and then reading your reply will be able to judge for themselves who's being hysterical.


John Attarian - 6/14/2003

I said nothing about approving of Woodrow Wilson, nor did I say that Fleming himself was "anti-American." Anyone who bothered to see what he looked at when reading my comments would have known that. For the record, I dislike Wilson just as much as you do, and for the same reasons. For the record, I own, read, and thoroughly enjoyed Fleming's Now We Are Enemies,re Bunker Hill, and his WWII naval yarn Time and Tide, about the fictional USS Jefferson City--still dip into it when I want a break from my work.

I do happen to be a convinced Anglophile and am jolly well going to stay that way. If you don't like it, that's your problem, not mine.

Among my reasons for posting my first comment was to test the water among my fellow paleoconservatives and see just how open they were to differences of opinion. Such replies as I got were hysterical to put it mildly, and did not shrink from personal abuse of someone the authors did not even know. No harm done, of course, but what earthly good does that sort of stuff do?

For the record, there was and is plenty of anti-Americanism among the revisionist historians of the New Left, who weren't about to say anything good about this country if they could help it. They still aren't. America is routinely tarred as a racist, sexist, imperialist plague on the world by these folk, who argue, among other things, that the Constitution was a repressive document because it was written by rich white men. Any halfway well-read student of history knows that these sorts of things are going on.

I used to be more of a reader of revisionists and used to have a subscription to Chronicles. I had to give it up. Tom Fleming's (not THIS Fleming's) monthly dose of hysteria and vitriol just got to be too much to choke down any longer. Too many revisionists and paleos are just guys with axes to grind who think an ethnic grudge match is a conservative principle. Some of them have a party line: awful Lincoln, wicked Winston, diabolical perfidious Albion, etc., etc., ad nauseam, and "deviationists" get excommunicated, just as the respondents to my first comments tried to excommunicate me--"what kind of conservative is Attarian" etc., etc. I'll tell you what kind I am: one who thinks for himself and doesn't let anybody program him like a robot. That's precisely why I can't be a neocon. If in your judgment that means I can't be a paleo either, that's too bad for you!

I'm sorry to see that paleos have their oprichniki (oh, go look it up! Hint: Ivan the Terrible) and enforcers just like the neocons.

I have to wonder, why are so many people of all shades of opinion in this country so rabid about their politics, so intolerant of any perspective other than their own, so quick to fly off the handle and put words in the mouths of people they don't even know, so quick to excommunicate and guillotine anybody who doesn't think their way?

Grow up, guys. Life's too short for this kind of childishness.

John Attarian


John Attarian - 6/14/2003

I said nothing about approving of Woodrow Wilson, nor did I say that Fleming himself was "anti-American." Anyone who bothered to see what he looked at when reading my comments would have known that. For the record, I dislike Wilson just as much as you do, and for the same reasons. For the record, I own, read, and thoroughly enjoyed Fleming's Now We Are Enemies,re Bunker Hill, and his WWII naval yarn Time and Tide, about the fictional USS Jefferson City--still dip into it when I want a break from my work.

I do happen to be a convinced Anglophile and am jolly well going to stay that way. If you don't like it, that's your problem, not mine.

Among my reasons for posting my first comment was to test the water among my fellow paleoconservatives and see just how open they were to differences of opinion. Such replies as I got were hysterical to put it mildly, and did not shrink from personal abuse of someone the authors did not even know. No harm done, of course, but what earthly good does that sort of stuff do?

For the record, there was and is plenty of anti-Americanism among the revisionist historians of the New Left, who weren't about to say anything good about this country if they could help it. They still aren't. America is routinely tarred as a racist, sexist, imperialist plague on the world by these folk, who argue, among other things, that the Constitution was a repressive document because it was written by rich white men. Any halfway well-read student of history knows that these sorts of things are going on.

I used to be more of a reader of revisionists and used to have a subscription to Chronicles. I had to give it up. Tom Fleming's (not THIS Fleming's) monthly dose of hysteria and vitriol just got to be too much to choke down any longer. Too many revisionists and paleos are just guys with axes to grind who think an ethnic grudge match is a conservative principle. Some of them have a party line: awful Lincoln, wicked Winston, diabolical perfidious Albion, etc., etc., ad nauseam, and "deviationists" get excommunicated, just as the respondents to my first comments tried to excommunicate me--"what kind of conservative is Attarian" etc., etc. I'll tell you what kind I am: one who thinks for himself and doesn't let anybody program him like a robot. That's precisely why I can't be a neocon. If in your judgment that means I can't be a paleo either, that's too bad for you!

I'm sorry to see that paleos have their oprichniki (oh, go look it up! Hint: Ivan the Terrible) and enforcers just like the neocons.

I have to wonder, why are so many people of all shades of opinion in this country so rabid about their politics, so intolerant of any perspective other than their own, so quick to fly off the handly and put words in the mouths of people they don't even know, so quick to excommunicate and guillotine anybody who doesn't think their way?

Grow up, guys. Life's too short for this kind of childishness.

John Attarian


JR - 6/14/2003

Yes, indeed; to see some more evidence, go to:

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/birinyi.htm

where Birinyi shows:

a. The Versailles Treaties were mere "rubber stamps" to previous secret agreements made with shadowy internationalists;
b. The Russian secret apparatus bribed the French press to promulgate fake atrocity stories about Germany;
c. The Russian secret apparatus paid the Serbian secret apparatus to effect the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife;
d. WW I was most directly caused by international finance;

and a few other things.

Another interesting book (I haven't digitized it) is "The Inside Story of the Peace Conference" by Dr. E. J. Dillon (Harper & Bros., 1920). He was anti-German, yet also thought the Versailles Conference was bogus.

JR


GEORGE B. CLARK - 6/14/2003

Mr. Fleming

Great book. You've said all the things I've been saying to friends, romans, and relatives for the past thirty or more years. They are tired of me, but I hope no one tires of your book.
Bryce was a swine. So were all the other Europeans who worked over the immature Americans, dragging the nation into a war that we had no real part in. You can add Wilson, an un-elected House and all the other pro-British "Americans" to the list.
All nations involved in the 1914 diaster were to blame for that war, with the British egging on the French and Russians. The Austrians were over the hill and dragged the stupid German government down with them.
The "peace treaty" was a violation of all normal interactions.
All the disasters of the 20th century can be laid to that one mistake made by the 2d greatest egotist [Roosevelett minor was first] of the nation, Wilson.
Thanks for listening.
George B. Clark
Wish you had used my book "Devil Dogs" as a source.


Friedrich Paul Berg - 6/14/2003

Holocaust revisionism is best represented by the vast collection of essays at http://www.vho.org

F. P. Berg


JR - 6/14/2003

Some of you may be interested in examining some official German documents related to WW I & II atrocities.

Of course, these must be seen as "biased" by their nature, but what official gov't pub isn't? Look for yourself and decide:

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/belgianpw.htm
This one deals with Dinant, Louvain and many other Belgian cases.

http://www.jrbooksonline.com/polish_atrocities.htm
This one deals with the Polish border incidents, etc. which lead directly to the German invasion of Sept. 1, 1939.

Interesting reading, but don't look at some of it on a full stomach.

JR


Friedrich Paul Berg - 6/13/2003

I suggest that we all get down and pray real hard that there is NO God--because if there really is a God out there, and if he bares any resemblance to the thing most of us pretend to worship (a God of justice who punishes hardcore criminals), then we Americans are all in big trouble. The worst war criminals in all human history were the Americans in World War 2--and that would still be true even if the Holocaust myth were also true. The fact that it is not true only makes America's crimes even more despicable.

As to Hitler--he keeps getting a bad wrap and it is so totally unfair. Try to imagine what would have happened to Europe without Hitler stepping on the stage in the 1930's. Who else was there to harness an effective resistance to communism in the 1930's and 1940's? The answer is no one. Although there were others such as Mussolini and Franco who had the right idea, they were never strong enough without Hitler. And as to the great Allies--Britain, France and the US--they actually supported communism to a great extent during the thirties. After the great war against Germany, their only real lever against the Soviets was the atomic bomb. But it was Hitler and the Nazis and the German people and their allies who had given communism such a severe, bloody kick in the ass during WW2 that the West actually had a few years to come to its senses about communism before the Soviets had their own atomic bombs.

Despite the great risk to survival on our small planet, it was the atomic bomb which saved our butts after World War 2 and not much else. But before the bomb, it was Hitler!

Friedrich Paul Berg


bluebeard - 6/13/2003

I couldn't have said it better myself...........


Gordon - 6/13/2003

I understand your furstration Mick, unfortunately it sounds to me like if you have the answers and you feel so strongly about your views perhaps you could stop bad mouthing us ingnorant Americans with our low IQs and do something positive like getting the word out. Americans are isolated, our media is laughable and most Americans rarely get the truth about anything. We can all sit around and talk about all the flaws that exist in America and let me tell you that is what goes on everyday. Problem is most people in this nation of consumers are unwilling to sacrifice our way of life, especially when some one insults them. So my challenge to you is to give them a reason. Don't write and tell us how stupid we are, explain how our actions are effecting you in your country, a lucid statement will go a lot farther than a bunch of insults. Great spelling by the way.

Gordon


bluebeard - 6/13/2003

Very, very typical response, oh Laird -- always defend Israel like a "good Christian" and hurl insults at people you don't agree with, while ignoring the atrocities that the Israelis perpetrate upon the Palestinians.
Point being -- in 1948, the Jews STOLE the land that belonged to the indigenous Arabs that had lived there for at least 15 centuries, and started killing them -- just like the Nazis.
As for WW2 - we didn't belong in that war at all, and it is proven that we provoked the Japanese to attack us, id est, strangling their trade, cutting off their oil, et cetera -- so "good" America could have it for herself.
Real white hats, huh Poindexter - you sound like Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz to me.
Perhaps you should study history, instead of being a typical Judaizer, and you wouldn't appear as obtuse as you seem to be.
Further, FDR knew that the most likely place for the Japs to attack us would be in the Pacific Theatre, just as he knew about the munitions that we were shipping to England aboard the Lusitania during WW 1 -- costing more innocent lives as unwitting pawns.
Incidentally, Laird, by your shrill attack on my person, I venture you, like George Bush, believe that if we don't defend "Holy Israel", "Jeezus" won't come back -- am I correct in that assumption, Poindexter -- or are you perhaps Jewish?
I case you may be wondering at the moment, I am an English-German atheist, so inane allusions to "Judeo-Christian" morality mean nothing to me -- indeed, all moral constructs are relative, anyway.
If you wish, try to prove to me that "morality" isn't arbitrary -by using objective FACTS, not conjecture or myths.
Yeah, I do agree that Hitler and the Krauts were off the wall in WW 2, but that doesn't mean that we should have exterminated defenseless, disarmed prisoners AFTER the war, much less their women and children, just like the "Holy" Israelis love to do in occupied Palestine!
Just try to rebut me on that point, without the holier than thou overtones.
And with regard to prejudice, I submit that your "bigotry" toward the Germans and Palestinians is very apparent, by the way.
So, chew on that one for a bit, buster -- oh Judaizing lover of war!


John Deterick - 6/13/2003

The continuation of the blockade during the negotiations of the Paris Peace Conference was, by any objective understanding, a violation of the armistice. But the Germans were in no position by that point to be able to do anything about it, considering that the Allied armies had established bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Rhine and were prepared to resume offensive operations at any time. Those who dismiss the underhandedness of the British and French in dealing with their enemies -- and not just Germany --, and even some of their "allies," should remember this.

Also, the food blockade established a nasty precedent for future behavior, and it has come to pass that the U.S. government, taking its cue from its Allies' behavior in decades past, imposes blockades of its own during armistices and truces. The twelve year blockade against Iraq, although it was moderated somewhat (the "Oil for Food Program") eventually in response to international outrage, is a very prominent example of this mentality in action. 500,000 dead Iraqis? "It was worth it," said Madeline Albright. Versus: "There are twenty million Germans too many," said Clemenceau. A five year old could see the pattern.


Leila M. - 6/13/2003

Any writer, historian, or journalist has a responsibility of reporting events objectively and intelligently to his/her public. But this era has shown us that anyone can be bought and sold. Viscount James Bryce may have sold out for personal gratification or whatever other reasons he may have had back then. 100 years later, there are people willing to give anything so that the truth is not reported and that stories are skewed to suit their interests.


B. Mohamed B. - 6/13/2003

just pleased that some, on this planet,
still understand simple things.


arkturus - 6/13/2003

Yes. But we are speaking about a blockade not during the war.
As a result could be considered an act of war.


Friedrich Paul Berg - 6/13/2003

Wow! Perhaps in another fifty years we can see some discussion by Mr. Fleming and his colleagues of the World War 2 atrocity stories. I can hardly wait.
Regards,
Friedrich Paul Berg


TheLairdJim - 6/13/2003

Funny I've heard about all of those. In fact I've heard so much about the mistreatment of Palestinians by Israelis that I pretty much doubt every story I hear now. As far as Dresden and Hamburg and Hiroshima and Nagasaki--everyone knows about them. Most everybody knows about firebombing Tokyo too. They just don't provoke your brand of venomous bigotry in most people. I'm no fan of total war, and have always detested its prophets like Sherman and Clausewitz. WWII was a total war, however, and as nasty a business as ever was--literally. The nastiest business since the Mongols rolled into China and Russia and the Middle East. It was new in the race for the most horrific weapons ever, and I thank HEAVEN that it wasn't the Nazis or the Japanese that found them first. Bad as it was, it could've been far worse. America was wearing a white hat in WWII.


Jimmy Cantrell - 6/13/2003

What kind of 'conservative' is Attarian? If he is what I label an Anglophilic Imperial Conservative, it is expected that he defend Wilson as well as Lincoln, and that he always excuse the English Empire, even at its most bloodthirsty and hypocritical. The thought of 'freedom-loving' England going to fight to save the freedom of small countries while ruling its empire at gunpoint should make us all laugh out loud and keep a watchful eye on the English, and their American and Commonwealth supporters and emulators, forever.


Jan - 6/13/2003

Good article on bin Laden's stated objectives, as opposed to what Bush said they were.

J


Tom Woods - 6/12/2003

John Attarian is simply wrong about blockades, and is evidently aware of none of the legal distinctions that international lawyers made at the time. The British blockade was not a so-called close blockade (legal) but a distant blockade (illegal), which employed mines scattered throughout the North Sea. It was also a blockade of food, which no one in the world considered legitimate. The Scandinavian countries rightly signed a protest against such behavior; Woodrow Wilson refused to join them.

To criticize Woodrow Wilson -- which Fleming does only in passing in this piece -- is hardly "anti-American," a term that is increasingly used to shut down debate on important matters. This is especially surprising coming from the conservative Attarian -- a dislike of Woodrow Wilson is practically a requirement for a serious conservative, in my judgment.


Kulif - 6/12/2003

This is regarding mick's post ( http://hnn.us/comments/13368.html ) stating the holocaust never happened, i've heared poeple say this before, i was wondering what books you've read or internet links you have that made you believe this..


John Attarian - 6/12/2003

Some of Fleming's piece makes sense. But the conclusion was just simply hysterical. Lord Bryce sowed the dragon's teeth for WWII? All by his little self? Ridiculous!

As for the blockade, a blockade is simply a siege on a national scale. It's a well known strategic measure and no "atrocity." The Royal Navy blockaded France during the Napoleonic Wars. Lincoln blockaded the South. So what?

Quite frankly I find the shooting of infants at Dinant just as indefensible as the shooting of infants at My Lai.

Funny how revisionist historians, with honorable exceptions, tend to be anti-Americans and Anglophobes by the wrong name.


bluebeard - 6/12/2003

It seems plain to me that the victor of any conflict always states that the "other" side was the one that committed "atrocities".
Funny, we never hear of the ATROCIOUS treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis, or of the various atrocious acts of the US military in WW 2, i.e., Dresden, not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I guess it's because we were the ones wearing the "white hats", right??
Such blatent hypocrisy makes me sick to my stomach, and history will not treat us kindly in the end.


Observer - 6/12/2003

It is a brave man who can write an apology for the losing team.

Don't Germans always keep exact count of everything? If you believe that in the next round they only gassed 5,999,999 then rounded up to 6,000,000 then you are in BIG trouble!

Our main concern should be with spelling: "lurid," not "lured." If we spell correctly then the facts will just sort themselves out.


Herodotus - 6/12/2003

Yes, this was a badly orchestrated story advanced by some within Kuwait. It culminated in one of the daughters of the Kuwaiti ambassador (or embassy staff...I don't recall off hand) giving testimony before Congress to the effect that she witnessed this personally.

It was, in fact, a completely fabricated story.

There were several other stories of atrocities committed by the Iraqis which, however, were shown to be all too true. Included in that were the 600 Kuwaitis who were removed from Kuwait during the war and never returned. Many of them were later found to have been executed, following the examination of the various mass graves in Iraq in the past few weeks.


Earl Edmondson - 6/12/2003

Professor Fleming does well to remind us of the way in which governments--and their supporters--invent and exaggerate claims of atrocities commited by their enemies (more often than not it's often a two-way street). The last sentence of his fine article ("By creating blind hatred of Germany, Bryce sowed the dragons teeth of World War II") might benefit, however, from a minor changes: "By helping create blind hatred of and in Germany, Bryce and others sowed the dragons teeth of World War II." After all, Bryce was hardly the sole culprit, and Fleming's previous sentence refers to hatred felt by Germans--not just that directed toward them.


Tom - 6/12/2003

Mr. Fleming - Thanks for a great piece. Well done, Sir! Sadly, the tactics of 100 years ago still work today. If only these things were taught in our "Public" schools.


F. le Roi - 6/12/2003

Does propaganda create will, or, rather, prey upon the long worked prejudice of the people. Pretense alone will not suffice to explain,
as these lies are too shabby even for the most juvenile to purchase.
No, these are non-believers that buy these shoddy goods. States are nothing more than loosely organized gangs.


Marvin E. Ogle - 6/12/2003

Thomas Fleming's fascinating article, "The Historian Who Sold Out", merely confirms my own long-held doubts of the veracity of the German "rape of Belgium" tale propagated by the perfidious British politicians during WW I. In fact, after a lifetime of studying the history of Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries, I have had to conclude, reluctantly, that the British political elite during the period from 1860 to 1950 was unquestionably the most incompetent, ruthless, ignorant, deceitful, and bloody-minded national leadership to afflict any people in modern times.

Imagine. In just two generations British politicians managed to destroy completely Great Britian's empire, squander the fabled wealth of the nation, and encompass the death of two millions of "England's finest"--all in the name of greatness, security, and peace, leaving Britain (forget the "Great") by 1950 a pitiable shadow of its former self. And by 1950 the bureaucratic, redistributionist socialists were in charge, 'national socialism! British variant. They still are.




mick - 6/12/2003


This is a very good article. However American IQ beeing as it is... most probably for your average reader it will come out as a surprise that Pearl Harbour was a desired incident, holocaust never existed and YES there was no Osama Bin Laden associated to 911... and yeah, no WMD in Iraq either.
Boy, in what sort of a green-house are you guys living ? You are a people with 90% of your history just about falsified but you keep asking for more.
Remember the Civil War... ?... or the official reasons involved for the starting of spanish-american war ?
Well... one day all this will add up and will come to hount you. These things always do. Meanwhile keep writing books, join the masonery, kiss
your money-shalom and keep voting Bush. You'll have a bright future. There have never been a nation transformed in such a loughing stock ever.
Trully, Mick.


Leo Beilin - 6/12/2003

Weren't there accusations by doctors that the Iraqi army was was taking critically ill Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and sending the incubators back to Iraq because they were short of them? After the war these stories were found to be false in every instance


Herodotus - 6/11/2003

Many thanks for the references--they underscore the significance of your piece.


Thomas Fleming - 6/11/2003

Dear Mr. Kates -- I refer in my essay to recdent scholarship that has validated the occurrence of serious atrocities committed by the German Army in Belgium in 1914. The book is German Atrocities, 1914, A History of Denial by John Horne and Alan Kramer. I admire the scholarship of this book. But I disagree with their casual reference to lured atrocities "contaminating" the Bryce report, as if it were some sort of biological entity, and not a document prepared by supposedly thoughtful men. That is why I think we should judge Lord Bryce severely as one of the chief propagators of mindless German hatred in World War I.

Tom Fleming


Thomas Fleming - 6/11/2003

My source for the number of Germans starved after WWI is: Chales P. Vincent, the Post-World War I Blockade of Germany, An Aspect in the Tragedy of a Nation, Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Colorado, 1980. My book has vivid word portraits of starving German children drawn from other sources, such as letters of British and American officers and civilian officials. Herbert Hoover scathingly condemned the British extension of the blockade. The Britsh replied they wanted "to make the Hun squirm." Georges Clemenceau was even more heartless: "There are twenty million Germans too many," he said. The 600,000 figure is, of course, a round number. In the chaos of 1919 Germany, no one was keeping exact count.

Tom Fleming


Don Kates - 6/11/2003

I have not read the book, but only a review. W/ that caveat, let me note that within the last two years a book written by two reputable historians concludes that the atrocity charges against the Germans in Belguim are substantially true. It would certainly have been useful if Mr. Fleming had cited this book (or any other source) to which we could look for validation, or refutation, of his comments.


Herodotus - 6/10/2003

Just to be fair (i don't know either way) where does the number of 600,000 starving Germans come from?

Having (rightly) aroused our skepticism of the accounts of atrocities with this piece, he ends with an estimated number...

Subscribe to our mailing list