The Thousand Year Conspiracy is a book I've had on my shelf for many years but never read until these past few weeks. It is (the good) of an unholy trinity of wartime propaganda, as opposed to Louis Nizer's What to do with Germany (the bad) which I've also reviewed and Theodore Kaufman's Germany Must Perish (the ugly), which I do not own a copy of but have read. These three books obviously reflected the attitude of the Roosevelt administration; very likely these authors received funding from the US government to publish this stuff. On Pages 325-326, Winkler writes the following "The protagonists of this latter opinion seem, however, unable to propose a practical solution for the settlement of the German problem. The suggestions which are put forward include the administration of all internal affairs of post-war Germany by a group of foreign officials, isolation of the German youth from parental influences in order to facilitate their reeducation, and even the sterilization of all Germans. For the most part those who advance such suggestions do not mean them literally." The last sentence in this quote is dishonest and disingenuous, and points to one of the things that is flawed about this book. Kaufman in Germany Must Perish, did present a real plan for the sterilization of the German people, and as FDR himself proposed the same in a speech to reporters on August 26, 1944 " We have got to be tough with Germany and I mean the German people not just the Nazis. We either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them in such a manner (so that) they can t go on reproducing people who want to continue the way they have in the past", you can be certain that FDR was indeed speaking literally. Sterilization of the German people was a very real idea in his twisted, shallow, egotistical mind.
The Thousand Year Conspiracy is what the title suggests, conspiracy theory. I will admit to enjoying conspiracy theory at times, as it can be amusing. Winkler blames the Germans in general and Prussians in particular for this scheme to take over the world, even citing the anti-Christ in his hyperbole, (surprisingly he wasn't talking about Hitler here). He begins with the history of the Teutonic Knights and their establishment as a hospital order during the crusades, and follows them as they colonized East Prussia. To Winkler's credit, besides writing about the oft repeated brutality of their "taming" of the native (Borussian) inhabitants of East Prussia, he writes too how they mixed with them. This is an atypical German trait - the Germans do mix and intermarry wherever they go, in contrast to the stupid post-war American/Allied propaganda that stresses the idiotic racial policies of the Nazis as being atypical of German behavior. As for the Teutonic Knights, yes, they were brutal, but it's sort of a stretch to believe that they were uniquely brutal among groups of knights at that time.
Winkler writes of the various kings and leaders of the Prussians. He cites figures such as Frederick II of Prussia, a man who was half-Sicilian, and of course, the Sicilian part of him was the good part, the Prussian part the evil part that manifested later in his life. Hmmmm. Seems Winkler wasn't too familiar with Sicilian history. Interestingly, Frederick II is interred in a church in Palermo! Winkler also proposes a tail wags the dog theory - that the Junkers of East Prussia and the captains of industry were the ones ruling Hitler, not vice-versa. The problem with this is that Winkler gives plenty of evidence to the contrary in his excellent chapter on the Machiavellian antics of Hitler during his rise to the top.
Another fault of Winkler is that he puts a happy face on the German communists. It's nice to pretend that a German bolshevik republic would have been friendly, gentle and wonderful instead of a threat to its neighbors, and that Kurt Eisner was some kind of saintly figure, but the facts speak otherwise.
Winkler also is mistaken in giving the majority of the blame for Nazism to the Prussians. He doesn't take into account that the East Prussians were the leaders of the attempts to assassinate Hitler. For a more balanced view of some of the Junkers and their opposition to Hitler, the reader may want to read Marion Von Donhoff's book Before The Storm: Memories of My Youth in Old Prussia
. Winkler's single-minded focus on East Prussians seemingly ignores the fact that many of the top Nazis were Bavarian. Of course, the author's line of thinking was in keeping with FDR s ignorant ideas and plans of the venomous British VanSittart. These 2 individuals wanted to exterminate East Prussia, and they fulfilled their wishes and plans within 2 years of this book being published. In the process, their proxy Red Army committed crimes against civilians (in particular sexual mutilation and abuse) which exceeded that which Winkler criticizes the Teutonic Knights for committing 800 years prior. Is that a proud legacy for the (supposedly) Upwardly Progressive nations that Winkler writes about? Can Stalin honestly be described as being Upwardly Progressive? Is Winkler serious?
Winkler also focuses on religious aspects of the Germans, and Prussians in particular. He details the history of the Teutonic Knights, their run-ins with the Catholic hierarchy etc. Yet, he almost completely ignores the Protestant Reformation, and does not mention the impact of Luther on the East Prussians. The Junkers that he writes so disparagingly of were almost 100% Lutheran. Winkler is correct for including religion in this book. Germany was a fertile, cross pollinated land of religious thought and practice, from earlier pagan religions, to Catholicism, Judaism, even Sufi Islam, not to mention Germans were influenced by and studied Egyptian occultism and Kabbalah. He is correct in discussing Religion and occultism in a book that covers the material this book covers. Although I have not read them, there are several books about Hitler and the occult such as The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology
Some other notes of concern I have with this book are as follows: On Page 344, Winkler writes "In spite of this influence (English feudalism) on their political life the English have successfully carried to the different parts of the world extremely valuable ideas of political and economic freedom, deriving from their essentially Christian concept of life." Farther down the same page, he writes; "French feudalism became, during the ages, increasingly tempered by Christian education." I beg to differ. Was British policy in China "Christian" during the opium wars, killing Chinese who resisted the British plan for control and profit by making a large percentage of their population opium addicts? How about the Boer War? Or their treatment of Ireland? Ask the Algerians, Vietnamese and others about French "Christian" behavior. Please! On Page 349, Winkler writes; Bismarck also succeeded in bringing about the isolation of Denmark, Austria, and France, one after another from the different German countries with which they had formerly entertained friendly relations. If you know the history of some German regions such as Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, you will understand that those areas had a long history of living under the French expansionist/colonialist boot, and French attempts to forcibly convert the native inhabitants into Frenchmen, thus Winkler is quite wrong about supposedly friendly relations in this case.
There are also positives about this book. There is one passage which I am not able to re-locate, in which Winkler seemingly describes the current situation of Germany in the European Union. Winkler's account of the rise of Hitler is fascinating. I am not an expert on the rise of Hitler and would like to check other sources to see if Winkler's account is completely factual, but it is well written and believable. Overall, the book is written without the malice that Louis Nizer was guilty of in What to do with Germany. Nor does he make any Nazi-Eugenics type proposals like Kaufman was guilty of in his garbage-book. An excellent section in this book begins on Page 170 (A Most Unorthodox Financial Plan). Parallels can be made between what the author writes and what is occurring in the United States in recent years; "(1. The purpose of the first period, inflation, was to permit the looting of the entire German middle class. This was accomplished to the advantage of the Junker class which was able to make money by the tremendous rise in prices... 2. After October 11, 1924, the next step was to encourage the inflow of foreign money under the guise of long and short term credits. Without these fresh funds there would indeed have been nothing left to pick from German pockets." Almost prophetic.
Winkler had a flair for dramatic writing. On Page 122, he writes "Fundamentally, therefore, we witness the clash of two opposing civilizations - and it was our error comes from the fact that since the period of the Christianization of Germany, the civilization of the barbaric ages has been hidden beneath a Christian cloak and has survived there. In this manner it has succeeded in preserving its institutions for ends clearly opposed to those of Christianity."
Chapter IX - Western Civilization and Upward Progression, which is a slightly bizarre analysis of Greek religious influence on Christianity and Judaism is very interesting, although it barely ties in with the rest of the theme of the book, except to say that the Prussians were anti-Christian and downwardly progressive. On pages 350-351, Winkler writes with amazing lucidity about his ideas for the European Union (and we all know how well that is working out!) : "An absolutely free exchange of goods with no customs-barriers should be the first measure in freeing the European blood stream and perhaps that of the world as well.....A unified monetary system and other economic measures of a similar nature should complete the healing process....freedom of migration will ahve to be reestablished....If all obstacles to the free circulation of goods and people are eliminated, the general conditions which might render possible a reconstitution of the Prusso-teutonic danger zone (or of any similar danger zone of the future) will no longer be present-but, of course, specific police measures will still be necessary. "
My initial reaction was to give this book 1 star, but after completing it, I found that it is indeed a fascinating (but flawed) book. I will rate it 3 stars, and recommend it to anyone interested in the history of WWII.