SOMEHOW IT FEELS LIKE
“BACK TO THE FUTURE”
Purely by chance, as negotiations have been proceeding with Iran seeking ways to direct development of the Iranian nuclear program along a peaceful course, I’ve been reading William L. Shirer’s classic World War II history, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Shirer covered the early days of Nazi Germany as a correspondent for CBS and other American news organizations. In his account of the pre-war military buildup he reflects on a speech to the Reichstag (given May 21, 1934) in which Hitler made the following declarations:*
“The blood shed on the European continent in the course of the last three hundred years bears no proportion to the national result of the events. In the end France has remained France, Germany Germany, Poland Poland, and Italy Italy …. If these states had applied merely a fraction of their sacrifices to wiser purposes the success would certainly have been greater and more permanent ….
“Our racial theory regards every war for the subjugation and domination of an alien people as a proceeding which sooner or later changes and weakens the victor internally, and eventually brings his defeat ….
“No! National Socialist Germany wants peace because of its fundamental convictions. And it wants peace also owing to the realization of the simple primitive fact that no war would be likely essentially to alter the distress in Europe …. The principal effect of every war is to destroy the flower of the nation ….
“Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers …. Without taking the past into account Germany has concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland … We shall adhere to it unconditionally ….
“Germany neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the internal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to conclude an Anschluss ….
“The German government is ready to agree to any limitation which leads to abolition of the heaviest arms, especially [those] suited for aggression ….”
These peaceable words were received with great relief by the Western powers. The Times of London expressed hope that they would “be taken everywhere as a sincere and well-considered utterance,” observing in an editorial that the speech was:
“…reasonable, straightforward and comprehensive. No one who reads it with an impartial mind can doubt that the points of policy laid down by Herr Hitler may fairly constitute the basis of a complete settlement with Germany ….”
I thought this small historical vignette might somehow be relevant as we celebrate the agreement concluded by John Kerry & Company.
Let us all rest assured that as Iran gets its electricity generated by nuclear power, we have nothing to fear.
*The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
William L. Shirer
Simon and Schuster, 1959
Chapter 9, Pages 285-287