File photo shows a militant in Syria.
In the annals of international criminal aggression, the destabilization, dismemberment, and ultimate annihilation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939 by Hitler’s Nazi regime has come to occupy a place of particular infamy.
The eagerness of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French premier Edouard Daladier, at the infamous Munich conference of September 1938 with Hitler and Mussolini, to sacrifice the national existence of Czechoslovakia in the service of their policy of appeasing and supporting Hitler’s eastward expansion is widely regarded as the event which placed Europe on track for the outbreak of World War II slightly less than a year later.
It has been less widely noted that the 2011-2012 destabilization of Syria by NATO and the reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies has been closely following the script of Hitler’s onslaught against Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1938.
Hitler was hostile to Czechoslovakia because it possessed a highly effective army of 30 modern divisions, a formidable system of border forts, was allied to France in the framework of the Little Entente, and also had a mutual defense treaty with the Soviet Union. After Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 and his absorption of Austria through the Anschluss of March 1938, he quickly turned his attention to smashing Czechoslovakia. William L. Shirer’s 1960 study The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
is readily available in libraries and will be cited to establish some important facts.
Hitler’s primary lever for breaking up the post Versailles Czechoslovak state was the German ethnic minority inside Czechoslovakia. These ethnic Germans were concentrated in the Sudetenland, which was a relatively narrow strip of land all along the borders of Bohemia and Moravia with Germany and the newly Germanized Austria.
In the case of Syria, NATO has used the Saudi-controlled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which has been locked in deadly strife with the Syrian regime starting back in the time of Hafez Assad. NATO has also mobilized groups of Syrian émigrés and expatriates, including those calling themselves the Syrian National Council, now followed by a new company of puppets styling itself the Syrian National Coalition. Large numbers of foreign fighters have been shipped in. On the ground in Syria, NATO has deployed death squads on the Salvadoran model, apparently supervised by US Ambassador Robert Ford, a disciple of top US official John Negroponte, the leading expert in this field.
From Sir Neville Chamberlain to Julian Assange
The crisis leading to the destruction of Czechoslovakia was started by British Prime Minister Sir Neville Chamberlain, a thinly veiled supporter of Hitler, who invited American newspaper correspondents to have lunch with him at the pro-Nazi Lady Astor’s London mansion on May 14, 1938. The substance of Chamberlain’s briefing was that Czechoslovakia could not continue to exist in its current form, and that the Sudetenland had to be turned over to Germany. Chamberlain predicted that France would not honor its treaty obligation to help Czechoslovakia’s self-defense, and stated that Britain had no intention of intervening. This was followed by a bombastic editorial in the pro-Hitler
arguing that the Sudeten Germans had every right to secede from Czechoslovakia to escape their current oppressive status.
Syria is a victim of the wave of the destabilizations signaled by the massive autumn 2010 document dumps carried out by the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks. Here masses of scandalous and derogatory material were made available regarding the regimes of countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, as well as IMF and NATO target nations like Argentina, Russia, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others. No important British, American, or Israeli politician was damaged in any way by these revelations, which were eagerly published by the leading imperialist press organs. Like Czechoslovakia in 1938, Syria was not at the top of the list of states targeted for aggression, but came under pressure when the onslaught had gathered momentum.
The Sudeten German militia and the Syrian death squads: No to negotiated solutions
Hitler’s main spokesman in Czechoslovakia was the ethnic German fanatic Konrad Henlein, who had been subsidized by Berlin since the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Henlein was briefed by Hitler, Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, and Rudolph Hess that he must always make demands which the Czech government would find unacceptable. As Henlein himself observed, “We must always demand so much that we can never be satisfied.” (Shirer 359) Henlein was killed in a bombing raid towards the end of the war.
This is a direct parallel to the intransigent stance of the Syrian National Council and Syrian National Coalition, which have always brusquely rejected any negotiations with the Assad government. These organizations have been given orders by NATO intelligence that they must never reach a negotiated or political solution with the Syrian government. Just as Hitler wanted the grievances of the Sudetens as a pretext for his attack, in the same way the NATO aggressors want to stoke the Syrian rebellion as a means of breaking up the country and reducing it to chaos - doubtless as part of a long-term strategy to isolate and weaken Iran and Hezbollah.
By September 1938, Hitler had assigned a military staff officer as liaison with Henlein, who set up his headquarters at the castle of Dondorf near Bayreuth in southern Germany. The current military headquarters of the Syrian rebels was long thought to be located near the NATO air base at Incirlik, Turkey, but the rebels claim that they have now moved it on to conquer the Syrian territory. The “Sudeten Free Corps” ( or, more accurately, “Sudeten Militia”) was created, armed with Austrian weapons, and ordered by Hitler to orchestrate a series of “disturbances and clashes” with the Czech police and army. Soon martial law had to be declared. From this point on, there was a series of bloody battles between Sudeten Nazis and Czechs. Each time one occurred, Hitler would blame it on the Prague government, and deliver hysterical radio speeches and public orations demanding freedom for the Germans subjected to the Czech yoke. This has been the attitude of Western governments and Western media for almost two years in the case of the Syrian fighting.
This is also an exact parallel to the Syrian death squads inspired by ambassadors Negroponte and Ford, which were in action in Syria starting from the very first pro-democracy demonstrations of February, 2011. The “Sudeten Militia” raised its profile by seizing the Czech towns of Asch and Eger, located near the German border - just as the Syrian death squads tried to take over Irbil near the Turkish border and Deraa near the Jordanian border very early in the conflict, and has now seized a strip of land along the Turkish border under the umbrella of NATO’s Patriot missiles.
During the destabilization of Syria, not one but two special United Nations envoys have done everything possible to convince the Assad government to capitulate to the terrorist death squads, while at the same time attempting to mislead world public opinion about the role of foreign fighters in the Syrian conflict. These envoys were former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, followed by his current replacement, Lakhdar Brahimi.
The Runciman mediation, a model for Annan and Brahimi
In August 1938, the arch-appeaser Chamberlain announced that London would dispatch a special “mediator” to Prague for talks with the government and with representatives of the Sudeten minority. This was Lord Runciman (Viscount Lord Runciman of Doxford). Shirer writes that he “happened to be in Prague on the day of his arrival and after attending his press conference and talking with members of his party remarked in [his] diary that ‘Runciman’s whole mission smells’… The Czechs knew perfectly well that Runciman had been sent by Chamberlain to pave the way for the handing over of the Sudetenland to Hitler. It was a shabby diplomatic trick.’” (376-7)
By late September, Runciman was reporting to the British Cabinet that the Sudetenland should be transferred to Germany without even bothering to hold a referendum. He wanted public criticism of Germany muzzled by police repression. Even though the loss of the Sudetenland would leave Czechoslovakia practically defenseless, he also demanded assurances by Prague that it would not attack Germany in the future - a totally fantastic hypothesis. In many ways, Runciman was more aggressive against the Czechs than Hitler himself, (Shirer 388)
The Annan and Brahimi missions represent just the same kind of shabby diplomatic trick. Annan pretended for months that the only violence in Syria was that perpetrated by the government. Neither one has told the world that the vast majority of the death squads are foreign fighters, gathered from as far away as Europe, Chechenia, Pakistan, and Somalia, and financed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the other reactionary Persian Gulf monarchies.
As in the previous cases of Iraq and Libya, it is only the countries that commit resources to destabilization and low intensity warfare who will share in the looting if the existing government falls. When Hungary requested a slice of Slovakia, Hitler told them: “He who wants to sit at the table must at least help in the kitchen.” Poland was also eager to seize control of the Teschen area. Poland was a country which would soon be a victim of the same process of aggression unleashed against Czechoslovakia. Today, countries like Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia may soon find themselves sucked into the maelstrom of terrorism and aggression which they have helped to unleash.
The Second World War did not start in the late summer of 1938. Chamberlain practiced his policy of appeasement towards Hitler in meetings at Berchtesgaden and Bad Godesberg, and finally at the Munich conference on September 29. At this conference chaired by the Italian Fascist dictator Mussolini, France and Britain accepted Hitler’s demand that the Sudetenland must be detached from Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was not even represented, just as Syria has not been represented at the several “Friends of Syria” conferences orchestrated by NATO and its satellites. Chamberlain called this “peace in our time,” but world war was now less than a year in the future.
During these months, the French prime minister was Edouard Daladier who, like today’s President Hollande, had a slight leftist tinge. The foreign minister was the appeaser Georges Bonnet, an interesting comparison with today’s Foreign Minister Fabius. The British foreign minister was Lord Halifax, a member of the notorious pro-Nazi Cliveden set of Lord and Lady Astor. His successor today is William Hague.
Czechoslovakia wiped off the map; NATO wants the same for Syria
By seizing the Sudetenland, Hitler got control of the imposing fortifications often called the Czech Maginot line. He had promised to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone, but he was determined to destroy that country in the same way that NATO intends the breakup of Syria today. First, Goering orchestrated the secession of Slovakia from the Prague government in the fall of 1938. Slovakia soon became a clerical fascist Nazi puppet state under Monsignor Tiso, who was hanged by his countrymen in April 1947.
Prague now governed a rump state of just Bohemia and Moravia. Hitler called the Czech president Dr. H?cha to Berlin and bullied him mercilessly until he signed a statement approving the incorporation of what was left of Czechoslovakia into the German Reich. On March 15, 1939 German troops poured into Bohemia and Moravia, and Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. Nothing called Czechoslovakia remained on the map.
In the case of Syria, it is equally clear that the purpose of NATO strategy has been all along the total destruction of the Syrian state. In secret meetings in the United States Institute of Peace and other think tanks of aggression, plans have already been prepared for the thorough Balkanization and subdivision of Syria. If the rebels succeed, there may be an Alawite entity, a Druze entity, a Kurdish entity, perhaps a Christian entity, and so forth. There will be microstates, ministates, and rump states. Above all, there will be war lords, a colossal bloodbath, and chaos.
Nazis planned false flag against Prague; Now Damascus may be targeted
There is one further element in the Nazi destabilization plan for Czechoslovakia which deserves mention, since we may experience something similar in the near future. On August 24, 1938 Colonel Jodl of the supreme command of the Armed Forces (OKW) sent Hitler a memorandum stressing that “fixing the exact time for the ‘incident’ which will give Germany provocation for military intervention is most important.” In other words, the total German military attack on Czechoslovakia, if it had proved necessary, would have been set off by a false flag incident. In the case of Syria, NATO has spent several months laboriously preparing world public opinion for a massive attack based on the alleged use of Syrian chemical weapons. If this much heralded gas attack should occur, there is every reason to suspect that it will be a manufactured false flag provocation of the type Jodl had in mind. (Shirer 377)
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. The stylish and cosmopolitan human rights lobbies in the various NATO capitals must be confronted with the fact that their Syria strategy is practically identical with the approach employed by Nazi Germany in dismembering Czechoslovakia and ushering Europe into the antechamber of a new world war.