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COMMENT: We’ve spoken often of the pan-German economic plans of Friedrich List, as well as their realization under the Third Reich, in both its above-ground and underground manifestations.
We have not discussed the First World War (the centennial of which is approaching), in which German imperialists stood firm in their aim of utilizing the post-war to realize their aims of a European economic union, dominated by Germany and used to further their hegemonic goals.
In order to understand the lines of argument presented here, it is essential to understand the theories of Carl von Clausewitz, in which military and political/diplomatic undertakings were envisioned as a seamless continuity.
Successful prosecution of policy is thus seen as proper integration of the military and the economic/political.
EXCERPT: . . . . This is a direct translation of [German Chancellor] Bethman-Hollweg’s internal memo on Germany’s war aims, from September 1914. . . .
. . . . We must create a central European economic association through common customs treaties, to include France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria-Hungary, Poland and perhaps Italy, Sweden and Norway. This association will not have any common constitutional supreme authority and all its members will be formally equal, but in practice will be under German leadership and must stabilize Germany’s economic dominance over ‘Middle Europe’ . . .
COMMENT: Writing in 1943, Paul Winkler foresaw that the Prusso-Teutonics would realize their goals through the creation of a German-dominated central European economic union (bearing a striking resemblance to today’s European Monetary Union.) One of the principal influences on List’s thinking was the “continental” concept of Napoleon, who attempted to economically unite Europe under French influence.
EXCERPT: . . . . Charles Andler, a French author, summed up certain ideas of List in his work, The Origins of Pan-Germanism, (published in 1915.) “It is necessary to organize continental Europe against England. Napoleon I, a great strategist, also knew the methods of economic hegemony. His continental system, which met with opposition even from countries which might have profited from such an arrangement should be revived, but, this time, not as an instrument of Napoleonic domination. The idea of united Europe in a closed trade bloc is no longer shocking if Germany assumes domination over such a bloc—and not France. [Emphasis added.] Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, willingly or by force, will enter this ‘Customs Federation.’ Austria is assumed to be won over at the outset. Even France, if she gets rid of her notions of military conquest, will not be excluded. The first steps the Confederation would take to assure unity of thought and action would be to establish a joint representative body, as well as to organize a common fleet. But of course, both the headquarters of the Federation and its parliamentary seat would be in Germany. [Emphasis added.] . . .
COMMENT: The Listian model was put into effect by the Third Reich, as can be gleaned by reading Dorothy Thompson’s analysis of Germany’s plans for world dominance by a centralized European economic union. Ms. Thompson was writing in The New York Herald Tribune on May 31, 1940! Her comments are reproduced by Tetens on page 92.
EXCERPT: . . . . The Germans have a clear plan of what they intend to do in case of victory. I believe that I know the essential details of that plan. I have heard it from a sufficient number of important Germans to credit its authenticity . . . Germany’s plan is to make a customs union of Europe, with complete financial and economic control centered in Berlin. This will create at once the largest free trade area and the largest planned economy in the world. In Western Europe alone . . . there will be an economic unity of 400 million persons . . . To these will be added the resources of the British, French, Dutch and Belgian empires. These will be pooled in the name of Europa Germanica . . .
“The Germans count upon political power following economic power, and not vice versa. Territorial changes do not concern them, because there will be no ‘France’ or ‘England,’ except as language groups. Little immediate concern is felt regarding political organizations . . . . No nation will have the control of its own financial or economic system or of its customs. [Italics are mine–D.E.] The Nazification of all countries will be accomplished by economic pressure. In all countries, contacts have been established long ago with sympathetic businessmen and industrialists . . . . As far as the United States is concerned, the planners of the World Germanica laugh off the idea of any armed invasion. They say that it will be completely unnecessary to take military action against the United States to force it to play ball with this system. . . . Here, as in every other country, they have established relations with numerous industries and commercial organizations, to whom they will offer advantages in co-operation with Germany. . . .
COMMENT: The European Economic Community was formally articulated by Reich officials during the war, with the clear design to extend and amplify the arrangement after the war. Below, we quote Gustave Koenigs, Secretary of State at a 1942 conference about the European Economic Community.
. . . At the moment the so-called “European Economic Community” is not yet fact; there is no pact, no organisation, no council and no General Secretary. However, it is not just a part of our imagination or some dream by a politician — it is very real. . . .
. . . Its roots are in the economic co-operation of the European nations and it will develop after the war into a permanent European economic community. . . .