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Strategies of Attrition (II)

[1]GermanForeignPolicy.com

[See also Strate­gies of Attri­tion (I) [2] and Strate­gies of Attri­tion (III) [3].]

BEIJING/LHASA/BERLIN
(Own report) — Ger­man politi­cians have announced an esca­la­tion of the chan­cel­lor’s Tibet offen­sive. Accord­ing to com­ments made by the Prime Min­is­ter of Hesse, Roland Koch (CDU), Angela Merkel’s meet­ing with the Dalai Lama is only the begin­ning of large scale inter­fer­ence into Chi­na’s inter­nal affairs, that also should incite oth­er West­ern states to give up their reser­va­tions. Berlin con­sid­ers the moment par­tic­u­lar­ly favor­able for activ­i­ties to weak­en Bei­jing, because as the host of next year’s Olympic games, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic is restrict­ed in its capac­i­ty to retal­i­ate. Berlin’s Tibet activ­i­ties are part of a cross par­ty gen­er­al con­sen­sus and are in line with old tra­di­tions of Ger­man for­eign pol­i­cy, that, already in the 1930s and 1940s, con­sid­ered Lhasa as an impor­tant base for inter­fer­ing in Cen­tral Asia. The Ger­man-Tibetan con­tacts, that were estab­lished at the time, have not only out­lived World War II, but are still func­tion­ing today, as german-foreign-policy.com reports in the sec­ond part of its series focused on strate­gies of attri­tion.

The Free World
Soon “oth­er state and polit­i­cal lead­ers will fol­low the chan­cel­lor’s exam­ple and inten­si­fy their sup­port for the Dalai Lama’s non-vio­lent strug­gle for more auton­o­my in Tibet,” declared the Prime Min­is­ter of Hesse, Roland Koch (CDU) [1] only one day after Bei­jing rescind­ed its can­cel­la­tion of a bilat­er­al for­eign min­is­ters’ meet­ing, show­ing it was will­ing to relent after Ger­many’s affront on Sep­tem­ber 23.[2] Koch declared, that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has “to real­ize”, that “the free world is not pre­pared to for­get or con­ceal the sit­u­a­tion of the Tibetan people.”[3] It would become “more dif­fi­cult”, to exclude “the human rights ques­tion” from the dis­cus­sion on the Olympics. So-called NGOs, among them the “Reporters With­out Bor­ders” are launch­ing cam­paigns accord­ing­ly. Their activists are orga­niz­ing demon­stra­tions in Bei­jing and have excel­lent con­nec­tions to the media in Ger­many. This orga­ni­za­tion is known for sim­i­lar cam­paigns against the Cuban gov­ern­ment and does not deny to have received sub­ven­tions from US-Sources.[4]

Tra­di­tion
The gov­ern­men­t’s Tibet pol­i­cy is sup­port­ed across par­ty lines in Ger­many. Among the Dalai Lama’s sym­pa­thiz­ers since the 1980s are Roland Koch, (CDU), as well as many in the Green par­ty and since the ear­ly 1990s, the Friedrich Nau­mann Foun­da­tion, close­ly affil­i­at­ed with the lib­er­al FDP Par­ty. Eth­nic minor­i­ty group (“Volks­grup­pen”) experts, trained in Ger­man eth­nic mod­els, from the Ger­mano­phon­ic North­ern Ital­ian “South Tyrol”, are coun­sel­ing the Tibetan “exile gov­ern­ment” on ques­tions of “auton­o­my” (german-foreign-policy.com reported).[5] Berlin’s inter­fer­ence in Tibet is fol­low­ing, above all, the tra­di­tions of Ger­man pol­i­cy, which already back in the 1930s and 1940s con­sid­ered Lhasa to be an impor­tant base in Cen­tral Asia. At the time, sci­en­tists or so-called sci­en­tists made expe­di­tions into the con­flict-rid­den west­ern regions of Chi­na. The Sovi­et Union and Great Britain (via India) were also try­ing to gain influ­ence. Inner Mon­go­lia, Xin­jiang (East­ern Turkestan) and Tibet were the tar­gets.

Cau­casian Racial Ele­ment
The zool­o­gist Ernst Schae­fer was one of the first pro­tag­o­nists of the Ger­man Tibet research. In 1931/32 and from 1934 to 1936 he par­tic­i­pat­ed in two Ger­man-Amer­i­can Tibet expe­di­tions. In recog­ni­tion of his ser­vices for zoo­log­i­cal research in this area, he was pro­mot­ed to SS-Ober­sturm­führer. In 1938/39 he led a third expe­di­tion: “Tibet expe­di­tion Ernst Schae­fer. Under the patron­age of Reichs­führer SS Himm­ler and in con­nec­tion with Ahnenerbe (ances­tral her­itage) e.V Berlin”.[6] The search for traces of the “Aryan race” in the Tibetan moun­tains was one of the impor­tant objec­tives of the SS and “Ahnenerbe” expe­di­tion. A few years lat­er, Bruno Beger, one of the par­tic­i­pants in the expe­di­tion, announced, that he had rec­og­nized a “Cau­casian racial ele­ment in the Tibetan nobil­i­ty”. This is how the Nazi racists jus­ti­fied their efforts to use Lhasa as their base in Asia.

“Friend­ship, Mis­ter Hitler“
The 1938/39 Tibet expe­di­tion estab­lished the first con­tacts between the gov­ern­ments in Berlin and Lhasa. “Under the slo­gan of the ‘meet­ing of the west­ern and east­ern swasti­ka’ [7] polit­i­cal con­tacts with the Tibetan gov­ern­ment could be made in Lhasa”, accord­ing to an analy­sis of the Tibet research dur­ing the Nazi period.[8] As they left for home in the sum­mer of 1939, Ernst Schae­fer and his col­leagues received a let­ter from the Tibetan leader, in which he declared that Schae­fer had sought to estab­lish clos­er ties between the gov­ern­ment of Berlin and Lhasa: “Your Excel­len­cy, King Mis­ter Hitler, we agree (...) with your desire for mutu­al friend­ship.” The Tibetan gov­ern­men­t’s effort to become more inde­pen­dent from the British colo­nial pow­er was the motive behind this rapprochement.[9]

“A Lit­tle Sab­o­tage“
The sub­se­quent Tibet expe­di­tion tar­get­ed Lon­don and was dis­cussed in Berlin on Sep­tem­ber 4, 1939, one day after Great Britain entered the war. Ernst Schae­fer, Bruno Beger and the For­eign Min­istry par­tic­i­pat­ed in this dis­cus­sion. They decid­ed to send 30 offi­cers of the SS to Tibet, under Schae­fer­’s com­mand, with enough weapons to arm 1000 to 2000 mili­tias, that they planned to recruit to fight against (British) India. Schae­fer was ordered to receive train­ing in the “SS-Leib­stan­darte Adolf Hitler”. “If you have to solve a mil­i­tary prob­lem, you have to first be trained and edu­cat­ed as a solid­er”, is how the “Reichs­führer SS” Hein­rich Himm­ler explained the sci­en­tist’s re-edu­ca­tion: “A lit­tle sab­o­tage and explo­sions won’t do the job.”[10] But these plans con­flict­ed with plans to weak­en British posi­tions in Asia with the aid of Afghan allies, and were final­ly dropped because of inter-min­is­te­r­i­al dis­putes in Berlin.

“Pan Mon­go­lian” Vas­sal
Ger­man plans for Tibet became top­i­cal for the last time, dur­ing the Nazi rule. in 1942. Impressed by the Wehrma­cht’s advance on Sovi­et ter­ri­to­ry, Himm­ler ordered the “total explo­ration of the Cen­tral Asian vital liv­ing space (“Lebensraum”)”.[11] When, in the sum­mer of 1942, Japan­ese troops advanced into the region bor­der­ing Tibet, they encoun­tered a Ger­man ally in Lhasa — the Dalai Lama. The god-king’s camar­il­la was hop­ing to dis­en­gage itself from Chi­nese, Sovi­et Russ­ian and British influ­ence and to eter­nal­ize the Tibetan feu­dal dic­ta­tor­ship. The goal was to cre­ate a “Pan-Mon­go­lian Fed­er­a­tion” — under the lead­er­ship of the Third Reich and Japan.[12]

Skull Col­lec­tion
Ger­many’s endeav­ors both for Mon­go­lia, as well as its activ­i­ties in Tibet out­last­ed the war. Ernst Schae­fer­’s col­lab­o­ra­tor, Hel­mut Hoff­mann, became pro­fes­sor at the Munich Uni­ver­si­ty, where he set “the sci­en­tif­ic stan­dards for the Ger­man Tibetology”.[13] In 1952, Bruno Beger set out on his next Tibet expe­di­tion. Until 1943, the same Bruno Beger pur­sued “Mon­gol research” in the Auschwitz death camp and assem­bled a “col­lec­tion of Asian skulls”.[14] In 1994, he was the Dalai Lama’s offi­cial guest in London.[15] He also main­tained good con­tacts to anoth­er pro­tag­o­nist of Ger­man Tibet activ­i­ties: Hein­rich Har­rer, who had also been an SS Cen­tral Asian activist.[16] He vis­it­ed Lhasa for the first time
between 1946 and 1950, where he worked as a teacher of the incum­bent Dalai Lama. He has writ­ten sev­er­al books on Tibet, which are still pop­u­lar in Ger­many. When the Green Par­ty began to reac­ti­vate Ger­man Tibet pol­i­cy in the 1980s, they also used his writings.[17]

Cen­trifu­gal Forces
The mix­ture of eth­nic ingre­di­ents con­tain­ing obvi­ous­ly racist ele­ments and triv­ial con­cepts about reli­gious life in the Far East, is now being enriched with “ques­tions of human rights”, which serve the Ger­man geopo­lit­i­cal expan­sion pol­i­cy. As in the past, the object is to use Tibet against the Chi­nese cen­tral state and the cen­trifu­gal forces of dozens of nation­al­i­ties to wear down Bei­jing from the inte­ri­or.

In the next sequence of this series focus­ing on strate­gies of attri­tion, german-foreign-policy.com will expose Ger­man and Japan­ese plans to include Mon­go­lian allies in a joint pol­i­cy against Chi­na.

[1] Koch: Weit­ere Staatschefs wer­den Dalai Lama unter­stützen; Der Tagesspiegel 26.09.2007

[2] see also Strate­gies of Attri­tion (I)

[3] Koch: Weit­ere Staatschefs wer­den Dalai Lama unter­stützen; Der Tagesspiegel 26.09.2007

[4] Les men­songes de Reporters sans Fronitères; www.voltairenet.org/article127332.html

[5] see also Strate­gies of Attri­tion (I)

[6] Rein­hard Greve: Tibet­forschung im SS-Ahnenerbe, in: Lebenslust und Frem­den­furcht. Eth­nolo­gie im Drit­ten Reich, her­aus­gegeben von Thomas Hauschild, Frank­furt am Main 1995

[7] In Tibet sowie weit­eren Staat­en Asiens wird das Hak­enkreuz tra­di­tionell als religiös­es Sym­bol ver­wen­det. Eine poli­tis­che Bedeu­tung ist damit nicht ver­bun­den.

[8] Rein­hard Greve: Tibet­forschung im SS-Ahnenerbe, in: Lebenslust und Frem­den­furcht. Eth­nolo­gie im Drit­ten Reich, her­aus­gegeben von Thomas Hauschild, Frank­furt am Main 1995

[9], [10] Peter Mier­au: Nation­al­sozial­is­tis­che Expan­sion­spoli­tik. Deutsche Asien-Expe­di­tio­nen 1933–1945, München 2006

[11], [12] Rein­hard Greve: Tibet­forschung im SS-Ahnenerbe, in: Lebenslust und Frem­den­furcht. Eth­nolo­gie im Drit­ten Reich, her­aus­gegeben von Thomas Hauschild, Frank­furt am Main 1995

[13] Peter Mier­au: Nation­al­sozial­is­tis­che Expan­sion­spoli­tik. Deutsche Asien-Expe­di­tio­nen 1933–1945, München 2006

[14] Im KZ Auschwitz selek­tierte Beger über 80 Häftlinge, die anschließend in das KZ Struthof ver­schleppt und dort für eine Skelettsamm­lung getötet wur­den.

[15] SS-Offizier Bruno Beger; www.mdr.de/kultur/film/1376801-hintergrund-1376705.html

[16] Hein­rich Har­rer trat 1938 von der SA zur SS über und nahm 1939 an der deutschen Nan­ga Par­bat-Expe­di­tion teil. 1939 geri­et er in britis­che Gefan­gen­schaft, kon­nte 1944 fliehen und erre­ichte im Jan­u­ar 1946 Lhasa, wo er schließlich Lehrer des heuti­gen Dalai Lama wurde.

[17] vgl. z.B. den Sam­mel­band “Tibet — ein verge­waltigtes Land”, den Petra Kel­ly und Gert Bas­t­ian, bei­de Bun­destagsab­ge­ord­nete der “Grü­nen”, 1988 her­aus­gaben.