Thoughts about D-day (7)


The Vichy Government was the Government of France and its Empire.  Germany left the French Empire intact.  Britain made war on it.  There was war in Syria in 1941.  It was war between Britain and France.  Britain conquered French Syria and left it under the control of the French Resistance for the duration of the War, and then declared it independent.

Other parts of the Empire, lost during the War, were restored when the Resistance took over from Vichy.  Resistant France had never ceased to be Imperial France.  In May 1945 popular celebrations in Algeria of the defeat of Nazism slid over among Algerians to demonstrations in support of national self-determination in the city of Setif.  It was bombed by the Anti-Fascist Government and dozens of villages in the region were destroyed.

Then in French Indochina Independence was declared by the movement led by Ho Chi Minh, who had taken part in the Anti-Fascist war, and Anti-Fascist France made war on it.  That was the first Vietnamese War.  It ended in disaster for the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, after which the cause of Western civilisation there was taken up by the United States.

Britain's first Imperial War after victory in the Anti-Fascist War was fought against the Anti-Fascist movement in Malaya.  The Anti-Fascists in Malaya imagined that the defeat of Fascism opened the way for Malayan Independence.  The British Labour Government thought otherwise.  Britain had virtually bankrupted itself to keep its war on Germany going and it absolutely needed Malayan tin to make itself solvent again.  Its war on the Malayan Anti-Fascists was a dirty war fought with Concentration Camps, population controls, and racist policies designed to pit the Malays against the Chinese.

When Malaya was saved for Western capitalist civilisation, Britain had to fight another dirty war by similar methods to retain control of Kenyan rubber and reinforce the recently-established White Colony (which still remains and retains control of the better land).  It has been reckoned that a third of a million Kenyan natives were killed by one means and another in that War.

The Malayan and Kenyan Wars were not called Wars.  It was thought that calling them Wars might bring them under the jurisdiction of the international law system said to have been established by the Anti-Fascist Powers by the Nuremberg Trials of German leaders, so they were called Emergencies.

(Writers of the Revisionist Establishment declare, without a shred of factual foundation, that the existence of a World War was denied in Ireland during the War, and that the War worked up by Britain between 1939 and 1941 was called The Emergency.  See for example Professor Brian Girvin's book, The Emergency, and Dr. Ferghal McGarry's article in Irish Historical Studies, Nov. 2005.).

In my experience—and I was there at the time—the World War was invariably called the World War both in general conversation and in the newspapers, and its progress was reported in the papers.  Many of the papers are now available on the Internet and what I say can be checked by the touch of a button.  What was called The Emergency in Ireland during the War was the footing on which Irish life was placed by the War.  The Wars whose existence was officially denied by being called Emergencies were the British Wars in Malaya and Kenya.)


The United States had few Imperial possessions to defend.  It was Anti-Imperial.  Nevertheless it fought a war to retake the Philippines.  In general its object was to gain the possession of the European Empires as markets.  It stood for the free development of market economies.  But a free market economy was, to its understanding, one to which American capital had free access.  Interference with the operation of American capital was denial of Freedom.  If this was done by Governments nationalising enterprises in the interests of the national economy, that was Socialism, the ante-Chamber of Communism.  And Communism was European and therefore came under the prohibitions of the Monroe Doctrine (against European interference in the affairs of American states).

In 1954 the Guatemalan Government tried to restrict the operation of the United Fruit Company.  It was an elected Government.  Washington intervened and installed a Government which kept the Guatemalan economy freely open to US capital.  That was the first of many interventions.  Some of them are related in The Political Economy Of The United Nations Security Council by J.R.Vreeland and A. Dreher, Cambridge 2004.)

Fascism was incidental to the British war on Germany in 1939.  The Anti-Fascist War was the Communist defence against invasion by the political force which had arisen against it in 1920, and which had been recognised by democratic leaders as the force which saved Europe from Communism in the disrupted conditions brought about by the Great War.

After 1945 the Western Allies acted, in defence of their Empires, in the way which in their wartime propaganda they had described as specifically Fascist.


The Communist system beyond Russia was not based on military conquest operating by military rule, but on an influential political stratum sharing the general outlook of the Soviet State and willing to construct national regimes in alliance with it.  Russia was in military possession of the territories in which those States were established by virtue of having defended itself against German invasion.

The Western Powers were anxious that Russia should not make a separate peace with Germany, when it had recovered its own pre-War territories.  They wanted continuing Russian action beyond the borders of pre-War Russia until the unconditional surrender of Germany—the Western war aim agreed at the Casablanca Conference by Churchill and Roosevelt—was achieved.  The unconditional surrender demand maximised German resistance, and this—combined with British dilatoriness in prosecuting the War—ensured that Russia was in military possession of a large tract of territory beyond its borders when the War ended.

The Western Powers recognised in 1945, up to the moment of German surrender, that Russia had the right to guarantees about the post-War conduct of the East European states, in the light of the part they had played in bringing about the German invasion.  But, once Germany surrendered, the Anti-Fascist dimension of the Western war effort—the representation of Russia in Western propaganda in a way that was acceptable to the Soviet Government—was discarded.  The fundamental antagonism against Russia revived even as the Red Army was capturing Berlin.  And the implication of what soon became the Western Cold War view was that Russia, having broken German military power, was somehow obliged to facilitate the establishment of regimes hostile to it in the countries it had freed from Nazi rule.

In the light of the military and political reality of the 1945 situation, this expressed an infantile morality of understanding.  It was therefore not often expressed clearly and simply, but it was the attitude underlying Western conduct.

In different circumstances, the political neutralisation of Eastern Europe and Germany, with effective guarantees, might have been arranged.  But that was not a practical possibility in 1945.