"The Greatest Crime of the Twentieth Century"
When attempting to solve a series of crimes, detectives tend to look for patterns and gradually create a profile of the criminal and his/her methods. In the same way, while carrying out research for what I believe was the greatest and most appalling crime in history – the First World War - I became increasingly aware of a terrible pattern which bears the distinct hallmark of the methods that have been – and continue to be - used by some of the most secretive and powerful criminals imaginable.
Speaking of the French Revolution, Elena Maria Vidal eloquently points out that a secretive group deliberately provoked the revolution and purposely and unjustly vilified King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in order to justify their subsequent executions. The King had to be removed and the Roman Catholic Church suppressed so that these people could gain the power they were seeking. It is almost too horrific to contemplate but, while researching the background for my ‘Shattered Crowns’ trilogy, it became very apparent that the same methods were used to provoke the war in order to bring about the collapse of the autocracies of Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary...and over eight million soldiers and many more millions of civilians from over one hundred countries were killed in the process.
Who could commit such a crime and why? Perhaps it is worth asking who had anything to gain from this war. The monarchs certainly didn’t. Wars are extremely expensive and they each contributed to the war effort from their own personal funds, gaining nothing in return. What’s more, they were friends and cousins and to the last moment they were desperately seeking to avoid war. Tsar Nicholas of Russia and Emperor Franz Josef of Austria (and his heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand) had many domestic problems to deal with, while Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany was prospering and thriving after forty years of peace. Archduke Franz Ferdinand (who sadly is only remembered for his murder) had made definite plans to bring greater autonomy to the different ethnic groups within Austria-Hungary and, had he lived to succeed as Emperor, he would have implemented many changes, creating greater harmony within his Empire. Sadly, those who wanted a war, did not want greater harmony and Franz Ferdinand was murdered. Even more striking is the fact that the week before the Archduke was murdered, Kaiser Wilhelm paid him an informal visit during which both men agreed to make friendly overtures to the Tsar of Russia in order to maintain peace in Europe. This is rarely mentioned in the history books, nor is it stated that all the monarchs were away on holiday in the days immediately prior to the declarations of war.
Unfortunately, however, these independent monarchs stood in the way of the same group who perpetrated the French Revolution, in their desire to gain control of the resources and the economies of these nations. In order to do that, it was necessary to bring down the autocracies and the easiest method of so-doing was first to bankrupt them by expensive war (at the same time the members of this group were lending vast sums at very high interest to both sides) and to create chaos, disillusionment and disorder. After this – as clearly happens today - the very people who created the disorder could then step in and restore calm on their own terms. While this was happening, the economic centre for the Allies shifted from London to Wall Street – so soon after the founding of the (privately owned, I believe?) Federal Reserve - and over a thousand new millionaires prospered almost overnight in the United States. Interestingly, too, Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian revolution was being driven around New York in a limousine and, soon after his and Lenin’s arrival in Russia, vast amounts of Russian gold were shipped to a specific American-based banking house and access was granted to the Russian oilfields. In the same way, by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the thriving German Chemical industry passed into the hands of foreign industrialists, and all German patents taken out in America were sold for next to nothing to pharmaceutical companies, coincidentally owned by members of the same banking/industrialist families.
It was not sufficient, however, to gain economic control. There was also a spiritual aspect to this crime. Austria-Hungary – the Apostolic Kingdom – was bound to the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Imperial Family were bound to Orthodoxy. It was necessary to destroy these links and, through the media and oppressive laws, turn people to a more materialistic ideology (which, of course, profits the banker-industrialists).
The Tsar was murdered with his entire family; Kaiser Wilhelm and Emperor Karl (who had succeeded to the Austro-Hungarian thrones in 1916) were deposed and forced into exile; and, as with Louis and Marie Antoinette, they were each vilified. The Tsar has been erroneously portrayed as weakling; the Kaiser as a madman and a warmonger, and Emperor Karl (now Blessed Karl of Austria) as an alcoholic womaniser! It is easy to refute each of these ridiculous accusations but it would take to long to do so here.
In the Shattered Crowns trilogy, I hope to have demonstrated the courage and humanity of these monarchs who were genuinely concerned for the welfare of their people and who endured many personal tragedies, and to cast a different light on the greatest crime of the twentieth century. The first two books The Scapegoats (1913-1914) and The Sacrifice (1914-1917) are available in paperback and Kindle format; the third book of the trilogy ‘The Betrayal’, will be coming soon.
ShareThank you, Elena, for your hospitality and allowing me to write on your blog!