11/9 and 9/11: And We Thought We Were Free

by Gary G. Kohls, MD

71 years ago this week, on 11/9/38, the horrifying event that the Nazi Party called Krystallnacht occurred. It could be said, that the events of 11/9/38 was the official start of Adolf Hitler’s overt and “endless war” against the Jews, but the methods used to justify that war were not an aberration. Rather, the Night of the Shattering Glass, which saw many synagogues destroyed, all the plate glass windows of a thousand Jewish businesses in Germany shattered and the first 26,000 Jewish men, of many millions more to come, sent off to concentration camps, was simply another example of an all-too-common historical reality that has been going on ever since the first tyrant orchestrated the first false flag operation, allowing him to “innocently” and patriotically declare the first “retaliatory” war. And then, by repeatedly using cunning propaganda techniques, that tyrant could plausibly deny responsibility for the coming violence because the enemy was, after all, the one who drew “first blood”.

Because of the assassination of a mid-level Nazi party bureaucrat in Paris (by a justifiably angry young Polish Jew) two days earlier, many patriotic Germans, knowing absolutely nothing about the details of the assassination, were successfully inflamed and angered by the right-wing radio and mainstream media propaganda machine of Joseph Goebbels. The thugs who went on the rampage that night justified their anti-Semitic outburst of violence by asking the question: "We had to do something, didn't we?"

Likewise, soon after 9/11/01, in the high-energy confusion after the implosion of the three World Trade Center towers (towers 1, 2 and 7 – see www.ae911truth.org, www.911scholars.org, www.loosechange.org or www.911mysteries.com for more on that issue), there was generated the reflex desire for patriotic Americans for “doing something”, including some act of blind retaliation against whomever was fingered by the propaganda machinery of the White House and endlessly parroted by the mainstream media. None of the counter-balancing evidence that could have refuted the false propaganda was allowed to be heard and so the angry citizenry, who knew nothing about the real agenda, said, “we had to do something, didn’t we?”

In retrospect however, the events of 11/9/38 and 9/11/01 have the irrefutable marks of false flag operations, where pre-planned actions, intended to provoke a conflict, are carried out by the aggressor so as to make it look like the intended victim is the perpetrator of the deed. Indeed the events of 9/11/01 fulfilled the criteria for an expressly-desired “New Pearl Harbor” for the neo-conservative think tank, the Project for the New American Century. In both 11/9 and 9/11, the wars that resulted were far out of proportion to the initiating event and were a direct violation of the Just War principles - even if the declarations of war had been legitimate, which they were not. And in both cases, the dogs of war were released, never to be reigned in until it was probably too late to save the crumbling empires involved.

Brutal tyrants and their hidden and well-financed supporters, which include the war-profiteering corporations that appear to rule the world (referred to in the New Testament as the “Principalities and Powers”) have been behind every aggressive war in recent history, with, ironically, the baptized and confirmed sons and daughters of Christian churches doing much of the killing.

The realities of Krystallnacht and classical war-mongering need to be examined. 11/9 and 9/11 have many commonalities and offer many lessons that must be learned if people of good will are going to be able to stop the wholesale disasters for the nations and people who have already been destroyed by American militarism or avert what may be a coming catastrophe for the American empire, the planet and its creatures.

In 1955, Milton Mayer’s book, titled They Thought They Were Free was published. The book chronicles the lives of 10 men, all German Christians from a small town in Germany. Each of the men had been directly involved, in their roles as patriots, Nazi party functionaries or militia members, in the acts of arson and terrorism against the local Jewish synagogue and Jewish businesses in their town on night of Nov. 9, 1938.

Each of the 10 that Mayer interviewed had eagerly joined the Nazi party while Hitler was gaining power, and when Mayer interviewed them 8 years after the German empire had ended up in ashes, they still felt strongly that what Hitler had done for Germany (ie, Caucasian Christians) proved to them that the Fuhrer was their savior - a political genius who had fashioned an economic miracle. They had never known such prosperity (albeit temporary) or feelings of communal warmth, security and prideful patriotism, a patriotism that increasingly united the nation whenever there were any threats from anti-fascist foreigners (aka left-wing communist “terrorists”) outside their borders or threats from the anti-fascist freedom-fighters (aka socialist "terrorists") within their borders. The feeling that the right-wing Nazi party cared for all true Germans was genuinely felt.

Here is an excerpt from Mayer’s book:

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever-widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider. The whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway ... (it) gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about ... and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises', and so fascinated by the machinations of the 'national enemies' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures' must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next, and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.

"You don't want to act, or even talk, alone. You don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble'. But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago ... things your father could never have imagined."

Mayer’s sobering book offers deep insights into fascism which should help the reader understand why ordinary middle-class church-going people could embrace an ideology as diabolical as fascism. The following list of fascist traits includes some items in the not-so-hidden platforms of some modern political parties and religious groups.

They include: 1) extreme “my country right or wrong” nationalism (= blind patriotism); 2) lack of concern for universal human rights; 3) willingness to demonize scapegoats in order to unify the nation; 4) willingness to use military violence or terror in pursuit of what are advertised as a nation’s interests; 5) sexism; 6) press censorship of unwelcome truths; 7) desire for a strong national security state, no matter what the cost; 8) the merger of church and state; 9) support for corporate agendas; 19) suppression of trade unions; 11) anti-science/anti-intellectualism; 12) obsession with law and order; 14) corrupt crony capitalism; 14) fraudulent elections; 15) xenophobia (fear of foreigners); 16) homophobia/heterosexism. This is a list largely borrowed from a powerful article published in the 2003 spring issue of Free Inquiry magazine (volume 23, number 2) entitled: Fascism Anyone? authored by professor Lawrence W. Britt, PhD.

The perceived need to expand the empire, grow the economy, combined with the willingness to invade, occupy and then plunder the resources of a conquered country are common realities in the business of war-making. It is not hard to understand. And it should be understood that war profiteering industries like the Krupp family-dominated German weapons industries were the most important component of Nazi Germany’s economic recovery of the 1930s. History tells us that when Big Business strongly influences national policies or infiltrates government, trouble is ahead. Mussolini famously said that "fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power".

So what are the lessons we could learn from Mayer and Britt and other observers of history? Obviously, if we refuse to look at the history of the demise of empires through the lens of unbiased history and if we refuse to listen to the billions of suffering victims of the policies of our own empire (established and sustained by rather ruthless economic and military domination) we will never be able to figure out the cures of our maladies, much less come up with strategies for preventing future mistakes, errors that have been made by the world’s other militarism-dependent empires that have crashed and burned over the centuries.

It is important to note here that all empires are at risk of eventually falling into financial collapse and chaos, especially when their power groups [such as a nation’s national security apparatus, its financial elite, its corporations and/or its judicial, legislative and executive branches of government] have become so corrupted by their lust for power, their greed, their inertia and their indifference to human suffering that their impoverished and disenfranchised victims rise up in rebellion.

We need more resisters who are willing to speak out and warn about the coming catastrophes.

The whistle-blowers and the nonviolent people of conscience who are regularly harassed and imprisoned, especially in anti-democratic nations, are willing to suffer for exercising their disappearing First Amendment rights. They are the ones who are willing to speak out courageously against tyranny, even if it means jail time. The ancient and modern prophets such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Jesus also preached against the tyranny of unjust governments and were willing to risk suffering for the cause.. The people of conscience who have been truly inspired and strengthened by those prophets are doing the work for those of us silent or apathetic ones that Mayer wrote about. The rest of us need to join them and go to the streets in protest before it is too late.

If America continues to spiral downwards, unrestrained, from the covert fascism of the present to the more overt kind in the future (see the definition of fascism in paragraph 11 above), we will surely lament our decision not to act in protest.

Encouragingly, the call to action has raised up courageous prophetic voices who will cry out the warning. People of the Christian faith communities, in particular, who have heard the pleas of Gandhi, King and Jesus to resist and have heard the clear gospel call to work nonviolently for true peace and true justice, must be among the ones to lead the struggle. For as many of the heroes of the international peace movement have said, “if you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor.”

Looking clearly at the history of false flag operations that led directly to the massive death and destruction of both the innocent and the guilty, like those of 11/9/38 and 9/11/01, we will be able to see through the propaganda machinery that tries to obscure the truth. This process, which takes some work, is an essential first step in the process of getting America on the right side of justice and reversing its imperial decline.

I hope that I am wrong about the similarities between 11/9 and 9/11, but when one looks with a critical eye at these two realities, the signs are ominous

May we learn the lessons of history before it's too late. If we wait, we may at some time in the future have to admit that we were wrong when we thought we had been free.


Dr. Kohls is a retired physician from the Duluth, MN area who writes about peace, justice, mental health and religion.


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