John Moore reviews The Fourth Reich? by Sarah Moore
The Fourth Reich? by Sarah Moore (Jollies Publishing, £10.50)
IN THIS book, Sarah Moore argues that Germany started the first world war by continuing the pattern of invasion of neighbouring countries set by Bismarck in the 19th century.
While that perception of the German militaristic tradition is true, it’s only half the story, a charge that could be levelled at a number of the theses propounded by Moore in The Fourth Reich.
She ignores the context of rampant imperialism — capitalist accumulation on a world scale — in the era of monopoly capitalism, when rival groups of finance-capitalist combines governing the European “Great Powers” sought colonies to secure not only markets and raw materials but outlets for capital exports.
Millions of young men died for the British empire, which ruled a quarter of the world, in a confrontation between a relatively new German nation which had rising industrial might.
The Great Powers could only expand further by large-scale wars between themselves. Germany was beginning to penetrate markets that the British ruling class had long regarded as its own.
In the period before 1914, Anglo-German rivalry centred on South America and the Turkish empire. Britain, with an existing empire, was able to claim that the Germans were guilty of starting the war because they were trying to create their own.
The actions of politicians after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand provided the spark to ignite a war fashioned by inter-imperialist rivalry.
Moore goes on to argue that the nationalists caused the 1929 stock market crash and the Depression in order to persuade the German people to vote for Hitler and another war.
Yet the lack of planning and instability of capitalism globally is not deemed worthy of interest and, likewise, the author’s focus on German responsibility for the credit bubble that burst and caused the financial crisis in 2007-8 is unbalanced.
The same verdict applies to her criticism of Stalin’s economic policies in the 1930s, including his economic co-operation with the German Krupp industrial conglomerate. Stalin had to establish the Soviet industrial base as a matter of life or death for the struggling socialist state, whereas the sacrifice of 17 million lives in World War I was no more than the barbarism of imperialism.
Moore makes good points about the threat from German imperialism in recent times, exposing its role in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the potential for the EU’s transformation into a Fourth Reich.
But, overall, her analysis ignores the threat to peace from the imperialist bloc, especially that posed by the US.