In 1954, Lord Russell of Liverpool, the Deputy Judge Advocate-General of the British Army of the Rhine, and legal adviser in the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials wrote his famous book, “The Scourge of the Swastika, A Short History of Nazi War Crimes”. The British government tried to stop its publication, but failed, and it became a bestseller.
It needs to be read again apparently, since we have witnessed some days ago the Canadian parliament, the seat of democracy of a nation that fought against the Nazis in WWII, and which suffered heavy losses doing so, and which was an ally of the Soviet Union, cheering and applauding a Waffen-SS soldier whose unit, committed unspeakable crimes against civilians in the Nazi occupied territories of the Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine, but also in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. They applauded in unison and with enthusiasm.
Lord Russell’s book is not complete for it was written as a summary of the evidence at the Nuremberg trials of 1946, which runs to many volumes. He felt it necessary that the people of the world know what crimes the Nazis committed so that the world would not forget what the Nazis are and what their ideology produces; atrocities not only against peoples in the foreign lands they invaded and destroyed, but also against the German people, first communists, labour leaders, and intellectuals, then Jews and Roma, then anyone who resisted.
The world celebrated when Marshal Zhukov and other commanding officers of the Red Army accepted the unconditional surrender of the Nazi government on the night of May 8/9th in 1945 in Berlin. The scourge of the swastika was ended. Peace had returned. Barbarism had been crushed, civilisation restored. Or so the man and woman in the street were told and thought.
But Nazism, the German variety of fascism, was never completely suppressed since it is the phase that capitalism shifts into when it wants to unburden itself of democracy, the rule of law, in order to impose on the people, the working people the absolute rule of capital to further its interests. Its primary purpose in the 1930s and 40s and after in Germany, Italy, and Spain was to crush the working-class movements of the communists and socialists, therefore Republican Spain, the USSR, to make people work for less, under harsher conditions, to increase profits, to make the dictatorship of capital complete. The fascist ideology requires scapegoats to take the blame for all societal problems caused by the capitalists themselves and for this purpose, it has always been useful in Europe and North America to blame the Jews, or some other group that cannot defend itself, to make people learn to hate and once they hate, to use violence and thus in turn prepare the way for their wars of aggression, massacre and plunder.
Justice John Parker of the US Court of Appeals stated in his review of the book in the American Bar Association Journal of May 1955 that,
“The danger is not from the Germans, but from the totalitarian state which came to flower in the Nazi regime.”
“ It is important that what happened under the Nazi regime be understood throughout the world in order that precautions be taken against it happening again,”
referring to the attempts by the Nazis to exterminate entire peoples and cultures, mass murders carried out on an industrial scale, invasions of nation after nation, their perfection of the police state, their cult of the glorification of death.
It has been known for a long time that Britain, France and elements of the United States supported Hitler’s rise to power in Germany to crush the communists there and the USSR, that Chamberlain and Daladier made a deal with Hitler in 1938-39 that he could attack the USSR with their approval so long as he did not attack them, though Hitler later decided he could not trust them and so decided to knock them out of the war first, then attack the USSR.
It has been known for a long time that the Allied move into Europe was delayed in order to allow the Nazi forces time to destroy the Red Army. When Stalin pushed for their assistance, they staged the Dieppe Raid of 1942 on the coast of France, a raid that the Germans were tipped off about and which they defeated with heavy losses, especially among the Canadians who were used as sacrificial victims, to convince Stalin that the Allies were still too weak to help him. The Allied invasion of France only took place in order to block the Red Army as far east as possible when it became clear it was going to sweep west into Germany and perhaps beyond. Stalin confronted Roosevelt at Yalta with intelligence that the Americans had been negotiating a separate peace with the Nazi government, so both could fight the Soviets.
It has been known that immediately after the Nazi surrender many Nazis were accommodated in the West, and war criminals allowed to escape through Spain, the UK, and other routes, even The Vatican was involved, to South America, Canada, the USA and other countries.
The formation of NATO some months after Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in the USA had the same ultimate objective as did Hitler, aggression against the USSR. This objective is still the primary goal of NATO.
The first head of NATO, Lord Ismay, a British General, stated in 1949 that
the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down,” and this is exactly what the Americans have done, as we see with the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage by the US and UK of Germany’s gas supply from Russia, the economic embargo of Russia, the war. In fact, Churchill proposed launching a nuclear attack on the USSR at the time, but wiser heads prevailed, and other slower strategies were adopted. Time passed, governments and social systems collapsed, new governments formed, but NATO moved east, each step an act of aggression against Russia, each step nearer bringing war closer.
The NATO backed Maidan coup d’état of 2014 in Kiev, which overthrew the elected government and imposed a Nazi infected regime, was a further act of aggression, not a provocation, for it is objective was to prepare Ukraine to be used to launch war against Russia, which commenced with the Nazi regime’s attacks on the Russia citizens of Ukraine living in the Donbass regions. The Nazis became useful once again.
Nazi paramilitary formations were formed in Ukraine, using Nazi icons and symbology. Nazis of WWII, like Bandera, were and are celebrated. The regime has acted as did the Hitler regime, first suppressing the communists, then other political parties favourable to Russia, suspended laws, imposed martial law; corruption has become a way of life, censorship, arrests, beatings, press gangs, murder made routine methods of state control.
The world was shocked by the Nazi crimes of the 30s and 40s. How could civilised people commit such barbarism was the question asked everywhere and was followed by “could it happen here?” Well, now we know it could, it can and it has. The world was shocked as every single member of the Canadian parliament saluted and cheered for the Nazis. President Zelensky was there and joined with them. Are we surprised?
Knowing the history of the West in the 20th century, we should not be. But the open display of adulation for Nazi war criminals in the Canadian House of Commons, in which the SS man sat next to the chief of staff of the Canadian Army and the head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the German ambassador, has shocked everyone.
It has shocked because the pretence, the mask of liberalism, of civilised behaviour, of democracy, respect for law and morality, has so openly fallen away, revealing the underlying forces, of brutality, tyranny and contempt for the people which has assumed power in the NATO states. Every Canadian Member of Parliament has to bear responsibility for their actions that day. No amount of scapegoating and finger pointing can absolve them of their guilt. For we just witnessed the Scourge of the Swastika accorded a presence and cheered in the Canadian parliament on a day, to adopt Roosevelt’s phrase, that will live in infamy.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.