Disgraceful Partisanship from Prince William 103

A jarringly inappropriate nationalistic speech from Prince William hit entirely the wrong tone and drew desultory applause at the commemoration ceremony for the start of the First World War, in Belgium today.

William’s whole attitude was based on the ludicrous jingoistic myth that there was a “right” and a “wrong” side in the First World War. This attitude pervaded the entire sickening performance. More than once he said we were “grateful” to Belgium for its “staunch resistance”. He mentioned the execution of Edith Cavell and the burning of the library of Loeven, with no balance of the equal war crimes on the other side.

In the dreadful nationalistic war between rival Imperial powers, the Belgian Empire was probably the most evil of all. To commend its resistance is ridiculous. Joseph Conrad’s great “Heart of Darkness” and “Congo Diary”, and the formal revelation by British Consul Roger Casement of the dreadful enslavement and abuse of the Congo population to provide vast profits to the Belgian crown, provide lasting testimony to the malignity of the Belgian Empire.

William referred to Cavell’s execution: he did not mention the execution of the heroic Roger Casement by the British, another key incident of the First World War.

The First World War was a terrible, terrible event. The millions of soldiers may have been activated by motives they believed to be noble, but the cause of war was the rival desires for aggrandisement of the very rich who ran and profited from the Empires. The Second World War was a fight against the evil philosophy of fascism, but there was no such cause for the First World War, which was simply a clash between Empires, and whose vindictive conclusion laid the foundations for fascism.

Commemorations which play to the “good side” “bad side” myth are uncalled for and should be widely condemned. That we still have a monarch-led elite which cannot admit the First World War is wrong is ludicrous. William stands baldly revealed as a reactionary ass.

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103 thoughts on “Disgraceful Partisanship from Prince William

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  • OldMark

    ‘The harshness of the Versailles Treaty terms has been greatly exaggerated as far as its “material” (ie, non-military) provisions are concerned.’

    Another classic from Habba, the master of the half truth.Monetary reparations were only one part of the pound of flesh extracted by the allies from a defeated Germany post WW1. German industrial patents, particularly in the chemical industry, put German industry in 1914 streets ahead of the US,UK, and France in a host of areas. After Versailles, these patents were stolen by the victorious Entente powers, to the disbenefit of the German economy and the considerable enrichment of chemical companies in the allied nations such as Du Pont and ICI.

  • Johnstone


    ‘they were being rescued from a country in a state of unrest by a country with whom they are now on reconciled and friendly terms.’

    Well ask your self please just why Libya is in a state of unrest?

    ‘A good example of the modern state of reconciliation!’

    What ‘modern state of reconciliation’ are you referring to please? That which comes about after horrific trench warfare where millions of young soldiers and civilians lost their lives and the whole of Europe was in turmoil for years.. oh yipee we have reconciliation.
    Its too late because they are all dead now so its meaningless! Its the chicken and the egg paradox. Become a pacifist then you might understand!

  • Jemand

    Courtenay – “Rapid demographic control?”

    I see long term status quo/equilibrium as providing the conditions for the talentless GovCorp gangsters to infiltrate, consolidate and institutionalise their power. Certainly, war leaves a terrible wake of destruction but it also flushes out the non-heroes, the dead and rotten wood. I’m not advocating for war, just saying it’s had a bad rap and maybe we ought to be thinking how we conduct the next world war as civilised belligerents.

  • Roderick Russell

    Prince William has just expressed a view on WW1 that most of us adhered to at one time. It was the view we were taught in school history classes. Propoganda presented as history! How could it have been otherwise?

    The causes of WW1 had to be presented as good versus evil. The politicians / establishment of the day were never going to tell us that we blundered into a war that we didn’t have to fight, that killed a million Britons, that bankrupted the country and led to the great depression. It was a war that affected all of us: I lost several great uncles and my grandfather had an arm blown off at Pashendaele. Nobody really knows the cause of WW1. Lloyd George put it down to incompetent politicians and diplomats. Now we learn that King George 5 had insisted secretly to the Forign Secretary that he find a way to justify a war with Germany.

    Whatever the reson for our involvement in WW1, I just hope that we don’t blunder into another one. I found this article very interesting.


  • Tom

    I don’t think it is fair to blame William himself but I agree about the speech. The conflict was a pointless disaster for Britain, and the individuals and institutions responsible should, belatedly, now be held to account for their stupidity and callous disregard of life. Instead their descendants hide behind the bravery of the soldiers.

  • Tony M

    Mention of Zionism is relevant and probably key to the whole affair, so lets not hear any rubbish about some Archduke’s assasination and tussles between Serbia and Austria-Hungary over Bosnia-Herzegovina. I may comment in more detail, but a detail regarding Asquith’s Foreign Secretary Grey’s “lights going out all over Europe” remark is that by then Grey was almost completely blind and the comment had personal resonance with him.

    It is interesting that the psedonymous Max Nordau (real name Suedfeld) at the sixth zionist conference in 1903 is quoted as addressing the conference thus: “Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl, the Zionist congress, the English Uganda proposition, the future world war, the peace conference where, with the help of England, a free and Jewish Palestine will be created”. All rather a bit too prophetic and beyond coincidence, it was probably unknown who the belligerents would be, but obviously Britain was being steered into a war with at the very least the Ottoman Empire in 1903! and being led like a donkey by the nose..

    Britain began planning and preparing for a war with Germany in deadly earnest demonstrably since something like 1906. Britain did not have any public formal obligation to back France in a French war of choice and could have sat out such a war if it so desired, France found itself in a frankly mad obligation to mobilise in support of Russia in the event of Russian mobilisation, which was not a clear cut affair as Russia, building its armed forces from scratch could have been said to be in mobilisation at any time in the preceding ten years prior to 1914. Mutual defence treaties, secret or otherwise, and the present day NATO is one, themselves lead to war.

  • BrianFujisan

    Well done the White Feather Group in Glasgow –

    Where: WWI Commemoration Ceremony, George Square, Glasgow

    When: August 4th 11.00

    A group called the White Feather Collective dropped a banner, ‘Resist Militarism ‪#‎WhiteFeather‬’, inside George Square during the WWI Commemoration Ceremony in Glasgow. The banner was unfurled just as Prince Charles entered the square. Members of the group flew the banner for about ten minutes before walking out of the ceremony.

    Frida Grey, one of the White Feather Collective said, “In a time of ‘austerity’, spending £55 million on “truly national commemorations” to mark this anniversary is inappropriate and a waste of public money. To derive any national glory from this centenary dishonours those that died. This was a war driven by economics and geopolitical power, which resulted in 16 million people dead and 20 million wounded. The idea of remembrance is to learn from history, and we believe the British state has not. WW1 accelerated the modern industrialised arms race. The link between weapons and economic growth is even more relevant today. As the bombs rein down on Gaza – 1400 Palestinians are dead, and over 5000 wounded – the UK and US continue to sell weapons to Israel. Today we remember those who died and those who continue to die in imperial wars.”


  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    I don’t propose to write any more on this theme because

    1/. commenters’ attention has switched to a new thread (albeit a highly speculative one)

    2/. the level of ignorance if not bad faith on this one makes further comment pointless.

    Examples :

    “A war that we didn’t have to fight, that… led to the great depression ”


    “Mention of Zionism is relevant and probably key to the whole affair, so lets not hear any rubbish about some Archduke’s assasination (sic)”.

    (PS – apologies to Ed, I would have replied to you with a couple of further points otherwise.)


    Gegen die Dummheit kaempfen selbst die Goetter umsonst.

  • Porkfright

    Roderick Russell 5.34pm, Tony M. 5.54pm, Brian 6.18pm, excellent posts.
    Habbabkuk 7.02pm- God help us-like a sixth-former. Your possible contributions will not be missed in the slightest.
    “Strano mondo, sorprendente mentalita. Oremus.” Ferruccio Busoni.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Miss Piggy

    “Your possible contributions will not be missed in the slightest.”

    Well, they would certainly have bounced off the carapace of your impenetrable stupidity 🙂

  • Kempe

    ” Prince William said: “We were enemies more than once in the last century and today we are friends and allies. ”

    i can’t see how Prince William’s speech is offensive. Offensive to whom? There are very few Germans who think that the collapse of their grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s militarism wasn’t a good thing for europe and indeed their own country so why should they be offended?

  • DomesticExtremist

    Courtenay not so god for rapid demograhic control – epidemics (black death, Spanish flu, ebola) are far more efficacious.
    Urban renewal – it could be argued that old Adolf cleared more British slums than all the inter-war governments put together…

  • Richard

    Actually, I’m not sure that the cause of W.W.II was the evil destruction of Fascism. While I can’t offer proof, I suspect that the motivations of those who started it were not dissimilar from the motives of those who started the First. It was, in other words, another imperialistic war. Leaving aside the technicality that the strongest axis power was Germany and they had a (nominally, at least) National Socialist* administration, attributing noble motives to politicians seems a little naïve and anti-empirical. I dare say many of the soldiers in both wars were motivated by patriotism and a desire to combat what they perceived to be evil, but I suspect they were dupes.

    *They only became widely known as “Fascists” after Germany ratted on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

  • CanSpeccy

    “but the cause of war was the rival desires for aggrandisement of the very rich who ran and profited from the Empires.”

    Likewise, the wars for global empire, and the universal genocide of the Western nations through suppression of indigenous reproduction combined with multi-culturalism and mass immigration: objectives for which Craig Murray is in full support.

  • nevermind, it will happen anyway

    A bunch of collonial rulers, all with chips on their shoulders, blown up tardy empires who had aquired parts of the nbworld by force and vicious coercion, The Germans in Windhoek, parctising racismn on the nherero’s, The Belgians in the Congo and the English in South Africa, India and elsewhere.
    All of them were full of themselves, stiff Prussian collars versus stiff upp er lips, sprinkled with some French indignation, boeuf. Something historians agree upon

    This is congealed rubbish

    ‘ The harshness of the Versailles Treaty terms has been greatly exaggerated as far as its “material” (ie, non-military) provisions are concerned; Keynes’s book must assume much of the blame for this misconception. As examples, the German hyper-inflation of 1923/4 was engineered by the German govt itself and the reparations actually paid by Germany, whether in gold marks or goods, were in fact negligeable from the beginning.’

  • Johnstone


    Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen…I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels

    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,

    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.

    I would have poured my spirit without stint

    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.

    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.

    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

    I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned

    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

    I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.

    Let us sleep now . . .”

  • Paul Rigby

    Hidden History: the secret history of the First World War


    From William Podmore’s review:

    Gerry Docherty, a former head teacher, and Jim Macgregor, a former doctor, have written a most remarkable book about the true origins of the First World War. They write, “What this book sets out to prove is that unscrupulous men, whose roots and origins were in Britain, sought a war to crush Germany and orchestrated events in order to bring this about.”

    They note, “A secret society of rich and powerful men was established in London in 1891 with the long-term aim of taking control of the entire world.” This was the real ruling class, led by Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of Cape Colony, Lord Nathaniel Rothschild, the world’s richest man, Lord Esher, advisor to the monarchy, Alfred Milner, later high commissioner in South Africa, and William Stead, the top journalist of the day. Prime Ministers Lord Rosebery and Lord Salisbury, and Balfour, Grey and Asquith, the elected cover, carried out the demands of this tiny minority.

    Milner, using Jan Smuts, instigated the Boer War. Milner wrote, “I precipitated the crisis … and … have been largely instrumental in bringing about a big war.” 102,000 people were killed.

    Britain’s 1904 entente with France gave Morocco to France, and drew France into an alliance pointed against Germany. Britain’s 1907 Convention with Russia secretly offered Russia control of the Black Sea Straits, and also drew Russia into the alliance against Germany.

    The British government backed King Leopold of Belgium’s annexation of the Congo. In return, Belgium agreed to secret military cooperation with Britain and France. From 1905 onwards, these three states jointly planned war against Germany.

    As the authors state, “Belgium’s behaviour violated the duties of a neutral state … Professor Albert Geouffre de Lapradelle, the renowned French specialist on international law, explained: `The perpetually neutral state renounces the right to make war, and, in consequence, the right to contract alliances, even purely defensive ones, because they would drag it into a war …'” So Belgium was not neutral. As Albert J. Nock wrote, “Belgium … was one of four solid allies under definite agreement worked out in complete detail …”

    The authors point out, “On four separate occasions over the previous two years [1912-14], Grey and Asquith stood at the despatch box in the House of Commons and solemnly assured Parliament that Britain was entirely free from any secret obligations to any other European country. In a private letter to his ambassador in Paris, Grey noted: `there would be a row in Parliament here if I had used words which implied the possibility of a secret engagement unknown to Parliament all these years committing us to a European war ….'”

    On 3 August 1914, Grey read out to the House of Commons a letter to the French, but left out its last sentence: “If these measures involved action, the plans of the General Staffs would at once be taken into consideration and the governments would then decide what effect should be given to them.” The authors comment that if he had read this out, “All of Prime Minister Asquith’s previous statements in Parliament denying that secret agreements tied Britain to France in the event of war with Germany would have been revealed as deliberate deceptions.”

    Revanchist lawyer Raymond Poincaré said, “I could discover no other reason why my generation should go on living except for the hope of recovering our lost provinces …” He became Prime Minister of France in January 1912, then President in February 1913.

    The authors write, “Poincaré’s first concern was `to prevent a German movement for peace’. Under his direction, the nature of the Franco-Russian agreement changed from a defensive alliance to open support for aggressive Russian intervention in the Balkans.” Poincaré extended national service from two to three years and sharply increased the size of France’s army. Docherty and Macgregor observe, “By 1914, over 80 per cent of Russian debt was owed to French banks. Poincaré and his backers insisted that these loans were conditional on increases in the Russian military and a modernised railway infrastructure that would speed up mobilisation against Germany.”

    The Russian ambassador in Bulgaria wrote in November 1912 that a representative of The Times claimed `very many people in England are working towards accentuating the complications in Europe’ to bring about the war that would cause the `destruction of the German Fleet and of German trade’. King George V reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov in September 1912, “We shall sink every single German merchant ship we shall get hold of.”

    Poincaré went to St Petersburg on 20-23 July 1914. France’s ambassador to Russia, Maurice Paléologue, wrote in his account of the banquets held to honour Poincaré that “the Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Melitza, the respective wives of Grand Duke Nicholas and Grand Duke Peter, were ecstatic at the prospect that `War is going to break out. Nothing will be left of Austria. You will get Alsace-Lorraine back. Our armies will meet in Berlin. Germany will be annihilated.'”

    The British ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, sent a telegram to the Foreign Office on 24 July, summarising the result of Poincaré’s visit: “France would not only give Russia strong diplomatic support, but would, if necessary, fulfil all the obligations imposed on her by the alliance.” The authors comment, “Poincaré and Sazonov had agreed the deal. When Russia went to war against Germany and Austria, France would fulfil her commitment to Russia. This telegram explicitly proved that by 24 July Sir Edward Grey knew that his world war was ordained. The document was concealed from the world for ten years.”

    The authors point out that, “Buchanan did not suggest that Sazonov should stop the Russian mobilisation, far from it, but urged him to keep it well hidden from German view.” Paléologue recalled Buchanan telling him, “Russia is determined to go to war. We must therefore saddle Germany with the whole responsibility and initiative of the attack, as this will be the only way of winning over English public opinion to the war.”

    On 24 July, Russia, France and Belgium all mobilised. The first to mobilise was the aggressor. The chief of Russian general staff for mobilisation explained why – after the first mobilisation `no further diplomatic hesitation is possible’.

    Alexander Isvolsky, Russia’s ambassador to France, told St Petersburg on 1 August, “The French War Minister informed me, in hearty high spirits, that the Government have firmly decided on war, and begged me to endorse the hope of the French General Staff that all efforts will be directed against Germany …” This was almost 24 hours before Germany had announced mobilisation or declared war on Russia.

    Docherty and Macgregor sum up, “Germany was the last of the continental powers to take that irrevocable step [mobilisation]. How does that possibly fit with the claim that Germany started the First World War?”

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I don’t have a copy of Ralph Miliband’s “The State in Capitalist Society” to hand, but I remember that there is a powerful passage in it in which he says that the British establishment didn’t give two hoots about fascism or Nazism until Hitler demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that his ambitions threatened British (establishment) interests. Only then was there all this fuss made about the evils of fascism and Nazism. It’s well known that Hitler and Mussolini were widely admired and praised for their staunch anti-Communism in the 1930’s.

    Maybe someone could track down the Miliband reference, I would be interested.

    Kind regards,


  • CanSpeccy

    Everyone seems to have their own idea about who was responsible for WW1. In fact, the war was the result of a concatenation of events, the outcome of each dependent on the decisions of one or several parties. Therefore, attempting to pin the blame one person or nation makes no sense.

    Serbia, for example, incited nationalist terrorists such as Gavril Princip who assassinated the Austrian archduke. Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia was excessively harsh, a harshness that German intevention failed to soften. Russia’s intervention on behalf of Austria was motivated by ambitions for conquest at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, an intervention agreed to by a feeble-minded Tsar against his better judgement. Once Russia was involved Germany could feared a two front war with Russia and her ally France, and therefore sought to insure victory by a pre-emptive strike on France, which necessitated the breach of Belgian neutrality guaranteed by the European powers in accordance with the 1839 Treaty of London, which gave the Liberals in Asquith’s cabinet the moral justification for British intervention on the side of France. As for what the dim-witted George V thought, I’m sure no one in the cabinet gave a damn.

  • Peacewisher

    I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned the 1917 Balfour Agreement, which does link world war 1 very much to present day.

    I had often wondered exactly why it was that my grandfather signed up in 1917 to fight against the Germans and ended up nearly getting killed at the 3rd Battle of Jaffa… Ben and others have to some extent filled in the gaps in my knowledge in this thread; I’ve always thought that “Balfour” was the US’s condition for entering the war, but historians I’ve spoken to have disputed this.

  • Peter Kemp


    This is the nonsense Tony Abbott sprouted the other day:

    It was a terrible war. In one sense a tragic waste, but it was for a good cause,

    The war shaped our country and our reflection on it will help to shape our future

    What good cause, but to humiliate Germany and create the conditions for WW2? 60,000 dead Australians out of a population in 1914 of about 4 million was a good cause? That’s 3 out of every 200 citizens, 3 out of every hundred males, possibly 5 or more out of every 100 adult males? Triple or quadruple that for the maimed?

    Shape our future? Perhaps to show obedience to the new Empire of the USA and go to war against China, forgetting the disaster of our involvement in Vietnam?

    Tony Abbott is in good company with Prince William.

  • Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    ” historians I’ve spoken to have disputed this.”

    Peacewisher; You have distinguished yourself as one who actually reads comments. Education means probing the depths of information with the necessary context. Too many persons seem locked into the mainstream of thought without that concomitant. Cheers to you, I often find comments on blogs to be more enlightening that the post itself.

  • Tony M

    CanSpeccy: 4 Aug, 2014 – 10:34 pm
    “Russia’s intervention on behalf of Austria was motivated […]

    Did you mean to say there: Russia’s intervention on behalf of Serbia … ?

    Peacewisher: Taking of Palestine was thought by those in favour of it and promoting it to possibly require up to a million troops, who would have to be and began being taken, with their materials, weapons etc. from France in the mud-months of 1917; Palestine was taken rather more easily than projected, but the front in France was weakened, then the October ’17 revolution took place in Russia and Russia withdrew from the war. American forces began being slotted into the vacated British front replacing those moved or in the process of being moved to Palestine. More Americans were required when Germany went on an early offensive in March 1918, much strengthened by troops from the defunct eastern front, the offensive was contained, though the situation was perilous, by troops destined for Palestine, but now not needed, being hastily returned to France. Palestine was a distraction which almost cost the allied side Paris, France and possibly the entire war and cost very many extra lives, not in Palestine but amongst the depleted forces in France.

  • Peacewisher

    @Ben: I have to say that these historians are English. Perhaps the British historical establishment is too polite (or diplomatic?) to want to acknowledge the truth? I have heard of talk of other schemes e.g. Lusitania to get the US into ww1, but evidence perhaps inconclusive… Balfour does seem to fit… maybe this is a case of Occam’s Razor?

  • Peacewisher

    @Tony: My grandfather never went to the Western Front… taken directly to Palestine in late 1917 after training at Wimbledon. I have the exact dates. Balfour declaration was right in the middle of all this on all souls day. There is a strong suggestion that the Balfour Declaration rubber stamped what was already starting to happen on the ground.

  • Peacewisher

    @Len Henderson… I think it is meant to be part of the launch of the Con election campaign, without having to use their own funds. Not working so far… Lab 3% ahead.

  • Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    Peacewisher; It could be due to human error/stupidity. That certainly is a viable explanation, but ask yourself; Why is it all these precipitous events seem to have a common thread? You really have to wonder if the Wizard might be behind the screen, pushing levers and pushing buttons. I don’t opt for fantasy, unless the fantasy has some human measures for evidence and credibility. That’s where I am. You?

  • CanSpeccy

    Did you mean to say there: Russia’s intervention on behalf of Serbia … ?


    And another thing, that dim-witted Hanoverian George V only expressed the desire for war against Germany to get ahead of anti-German hysteria that might have swept him off the throne.

    And of course Britain did not enter WWI to serve some specificmoneyed interest. Indeed the war impoverished virtually everyone. Britain went to war for the traditional reason, to assert the european balance of power: sending a small and cheap expeditionary force (four divisions to Germany’s 100 and something, most on the Western front) to tip the scale in favor of the weaker power — France.

    This was pretty much an obligation upon Britain since as a result of naval discussions with France, the French navy had been relocated to the Mediterranean, on the understanding that Britain would guard the Channel. And certainly it was in the interests of Britain’s defense to prevent the Germans from occupying the French coast where they would be in a vastly better position to challenge the power of the British Navy.

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