Embarrassing Pasts 741

It says a huge amount about the confidence of the royal family, that they feel able to respond to their Nazi home movie with nothing other than outrage that anybody should see it. They make no denial they were giving Nazi salutes, no statement that the royal family did not support the Nazis. Of course the young children had no idea of the implications. But the adults most certainly did. The missing figure is the cameraman, future King George, who was filming his wife and brother displaying the family sympathies.

The royal family were of course German themselves – completely so. Since George I every royal marriage in line of succession had been conducted in strict accordance with the Furstenprivatrecht, to a member of a German royal family. The Queen Mother, who was of course not expected to feature in promulgating the line of succession, was the first significant exception in 220 years. She was evidently trying hard to fit in. But I am not sure German-ness has much to do with it. Nazi sympathies were much more common in the aristocracy than generally admitted. Their vast wealth and massive land ownership contrasted with the horrific poverty and malnutrition of the 1930’s, led the aristocracy to fear a very real prospect of being stood against a wall and shot. Fascism appeared to offer social amelioration for the workers with continued privilege for the aristocrats. It is completely untrue that its racism, totalitarianism and violence was unknown in 1933-4. They knew what they were doing.

Happily fascism was defeated. The royal family is of course only the tip of the iceberg of whitewashed fascist support – without even starting on industrialists, newspaper proprietors, the Kennedys, etc. etc. But the Buckingham Palace option of outrage that anybody should ever remember is very sad – still more sad that such a position gets such popular support.

We never did get round to shooting the aristocrats.

I am an optimist in politics. My experience of life has taught me that altruism is a far stronger human urge than selfishness. Modern political fashion is based on the denigration of the urge to cooperation, and I do not believe will survive.

Which leads me to believe we are now living in an embarrassing past. Future generations will look back at the massive and exponentially expanding gap between rich and poor, at the super state security services and near total surveillance, at the violent wars waged in ill-disguised annexation of resources, and be amazed that people could support it. I also think that enormous shame will attach to all those who support the excruciatingly slow genocide of the Palestinians. That will be part of our embarrassing past.

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741 thoughts on “Embarrassing Pasts

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  • Gaza Beach Bum

    A heartfelt thank you for your concern and humanity. God bless and keep you safe and healthy, there are many battles ahead.

  • Frazer

    I must agree Craig. Though I am no fan of the royal family, 70 odd years is a long time ago, and I think that the SUN newspaper has dredged something up to increase the circulation (if you can call it that..more like a rag sheet that will pay anything for scandal) However, the old film does show that the royal family were , at that time, hedging their bets towards the rise of Germany after WW1. My thought on the current royal family are public knowledge. I do wonder, if my Grandfather was alive today, after seeing this home movie, he would not be marching down the Mall with his Lee Enfield over his shoulder to shoot the buggers in the throne room.

  • fedup

    Happily fascism was defeated.

    You are an optimist indeed! When was fascism defeated? The only defeated were a bunch of losers who were subject to sever dose of victors’ justice.

    The question remains, why should this revelation come to light now? Who is blackmailed and who is blackmailing and why?

    So far as the fascist sympathies and tendencies go, the questions also begging to be answered are; do bears relieve themselves in the woods, or do they use public latrines? Also is the Pope a Catholic?

    The fascist lunatics presiding over the slow excruciating genocide of Palestinians, and the said lunatic supremacists in your face, and tolerated, accepted supremacist beliefs and conduct will indeed be the stuff of a very embarrassing past.

  • Fi

    I think it is our duty to approach the idea of the present as an embarassing past. It is very depressing though. I’m a green and I think, sadly, that my own generation (and in all humility I include myself – I call myself a green but my input is minimal) in the west may go down in history as one of the most privileged, selfish, decadent and solipsistic generations that has ever lived. We were not asked to sacrifice our own lives, or endure terrible hardship for future generations, but to perhaps walk a bit more and recycle. We couldn’t be bothered. There may be no-one left in a fit state to be embarassed for us. I feel embarassed now. To top it all, the most enraged people in the world do not come from those multitudes most afflicted by hardships on the coalface of global warming – but from two sets of right wing lunatic fundamentalisms underwritten by privilege. The Gulf state sponsored terrorists and their reliable enemy in the stupid ‘clash of civilizations’ the American christian right. Neither of them see this world as real enough to preserve and think God is on a personal hotline to them, egging them on to Armageddon.
    I don’t think anyone could have made this up.

  • Bob Morris

    Here in the U.S., the Union Banking Corporations, led by Prescott Bush, founded in 1932 by Brown Brothers Harriman bankers (then the biggest investment bank in the world), was the US banker to and financing arm for the rising Nazi Party.

    When the US entered WWII, assets of UBC were seized by the US government under the Trading With The Enemy Act, and quietly returned to the partners after the war was over. How cozy is that?

    Back then, WASP Wall Street bankers were viciously anti-Semitic. There’s a reason Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs were started by Jews. WASPS generally refused to do business with Jews.

  • Alex

    An approximation of an excellent Guardian comment, in response to a piece by a Tory saying, effectively, ‘We are the majority, so deal with it’.

    “You are not the majority. You are the answer to a rhetorical question, posed fifty years from now, namely: why the hell did they vote for *them*?”

  • Daniel

    “They [the SNP] were advancing the case for separation even when the enemy were at the gates of the channel ports and threatening to invade and occupy us. The leaders of the SNP were openly willing a Nazi invasion and some of them were arrested and some of them interned for that very purpose. I commend a book called ‘Fascist Scotland’ to you. It didn’t matter what situation Britain was in, the Scottish nationalists were trying to subvert it and I just hate that.”


  • RobG

    In a sort of similar vein, on Sunday evening the ’60 Minutes’ programme in Australia is broadcasting a piece about the Westminster pedo scandal. Apparently there’s going to be some mega revelations in this programme. Here’s the trailer for it…


    … and many of these revelations are connected to the royals.

    You won’t see this programme in the UK, but I would guess that some or all of it will end up on the likes of YouTube.

  • RobG

    19 Jul, 2015 – 1:45 am

    Thanks for the link. Fascinating stuff, which I’ve bookmarked for later reference.

    Galloway is usually on the money, but I would say that in this instance he doesn’t seem to realise that the Nazis are already in Westminster.

  • craig Post author


    Complete lack of evidence to back the assertion. I have no doubt you could find a few people who both believed in Scottish independence and supported Hitler. Just like you could find Scottish unionists who supported Hitler (there is one giving a fascist salute in that royal video). The attempt by Galloway – and presumably you – to relate that to the current independence debate is pathetic.

  • Daniel

    I seem to recall that about this time last year, Prince Charles compared Putin to Hitler. The irony didn’t escape me given the fact that prior to that in 2005, his idiotic son had been prancing around in an SS uniform.

    This latest embarrassment should come as no surprise to anybody familiar with the history of the royal family’s cozy relationship with the fascist back in the day.

    Family members of Prince Philip, who is from the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, were unabashed supporters of Hitler and the Nazis.

    Brother-in-law, Prince Christoph of Hesse, was a member of the SS. He piloted fighters that attacked allied troops in Italy.

    Several weeks before Germany invaded Poland King George VI and his wife, the late Queen Mother, sent Hitler a birthday greeting.

    “I never thought Hitler was such a bad chap,” said George’s brother, the former King Edward VIII, who became the Duke of Windsor after abdicating in 1936. Edward made this remark in 1970 when it was widely known that Hitler and the Nazis had directly and indirectly killed more than 40 million civilians and soldiers.

    The Nazis planned to install the Duke as leader after a successful conquest of Britain. The former head of British naval intelligence said Hitler “would soon be in this country, but that there was no reason to worry about it because he would bring the Duke of Windsor over as king.”

    Other royals were also connected to the Nazis. Baron Gunther von Reibnitz, the father of Princess Michael of Kent, was a party member and an honorary member of the SS. The brother of Princess Alice was a Nazi who claimed Hitler had done a “wonderful job.” Charles Edward was placed under house arrest after the war for his Nazi sympathies. He was sentenced by a denazification court, heavily fined and almost bankrupted.

    Much of the British gentry also held a fondness for Hitler and the Nazis. Lord Halifax was infatuated with Hitler and Sir Oswald Mosely served as the leader of the British Black Shirts.

    Montagu Norman, 1st Baron Norman, the Governor of the Bank of England from 1920 to 1944, was a close friend of the German Central Bank President Hjalmar Schacht. Schacht was an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party and served in the Nazi government as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics. Norman played a key role in transferring Czechoslovakian gold to the Nazis in March 1939.


  • craig Post author


    Yes. If you read a single book on any subject, you are not making up your own mind. Gavin Bowd is no historian and has very much an agenda.

  • Colin Cognitive

    I made a post earlier regarding the funding of a revolution, two world wars and the Nazi regime, but it’s been removed. I thought this was a forum of open discussion?

  • Colin

    It’s also worth remembering that there was an attempted Fascist coup in the United States in 1934. It only failed because the retired US Marine general the conspirators chose to lead the coup, denounced them to the FBI. Among the conspirators were the Dupont family.

    Imagine an alternative world in which the coup had succeeded. No lend/lease. No US involvement in World War 2 in Europe, and possibly even no Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    I’d probably have learnt German rather than French as my second language at school in the 1950s…

  • JimmyGiro

    No true Scotsman would ever not be a Scotsman.

    Any identity politics, even if it engaged in democracy or socialism, must ultimately become a unified form of collective Narcissism.

    The instant you hitch your moral-political wagon to group-think, your moral individuality is subsumed into the ethics of the group. Which is precisely the definition that Mussolini gave to Fascism.


  • Becky Cohen

    “Happily fascism was defeated. The royal family is of course only the tip of the iceberg of whitewashed fascist support – without even starting on industrialists, newspaper proprietors, the Kennedys, etc. etc”

    If it’s World War Two you’re referring to here Craig the fascists (who were led by Mussolini in Italy), as such, actually surrendered in 1944, but that didn’t mean it was the end of the war as the Nazis under Hitler in Germany and the militarist regime of Tojo in Japan actually fought on until May 1945 and August 1945 respectively. Militarily, the Italian fascists (although they had some victories early on in the war) were comparatively weak – there lack of success became so well-known to the extent that they became the butt of jokes which endure to this day.

    The military threat of the German and Japanese forces on the other hand was no joke – they came pretty close to winning the war early on and cost millions of lives to defeat. I think what you are doing here, is getting the National Socialists (NSDAP) mixed up with the Italian fascists under Mussolini mixed up. They were ideological bedfellows to a certain degree but the fascist movement didn’t necessarily share the same ideological obsession about race that the Nazis did. In fact, Franco’s Spain (whilst still being similar to Nazi Germany in being a brutal dictatorship) was actually one of the few countries in Europe that agreed to take in Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution.

    Tbh…I’ve only ever really heard the term “fascist” used in a conflated, catch-all way to mean Nazi in Russia and by the former Soviet regime.

    I think you also need to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that German and Nazi were (or worse still) are the same thing. In 1933, I’m not sure on this, but the majority of Germans did not actually vote for Hitler. Once they were stuck with him, there is some truth to the defence that the ordinary person on the street didn’t really have that much choice to be forced to go along with the regime; join the Hitler Youth, do the stupid salute etc. because Nazi Germany was a terror state and if they did not they’d be chucked in a concentration camp or murdered. In fact, a sizeable minority did not and they were chucked in a concentration and/or murdered.

    What they ended up with just goes to show why nationalism is such an awful mistake – whether it be German, Scottish, Israeli, Welsh or French nationalism. Most modern day Germans realise this, but you guys don’t seem to think so and are living in the past. Believe me, in the eyes of my German friend there is no distinction between the nationalists of the BNP or the nationalists of the SNP – both send shivers down her spine. Coming from a country that was fucked up by nationalism a few generations before, the difference between her and you guys is that she has an un-romanticized, realistic view of what a deranged, evil and damaging poison it actually is. Nationalism is a toxic drug and you really need to get off it now as it will really screw you up.

  • Resident Dissident

    Perhaps all those salivating over Galloway should remember that he was not above “saluting the indefatigability” of a fascist or being paid to appear on Al Mayadeen a tv channel that is constantly supportive of that other fascist Assad and is probably funded by him. At least the Queen had the excuse of being a child.

    It should also be remembered that Oswald Mosley like Galloway also dabbled in left wing politics.

  • rogerh

    I wonder why the Sun published? Is someone leaning on the Currant Bun, or are scores being settled, for I rather doubt that circulation is a real driver – a simple shagging story would do that. I wonder if the royal archives have had a Snowdon moment – we shall see how sweaty the Fitztightlys get. As Arte Johnson might have said – ‘Very interesting – but not very funny’.

  • Resident Dissident

    I should also point out that Assad has made no small contribution to the “excruciatingly slow genocide of the Palestinians” in recent years as a result of his attacks and sieges of Palestinian refugee camps.

  • Juteman

    @Becky Cohen.

    Are you saying that every country that became independent from the British Empire was fascist? Really?
    Is seeking self determination a fascist doctrine?

  • Carl Jones

    I think the technocrats want shot of the Royals. Let’s face it, by 2020 the steeple will be hating the royals, so it pays to the degrading right now. Redeveloping the Buckingham Palace site would be worth billions. Then there are countless other savings to be had. I think the era of King William will radically different from the present one and I don’t think Charles has a cat in halls chance of be coming king. My guess is that the queen will be dead before this parliamentary term is finished and the technocrats will use this to their own ends. Kings and Queens use to rule, then it was politicians supported by capitalist interests and now we are moving into a period of banker corporate control with virtually no welfare state. The Royal setup is unsustainable under Agenda 21.

  • Techno

    “Of course the young children had no idea of the implications. But the adults most certainly did.”

    If this film does indeed date from 1933 then arguably they did not. Most of Hitler’s atrocities were still years away.

    Why was it leaked? Maybe there is an anti-royalist republican somewhere in the royal staff. Are they an entryist who spent years infiltrating the royal family in the hope of bringing it down from the inside? Or just a formally loyal but now disgruntled employee?

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