Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Some Thoughts on the Subject of "Unity"
Obviously, given such a situation, the only thing to do was to import people of different races, different ethnicities, a different religion, though, because the government was behind this, people who could be expected not to immediately shake the boat when it came to politics. In the “battle of the sexes” the fight had pretty much ground to a halt. The feminists had won. They got the vote, they got disposal marriage, they got abortion, they got tax-payer funded birth control and so on. Women live longer than men, are now more educated than men and, as usual, are not imprisoned like men. They are even putting women in combat units, on warships, even in submarines and when your feminist devotion is pushing you to fight for the right to spend over a month sealed in a metal tube hundreds of feet under water, cheek by jowl with dozens of unwashed men breathing recycled farts and body odor, you are most likely running out of things to demand. So, new divisions had to be invented, like the “transgender” phenomenon. Now we get to argue over which bathroom can be used by someone who claims to be a woman but who still has a penis.
Why do I bring this up here? Because, once upon a time, monarchists tended to list greater unity as being one of the perks of having a monarchy. In the past, and perhaps still today though it is doubtlessly declining, there was polling data to back this up. There was more social cohesion in countries which had a monarch as their Head of State. This was traditionally explained by pointing out that modern constitutional monarchies have a head of government who is a partisan, political figure but a separate Head of State who is a non-partisan, non-political, totally impartial figure who is tied to everyone in the country by way of history, culture and tradition. All of that is true, however, it has been increasingly less effective as the monarchy itself has been the cause of division in a number of countries. Some people wish to maintain the monarchy while others actively campaign to abolish it and turn their countries into republics. Australia is an example of this as is Spain. To a lesser extent, one could say the same of Canada. In that country the monarchy is largely ignored but when it is brought up, immediately one sees divisions between those who support the monarchy and those who want it abolished as an outdated relic of their colonial history as part of the British Empire.
Today, however, we are seeing that this situation has its limits. The liberal model, as I have said before, is based on a sort of social contract. It is based on a set of rules that everyone must abide by in order for the system to function. If one side decides not to follow those rules, the system breaks down. It functions only so long as everyone agrees to keep it functioning. We are now seeing the same applied to monarchy. Yes, the monarch can be a source of great unity and a real strength in that regard but only so long as everyone agrees to bow before the throne. In the old days, this was not an option. The monarch ruled and if you in any way opposed this you were a traitor and would be dealt with rather harshly. Today, under the liberal system, this is no longer the case. You are, in most monarchies, free to oppose the monarchy and so the monarchy ceases to be a source of unity and becomes an object of division. This is not, obviously, the fault of the monarchy but rather the fault of the liberal system as a whole.
It may be that this traditional sort of political system is so far removed as to be beyond the capacity of your average, modern person to fully grasp but it was, I assure you, once taken for granted as being the norm. The important point that should be grasped, however, is that a constitutional monarchy, as part of a liberal society, is not immune from harm and cannot but be effected by the sea that it swims in. Today this is becoming all too noticeable given how the liberal mask is starting to slip ever more and we see just how little they truly believe in what they have so long claimed to champion. This matters because, so long as liberals maintained their adherence to the rules of the game, it was possible to argue for a largely ceremonial monarchy as being of great practical benefit. If, however, the current trend continues in which liberals become increasingly overt in suppressing all opposition, only a robust, traditional monarchy will suffice. Personally, I am content to allow the liberals to go on with their hysterics as they are helping to prove the point that any compromise with them is impossible. If they want to play the game of ‘either we suppress you or you suppress us’ then, I for one am perfectly open to suppressing them. At that point, unity can be achieved.
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Clash of Monarchies: The Second Italo-Abyssinian War
|Emp. Haile Selassie & King Vittorio Emanuele III|
Many misconceptions continue to be held about the conflict and many of the facts will doubtless come as a surprise to most people. Italy did not actually start the war, nor was it a pre-planned event. The Ethiopians were not a horde of ignorant primitives fighting with sticks and stones, despite what you may have heard. The outcome was not a foregone conclusion, indeed many in the international community expected the Italians to be defeated or at least that any victory would be so difficult to obtain that the Fascist regime would be brought down by a combination of a long, drawn-out war with heavy losses and the crippling effect of League of Nations sanctions on the Italian economy. Today, the war is often portrayed as an almost effortless military parade with the Italians crushing the backward Ethiopians like insects with the African natives having no hope for victory. That is certainly not how it looked at the time and the conclusion of the war, far from being preordained, took most people by surprise, certainly in how quickly events unfolded. It was the war which solidified the Fascist hold on Italy and which brought an end to the independence of the last un-colonized corner of Africa.
|Haile Selassie on the day of his coronation|
In 1932 Haile Selassie crushed another revolt in Gojjam and waged what some historians have called a genocide against the natives of Azebu Galla, the Oromo people having long been the victims of enslavement and persecution. Earlier, in 1928, Haile Selassie had signed a friendship and trade treaty with Italy but after coming to power made it clear that he was no more interested in friendship than Mussolini was. Some historians question whether his immediate campaign to build up and modernize the armed forces, particularly his personal troops, was intended to suppress internal rivals or to dominate the Horn of Africa and absorb the Italian colony of Eritrea in particular with its port facilities. The Italians, at that stage, had no designs on Ethiopia but simply wished to keep it out of the hands of any other foreign power. Toward that end, it was Italy which sponsored Ethiopia joining the League of Nations, a decision they may have come to regret eventually, because of their fear that the British would bend to the powerful anti-slavery societies in that country to launch an expedition into Ethiopia and annex it to the British empire. The British had no such plans but it was for that reason that Ethiopia, a tribal absolute monarchy that practiced widespread slavery, was brought in to the supposedly liberal and democratic League of Nations.
|Ethiopian Imperial Guard unit|
That only changed with the Wal Wal Incident of 1934. Several years before, the Italians had built a fort at this remote oasis and the Ethiopians said nothing about it. Then, on November 3, 1934 an Ethiopian military force of about a thousand men approached the fort and demanded its surrender, saying it had been built within Ethiopian territory. Why this was not mentioned at any time in the roughly four years since the fort had been built was not explained. In any event, the Italian commander refused. Tensions were raised but nothing immediately happened. That changed when a column of reinforcements for the tiny garrison arrived and on December 5, 1934 fighting broke out between the two sides. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Italian colonial troops held their own and the Ethiopians retreated. Ethiopia protested to the League of Nations and before the month was out, Mussolini had dispatched one of the leaders of the Fascist “March on Rome”, General Emilio De Bono, to Eritrea to take command of the forces being assembled for an invasion of Ethiopia.
|Italian soldiers establishing a defense line|
In January of 1935, Mussolini obtained the assurance of the French that they would not intervene in any conflict in East Africa. It was not until July of 1935 that Emperor Haile Selassie announced to his people that a danger of war existed. And, all the while, the League of Nations delegates and the assorted foreign ministers tried to work out some sort of compromise that would prevent the whole thing from happening. The British and French foreign ministers, Samuel Hoare and Pierre Laval, made a proposal that Mussolini seemed agreeable with which would have seen Abyssinia partitioned, Italy taking one portion and Haile Selassie retaining control of the rest. However, the Abyssinian crisis had become the fashionable cause of the day and public opinion in the liberal democracies of the west was solidly opposed to Fascist Italy and firmly on the side of Emperor Haile Selassie and the proposed agreement was leaked to the press. Immediately there was a huge public outcry and the public in France and Britain denounced this as a shameful caving in to the hated Fascists. The agreement was immediately dropped, Hoare and Laval were both forced by public pressure to resign (Laval would be shot after World War II for having participated in the Vichy regime). Compromise was off the table.
|General De Bono (with white whiskers)|
On the Ethiopian side, Emperor Haile Selassie mustered his forces, conscripting all able bodied men. Newsreels of the day showed hordes of barefoot Africans wearing loincloths and waving swords and spears. However, Haile Selassie had forbidden his army from wearing shoes and had uniforms but reserved most of these for his personal troops, the Kebur Zabagna, or Imperial Guard which also had the latest weapons. Despite the popular image, most Ethiopians had rifles and the army was equipped with a fair amount of artillery and machine guns. They also had trained officers, European advisors and European officers fighting as mercenaries. One of the most prominent foreigners was the Turkish General Mehmet Wehib Pasha, leader of the Turkish advisory mission to Abyssinia, who referred to himself as the “hero of Gallipoli”. He served as chief-of-staff to Ras Nasibu, Ethiopian commander of the southern front and oversaw the construction of a fortified line nicknamed the “Hindenburg Wall” in reference to the famous Hindenburg Line of World War I. Wehib Pasha was of course a Muslim as were the vast majority of the Eritreans and Somalis in the Italian colonial army. However, he was happy to fight for Abyssinia as he had an intense hatred of Europeans and would fight them anywhere under any flag.
|General Rodolfo Graziani|
|Haile Selassie Gugsa with Italian officers|
|Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio|
Massed attack was the preferred fighting method for the Ethiopians and as the offensive began, the Italians were overwhelmed. At the Dembuguina Pass the Italian Gran Sasso Division was forced to retreat and Ethiopian forces recaptured the Scire area. It looked as though the victorious onslaught at Adowa was being repeated on a larger scale. However, toward late December an Italian pilot, Tito Minniti, was captured by the Ethiopians, tortured, mutilated and finally beheaded. The Ethiopians have since denied this but mutilation of captives was an age old custom in the country (as photos of those captured in the first war after Adowa show) and such things doubtless occurred. This happened on the southern front and General Graziani ordered immediate retaliation. Later, this was also used to justify Italian use of poison gas, banned by international law, against the Ethiopians. However, Marshal Badoglio had requested and, indeed, already began using poison gas days before Minniti was shot down. In all likelihood, Minniti was tortured and executed, as were many other Italian and African colonial soldiers, however the use of poison gas also likely had less to do with this than with the ferocity of the Ethiopian offensive that Badoglio had to deal with.
|Ethiopian machine gun unit|
In any event, while the Italians were being hammered by the Ethiopian “Christmas Offensive” in the north, in the south, General Graziani continued to make steady progress. In early November his forces intercepted and defeated an Ethiopian motorized column (a fact which will doubtless surprise those who think the Ethiopians had no modern means of transportation at all) near Hamaniei. In December, the Sultan of Olol Dinle set his warriors against the Ethiopians at Golle and Italian forces occupied Denan by the end of the month. A major breakthrough followed shortly thereafter when Graziani crushed the southernmost Ethiopian army at the Battle of Genale Wenz in a fight lasting from January 12-16, 1936. The Ethiopians did win a bit of a propaganda victory of their own in the aftermath though, when a number of Italian colonial troops deserted to the Ethiopian side. This was mostly done for religious reasons, African Coptic Christians feeling little solidarity with the largely Muslim Somalis and their Catholic Italian officers. However, by the end of January, the Italian forces had taken Borana and reached the Ethiopian military base at Negele.
|HRH the Duke of Bergamo|
|Ethiopian forces at Maych'ew|
The Ethiopian army broke and began to retreat and it was at that point that insult was added to injury. Prior to the battle, Haile Selassie had tried to buy back the support of the Azebu Galla (the people he had nearly wiped out prior to the war) with a cash bribe for each man and lavish gifts for their leaders. They pledged support but had remained on the sidelines during the battle. Then, when the Ethiopian army began to flee, they suddenly joined in, attacking the Ethiopians and cutting them down as they ran away, only intermittently deterred by Italian bombers who also joined in attacking the fleeing army. Haile Selassie, having seen his forces devastated, ordered the remainder to disperse and sent the Crown Prince to Dessie where he hoped to organize a new army to carry on the war. However, the Crown Prince later abandoned Dessie without a fight and the hoped for widespread resistance failed to materialize.
|Italian colonial troops (Eritreans) at Dessie|
|Marshal Badoglio enters Addis Ababa|
|King Victor Emmanuel III, Il Re-Imperatore|
For the time being, however, the Italian victory over Ethiopia changed everything. Mussolini, stung by the opposition of France and Britain in the League of Nations, infuriated by their economic sanctions, broke from their anti-German front and finally accepted the extended hand of Adolf Hitler. On a visit to Germany, Mussolini told a stadium full of people that Italy would “never forget” how Germany had refused to join the sanctions regime when so much of the world had turned against them. His opposition to the German annexation of Austria evaporated and the plan of Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg to restore the Austrian monarchy under Archduke Otto was stopped cold. Previously, Mussolini had approved of the plan, even talking about another Habsburg-Savoy royal marriage to cement their alliance but the reaction of the western powers to the war in Ethiopia changed all of that. In Italy, Fascism was more popular than ever and Mussolini more confident in the military prowess of the armed forces. Soon he would be sending tens of thousands of Italian troops to Spain to aid the nationalist forces of General Franco against the Spanish Republic.
For a seven-month colonial war, the second clash of Italy and Abyssinia had proven to be quite consequential. The last un-colonized corner of Africa was conquered, Britain and France made an enemy, Germany gained an ally, the post-World War I world order embodied by the League of Nations was shattered and the last realistic hope for the restoration of the Habsburg monarchy was brought to ruin and Germany gained control of Austria all as a result of this conflict. It is also not a great leap to imagine that had the war ended differently, had Italy lost, there might have been no help for Franco in Spain and the Second Spanish Republic might have carried on, at least until the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Second Italo-Abyssinian War was a conflict that warrants greater study and understanding. It was far more significant and had many more far-reaching consequences than most people realize.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
MM This Week in Fake News
This has been Fake News from The Mad Monarchist, all the news from around the world that is unfit to print.
(Be aware: the last paragraph was, in fact, NOT “fake news”, all the rest, however, is as fake as a broadcast by Bryan Williams or Dan Rather.)
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Communist China Just Lengthened World War II
Now, the Chinese Communist Party is changing its history books to say that the war actually began at the time of the Mukden Incident on September 18, 1931 when, after a small bomb was exploded on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway, troops of the Imperial Japanese Army rushed in and quickly took control of the region, occupying Manchuria and later established the State (and finally Empire) of Manchukuo under the titular leadership of the last Qing Dynasty Emperor. This, they say, is when the Japanese first invaded China, first engaged in hostile action against China and thus that this was really when World War II in East Asia began. However, while it may make for a nice narrative, this is simply misleading. The war did not start in 1931, plain and simple. That is not what happened and no amount of word play can change the actual facts. The reason some people are buying into this narrative is because they have already swallowed a previous falsehood that has been allowed to take root. The preliminary falsehood is that the Republic of China had any legitimate right to claim ownership of Manchuria in the first place.
That is the basis of this issue and the one the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) most wishes to cover up because it is, so to speak, the root of their entire tree of lies on this issue. The more obvious falsehood is that, as U.S. General William T. Sherman said, “War means fighting and fighting means killing” and not much of that happened in 1931. It is perfectly obvious that the war did not start with the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1931 because, on the whole, the Chinese did not resist. There was little to fighting in the whole process. China made no effort to defend Manchuria and this was a matter of official policy. It also makes the current tactic of the CCP trying to take credit for resisting the Japanese all the more laughable. Republic of China president Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had ordered a policy of non-resistance to the Japanese in order to focus on the threat posed by the communist insurgency, which he regarded as more serious. The Chinese Northeastern Army under General Zhang Xueliang was vastly largely than the Japanese forces that moved into Manchuria and yet no significant resistance was offered.
The Japanese have voiced some disapproval over what the Chinese communist government is doing with this re-working of the World War II timeline but they are likely the only ones who will. Encouraging anti-Japanese hatred over historical events has become a mainstay of the CCP’s program to unite the people and divert their frustrations away from the government and toward a foreign power that is not allowed to go to war anymore. One could say that it does reveal how insecure they are about their own national narrative and how shaky the ground is that it rests on. What is alarming is that so many people in other parts of the world have bought into their false narrative, usually because of anti-Japanese sentiment on their own part because of World War II which allows them to easily slip from, “the Japanese are guilty of this” to “the Japanese are guilty of everything”. It is not, however, factual, it is not real history and it should not go unanswered. The effort of the CCP to take credit for everything the nationalists did and to erase from the history books any traces of the Qing Dynasty and the Manchurian nation should be resisted.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Inspiration In A Tragic Anniversary
It was on this day in 1793 that His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI of France was beheaded by a gang of revolutionary criminals calling themselves the government of the First French Republic. He was certainly not the only innocent man to have his life taken by this same insidious poison. His wife would also lose her head and their little boy would be brutalized and ultimately starved to death. The "Reign of Terror" would take the lives of many, many tens of thousands of French men, women and children, all in the name of their radical, Utopian, egalitarian, blood-stained ideology. Most readers here will be well aware of this unpleasant story, so repeating all the gory details can be avoided. However, there is something beneficial in the inspiration that this sad history provides. The most obvious, of course, the pious and courageous way in which King Louis XVI met his end but it extends far beyond his own example.
Thomas Paine, famous as the propagandist of the American War for Independence (who ended his life despised in America for his virulent anti-Christian tirades and attacks on the character of George Washington) was also part of the gang of villains behind the French Revolution. However, he warned his fellow revolutionaries that killing King Louis XVI would be a mistake. Indeed, his opposition caused Paine to be arrested and were it not for foreign intervention he likely would have been killed too. Paine, of course, had little to no sympathy for King Louis XVI himself, but warned the French revolutionaries that if they killed the King they would forever forfeit the goodwill and support of the American people and the newly independent United States which saw His Most Christian Majesty as their great savior, who had aided them in their hour of need. Paine was proven correct. The Franco-American alliance died along with King Louis XVI at the Place de la Revolution.
The U.S. would go on to fight an "undeclared war" against the French Republic, its first conflict as an independent country but this was relatively minor compared to the reaction of the rest of the western world. The regicide of King Louis XVI sparked what was probably the greatest era of monarchial solidarity that western civilization would ever see. That was truly inspirational. The Austrian Kaiser, the King of Prussia, the King of Spain, the King of Portugal, the King of Naples and the rulers of other Italian states all came together. The King of Piedmont-Sardinia, who could not hope to triumph over his massive neighbor, enthusiastically joined the fight. The King of Great of Britain and Ireland, which had so recently fought against King Louis XVI, nonetheless put history aside and joined in the common struggle against the revolutionary pestilence. Here was an example of European unity that required no top-heavy talking shop of sinister, parasitic politicians to bring about, only shared values and a sense of honor.
Their example should serve as an inspiration for us and shame us for our own divisions and petty squabbling. The Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties had long been rivals, the French and English for even longer. Britain and Prussia were Protestant, Spain and Austria were Catholic but none of that mattered in the face of this outrage. All came together to avenge a monstrous crime, defend Christianity, civilization and the concept of traditional authority. They did this, not out of naive idealism but out of a rational understanding that they had to put aside their differences and come together because all of them were equally threatened by this revolutionary poison that had brought down, in so violent a way, the revered House of Capet which had seemed as permanent as the sun in the sky. They knew they faced a grave danger that was far more serious than what issues divided them. Their example is one we would all do well to follow today.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Monarch Profile: Emperor Valentinian II
|Emperor Valentinian I|
Emperor Gratian was thus left with what is now France, Britain and Spain while the nominal Emperor Valentinian II reigned over Italy, most of the Balkans and Africa. His imperial court was in Milan but tensions were thick. The most influential figure in his life was his mother Justina, an adherent of the Arian heresy, who clashed with the preeminent religious authority, St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and prefect of Liguria and Emilia who was an adamant opponent of Arianism. This was a dangerous combination as the young Valentinian II became the pawn of those wishing to push their own agendas. Justina used his authority to try to suppress the orthodox Christians in favor of the Arians, though St Ambrose had the local populace on his side. Magnus Maximus, who was trying to claim the throne for himself, also used Arianism as his tool, casting himself as a champion of orthodoxy in order to take power from Valentinian II or, more precisely, those who ruled in his name. After Emperor Valens in the east came the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Great who was also opposed to Arianism and so would be of no help.
|Emperor Valentinian II|
Emperor Valentinian II occupied himself with peaceful pursuits in Vienne while Arbogast marched off to fight the Germans along the Rhine in his name. However, it was clear that Arbogast was the real ruler in the west, not Valentinian II who he jealously guarded. Though nominally answerable to Emperor Theodosius, it is likely that the Eastern Emperor would not have approved of his tyrannical treatment of Valentinian. Anyone who became too close to the isolated young man could be expected to meet an unhappy end, always with the justification that the person had been guilty of some crime. Harmonius, for example, was a friend of Valentinian who was murdered by Arbogast personally and in the presence of the young emperor himself. Arbogast justified this by asserting that Harmonius had been guilty of taking bribes, but then as now many suspected that he simply wished to keep Valentinian isolated and under his power.
All of this, naturally, greatly disturbed Valentinian who was, by then, certainly more than old enough to be ruling on his own without a “guardian”. He saw an opportunity when word came that barbarians were preparing to attack Italy. Valentinian II planned to lead an army into Italy himself, no doubt hoping that he could establish a source of military strength for himself that would enable him to stand on his own. However, Arbogast could see where that might lead as well as anyone and refused to allow the Emperor to leave. Valentinian II then attempted to simply dismiss Arbogast from imperial service but Arbogast openly defied him on the grounds that he had been appointed by Emperor Theodosius and Valentinian II had no authority to relieve him of his command. Emperor Valentinian II was still little more than a prisoner but did manage to write for help, appealing to St Ambrose in Milan and Emperor Theodosius that he was being overruled by a barbarian general. He also requested to get right with the Church and for St Ambrose to come to Vienne to baptize him in rejection of the Arianism of his mother.
|St Ambrose of Milan|
So it was with that air of mystery and suspicion that the reign of Emperor Valentinian II came to an end. His body was carried, with full imperial Roman pomp and ceremony, to Milan where his remains were met by St Ambrose and his weeping sisters Justa and Grata. He was buried alongside Emperor Gratian in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Arbogast, though first claiming to remain loyal to Theodosius by proclaiming his son Arcadius emperor, eventually set up his own puppet usurper in the person of Eugenius. Emperor Theodosius came west, defeated Eugenius and Arbogast and placed his son Honorius on the throne as Western Roman Emperor.
|Emperor Valentinian II|
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