- Politics and Social Issues»
- Europe Political & Social Issues
Nazis Disappeared in the 1940's. Right?
Historic Moments Series ------
A Brief Survey of History
The Germans have a way of protecting themselves because they are surrounded NOT by other Germany's, but by lest industrious, predictable nations that don't tend to their Treasuries.
Napoleon Made Quite an Impression. “Nationalistic” Germany Set About Inventing Itself by Looking Back 2000 Years
The battle of the Teutoberg Forest, an overwhelming defeat and seminal event in Roman and German History was a severe blow both psychically and existentially for the Romans and put a virtual end to their desire to vanquish what we would now call the Northern part of Germany.
Indeed this battle is one that all parties tend to agree on regarding the national identity of the Germans and the ultimate shaping of the true border of the Roman Empire.
Ancient Roman Battle Holds Importance for German Pride
The German People in general are fascinated today by the stories of the “lost legions” of Rome, which disappeared in Teutotberg Forrest around 2000 years ago.
In the year 2009, Germans celebrated this battle which has now become mythologized perhaps unlike any other battle. To sum it up quickly, because the mighty Roman army, previously unconquerable made a foray across the Rhine, and attacked the Teutons, was so roundly defeated in a period of only three days and completely disappeared from the Roman Army this tale has been resurrected century after century because of the totality of the “German” victory.
The task of pacifying and Romanizing the Germans was begun in 13 B.C. by Tiberius the Emperor’s stepson. Under Tiberius’ combination of competence and violence, stability was maintained. However, the command of the three legions in Germany eventually fell to a not so brilliant, Publius Quinctilius Varus.
Varus was a man who saw this position as administrative and not really military. He performed the typical Roman model: bleeding the locals dry, a lack of discipline causing languishing legionary strength. To fall into a typical trap, he relied too much on a local “ally”, notably a Prince called Arminius of the Cherusci Tribe. Arminius was a German. He served with Tiberius in Illyricum and worked on Varus’ staff. Varus was unduly impressed with him, Arminus often confessed that he adored “Roman” ways. His true loyalty lay with his German friends and relatives. As it turns out, he did indeed have resentments, and he built his secret relationships with the Cherusci, Chatti and Bructeri tribes.
Now, there was only the timing and the plot to work on. Arminius, in the autumn of 9 A.D., Varus marched his three legions from one camp to a new camp further west. The army had fifteen thousand men along with a train of ten thousand women, children, slaves and animals.
The march was going to be narrow and arduous and slow. It was at times nine miles long as they wound through ravines. Varus’s trust was so complete that the deception would be considered easy. The cunning of Arminius and the planning of the Germans made sure of the exact route that would be taken. In a fashion not unlike Vietnam traps against Americans, and snares made by American Revolutionary soldiers against the British, thousands of German warriors prepared the trail with trapdoors, hides and traps. Then, it was just the waiting.
Crucified on Sacred Oaks
Varus’ army marched and the second day, just before dusk, when the entire army was far from the safety of camp, the Germans flew all over the Romans. Small-bands of warriors burst from their hides and cut down passing Romans, then melted into the forest. Spears were hurled from trees or rocky outcrops. The Romans, trained to fight in large formations in the open field, were ambushed as they fell into complete disarray. They were cut to pieces by one attack after another.
For three days and three nights the Germans hunted the shattered bands of Romans to extinction, deep in the dark rain-drenched forest. There were few survivors. Some, including Varus, chose suicide rather than fall into enemy hands. It was the German practice to sacrifice their prisoners to their Druidic gods by crucifying them on sacred oak trees. After the battle the heads of the Roman dead were nailed up along the trail; all except for Varus, whose head Arminius presented to Morboduus, the King of Bohemia, to try for a big public relations impression.
The Entire Roman Army would never again field more than 25 Legions within all of its Borders until its end
Three entire legions, out of Rome’s twenty-eight, were swallowed by the Teutoberg forest. But the defeat in Germany generated shockwaves. Those three days in the German forest decided the course of history for millennia to come. Rome was already short of military manpower and the losses in Germany simply could not be made up. Those three legions disappeared from the roles forever and the Roman army would never again field more than twenty-five legions. As the old emperor Augustus drew near death, Augustus cried out, close to death, “Varus give me back my legions!”
“Never Cross the Rhine”
Roman confidence was blown and irreparable. In his will, Augustus advised Tiberius to never again cross the Rhine – “be satisfied with what we have and never desire to increase the size of the empire”. This policy would hold until the fall of Rome.
Those who take the long view and like to extrapolate about history do declare that there are various scenarios in politics and religion and in fact the whole development of government in the Middle Ages which, because of the fact that the “Germans did not become Romanized” makes the Battle of Teutoborg Forest one of the most important in European History.
Establishing the “Fatherland” in the 1800’s
During the rise of German nationalism at the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon’s occupation history caused an electrifying manifestation of iconic images and Germanic heroes from real history. What they called “nationalist historians” rediscovered an Ancient Hero “Arminius” or “Herrmann” (his Germanic name). This figure became something mythic in a quickly processed and assimilated image-making factory. Because of this growing German nationalism, Arminius became the chief figure in numerous books.
This character “Herrmann” from 2000 years ago was a manufactured symbol for the rock hard backbone of the concept called the “Fatherland”.
In a deep existential psychic explosion the Germans started coming together, as a reaction to Napoleon’s complete conquests. 19 Centuries after the battle, after having been forgotten throughout the ages, Arminius became a bonafide product; indeed appearing seemingly “suddenly” as the hero of countless books, theatre plays and tunes. Of course, these were more fable than the side-stepped historical facts.
In 1871 a large statue of this ancient character was erected near where that battle occurred. This became a place of pilgrimage for German Nationalism. The Nazis, later on, in their constant desire to reinvent German history into Aryan history turned a chance for propaganda into “Zieg Heil Wallhalla”. The “master race” was given the art and the clay and the thunderous force for its formation through the use of these tools.
This is now history, but Arminius posthumous fate shows us as a species that historical events can be manipulated for the purpose of Propaganda. An invigorated force filled with violent hatred can be animated by images that have long long ago perished and vanished.
When I was viewing the savagery and genocidal conflicts in the area that we called “Yogoslavia” and (Albania, Serbia, Boznia and Herzegovina), I listened to the tale of a village which still held vengeful venomous angst against the Villages nearby. This was in the 1990’s. The Reporter capsulized the old tale: 500 years ago, a complete ruthless defeat of one village was caused by the invading Islamic force. This defeat still held sway over the villagers, as the defeat still lived in their minds, passed along in tradition, from generation to generation.
History is a mural. History is a tapestry. History holds colors in its threads that last for centuries. The articles of Historic Moments Series have to do not with dates and statistics, but with how the effect of history on the human heart lasts much longer, and more subtly than we can truly, deeply appreciate. With an elaboration of historic events, we can look back and forward to see how the human heart and soul have been affected through the generations.
Next articles in the Historic Moments Series pertain to Eugenics, Aryanism, the “Final Solution” and the new German National Democratic Party