Lobster: Garrick Alder on World War I as a Battle for Democracy

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Garrick Alder, in his piece ‘Holding Pattern’ in issue 69 of the parapolitical magazine, Lobster, has a very interesting piece about the current myths flying about the First World War. Alder has been contributing to Lobster for many years, and I think I’ve seen his name amongst the credits as one of the ‘elves’ on QI. Amongst the other snippets of interest to the watchers of the murkier parts of history and the political landscape is the piece, ‘Set in Stone’. In this he follows a contemporary war memorial, that placed the date of the end of the First World War not as 1918, but the following year, 1919. The War was supposed to have ended on 11/11/1918, but there was an extension to allow the allies to advance and occupy the Rhineland.

He also notes that as its the centenary of the War’s outbreak, there has been a lot of talk about how the War was fought to protect democracy. He found this disquieting, a feeling probably shared by many of his readers. He points out that at the time Britain was not a democracy, and the monarch still held considerable power behind the scenes. So where did this myth come from?

Alder states that it

seems to have sprung from US President Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda advisor Edward Bernays, who helped Wilson craft an oftquoted slogan about ‘making the world safe for democracy’ to encourage the USA’s voters into supporting a war they had hoped to avoid.

and concludes

So the lie of the war being fought in the name of democracy was being told during the war itself. History is being rewritten under our noses – and this time, there are no living witnesses left to protest against it.

Bernays was Freud’s cousin, whom Adam Curtis identified in his excellent documentary, The Century of the Self, as the person, who incorporated Freud’s psychological theories into advertising and then into politics as a way of manipulating public opinion. As for the First World War, the catalyst was the campaigns of the Yugoslav peoples to gain more independence from their Austrian overlords. The War itself was fought not for democracy, but to decide the balance of power in Europe.

The article’s at http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster69/lob69-holding-pattern.pdf, on page 21.

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3 Responses to “Lobster: Garrick Alder on World War I as a Battle for Democracy”

  1. concernedkev Says:

    It was not just about dominance in Europe but about whose Empire had the biggest grip on the markets of the World It was all about which Royal House and its Imperial state would win out. Three cousins fell out and millions of their subjects had to die. In the process they were encouraged by the industrial bosses through their proxies in the governments and civil services to go to war as one solution to mass unemployment and redirecting the anger and revolutionary spirit that was building up amongst the masses through out Europe. If we had had true democracy then it would not have happened on the scale it eventually did. I remember my Mothers Father once telling me that when they came home from WW1 they knew it would all happen again. He was an astute working class man who was well read. His generation did not fall for the con it was all for democracy they knew the truth but were trapped in a militaristic feudal system with its own propaganda machine the press. The embryonic Labour movement was just getting started and the franchise did not extend to everyone like it does today. On that point shame on those who do not use their vote.
    To sum it up in the words of Jim Royle “Democracy my arse”

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for that, Concernedkev. It’s very interesting indeed that your maternal grandfather knew that another war like it was coming. Clearly a very perceptive man.

  2. Chris Says:

    Two world wars and we are ruled by the Germans anyway through Merkel’s tyranny of the EU.

    And who said we have a democracy in England. We’ve never had it – but for a brief span under Cromwell.

    You cannot have a feudal unelected House of Lords, with a lot of aristocratic titles and say we are a western democracy.

    An unelected parliament as an upper house above that voted entirely by the people (even the Prime Minister has to have an MP seat somewhere).

    Ceremonial mayors that are cardboard cut out councillors, doing no councillor work for a year and getting even more expenses and have the affrontery to say he or she is working to aid charity, when he is using up council tax on themselves, when the money could have been donated direct to the foodbanks to save the sanctioned from starving to death or commiting suicide.

    The royals do pay for themselves if only the state gave back their property of the Crown Estates, instead of government using it to fund their privileged lifestyle of 650 MPs sharing £100 million in expenses each year.

    Or pay all the expenses and funding for the House of Lords, grown to 900 Peers, soon to grow to 2000, so that a load of rich old people can sleep indoors in comfort and warmth, whilst denying the old outside in the community any hope of a warm home.

    The Greens are the sole party to now offer me any state pension at all, without any conditionality of National Insurance Record and SERPs that has moral thieved pension from those retiring on and from 6 April 2016, by the biggest political con in history, the flat rate pension, when 2 million certainly will not get the £155 full rate next year to start with.

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