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Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War - Gerry Docherty and Jim Macgregor

The authors of this thought-provoking book make the extraordinary claim that a small group of rich and powerful men sought, as early as 1890, to “bring the whole uncivilised world under British Rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making of the Anglo-Saxon race but one empire”. Led by Cecil Rhodes and backed by the fortunes of the House of Rothschild, the secret society that he formed sought to perfect a system of emigration in which British settlers would take over all of Africa and South America, and integrate the United States into the British Empire. The objective of all this was “the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible, and promote the best interests of humanity”.

The authors claim that what is defined as the “Secret Elite” provoked the Boer War so that the Boer colonies could be defeated and incorporated into the British Empire, stating that Jan Smuts, who was once Rhodes’ close friend, “allegedly” defected to the Boers and encouraged them to initiate a war they were certain to lose.

During the war in South Africa, Germany had shown moral support for the Boers. This worried the Secret Elite. Germany was rapidly becoming the most powerful nation in Europe and a direct threat to the Secret Elite’s plans for world domination. So Germany would have to be dealt with next.

To this end, talks were held in secret with Belgium. From 1905 onwards Britain planned, with Belgium, operations in the event of a German invasion. It was the invasion of neutral Belgium which prompted Britain to declare war on Germany but, according to the authors, this was all premeditated. To explain this, it must be understood that a neutral nation cannot form treaties of alliances with other countries as this means they are no longer neutral – they have taken sides. But Belgium did have a secret agreement with Britain, one devised by the Secret Elite.

The authors quote the words of an American journalist, Albert J. Nock: “To pretend any longer that the Belgian government was surprised by the action of Germany, or unprepared to meet it, to picture Germany and Belgium as cat and mouse, to understand the position of Belgium otherwise than that she was one of four solid allies under definite agreement worked out in complete detail, is sheer absurdity.” Belgium posed as a siren on the rocks, the authors declare, set there to lure Germany into a trap, “whimpering a pretence of innocence”.

 

If Germany had not invaded Belgium, the Secret Elite had to have a Plan B. This, it is claimed, involved British agents buying up large quantities of old German rifles which were then smuggled into Ireland. This was in July 1914. If a few weeks later Germany had not invaded Belgium, then it would have been blamed for arming the Irish republicans. One way or another, the Secret Elite were going to make sure there was a war with Germany.

Equally remarkable is the fact that Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, a member of the Secret Elite, claimed that he had sent telegrams to Russia trying to prevent war, and which were presented to Parliament as “proof” of his peace efforts, but these, state the authors, were never actually sent. The powerful secret group doctored official documents to cover up their activities in the run up to war.

Docherty and Macgregor do not mince their words. They say that Germany was driven into war, and that it was not responsible for that terrible conflict. They also point out that other historians have questioned the origins of the First World War and have also announced Germany’s innocence.

As the authors acknowledge, their views are not recognised by most historians nor are they likely to be in the immediate future. Their arguments, however, are powerful. The sequel to this book, promised by Docherty and Macgregor, details the conduct of the war as controlled by the Secret Elite and should prove equally interesting.

Review courtesy of Britain At War Magazine.