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The Silks Roads Summary and Guide - pages 357 - 364 - Chapter 19 - The Wheat Road

Updated: Apr 9

What a laaaaaavly living room pp.357-358 🏡✨

1938, November - 10 months before the Second World War formally broke out, which, of course, is total nonsense because German soldiers had been bashing Czechoslovakia since March of 1938 and had annexed Austria in the same year (although he was Austrian himself, so it’s a bit of a muddy waters situation)🤔. Anyway, in November, 1938, the British Magazine Home & Gardens was busily writing articles of absolute disgust about Hitler’s plans for domination in Europe and other nefarious, pernicious plots that were boiling up. Just kidding. This delightful magazine was praising and gushing over Hitler’s alpine house. A ‘bright colour scheme’ had been created by this “decorator, designer, and furnisher, as well as architect…” What???? This is AFTER he annexed a country and tried to nick Czechoslovakia? Indeed, it was. Remember how weird Europeans tend to be? Well, you shouldn’t be surprised then! 🤷‍♂️🎨

Lebensraum… not that old nonsense again!!! pp.357-358 🙄

Lebensraum is a lot of old codswallop, but let’s not descend into German-bashing madness. Hitler planted his flag in Lebensraum, the concept of expansion to have enough livable land, as a core principle of the Nazi Party. Were they the first to say they needed more space for their people? No and nor the last. Every empire is essentially its own version of Lebensraum. Even Israel, which shall become a major part of this story for the most horrid of reasons, has tried to expand its livable land in recent years. Britain and France were all too well aware that Germany had eyes on more lands to annex, like Poland. They both agreed to offer protection guarantees against any German aggression. Yet, as we shall see, wheat is our major character here. Yes, and we can blame Hitler for dragging wheat into the whole thing. 🌾😑

Frenemy!!! pp.358-359 🤝😈

The friend of my enemy is my friend. No, that makes no sense. The enemy of my friend is my enem….the ENEMY of MY ENEMY is MY FRIEND! Huzzah. Germany and Russia hated each other's guts, but they also hated Britain and France. The key difference was that Russia was also feeling quite expansionist and had plans to nab a bit more land. Thus, Germany and Russia had something of an accord to be the pirates of Europe. Germany wanted half of Poland for Lebensraum and Russia wanted the other half because Poland had inherited Russian lands after the First World War. During Stalin’s vast purges in the 1930s, millions of people were arrested and hundreds of thousands executed. A common accusation was that they were Polish spies, to which most accused would say, “I wouldn’t know Polish if it jumped out of the toilet and wrestled me!” - or something to that effect. Really, Russia just wanted land and any excuse would do to make it viable (that rings a bell in 2024). 🇷🇺🇩🇪

The Class Idiot pp.359-360 🤦‍♂️

That was how the German Foreign Minister - Joachim von Ribbentrop - which illustrates a key lesson in history: under the right conditions and in the right circumstances, idiots rise to the top, not cream. Indeed, if you consider this list of Nazi leaders post-war by their IQs, you’ll notice that the majority of the people who made incredibly significant decisions, in positions of grand power and control, were pretty mediocre intellectually. That much should be evident in almost any reading of European powers in this period. So, under the auspices of dividing up most of eastern Europe, Germany and Russia reached concordance. Stalin toasted Hitler with a toast of vodka (before whispering what an idiot Hitler was for being hoodwinked) and Hitler, when handed a note at midnight in his bright living room, put down his cup of tasteless potato skin water and said the same thing about Stalin. See, toxic idiots like unwanted farts in the ocean, rise to the top. 🥂📜

Realists pp.361-362 🧐

However, perhaps the word idiot is unkind. Stalin, like Hitler, had the skills that all supervillains need, street smarts, ruthless resolve, and a clear understanding of propaganda. The Soviet Union was starving to death from severe food shortages, which makes no sense when you consider all of that dirt in Russia for growing food. However, political and economic systems have a way of stuffing up the recipe for food. Communism, though great in theory, was a bit of a hassle to get right. “Aha!” one official would declare. “We’ll just move 10 tonnes of grain to that village and job done!” The result - another village would starve to death. Of course, it wouldn’t do to talk about these problems aloud. It was, and is, far more effective to just act like nothing is wrong. To further buttress his position, Stalin did what is only natural, murder anyone who could, would, or should stand in his way. 1917 revolutionary heroes - SHOT, the high command of the Russian army - also shot, by the secret police. All in all, of the 101 leaders of the armed forces of the Soviet Union, 91 were arrested -> 82 of them were shot -> and the surviving 19 gulped loudly in abject fear. 🔫🤐

Now or never, peeps. And…do you like my new wallpaper?”pp.362-363 😏📅

So said Hitler to his assembled generals, officers, girlfriend, girlfriend’s cat, and Rudolf Hess, who tended to just lurk around in the corner playing with his toy cars on the carpet. Now or never, of course, referred to Hitler’s imaginary deadline to save Germany from collapse economically. I mean, he had spent a huge amount of money that Germany didn’t have on rearmament and massive building projects (the Nazis loved a large domed ceiling). The pact with the Soviets allowed Hitler to declare awful stuff like: “Close your hearts to pity…act brutally…eighty million people must obtain what is their right…” - all nonsense of course, but persuasive nonsense. Hitler was preparing the ground to send an entire culture to war against a threat the Nazis had made up through populist scaremongering. 🇩🇪💸

Go on without me…I…*groan*… didn’t have any breakfast pp.363-364 🍞😖

Well, he didn’t entirely make up the destitution of Germany’s economic structures. Their agricultural sector was pretty rubbish. All of the spending on massive buildings, tanks, guns, and shiny knives for kids (Hitlerjugend knives with “Blut und Ehre" ((Blood and Honour)) - no wonder the Hitlerjugend were a bit mental) had seen the serious and important business of growing food neglected. An army marches on its stomach - Napoleon, or my Dad, told me that. So, Hitler had gambled in building a massive army without enough food to feed the nation, making war almost entirely inevitable. And then the Nazis were given Ukraine, which is full of…. Dun dun dunnnnnnn…grain. Ukraine, you see, has rather delightful black chernozem soil, which is highly fertile and great for growing buckets and buckets of wheat. By buckets and buckets, I mean 19,000,000 metric tonnes every year. In 2021, Ukraine exported 9% of ALL wheat in the world. So, back then, it was a bit of a coup. 🌾🇺🇦

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