Notably, the landmark publication of the files last month was given scant Western media coverage. Surprisingly, perhaps, because the story that can be gleaned from the documents tells of a hidden history of the Second World War, namely the systematic collusion between the American and British governments and the Nazi Third Reich.
As a report in Deutsche Welle remarked on the released archives: «The files make clear that [Western] Allied forces knew more about the Nazi concentration camp system before the end of the war than has generally been thought».
This revelation points to more than just «knowledge» among the Western allies of Nazi-era crimes; it points more damningly to state collusion. This would also explain why Washington and London have been reluctant to make the UN war crimes files publicly available.
There has long been a controversial debate among Western nations about why the US and Britain in particular did not do more to bomb the Nazi infrastructure of death camps and railroads. Washington and London have often made the claim that they did know the full extent of the horror being perpetrated by the Nazis until the very end of the war when extermination centers such as at Auschwitz and Treblinka were liberated – by the Soviet Red Army, it should be noted too.
However, what the latest release of UN Holocaust files shows is that Washington and London were indeed well aware of the Nazi Final Solution in which millions of European Jews and Slavic people were being systematically worked to death or exterminated in gas chambers. So the question again is: why did the US and Britain not direct more of their aerial bombing campaign to destroy the Nazi infrastructure?
One possible answer is that these Western allies had a callous disregard for the Nazi victims. Washington and London establishments were themselves accused of harboring antisemitic prejudices, as can be seen from the scandals when both these governments spurned thousands of European Jewish refugees during the Second World War, in effect sending many of them to their deaths under the Nazi regime.
Not excluding the above factor of Western racist insouciance, there is a second more disturbing factor. That the Western governments, or at least powerful sections, were loath to hamper the Nazi war effort against the Soviet Union. Notwithstanding that the Soviet Union was a nominal «ally» of the West for the defeat of Nazi Germany.
This perspective harks to a radically different conception of the Second World War in contrast to that narrated in official Western versions. In this alternative historical account, the rise of the Nazi Third Reich was deliberately fomented by American and British rulers as a bulwark in Europe against the spread of communism. Adolf Hitler’s rabid anti-Semitism was matched only by his detest of Marxism and the Slavic people of the Soviet Union. In the Nazi ideology, they were all «Untermenschen» (subhumans) to be exterminated in a «Final Solution».
So, when Nazi Germany was attacking the Soviet Union and carrying out its Final Solution from June 1941 until late 1944, little wonder then that the US and Britain showed a curious reluctance to commit their military forces fully to open up a Western Front. The Western allies were evidently content to see the Nazi war machine doing what it was originally intended to do: to destroy the primary enemy to Western capitalism as represented by the Soviet Union. This is not to say that all American and British political leaders shared or were even aware of this tacit strategic vision. Leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appeared to be genuinely committed to defeating Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, their individual views must be set against a background of systematic collusion between powerful Western corporate interests and Nazi Germany.
As American author David Talbot documented in his book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (2015), there were massive financial links between Wall Street and the Third Reich, going back several years before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Allen Dulles, who worked for the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell and who later headed up the American Central Intelligence Agency, was a key player in the linkage between US capital and German industry. American industrial giants, such as Ford, GM, ITT and Du Pont were invested heavily in German industrial counterparts like IG Farben (manufacturer of Zyklon B, the poisonous gas used in the Holocaust), Krupp Steel and Daimler. American capital, as well as British, was thus integrated into the Nazi war machine and the latter’s dependence on the system of slave labor as provided by the Final Solution.
This would explain why the Western allies did so little to disrupt the Nazi infrastructure with their undoubted formidable aerial bombing capacity. Far more damning than mere inertia or indifference owing to racist prejudice towards the Nazi victims, what emerges is that the Americans and British capitalist elite were invested in the Third Reich. Mainly for the purpose of eliminating the Soviet Union and any kind of genuinely socialist global movement. Bombing Nazi infrastructure would have been tantamount to deleting Western assets.
To this end, as the war was drawing to a close and the Soviet Union looked poised to roll up the Third Reich singlehandedly, the Americans and British belatedly stepped up their war efforts from western and southern Europe. The goal was one of salvaging Western assets remaining in the Nazi regime. Allen Dulles, the director of the-soon-to-be-formed American Central Intelligence Agency, extricated top Nazis and their gold looted from Europe in secret surrender deals known as Operation Sunrise. Britain’s military intelligence MI6 was also involved in the clandestine American effort to salvage Nazi assets via ratlines. The bad faith on display to the Soviet «allies» heralded the chill of the ensuing Cold War that immediately followed the Second World War.
Significant and damning testimony of what was going down was given recently in a BBC interview by Ben Ferencz, the most senior surviving US prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials. At age 98, Ferencz was still able to lucidly recall how scores of Nazi war criminals were let off the hook by the American and British authorities. Ferencz cited US General George Patton who remarked just before the final surrender of the Third Reich in early May 1945, as saying: «We’re fighting the wrong enemy». Patton’s candid expression of deeper animosity towards the Soviet Union than towards Nazi Germany was consistent with how the US and British ruling class had been colluding with Hitler’s Third Reich in a geo-strategic war against the Soviet Union and worker-led socialist movements arising across Europe and America.
In other words, the Cold War which the US and Britain embarked on after 1945 was but a continuation of hostile policy towards Moscow that was already underway well before the Second World War erupted in 1939 in the form of a build up of Nazi Germany. For various reasons, it became expedient for the Western powers to liquidate the Nazi war machine, along with the Soviet Union. But as can be seen, the Western assets residing in the Nazi machine were recycled into American and British Cold War posture against the Soviet Union. It is a truly damning legacy that American and British military intelligence agencies were consolidated and financed by Nazi crimes.
The recent release of UN Holocaust files – in spite of American and British prevarication over many years – add more evidence to the historical analysis that these Western powers were deeply complicit in the monumental crimes of the Nazi Third Reich. They knew about these crimes because they had helped facilitate them. And the complicity stemmed from Western hostility towards Russia as a perceived geopolitical rival.This is not a mere historical academic exercise. Western complicity with Nazi Germany also finds a corollary in the present-day ongoing hostility from Washington, Britain and their NATO allies towards Moscow. The relentless build up of NATO offensive forces around Russia’s borders, the endless Russophobia in Western propagandistic news media, the economic blockade in the form of sanctions based on tenuous claims, are all deeply rooted in history.
The West’s Cold War towards Moscow preceded the Second World War, continued after the defeat of Nazi Germany and persists to this day regardless of the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists. Why? Because Russia is a perceived rival to Anglo-American capitalist hegemony, as is China or any other emerging power that undermines that desired unipolar hegemony.
American-British collusion with Nazi Germany finds its modern-day manifestation in NATO collusion with the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine and jihadist terror groups dispatched in proxy wars against Russian interests in Syria and elsewhere. The players may change over time, but the root pathology is American-British capitalism and its hegemonic addiction.
The never-ending Cold War will only end when Anglo-American capitalism is finally defeated and replaced by a genuinely more democratic system.
*Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Finian Cunningham is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages.
This article was originally published by Strategic Culture on May 4, 2017.
European resistance organizations including Jewish organizations sent numerous reports to the Anglo-American governments during World War II, which were ignored. One heroic Pole, an officer in the resistance, went into the Auschwitz concentration camp to document the extent of Nazi barbarism; his in-depth report was sent to London. His courageous work has been profiled in a book published in that country and sold at the the Auschwitz bookstore. In that sense, this is not new information or analysis. Added to the above is the historical fact that the Anglo-American forces never bombed some of the most important German monopoly armament factories, such as Skoda in Czechoslovakia or Michelin in France (only bombed once, in contrast to several attacks by the Resistance), but did not spare Dresden and other non-military, civilian targets of a mass character. They pretended they didn’t know about the Holocaust in order to make excuses for why they didn’t target death-camp infrastructure, like railways.
In 1941, the New York Times cautioned in a front-page article that European Jews desperately seeking American visas might be Nazi spies.