Difficult as it had been for the Round Table to maneuver the British Empire into the war with Germany, it would be that much harder for their American fellow travelers to coax the United States out of its neutrality and into World War One.
The cabal was going to have to leverage its control of the press and key governmental positions to begin to shape public perception and instill pro-war sentiment. And once again, the full resources of these motivated co-conspirators were brought to bear on the task.
Join The Corbett Report for Part Two of The WWI Conspiracy.
See Part 1 here.
November 11, 1918.
All across the Western front, the clocks that were lucky enough to escape the four years of shelling chimed the eleventh hour. And with that the First World War came to an end.
From 10 o’clock to 11 — the hour for the cessation of hostilities — the opposed batteries simply raised hell. Not even the artillery prelude to our advance into the Argonne had anything on it. To attempt an advance was out of the question. It was not a barrage. It was a deluge.
[. . .]
Nothing quite so electrical in effect as the sudden stop that came at 11 A. M. has ever occurred to me. It was 10:60 precisely and — the roar stopped like a motor car hitting a wall. The resulting quiet was uncanny in comparison. From somewhere far below ground, Germans began to appear. They clambered to the parapets and began to shout wildly. They threw their rifles, hats, bandoleers, bayonets and trench knives toward us. They began to sing.
And just like that, it was over. Four years of the bloodiest carnage the world had ever seen came to a stop as sudden and bewildering as its start. And the world vowed “Never again.”
Each year, we lay the wreath. We hear “The Last Post.” We mouth the words “never again” like an incantation. But what does it mean? To answer this question, we have to understand what WWI was.
WWI was an explosion, a breaking point in history. In the smoldering shell hole of that great cataclysm lay the industrial-era optimism of never-ending progress. Old verities about the glory of war lay strewn around the battlefields of that “Great War” like a fallen soldier left to die in No Man’s Land, and along with it lay all the broken dreams of a world order that had been blown apart. Whether we know it or not, we here in the 21st century are still living in the crater of that explosion, the victims of a First World War that we are only now beginning to understand.
What was World War One about? How did it start? Who won? And what did they win? Now, 100 years after those final shots rang out, these questions still puzzle historians and laymen alike. But as we shall see, this confusion is not a happenstance of history but the wool that has been pulled over our eyes to stop us from seeing what WWI really was.
This is the story of WWI that you didn’t read in the history books. This is The WWI Conspiracy.
PART ONE – TO START A WAR
June 28, 1914.
The Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie are in Sarajevo for a military inspection. In retrospect, it’s a risky provocation, like tossing a match into a powder keg. Serbian nationalism is rising, the Balkans are in a tumult of diplomatic crises and regional wars, and tensions between the kingdom of Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire are set to spill over.
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But despite warnings and ill omens, the royal couple’s security is extremely lax. They board an open-top sports car and proceed in a six-car motorcade along a pre-announced route. After an inspection of the military barracks, they head toward the Town Hall for a scheduled reception by the Mayor. The visit is going ahead exactly as planned and precisely on schedule.
And then the bomb goes off.
As we now know, the motorcade was a death trap. Six assassins lined the royal couple’s route that morning, armed with bombs and pistols. The first two failed to act, but the third, Nedeljko Čabrinović, panicked and threw his bomb onto the folded back cover of the Archduke’s convertible. It bounced off onto the street, exploding under the next car in the convoy. Franz Ferdinand and his wife, unscathed, were rushed on to the Town Hall, passing the other assassins along the route too quickly for them to act.
Having narrowly escaped death, the Archduke called off the rest of his scheduled itinerary to visit the wounded from the bombing at the hospital. By a remarkable twist of fate, the driver took the couple down the wrong route, and, when ordered to reverse, stopped the car directly in front of the delicatessen where would-be assassin Gavrilo Princip had gone after having failing in his mission along the motorcade. There, one and a half metres in front of Princip, were the Archduke and his wife. He took two shots, killing both of them.
Yes, even the official history books—the books written and published by the “winners”—record that the First World War started as the result of a conspiracy. After all, it was—as all freshman history students are taught—the conspiracy to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand that led to the outbreak of war.
That story, the official story of the origins of World War I, is familiar enough by now: In 1914, Europe was an interlocking clockwork of alliances and military mobilization plans that, once set in motion, ticked inevitably toward all out warfare. The assassination of the Archduke was merely the excuse to set that clockwork in motion, and the resulting “July crisis” of diplomatic and military escalations led with perfect predictability to continental and, eventually, global war. In this carefully sanitized version of history, World War I starts in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
But this official history leaves out so much of the real story about the build up to war that it amounts to a lie. But it does get one thing right: The First World War was the result of a conspiracy.
To understand this conspiracy we must turn not to Sarajevo and the conclave of Serbian nationalists plotting their assassination in the summer of 1914, but to a chilly drawing room in London in the winter of 1891. There, three of the most important men of the age—men whose names are but dimly remembered today—are taking the first concrete steps toward forming a secret society that they have been discussing amongst themselves for years. The group that springs from this meeting will go on to leverage the wealth and power of its members to shape the course of history and, 23 years later, will drive the world into the first truly global war.
Their plan reads like outlandish historical fiction. They will form a secret organization dedicated to the “extension of British rule throughout the world” and “the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of a British Empire.” The group is to be structured along the lines of a religious brotherhood (the Jesuit order is repeatedly invoked as a model) divided into two circles: an inner circle, called “The Society of the Elect,” who are to direct the activity of the larger, outer circle, dubbed “The Association of Helpers” who are not to know of the inner circle’s existence.
“British rule” and “inner circles” and “secret societies.” If presented with this plan today, many would say it was the work of an imaginative comic book writer. But the three men who gathered in London that winter afternoon in 1891 were no mere comic book writers; they were among the wealthiest and most influential men in British society, and they had access to the resources and the contacts to make that dream into a reality.
Present at the meeting that day: William T. Stead, famed newspaper editor whose Pall Mall Gazette broke ground as a pioneer of tabloid journalism and whose Review of Reviews was enormously influential throughout the English-speaking world; Reginald Brett, later known as Lord Esher, an historian and politician who became friend, confidant and advisor to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and King George V, and who was known as one of the primary powers-behind-the-throne of his era; and Cecil Rhodes, the enormously wealthy diamond magnate whose exploits in South Africa and ambition to transform the African continent would earn him the nickname of “Colossus” by the satirists of the day.
But Rhodes’ ambition was no laughing matter. If anyone in the world had the power and ability to form such a group at the time, it was Cecil Rhodes.
Richard Grove, historical researcher and author, TragedyAndHope.com.
RICHARD GROVE: Cecil Rhodes also was from Britain. He was educated at Oxford, but he only went to Oxford after he went to South Africa. He had an older brother he follows into South Africa. The older brother was working in the diamond mines, and by the time Rhodes gets there he’s got a set up, and his brother says “I’m gonna go off and dig in the gold mines. They just found gold!” And so he leaves Cecil Rhodes, his younger brother—who’s, like, in his 20s—with this whole diamond mining operation. Rhodes then goes to Oxford, comes back down to South Africa with the help of Lord Rothschild, who had funding efforts behind De Beers and taking advantage of that situation. And from there they start to use what—there’s no other term than “slave labor,” which then turns in later to the apartheid policy of South Africa.
GERRY DOCHERTY: Well, Rhodes was particularly important because in many ways, at the end of the 19th century, he seriously epitomized where capitalism was [and] where wealth really lay.
Gerry Docherty, WWI scholar and co-author of Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War.
DOCHERTY: Rhodes had the money and he had the contacts. He was a great Rothschild man and his mining wealth was literally uncountable. He wanted to associate himself with Oxford because Oxford gave him the kudos of the university of knowledge, of that kind of power.
And in fact that was centered in a very secretive place called “All Souls College.” Still you’ll find many references to All Souls College and “people behind the curtain” and such phrases [as] “power behind thrones.” Rhodes was centrally important in actually putting money up in order to begin to gather together like-minded people of great influence.
Rhodes was not shy about his ambitions, and his intentions to form such a group were known to many. Throughout his short life, Rhodes discussed his intentions openly with many of his associates, who, unsurprisingly, happened to be among the most influential figures in British society at that time.
More remarkably, this secret society—which was to wield its power behind the throne—was not a secret at all. The New York Times even published an article discussing the founding of the group in the April 9, 1902, edition of the paper, shortly after Rhodes’ death.
The article, headlined “Mr. Rhodes’s Ideal of Anglo-Saxon Greatness” and carrying the remarkable sub-head “He Believed a Wealthy Secret Society Should Work to Secure the World’s Peace and a British-American Federation,” summarized this sensational plan by noting that Rhodes’ “idea for the development of the English-speaking race was the foundation of ‘a society copied, as to organization, from the Jesuits.’” Noting that his vision involved uniting “the United States Assembly and our House of Commons to achieve ‘the peace of the world,’” the article quotes Rhodes as saying: “The only thing feasible to carry out this idea is a secret society gradually absorbing the wealth of the world.”
This idea is laid down in black and white in a series of wills that Rhodes wrote throughout his life, wills that not only laid out his plan to create such a society and provided the funds to do so, but, even more remarkably, were collected in a volume published after his death by co-conspirator William T. Stead.
Read the rest of the transcript at CorbettReport.com here.