Friday, October 20, 2017
While his brother was trained for the army, Prince Manuel was set to enter the Portuguese Naval Academy for his own military career. However, all of those plans came to ruin on the tragic day of February 1, 1908 when a republican terrorist gang assassinated the King, the heir to the throne and wounded Prince Manuel in the arm. He likely would have been killed as well had it not been for the heroic actions of his mother Queen Amelie, instead, he became King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarves under the most traumatic of circumstances. Although he confessed to being unprepared for such a position and forced to rely on his loyal ministers for advice, the new, young monarch did take some immediate and decisive action, dismissing the prime minister and his government which had presided over such a disaster and replacing it with a new government led by the distinguished Admiral Francisco Joaquin Ferreira do Amaral. It was hoped that this new government would encourage national unity and, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, it seemed to work. However, the republican conspiracy was found to be more widespread than any had originally realized.
The plan of the young monarch was to try to tame the socialist party, which, odd as it seems now had never fared well in Portugal, in order to make them a more palatable alternative to the republican party. Of course, being socialists, they were naturally republicans as well but the hope was that they could be made to work within the existing system of constitutional monarchy and that leftist agitators would abandon the cause of the republicans who had no other goal than the ruination of the kingdom. This would be no small trick as it would require two political miracles; making the republicans go over to the socialists and yet not have the socialists simply replace them as the primary threat to the monarchy. King Manuel II hoped that he could weaken the republicans and, perhaps naively, that the socialists could be a force for good in the country. Unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, this never really worked but nor was it given much of a chance to. The situation was deteriorating faster than anyone would have expected. The efforts to modernize and any moderation on the part of the Crown was the scent of blood in the water for the republicans.
The King and royal officials knew something was up and on October 3, 1910 put the soldiers of the Lisbon garrison on the alert and took care to stay at a different location than his uncle and heir-to-the throne, Prince Royal Afonso, in case the worse should happen. Rumors of a coup attempt were thick but republican conspirators nonetheless succeeded, with some of their fellow members serving in the army, in sparking a mutiny first in the Sixteenth Infantry and later First Artillery Regiments. Men from other units joined as well along with a few hundred civilians and, after clashing with police and some municipal guard troops along the way, set themselves up behind barricades in Rotunda Square. By the next morning some naval crews had mutinied as well, one group of rebels even seizing the cruiser Dom Carlos I, the situation in the capital was momentarily deadlocked. The rebels had achieved all of their aims and yet there was no mass uprising of the people as they had expected. They controlled a major city square and Alcantara parish, but little more and they could not remain there indefinitely. With no movement on the part of the public, many rebel leaders gave up and went home. Unfortunately, the firebrand Machado Santos stayed and determined to carry on.
The palace did come under fire from ships in the harbor but the King kept his cool and contacted the minister president about what forces needed to be sent to reinforce the position. As the attack on Rotunda had already failed, he was advised again that it would be easier to get him out than to get sufficient loyal troops in. The King agreed to evacuate to a military school at Mafra, dispatching many of the soldiers sent to escort him to fight the rebels. However, when he arrived, he found only a small fraction of the soldiers expected and by that time had not many with him either. It was decided to bring the Queen Mother and Dowager Queen Maria Pia of Savoy to Mafra and then they would all go to Porto to make a proper defense and organize a monarchist counter-offensive to take back control of Lisbon. Fighting was still going on there but it came to end in an odd way, all due to a misunderstanding.
King Manuel II was extremely civil about the whole ordeal. After landing at Gibraltar he even ordered the yacht to return to Portugal on the grounds that it was government property and not his own. He would live out the rest of his life in exile in Great Britain. For a kingdom that dated back to 1139, with roots stretching back even further, it seemed an anticlimactic end, more like the result of a bizarre accident than a successful conspiracy. King Manuel II still regarded himself as King of Portugal, as did the other crowned heads of Europe and, indeed, there was plenty of reason to hope for a restoration as the First Portuguese Republic proved to be an incoherent, anticlerical, monument to political incompetence from start to finish. In 1911 and 1912 there were efforts at a royal restoration, showing considerable public support for the monarchy but each were unsuccessful. In 1913 the King married Princess Augusta Victoria von Hohenzollern but the two never had any children.
There were also, unfortunately but not surprisingly, problems which the monarchists created for themselves. Ever since the Liberal Wars of 1828-1834 between the constitutional and absolute monarchists (basically the Portuguese version of the Spanish Carlist Wars) there had been a faction of the Portuguese Royal Family providing a rival claim to the throne in opposition to the victorious constitutional monarchists. At the time of the overthrow of King Manuel II, the absolutist claimant was Miguel, Duke of Braganza and this division doubtless hurt the overall cause of monarchy. It was also all the more pressing given that Manuel II had no heir to continue the constitutionalist line after the death of his uncle in 1920 with no heirs either.
As it was, Manuel II, the last King of Portugal to date, died of suffocation from a throat problem on July 2, 1932 which made the Miguelist heir Duarte Nuno the ‘last man standing’ and basically the only option for carrying the monarchist cause forward. By this time the First Portuguese Republic had fallen apart and a corporatist “New State” was in place led by Prime Minister Antonio Oliveira de Salazar who had begun to stabilize things and slowly bring the country back toward prosperity. A devout Catholic and inclined to monarchist sympathies, he allowed the remains of King Manuel II to come to Portugal for burial with full state honors. The sad occasion gathered huge crowds, showing again how much popular support the monarchy still had in Portugal. Salazar talked of restoring the monarchy and seriously considered it in 1951 but, perhaps because of the legal disputes and lingering rivalries within the monarchist community, ultimately never did so. When his regime was brought down by a military coup in 1974 the revived Portuguese republic has had basically only liberal or leftist governments ever since which, of course, have little time for any talk of monarchy.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Word arrives that Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, is coming to Doorn to visit the Kaiser. Princess Hermine hopes that such a high profile visit could mean that Hitler is about to offer the Kaiser his throne back. Needless to say, this visit never happened and would have been quite absurd. The Kaiser was visited, before the war, by Air Marshal Hermann Goering and this is mentioned in the film, the Kaiser being less than impressed with the outlandish Nazi. For Himmler to visit the Kaiser, on the other hand, would have been extremely bizarre to say the least. He was a party official after all and, especially after being visited by Goering, to have someone like Himmler come would have been seen as a slight rather than an honor. Himmler was basically a policeman, had been too young for action in World War I and I can only imagine this was put into the story because of the reputation Himmler has today as possibly the most sinister Nazi of all. People today tend to forget that, at the time, Himmler hard made the list of highest-ranking Nazis whereas Hermann Goering was Hitler’s right-hand man, the second most powerful man in the Reich and Hitler’s chosen successor
Captain Brandt, however, knows that the Kaiser is being tricked. Himmler, in another scene which would never have happened in real life, informs him prior to his meeting with Wilhelm II that he will inform the Kaiser that Hitler will restore his throne but that this is a ruse intended only to flush remaining German royalists out into the open so that they can be dealt with. Brandt does not keep this secret, being already in the midst of a conflict of loyalties concerning his affair with Mieke. Once Himmler has left, Mieke confronts the Kaiser out in the woods while he is chopping wood (which actually was the Kaiser’s primary pastime during his exile) and reveals herself as the British spy. However, she was not ordered to kill him but rather to pass word to him that the British would offer him a safe haven in England and the restoration of his throne after the Allies win the war. The Kaiser can only marvel at the absurdity of the situation; after twenty years of waiting receiving two offers for restoration in a single night, neither of which he can accept.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Did Emperor Frederick I have problems with the Church in his time? Most would say, "yes" but I would add that his problems were more with the papacy than with the Church as a whole. Problems there certainly were though and ultimately this stemmed from the fact that the First German Reich, referred to officially as the "Holy Roman Empire" had a very different beginning than the original Roman Empire which preceded it. It all came down to the fact that this new entity had begun with the Pope, St Leo III, crowning Charlemagne "Emperor of the Romans" and, as such, the papal view was that the imperial crown was theirs to give and theirs to take away. Emperor Frederick I, as with many of his fellow kaisers, needless to say, did not tend to share this view. There was also a territorial dispute which originated from, basically, the Pope giving land to the King of Sicily which Frederick regarded as being part of the empire without checking with the emperor first and after the Emperor had signed an agreement with a previous pope that promised there would be no such agreement between the Emperor and the King of Sicily without papal approval, so it seemed like a double-cross to the Germans.
Especially in these dishonest and disjointed times we live in, I think it is important to keep a few things in mind before being too hard on Emperor Frederick. He was one of the few German emperors to actually be crowned by the Pope (in 1155) with his troops killing off the Roman republicans who had been antagonizing the pontiff while he was there. Emperor Frederick, though he was excommunicated along with anti-Pope Victor IV, only had a problem with that because from his first day to his last he considered himself a staunch Roman Catholic and never considered being anything else. Indeed, he was widely considered a very devout and pious man who wanted the papal and imperial powers to work together but did insist that the pope recognize the imperial power which he wielded in secular matters. He was not some raving, unorthodox, heretic who was, for example, trying to argue that mothers could kill their children or that two men can get married. Finally, it is also worth remembering that even after all of his trials and difficulties, Emperor Frederick I died while going on Crusade to retake the Holy Land from Islam. In short, while not denying or covering up the very real differences Frederick Barbarossa had with the papacy, I think Catholics should not be too hard on him. The first view of him that comes to mind should not be that of a villain.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Just like World War I was not the first “world war”, so too the “First Sino-Japanese War” was not the first time that the Chinese and Japanese had fought each other. However, it was the first time that Imperial China and the Japan of the post-Meiji Restoration had come to blows. The way China was so swiftly and completely defeated shocked the world, given the disparity between the two powers in the ways in which national strength had always been measured. China had vastly more land, more resources, more people, more wealth of every kind, how could they possibly lose? They did lose though and for China this was a bigger shock than their losses in the south to the British or French. Losing to Europeans was rather like losing to invaders from Outer Space. Losing to Japan, however, was totally different. China had long regarded the Japanese as being little more than a nest of pirates. They often referred to them as “dwarves”, uncivilized and, indeed, were previously held to be a vassal state of Imperial China. In every way, the Japanese were an enemy unworthy of being taken seriously. Losing to them in 1895 was a blow to the entire traditional worldview of Imperial China.
This came about, oddly enough, from the burgeoning railroad industry in China. Local provinces had built their own railroads but when the imperial government decided to nationalize the railroads, as a means of collateral to obtain foreign loans, the provincial authorities were outraged. Some organized their own security forces to defend the railroads and there were clashes between them and imperial troops. Taking advantage of this unrest were a couple of secret societies working together who planned a sort of terrorist attack. However, their bomb exploded prematurely which alerted the Qing authorities and who began a crackdown on these organizations. One group, the Literary Society, knew they were marked for arrest and execution and so planned to simply mount an uprising of their own and hope others joined their cause. However, again, the local Qing viceroy was made aware of the plot and quick action was able to stop it with many of the leadership being arrested. At every point, the would-be revolutionaries were failing and often through their own mistakes.
|Wuchang rebel military flag|
This makes it extremely frustrating for monarchists who, in China, are inevitably portrayed as being on the same side as the foreigners when, in fact, the rebellion only happened because the foreigners withdrew their support for the continuation of the dynasty. Adding to monarchist frustration is the fact that the loyalists were never really defeated. The Qing court dispatched General Yuan Shih-kai and his formidable Beiyang Army which won the Battle of Yangxia and recaptured Hankou and Hanying from the rebels only to have Yuan Shih-kai do a double-cross and offer to deliver the surrender of the Qing forces in exchange for being given power in the post-Qing republic. This is what ultimately came about as, after securing his secret agreement with the rebels but still posing as a loyal general, Yuan Shih-kai persuaded the court that their cause was lost and that the best thing to do would be to abdicate in exchange for a promise of favorable treatment which he would guarantee.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Also, recently, after the horrific mass-shooting in Las Vegas, we have the left telling another big lie which is that they are all about “gun control” and if only we could take guns away from people, all would be well. They don’t mean a word of it. If they did, they would not have put a stop to Mayor Giuliani’s program of “stop and frisk” in New York City which was aimed at getting illegal firearms off the streets. However, it seemed that the people with illegal firearms were too consistently of one color and so this was deemed “racist” and had to be stopped. So, by their actions, we know that any effort at “gun control” is really only an effort to suppress gun ownership by one segment of the population and not the population as a whole. After all, that “equality under the law” jargon has been shown to be nothing but a lie as well. The law only applies to certain people and some people are ‘more equal than others’.
Modern Germany offers a plethora of examples. Freedom of assembly? Only for those approved of by the elite. Democracy? The Germans never voted to make themselves an endangered species. They never voted to get rid of the Kaiser and in this Germany of government ‘by the people’, the choice of going back to the Kaiser is legally forbidden to them. Freedom of speech is an obvious lie everyone knows about and it has been mentioned here before. Tell someone you think the Armenian genocide did not happen and you may be thought a crank but tell someone you think the Holocaust did not happen and you will be put in prison. Fly a communist flag, you may offend a few but will be in no trouble. Fly a Nazi flag and, again, you will go to prison. In Nazi Germany, all parties but one were banned. Modern Germany gives you a wide selection of parties to choose from but only those the ruling elite approves of. We are told, of course, that this is because some ideas are simply too dangerous to be allowed a hearing. That is fair enough, however, it also means that the people who lie and say they believe in self-rule by "the people" do not believe the people are intelligent enough to refrain from supporting the Nazis if they were able to hear them and consider their ideas. Obviously, once again, the whole basis of their system is a lie.
Practically all of our modern lives are based on lies. The education system is full of lies designed to feed the narrative of our rulers, as is the news media and much of pop culture. Our economic system is based on lies. Napoleon Bonaparte once said that, "History is a set of lies agreed upon". Substitute the word "currency" for "history" and this statement is just as true. Our money has value because our government lies to us and tells that it does, simply because they say so, and we believe them because not to would be disastrous. So much of our economies today depend on people making bets on the profits to be made on products that have not even been manufactured yet. We buy, sell and trade success or loss on items no one has produced. Not all of course, but a great deal of it is all based on nothing concrete, nothing substantive. In other words, lies, selling a product you do not have for imaginary money from someone else. And, it all goes on because to admit the lie would cause the entire facade to come crashing down and leave everyone in ruins. One of the "benefits" of globalism is that all the nations of the world are now members of a suicide pact.
I doubt many today could even imagine how much more simple, direct and honest things used to be in the days before every man, woman and child was expected to be involved in politics. I doubt many can imagine what it was like before everyone in society was locked in constant ideological warfare with their fellow citizens. It was the way life was once. There were no Tories, Labourites and Liberal Democrats, there were just Englishmen. There were no Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens and so on, just Germans, Frenchmen and so on all wanting to make the best of their lives, to live in peace and not be plundered by the neighbors. Your king was your king, your lord or other local authority was well known as were his obligations. A society without politics, without political parties, seems endlessly attractive to me. I wonder if we are becoming so inundated with lies these days that others might start to feel the same?
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
The First Reich, the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”, had a large and very old Jewish population. Because the First Reich was usually a very decentralized body, more like a collection of small countries than one, large, empire other than in the periods when a particularly strong German Kaiser came to the throne and united the German people behind him. The Jewish population predated the rise of the House of Habsburg to the imperial throne, the Hohenstaufen Kaiser Friedrich II being notable for encouraging Jews to enter the financial sector and, indeed, they soon became known as the ‘servants of the treasury’. They were recognized as a separate group within the empire, allowed to live by their own laws and were not subject to the same laws as the Christian population. However, because of the decentralized nature of the empire, their status varied from locality to locality with some local rulers being more tolerant of them than others. There were occasions of mob violence against them but, overall, they were generally far better off than the Jews in other countries.
|Albert II of Germany|
It should also be pointed out that Emperor Ferdinand II, who is generally regarded as a Catholic champion like Emperor Charles V, was also like Charles V in being more tolerant of the Jews. He opposed their persecution and even allowed them to build a new synagogue. Obviously, it is ridiculous to attribute anti-Semitism to Catholic zealotry when the monarchs who are most celebrated by traditional Catholics, Charles V and Ferdinand II who led the Catholic side of the Thirty Years War, were more tolerant of Jews than Maximilian II or Rudolf II who are generally disliked by these same staunch Catholics. Indeed, during the Thirty Years War, Emperor Ferdinand II found the Jewish population to be a very valuable tax base to support his war effort against the Protestant coalition. In many ways, the Catholic emperors who wanted reconciliation with the Protestants tended to be more anti-Jewish while the Catholic emperors who wanted to defeat the Protestants were more tolerant of the Jews, at least during this period.
|Emperor Leopold I|
This trend generally remained in place though with one slight exception. Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, inherited the Habsburg lands, prompting the War of the Austrian Succession (King George’s War to Americans) and she married the Duke of Lorraine, bringing to the Habsburgs one of the claims to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. She was a devout Catholic, not a fan of the “Enlightenment” and not a big fan of the Jews. She wrote that, “Henceforth no Jew, no matter under what name, will be allowed to remain here without my written permission. I know of no other troublesome pest within the state than this race, which impoverished the people by their fraud, usury and money-lending and commits all deeds which an honorable man despises. Subsequently they have to be removed and excluded from here as much as possible.” However, it should also be remembered, she had a similar opinion of Protestants and wished to deport them as well which ultimately prompted a threat from her eldest son to abdicate. She also, like Leopold I, had Jews in her court and her ministers did convince her to moderate somewhat.
|Emperor Joseph II|
|Badge of Jewish support for the K.u.K. war effort|
|Rabbi praying over Emperor Charles & Empress Zita|
Monday, October 2, 2017
These are certainly troubled times for the once proud and powerful Kingdom of Spain and there seems no hope of anything getting better in the immediate future. Separatist leaders have already, in spite of no vote really being held, declared themselves the winners with Carles Puigdemont saying that Catalonia has, “won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic” and that the way is now open for a unilateral declaration of independence. Again, it is noteworthy that the only thing the separatist leader can say to describe his ideal, independent, Catalonia is that it will be some sort of republic. What would actually resist remains to be seen as the separatists have portrayed independence as all things to all people, presenting differing visions cut to the customer’s satisfaction. To the socialists, it will be more socialist than ever, to the liberals it will be more capitalist than ever, to the Muslims, well, they were promised a ‘mega-mosque’ to be built when independence is achieved. They have no doubt about what sort of state they want and their views cannot be ignored considering that Catalonia has the highest percentage of Muslims among the Spanish regions. In fact, if Catalonia became independent, it would have the third most Muslim population in the neighborhood with a greater percentage than either Britain or Germany.
Due to a couple of comments, I think it also worth addressing the broader point of the ever-dividing states of Europe. I do not think I made it clear enough before why I think these ever smaller states are helpful. In the first place, whether one is speaking of Catalonia or Flanders or even Scotland, the immediate or ultimate end of these movements are to create more republics which is repugnant to my monarchist loyalties. However, even were they not, they would hardly be in a position to be truly independent. Some, more often the libertarian-minded rather than reactionary, also put forth the notion of micro-states. The problem with these is that they are too small and too incapable of the practical necessities of actual independence to withstand the stresses they would inevitably face. Those who point to the benefits of free market economics, and they have a case certainly, point to examples such as the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong which, while self-governing, was a colony and not independent. The Principality of Liechtenstein, while legally sovereign, is not capable of total independence and for most of its history has not been, previously being part of the First German Empire, currently part of a customs union with Switzerland.