Labour and Hitler

July 9th, 2009 at 3:04 pm by David Farrar

No this post is not going to see Godwin’s Law cited. It is about a fascinating article in the Manawatu Standard:

Though it has been commonly assumed that New Zealand vocally opposed the Nazi expansion and urged Britain to confront Hitler’s regime, two historians are arguing this is not true.

New Zealand continued to push for negotiations with Hitler even as Britain declared war, while still honouring a trade agreement made with Germany in 1937, they say.

We were still trading with Hitler? We signed a trade agreement with him in 1937?

Massey University head of history, philosophy and classics James Watson said he and New Zealand Defence Force historian John Crawford began their research after discovering discrepancies in the history books.

They stumbled across correspondence between key New Zealand ministers in 1939, pushing for continued negotiations. …

New Zealand was behind Britain initially, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to negotiate with Hitler and signed the Munich peace agreement in 1938.

But after Hitler dishonoured the agreement and invaded Poland, Britain was talking war while New Zealand continued to push for peace negotiations.

Finally, in 1940, New Zealand and Australia sent telegrams to Britain saying they would follow her “to the end”, in whatever decision was made.

So even after Hitler invaded Poland, the Government thought negotiations were the way to go – despite Hitler having broken every previous agreement?

Meanwhile, New Zealand was continuing trade with Germany under a special agreement they had signed in 1937, Dr Watson said.

“I often wondered whether any New Zealander who encountered a German soldier in Greece ever reflected that the uniforms worn by Germans were made from New Zealand wool.”

I wonder when trading stopped?

When Peter Fraser became Prime Minister in 1940, he took a staunch anti-Hitler position.

Dr Watson thinks this might be why the period beforehand has been glossed over by historians.

An historical bias towards Labour could also be the reason, he said.

The research will be published in the British Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History later this year.

I look forward to reading the full research. Thank God for historians.

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94 Responses to “Labour and Hitler”

  1. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Fortunatly, the manawatu standard is neither a newspaper of record or a history text.

    There seems to be a gap between 1938 and 1940. Could it be they missed September 3, 1939?

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  2. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    MNIJ – that’s when UK went to war, not NZ.

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  3. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Thats right Jack a labour government would never do anything so low would they? — Yeah right.

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  4. Ryan Sproull (7,031 comments) says:

    Thats right Jack a labour government would never do anything so low would they? NOT!!!

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  5. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    Hey MNIJ, gotten over your senate/legislative council gaffe yet? Could this latest sulkiness be a follow-on faux pas?

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  6. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    3-coil, according to my history books, NZ declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. What does yours say?

    Sakozy, not my gaffe. I am well awatre NSW has a LEgislative Council, NOT a Senate, something that escaped the editorial writer. It is a basic fact that should never be in error.

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  7. tvb (4,208 comments) says:

    And set all that against Labour’s pacifist background particularly of their senior members of the time. So all this is entirely consistent. Labour do eventually come on side but they are tardy about it and not without some damage to long term relationships. Had this got full treatment it is possible NZ would have been treated more harshly by the British over the EEC.

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  8. vibenna (305 comments) says:

    Lucky we have a world class University like Massey, eh?.

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  9. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,797 comments) says:

    MNIJ did it take you two days to dream up that excuse or did your mates in the EPMU do it for you?

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  10. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    And Canada? A week after NZ.

    November 1936. “Germany is too strong. We must destroy her.” Winston Churchill

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  11. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Adolf, I posted a response to your retarded claim the LC = Senate. All I was seeking was accuracy in reporting, especially from someone who thinks they know how to run the education of children.

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  12. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    Err..

    According to this we declared war in 1939,

    http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-1Doc-c1.html

    My book of treaties say that NZ signed a trade deal with Germany on 30 September 1937 that came into effect on 12 October, It was to last until 30 June 1939, [Trade ( New Zealand and Germany) ratification Act 1937] and was then renewable on a 3 month basis, MFAT report that it was suspended upon the declaration of War in 1939 and not revived.

    [DPF: We formally declared war in 1939, but as any student of history knows the real war did not start until 1940. What this history research has found out, is that even after the invasion of Poland, NZ was advocating negotiation with Hitler]

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  13. big bruv (13,296 comments) says:

    Interesting, so just like under the Klark government NZ has a long and embarrassing history of running from its obligations.

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  14. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Come on, big bruv, what obligations did a little pacific nation have to take part in Europe’s murderous wars?

    Would you be so keen to run off if there was another European war?

    Besides, as pointed out above, NZ declared war on Gernamy as soon as GB did; in effect it was a moot point anyway, as the King had already declared war on behalf of all his dominions, including NZ.

    [DPF: The King had no power to declare war on behalf of any of his dominions. Your knowledge of history is rather woeful]

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  15. big bruv (13,296 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    We should have been a part of the war in Iraq.

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  16. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    big bruv, fee free to go any time you like, no one is stopping you. Which “we” do you mean? Other people’s children? Your own? Yourself?

    If you are not already in one of the armed forces then your opinion is worthless. Shit or get off the pot.

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  17. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    That’s bullshit from two Massey University professors in two days, NZ declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939, within hours of Britain doing so (I think the declaration may actually have been made on the 2nd Sept NZ time).

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  18. Bok (740 comments) says:

    Oh dear. I realise that education is a dark and murky field for Labour and the unions, but christ on a lolly, I thought you could read MNIJ!!

    So lets try

    “Though it has been commonly assumed that New Zealand vocally opposed the Nazi expansion and urged Britain to confront Hitler’s regime, two historians are arguing this is not true.”

    Is the first statement… light going on yet?

    “They stumbled across correspondence between key New Zealand ministers in 1939, pushing for continued negotiations. …

    New Zealand was behind Britain initially, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to negotiate with Hitler and signed the Munich peace agreement in 1938.

    But after Hitler dishonoured the agreement and invaded Poland, Britain was talking war while New Zealand continued to push for peace negotiations.”

    Still no lightbulb?

    How about :

    “Dr Watson thinks this might be why the period beforehand has been glossed over by historians.

    An historical bias towards Labour could also be the reason, he said.”

    So let me spell it out. These guys are saying that history has been rewritten and they have actuall correspondence from the time to prove it, and will stake their reputation on it as far as having it published in England.

    The colossus of historical fact that is MNIJ, destroys their theory with that irrefutable proof of: “no it is’nt” Just bloody brilliant!!!

    They say that history was re written, you say no, look history says.. What the fuck are you doing using good decent oxygen?

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  19. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    Of course there was a natural fit between the NZ socialists and the Socialist Workers Party in Germany at that time. Remember the key thing here, it’s not about the methods, the cost, the benefits or the consequences, it’s all about the colour of the flag and the ideology behind it.

    <history_rewrite>It was the nasty right wing people who did all the bad things in WWII. </history_rewrite>

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  20. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    “An historical bias towards Labour could also be the reason, he said.”

    So nothing has changed then?

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  21. Camryn (550 comments) says:

    I haven’t personally read anything on New Zealand’s approach in the few years immediately before the war, but as far as I know we actually declared war on Germany *before* Britain as the date and time we had agreed with them to co-ordinate declarations occurred first in New Zealand and we neglected to think that the agreed date and time might have been GMT.

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  22. big bruv (13,296 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    So we should offer those in the armed forces the option?

    When you join one of the forces you do so on the understanding that there may be a chance that somebody might shoot at you, if that is not what you want then don’t fucking join.

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  23. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    “Fortunatly, the manawatu standard is neither a newspaper of record or a history text.”

    What about the British Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Jackoff?

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  24. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    These guys are saying that history has been rewritten …

    Let’s wait and see, but at the moment, they are the ones doing the re writing.

    So Bok, using your obviously superior inmtelelct, tell us what date NZ declared war on 1. Germany, 2. Italy and 3. Japan.

    All these historians appear to be saying is that NZ continued to trade with Germany, as did the UK, the USA and many other nations and that NZ still thought that there may have been some hope in negotiations. Nothing more, nothing less.

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  25. wreck1080 (3,731 comments) says:

    Bloody lefties.

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  26. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Jackoff, Andrew W, you fucking idiots, you’re missing the point as usual. The Commonwealth did declare war on Germany on September 1st 1939 but even after that NZ was still trying to advocate a peace settlement. It wasn’t until 1940 (most likely after the Battle of France) when that woolly-headed thinking stopped.

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  27. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    Forget sulky MNIJ and his red herring dates about who did what when, the real issue here is that people should understand the dynamics that underscore the socialist Labour Party of NZ – then and now. That the Labour Party chose to ignore grossly criminal and racists acts as practiced by the Nazi’s and then with belly’s showing chose to crawl around pleading with a despotic dictator to ‘see the light’ through further and fruitless negotiation proves how morally corrupt and unfit they really are to engage in foreign policy. To illustrate this point people may recall that a just a few years back Miss Helen Clark, former PM of NZ, received the very dubious distinction of being the first PM in the free world to receive a letter from
    HIZBOLLAH, a terrorist organisation of the finest standing, thanking her for her support for their murderous cause against Israel after she had shouted from the rooftops and banned diplomatic relations with Israel. The PMs office moved swiftly to gag the media from any further reports after the first one made the front page of the Dom Post. Just ask Phil Goff what he really thinks about Israel and how well he liked walking hand in hand with a known terrorist leader of the PLO, Arafat, when visiting the Middle East as Foreign Affairs minister a few years back.

    The revisionist history has been paraded as fact for so long about Labour being benign and inclusive is now thankfully exposed for what it is – dangerous rubbish of the worst kind. Socialists never change colour.

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  28. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    “Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened”

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  29. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    jackboot arguing history is like a virgin describing sex. With enthusiasim but no actual practical knowledge.

    I have a newspaper from 1941 and one minor item detailed an American company giving its parter company in Germany the recipe for synthetic rubber. I’m sure the Germans found that handy.

    Opposition to the war was common and pro-Nazis were as common as dickhead lefties on the internet. This should hardly shock anyone.

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  30. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    “So even after Hitler invaded Poland, the Labour Government thought negotiations were the way to go – despite Hitler having broken every previous agreement?”

    Sarky. Perhaps the then NZ thought that even a chance of a more peaceful solution to the crisis might be better than committing the country to certain war? No, your view inflames the “troops” much better…

    I agree this is very interesting research.

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  31. david (2,539 comments) says:

    It would appear that Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 (local time presumably) which would have been 2 September NZST (depending on what time of day the invasion started).

    If NZ decalred war on Germany on 3 September, it does seem rather a short amount of time for NZ to have been trading and pushing for peace. In those days it would have taken a day to get the Cabinet together anyway. Bit of a storm in a teacup I would say!

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  32. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Fuck me ratbaiter is STILL arguing for negotiations with Nazi Germany. Nice one Neville.

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  33. Bok (740 comments) says:

    MNIJ
    No I dont suggest for minute that I know better than said historians. That is just the point! I am not arguing their point for them, I am arguing the way you decided that you know better (the way you always seem to) than people actually working on the research. I could not give a toss if NZ declare war in 1420 or 1940 or never did. I am talking about your unbelievably ignorant approach to anything that does not fit your ideology.

    Lets firstly attack the paper, then show just how arrogant jet stupid we are by attacking experts in their field. Come to terms with the fact that you are a poster boy for genetic engineering. Because by christ, nature does make some real screw-ups.

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  34. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    What these professors are arguing is that the NZ Government declared war in Sept ’39 when Britain did, but then argued with Britain that the declaration be canceled.
    This bit: “Finally, in 1940, New Zealand and Australia sent telegrams to Britain saying they would follow her “to the end”, in whatever decision was made.” doesn’t make a lot of sense given that the decision (in the form of a declaration of war by NZ) had already been made.

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  35. Bok (740 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    “big bruv, fee free to go any time you like, no one is stopping you. Which “we” do you mean? Other people’s children? Your own? Yourself?

    If you are not already in one of the armed forces then your opinion is worthless. Shit or get off the pot.”

    That really takes the cake! Your opinion and that of the party you support, has been weighed and found not just wanting, but totally irrelevant. I have served you have not. I dont believe the fact that I actually have been in a war, means anything in this conversation. Typical waste of space, you try and bring in emotive arguments. Mate see if you can hold your breath for an hour and a half. It will do great things for NZ’s carbon footprint, and would lift the conversation here six notches.

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  36. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “it has been commonly assumed that New Zealand vocally opposed the Nazi expansion and urged Britain to confront Hitler’s regime,”

    I’ve never “assumed” that NZ was pushing Britain to confront Hitler, My understanding has always been that we followed Britain’s lead, “where she goes, we go”.

    These academics are constructing a false premise to demolish.

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  37. Cerium (22,849 comments) says:

    Ah, but isn’t it the capitalists that do the trading?

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  38. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    No decision had been made to pursue a war in late 39 till mid 40, Germans didn’t call that period in time the Sitzkrieg for nothing, got to remember France and England were terrified the Russians would enter the war on the side of Germany ( Russia had also declared war on Poland )

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  39. Chris_C (224 comments) says:

    Not shocking. I mean, most socialist and communist parties across the world were aligned with Stalin’s Russia in line with the principles of the Comintern, Third International, etc. When Stalin took up with Hitler in that pact, it’s not shocking that a leftist government would continue to trade with them across those lines.

    I just had a brief read about NZ Labour in that period, and it seems about right. People underestimate the power of the Comintern, and forget that even in the UK, Stalin was known as Uncle Joe and had a very good public image. It was only postwar that the Cold War meant governments started to divide across ideological lines.

    Even at that time it was actually being called the “Phoney War” in the US. That’s the thing – we had Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, Horthy in Hungary, so fascism wasn’t seen as a bad thing.

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  40. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    Socialists also never learn that trying to appease an aggressor is like a red rag to a bull. Aggressors sense fear and they act on it. Dimwits like ratbiter think that if we all hold hands and play nicely everything will be peachy and then we can all go home at dinner time and tuck up for a good nights sleep. And the rest of us are at least endowed with enough brain cells to understand the bully doesn’t want to play nicely. The bully wants to bully everyone around them, and if they are extra smart they manipulate the dimwits at the same time. The phrase ‘useful idiot’ comes to mind.

    Then again we can hardly blame the NZ socialists for wanting to be best friends with the the National Socialist German Workers Party can we.

    Like I said Murray, socialists never change colour.

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  41. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,797 comments) says:

    MNIJ, NZ declared war on Germany some two hours after Great Britain did.

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  42. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “Where she goes, we go, where she stands, we stand.” is from a speech by Savage on the 5th Sept.

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  43. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    “I often wondered whether any New Zealander who encountered a German soldier in Greece ever reflected that the uniforms worn by Germans were made from New Zealand wool.”

    I always wondered why German war surplus clothing was so well made.

    Don’t forget the US traded with Germany well beyound 1937 and the spanish civil war.

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  44. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Fcuk me, Murray is STILL creating strawmen (that’s imaginary opponents, kids) and arguing with them.

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  45. thedavincimode (6,534 comments) says:

    This is a sensitive issue for MNI Jerk/Borker.

    Remember his ANZAC day implosion because daddy didn’t get any medals?

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  46. Viking2 (11,133 comments) says:

    Anyone who has read John Lee’s books will know that most of the Cabinet in 39 & 40 were pacifists and more particularly Australian ones. The cabinet rule at the time specially ruled out any person from cabinet who had served in the armed forces, which of course Lee had. So no one should be surprised at this revelation, indeed we would be more surprised if it wasn’t the case.
    Savage was as well a very sick man and a horrible bastard much in the same manner as Clark. Indeed if one looks at a picture of Savage and then Cullen it is easy to see how Cullen tried to model himself and his looks on Savage. No doubt Cullen thought he would take over from Clark when it suited and would be Savage reborn.

    I would not be surprised to hear that even more information is unearthed about the behavoir of Savage and the Nazi’s.

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  47. kiki (425 comments) says:

    Who came to the aid of the democratically elected government of Spain when they were fighting against the Nazi back fascist Franco.

    The Nazis drove fords and ate Nestles chocolate is there anything wrong with selling them some wool?

    Do you advocate stopping trade with China? or are a Muslim minority OK to remove?

    Was the Armenian genocide really genocide

    are any of you descendants of settlers or invaders of New Zealand?

    Rewriting history? is this something new?

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  48. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    “democratically elected government of Spain”

    Not by 1937.

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  49. PaulD (97 comments) says:

    Didn’t it take the appointment of Churchill as Prime Minister in 1940 to put some backbone into the UK Conservative Government? They had their own group that were soft on Hitler.

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  50. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    “The Nazis drove fords and ate Nestles chocolate is there anything wrong with selling them some wool?”

    Nestles chocolate comes from Switerland. Giggle.

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  51. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    God DPF

    This is really desperate. What about the actions of the Labour Party during the first world war? I am sure there is something that they can be criticised for then.

    When will it stop?

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  52. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    DPF as God. Or DPF is god-like.

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  53. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    mickysavage – did you know that dirty labour lefties were also complicit in anti-freedom thinking and activities in the US War of Independence? Even though Cook had only just returned to England from his voyage of discovery. Truly the evil and hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds! :-)

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  54. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    You gave me a bad karma ratbiter. aw shucks.

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  55. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    You presume a great deal, sarkozygroupie…?

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  56. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    PS: But then, I DID notice you advocating prejudices as being far more meaningful than facts and figures just a minute ago, viz:

    “Forget MNIJ and his red herring dates about who did what when…”

    Cause yeah, in history names and dates are, like, SO over-rated :-P

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  57. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    There, there, mickysavage. Just put your fingers in your ears and whine about why John Key sacked Worth and all will be better soon.

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  58. Sarkozygroupie (189 comments) says:

    Rattie, we all know historical names and dates are very important, but when MNIJ gets hold of things it is a very hard stretch to find anything he says that bears any resemblance to fact, especially when it comes to accurate historical data. Apart from which he was trying to argue a strawman argument and I merely pulled attention back to the salient point. Which is, for your enlightened edification, that Labour was morally corrupt in ignoring the criminal actions of a despot and chose to try to appease an aggressor instead, making them monumentally unsuitable for indulging in foreign policy. MNIJ went on to say that trying to negotiate with a tyrant is a really good idea and had NZ continued we may all be better off for it. Sigh.

    Your latest little quip….Cause yeah, in history names and dates are, like, SO over-rated…reminds me of pompous would-be anarchist Rick from the Young Ones. If you are too young to know what this is I suggest you go get a DVD and take a good long look at yourself. Silly Rattie.

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  59. wreck1080 (3,731 comments) says:

    And, judging by tonights campbell live, I believe hamilton city council would have been a staunch supporter of hitler.

    What a bunch of small minded pricks. What has our country come to ? The kiwi way of life is being outlawed.

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  60. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Imagine if it was National. Jackoff would be all over it….

    Instead ve are left vis: Hitler – 12 years in power…Klark – wanted 12 years in power…is zere zum zort of rezemblance? Of course there isn’t. Hitler wanted world domination forever. All Klark wanted was absolute power forever…ahem…

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  61. Chicken Little (793 comments) says:

    So let me get this straight

    The NZ Labour Party thought Hitler wasn’t such a bad fella and maybe we should negotiate with him?

    Well I’ll be, who would have thought it?

    And then in the bright light of holocaust they and their minions rewrote the books?

    Bloody hell, you just wouldn’t read about it, would ya?

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  62. big bruv (13,296 comments) says:

    Chicken

    Labour’s love affair with Hitler might explain why Flick Goff was also a keen fan of that other shining example of humanity Yasser Arafat.

    Nothing much has changed in 70 years.

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  63. greenjacket (417 comments) says:

    Hi DPF:
    Actually, New Zealand was a Dominion in 1939. That meant that when the King declared war in 1939 (on the advice of his Ministers), New Zealand was therefore automatically at war as well. The NZ government was informed of the British government’s decision just before midnight on 3 September 1939. The decision by the Labour government to declare war in New Zealand’s own right was an entirely superfluous gesture (and the reason why other Dominions saw no reason to do so) – but it was a political gesture by Labour.

    What the research of Watson and Crawford suggests is that Labour were being two-faced – publicly they supported the war effort, but behind the scenes they were wanting to negotiate with the nazis.

    Jack:
    You wrote: “what obligations did a little pacific nation have to take part in Europe’s murderous wars?”
    NZ in 1939 was part of the British Empire, NZers called England “Home” and sang ‘God Save the King’ as the national anthem, 95% of our trade was with the Empire, a defeat of Britain would have been an economic catastrophe for NZ (which was bound into the London markets), NZ’s produce went by shipping, and NZ’s security was dependent upon British control of the seas. Nor did Hitler’s war ambitions didn’t stop at Europe. Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jewish, Slavic and all other so-called inferior peoples, and that wasn’t limited to Europe. In fact, New Zealand was used by Hitler as part of his nazi racist ideology – Hitler stated that the New Zealand climate was suitable for civilised human beings, but that New Zealanders lived in trees and needed to be exterminated. The idea that the war against Hitler was just “European” war displays your ignorance – honestly, I despair at the ignorance of some people. In response to the question, NZ also declared war on Italy on 10 June 1940, and Japan on 7 December 1941.

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  64. Jack5 (4,591 comments) says:

    Stalin and the Soviet Union were cobbers of Hitler, too, well after Britain and France went to war.

    Part of the reason Labour was so far Left internationally was that it had driven out John A. Lee, the World War 1 veteran decorated for bravery. Lee had attacked the ill Mick Savage as insane and incapable of running the country. I think Sir Roger Douglas’s father, a Labour MP, walked from the Labour Party with Lee.

    Many of the Labour leaders had been in prison as conscientious objectors during World War 1, and for some reason peaceniks, then as now, leaned well to the Left.

    Even when the capable Peter Fraser took the helm Lefties in NZ continued sabotage, as when wharfies went on strike. Reputedly this hampered the US marines division that had completed training near Wellington from embarking with full equipment for the hellish fighting that lay ahead. Those American boys, many of whom were killed in the Islands, helped keep the Japanese away from NZ.

    Incidentally, does anyone read Lee’s novels these days — Children of the Poor and Civilian into Soldier?

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  65. Tauhei Notts (1,608 comments) says:

    I find this subject rather surprising.
    I have spent a couple of hours studying back issues of Tomorrow magazine, a trendy lefty magazine published in the thirties.
    In early 1936 W.B. Sutch was arguing that N.Z. should boycott the Berlin games. Think about that next time you read about Jack Lovelock. Sutch was concerned about the German treatment of Jews. I recall that several other articles mentioned the awful treatment of Jews in Germany.
    So, having seen what the trendy lefty thinkers of that time, people such as A.R.D. (Rex) Fairburn, were writing, circa 1935, I find the new publicity somewhat unusual.
    What also made Tomorrow interesting to me was reading about a period in our history that my late mother spoke about so often. Grandad had three heavily mortgaged farms in the late twenties and was NZ’s biggest grower of linseed. The slump came along and left him destitute. It left mum rather bitter for the rest of her life. She was that frugal that even when they had an unencumbered 277 acre Waikato farm, she still used stale bread to toast, and with the rolling pin create bread crumbs for cooking. She is no longer with us now, as I negotiate, on behalf of heavily mortgaged cow cockies dealing with the disastrous downturn in milk solid prices. History repeats.

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  66. SBY (120 comments) says:

    This is a very interesting article, and I’m sure DPF enjoyed putting the words “Labour” and “Hitler” together.

    A couple of things:

    DPF, you said the war didn’t start for real until 1940. Are you forgetting about the Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939? Our boys in HMS Achilles were in the thick of it.

    Finally, since the debate has predictably become about how awful Labour is, may I point out that the mastermind of appeasement was a Tory.

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  67. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Scrap steel was being exported to Germany from the UK until March 1940.

    Contracts.

    Churchill became Prime Minister on 10 May 1940.

    That is when the war seriously began.

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  68. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    Maybe I should have said ” Bound for Germany ” .

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  69. greenjacket (417 comments) says:

    Murray: “Opposition to the war was common and pro-Nazis were as common as dickhead lefties on the internet. ”
    No. The only anti-war group was the Stalinist Communist Party (who changed their tune in June 1941!) and a tiny number of Christian pacifists. There were no “pro-Nazis” in New Zealand apart from a couple of weirdos who were interned in 1940. Even in the UK, the number of people considered to be “pro-nazi” numbered fewer than a thousand (and they were closely watched by the police).
    History books are a good place to start, and the NZ official histories are online.

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  70. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    That explains Helen Clark’s behaviour.

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  71. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    New Zealand declared war on Germany simultaneously with Britain and France on the evening of Sunday, September 3. The declaration was handled by deputy PM Peter Fraser. The Michael Joseph Savage speech about ‘Where Britain Goes, We go,’ was recorded some days later, when Savage had recovered from his sickness.

    It might well be that the Government was still hoping that war could be negotiated away. The British were still doing that until May 1940, when Winston Churchill was appointed PM in Britain. There were people in the British upper classes, even in the Royal Family, who were sympathetic to Herr Hitler.

    But back to New Zealand: one has only to look at the stream of rules and laws passed by Gazette towards the end of August, and to the end of the year. They’re in big books in The Nation al Library of New Zealand, in Wellington. The government might well have been hoping for jaw-jaw rather than war-war, but the contents of the Gazette show that this country was settling in for the possibility of a long war.

    Naval reservists, for example, were being called up before even the old battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired the opening shots of the war against a Polish fortress early on Friday, Sept 1 (which was late afternoon here). Remember, as in August 1914, there were people who confidently predicting that this latest war would be over. Few expected then that the war would get so big.

    There were many in the British Government who were irked by Churchill, who had been reappointed First Lord of the Admiralty — he was urging the admirals to be very aggressive. Beacuse it was only the RN and RAF Bomber Command that were able to hit back at Germany then, and doing so, however feebly. Britain was bankrupt by December 1939. Then it had to go begging to the US. And the US’s screwing of Britain is a whole ‘nother story …

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  72. PaulD (97 comments) says:

    “Even in the UK, the number of people considered to be “pro-nazi” numbered fewer than a thousand (and they were closely watched by the police).” Was that number in addition to the 750 odd Fascists interned with Mosley and the Ex King shunted off to the Bahamas?

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  73. tvb (4,208 comments) says:

    Perhaps we are being a bit harsh on the Labour Party. Afterall there were some very Senior Members of Churchill’s Government who wanted to go down the “slippery slope” and negotiate with Hitler as late as May 1940 just after Churchill became PM. Churchill had to use all his power to stop that. There is a brilliant book written by John Lukacs called “Five Days in London in May 1940″ where all this is outlined.

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  74. reid (15,947 comments) says:

    You know, the most relevant fact germane to this topic is one which bypassed all of you completely.

    Murray Says:
    July 9th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    jackboot arguing history is like a virgin describing sex. With enthusiasim but no actual practical knowledge.

    I have a newspaper from 1941 and one minor item detailed an American company giving its parter company in Germany the recipe for synthetic rubber. I’m sure the Germans found that handy.

    Opposition to the war was common and pro-Nazis were as common as dickhead lefties on the internet. This should hardly shock anyone.

    Murray didn’t quite draw the correct conclusion in his last sentence but as I recall that was either Standard Oil or Du Pont. I think it was Standard Oil. The implications should be obvious.

    See, if you want to look at war, then you have to bear in mind the dicta that the victors write the history: ergo – you could be being fed a line of bullshit from start to finish.

    You might want to bear that in mind.

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  75. reid (15,947 comments) says:

    I remember now, it wasn’t rubber, it was synthetic fuel, and it was Standard Oil, who gave I.G. Farben and the Nazis the technology they needed to extract fuel from coal.

    That fueled their blitzkreig.

    And guess what: most of you have probably never heard of it.

    Gee. Who’d’ve thunk.

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  76. Brian Marshall (188 comments) says:

    Sorry to break it to you people, but this theory isn’t new.
    I have read, but can’t recall where, that their was even after war was declared a major push for making peace with Nazi Germany by trade unions around the world.
    That may or may not have been linked to the alliance Nazi germany had with the Soviet Union at the time, but that push for peace stopped when operation Baberossa started and the trade unions stopped the call for peace negotiations.
    The theory was that the soviets were exerting pressure through their control of the trade union movement around the world to push their agenda.

    A bit like the anti nuclear movement in the west during the 70′s was funded by commie money, but suppressed at the communist home countries at the same time.

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  77. Dusky (51 comments) says:

    Labour, Nazis, BNP – not much between them.

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  78. coolas (105 comments) says:

    It’s known history (Michael King) that the Savage Labour Government of socialist pacifists pushed for appeasement in support of Chamberlain.
    Where’s the revelation? Going the last mile to avoid war was consistent with their political philosophy. When Britain declared war so did New Zealand.
    What’s the sizzle here?

    PS. The US (Capitalist) had high level diplomatic contact with Hitler (Fascist) until Pearl Harbour in December 1941, and the Russians (Commie) sat back until they were invaded.

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  79. burt (7,818 comments) says:

    reid

    The Role of Synthetic Fuel In World War II Germany – implications for today? (Dr. Peter W. Becker)

    For the first time I have seen “History” at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. – WWI General Max Hoffman.

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  80. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    I remember reading that Germany managed to synthesize 2/3 of its oils and waxes, i found it quite fascinating and in my opinion it definitely showed who “won” word war 2, IG Farben, Siemens ect.

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  81. Matt (223 comments) says:

    For a bit of context, it might be worth pointing out that Stalin had recently made the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Hitler. In other words, the commies were in bed with the Nazis at this point.

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  82. senzafine (454 comments) says:

    A couple of things:

    DPF, you said the war didn’t start for real until 1940. Are you forgetting about the Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939? Our boys in HMS Achilles were in the thick of it.

    Indeed. My late Grandfather was on the Exeter. A few years before he died, he wrote an account of his time on board. Most interesting stuff! In fact, I have the battle to thank for my very existence! For the Exeter limped its way to the falklands where my Grandmother (a nurse) was working in the hospital. :D

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  83. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    After the horrors of the mainly Static battles of ‘the Great War’, it was no surprise that so many folk were trying to avoid another

    conflagration.

    The machinations of all the politicos of the time, the World over were seeded with bitter experience, or a wish to throw off Colonialism.

    Hitler was hell bent on his Master Plan. But for the Commonwealth, and the Yanks then the World could easily have been dominated for a 1000 years by the madness of National Socialism.

    Orwell figured there would be 3 main power blocks post war had the `Germans won. Probably about right.

    Hitler was never going to be able to take the US, and Japan was always going to be an uneasy ally.

    Thank God for the magnificent bravery of so many, to let us enjoy these prosperous times.

    Recession? Er No. Mismanagement through Greed. And a necessary correction in the working capital Base.

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  84. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Glute – fixed that for ya…”But for the Commonwealth, and the Yanks then the World could easily have been dominated for a 1000 years by the madness of Socialism”

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  85. Sam (497 comments) says:

    How pathetic – bringing the ‘intellectual firepower’ of Kiwiblog commentators to bear upon conflating the actions of the labour govt of over 50 years ago with Labour supporters today – shit, is that all you got!? If I were a leftist myself I’d find this more comical than annoying…

    Must be a slow news week…

    I don’t doubt the research by the way, although I think they are stretching claims to say that we all assume that we were rabidly pro-war – some of us have actually read some already published histories which address this very issue, specifically via tendency toward NZ’s adhering to and pushing the League of Nations’ line.

    But what really amuses me about the content of this thread is the fact that no-one is suggesting that an equivalent tory government wouldn’t have done exactly the same thing in the post WWI environment… Doesn’t register due to the default Labour=bad blinkers I suppose… how dreary…

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  86. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “conflating the actions of the labour govt of over 50 years ago with Labour supporters today”

    Yeah – unless you have a rather rose-tinted view of history and think all NZ’s people and institutions were morally pure and staunchly anti-fascist I can’t see this being a surprise to anyone.

    I’d say Labour’s (and most of the other parties’) credentials on standing up to tyranny are better displayerd by the China and ASEAN free trade agreements. If we’ll sit down and sign up to a deal with the Burmese regime today, why would a weakness in standing up to Hitler in ’39 come as a surprise?

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  87. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    I’ll bet there was “correspondence between ministers” in the UK too. There was certainly everything from support for Hitler to opposition to war in the country. I’m (passively) interested to see the rest of the evidence, but not shocked.

    On Labour more generally I thought I’d point out David Low was a Labour supporter.

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  88. oddity fan (277 comments) says:

    Some good posts here and some lame ones too.

    I think it is fair to remember that many leaders would have not forgotten the grim toll of WW1. Senior NZ government members were jailed for opposing conscription in WW1, and would later wear the mantle of reponsibility for maintaining our war effort. It was only 20 years earlier that WW1 had ended, (think back to 1989 – it isnt that long ago) so I think the passage of time now dulls for us the sheer horror that many leaders must have been experiencing to the possibility of a repeat of WW1, which had ended only 20 years earlier. Also should not forget that some of the senior members of the British Cabinet were leaning towards opening negotiations after Poland fell. Even after Churchill succeeded Chamberlain, Lord Halifax was regarded as being weak on the war policy and was shipped off to Washington, due to his association with the policy of appeasement.

    Putting that aside, NZ did its bit prior to the fall of France in 1940 and was never in a position to do much more. The real capability for taking offensive action was firstly with France and secondly with the UK. As noted by one other poster HM(NZ)S Achilles played an important role in the battle of the River Plate in December 1939. German raiders were preying on shipping in this part of the world too.

    The real war did not start with Churchill being appointed PM either. The Norway campaign was before this. The Allies (France and UK) were not playing, they were just inept. Perhaps if France had gone on the offensive asap after the declaration of war Germany wouldn’t have been able to launch the Blitzkrieg on the western front.

    I think to promote partisan political alignments idealogies of 2009 in the discussion of responding to this information from 1939 is daft.

    The law around trade / contracts being void in war was well established, so I really wonder about the research….Look forward to reading it.

    However, I’m not so sure that the NZ Government’s declaration of war was superfluous, as some posts have said. Our trade with the UK would have been worth a lot more than trade with Germany, plus cultural links, etc would in my view mean the declaration was a deliberate act and not symbolic nor automatic.

    So – perhaps the phoney war is the key to reading and understanding any documents that support the results of this story. The French and the British were hoping that a hot war wouldn’t happen after the fall of Poland, in which case for NZ officials keeping the possibility of resumption of trade with Germany was quite logical, but, in hindsight, also naive.

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  89. toby1845 (191 comments) says:

    “We formally declared war in 1939, but as any student of history knows the real war did not start until 1940.”

    Really, DPF. Tell that to the peoples of Poland and Finland.

    FWIW, the UN regards WW2 as having started in 1931, when Japan invaded Manchuria. That’s why China was invited to be the first country to sign the UN Charter in 1945.

    Talking of Labour and WW2, are there any Labour supporters left who are prepared to deny that that great NZ nationalist, Norman Eric Kirk was a draft-dodger in WW2?

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  90. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    Damn I wish that some people would read some bloody history.
    Russia had a good name around the world at the end of 39, christ have some of you people never heard of the Winter war ?
    Read this http://www.feldgrau.com/wwar.html

    If NZ and the Aussies were not too keen on the idea in 39 maybe they had bloody good reason.
    Look up the overall casualty rates for Australia and NZ compared with Britain’s
    per head of population for WW1

    And as it turned out they were bloody right to be wary, what did Churchill tell Freyberg when our troops were on their way to Greece, oh yes, you will see plenty of aircraft overhead.
    They did, every bloody one of them German.

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  91. toby1845 (191 comments) says:

    Hori, in late 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east, and attacked Finland. It hardly had a good name: if anything, the West saw Stalin as a bully, and on a par with Hitler.

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  92. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    toby1845 Are you suggesting that ALL Nat types from that era were real keen and willing to go overseas ?
    Funny how conscription was needed.

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  93. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The Pamir, a Finnish ship was the only enemy ship seized by New Zealand as a war prize after the Finns allied themselves with Germany and besieged Leningrad.

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  94. toby1845 (191 comments) says:

    Yes, NZ was still a Dominion in 1939; but no, the King did not declare war on our behalf.

    The Statute of Westminister (1931) transferred legislative independence to the self-governing dominions, including responsibility for foreign affairs. Although NZ, Australia, Canada and South Africa formally ratified the SoW at different times (in NZ’s case, 1947), for practical purposes it took effect immediately. This is why, for example, NZ was able to impose limitations on the employment of its land forces (Freyberg’s Charter).

    The self-governing dominions all declared war at different times: in NZ’s case, effectively at the same time as Britain. Australia followed shortly after, and Canada and South Africa a week or so later.

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