The Attack Within by Elwyn Jones - the parallels with Hitler and Islam, and 1939 and 2012

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (March 2012)


It is frequently mentioned that Adolf Hitler admired Islam. The remark usually produced in evidence is from the book of his ‘table talk’, when over dinner his acolytes in the inner party hung on his every word.  That evening he said something to the effect that Charles Martel’s victory at Tours in 732 which stopped Islam’s advance into Western Europe was a tragedy. In his opinion had the Teutonic races received Islam with its war ethos at the very beginning they would have been the Masters of the Universe long since.

That Yasser Arafat’s uncle, Haj Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem spent much of the war in Berlin where he was promised similar gas chambers to those working in Auschwitz for the Jews of North Africa and the Levant is not unknown. The Bosnian Muslim Handschar Division of the SS is also not unknown to the modern reader.

Some weeks ago a google search for something else threw up a tantalising quotation from a book published in the summer of 1939 which said “it has been decided to “convert” 25,000 Nazis to Mohammedanism. They will be organised in a newly-formed Moslem association, Jamait-e-Muslimin, which already has an understanding with the Mufti, a leader of the Palestinian Arabs.”

The quotation was from a book called The Attack from Within by Frederick Elwyn Jones. As he was Lord Chancellor in 1977 when I first joined the Civil Service and requested to be assigned to the Lord Chancellor’s Department I was already interested. The use of the term Mohammedan, and the old fashioned spelling of Moslem, stood out. I bought a second hand copy of the book.

It was one of a series that Penguin published called Penguin Specials which were on topics of urgent current interest designed to be published as quickly as possible after the manuscript was completed. In it Elwyn Jones, who at this time was a 30 year old barrister with experience of living in Germany, writes of German expansion and preparations for world domination, and the need for this expansion and the evils of Nazism to be stopped. The last authorities he gives for the evidence he submits (he used Hansard, The Daily Telegraph and The Manchester Guardian a lot) are dated late May 1939 so I imagine the book was published in early June, three months before the German invasion of Poland and the declaration of war on Germany.  One of the things he discusses is where the next German invasion/annexation will be after Austria and Czechoslovakia – Poland, Romania or Holland?

He sees many similarities with Nazism and Islam. With the benefit of 65 years of Islamic expansion since the end of World War II the modern reader may see even more.

What was very interesting was that before he wrote of Germany, Hitler and the Nazis he spent some time discussing Mussolini and his relationship with the Muslims of the lands round the Mediterranean, and their relationship with the Jews of those lands.

In Chapter II, "The Rome – Berlin Axis", he starts by discussing how the fascists seem to be planning to carve up Europe – the Germans want Northern Europe and Russia – the Mediterranean is to be ‘an Italian lake’ – the Italians might fancy the Balkans but Germany has her own plans – Franco has Spain and is neutral but the Germans have a use for Iberian ports, etc. Towards the end is the information that Mussolini set out to conquer Abyssinia as part of a plan to counterbalance his weakness in the eastern Mediterranean by setting up an Empire in North East Africa. He declared himself “Protector of Islam” and set up intrigues in Syria, Palestine and Libya against Great Britain and France. This is from P36.

As was reported in the House of Commons in February 16, 1938, in Palestine, “Italian women were disguised as charity workers and nuns and they supplied Arabs with faked pictures of Jewish atrocities and told the Arabs that their poverty was due to British mis-management. Travelling cinema vans showed the Arabs faked pictures of Jews killing Arabs . . . The Italian broadcast from Bari was picked up in Palestine and interspersed in an attractive programme was a series of slogans like ‘Palestine belongs to the Arabs’, 'Kill the Jews’ ‘Let Palestine Arabs re-arm’.”

Similar activity, it was stated, took place in Syria.

Does that not sound very familiar, and some 10 years before the foundation of the State of Israel?

Mussolini even tried to get influence in Yemen by sending the Emir a gift of machine guns an armoured car and twelve peacocks. However not every Muslim was impressed; 30,000 Muslims (or Mohammedans as Elwyn Jones calls them) marched through Damascus shouting “there is only one God and Mussolini is his enemy.”

Then he moves on to Germany and Hitler’s claim to be Defender of the Faithful (page 43).

“While synagogues have been burned in Germany a mosque has been built in the heart of Berlin, where Moslems may perform their devotions.

That is a small item in the Nazi programme to capture the sympathies of the Arabs. Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry professes to have discovered a number of points common to the Nazi creed of the sword and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed”

He then mentions the 25,000 coverts which are intended to send in as trade and political missionaries. Two centres have been set up for them in Cairo and Bagdad – using teachers and bank clerks Nazis are penetrating the vernacular press, German classes, and cinema. Their other tool is the Arab Club, el Nadi el Arrabi, a Pan Arab organisation with members in all parts of the Near east and Europe and an HQ on the Kurfuerstendamm.

Then he writes of kites bearing the inscription ‘Long Live Hitler’ and posters with the text in Arabic which translates as ‘The Jew will be using every penny he earns from you to buy your soil’, presumably a reference to those Jews of the third Aliyah who were sold poor land the Arabs were keen to offload. If it was marsh they drained it, if desert they irrigated it; they worked hard and successfully farmed that which the Arabs would not work. 

“An Arabic edition of Mein Kampf” appeared in 1939. It has a picture of Hitler on the cover, under the heading of “The Strongest Man in the World”. Hitler has taken care to remove from this Arabic edition the passage in which he puts the Arabs on an inferior ‘racial grade’.” (pg. 45)

Mein Kampf remains popular in Egypt and Turkey to this day.

Chapter IV deals with the Progress of Nazi Conquest. It is often joked that Islam, which calles itself the Religion of Peace is really the religion of pieces, a little piece of Bradford, a piece of Luton, many pieces of the Sudan and Nigeria, a very big piece of Israel . . . This chapter, written in the spring of 1939 talks of the Nazi advance and “Hitler’s plan for world power” by piecemeal conquest. Throughout the period 1933-39 Hitler learned to “impersonate the fox” and wear the mask of peace.  The response to Vatican protests at Germany’s violation of the Concordat resembles the Islamic tenet of the Hudna. The Hudna is a treaty which may profess permanent peace, and be entered into by the other side on that basis, but which is only valid for 10 years, that being the period in which the males who were boys at the time will grow into men who can continue the battle their older brothers and fathers began.

“German fidelity does not signify fidelity to the letter of the treaty . . . it signifies loyalty to the German people, always and in all cases”. (pg. 80)

One of the preparations which are well in place at the time is the work done among Germans living abroad. That there were colonies of Germans living in Poland, the Sudetenland and the Volga area of Russia is well known. But there were large numbers in every country of Europe including the UK, in North and South America, South Africa and Australia. Nazis were sent to each group to spread the Nazi creed and ‘radicalise’ them in just the same way that Muslims have been migrating into western countries over the last 60 years. Many moved for economic reasons, or in the aftermath of the Great War, but the Nazis were locating and identifying them. If they objected to nazification their relatives remaining in Germany were hostages to ensure co-operation. In Chapter V The Modern Technique of Aggression he details the 1939 Code for Germans Abroad.

“Every German must keep up social contacts exclusively with Germans, because in that way he helps to fortify the German spirit among those who are either weak or wavering.
Every German abroad must support economically only Germans and buy in German shops. Only if there are no Germans may he buy from other Aryans.
Every German employer must employ only German labour. No German should work with or support Jews in any way.
Do not forget that your place is in German and not in foreign organisations.”

The New Statesman and Nation reported on April 2nd 1938 about the senior Jewish employee of an English firm who resigned through loyalty to his colleagues when his employer was threatened by the German manufacturer for which they acted as agents. (pg. 138)

Germans are to protest every perceived slight vigorously; to insist on their rights at all opportunities.

All of this meant that when the piecemeal approach to conquest ended after Poland was invaded and the Blitzkrieg of 1940 swallowed Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg and much of France in a few weeks the Nazi infrastructure for occupation was already in place.  

“All German students are to wear the Nazi badge within the precincts of each Swiss University. They are told they must do so for two reasons, ‘first, in order to accustom the eyes of the Swiss to the Swastika, secondly to frighten the numerous enemies with whom we still have to reckon in foreign countries’.” (pg. 119)

That reminds me of the increasing presence of the hijab, the niqab and the burka on British streets, worn by aggressive young women whose mothers and grandmothers considered themselves perfectly modest under a gauzy scarf.

Elwyn Jones, as can be seen from his later career was a firm Labour man and much of his concern is for the German proletariat who were suffering, not just from the removal of free speech, association and expression, but the increase in hours and reduction in pay and living standards concomitant on a regime devoted to producing ‘guns not butter’. Much of the later part of the book is devoted to this, with mention in less detail of the situation in Japan with Japanese ambitions in the Far East. There is examination of the areas where Japan has common ground with Germany and to a lesser extent Italy, and areas where, were Great Britain and France to be defeated, they will become rivals.

In Chapter VIII, Inside Germany he examines the Nazi relationship with the Christian Church. He is quite blunt at P167

 “For Nazism is anti-Christ, it is a deliberate challenge and attack on Christian belief and doctrine.

He quotes Alfred Rosenburg, responsible for Political education in Germany speaking at a rally in Nuremberg in 1938.

“. . . We have already been able to penetrate German youth considerably with Nazi philosophy . . . the curriculum of all categories in our schools has already been so far re-formed in an anti-Christian and anti-Jewish spirit that the generation which is growing up will be protected from the black swindle . . . “

He speaks of the courage of Pastor Niemöller, held in solitary confinement at his time of writing, the martyred Catholic priest Father Rossaint and the political opponents of the Nazi’s including Liselotte Herman, the mother of a young baby, who was beheaded for her resistance activities with the Communist party in June 1938.

We are often told that we are living in a 1938/9 era of appeasement to Islam which is failing, just as the appeasement of Hitler failed, it being an unwise method of dealing with bullies on any level. It was interesting to read someone writing about the failure of appeasement but with no knowledge, other than intelligent assessment, of what was to come.

Elwyn Jones ended the book on a positive note. He felt that if Hitler was challenged with a real show of strength he would capitulate and Germany could be given terms. Nazism which thrives in poverty and hunger could be defeated by an active programme of social reform. Democracy itself must be transformed and revitalised. The negativity under Mr Chamberlain lowers morale and the old men in power resent any responsibility given to men under the age of 40. (Elwyn Jones was about 30 when he wrote this!)

The need for action is urgent. Europe has been steadily drifting towards chaos during the last seven years not because the forces of peace lack power but because their representatives lack the will to resist aggression. If they are found wanting now, they will not have a second chance.”

We all know what happened in September 1939. Elwyn Jones served in the Army Legal Services Division. He was a junior counsel at the Nuremberg trials. After the war he became a Labour MP for several constituencies in East London, in between elections he prosecuted the Moors murderers. Under a Labour government he was appointed Lord Chancellor (at that time Head of the Judiciary and with responsibility for the administration of the courts) from 1974 to 1979. He died in 1989.



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