What Can Governments Hide From Us? Lessons From WWII

youtube-Logo-2gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on Cassandra's Legacy on July 7, 2017

cassandra_retouched

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

What Can Governments Hide From Us? Lessons From WWII

 
In this post, I examine the historical case of the Russian campaign of the Italian army during WWII to discuss how effective can governments hide important facts from public knowledge. I think that these black-out campaigns can be very effective and it may well be possible that they are being enacted right now. 
 

Governments are not known to be benevolent organizations. On the contrary, when it is question of ensuring their own survival, they are ruthless. And they are well known to lie to people. The case of the "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq is well known but, at least, eventually it became clear that it was a lie: these weapons didn't exist. But it often easier to hide existing things than to create non-existing ones.

The internet is full of claims that governments or some of their institutions are engaged in this kind of lies. They are hiding from us the spreading of poisons in the sky in the form of chemtrails, the building of hidden concentration camps for political opponents, the fact that aliens landed and were captured, the fact that oil is really a renewable resource constantly recreated underground by abiotic processes, that climate scientists are engaged in a worldwide conspiracy to scare us first and then enslave us. The latest one is about "child slaves on Mars".

These claims are usually described in terms of "conspiracy theories" and most of them are so hopelessly naive and absurd that they raise the legitimate suspicion that they are part of some targeted disinformation campaign. But it seems to be easy to convince people to believe in the weirdest ideas, so maybe these legends are spontaneous evidence of this tendency. Still, it is also true that conspiracies do exist and that governments are often actively engaged in them (I can propose at least one well-documented case). So, we may ask ourselves a very general question: can governments hide important things from us? Let me examine a couple of historical examples.

Perhaps the mother of all government conspiracies was the extermination of the Jews and of other ethnic and social groups during WWII. Did the German know about what was going on, at the time? The question is controversial. On one side, it is argued that the Germans had been exposed to years of aggressive anti-Jews propaganda and that they couldn't miss the fact that the Jews were disappearing from their homes. Besides, so many people were involved with the extermination program that it wasn't just possible that even ordinary citizens wouldn't be able to understand that something monstrous was going on.

On the other side, it is noted that the Germans never could read anything about the extermination in the press, only that the Jews were being "relocated to the East," which would account for their disappearance from German cities. But the main point was that the Germans who understood what was going on couldn't say that publicly. The few who did were arrested and quickly executed. And the message was clear for all the others.

Personally, I can't say much about what the average German could or could not know during WWII. But I can offer an example of a situation that I know much better: that of Italy. The Italian government didn't engage in the mass extermination of the Jews during WWII, but we can find a significant example of "media fog" with the defeat of the Italian forces in Russia, between 1942 and 1943.

Italy engaged some 250,000 men on the Eastern Front, a major effort that ended in disaster when the Italian forces were decisively defeated by the Red Army in a series of campaigns that started in November 1942. By February 1943, the Italian forces on the Eastern Front had ceased to exist. The losses are variously reported, but probably amounted to about half of the expeditionary force. It was probably the greatest defeat suffered by Italy over its history. The disaster was so great that we could consider it as sufficient to charge the commander-in-chief with criminal incompetence and have him hanged upside down. That was, indeed, the destiny of the Italian leader, Benito Mussolini, but only two years later, in April 1945, and this specific criminal act didn't seem to have played a role in the event.

So, what did the Italians know about the Russian disaster while it was happening?  For one thing, the news of the defeat in Russa never appeared in the Italian press during the war. It is instructive to follow the news as they were reported in the Italian press. Up to December 1942, there are daily reports about the Italian expeditionary corps in Russia, the "ARMIR". Then, the reports fade out. The last one that I have been able to find on the Italian newspaper "La Stampa" dates Dec 22, 1942. Afterward, reports continue coming from Russia, describing battles fought between the Germans and the Soviets, but the Italians have disappeared. It was as if the quarter million men of the army had vanished into thin air.

That doesn't mean, of course, that the Italians couldn't know at least something about what was happening on the Russian front. It would have been easy to understand that something had gone terribly wrong just from what the press did not say, that is from the disappearance of all mentions of the Italian forces in Russia. Besides, there were tens of thousands of veterans who were repatriated after the defeat: many were sick, wounded, frostbitten, or in desperate conditions of psychological shock. They were told by the government to say nothing about what they had seen in Russia, but it is unthinkable that all of them obeyed and, in any case, their presence couldn't be ignored. Yet, the "media fog" that the government had enacted was successful. Italians seemed to be unable to discuss or express their outrage at the disaster, at least as long as the Fascist government remained in control of the country. Only years after the war was over, the disaster in Russia became widely known.

A similar situation existed with the war. In the 1940s, Italy and Germany both faced what we call today an "existential threat" in the form of military annihilation. Yet, their citizens were never told, up to the last moment, that the war was being lost. Also in this case, it was not difficult to understand what was going on from what the newspapers did not say, but it seemed impossible to state it in public or to debate it.

Now, it is always difficult to generalize, but I think that these historical examples can tell us something about how governments can hide truth: simply by not mentioning it. In other words, governments cannot make the truth disappear, but they can "blur" it, marginalizing it and making it appear unimportant.

Today, the entity that we call "The West" is facing existential threats in the form of resource depletion and global warming. Yet, the mainstream media are completely silent about resource depletion and, at least in the US, they seem to be aiming at silencing the discussion on global warming. Not that people cannot know what's going on, there are plenty of blogs and discussion groups where you can learn the truth. But it remains an unofficial, marginal truth that plays no role in the general discussion. The main discussion remains dominated by concepts such as "making the country great again" and "restart growth," probably as impossible as it was for Italy to defeat the Soviet Union and the USA together, during WWII.

________________________________
 

Below you can see the last piece of news on the Italian newspaper "La Stampa" that mentions the "ARMIR", the Italian expeditionary force in Russia. It is dated 22 December 1942 and it only states that the defensive measures taken to contain the Soviet attacks are being successful. I was unable to find further mentions of the ARMIR in later issues that appeared during the war. By February 1943, the Italian forces in Russia had ceased to exist.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: knarf on Today at 04:20:07 AMCow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes through metal fence, breaks arm of man trying to catch her then swims to safety on island in lakeLocal politician reportedly agre...

[html]   

In today's Smorgasbord, I loaded the plate with Gravlax and Herring and Lime...and the rest I don't know what but it looks good.  RE[...

Doomstead Diner Daily 2/1[/u...

The boreal, one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, is in danger. By working to save it, Canada could make a quantum leap, culturally and environmentally.[img width=1000 height=700]https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/styles/full_content--...

Recent Facebook Posts

Who is Guilty of Climate Crimes?

Who is Guilty of Climate Crimes? These are the key perpetrators of the largest human rights violation in history.

3 hours ago

Cow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes metal fence, breaks human's arm, and swims to uninhabited island where she still lives

We’ve found the Diner’s Spirit Animal: Cow escapes on way to slaughterhouse, smashes through metal fence, breaks arm of man trying to catch her..

3 hours ago

How can I make money from my DNA?

How can I make money from my DNA? If you have your DNA sequenced, someone somewhere will be making money from the data. A new start-up aims to..

3 hours ago

Under Trump, America's religious right is rewriting its code of ethics

That scramble to their knees does not mean what you think it means– From scorning immigrants to accepting the president’s profanity, evangelicals..

3 hours ago

Ex-CIA operative says US has long meddled in elections, but it’s OK since they are ‘good cops’

Ex-CIA operative says US has long meddled in elections, but it’s OK since they are ‘good cops’…

3 hours ago

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

The boreal, one of the world’s largest carbon sink [...]

The ‘American Empire Defined’ (in three ways) is a [...]

Models from 100% Capri walk through the Bal Harbou [...]

 Outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte h [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Quote from: Golden Oxen on Today at 07:04:13 AMQuo [...]

Quote from: RE on Today at 11:12:36 AMQuote from: [...]

Quote from: luciddreams on Today at 10:39:19 AMDum [...]

Quote from: luciddreams on Today at 10:39:19 AMWel [...]

Well, a traitor to what?  The Murikan way of life? [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on February 08, 2018, 12:3 [...]

I just call 'em like I see 'em. I never [...]

Quote from: Eddie on February 08, 2018, 12:30:03 P [...]

Quote from: agelbert on February 08, 2018, 10:51:2 [...]

The boreal, one of the world’s largest carbon sink [...]

The ‘American Empire Defined’ (in three ways) is a [...]

Models from 100% Capri walk through the Bal Harbou [...]

 Outspoken Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte h [...]

DEVELOPING: Buildings shake in Mexico City after m [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on February 16, 2018, 09:5 [...]

The dog shit at the FBI fuck up big time again. Th [...]

Quote from: Palloy2 on February 13, 2018, 05:51:30 [...]

The Korean War was a proxy war. The US and China w [...]

The Alaska Soap Opera continues...REhttps://www.us [...]

It was a walk in, spirit change.8th inning relieve [...]

It was that spoonful of sugar she took to make the [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

The Pendulum - Part One Retreat to High Ground By High Desert     Missing in the mix of hundreds of [...]

The (Mind) Games People Play By Cognitive Dissonance     Fair warning! This is a long and dense read [...]

Wisdom, Experience and Just-In-Time Thinking By Cognitive Dissonance   I try to remind myself each g [...]

This and That Vol 4 Mid Winter Musings By Cognitive Dissonance     Probably the one topic Mrs. Cog a [...]

Taking a Pass on Gas – Wood Preferred - Part Three By High Desert Homesteading This is the final ins [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Breathing Highways and Sponge Cities"We could do worse than to go back to the way nature manages rainfall."During the 20th Cen [...]

Junk Food for Salmon"For the geoengineering set, all this news provides an opening for more advanced biotech . [...]

Follow the Money, Mr. Mueller"“Ivanka got her father to bomb Syria by adroitly pushing his buttons. ‘Ivanka had long ago fig [...]

Yarrow's Spiderweb"We are, like spiders, carbon creations that have learned to use carbon as tools. "At the [...]

A Hawaiian Missile Lullaby"Q: What should one do to prepare for an incoming ICBM just minutes away?A: Hug. Smile. Your sh [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

America put whitey on the Moon. But, it also is the only country to use nuclear weapons on civilian [...]

Search and read Bernays and a different view of what has shaped opinion and why might emerge. We hav [...]

Americans just don't care. The pursuit of materialism is probably mostly to blame. The endless [...]

A partial list of products made from Petroleum (6000 items). One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19. [...]

Central banks are system regulators. When they allow commercial bankers commit crimes they are compl [...]

In a way Steve, it seems that you are always arguing that the system is legit, even though many of u [...]

Coming at this from the perspective of a "woo", it's clear to me that a lot of negati [...]

We can look back and find clues: In 1907 there was a money panic that grew out of the failure of the [...]

Sorry, I meant for the above to be a link. In the article Mish Shedlock, cynically suggests that the [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

Green areas induce smaller increases in the air temperature than built-up areas. They can offer a so [...]

The study of frequency analysis is important to find the most suitable model that could anticipate e [...]

Climate change is an important factor for sustainable water resource management in the arid and semi [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/