Excerpt from the January 14, 2023 Schiller Institute conference
HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Hello! As we commemorate the day of Martin Luther King, it is important to reflect upon the question of if his method of nonviolence is still relevant today at a moment where the world clearly faces the danger of nuclear war. Now, Nehru, when he was asked if that method would be still valid in the face of nuclear weapons, said, Absolutely! There is no worse violence than that of nuclear weapons.
The question one has to ask is, why is it that, for example, the German government seems to be completely in the grip of those war-mongers who are driving the escalation with Russia, and hopefully not soon with China? Even so, there are some who also would want to do that. What are they doing? It is so much against the German self-interest.
In the context of what has been discussed so far, I think what happened a little bit more than 30 years ago absolutely is the clue as to why the German economic and political system right now is not functioning; why we don’t have a leadership in government which would preserve the self-interest of Germany. One has to look back in the period of the late 1970s, where in less than a year from April 1977 to March 1978, there was a wave of assassinations in Europe. Many of those in Germany were by the so-called Red Army Faction, the Baader-Meinhof gang. What these people were doing by assassinating key leaders from politics, from economics, from science, was called a “Strategy of Tension” by experts. That strategy of tension, one can also say, was a strategy of injecting so much fear in the leadership of society that they would absolutely not engage in the construction of an economic system which would in any way be different than that of the City of London or Wall Street. If you look at these assassinations, which were a lot, the character and methods used—as was clear to analysts at the time already—were such that they were not possible without the cooperation of intelligence services.
Just to give you a couple of those: On April 7, 1977, Federal Attorney General Siegfried Buback was killed in Karlsruhe by this RAF—Red Army Faction. On April 30, 1977 Jürgen Ponto, the chief of Dresdner Bank was killed near his house in a way which was horrible. I lived through this period, because I was in the process of setting up this Dr. Rickenbacher[ph], who was the chief aide or collaborator of Dr. Ponto, to set up a meeting between Ponto and my late husband, Lyndon LaRouche. Naturally, this impacted our lives tremendously, because if somebody is being assassinated who you are in the vicinity of, it has a very special impact. Then, on March 16, 1978, Aldo Moro, the chairman of the Christian Democracy in Italy was first kidnapped, then assassinated. There were many others—Schleyer, and Buback, many others I don’t want to go into right now.
On November 30, 1989, this is now several decades later, Alfred Herrhausen, the head of Deutsche Bank at that time, was killed in Bad Homburg, near his house. Then that left Rohwedder, the head of the Treuhand, April 21, 1991. In light of the events of today, if you think that there is a tremendous pressure to cut the relations between Germany and Russia forever if the people responsible have their say, and to enforce a sanctions regime to sabotage this Nord Stream pipeline; if you consider the recently-erupted scandal where it became clear that [former German Chancellor] Merkel and Hollande [former President of France], were lying concerning their intention about the Minsk process; the effort to completely decouple Europe from Russia and China. One has to look back in that period of the assassinations of people like Herrhausen and Rohwedder, to fully understand why this is possible.
Colonel Fletcher Prouty, who was in the famous Mr. X in the JFK movie, gave an interview shortly after the assassination of Herrhausen to the Italian newspaper l’Unità. He said in this interview that the common denominator in all the assassinations of this time, including the previous one of Kennedy and the later one of Enrico Mattei, was that they did not submit to the existing world order which was, and is, dominated by a small power elite. Prouty said, and he told us this; we were in contact with him. He said the significance of the assassination of Herrhausen for Germany and even the world, is as big as that of Kennedy. If you consider that at that time (in November 1989) the world was at the verge of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Eastern Europe was undergoing a tremendous change, and in Germany, reunification was on the horizon, which was a pathway in the entire history of the post-war period. Prouty told us that in his view, the key to the Herrhausen assassination was a speech which he was supposed to give one week later in New York in front of the American Council on Germany. He had planned to present a vision of shaping anew the East-West relations, which would have given the developments after 1989 a dramatically different direction.
We don’t have the speech he was supposed to give in New York, but we have a hint of what direction it would have gone in, because he was at the time the only banker—and actually the only figure—who had the idea that Poland which, in the context of the Comecon had tremendous economic difficulties at that time, should be developed with German help on the basis of the method of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the credit institution for reconstruction which was a state-owned bank which on the basis of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation of Roosevelt, was instrumental in reconstructing Germany in the postwar period. And in that way, being instrumental in creating the German economic miracle.
Lyndon LaRouche, my late husband, already in 1988 had predicted that German reunification would come soon; that Berlin would be the capital. This was one year before everything happened. And at that time already, in an absolutely visionary way, he had suggested that the reunified Germany should develop Poland with the method of the physical economy and modern science and technology, and that that development should become the model for the other Comecon states. This obviously would have been a completely different approach to the economic difficulties which led then finally to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Herrhausen had a similar idea. We never consulted with Herrhausen; I don’t know if he knew about Lyn’s theories or not, but he thought in the same direction. Herrhausen also already in 1987, in a meeting with the presidium of Deutsche Bank reported how deeply impressed he was with his discussion with Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid, with whom he discussed the debt crisis in the developing countries which was become very acute. Herrhausen said that this situation did not allow to be silent about it any longer, and one had to think about partial debt relief. It is reported in various books and even a TV program that he earned a storm of rejection from his colleagues. There is a program of the ARTE TV which was broadcast November 18, 2002 about Herrhausen. In that, they report that the Catholic priest who was a close friend of Herrhausen, said that Herrhausen told him that he no longer could cover up for a system where a few people make gigantic profits and a large number of the human species does not make it. He said, this system could not prevail, and therefore he was in favor of debt relief. Now that was obviously already the cardinal sin which would cost him his life. On November 28th, a little bit more than two weeks after the Berlin Wall had come down, Helmut Kohl published his famous ten-point program, which was a proposal for the confederation of the two German states. It did not yet talk about unification, it talked about a confederation. This was probably the only baby step a German Chancellor made in postwar history in the direction of sovereignty, because he announced this program without discussing it either with his coalition partner Genscher, nor the allies.
Two days later on November 30th, Herrhausen, who was probably the best and closest advisor of Helmut Kohl, was killed. It was generally understood among leading layers in Germany at the time that this was a message saying, “Don’t dare to go in the direction of a sovereign German policy.” A few days later at an EU meeting in Strasbourg, everybody started to attack Kohl for that ten-point program. Kohl reported later that this meeting in Strasbourg was the blackest hours of his life.
What happened subsequently was that Germany was forced to give up [Germany’s currency] the D-mark, follow the diktat of the financial oligarchy, accept the euro, give up the D-mark and basically submit to the Maastricht diktat which basically was the idea to contain Germany in the supranational structure of the EU Commission. And therefore, the unique chance which German unification represented was gone. At that time, there was the chance to create a peace order, because when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no more enemy. You could have rearranged the world; you could have integrated Russia into NATO, which Russia had even suggested at some point. You could have created a new security architecture which would have been the basis for peace.
We, the LaRouche movement, first proposed the Productive Triangle, which was the idea to integrate the economic realm between Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, we extended that program into the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which then became many years later the New Silk Road, and today is the Belt and Road Initiative. But that could have been in 1991 already the basis for a new peace order. But that was not what the powers that be wanted. Remember, Margaret Thatcher, the evil witch, who called Germany at that time the Fourth Reich. Now, Kohl was not a new Hitler, this was absolutely absurd. But she did not like the German unification. Mitterrand—we only know from Jacques Attali, the advisor of Mitterrand, that supposedly Mitterrand threatened Germany with war if they would go in the direction of not accepting the euro. What was the game? They wanted to stop by all means that a sovereign unified Germany would engage in a partnership with Russia. There was a study of the CIA in 1991, which said that the Russian scientists were better educated, and the Russian labor force was better educated than that of the United States. That Russia had more raw materials, and therefore the economic development of Russia had to be suppressed, or else there would develop a competitor on the world markets which could not be contained.
They implemented then the shock therapy, which reduced Russian industrial capacity down to 30% from 1991 to 1994. The Russian economist Sergei Glazyev wrote a book about this period, which he called Genocide, which we published at the time. In any case, it was to be prevented that the German scientific and technological potential of the German industry would ally with the potential of Russia.
That was the reason why Herrhausen was killed, and shortly afterwards, that left Rohwedder, who was a very famous and very decent industrialist in the tradition of Rhineland capitalism. He had become the head of the Treuhand, which was the organization which was supposed to privatize the state-owned companies of the G.D.R. (East Germany) which were under socialism publicly owned. He was supposed to privatize them, but then he realized that the social consequences of this reckless privatization which was suggested were absolutely unacceptable. He said no, we will not do it like that, and he coined the famous slogan, “First reorganization; then privatization,” to make it socially acceptable. He, as well as Herrhausen, were killed by the phantom RAF, the phantom Red Army Faction third generation, which nobody ever saw. There were even TV programs on the 1st channel of TV, which said it’s dubious that it ever existed. It may very well have been a fiction by intelligence services in order to have the capability to assassinate these people. Now, after Rohwedder was killed, Birgit Breuel, who was a banker’s daughter, took over Treuhand, and she ruthlessly went for the privatization of nationally-owned enterprises.
The affect this had on the people of East Germany, up to the present day, many of them—and I have talked to some of them—had the feeling that their entire life was stolen; their identity of the G.D.R. life, which they had grown up in for decades, was stolen. Still, there are several organizations which do not accept October 3rd, which is the national holiday celebrating the German reunification.
Herrhausen had told the presidium of his bank, on the same day that Kohl had announced the ten-point program on November 28th, that he wanted to pursue a deep restructuration of the financial system, to remedy the debt crisis of the Third World. It is reported by books, and also by his wife, that Rolf Poller [ph], chief of Deutsche Bank at the time, that the other colleagues of the presidium completely rejected his ideas. Mrs. Herrhausen reports that her husband came home completely depressed that evening, and in the morning before the assassination, Herrhausen said, “I don’t know if I will survive this.” An hour or so later, he was killed.
So, what happened basically is that what this series of murders did to the German political life is that fear has been dominant ever since. And today, you have a climate in Germany where people don’t dare to deviate from the official line. Right now, for the moment, Germany has lost all sovereignty. Germany is right now completely in the grip of NATO, and is pursuing policies which I believe are implying the danger of escalation to a nuclear war. So, the reason why we have to think back to this period, and also remembering what FDR said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself, we are right now at the verge of nuclear war. But we also could be at the verge of a completely new world economic order, where many countries of the Global South are already pursuing a policy in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, of the Non-Aligned Movement, of Martin Luther King, of nonviolence, of win-win cooperation among sovereign states. I think if we want to honor the memory of such people as Mahatma Gandhi, who was killed, too; of people who have been fighting for a new world economic order eliminating the poverty in the developing countries like Herrhausen was intending to do, and like my late husband for sure was the most prominent fighter of his lifetime; then we should really learn the lesson of this, and do everything we can to establish a just, new world economic order.