But for its failure to quickly secure Russia’s oil fields at Baku and the Caucuses, Germany was within a hair’s breadth of winning the Second World War. In the event Germany lost, but imagine if it had won.
Imagine waking up to see ships of the German Kriegsmarine in Auckland and Wellington harbours, disgorging troops and tanks of the German “Pacifika” Corp onto our shores. Imagine whatever resistance we put up being quickly overwhelmed and soon after seeing the Swastika flying over our town halls, civic structures and parliament buildings.
And imagine how quickly, with an efficiency honed in the blitzing of those states which Germany had just “liberated”, a Fascist dictatorship, replacing our liberal democracy, would have been established.
Denied the freedom to live as we liked, with even rugby barred in favour of football, imagine losing everything else that defined us. With no say in the election of civic or national leaders, or in the curriculum taught in our schools, where only German would be spoken, imagine everything ordered by Fascist dictate.
Imagine how all our institutions, civic, governmental and judicial, would be Nazified, and imagine how, as was experienced by those European states, we’d be regarded as “Untermenchen”, inferior people. And imagine how that would bar us from walking in the park, on the footpath, and from using, other than those strictly sign-posted, public amenities, libraries, cinemas, theatres, swimming pools and the beach.
Imagine ships arriving weekly to disembark German families flocking to experience “liebensraum,” living space, the promised bounty of Nazi victories. And imagine how, since they’d been told we hadn’t the wit to properly develop our country, Germans would have eagerly spread into the provinces to seize what they wanted, and to reshape the order of things.
With all of our big companies and all land seized, New Zealand would be re-engineered to serve as Germany’s “Sud Pasifik Garten,” supplying it, year-round, with everything that we had previously supplied to Britain, but now ever so much more efficiently to the Fatherland.
And imagine how, as stories of the lifestyle enjoyed by German immigrants to the now re-named “Neues Deutschland” spread, it would attract even more of them. And imagine how, to make room, we’d be pushed even further to the outskirts of our cities and towns, and forced to survive on what we could grow. And imagine the toll that would have taken on our health and welfare, all collected in those remote places, or the overcrowded walled ghettos closer in.
And imagine, as the years rolled by, with all of us by now speaking German, how most place names, except the small towns, would have been renamed. Instead of Wellington it would be Neu Berlin and instead of Hamilton – Wenig (little) Hamlin, and instead of New Plymouth – Neu-Bremen. And then imagine noticing some starting to praise Fascism, claiming it to be better than our “archaic old liberal democratic Westminster system”.
Imagine hearing them claim how much more efficiently German technology extracted the potential of our natural resources, resulting in far more efficient factories producing far better returns from the sale of products and provision of services, than ever we’d been able to manage.
If you can imagine all that, you shouldn’t find it too hard to imagine what experiencing similar things has been like for Maori.
It’s easy if you try.