Imagine

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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.

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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.

 

48 COMMENTS

    • The moral of the story is that it is always better to be on the winning side.

      Alternatively it could be, if we really want to become a more efficient & productive society, to be successful as a nation, we really need to elect a true fascist government and become a true workers utopia.

    • Yep PP – we never learn from history. Here we are in NZ about to embark on an ethnocentric co-governance policy – where your voting rights depend upon your ethnicity. Who would have imagined?

  1. That’s right, I must have missed the part where the Nazi’s invaded Poland to offer them the same rights as citizens of the Motherland, protected their property rights in law and well had a treaty that was negotiated and participants allowed to choose freely to join or not.

    What a load of utter tripe that essay is.

  2. Imagine if people through out history had all just stayed at home, never went anywhere, never explored, experimented, never studied, never taken risks like sailing into the unknown seeking new adventures

    we would all still be living in caves and the wheel would remain a mystery for ever.

    These sorts of columns where you go back in time and put 2022 moralistic views onto a world that was so vastly different as to be incomparable, is just retarded

    All these sorts of columns do is cause more angst over something that not one living person in NZ is even responsible for

    Imagine id we all worked together for a better here and now instead…

    • “Imagine id we all worked together for a better here and now instead…”

      Does that mean you are finally going to start on doing the 12 steps there buddy?

        • nah, the 12 steps your AA sponsor wants you to do.

          is the article trash because it asks too much of you? too hard to imagine? too hard to empathize?

        • Indeed it is. Malcolm’s imagination has shot into overdrive. We would never have been ruled by Germany. They would have subcontracted Asia and the Pacific to Japan while they subdued the insurgent fires that would have sprung up all over Europe.

    • Agree – The world must move forward and cant keep looking back although we should try to learn from it

      As someone said “The past is another country”

    • 100% Xstraight. Let’s not try and rewrite history. Let’s see it through their eyes, not ours. Let’s see both sides. Let’s learn from it. Let’s move on. Let’s not topple statues. Let’s build new ones to people we admire today. Lets hope future generations are not so myopic as our generation and leave them be – as a testament to the past.

  3. Imagine some people that lived here a long time ago had not been eaten by other people that came here. It’s easy if you try – not the eating…the imagining.

    • You’d be OK Sour, not much chance of being eaten. Most discerning people wouldn’t eat sour kraut, except Germans and Afrikaners, because you’re way too bitter and twisted. Neither you, nor biltong are great endorsements of good taste are you? And neither of you are palatable for brown-skinned people?

      Best go home then and take your racist tropes and racist beliefs, well-inserted in intra-anal carry bags.

  4. Definitely sarcasm, because to achieve those efficiencies, you need to remove the deadweight, the useless, the impaired, the lazy, the criminal, the Untermenchen, the burdens that suck up resources without contributing anything. The Nazis were very efficient at that, but that solution has no place in a civilized society.

    A truly caring society looks after its most vulnerable and ensures everyone is able to make a valid contribution to that society commensurate with their abilities.

  5. If we are all using our imagination let’s imagine a united and much more advanced ‘warlike’ Maori arriving off the coast of a stone-age Britain with sailing ships and muskets.

    Are we really to believe a few hundred years later that Maori would be falling all over themselves to avoid native offending native British sensibilities / arbitrarily removing Maori language from public spaces and replacing with native British / working through an extensive compensation process for the steadily increasing native British population for lands conquered hundreds of years ago?

    Or rather would we look to what happened to the Moriori and admit that it would be very unlikely that there would even be any of the native British population left . .

    • Except DNA evidence and examination of tools and samples have pretty much debunked the whole myth that the Maori turned up and kicked out the Moriori. The folks on the Chathams have the same Polynesian make up, as in they the same people.

      • There’s not much doubt that Moriori were Eastern Polynesian, racially and culturally very close to the Maori, Rarotongans and Tahitians etc. When Cook visited with his Tahitian aid Tupaia he could converse quite readily with the locals despite thousands of miles and many centuries of physical and cultural distance. Something that Cook found remarkable considering that many in Britain could barely understand folk from a hundred miles away.
        I think the man point is that ethnic similarity is no guarantee of peaceful coexistence as any study of history will reveal, and as the residents of the Chathams found out to their very great cost. Or as the brutal intertribal wars among pre treaty Maori show.
        People will always find away to other the other I guess.

  6. Imagine what it is like for Maori. Great question.

    Despite all the wringing of hands over “colonisation” we don’t celebrate enough what all parties bring to our mix. Try a counterfactual past where a more exploitative and racially separatist culture took over, such as happened in Namibia or the Congo.

    We are lucky, from the start our genes mixed. It has taken a century for pakeha to relinquish a sense of cultural superiority, the ongoing Maori renaissance touches all cultures.

    I grew up in monocultural Chch in the 70s, we have progressed for the better. Job will never be complete but we are going to be a distinct Pacific blend of all our peoples, with the best of equal cultures.

  7. considering the nazis lack of actual manpower speculative alternative history is a game for apologists who can’t handle the FACT that the baggy uniformed ‘untermensch’ were the ones dancing in berlin in 45.

  8. Cannibalism and Capitalism are two examples of the same thing – man consuming man to survive. While the latter may not do so with veges on the side, it nevertheless cannot function without some being poor so that others might prosper. OK, it might require imagination, but think about it – How is our system, requiring as it does that there be some who toil for survival wages, eat junk food and live in substandard housing, such that their life expectancy is markedly reduced, so they die sooner, not itself a form of cannibalism?

    • What outcomes from this essay did you envisage alcolm? You may have a big heart but you have the capacity for crooked thinking as the rest of do. We need to be thinking along lines of helping each other now and not getting into a fug of hot air having arguments of aesthetics and principles, mine is better than yours. That’s for another place, another time.

      Now we need to have a clear objective of getting better leadership which we back, and avoiding wasted breath on those who don’t care too much about outcomes and the vulnerable, just argufying. Eventually all will be vulnerable or have to warp themselves so their mother wouldn’t recognise them, Quisling style. Already I have worked with supposed good people and find that they stray from the aims, methods and goals to sidepaths of their own. This seems a side path.

  9. A foolish and/or dishonest essay.
    Perhaps it would be worth imagining what life was like in pre European NZ and considering why Maori, for the most part, enthusiastically embraced their discovery of and integration with the wider world, upsetting and destabilising as it surely would have been. The life of the New Guinea Highlanders today is similar to what things would have been like I suspect.
    My ancestor Hongi Hika voyaged to Britain and met the King, imagine what he would have thought about the thriving metropolis of London, the wealth, the technology, the art and literature, the culture. A shock and revelation something akin to a visit from and advanced civilisation from outer space to us today perhaps. He was showered with gifts and attention. Though he was, and remained, a pagan, on the voyage home he helped translate the Bible but, to his great discredit, he sold off most of the gifts in Sydney and loaded up on muskets and ammunition and proceeded to wreak havoc and death throughout the upper North Island.

    Like I say, a foolish essay, lacking any sort of realistic perspective; the cultivation of a fantasy for political purposes.

  10. Malcolm was one of my favourite essayists on here but not today. Yeti and X your comments have covered it well.
    Maori wanted a treaty for protection of law and to save them from the devastation of the musket wars between tribes.
    Nothing is black and white but to anyone who reads history this is not very good science fiction.

  11. You’re missing the point guys, and no doubt I should have made it clearer, but all societies are predatory and ours is no exception. Just as our forbears were preyed on by the society they fled to come here, so they preyed on the society they found. With no knowledge of another way of living, we see no problem with maintaining a pool of poor so that there might be a pool of prosperous, so too did Maori think their society was the way things should be. If they had thought otherwise they would have hidden their cannibalism but they didn’t. And nor do we hide the dreadful toll our society takes on some, that some might prosper.

  12. The point was, that the old myth the Maori kicked out the first people to find NZ (supposedly the Moriori) has been debunked. For some it was a convenient excuse to justify taking Maori land.

    I am not trying to defend Maori inter- tribal fighting. I just find it laughable that some folks think despite a treaty being signed, the crown confiscating land after signing it is ok because the Maori had fought with each other in the past or had done bad things on the Chatham’s. Moral high ground, I think not.

    • Here we go again agreeing this time on the history of this Island
      .I wonder who will be writing the history that is going to be taught in the school after next year. I went to one course I needed to attend as a volunteer. The Maori section was lead by a pakeha who made much of Capt Cook killing 4 Maori in his first contact but glossed over Te Rauparaha killing 700 as he came South for Utu .

  13. Great Post @ ME.
    I often think about what Maori might have experienced emotionally and then physically when they came to realise that they were no longer the only people, the indigenous people, of this land. It makes me cringe as a non Maori person if I must be honest. And Maori, on that note and generally, are always lovely to me. For all the arse holes who’ve tried to fuck me up, none have been Maori.
    But we non Maori can’t go back. That’s the problem, certainly for Maori. I think the solution is that Maori need to be solemnly respected and non Maori need to be forgiven. Three generations ago I was dropped out of my great grandmother, am I to blame for that? We need to emotionally integrate. We need to become one people but how the fuck would we do that? Perhaps we need to become one Global people?
    There’s a film about a man and a Tiger becoming shipwrecked and end up on a life boat together. No.Wait. That doesn’t work because neither had legal tenure of the life boat. God. What a conundrum.
    We white people really fucked it up coming here didn’t we.
    I think forbearance and forgiveness all round followed by container loads of proper MDMA shipped in. You’d know the ship was getting close, you’d hear the deep base and the laughing and general party mayhem.
    Lets do that? Chuck back a ‘happy bicki’ and not give fucks. ( An undercover asked me if he could buy a ‘happy bicki’ off me once years ago. I promptly told everyone of course. He got piss-took then laughed out of what turned out to be a ripper Fat Freddy’s concert. )

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