Europe’s Kristallnacht

March 14, 2022

Diane Francis

Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, was an attack in November 1938 by Nazi paramilitaries against Germany’s Jewish people whose stores, schools, synagogues, hospitals, and homes were demolished. Some 30,000 men were put into concentration camps. German authorities and citizens did not intervene, mostly out of fear, nor did other nations become involved even though foreign journalists working there drew worldwide attention to the outrage. The world sat on the sidelines until it was sucked into Hitler’s Gotterdammerung or near-destruction of the world. Today, as Ukrainians and their nation are being exterminated by Putin’s war machine, the world is outraged but sits on the sidelines even though it is next. As Ukraine’s Jewish President Volodymyr Zelensky warned this week: “Today we are fighting to prevent war in Poland and the Baltic States.”

The Kristallnacht underway in Ukraine will inevitably lead to the recapture of all Soviet Union republics, the Eastern Bloc countries plus Finland and the Balkan states. Putin is undeterred by sanctions and rhetoric because he believes his enemies are weak, co-opted, or cowardly. This is why his war against Europe’s “Jews”, or Ukrainians, is turning into a holocaust. Two cities — Mariupol and Melipotol — have become the equivalent of Warsaw Ghettoes, where Russians bomb and encircle populations and deny them food, heat, water, and medicines. Elsewhere, he doubles down by purposely mass murdering civilians, targetting schools, hospitals, and destroying cities. And the West does what Germans and Europeans did in 1938 — watches and fails to intervene except indirectly. This is morally reprehensible and dangerous.

Putin doesn’t believe U.S. President Joe Biden’s pledge “we will defend every inch of NATO territory”. He considers this as simply another “red line” like Biden’s warning not to cross Ukraine’s border or face “swift and severe sanctions”. He invaded and sanctions were neither “swift” nor “severe” enough. Weeks later, the removal of Russia’s banks from the Swift transaction system includes only 70 percent of transactions, and bans against Russian oil and gas to bring the country “to its knees” haven’t been announced but may never happen.

Europe is pathologically dependent on Russian oil and gas, and won’t, or cannot, bite the hand that heats it. Even allies with plenty of oil and gas that could replace Russian supplies — such as timid Canada and Norway — have made it clear they won’t turn on the taps because their virtue-signaling politicians are more concerned with “climate change commitments” than with stopping the next Hitler from plunging humanity into World War 3.

In essence, Putin’s war machine is subsidized by its foes – and future victims – who are unlikely to defend “every square inch”. NATO cannot even lend a few used fighter jets to Ukraine to stop the carnage and most of its members are laggards that have failed to meet their 2 percent of GDP military commitments. The worst culprit was wealthy Germany which finally announced it would double its defense budget, and change its pacifist constitution so that it can pull its weight in NATO. For decades, its military has been a glorified police department that cannot leave the country. And Canada, a huge nation with more ocean frontage than any country in the world, has an army that could fit into a football stadium and a navy with a few dozen ships, no large icebreakers, and four used submarines bought from Britain 20 years ago incapable of patrolling undersea for more than short bursts of time.

Putin realized what Hitler did which is that his enemies are weak-kneed. Given the degree of genocide underway, it’s unconscionable that Western institutions and governments and corporations have so lamely responded. McDonald’s and Starbucks announced that they will “temporarily halt” operations in Russia, a country now dedicated to murdering innocent women and children in Ukraine. Others have been dragged into leaving behind their oil or retail or manufacturing operations. Countries like Germany or Londongrad – cozy for decades with Putin and his thugs – have only now started to root out their Russia rot, cancer that should never have been allowed to metastasize in the first place. And those places to which they flee — Venezuela, Israel, Dubai, the Emirates — must take note that they must not harbor such persons.

The United Nations is useless — allowing five countries to veto any action against their predations no matter how atrocious. And the 35 nations that abstained from condemning Russia at the United Nations — notably China — should be challenged to stop the carnage or pay a swift and severe price in the form of sanctions, tariffs, and the removal of trade status. And NATO and the West can do more without sparking escalation by providing more armed drones, anti-aircraft or anti-missile systems, and jamming equipment to impede Putin’s onslaught. Armed forces must accompany humanitarian convoys headed to besieged cities to save lives and an immediate no-fly zone over western Ukraine for humanitarian purposes is essential, along with more sanctions on anything or anyone Russian. Period. No excuses.

Putin’s goal: former republics, eastern bloc, non-NATO nations like Finland, Sweden, Balkans, Austria

Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who stood up to Putin and went to a gulag for years, believes there are only two ways to defeat him: fully block Putin’s bankers and energy exports. He also agrees that an immediate no-fly zone must be put in place. China must also prove it deserves to be considered a civilized nation by intervening and special forces and mercenaries must be dispatched to help Ukrainians who — like the Jews of Germany in the 1930s — face extermination from a Russia that is no longer a member of the civilized world.

Diplomacy doesn’t work. Putin will only stop when he is militarily and economically destroyed. This means costs and sacrifices but is the lesson of Kristallnacht that must be heeded: Everyone is next.


  1. Such an appropriate similarity with 1938.

    “Diplomacy doesn’t work. Putin will only stop when he is militarily and economically destroyed.”

    So true. I just wish Biden or his people wake up to the reality and it the meantime while “Nero watches Rome burn” our people are dying.
    Wake up Biden. Start leading.

    • As I’ve said before. The only things that concern the vegetable is the flavor of his pudding cup, ice cream and a clean diaper.

  2. “Diplomacy doesn’t work. Putin will only stop when he is militarily and economically destroyed.”

    Our words for years!

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