“The week the Fourth Reich began (without a shot being fired)” trumpets the appallingly pompous and puffed-up Simon Heffer in today’s Daily Mail, to which the response has to be that it’s been a while coming, since his paper proclaimed it as long ago as 2009, when the word was “Neo-Nazis plan to build Fourth Reich on back of economic crisis claims far-right defector”. It didn’t happen.
Paul Dacre’s unsettling obsession with digging up the past, and in particular the regime his paper was so keen to endorse in the 1930s, knows no bounds. Later in 2009, readers were told “Revealed: The secret report that shows how the Nazis planned a Fourth Reich ...in the EU”. This, too, was speculative drivel. But that has not deterred the Hefferlump, who is undoubtedly driving the exercise.
“Rise of the Fourth Reich, how Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe” shrieked another Heffer headline in 2011, as he proclaimed that France was somehow about to fall. Except it wasn’t. And it didn’t. Yet still the ranting went on: “Germany's economic colonisation of Europe” proclaimed Heffer in November 2011. And there was yet more “Fourth Reich” talk in that one.
Such was the obsession of the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor that he ordered his talentless and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn into action, with one of his less than mirth inducing “spoofs”. Readers were treated to “Springtime for Merkel”. Oh, how they failed to laugh! But that contribution from late 2011 was as nothing to the onslaught the following year.
Andrew Alexander told readers “To be or not to be in Europe . . . it really is that simple”. Being in Europe, you guessed it, meant the Fourth Reich. The spectre of that supposedly collapsing Euro was brandished (still hasn’t happened). “As George Soros warns of a euro Reich, why Germany will do what's necessary to preserve the single currency” proclaimed Adrian Hilton. Yes, it was the Fourth Reich again.
Hilton did bring a mildly diverting discussion about Christianity in Europe, but then, this frankly batshit Europhobe is also the supposedly anonymous Archbishop Cranmer. Still, there was always room for another angle, and Alexander Boot was the one to deliver it: “Germany bought Europe on credit, and now it doesn't want to pay”, he asserted. And talked about the Fourth Reich.
Boot also brought us the not at all hilarious “EUSSR” meme, before handing back to Heffer for “Enough weasel words, Dave. The British people must be given a vote on Europe”. And now the new year has brought support from Dominic Sandbrook, with the oldest scare tactic of all: “Could Germany spark another war? I fear it's all too possible”. And more Fourth Reich rubbish. What a total meathead.
And it demonstrates that today’s rant is part of a long and disturbing obsession.