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The Madagscar Plan



Author says, we imagine a very different sixtieth birthday for an Israel State formed by Hitler's Germany. Click to watch the press conference

On 19th March 2008, the Economist published a feature article Germany and Israel - Friends in high places: The pomp and symbolism of Angela Merkel's visit to Israel.

Part 1

Ms Merkel's diffidence arises from history: her country's and her own. The Nazis' attempt to exterminate the Jews helped bring about Israel's creation; its survival is a sacrosanct principle of German foreign policy. The tardiness in establishing diplomatic links was partly meant to stop rogue states recognising East Germany (under the Hallstein doctrine, West Germany severed relations with any country that recognised its sibling). Friendship with Israel served Germany's goal of better links with America as well as its conscience. Even before establishing relations it secretly sold weapons to Israel.

Having grown up in East Germany, Ms Merkel is a latecomer to German-Jewish rapprochement. East Germany portrayed its citizens as co-victims of Nazism and, unlike West Germany, did not own up to German responsibility for the Holocaust. Ms Merkel, who has visited Israel three times in her 26 months as chancellor, is trying to build a relationship that relies more on future collaboration than on fading memories of genocide.

As Israel prepares to celebrate its sixth-fifth birthday in May, debate continues to rage over the Madagascar Plan. The evacuation of European Jewry to the island of Madagascar was not a new concept. Henry Hamilton Beamish, Arnold Leese, Lord Moyne and German scholar Paul de Lagarde had all contemplated the idea. There is a dispute whether Lord Moyne ever mentioned Madagascar as a real solution; he mentioned that others had suggested it. In June 1942 he said in the House of Lords that Palestine was too crowded already; Jewish refugees from Nazism could be moved to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Nazi Germany seized upon it, and in May 1940, in his Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East, Heinrich Himmler declared: I hope that the concept of Jews will be completely extinguished through the possibility of a large emigration of all Jews to Africa or some other colony.

On March 20th 2008, representatives of Her Majesty's Government arrived in Israel to celebrate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the birth of the nation. The reception was somewhat cooler that the fan fare accorded to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although the British were tactful enough to arrive by plane rather than inappropriately on the Queen's yacht.

Part 2

A maritime reference would have been worse than inappropriate, it would have been a barefaced insult. Of course both nations participated in the the Nazis' attempt to exterminate the Jews which helped bring about Israel's creation. The evacuation of European Jewry had been brought forward from 1938 by other well-known Nazi ideologues, such as Julius Streicher, Hermann Goring, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, it was not until June 1940 that the plan was actually set in motion. Victory in France being imminent, it was clear that all French colonies would soon come under German control, and the Madagascar Plan could become reality. The peace treaty with the United Kingdom put the British navy at Germany's disposal for use in the evacuation.

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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