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The Germans are good for nothing

Winston Churchill's V for VictoryThe Germans. Don’t you just hate them? They talk funny, they’re well organised, and then there was that Holocaust thing to boot.

No wonder everyone in Britain loathes them. Whether it’s gassing Jews, building great cars or bailing out Greece, there’s no shortage of reasons to hate the Krauts.

And that’s not even to mention the football. Germany have three world cups against England’s solitary win. What utter bastards.

But sport is not the only way to judge a country, don’t you know.

So let’s set the record straight, once and for all. Just which country is best? The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or Germany?

There is surely only one way to measure a country’s greatness. And that is to count the number of foreigners it has killed.

Starting with the unification of Germany in 1871, I have been busy scouring the interweb to find as many instances of imperialist bloodshed perpetrated by these two nations as possible.

Strap in. It’s going to get bloody.

In 1871 the British Empire was in full swing, while Germany had not a colony to its name. This would later change, but in the meantime, Britain was too busy slaughtering 3,000 indigenous Māori in New Zealand to give a Bismarck.

Between 1876 and 1878 the latest in a long line of famines was to hit British-controlled India. While started by drought, the Great Famine would surely not have killed an estimated 10.3 million people had the colonialist Lord Lytton not exported 300,000 tonnes of grain and rice during the period.

Another 19 million later died in famines in India under British rule, which recent research by Mike Davis attributes to colonial policy.

Britain’s second colonial foray into Afghanistan (we’ve been killing there on and off since 1839) resulted in 5,000 dead between 1878 and 1880, while an attack on the Zulus in South Africa killed 6,000 in 1879.

Another colonial outpost, Sudan, suffered 28,000 casualties in the 1884-1889 Mahdist War, which also featured a cameo by top Brit warmonger Winston Churchill.

Then there was the infamous Boer War in South Africa, which nicely laid the foundations for Apartheid all those years later. The conflict was notorious, at the time, for its use of concentration camps, an excellent killing tactic that was later plagiarised by those pesky Germans. Between 1899 and 1902 the Brits killed 48,000 in them, and 14,000 in the war itself.

Back in Asia, Britain set about murdering 5,000 Tibetans who mistakenly thought they had a right to claim independence.

Doing well, Britain, doing well. But what of those Germans? Haven’t they got themselves an empire yet? Well, yes, indeed. And a navy big enough to challenge ours. Cripes!

But before the First World War could begin, Germany decided to get some killing practice at its new shooting range in south-west Africa, an area now known as Namibia. It was there between 1904 and 1907 that 75,000 Africans were slaughtered.

Not bad, Germany, but you’re still no patch on the British at this juncture. The Great War sure did put Germany on the map, though. Despite getting their arses kicked, the Central Powers killed a total of nine million compared with the Entente Powers’ meagre total of seven million.

Understandably, after surrendering to the British in 1918, the Germans laid low for a little while. Very low. This gave them the time to plan for a lot more damage later on, but in the meantime, the British went back to doing what they do best. Killing foreigners in their colonies.

A series of wars in Afghanistan (again), Turkey, Iraq and Palestine between 1919 and 1939 put another 28,000 innocent people into a nice early grave.

In Germany, Hitler was now in charge, and about to wreak havoc. But could he kill enough people to match the feats of the British in recent years?

The Second World War saw 37,000,000 killed either by the Nazis directly or by countries in its Axis. The number includes the six million people killed in the numerous concentration camps of the Holocaust, but does not include the ten million Chinese killed by Japan before it officially entered the world war after Pearl Harbor.

As impressive as this sounds, Britain would win again. Its secret probably lay in the fact that, to do so, she and her Allies only had to kill eleven million from the Third Reich. This figure includes the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, an American mission given a firm stamp of approval by good ol’ Churchill.

Germany once more laid low after the defeat, and would never again wage a war of its own making. Only as part of that great modern killing machine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), would German troops be used in battle again. And not until the last decade of the century.

Britain’s Second World War victory, however magnificent, had cost so many lives and so many resources that it could no longer carry on with its empire. Still, in the last 200 years, it had lived the imperialist dream.

The partition of India which soon followed cost 500,000 lives as the various religious groups pushed and shoved their way to reach the right side of the border.

Between 1948 and 1960 there was the Malayan Emergency (it wasn’t called a war for insurance purposes) which killed 7,000; and, between 1950 and 1953, Britain also stuck its nose into the Korean War, which killed 700,000.

The Suez Crisis is generally considered the end of the British Empire as it was then known, but Britain went down fighting with the slaughter of 3,000 Egyptians.

And, somewhat secretly, the Brits found time during the swinging sixties to kill 200,000 people in Yemen. Pow!

Sadly, from this moment henceforth, Great Britain would forever be trumped in the imperialist stakes by the United States of America. The Vietnam War didn’t even feature Britain.

There was the Falklands War, of course, but at only 649 Argentinian casualties, it barely even seems worth mentioning.

Britain would fight alongside Germany for the first time in the NATO campaigns at Kosovo, where 6,000 Kosovan Albanians were killed, plus our old stomping ground of Afghanistan, where an estimated 30,000 Afghans have been killed so far.

However, Iraq in 2003 set the two countries on a different path once more as the newly peace-loving Krauts declined to get involved. Few bothered to count the number killed in the eight-year conflict, but surely it scores extra points for being illegal. We’ll call it 168,000.

And now, further inevitable bloodshed notwithstanding, it’s time for the final score:

Britain; 47,836,649 killedGermany; 46,111,000 killed.

In summary, while the Germans were on blistering form in the first half of the 20th Century, Britain’s bloody endurance eventually won over.

And to think, the scoreline doesn’t even include the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which condemned at least 12 million Africans to being worked to death in America, having been shipped over by, yep you guessed it…

Rule Britannia!



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