Countless times as you read books and learned pamphlets on history, you will meet the French words Ancien Régime. It is an easy bet that many of us only half know what these two simple words signify. The translation is easy: in English – traditional method of government by royalty; in Spanish – el antiguo regimen.
In a recent edition I talked about MI6, which was once called SIS, and which, oddly enough, is mostly referred to these days using that original acronym (the Secret Intelligence Service). In many ways the service is similar to the United States’ CIA. Just as in that vast country the FBI (founded by Edgar Hoover) has some similarities with Britain’s MI5, in re the CIA and the SIS are supposed to deal with overt and covert overseas surveillance (and actions). The FBI and MI5 are supposed to deal with national or interior security and/ or surveillance.
Whatever you call them, between the two, no citizen can keep any secrets hidden from the all-seeing eye. George Orwell was right, as usual. The ordinary citizen may not know this, but governmental organisations know ALL (from your CV to your favourite toothpaste) – about YOU.
The word itself comes from the Hebrew word Shoah. This was the affliction suffered by Jews in Nazi-dominated Europe from 1933 to 1945. It is usual to divide the ordeal into two periods, before and after 1941.
During the first period various anti-semitic measures were taken in Germany; later in Austria. The Nuremberg Laws were passed in Germany in 1935, by which Jews lost rights to citizenship, any right to hold public office, practise professions (including medicine), get married to Germans, or use public education. Jews’ property and businesses were first registered, later expropriated. There was a general encitement to use violence in the street or in the home against anyone Jewish, of whatever age or sex. Dr. Goebbels’ publicity offices encouraged hatred. ‘True’, that is ‘ethically pure’ Germans were expected to hate the Jews.