The evil Basil Zaharoff

“If the Lord God Jehovah had not created Basil Zaharoff, some novelist sooner or later would certainly have got around to the job. Indeed, it is by no means certain that Zaharoff, as we have him, is not the joint product of God and the fiction writers.”

[…] Zaharoff was the master of what one biographer has called the “principle of incitement,”under which war scares were managed, enemies created for nations,airplanes sold to one nation and antiaircraft guns to her neighbors, submarines to one and destroyers to another. He did what the cigarette people did, what the liquor industry, the beauty industry did — created a demand for his merchandise. The armament industry became a game of international politics, the arms salesman a diplomatic provocateur, the munitions magnates of all nations partners in cartels, combines, consolidations; exchanging plans, secrets, patents. He was the greatest of all the salesmen of death, and, as one commentator has observed, if you would see his monument, look about you at the military graveyards of Europe.

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