Richard L. Russell is a Catholic convert and an accomplished international relations scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and taught graduate courses on international security and military strategy for almost a decade at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Russell is the author of three books: Sharpening Strategic Intelligence: Why the CIA Gets It Wrong and What Needs to Be Done to Get It Right (Cambridge University Press, 2007); Weapons Proliferation and War in the Greater Middle East: Strategic Contest (Routlege, 2005); and, George Kennan’s Strategic Thought: The Making of an American Political Realist (Praeger, 1999).
Note: In obedience to the recent letter from the bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam (December 2020), the information on this site can at this time be used for research purposes only, and not for the spreading of the reported messages of the Lady of All Nations, nor upon the assumption of the authenticity of the apparitions. Since the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith declared in June 1966 that there are no longer forbidden books, the information on this site may continue to be used for historical or research purposes.
The following presentation was first delivered by Dr. Russell in June 2011 at the invitation of The Lady of All Nations Foundation. Now, for the first time, the presentation appears in print.
I want to thank the Lady of All Nations Foundation for the invitation to speak with you today. I have visited Holland and Amsterdam many times over the past two decades. I was blessed by a marriage to a devout Catholic Dutchwoman who was born and raised in the South. Our last trip to Amsterdam was in the not too long ago 2008, which marked our first visit to the Lady of All Nations Chapel. My conversion from Protestantism to Catholicism in 2006 had come about, in part, by a fascination with Marian apparitions throughout history. I had stumbled across the Lady of All Nations Chapel’s website in some searches on Marian apparitions, and it took me by surprise. Neither I nor my wife had ever heard of the Amsterdam apparitions.
I was intrigued, and, during a family trip to Holland in 2008, we made a train station stop in south Amsterdam and paid a quick morning visit to the Lady of All Nations Chapel. My wife and our two young sons were incredulous about the Lady of All Nations apparition, especially after we got off the train just south of Amsterdam’s old city. I hustled the family through some shady neighborhoods, got lost, but eventually found the Lady of All Nations Chapel innocuously located in a residential neighborhood. These environs were a far cry from the impressive and tranquil Marian apparition sites at Banneux, Belgium, and Lourdes, France, to which my family had been accustomed. We apprehensively entered the chapel converted from a Dutch residential home. I was worried that I had the wrong place and that we were about to walk into the home of some unsuspecting older Dutch couple in the middle of breakfast.
I was reassured to see the beautiful painting commissioned by the Lady of All Nations on the side of an altar inside the chapel. After paying our respects to the image, the boys and Lilian sat down for some quiet time—and to catch their breath in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle—while I went in back to the bookstore to buy some prayer cards, images, and literature. I then hustled the family out of the chapel and literally ran across the neighborhood to catch a train and resume our family visit to the old city of Amsterdam. The trip was so rushed that my family often refers to it (with an accompanying shaking of heads) when I am in a rush to get the family from one place to another.
The feature that clenched my fascination with the Amsterdam apparitions is their attention to world politics. The messages conveyed by the Lady of All Nations contain references, remarks, and prophecies about war and peace between nations to a far greater degree than other Marian apparitions. While many observers and commentators are keen to examine, publicize, and even distort, such messages like those at Fatima dealing with war and peace between nations, everyone seems to ignore those of Amsterdam. I was especially fascinated by the Amsterdam apparitions because I am a professor of international politics by profession. I make a living studying, teaching, and writing about war and peace in international politics, especially in the Middle East. That gives me an unusual professional background for studying Marian apparitions. Other writers on the topic are usually devoted to writing about Catholicism or are theologians and religious who have a Marian devotion.
Some readers might be taken aback by the notion that the study of war, both its origins and its conduct in battle, is pertinent to Marian apparitions. In her apparition messages in Amsterdam, Mary demonstrates clearly that she, in the closing stages of World War II, was aware of events on battlefields of the past, present, and future. Mary’s words in Amsterdam show her wisdom about the affairs and evils of men, especially in war. They are echoes of the wisdom and prophecy contained in her Fatima messages given at the closing stages of World War I. It is noteworthy that the Marian apparitions in Amsterdam call for the promulgation of a prayer which uses the word “war.” Tragically, war is a mainstay feature of human affairs, but it is rarely explicitly mentioned in prayers of the Church.
Man’s Poor Prediction Record
We all know that we are unable to predict the course of our lives. And God often takes us into territories we seldom, if ever, expect. If someone had told me during my first visit to the Lady of All Nations Chapel, for example, that in three years time I was to do considerable research and writing on the Amsterdam messages and be invited to speak to a large, international, and beautiful audience, I would have said: “U bent gek!” (“You are crazy!”).
And if predicting the course of our own lives is difficult, the prediction of the fate of peoples and nation-states is nearly impossible. Man does an abysmal job, for example, in predicting the outbreak of wars and the collapse of regimes. The Lady of All Nations, on the other hand, used her words and prophecies to Ida Peerdeman—prophecies of an even more extensive nature than those she gave to the three seers at Fatima—to prove the authenticity of her appearances at Amsterdam. The Lady said to Ida for all of those who were asking for miracles or signs to prove the authenticity of the Amsterdam apparitions: “The Lady says to all of them: my signs are in my words. You of little faith! You are like a child insisting upon fireworks, while you do not see the true light and the true fire.”1
To a remarkable degree, the Lady of All Nations has foretold of major events in international politics. This no doubt was a factor which—following an initial prohibition of the veneration of the Lady of All Nations in the 1970s—contributed to the 1996 declaration of Bishop H. Bomers, together with his then-auxiliary bishop Jozef Marianus Punt, allowing the public veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of “The Lady of All Nations,” with permission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This statement was followed by Bishop Jozef Marianus Punt’s courageous letter of May, 31, 2002, which publicly pronounced his determination: “I have come to the conclusion that the apparitions of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam have a supernatural origin.” The Bishop pointed out that, unlike Holy Scripture, of which the Gospels are the last public revelations of the Catholic faith, Catholics are not obliged to believe private revelations, although authentic ones may help the faithful understand the times and live the Gospel more faithfully.2
War and Peace in Amsterdam Messages
I would like to talk specifically about the Amsterdam messages regarding issues of war and peace. First, I want to look back at the Lady’s prophecies which have come to fruition after World War II. Second, I want to discuss the prophecies which seem to be coming to fruition today, especially in the Middle East. Third, I would like to share some thoughts on future warfare and weapons about which the Lady of All Nations warned, but have not yet come to fruition. And finally, I want to emphasize that these remarkable predictions and prophecies are intended to show the authenticity of the Amsterdam messages and the importance of carrying out the tasks which the Lady of All Nations asked of us all.
At the onset, it is important to keep in mind the difference between predictions and prophecies. Predictions are events which are destined to come about, while the outcome of prophecies in general, and those of the apparitions in Amsterdam in particular, are not inevitable. They are warnings of things to come, unless changes are made to head them off. As Cardinal Bertone helpfully pointed out, “prophecy does not predict some inevitable fate that is deterministically bound to happen no matter what. Otherwise, we would be at the mercy of dark forces dangling us over an abyss of nothingness. That would make absolutely no sense given everything that we know about theology, spirituality, or the Church. Prophecy gives us a glimpse of the baleful consequences of certain individuals or collective actions or behaviors. It gives us a glimpse of them—but this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily bound to occur.”3 Pope Benedict, too, cautioned that, in prophecies, “the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image that the children [in Fatima] saw [of the fires of hell] is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.”4
Post-World War II Milestones in International Politics
The Lady of All Nations’ apparitions had strong images and content related to war right from the beginning. As Ida described a vision in the spring of 1945, “Then I see a scene of people fleeing and moving away, and I am given to understand: that is the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. As the Lady points at that exodus, she says, ‘But Israel will rise again.’ Above the scene of the exodus, I see a representation of God the Father in the clouds. He is holding his hand over His eyes, and the Lady tells me, ‘And Yahweh is ashamed of His people.’”5 Yahweh was the name of God in the Old Testament for Christians and in the Torah for Jews.
Ida’s vision was a prediction of the independence of the state of Israel, which happened three years later on May 14, 1948. Israel today is increasingly a secular state and few regularly worship God, a peculiar state of affairs for the chosen people of God. One recent Israeli government poll found that 42 percent of Israeli Jews consider themselves secular and some 25 percent did not consider themselves very religious.6 One could imagine that this secularism would be an offense toward God—for which he shields His eyes—and at cross purposes with the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people whom God rescued from slavery in Egypt in ancient times and Nazi Germany in more recent times.
Much as the Lady of All Nations predicted the rebirth of Israel, she foretold of the birth of communist China. Ida received a coded hint of China’s communist revolution from the Lady of All Nations in an October 1945 vision, “China with a red flag.”7 Chinese communist forces led by Mao Tse-tung waged a bloody and protracted civil war and defeated Chinese nationalist forces in 1949 to establish the People’s Republic of China. The flag of the communist government with its capital in Beijing has a red background, as seen by Ida in her vision four years before the flag was adopted, with five gold stars.
Ida was shown visions of key conflicts and wars that littered the Cold War global landscape. The Soviet and Chinese governments supported North Korea’s invasion of South Korea which was a watershed event in the Cold War. The apparitions in Amsterdam foretold of the Korean War. In December 1949, the Lady showed Ida a vision. “Next she makes me read a sign on which is written ‘50-51-53,’ and she says, ‘During this period there will be a fight and disasters.’”8 These years correspond to the outbreak and duration of war on the Korean Peninsula, although the Lady curiously skipped the year 1952. In that war, United Nations forces led by the United States suffered 118,515 men killed in battle, 264,591 wounded, and 92,987 were captured; the great majority of those in North Korean captivity died from mistreatment or starvation. North Korea and China, its military backer, suffered from at least 1,600,000 battlefield casualties.9
The Korean War marked a watershed event in the history of the American-Soviet Cold War. Many Americans saw the war as evidence that the Soviet Union was determined to use proxy forces such as North Korea to militarily move against the United States and the West just as Nazi Germany had done in the 1940s. The Korean invasion of South Korea gave strong political-military incentive to bolster the defenses of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to defend Western Europe from Soviet invasion with its Warsaw Pact allies in Eastern and Central Europe. The Lady herself specifically mentioned Korea in reference to the years “51-53.” She said, “The fighting in Korea is a sham and the start of a great misery.” Ida then saw “demarcations being made at intervals.”10 The Lady subsequently explained her meaning behind the word “sham” played by the Chinese in Asia around Taiwan and Korea: “By this I meant that there will be periods of apparent tranquility. But this will not last long. The Eastern peoples have been roused by a type of humanity which does not believe in the Son.”11
The war between North and South Korea never formally ended, but instead came to an uneasy armistice which exists today, which could erupt into a major conflict involving China in the future. The United States and its South Korean allies for decades have militarily manned the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)—formed by barbed wires, walls, mines and armies, and demarcated as Ida had seen in 1950 several years before the ending of open war—which deters the North Korean dictatorship and its Chinese allies from again moving south.12 The so-called truce between North and South Korea, moreover, has been a false one or “sham,” just as the Lady of All Nations said it would be. North Korea, for example, in 2010, fired artillery shells on a South Korean island and killed four people as well as fired submarine torpedoes to sink a South Korean naval vessel, killing 46 sailors.13 North Korea also has extensive nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs and has sold its nuclear expertise and ballistic missiles and technology to the likes of Syria, Iran, and Pakistan to destabilize international security in both the Persian Gulf and South Asia.14
The Cold War was marked by an intense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to build and deploy nuclear weapons. These weapons were intended, in part, to deter the other’s adversary from outright attack against it, reminiscent of the battles fought by the Soviet Union and the United States against German forces during World War II. In 1950, the Lady of All Nations appeared to have given Ida a vision of the Soviet hydrogen bomb test and capabilities three years before it happened. Ida said, “Then upward to the left, in Russia, I see a glaring light, a blinding light. It is as if it explodes from the ground upward. It is a horrible sight. ‘And then you no longer see anything,’ says the Lady, and I am blinded by that light. I feel something very disgusting coming over me. Then I see a scorched plain. It is a ghastly sight, just as if death had gone over it.”15 The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949, but it was not until 1953 when it tested a much more powerful hydrogen bomb.16 Atomic bombs are based on fission while hydrogen bombs are based on fusion, making the latter’s explosive yield so powerful that a single hydrogen bomb could annihilate a small country.17
The Cold War threatened to break out into a “hot war” during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and the Lady gave Ida visions which showed the close coordination between the United States and the Vatican that would happen decades later. She saw papers lying in front of the Pope, to which The Lady commented, “The Pope is kept informed of everything.”18 As Ida described the vision, “Then all of a sudden I see a large room in the Vatican, and the Pope is seated there. Something seems to be going on in the Vatican. The Lady says, ‘Secret meetings are being held there. This is happening several times. They assemble in secret.’ The Lady points at somebody, and I am given to understand: that is an envoy from America. In front of the Pope there are all sorts of papers. The Lady says, ‘The Pope is kept informed of everything. He is completely informed about what is going to happen. It is said that there is peace, but in reality it is not so. It is all camouflage before the world.’”19 President Reagan secretly made a decision in the 1980s to share U.S. intelligence with Pope John Paul II to keep the Pontiff privy to events unfolding behind the eroding Iron Curtain and even dispatched key intelligence officials to brief the Pope in Rome.20 But John Paul had his own extensive sources of intelligence from the Church in east central Europe and, as John Paul’s biographer, George Weigel, judged, there is no “evidence that anything he learned from U.S. satellite photography or other intelligence sources made any fundamental change in his view of a situation or his action.”21
The struggle between the West led by the United States against the Soviet Union and its client states was alluded to in the Lady of All Nations’ visions about war and peace. Ida received a hint of the end of the Cold War just as the decades-long struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union was beginning. She saw a vision in October 1945: “I see swastikas beneath the Cross; I see time fall; then stars—they fall away; sickles and hammers—everything falls beneath the Cross.”22 The Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of its flag symbolized by a sickle and a hammer. The Lady of All Nations shared a vision of the end of the Cold War. In a 1950 vision, “The Lady points at a thick line in Germany, and she says, ‘Europe is divided in two.’ I remove that line with one sweep of the hand,” Ida said.23 Thirty-nine years later the Berlin Wall, the symbolic emblem of the Cold War division of Europe between the West and the Soviet Union’s communism, came down.
The Lady predicted the post-Cold War conflict in the Balkans some fifty years beforehand. Ida said, “Then I suddenly see the Balkans. There is war there; they were fighting again. The Lady says, ‘Child, there will be a severe fight. We are not yet out of this fight. Economic disasters will come.’”24 At the time of Ida’s vision, the Balkans were recuperating after years of Nazi occupation in World War II and were under the Soviet Union’s influence. The Balkans did erupt into war after the Cold War, as the Lady predicted. The former Yugoslavia was ripped apart between 1991 and 1995 by ethnic nationalism which led to the creation of three separate nation-states, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia, after a bitter and brutal civil war.
The Lady of All Nations also predicted conflicts that would engulf the world in the aftermath of the Cold War. The Lady of All Nations appears to have shown Ida a glimpse of the 1990-91 Gulf War. Ida saw a vision in the summer of 1945 in which she referred to a “new yet strange war, much later, which will cause terrible disaster.” Years later, when Ida saw images of the war against Iraq underway in 1991, she recognized it to be this war.25 Although wars are such a persistent occurrence in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, it is possible that Ida mistook the 1990-91 war for a war that is to occur even farther in the future. Ida died in 1996 before the 2003 war against Iraq, for example, and other wars, perhaps involving Iran, which might be in the offing.
Prophecies Unfolding Today
Prophecies from Amsterdam appear to be coming to fruition in the Middle East today as we speak. Ida had a vision of conflict embroiling the Middle East: “All at once I see Cairo clearly, and I get a strange feeling about it. Then I see various Eastern peoples: Persians, Arabs and so on. The Lady says, ‘The world is, so to speak, going to be torn in two.’ Now I see the world laying before me and in it a great crack appearing, a break winding right over the world. Heavy clouds are hanging over it, and I feel great sorrow and misery. I hear the Lady say, ‘Great sorrow and misery will come.’”26
The uprisings against the Egyptian government which began in early 2011 might be the unfolding of the Lady’s prophecy about Cairo to Ida in 1947. Egypt had been ruled with an iron fist by President Hosni Mubarak, a former air force general, since the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat at the hands of Islamists within the ranks of his own military who resented Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel signed in 1979. For decades, frustration built up among the demographic bulge of educated Egyptian youth with access to Internet over the lack of political freedoms, government stagnation, vast corruption, and no prospects for gainful employment and even marriage and the starting of their own families. This swell of frustrations boiled over into open revolt against the regime in Cairo, and hundreds of thousands hit to the streets for weeks to demand Mubarak’s resignation. The revolution was triggered by a frustrated university-educated young man in neighboring Tunisia who immolated himself in despair over his plight and in protest against the Tunisian government, similarly riddled with the injustices of the Egyptian government. That act sparked a revolt which led to the downfall of the Tunisian regime in a matter of weeks and emboldened the Egyptian population to follow suit against its government.27 The Egyptian revolution could be a harbinger of democracy and representative government. Or it might be the opening vista for political chaos and the eventual emergence of a militant Islamic regime in Cairo.
The Egyptian revolution is a watershed historical event in the Middle East and world politics, and rivals in significance to that of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Egypt is the center of the Arab Muslim world and alone has some 85 million people. The Middle East, which includes North Africa, the Levant, and the Persian Gulf, has experienced rapid population growth, from 60 million in the 1930s to 415 million by 2006. In some of these countries, more than fifty percent of the population is under the age of 25.28 With such a demographic mass present in Egypt, it would not be an exaggeration to say that as Egypt goes, so does the rest of the Arab Middle East. The huge surge in young Arab refugees from Egypt, northern Africa, and the Middle East to Europe due to political and economic instabilities, moreover, will likely have a dramatic impact on European societies and, no doubt, exacerbate tensions between new arrivals and their hosts.
It is noteworthy that Ida specifically mentioned “Persians” in her vision of Cairo. Persians are from Iran, which borders the Persian Gulf. They are linguistically and ethnically distinct from Arabs: they speak Farsi rather than Arabic. The Persians and Arabs, moreover, have been historic rivals in the struggle for power and influence in the Middle East. Iran’s revolution in 1979, which replaced a monarchy with the world’s first Islamic clerical regime that united Islam and politics, was a regional convulsion whose legacies still plague international politics. The Islamic republic of Iran threatens to drive its Shia Islamic power into power vacuums throughout the Middle East. Now, on the other side of the Middle East, Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, is embroiled in a struggle over the future and welfare of the Sunni side of Islam. Perhaps the Lady of All Nations warned Ida that the Islamic world would be torn apart by Arab Sunni and Iran Shia competitions, as well as the Muslim world’s competition and conflict with the once Christian Western world.
The Lady of All Nations also warned of even more conflict in the Middle East to come. As Ida described a vision, “Now I see a round dome. I am given to understand: that is a dome of Jerusalem. I hear now, ‘In and around Jerusalem heavy battles will be waged.’”29 The dome which Ida saw is no doubt the Dome of the Rock which is a domineering and captivating feature of Jerusalem’s skyline, and the flashpoint of Israeli and Arab and Palestinian tensions. Was the Lady describing the battle of the Israeli war of independence that was then underway from November 1947 to June 1948? Or was the Lady prophesying about the 1967 Israeli-Arab war in which Israeli forces captured Jerusalem from Jordanian forces? Or is she prophesying about Israeli battles against Palestinians, Arab states, or even Iran in a future war in and around Jerusalem?
An eruption of a future bout of warfare over Jerusalem might have been in the Lady’s warning. The Israelis and the Palestinians both lay claims to Jerusalem as their capital. But Israel controls the city, and the Palestinians do not yet have a formal state. Negotiations between the belligerents, moreover, are making no progress. Meanwhile, the militant Islamic wing of the Palestinian community, the Hamas, is gaining political and military strength and could one day move the Palestinian community to take up arms to wage war for Jerusalem. Neighboring Lebanon, too, harbors the Iranian-backed Shia militia called Hezbollah, which could join forces with Hamas in operations against Israeli forces in the political-military-religious struggle for control of Jerusalem. The old city of Jerusalem today is still surrounded by a wall with gates. The Lady might have been alluding to such a scenario when she warned Ida, “The gates are opening. The Eastern peoples are holding their hands before their faces in Jerusalem. They will wail over their city.”30
Warnings of Future Warfare and Weapons
The Lady warned of internal conflict in China but foretold of the subsequent rise of Catholicism in China. The Lady of All Nations warned: “After much fighting, China will return to Mother Church. After much fighting.”31 Perhaps this is a prediction about civil war in China’s future. It seems to be a prediction of things yet to come, because Catholics today are persecuted in China, and there is tension between Beijing and the Vatican over the selection of bishops in China.
In another vision, Ida saw Taiwan and a smaller island nearby and felt that something was going to happen there. Taiwan looms large today as one of the world’s potential flashpoints of conflict between the United States and China. The Lady exclaimed, “America, take warning here!”32 This might have been a prophesy of President Dwight Eisenhower’s veiled threats of nuclear weapons’ use to deter communist China from forcibly taking the small islands of Quemoy and Matsu, near Taiwan, in crises of 1954-55 and 1958.33 Alternatively, it could be a warning that China in the future will militarily move against Taiwan to occupy the country, which Beijing has claimed as one of its provinces since Chinese nationalist forces escaped to the island in the wake of the Chinese revolution in 1949.
Ida was shown horrible images of chemical and biological warfare agent use in a future war. As Ida recalled, “Then I see a very peculiar scene. I have to look at the sky, and something seems to be launched into it. There is something flying past me so rapidly that I can hardly see it. It is shaped like a cigar or torpedo, and its color is like that of aluminum. All of a sudden I see something shooting off from the back. I feel about with my hand, and different terrible sensations come over me. At first a total numbness. I live and yet I do not live. Then I see horrible images of people before me. I see faces, wide faces, covered with dreadful ulcers, something like leprosy. Then I feel terrible deadly diseases: cholera, leprosy—everything those people have to suffer.”34 Ida continued, “Then that is gone again, and I see tiny little black things floating about me. I try to feel what it is, but that is not possible. It seems to be very fine matter. With my eyes I cannot discern what it is. It is as if I would have to look through something, and below I now see brilliant white fields. Upon those fields I see those little black things, but enlarged, and it is as if they are alive. I don’t know how to describe this properly. I ask the Lady, ‘Are these bacilli?’ She answers very seriously, ‘It is hellish.’ Then I feel my face and my whole body swelling. It feels like my face gets very bloated, and everything is stiff and swollen. I cannot move. I hear the Lady say, ‘And that is what they are inventing,’ and then very softly, ‘that Russia, but the others as well.’ After this the Lady says emphatically, ‘Peoples, be warned!’”35
Ida saw in this vision the delivery of chemical and biological weapons either by ballistic missile or cruise missiles, which are becoming potential weapons of choice for modern warfare. Both ballistic missiles, which fly in a ballistic or bell-shaped trajectory, and cruise missiles, which fly horizontally, had been used in war before the Amsterdam apparitions. The Nazis fired V-1 and V-2 cruise and ballistic missiles, respectively, at England during the Second World War. But the German cruise and ballistic missiles which Ida might have seen in news reports during the Second World War never carried chemical or biological weapons, the symptoms from which Ida appeared to suffer during her visions. The United States and Russia lead the world in ballistic miss