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THE WAR AND OPINION I. THE PROBLEM OF GERMANY R. FLENLEY GERMAN history is a long and complicated story. I suppose the simplest of all versions would see it as a process of expansion or attempted expansion. Our earliest view of the Germans is as they pushed south and west against the Roman Empire. And today we see them again trying to expand, claiming to be overcrowded and lacking room to live. But whereas in the days of the early migrations there was relatively ample room for expansion, today Europe is full, and the whole globe is either occupied or ticketed and organized under the rule of other peoples. There is, in fact, room for the Germans to live (Lebensraum), but not room to satisfy their desire to rule. Yet despite the expansion motive seen at the beginning and the end of German history, that history takes place in Germany, the land into which the bulk of the early German migrants moved before and after the birth of Christ. Their wanderings beyond that land were of great moment for Europe, but do not make up German history in the sense in which that concerns us here. This land of Germany was and is a middle land, between north and south, east and west, of the European sub-continen·t. It lacked natural boundaries to east and west, and was for many centuries <'a crossing land," until, after the Thirty Years' \Var, Prussian rulers built up a state strong enough to act as a barrier. This "middle land" is not, however, a unit. It is divided by the Elbe into eastern and western parts, with north-east and south-west possessing very different histories, the one dominated by the Rhineland, the other by Prussia. The continental climate is more alike from north to south than we should expect; for the greater elevation of south Germany largely negatives, for winter temperatures , the effects of the more southerly latitude. Hence the pull to the warmer, sunnier, Mediterranean lands, which offer almost as great a contrast to the south of Germany as to the north. This middle position has been fundamental in German history. German writers have seen it both as making their country the Heart of Europe, and as inviting both encirclement and aggression by their neighbours to east and west. "We have learned and found our economy m an economic prison amid a world of foes," wrote 437 438 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY Naumann. "That remains the background to everyth,ing which may happen." It placed them midway between the civilized Roman world, the bearers of Graeco-Roman culture, and the more backward Slavic peoples, with their Asiatic connections. Looking at Germany from th~ west as we do, we are perhaps too apt to forget the eastern connection. No doubt this is partly due to the fact that this connection has been largely reflected to us as a .struggle of Teuton versus Slav, a crusade of the Teutonic Order and an eastward German colonizing movement. ~ut just as in Spain the idea of a continuous Christian crusade against the Moors is a greatly over-simplified picture of a complex process of give-andtake , so German-Slav relations were likewise more complicated, and the Slav (or at any rate the Russian) influence on Germany greater than we allow for. And that influence increased as Germany east of the Elbe increased in size and importance, and after Prussian expansion had destroyed the Polish state separating Germany from Russia. On the other hand it would be ridiculous to under-estimate the western, Graeco-Latin-Christian influence on Germany. Her middle position exposed her to the pulls from both east and west (or south). It is true that most peoples and countries h.ave been subject to rival and sometimes counter- influences. We ourselves have experienced the pull and counter-pull of British and American influences. But in our case these two pulls have been at bottom from the same civilization. In the cas·e of Germany the pulls were more divergent, the resultant stress greater. Without basing the whole interpretation of Germany history on this geographical setting, it does, I think, prefigure one of the outstanding traits of that history, viz., its dualism, nay, more, its contradictory character . Without doubt Goethe and Goethe's Faust illustrate the argument. But I prefer to follow the humbler and to me safer path of German history to illustrate what I mean. Yet before doing so we may note that two of the greatest foreign writers on Germany, Tacitus and Mme de Stael, both remark on this same quality in the people of whom they write. We find Tacitus in his Ge1·mania remarking on the contrast between the German's love of freedom and his readiness to gamble that freedom away; between his superhuman energy in battle and his sloth and gluttony in peace. And Mme de Stael found a similar contradiction in the Germans of her day, between their remarkable independence of THE WAR AND OPINION 439 thought and their preference for being given orders, a contradiction which long outlasted her time. Sentimentality and brutality, servility and freedom, intellectual advancement and social and political backwardness, a "hopeless passion for the absolute" and a ruthless pursuit of Realpolitik, could and did coexist in Germany m more marked contrast than elsewhere. II The contradiction is manifest in the medieval German Empire. It is one of the major questions in European history why the eastern half of the divided empire of Charles the Great, the future Germany, did not achieve the national unity which the western half, the future France, slowly and painfully, but steadily, attained. The early Saxon kings of Germany appeared, and were, far stronger than those of Capetian France, and they ruled over peoples of one common stock. They were strong enough to seize the sceptre Charlemagne had left, and be crowned emperors in Rome. To this connectjon forged by Otto, the lure of Italy, and the consequent neglect of German affairs, has often been attrib1:1ted the failure to establish a national state north of the Alps. Recent German opinion, however, seems to be that it was not the Roman connection but the inherent strength of the local princes in Germany itself which prevented such a development: that German particularism was already so deep-rooted as to defy attempt to reduce it. Hence neither Saxon nor Franconian nor Hohenstauffen emperors were able to establish effective control, and with the downfall of the last the task became hopeless. The belated attempts of Sigismund and Maximilian but revealed their impotence. Yet the title lmperator Augustus survived; and there were vague and illusory claims to lordship over the western world where new nations were now growing up. ·The contradiction did not end there: the legend of Frederick Barbarossa sitting with his knights in the caves of Kyffha~sen waiting for the call to redeem his country was to be more than an Idyll of a King. The German Romantics at the end of the eighteenth century found in this first Reich a meed of national glory and a pattern of universal dominion which played a part in building up not merely the Second, but also the so-called Third Reich. Heute gehort un.s Deutschland, Morgen die ganze Welt, sing the H1tler Jugend. The next great epoch in German history, that of the Reforma- 440 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY tion, displayed parallel dissonances and discords~ By Luther's revolt Germany was split from end to end, and more permanently and decisively than any other great state of the \iVest. The resultant strife culminated in the Thirty Years' War, and while opinions as to the results of that conflict in Germany differ, it certainly brought loss, wastage, destruction and a check to general development .- The formerly flourishing German cities, centres of municipal freedom, fell into relative decline, and with them th~ middle class which elsewhere was rising steadily in importance and power. But the revolt had other results also. Luther led a movement to free his countrymen from the yoke of Rome. "Nor are we only kings and the freest of all men, but also priests forever, a dignity far higher than kingship," he declared in the tract On the Liberty of a Christian Man. But when the peasants tried to apply this doctrine to their servitude, he declared that ((an ass must be beaten and the rabble governed by force. Let any one who is able hew · down, stab and slay them as one would a mad dog." And the price for the protection Luther received from German princes was the increase of their power. Instead of more freedom, religious or otherwise, came the Obrigkeitstaat, the authoritarian state, of the next two centuries, with the church subject thereto, and Lutheranism an agent of despotism. The Holy Roman Empire became a "Monstrum," in Pufendor.ff's phrase, and Germany "an unpolitically peaceful people of small states, of loyal and servile subjects." There was perhaps more truth than she realized in Mme de Stael's judgment that "of all Germany's great men, Luther was the most German." The attitude of the greatest German of the seventeenth century, Leibnitz1 is revealing: "I wish," he wrote, and this in the age of Cromwell and Milton, "to put aside affairs of state and war; for I believe that God will find a path to our welfare, and will graciously preserve this Empire as the head of Christendom. But as to what concerns the 'mind, and language, I believe that in this matter every faculty must express itsel£."1 The outstanding beneficiaries of the Lutheran Reformation in .Germany were the rulers of the north-eastern border principality of Brandenburg-Prussia. At first sight the steady rise to power of this state, from the Great Elector to Frederick the Great, and onwards to 1870, may seem too strictly logical, the state itself too1Quoted in J, P. Mayer, Political Thought: The European Tradition (London, 1939), 295. THE WAR AND OPINION 441 much a work of conscious art, to leave any room for marked contradictory elements. On reflection, however, such features do in fact present themselves. The very name Prussia was taken from a non-Germanic people far to the north-east of Germany, yet comes to represent the mastery over all Germany. And while Prussia was Christianized and partly Germanized by the Teutonic Order, the influence of the east-Elbian Junker nobility continued to influence the Prussian state, helping to differentiate that state markedly from the Germany developed and developing along the Rhine and the Danube. Adequately to work this out would require far more time and space than I can spare. The common dislike of Prussia elsewhere in Germany was an index of it. The character and personalities of some of the Hohenzollern rulers afford obvious illustration of this disharmony, not least in the greatest of them all, Frederick II. We see it in his relations with his incredible father (also an example of it), with his wife, the hapless Elizabeth Christine, in his attachment to French and contempt of German culture. We find it almost too obviously in his elaborate refutation of Machiavelli, the /.lnti-Machiavel, in which he takes excessive pains to attack ambition, greed, disloyalty and faithlessness in princes: "vVhat reason, I would ask, can a man have for aggrandizing himself? What right to form the ·design of raising his power upon the ruin and destruction of others? The new conquests of a sovereign do not enrich or improve his old dominions. His subjects are no better for them, and he deceives himself if he thinks that they add to his happiness.... I conclude that true glory is not to be bought by usurpation." But within a twelvemonth Frederick engaged in the unprovoked and unjustified seizure of Silesia and attack upon Austria. And again, coming strangely from this most autocratic of rulers, who trusted neither minister nor any parliament: "For my part, if there was any constitution which should be proposed as a model, it should surely be ~hat of England, where the Parliament -is the arbiter between King and people, and the King has every power to do good, and none to do ill." True, it was the young Frederick who wrote thus, and the later Frederick did much to resolve these contradictions {so far as despotism could) in the enlightenment he displayed when his wars were over. Yet a modern biographer finds in a dualism of character the key to his personality. It would be easy to carry on this tale through the lives of a 442 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY number of the later Hohenzollerns, though that of Frederick William II, in whose reign (as Mirabeau put it) "never was the mania of reigning in person and of doing nothing carried to greater excess''; or Frederick William IVl whose mind (as one of his ministers cautiously put it) uis differently organized from those of other men," down to the last Hohenzollern kingl with the dangerous combination of qualities which helped to destroy the monarchy. It is characteristic of the contradictions of which I speak, that within little more than a decade after the death of the hard realist, Frederick the Great, we should find that well-informed if romanticist observer, Mme de Stael, asserting with complete seriousness that nof all nations, the German has the greatest incli~ation to mysticism." Admittedly, she is not thinking of Prussia; but more important, she wrote in the heyday of an intellectual and literary revival which was second only (if it was indeed second) in importance for Germany to the rise of Prussia itself. This remarkable revival, ·under way when Frederick died in 1786 and stretching to perhaps the death of Goethe (in 1832), affected almost every side of intellectual activity; it. was as if forces driven underground at or after the Reformation, and so far finding expression almost alone in music, now burst forth to find full, free and tumultuous expression in literature and song, in philosophy, in history, in criticism, in religion, to make an enduring contribution not merely to German but to European thought. I said almost every side of German life; for while there is no doubt of the stimulus of this new literature and thought in the national revival against Napoleon, as in the nationalist. movement later, it is none the less true that in its earliest, most creative phases it was singularly little concerned with political issues or political life. There is freedom in it, but it is freedom of the imagination, or of the purified reason of Kant. The Greece of its exponents is the Attica of Phidias rather than of Thucydides. And when they turn to political theories, after 1800, they are theorists .still, admirers of Burke indeed, but Burke the founder of conservative theory, not Burke the publicist or active parliamentarian , much less the champion of American liberty. German thought and German political life fail to develop together. Much o( the explanation of this lies, of course, in the existing social and political system of eighteenth-century Germany. These thinkers and men of letters, who sprang from many parts of Germany, THE WAR AND OPINION 443 were mainly poor, often the sons of parsons or schoolmasters, and dependent for a livelihood on the favour of princes, as even the eminent Kant found. Yet they were to constitute a force in German history inestimable in importance, and that very limitation , as it seems to us, of their horizon, was to give their thought an absolute quality which was later to have political implications. It was Navalis, one of the purest Romantics, infinitely remote from politics, who in a well-known essay gazed back across the gulf of the Reformation with regret for the lost faith and the lost unity of Europe under its medieval emperors. Yet in that same essay Navalis wrote: "With a slow but steady gait, Germany is passing the rest of the European countries. This advance must in the course of time give it the preponderance over them." How the new philosophy enunciated by Kant and his successors might affect the future is described in a truly remarkable prophecy uttered a generation later by Heine, the Romantic born out of due time, at the close 'Of his survey of Religion and Philosophy in Germany:2 German philosophy is of great importance and concerns the whole of hu,manity. Our remote descendants will alone be able to decide whether we are to be blamed or praised for having first worked out our philosophy, and then our revolution. A methodical people like ours must have begun with the Reformation, to concern itself after that with philosophy, and go on thereafter to political revolution.... The German revolution will 'be no milder or gentler because it was preceded by the criticism of Kant, the transcendental idealism of Fichte, or the philosophy of nature [of Schelling]. These doctrines have built up revolutionary forces which only await the moment to explode and fill the world with terror and awe. Then will appear Kantians who will reject piety in the world of facts as in that of ideas, who will pitilessly tear up with axe and sword the soil of our European life to get·rid of the last roots of the past. There will come on the scene armed ~ich teans, with a fanaticism incapable of being tamed by either fear or self-interest.... And' most terrifying of all will be the philosophers of nature should they take part in a German revolution, and identify themselves with the work of destruction ..• evoking the forces of old German pantheism, and reawakening the lust of battle found amongst the old Germans, who fought ... simply for the sake of fighting. Herder and Fichte, unlike each other yet alike in their restless unease, illustrate well enough the discordant elements in the thought of this period. Herder, the discoverer of the German Volk, of Deutschtum, has of late come to be regarded as a prime 2Heine, Samtliche Werke, VII, 350 ff.; R. D'O. Butler, The Roots of National Socialism (London, 1941)1 284. 444 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY mover in the rise of German nationalism, and even a source of Nazi. theory. So, in part, he was. Yet Herder also stood for eighteenth-century cosmopolitanism and the belief in Humanity above the Nation. He saw the German people as a mixture of races, whose culture, save for their language, was derived from Graeco-Roman and Arab sources;. he encouraged Slav as well as German nationalism, deriding the idea of the Germans as the chosen people; and he disliked both Prussia and the Prussian state. Fichte presents a like problem, as a mixture of cosmopolitanism and nationalism, idealism and realism. Yet what seems specially significant about him here is the way in which, partly from his own fault, he was driven out of Jena, to take refuge in Prussia. For thereby he illustrates the way in which some of the thinkers of this period were drawn into the orbit of Prussia, and harnessed to the Prussian state. And Fichte makes Berlin the desk from which he appeals to the German nation. His successor in the University of Berlin, the even more influential Hegel, went further still. No Pr.ussian born, he had once rejoiced over Prussia's downfall at Jena. But now he not merely accepted Prussia, but found divine elements 1n the Prussian state. True, by this time Prussia in the War of Liberation had made herself the leader of Germany against Napoleon. But despite the efforts of Stein and Hardenberg the essential features of Prussia remained little changed, as she entered the post-Napoleonic period. And thus a movement which had begun as subjective, individualist, remote from politics, and in fundamental opposition and contradiction to the Prussian state, with its characteristic features, seems to end up as the ally and supporter of that state and its system. This was a fateful conjunction. Actually, all the energies of German Romanticism were not diverted to Protestant Prussian soil. Some of its exponents, such as Schlegel, Adam Muller and Gentz, found homes in Catholic Vienna , though accepting a like aJlegiance to the conservative forces dominant there after 1815. But others survived the era of reaction, to be rejuvenated in Young Germany and take part in the abortive attempt of German Liberals to create a united Liberal Germany in 1848. I am not here concerned to follow that story, or the familiar sequel in which Bismarck solved the problem they could not solve, by forces not at their disposal. Yet it would be easy to show that in and through the Bismarckian Empire the THE WAR AND OPINION 445 same contradictions survived. Indeed they proved to be infinitely more serious, affecting not merely Germany but her neighbours. While Germany was in the first flush of pride after the victory of 1870, Nietzsche had raised his voice in scornful protest against those who claimed that this victory marked the superiority of German culture. But even Nietzsche later came to pay tribute to the new Germany, in his vision of a new if barbarian blond aristocracy . More solidly and consistently a mirror of Germany (and Prussia) triumphant was Treitschke, the Swabian ex-liberal drawn to Berlin. In his -famous lectures on Die Politik, Treitschke eulogized, with the moral fervour of the convert, the Prussian state and the Hohenzollerns, no ossified monarchs as the kings of England ; he gloried in the unmatched Prussian army and the Prussian nobility, "the most illustrious in the world." The common people of Germany, he admitted, were imperfect, but they could find scope for what idealism they possessed in religion, and in delight in military heroism. Small states were an offence to the Lord, since they lacked the ability to be just. In the rivalry of great states lay "the beauty of history"; political idealism expressed itself in wars. And Treitschke, despite the deafness which cut him off from speech with his fellows, was no voice crying in the wilderness, but a leader in the academic world, his harsh voice finding an ever-widening circle of admiring listeners. Lamprecht echoed the same pride in "Germanity," in the superiority of German culture, the growing belief in the inevitability of German expansion. S. H. Chamberlain (following Gobineau) found a pseudo-scientific explanation of German greatness in the superiority of the German race. All this was familiar enough before and during the last war, and I need not linger over it. Yet the contradictions continued. Most obvious was that between the unprecedented growth of wealth and power in the Empire Bismarck had created, and the revolutionary Socialism founded about the same time by Marx and Lasalle. Neither Bismarck's severe persecution, nor his efforts at state socialism, availed to check the growth of this fundamental opposition to his whole system; indeed he rather provoked the growth of Social Democracy. It is the considered opinion of one German historian that by the date of Bismarck's fall, there was already a majority of opinion in Germany against his imperial system. But although the Social Democrats might grow until by 1912·they had the largest 446 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY party in the Reichstag, neither they nor any other party could form a government representing their views, or displace a Chancellor appointed by the Emperor. Still less could the Socialists hope to change the social and industrial form of the Empir-e. To say that fear of Socialism in Germany caused her to go to war in 1914 is doubtless an exaggeration. But it is probably true that the aggressiveness of German foreign policy before 1914 owed something to the desire to provide distraction from the strains of the domestic situation. III November, 1918, seemed to promise a decisive change in Germany. The army had been defeated, the Hohenzollerns and their constitution were gone, the Bismarckian system was overthrown , and a new day dawned. The new regime was openly based (Art. 1 of the Constitution of Weimar) on the sovereignty of the people of Germany. But though it looked back to the liberal effort of seventy years earlier for its flag and some of its constitutional provisions, the new regime was, naturally enough, socialist I rather than liberal, for the Majority Socialists set it up, and saw it through its most critical days. Opinions still differ as to the reasons for the failure of the Weimar regime to establish itself. But neither reparations nor lack of sympathy from outside were really responsible for the downfall of the \Veimar Republic, though of course the economic depression of 1929, which played no small part, was international. The main causes were within, fruit again, more fatal than ever, of that same discordance. Behind the difficulties of the republic was the fact that the rulers of Germany, counting on a short war, had made no provision for a long one, still less for a lost one: inflation began during the war itself. It was a calamity that the Social Democratic leaders, engaged in establishing a state free from the incubus of militarism, should immediately' turn to the army for aid to destroy a possible threat from the extreme left. The Social Democrats, despite their Marxian programme, were in fact not revolutionary at all, and the war had revealed fissures in their party. The Majority Socialists had grown mightily in numbers and possessions under the imperial regime, had imbibed some of its spirit) and were by no means ready to embark on radical changes, for all their professions of Marxism. The Weimar Republic did indeed go further towards establishing the basis of state socialism THE WAR AND OPINION 447 than is often admitted, but it did so less from policy and conviction than as necessity impelled. The theoretical perfection of the system of representation adopted encouraged the formation of many parties and groups, which necessitated coalitions and hindered political stability. For the parties, most of them successors under new names of the parties of earlier days, refused to sacrifice their party views and interests for the common good; Communists and National Socialists could even on occasion combipe against the Republic in the Reichstag. The Social Democrats (and their aJlies) never managed, and did not sufficiently· try, to destroy or even disarm the opponents of the Republic. Many of the old imperial officials were continued in office and openly maligned and attacked the new state. The east Elbiari landlords of the rye belt managed not merely to hold on to 90 per cent of their large estates, the basis of their power, but secured government subsidies on a large scale. The army interest (partly coincidental) invented the legend that the German army had not in fact been beaten in the war, but had been stabbed in the back by proletarians and Jews, seeking to destroy the Fatherland. Thus, much of the Prussian tradition survived, as did the unity of Prussia itself, despite the increase of centralized authority. And while this interest survived, the solid German middle class, much of it once liberal, which might have been won over to be a solid support for the Republic, was destroyed by the .inflation which reached its height in 1923. The few years of prosperity, or seeming prosperity, that followed (1924-9), though they rebuilt many of Germany's factories with foreign money, did little to protect her against the financial and economic crisis which set in after 1929. 'rhus, when the storm broke, the new regime was not strongly enough established to stand it. In the last year of the Republic, Spengler had called upon Prussianism to save Germany from the World Revolution of Socialism, and in the same year Gobbels defined Nazism as "the·true survival and continuation of Prussianism." That indeed was grossly unfair to· Prussianism (as a loyal Prussian Conservative like .Rauschning was sadly to find out) but Nazism did take over and use (and even add to) some of the elements ofPrussianism, above all its military quality, its emphasis on the state, its ruthlessness. It also took over the machinery of centralization and state control of banking and industry, wruch the Republic, under the economic 448 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY stress and strain, had begun to apply, and extended it to every side of national life. But in addition to these two, Nazism, seeking theoretical (if not moral) justification, produced a flood, a veritable delirium, of theorizing about the new Reich now being established: the Mythos of the new age, the Fiihrerprinzip, the mysteries of :({ace, Blood and Folk, the new I-Iumanism and Vitalism, the new religion of Germanism, the new totalitarian state, the new geopolitics . None of this was, however,. new. It went back not, indeed, as Rosenberg claimed, to poor Meister Eckart, the medieval mystic, dragged from his grave to garnish a new credo, but back to the Romantics, to Herder and Fichte-to Hegel, to Wagner, to the triumphs of Bismarck, to Chamberlain's racial theories. Thus when all is said, there was nothing new inNazism. As Butler says: "V\/hen the theory of National-Socialism is viewed in relation to German political thought of the last century and a half, it is seen to be stale stuff, stale and adu1terated."3 What was new was the tremendous power capable of being generated when such views and aims were harnessed to the absolute power wielded by a fanatical leader controlling a people of over seventy millions, drilled, disciplined and armed as Germany is today. Against this w~ are now ·fighting. But if this German aggression and militarism, running into ruthlessness, cruelty, intolerance and injustice, is nothing new, but merely the expression of old aims and qualities; are we driven back to Ranke's pronouncement ?-"There will always be, permeating the history of every people, something which is eternal and primordial, which you cannot explain, and whose causes you cannot trace, something you can only recognize. Thus while events and periods in the history of the German people follow one another and change, yet whenever the spirit emerges into action it does so in a way that is specia I to jt, and always the same. The colours change, the light they refract is unchanged."4 IV If that is so, the outlook for the future is a gloomy one. And indeed however quickly we defeat Nazi Germany the outlook is a gloomy one. If Ranke were wholly right, it suggests that we must envisage the permanent controlling, chaining down of Ger3Butler , Roots of National Socialism, 276.· 4Quoted in Mayer, PoNtical Thought, 284. THE WAR AND OPINION 449 many, lest she break out again. And certainly policing, at least, will be necessary for some time to come. But if, as I believe, Ranke is not wholly right, to what elements in Germany can we look for its (and our) deliverance; in what manner and on what terms can we make peace with this new Germany? You will not expect me to discuss questions of reparations by Germany: at least we know now the pitfalls which accompany the process of reparation payments. Nor can one prefigure the general arrangement of post-war Europe, or how Russia, the British Commonwealth, and the United States will be related thereto. We can assume that there will be some reorganization of east-central Europe on lines different from those of 1918~38, some consolidation of the smaller and weaker national units, economically, and it is to be hoped politically, into larger units to provide a better balance of forces there. And some sort of international association will be essential both for Europe and the world. But the nation must still be the norm in many essential respects; the Atlantic Charter recognizes it; we are fighting, Russia included, as allied nations, and I see no near likelihood of escape from that fact. That being so, we must recognize German nationality also. \Ve may consider that her boundaries should be modified, not indeed to take away from her more than in 1918, but possibly to remove sources of friction by moving peoples. Hitler has provided ample precedents for this. He has moved some 750,000 Lorrainers, nearly 200,000 Tyrolers, 135,000 Germans from Volhynia and Galicia (by agreement with Russia), 90,000 Germans from Bessarabia , 45,000 Germans from Bukovina, 120,000 Baltic Germans from the Baltic States, a miUion or so Germans from Transy]vania, and over 100,000 Germans from the west to Poland, 2A40,000 in all :5 this in addition to the forced movement of Poles, Jews, and other subject peoples, a total certainly of millions. With all this done, we may feel that, for example, the move of two and a quarter million Germans from East Prussia to West Prussia, of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovak..ia, and even of Germans from Memel and Danzig, might be justified, despite the inevitable hardship involved. The Nazi motto "The general need before individual desire" could, not unreasonably, be invoked. But within Germany, it would seem to me quite wrong, and unsound in our own interest, to attempt to break up the c~untry. 6W. Williams, The Riddlt: of the Reich (London, 1941), 101. 450 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY Germany is united today, politically and administratively, far more than Bismarck ever managed to accomplish. She is no longer a federal but a unitary state. Whether the capital could or should be moved away from Prussia to the west (Frankfurt or Nuremberg?) I am doubtful. Prussia could be reorganized and (as Frederick William IV once declared it would be) completely merged in the Reich, but South and North Germany belong together, and to separate them would be to invite future conflict, though an eminent German professor now in exile is of another opinion. Austria is not quite in the same position. If she desires to join hands with her Danubian neighbours, she might do so, if they will agree together. But all that will not solve the German problem. The Nazis have complicated the issue in several ways: th.ey have set up a ruling caste, the Party, they have destroyed all rivals, and they have educated young Germans in their creed. The first of these complications will presumably be eliminated by the ending of the war, the third will involve a most difficult and perhaps lengthy problem of re-education, though defeat and loss will do some of that. The second is the most acute (on which the third to some extent depends). \iVhen Napoleon was defeated there were the Bourbons to whom to turn, and the Orleanists when Charles X became impossible. Only a few, I suppose, would suggest restoring the Hohenzollerns, and I doubt whether the Wittelsbachs or any other line could survive in post-war Germa~y. Dictators are ruled out, military or civil. But the Nazis have done more than destroy their enemies (or unify Germany). They have introduced a most elaborate and far-reaching system of state control for every side of national life. The old social order, already changing, has been further levelled; even the Junkers are said to have gone as a patent force. Whether the war has really preserved the military class I do not know: at first it seemed that it would and must; but now that seems more doubtful. In any case the Germany with which we make peace will not be the Germany of 1918, much less that of pre-1914. Thus, while on the one hand the democratic elements which it was hoped would succeed in establishing themselves after 1918, have been trampled upon, on the other hand the state has been wiped cleaner of rival elements. Some, at least, of the former obstacles to the establishment of a democratic regime based on the people have, it would seem, been destroyed. And not merely THE WAR AND OPINION 451 Germany, but the world about her (and us) will be different too. The heyday of western imperialism, and more than the heyday, is over, never to return to the old forms. Whether this will remove a rock of offence between (say) Germany and Britain, it is too soon to predict. But it may work in that direction. We come back then, not merely to 1_918, but to· the central German problem. I have been concerned to ·illustrate certain discords in her history, which s~em to me to have prevented her development as a democratic state. Are these likely to disappear in the future? Above all, can we look in the future to the disappearance or resolving of what E. Preuss, son of the maker of the constitution of 1918, terms in a recent book "the canker of Germany," which he describes as "the political indolence, aphasia, _ and backwardness of the Germans over many centuries,''6 in contrast with their intellectual and economic development? "For democratic government to flourish in any community/' writes Professor Thomson in The Democratic I deal in France and England/ "at least two conditions are necessary. There must be a popular vision of the most desirable sort of society-a society which shall give the greatest degree of freedom and happiness to the ordinary citizen. And there must be within the community a certain balance between the forces of cohesion and those of individualism." Now I would say that Germany had had this vision; the democratic constitutions of 1848 and 1918 seem to me obvious pieces of concrete evidence of this. But the vision was blurred, and confused , and finally vanquished by those other elements of which I have spoken. Whether the Nazi regime has been able to destroy it entirely is another matter. But what Germany has so far lacked has been just that balance Thomson predicates as essential; thatJ in varying interpretationsJ has been the subject of my paper. I do not know whether Germany can attain it, though I think it might turn out in the end that the Nazis, those despisers of democracy , may have contributed to render its revival possible by their ruthless destruction of other forces.. But 1 am an historian, not a prophet. It was the greatest German poet who reminded his people that What you have inherited from your forefathers, You must win again, in order to possess it. 6 Tlu Canker of Germany (London, 1939). 7(London, 1940). 452 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY That might mean the power of the sword, of dominion over others. But it may also mean (to quote the prologue to the Weimar consti- . tution of 1919) 11 freedom and justice, the serving of the ends of peace at home and abroad and tlie furthering of social justice." I hope it will. · II. BALKAN PROSPECTS L. s. STAVRIANOS. DEvELOPMENTS in the Balkans have occurred recently which ordinarily would have rated headlines but which have been virtually ignored because of the news from the war fronts. These are the .Greek-Yugoslav agreement of January 15 ·providing for a post-war . Balkan federation, and the announcement of King George II, early in February, which abolished the Greek dictatorship. Needless to say, the significance of these events depends upon the final outcome of the war. An Axis victory would reduce their significance to precisely nothing. Instead the "New Order, would be imposed on the Balkan Peninsula, and the nature of this "New Order" has been realistically described by Al,fred Rosenberg: "The Balkans must be united with Greater Germany in a firm federation in various forms of semi- or apparent sovereignty, economically or militarily, affiliated to Germany."1 A beginning has already been made in putting this programme into effect. Greece and Yugoslavia have been occupied by Axis troops and partitioned amongst Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The rump states which are left are ruled ostensibly by native "fuhrers" but in reality by the local German commanders. Similarly Bulgaria and Roumania, although technically allied to Germany, have nevertheless been occupied and remain completely under Axis control. In the economic sphere, only light industries are permjtted to continue operations, while the production of raw materials is regulated to conform to the needs of German e~onomy. Thus far the reaction to this "New Order" has been profound discontent and widespread sabotage in Roum_ania and Bulgaria, and armed revolution in Yugoslavia and Greece. If Germany and her allies were able to win a decisive victory and conclude peace, it would be a comparatively easy matter to restore order in the Balkans. How stable and per:manent the settlement would be is another question. One of the chief reasons 1 Cited by F. W. L. Kovacs, Tlte Untamed Balkans (New York, 1941), 197. ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 437-452
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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