A commenter named ludwig recommended this op-ed in one of the discussion threads about German political affairs. Many thanks to JLH for the translation from Junge Freiheit:
The Abbreviation of German History
by Thorsten Hinz
For Bernd Ulrich, the Assistant Chief Editor of ZEIT, the entry of AfD into the Bundestag represents a greater catastrophe than the presence of Islamists in Germany. Islamists are merely a “security risk,” while the AfD is a “hegemonic threat,” he writes in his latest editorial. The “threat situation,” he says, became more serious on the 24th of September.
There is a certain logic behind such madness. The red-red-green hegemony has created the intellectual-moral prerequisites for implementing the Islamist scene in Germany, and is making sure that its area and recruitment potential are constantly expanding. In that context, it is understandable that Ulrich judges them more kindly than those who are opposing the fatal hegemony he represents.
Abbreviation of German History
He is looking for a confrontation with the AfD on the field of the politics of history — because of the “return of nationalism” as it appeared with Alexander Gauland. His “starting point for a new patriotism” is: “ ‘Germany is the only country in the world whose history of itself is about neither heroism nor martyrdom, but guilt, penance, purification….’ But this is not a deficit, rather one note in the concert of peoples. In this uniqueness is the deepest basis for the success story of this country since 1945 — as un-authoritarian, diverse, ecologically and economically strong as it is today”
Being proud of your guilt approaches megalomania. The founders of the West German success story were not un- or anti-authoritarian “diversity” blabbermouths, but tough, disciplined workers. What Ulrich approves of is reducing German history to the pre-history of National Socialism and its elimination — a sort of non-history. All previous chancellors — including Willy Brandt — repudiated this nonsense. Helmut Schmidt, later editor of the ZEIT, said in 1979 that he did to want to travel to Israel as a “perambulating reconciliation service.”
Political Thinking Clogged by Hyper-Morality
The most imprinted self-image of our national history celebrated by the man of ZEIT ignores the lines of historic power and development which continue to be of effect in the present. Political thought is mired in an uber-morality that leads to insane results like not being allowed to set or defend the borders of your own country. So you put your own country at risk and invite the hatred of your neighbors, whom you are dragging into the same fate. And you are leaving the savings of your citizens to the whims of former Goldmann-Sachs bankers.
At any rate, Angela Merkel is the first chancellor who fits this profile. On November 11, 2009, as France commemorated its victory in the First World War, she said; “We will never forget how much the French suffered because of the Germans in the first half of the 20th century. I am convinced that dealing unsparingly with our own history is the only way to learn from history and be able to shape the future.”
Merkel’s dealing was not “unsparing” but was an obsequious counterfeiting of history. The proportion of revanchist policy by the French at the start WWI was actually greater than that of a headless imperial leadership. To say nothing of the Treaty of Versailles, which laid the groundwork of the subsequent catastrophes.
At any rate, Alexander Gauland should have sought more solid references for “the right to be proud of the actions of German soldiers in two World Wars.” In particular he needed to clearly separate the First from the Second World War. “Respect” would have been more appropriate than “pride.” At the conclusion of the Treaty of Locarno in 1925, French Foreign Minister Aristide Briande called to his counterpart Gustav Stresemann (with whom he received the Nobel Peace Prize) that Germans and French no longer had to prove themselves on the field of battle; both had shown that they could fight. The respect was mutual.
On May 8, 1995 in Berlin, French President François Mitterrand said what was necessary about the tragedy of German soldiers in WWII: “I have not come to emphasize the defeat, because I knew what strength the German people have, what virtues, what courage. The uniform and what was in the heads of these soldiers who died in such great numbers matters little to me. They were brave. They accepted the loss of their lives. In a bad cause, but their deeds had nothing to do with that. They loved their country. We must be clear about that. We are building Europe; we love our countries.”
No Frantic Turning Maneuvers
Anyone who does not understand that, loves nothing — not his own country nor Europe — loves at most the advantage of being able to defame others without consequence and his livelihood in the coming-to-terms-with-the-past industry.
Gauland’s statement that “these twelve years” will “no longer (affect) our identity today” is a contradiction in itself, since he found it necessary to say it. In the debate in the house of representatives on the day of remembrance for the victims of National Socialism, Berlin AfD chair George Pazderski found words that were both clear and personal: His father was a Polish forced laborer who had been taken from Warsaw to Germany at the age of 17. This example shows that the time of National Socialism remains “a very substantial part” of our understanding of history. That is certainly the case in other countries, and it would not be wise for the party to ignore that.
But it is not the center, or the historical sum, and certainly not the all-devouring black hole that a pseudo-religious political history is trying to turn it into. What is needed to end this black magic is not frantic 180° turns, but clear and well-founded adjustments. Otherwise we will quickly repent, reform and congenital-guilt-trip ourselves to death.
Photo: Conciliation at the Graves: François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl 1984 in Verdun