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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 86 (March 1947)

Press and radio comments,   pp. 23-24 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 23


Battle of the German Mind
change the nationalistic, militaristic, totalit-
arian mode of thinking which now is so
deeply rooted in Germany, and even then
the effort may fail, wrote Virginius Dabney
in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch) fol-
lowing a recent tour of the US Zone of Ger-
many with a group of leading American
newspaper executives. This article follows
in part:
The battle for the German mind is being
concentrated in the German elementary and
high schools, under the direction of Dr. John
W. Taylor, Chief of the Education and Re-
ligious Affairs Branch of the Internal Af-
fairs and Communications Division of the
Office of Military Government for Germany..
The Hitlerian poison has permeated all
classes of society. Approximately 12 years of
concentrated propaganda, combined with the
fact that Germans were far better housed and
fed under their late Fuehrer than they are
today, have brought about an extremely dif-
ficult problem. The average German has
seldom been more miserable than he is at this
moment. Some 38 large German cities have
been pounded to rubble, and their inhabitants
are living under appalling conditions, with
hardly enough food to keep body and soul
together.
It is almost impossible to hope for any real
progress in democratizing the thinking of the
average German, as long as he is living
wretchedly and contrasting his lot with that
of the prosperous years immediately preced-
ing 1942. True, many Germans feel that the
Nazi regime was responsible for their pres-
ent low estate, but until they are given some
reasons for believing that democracy can
give them a better deal than they have had
in the past, the natural German liking for
"order," "discipline," and  "the Fuehrer
principle" are likely to prevail. At least,
such seems to be a vividly felt fear of many
in touch with conditions 'ha
the municipal government in Berlin, and
those who conduct the provincial government
of Bavaria, in Southern Germany, we re-
ceived almost identical responses. "So long
as the people are hungry, cold and without
decent housing it is futile to hope that they
will become democratic in their attitudes.
Once their elemental needs are taken care of,
and they have something to look forward to,
they can be appealed to with some hope of
success."  Such was the prevailing view.
This view came from men who are in po-
sitions of authority partly because of their
anti-Nazi records. Many of them spent years
in concentration camps because they refused
to bow the knee to Hitler. Their opinions
are entitled, therefore, to considerable re-
spect.
The depth of degradation to which the
German nation sank under Hitler is vividly
illustrated in the current trial at Nuremberg
of the 23 medical men who are charged with
carrying on fiendish experiments against
human:beings. Experiments in freezing, in
sterilization, in high altitude tests, in ma-
laria, and in bone and nerve conditions, which
involved. fatalities in thousands of cases, are
charged. . . They are so well-documented as
to be already proved -and by the Nazis
themselves. For these methodical Germans
took photographs of the victims at each
stage of the proceedings, and kept complete
minutes of their discussions, with direct quo-
tation from the participants. These minutes
are now in the hands of the prosecution. As
one prominent American remarked: "The
Nazis' own records are sufficient to hang the
whole crowd"..
How do the Germans regard these proceed-
ings? Are they sympathetic to the prose-
cution and conviction of the men who are
guilty of such monstrosities? Did they feel
that Goering, Keitel, and the rest should
23


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