No. 133 (April 20, 1948)
Landin, Harold W.
Democratizing Germany, pp. 6-7 PDF (1.1 MB)
U/E OCRD THE FIRST prerequisite in prepar- ing Germany for democracy is to free Germany from the bondage of nazism and of all other totalitarian systems of government. The United States has already done this in part by destroying the outward frame of the Nazi government. But it is not enough to destroy this outward form; it is necessary to uproot the spirit as well as the structure of totalitarian government in order to provide for the healthy growth of a democratic system which must replace it. It has never been the policy of US Military Government to impose upon the German people institutions and practices simply because they are American. Indeed, the United States is not interested in molding German life into a specifically American pat- tern. To force upon the German people the entire fabric of American govern- mental and political life would be to follow the pattern of another major power which is obviously determined not only to modify but to change radically the internal structure and operation of government to suit its own national and ideological interests. Moreover, to follow such a policy would be to ignore the long history and the evolution of Germany. We have recognized that democratic institutions and practices need not be uniform the world over, but rather must reflect the historic development which the geographic and economic requirements have imposed on the people. US Military Government is interested in the development of the opportunity of the German people for freedom and the exercise of demo- cratic responsibility. Freedom and democratic responsibility, which go hand in hand, have to be fostered and strengthened among this vanquished people for some time to come. But it is not enough for the United States 'to encourage the Germans to seize the opportunity to enjoy this By Dr. Harold W. Landin Chief, Democratization Branch, Civil Administration Division, OMGUS new freedom and embrace this new responsibility. The German people must learn to cherish, defend, and preserve these objectives. A people to be democratic must do more than wish to be democratic. A zeal for knowing liberty, and a will for achiev- ing liberty, which are inseparable, must be the dynamic force generated out of the spirit and passion of the people. L IKE MOST countries, Germany has L had democratic leaders who have fought against usurpation by arbitrary and tyrannical governments. And in this struggle Germany, too, has had its revolutionary movements. Several of the German states fought for their political liberty against the Napoleonic invasion, but this, of course, was hardly a democratic struggle of the German people since a democratic movement had not yet emerged. In the spring of 1848, 100 years ago, a pathetic and ill-conceived revolution broke out in several of the German states against the existing got ments, but the people as a w still under the heels of an aristoc and autocratic authority, were aroused to fight for democ principles. In May of that year I gathered at Frankfurt a parlia representing for the first time va& elements of German society, but ill-fated parliament, though vo honest sentiments for the liberal of government, failed to secure freedom they talked about. In October and November, 1918, olution again broke out in va& parts of Germany, but here, too failure of the movement was the r of the inability of large elemen people to take a bold stand in ( to win and preserve their free While progress was made in th rection of representative govern during the 19th and 20th centurit would appear that the German pi as a whole were still inclined t cept without much question authority of government, be it th a prince or a Nazi fuehrer, an arn cratic ruling class or the "Bee dom" of more recent times. The traditional servility of the man people towards their rulers their civil servants, as well as spirit of arrogance and condescei on the part of the latter toward citizen, made the growth of demo: in Germany slow and difficul growth which the Hitler regime pletely stifled. W HILE ON the one hand W necessary to arouse amon. common people a determination cherish and defend their civil libe it is also necessary to change attitude and behavior of the p servants. Not only the state I lature and the mayor but every of in the German administration realize that he is a servant of people and not their master, the is responsible to them and thai INFORMATION BULLETIN Dr. Harold W. Landin has been chief of the Democratization Branch in Berlin since Dec. 15, 1947. This is his third post with Mili- tary Government. Previously he was chief of the Civil Adminis- tration Division of the Regional Military Government Detachment for the Saar-Pfalz-Trier-Coblenz area, and later chief of CAD in the Office of Military Govern- ment, Hesse. Dr. Landih taught at Smith Col- lege and Ohio State University until 1942, when he obtained a leave of absence to join the staff of the American Council of Learn- ed Societies. 6 APRIL 20 r%
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