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Information bulletin
No. 133 (April 20, 1948)

Landin, Harold W.
Democratizing Germany,   pp. 6-7 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 6

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
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
Dr. Harold W. Landin has been
chief of the Democratization
Branch in Berlin since Dec. 15,
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.

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