University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 49 (July 1946)

[Highlights of policy],   pp. [4]-[29] PDF (18.0 MB)

Page 18

The American mission in Germany Is a
serious job. This mission is to help carry
out the American policy in official and per-
sonal relations with the German people. It
has been said that there are two ways to
treat a conquered enemy. One, to destroy
him utterly as Carthage was destroyed by
Rome; the other, to make his relationship to
the conqueror so advantageous that he will
never again rise against him. Accepting these
for the sake of argument and obviously dis-
carding the first, we find that the second
necessitates that we know the Germans and
we know how to deal with them.
If we are to understand the Germans, we
should look about their country and see to
whom they have raised their biggest statues.
One was their first succesful meddler in Eu-
ropean politics; the Grand Elector of Bran-
denburg (1640 to 1688). He was followed a
hundred years later by Frederick the Great,
who commenced his reign by breaking his
father's treaty with Marie Therese of Aus-
tria; by marching into Silesia and remaining
there through the eight-year war of the Aus-
trian Succession, until he forced a treaty at
Aix - la - Chappelle to cede the land to him.
He repeated this aggressive process through-
out his reign and the same system saw com-
pletion of his plans by his fat nephew, Fred-
erick-William II, who succeeded him. Bis-
marck and Kaiser Wilhelm I prepared the
same kind of army, in Frederick's words,
"ready to a gaiter button," and provoked
first Austria and then an impoverished and
proud France into two successive wars. He
won each in six weeks. He set an idemnity
of 5 billion francs plus Alsace and Lorraine
and occupied part of France until this un-
heard of sum was paid. Bismarck had his
King crowned Emperor in the Versailles'
Hall of Mirrors.
In dealing with the Nazis we must
not  forget  that  their  principles  far
antidated their party. The phrase "Die
Juden sind unser unglueck" ("The Jews are
our misfortune"), was coined by votn Treit-
schke, a Bismarckian historian, not Julius
Streicher. Examination reveals that Hitler's
ideals of militarism, his fable of the master
race, and his waging of aggressive warfare
was the same as all the Brandenburg, Prus-
sian and German Fredericks and Wilhelms
and Frederick-Wilhelms.
There were, and there probably are, some
good Germans, if on no other basis than
that nothing is so completely bad but it has
some good. There was a German named
Charlemagne, who spoke the German tongue
and lived most of his life in German terri-
tory. He was crowned Emperor of the Holy
Roman Empire in St. Peters in Rome. He
stimulated literature and education, breaking
the darkness and ignorance off the early
middle ages. He possessed a religious and
exalted strain that made men recognize him
as "every inch a king." The work that he
did was permanent, not transitory, and
laid, the solid foundation for all the major
powers on the continent of Europe save
Russia. There were also Schiller, and
Goethe; Brahms, Bach and Beethoven; Ein-
3tein and Thomas Mann.
If we admire the German cleanliness,
thriftiness, family life and blooming gardens
that so many Americans praise, let us not
forget that that is where the German con-
science and self-respect ends. From there up
he takes off his hat and bows to the next
man up the line. He inquires not at all into
the policy of his government. He contributes
his work, his skills, his voice, his "all" to
whatever the "man on horseback" says. And
if we will carefully recall the newsreels from
1933 on, and the pictures which were used
as evidence at the Nurenberg trials, we will
remember the proud faces of old and young.
right arm stiff, and extended, shouting "Heil
Hitler" the same way their fathers shouted
"Hoch der Kaiser". But, in over a year in
Germany we have encountered a mere hand-
ful of Germans who admit they supported

Go up to Top of Page