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Information bulletin
No. 133 (April 20, 1948)

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

Page 7

tenure of his public service is con-
ditional upon his behavior.
It is obvious that the development
of  democratic  government   must
depend upon the realization of dem-
ocratic relations between the gov-
ernment and the citizen and upon the
understanding of the government and
citizens of their respective spheres
and rights.
Democratic  attitudes  of German
public officials cannot be inculcated
by  orders  either of the German
government or Military Government.
The public servant must be convinced
that living and working in a demo-
cratic organization provides a satis-
faction greater than that experienced
before. He must come to realize for
himself the values of a truly dem-
ocratic civil service as opposed to
the rigid casts system founded at the
time of Frederick the Great.
This recognition of the value and
advantages of democratic procedures
will be quickly reflected from a similar
realization by the individual citizens
of the community. Democratizing the
spirit of the public service and the
cultivation of a vital citizen-govern-
ment relationship are prime prerequi-
sites of this program.
Democracy is also dependent upon
the behavior and objectives of political
parties which tend to emphasize party
loyalty above all other interests, and
hence tend to ignore democratic pro-
cedure as well as the rights of the
citizens at large. The understanding
of the rights of the citizens in a
democracy was never well developed
in Germany, either from the point of
view of the government's duty to re-
spect and protect the rights, or the
abilitity of the citizen to demand and
enforce them. And, the twelve years
of the Nazi regime have further im-
paired this understanding of civil
A widespread program of political
reeducation is a vital necessity, and
is peculiarly appropriate in that the
threat from other forms of government
has made the residents of the western
zones conscious of the danger without
educating them how to meet it.
But it might be asked: Why, now
that the Prussian ruling class has been
destroyed  and  the Prussian state
broken up; now that the great in-
APRIL 20, 1948
dustrial combines have been shattered
and the Nazi Party and its political
machinery crushed-why cannot the
German people rise to the occasion
and rebuild their society on truly
democratic patterns?
The answer lies in the inherent
weakness of the German people. While
naturally the consequences of a total
defeat have given the German people
little to look forward to, there must
be kept alive the will to live, to be a
free people and to assume their re-
sponsibilities in a democratic society.
The expression of democracy is de-
pendent not on the directives of
Military Government but upon the
Germans themselves.
ONE OF THE means the German
V citizen has at his disposal to
protect himself against the arbitrary
behavior of civil servants and political
leaders is the sentiment and the
organized expression of the communi-
ty itself. In laying the groundwork
for the democratization of German
public life it is necessary to encourage
the German people to assume freer
and more vigorous participation in
the life of the community. The lack
of citizens organizations, other than
political and professional groups, re-
flects one of the most serious weak-
nesses in the mentality of the German
people today. This characteristic goes
back far beyond the Nazi regime.
Inherent in the developments  of
German bureaucracy during the last
two centuries has been the fear of
authority and the negation of indi-
vidual dignity and of human rights.
Even among liberal circles during the
last 100 years interest has centered
largely on certain structural concepts
rather than social or political eman-
cipation. The arbitrary monarchist
gave way to the arbitrary militarist
and arbitrary public servant. The
fashion changed but the character and
behavior of the government remained
the same. This fact-so evident today
-has been translated into not only
undemocratic public administration,
and the arbitrary and often dictatorial
politics of political parties, but like-
wise into the fear and lethargy of the
One important part of the answer
to this problem is the encouragement
(Continued on Paqe 19)
The Medal of Freedom for meritorious service during World War II
was presented recently in Berlin to three French citizens (above) by
Brig., Gen William Hesketh, the Assistant Deputy Military Governor,
OMGUS. Standing (left to right) are Madeleine Lausac, Mrs. Jean
J. Chappat, and Mr. Chappat.                      (Signal Corps pboto3

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