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

Page View

Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Building strength against Communism,   pp. 43-47 PDF (3.1 MB)

Page 47

alienated, are capable of allying themselves with the
Communists, as they did in 1939.
The present moderate-conservative majority, led by
Chancellor Adenauer, is prepared to work reasonably
with the free nations of Western Europe. But its hold on
the middle-class voters may depend on certain political
attitudes that the Occupying Powers do not like. Its
economic policies are often too conservative to meet the
necessities of rapid recovery. A successful policy will
depend on encouraging the conservative party to relax
the outworn attitudes that would block recovery, full
employment and defense, while helping so far as possible
to strengthen the hold of decent conservatism in the
middle class as against a revival of Nazism.
It is clear that the Allied objective in Germany, tobring
the German people and their government into firm
alliance with Western Europe, can be gained only by
starting from the political and economic features that are
now there. We cannot and should not try to make the
Germans into Americans nor even into the exact- kinds
of Germans that we should prefer to see. But there are
elements in German life that, if allowed to flourish, will
bring Germany into the Western family. Communist propa-
ganda is aimed at weakening these more or less pro-
Western elements, and, wherever possible, at arousing
Allied prejudice and irritation against them. Here, as
everywhere, our success depends on playing our own
game with realism, and not being led into thoughtless
actions that help our enemies.
T HE ECONOMIC RECOVERY of Germany has, of
course, been a strong factor in strengthening the
country against Nazi and Communist temptations. The
Marshall Plan has supplied materials to get industry
going again and to give agriculture a start with ma-
chinery, animals, seed and fertilizer. Production by 1950
was a little above prewar, though that is not enough to
give the people a decent standard of living because of the
large number of refugees to be supported. But the ma-
jority of Germans can now eat regularly, and that is a
great help to morale and a blow to Communist agitators.
Much more progress is needed along the line of giving
full employment and letting those who are on relief start
earning a living, but conditions are better than might
have been expected.
All the usual problems of a free business system, from
wage rates to monopoly, are found in Western Germany,
and the best answers are not always clear. Monopoly, in
particular, is not regarded by Europeans with the dils-
favor that it finds under American antitrust laws, and
attempts to reduce cartels and monopoly practices have
only a limited success. But the effect of operating business
concerns and labor unions, free of the control of a dic-
tator, is educational, at least in the sense- of getting the
Germans used to the Western way of industrial life.
CXNE POINT THAT MAY be helpful in counteracting
Soviet propaganda for a reunited Germany is the
appeal of a united Europe. American policy favors
European union on the ground that we have found union
to be strength. We have hopes that a strong Europe can
stand on its own feet in both business and defense without
constant subsidy from America. But the main question in
Europe is whether European union has an emotional
appeal as our Union had for us when we emerged, poor
but victorious, out of the American Revolution. Nations
and federal unions are not born unless the people feel
the drive of a high adventure to overcome the many
small selfish interests that always stand in the way of
united action.
Many Western Germans, especially young Germans,
as they grow used to the hopelessness of a united Ger-
many with the Soviets standing in the way, are beginning
to see in Western Europe a national ideal in which they
could take pride of membership and play a respected part.
Their broken piece of Germany seems too small for them.
The Soviet offer of German union is tainted by knowledge
that such a union as the Soviets would allow would be a
slave state. They had once believed Europe could be united
under German control, but, for the present at least, this
dream has been knocked out of them with bombs. Now they
appear to be dreaming of belonging to a United Europe big
enough to be economically sound and militarily strong.
If we can encourage this dream, we may hope that the
idealistic side of the German soul may line itself up with
civilization at last, instead of returning to the dreams of
world conquest that have driven it insane in the past.
- The Soviets on their side play strongly on the idealistic
themes of Communist "democracy" and freedom from
capitalist oppression. In theory, and in the years when
the Soviet revolution was engaged in overthrowing the
tyranny of the Czars, this doctrine appealed to many
idealists in Western Europe. But the gilt is off the romance
of Communism, now that the real nature of Soviet tyranny
is clear, and those who are close to the Iron Curtain know
best of all how Communist "democracy" looks to its vic-
tims. In a contest for the hearts of the Germans, Hitler is
very dead, the Soviets have a disgusting odor, and it is
up to the Western Allies to set up a new union of free
nations that will win their allegiance.
will of course find the usual questions coming up.
Who is going to dominate whom? What interests must
give way to hold the union together? How can conflicting
standards of value 'be reconciled? These inevitable
problems are no reason for despair. The United Statets
has had them all and still has them; they are standard
political questions in any free country.
Our policy in Europe includes such persuasion as we
can bring to bear to convince all parties that union is
worth the price. That is the main line in our present
efforts to help the Germran!s build a healthy democracy
at home and a friendly relationship with their free neigh-
The job is a long and complicated one, but there are
encouraging signs of progress. If the general health of
Germany can be strengthened, the danger of a return of
Nazism, or of serious effects from Communist influence,
will gradually disappear.           ┬▒END
I     JUNE 1951

Go up to Top of Page