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Henry Morgenthau, The German Character

Five chapters from Morgenthau’s book, Germany is our Problem, here published with an introductory note by Ellopos. Emphasis, in bold or italic letters, by Ellopos. Complete book in print.

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Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe

52 Pages

Page 43



ON A DAMP, FOGGY NIGHT A LITTLE more than twenty years ago, the Weimar Republic gave perhaps its most perfect demonstration of what Germans understand democracy to mean. The incident explains at once why it was so easy to indoctrinate them with contempt for the very idea of political freedom and why the peace of the world can never be safe in the presence of anything such a people might consider a democratic form of government.

It was November 8, 1923, and a raw wind blew like a wet dishcloth against the faces of Cabinet Ministers hurrying to an emergency meeting in the Chancellery. For nearly Eve years these men and their like—Social Democrats, Socialists, Centrists, the so-called democratic party leaders—had been in nominal control of the government. They were used to crises. They had seen the mark speeding on its disastrous course of inflation. They had seen the occupation of the Ruhr. They had been through the political battles of a succession of coalition Cabinets. On this November night, however, the leaders of the republic were in a remarkable state of funk. A demagogue named Adolf Hitler was trying to start a revolution in a beer hall.

The story in Berlin that evening was that his movement had captured Bavaria and was marching on the national capital. To do the Cabinet Ministers justice, they were a good deal more frightened by the fact that General Erich Ludendorff of World War fame had joined the little Austrian. And they were frightened most of all by worry over which way the Army would jump. The figureheads of the republic knew that the Army had no love for them. It was in the hands of the old military clique, the Prussian war lords whose destruction had been promised by the Allies. Within five years of their supposed demise, they had become the power that would decide whether the republic survived. If the soldiers, carefully trained in anti-republican dogma, preferred the Hitlerian raincoat to the parliamentary frock coat, the Weimar regime was doomed.

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      Cf.  H. Arendt: totalitarianism reduces men to impersonal natural forces * German philosophers in support of Nazism * Beethoven and Mauthausen * The Superior Race of Germans * Kalergi, European Spirit must Precede Europe's Political Unification * La Construction de l'Europe selon Jean Monnet * Plan Fouchet * Mitterrand and Kohl urge European Political Union * Il Manifesto di Ventotene


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