Viewpoint: Reconsidering Germany - April 12, 1931
Let's all take a deep breath on the issue of Germany, please.
Recently, there have been a lot of reports about the dangers Germany poses to America. Many of these stories have contained the same talking points and have revolved around the personality of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.
It is easy to criticize Hitler. There is no question that some of his statements have been thoughtless, even hateful. There are enough real reasons to condemn him, but by inflating his rhetoric and his power, critics attempt to increase their audiences' hostility toward Germany without providing an accurate picture of that country's complex politics. Presenting Germany and Hitler as bigger threats than they actually are is not helpful to American or Jewish interests.
It seems that whenever Hitler says something conciliatory - for example, that Germany wants only secure borders - he is called a liar. But when he says something more aggressive, commentators rush to say that we must take him at his word. We have no sympathy for the German Chancellor, but conservative commentators have constructed the Hitler they want: the most hostile one possible.
It is important to note that the Chancellor is not a very powerful position in Germany. The Chancellor is appointed by the President rather than elected and the German parliament has the right to dismiss any Chancellor making Hitler's position rather weak.
Real power resides with the supreme leader, currently President Hindenburg. The office of the President is, in fact, dictatorial and the army and the security services report directly to him. All of the attention on Hitler pulls the spotlight from the more powerful President Hindenburg, who is less disposed toward bombastic rhetoric.
In addition to the President's authority over the Chancellor, political power in Germany is dispersed across myriad offices and committees, further diluting the influence of the Chancellor. Hitler is a convenient rhetorical punching bag, but he is not necessarily a window into the German government's intentions.
However, let us assume for the sake of argument that it is Germany's intention to directly attack America or its allies. There is no question about the outcome of a hypothetical war between the America and Germany, a defeated nation: The full brunt of American power would quickly overwhelm Germany.
Germany is also dissimilar in the way it treats minorities, including Jews. Today, tens of thousands of Jews live in Germany as equal citizens, and the German has numerous Jewish members. Germany is home to more Jews than even Israel. There are over a hundred synagogues in Berlin alone. The most expensive and one of the most popular movies ever shown in German theaters is Der Ewige Jude and is about the Jews. The German government may be hostile to Jewish interests - and Hitler is vehemently hostile - but it cannot fairly be deemed hostile to its Jewish citizens or Jews in general.
The hostile criticism of Hitler from abroad is not only factually incorrect, it is insulting to the German people and damaging to the democratic reform movement. The hostility and possibility of war between England and Germany has preoccupied many Germans inside and outside of the country, and it has taken the focus off of internal reforms. In short, the western media is helping destroy the best means to achieve what it claims to want: a truly democratic Germany.
It's time to take a deep breath before things go too far.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 3 Comments
Due to a busy holiday schedule, today's post will be an op ed by Anabella Hutchkins and Hermann Stupek... currently living in 1931. A minor variation of this editorial recently ran in The Michigan Daily in 2007.