Hostility Toward Germans Part I: The Anti-German Narrative in the West
Written by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage
Translated by J M Damon
Following is a translation of a blog posted at http://korrektheiten.com/2011/08/02/deutschenfeindlichkeit-das-westliche-antideutsche-narrativ/
The blog begins:
[On 16 July 2011 the author gave a lecture before the Berlin Institute for State Policy on the subject of “Hostility Towards Germans – An Appraisal” in conjunction with the Institute’s 18th Course of Lectures. Unfortunately there are no recordings of this highly interesting event. In response to requests, I have reconstituted my speech from notes. Since the lecture is too long for a single blog article I am posting it as a series, beginning with “The Anti-German Narrative in the West.]
Deutschenfeindlichkeit (Hostility Toward the German People) Is a Complex Phenomenon.
Many peoples, such as Poles, French, British and Jews, harbor a traditional resentment against the German people that dates from the Second World War and preceding wars.
In addition, there is a kind of intellectual hostility toward all things German that has less to do with dislike of Germans as people than dislike and fear of the German state, which, it is feared, will become too powerful.
There is distrust of the German national character.
There is hostility toward all things German, especially on the part of the migrants who live here.
There is even a certain anti-German hostility among the Germans themselves.
There is in fact an entire ideology that includes as one of its central elements Deutschfeindlichkeit (hostility towards all things German.)
[The subject of my lecture was Deutschenfeindlichkeit , or hostility toward the German people.
When in the following I use primarily the word Deutschfeindlichkeit (hostility toward things German) as opposed to Deutschenfeindlichkeit (hostility toward the German people), I am trying to make clear that I am referring not simply to hostility toward Germans, but rather, in a broad and inclusive sense, to various hostilities against German things and attributes in general, such as the cultural Volk, the state, the general German population, etc.]
The various facets and levels of this complex of hostilities are not isolated or disconnected; they penetrate and reinforce each other and merge to form a real danger for the German Volk.
The hostility toward things German that Goetz Kubitschek and Michael Paulwitz discuss in their book “Deutsche Opfer – fremde Täter” (German Victims, Foreign Perpetrators: <http://www.deutscheopfer.de/>) is only one side of the coin, as I will discuss later on.
The other side of the coin is the hostility that is found in our own camp, which combined with mass migration is creating the real danger of our becoming a minority in own own country.
Obviously this would pose a threat to our domestic security.
“Our own camp” includes especially our power elite, whose anti German hostility poses a strategic problem.
The Western culture that includes Germany forms a broader context. Its elite evinces anti German hostility that has less to do with actual resentment than with ideology.
The Western anti-German Narrative
The most common and widespread basis for hostility toward things German is what I call the Western anti German narrative.
“Narrative” is a new expression in German -- we could also speak of an ideology of history.
In this ideology, which is spread by films, literature, and popular depictions of history, Germany has represented a danger for its neighbors in the past and still represents a potential danger.
For this reason Germany must be fettered, disempowered and diluted because the German national character is anti democratic, excessively obedient to established authority, collectivistic, violence prone, warlike, genocidal, etc., etc.
Present day historians are generally too sophisticated to draw a clear and direct line between Luther, Frederick, Bismarck and Hitler, but the lingering effects of such propagandistic historiography are still quite noticeable today, expressed in the tendency to treat all German history as the prehistory of the Third Reich.
One cannot understand this concept of history unless one understands the historical context of the European civil war that has been raging since 1789.
[Hanno Kesting’s work Geschichtsphilosophie und Weltbürgerkrieg. Deutungen der Geschichte von der Französischen Revolution bis zum Ost-West-Konflikt (Philosophy of History and Global Civil War: The Significance of the History of the French Revolution to the East-West Conflict), published in 1959, is well worth reading in this regard.
Today it is unavailable even at antiquarian bookstores, but good libraries still have it – at any rate, the Berliner Staatsbibliothek (Berlin State Library) has it.]
This civil war is being fought by the adherents of three ideologies who constantly change their names, slogans and programs but still retain a recognizable identity and continuity.
We are dealing with two utopian and one non-utopian worldviews, Liberalism and Socialism on one hand and what is variously called Conservatism, Reaction or simply the Political Right on the other hand.
Regardless of their differences, both of the utopian-revolutionary ideologies have identifiable similarities that make them so fundamentally distinguishable from the Right that they can be traced back to a common “Meta-ideology.”
The utopian approach assumes that the possibility of peaceful and civilized coexistence among mankind.
This would not have to be a miracle, but is rather something that can come about as a matter of course.
For this reason one does not have to examine and analyze the fundamentals of society itself; one can directly and immediately pursue the realization of paradise on earth, either through gradual reform or revolutionary violence.
The Utopian Ideologies Imply a Number of Assumptions
Firstly, utopian societies hold that man is by nature good.
Social conditions such as inequality and lack of freedom are responsible for the existence of evil and must therefore be banished.
The approach of the political Right is that man is inadequate and weak and mired in original sin and must therefore rely on a social order for support.
Therefore a certain measure of inequality and bondage must be accepted as necessary.
The alternatives are not “Liberty, Equality,Fraternity” but rather chaos, violence and barbarism.
Secondly, Utopian ideologies hold that society can be rationally planned; its design is a matter of reason and enlightenment.
The Right, by contrast, believes that what is traditional and established can be destroyed by criticism, but cannot be replaced by anything better through rational processes.
Examples of what cannot be replaced by rationalism are the concepts of family, faith, tradition and Fatherland.
Thirdly, Utopian societies hold that what is “Good” (such as Freedom and Equality) can be rationally inferred, thus the Good is culturally independent and universally valid.
They believe that mankind can be redeemed if the Utopia derived from Enlightenment principles can be globally introduced.
For Conservatives, on the other hand, each culture is a unique, unplanned and irreproducible response to the elementary question of whether an orderly society is possible.
The Right emphasizes the legitimacy of the particular as opposed to the validity of universal ideology.
Fourthly, Utopian societies harbor the belief that society has to be defined and analyzed according to their standards.
These standards comprise a standpoint of norms rather than facts - thus “What Should Be” trumps “What Is.”
They are derived from rights rather than duties.
The Utopian concept of society confuses itself with “Reason and Enlightenment” because it is built on unreal notions instead of imperfect reality, and thus mistakes itself for “The Good.”
The reason Utopia mistakes itself for “The Good” is because it proceeds from the assumption that Man himself is good, and this implies that “The Bad” resides in social structures and concepts including tradition, articles of faith, duty, etc.
In their way of thinking, if the structures are bad the defenders of these structures must likewise be bad.
Obviously, tolerance cannot be based on such a concept of society; the less it is practiced, the less its adherents feel the need for it.
The Utopian concept of society produces an apocalyptic concept of politics, according to which politics is a struggle between the powers of light and of darkness.
Consequently, war is not perceived as tragic and inescapable.
It is perceived as justified when it is conducted for revolutionary aims and purposes.
In that case, every atrocity is acceptable.
The Utopian concept perceives war as criminal when it is conducted for counterrevolutionary aims and purposes, and then the means by which it is conducted are not taken into consideration.
And what does all this have to do with hostility against all things German?
If we conceive of 20th Century wars as parts of a global ideological civil war, Germany obviously represents the Right.
Germany could never accept the idea that wars are conducted in order to bring about “The Good Order” such as “War to End All War.”
This Utopian idea results in an apocalyptic concept of politics.
The idea of “Good War” is part of the Utopian concept of the liberalist world order as pursued by the Western “democracies” as well as the variant of Communism pursued by the Soviet Union.
The accusation that Germany was striving for world domination, which was put forward at the beginning of the 20th Century, would have been absurd even if not raised by the Anglo Saxon powers!
At every moment of the 19th and 20th centuries, those countries were infinitely closer to world domination than Germany ever was, and they continue to be so in the 21st Century.
Nations that were protected by insular geography have historically indulged in bold thinking and thanks to this geography, have been able to pursue global expansionist policies.
The liberal New World Order that appeared on the world stage before the First World War was also a fitting ideology for global Utopian thinking, since imperialistic power politics functioned as the armed branch of Utopia.
It is not true that one was merely a function of the other.
Both aspects of Anglo Saxon (and particularly American) policy) were aspects of one and the same understanding of politics.
By contrast, Germany traditionally represented institutionalized counter-revolution.
Globalist Utopian thinking was alien to the German power elite, since they faced the reality of governing a state that was constantly threatened from the inside as well as the outside.
Their political horizon was continental as opposed to insular, and so they were concerned with the consolidation of what actually existed.
The Reich did indeed adopt liberal, democratic and even socialistic ideas - consider the Bismarckian social legislation.
However, it did so only on condition that these ideas would consolidate the existing order.
The door was open for socialistic ideas to develop, but they would never be allowed to destroy the existing order.
This political concept (renunciation of revolutionary or utopian policies) determined the policies not only of conservatives, but of the Liberals as well, and ultimately even the policies of the Social Democrats.
The tendency to think in revolutionary and utopian terms was simply alien to Germany -- it was too weak and exposed to attempt changing the world order or to entertain ideas of world conquest.
However, Germany was at least potentially strong enough to bring Europe into its sphere of influence and thus block establishment of a new world order; and if Europe were going to be true to its name, it would have to do likewise.
The war against Germany, which, as Winston Churchill observed, was in fact a Thirty Years War lasting from 1914 – 1945, was obviously not fought in response to any “crimes” committed by the National Socialists.
Instead, the Thirty Year War War Against Germany was fought to force Europe into the liberalist-utopian world order and the Anglo Saxon sphere of control.
Germany did not subscribe to any grandiose principle that it wanted to make real.
It was a nation rooted in concrete reality whose order and goals was derived not from utopian designs but practical necessity.
The Germans had no abstract loyalty toward liberal or “democratic” ideals, and this is what brought on the propagandistic accusation of being excessively obedient.
Germany did not pretend to be fighting for universal bliss, therefore it had to defend interests that were defined not ideologically but rather ethnically.
Germany’s enemies construed this as “nationalism.”
In fact, Germany championed communal values instead of individual entitlements.
It was not co-incidence that a current theme in German sociology was Ferdinand Tönnies’ opposition of Gemeinschaft (Community) to Gesellschaft (Society.)
This is what constituted the “Collectivism” of which the Germans were accused.
Communal ideals are operative only when they are anchored in genuine emotions, the source of the cliche of German “romanticism” and “irrationality.”
In short, the facts that the Germans were different and thought differently from the Anglo Saxons and that they had no sense of Utopia, but rather represented a danger for its global realization, made them the principal enemy figure for Western Utopian thinking.
The cliches about the German national character represent the distorted and demagogically biased description of tendencies and dispositions that actually were (and still are) present.
These cliches were indispensible because a country like Germany could not afford globalistic Utopianism.
As we see today, Germany still cannot afford it.
Whether the Anglo Saxon peoples themselves can continue to afford it remains to be seen...
[Part II of Deutschenfeindlichkeit will deal with the adoption of the Western anti-German narrative by the Germans themselves and the consequences that have arisen from this.
The translator is a “Germanophilic Germanist” who attempts to make noteworthy German articles accessible to Germanophiles who do not read German.