Courtesy Reuters

Germany Puts Freedom Before Unity

THE German without a state is like a Frenchman without a love -- he feels lost and unhappy. And this although experience has taught them both that fervent worship all too often leads to disaster. After a long abstention, the Germans once again have a state, or rather two states. It is just that fact which complicates matters for them so much. Those in the Eastern state -- with the exception of the Communist functionaries -- long for the Western state, and those in the Western state have a painful feeling of helpless responsibility when they think of their brethren living in the East in slavery and economic misery.

But even the Western state does not yet enjoy the full loyalty of its citizens. It is artificial, synthetic so to speak, with a fictitious capital that so far is no more than a small provincial town. The Government lives there, curiously apart from the community; and the Parliament is looked on as really representative of the people by only a few members of the various parties. The population as a whole has become skeptical; it distrusts the very idea of the state which once it so adored. It wants to have nothing further to do with party strife, wants to be left alone, wants to work. Furthermore, every fifth inhabitant of Western Germany today is a refugee whose home was in the East -- either in the separated areas or in Poland, Hungary, Rumania or Jugoslavia where Germans had settled as long ago as the twelfth century in large, purely German and often very rich colonies. All these refugees regard their present hand-to-mouth existence as transitory. They long for their native homesteads and for the quiet life of old, and their restlessness spreads among the whole population.

The attitude of the present-day German is still strongly influenced by the apocalyptic experiences of the past. Without realizing it, everyone lives in a state of suspense -- afraid of the Russians, afraid of

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.