Courtesy Reuters

Economic Checks on German Unity

IT is an accepted political principle in Germany that any political party which wishes to survive must make every possible effort to further the reunification of West and East Germany. Since positive contributions in this direction are impossible, Germans have concentrated more and more on the negative policy of opposing all measures which might prove an obstacle to unity in the future. It is the one aim on which all Germans seem to agree, and against which no one has dared, or wanted, to speak openly. Public opinion in the United States and Western Europe has come to take for granted that this urge for unity is a major factor to be considered in shaping any policy for Germany.

In 1948 the Russians decided to exploit the German desire for unity and make it the main vehicle for carrying to success their own particular policy for Germany. In the first years after the war they had exploited anti-Fascism both in Germany and elsewhere. Having reaped as much success on that line as possible, they decided, first, that as an active force anti-Fascism was dead, second, that they needed a particular policy for Germany different from that followed in other countries. Overnight, therefore, they began sponsoring unity as the main object in Germany, and have tried to persuade the Germans to accept the idea that they are the one Power wholeheartedly committed to achieving that goal. They made the most of every possibility of interfering with the policy of the West German Government by bringing pressure to bear on it through the exploitation of genuine national feeling.

The strength of latent national feeling is always difficult to measure, and those who act on estimates are apt to get an unpleasant shock. It therefore would be a waste of time trying to guess whether the desire for German unity is as strong a political force as it seems to be, or even to answer the derivative question as to how much popularity the Russians

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