Lessons of My Life

In This Review

Lessons of My Life

By The Rt. Hon. Lord Vansittart
Knopf, 1943
281 pp. $3.00

The author's point of view concerning Germany and the solution of the German problem has now achieved the distinction of bearing his name in popular discussion. Stated briefly, "Vansittartism" holds that the great mass of the German people, and not merely a class or a group (e.g. the professional soldiers), are responsible for the internationally anti-social behavior of their country. In the thesis of this veteran British diplomatist and onetime Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office (1930-38), the Germans not only accept régimes that periodically plunder and murder other peoples on a wholesale scale; they actively support and incite such behavior. From these premises flows the author's conclusion that the only remedy is to eliminate, forcibly and persistently, the diseased elements in Germany's psychological makeup and gradually replace them with less aggressive traits. It is hardly necessary to say that the reader's reaction to this somewhat discursive manifesto will depend much on his own predilections and prejudices.

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