Stirrings in West Germany
IT IS EASY enough to find something plau- sible to say about Western Germany; what is hard is to say something convincing. I have been in and out of the Federal Republic for eleven years now; during that time I have watched German society becoming increasingly opaque, German culture more agonized, the Ger- man populace more profoundly restive. Diverse strata of historical experience-from Wilhelm- inian imperialism to the European Economic Community-are superimposed upon one another.
The generations coexist as best they can, al- though each seems to wish it had other inter- locutors. In the cacophony of foreign voices, a distinctively German note is hard to identify.
When I complained to an acquaintance last summer that my train had been delayed for no apparent reason, he shrugged his shoulders: "Deutschtum ist kein Begriff mehr." "The old Germany is gone." He was right; the new one, however, has not yet taken shape.
The Nazis seized power in 1933. Every German thirty years old or younger, therefore, was born after this event-which means that over 40 per cent of the population need not (and do not) feel any personal responsibility for Hitler’s triumph.
Indeed, if we extend our reckoning to include those who in 193388 were no older than thirteen, we have covered about 55 per cent of the popu- lation. Nearly 25 per cent of today’s West Ger- mans, moreover, were born in 1945 or thereafter, and the first members of this age group will be entering the universities this year. These figures explain a phenomenon which has been made much of lately-the recent increase in public con- troversy over the Nazi period. Some have seen in it evidence of a "return of the repressed," arguing that sufficient time has now passed to allow Hit- ler’s contemporaries and/or followers to deal with their traumatic memories. There may be something in this view, but it overlooks the unso- licited intervention of the young in the current debate. The more critical among them are less NORMAN BIRNBAUM, a native New Yorker, has been living abroad for the past several years. He is a fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, as well as an editor of New Left Review. Mr. Birnbaum’s article "’Empiricism’ and British Politics" appeared in our February 1961 issue. I~~~~~~~~ interested in their elders’ peace of mind than in ascertaining the truth for themselves. In fact, much of the present discussion, about Nazism and German history in general serves as a vehicle for the clash between generations.
This is not to say that the young are engaged in challenging the authority of the older genera- tion. They are not-if only because there is almost none left to challenge. There is a good deal of compliance in contemporary Germany, but remarkably little respect for anyone or anything; the country has undergone too many breaks in historical continuity, too many shocks. In partic- ular, the coincidence of great economic prosperity with the loss (symbolized by the Berlin wall) of national political and territorial unity, has proved stupefying. As a result, the leaders in politics, busi- ness, and to some extent in culture, hardly believe in themselves any longer. The irritable, at times hysterical, tone of public controversy reflects this lack of inner authority.
The young have drawn their own conclusions from this state of affairs, either protesting that they live in a society which has no values at all, or joining, as best they can, in the scramble for the world’s goods. But even those apparently devoid of the critical spirit seem to be made uncomfortable by the prevailing political rheto- ric. They think it fine to own a Volkswagen and better yet to have a Mercedes, but are indifferent to the "Western civilization" so often apotheosized in Bonn; more accurately, their idea of "Western civilization" is about exhausted by the Volks- wagen and the Mercedes. The sociologist Helmut Schelsky, who coined the phrase, "the skeptical generation," to describe the younger Germans, ventured few guesses as to how skeptical they might eventually become; my own inclination, however, would be to reassure those concerned about the rebirth of chauvinistic nationalism in Germany. A generation distrustful of its parents’ political wisdom seems unlikely to develop revanchist ambitions; for the moment, at least, it takes Germany as it finds it. From what I have seen of the ordinary conscripts in the new Bundeswehr, they are not conspicuously enthu- siastic about a return engagement with the Soviet army. They might, if it ever came to it, fight for a couple of days; then again, they might not.
5354 COMMENTA R Y /APRIL 64 The single most important fact about Western Germany today remains its prosperity-though wealth and income are of course unevenly dis- tributed, and some groups have to run twice as hard to stay in the same place. The tax laws make life easy for big as well as small business- men, and the professionals have little ground for complaint; but the industrial workers frequently depend on overtime and multiple employment in the family, and those in the service industries seem to work terribly long hours. Minor civil servants and clerical employees (very numerous categories) also tend to be pinched. Nevertheless there are compensations even for these groups.
Neither the government nor the industrialists seem eager to press the less-favored strata too hard, for fear of the political consequences. The social services, including medical care, are rea- sonable; housing subventions of one kind or another are available (although the approaching end of rent control may cause trouble). The country is not as rich as the U.S.-not yet, at least-but neither does it have America’s slums with their defeated, their sickly, their poor. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of workers from southern Europe-particularly Italy, Spain, and Greece-have come into Germany and put up with material wretchedness and psychic humili- ation for the sake of hard currency.
ROM THE proliferation of newspaper, maga- zine, and billboard advertising, as well as from the general dcor of the country, one can guess that at a certain level in German society the competitive struggle assumes forms familiar to middle-class Americans. Foreign vacations (twice a year), powerful cars, spacious apartments, expensive clothes, imported furniture, the best wines and liquors are among its prizes. If at least two-thirds of the population cannot entertain hopes of living this way, nevertheless mass as well as elite consumption is continually urged on the country by everyone from Willy Brandt to Ludwig Erhard.
So it is not surprising that those who still look for conscientious artisans or dedicated shop assistants have to turn-in Germany as elsewhere-to 19th- century novels. In popular jargon, a decent job (rendered, quite literally, as "ein anstandiges job"), is judged primarily by the wage it entails.
Businessmen are the most influential group in present-day Germany, but the great prestige and power they enjoy are distinctly new. Even during the Nazi period, most Germans thought of the Prussian political elite as the legitimate rulers of the country-a viewpoint tacitly accepted by many Socialists, who chose to regard the Nazis as front men for the old elite, rather than face the fact that the old elite was working for the Nazis. But the clumsy failure of the attempted Putsch in 1944, and Germany’s defeat in the war, extin- guished the old governing class forever. The business elite which re-emerged circa 1948 (not without American assistance) has had to operate without a political tradition, and indeed without even a specific political program. Had they the time for political reflection, they might find their prototype in Jacob Fugger, the Augsburg banker who bought the imperial throne for Charles V in 1519. Fugger, who subsidized both sides in the religious wars, once declared that his only aim was to earn as much as he could every day of his life until the day he died. His figurative descend- ants apparently think along the same lines, for while Bonn propagates its exceedingly primitive anti-Communism, Ruhr industrialists continue to do business with Eastern Europe.
Though the businessmen do not always manage to dominate the politicans and civil servants, their influence in the two governmental parties, the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party, is nevertheless very great and has undoubtedly risen with the decline of certain other groups. The higher civil service, for one, can no longer act the part of the morally impec- cable caste, for its record under the Nazis was too compromising (and was seen to be compromis- ing). More recently, a number of scandals (not least in the area of military procurement) have suggested that even officialdom is not immune to the lower forms of temptation.
Is Western Germany, then, ruled by a cruder materialism than obtains elsewhere? Probably not, and in any case, the question is wrongly put.
All industrial societies are materialistic. De Gaulle, who on no account confuses himself with Louis XIV, does not in the least disdain the credit for France’s economic successes-which he has called the necessary foundation for his vision of national greatness. But that is just the point.
Materialism may be common to France and Ger- many, but it seems cruder in Germany because while France has a political identity, Germany for the moment lacks one altogether.
At first glance, the German case suggests that modern societies need make arrangements for lit- tle else but dividing the spoils. Without any posi- tive political values, the Federal Republic not only works, but appears to be holding together remarkably well, its strength residing in the stolid determination of its citizens to remain well- fed and otherwise undisturbed (particularly from the East). For guilt, fear, and hatred still determine popular attitudes to Russia (and Poland). Indeed, if anything like a political arti- cle of faith exists in the country today, it is anti- Communism of the most violent and primitive nature, to which the Stalinist regime in East Germany has of course contributed its share.
(Anti-Communism serves, too, the added func- tion of retroactive justification for the years 1933-1945; now that time has placed certain undeniable excesses in perspective, it is suggested, was not the Third Reich’s real fault its premature attempt to defend Europe against the SovietSTIRRINGS IN WEST GERMANY 55 Union?) But apart from these sentiments, the underlying political attitudes in the Federal Republic are mitigated cynicism, repentant Nazism, and democratic skepticism-more or less in that order.
Adenauer’s political genius lay in his ability to utilize this situation to attain his own, quite dif- ferent political objective: the integration of the Federal Republic with the West. The old auto- crat treated his electorate (and his colleagues) with a sovereign contempt which they were ready to accept for a number of reasons. For one thing, he had an immediately viable political concep- tion and most of his opponents did not; for another, their humiliation at his hands seemed a not unreasonable price to pay for Germany’s restored international position. Above all, he guaranteed tranquillity.
Adenauer, of course, only retired a few months ago, but the Adenauer era really ended on August 13, 1961, when Western acquiescence in the Ber- lin Wall demonstrated that the opposition had, after all, been right: integration with the West and reunification were incompatible objectives.
The political situation since then may be described as one of creeping disorientation, induced by belated recognition on the part of the German people of a state of affairs long since obvious to everyone else in Europe. Though it may take decades before the consequences are worked out, what can be said for the moment is that Adenauer’s legacy, in this respect at least, has been a baleful one. Preaching one thing-a devotion to German unity-and practicing another-a Western policy-his contribution to Germany’s political education has turned out to be thoroughly negative. He has only confirmed his countrymen in their cynical passivity.
It is therefore not surprising that the prevalent tone of current German politics, apart from provincialism, should be one of vulgar oppor- tunism. Even the convention of keeping up appearances has frequently been ignored.
Examples multiply: the Minister of the Interior, recently questioned about illegal telephone tap- ping, declared that the Federal police could not very well run about carrying copies of the Con- stitution; the official in charge of the police group which last year temporarily seized the offices of the weekly Der Spiegel had in 1944 been the Gestapo’s chief interrogator in Milan; one of the reasons for the fall of Franz-Josef Strauss (once portrayed, with considerable exaggeration, as "the most dangerous man in Europe") was his inability to refrain from getting rich while in office. Nevertheless, there is, I believe, more to con- temporary Germany than these derivatives of its historical predicament. Changes have taken place-mostly having to do in one way or another with the emerging younger generation-which make German society today both more interesting and more promising than recent accounts indi- cate. For the younger generation, Germany’s inte- gration with the West has resulted in a new style of life so pervasive that it hardly occasions com- ment any longer. In dress, conversation, man- ners, morality, and aspiration, the younger Ger- mans would fit in almost anywhere between Oslo and Rome. The fact that they travel so much is no accident. Unlike their nervous parents, they take their European identity for granted.
N ENERAL, indeed, German life is becoming I more cosmopolitan, perhaps because of the decline in numbers of the rural population, the way in which even small towns have become satellites of the cities, and the influence of the mass media. The proverbial German stiffness, too, seems to be on the way out-again, chiefly among the young and possibly owing to the gradual extension of the sexual emancipation which began among the educated early in the century. Whatever their parents may have taught them, many of the youth approach these matters in an experimental spirit. Certain tendencies, of course, still persist: quite a few of even the younger parents still impose discipline very early on their children; those curiously mannish-look- ing girls, a specialty of 20th-century Germany, are still in evidence. But there are a good many more of the others-slightly heftier versions of Mlle. Bardot. What all this may signify for Ger- many’s future I would not attempt to say, but it suggests putting aside any efforts to interpret Ger- many’s culture and politics on the basis of some sort of unalterable psychosexual pattern. The most encouraging recent development in Germany has been a renewal of the country’s intellectual, and particularly literary, life. Every- one thinks he knows by now of the lesser cultural by-products of the Hitler period: of the corrup- tion of Goethe’s language, first by Goebbels and now by advertising men in Diisseldorf; of a Ger- man public supposedly too interested in refrigera- tors to buy books, too escapist to tolerate serious discussion of Germany’s past and future. Yet after a long silence, the German intellectuals are now producing work which is the equal of anything being done in Europe, and are moreover being read by their own countrymen.
The novelists, of course, are in the vanguard of this process and it is their work that is best- known outside of Germany. Different though they are in style and approach, what writers like Heinrich Bo11, Uwe Johnson, Ginter Grass, and Martin Walser-to mention only the most promi- nent-have in common is their need to explore the contemporary German scene in the light of the recent past. There is also a group of widely- read new poets in West Germany, resolutely anti- lyrical and utterly free of traditional sentimen- tality (or even charm).* Their audience, too, * See H. M. Enzensberger, "Poetry’s Lost Language," En- counter, September 1963. /APRIL 64 like that of the novelists, is surprisingly large-by no means limited to an esoteric literary clique.
The newer writers and poets are both German and cosmopolitan, a synthesis not conspicuous in much modern German literature. Germany’s broken traditions enable them to deal with spe- cifically German themes in a distinctively con- temporary and international idiom. Grass con- centrates on Danzig; much of what he has to say would apply to Los Angeles.
In contrast with the situation in America, the tie between these new currents in literature and the universities is not very close. Though a few writers of the new group hold academic posts (generally with degrees in philosophy or philol- ogy), more of them do not; in fact, about half have never attended a university at all. A sur- prisingly large contingent started out in book- selling, a metier which in Germany has traditionally attracted those interested in litera- ture but unable to afford tuition costs.
Without the university as haven, how do most of these unattached intellectuals and literary men make their living? One fairly plentiful source of commissions are the radio and television systems organized by the Liinder, which operate along the lines of the educational networks in America.
Another is the daily, weekly, and monthly press which pays quite decently for reviews, essays, and short stories. Still another are the fairly numerous literary prizes of all kinds, for the civic fathers like to think of themselves as sponsoring the higher culture they may personally lack. In addi- tion, the Federal Republic must have the world’s highest ratio of cultural conferences per capita per annum. Invitations to lecture are frequent and themes are not hard to come by-the nature and destiny of man are considered at length, out loud, and for a good fee at least a dozen times a week. With the help of such windfalls, a consid- erable number of intellectuals have managed to maintain themselves abroad for whole periods- Italy, France, and America being the most favored locations. Radio and television, publish- ing houses, newspapers, the trade unions also pro- vide full-time employment for thousands who in America would probably be in academic life, and so, too, do advertising, public relations, market research, and business consultancy.
The new intellectual and academic avant-garde owes much to an old German doctrine, Marxism.
Three thinkers who grew up in Weimar Germany have transmitted a critical social and aesthetic doctrine based on Marxism to the young-who have taken it up despite (or maybe because of) the Nazi interval and the official ideology of the Federal Republic. Hans Mayer, the historian of literature, and Ernst Bloch, the philosopher, dis- covered that the last thing the East German regime wanted was professors who took Marxism seriously; they came west to join Theodor Adorno of Frankfurt. And if the new German literature owes something to Faulkner and Hemingway, more to Camus and Sartre, and much to Mann, its chief spiritual patron is Bert Brecht.
ERMANY HAS ALWAYS had a tradition of cul- G tural pluralism, rooted in its political divers- ity. Today, the federal structure of the Republic, the fact that no one takes Bonn seriously as a capital in any larger sense, and the competing attractions of a number of metropolitan centers, have com- bined to disperse German intellectual life even more than in the past. West Berlin, Diisseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Munich (not to mention the Alps and Lake Con- stance) all have their own enclaves of writers, art- ists, and intellectuals. From these various cultural centers there has been issuing forth in recent years a constant flow of manifestoes, petitions, state- ments, and denunciations, constituting a significant body of what the Germans call Zeitkritik (social criticism). It is as if a literature engage had been uprooted entire and transplanted across the Rhine (and not for the first time in modern Ger- man history, either). In any event, whatever one thinks of the Social Democrats, the Fed- eral Republic now has an intellectual opposi- tion.
This opposition lacks any fixed organizational form, and its membership is variable, depending on the issues. Scientists and lay Protestants, for example, have been prominent in the campaign against atomic weapons-particularly against sup- plying them to the German army. The professors have been concerned mainly about civil liberty.
Others have attacked the government for its rigid refusal to negotiate with the Soviet Union and East Germany. If there is a center to these activ- ities, it is to be found in the "47" Group, which one of its members, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, has described as "the central cafe of a literature without a capital." Founded in 1947 by the novel- ists Alfred Andersch and Hans Werner Richter, the group meets once a year to hear readings of poetry and prose; its annual prize to literary newcomers is the most sought after award in contemporary German writing.
It should not be thought that the intellectual opposition functions unchallenged in the literary world. Some of its antagonists, representing what has been called a "literary pro-government party," have taken the position that the purity of the German spirit, indeed of any nation’s spirit, can be preserved only if its guardians abstain from politics. (They define politics, of course, as being against. the government.) Others have more openly acknowledged their allegiance to what, with some delicacy, they term the "socially responsible" forces. Most of the pro-government spokesmen are somewhat older, and their younger colleagues have had a certain amount of fun publishing citations which suggest that a number of them manifested similarly "constructive" atti-STIRRINGS IN WEST GERMANY 57 tudes toward authority in the period 1933-45.
These documents cause little stir among the older segments of the public (who no doubt feel themselves equally compromised), but they have had an effect on the young.
HE INTELLECrUAL opposition may think it lacks influence, but the government and its apologists take it quite seriously. For instance, when, recently, Enzensberger criticized the Frank- furter Allgemeine Zeitung, that newspaper went to the trouble of publishing a pamphlet to refute him. The familiar charges of pro-Communism have of course been issued; the intellectuals have been accused of disloyalty to the "national com- munity"; the "healthy" resistance of the popu- lace to thought has been praised. To some degree, then, the arsenal of defamation developed by the Nazis has been employed. But at the same time, comically enough, the government keeps repeat- ing that it would like nothing better than com- prehension, nay support, from the intellectuals.
What is especially trying to the authorities is that the intellectuals, through television and some of the mass-circulation periodicals, occasionally manage to do more than just sometimes talk to one another. Sometimes they actually do reach the people. One hostile episode of Panorama, a popular weekly television news show, seems to frighten the government more than any number of parliamentary questions from the Social Dem- ocrats. The authorities have managed to get some of Panorama’s editors dismissed, but the CDU Acting Chairman admitted that the struggle was difficult: "I wanted to expose the subversive activ- ity of the leftish intellectuals in radio and tele- vision and I stirred up a hornet’s nest." A year has now elapsed since the Spiegel affair first showed how influential the intellectual opposition had become. The German equivalent of Time magazine in circulation and format, Der Spiegel has a network of informants everywhere and a dossier on everyone. Editorially, it is for the democratization of German public life and in favor of a new foreign policy. Though the maga- zine’s prose is often corrupt, as is frequently charged, and though it has neither a historical nor a philosophical perspective on politics, there is nevertheless no denying that for years it con- stituted the only real opposition in West Ger- many. In October 1962, the editor, Rudolf Augstein, and a number of his staff were arrested on suspicion of "high treason," having, it seems, published a report on an official evaluation of a NATO exercise which was critical of the Federal German Army. The details of the subsequent crisis need not now concern us, except to note that it became clear that the arrests had been engineered by Adenauer and Strauss, of whose policies the magazine had long been critical (it had also exposed the latter’s extra-curricular activities as Minister of Defense). By December, Strauss was out of the Cabinet; Adenauer just managed to hang on.
The Spiegel controversy seemed to mark the emergence of a new civic consciousness in the Federal Republic. There were student demonstra- tions at all the universities, and a large number of professorial signatures on petitions denouncing the government. A number of those connected with the "47 Group" issued a statement declaring it a public duty to reveal military secrets in an era in which war as a political instrument had been rendered useless. The reaction abroad to the arrests was used by defenders of Der Spiegel to stand chauvinism on its head: Germany could earn the respect of the other nations only by practicing democracy, not by issuing hollow pro- fessions of faith in it. The Social Democrats and an influential segment of the press followed the intellectual opposition’s lead; for perhaps the first time the German intellectuals had evoked a positive response from a good many of their countrymen. Given all this, the affair may well come to rank as a turning point in the history of modern German democracy.
Meanwhile, one controversy succeeds another, the most recent being, of course, Rolf Hochhuth’s play, The Deputy, which accuses Pope Pius XII of calculated indifference to the murder of Euro- pean Jewry. At first the Catholic Church had reacted by denouncing the play as an insult and branding Hochhuth (who is a Protestant) a simple falsifier. When this failed to cut off dis- cussion, however, a massive counter-attack on Hochhuth was launched, with a good deal of Protestant backing. Nonetheless, a number of Catholics have insisted that the play merits a serious response, the more so since Hochhuth offers formidable documentation of his charges.
One-hundred thousand copies of the text have been sold (performed uncut, it would take about eight hours) and a recent paperback has been issued summarizing the main points of the con- troversy. Precisely by implicating a non-German in the crime, the thirty-three-year old Hochhuth has given his countrymen an opportunity to dis- cuss the political and moral issues of the Nazi period with more clarity than ever before. And younger participants in the discussion have been particularly unrelenting in their insistence upon examining the credentials of those who claim the right to speak out on the issue. Coming in the wake of the Eichmann trial, and in the midst of a new series of German prosecutions of former SS men, the discussion may be the beginning rather than the end of a new attempt to confront the past.
Hochhuth’s play appeared at a time when Ger- man Catholicism was in travail. Some Catholics had been asking why their Church (unlike the Protestants) had never confessed its share of responsibility for recent German history. A small band of critics has denounced the Church’s pol- /APRIL 64 itics, among them the novelist Carl Amery, who remarked that the layman can count on a sympa- thetic hearing from the clergy if he doubts any item of dogma but one: the infallibility of the CDU. No national Church is independent of developments elsewhere in Catholicism, and the German Church is clearly reacting to those tend- encies expressed in the Pontificate of John XXIII. His Encyclical Pacem in Terris was received with incredulity and dismay by many official spokesmen for German Catholicism. At the Vatican Council, however, the German Bishops have been prominent among the "progressives" and German theologians have provided ideas and historical arguments for the reforming party. Yet the connection between adopting a critical view of the Church’s internal structure and actually revising its social theology is by no means a direct one, and it will undoubtedly take some time before German Catholicism has developed a left wing as strong as that of the Church in France.
There is not at this moment very much to say about German Protestantism. More differentiated internally than the Catholic Church, it has for some time been more responsive to the inner conflicts of German society. Some of those who had been associated with the Confessional Church in its struggle against Nazism have since exhausted themselves in a struggle against the politics of the Federal Republic. Two questions have preoccupied them: they have denied that a Christian crusade against Communism is theo- logically admissible-not despite, but because of, their support for the Protestant Church in East- ern Germany; and they have insisted on raising the question of the morality of atomic weapons.
Pastor Martin Niem6ller, indeed, has been pros- ecuted for asking if West German soldiers would be expected to fire atomic missiles at East German cities. As a group, the West German Protestants have a certain number of recent accomplishments to their credit. They have maintained contact with the Church (which is to say, the population) in Eastern Germany. They have engaged the secularized. intellectuals in a continuous discus- sion (the Protestant theologians’ studies of Marx- ism, for example, are very much worth reading).
Further, they have exerted an intellectual influ- ence on German Catholicism, the effects of which are now becoming apparent. Finally, and most importantly, Protestantism has kept alive the idea that in politics, conscience still counts.
HIS ACCOUNT OF contemporary Germany has been one-sided-deliberately so, for I have tried to emphasize those aspects which are some- times overlooked abroad. The change in genera- tions is important, but we ought not to forget that very considerable proportion of German youth which has little interest in the past and not much more in the future. Their relationship to the tradition of Kant and the problems of Brecht is quite like that of millions of young Americans to the tradition of Jefferson and the work of James Baldwin: totally nil. I have discussed the civic consciousness of the intellectuals, but I have not mentioned those tens of thousands of technicians who would be surprised to be told that there were civic problems to be conscious of. I have cited the independence of some publicists, but ignored a gutter press whose inflammatory style is matched only by its political imbecility; neither have I dealt with the tiresome conformity of some of the respectable papers.
Anti-Semitism, moreover, neither began nor ended with Hitler; only the Jews are gone. Mil- lions of Germans still retain the pestilential atti- tudes to man and the world that are fundamental to anti-Semitism. One thinks, and certainly one hopes, that the young are not as pathological. A hundred thousand copies of The Deputy have, it is true, been sold, but a television program deal- ing with Nazi crimes so disturbed millions of viewers that its producers were accused of under- mining family life. Still, Germany’s capacity for doing harm in the world is not what it once was, for now she is a European and not a world power.
To have grasped this fact is the achievement both of Germany’s younger intellectuals and, let it be said, of Adenauer. Their cosmopolitanism is a response to German’s altered possibilities.
Events elsewhere-the softening of American for- eign policy and the slow progress of de-Staliniza- tion in the Soviet Union-have been responsible for their recent political successes. But a lurch to the right in the USA would have serious conse- quences for democracy in the Federal Republic (the Spiegel arrests were timed to coincide with the Cuba emergency). A change in East Germany would have equally profound consequences. Ger- man Communism remains its own worst enemy: the East German cultural boss has termed the "47 Group" "refined agents of imperialism," a remark which has emphasized the pathos of these intellectual spokesmen for a national conscience rooted in neither of their country’s two halves.
The displacement of the older generation will quicken the pace of change during the next decade. The Social ‘Democrats at the last election won over half the votes of the younger Germans, and they are likely to enter the government in 1965-although another delay, enabling the party to rejuvenate itself more completely, might in fact be beneficial. It is improbable that the intel- lectual opposition will be reconciled with those in power, even though Giinter Grass has announced his intention of writing speeches for Willy Brandt. But over the past few years, with the Social Democrats and the trade unions as indispensable background forces, the younger intellectuals have kept a democratic German ethos in being. Helped by others, they might in the next ten years make some progress toward institutionalizing this ethos for the future.