The Study of Man: Where Modern Germany Took the Wrong Turn
For half a decade now the economic resurgence of Germany and its moral rehabilitation in the eyes of Americans have been established facts. With each year that has passed, the Teutonophile clamor has grown louder and more insistent. The mood of moral reprobation that dominated the war and immediate postwar years has receded into dim memory. One begins to wonder how long it will take before it becomes bad form to suggest that the German government was after all responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War and that the Nazi extermination camps were something more than an inspired creation of the Allied propaganda machine.
Obviously this psychological about-face has had its justifications. On the level of writing which hovers between journalism and scholarship, the decade of the 1940′s produced a depressing series of “explanations” of German behavior that sought to align the country’s entire intellectual tradition along one descending track from Luther to Hider. These crude efforts deserved the oblivion into which they have fallen. And in justice one must grant that they have not been succeeded by a new series in which all Germans are depicted as angels of light. The most recent crop of general works on the German tradition displays an admirable reluctance to curry favor with the public by subscribing to the prevailing sentiments of forgive and forget.
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