Commentary Magazine

What the West Should Know About German Neutralism

When Helmut Schmidt lost a vote of confidence in Bonn on October 1 and accordingly was forced to yield power to Helmut Kohl and his Christian Democrats, it was assumed by many that the difficulties which had beset U.S.-German relations, and by extension the Atlantic alliance in general, would soon evaporate. It was the Social Democrats, we had been told by Kohl and others, who were the culprits; it was they who had indulged in an irresponsible neutralism and in anti-Americanism, threatening the cohesion of the alliance and the credibility of its military deterrent. What could be more logical than to expect that Kohl’s government would swiftly and decisively change tack, turning away from the false allures of détente and Ostpolitik, and reaffirming the undying commitment of Germany to a strong European defense?

If such were the expectations, they have not been fulfilled, at least initially. For all their tough talk in opposition, and for all their protestations of friendship with America since assuming office, the Christian Democrats seem no more anxious than the Social Democrats for any changes in the present security policies of the European allies. Why this should be so has to do, at least in part, with a rather surprising phenomenon: the return of German nationalism.

That nationalism in West Germany should be enjoying any sort of revival today would have shocked any commentator or politician as recently as five years ago. It would have seemed even more absurd in the 60’s, the era of the “end of ideology,” when the societies of Western Europe—with West Germany in the lead—prided themselves on having shed the irrational antagonisms and fanaticisms of the past, nationalism preeminent among them. This step seemed especially significant in West Germany, where the very notion of national culture evoked memories of Hitler. In those days it was thought that the integration of Germany in the Western system meant the adoption of American modes of political and economic theory and social planning (“technical rationalism”) and the rejection of anything that was felt to be specifically German, with the exception of a vague allegiance to the Enlightenment and to the literature and spirit of classical Weimar—the spirit of Goethe and Schiller.

In retrospect, it seems clear that a reaction had to set in, and so it did in the 70’s, when the fundamental problems of West Germany’s position and relations with its NATO allies and with the East could no longer be concealed, as they had briefly been during the Adenauer period and for a while thereafter. The most basic of these issues was the national question itself, the core of the “German problem” since 1945. Despite the apparent rise of a “republican consciousness,” the need for a national identity had remained, and in fact was beginning to grow.

One German response to the problem of reconciling the need for a national identity with the reality of an apparently insoluble East-West conflict has been the Ostpolitik adopted by West German governments since the late 60’s. Another has been a peculiar kind of neutralism—a neutralism with a strong element of German nationalist feeling. What is happening now is that the hopes and beliefs of what used to be a lunatic fringe in Germany are beginning to gain a hearing within the established intellectual and political culture. To understand why these national-neutralist views have spread on both the Right and the Left simultaneously it is necessary to have a brief look at their roots in German history.



Nationalism as a social and political force arose in almost all countries of the West around the turn of the 18th century. Its earliest and most dramatic appearance in a clearly recognizable form was in the French Revolution, which combined the inflammatory passion of mass violence and the overthrow of resented rulers with the equally magnetic appeal of a missionary ideology, destined to transform Europe in the image of Reason.

In Germany, the revolutionary ideas at first found a good deal of favor with intellectuals. But as the Revolution gave way to Napoleon’s one-man rule and the mission of the French armies more and more clearly became one of expanding the power of France, sympathy changed to hostility and then to counter-nationalism. The key figure was Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who was still composing eulogies of the Revolution in 1794, but whose Speeches to the German Nation of 1808 became the crucial ideological text of the war of liberation against the French which began in 1813.

One year earlier, in 1812, another event of great future significance had taken place, namely, the secret Convention of Tauroggen by which the commander of the Prussian divisions in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, General Yorck von Wartenburg, changed sides and allied himself with the Russians. This event stands at the head of a tradition of Russo-German détente, even collaboration, which can be traced up to the present.

The way in which nationalism arose in Germany has colored the outlook and attitudes of German nationalists ever since. Primarily, it was anti-Western, especially anti-French. Romantics and conservatives (like the later Fichte) regarded the West as the source of all corroding evil, culminating in the pernicious “ideas of 1789”; statesmen like Bismarck saw in the West a threat to German interests. Both types found in Russia a natural ally, a fact recognized by Bismarck himself in the notorious “double-assurance treaty” with Russia of 1887, which forbade either party to join any third power against the interests of the other.

Seen from this perspective, World War I was a war of unnatural alliances—and it should be remembered that Russia went to war initially not against Germany but against the Hapsburg empire, over Serbia, which it was bound to protect. In general, there was very little anti-Russian propaganda in Germany during the war, in marked contrast to the violent campaigns in which German Kultur was opposed to decadent Franco-British Zivilisation, as in the notorious “Appeal of German Writers” of 1914. The most famous signatory of that appeal was Thomas Mann, whose later opinions are of some interest: he became a devoted democrat in the 20’s, was perhaps the most prominent anti-Nazi exile in America during World War II, but finally returned to Europe in 1948 disgusted with American materialism and “mindless” anti-Communism. Among Mann’s last public acts (in 1955) were two speeches on Schiller, given demonstratively at Frankfurt in the West and Weimar in the East. Though it may seem offensive to compare him with some of the adherents of nationalist neutralism in recent decades, there can be no question that his example has been of great significance to the more intellectual supporters of neutralist plans and ideas.

Of all the gestures of German authorities on behalf of Russia during World War I, the most fatally meaningful was undoubtedly the permission granted to Lenin to travel from Switzerland to Petrograd in 1917. Many historians have seen pure opportunism in this: the Germans knew that Lenin’s presence in Russia would increase the confusion there and perhaps force Russia out of the war. Certainly in hindsight we can appreciate the grim irony of the move. At the time, however, there was something else at work, namely, the Russophile tendencies of the German military. Perhaps foreseeing a loss of the war in the West, or at best a stalemate, the German army leadership, which by then had replaced civilian power in the state, hoped for a future alliance with a grateful Leninist regime, an alliance of “outsiders” against rich Western “insiders”—Britain, France, and the United States.

In the desperate situation of the 20’s, that alliance did seem to be taking shape. Secret treaties gave German officers permission to train troops in Russia in exchange for instructing the Red Army, in violation of the Versailles agreement, while the Rapallo treaty of 1922 openly aligned Germany with the Soviet Union in a by-now traditional pattern of Russo-German understanding. There was also an additional factor at work: many groups in Germany which had rejected power politics when they were conducted by the “bourgeoisie” now suddenly greeted a rapprochement with the Russian Communists with enthusiasm. In the words of Kurt Tauber, the historian of postwar German nationalism, “The ties to the Soviet Union . . . were also ties of proletarian sympathy and revolutionary understanding for a fellow nation of have-nots who were seeking, just as Germany must seek, to construct an anti-capitalist order under national auspices.”

Thus was the old military sympathy for Russia allied to the sympathy of radicals of every stripe (but not of the Social Democrats) for the Soviet regime. It was as though defeat in the world war had unleashed a whole set of movements, each with proposals and visions that violated the conventional categories of Left and Right, but had enough common elements to help form an ideology. That ideology, which took shape in the slightly deranged intellectual atmosphere of the early Weimar years, was based on the belief that there was a special “German way” of organizing political, social, and economic life (der deutsche Sonderweg).



In the face of military defeat and internecine political conflict which made it unlikely that the “German way” could assert itself militarily in the world, what might its mission be? Perhaps, said some, it could be a “third force” between Western liberal capitalism and Russian Communism, which were bound to come into conflict. Defeated Germany lay between them: was this circumstance not in itself a symbol, a call to action—especially in view of Germany’s long-standing special relationship with Russia?

The slogan of the “third force” has, of course, been used in many contexts in the history of ideologies: by conservatives, liberals, socialists, groups of “nonaligned” nations—all those who have felt it opportune to evade or deny the reality of pressing political choices. The one common element of “third-force” doctrines is their anti-capitalist, anti-Western bias; indeed, they seem to arise in circumstances where a deeply divided society is faced with the challenge of Western technological and political predominance. This was certainly the case in Germany in the 20’s, as it is throughout much of Africa and Latin America today.

Probably the earliest example of a “third force” doctrine in Weimar Germany was to be found in the ideas of the so-called Tatkreis, the conservative circle associated with the journal Die Tat—“The Deed.” According to this doctrine, the third force was to be found among the “young peoples,” i.e., Germans and Russians, who ought to join together and create a closed economic region with a siege economy repudiating free-enterprise capitalism. There is no doubt that the example of Stalin’s “socialism in one country,” which began to take shape in the late 20’s, was of great importance to the ideologues of the Tatkreis. As the world economic crisis deepened in 1930 and after, respect for Soviet heroism and intransigence became further strengthened by the belief that the new Soviet economy was free of the ills that seemed necessarily to follow from American-style capitalism.

The Tatkreis was a significant element in that cultural effervescence of the Weimar period known as the conservative revolution. Most of this was destroyed by Hitler, who had as much contempt for the intellectuals of the conservative revolution as for the “Jews, capitalists, and Marxists” whom he considered his main enemies. The peculiar form of nationalist neutralism implied by the “third force” thus died out temporarily, although two members of the Tatkreis, Hans Zehner and Giselher Wirsing, provide a crucial link to the centers of opinion in today’s West Germany; the former became editor-in-chief of Die Welt, flagship of the Springer concern and one of Germany’s three leading dailies (1953-66), while the latter ran the respected Catholic weekly Christ und Welt from 1954 to 1970.

If the kind of nationalist neutralism associated with the Tatkreis was generally abhorrent to the Nazis, the idea of “closed regions forbidden to intervention by outside powers” did enjoy a certain vogue under Nazism thanks to the jurist Carl Schmitt, a key figure in 20th-century German thought comparable in significance to Heidegger or Marcuse. For a while Schmitt enthusiastically supported Hitler, although his passions seem to have cooled when he found that the dictator was not really interested in his essentially defensive ideas. (Recently there has been a certain revival of interest in Schmitt, who is still alive at ninety-four, even though the new national-neutralists of the Left do not always seem to realize the source of some of their beliefs.)

The defeat of the conservative resistance to Hitler within Germany, and then the total defeat of Germany itself in the war, meant that the national issue henceforth would have to make itself felt in drastically new ways. The necessary foundations for any discussion of that issue after May 1945 were the facts of defeat and occupation, the almost immediate beginnings of conflict between the victors, the arrival in the Western zones of twelve million Germans driven from East Germany, and the evidence of the Nazi murder of six million Jews. Essentially, the contours of the national question and the forms of postwar nationalism in Germany to this day have been shaped by the facts of 1945—obviously so, since those facts still persist.



The career of the national issue since 1945 can be divided roughly into three phases: an initial period from the time of total defeat until the decision to admit West Germany to the alliance and to encourage rearmament (1955); an intermediate phase when the national issue was quiescent for various reasons, including the concentration on economic growth and the predominance of the technical approach to policy (mid-50’s to late 60’s); and the current phase, beginning with the explosion of student radicalism and terrorism and the collapse of the intellectual establishment, running through the 70’s and culminating—so far—in the rise of environmentalism, neutralism, and a new form of belief in the “German way” and the “third force.”

During the first phase, the national issue seemed, paradoxically enough, to be far more useful to the Social Democrats (SPD) than to their rivals in the newly-founded Christian Democratic and Christian Social Union parties (CDU, CSU). After the destruction of the resistance movement, the SPD represented the only coherent national political tradition to survive Hitler reasonably intact. In 1945, the party leaders, some returning from exile in London and some, like Kurt Schumacher, emerging physically broken but spiritually unbowed from the camps, were determined to establish a democratic socialist regime in what was left of Germany, i.e., the four zones of occupation. Their appeal to the masses was twofold: on the one hand, a unified national government morally acceptable to the world, presiding over a peaceful and disarmed Germany, and, on the other hand, nationalization of all heavy industry and abolition of the private capitalism of the banks and industrial magnates who, whether or not they had helped Hitler to power, were in any case morally bankrupt. The Social Democrats still believed that Germany and not the Soviet Union was the main threat to what was left of Europe, but they held that the creation of a “zone of peace” in and around Germany would guarantee stability for the foreseeable future.

There was yet another element in Social Democratic thinking, one that has endured and is very much alive today. It was the belief that peace in Europe would be best preserved through a system of collective-security agreements between East and West, rather than through a defensive military alliance such as NATO. To a believer in collective security, alliances are very much a second best and often a danger in themselves (because “provocative”). One cannot understand either the Ostpolitik of the 70’s or the problems of communication between the Reagan administration and Western Europe today unless one bears this fundamental tenet in mind.

By 1947, Soviet actions in the Eastern zone had demonstrated to most Social Democrats that hopes for the speedy formation of a national government with Soviet help were probably futile. One man who had immediate experience of those actions was Ernst Reuter, the staunchly anti-Communist mayor of Berlin, who fought a brilliant fight, ably supported by intellectual opinion, against Communist attempts to gain political control of the city and end the Western presence. He and other SPD leaders, including Schumacher, without yielding their positions of principle, began to support the Christian Democrats and their leader Konrad Adenauer in his efforts to create a provisional, but at least German, government in the Western zones. The attempt was successful, and the Federal Republic of Germany came into being in September 1949.

Within two weeks the Soviets and the German Communists in the East proclaimed their own state, the German Democratic Republic National division was now a constitutional fact, although—and this is a crucial point—the West German republic from the beginning asserted its claim to sole representation of the German state as such, which was assumed to be temporarily in abeyance until such time as free elections could be held throughout the country. A corollary of this claim was the Hallstein doctrine, named after the architect of German foreign policy in the 50’s, which stated that “the Federal government will view the establishment of diplomatic relations with the so-called German Democratic Republic by other states as an unfriendly act tending to aggravate the division of Germany.”

Despite these and other clear signs of Adenauer’s concern for national unity, there was a lingering sense in some quarters that all efforts had not been made to save it. Even after the SPD had given up the struggle in the face of clear evidence that the Soviets were opposed to any form of national government not under their control, agitation continued against the government and the Western powers who allegedly were preventing attempts to talk to the Soviets.



It is in this period, 1952-54, that we find clearly anticipated the national-neutralist coalition of the progressive Left and the ex-conservative Right which has returned to prominence and influence in the last couple of years. Some of the key figures, in fact, are the same, like Rudolf Augstein, editor-in-chief of the weekly Der Spiegel. Today, Augstein’s editorials are full of anti-American suspicions, sympathy for the Soviets, and even, as was the case during the Lebanon crisis of 1982, poorly disguised anti-Semitism. This bias directly continues the neutralist outlook of the early 50’s, according to which the pro-American stance of Adenauer’s government was the main obstacle to German unification. If only the West understood Soviet “security needs” and gave appropriate guarantees, it was said, Soviet objections to unification would cease. This claim was usually associated with another, namely, that West German participation in a Western defense alliance would render national division permanent by alienating the Soviets and making it impossible for them to support unification.

From a Western point of view, of course, these people—Augstein, the former Tatkreis member Hans Zehrer, the Frankfurt editor Paul Sethe, and others—had it backward: America was not interested in forcing West Germany into NATO only to protect American interests. Rather, Adenauer and the Americans realized together that without a military deterrent, in the future there might be no constitutional democracy in any part of Germany at all. Ultimately, the difference between national realists like Adenauer and the romantic national-neutralists came down, and still comes down, to a fundamental difference in their perception of the Soviet Union. To the latter, there simply is no Soviet threat, and hence there are no issues that cannot be resolved by negotiation.1

Aside from the national-neutralists of the early 50’s there were also some more activist stirrings of nationalist sentiment, and these too were overwhelmingly anti-Western. Many former Nazis evinced grudging respect for the Soviets, whose methods seemed more forthright, less hypocritical, than those of the Western powers. Also in evidence was the old military connection: a number of German POWs in Russia had formed a “National Free Germany Committee” in 1943, and now, in the 50’s, the Russians tried to play on the bitterness felt by these and other German officers against the Western allies. On several occasions, “congresses” and rallies were called, with funds provided by the East, to protest West German “collaboration” with the U.S. and Britain. By about 1960 most of these activities had ceased, although one final event looked forward to the later phases, the organization of a “German National Assembly Association” in 1961 to combat the threat of a CDU-SPD coalition and to combine all the remaining anti-NATO splinter groups in a program of national unification.



During the second phase in the postwar career of the national issue the only important flurry of activity occurred in connection with the sudden sharp recession of 1966, which led to that very coalition of CDU and SPD that had been feared by some nationalists. As a result, the National Democratic Party (NPD), encompassing both aggressive and nonaggressive neutralist groups, enjoyed a brief renaissance. However, when the SPD formed its own government in 1969 (with the Free Democrats), and the CDU became the opposition party, the wind was taken out of the sails of whatever agitation the NPD could muster. As for the SPD itself, in 1959 it had abandoned the commitment to a socialist economy, and there were no longer signs of anti-CDU propaganda over the national issue. Economic growth and the expansion of the welfare state seemed to absorb all the energies of the country.

More important than the rise and fall of the NPD, however, was a gradual shift in perceptions and opinions, one consequence of which was that national neutralism of the Augstein-Zehrer variety was able to make a surprising comeback in the 70’s. What happened was a result of many factors: the gradual spread of the collective-security outlook, the intellectual and cultural anti-Americanism of the Vietnam period, a general shift to more “critical” and revisionist attitudes regarding the international situation and the Soviet Union, and so forth. So when the national argument began to gain a hearing again in the early to mid-70’s, it aroused a greater echo than might have been expected.

By 1970, the major parties had abandoned national unification as a direct goal. The Hallstein doctrine was dropped when the SPD took over the government, and even the CDU eventually accepted the Eastern treaties of 1970-72 with the USSR, Poland, and East Germany. However, the Ostpolitik that succeeded the Hallstein doctrine was in a sense aimed at unification by different means.

The declared purpose of Ostpolitik was to relieve tension in Central Europe by symbolically ending the historical conflict with Poland and expanding the opportunities for communication with East Germany. The effect of this would be to preserve a feeling of common national heritage and continuity, but in a way that could not possibly threaten the Soviet Union. This in turn would lead, in accordance with the traditional SPD outlook, to a collective-security agreement that could pave the way to a gradual dismantling of the military alliances on both sides.

There was certainly a lot of naiveté and ignorance of political facts in this line of thought, which was in any case immediately rebuffed by the East. In the early 50’s East Germany had actively exploited West German neutralism and tried to drum up internal opposition to Adenauer and to West German rearmament. Now the SPD’s attempts to elicit an acknowledgment of national unity despite political division was met with complete hostility, in the form of the East German policy of Abgrenzung, closing the state to ideological contamination from the West. The internal contradictions of Ostpolitik might thus have rendered it harmless had it not been for the general crisis of the alliance over the Western policy of détente, compounded by the rise of the peace movement in the late 70’s.

On the surface the peace movement, which was overwhelmingly neutralist and environmentalist in orientation, seemed to lack any trace of German nationalist feeling—nor had there been any such feeling evident in the student rebellions of ten years earlier, the disillusioned alumni of which could now be found in it in large numbers. But a new element had crept in, picking up the arguments of the early 50’s and even some themes of the old conservative revolution to form an unhealthy and only too typically German blend of illusion, resentment, and political romanticism.

The first intimation of this development, in the mid-70’s, was the sudden reappearance of the national issue as a respectable subject of debate. Leading politicians and writers from all sectors of German opinion began discussing, in the words of the 19th-century Romantic poet Ernst Moritz Arndt, Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland? (“What Is the German’s Fatherland?”) A gist of what was coming by way of an answer could have been gleaned from a verse in that poem:

Das ist des Deutschen Vaterland,
wo Zorn vertilgt den welschen Tand,
wo jeder Franzmann heisset Feind,
wo jeder Deutsche heisset Freund

(There is the German’s fatherland,
where anger purges foreign ways,
where every Frenchman is my foe,
and every German is my friend.)

Substitute “American” for “Frenchman,” and remember that “every German” includes those in the East, and you have the recipe for the current wave of nationalist neutralism. As for “anger purging foreign ways,” one has only to think of the recent attempts to blow up American military installations—and personnel—to realize how literally these sentiments are being taken.



The revival of the national argument received a seal of recognition in a history of Germany published in 1978 by Hellmut Diwald, a professor at Erlangen. This curious volume begins in the present and through 800-odd pages wends backward in time, finishing in 919, a date seen by Diwald as the origin of German history. What is even more curious is its frankly apologetic, nationalist tone, most striking in the account of World War II. Finally there is the by-now familiar inversion by which the Russians are somehow respected and understood by Diwald in a way that the Americans are not. Although most of Diwald’s professional and scholarly colleagues have repudiated the book, his popularity has grown immensely among peace activists, who anyway do not read professional journals or even the literary pages of newspapers.

In 1982 Diwald contributed to a remarkable volume of essays and tirades which well illustrates the kind of national-neutralist nonsense that has become respectable in today’s Germany. The title of the volume is Die deutsche Einheit kommt bestimmt (“German Unity is Bound to Come”). Apart from Diwald’s contribution, which is little more than an angry denunciation of America and the Western alliance for preventing German unification, the book contains essays by a number of left-wing journalists and peace activists. The final chapter, written by an ex-functionary of the East German Socialist Unity party, offers “concrete proposals” for dissolving “the blocs,” i.e., NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and for establishing economic and political union. Needless to say, these and other proposals in the book are not “concrete” at all, but merely the products of wishful thinking. Nowhere is there an honest assessment of the political and historical situation, or any evidence that these supposedly well-informed and intelligent people have the faintest idea of how to get what they want. The chapter by the lone East German contributor is such a typical example of Communist newspeak that one does not know whether to consider him an agent or a particularly hapless defector.

A variant of the national-neutralist outlook which is becoming particularly popular in Germany is the notion of a “new European identity” that is supposed to be emerging “against the superpowers.” This viewpoint, because it emphasizes Europe, is acceptable to intellectuals who for various reasons still feel uncomfortable with nationalism, yet it is characteristic of its German exponents that they see a great role in this new Europe for a united, peace-loving Germany. The most skillful exposition of the “new European identity” is found in a book by the journalist Peter Bender, Das Ende des ideologischen Zeitalters (“The End of the Ideological Age”).

This book has been the subject of intense debate in Germany. Essentially, Bender believes that the U.S.-Soviet conflict need no longer concern or involve Europe. He detects a definite tendency in both halves of Europe to disown the respective superpowers and to seek common understanding “from the Atlantic to the Bug.” Ideology is no longer important, only power, and Europe has no interest in taking part in the infantile quarrels of Reagan and the Russians. Ultimately, Bender foresees a neutral and independent Europe, free of entanglements and enjoying good relations with all regions of the globe.

Bender’s book sounds several of the favorite motifs of the new European neutralism, especially in identifying “both superpowers” as equally guilty of global conflict and equally responsible for the division of Europe—an identification which conveniently ignores every relevant fact about the institutions, policies, political structure, and history of the U.S. and the USSR. Related to this is the Orwellian assertion that America has prevented Western Europe from acting independently for its own interests, whereas the truth is that whenever the U.S. has suggested a common European security effort, or has tried in any way to transfer responsibility for national survival to the European states themselves, its offers have been instantly refused. Western Europe does not really appear to want the military or political independence which, according to Bender and others, it has been denied for so many years.



But the fact that the arguments of Bender, Diwald, and others are grossly mistaken and misdirected has hardly affected their intellectual respectability. Nationalist neutralism is no longer in a political ghetto in Germany, and this has been noticed by the rulers of the East as well, who after almost thirty years of disuse have resurrected the idea of national unity as a weapon against NATO. In late 1981, the East German poet Stephan Hermlin “spontaneously” decided to call a peace conference of German writers in East Berlin which was duly attended by a whole range of famous names, including the trinity of Heinrich Böll, Guenter Grass, and Siegfried Lenz. The fact that the same Hermlin, as a loyal Soviet hack, had done all he could to subvert German cultural unity at the notorious Writers’ Congresses in Berlin and Breslau in 1947-48 appears to have been forgiven and forgotten.

The surviving intellectual descendants of the conservative revolution have likewise been delighted by the present turn of events. The New Left, with which they have hitherto had little contact, suddenly seems to have accepted their anti-Western arguments and their hopes for a revival of the “German way.” Germany’s leading conservative thinker, the south German writer Armin Mohler, has expressed sympathy with the peace movement in his journal Criticon, deploring the hastiness of some activists but welcoming their urge to do something, anything, about the national problem. Mohler, who in the past has stressed the need for defense against the East, has lately tended more and more to criticism of the West, as though the most urgent task for West Germany were to free itself of the Atlantic connection.

There is thus a symmetry of outlook on the Left and the Right, or at least among certain influential elements in both the Left and the Right, that is supportive of nationalist neutralism. People holding these views are found in the CDU as well as in the SPD, the Free Democrats, the media, and the universities. And that is why the change in government in West Germany holds out less hope for the future cohesiveness of the Western alliance than many in the United States, and especially in the Reagan administration, have wished to believe. The generation now taking power in West Germany has forgotten more than would have seemed possible even a few years ago.


1 It should be remembered, in the interests of historical justice, that this was precisely the original American position, held by FDR, the Joint Chiefs, the War Department, and such leading diplomats as Averell Harriman and George F. Kennan, at least until early 1946.

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