Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Lessons from history
Published on October 8, 2003 By Draginol In History

Sgt. Striker makes a pretty good case showing just how much the Germans have changed since 1939. He also mentions that Poland, rather than Germany, is now the center of martial prowess in continental Europe these days.

 

Here's Europe just before World War I (1914). The militaristic part of Germany was called Prussia.  Prussia is on the far east side of Germany there.

But after two world wars, Germany was split in two:

Now, if you look closely, you can see that East Germany doesn't really go that East. A good chunk of Prussia is now part of, you guessed it, Poland.

The question is, is Germany pacifistic because:

[A] The destruction caused by World War II and having been on the losing side of two world wars changed the culture?

[B] The culturally most militaristic part of Germany is no longer part of Germany?

[C] Two world wars killed off millions of Germans. The more militaristic you tended to be, the more likely you were to be killed in one of the two world wars. Hence, a form of natural selection.

Obviously, there is some "a bit of all 3" but it's probably not all 3 in equal parts. Which one is it mostly of?

 

 


Comments
on Oct 08, 2003
I think that the reason Germans collectively dismiss military action is that WWII stigmatized Germany. The German people still live in the memory of Adolph Hitler’s aggression. Hitler’s fanatical idealism is still a haunting factor in the psyche of the German people. Every country is more cognizant of their history in a more personal way.
Americans have never experienced life under dictatorship as Germany has.
There is the exception of some far left whacko’s that think Bush a Nazi and an Imperialist, but that doesn’t count. I think that the path of war for any reason reminds the German people of Adolph Hitler’s Germany. The memory of Adolph Hitler still suppresses the German populace in giving a green light for war for any reason other than defending Germany’s borders from hostilities.
on Oct 08, 2003
It's neither A nor B or C.

World War I had an effect between the two world wars but not afterwards. Few people in Germany believe that Germany was morally wrong to fight World War I.

The culturally most militaristic part of Germany is Brandenburg, not Prussia per se. Prussia was originally one of the Baltic countries but the centre of "Prussia, the German state" was the Prussian province of Brandenburg, which is now the state of Brandenburg, which took over representing the country of Prussia. "Prussia" as we know it military-wise is quite intact, although not militaristic any more, but not because the hinterland in the Baltics and Pommerania was lost. (Incidentally, my own home state of Berlin is an island within the state of Brandenburg.)

As for C, I tend to believe that the more militaristic people were also those who were in command during World War II and ordered others to fight rather than risk their own lifes.

German pacifism, I think, is simply a result of the cold war. With the Russians nearby Germany had only two options, one of them was to be quiet and wait it out.

(Although Anthony's point is also valid.)
on Oct 09, 2003
You have to realize this is a top down view on the most warlike place on earth, the birthplace of armageddon. I can't think of any continent halfway on the other side of the earth being as bad, as warlike, as intrinsicly carnal, brooding, and fey, at least in the latter centuries. Yet by the same, the birthplace of science, mind over man.
on Oct 09, 2003
The Mongols exterminated a far greater percentage of the earth's population than Hitler or Stalin.
on Nov 25, 2003
Germany is, in my opionion, mostly acificistical simply because they have had a serious taste of what war can do to a nation, a people , their reputation, their self-esteem and not to mention how many actually got killed. Most, if not all, germans today have a father or grand-father who was killed in the war. Most adults remember the hard times rebuilding Germany after the war, they all learn in school what the war did to them etc etc.
So it is, I believe, a matter of learning-by-mistake... They fear war, quite simply.

And the referece to the mongols is, IMO, not relevant at all. Why ? Simple: They lived and raided a long time ago, little is really known and depicted (pictures/movies/etc) from the time. And how many lives today that has a forebearer that actually died by the hands of the Mongols ? few I believe, and close to nobody in the Western world...

For me the vast amount of information and first/second hand experience with the war and its effect on Germany is the single most important reason for them to be so ill at ease about war.
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