Germans holding judgment upon themselves

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Jared Diamond recounts (in Upheaval) how German views of the Nazi era changed between 1961 and 1982:

The change in German views of the Nazi era after I lived in Germany was made brutally clear to me by an experience 21 years later, in 1982. In that year my wife Marie and I spent a vacation in Germany. As we were driving along the autobahn and approaching Munich, an autobahn exit sign pointed to a suburb called Dachau, site of a former Nazi concentration camp (German acronym, KZ) that Germans had converted into a museum. Neither of us had previously visited a KZ site. But we didn’t anticipate that a “mere” museum exhibit would affect us, after all that we already knew of KZs through the stories of Marie’s parents (KZ survivors) and the newsreels of my childhood. Least of all did we expect to be affected by how Germans themselves explained (or explained away) their own camps.


In fact, our visit to Dachau was a shattering experience—at least as powerful as was our subsequent visit to the much larger and more notorious Auschwitz, which is also an exhibit but not a German exhibit, because it lies within Poland.


Far from shirking German responsibility, the exhibit exemplified Fritz Bauer’s motto “Germans holding judgment upon themselves.”


Such national facing-up to past crimes isn’t to be taken for granted. In fact, I know of no country that takes that responsibility remotely as seriously as does Germany.


Revolts and protests, especially by students, spread through much of the free world in the 1960’s. They began in the U.S. with the Civil Rights Movement, protests against the Vietnam War, the Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley, and the movement called Students for a Democratic Society.


But that confrontation of generations achieved a particularly violent form in Germany for two reasons. First, the Nazi involvement of the older generation of Germans meant that the gulf between the younger and the older generation was far deeper there than it was in the U.S. Second, the authoritarian attitudes of traditional German society made older and younger generations there especially scornful of each other.


All of them had bad things happen to them as children, due to the war. For example, among my six closest German friends born around 1937, one was orphaned when her soldier father was killed; one watched from a distance the district where his father lived being bombed, although his father survived; one was separated from her father from the time that she was one year old until she was 11 years old, because he was a prisoner of war; one lost his two older brothers in the war; one spent the nights of his childhood years sleeping out of doors under a bridge, because his town was bombed every night and it was unsafe to sleep in a house; and one was sent by his mother every day to steal coal from a railroad yard, so that they could stay warm.


Thus, my German friends of Jahrgang 1937 were old enough to have been traumatized by memories of the war, and by the chaos and poverty that followed it, and by the closure of their schools. But they weren’t old enough to have had Nazi views instilled into them by the Nazi youth organization called the Hitler Jugend.


Most of them were too young to be drafted into the new West German army established in 1955; Jahrgang 1937 was the last Jahrgang not called up for that draft.


On the average, the German protestors of 1968 had been born around 1945, just at the end of the war. They were too young to have been raised as Nazis, or to have experienced the war, or to remember the years of chaos and poverty after the war. They grew up mostly after Germany’s economic recovery, in economically comfortable times. They weren’t struggling to survive; they enjoyed enough leisure and security to devote themselves to protest.


That meant that the parents of Germany’s 1945 generation were viewed by their children as the Germans who had voted for Hitler, had obeyed Hitler, had fought for Hitler, or had been indoctrinated in Nazi beliefs by Hitler Jugend school organizations.


German 1968-ers equated contemporary capitalist German society with fascism, while conservative older Germans in turn regarded the violent young leftist rebels as “Hitler’s children,” a reincarnation of the violent fanatical Nazi SA and SS organizations.


Many of the rebels were extreme leftists; some actually moved to East Germany, which in turn funneled money and documents to sympathizers in West Germany.


Older West Germans responded by telling the rebels, “All right, go to East Germany if you don’t like it here!”


West German terrorism peaked during the years 1971 to 1977, reaching a climax in 1977 when Andreas Baader and two other RAF leaders committed suicide in prison after the failure of a terrorist attempt to free imprisoned terrorists by hijacking a Lufthansa airplane.


The German student revolt of 1968 is sometimes described as “a successful failure.”


Spanking of children was widespread then, not merely permitted but often considered obligatory for parents.


I worked in a German scientific research institute whose director completely by himself made the decisions controlling the careers of his institute’s 120 scientists. For instance, to obtain a university teaching job in Germany required a degree beyond the PhD, called “Habilitation.” But my director permitted only one of his 120 scientists to be “habilitated” each year, and chose that person himself.


Wherever one went—on the street, on lawns, in schools, in private and public buildings—there were signs saying what was forbidden (verboten), and instructing how one should and shouldn’t behave.


One morning, one of my German colleagues arrived at work livid, because the previous evening he had come home to find the grass lawn outside his apartment building, which served as his children’s play area, surrounded by barbed wire (indelibly associated in Germany with concentration camps). When my friend confronted the apartment manager, the latter was unapologetic: “It’s forbidden to walk on the grass (Betreten des Rasens verboten), but those spoiled children (verwöhnte Kinder) were nevertheless walking on the grass, so I felt entitled (ich fühlte mich berechtigt) to prevent them from doing so by putting up barbed wire (Stacheldraht).”


In retrospect, authoritarian behaviors and attitudes in Germany were already starting to change by and just after the time of my 1961 visit. A famous example was the Spiegel Affair of 1962. When the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, which was often critical of the national government, published an article questioning the strength of the German army (Bundeswehr), Chancellor Adenauer’s defense minister Franz Josef Strauss reacted with authoritarian arrogance by arresting Der Spiegel’s editors and seizing their files on suspicion of treason. The resulting enormous public outcry forced the government to abandon its crackdown and compelled Strauss to resign. But Strauss nevertheless remained powerful, served as premier of the German state of Bavaria from 1978 to 1988, and ran for chancellor of Germany in 1980. (He was defeated.)


Younger American visitors, born in or after the 1970’s, who didn’t experience the Germany of the 1950’s, instinctively compare Germany today with the U.S. today and say that German society is still authoritarian. Older American visitors like me, who did experience Germany in the (late) 1950’s, instead compare Germany today with Germany of the 1950’s and say that Germany today is much less authoritarian than it used to be. I think that both of those comparisons are accurate.


On October 3, 1990 East Germany was dissolved, and its districts joined (West) Germany’s as new states (Bundesländer).


  1. Sam J. says:

    People voted for Hitler because they had no other choice to change the Jewified country that they had become. It was the only way. They were left with no other options. They could continue on as they were, vote for the Communist, which was also Jewish and had tried to violently take over the government murdering numerous people in the process, or vote for Hitler. The Germans knew about the mass slaughter going on in the Soviet Union, they also knew the Jews were in charge of this and the wanted no part of that. I suspect if the Commies had taken over Germany then more would have died than did under Hitler.

    If the Jews had not been so insistent in controlling everything and everyone they might have had someone more moderate but the Jews seem have no brakes on their lust for power. Ask them why this is so it’s not my responsibility to explain them.

    People forget that Hitler completely turned around the German economy and while farmers in the US were hanging themselves in their barns Germans were taking paid vacations.

    He did this by taking away power from Jewish bankers, Jewish legislatures, Jewish press and putting people in charge that cared about Germans first.

  2. CVLR says:

    One little-remembered fact: there are 30k American troops stationed in Germany and have been since the conclusion of the War of the Capitalist-Communist Alliance.

    Pull ‘em out, give the Germans some nukes to put in their V-2s, and a handful of years of breathing room. Get some popcorn; you’ll need it.

    They’ll have their Gott Mit Uns belt buckles out in no time. Every morning you greet me / small and white / clean and bright / you look happy to see me.

    Political Christianity, dangerous beast.

  3. Graham says:

    I’m not sure Imperial Germany’s rivals were any less Christian than them in WW1. Maybe officially laicite France, but only just.

    The British Crown’s motto Dieu et mon droit is usually translated “God and My Right”. And Edwardian and early Georgian Britain was still enjoying some of the afterglow of Victorian muscular Christianity.

    Leave aside the assumption imperial and Nazi Germany are equivalent. I’m admittedly torn on the nuances of that myself. In retrospect though, I am not so sure a German victory in 1914 would have led to worse global outcomes.

  4. Kirk says:

    “People forget that Hitler completely turned around the German economy and while farmers in the US were hanging themselves in their barns Germans were taking paid vacations.”

    Quite the good little Nazi, aren’t we? Turned the economy around? It is to laugh.

    You very badly need an actual education, one that doesn’t concentrate solely on Nazi hero-worship. Hitler had to start WWII when he did, because he ran out of internal funding sources to loot. There weren’t enough Jewish department stores to pay for all those “good German farmers” to take vacations, and build the Panzers at the same time. Nine-tenths of the anti-Jewish animus stemmed from the same thing that led to them being thrown out of England back during the Middle Ages–The government needed the money.

    The whole sorry outline of Nazi economic mis-management is clearly laid out in Adam Tooze’s The Wages of Destruction. You’d do well to read it, and digest the implications of your little fairy tale idea about Hitler’s “putting Germany back to work” bullshit. The Nazis bankrupted Germany, and the war was begun when it was to cover that fact up. All those wonderful “socialist benefits” that Hitler and his pals bought off the German people with were financed on fog and looted funds from the German Jews, then the Czechs and Austrians. When that ran out, it was on to Poland and the rest of Western Europe.

    Ever wonder why Hitler and his buddies never actually managed to harness the industry of France and the other European nations? It was quite simple–They were too busy looting those countries and hauling all that back to Germany, where it mostly did them no good.

    Hitler was an economic illiterate, a thief, and every time you open your mouth to sing his praises, you self-identify as a sympathetic socialist thief without morals.

    It’s like the claim that Mussolini “…made the trains run on time…”–It’s all specious bullshit from apologists with no real idea at all of what they’re speaking of.

  5. Sam J. says:

    “…Turned the economy around?…”

    This is absolutely true. Once you take the parasitic yoke of the Jews off a nation it takes very little to improve the economy. Any damn fool could do it, even Hitler.

    I wouldn’t go on about the Jews so much if they didn’t tell such lies constantly and attack people every chance they get. All this constant propagandizing on 9-11, all sorts of nonsense, is just too damn much to bear. If all of us were to call them on this every time they do so maybe it might not stop but would at least slow down a little. We have to listen to these mass of Jews lies constantly. I’ve heard them all my life and I’m fed up with their nonsense. I suspect every other country that threw them out came to the same position that I am now and the only way to stop their constant lying irritation was to decide that they had to go and…there’s the story of the Jews. They irritate people until they can’t stand it any more and then get thrown out.

    It didn’t favor the Jews that the same thing that is happening today in the US, pushing of trans this, homo that, the constant attacks on Whites and western civilization and the complete looting of the country by the Jewish financial centers happened in vast quantities in Germany. They even wanted mass importation of Negros to miscegenate the Germans away and crowed about it publicly(not much has changed). People eventually get sick of what seems to be a pattern of psychopathic attacks on the native populous and throw the Jews out.

    Adam Tooze’s The Wages of Destruction is a political book. He says the car program was a loss but he misses the point that it was not efficiency that Hitler wanted it was…for the Germans to have cars and in that he had great success. He wrote a great deal about production as the war was ongoing and he didn’t get that right. He says Speer was incompetent yet Speer VASTLY increased production so his book is worth…well not much if he can’t get even the most simple things right. I got this from just the comments. I’m certainly not going to waste time reading his drivel. The comments alone make it clear that it would be a waste of time to read.

    Let’s look at some of the reviews

    “…I had the impression that Germany’s economy was extremely weak and near collapse even in the 1930s[It was, S.J.]. Based upon the Third Reich’s wartime output, this seems counter-intuitive. The amount of blood, sweat and high explosive that the Allies had to expend to cripple German industry was prodigious, so I appreciate Prof. Tooze’s analysis, but the numbers seem to fall short of explaining the results…”

    All this guys twaddle doesn’t explain how Germany went from carrying wheel barrows of currency for a loaf of bread to this mass of armaments.

    I can explain it. They got rid of the Jews and their blackmailed, bribed agents running things. That the Nazis didn’t run everything perfectly is MISSING THE WHOLE DAMN POINT that the Jews were the ones that screwed the whole economy up and Hitler, at least got the thing back on track for the GERMAN PEOPLE and not the Jews and their lackeys, as I said. And that this is true is evident from the most cursory glance at all the shit they built that had to be bombed.

    They didn’t get this from “Jewish shop keepers”, please… no more of this insane Jewish bald faced lies. If Kirk is right well the Germans made their tanks from Jewish shopkeepers loaves of bread. THE GERMANS WERE MILITARY JESUS making tanks from loaves of bread!

    The Jews ran the US into the ground in the depression by calling in all the currency so they could buy up the whole country for pennies. They did the counter by printing money by the trainload in Germany and buying up all the business and land. They’re doing this in the US as we speak exactly like Germany.

    Kirk’s whole Jew method is to just make shit up and pretend he knows best. Even in the face of simple common knowledge that the German worker was VASTLY better off after the Jews were taken out of the banking business in Germany and were not allowed to loot the country as they had before. Mixing that “simple, common sense” knowledge with the whole financing of the war and production figures of the war is just a typical Jew fog, smoke and bullshit way of undermining the truth. This goes on constantly. If the Jew has his mouth open and is agitating the air most likely he’s lying or spinning some yarn to confuse even the simplest of arguments. The truth is poison to them like holy water to vampires.

  6. Sam J. says:

    And to add here’s a quote from, a Chinese I think, so you can’t say he’s a Nazi or maybe you can because of well Jew lies.

    “…Hitler’s economic miracle
    The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, at a time when its economy was in total collapse, with ruinous war-reparation obligations and zero prospects for foreign investment or credit. Yet through an independent monetary policy of sovereign credit and a full-employment public-works program, the Third Reich was able to turn a bankrupt Germany, stripped of overseas colonies it could exploit, into the strongest economy in Europe within four years, even before armament spending began….”

  7. CVLR says:

    No one would accuse me of apologia of Hitler’s Germany, except to the extent that in the current year all wrong-thinking persons are by default “Beyond the Pale”, but seriously, anyone even just casually comapring basic measurements of quality of life in Germany circa three years before and after Hitler’s election, and calling it a tremendous degeneration, is just fucking lying to you.

    I’m super not on board with totalitarianism, I think it’s pretty creepy that the head of state had a man leading every Boy Scout troop, and the whole conspiracy theorizing about Africans repopulating Paris and Moslem mayors of London was seriously uncool, but come on. Prostitution was vanished, drug use quelled, the currency was stabilized and de-usury-ified, the Jewish tranny doctors were thrown out on their asses, and great art, music, sculpture, and architecture were patronized once more.

    Hitler’s Germany wasn’t evidence of Adolf Hitler’s greatness — the man himself was kind of a nut — but it is evidence that if you get a few core things right, it might actually be seriously hard to suppress the Germanic races’ innovative and conquistadorial spirits.

  8. CVLR says:


    “I’m not sure Imperial Germany’s rivals were any less Christian than them in WW1”

    Probably not WWI. But by WWII? I think that, in retrospect, there’s a clear trend, a clear divergence.

    “I’m admittedly torn on the nuances of that myself. In retrospect though, I am not so sure a German victory in 1914 would have led to worse global outcomes.”

    I’d say that I think you’re probably right… but only in retrospect. If I’d lived at the time, I would have disagreed vehemenently. Some things you just don’t see coming; even when select men predict things, they just seem utterly outrageous and absolutely impossible until they actually happen. Like state-sponsored trannyism, 2015-2019. WHAM.

  9. Kirk says:


    While there might be some who would refrain from terming you an apologist for “Hitler’s Germany”, they might well term you an ignoramus who has no idea what you’re speaking of.

    Your “first three years” construct there, is telling: Of course things looked rosy as hell those years. Hitler’s economic policies were all short-term, and he was spending the seed corn, sometimes quite literally. You need to read Tooze, who lays it all out quite clearly–The popular wisdom has it that Germany would have gone on to economic glory, absent WWII, while the fact is, WWII happened precisely when it did because the bills were coming due, and Hitler had to find fresh sources of income to loot–To whit, Czechoslovakia and then Poland.

    The Nazis should not be looked at as a political movement–What happened in Germany was more on the order of an organized crime takeover, along with what the cops call a “bust-out”, where the legitimate business’s assets are co-opted and then stolen.

    The reality is that the early days of Hitler’s regime looked really good, just like Chavez looked really good the first few years in Venezuela. And, just like with Venezuela, when the bills come due, it all crumbles. Had Germany not invaded its neighbors, all the loans Hitler took out would have had to be repaid, and there was no way to do that, not when he’d put the money into munitions and the German army/air force build-up. There was no source of income to pay for all that, and with the internal sources of funding tapped out, it was either go to war or accept bankruptcy.

    The funny thing about WWII is this: The French, British, Belgians, and Soviets all helped build Hitler up, and then had to expend themselves fighting him. Hitler would have never gone anywhere absent the support of big business, who was scared of the Communists, the loans from the big international banks who were also scared of the Communists, and, of course, the Communists themselves who propped him up with free resources. Motivations for Stalin doing that? Who knows, but the fact is, without him doing that, Hitler’s ambitions would have had to have been severely curtailed.

    Hitler’s supposed “economic genius” is severely over-estimated in public memory, and was inflated hugely by the same apologists that were covering up FDR’s lengthening and intensifying of the Depression–For many of the same reasons. They were in love with totalitarianism, and wanted it here in the US. Everything you were ever taught came through that lens, and you were never, ever told the truth of the matter. Read Tooze, and you’ll see what I’m talking about–There was so much hidden chicanery going on with Hitler’s economic activities that it’s not even funny. The whole thing looks, as I said, like an organized crime bust-out, on a national scale.

  10. Graham says:


    Agreed on some general points.

    I meant specifically WW1 as I took that to be the heart of one of your comments.

    I’d say all the nations of WW1 in Europe were running basically a combination of Christian and Nationalist/Secular software with variations. I think the latter was the real driver of their actions. The former sometimes kept them tamer than they might have been. The usual function, not always working.

    By WW2 we’d all travelled a road further toward some combination of materialism and slightly pagan tendencies [in the sense of seeking other things than Christianity to venerate, and finding them in some old and new familiar places like nature, ourselves, our polities, arts, and so on]. Some of that was visible before WW1 again in all countries. To some degree Kipling called it out for Britain in “Recessional.” In which he also took a swipe at Germany for being further down the road already. But in 1914-18, it’s hard to see it as too dominant even in Germany.

    Although supposedly they did hand out free copies of Also sprach Zarathustra to troops. Love to know if that’s true. I read it years ago in the New Yorker… Seriously.

    On the rest, Kirk has the bulk of the right of this issue, not for the first time.

    Although if the main sin of Hitler had been running an unsustainable economic policy that needed a war to save it, FDR would be as guilty. The British, I’m not so clear on. Maybe, but then the actual war that happened also bankrupted and physically crippled them, so it worked poorly for them. Worked very well for Germany until they started losing. Worked spectacularly for the US.

    If I had been German, and ‘we’ won the war, and ‘we’ hadn’t murdered millions of helpless civilians for no reason, and his government looked less like a totalitarian fun house, I might have been OK with it. As an Anglo I think of parliamentarism as it stood around the mid 20th century as my heritage and right, but it’s not a universal law of physics that all states should work quite that way. As long as there are mechanisms for input and social mobility one way or another. Even authoritarian states have managed that in the past.

    Of course, if Hitler had been like that, he wouldn’t have been Hitler. Maybe he’d have been some general or something. Not Hitler. And there’s still that whole Holocaust thing. I don’t think I have to buy into the progressive narrative to prefer that these sorts of things not be the preferred answer to everything.

    On WW1, I really am still torn. As a descendant, the status of Britain in 1914, its commitments and interests, still speak to me. I cannot definitively repudiate the decision for war, despite thinking on it on and off for decades. And I do have my concerns about the institutions and values of Wilhelmine Germany, enough to see some ideological issues at stake that not many any longer see in WW1. So yes, absolutely hindsight that I think we’d all have been better off if they had won. But it’s a whopper of hindsight.

  11. Sam J. says:

    Adam Tooze’s “The Wages of Destruction”

    So I look this guy up because the base of his criticism sounds very Jewy. This is where a, (HAHA) “scholar”, comes to conclusions and then proceeds to make a subject look as bad as possible.

    It would nice if we could trust our “scholars” to be honest but in today’s world, we can’t.

    Anyways I look this guy up and just guess who he associated with and who was his teachers and primary influences.

    You won’t believe this. None else than the Frankfurt School of critical theory bunch displaced from Germany where they spent their time theorizing a way to destroy Western Civilization. Their general focus was to undermine the belief in all tradition and to undermine the faith in the system of the West. They wanted to make the West, in their words, “stink”. Here’s dome info on these guys.

    Adam Tooze’s instructor, (a Soviet spy), and where he was trained was overrun with these guys. See his influences here and search for Adam Tooze in this link.

    This guy linked above is the very same Frankfurt School bunch that Kirk damned as evil.

    It’s fairly clear Adam Tooze is another political anti-western writer. He can not be counted on to be impartial or accurate.

  12. CVLR says:


    Three years, schmee years. I’ll extend it up to six. From 19301966 to 19271939. Putting aside Hirschfeld’s epic degeneracy (whose Wikipedia page reads like a satire of a parody of a fedPOC playing a skinhead) and considering the economic situation alone, I believe that my prior statements are strengthened several times over.

    I think that you grossly underestimate the extent to which post-Weimar Germany acted as a rational entity. The state was bankrupt to start with. The nation had been pillaged and plundered like no nation had ever been pillaged und plundert before — with the possible exception of the contemporary White Rus. It was largely, though not entirely, cut off from foreign trade since the declaration of war of 1933. It was disarmed and in full-on total collapse mode. It had been an obligate food importer since the Industrial Revolution had allowed it to grow far beyond its agricultural carrying capacity, and that fact had been quite ruthlessly exploited in the Great War that brought it to its knees.

    In that time and place, the Germans needed to seize the Ukrainian breadbasket and the Commies’ oil fields. Throw in some nukes, which you yourself think that they had, and the Germans would’ve conclusively secured the existence of a Vaterland for themselves and a future for their children.

    Taking France was probably a good idea, everything considered. Affiliating with the frump state of Rome, probably not. Bombing Britain, not worth the trouble. Declaring war on America was stark raving mad, completely fucking insane, downright gibberingly retarded.

    The real irony of all of this is that I wouldn’t even care about Germany if by 1993 the usual suspects hadn’t finally persuaded everyone that they’d all been killed in fake showers and turned into soap and lampshades; that, moreover, every gentile everywhere was culpable; and that, therefore, every gentile everywhere must be bred out of existence.

    Frankly, I just want to escape the Hitler Dialectic.

    Even so, I wouldn’t blame anyone for responding to the present trannyism in the same way as they responded to the prior one. I just don’t want to be in the country when it happens.

    Ramanujan for Secretary-General 2030.

  13. CVLR says:


    I’d say all the nations of WW1 in Europe were running basically a combination of Christian and Nationalist/Secular software with variations. I think the latter was the real driver of their actions. The former sometimes kept them tamer than they might have been. The usual function, not always working.

    I think there’s some truth to that. I also think that Germany and France had been going at it for centuries and that a one-two punch of technological progress — automatic weaponry and artillery — completely obliterated the possibility of heroism in war.

    By WW2 we’d all travelled a road further toward some combination of materialism and slightly pagan tendencies [in the sense of seeking other things than Christianity to venerate, and finding them in some old and new familiar places like nature, ourselves, our polities, arts, and so on].

    I don’t know if the criticism of “pagan” elements in Christianity is a profitable avenue, given that Christianity has always had its paganistic elements. Obviously, God can be found in nature, or in ourselves, or in the great works, for instance. Otherwise, you have to ask: what is God? Is it a cathedral? Is it a cross? Or is it — He — an archetypal representation of a divine social order? À la, “God helps those who help themselves.” Certainly none of my great-grandfathers would’ve found reason to decry: “Yes to decency and morality in family and state!”

    and his government looked less like a totalitarian fun house, I might have been OK with it. As an Anglo I think of parliamentarianism as it stood around the mid 20th century as my heritage and right

    That’s the crux of it, in my mind.

    I once read a contemporary newspaper article from Australia from the 1970’s, and in that article it mentioned something about the Prime Minister living in a normal house and drinking a beer in a pub. No omnipresent security, no swarm of bodyguards, no bulletproof glass, no vetted clientele. And I thought, huh. Bring me my time machine, please.

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