The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPaul Gottfried Archive
Krautophobia, the Incurable Illness
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Rich Lowry is beginning to remind me of Dickens’s Mr. Dick in David Copperfield. Dick couldn’t stay on a topic very long without blurting out “And they beheaded Charles I.” To his credit, the feeble-minded Dick could at least provide factual information. The Puritans did indeed execute their monarch by cutting off his head exactly 362 years ago.

Unlike Dick, Lowry is not even informative when he expresses his fixation, which is that the Germans long before Hitler were already planning to conquer the world in the name of “antiliberal” values. One encounters this view in Lowry’s columns with predictable regularity, and the latest appearance of it can be found in his commentary today about the Chinese danger. Although the Chinese, he assures us, are still “far from a global power,” their economic development may be a political danger to the democracies. China “considers American-style liberalism a threat to its government and perhaps its national existence.” I couldn’t imagine why the Chinese would consider whatever the U.S. calls itself, or whatever Lowry chooses to call it, “a threat to its national existence.” Right now China is making lots of money off of us and holding multiple IOUs over our heads.

But according to Lowry, China may become an even greater threat, by imitating long dead Germans. China’s sense of being threatened “makes it an ambitious bristling power with the disruptive potential of nineteenth-century Germany.” I suspect that the Germans have in the minicon mind a permanent identification with evil; and even if they didn’t, minicons might pretend that they did, in order to accommodate their neocon paymasters, who are angry at the Germans because of Nazi atrocities. But Lowry’s attempt to look for a pleasing Teutonic parallel for China’s economic expansion is not particularly instructive. Nineteenth-century Germany was certainly not the most aggressive power in Europe; nor did it have the most “antiliberal” government on the continent.

In terms of economic and intellectual freedom, low taxes, and decentralized government, Germany did not seem to European observers at the time to be the monster that Lowry and his neocon patrons want us to see. Even for the Anglophile, later World War I interventionist Woodrow Wilson, late nineteenth century Germany was a model of modern government that served its citizens well. Its working class enjoyed the highest standard of living in Europe and its population was the most literate in the world. Unlike China and politically correct European countries, Germans were free to argue and present a remarkably wide range of opinions on what today are regarded as painfully delicate subjects. Moreover, during World War I, Berlin newsstands continued to sell British and French newspapers.

Although the Germans, who began industrializing about seventy years after the British, came a long way in the nineteenth century, they continued to lag behind Britain in steel production and most heavy industry as late as 1900. Their economic advantage was achieved in chemical and technical products, which were the highest in quality of any such goods manufactured anywhere; and the Germans attained this distinction by being the first country to set up research centers paid for by major industries. These industries also provided abundant scholarships to young students, many of whom were Jewish, to continue their technical studies in return for going to work afterwards for their sponsors. Unlike the Chinese, the Germans produced their own technical breakthroughs without stealing from other countries.

ORDER IT NOW

Although German unification came in the wake of a war fought with France, it was France that declared war on Prussia and the French ruler Napoleon III was explicit about wanting to conquer the Rhineland before war was declared. Throughout the nineteenth century, however, the Germans, who were divided until 1871, were far less aggressive than most other European peoples. And even after unification, the German Chancellor Bismarck cooperated with the British to contain Russian expansion in the Balkans at the expense of the tottering Ottoman Empire. Bismarck also tried to establish stable relations between the German Empire and other continental powers. Although it was hard to reconcile France after its humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck made clear to other European statesmen that “Germany is a satiated power.”

Unlike the British, French, Italians and the last German Emperor, the empire that Bismarck led in the international arena avoided fights over colonies. Until the early twentieth century Germany was the least inclined of the European powers to get into disputes over territory in Asia and Africa. In fact the German chancellor observed when discussing the temptation of empire that “not all of Africa is worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.” Would that our journalists sounded like the prudent Bismarck instead of minicon journalists!

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: History • Tags: Germany 
Hide 13 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. I’m afraid that now the only reason to check in with the National Review crowd is on the chance there will be a few laughs to be had. That actually goes for any main stream media when they are pulling long somber faces on EMERGING China. How about the exquisite dopiness of the media keeping afloat the hot air balloons the DoD released when Sheriff Shorty Gates found himself displeased with the Chinese for bypassing Washington on their road to a stealth bomber. I guess the Sheriff was figuring the Chinese would have been a little more considerate, I mean with all that American firepower that’s already over there protecting them from the terrorists and Iranian nukes.

  2. When a Congressional retinue traveled to China during the 1990’s, they asked what the goal of the Chinese Communist Party was, and the reply that they received was that it was to advance Communism!

    Do not permit the neocon prejudice against Germany to prejudice you against the warnings of the rising power of China. With rising power comes rising ambition – is this not the nature of the state?

    If anything, the neoconservative consensus has been focused entirely too much on combating (Islamic) terrorism, which is short-term and small matters compared to the long term potential for the hostility of a populous and demographically unbalanced nation-state that is relying in the short term on a variant of fascism to sustain itself…

  3. R J Stove says:

    Professor Gottfried writes:

    “Although the Germans, who began industrializing about seventy years after the British, came a long way in the nineteenth century, they continued to lag behind Britain in steel production and most heavy industry as late as 1900. Their economic advantage was achieved in chemical and technical products, which were the highest in quality of any such goods manufactured anywhere; and the Germans attained this distinction by being the first country to set up research centers paid for by major industries. These industries also provided abundant scholarships to young students, many of whom were Jewish, to continue their technical studies in return for going to work afterwards for their sponsors. Unlike the Chinese, the Germans produced their own technical breakthroughs without stealing from other countries.

    Correlli Barnett’s Collapse of British Power has lots of impressive statistics on this very theme. If I recall Barnett correctly, Britain was so hopeless in the specific field of ball-bearings that it had to import those in huge quantities from Sweden during 1914-1918.

    Of course Francophobia is a similarly virulent disease. Moreover, it afflicts much the same minicons currently suffering from incurable Krautophobia.

  4. Mr. Herman:

    Although you make a good point, but the fact is the best defense is to stop the invade the world, invite the world madness and refocus the defense spending to emergent technology. If there were ever a hot war with China, its not nukes that will decide it but the number of Chinese in uniform v. the American ability to kill them in great numbers. The US always needs to be cutting edge of military technology. That only happens with a sound domestic budget, high domestic savings and strong education system.

  5. John Seiler says: • Website

    I admire your fortitude in reading Lowry so we don’t have to. The price he pays for being a Neocon toady is perpetual dullness.

  6. Nergol says:

    Errrr… I thought Lowry and National Review were supposed to be conservatives. Isn’t the American conservative movement, also, supposed to “consider American-style liberalism a threat to its government and perhaps its national existence”?

    Oh, right – that was before we decided that the purpose of American conservatism was to invade traditional, religious countries in order to impose women’s lib, gay rights, and secularism on them by force of arms.

  7. Once when I was a boy, I checked out a book from my local public library called “Prussian Political Philosophy” only to find that it was a British propaganda tome aimed at blacking the name of Germany. Even as a schoolboy I could tell that the book in question was a hatchet job rather than a serious examination of the topic.

    It seems that little has changed.

  8. TSU says:

    I think Bismarck’s quotation in regard to a place not being “worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier” was directed at the Balkans not Africa.

  9. TSU is correct. The actual statement about die Beine eines pommerischen Grenadiers was made about a Balkan crisis that Bismarck wanted Germany to stay out of. But since the comment is often cited to illustrate Bismarck’s lack of interest in imperialism, I thought I’d slip this one by. It does after all reflect Bismarck’s contemptuous attitude toward the idea of Germany’s acquiring overseas colonies, an attitude that even that veteran Teutonophobe (and occasional Communist) AJP Taylor observed more than once.

  10. What no one seems to talk about anywhere, ever, is that technology and the reluctance to atrocity have taken all the profit out of war. There is no longer any way to win one, economically… all ‘won’ wars in the past delivered territory (resources) that were worth more than what it cost to sieze and police them. That is no longer the case; unless one is willing to commit genocide after taking somewhere rich in resources.

    Almost all successful world hegemons have had a geographical advantage in terms of their shape; most have been peninsulas, islands, or separate continents. “Middle kingdom” configurations such as those of Germany, France and China tend to lead to two-front wars and make local consolidation difficult.

    China’s prosperity is dependent on stability, and not engaging in costly military confrontations. Whether nuclear or not, any such instances will throw a monkeywrench into the regime’s success. China has very long supply lines for vital industrial materials; even local ‘brushfire’ confrontations would imperil these. China also has very long ‘lines of demand’ for its exports, again, even mild and local military action would be very costly.

    Given all this, it is far more likely for China to seek only local hegemony, in rough balance with India, Japan, and Russia, because this serves its own economic interests best. It will also have to compromise and keep the US, Britain, France, that is NATO, ‘happy enough’ to ensure the security of its lines of supply and demand; too much success in keeping those other countries from obtaining needed resources will lead to military problems, jeopardizing Chinese access to those same resources.

    In the end, thanks to technology and despite its willingness to indulge in genocide… Germany has taken an extra half century to get to where it would have been, economically, if it had avoided WW2 altogether. Add nuclear weapons to the mix and it is clear that China will be peaceful and diplomatic, and it’s all about negotiating for stable access to resources. The rest is noise.

  11. cfountain72 says: • Website

    “Do not permit the neocon prejudice against Germany to prejudice you against the warnings of the rising power of China. With rising power comes rising ambition – is this not the nature of the state?”

    There is also an innate nature of a power feeling threatened when it is surrounded by another power. The level of intervention we apply to China (indeed, to the rest of the world) has a great deal to do with how China perceives and will treat us in the future. I think far too often folks simply equate ‘power’ with ‘threat.’ So, by definition, if China is growing, we have to assume that that growth will come at our expense. I disagree with that direct connection entirely. If we choose wisely, we can all grow in commerce, and grow in peace.

    Peace be with you.

  12. TSU says:

    I seem to remember that Bismarck encouraged France’s imperial folly of the late 19th century as a way to redirect its focus away from Alsace-Lorraine.

  13. Quern says:

    @TSU: yes, you are right about Bismarck and France, though around 1905 the question of Alsace-Lorraine came up in French media once again. It may be hindsight, but it was a portent of things to come…

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Paul Gottfried Comments via RSS