"Reeducation": How The Victorious Allies Imposed Their Worldview on Defeated Germany
UMERZIEHUNG: Die De-Nationalisierung besiegter Völker im 20. Jahrhundert ("Reeducation: The De-Nationalization of Vanquished Nations in the Twentieth Century"), by Georg Franz-Willing. Coburg: Nation Europa Verlag, 1991. Hardcover. 270 pages. Bibliography. Index. DM 39.80. ISBN 3 920677 02 1. (Available from Nation Europa Verlag, Postfach 25 54, 8630 Coburg, Germany.)
Reviewed by Russ Granata and Ted O'Keefe
Dr. Georg Franz-Willing is one of Germany's leading Revisionist historians. As a prolific writer on mode European and world history, he has earned an international reputation as a specialist on the Hitler movement in the years before it came to power. He addressed the Seventh IHR Conference in 1986, and since then has been a member of the IHR's Editorial Advisory Committee.
In Umerziehung (generally translated as "re-education," but fraught with implications of "rehabilitating"' recalcitrants à la The Manchurian Candidate or A Clockwork Orange), Dr. Franz-Willing examines the attempts of World War II’s victors - America, Britain, France and the Soviet Union to solve their postwar "German problem" by suppressing the intellectual and educational currents of German nationalism and indoctrinating the Germans in their various systems. While Umerziehung concentrates heavily on reeducation policy and practice in Germany, it also considers at less length, Allied reeducation efforts in Italy, Austria and Japan.
Franz-Willing first sets the postwar reeducation policy in its historical context, reminding us that military conquest and religious conversion, forced or voluntary, has often been followed by forcible indoctrination. He reminds the reader that from the eighteenth century on, first in the West and gradually throughout the world, ideological "re-education" has largely superseded religious conversion as the modus operandi of expansive, hegemony-minded powers.
A principal strength of Umerziehung is its author's sure grasp of a central fact: that with "reeducation " as with the rest of their occupation policies, the victors were merely continuing their war against Germany other means, in effect turning Clausewitz's famous dictum on its head. For the victors, Franz-Willing argues, peace was war (an irony that George Orwell, who was writing 1984 during the occupation years, would surely have cherished).
Dr. Georg Franz Willing
As Franz-Willing stresses "re-education," in the form of propaganda both of the word and the deed, was a vital part of the Allies' conduct of the shooting (and bombing) war. Recall, for example, the rationale of F.A. Lindemann, Winston Churchill's science advisor, for Britain's murderous air war against German civilians: to destroy German morale; or the ferocious exhortations to Red Army soldiers by Soviet propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg to take rapcious revenge against Germany s non-combatants.
Only with Germany 's total defeat and subjugation in May 1945 could the Allies re-education plans come to full flower. Umerziehung provides a valuable survey of how these schemes budded years earlier under the careful ministrations of such British propagandists as Sefton Delmer and Sir Campbell Stuart, and, of more interest to Americans, an influential group of Jewish academics of, "neo-Marxian" coloration, the so-called Frankfurter School, who exercised great intellectual influence in the United States after emigrating from the Third Reich. Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and their allies at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research in New York City developed and championed an approach toward German re-education that incorporated Marxist and Freudian themes and targeted an alleged "authoritarian personality" that had until then allegedly frustrated the development of democracy and equality among the Germans. The Soviet occupiers, of course, had formulated an even more explicit program for fostering the worker's paradise, already under development in Russia, among their subjects in central Germany.
As Franz-Willing demonstrates, the loftier, more programmatic re-education goals of the victors - incalculating the wonders of the "American way of life'' or of "scientific socialism" - tended to founder on the emerging "Cold War" tensions, both intranational and international, that developed in the camp of the victors. As evidence of the first sort Franz-Willing cites the dispute between the "Morgenthau boys," who, following former US Secretary Henry Morgenthau, aimed at destroying Germany as an unitary state and nation, and the more moderate proponents of the "three D's" (de-Nazification, de-militarization, and de-cartelization), who sought to rebuild a functioning Germany purged of its "criminal" proclivities and primed to do Washington and Wall Street's bidding in Central Europe. (A similar division in Britain ranged the Germanphobes led by Lord Vansittart, chief diplomatic advisor to the British government, against advocates of reform, not revenge, based on Germany's liberal and socialist traditions. This latter group found its most poignant voice in the Jewish publisher Victor Gollancz.)
These international tensions, of course, largely involved the rapidly widening fissure between the US and USSR that spawned the Cold War and sent "re-educators" on both of the Iron Curtain scuttling to supervise the re-beating of their "anti-militarist" plowshares into swords.
All the same, in the years after 1945 the Germans received an education, thorough and practical, in the values of freedom, equality, democracy, and fair play from their vanquishers. The author makes a strong case for his judgment that, in its vengeful brutality, the Allied occupation of Germany far outstripped the worst excesses of the Germans in their wartime occupations.
Franz-Willing recalls the postwar expulsions of some 17 million Germans from eastern Germany and other Eastern European lands, including millions who fled the rampaging Red Army before the war's end and who were prevented from returning to their homes and homelands. He calls this Allied policy, which was ratified by the US, Soviet and British leaders at Potsdam, "the greatest war crime in Europe of the Christian era." [For more on this, see Nemesis at Potsdam by Alfred M. de Zayas, and Gruesome Harvest by Ralph F. Keeling. Both are available from the IHR.]
Reviewing the "economic policy" of the occupying powers (which, by grace of the Americans, included France), Franz-Willing reminds his readers of the theft and plunder of German property, from wristwatches and medals through bicycles and jet engines and sailing ships all the way up to and including entire factories, priceless art treasures and Germany's entire reserve of gold, silver, and platinum. Although this theft was justified as German "reparations" for wartime offenses against the Allies, this did not hinder the victors from using the same pretext to demand and extract many additional billions of dollars. While the American authorities distinguished themselves in the whole-sale theft of German patents, their Soviet allies shone in the kidnapping of German scientists and technicians.
During the immediate postwar period, each of the occupying powers not only imposed what amounted to starvation rations on the Germans of its zone of occupation, they also prohibited the importation of foodstuffs and medical supplies from abroad. The US and USSR did not relax this policy until after the terrible winter of 1945-46. (The author points out that as late as 1947 the "first lady of the world," Eleanor Roosevelt, was putting her boca grande at the service of interests in New York City hostile to Germany’s revival. ) A vast and corrupting black market was allowed to flourish, particularly in the American occupation zone, and many Germans were compelled to sell anything and everything; including their bodies, to obtain the necessities of life for themselves and their families.
In all parts of occupied Germany (including those areas "cleansed" of all but a small remnant of Germans and arbitrarily turned over to Poland, Czechoslovakia, or the USSR), draconian measures were decreed and enforced against Wehrmacht veterans, former German government officials, and erstwhile leaders and members of the National Socialist party (NSDAP). These measures included arrest, trial, conviction and execution or imprisonment, not merely in the well-known kangaroo courts at Nuremberg, but in many hundreds of lesser show trials staged by the various occupying powers. As readers of this Journal are aware, and as Franz-Willing reminds us - forthrightly and at no small legal risk in today's Germany - a major purpose of those trials, overriding even the lust for revenge that activated the Jewish interests so prominent in organizing and administering them, was to legitimize and to institutionalize the Allies’ wartime propaganda, above all the gas chamber and extermination lies.
Of those offenders who didn't rate a trial, hundreds of thousands were simply arrested -sometimes with their wives and children - and thrown into so-called "detention centers" (often former German-run concentration camps). In the US occupation zone alone, 322,000 were rounded up and held as part of the Allied "Automatic Arrest" policy.
As many as 100,000 may have perished in camps run by the Communists in Germany and Poland, and thousands more in the camps of the Western Allies. These figures, of course, do not include the hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war who died in Soviet custody years after the surrender, or the tens of thousands who died in American or French custody in camps or at slave labor. (If one accepts the figures of Canadian historian James Bacques, hundreds of thousands of Germans perished in these US- and French-run camps. See the review of his controversial best-selling book, Other Losses, in the Summer 1990 IHR Journal.)
Accompanying these fruits of equality and democracy, Franz-Willing reminds us, was the attempt to purge thoroughly the civil service, the professions, and the intelligentsia, above all professors and teachers - not just of "Nazis," but of all German nationalists. While never entirely effective, this purge wrecked many thousands of lives and careers, and, together with strenuous Allied attempts to eliminate all nationalist voices from the media and replace them with sycophants from what American military occupiers liked to refer to as the "indigenous population," paved the way for a commercial and academic media and publishing industry that by and large continues to serve as an instrument of the ideological-cultural war against German national consciousness even today, nearly fifty years after V-E Day.
For, as Georg Franz-Willing demonstrates, the Allies were extraordinarily successful in installing an intelligentsia of educators, opinion-makers, and mediacrats who internalized the postwar "re-education" and administered it to two generations of Germans come of age since 1945. Made up at first of returned émigrés (of whom the Allies were generally contemptuous) and opportunistic turncoats of the sort profiled in Gerhard Frey's informative (and amusing) reference work, Prominente ohne Maske (roughly, "Big Wigs Unmasked," Munich, 1984), this class effectively replaced and, if anything, improved on the Allies' censors and propagandists' version of the German past and present.
Even Americans hardened to decades of assault on our own traditions and national heritage will scarcely conceive the national masochism of Germany's new class of re-educated re-educators, who assiduously carry out the process known as Vergangenheitsbewältigung, "coming to terms with (Or mastering) the past." Relentlessly imposed in all aspects of political, social, educational and even religious life, the ultimate goal of this reeducation process has been (and remains) to obliterate the sense of self worth of an entire people.
The reeducators are not so much "masters of the past" as past masters at intimidation. For almost half a century, these creatures have waged war against national honor and historical truth, armed with effective tools of censorship such as federal laws against literature that allegedly "endangers youth" (under which, among hundreds of other writings, the German-language edition of Dr. Arthur Butz' book, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, has been banned), laws against "popular incitement" or "defaming the memory of the dead," and laws against "slander and "hatred," not to mention Germany's more recent law criminalizing the "Auschwitz lie" (we Revisionists are supposed to be the liars).
Faithful readers of the IHR Journal and Newsletter are familiar with the sordid record of how Germany's "re-educators" have dealt with Revisionists, both domestic and foreign, and their heretical views: smears, blacklisting, censorship, confiscation and destruction of books, dismissals from employment, fines, revocation of academic degrees, reduction of pensions, arrests, trials, and prison sentences. One need only recall the treatment of Wilhelm Stäglich, Udo Walendy, Otto-Ernst Remer and David Irving, to name a few of the Institute's collaborators, or consider the outrages and indignities heaped on German scholars and authors such as Professor Helmut Diwald, to recognize that in the German Federal Republic of today - much as in the Germanies of Jerome Bonaparte, Metternich, Frederick Wilhelm II, and of course, the mighty ghost whom the thought-controllers claim to be exorcising-historiography is once more a police matter.
Dr. Georg Franz-Willing has himself been a victim of this state despotism. He was denied a university career because his Doktorvater at the University of Munich was the great German (and nationalist) historian Karl Alexander Müller. Franz-Willing's strict objectivity in dealing with the history of Hitler and his party brought him difficulties during his years as a lecturer at the Federal Republic's naval academy in Flensburg-Murwick. Happily, none of this seems to have embittered this knowledgeable, humane scholar. While Umerziehung has been written with a passion and verve rare among German academics, it never once slips to the mean level of discourse that is the norm for his and his country's adversaries.
Not that Dr. Franz-Willing has pulled his punches. He sternly and courageously details the Jewish role in the postwar occupation, as well as the ongoing exploitation of the German people by the Zionist state through the unending "reparations" racket. Were he not retired, his description of the Federal Republic of Germany as "a society of penitents for Jewry since its foundation" would almost certainly bring his teaching career to a swift end.
Umerziehung is also unsparing in its criticism of American policies, wartime and postwar, in Germany and Japan. Overshadowing its West-European allies among the "Big Four," the United States pursued the most ambitious, the most relentless, and arguably the most hypocritical program of "re-education" of any of the victors. The eloquent American voices raised against our cruel and foolish German policy including those of political leaders such as Herbert Hoover and Robert Taft, scholars such as Austin App and Harry Elmer Barnes, and journalists such as Dorothy Thompson and Freda Utley, were unavailing against the powerful anti-German tide. Swollen with self righteousness, bloating with material power even as its moral and political greatness dwindled away, the United States of America cut a sorry figure in postwar Germany.
That much admitted, one may quibble with the author’s judgment that the rapprochement between the American and English elites of the second-half of the nineteenth century was as one-sidedly to the American advantage and the British disadvantage as he implies. Franz-Willing portrays an American ruling caste that deliberately profited from England's woes, and, in the person of President Frank D. Roosevelt, drove England and France to war over Poland. One might inquire instead about the extent to which the British Establishment used the Americans, drawing them into two world wars. A number of American Revisionist historians (David Hoggan comes quickly to mind) disagreed with Franz-Willing's view on this issue. Perhaps the answer is to be found in the multifarious linkage and activities of powerful interest groups which, for at least a century now, have effectively succeeded in subordinating nations to supra-national, indeed anti-national, concerns.
It is to be noted, too, that Umerziehung contains a number of minor flaws and errors, evident in particular to the present reviewers in its treatment of several nuances in American history and in English orthography.
In any case it is Americans, as much if not more than Germans, who need to read this book, which cries out for translation into English. Umerziehung is yet another solemn chronicle of the consequences of failure to heed the wise advice of George Washington, John Quincy Adams, and succeeding generations of American patriots who warned against our nation being embroiled and entangled in the Old World's immemorial and endless feuds and quarrels. Furthermore as Dr. Franz-Willing's excellent survey of the course and consequences of our and our allies' ultimately short-sighted "re-education" experiment hints, Americans themselves have reaped a bitter harvest from the seeds, not merely of anti-Germanism, but of anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism and anti-Christianity, which, planted by the most vociferous of Germany's educators, have since the war germinated in Washington New York, and Hollywood. Today and tomorrow, it is America they are re-educating.
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 493-500.
Published with permission of and courtesy to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
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