World Order, Failed States and Terrorism

PART 9: Sovereignty, democracy and militarism

Henry C K Liu

(Click here for previous parts)

This article appeared in AToL on May7, 2005

US President George W Bush has frequently used post-war Germany and Japan as examples to support his claim that democracy could be successfully imposed on nations previously under autocratic governments. Yet both Germany and Japan had strong social democratic traditions prior to being taken over after World War I by fascist parties that promoted militarism as a means of national revival. After World War II ended with the defeat of fascist militarism in these two nations, the early election returns in both under United States occupation so favored socialist candidates that US occupation authorities had to quickly release fascist war criminals from prison and back them with funds and political support in order to save both Japan and West Germany from democratically elected leftist governments. Fascism was reconstituted under the guise of capitalistic democracy to fight socialism, notwithstanding that the pre-war rise of fascism was brought about by the same flawed strategy that eventually led to World War II.

In August 2003, six months into the US invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, then assistant to the president for national security affairs, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld both compared the post-invasion bedlam in Iraq to that in post-war Germany in 1945. Rice, in a speech at the 104th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio, Texas, said: "SS officers - called 'werewolves' - engaged in sabotage and attacked both coalition forces and those locals cooperating with them - much like today's Ba'athist and Fedayeen remnants." The insurgent attacks in Germany eventually died down as Nazis were released from prison by the Allies to run Germany under US occupation and supervision. Perhaps Rice was suggesting by her comparison between Iraq and Germany that Ba'athists should be reconstituted to run post-invasion Iraq with a reversal of the US policy of regime change, even if Ba'athism is not at all comparable to Nazism. And there are signs that Ba'athist rehabilitation is quietly happening in Iraq.

The marginalization of the Ba'athists was the most serious error made by the US in its post-war policy on Iraq, along with the decision to disband the Iraqi military. These errors arose from the flawed war objective of regime change. Regime change for the enemy is an innate purpose of holy war and it has no place in secular war aims. Victory in a secular war between states is achieved by coercing the government of the defeated nation to submit to the will of the victor. To achieve that aim, the enemy government needs to be preserved as a functioning polity. A regime change in a defeated nation provides an opening for a new government to reject the terms of surrender, an undesirable political development for the victor. Only a holy war will fashion regime change as a war objective, on the basis of a good-versus-evil struggle to the death, rather than secular political gains.

In Germany, the successor regime that signed the unconditional surrender documents after Hitler's death was immediately dissolved afterwards by the victors, raising questions on the validity of the surrender, since the government that agreed to the surrender had since ceased to exist, thus dissolving all government-to-government obligations. Unconditional surrender as a coherent statement of political objectives has two competing definitions. The first definition does not mean absence of terms, but that whatever terms are imposed would not result from bargaining with the defeated enemy. The victor lays down all the terms of surrender and for the vanquished, the terms are unconditional. In the second definition, the surrender is not subject to conditions or limitations. In this case, the victor has absolute freedom over the vanquished because, as diplomats put it, the enemy is actually signing a political blank check; there are no contractual elements whatever in the agreement. But even a blank check is collectable only if the signatory survives. In either definition, death cancels all obligations. Secular wars are against governments, not nations. Wars against nations are acts of genocide. The Allies had made clear repeatedly during the conflict that the war was not against the German nation, only the Nazi government. Yet the requirement of unconditional surrender of the Axis powers as a condition of ending the war, adopted by the Allies at the Casablanca Conference, was unprecedented in the history of war. It could not be justified even as a posture of moral outrage, for active official response to the Holocaust occurred only after German surrender.

In the official Casablanca Conference Communique issued on January 24, 1943, the part dealing with plans for "unconditional surrender" reads: "Borrowing a phrase from a letter of General US Grant to the Confederate Commander of Forts Henry and Donelson during the American Civil War, the president called the sessions the 'unconditional surrender' conference. The one hope for peace he asserted, lay in depriving Germany and Japan of all military power."

There is little doubt that the unconditional surrender requirement prolonged the war unnecessarily and added to otherwise avoidable bloody casualties on all sides in the final phase of hostility for no political purpose. It might have even intensified the despicable Nazi program of methodically liquidating Jews toward the final years of the war. On August 14, 1941, US president Franklin D Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter. On January 1, 1942, representatives of the Allies - the World War II coalition of 26 nations fighting against Germany and Japan - signed the declaration of the United Nations accepting the principles of the Atlantic Charter. The declaration included the first formal use of the term "United Nations", a name coined by President Roosevelt.

Extermination camps for Jews, as opposed to concentration camps for all undesirables, were established by the Nazis in March 1942. On December 17, 1942, nine months later, the Allies finally condemned the extermination of Jews and promised to punish the perpetrators upon victory. But it was not until April 19, 1943, that the Bermuda Conference was held to carry on fruitless discussions between US and British delegates on deliverance of Nazi victims, and only after the Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple stood up in the House of Lords in London on March 23, 1943, and pleaded with the British government to help the Jews of Europe. "We at this moment have upon us a tremendous responsibility," he said. "We stand at the bar of history, of humanity, and of God." The Vatican remained conspicuously silent.

The British Foreign Office had one fear: that the plan to rescue Jews might be too successful. In an internal memo the Foreign Office pointed out there were some "complicating factors": "There is a possibility that the Germans or their satellites may change over from the policy of extermination to one of extrusion, and aim as they did before the war at embarrassing other countries by flooding them with alien immigrants." Thus the Bermuda Conference was organized in a way that prevented it from producing results. Both the British and the US governments carefully restricted what their delegates could promise before the meeting even opened. The US instructed its representatives not to make commitments on shipping, funds or new relief agencies. Additionally, the Roosevelt administration warned that it had "no power to relax or rescind [US immigration] laws", despite all its sweeping war-time powers. US immigration laws at the time were openly racist. The British government imposed the additional restriction that its policy on admitting refugees to Palestine could not be discussed, out of concern for British geo-political interests in the Middle East.

When the Bermuda Conference finally wrapped up its 12 days of secret deliberations very little had been achieved. Jews in the US met the disappointing news from Bermuda with outrage. One Jewish organization took out a three-quarter page advertisement in The New York Times with the headline: "To 5,000,000 Jews in the Nazi Death-Trap, Bermuda Was a Cruel Mockery." There is no way of measuring how many Jews died as a result of the procrastination at Bermuda. However, two days after the conference opened, the Allies received news that yet another savage calamity was unfolding in Europe. The Jews of the Warsaw ghetto, who had begun their heroic uprising the day the conferees first met in Bermuda, flashed a four-sentence radio message to the West. It ended with the words: "Save us." The war between the Axis and the "Democracies" was not a war between good and evil; it was a war between raw evil and sanitized evil. Despite popular belief, World War II was far from being the "good war", if any war could ever be.

The Atlantic Charter a fraud
The Atlantic Charter contained eight points of "common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world", the third of which stated: "They [US and Britain] respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them." The eighth point stated: "They believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments."

The Atlantic Charter was a fraud because one of the two original parties never had any intention of observing the principles it proclaimed. Churchill's foreign policy consisted of three essential goals: 1) preserving the British Empire, 2) smashing the Axis (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan) in order to eliminate threats to the British Empire, and 3) preventing the spread of communism and Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. The preservation of the British Empire was carried out under the guise of defending democracy and a desperate strategy of turning the crumbling empire over to an expansionist US with Britain hanging on as a submissive junior partner. The defeated Axis powers were molded into post-war neo-fascist regimes as bulwarks against communism. Self government was permitted on condition of suppressing socialism and implementing subservient foreign policy. Full sovereign rights have yet to be granted to Germany and Japan after six decades of occupation. Disarmament has been all but forgotten.

Churchill's absolute silence policy
Throughout 1938-39, London refused to pledge that it would cease hostilities in the event of a coup in Germany to topple the Third Reich. When Roosevelt and Churchill met at Casablanca in January 1943, the president emerged from the meeting to tell the world that the US and Britain would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender. Churchill was surprised and later claimed that he had not been consulted but had to go along for the sake of the Atlantic Alliance. Churchill had in the back of his mind the use of Germans to resist post-war communist incursion into Europe, and was interested in preserving the Wehrmacht for that purpose. He knew that no Wehrmacht officer would support a coup against Hitler only to be invaded, occupied, and humiliated by the enemy. Better to stand by Nazi Germany, even if it meant following Hitler's madness toward total destruction, than to commit such dishonorable high treason. But Roosevelt left Churchill no room to maneuver.

Coming when it did in January 1943, the same month the German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad, the unconditional surrender proclamation prompted Ulrich von Hassel to conclude that the Allies had bailed out Hitler from his disaster at Stalingrad. Hassel was a conservative lawyer and career diplomat who served in Spain, Denmark, Yugoslavia, and finally as German ambassador to Italy from 1932 to 1938 when he was dismissed for opposing Germany's military alliance with fascist Italy. He opposed Hitler's foreign policy from the outset, predicting that it would lead Germany to war. During World War II, Hassel used his international contacts to arrange secret meetings with British and American officials, and hoped that a successful coup would translate into an honorable peace treaty with Britain and the US. He also worked closely with co-conspirators Dr Carl Goerdeler, who in 1937 resigned his post as mayor of Leipzig in protest over the removal of the statue of Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn, finance minister Johannes Popitz who submitted his resignation over Hitler's persecution of Jews, and army chief-of-staff general Ludwig Beck who was the leader of the planned coup, to lay the foundations of the new Germany they hoped to build after a successful coup. Like Goerdeler, Hassel dreamed of uniting Europe into a family of nations under the principle of mutual respect and adherence to international law. He joined the inner circle of the conspiracy and became intimately involved in the political planning of the coup.

Operation Valkyrie was the official code name for an emergency contingency plan designed to protect the Nazi regime against the potential threat of serious internal disturbances or uprisings during World War II. The presence of millions of foreign workers, compelled to work as forced laborers, was the most likely reason for such concern. Valkyrie was the brainchild of General Friedrich Olbricht who served under Home Army Commander General Friedrich Fromm. What Hitler did not know was that Olbricht and later home army chief of staff Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg were secretly transforming Valkyrie into an elaborate coup d'etat plan to overthrow the Nazi regime.

A number of British and US government officials, diplomats, intelligence officers, and even generals, opposed the unconditional surrender demand, including General George C Marshal and secretary of state Cordell Hull. But Roosevelt was adamant because he understood that the US public, with its long isolationist tradition, only went to war to fight evil, which required unconditional surrender. There was a divergence between Roosevelt and Churchill in their separate world views. Roosevelt envisioned a post-war cooperative alliance with the Soviet Union to prevent the emergence of neo-fascism while Churchill saw the need to use a conservative if not neo-fascist Germany as a post-war bulwark against communism. In deference to the more powerful partner, Churchill throughout his tenure as prime minister during World War II never dared deviate from his policy of absolute silence toward the German resistance from both the left and the right and the conservative conspirators who sought to overthrow Hitler. Despite repeated appeals from such conservative figures as Dr Carl Goerdeler, Churchill's government gave no quarter to any peace overtures from the German conspirators for fear that Stalin could offer a better deal to the German left.

The fact that the Soviet Union was bearing the brunt of the war against Nazi Germany was undoubtedly the overriding factor in Churchill's policy of absolute silence and Roosevelt's unconditional surrender demand. For Roosevelt, it was vital not to give Stalin any incentive that would tempt him to strike a separate deal with Nazi Germany that would lead to a separate peace. Generals Paul Von Hindenberg and Erich Ludendorff had pulled off such an affair with new Soviet Russia in early 1918, but too late to allow them to move their forces westward to smash the Anglo-French lines before US forces arrived. It was very likely that the Allies might never have won if Stalin, having regained the 1939 Soviet border, suddenly backed out of the war.

The fact that the Western powers had not yet opened a second front (and would not do so until June 1944) was tempting enough for Stalin to seek a separate peace. Churchill and Roosevelt were fully aware of this. Moreover, the United States was eager to get the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan since the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb was still years away from completion in 1942 and success was not totally guaranteed.

Throughout 1942-43, Hitler irately refused to negotiate a ceasefire with the Soviet Union. But the staunchly anti-communist German conspirators were far more intent on securing peace first with the West. Stalin made no effort to conceal his peace feelers to Germany, most likely to frighten his Western allies into speeding up their opening of a second front. Thus an obstacle to a negotiated peace with Germany was locked in place by a balance of calculations from both the left and the right among the Allies.

In Japan, the unconditional surrender requirement that included the prospect of eliminating the emperor led to the need to use nuclear weapons to end the war. In the end, the US kept the emperor despite his less-than-titular role in the planning and prosecution of the war, which had been the key condition in Japanese overtures to surrender before Hiroshima. There was no regime change in Japan after the war as in President George W Bush's aim for the "axis of evil" - Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

German sovereignty delayed
World War I ended ended without a decisive battle and the Imperial Government of Germany accepted an armistice while its troops were still occupying enemy territories from France to the Crimea. With the US landing 250,000 troops every month in France, the German High Command notified the Imperial government that the war could not be won and the German Foreign Office made peace overtures to US president Woodrow Wilson. An armistice was arranged and on November 11, 1918, the guns went silent on the Western Front. The German military caste, at the moment of national crisis, decided to save its honor rather than the nation. Under pressure from the German High Command, Kaiser William II abdicated on November 9 and slipped across the frontier to Holland where, despite demands to put him on trial as a war criminal, he lived quietly until his death in 1941.

No fighting ever took place on German soil in World War I. This paradox led German nationalists and militarists to blame the defeat in World War I on traitors in the home government. The German Imperial Government fell not from popular discontent or social revolution, not even from demand for regime change from the foreign victors. It fell from pressure on the Kaiser from General Erich Ludendorff of the German High Command to appease president Wilson's fixation on democracy by casting the Kaiser as an obstacle to peace.

The Weimar Republic came into existence to ward off radical revolution at home, not from defeat in war, or from foreign-imposed regime change, but from misplaced German hope that a democratic government would stand a better chance for more liberal peace terms from the Allies. But it was not to be, as the Peace of Versailles was exceedingly harsh on the German nation and blamed it unfairly for the sole responsibility for the war. In fact, the victors, including many in the United States who did not support Wilson's utopian ideology, were generally unhappy about the success of undesirable revolutions in both Russia and Germany. The German military leaders shied away from the dishonor of surrender, and the armistice signing was left to two little known civilians.

World War I was decidedly not a class war, but a war of intra-imperialist rivalry. But Wilson had obtained a rousing declaration of war from Congress on April 2, 1917, with his speech: "We shall fight for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free." Democracy then became a factor in the terms of the Armistice while the war to make "the world at last free" was not at all interested in eliminating Western imperialism and colonialism around the world. Wilson's Fourteen Points-proposal was not supported by the Allies or by Congress at home.

The Nazis, after staging a regime change in defeated Germany, rejected all the surrender terms agreed to in the armistice by the German Imperial Government and honored by the Weimar Republic, with considerable sympathetic support from the West where opinion had shifted from fear of German militarism to fear of Bolshevism. The idea of using Germany as a bulwark against communism in Europe was gaining currency and kept alive by Churchill throughout World War II. The US reaped enormous geopolitical and economic benefits from entering the war at its late stage, as it did once more in World War II. US troops faced combat for only four months while the other nations fought for four years. In the last year of the war in 1918, for every 100 artillery shells fired, the French fired 51, the British 43 and the US only 6.

Germany's rapid economic recovery during the decades after World War II masked its failure to retain full sovereignty as a state or to regain it quickly, as defeated France had done at the Congress of Vienna in 1814, or even defeated Imperial Germany had done at the Versailles Conference in 1919. In 1945, the German economy had been shattered by war, and its cities, housing stock and industrial plants destroyed by carpet bombings from Allies air raids. A good part of what survived was later dismantled and carried off by the victorious Allies. The Nazi party, which had dominated German politics and government, was outlawed and a new political regime had to be constructed from its ashes. The war that had begun as a contest over territories had ended up as a contest over ideology mainly because the US needed a moral purpose to overcome popular resistance to involvement in a foreign war. The German nation was required by the victors to go through total de-Nazification to cleanse itself of a genetic immorality, not just to atone for a virus of fanatic aberrations. A contest over ideology leads to a religious war with a demand for unconditional surrender and subsequent regime change in the conquered nation.

The Allies, not unlike victorious Napoleon in Moscow on September 14, 1812, could not find a legitimate government from which to accept an unconditional surrender in 1945. The Third Reich had ceased to exist with the suicide of Hitler and the unconditional surrender was signed by Admiral Karl Doenitz, a non-entity in German politics and history, except among U-boat enthusiasts. Doenitz's fame came from his secret build-up of the German submarine fleet in the years following the Treaty of Versailles. He was given command of submarine operations by Hitler in 1935, and made chief naval commander in 1943, by which time the German navy was only a club of sailors without surface ships. Having sunk more civilian vessels than enemy warships, Doenitz's stature among the German military establishment was not much higher than that of Hitler, the World War I corporal.

In his last will and testimony signed at 4am, April 29, 1945, a day before his suicide, Hitler wrote: "Before my death I expel the former Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering and deprive him of all the rights he may enjoy by virtue of the decree of June 29, 1941, and also by virtue of my statement in the Reichstag on September 1, 1939. I appoint in his place Grossadmiral Doenitz as president of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

"Before my death I expel the former Reichsfuehrer-SS and minister of the interior Heinrich Himmler from the party and all offices of state. In his place I appoint Gauleiter Karl Hanke as Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police and Gauleiter Paul Giesler as Reich minister of the interior.

"Goering and Himmler, by their secret negotiations with the enemy, without my knowledge or approval, and by their illegal attempts to seize power in the state, quite apart from their treachery to my person, have brought irreparable shame to the country and the whole people."

The Third Reich essentially died with Hitler on April 29, 1945.

On the announcement on May 1, 1945, that Hitler was dead and had designated Doenitz as his successor devoid of a functioning government, the U-boat admiral formed a new cabinet and ordered the unconditional surrender of Germany to the Allies effective May 7, not withstanding the fact that Goering and Himmler had both been sacked by Hitler for secretly negotiating with the enemy and that Hitler's last will and testament clearly expected Doenitz to carry on with resistance. Doenitz' new government, at Kiel, was summarily dissolved by the Allies before the ink on the surrender documents was dry. The Third Reich did not fall from German internal politics. Like Hitler, the successor government committed suicide by signing its own death warrant in the form of unconditional surrender and was immediately dissolved afterwards by the victorious foreign powers. Doenitz was imprisoned for 10 years (1946-56) for war crimes. Legally, the surrender became void with the dissolution of the signing government.

On May 8, 1945, a military surrender of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) was signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in Berlin, ending all formal resistance. Keitel was a loyal supporter of Hitler's policies and after the invasion of Poland he issued orders to the Schutz Statteinel (SS) and the Gestapo to exterminate the country's Jews. In May 1941, Keitel signed the commissar order that instructed German field commanders to execute Communist Party officials immediately after they were captured on the Eastern Front. In July 1941 he signed another order giving Himmler the power to implement his racial program in the Soviet Union. After the surrender, Keitel was immediately arrested and later tried at Nuremburg as a major war criminal. In court, his main defense was that he was merely obeying orders. Found guilty, he was executed by hanging on October 16, 1946. His request to be shot by firing squad as befitting his rank was denied.

On V-E Day, Allied supreme commander General Dwight D Eisenhower had 61 US divisions, 1,622,000 men, in Germany, and a total Allied force in Europe numbering 3,077,000. When the shooting ended, the divisions in the field became occupation troops, charged with maintaining law and order and establishing the Allied military presence in the Western occupied part of the defeated nation. This was a military occupation, the object of which was to control the population and stifle insurgent resistance by putting troops into every part of the occupied nation. Divisions were spread out across the countryside, sometimes over great stretches of territory. The 78th Infantry Division, for instance, for a time after V-E day, was responsible for an area of 3,600 square miles, almost twice the size of the state of Delaware, and the 70th Infantry Division for 2,500 square miles. Battalions were deployed separately, and the company was widely viewed as the ideal unit for independent deployment because billets were easy to find and the hauls from the billets to guard posts and checkpoints would not be excessively long. Frequently single platoons and squads were deployed at substantial distances from their company headquarters.

There is no indication that the US Defense Department has any such plans or intentions for the occupation of rogue states facing regime change from pending US invasion. Iraq with an area of 437,072 square kilometers (168,800 square miles) will take more than 100 divisions to carry out the type of occupation the US devised for post-war Germany. Currently, some 70,000 US troops are assigned to Germany, although the army's First Infantry Division and First Armored Division are now in Iraq, leaving about 40,000 US Army troops, the equivalent of two divisions, in Germany.

The Allied occupation of Germany is approaching its sixth decade, and in the eyes of many Germans it has not yet ended. Foreign armies are still based on German soil and Europe's largest and most prosperous "democracy" still does not have a constitution and a peace treaty putting a formal end to World War II. Its temporary constitutional instrument is the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) adopted on May 23, 1949, last amended August 31, 1990, by the Unification Treaty of August 13, 1990, and Federal Statute of September 23, 1990.

If the German model is applied to Iraq, there may never be a formal end to the war in Iraq. Because there is no formal peace treaty between Germany and the Allies headed by the US, German sovereignty is compromised. On October 20, 1985, John Kornblum of the US State Department told Germany's provisional Reichskanzler Wolfgang Gerhard Geunter Ebel: "Until we have a peace treaty, Germany is a colony of the United States." Ebel headed the provisional government that claims to be the legal successor to the Second German Reich, which was replaced by Hitler's illegal Third Reich (1933-45). The Second German Reich was never restored by the Allies after World War II. The legitimacy of the current German government is an open question and can be exploited in a future national crisis.

In 1945, the German people were suddenly confronted by a situation never before experienced in their history. The entire German territory was occupied by foreign armies, cities and infrastructure were largely reduced to rubble, the country was flooded with millions of refugees from the east, and large portions of the population were suffering from hunger and the loss of their homes. The proud and prosperous nation-state unified by Otto von Bismarck in 1871 lay in ruins and deprived of self government. Germany did not just lose the war, its people lost their state and have yet to regain full sovereignty as a fully independent state after more than half a century.

Within Germany, there was much discussion about what kind of government should emerge out of the political vacuum and chaos and how to rebuild the collapsed economy. But the principle of the Atlantic Charter notwithstanding, it was soon clear that the decision was not for the German people to make, but for the victors to impose. De-Nazification came to a screeching halt and a neo-fascist regime was put in place under four years of US occupation that eventually transformed itself into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949. West Germans could have any type of government they wanted as long as it was not communist. Democracy in Germany was to serve the Cold War purposes of the victorious United States. Germany was positioned in 1949 as the focus of geopolitics in a global ideological conflict that resulted in the emergence of two separate German states, each being forced by its contesting superpower sponsor to play new roles in a geographically and ideologically divided Europe.

In the post-war debate on the proper path for West German political and socio-economic reconstruction, German socialists argued for a democratic government with a central distribution system, extensive state controls, and the nationalization of banks and industry. The opposition came from Ludwig Erhard, a liberal economist appointed by the Allies to head the Office of Economic Affairs in the US-British Bizone; he later became minister for economics and ultimately chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) (1963-66), succeeding Konrad Adenauer, co-founder of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who had been elected chancellor of the FRG in 1949 with US backing. Kurt Schumacher, leader of the Social Democratic Party (Sozialisttischer Parti Demokratic or SPD), ran against Adenauer, the former mayor of Cologne, whom the US, not wanting to see socialism of any kind in Germany, was grooming for leadership. Adenauer united most of the prewar German conservatives into the CDU. Schumacher campaigned for a united socialist Germany, and particularly for nationalization of heavy industry, whose owners he blamed for having funded the Nazi rise to power. When the occupying powers opposed his ideas, he denounced them with Marxist rhetoric. Adenauer opposed socialism on principle, and also argued that the quickest way to get the Allies to restore self-government to a sovereign Germany was to co-operate with them. The quick way turned out to be half a century.

Schumacher also wanted a new constitution with a strong national presidency, confident that he would soon occupy that post. But the first draft of the 1949 Basic Law provided for a federal system with a weak national government, as favored both by the Allies and the CDU. Schumacher absolutely refused to give way on this, and eventually the Allies, keen to get the new German state functioning in the face of the Soviet challenge, conceded some of what Schumacher wanted. The new federal government would be dominant over the states, although there would be no strong presidency.

The Federal Republic of Germany's (West Germany's) first national elections were held in October 1949. Schumacher was convinced he would win, and most observers agreed with him. But Adenauder's new CDU had several advantages over the SPD. Some of the SPD's strongest areas in pre-war Germany were now in the Soviet Zone, while the most conservative parts of the country - Bavaria and the Rhineland - were in West Germany. In addition both the American and French occupying powers favored Adenauer and did all they could to assist his campaign; the British under a Labor government remained neutral.

Further, the onset of the Cold War produced an anti-socialist reaction in all US-controlled territories, including West Germany. The SPD would probably have won an election in 1945, but by 1949 the tide had turned. The result was that the SPD won 30% of the vote with the CDU winning 25%. But the CDU formed a coalition with the conservative Christian Social Union and two other minor parties to win a plurality of seats in the legislature, and was able to form a majority government. The German politicians, both Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, by their coerced opposition to communism and thus refusal to accept neutrality in the Cold War, allowed the US to institutionalize the division of Germany for half a century.

The basic tenets of Erhard's economic policy were what he called social market economy principles. Social market economy as established by Erhard in 1948, one year before the creation of FRG, or West Germany, has been credited by US historians as having fundamentally changed the West German economy, and with it the whole of post-war German society, presumably for the better, at least in terms of US geopolitical interests. It unleashed enormous mercantilist and competitive energies that brought West Germany the economic miracle of the 1950s, which was welcomed by the US as long as West Germany stayed firmly in the US camp in the Cold War. Economic success from competition with foreign economies in turn generated dynamic nationalistic social developments at home - a fact acknowledged by Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the CDU party convention in Hanover in 1996, where he also declared that the task for the future was to reform European security systems to safeguard their efficiency and funding, in other words, a revival of militarism.

When Kohl was elected West German chancellor in 1982, he inherited a difficult political situation. The country was suffering from mass unemployment inherent in market capitalism, and was deeply split over US deployment of nuclear weapons on German territory without German control, which Germany had been forced to accept since the end of the war. He presided over the unification of Germany during his 16 years in office. Kohl saw German unity and European unity as two sides of the same coin. In a bid to allay fears about the emergence of a united Germany as the new power in Central Europe, he pushed for closer European integration. He camouflaged German rearmament through its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Adenauer had been forced to accept integration with the West as the only option for a defeated Germany in the context of an East-West conflict. Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik consolidated the FRG with normalizing relations with the communist world. Yet Brandt had to repeatedly emphasize that conciliation with the East was only possible, or tolerated by the US, for a German Republic securely integrated with the West and firmly under US leadership. The election of 1969 that put Brandt in power marked a new chapter in German politics. Through it the Federal Republic finally had a president and a chancellor who had been actively associated with the resistance to Nazism. Brandt said as the results came in that "tonight, finally and for ever, Hitler lost the war". Brandt was not overly melodramatic. Post-war Germany had been visibly neo-fascist. In view of recent developments in the Vatican, Brandt's proclamation might have been premature. Both Adenauer and Erhard had been more willing to be reconciled with ex-Nazis than with the full consequences of defeat.

Helmut Schmidt's leadership earned West Germany international respect. Yet, the West Germans had to accept two constraints: First, they had to restrain themselves from projecting power outside the Alliance; and second, they had to defer not only to US leadership but also to US dominance. In the decade of the 1980s Schmidt set the stage for increased West German self-confidence. Although Germany and the US could never totally agree on all issues, friction had risen to new highs under Schmidt. In fact, Jimmy Carter, in his memoirs, described one of his encounters with Schmidt as "the most unpleasant personal exchange I ever had with a foreign leader". By the end of Schmidt's tenure as chancellor, the West German public was strongly questioning the underlying motives of US foreign policy. In a 1981 public opinion poll, only 38% of the German population felt the Federal Republic should adopt US president Ronald Reagan's hard-line course toward the Soviet Union, while 60% spoke in favor of distancing itself from Reagan's foreign policy. Yet the German government was not yet free to follow the popular will of the German nation.

The West German media described Reagan as a neo-conservative, an extremely pejorative term in German, implying propensities for war-mongering. Reagan's "messianic promise" to redesign US military power to support a moralistic and belligerent US foreign policy was viewed by a large majority of Germans as threatening to world peace. It simply reminded many of the last world wars, the destructive impact of which was still felt by Germany as a nation, and especially the city of Berlin. Reagan's embrace of neo-conservative values was thus interpreted as reactionary and as a move backward. A nation once victimized by Nazism was aghast by the embrace of neo-fascist values by the former slayer of the Nazi dragon.

The counterculture that developed in West Germany spread fears of the future and of progress in the context of the Pax Americana. There was also a lot of pessimism, which has a long tradition in German culture. The consequences of the failure of the 1848 movements to solve the problem of unification in a liberal and constitutional way left Germany with a less benign form of nationalism and contributed to a fateful estrangement between Germany and the liberal West. Massive migration of liberal Germans to the US, known as the "forty-eighters" brought the new nation a refreshing ripple of revolutionary agitation as well as a rich wave of talents in politics, science, medicine and the arts. The resultant depletion of liberal minds in German culture contributed to the rise of fascism decades later in Germany.

German materialism holds that all mental, spiritual and ideological concepts grow out of physical or physiological forces. German positivism holds that reliable knowledge is based on concrete facts, not abstract ideas. In 1818, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) published his profound work: Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (translated in 1958 as The World as Will and Representation), which was ignored during the first three decades of its appearance. Schopenhauer holds that the underlying reality of the universe is Will, a blind, instinctual dynamic driving force to live, which needs to be restrained for the sake of civilization. Ideas are shadowy representations projected by Will for its own purposes. Out of this emerged German Realpolitik, rejecting the notion of government action guided by ideology or any desire to promote a particular world view, in favor of a foreign policy of practical purpose, an approach practiced to great effect by Otto von Bismarck.

Neo-fascism and German terrorism
The 1968 radical student protests around the world affected Germany deeply. During the years of 1968-1977 Germany lived in fear of extremist terrorism. Three terrorist groups were dominant - the Red Army Faction (RAF) or the Baader-Meinhof gang; Movement 2 June (an anarchist group that named itself after the date on which a young pacifist named Benno Ohnesorg had been killed by police during a 1967 protest in Berlin), and the Revolutionary Cells, formed in Frankfurt am Main around 1972-1973 and organized into semi-autonomous cells, each aware of the group's overall mission yet mostly unaware of the identities of other group members. In 1968, the prominent German journalist Ulrike Meinhof joined Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin to launch the most terrifying era in German postwar history.

As in the United States, the student anti-war protests of 1968 at times turned into full-scale riots, with some elements evolving into various extreme groups that attempted naively to start a world revolution by taking to terrorism, starting with bank robberies and turning to kidnappings and killings. Most of the leaders of the most famous West German terrorist group, Baader, Ensslin, and Jan-Carl Raspe of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, were captured by mid-1972. Their followers continued kidnappings and killings over the next five years in repeated unsuccessful efforts to secure the release of their leaders from prison. The German government used the terrorist crisis to push through new laws that granted it broad powers in fighting terrorism. Radical leftists protested the loss of civil liberty, but the majority of the German people were firmly on the side of the government.

The context of the formation and activities of the Red Army Faction in Germany evolved from three events: the bombing of South Vietnam by the US Air Force in 1963 and North Vietnam in 1965; the visit of the Shah of Iran to Berlin in the summer of 1967; and the April 11, 1968, assassination attempt on Rudi Dutschke, the leader of the student movements of the 1960s. The would-be assassin was Joseph Bachmann, a young neo-Nazi who along with his pistol was carrying a copy of Bild-Zeitung, an extreme right-wing newspaper with the headline: "Stop Dutschke now!" During the court trial, it became evident that Bachmann, an unskilled worker, was influenced by the intense propaganda campaign of the mass media owned by Alex Springer, especially the Bild-Zeitung newspaper.

Dutschke recovered sufficiently to play an important role in the formation of the Green Party in 1980, by inspiring many student protesters, including Joschka Fischer who later became foreign minister in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government, to join the Green movement. Dutschke died in 1979 from complications of the assassination wounds.

All violence is despicable. Yet violence is never an isolated act, neither are its political manifestations: war and terrorism. All acts of terrorism are points in a cycle of terrorism that escalate and beget more acts of terrorism. Many of the leaders in the Red Army Faction were not involved in violence at the beginning of their activism, but were gradually radicalized into full-fledged terrorists. Baader's trouble with the law began over motor vehicle offences. Meinhof was a journalist/editor for Konkret, a leftwing student newspaper. Ensslin started out as a student pacifist. During the demonstration against the Shah of Iran on June 2, 1967, a fellow student pacifist, Benno Ohnesborg, was shot dead by the police. That incident of state terrorism precipitated the June 2 Movement. After the protest, Ensslin went to the local office of the Students for Democratic Society (SDS) and screamed hysterically: "This fascist state means to kill us all! Violence is the only way to answer violence!"

Though unconnected to its US counterpart that shared its acronym, the German SDS occupied a parallel place in German society. It was the leading left-wing student organization throughout the 1960s. Originally, the SDS was the student wing of the Social Democratic Party, but the SPD disassociated itself from the SDS in 1960 when the SDS began advocating an anti-nuclear weapon stance. 

Baader and Ensslin met, became lovers and began to plant bombs in department stores in response. At her trial for arson on October 4,1968, Ensslin explained: "We have found that words are useless without action!" On July 8,1970, the "June 2 Movement" was organized. At the start of the 1970s, the RAF, the June 2 Movement and the German state were at war. On July 15, 1970, Petra Schelm was shot and killed in a shoot-out with the Hamburg police. Her death caused shock waves throughout Germany as many Germans found themselves horrified at the violent death of the young innocent hairdresser. A national poll taken shortly after the death of Schelm revealed that 20% of the German population felt some sympathy for her cause. On October 22, 1971, during another shoot-out in Hamburg, Norbert Schmid, a policeman, was shot dead. The chronology of events becomes ever bloodier. Baader explains his viewpoint in 1973: "The gun livens things up. The colonized European comes alive, not to the subject and problem of the violence of our circumstances, but because all armed actions subjects the force of circumstances to the force of events. I say our book should be entitled 'The Gun Speaks!'"

Gerhard Richter's 15-painting cycle, "October 18, 1977", now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, is a collection of black and white oil paintings drawn from ubiquitous photographs of the Baader-Meinhof era. Robert Storr, the curator of the MOMA collection who recommended the purchase of the "October 18, 1977" cycle, as well as organized the Richter retrospective, considered Richter to be among the most important contemporary artists. Storr's 152-page book about the "October 18, 1977" cycle provides an explanation on the importance of the artist and this work.

The student protests of 1968 that promised positive hope for a new society quickly degenerated into violent street riots and misguided terrorism. Many leftist students would be inspired by Dutschke to begin their "long march through the institutions". A decade later, many of these former radical students were the main force behind the Greens party. But a handful of the more radical wanted "revolution now", and resorted to revolutionary terrorism in response to state terrorism.

Post-war West Germany had been created as a loose confederation of states, with no federal police force on the order of the FBI, only the disconnected Lander police forces. In the early 1970s, terrorists were able to take advantage of this decentralization by constantly traversing different states, whose police forces seldom coordinated their work or shared information.
On January 10, 1972, Der Spiegel published a letter by 1972 Nobel laureate for literature Heinrich Boll, in which he decried Baader-Meinhof coverage in the the Springer Press' Bild as not "cryptofascist anymore, not fascistoid, but naked fascism, agitation, lies, dirt". Boll, a devout Catholic, attacked the materialistic values of the post-war German society. Boll was born in Cologne where his father was a cabinetmaker and sculptor, whose ancestors had fled from England to escape the persecution of Roman Catholics. Boll started to write poetry and short stories in his youth. He was one of the few boys in his school who did not join the Hitler Youth movement, unlike the new German Pope. Boll himself had experienced harassment by the media and his house was searched by police when he proclaimed that Meinhof deserved a fair trial.

Film directors Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta adapted Boll's book, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, (1974) which attacked yellow journalism, onto the screen the following year. In 1985, von Trotta made a film about Rosa Luxemburg with Barbara Sukowa in the title role. Boll's The Safety Net (1979), translated from German by Leila Vennewit in 1982, was inspired by the sensational press coverage of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Right-wing critics, particularly in the popular press, accused Boll of sympathizing with social dissidents and even condoning the aims of terrorists. Boll actually was of the view that bungling terrorists inadvertently and ironically helped big business. By 1973, the German state imprisoned gang members under conditions so horrid that Amnesty International lodged a complaint. After 1973, radicals justifiably protested the inhumane prison conditions. In November 1974, Jean-Paul Sartre interviewed Baader in Stammheim Prison at Meinhof's request which resulted in an article "The Slow Death of Andreas Baader", published in Liberation, December 7, 1974. The first sentence Baader made to Sartre was: "I asked for a friend and they sent me a judge," reflecting his disappointment with Sartre's comments made on German television the night before Sartre had a chance to hear what Baader had to say.

The government adopted "Lex Baader-Mainhof" or the "Baader-Meinhof Laws" as amendments to the Basic Law, West Germany's quasi-constitution, to allow the courts to exclude a lawyer from defending a client merely if there is suspicion of the lawyer "forming a criminal association with the defendant", denying the basic concept of attorney-client confidentiality. The new laws also allow for trials to continue in the absence of a defendant if the reason for the defendant's absence is of the defendant's own doing, ie, they are ill from a hunger strike. As the Baader-Meinhof trial dragged on, Meinhof reportedly hanged herself in her cell on Mother's Day 1975, according to official records, but many suspected she was killed by the state.

The Baader-Meinhof era ended with the "German Autumn", a name given to the 44 days in the fall of 1977 when all Germany was gripped in a terrorist crisis. It began on September 5, when the industrialist Hanns-Marin Schleyer was kidnapped in Cologne by the RAF. For the next month and a half, his kidnappers attempted to secure the release of the imprisoned leaders of the RAF. On October 17, 1977, Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa plane, demanding, among other things, the release of Baader and his fellow prisoners. The Grenzschutzgruppe 9 (GSG-9 or Border Guard Group Nine), the newly formed German anti-terrorist force, ended the hijacking by killing the Palestinian hijackers when the plane landed in Modagshu, Somalia. Upon hearing the news, the gang leaders Baader, his girl friend Ensslin, who was a descendant of Hegel, and Raspe reportedly all committed suicide in prison, bringing the German Autumn to an end. Many suspected that the gang leaders were killed by the authorities to prevent future attempts to free them. Schleyer's body was found in an abandoned car.

The name "German Autumn" evoked the notion that German society was at an end of an era; that the progressive optimism of the late 1960s had degenerated into a ruthless situation. "It wasn't just about killing Americans, and killing pigs, at least not at first. It was about attacking the illegitimate state that these pawns served. It was about scraping the bucolic soil and exposing the fascist, Nazi-tainted bedrock that propped up the modern West German state. It was about war on the forces of reaction. It was about Revolution," wrote Richard Huffman in The Gun Speaks: The Baader-Meinhof Gang at the Dawn of Terror.

The liquidation of the leaders of the Baader-Meinh gang by the German state did not end terrorism. A police shoot-out took place with suspected RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams, and then there was the bomb killing of prominent banker Alfred Herrhausen (1989) and Treuhand head Detlev Rohwedder (1991). Treuhand is the government privatization agency. Herrhausen fell victim to a deadly terrorist bomb shortly after leaving his home in Bad Homberg on the November 30, 1989. He was being chauffeured to work in his armored Mercedes, with bodyguards in both a lead vehicle and another following behind. At the time of his death Herrhausen was a key director (Vorstandssprecher, literally, "speaker of the board") on the Deutsche Bank board. He had been with Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest, since 1969. From 1971 on he was a member of the bank's board of directors. The laser-triggered bomb seemed too sophisticated for so-called fourth generation RAF terrorists to deploy. In a CNN Berlin bureau chief's report on November 8, 1999, reference was made to the unsolved murder of a prominent West German businessman who headed the Treuhand, without mentioning any suspected RAF involvement. Detlev Rohwedder was fatally shot on April 21, 1991, days after he announced a plan that placed social restrictions on privatization.

An article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, wife of Lyndon LaRouche (perennial US candidate for president), in the December 10, 2004, issue of Executive Intelligence Review, "Unmasking the Secret War by the 'Economic Hit Men'" (by John Perkins), dealt with the murder[s] of Alfred Herrhausen ... and Detlev Rohwedder:

The two political economy-motivated murders which, more than all others, set the stage for this catastrophe, in which the German economy for 15 years has been destroyed in both East and West, were the killings of Alfred Herrhausen on November 30, 1989, and Detlev Rohwedder on April 21, 991. In a manner similar to John Perkins today, during the 1990s the former high-ranking Pentagon official Fletcher Prouty, in an interview with the Italian publication Unita, said that the murders of Herrhausen, John F Kennedy, Aldo Moro, Enrico Mattei, and Olof Palme were all the consequences of the fact that they did not want to subjugate themselves, one by one, to be minor consuls of the ruling pax universalis ... Real terrorists do not kill the president of a bank without a special reason. Most terrorists are paid agents and instruments of larger power centers. A certain such power center wanted, for a certain reason, the leading spokesman of the Deutschebank, on this day and in this manner, eliminated, in order to teach a lesson to others. Thus, there was a message in the way and manner in which he was brought down. Prouty said that the key to the explanation lay in 11 pages of a speech, which Herrhausen was to have given one week later in New York, on December 4, 1989, before the American Council on Germany, and which would now go undelivered. In this speech, Herrhausen was to have laid out his vision of the new organization of East-West relations, which would have steered history after 1989 into a dramatically different course. Herrhausen, at that time, was the only banker whose proposals for the development of Poland as a model for the other Comecon nations, according to the model of the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, went in the same direction as the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche. Let us recall the dramatic events of Autumn 1989: On November 9, the Berlin Wall came down; in documentation later made public, the Federal government admitted that it had not had the slightest plans for the unforeseen eventuality of German reunification. On November 28, Helmut Kohl took the only sovereign step of his entire time in office. He proposed the 10-point program for the formation of a confederation of both German states, and indeed, without consultation with the Allied Powers or his coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Two days later, on November 30, Herrhausen was assassinated by the so-called Third Generation of the RAF, whose existence was described in an ARD TV broadcast as "Phantom". This "Phantom" then appeared once more in the assassination of Rohwedder, and has since then vanished into thin air ... There was yet another leading industry representative, who had far-reaching visions for the development of Germany: Detlev Rohwedder. As head of the Treuhand, he was in charge of the transformation of publicly owned businesses in eastern Germany. In 1990-91, he came to the conclusion, that a reckless privatization of the real - economic - and still completely useful - industrial firms would have unacceptable social consequences. Therefore, he resolved, in the first months of 1991, to change the concept of the Treuhand into "first restoration, then privatization" - always with a view to the social effects. This was the moment, when the Phantom-RAF struck again. His successor at the Treuhand, Birgit Breuel, the daughter of a banker from Hamburg, did not have the same scruples as he did: Under her leadership severe privatization took its free course.

Why did both of these men have to die? Were they the symbolic figures of the "fascist capital structure," of which the RAF speaks in its statement taking credit for the Herrhausen assassination? On the contrary: Both committed the mortal sin against the system of the financial oligarchy by expressing moral misgivings regarding the consequences of this policy. Thus, in his book, Alfred Herrhausen, Power, Politics and Morality, Dieter Balkhausen describes how Herrhausen, already in 1987 at the funeral of his fellow board member Werner Blessing, expressed the view that the debt crisis of the Third World could no longer be met with silence. A discussion with President Miguel de la Madrid in Mexico about the debt crisis of the developing nations had affected him deeply, and he began to think about partial debt relief. Balkhausen reports further that during the Evangelical Church-Conference there had been a discussion about why the international banks, up until 1987, had made available to the semi- or under-developed states the gigantic sum of $1.2 billion, whereas they otherwise cut off credit lines with a "explosive harshness" and auctioned off the houses of the poorer classes. Perkins' revelation, that the EHMs (economic hit men) had the task of luring the developing nations into the condition of indebtedness, in order then to be able to exploit them the more mercilessly, provides the answer to this apparent contradiction. In a television broadcast on "Arte" on November 18, 2002, a Catholic priest who was a friend of Herrhausen's, reported that Herrhausen had come to the conclusion that a system, in which a few make a very high profit from the economy, while it crushes many others, cannot endure. Herrhausen struggled with the idea, that he perhaps had protected something that he should not have protected, did not want to protect and morally was not permitted to protect. With that, Herrhausen committed a mistake in the eyes of the financial oligarchy, which was to cost him his life: He came to the idea that the economy had something to do with morality and with the image of humanity.
Neo-fascism and militarism
Anti-war protest movements in post-war Germany evoked anti-Reagan demonstrations against the deployment of Pershing II and ground-launched cruise missiles. Under the umbrella of the peace movement, the ideologically divergent groupings, ranging from communists to concerned Christians, propagated neutralism and self determination. By the 1980s, the Federal Republic of Germany had become ambiguous as a dependable ally in the eyes of US neo-conservatives. In addition, the 1985 Bitburg affair, the 1986 Waldheim affair, as well as the renewed debate on Germany's past and its significance for national identity, have stirred up deep-rooted emotions in the US and West Germany, as well as all of Europe.

The Waldheim Affair began with revelations about the Austrian presidential candidate's "brown past" in the weekly Austrian magazine Profil that soon surfaced in the Western press. The allegations that Kurt Waldheim may have been a war criminal, that he had been involved in savage reprisals against Yugoslav partisans in the Balkans and in the deportation of Greek Jews from Salonika, were never actually proved. What was demonstrated beyond doubt was that Waldheim had systematically lied about his past in the Third Reich and that he knew far more than he had ever cared to reveal about atrocities against partisans and Jews. His supporters, however, chose to treat the evidence against Waldheim as a "Jewish inspired" campaign, and Michael Graff, the abrasive secretary-general of the Austrian People's Party, accused the World Jewish Congress of indulging in hate-filled attacks and deliberate defamation. The campaign against Waldheim, he suggested, was provoking "feelings that we don't want to have".

Robert S Wistrich wrote in the American Jewish Committee: "The Waldheim Affair had repercussions far beyond the tensions and conflicts it created between Austrians and Jews. At stake as well was Austria's image and standing in the international community. The Affair epitomized postwar Austrian unwillingness or inability to confront the implications of the Nazi Holocaust, bringing to the surface a stream of discourse about Jews that had been taboo in theory, if not in practice, since 1945. A new space was now opened for fantasies about an international Jewish conspiracy against Austria. Anti-Semitic attitudes dating back to pre-Nazi Austria and the Third Reich could now be expressed more openly, with the mass circulation press (most notably the Neue Kronen-Zeitung) reinforcing and also shaping popular prejudices. The notion that the Jew was at the root of any given problem (the Iudeus ex machina), well-rooted in Austrian history, could once more be utilized, this time for the political ends of the Waldheim campaign. This resurgence of anti-Semitism was undoubtedly linked to the justification of Austria's past in the Nazi era and to fears of Jewish revenge. During the Waldheim Affair, stereotypes of world Jewish power, negative Christian images about the Jews, and the notion that Jews were themselves responsible for anti-Semitism became part of a "we-they" confrontation pitting little Austria against international Jewry. The effects could be seen in a survey of Austrian attitudes sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and conducted by the Gallup Institute in the summer of 1991. It showed that substantial portions of the Austrian population still had strong negative attitudes toward Jews and believed it was time to forget the Holocaust." Waldheim won the 1986 election for president of Austria, despite the war crime scandal. His tenure as president was marked by international isolation, and he did not run again in 1992.

At Kohl's request, made only weeks after Reagan's landslide 1984 US presidential reelection victory, Reagan, whose approval rating at home had plummeted to 35% by January 1983, visited Bitburg Cemetery on May 5, 1985, less than four months into his second term, to honor the German victims of World War II and to celebrate the reconciliation between the US and West Germany. A great deal of controversy surrounded Reagan's visit to the German military camp at Bitburg, which also contains graves of Nazi soldiers of the Waffen SS. Honoring war criminals by neo-conservative political leaders has since become respectable, as Japan has also recently followed suit. It was the beginning of a resurgence of militarism. For balance, Reagan also visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, as if the SS and murdered Jews were both equal victims of war. On the same day, the Reagan administration acknowledged the "Reagan Doctrine" of sponsoring armed insurgencies, or terrorists by another name, against leftist governments in the Third World. The Reagan Doctrine was essentially war by terrorism.

After Kohl was elected West German chancellor in October 1982, he tried to redefine the basics of US-German relations, claiming fundamental common values. In his farewell speech for a Reagan state visit on June 12, 1987, Kohl noted that US-German relations were based on "our commitment to freedom, the common heritage and civilization of our peoples, which rest upon the principles of democracy, individual freedom, and the rule of law". Many cultural historians did not have the faintest idea what he was referring to. To many, the birth of both the Weimar Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany governments had been externally imposed to counter historical German militarism. Bilateral differences in opinions, Kohl stated, only follow naturally from major differences in size, geography, and global significance and could not shake the foundation of common values. However, for Kohl, the West Germans had to consciously realize that these values that they shared with the US were also their own values. It was the classic utterance of a house slave.

By focusing on the gap between political ideals and actual institutions, Kohl highlighted US-German conflict to be rooted in German national identity. While the Federal Republic's Basic Law, its temporary constitution, mandated adherence to German national identity, decades of geopolitical reality and Germany's recent past had stifled natural feelings of German history and culture. A gap existed between the constitutional ideal of one German national identity and the Cold War reality of two German states. In the post-World War II decades, West German national identity had only been defined in terms of economic growth and social security. Determined to close this identity gap, Kohl developed a new program called "national identity and moral re-orientation", which included a different approach to reunification. It was both an internal and an external concept. West Germans must strive to identify with positive historical and cultural values, while assuaging the mutual suspicions of both West and the East and their fears of a revival of German nationalism and militarism.

Next: Nazi Economic Recovery and Post-WWII German Economic Miracle