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Hostility Towards Germans Part I: The Anti-German Narrative in the West

Written by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage


Translated by J M Damon


Following is a translation of a blog posted at

The blog begins:

[On 16 July 2011 the author gave a lecture before the Berlin Institute for State Policy on the subject of “Hostility Towards Germans – An Appraisal” in conjunction with the Institute’s 18th Course of Lectures. Unfortunately there are no recordings of this highly interesting event.  In response to requests, I have reconstituted my speech from notes. Since the lecture is too long for a single blog article I am posting it as a series, beginning with “The Anti-German Narrative in the West.]



DEUTSCHENFEINDLICHKEIT (Hostility Toward the German People) Is a Complex Phenomenon.


Many peoples, such as Poles, French, British and Jews, harbor a traditional resentment against the German peoplethat dates from the Second World War and preceding wars.

In addition, there is a kind of intellectual hostility toward all things German that has less to do with dislike of Germans as people than dislike and fear of the German state, which, it is feared, will become too powerful.

There is distrust of the German national character.

There is hostility toward all things German, especially on the part of the migrants who live here.

There is even a certain ant German hostility among the Germans themselves.

There is in fact an entire ideology that includes as one of its central elements DEUTSCHFEINDLICHKEIT (hostility towards all things German.)

[The subject of my lecture was DEUTSCHENFEINDLICHKEIT , or hostility toward the German people.

When in the following I use primarily the word DEUTSCHFEINDLICHKEIT (hostility toward things German) as opposed toDEUTSCHENFEINDLICHKEIT (hostility toward the German people), I am trying to make clear that I am referring not simply to hostility toward Germans, but rather, in a broad and inclusive sense, to various hostilities against German things and attributes in general, such as the cultural VOLK, the state, the general German population, etc.]


The various facets and levels of this complex of hostilities are not isolated or disconnected; they penetrate and reinforce each other and merge to form a real danger for the German VOLK.

The hostility toward things German that Goetz Kubitschek and Michael Paulwitz discuss in their book “DEUTSCHE OPFER – FREMDE TÄTER” (German Victims, Foreign Perpetrators: <>) is only one side of the coin, as I will discuss later on.

The other side of the coin is the hostility that is found in our own camp, which combined with mass migration is creating the real danger of our becoming a minority in own own country.

Obviously this would pose a threat to our domestic security.

“Our own camp” includes especially our power elite, whose anti German hostility poses a strategic problem.

The Western culture that includes Germany forms a broader context.  Its elite evinces anti German hostility that has less to do with actual resentment than with ideology.


The Western anti German Narrative


The most common and widespread basis for hostility toward things German is what I call the Western anti German narrative.

“Narrative” is a new expression in German — we could also speak of an ideology of history.

In this ideology, which is spread by films, literature, and popular depictions of history, Germany has represented a danger for its neighbors in the past and still represents a potential danger.

For this reason Germany must be fettered, disempowered and diluted because the German national character is anti democratic, excessively obedient to established authority, collectivistic, violence prone, warlike, genocidal, etc., etc.

Present day historians are generally too sophisticated to draw a clear and direct line between Luther, Frederick, Bismarck and Hitler, but the lingering effects of such propagandistic historiography are still quite noticeable today, expressed in thetendency to treat all German history as the prehistory of the Third Reich.


One cannot understand this concept of history unless one understands the historical context of the European civil war that has been raging since 1789.

[Hanno Kesting’s work GESCHICHTSPHILOSOPHIE UND WELTBÜRGERKRIEG. DEUTUNGEN DER GESCHICHTE VON DER FRANZÖSISCHEN REVOLUTION BIS ZUM OST-WEST-KONFLIKT (Philosophy of History and Global Civil War: The Significance of the History of the French Revolution to the East-West Conflict), published in 1959, is well worth reading in this regard.

Today it is unavailable even at antiquarian bookstores, but good libraries still have it – at any rate, the BERLINER STAATSBIBLIOTHEK (Berlin State Library) has it.]


This civil war is being fought by the adherents of three ideologies who constantly change their names, slogans and programs but still retain a recognizable identity and continuity.

We are dealing with two utopian and one non-utopian worldviews, Liberalism and Socialism on one hand and what is variously called Conservatism, Reaction or simply the Political Right on the other hand.

Regardless of their differences, both of the utopian-revolutionary ideologies have identifiable similarities that make them so fundamentally distinguishable from the Right that they can be traced back to a common “Meta-ideology.”

The utopian approach assumes that the possibility of peaceful and civilized coexistence among mankind.

This would not have to be a miracle, but is rather something that can come about as a matter of course.

For this reason one does not have to examine and analyze the fundamentals of society itself; one can directly and immediately pursue the realization of paradise on earth, either through gradual reform or revolutionary violence.


The Utopian Ideologies Imply a Number of Assumptions


Firstly, utopian societies hold that man is by nature good.

Social conditions such as inequality and lack of freedom are responsible for the existence of evil and must therefore be banished.

The approach of the political Right is that man is inadequate and weak and mired in original sin and must therefore rely on a social order for support.

Therefore a certain measure of inequality and bondage must be accepted as necessary.

The alternatives are not “Liberty, Equality,Fraternity” but rather chaos, violence and barbarism.


Secondly, Utopian ideologies hold that society can be rationally planned; its design is a matter of reason and enlightenment.

The Right, by contrast, believes that what is traditional and established can be destroyed by criticism, but cannot be replaced by anything better through rational processes.

Examples of what cannot be replaced by rationalism are the concepts of family, faith, tradition and Fatherland.


Thirdly, Utopian societies hold that what is “Good” (such as Freedom and Equality) can be rationally inferred, thus theGood is culturally independent and universally valid.

They believe that mankind can be redeemed if the Utopia derived from Enlightenment principles can be globally introduced.

For Conservatives, on the other hand, each culture is a unique, unplanned and irreproducible response to the elementary question of whether an orderly society is possible.

The Right emphasizes the legitimacy of the particular as opposed to the validity of universal ideology.


Fourthly, Utopian societies harbor the belief that society has to be defined and analyzed according to their standards.

These standards comprise a standpoint of norms rather than facts – thus “What Should Be” trumps “What Is.”

They are derived from rights rather than duties.

The Utopian concept of society confuses itself with “Reason and Enlightenment” because it is built on unreal notions instead of imperfect reality, and thus mistakes itself for “The Good.”

The reason Utopia mistakes itself for “The Good” is because it proceeds from the assumption that Man himself is good, and this implies that “The Bad” resides in social structures and concepts including tradition, articles of faith, duty, etc.

In their way of thinking, if the structures are bad the defenders of these structures must likewise be bad.

Obviously, tolerance cannot be based on such a concept of society; the less it is practiced, the less its adherents feel the need for it.


The Utopian concept of society produces an apocalyptic concept of politics, according to which politics is a struggle between the powers of light and of darkness.

Consequently, war is not perceived as tragic and inescapable.

It is perceived as justified when it is conducted for revolutionary aims and purposes.

In that case, every atrocity is acceptable.

The Utopian concept perceives war as criminal when it is conducted for counterrevolutionary aims and purposes, and then the means by which it is conducted are not taken into consideration.


And what does all this have to do with hostility against all things German?


If we conceive of 20th Century wars as parts of a global ideological civil war, Germany obviously represents the Right.

Germany could never accept the idea that wars are conducted in order to bring about “The Good Order” such as “War to End All War.”

This Utopian idea results in an apocalyptic concept of politics.

The idea of “Good War” is part of the Utopian concept of the liberalist world order as pursued by the Western “democracies” as well as the variant of Communism pursued by the Soviet Union.

The accusation that Germany was striving for world domination, which was put forward at the beginning of the 20th Century, would have been absurd even if not raised by the Anglo Saxon powers!

At every moment of the 19th and 20th centuries, those countries were infinitely closer to world domination than Germany ever was, and they continue to be so in the 21st Century.


Nations that were protected by insular geography have historically indulged in bold thinking and thanks to this geography, have been able to pursue global expansionist policies.

The liberal New World Order that appeared on the world stage before the First World War was also a fitting ideology for global Utopian thinking, since imperialistic power politics functioned as the armed branch of Utopia.

It is not true that one was merely a function of the other.

Both aspects of Anglo Saxon (and particularly American) policy) were aspects of one and the same understanding of politics.


By contrast, Germany traditionally represented institutionalized counter-revolution.

Globalist Utopian thinking was alien to the German power elite, since they faced the reality of governing a state that was constantly threatened from the inside as well as the outside.

Their political horizon was continental as opposed to insular, and so they were concerned with the consolidation of what actually existed.

The Reich did indeed adopt liberal, democratic and even socialistic ideas – consider the Bismarckian social legislation.

However, it did so only on condition that these ideas would consolidate the existing order.

The door was open for socialistic ideas to develop, but they would never be allowed to destroy the existing order.


This political concept (renunciation of revolutionary or utopian policies) determined the policies not only of conservatives, but of the Liberals as well, and ultimately even the policies of the Social Democrats.

The tendency to think in revolutionary and utopian terms was simply alien to Germany — it was too weak and exposed to attempt changing the world order or to entertain ideas of world conquest.

However, Germany was at least potentially strong enough to bring Europe into its sphere of influence and thus block establishment of a new world order; and if Europe were going to be true to its name, it would have to do likewise.


The war against Germany, which, as Winston Churchill observed, was in fact a Thirty Years War lasting from 1914 – 1945, was obviously not fought in response to any “crimes” committed by the National Socialists.

Instead, the Thirty Year War War Against Germany was fought to force Europe into the liberalist-utopian world order and the Anglo Saxon sphere of control.

Germany did not subscribe to any grandiose principle that it wanted to make real.

It was a nation rooted in concrete reality whose order and goals was derived not from utopian designs but practical necessity.

The Germans had no abstract loyalty toward liberal or “democratic” ideals, and this is what brought on the propagandistic accusation of being excessively obedient.


Germany did not pretend to be fighting for universal bliss, therefore it had to defend interests that were defined not ideologically but rather ethnically.

Germany’s enemies construed this as “nationalism.”

In fact, Germany championed communal values instead of individual entitlements.

It was not co-incidence that a current theme in German sociology was Ferdinand Tönnies’ opposition ofGEMEINSCHAFT (Community) to GESELLSCHAFT (Society.)

This is what constituted the “Collectivism” of which the Germans were accused.

Communal ideals are operative only when they are anchored in genuine emotions, the source of the cliche of German “romanticism” and “irrationality.”


In short, the facts that the Germans were different and thought differently from the Anglo Saxons and that they had no sense of Utopia, but rather represented a danger for its global realization, made them the principal enemy figure for Western Utopian thinking.

The cliches about the German national character represent the distorted and demagogically biased description of tendencies and dispositions that actually were (and still are) present.

These cliches were indispensible because a country like Germany could not afford globalistic Utopianism.

As we see today, Germany still cannot afford it.

Whether the Anglo Saxon peoples themselves can continue to afford it remains to be seen…


[Part II of DEUTSCHENFEINDLICHKEIT will deal with the adoption of the Western anti-German narrative by the Germans themselves and the consequences that have arisen from this.




The translator is a “Germanophilic Germanist” who attempts to make noteworthy German articles accessible to Germanophiles who do not read German.









Review – Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof: „1939 – The War with Many Fathers“

Schultze-Rhonhof: 1939 - Der Krieg, der viele Väter hatteby Manfred Kleine-Hartlage, first issued october 24, 2009: Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof: 1939 – Der Krieg, der viele Väter hatte.

Translation by War Blogger, revised

[Update september 28, 2011: War Blogger has produced a video with the following text. So if you prefer videos, click here!]

One does not wrong the retired Bundeswehr Major-General Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, who examines the leadup to the Second World War if one labels him a revisionist. Those, however, who use the label as an accusation should be aware of the ideologic tradition they join in doing so: „Revisionists“, these were the people within the SPD (at that time: Socialist Party of Germany) of August Bebel and later in all other Marxist organizations who sought to revise (from Latin re-videre: look anew) and correct the teachings of Marx and Engels. In countries where communists came to power the stigma of „revisionism“ was to be avoided like the plague if only because at certain times the mere accusation could cost the suspect his head.

Scientific progress, however, is dependent on constant revision, on new approaches and the questioning of familiar perspectives and established paradigms. The word „revisionist“, if used as a reproach, disqualifies only those who use it, not the ones it is meant to label. For those, it may well be an honorary title.

Of course, not every revision, regardless of the scientific discipline, is useful just because it is one such. It must be compatible with the existing data or source material and its explantory power should  at least equal the established theoretical paradigm. By advocating the idea that the Second World War had „many fathers“ Schultze-Rhonhof argues against a view of history (one that professional historians within their trade depict in a lot more differentiated way than it is presented in, for example, school books or news magazines) which can be summarized as follows:

Already the German Empire (before 1914) strived for German domination of at least Europe and, if possible, the whole world. After the defeat in the Great War, this desire, supported by a Social Darwinist ideology, was the program – in moderate and radical variants – of the German Right, most radically embodied in Hitler and his Nazi party. Hitler from the beginning sought to extend Germany’s power base through the successive elimination of neighboring states to gain the strength to fight against Great Powers, to disable France and Great Britain, to destroy the Soviet Union, thereby gaining „Lebensraum“ for Germans and perhaps to create the basis for a war against America and thus finally push forward to world domination.

The fascinating element of this view of history is – even before it comes to sources and facts – its narrative structure: there is a clear division between good and evil, and there is a suspense curve: Evil is built up until it becomes almost, but only almost, overpowering, is then put in its place by  a small Gallic village – the United Kingdom – and finally destroyed by an intrepid white knight, America. And there is a moral of the story.

This structure is doubly familiar: on the one hand, it corresponds to that of a fairy tale, on the other – with the motive of the final battle between good and evil – to that of the Apocalypse. Of course, that does not mean that it cannot be true. You just have to be aware to what extent this established view of history meets the expectations of quality literature, and to what extent it serves quasi-religious needs.

Many years ago pedestrians were lured into a trap by [the German version of] „Hidden Camera“ by a passer-by, apparently with a map in hand who asked for directions to the railway station and had the unknowing test subjects explain the way on his „map“, which in fact was a professional cutting pattern for clothing from a German DIY magazine. The dialogues resulting were something like this:

„So, you must now go straight along here…“
„At ‚yarn’?“
„Yeah, and then right here…“
‚Towards ‚pocket ‚?“
„Yes, yes. And turn left.“
„‚Passing ‚Button hole’?“

The willingness to accept the offered definition of a situation (in this case the pattern as a „map“) as „true“ can be so strong that apparent inconsistencies with this definition simply are not perceived. And do not believe that this willingness is limited to the surprised subjects of „Hidden Camera“.

For example, for years I had been convinced that the the so-called Hossbach-Protocol of 5 November 1937 contained Hitler’s declaration of his intention to launch a global war, and as such proved of the correctness of the above-cited view of history. And I had read the protocol several times: it contained Hitler’s announcement to attack Czechoslovakia and Austria, considerations under which circumstances such an attack could be performed and estimates of how the other powers would behave. It was a serious enough document for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials, which indeed were about the charge of planning an „aggressive war“. It certainly was an important piece of evidence, but not a proof of a master plan for world domination. Although I should have known better, it was only Schultze-Rhonhof’s analysis that spurred me to read it more carefully. This is just an example of how strong the influence of an apparently obvious interpretation can be, and how helpful it is sometimes „to consider matters anew „.

Schultze-Rhonhof apparently starts from the assumption that there was no master plan, and that Hitler’s foreign policy was based, above all, on the particular tactical considerations of the moment, and he characterizes the stages of that foreign policy. No doubt this assumption is supported by Hitler’s and his policies‘ erratic character, by the often extreme fluctuations and reversals, by his penchant for improvisation and the generally chaotic nature of the decision-making in the Nazi state.

The opposite point of view of the predominant interpretation of history, that of Hitler having joined strict dogmatism of theory, strategy and planning with maximal opportunism practice, tactics and conduct contains latent contraditions; the two parts of this view do not seamlessly fit together. It needn’t be wrong, but I can not see what speaks against considering the alternative that Hitler might have acted primarily on the basis of tactical considerations. Perhaps to him, it was more about his own place in history than about the realization of the ideas he had laid down in „Mein Kampf“ in 1924, and maybe the thoughts written down therein have more the character of a reservoir of ideas into which he could dip when the need arose, but which he could also ignore as he pleased.

Remarkably, in an adjacent area of research, namely Holocaust Research, fierce opposition exists against the „intentionalist“ theory internalized by wide swaths of the public, and it does so in the center of the field, not on the periphery. Especially prominent is Hans Mommsen’s interpretation of the decision process that eventually resulted in the Holocaust, as a process called „cumulative radicalization“. The Nazi regime – this is the thesis in brief – had entangled itself into constraints that by themselves demanded more and more radical approaches as time progressed, finally ending with the „Final Solution“. I believe it is appropriate to adopt the idea of a similar gradual radicalization for the foreign policy of the regime, at least as a hypothesis. In this context, Hitler’s Social Darwinism takes the same role as anti-Semitism does in the structuralist interpretations of the Holocaust: that is the role of a general ideological framework without which the later developments would indeed be unthinkable, but  which is in itself is not an adequate explanans.

Of course, Schultze-Rhonhof makes those assumptions more implicitly rather than explicitly. He does not have the ambition to create an equally comprehensive counter-proposal to oppose the established historical narrative; theoretical considerations in general are less his business. He tries to describe the situation from the perspective of each actor (Hitler, the European powers, the German generals, the German people), and to understand their actions in order to arrive at an overall picture. This is the strength and the weakness of his approach.

The weakness is evident in that a situational analysis in any case does not reach the consistency of the established view of history. Basically, the author leaves it to his reader to decide in which theoretical framework he would place what he has learned.

What the author achieves, however, is to present the extent of the knowledge, experiences and expectations of the historical actors to the reader: Those who grew up in the post-war era can hardly imagine the existential importance which the question of national minorites had. In the time after the Great War one could lose one’s job, be expelled, disowned or killed simply for being the member of a national minority; and since the right to self-determination of Germans was held in especially low regard by the Allies, and large parts of territories with predominantly German populations were handed over to foreign nations, it was Germans who very often were the victims of such practices. Also, few people will know that the idea of „Lebensraum“ at that time was neither a specifically Nazi nor German concept. As a matter of fact, such ideas were the foundations of many colonial policies. The large colonial powers, of course did not bemoan the lack of „Living space“, for they had solved the problem for themselves. That in nations like Germany, but also Poland (!) the view was wide-spread that an urgent problem needed to be solved was the result of this predominant streak of thought in Europe.

Of course, concepts of „Lebensraum“ met fertile grounds in Germany where the British hunger blockade even after the Armistice of 1918 had resulted in the death of up to a million civilians and thus gave credibility to the thesis of „a people without (enough) space“ (especially industrial ressources and agricultural space) which otherwise would have never reached such popularity. This also is a point Schultze-Rhonhof’s book tries to remind the reader of. His depiction of the Allies at Versailles and the injustices committed thereafter does not have the function of serving as a cheap set-off, but serves to illustrate the background against which policies were considered and undertaken back then to those born of later generations.

The author’s love of detail leads to many a insights which give food for thought. For example, many who deal with matters related to WW2 know the sentence attributed to Hitler in which he states:

„My only fear is that some swine submits a proposal for mediation at the last moment!“ [“Ich habe nur Angst, dass mir im letzten Moment irgendein Schweinehund einen Vermittlungsvorschlag vorlegt.“]

The statement is from Hitler’s speech in front of the German High Command on 22 August 1939, and in its poignancy it is tailor-made to be popularized and completes the picture of a dictator who constantly pressed for war.
It had always surprised me that Hitler should have used such a vulgar language in front of the arch-conservative High Command without causing consternation, and I had written it of as a byproduct of the detrimental influence of the Nazi-Regime leading to a decline even of the manners of the highest Prussian officers. Schultze-Rhonhof however makes a plausible case for the theory that not only was this sentence never uttered as such (not even in the spirit of the statement), but that the version of the protocol of the speech in question is a forgery which was leaked to the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials to make the German generals collectively responsible for the outbreak of the war.

With regard to the reception of the book the ferocity is amazing with which the core thesis – that the Second World War had „many fathers“ – is challenged: less so by the craft of historians who, as expected, ignored the work of an outsider (Schultze-Rhonhof is not a historian), but specifically by reviewers of the FAZ and the „Welt“ newspapers which use the opportunity once again to give food to the suspicion that they serve the media system in the same manner as the CDU/CSU serve the political system: as mere surrogates for conservatism. Interestingly, the question whether what the author states is the truth is of no importance to the two reviews. A higher priority seems to be placed on maintaining a certain kind of official historical narrative for reasons of national education [Volkspädagogik], and be it by defaming the author as a person and pushing him – what else? – into the right corner [in German, the right corner metaphor means you are labelled a Neonazi].

Ironically, the argument that the Second World War had many fathers is far from being a „legend“, as the FAZ reviewer claims:

There is no serious dispute among historians that the Versailles Treaty was a bad design which made German revenge efforts more likely; that Poland was an aggressive power that handled its many ethnic minorities incredibly brutal; that Czechoslovakia protratced her minority issues to the 1930s and made itself become a first class trouble spot; that Poland would rather risk a war with Germany than make any concessions in the Danzig and Corridor questions, and this despite the fact that the quite moderate German demands of late 1938 and early 1939 contained no territorial claims against Poland and were brought forward not with ultimate threats but after years of German-Polish cooperation in a style as it is customary between friendly countries.
And the thesis that Great Britain and its guarantee to Poland and France with its empty promises of military support reinforced Poland’s stubbornness, and perhaps intentionally so, is at least worthy of discussion. Many fathers, indeed.

„But, wait a minute,“ goes the typical objection, „aren’t the actions of the other European powers after Hitler’s rise to power ojectively meaningless since Germany was going to start a war for „Lebensraum“ in any case, as written in „Mein Kampf“?

No, not as far as Poland is concerned. Poland could have made arrangements with Germany even without joining the Anti-Comintern Pact; Schultze-Rhonhof goes to some length to clarify this point, and I know of no historians who have objected to such a view. The question of whether the consequence of such an understanding would have been a great war (against France, Russia or whoever), can in all honesty not be answered. The ease, however, with which it is affirmed by the established historic narrative may however be less the result of irrefutable source evidence but rather be based on the interpretation offered by the grand narrative of rise and fall of the clever devil Hitler, who already knew in 1923 what he would do in 1943. The mere existence of such a „complete“ story seems like a ready-made bed into which one simply has to jump to rest with sweet dreams.

Whether this narrative constitutes a good map or is just equal to another fake pattern of yarn, that is for everbody him- or herself to decide. Schultze-Rhonhof also does not answer that question in the end. He shakes the plausibility of the prevailing interpretation of history in some details by putting the situational and tactical factors in German foreign policy into the spotlight, but he offers no convincing interpretation of his own. The strength of the book of vividly leading the reader into the strange world of the interwar period is paid for by a certain short-sightedness of the book’s general interpretation. The author’s desire to correct a most likely too one-sided perspective of history in turn brings forth a view with blind spots of its own.

Nevertheless: The work offers a wealth of important details that are known to the experts but not to the general public, and which you will most likely not find elsewhere in such a density and clarity. Therefore, it is worth reading and provokes the readers‘ contemplation and further questions. No more, no less.