The Allies Must Help Germany To Help Herself
by Dr. Irene Marinoff
RECENT events in Germany have made 'it abundantly clear that the division of her
people into Nazis and Germans is correct. To accept it as a principle of action would be truly wise; for this provides the only sound basis tot future reconstruction. The task of , peacemaking, however. gigantic, admits of a solution once it is realised that the defeated enemy is a nation divided against itself.
Of this there can be no doubt. The discoveries hi Belson, Buchettwald. and other coneentrat ion camps arc in several respects instructive. They do not only reveal the utter depravity of one ,section of the population. They show with what ruthlessness the Nazi Party endeavoured to crush all opposition throughout the country; and that from the very beginning. For concentration camps already existed early in 1933 I Thus an utterly unserupulous minority were able to seize control of all national activities, and practically crush all opposition, which neverthelees remained. It was still heard in the fearless statements of the Catholic Bishops, even when .ffie voice of the Confessional Church had been silenced. The scanty reports of underground activities, which have reached this country, as well as the need for repeated purges bear witnesS to its existence.
But all resistance work had to be carried out against overwhelming odds, and demahded heroic courage. Whoever fought for the highest values of our civilisation against the invasion of barbarism risked internment and protracted torture. Those who bore the brunt of this struggle are the natural leaders of the future. They will form a nueleu.s to gather thase men of goodwill. who will support any serious effort to bring about a just order and the return to decent principles of life. There must still be a large number of these. The reactions of those 1,500 Germans from Weimar,
who %vete recently taken to " sec tor themselves " the atrocities committed ill their name and. in their midst, prove that the Nazis did not succeed in perverting the whole nation. Besides those who laughed, there were also those who broke down. The latter are the type whase co-operation can and must be secured.
Catholic Elements The task of peacemaking would be infinitely easier if a really constructive programme for the whole of Europe were offered, based on OUT common Christian heritage, and taking into account the history and chaiacteristics of each nation. Unfortunately, this is not possible. There remains the lesser course of supporting those elements in Germany, who have remained free from the taint of both National Socialism and Comniunivm, which are equally ulien to the spirit of Chris:lab Europe. This .support must be powerful as well as generous.
As the Protestant Confessional Church lacks the coherent doe.rine and chisely-knit4 organisation. which are characteristic ot Catholicism, the leadership will tall to those Bishops and eminent laymen who have never ceased to uphold Christian principles against
Naei brutality. It lias recently been suggested in these columns tbat Graf Galen, Bishop of puenster, would be consulted by the Allied authorities. Reports from liberated Germany bear witness to the fervour and goodwill of Catholics. Given the chance they will not be slow to support their Bishops. Many who were 'terrorised away from the Church will follow their example. It is also to he expected that thoee Proiestatsts, who like Pastor Niernoeller and his adherents have shared in the persecution, will be willing to cooperate in the work of reconstruction along truly Catholic lines. Nor will gee contribution of those be negligible whose fathers were executed by the Nazis because they opposed the sys tem. They, too, will he prepaied to fight in the cause of justice and humanity, for which their fathers fell. Moreover, there are. indications that
a really strong lead in the spaie of Christian tradition would be welcomed by many who arc yet outside the Church. The present writer has always maintained that. apart from economic factors. the success of National Socialism was mainly due to a spiritual crisis oil a scale unprecedented in the history of Europe. Millions had lost faith in Christianity and were drifting in a spirit of extieme wariness and disillusionment through the poverty. distress and humiliation of the post-war years. They were waiting for sorir miracle to iebuild their shattered world, restore their self-respect, and give them something to live for. A powerful Christian lead, given at that time, would have won these millions and prevented the lapse into barbarism in the heart of Europe.
The sit uation after this war will be more serious, the spiritual need 'even greater. With Naitonal Socialism all but rooted out. the battle for the soul of Germany will be between Communism and Christianity. The very vehemence of the present resistance against the Russian invaders indicates that the Communist solution has been rejected. This means that Germany is open to be claimed by the West, if the West can substantiate its claim by banging to a grievously wounded and humiliated nation its lost treasures of individual liberty, Taw, and freedom of worship.
The one danger whieh must be avoided at all cost is the creation of conditions similar to those in which a movement like National Socialism could flourish: economic distress and unduly prolonged political subjugation. For these, once they become intolerable, tend to lead to wars. Once the framework of order has been re-established by the Allied Powers, it would be a %vise policy to limit interference to safeguarding those elemenes of goodwill, upon whose shoulders the real task of reconstruction must necessatily devolve. Help the Germans to help themselves 1
It is of the utmost importance that in preponderantly Catholic sections of Germany. the Bishops should receive all possible support from the Allies in their thorny 'task. of reconstruction. This can only be effected if really suitable persons are sent to those parts who share the faith of the people and can bc understood by them. For this work it would be of slight use to mast the service of some eminent Jew Or Socialist refugee. however well qualified in other respects. There would be no common ground on which to meet.
Pre-Nazi Dangers Unfortunately some refugees, who are prepared to &tarn to Germany, belong to that pre-Nazi school of thought which helped to undermine the nation's sense of moral values and eternal laws. Theywould Mu rights before duties; they deny the existence of an authority which is derived from God; and in their misguided idealism they practise tolerance to excess. In the educational field thi.s type was very active after the last war. On one occasion, about 1921, a married woman advocated polygamy in a pubfic lectare, the excuse being that the war had denied the possibility of matrimony to so many women-1 In a Germany which has gona. through the soul-nicking experiegee of National Socialism and the war, anything vague or intrinsically unsound would be of no avail. It would only aggravate the disease. Mass hysteria can only be cured by sanity: loose thinking, when confronted with solid reasoning: spiritual degradation must he raised by all-embracing charity. The need of Germany can only be met by the fullness of the Faith.
The way to reclaim an individual who has gone astray is to build on those good qualities which still remain
in him. The same principle should be applied to nations. The Germans are thorough, thrifty and hard-working. They are born home-makers, and, above all, they are deeply religious. (Even National Socialism became a religion I) If the majority have lacked a sense of reality, it may well be that experience of recent years, has developed it. They should be given the chance of political responsiblity on a smaller scale. The re-establishment of small sovereignties seems most consistent with German history.
This history is closely bound up with that of Europe. Then only • will the militarist spirit in Germany be completely overcome. when she realises that her real greatness consists in her unique contribution to our European heritage.