* * *
In the years after World War II, many Germans considered ethnicity a social toil. What was their place in a world dictated by economics and natural forces, they thought. They struggled to harness their resources, the tendency toward indolence.
German history was written by anglophones, and most of their sources were British, French and Russians, who were systematically exterminating Germans from the former Soviet Union. Many people came to believe that by shrinking the “dike” and holding back the waters of European history, they could avert “misfiring” and save their countrymen from the merciless march of history.
Having been ransomed from destiny, German nationalism became a caricature of collective consciousness. The rallies of “Der Mustich” – the German Superman – in the 1940s seemed like a vision of unified cultural identity. They imagined so-called Aryan brothers and sisters all around the world. Germany was at heart a cosmopolitan place, a mergers-and-joint-venture without limits. Its borders could offer the finishing touch to all of history.
A well-stocked cellar of carapaces and Nazi paraphernalia sits at the end of the Schroeder’s grimred hallway.
More details from Germany Ahead.