The past must be understood if the future is to be moulded – and Germany’ past is complicated.
In 2005 Angela Merkel1 was elected Chancellor of Germany. She was voted in by her own party, the Christian Democrats, as well as her predecessor’s party, the Social Democrats, with whom she later formed a so-called Grand Coalition.2 While at the beginning of her campaign it seemed that her party might almost gain an absolute majority thanks to Germany’s economic problems at that time along with Chancellor Schroeder’s3 neo-liberal reforms (Agenda 2010)4 and cut-backs of social benefits, which all in all where completely against any Social Democratic convictions, on the other hand, both parties were almost equally strong at the outcome of this election due to Schroeder’s alpha-male stage presence and his campaigning, in which he especially bashed Merkel’s plans to raise the sales tax and capitalized on the anti-intellectual resentment of parts of the German population, speaking in a condescending tone of her economic advisor Paul Kirchof5 as ‘this Professor from Heidelberg’.6
All this taught Merkel that the German vox populi can change very easily and very violently, and that one will fast lose political power if one does not go along with it.
She applied this lesson again as a result of (among other things, like the abolishment of mandatory conscription)7 the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.8 Large parts of the German population have long held a strong resentment towards nuclear energy, not just on the Left but across the political spectrum, with conservative farmers often at the forefront.9 This resentment was fuelled by the Chernobyl disaster, when during one year many people in parts of Germany had to throw away their homegrown food as a result of the nuclear fallout following the Soviet accident. To this day it is advised not to eat boar shot in parts of Bavaria, as it still has high levels of nuclear radioactivity.10 Also there is to this day no solution to the storage question of nuclear waste in Germany, and all nuclear waste is stored in a very disorderly way in old salt mines.11 For reason of this opposition to nuclear energy, the red-green Schroeder administration managed to achieve a deal with nuclear energy companies, under the pressure of NGOs and activists, to shut down all nuclear energy plants until the year of 2020.
The liberal-conservative Merkel administration (2009-2013) following the Social Democratic/Conservative coalition (2005-2009) decided to roll back on this deal for economic reasons and to prolong the runtime of some nuclear power plants. The support for nuclear energy has always been part of the platform for both parties, somewhat comparable to low taxes for the Republicans in the US.
Her own administration’s decision has been revoked, with an even shorter timeline to shut down nuclear energy than the original Schroeder agreement about nuclear energy, out of fear of the impending state elections in Baden-Württemberg, which the Green party won as a result of the explosion of Fukushima and the resulting increase in opposition to nuclear energy, added to other local controversies like that regarding the new main train station Stuttgart 21.12
Despite the roll back on nuclear energy, the Green Party obtained primacy in the state election in Baden-Württemberg, where it rules up till the present day.13
This sent shock waves through the CDU, Germany and Baden-Württemberg, which has always been ‘a black hole’ (black being the unofficial CDU colour) since the end of World War II.14 One could compare this local tectonic shift to something like the Democrats winning Texas in a double digits landslide.
All the mechanics of following the people’s mood swings, which were at work leading up to the new nuclear energy policy, were at work again during the migration crisis beginning in 2015 and continuing to the present day.
From the 1990s up to 2015, the CDU Angela Merkel took a quite critical approach to both migration and multiculturalism, although more in rhetoric than in practice. The following events are worth recalling in this context:
• The constitutional change that only people who haven’t come across or from safe third states (e.g. Austria, Italy etc.) can apply for asylum status, as a result of the first asylum wave, and especially of the Balkan wars and the riots in Eastern Germany;15
• Merkel’s claim that: ‘multi-culti has failed, absolutely failed’;16
• The state elections campaign in North Rhein-Westphalia against chancellor Schroeder’s intentions to recruit IT specialists from India under the motto Kinder statt Inder (meaning that German children should be educated to fill IT positions, rather than importing qualified Indians for the same);17
• Angela Merkel telling the daughter of a Palestinian in state TV that not everybody gets to stay in Germany (and receiving a huge backlash on account of it).18
So why did she let the migrant wave happen?
The reason is simple. The better part of the population, primarily from Western Germany, wanted it to happen, or more precisely would not oppose it for ethical reasons.19
This attitude is often credited by people on the Right to the re-education20 efforts by the Western Allies and the overall liberalization of Western Germany and all of Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, as well as the ongoing focus on the German crimes against humanity during WWII.21 While this is not entirely wrong, it is rather inconclusive since it doesn’t take into account post-war history and the influence that this more recent history has had on the German psyche. Many of these tectonic shifts have taken place not just in (Western) Germany but all over Western Europe, meaning former Cold War NATO territory, including its periphery, with Sweden at the forefront.22
The best description of these mechanisms in the Western World can probably be found in Jean Raspial’s Camp of Saints, published in the 1970s.23 It is astonishing to the author the extent to which many people with pro-migration sentiments compare to characters in this book – not even primarily those on the left (which would not have been a surprise), but deep into the Christian Conservative sector, Catholics and Protestants alike. Whether the pro-migration sentiment first emerged within the churches,24, 25 or whether the churches followed the present-day political climate in their pro-migration stance, is hard to decide, especially so far as the Lutheran Protestant Church is concerned, since it has since its beginning been especially close to power, starting already from the times of Martin Luther26 and the success of the Reformation thanks to the Frederic III of Saxony,27 up to the third Reich28 and the present day.29 Cuius regio, eius religio30 or cuius religio, eius regio: this is the question.
Despite this, Germany is a special case to study here. Not just because it was at the forefront of the migrant crisis — some might argue in fact that it even caused it, and subsequently bore the larger portion of its weight; but it also deserves to be studied especially because it does carries both the heritage of post-WWII Western history and also that of Eastern history.
The experience of the Iron curtain31 and the Berlin Wall32 stand out particularly here, where every man, woman and child trying to cross it was either shot, blown up in a mine field, or captured and imprisoned. In a way, the German separation during the Cold War, a separation which often divided families, has discredited the idea of border control as a whole, and it is easy to push the button for a ‘no nation-no border’ policy as Green Party politician Katrin Göring-Eckart did, in a quotation to which AfD leader Jörg Meuthen likes to humourously refer.33 Germany today is basically a nation without borders, since even it seldom enforces border controls even against neighbouring nations that are not parties to the Schengen Agreement,34 despite the toll that this brings for the people living in the border regions, ranging from cheap labour to trans-border crime.35
Added to this, and even more important, is the history of the anti-asylum, anti-foreigner riots after the German reunification in the 1990s,36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 where the frustration that many felt about their economic situation and their alienation within the new reunited Germany broke out in the most despicable form, delivering the world photographs of the ugly Germans, where in the first row the youth were throwing Molotov cocktails into houses with people still inside (asylum seekers or treaty workers from Vietnam or Africa); but even more important than this, in the second row their parents and local residents could be seen watching and sometimes applauding or actively justifying their behaviour on TV. Some people were even throwing Hitler salutes openly into the camera, while wearing wetted pants, this supposedly being the consequence of their having drunk too much.42 Looking at the pictures from Hoyerwerda or Rostock-Lichtenhagen, one wonders if this is what the prelude to the downfall of a civilization looks like, and to what degree it actually represents the same, since in a way not just a state, the GDR, but a whole ideology – namely, Marxism – imploded from Hoyersverda to Vladivostok.
But how did this come to pass after all the joy over German reunification?
While at the beginning of German reunification many believed that their living standards in Eastern Germany would soon be equalized to those of Western Germany, their expectations were strongly disappointed.
The industry of Eastern Germany was sold by the German state to primarily Western German investors with the intention of gaining enough funding to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure in Eastern Germany.43 This intention did not work out. To this day, Eastern Germany is dependent on large financial transfers44 from Western Germany, where the same money is increasingly required. Parts of the Rhinelands and the Ruhr area particularly are starting look look like Eastern Germany in the early years after the reunification, since the old coal and steel industry has not been replaced by new jobs and technologies.45
Whether the Truehand46, 47 (the institution responsible for GDR companies) did its best under the given circumstances, or whether it represented a plundering by Western German interests supported by a free-market neo-liberal ideology is a judgement the author is unwilling to make. The truth, like always, lies presumeably somewhere in the middle.
In the end the Treuhand made a loss of 250 billion Deutschmark until 1994 for the newly reunited Germany. Much could be said about this process and the corruption that accompanied it. But the unemployment rate in Eastern Germany,48 as well as the migration rate to Western Germany,49 speak for themselves, and permit conclusions about the fears and grievances of the people left behind on the territory of the former GDR.
To this day, parts of the Eastern German population do not perceive German reunification as a true reunification50 of a people, but rather an expansion of Western Germany onto the territory of the former GDR or as an act of colonialization. Today, even the right-wing populist AfD, which is gaining considerably more support in the East than in the West, is led disproportionately more by Western Germans, even in the East itself. Furthermore, no university rector is of Eastern German heritage in Eastern Germany.51
This frustration in the early 1990s was fertile soil for large parts of the German Old Right (e.g. the DVU,52 the NPD53 etc.) who believed that their time had come. That is to say – for those who held or now hold strong Neo-Nazi belief, who now began to strongly engage in Eastern Germany.
It was into this climate that refugees from the Balkans came, consisting of various ethnicities54 including Sinti and Roma from Romania (most of the time with their asylum requests being rejected);55 these were redistributed from Western Germany. In a way this was perceived as a second dispossession, an ethno-cultural dispossession following the economic one.
While migration in Western Germany was and is perceived more as a natural occurrence or a moral responsibility, in the East migration is perceived as something actively suffered due to the heritage of having lived under an all-controlling state, or as Karl Popper56 would say, a ‘closed society’.
The state as well as the local authorities were completely unprepared for this redistribution. From stealing in shops to public defecating as a result of a lack of sanitary facilities, up to the question of housing and homelessness, the problems were adding up. And the police to some degree ignored both migrant crimes and increasing hostile activities, like throwing stones through windows, on the part of the German population. The police was thus unable to uphold order, and was unsupported by politics.57
It was impossible that such a situation would not escalate. Then the riots broke out.
Everyone on the Right, however he understands his political stance, should look closely at those pictures. To this day, they are one of the main justifications for multiculturalism (which is itself the supposedly greatest antithesis to the actions these pictures captured) and an open-borders policy, best seen in the Amadeu Antonio Foundation,58 founded and run by a former STASI informant, Anetta Kahane,59 and named after the victim of deadly Neo-Nazi violence during the time following reunification.
To be very clear here, on a personal note, if had been up to author, these rioters would have gotten one warning to stop, followed by warning shots; and they would, if they had not willingly stopped and dispersed, been put down with the same set of methods that the Chinese People’s Party used in Tianamen Square60 – not because these actions taint and poison the discourse about migration to the present day, but because of the sheer moral disgust one cannot help but feel upon looking at them. The author has no sympathy for any sort of mob rule, and this sort of action in particular. The same would have applied for the far-left riots at the G20 summit in Hamburg 2017;61 this is a judgement the author makes completely independent of personal political conviction. Medieval mob rule or terrorism can never be tolerated.
But back to 2015, while historically no party to the Right of the Christian Democrats enjoyed long-term success, Merkel rightfully feared she would lose votes to the left before the refugee crisis.
That is why in 2015 Angela Merkel opened the borders, or more precisely failed to close them: not because of a global conspiracy to end Germany, but because she feared the pictures that would have naturally occurred had she stopped these caravans by force.62 Such an act would have gathered large opposition from far-left extremists up to Conservative Christians, the churches being at the forefront of pro-migration demands and Christian conservatives being among the core electorate of her party the CDU.
Back then Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere (CDU) was ready to stop the incoming migration, or at least to control it, by mobilizing the German Federal Police to get the situation under hand. This however would have been political suicide, as even the formerly conservative-liberal ‘Springerpresse’, the declared enemies of the student revolt of 1968, ran a ‘refugees welcome’63 campaign. One can only imagine the pictures of crying mothers and children on the front page of the ‘BILD’ boulevard newspaper (comparable to the British Sun). These pictures would have been Merkel’s political end. One foretaste of these negative pictures, which are so capable of strongly shaping the public opinion, was given to us with the photograph of the dead Alan Kurdi, a drowned Syrian child washed up on a shore of the Mediterreanian.64
Chancellor Merkel gave her people what they demanded, with portions of the population clapping at the arrival of migrants via train65 – though this is a fact these same people are often rather unwilling to be reminded of. It was populism in its purest form.
That this sort of clapping was more a sort of virtue-signalling directed at the rest of the German population and at the world, to show everyone how much the Germans have changed since National Socialist and Soviet Marxist days or the riots of the 1990s, was of course lost on those parts of the world which furnished the migration in the furst place, and was seen by those populations as an open invitation. How could they have interpreted it in any other way?
Only after the infamous Silverster night of Cologne,66 the night a huge number of non-European migrants sexually assaulted German women, did a change of attitude occur within large parts of the German population, a mood swing that allowed Angela Merkel to make a deal with Turkey, in order at least to at get the migration coming from Turkey to Europe under control.
For historical accuracy, it has to be mentioned that the perpetrators of this act of collective sexual assault, not seen since the mass rape of German women by the Red Army, were mostly from the Maghreb region (Tunesia, Morroco and Algeria),67 and disproportionately less from Syria.
This deal is now the main leverage which Erdogan, the present-day President of Turkey, holds over Europe, since if he were to allow the millions of refugees in Turkey, but also in Lebanon, to migrate uncontrolled into the EU, the present-day political system would implode, if not public order as a whole. The EU and Turkey are presently in a Mexican stand-off. Europe is depending on Turkey in terms of migration and Turkey is depending on the EU in terms of its economy, which is currently in a crisis.68 The former brand of Western secularism, forged by Kemal Attatürk,69 as well as the enmity towards Communism, have vanished under the authoritarian Turkish nationalist Islamist President Erdogan,70 and have been replaced by permanent tension.
The EU has created the same dependency by outsourcing migrant control of Sub-Saharan origin to those of its North African partners71, 72 that have a coastal border with the Mediterranean sea (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt). These new borders are in a way remniscant of those bounding the Roman Empire.
Where this outsourcing of the bad deed of migration control to Northern African countries will lead is unclear at the moment. The EU is washing its hands in all innocence, as Pontius Pilate once did. Whether the EU could control its borders and migration (including remigration) at all and at the same time uphold its self-given humanitarian values is rather unlikely. It is presumably easier and cheaper to outsource the entire mess to its Turkish and African periphery, closing its eyes to the human rights violations that inevitably occur there. By geographically restricting the misery of these migrants in Africa to the desert of Libya and the Maghreb region, one avoids the pictures of drowning people in one’s own sphere of the Mediterranian Sea – a convenience one purchases only at the price of increasing political dependence.
Despite being tourist destinations, the Maghreb countries were not declared safe third states in Germany (which would mean that the citizens of the region have no prospect of getting asylum), as any attempt by the Merkel administration to grant it this status is blocked in the Bundesrat (the second legistlative chamber, consisting in delegates from the German federal state governments), primarily by the Green Party.
Many other incidents like the terrorist attack on a Christmas market with a truck, committed by a Tunisian,73 made it increasingly clear that the vision of colourful, multicultural Germany will not manifest. The security measures, especially the Beton blockade stones,74 which are meant to protect public festivities or Christmas markets and which have the appearance of oversized Legos, speak for themselves.
All of this leads to increasing success for the Right-wing populist AfD, which has entered one state parliament after another, and joined the Bundestag in 2017 at around 13%, with much larger successes in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany,75 even while labouring under increasing pressure from German intelligence services76 and parts of the so-called civic society (churches,77 trade unions78 etc.).
The AfD itself could enjoy much greater successes in Western Germany if parts of it, especially the ‘Flügel’79 (meaning ‘wing’), or the Right-wing portion of the AfD, did not engage in unnecessary, easily or purposely misinterpretable rhetoric, as Björn Höcke80 often does. Such an attitude alienates those parts of the Western German bourgouisie which are necessary for any wide success, as many of these people agree with AfD politics on migration but also hear ‘the drumming through the earth’81 and the marching of jackboots whenever it moves, just because some people want to provoke the mainstream with the last unbreakable taboo, namely that of German nationalism and National Socialism in particular.
As a former history teacher, Björn Höcke well knows that when he speaks of a ‘thousand years of Germany’82 people think foremost of the ‘thousand year Reich’ of the Nazis,83 and not of German history as such, beginning with the Ottonians in 919 A.C.84 This sort of rhetoric might attract those people frustrated with present-day politics by angering the right elements within the liberal establishment, but it cannot achieve this without the aforementioned cost. Furthermore it implicitly supports the mantra of the ‘anti-fascist’ Left, shared by parts of the political centre, to the effect that any thought and politics on the part of the Right is inadvertently Nazi, Fascist etc.
It is among the great ironies of history that in the parts of Germany which fell under the control of the ideology of international Marxist Communism, the population holds much more nationalist patriotic views when it comes to migration.
This is however difficult to understand only at first glance, as upon closer inspection, one realizes that the socialist GDR (German Democratic Republic) was much more Prussian or German in real life than its Western counterpart, the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany). For one, according to the Soviet Communist ideology, the political systems of Fascism and National Socialism were by far less the spontaneous expression of the Italian or the German nation themselves, than the product of a dysfunctional capitalist system85 with various capital interests fighting each other – a not unwelcome view during the Cold War, as it seemed to indicate Western Germany as the successor of the old National Socialist State.86
While this view is not altogether right, it is not entirely wrong either. That the Nazi Party was funded in part (though not the decisive part) and supported by German industry87 is widely known, as is the fact that large segments of the non-working population, but even parts of the working class as well, were eager to support both ideologies to combat Communism and to protect their own economic interest.
This view was further supported by the fact that parts of the economic elites of Nazi Germany could continue their careers in the Federal Republic of Germany after short imprisonments (e.g. the names Flick88 and Krupp89 come to mind), and could profit from this, not even losing their capital, which they acquired through war profiteering and slave work (sometimes with cosmetic adjustments under pressure from the Allies).
Once more for historical fairness it has to be stated that parts of the former Nazi elite from the second and third tier also integrated into the Soviet-occupied GDR. The best example is Erich Apel,90 who was one of the chief engineers of Wernher von Braun, and later became head of the Chief Planning Committee of the GDR – that is to say, head of the administration of the whole planning economy of the GDR. He shot himself in 1965 for unknown reasons.
One could argue that both sides needed old talents to rebuild their portions of the now-separated Germany. But one could also say that they proved the old German saying right, ‘that one can stir the soup as long as one wants, but the fat always floats to the top’.
This generation of capitalist industry leaders was destined to hold a large portion of influence in the post-war Western Germany.
Another interesting point, proving that the GDR was in a way a form of Marxist socialism with some Prussian elements, is the National People’s Army (Nationale Volksarmee), which under Soviet occupation decided, in contrast to the Western German Bundeswehr, to purposfully pursue the German Prussian military tradition in style and doctrine. The parades and uniforms that resulted from this choice can be studied on YouTube.91, 92, 93 The uniforms and the marching style of this Marxist army speak for themselves. It might be said that one can take the Marxist out of Prussia, as many of the early SED leadership fled from the Nazis to Moscow,94 but one cannot take the Prussian out of the Marxist.
Following Friedrich Schiller’s dictum ‘that it’s the mind that forms the body’, the leadership of the SED is also aesthetically highly interesting from this perspective, as they range in their tediousness somewhere from Michael Ende’s Grey Men in Momo95 to manifestations of Hannah Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’.96 They were as far from the charismatic revolutionaries of Latin America or the early Soviet Union as they could be, a fact that permits one to draw conclusions as to the mindset of these men.97
But most interestingly, the migration policy of this ‘real-existing socialism’ was far more restrictive than anything demanded by the most Right-wing European populist governments, and not only in terms of its border control.98 Refugees and migrants, mostly from socialist brother countries or movements, were mostly housed separately from the German population.99 It was always clear from the very beginning that every migration to the GDR was to be for a limited time and was to end with remigration, whether the migrant in question was a Vietnamese or an African treaty worker100 or a refugee. However, in the meantime they received a comparably high level of education, especially for refugees under the premise of international solidarity, so as to strengthen and form them for the day they would return home. The prime example is the former president of Chile, who was trained as doctor in the GDR.101
Furthermore, any integration in Eastern German society was unwanted and actively discouraged. Foreign women who became pregnant were both remigrated and/or pushed to have an abortion, among other measures (a practice that the author highly opposes and has no wish to see return, as he holds a strong pro-life view). Whether they were men or women, their families following them into the DGR was not part of the plan. In comparison to Western Germany, Eastern Germany was marked by the timely limited rotation of foreign workers, whereas in the West the German industry pushed for the prolonging of work visas for their foreign workers, trying to keep their now cheap yet also trained workforce; and as usual, they got what they demanded. This led especially to Turkish workers having their wives follow them and found families here.
Western Germany called for workers, and what it received were humans. Who would have wanted to deny them in their desire to bring their families with them?
Only in 1973, under the Social-Democtrat lead government of Chancellor Willy Brandt,102 a Socialist dissident who fled from National Socialist Germany to Scandinavia, was the guest worker agreement with Turkey stopped, meaning no new hiring of Turkish workers for the German industry.103
It is a very interesting subject of study, how the internationalist Marxist communist governments acted sometimes in highly nationalistic (in the various meanings of this word from Hegelian and Schmittian up to Ethnonationalist) ways, with endless examples not just in the context of the system conflict of the Cold War but also between each other (Yugoslavia vs the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union vs. China, etc.) but also internally ( inter-Soviet migration or immigration within the present day People’s Republic of China). Arthur Moeller van den Bruck104 and Ernst Niekisch105 greet one another from the grave. The nationalist character of many of these polices however does not attest to their moral quality. The Soviet Holodomor against the Ukranians speaks here for itself. Also it doesn’t mean that Marxist systems are secretly crypto-nationalist. It merely means that the question of control over the means of production does not have to translate into unlimited international solidarity and the abolishment of nation itself.
In comparison to Eastern Europe, all the developments inspired by the New Left, and especially in academia and the media, did not take place in Eastern Germany. This chapter of post-War Western German history has much to teach in terms of strategy; Rudi Dutschke’s106 slogan of ‘the long march through the institutions107’ is alone highly inspirational, especially since it was by far more successful than any revolutionary violence by the far-left RAF.108 The peaceful way of the New Left has been largely successful in Germany, to such a degree that they could almost achieve anything in the non-economic spheres of culture and politics. The author wonders if they would have achieved even more if they had not been discredited in part by both RAF terrorist violence and the economic stagnation in Eastern Germany as a negative example for a Marxist economic and political order. It was quite common in Germany to silence anyone who criticized the economics of Western Germany by saying, without bothering to consider the critique itself, ‘If you don’t like it here go over there’109 (meaning, to the GDR of course).
But leaving aside the question of the particular history of Eastern Germany, critique of Angela Merkel’s migration policy is not just to that part of the country alone. Indeed, it is also interesting to look at the voices within the political mainstream across the spectrum that are critical of Merkel’s migration policies in present-day Germany. Noteworthy here are a number of names, all of them having received huge backlash from within their parties and huge support from the normal population:
• Thilo Sarazin110 (Social democrat, and a strong critic of present-day migration long before 2015);
• Boris Palmer114 (Green Party, Mayor of Thuebingen and probably the only dissident voice in his party).
Sarah Wagenknecht, herself of Eastern German and Persian heritage, is an especially tragic example; she gave up her post as leader of her parliamentary fraction as a result of being permanently under attack by large parts of her own party, for heretically demanding to keep immigration under control, and warning of the toll that it takes on the lower parts of the socio-economic spectrum of the German population. Nevertheless she is to this day far more popular than her own party, as a result of her being perhaps the most intellectually well-armed politician in the German parliament. The author always listens to her with great attention, as her analysis of present day geopolitical politics and free-trade capitalist policies are mostly spot-on, and far deeper than anything the AfD or other parties deliver on almost every issue. Her way of analyzing the driving factors of migration (arms export, free trade agreements, US military engagement out of Western German bases) alone makes it worthwhile to listen to her.
Her analysis of why her party, which has been in a way the socialist equivalent for Eastern Germany to the Lega Nord in Italy for most of its existence, lost this status in the last state elections in Eastern Germany is worth studying, especially when it comes to the milieus that her party aimed to win and/or lost. Apparently they lost parts of their base (disadvantaged and economically weak regions, the unemployed, impoverished pensioners etc.) by aiming for the economically successful academic left-leaning metropolitan population.115, 116 Her critique extends to the way migration is approached by her party, but it also extends to other fields, e.g. taxation on carbon dioxide and the effects this taxation would have on the lower ends of the income scale.
The author also does not want to miss the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Guido Westerwelle,117 the former German minister of foreign affairs from 2009 to 2013 and an outspoken Classical Liberal. In this function, he vivaciously opposed the regime-change policy in Libya as well as he was able to against both internal and external critique. Had he been heeded, the African part of the ongoing Migrant crisis would have been presumably reduced and many lives spared. That he did not succeed in his opposition118 does not diminish the man but rather elevates him. Opposing France, Britain and the US in German and lastly European interest has not brought him any gratitude in life. May he find peace in whatever lies beyond.
So, in the light of the above, should we exculpate certain protagonists and ideologies of recent history? Or are they solely to blame? Will some of Angela Merkel’s harshest critics even feel some nostalgia for her and her unideological administrative approach in a few years’ time? And do these questions even matter? If anything, the author hopes to have shown that the recent history of Germany is anything but uncomplicated, and that understanding it takes some effort before the question of guilt can be raised at all. But rather than merely gazing into the past, the effort of understanding is necessary for the accomplishment of any future changes. Let’s not be too lazy to do the work we have to do here.