German Youth: Bond or Free

German Youth: Bond or Free

German Youth: Bond or Free

German Youth: Bond or Free

Excerpt

Everybody and his brother, to judge by the public prints, is now hard at work making schemes for the solution of "What to Do with Germany?" Some of these schemes are solidly based on thorough knowledge of the motley jumble called Germany and of its kaleidoscopic changes in past and present. Certain others, however, rest only on a billowy foundation of good intentions, and might well be ignored if it were not for their superficial plausibility. Indeed, they will be ignored in the pages to follow, but only because searching examination and demolition of these jerry-built proposals would take far more room than can possibly be allotted here. Moreover, there seems little point in prying on the wrecking bar unless an alternative scheme is to be erected on the ground thereby cleared. Such a formula, programme, or what you will, is a pressing necessity, no doubt of that, but although those of us who feel the need are neither fools nor angels--or perhaps for that very reason-- it seems wise to choose a new site and look it over with care before even drawing the first lines of what might be hoped to constitute a plan for a trustworthy structure.

This little book is informed by such an exploratory purpose, and that only. The eventual structure will be the work of many hands. My task is simply to sketch a rough map and make a Tew borings in one corner of the ground. Leaving the metaphor: One aspect of German society that seems of strategic importance is the younger generation. Offhand, nobody would contest this statement, but in order to make its remoter bearings more obvious I wish to quote a few passages from a summary expressing my convictions as they stood six years ago. This résumé was entitled "Hitler Does it with Mirrors, or The Rise and Perversion of the German Youth Movement", and here it is:

Soon after the time we discover that there is no Santa Claus, we should be discovering that there is no magic in social and political life. Unfortunately, a great many grown-ups never learn that "it's done with mirrors"; they think that such a thing as present-day Germany, for example, has been conjured up overnight by the mystical hocus-pocus of a mighty magician named Adolf Hitler. Well, let us go behind the footlights and see, focusing our eyes on one trick in the repertory billed as "The Creation of the Hitler Youth . . ."

Over a quarter of a century ago, a young German student and a few of his friends became what I shall call the Roamers (literal transla-

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