The Struggle for Germany, 1914-1945

The Struggle for Germany, 1914-1945

The Struggle for Germany, 1914-1945

The Struggle for Germany, 1914-1945

Excerpt

The territorial status of Germany has been a problem and a recurrent topic of European diplomacy at various intervals during the last half-century or so--in 1914-17, 1918-19, 1923 and 1941- 1945. The aims and the methods of solving this problem have varied enormously; so have their protagonists, from Marshal Foch to Marshal Stalin, from President Poincaré to President Roosevelt. But the theme has remained intact.

This book has as its starting-point the present situation of a divided Germany. It is an attempt to look back to 1914 or thereabouts, and to identify and isolate those factors which have contributed to this development. In this endeavour I have used as much hindsight as possible; I have always attempted to read the past in the light of the present and have therefore been less concerned with motives for actions than with examining the consequences of these motives. It is as true in diplomacy as in personal life--alas!--that there is frequently little correspondence between intentions and their consequences. In the face of this disproportion I have concentrated on what has seemed to me of practical importance, and this was often unforeseen. This does not mean that the development I attempt to trace is not rational--merely that its rationality must be sought elsewhere than in the realm of conscious purpose.

Given this hindsight, the present partition of Germany can best be understood as the result of a contest that has been waged by other powers to secure the allegiance of Germany. This contest has at different times taken within its scope the German social structure, German adhesion to a certain foreign policy and, lastly, the military conquest and occupation of Germany. I would even make so bold as to say that the sequel to the Second World War merely represents the continuation of this deeply embedded contest for Germany. This consideration has led me utterly to reject the supposition that the present partition of Germany is a result . . .

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