Germany and the Germans

Germany and the Germans

Germany and the Germans

Germany and the Germans

Excerpt

The peculiar quality of a particular nation is the result of the interplay of land, people, and individual. This peculiar quality, this German aroma, pervades everything German: the faces of the people, the clouds in the sky, the flowers and fields, the farm cart and the engine, the food and drink, the towns and the villages, it informs our language, our professional and official life; it can be detected in our way of thinking, in our science and in the course of our history. This book is an attempt to seize hold of this subtle essence and to subject it to the hard discipline of words.

But owing to the difficulty of depicting the German scene with the requisite amount of detachment, the task I had undertaken was, I found, no easy one. For it was not my intention to describe Germany from any particular angle or point of view, whether political, historical, philosophical or racial; I merely wanted to show how Germany appears to one who approaches it entirely objectively, with the help only of his eyes and ears.

Nor has this book been written from the standpoint of any particular science. It attempts to go beyond both politics and science, and is thus perhaps most readily to be labelled philosophical. However, the sciences, and in particular the science of geography, have been freely drawn upon. One might indeed describe the book as a philosophical or artistic geography; in a word, as 'Geophilosophy.'

But no sooner had I begun the work than I realized that before I could penetrate to what was distinctively German I must first work through the stratum of modern conditions which covers Germany as it covers the whole planet--a . . .

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