My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR
Finale

NOW I am back in Germany once more. On my desk are the proof-sheets of these Memoirs. These seventy-six eventful years of my life comprise at the same time seventy-six years of German history. Of much that is noteworthy I have recounted only my own experiences--confused, chequered, contradictory enough in all conscience. My own life, with its ups and downs, has kept pace with the ups and downs of this historic epoch. Unlike so many others I did not seek to escape them. I always felt that my roots were those of my people, my destiny bound up with theirs. The easy-going Ubi bene ibi patria was never my line. I have never gone here, there, and everywhere in pursuit of a life of luxury and pleasure, but have sought to create and promote the comforts of life among my own people.

No matter how deeply I may be rooted in the German people, I have never entertained chauvinistic ideas. Nationalism for me has invariably meant living and working in a manner that others will look up to and imitate. What holds good for the nation holds good also--in my view--for the family. I am convinced that only a family man can fully appreciate his responsibility towards the whole nation. The family is the germ-cell from which nations are born. It is from the family that the civilization and morals of the nation develop.

Twice in my life I have founded a family. Today, my daughter by my first marriage is the mother of four children with her own cares and responsibilities. It is a long time now since we climbed the summit of the Jungfrau together. It is even longer since that unhappy 11th November 1918, when the signing of the Armistice at Compiègne spelled the ruin of Imperial Germany. On that day I wrote in my daughter's birthday-book this verse which expresses my fundamental political outlook:

Neither violence nor power of the purse Fashion the universe. Ethical action, spiritual force May reshape the world's course.

-546-

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