Change, by definition is different from what is pre-existing. It could be planned change, but even the best laid plans are subject to failure and unknown events. Change can be dangerous no matter the circumstances. It can be amazingly fruitful as no human is perfect (save one) and change can lead to increased “perfection” in our life. A positive change. However, not all changes are good, not all of them are foreseen by the masses of men. During and after World War 2, Germany went through horrific changes. War, by itself is bad enough; and being on the losing side of it is worse. Germany, after the war in 1918 had one of the worst experiences of “change” a modern, developed country has seen. In the “old days” losing cities would lose people to slavery. Germany had unpayable debt, which is the modern equivalent to slavery. Being a “modern” country Germany then responded to such “change” the only way modern countries know how, stealing from the masses through inflation. 1921 – 1924 were the years of the Weimar Hyperinflation. An environment where the money system, the baseline for all trade and most human interaction, was constantly changing. Constantly halving in value. People would pay the bus fare upon entering the bus because the cost may have increased by the end of the trip. Customers who ordered a second round of tea during lunch would pay a higher price for the 2nd cup than the first coup. Horrific change, and if any persons in Germany were not able to deal with the change that individual did very poorly. If however, that individual could see the change and plan accordingly, he flourished. Such was the case in Germany that the Jews, who through their diverse history are very good at changing with the tides; while the German was not.
Pg 267 – They Thought They Were Free
After 1918 the immobile German, incapable of adjusting to the new conditions inflicted upon him, turning romantically and meaninglessly towards the hope of restoring the old, found himself bewildered and increasingly helpless, while the Jew was in the element in which, through no fault (or virtue) of his own, he thrives best: changing conditions, requiring rapid and radical adjustment. Instead of stating that the Jews were the “decomposing element” in Imperial Rome – a favorite citation of the Nazis – Mommsen should have said that the Jew was able, because he had to be, to adjust himself to a decomposing, as to any other kind, of Rome.
During this time of history, Eugenics played a large role in social sciences and in the mass thinking of individuals. The 1800’s produced horrid slavery conditions where the black races were seen as inferior and while by the 1900’s that form of thinking was gone, the thoughts of superior races amongst the nations still existed. These thoughts, while seeming abhorrent in their deathly consequences, are still understandable. Even today, most nation’s think they are the best nation for whatever reasons. Crowds of American’s can still be seen chanting “USA, USA, USA”. Other countries look down on the American’s as uncivilized or lacking refinement. Even within America there are views of people in different states that they aren’t as smart, wealthy, motivated, … as a different state. Viewing other people’s who’s mindsets one doesn’t understand as inferior is still common. In the 1900’s it was the accepted practice of the intelligentsia. Obviously, in Germany the Germans were the superior race and the German intelligentsia, like all other nations, had to prove that the German’s were superior. It wasn’t about a quest to find “who was” superior, but to show that “we are” superior. Biased from the get go.
Pg 267 – They Thought They Were Free
Between 1918 and 1933 this marginal man, the Jew, this Luftmensch, this man in the air, in a situation which put a premium on speed and a penalty on weight, rose to such power in a decomposing Germany that his achievement looked dangerously like that of a superman. But wasn’t the German to be the superman? – Very well, then. The order in which the Jew was usurping this role would have to be reversed, the standards of supermanliness redefined to fit the German. Superman, the German, would not adjust to this world; he would adjust it. So-oder so.
Everyone knows where that led. In all of these words, I am not attempting to make the case that the Jew was “superior” to the German. No way. The Jews were simply better at rolling with the punches, superior in that small aspect. However, that small aspect played a huge roll in Germany between WW1 and WW2. But not even all the Jews were good in this manner, not all of the Jews realized all the changes that were taking place in Germany. Some could roll with the changes to maintain, and even vastly increase, their livelihood; others remained poor. Years later, some Jews saw the negative changes taking place in Germany and fled the country; others never saw it coming.
Pg 270 – They Thought They Were Free
And how this German Jew loved his Germany, for which he was willing to give up his Judaism! How German he seemed to be abroad, so much so that everywhere in the Allied countries in the first World War that the Jew was suspected of being pro-German! What happened to him from 1933 on he could not believe; he stayed on, until 1936, until 1938, until 1942, until -,. “It won’t last,” he told himself. What made him think it wouldn’t? Why, this was Germany, his Germany. And now, in England and America, in France and Brazil and Mexico, there is a new kind of Jew, the Jew who has learned, when he speaks of those who a few years ago where his countrymen in his beloved country, to say “the Germans,” to distinguish them, just as Hitler did, from the Jews.
How good are you and I at change? Am I aware of the changes in my own country or am I like the “German Jew”? In my reading I try to learn to see the changes that occur and to profit off them. Only time will tell if I’m right I suppose. What about you? What changes do you see that are good or bad? How do you deal with them? Let me know in the comments.
This post is a continuation of a long series of commentary on quotes pulled from They Thought They Were Free, the Germans 1933-45 by Milton Mayer. The book itself is home to a lot of revelations to the nature of people and I do recommend reading it. For additional reading please see the short review of the book itself and a list of other commentary like this post.