Germany in Crisis
What’s happening in Germany?
Fifteen years ago, euphoria reigned there as the Berlin Wall, symbolic of a Germany divided since its World War ii defeat, was rent apart. Former Communist-controlled East Germany joined with free-market, capitalistic and prosperous West Germany. A bright new future was predicted for the newly united nation, which declared its determination to build upon the reputation gained already by West Germany as the powerhouse of Europe.
A decade and a half later, that vision has clouded. Germany has yet again become a worried, psychologically disturbed, restless—even angry—divided nation.
Though there is no wall dividing Germany, it now suffers from a dangerous political schism. The majority of Germans are not happy, and when the German people are unhappy, it is time for the world to take notice.
The late Luigi Barzini once observed, “[I]t is once again important to keep an eye on the German proteus in an attempt to fathom the probable shape of things to come. … Its stability and glowing health in good times, or its despondency, internal strife, and emotional storms in bad times, can spread like rings in water over the whole Continent. Its decisions could once again overwhelm Europe and the world” (The Europeans). That’s a powerful observation about a powerful people. Barzini saw the German mood of the moment as being crucial to trends in world affairs—particularly European affairs. “What is the German mood? Are they happy, as happy as human beings can reasonably be? (It is when they are disconcerted and fretful that they can be most dangerous)” (ibid.).
Today the Germans are fretful. Today they are disconcerted. Today Germans are not happy!
Three prime catalysts are operating within today’s Germany to cause this collective national mood change: 1) economic slough; 2) Muslim immigration and Islamic terrorism; and 3) reviving national socialism. Germany’s continuing economic recession provides the climate. The continuing migration of Muslims into Germany—with the overtone of Islamic terror having struck close to home in France and Spain, and cells of Islamic extremists being discovered on its own turf—provides a reason for a heightened sense of nationalism and a more defensive posture. Resurgent national socialism provides the ideology.
The strong euro, which raises costs of operation for German industry and prices of goods for domestic consumption, creates continuing difficulty for the German economy. The huge added costs resulting from attempts to absorb East German infrastructure into the German economy as a whole has taken its toll on the German national economy. Added to this, with the German welfare state literally broke, it has fallen to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to become the sacrificial lamb who may well destroy his political career on the altar of a well-overdue restructuring of Germany’s bloated social welfare system.
This merging of negative impacts on the German economy has hit employment particularly hard.
German unemployment has risen to its worst levels since the moribund Weimar Republic of the 1930s (see sidebar, page 6). “‘This is the end of the Germany that I grew up with,’ said Martin Bongards, an unemployed sociologist and activist in the town of Marburg. ‘This country I knew no longer exists.’ … The stickers and posters pasted in train stations and on bus stops all over Germany these days tell the furious reaction of a population weaned on cradle-to-grave security and comfort ….
“‘It’s a very disgruntled mood, even aggressive at times,’ said Harald Rein, a counselor at the Frankfurt Center for the Unemployed, a city-financed advice office” (International Herald Tribune, Dec. 29, 2004).
The International Herald Tribune quotes one Herr Schmidt, a computer specialist, who “excoriates Schröder’s government” for its approach to cutting welfare benefits, “which he regards as a real betrayal: He voted for the Social Democrats in 2003. … ‘It’s going to be like San Francisco, where you look out your window and see people living in cardboard boxes,’ he said. ‘It’s coming.’”
Is it coming? Is it really possible that the great German Wirtschaftswunder, the dramatic postwar economic reviving of Germany out of the rubble of World War ii to the position of leading export economy in the world, could reach the stage this year of seeing many of its qualified workforce begging, penniless, on the streets? And what of the elderly and socially dependant, whose welfare benefits also face cutback?
That “furious reaction,” that “aggressive mood” of the German public, is finding an outlet for its negative energy in some disturbing ways.
Gelsenkirchen is a former coal-mining town of 270,000 in the Ruhr region with joblessness at 18 percent, the highest in western Germany. As winter set in there, locals claimed that Chancellor Schröder’s welfare reforms would only add to the misery that they were already experiencing due to economic recession. “‘Recently I’ve been seeing old women rummaging in dustbins for half-eaten sausages,’ said Peter Schrimpf, 59, an unemployed engineer who tops up his benefit by selling chocolate Santas in the town center. ‘People don’t have any money to spend and the reforms will make it worse. That’s why this place looks the way it does’” (Sunday Times, London, Dec. 26, 2004).
Following autumn street rallies by the unemployed, disgruntled Germans again went marching as the northern winter started to bite. Anticipating trouble, job centers around Germany began “hiring security guards, sending staff on self-defense courses and installing alarm systems ahead of benefit cuts being introduced on January 1 that constitute the most radical overhaul of the country’s generous welfare system since the Second World War. Konrad Freiberg, head of the police union, has warned of attacks on staff. There have already been several bomb threats against job centers and assaults on staff by irate jobseekers faced with benefit cuts” (ibid.; emphasis mine).
The rallies came and went during winter, with less intensity than anticipated, indicating that many who are being hit by reduced unemployment and other social welfare payments may feel resigned to their fate. Die Welt newspaper cited Klaus-Peter Schöppner, head of opinion researcher tns Emnid, as stating that “Germans are more worried than ever about the future after new statistics showed that joblessness rose to a postwar record. … Eighty-five percent of Germans are ‘worried about their personal future,’ 65 percent said they’ve lost faith that economic growth can create jobs and 37 percent are concerned about losing their jobs” (Bloomberg, February 3).
In the short term, Germany’s domestic economic picture looks bleak indeed. Economist Ulrich Blum, president of the Halle Institute for Economic Research, claims that the real figure is not the official government statistic of 5.037 million unemployed. “The real figure is that a good 9 million people are looking for work in Germany,” he said (Die Welt, February 3). Throughout 2004, the German economy continued to destroy those jobs that pay into social security. With 1,200 jobs being lost daily and the German government’s projected growth for 2005 barely 1.6 percent, the outlook appears quite bleak for Germany’s unemployed.
Immigration and Islamic Terror
During Germany’s period of reconstruction and rapid growth, the nation welcomed the immigration of foreign workers to its soil to fill employment needs. Thousands migrated from Turkey to take on work in Germany. Many hailed from Islamic backgrounds.
These immigrants have produced a second generation, born in Germany but not acculturated into German ways, who are still Islamic at heart. The trouble is, many of this generation have proved wide open to influence by Islamic extremism (see “Cracking Down on Muslims,” page 19).
On the opposite side of the coin is a generation of Germans who have not known the privations of economic depression and world war. They have been nurtured by the welfare state that grew out of Ludwig Erhard’s free-market policies in 1948 and built powerhouse Germany over the ensuing 40 years. They are now faced with economic deprivation for the first time in their lives, and they are looking for scapegoats. Right-wing extremists of this generation roam city streets seeking out the migrant minorities upon which to vent their hatred. Jews are being targeted once again.
Neo-Nazi politics, encouraged by numerous movements sympathetic to the cause of national socialism (once used as the ideology to drive German economic revival in not dissimilar circumstances), gains an increasing membership.
Paul Gottfried, professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College, sees Muslim immigration throughout Europe as galvanizing a revival of nationalist socialist parties on the Continent. In Belgium, France, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia, national socialist parties are rising up on political platforms with anti-immigrationist main planks. On the anti-immigration idea that underpins these movements, Gottfried reported, “It is the catalyst for electoral organization, a vehicle for other grievances [such as unemployment], and by now the presupposition for a right-wing European movement. Parties that have built on this theme are enjoying increasing prominence in European politics” (American Conservative, January 31). Professor Gottfried points to the singular issue at the heart of the rising popularity of right-wing extremism in Europe: “[A]nti-immigrationism is gathering strength as an electoral issue, and one evident reason is the growing preponderance of Muslims—who bring with them an alien culture and social problems—among the recent immigrants” (ibid.).
In Germany, this rise in Muslim immigration, with its threats of penetration by extremist Islamic terror cells, has produced another sinister phenomenon.
Concern grows that Germany is being used as a prime training ground for Islamic terrorist cells. It is a well-known fact that the 9/11 hijackers were based in Hamburg. German security officers recently raided the financial control center of an Islamic terror group based in Germany. The heavy involvement of German business in the design and building of much of the infrastructure for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iran is starting to backlash on the German nation as Iran’s true goal of leading a huge Islamic superpower begins to emerge.
The Bush administration’s post-9/11 initiation of preemptive warfare was all the excuse the German government needed to change its defense and security posture from home defense (as it had since rearming after World War ii) to a policy of deploying its forces, anywhere on the planet, under a revived German high command. More recently, Germany has used 9/11, terrorist bombings in Europe and the rise in Muslim immigration to justify the revival of centralized secret services, something not seen in Germany since the days of the dreaded, black-uniformed SS.
Resurrecting the Right Wing
The prospect of a popular political movement building on the current wave of concern—similar to what occurred during the only other time when German society was similarly rattled—is of deepest concern to watchers of the German scene.
“The German minister for employment, Wolfgang Clement, has said that he expects joblessness to rise even further following the news that it had broken a postwar record and topped 5 million in January. … [He] warned against ‘hysterical reactions,’ by which he meant comparisons with the Weimar Republic; it is often said that Hitler’s rise to power was facilitated by the collapse of employment in pre-1933 Germany. One opposition member of the Bundestag, Markus Söder, had warned of ‘Weimar conditions’ in the Federal Republic” (European Foundation Intelligence Digest, February 3).
Could it happen again? A betting person would not want to lay odds against it, given German reactions under similar economic, social and political conditions in the past.
The signs are that an awakening is beginning, similar to that of 70 years ago. This is the same people that reacted to a demagogue who promised to rescue the nation from Weimar’s failure in the 1930s. The same talented, clever, innately industrious folk who get frustrated when they have no work with which to occupy themselves. The same people with the same xenophobic tendencies. These are the children of those who readily rallied to a nationalist socialist cause with religious fervor just 70 years ago, who, deep down, ache for a strong leader whom they can respect and follow—one who really delivers on political promises! One who awakens in them a feeling of self worth and cohesive national identity with their beloved Fatherland! This is the same nation that still sings Deutschland Über Alles at right-wing rallies, with real fervor and longing.
A little over half a century after the defeat of Germany’s Third Reich, a resurrected extreme right-wing element has jumped to center stage in German politics. The foremost party within this element is the National Democratic Party (npd). The word democratic in the name is just a disguise: This party, similar to the European Union, within whose maw it has been spawned, is anything but democratic. It is nationalist and socialist through and through! Its politics are as bold as they are brazen. Seizing the very time when the nation is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War ii and the liberation of the Nazi death camps, this new wave in the German political arena has gained much free publicity which, far from destroying its credibility, appears to be actually contributing to its membership.
“Sixty years after the Third Reich’s defeat, German leaders seem at a loss to counter a tightly organized rightist party which is exploiting the Holocaust in a brazen bid to expand its power. … Much of Germany is aghast over the npd, which won 9.2 percent, or 190,000 votes, last September in economically depressed Saxony” (Expatica, February 2005).
The npd is an extremist right-wing political party with neo-Nazi tendencies. Unemployed workers are drifting daily toward membership in its ranks. The extent of its impact in Germany may be judged by the reaction of German leaders. “Germany’s establishment politicians have been locked in furious debate since January when the extremist National Democratic Party (npd) marred sombre commemoration of Auschwitz death camp’s liberation by comparing the Holocaust to the 1945 Allied firebombing of Dresden” (ibid.).
The situation has stepped up opposition attacks on the German government. “Turning up the political heating in the debate about the extreme right and the npd, Bavaria’s conservative premier, Edmund Stoiber, accused Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s Social Democrat-led government for causing the ‘economic failure’ that was fueling extremist parties. … Germany’s tough-minded interior minister, Otto Schily, is furious. … Leaders in Berlin are arguing over a possible new bid to ban the npd—but many are warning this might spark even more support for rightists” (ibid.).
Eckhard Jesse, political extremism expert of the Technical University of Chemnitz, says banning has not worked in the past and warns that there is now an intellectual right-wing extremism in Germany. The newsweekly Der Spiegel reported recently that neo-Nazis have managed to establish themselves in the mainstream. The npd has found fertile ground by focusing on East German anger over cuts to unemployment benefits, thus broadening its appeal by seeking to be both a nationalist and a socialist party.
These facts ought to send shivers up and down the spines of Western democracies. Yet, apart from this magazine, few organizations are highlighting this resurrecting German National Socialism (Nazism) on the eastern side of the Atlantic. In Britain, which once stood alone against the Nazi onslaught under the matchless leadership of Sir Winston Churchill—unbelievable as it seems to the sound-minded realist given the present socio-economic climate—voices are actually being raised in support of a nuclear-armed German military!
Core Europe—Back in Business!
Writing for the British Spectator magazine, Stephen Haseler declared, “Franco-German ‘Core Europe’—‘Charlemagna’—is back in business. … Franco-Germany virtually amounts to a superpower itself …” (Sept. 4, 2004).
Commenting on the European Union’s deliberate policy of playing the U.S. and nato for suckers by drawing them into supplying the manpower and matériel to fight Europe’s wars since the end of the Cold War, Haseler then propounds a view that has long been held by Anglo-American politicians seemingly ignorant of German history. Haseler opines that EU politicians “need to start a serious campaign to secure public support for defense. The war on terror may help here” (ibid.). What Haseler does not realize is that he’s stumbled across the very strategy of those who seek a resurrection of imperial Germany into a Fourth Reich. In this, they have learned from Hitler’s history.
Hitler was elected by public franchise—he was voted into office by the public. Those Nazis who went underground at the close of World War ii and who trained another generation of German bureaucrats and technocrats for Germany’s next attempt at global hegemony learned the lesson that initiating a blitzkrieg war was not the way to go about it.
Although German politicians know they must have the support of the German people—the Volk—to meet their domestic agendas, they have learned from Britain’s experience that first you must establish your trading outposts before you have an excuse to build a force to defend them on foreign soil. Thus, the idea of building a united European trading economy revived shortly after World War ii. This has since evolved to reveal its true nature as a gigantic superpower—a United States of Europe in the making—currently only lacking the defensive capability of the U.S.
But this Teutonic idea of a resurrected Charlamagna is already flexing its political muscle on the world stage.
Referring to Chancellor Schröder’s Nein! to President George W. Bush’s request for assistance in the war on Iraq, journalist Haseler wrote, “When Jacques Chirac decided to back Germany, and Vladimir Putin joined in too, it looked as though a new global alliance (potentially as powerful as the U.S.) was about to be born.” As Haseler pointed out, this was “the first time since 1947, and the era of global American leadership, two major ‘allies’ were defying the leader of the West—and getting clean away with it. [T]hey were actually campaigning against the U.S. around the globe” (ibid.).
Having gotten away with that, Germany has since deliberately thumbed its nose at the U.S. in a host of foreign-policy areas. In respect of Latin America, German policy is aimed at bringing “German influence to bear in Latin America … to weaken the U.S. supremacy” (www.german-foreign-policy.com, January 20). Regarding North Africa and the Middle East, the same source reported, “Because of the threatening U.S. politics, relevant German economic circles fear damage to German interests in natural resources and, thus, refuse linking Berlin’s positions with those of Washington” (February 8). Building on this theme, the International Herald Tribune reported the “EU’s willingness to engage where the United States has pulled back … reflects a global trend ….” The effect of its policies “is to draw the EU closer to many countries that the United States considers its enemies or holds in low regard” (February 11).
Imagine the potential that such an anti-American political power would have to reinforce its stand against American foreign policy if it possessed equal and opposite nuclear armaments. Yet that is exactly what Haseler propounds! “Europe needs a militarily strong Germany. And—let’s not be bashful about it, Europe needs the Bomb” (op. cit.). That’s tantamount to saying that Europe needs a strong, nuclear-armed Germany! And that—given the history of that nation—is utter, unadulterated craziness!
Equipping Germany with nukes is simply inviting a third global tragedy even worse than the last! Who is to say that, during World War ii, the Third Reich’s grab for global power and Hitler’s 1,000 years of world rule wouldn’t have been realized if not for the Allied forces nipping the developing Nazi weapons of mass destruction program in the bud before it could prevail?
Yes, today’s Germany is unhappy. But even more so, today’s Germany is cantankerous—willfully going out of its way to make the point that in foreign policy, it paddles its own canoe. It has finally detached itself from its American protector and is busy building itself into a giant superpower deliberately at odds with its old World War ii enemy and postwar benefactor.
Perhaps we should have listened to Luigi Barzini, whose words ring true now, even as they did before he descended into the grave, warning us two decades ago that the German people, even then, had the desire “to see Germany once more decide its own future and Europe’s and the world’s with an authority proportionate to its economic and cultural weight …” (op. cit.).
Forget your fairy-tale, politically correct, revisionist history. We deal with reality here. A reality built upon the time-worn, provable facts of history. A reality which, it seems, too few of our politicians and observers of the world scene wish to admit into their minds. The outcome of that which is building right now in Germany is simply too horrific to contemplate. It genuinely is the repetition of German history—yet again! This conjures up an image too terrible to bear. So the world dreams on—until the terrible awakening! For the awakening will come, and much sooner than you think!
We confidently predict that the German situation will, following a dramatically critical event, perhaps the future collapse of the dollar, rise from bust to boom—a boom that will reverberate globally, economically and militarily!
You need to come to grips with this emerging reality, which is destined to shake the nations (Isaiah 14:16). Write now for our free booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last! and come to grips with the reality of that which is even now building in Germany’s heartland toward the most explosive release of political and military might this world has ever witnessed! This explosion of pent-up energy will finally end in the war to end all wars, and usher in, not a millennial, enslaving Teutonic Reich, but an unsurpassed era of genuine freedom, peace and plenty—under the King of kings, Jesus Christ—such as this world has never witnessed, yet has always craved.