Tough Times for Germans
The seriousness of the effect of the global economic crisis on the German and European Union economies is beginning to dawn on the German people.
Having faced recession only a few years ago, Angela Merkel’s government presided over an aggressive export-led recovery leading the German economy into what until recently appeared to be a rosy future of market expansion. However, warnings of tough times ahead are now being sounded from Berlin as the global recession begins to bite all across Europe.
Figures released in November showed the economy contracted by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, following a 0.4 percent drop in the previous quarter. The German government’s independent panel of economic advisers predicts no growth for 2009. Other economic forecasts portray an even grimmer situation, with the German economy dropping 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and in early 2009.
According to a report from Germany’s Ministry of Finance, the country’s “crucial export sector is likely to hobble the economy at some point. … The report said the ‘weakness of the global economy has weighed on exports’ that contribute significantly to the economy, given that Germany is the world’s leading exporter” (Deutsche Welle, Oct. 23, 2008).
The Bild newspaper reported that Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piëch expects the German car industry to face a prolonged downturn, declaring that the problems of the capital market are continuing to damage the already weak German economy (Oct. 23, 2008).
Piëch’s gloomy outlook follows a slew of cutbacks in the German automotive industry. Deutsche Welle reported that “German luxury carmakers Daimler and BMW said … they would temporarily close factories as a result of slumping sales. General Motors’ German arm, Opel, has also announced output cuts, as have Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary Seat and Czech subsidiary Skoda” (Oct. 26, 2008).
Germany’s senior citizens are making connections with similar events embedded in their history of the last century. In the October 27 New York Times, a front-page report headlined “Some Europeans Prepare for the Worst” cited the fact that “Germany, where many people lost their savings twice in the 20th century, is one of the richest laboratories of European historical scars—welts that help explain the country’s fears of inflation.”
The Times quoted Tony Pierenkemper, a professor of economics at Cologne University, as insightfully declaring that “History matters. In times of crisis you really get to know a country and its people. Traumatic events are seared into the collective consciousness and often survive into the next generations.”
A significant problem arises when this “collective consciousness” still sees demagoguery as the solution to the confusion of economic, social and political turmoil, as is the case with that element within German society that unfortunately is still moved by a persistent Nazi spirit.
The Trumpet has been strident in publicizing a warning to the world that the Nazi spirit that arose amid conditions such as we see ripening in Europe today, never died. As Herbert Armstrong declared, it survived to continue its work underground, biding its time for one last resurrection!
History does matter!
Certainly, as Professor Pierenkemper declared, “In times of crisis you really get to know a country and its people.” To no people more than the German folk does this particularly apply, especially given their nature to seek to impose order over prevailing chaos using military methods. The German mind hates disorder. The rising crisis in Europe is creating a fertile environment for the revival of the Nazi spirit.
Watch Europe! Watch Germany! And watch for the rise of a demagogue who is right now, no doubt, biding his time, behind the scenes, awaiting his moment to be thrown into the limelight by “flatteries” (Daniel 11:21), captivating the minds of a multitude of followers and their leaders, intent on imposing a very Germanic solution on the emerging chaos that is even now rippling across Europe and around the world. It will be a grand “new” economic system that will soon hold the whole world to ransom! (Revelation 13:16-17).