Saturday 16 December 2017

Rising from ashes

Konrad Adenaure, the 'father' of modern Germany and architect of its economic miracle, delivered perhaps the most significant speech any German ever made, on September 21, 1949, to Allied high commanders.

He asserted: ''We will do our part to bring about an atmosphere in which the Allied powers will see their way clear to apply the occupation statute in a liberal and generous manner; only in this way will the German people be able to attain full freedom. We hope that the Allied powers will, by making a corresponding use of the revision clause in the occupation statute, hasten the further political development of our country.''

The Allies were very liberal in their treatment of the Germans, and facilitated them to achieve full political and economic freedom. This was very soon after Germany destroyed the European economy, not to mention the other more human impact of that terrible episode. There was no talk of 20 or 30 years of punishing austerity, no talk of ''every country needs to sort its mess out'', as Chancellor Angela Merkel (she used a more coarse word) said at the outset of our current EU crisis.

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