Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Musings from the Scrapheaps of History

The New York Times ran an interesting column penned by a German editor today (you can read it here). The upshot: many older Germans hailing from the old East harbor a great sense of skepticism toward those who criticize Russia. They're distrustful of policymakers and opinion-makers who may be slaves to a pro-American world view. Perhaps the most interesting angle the author offers is that the sense of loss these east Germans feel at the vanquish of the East more than 25 years ago runs deep. Those old enough to remember life in East Germany remember making all sorts of sacrifices, both small and large. They must have seen some merits in their system. And that system was declared the loser in a conflict between two greater powers. The defeat of that system ended up being their subjugation in a Western system. And, the author points out, there's little that east Germans can point to as evidence of their active role in the end of East Germany, unlike the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, and others who more actively brought about the end of the old regime.

There's a powerful lesson here in how we treat the defeated and other victims of historical forces outside their control. There's also an interesting lesson in what measure of pride victors should take.

No comments: