Der lange langsame Marsch durch die Institutionen

“The long slow march through institutions.”

In an Australian radio discussion about democracy, Francis Fukuyama said that is how Antonio Gramsci might have described the history of the “1968” generation of German students who did things like created the Green party in 1980 and then gradually got elected into local, state and federal office, cogoverning the country from 1998 to 2005.

The 1968 students also insisted on discussing previously taboo topics that shouldn’t have been taboo, especially aspects of World War II and its aftermath which some of their parents had demonstrated by their behavior they would have preferred to continue hiding and abetting.

(Dare   LONG eh   LONG zom eh   mahsh   doer chh   dee   in stee toot Y’OWN en.)

Achtung, die Historiker kommen

“Here come the historians.” For about a year now, reported tagesschau.de, historians have been studying the influence of ex-Nazis within post-WWII German federal ministries other than the Foreign Service (which a historians commission already investigated from 2005 to 2010 at Joschka Fischer’s instigation). At Justice, for example, historians found nearly half the top bureaucrats after WWII had a Nazi past or “eine sehr starke NS-Belastung,” “a quite strong Nazi load.” The head of the Chancellery (Adenauer’s chief of staff) for ten years after the war had helped write the “race laws” in the 1930’s, for example.

Marburg historian Eckart Conze said Joschka’s initial investigation found more Nazis worked at high positions in the Foreign Office e.g. in 1951–52 than in 1937–38.

To uncover more NSDAP-related sins of omission and commission in West German legislation, regulation and adjudication, the historians want to continue the project by churning through thousands of relevant documents that have not yet been read through in this investigation.

(OCHH toong,   dee   hist OR ick ah   COM men.)

Mumiensturm

“Storm of mummies.” Joschka Fischer was in the German Green Party the first time it managed to join a ruling federal coalition. He became foreign minister (Secretary of State). Years later it turned out the Foreign Office (State Department) had a cadre of elderly and/or retired diplomats who objected to the new government’s decision to stop publishing obituaries of colleagues who had been former nazis, egregious former nazis in the case they chose to start a ruckus over, in the foreign ministry’s small in-house magazine.

Joschka convened an international “Historians Commission” that spent five years researching the history of ex-nazis in the post-WWII German foreign service. They brought sunlight to a problem that had been made possible by, among other things, the fact that FO was the only cabinet ministry allowed to manage its own document archive and thus control and rewrite its own history; all the other cabinet ministries had had to submit their documents to a central federal government archive. Joschka was particularly irked by the following issue as well: there had been a few brave German diplomats during the 1930’s and 40’s who tried to resist the nazis; most were killed for their troubles; and they tended to be communists. After the war, many of the diplomats with a nazi past or who supported post-nazi colleagues pretended to have been in the resistance. Right wingers hiding behind the communists, Joschka called them. He also called their obituary-based revolution a “mummies storm” like in the Brendan Fraser movies.

(MOOM ee en SHTOORM.)

Majestätisch

“Majestic.” How tagesschau.de described the way light cascades into New York’s Grand Central Station, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday. Jackie Kennedy helped save the station from being torn down in the mid-twentieth century.

(My est ATE ish.)

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