Der Rückgriff auf antike Quellen zur Begründung der Kriegspropaganda: Louis Nizer, What to do with Germany.

Text auszugsweise entnommen aus: Louis Nizer, What to do with Germany, Chicago, New York 1944 2, S. 18 - 23.


 

Caesar's and Tacitus' Report on Nazism.

The Germans in defeat, even in Caesar's day as he reported, had reason to fear the "general hatred of the Germans" and to resort to the distinction between the people and their leaders.

Caesar wrote:

"Their whole life is composed of hunting expeditions and military pursuits; from early boyhood they are zealous for toil and hardship. Those who remain longest in chastity win greatest praise among their kindred; some think that stature, some that strength and sinew are fortified thereby. Further they deem it a most disgraceful thing to have had knowledge of a woman before the twentieth year."

Psychiatrists will. find in this observation fruitful material for their studies of the root causes of German sadism and of the inferiority complex which seeks to express itself through conquest and domination. The well-known tendencies in Germany towards homosexuality became public knowledge when Hitler justified his purge of Roehm and his adherents on the ground that they had been guilty of practices of degradation which corrupted the governing circles. Hitler's and Hess' own "aestheticism," Goering's abnormal practices (as determined by a Swiss court), and the evil conduct of the Streichers and other Nazi leaders, fit well into the characteristic pattern of bestiality. The study of psychotic behavior is still in the exploratory stages, but Caesar's report on the training begun ages ago by the German people to deny and invert normal instincts as part of the tribal custom may be a significant clue to sick German conduct. Is it possible that German cruelty and blood lust is traceable to sexual inhibitions? Is there significance in the pornographic tendencies of the Germans fed by such official documents as Streicher's Stuermer ? These and similar questions we leave to the reflection of experts in a domain of medicine still elusive and challenging.

More certain is the conclusion that the Germans made these sacrifices to gain strength and stature for "military pursuits."

Caesar, who as a dictator had no high ethical standards, was reporting rather than moralizing when he continued with these observations:

"For agriculture they have no zeal, and the greater part of their food consists of milk, cheese and flesh. No man has a definite quantity of land or estate of his own; the magistrates and chiefs every year assign to tribes and clans that have assembled together as much land and in such place as seems good to them, and compel the tenants after a year to pass on elsewhere. They adduce many reasons for that practice - the fear that they may be tempted by contininous association to substitute agriculture for their warrior zeal; . . . Their states account it the highest praise by devastating their borders to have areas of wilderness as wide as possible around them. They think it the true sign of valor when the neighbors are driven to retire from their lands and no man dares to settle near, and at the same time they believe they will be safer thereby, having removed all fear of a sudden inroad. ... Acts of brigandage committed outside the borders of each several state involve no disgrace; in fact, they affirm that such are committed in order to practice the young men and to diminish sloth. And when any of the chiefs has said in public assembly that he will be leader, 'Let those who will follow declare it', then all who approve the cause and the man rise together to his service and promise their own assistance, and win the general praise of the people. Any of them who have not followed, after promise, are reckoned as deserters and traitors."

Caesar's keen reporting is confirmed by centuries of experience. We shall see how the Germans' fear of agriculture lest it diminish "their warrior zeal" affected their national development. Of course, the program of "devastating their borders" and committing "acts of brigandage" has remained a constant aspiration of the Germans. Most striking is the selection of a leader, the oath to follow him blindly, and the ritual of obedience. All who disagree are traitors. Is not this self-appointed, self-annointed leadership and blind fealty a description of Hitlerism? It is to precisely this tradition in German history that the Nazi leaders have appealed.

Always in German history the inverted pyramid has been the governing form. All authority rests on the apex. In primitive days the leader was the foremost warrior or huntsman. Often his son or grandson succeeded him. Later he was designated King or Duke, but at all times the people swore solemn loyalty and offered sacrifices to him under their ancient oaks. All independent thought was surrendered. The leader's word was final, even if it required treachery and dishonesty. The common denominator of all leaders was that they were warriors. Political rule was based upon the ability to wage war. Perhaps it was not extraordinary in the dark age of Caesar, but its persistence, unchanged through the many centuries, is a meaningful phenomenon. Five hundred years after the revolt in Athens, and after social revolution had sent its civilizing streams through the Mediterranean, the Germans were still blindly following their leaders.

About a century later, Tacitus, in his famous De Germania took sight again of German tendencies. Had they changed? He writes:

"Without being armed they transact nothing, whether of public or private concernment. The Princes fight for victory; for the Prince his followers fight. Many of the young nobility, when their own community comes to languish in its vigor by long peace and inactivity, betake themselves through impatience to other states which then prove to be in war. In addition to the fact that this people cannot brook repose, and that by perilous adventures they more quickly blazon their fame, they require violence and war to support their huge train of retainers. They demand and enjoy their war-horses and victorious javelins dyed in the blood of their enemies. In the place of pay, they are supplied with a daily table and repasts; though grossly prepared, yet very profuse. For maintaining such liberality and munificence, a fund is furnished by continual wars and plunder. Nor can you as easily persuade them to cultivate the ground, or to await the return of the seasons and produce of the year, as to provoke the foe and risk wounds and death; since they account it stupid and spiritless to acquire by their sweat what they can gain by their blood."

The cause of such consistent conduct is less significant than the effect. They still transact nothing without being armed. They still consider it stupid to acquire by their sweat what they can gain by their blood. They still seek wealth from plunder. And though the javelin dyed in the blood of their enemies is outmoded, symbolicaIly they still "demand and enjoy it."

The military staffs of the United Nations, astonished by the daring gambles taken by German generals, may gain some understanding from Tacitus' humorous observation:

"What is marvellous, playing at dice is one of their most serious employments; and even sober, they are gamsters; nay, so desperately do they venture upon the chance of winning or losing, that when their whole substance is played away, they stake their liberty and their persons upon one and the last throw."

The Blitzkrieg, despite its meticulous, detailed planning, is an all or nothing strategy. Lines of communication are disregarded for the infiltrating tanks which dash to the enemy's rear. Either disorganization and terror result, or the gamble is lost. That is why the word "timetable" became the key word in Nazi tactics. And that is why the United Nations recognized the inestimable value of delay. It not only afforded opportunity for preparation, but it upset the schedule of winning all in one blow, and therefore made possible losing all in many blows. Goebbeis unwittingly echoed Tacitus wllen he said

"We will either conquer the world or if we have to go out, we will slam the door so hard the universe will collapse."

Also, this gambler's instinct nourishes complete ruthlessness. If the alternative is nothing, what is to be gained by observing the rules of international law or the dictates of common humanity? The desperate gambler who contemplates suicide as the end of misfortune need not concern himself with the players' opinion of his honesty or sportsmanship. How true it is that the Germans staked their "liberty and their persons upon one and the last throw"! They were willing to sacrifice their freedom in advance so that they could win the game of world conquest. Truculently they strode across Europe, enjoying their temporary triumphs in the illusion that they were to be the master race for "one thousand years to come". Losing has never deterred them from playing the hideous game of war. They are inveterate gamblers.

The Germans crush Latin civilization at the battle of Adrianople in 378. Almost sixteen hundred years later they overran France. History, too, is global, and the endless treading of man often finds him in the same spot. Caesar's description of the Gauls (French) after their defeat by the Germans is a glove-fitting commentary upon Vichy. He writes:

"Now there was a time in the past when the Gauls were superior in valor to the Germans and made aggressive war upon them, and because of the number of their people and the lack of land they sent colonies across the Rhine. . . . Little by little the Gauls have grown accustomed to defeat, and after being conquered in many battles they do not even compare themselves in point of valor with tile Germans."

Here is the tragedy of France, from the soft and luxurious life before battle to the fawning obeisance after defeat.

The Teuton invaders made war their occupation. Wherever they tread, culture withered and died. They sacked Paris, Arras, Rheims, Amiens, Tours, Bordeaux and dozens of other cities which have been visited by their descendant criminals repeatedly in later generations. The very word "vandalism" was coined to describe German savagery, and the word "war" stems from the Old High German "werra"- to embroil, to confuse.

The Germans in defeat, even in Caesar's day as he reported, had reason to fear the "general hatred of the Germans" and to resort to the distinction between the people and their leaders.

Caesar wrote:

"Their whole life is composed of hunting expeditions and military pursuits; from early boyhood they are zealous for toil and hardship. Those who remain longest in chastity win greatest praise among their kindred; some think that stature, some that strength and sinew are fortified thereby. Further they deem it a most disgraceful thing to have had knowledge of a woman before the twentieth year."

Psychiatrists will. find in this observation fruitful material for their studies of the root causes of German sadism and of the inferiority complex which seeks to express itself through conquest and domination. The well-known tendencies in Germany towards homosexuality became public knowledge when Hitler justified his purge of Roehm and his adherents on the ground that they had been guilty of practices of degradation which corrupted the governing circles. Hitler's and Hess' own "aestheticism," Goering's abnormal practices (as determined by a Swiss court), and the evil conduct of the Streichers and other Nazi leaders, fit well into the characteristic pattern of bestiality. The study of psychotic behavior is still in the exploratory stages, but Caesar's report on the training begun ages ago by the German people to deny and invert normal instincts as part of the tribal custom may be a significant clue to sick German conduct. Is it possible that German cruelty and blood lust is traceable to sexual inhibitions? Is there significance in the pornographic tendencies of the Germans fed by such official documents as Streicher's Stuermer ? These and similar questions we leave to the reflection of experts in a domain of medicine still elusive and challenging.

More certain is the conclusion that the Germans made these sacrifices to gain strength and stature for "military pursuits."

Caesar, who as a dictator had no high ethical standards, was reporting rather than moralizing when he continued with these observations:

"For agriculture they have no zeal, and the greater part of their food consists of milk, cheese and flesh. No man has a definite quantity of land or estate of his own; the magistrates and chiefs every year assign to tribes and clans that have assembled together as much land and in such place as seems good to them, and compel the tenants after a year to pass on elsewhere. They adduce many reasons for that practice - the fear that they may be tempted by contininous association to substitute agriculture for their warrior zeal; . . . Their states account it the highest praise by devastating their borders to have areas of wilderness as wide as possible around them. They think it the true sign of valor when the neighbors are driven to retire from their lands and no man dares to settle near, and at the same time they believe they will be safer thereby, having removed all fear of a sudden inroad. ... Acts of brigandage committed outside the borders of each several state involve no disgrace; in fact, they affirm that such are committed in order to practice the young men and to diminish sloth. And when any of the chiefs has said in public assembly that he will be leader, 'Let those who will follow declare it', then all who approve the cause and the man rise together to his service and promise their own assistance, and win the general praise of the people. Any of them who have not followed, after promise, are reckoned as deserters and traitors."

Caesar's keen reporting is confirmed by centuries of experience. We shall see how the Germans' fear of agriculture lest it diminish "their warrior zeal" affected their national development. Of course, the program of "devastating their borders" and committing "acts of brigandage" has remained a constant aspiration of the Germans. Most striking is the selection of a leader, the oath to follow him blindly, and the ritual of obedience. All who disagree are traitors. Is not this self-appointed, self-annointed leadership and blind fealty a description of Hitlerism? It is to precisely this tradition in German history that the Nazi leaders have appealed.

Always in German history the inverted pyramid has been the governing form. All authority rests on the apex. In primitive days the leader was the foremost warrior or huntsman. Often his son or grandson succeeded him. Later he was designated King or Duke, but at all times the people swore solemn loyalty and offered sacrifices to him under their ancient oaks. All independent thought was surrendered. The leader's word was final, even if it required treachery and dishonesty. The common denominator of all leaders was that they were warriors. Political rule was based upon the ability to wage war. Perhaps it was not extraordinary in the dark age of Caesar, but its persistence, unchanged through the many centuries, is a meaningful phenomenon. Five hundred years after the revolt in Athens, and after social revolution had sent its civilizing streams through the Mediterranean, the Germans were still blindly following their leaders.

About a century later, Tacitus, in his famous De Germania took sight again of German tendencies. Had they changed? He writes:

"Without being armed they transact nothing, whether of public or private concernment. The Princes fight for victory; for the Prince his followers fight. Many of the young nobility, when their own community comes to languish in its vigor by long peace and inactivity, betake themselves through impatience to other states which then prove to be in war. In addition to the fact that this people cannot brook repose, and that by perilous adventures they more quickly blazon their fame, they require violence and war to support their huge train of retainers. They demand and enjoy their war-horses and victorious javelins dyed in the blood of their enemies. In the place of pay, they are supplied with a daily table and repasts; though grossly prepared, yet very profuse. For maintaining such liberality and munificence, a fund is furnished by continual wars and plunder. Nor can you as easily persuade them to cultivate the ground, or to await the return of the seasons and produce of the year, as to provoke the foe and risk wounds and death; since they account it stupid and spiritless to acquire by their sweat what they can gain by their blood."

The cause of such consistent conduct is less significant than the effect. They still transact nothing without being armed. They still consider it stupid to acquire by their sweat what they can gain by their blood. They still seek wealth from plunder. And though the javelin dyed in the blood of their enemies is outmoded, symbolicaIly they still "demand and enjoy it."

The military staffs of the United Nations, astonished by the daring gambles taken by German generals, may gain some understanding from Tacitus' humorous observation:

"What is marvellous, playing at dice is one of their most serious employments; and even sober, they are gamsters; nay, so desperately do they venture upon the chance of winning or losing, that when their whole substance is played away, they stake their liberty and their persons upon one and the last throw."

The Blitzkrieg, despite its meticulous, detailed planning, is an all or nothing strategy. Lines of communication are disregarded for the infiltrating tanks which dash to the enemy's rear. Either disorganization and terror result, or the gamble is lost. That is why the word "timetable" became the key word in Nazi tactics. And that is why the United Nations recognized the inestimable value of delay. It not only afforded opportunity for preparation, but it upset the schedule of winning all in one blow, and therefore made possible losing all in many blows. Goebbeis unwittingly echoed Tacitus wllen he said

"We will either conquer the world or if we have to go out, we will slam the door so hard the universe will collapse."

Also, this gambler's instinct nourishes complete ruthlessness. If the alternative is nothing, what is to be gained by observing the rules of international law or the dictates of common humanity? The desperate gambler who contemplates suicide as the end of misfortune need not concern himself with the players' opinion of his honesty or sportsmanship. How true it is that the Germans staked their "liberty and their persons upon one and the last throw"! They were willing to sacrifice their freedom in advance so that they could win the game of world conquest. Truculently they strode across Europe, enjoying their temporary triumphs in the illusion that they were to be the master race for "one thousand years to come". Losing has never deterred them from playing the hideous game of war. They are inveterate gamblers.

The Germans crush Latin civilization at the battle of Adrianople in 378. Almost sixteen hundred years later they overran France. History, too, is global, and the endless treading of man often finds him in the same spot. Caesar's description of the Gauls (French) after their defeat by the Germans is a glove-fitting commentary upon Vichy. He writes:

"Now there was a time in the past when the Gauls were superior in valor to the Germans and made aggressive war upon them, and because of the number of their people and the lack of land they sent colonies across the Rhine. . . . Little by little the Gauls have grown accustomed to defeat, and after being conquered in many battles they do not even compare themselves in point of valor with tile Germans."

Here is the tragedy of France, from the soft and luxurious life before battle to the fawning obeisance after defeat.

The Teuton invaders made war their occupation. Wherever they tread, culture withered and died. They sacked Paris, Arras, Rheims, Amiens, Tours, Bordeaux and dozens of other cities which have been visited by their descendant criminals repeatedly in later generations. The very word "vandalism" was coined to describe German savagery, and the word "war" stems from the Old High German "werra"- to embroil, to confuse.


LV Gizewski SS 2004.

Bearbeitet für das Internet: Christian Gizewski, EP: Christian.Gizewski@tu-berlin.de