Read e-book online Beyond the Swastika PDF

By Peter O'Brien

O'Brien argues convincingly that fears of a resurgent German nationalism are exaggerated. He highlights the `technocratic liberalism' of the elite which, sarcastically, hinders complete rights of political participation for minorities.

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They were legally barred from taking up residence in certain urban districts designated ‘overly burdened’ (‘überbelastet’) by too high a percentage (12 per cent) of alien inhabitants. In 1978, the age at which children of migrants could no longer legally emigrate to Germany was reduced from 20 to 18. 10 These restrictive measures suggested enduring nationalism. They put German interests first. Migrants were only welcome so long as they enhanced the German economy. ’11 Furthermore, sacred liberal principles—equality before the law, freedom of movement, the sanctity of the family, tolerance for diversity—were jettisoned when it came to migrants.

104. 23 Sontheimer, Antidemokratisches Denken, p. 399. 24 Karl Dietrich Bracher, Deutschland zwischen Demokratie und Diktatur (Munich: Scherz, 1964), pp. 313ff. 25 Friedrich Sell, Die Tragödie des deutschen Liberalismus (Stuttgart: VerlagsAnstalt, 1953), p. 448. 27 BEYOND THE SWASTIKA statemakers. Eventually, the West German intelligentsia would take immense pride not only in the fact that they liberalized themselves and their people, but in particular, that they did so despite themselves. The achievement of Westernization would turn out to be so sweet because it was considered so unlikely, so unGerman.

Migrants were only welcome so long as they enhanced the German economy. ’11 Furthermore, sacred liberal principles—equality before the law, freedom of movement, the sanctity of the family, tolerance for diversity—were jettisoned when it came to migrants. The much-heralded human rights of the first section of the Basic Law appeared in fact to be German rights. Finally, authoritarian practices in the form of unchecked police power were countenanced in the name of protecting the national interest.

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