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, satirically, hinders complete rights of political participation for minorities.
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Additional info for Beyond the Swastika
30 Karl Dietrich Bracher, Auflösung der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart: RingVerlag, 1955). W. 14. 30 ESCAPING THE PAST society’ 32 formed in the nineteenth century. ’33 This meant that the state, dominated by the aristocracy, had to play a larger role in directing industrialization. Hence, [i]ndustrialization in Germany failed to produce a selfconfident bourgeoisie with its own political aspirations. In so far as a bourgeoisie emerged at all, it remained relatively small and, what is more, unsure of itself and dependent in its social and political standards.
In this way, the intelligentsia acquired a philosophical and personal stake in the success of the FRG and the collective transformation of the West German citizenry. As will become clear below, the intelligentsia came to fancy itself the republic’s watchdog for liberalism and democracy against abiding or resurgent nationalism and authoritarianism. For despite their enthusiasm for liberalism, these liberal watchdogs harbored a deep-seated suspicion of the abiding allure of German nationalism and all its trappings.
All traces of excessive nationalism were to be excised from state, society, and citizenry while liberal institutions and values were to be established, encouraged, and enforced. Needless to say, the geopolitical concern of halting the advance of communism figured prominently in the decision to tie the Federal Republic to the Western Alliance. And in the opinion of the Allies, a full-scale transformation to liberalism seemed the most durable, if not most immediate, bond with the West. Two different interpretations of and approaches to German nationalism and Western liberalism formed during and after the war.
Beyond the Swastika by Peter O'Brien