THE SPOILS OF WAR: The Rise of Western Germany, 1945-1972 by Aidan Crawley

THE SPOILS OF WAR: The Rise of Western Germany, 1945-1972

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It has been said that all it takes to make an economic miracle is to lose a war to the United States. Crawley, British journalist and de Gaulle biographer, would disagree -- the Germans, experiencing British indifference, French cultural superiority and American retribution during the Occupation, nevertheless saw the West as a lesser evil than the Russians. They could cooperate, but basically they had to save themselves. Erhard's Social Market Economy, extremely generous towards business, was the foundation on which the banks, entrepreneurs, ""Managers"" and old-time industrialists, working with the Federation of German Trade Unions (Crawley's chapter on Germany's rather unique set-up for worker-participation is his most interesting and informative) could and did raise an imposing and productive economic edifice. The idea of West Germany as a separate state might have been a Cold War compromise but reunification -- a demand coopted by the Russians, first in order to communize a defeated people and later ""to prevent or at least delay the whole complex of agreements which Adenauer was negotiating with the Western Allies"" -- is still the Teutonic dream. Crawtey's analysis of this nation's undeniable achievements is unfortunately pervaded by exaggerated fears of Russian perfidy (he claims, for instance, that Brandt's Ost Politik flies ""in the face of all post-war experience""), the effectiveness of East German infiltration, and the extent of West German receptivity to Communist propaganda. And by sloughing off the neo-Nazi N.D.P. on the one hand, and the New Left on the other, he has oversimplified his portrait of contemporary Germany which has arisen, phoenix-like, from the ruins of Deutschland uber alles.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1973
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill