LESSONS OF MY LIFE by Lord Vansittart


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In precise, polished prose, this is a reasoned -- but savagely severe -- indictment of Germany, an indictment which is, he says, ""the sum total of all the lessons of my life"". Vansittart is a diplomat of long standing, kicked downstairs and vilified because of his strong anti-German stand, and now vindicated and his arguments reenforced by history. Those arguments he here restates. In his condemnation of the German is implicit a lesser attack against the democracies, particularly England, who learned nothing and forgot everything about Germany, who pursued no definite foreign policy and were indolent, pusillanimous and gullible in the face of German aggression, who themselves had no strong faith and progressively showed loss of appetite for belief in anything. He analyzes German thought; character (cruelty, self pity, envy); German Kultur, and the false overrating of everything German whereas facts do not substantiate her claims; German foreign policy, one of consistent intimidation and deception; and these German twine -- ""economic expansion and power politics""; religion, education, all phases of Germany sublimated in her monomaniacal militarism. And the conclusions -- a rebuttal of the ""accidentalists"" who see Hitler as a chance manifestation, for Hitler, he says, is ""the creature, not the creator of modern Germany"" -- there is no ""other Germany...waiting around the corner"". That other Germany must be created through re-education; the German has to be taught to be an individual, ""for which he has no aptitude"". Balanced off against the flood of theorizing about the post-war world and the peace, this is astringent, and a powerfully persuasive argument.

ISBN: 1152998064
Publisher: Knopf