THE BURDEN OF GUILT by

THE BURDEN OF GUILT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In format, Frau Vogt's court room rendering of German guilt, 1914-1945, is a set of question and answers and/or indictments and judgements. The questions are quite direct; the answers fittingly uncompromising and complex. The lady's magisterial style, her no-nonsense scholarship, her mastery of subject- these alone make the work notable. But what sets it apart from similar studies- at least for non-Germans- is its subjective urgency, its air of a family quarrel. That stance, of course, can become strident: those recurring admonitions to the older generation not to fall into the pit of Teutonic pride, or the concluding peroration to the younger (""For us the choice is open to condemn Hitler's deluded destructiveness and to embrace Albert Schweitzer's message- respect for life""). Generally, however, things are more analytic: the moral obtuseness of the Versailles Treaty, the Weimar Republic's wishy-washy liberalism, Rightist and Leftists ploys, the post WWI vacuity of purpose within the German people as a whole, and the indifference of democracies elsewhere- these are seen as the magnets which drew forth the Hitler nightmare and its almost absurdly risky realpolitik (e.g., as noted here, the reoccupation of the Rhineland, a well-nigh theatrical maneuver which the French might could have squashed). Observations on the Jewish policy, resistance plots, Third Reich war strategy and its cabinet ogres etc will out the book.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1964
Publisher: Oxford