Bughouse Square Podcast with Eve Ewing has launched, check out the first episode and subscribe now! Read the Story

00 / 00

Martin Broszat discusses Germany

BROADCAST: 1967 | DURATION: 00:54:09

Synopsis

Interviewing historian Martin Broszat while visiting Munich, Germany at the Institute of Contemporary History(Institut für Zeitgeschichte). They discuss National Socialism(Nazism) in German & European History between World War I and World War II. As well as a brief discussion of the Neo-Nazi Movement in the 1960's in Germany.

Transcript

Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.

OK

Studs Terkel I'm seated in a remarkable building. Well the building itself is obviously an old one as many buildings are in Munich. This is near the river Isar, I think. And it, it seems to be a genteel old place and yet within it is dynamite. How can I explain that? There are thousands of volumes here, all sorts of memoranda concerning recent history in Germany, the Hitler time. It's called the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Institute of Contemporary History, and sitting with one of the deputy directors Dr. Martin Broszat who's written several books on the subject one of which is "Ideology and Reality," translated.

Martin Broszat It's a small booklet on the National Socialism, its ideology, program, and reality. And I think it has been translated into English some month ago.

Studs Terkel Well Doctor Broszat, this place where I sit, your room, the halls outside are filled. There seem to be thousands of volumes. What are these volumes here in this institute?

Martin Broszat Well you know that is a special, specialized library. That means a speci- it deals especially with German European history in the period between the two wars. You know perhaps we understand, we understand zeitgeschichte as a period beginning say with the First World War.

Studs Terkel Zeitgeschichte means "contemporary history."

Martin Broszat Well, but I have so-, I. It seems to me that in for instance, in England they understand this it's contemporary history they mean current history as they also call it, and they deal more with the period since 1945. And so what we understand zeitgeschichte as a period which is [tapping in background] which can be looked by, by records not only by, by newspapers. And, and I would think you can have a scientific approach to zeitgeschichte only if you go a bit farther back [that?].

Studs Terkel You say this, let's, let's understand this. This to me could be very powerful. A scientific approach to what made something happen. The scientific approach to what the causes were for Nazism in Germany, or Hitler. Is in the sense, is this what you mean?

Martin Broszat Yes, it's true. And I think it a condition to to to have such a scientific approach is also that you have records, that you have not, that the records are available. It is an extraordinary situation that you, that we have these German records which now [bag?] which we are confiscated by the [lies?] as, as you know and which are now returned to, mostly returned to the Federal Republic. And we can deal with him. [clears throat] But that wasn't your question.

Studs Terkel No I'm, question is, for example, using the scientific approach, what are some of the conclusions, you know, you have come to? Is how it came to be, you know, was it one man mesmerizing the people? I'm asking this not because it's Germany, because conceivably it could involve other societies as well. How did this, you know, the role people played, or the lack of role they played. All of this is part of your, of your project.

Martin Broszat [Okay?] Yeah, you know it's the most important question is always a question, "How could it happen?" and it's al- it's also the most difficult question to answer. Even for an historical, for an historian. And so you can point out only some main reasons and that is for instance some traditions in ideology. What we call the Geist? zeitgeschichte or--

Studs Terkel The spirit.

Martin Broszat Geist? Zeitgeschichte is of of the national idea in Germany or is the ideal of the German state that goes back to to Hegel and so, you know, and that's one reason this this trad- this special tradition with some with some elements of anti-, with some strong anti-rational element in it. And so it's a transformation of this tradition by say in the period of Bismarck and and Wil- Wilhelminian Period and some transformation then by by this conservative revolutionaries in the Weimar Period as we call them [German?] and so on and so on. That is one element of the background. The other is for instance the tradition of the German [Machstadt?] I guess you cannot really translate it, I think.

Studs Terkel [Machstad?].

Martin Broszat It is not the same as Imperialism I would say. That was an extraordinary phenomenon, I think, that this [German] German national state which came into being only in 1870 and '71-

Studs Terkel Under Bismarck.

Martin Broszat And under Bismarck became such a economically [unintelligible? German?] such a strong potentiality.

Studs Terkel Mmm.

Martin Broszat And in the first, in the first decade I would say of this state, most people thought that [is it's?] now the anti-fulfillment of German national dreams and so, but only two decades dec- decades more they felt, No, this state is too, it's too narrow for us and we must go beyond the [German?] and [realpolitiks?] and so on and so on. And [clears throat] this, there was a this, this strong tendency to, to, to make more out of these potentialities. Germany really had in this period the energies of the people and so on. I think this tradition of the German [Machstadt?] of this period is very important and it is not the ideology alone which ma- made Hitler [clears throat]. And then is a third, a third trend I would mention here is the special problem of German, of the German nationality that was, came into, that was more typical, exposed I would say, in, in, in, the Hapsburg Monarchy than in, than in, in the Bismarckian Empire. You know this, this is what was this--is this Hapsburg Monarchy was a state of many nationalities and, and it was a, a state which was for instance in foreign policy in the army and [they?] was shaped by German tradition, German language and so on. And after the the, the growing conscience of the other nationalities in this state, the Germans became a minority in this. They were minority by number from the beginning but then they bec- became a minority in influence--

Studs Terkel Hmm

Martin Broszat In the state and, and that shame that created a kind of reaction of as we- as I would say in German- a kind of [German], yes? And, [clears throat] I think that is supposed to very, made a very strong background of these typical of this special [German]

Studs Terkel That was the sort of thing, a street [unintelligible]

Martin Broszat It was really a background of Hitler's personal career in this period. He, he grew up in this, in this atmosphere, [yes?].

Studs Terkel You mean here was a street atmosphere of the seemingly common man, Hitler himself. The common soldier, foot soldier, suddenly speaking for the great many who-- Am I interpreting this right?-- because of their frustrations in finding a scapegoat, of course, their being an end. Was there a strong anti-Semitic strain throughout? You mentioned anti-Semitism, you know. Was there a, was this, when did the strain become manifest?

Martin Broszat Well, it is, I think it is evident that anti-Semitism played a much larger part in Austria than in this period before 1914 than in--

Studs Terkel Germany?

Martin Broszat Than in Germany.

Studs Terkel Oh more in Austria than in Germany.

Studs Terkel More

Studs Terkel in Austria, yes. Pre-WWI.

Martin Broszat Because in this, in this special situation of the, of, of German-Austria, as we say, um, there was a stro-, quite naturally I would say, there was a strong feeling against a foreigner. Against foreign nationalities.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat And it was a very popular feeling that they had to defend against your friend, as I say agai--

Studs Terkel A stranger.

Martin Broszat Against strange-. In all, its aspects,

Studs Terkel Mmhmm.

Martin Broszat In all the aspects.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat And that meant also against the [rather?] strong Jewish population for ins- for instance in Vienna that, this period.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat And you can observe for instance that the students' leagues in this period-- the German student leagues in Linz, Innsbruck, and Vienna.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat They are strongly anti-Semitic already before 1914.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat In Austria which was not the case in Germany then. [It was rather?] not, not, not a very strong. It became only stro- after 1918, '19 in Germany--

Studs Terkel After WWI.

Martin Broszat After WWI. [unidentified sound in background]

Studs Terkel Now how did it become? What what made it strong in Germany after WWI?

Martin Broszat Well, and I would say these special [German?] folkish anti-Semitic trend of nation- of the national feeling which was typical for Austria before 1940, '14--

Studs Terkel Fourteen.

Martin Broszat Became an element of the general German feeling afterwards because of the dismemberment and disillusion of his Habsburg Monarchy.

Studs Terkel Mm-hm.

Martin Broszat And you know in this period the problem arose that the problem of the Anschluss of Austria arose for the first time. And, and although it's a general trend of self determination which which was a basis of the new order of Middle and Eastern Europe in this period and strengthens this feeling and strengthens this, this postulation to--

Studs Terkel And then of course after 1918 with depression, with defeat, with depression, with men walking the streets. We have now the man walking the streets, don't we? Tremendous bitterness and frustration here.

Martin Broszat Well that is true and there are some, the growing of anti-Semitism has some special reasons. For instance, you know here in the war- there began for instance this [German], this identification, this, this propagandistic identification of anti-Semitism and anti- Marxism, you know, in this period. They said, Oh see all the Communists[uninitelligible] people. And so they are Jews from Russia or from Poland, as a Rosa Luxemburg and [uninitelligible].

Studs Terkel Liebknecht.

Martin Broszat And so Liebknecht [German?]

Studs Terkel But Rosa Luxembourg.

Martin Broszat Rosa Luxembourg and so on and this is, this [unintelligible] popular in other countries in this period too is that--

Studs Terkel So they associated the Jew and the Communist.

Martin Broszat Jew and Communist [clears throat] and this strong anti-Marxist attitude of the German bourgeoisie in this period and of the middle class and against this, against Communists, revolutionary efforts [unintelligible] anti-Semitic feeling or gave a basis for anti-Semitic propaganda. Perhaps you know that Hitler, when he began with his [political?] career in Munich in 1920 in Munich, he mostly talked about anti-Semitism and had rather strong applause.

Studs Terkel Now tell me, this applause. You mentioned the petty bourgeois and you mentioned middle class. Didn't a lot of applause come from the working class?

Martin Broszat No. Not very much. In you know the working class was rather well-organized in [there?], either in the independent Social Social Democrats in this period made a part of this independent, became Communists, and part of it went to the SPD and, or in this, Social Democrats they are called, the majority Social Democrats of this period. We had two Social Democratic parties in this period. And there are not so many workers.

Studs Terkel So if it wasn't then--

Martin Broszat [It was?]

Studs Terkel It wasn't then. Then in the beer hall, this little beer hall in Munich in '20, these were not working men there, in the beer hall where the putsch was attempted.

Martin Broszat I think it's quite typical that some categories of purpose vary. For instance one of the founders of this party even before Hitler was the railway workers, and the railway workers was so, this was a kind of public servants, you know, nearly a kind of public servant that they felt more like public servants like then like workers--

Martin Broszat Aha.

Martin Broszat because and this--

Studs Terkel Ah. White collar. White collar.

Martin Broszat So a kind of white collar worker. They were workers really but they felt orientated more--

Studs Terkel Mentally, spiritually they were white collar--

Martin Broszat Mentally and spiritually. That's true. That's true.

Martin Broszat They were above the working man, I see. From these categories there are some others too. He had some followers I would say, but not, not really.

Studs Terkel Who named them petty bourgeoisie?

Martin Broszat It was students, many students, yes.

Studs Terkel Now why come, how come the students?

Martin Broszat Well then I think you must understand that there was a change in the German youth movement in this period and the student's movement in this period. They were all strongly unpolitically before in 1914.

Studs Terkel Unpolitical.

Martin Broszat Unpolitical. But it was a strong feeling against the bourgeoisie, against the liberal tradition of the bourgeosie. Even of the humanistic tradition I would say--

Studs Terkel Against the humanistic tradition.

Martin Broszat Well in this, I would say in this superficial form as it was represented in the [unintelligible] period I would say. It wasn't it wasn't it wasn't quite unjustified.

Studs Terkel Yeah we cal we call that "lip service liberalism."

Martin Broszat You know, again--

Studs Terkel Lip service liberal.

Martin Broszat It is a kind of lip service liberal. It is no strong feeling, of, and by the end of the First World War this youth movement became strongly nation- strongly national feeling. [unidentified sound in background] Became an integrating element, I would say, of this youth movement of the students' movement. You can see it even by the organizational development of these movements. Then in this period these so-called the old youth movement was split. We had on the one hand the Freie Deutsche Jugend and on the other hand the National [Jugend Deutsche?], the National [answer?]. And from these national groups and Hitler [under?] among the student and the high school youth movement Hitler had strong followers, I would say.

Studs Terkel You know.

Martin Broszat Such people like Hess [Hesse?] and so [unintelligible] students [how full circle?] here in Munich.

Studs Terkel And since we're talking with students about students and the young obviously are the key here. Sixty-four percent of the population Germany today was 15 years old or younger, you know, when the war ended, you know. So are the young Germans interested in the causes in your institute and its work? Do you find that interest among the young?

Martin Broszat Well, I would say their interest for contemporary history is rather strong in Germany and it's not so easy of course to give reliable judgment how strong it is. But you can see it perhaps by some things like the number of publications sold by bookshops and such on this topic for instance.

Studs Terkel Ah hah.

Martin Broszat We have we have many pocket books about contemporary, about the Nazi period, and so on. Pocket books, it means in Germany they had at least what is [German]?

Vera Edition?

Martin Broszat An edition of at least I would say 15,000 or so.

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat But I personally was very much surprised. I wrote a book on German National Socialist policy in occupied Poland in our series here, and we have in our series only an edition of about 2,000, 3,000 [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel What happened?

Martin Broszat And then a pocket book publishing house official series determined to make a pocket book out of it. And I said to this man, "Oh you are very keen. Do you think they will, you, you can buy 15,000?" And he made it and I think he didn't sell them all but--

Studs Terkel Fifteen--most of 15,000?

Martin Broszat It's about the special-

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat Specialized stuff [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel That's remarkable. Fifteen thousand?

Martin Broszat Yes. Fifteen thousand about this [background conversation] National Socialist policy in Poland. It's a very--

Studs Terkel This is one theme only. Well, this is fascinating because this leads to a good number of questions. [voice in background] Here's the book by Martin Brozcat.

Martin Broszat [Uninitelligible]

Studs Terkel "Nazi and Also [German] Poland Politic 1930 to '40." Very specialized. It's a Fischer [Fisher?] book, book and this sold 15,000 copies? Well this of course is a good sign naturally, isn't it?

Martin Broszat [As I?] think. And that is more true for books on a more broader subject for [instances?] we have books on the, as for instance this pocket book of [German] on the [German?] of the Second World War by Hitler, of the beginning of the Second World War. I don't know exactly but I think this, nearly 100,000 pocket books have been sold.

Studs Terkel And those novels such as those of Gunter Grass sell big, don't they? A novel, say, that is satirical and biting and dealing with the period.

Martin Broszat Yes.

Studs Terkel We'll come, come back to the youth and, to your knowledge. This is a question I ask, this question that comes up continuously.

Martin Broszat Mmmhmm, mmmhmmm.

Studs Terkel In schools is this period being taught to the young people in schools, elementary and the gymnasiums?

Martin Broszat As far as I see, the teachers are obliged to do it by orders of the of the [country?] administration. As far as I see the, for instance, the Minister for Education here in Bavaria gave strict orders that the teachers have to deal with this period. I'm not quite sure if it is so wise--

Martin Broszat Mmmhmm.

Martin Broszat To give such orders. The reason was, I think, that in the first years after 1945 many of these older teachers were not so very much inclined to deal with this period. Some of them had been members of the parliament.

Studs Terkel [unintelligible] teachers.

Martin Broszat [Resolve?] and they had learned in the [perhaps?] several teachers also in the Weimar period and then they were teachers in the Nazi period and now they preferred to--

Studs Terkel Forget it.

Martin Broszat To forget all and to deal only with history until Bismarck. And so you know--

Studs Terkel Until Bismarck. [unintelligible]

Martin Broszat It's quite understandable. But in this period, say, approximately until 1955 or so you could often hear that only the younger teachers dealt with recent history, contemporary history. But I think, and that may, may have been the reason for this, all of the ministry--

Studs Terkel Hm.

Martin Broszat And the situation has changed now in so far that the part of the elder teachers [unintelligible, German?] has now become smaller.

Studs Terkel Yeah. As they grow older they die off. So the younger teachers, then to your knowledge then, the younger teachers are.

Martin Broszat Yes. They are far more inclined to deal--

Studs Terkel Yes [unintelligible].

Martin Broszat Inclined to deal with. And I think that is a central point. If they personally think it is essential and important to then they will do it in the right way.

Studs Terkel And while you're here, I just, Vera Golicky came as interpreter though she's not needed in the sense that she was for Dr. [Vogelsang?]. Vera is twenty-what? How old are you? Twenty-?

Vera Twenty-four.

Studs Terkel Twenty-four. Could we ask her a direct question is? Were you in your classes taught about this period? The Hitler period?

Vera No. We hadn't time to finish book.

Studs Terkel How old was your teacher, roughly?

Vera About forty-five to fifty.

Studs Terkel So the teacher herself might have--

Vera No, but it was by accident. If we had had time enough she would have taught us. So I'm quite sure.

Studs Terkel Yeah. Didn't have time. You learned about Bismarck though?

Vera Yes we did. [squeaking in background]

Studs Terkel Let's go back to, it's interesting.

Martin Broszat But she may be right. That's a pity. You see, the recent periods it al- is always the end of the school book. [laughter]

Studs Terkel Aaah. So it's a question here of form. By the way, this is maybe Germanic or it maybe a pedagogical anywhere, a certain form is followed, a chronological form, you know.

Martin Broszat Yeah.

Studs Terkel The idea that you might jump a period perhaps [unintelligible]. [laughter]. But Dr. Broszat, I want to come back to this theme. There are several generations involved here. It's quite natural for these older ones who are 50, 55 to avoid this because of their own involvement,

Martin Broszat Hmm.

Studs Terkel Involuntary or voluntary. The matter of, you, you yourself of a certain generation, I see looking at you that [Johann?] Kaiser described as the "Burnt Children Generation." You are this generation, you were a child.

Martin Broszat Maybe. I was, yes. I was 17 when the, in 1945 and--

Studs Terkel Yeah, when it ended you were 17.

Martin Broszat Seventeen or 18, yeah.

Studs Terkel So you were about 13 or 14. So this is a special generation, isn't it? There's something unique about your generation.

Martin Broszat Well, I would say my personal experience is that the idealism which you have in this, which all young boys have in the ages between 12 and 17 also was to such a large degree misused by the regime and afterwards, the, these people like me had the impression of, had really a feeling of deep anger and about this misuse and I think a strong, just because they were misled to a certain extent, yes. Say, we are so much interested to see it now afterwards in a, in another way and to learn what it was really, and so. And I think that this is more or less characteristic of, typical for these "burned generation," as he called them. And it is a bit different I think for the generation which was grown up already before Hitler came to power and which in consequently were deeper involved in, practically involved in the regime and its consequences and it's of, not so, not so free therefore--

Martin Broszat Yes.

Martin Broszat To deal with this.

Studs Terkel And what about the generation that, yours is a special one, the "burnt children," when you were-. Obviously yours is the key generation that deals with this theme and also deals with whatever there may be a revival of arts and letters here. What about that new generation coming up who the word, I hear the word "distance" used more and more, "distance."

Martin Broszat Distance.

Studs Terkel Yeah, distance from the Holocaust. The new generation, those who are 18 and 19. Now what do you think?

Martin Broszat Well, I think it's diff-. It seems so that we have since 1945, two, now two rather different, new generations and the first one I would say was grown up in the atmosphere of recovery and so on. That was called as a very pragmatic [unintelligible], a very sober generation and so on. And I think that this is over now and we have now a new kind of [young?] generation [jungeneration?] which is not so much characterized by these--

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat Attitudes and which was grown up in the period of prosperity, of new prosperity. We had so many a period which had so few problems, real problems, yes? And they do not see real problems. And, as, as a kind of, they feel a kind of [German?] that

Studs Terkel A sort of euphoria.

Martin Broszat Yeah.

Studs Terkel [German] means what, a sort of indifference?

Vera No.

Martin Broszat I think there's a strong, you know it's, it's an attempt to inter-, an attempt of interpretation as it's it may be--

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat Wrong what I say, [and you?]--

Vera [unintelligible][No?]

Martin Broszat But what, because you said, you hear always the word "distant." And I think, I don't know if it is right but I think the tendency to to dec-, to do, the tendency of the young generation to have forms of dissent is stronger now than it was with the older [jungenration?] after 1945. I think that's certainly true. You see all this and that is not a German phenomenon, that is a European or worldwide--

Studs Terkel Yeah. This is a world phenom-. You think the, the young questioning, the generation, the elders.

Martin Broszat I think--

Martin Broszat Course. [unintelligible] question.

Martin Broszat That's a worldwide phenomenon, not the Germans so much.

Studs Terkel You know a key question that has to be, and you are the man to ask it and here at the Institut fur Zeitpolitik as well as Zeitgeschichte, contemporary history, that goes back more than just current history. We're the guests of Dr. Martin Broszat was the deputy director of the Institute for Contemporary History here in Munich. This remarkable place has thousands of memoranda dealing with the period, not just the Hitler period but all the writings and all the dealings, convolutions of lives and minds that preceded it too. The question of who is the ordinary man or the average man or the decent man? And I come across a couple [of good numbers?] they didn't know, that is they knew something was happening--say to the Jews--they could see people disappearing but didn't exactly know what happened. Now, how do you judge this through all the memoranda that you have?

Martin Broszat First of all I would say you have to distinguish that really the extermination of Jews was disguised, really. And it is typically that Hitler did not dare to make it in a, in a public way also. He disguised it very deliberately; that is certainly true. And the people who exactly know what happened was a rather very small group. But of course a far larger group of people had a certain, a vague feeling that some terrible things were going on because they said as they saw, in the towns for instance, the Jews were deported they before the Jews were obliged to wear these yellow star, you know and they, they could see them in some way and so on and, but afterwards, that they were not there, [unintelligible] people saw how Jews had been transported or at least they saw after 1942 that they were not, not more in Munich and in Berlin and in Leipzig and so on. And in this situation the thing happened, you mentioned, they were inclined to think not so much about it, yes. And the question is why?

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat And I think then you have to see that the neighborhood of Germans and Jews was destroyed very deliberately by, through years by this consequently anti-Jewish policy, which began with the first laws. The Jews had to be dismissed from the public service and then the lawyers, and so on. And it was a progress of destroying the natural neighborhood and community of Germans and Jews. And the last step was, was of course--

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat This discriminating--

Studs Terkel The Star of David.

Martin Broszat Of the, of the star.

Studs Terkel First there was the creation of the ghetto itself.

Martin Broszat Yes. It was, it was a kind of ghetto before they were deported. And so far the, the neighborhood was destroyed before they were deported, before the Jews were deported. And I think that was psychologically, it was well-calculated by the--

Studs Terkel Authorities.

Martin Broszat By the authorities to make it in this way. But nevertheless the, the question is justified, why so many or other, why so many Germans preferred to not to think about this question and to erase it. To--

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat Suppress this thinking.

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat [clears thoat] Well, it was this mixture of wishful thinking. It cannot be that the leader, that the Fuhrer is a bad man, you know, this is popular thinking that if that should be true then all we believed in since 1933 would be wrong. And therefore, we do not want to know so very much about it afterward because then all would be wrong. I personally experienced this in the last days of, the last months of the war. I was a soldier and I was 17.

Studs Terkel You were 17. You were, you were drafted at 16 or so.

Martin Broszat And there was, yeah, then. And in this period, so many concentration camps were evacuated and deported. And I have the impression that just, that only in this last period many people in Germany became personally, became personally impressioned about so many concentration camp inmates because they were driven about the streets and from one place to the other and then people saw them, which they didn't before when they were interned in the camps. And one of my comrades, also 17, now really saw how they were mishandled, not mi-, he didn't saw, he didn't saw that they were mishandled but this, this he saw this, like me this is [thing?]. How do you say the English? This--

Studs Terkel The trucks?

Martin Broszat No, no. The people in these, in these stripings clad in, you know [unintelligible]

Studs Terkel Yes. In their, in their, people in their prison clothes.

Martin Broszat In the prison clothes, and--

Studs Terkel And the condition. Gaunt and starved condition.

Martin Broszat And we, their starved condition and so on. And, he and I think his family were rather close believ-, rather strong believers in Hitler and so on. And then he had the [impre-?],"Oh that cannot, that cannot be. It seems to be right but many people say that the Jews were deliberately mishandled and deported and so on." But on the other hand, I felt really, I was so to say a witness of this psychological process that people didn't want to see the reality because--

Studs Terkel It would make their whole life completely obscene, yeah.

Martin Broszat It would--it would change, it would change the whole situation.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat What would change their--

Studs Terkel And so the man upstairs. Let the man upstairs decide since he knows.

Martin Broszat Well--

Studs Terkel And he has to be right because if he's wrong [and] we subscribed to all this then something is terrible with our own lives.

Martin Broszat Yes, I think that is what--

Studs Terkel So therefore you can close your eyes and you can close your ears quite consciously and not see it. Is this, is this the--

Martin Broszat Well, I think that's true and, you know, then you had [clears throat], all people had acquaintances, say, in the public service and he, they said, "Oh, when Mr. So-and-So, which is a member of our local community authority and so on, and which is an honest person, when he has evidently no reason to protest then--

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat it cannot be wrong."

Studs Terkel Yeah, yeah.

Martin Broszat "And and I, I th- I believe him," and so on, yes? It was a kind of delegation of responsibility, [uninitelligible].

Studs Terkel It's this going along.

Martin Broszat And I think that a background of this--

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat Attitude is of course the tradition of German [German], as you-. You know what I mean with [German]. It is difficult to translate.

Studs Terkel [German]--"looking up to the superior."

Martin Broszat Yes.

Studs Terkel And so evasion of res-, a giving up of responsibility too. [German]

Martin Broszat [German] We can also say this is [German], a government. What is that, yes? This [German, Autoritats glaube?] as we saw, believe in government--

Studs Terkel In authority. The belief of authority. The non-questioning of authority.

Martin Broszat [Authority?] Non-question of--

Studs Terkel Ah hah, yes.

Martin Broszat an authority. [The old?] strong tradition of German policy,--

Studs Terkel Yes, yes.

Martin Broszat And so.

Studs Terkel You know, as some would say, "Well, maybe you wouldn't respect the chancellor but respect the chancellery."

Martin Broszat Oh. Well.

Studs Terkel I mean, respect the position. Go ahead, I'm sorry. So, this whole tradition of not questioning authority. Well you don't, do you see this as uniquely Germanic? Or do you see this as applicable to other societies too?

Martin Broszat I think so. It, that's not typical. No, it's certainly not a national, a natural, national--

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat Attribute of Germans, I would say. It's a result of history and, it is in consequence of this strong German and Prussian tradition, not only Prussian but, of course, also especially a strong Prussian.

Studs Terkel Yes.

Martin Broszat There's this belief in the state and this, strong state authority.

Studs Terkel In your in your papers, in the memoranda here, you've come across, have you played a role in the Nuremberg trials, too? Your Institute?

Martin Broszat No, no. It wasn't founded even then.

Studs Terkel No, it

Martin Broszat was after that. It was founded

Studs Terkel only in '49. This is subsidized by what? By the Republic?

Martin Broszat By the Republic and a lender, together.

Studs Terkel The different states.

Martin Broszat [Half of? Part of?] the different states of Germany.

Studs Terkel So this leaves us now with several last questions Dr. Broszat. I know you're very busy and very gracious with your time. Do you think--oh people asked--since there was a slight revival of the NPD, Neo-Nazism, a slight revival. The question is, we know though a great many who voted for it were probably elderly and old. Were there any young who voted for it? So our friend here, Vera Golichy who was the interpreter, says a couple of her friends--would you mind saying this Vera and then Dr. Broszat--a couple of your friends, college kids voted NPD, didn't they?

Vera Yes--

Vera Why?

Vera But only three--

Studs Terkel Three. But why did they?

Vera To protest. [door opening? in background] To protest. At the moment there was the coalition in Bonn and there was, people didn't know what to [hold?] about it, and they didn't know what to vote and there was, they thought there was no alternative and so they voted NPD.

Studs Terkel Oh here's a case maybe because [Lily Brandt?] had joined [Kissinger?]. They said there's no other, the coalition, is at the point? So just as a matter of pique, as a matter of pro, not that they believed in the--

Vera This voting wasn't very important. It was only for the [lander?] so it wasn't the voting for federal government.

Studs Terkel You mean only state voting, you mean?

Vera Yes.

Studs Terkel Well, now I've got to ask Dr. Broszat a question, in view of what she said. These are a couple of friends who were just as a matter of protest, pique. Have you found any young kids in your observations who voted NPD?

Martin Broszat I can [not?] exactly say if they voted or not.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat But I know that some young people are inclined to vote also, I would say. And I think that's a strong reason as a kind of protest because they felt they had no alternative now. But there are some other reasons too, I would say. For instance, it's a growing of national--of course--a growing of national feeling in Germany since some years. I think more one reason maybe [the goal?] and there's a breakdown of a very strong hope set on the Europe idea, yeah? It's a kind of frustration, and so?

Studs Terkel You mean the split too perhaps and some longing for the Oder-Neisse revision?

Martin Broszat I really don't think so much that the Oder-Neisse question has so much to do with it. I don't think so. I don't think that it is a kind of disappointment because reunification of Germany or, hasn't happened. [clears throat] Because just these [young generation? jungeneration?] isn't, isn't an utopian one, I would say. [laughter] They do not think that, they do not think that the unification of Germany is to be reached in [near?] future. I don't think that.

Studs Terkel You mean there is an acceptance of the two?

Martin Broszat Well.

Studs Terkel Do you feel this among your friends, Vera? [knocking in background]

Vera No. I want to say something about the NPD. They have so many projects and so many ideas. For example, they are against foreign workers and they are against the Oder-Neisse [line?] and they're for capital punishment and there are so many things that you can choose what you want to. For example, I spoke with a Jew who was very much against NPD, naturally, and then he was, he would vote for capital punishment. And so I said to him, but that's what the NPD wants too. And so he was very much afraid and so many people they don't, they just don't think. And so there's something in their program and they like and they vote for it.

Studs Terkel This is interesting. This Jewish man you talked about, you mentioned the, the guest workers. We know that many foreign working people in Munich, particularly from Italy, from the Latin countries. Italy and specifically Sicily and Portugal and Spain. Is there an attitude about them? Is there, is this a new minority group here you might say in Munich? The Gastarbeiter.

Martin Broszat Oh, they are. But not only in Munich. I don't know if they are stronger here than in other towns. Maybe.

Vera No. [unintelligible]

Martin Broszat I don't, I don't think that [unintelligible] I would say.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Martin Broszat But that's a str-, I think one of those effective slogans of the NPD is directed against these foreign, guest workers.

Studs Terkel In short they become the new Jews of Germany, in a sense.

Martin Broszat Well.

Vera Mmm.

Martin Broszat No I don't think so.

Vera It's 10% who, not even 10% who voted to NPD.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Vera So you can't generalize.

Studs Terkel Yeah. So the NPD then, you feel has reached its peak perhaps with this?

Martin Broszat Although I'm not so very much alarmed by these--

Studs Terkel No, you're not.

Martin Broszat --Ten or 15%. I guess they will reach 15% [in the intersectionals, so?]. But you know, [door opening, conversation in background], the, it is quite I would say it's quite normal after this experience and after this history that we have about 15% of these NPD which is not Neo-Nazis, but only partly Neo-Nazism, I would say. And it seems that these parties, as they always did, will split again because it is, they live on neg- on the negative--

Studs Terkel Ah yes.

Martin Broszat [Form?]

Studs Terkel [But?] these students wanting this protest.

Martin Broszat And--

Vera Yes, it's only emotional. It's very emotional. The next day they've forgotten it, maybe, you see. When situations changes.

Martin Broszat And without a positive integrating program it's very difficult to hold his party together.

Studs Terkel So do you see even though there's a slight increase in nationalism, you feel that there isn't a chance, I'm asking you this: Would there ever be a chance of Hitler time ever coming back again?

Martin Broszat It's difficult for a historian to be a perfect you know. But-- [laughter]

Vera [laughter]

Studs Terkel [I'm asking?] [unintelligible] on the basis of [bad times?]

Martin Broszat But you must say, what are what have been the conditions of Hitler's coming to power? That when the extraordinary phenomenon of this single man who was really the integrating point of these sectarian movements of the [folkish?] elements which made the followers of Hitler. And without such a charismatic person in whom the people believed, they didn't believe in this ideology so much. They believed in Hitler, you know. [knock on door] And they thought--

Male Voice [Guten Tag. German.]

Martin Broszat And that a man could could fill this pose could only happen I would say after this Imperial German period--

Studs Terkel Mmm.

Martin Broszat When they had the Emperor and they wished now to have another pat- another father-like, or even god-like leader, so. And it is far more difficult, I would say, after exp- periods of 20 years of German democracy. You haven't any more these strong feel- longing for a leader who makes all [unintelligible] all of this. That has changed very much I would say in Germany, now.

Studs Terkel So I'm certain the prerequisites you mentioned have to be there; these prerequisites that you mentioned. The bitterness, the unemployment, the nationalism--

Martin Broszat Well.

Studs Terkel The dreams of a past glory, a romanticism. All this has to be there. So I must ask you this other question, perhaps the last one Dr. Broszat. [unidentified sound in background] Let us say under the circumstances cannot ever come back to Germany. Do you think it'd come back? You think this could reach even un- using under some other name, any other society?

Martin Broszat Such, such movements like this?

Studs Terkel Such as this. Whatever it's called. You call it Nazism here or Fascism?

Martin Broszat Well I would think, and, I personally think some element of this has happened, for instance, have happened in the United States. In some in some sectors of the Goldwater movement in '64. And it has happened in the [French] Movement in France. And I think it can happen everywhere. I think it happens, of course, in a different way in these new states, in say, in the Arabian States or even in Israel, you know. In, for instance in Africa as it's, you know it's a very interesting historically interesting phenomenon that all theses states, the integrating element of these state is national feeling, yeah? But they are the prerequisites for a national state are not [unintelligible] states. They say they have no bourgeois society, they have no educated people who can fill the post of civil administration and so on. And so the tendency to compensate by extreme ideologies. And so is very strong. That's true for Indonesia, [Indonesia?] and for India and so on, so on. And even the racist's feelings and racist's self-justifications also, that is a quite, nearly a normal appearance in the period of national integrate- of national integration. And I think this period of national state is over in the peak of this period is over in Europe but not in the world.

Studs Terkel Not in the world. So this raises [squeaks] perhaps this big prerequisite for it, people, or the folk--whoever they are--not questioning authority. I mean this also has to be almost a key requisite doesn't it? The non-questioning of authority.

Martin Broszat Well, that's, and you know it has even religious backgrounds and so and that's true also for these developing countries, I would say. The mixing of religious and national feelings.

Studs Terkel For developed countries too.

Martin Broszat For developed too. You know, for instance there's the special amalgamation of Protestant tradition and national feeling in north of Germany, for instance. [There is?]--to a certain extent--strong background for Hitler too. All the, all these conservative German national feeling you know is that traditionally, what is [German]?

Vera Lines.

Martin Broszat Lines of throne and [altar?] which we talked of in Germany, because the Protestant--we have no Calvinistic tradition no nor Puritan tradition as you in the United States, but a Protestant one that mean--ah, the Protestant clergy, which is so to say a civil servant, which is kind of a state official, yes?

Studs Terkel Hm.

Martin Broszat And so we have in the pres-, in the overwhelming Protestant tradition in Germany is favored theis belief in authority.

Studs Terkel The last question, Dr. Martin Broszat, and then we go and you can go back to your work. And the question is: you yourself--what led you to become involved with this project? What led you, Dr. Broszat, to become a part of this project?

Martin Broszat Although there are some, I told you about the engagement as a member of this generation of--

Studs Terkel The Burnt Children.

Martin Broszat Well, on the other hand, there are some more professional, more accidental reasons for it. I was very much interested in the course of my study--I became very much interested in nationality-minority questions. And so my teacher was Theodore [Sheeter?] in Cologne and he, I was impressed by his work [and]?] his doing [it?]. [phone or doorbell in background] And so I came and it was, I was very much interested in recent history and, on the other hand, all these nationalistic East, Middle East, and Eastern European problems, nationality questions that, that altogether. And then I found this Institute, [a good team?] I had some news from people which I like very much in terms of--all this came together, you know?

Studs Terkel Dr. Broszat, I am delighted that Dr. [Graff?] the editor of my book, led me on to you. It was a marvelous lead. One last question--not last--anything, anything you, anything you care to say we haven't talked about. Any aspect of this that we haven't talked about you might care to mention before we say auf widersehen?

Martin Broszat Well let me say only this. I think this terrible period can be a positive one in so far that is so to say, a permanent challenge for our conscience, for our new political conscience in Germany. And it isn't, it isn't the negative thing we do if we criticize and if we unveil this period. Because I think it is a contribution to form a bet-, to form a better, a more educated conscience of policy, political behavior in Germany.

Studs Terkel Always to question and to say [German.]

Martin Broszat [laughs]

Studs Terkel Dr. Martin Broszat, Deputy Director of the Institute for Contemporary History, Institut fur Zeitgeschichte. Auf widersehen.

Martin Broszat Auf widersehen.