Boo to the CIA! It got caught spying on Germany, and its top man in Berlin has been sent home. What I’d like to know is what’s so important about Berlin’s open-book policies that we had to play dirty? Maybe our ex-top man in the German capital should now concentrate on weeding out Israeli spies in Washington. It would make more sense, as Israel does spy on her benefactor, protector, and major ally, whereas Germany does not. Actually, spying on Germany does smack of arrogance and disrespect. Germany no longer has a Gestapo nor a Stasi, is deeply antimilitaristic, and while—yes—anti-Americanism is growing, it’s growing for all the right reasons: the United States’ post-September 11 sojourn in the Middle East and the subsequent debacles that followed the Cheney-Rumsfeld efforts to play Alexander the Great.
Germans today are not the ones Hollywood so easily portrays as goose-stepping, Nazi-loving, Jew-hating villains. Actually, and this will not make me very popular, they never were. My aunt by marriage Princess Lilly Schoenburg lost her six sons on the Russian front, where they were dispatched as canon fodder for being aristocrats. Hitler and the Nazis were loathed by the upper and educated classes, tolerated once war was declared by the middle class as it had no choice but to do, and only a small, twisted number of Germans remained ardent Nazis after it became clear that Hitler was leading the nation to disaster. Hitler and the Nazis brought law and order to a seething Germany in 1933 and also put all Germans to work. Nazism held sway for 12 years, and it has been dead and deeply buried since 1945. The rest is all bullshit made up by Hollywood and sensation-seeking newspapers, as ridiculous as the Hitler sightings in South America.
A deeply ingrained antimilitarism after having lost two world wars, the first of which Germany did not initiate, is as German as Apfelstrudel. Germans are not willing participants in America’s spy games. They are law-abiders with no desire to play dirty games now that the Cold War is truly over, and they definitely do not want to be Washington’s patsies in the war against radical Islam. In fact, Uncle Sam could learn a trick or two from Uncle Heinrich in keeping above the fray. But with Aipac busy stirring up trouble, I’m just whistling Dixie.
Last month, Germany exhibited the skill and efficiency of her soccer team, which humbled Brazil and outplayed Argentina to win the World Cup. France fielded a team of mostly African Frenchmen, but to no avail. The Germans mowed them down in a manner reminiscent of 1870, when Bismarck had his troops march on the Champs-Élysées to show the Frogs who was the boss.
There is no better and more pleasant place to live than in Germany, as long as one keeps away from busy ports like Hamburg and Muslim-infested cities like Frankfurt. Five years ago I was in Regensburg, Bavaria, walking along the Danube with Prince Heinrich Fürstenberg, in whose lands the great river actually begins to flow. The scene was straight out of those black-and-white films of pre-war vintage. Blondes lined the banks sunning themselves, while suntanned young men showed off their physiques to them. Older burghers picnicked with their wives and drank beer. Wonderful oompah bands played old tunes. “Did you set all this up?” I asked Heinrich. I toured the castles and swam in the lakes and dined in Berlin, a modern, wonderful, art-filled city, and in nearby Potsdam’s New Palace, the Prussian jewel that now houses Brandenburg’s government. The people were friendly and handsome, except in the Turkish and Arab quarters where the Muslims, with the highest birthrate by far, remain apart from the German way of life.
Writing this made me think of the Sullivan brothers, all five brave boys who went down with their ship in World War II. Hollywood made a movie of their life, and Washington named two destroyers after them. As well it should have. No film has been made of the six Schoenburg brothers who died in Russia, nor of the three Blücher brothers who died in the airborne attack on Crete in May 1941. Their ancestor, Marshal Blücher, was the real winner on June 18, 1815, when his seven-in-the-evening charge won the day for the allies against Napoleon. (Typically, Wellington claimed to be the victor.) Nor of Prince Wittgenstein who, as a top German ace, was still defending the fatherland against impossible odds when he was shot down three days before the war ended. Inside his flight suit he was wearing a dinner jacket. Maybe Spielberg should lay off the fictional Private Ryan and concentrate on the real princes like those above. Let’s celebrate princes for a change, and learn to love Germany.