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Dearborn independent. [volume] (Dearborn, Mich.) 1901-1927, June 26, 1920, Image 10

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2013218776/1920-06-26/ed-1/seq-10/

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Germany TodayStuttgart and Berlin
GERMANY was never homogeneous and the march
of time was ahrayi slower in kmn parts tlian
in others. Generalization is therefore difficult,
but one generalization at least is lUTC ami easy Get
many is diseased The disease began before use war,
it became acute during the war. and DOW it is maltg
nant. It is not spread uniformly over the whole bodyi
but the heart and the brain are desperately affected.
Let us take two towns by way of example Stutt
gart, small, remote and provincial, and Berlin, the
The simple-minded. good and sentimental German
admired by lime, de Stae! and by Henri Beyle was not
altogether" fiction. A granger visiting Stuttgart il litre
to be charmed it he be at all responsive to other than
busines or material appeals. The streets are clean and
handsome. Many of the houses are old-fashioned and
picturesque. The castle is medieval and romantic.
There is refinement in the way the hop window! are
arranged. Good music can be heard every evening.
Plays, chosen from the dramatic masterpieces of all
nations, are found in weekly repertoire Shakespeare
and Shaw are staged more frequently than in London.
Living is good and comparatively cheap. The people
are amiable to an extent that is lometimei almost comic.
They speak a homely dialect full of rich cadences
one has the impression (wrong, of course) that a per
son with a voice so warm and musical could not harm
a fly. The war and the ruin of the German Empire
have left Stuttgart not profoundly changed. Perhaps
local officials are a little more corrupt than they were;
probably there are more families who find it hard
to earn their daily bread, and certainly there is more
discontent than there was before the war. but the
casual observer coming from abroad would not see
any obvious signs of suffering or demoralization in the
faces of the people who walk the streets. Stuttgart is
one of those few German towns that will not suffer
overmuch whatever happens.
But is Stuttgart typical of Germany? It was, per
haps, typical of Germany a century ago. It was far
less typical of the Hohenzollern era. Today it still
stands for something that is permanently German, but
it does not in any way exemplify the change that has
come over Germany ; it is not typical of the new Ger
many born of war and revolution.
In Berlin th empire and the downfall are mani
fested. In Berlin all the glory of the militarist im
perialism was concentrated. The parks and squares are
adorned with heroic statuary, with squat granite colossi
representing generals and imperialist statesmen. 1 he
conspicuous "Brandenburg Gate" is a huge and clumsy
triumphal arch that destroys an attractive vista of green
and peaceful trees. It is crowned with a chariot drawn
by four war horses with distended nostrils and with
feet that paw the empty air. The "Stegessaule," a tall,
thick, fluted column, bears a gilt figure of Winged Vic
tory with heavy flying skirts that top the houses and
affront the sky. The "Victory Avenue" rims between
two regular rows of white marble groups that rep
resent the imperial ancestry of the Hohenzollerns
men of "blood and iron" and look like the tops of
wedding cakes. In the quarters occupied by the im
perial palaces the sky line is crowded with fighting
warriors, charging horses, and flapping eagles. Wher
ever one looks war and victory obtrude an obtrusive
ness particularly discordant amid the omnipresence of
war and defeat.
A nation has to be deeply afflicted before the symp
toms of disease are plainly visible to an outsider who
is still immune. In Berlin the symptoms are apparent
10 all, fOf no one is deceived by the gayety. the dancing,
and tin (easting that go on day and night
Before the war Berlin was .scrupulously clean now
it ii ibabb) Before the war refined people, perfect in
their dresi and manners, could be seen m streets,
shops and restaurants not a majority, but present in
arresting numbers, nevertheless. Now there are none
at all. The Berlin croud is predominantly vulgar; it is
one of wealthy people unused to wealth and culture.
It is physically ugly, tawdry and tasteletl in its dress,
and loose in its morals, ft tills every restaurant with
noisy, quarrelsome talk and bad table manners. It
squanders plentiful money on plentiful food and listens
to bad musk (mostly imported ragtime or cheap
musical comedy).
The wardens of all that was best in the pre-war
culture of Germany (beneath the insolent imperial fa
cade there was a deep culture in pre-war Germany ) re
main at home in their suburban flats, impoverished,
nauseated, and resentful. One continually meets en
lightened and retined Berlincrs who simply refuse to
visit the city. They w ill continue to live r tired in
their suburbs and they will die there, and the rare
flowers of German culture will perish with them, for
their sons will have too hard a struggle for bare exist
ence to acquire anything like culture.
The suburban children of Berlin among the hand
somest in the world look just as they did before tin
war except that there seem to be many pale, transparent
complexions and big. dark eyes. In the poorer quarters
one still occasionally st. -N the small, thin body and
huge head of the child that has not had one satisfying
meal for the last three or four years,
Surfeit and shortage are next door neighbors, but
juster distribution is immensely difficult, for public hon
esty has so far deteriorated that every measure of con
trol is evaded by an immense army of profiteers ami
illicit dealers.
Before the war Germany was one of the world's
very few uncorrupt countries. Now it is one of the
many corrupt. Theft is so common that there are
printed warnings in every hotel against placing boots
outside the doors overnight. Nothing is safe from
thieves. Murder and violence are so frequent that no
crime, however sensational, creates the slightest sensa
tion. Is it all bad and has no good come of war and
defeat? Let us consider the new German art, the
completest manifestation of the new Germany.
Living German artists are numerous, but it is dif
ficult to see in their pictures when they are typical
any beauty or inspiration. Tradition has been de
stroyed. The past is gone and cannot be recreated in
prose or verse or color. And yet it is unreplaced by
anything save a negation.
The German Revolution was made without en
thusiasm and German art is without enthusiasm. As
in German life there is in German art a violent, tor
tured, and often insincere, attempt to discover new
forms, and new forms will doubtless be found eventu
ally. That is one of the hopeful signs in present-day
Another hopeful gn there is unsparing .self-criticism
and self-condemnation. It is the wish of many,
if not most intelligent and enterprising Germans whose
future is not fixed, to leave Germany. Some would go
to America dreamed of as the distant paradise of
limitless wealth and freedom. Others would go to
England land of political enlightenment and ordered
lOCtal progress. Others would go to Russia. German
nationalism i a fake although it is so loud and ob
trusive. The German people are more than tolerant
toward foreigners, at least toward Englishmen and
Americans. An Englishman or an American in (jcr.
many today is not, in spite of war and blockade, treated
with contempt, hatred, or aloofness but rather with h -pitality,
kindness, and distinction. German nationalists
who cultivate hatred for England and America are in
a minority and their nationalism serves party end
part of their political program.
The ruthless, acrid self-condemnation and self-humiliation
of the enlightened German are sometimes
tragic to witness. But there is no escape for Ger
mans. They must remain imprisoned within their own
frontiers and there work out their salvation.
What is their salvation going to be? No one can
tell with certainty. All are agreed that the immediate
future is gloomy. But there is hope for the ditant
future. Every German brain that can think at all is
thinking hard and furiously. There was never so much
"kopfzerbreehen." so much hard thinking, puzzling,
questioning. In that. tOO, there is much hope.
Germany went into violent revolution without being
ready for revolution, without a revolutionary idea.
Those who carried out the revolution were Unrevolu
tionary in spirit. It must always be a calamity when
the revolution of the spirit and the revolution of
violence do not go hand in hand. The German Revolu
tion o! violence is over, or nearly over. The spiritual
revolution has only just begun.
The Germans are obsessed with party polities hut
are unpolitical. The parties are guided even more by
hatred for each oth r than by their programs. They
are guided by dogmas more than by ideas. Least of
all are tiny guided by economic realities. On the
political Right there is a wilfully obstinate, sentimental
attachment to dead Splendors but nothing that will
satisfy the desperately urgent needs of the day. On
the Left there is no authentic scheme, but only an im
portunate repetition of phrases that may correspond
with Russian realities but do nt correspond with Ger
man realities. Two months ago the wicked and in
credibly stupid enterprise of kapp ami Luttnitz was de
feated with heavy 1ss of life. It has discredited the
extreme Right forever, war ago the Munich Soviet
Republic was destroyed, also with heavy loss of life
The Munich Soviet Republic, planned by well-meaning
idealists, was a thing of fantastic madness and i still
remembered as a kind of nightmare in Bavaria It
has discredited the extreme Left forever, and today
Bavaria is tin most formidable stronghold of German
C mservatism.
Germany is not, like the victorious nation-., moving
slowly from Right to Left. It is rather the other way
about. Salvation can come n ither from the Right nor
from the Left, for neither has a single creative idea.
Nor can it come from the middle which stands for
ithuttonal parltamentarianism of which the Reichs
tag is the reducttS ad obsurdum.
All old forms are losing prestige and Germany is
turning away from party politics and parliament What
will emerge to take their place is uncertain. It will
probably be some embodiment of the Soviet idea: that
is to say. representation based on occupation! and
callings, not the Soviets of the Communists and not
an imitation of the Russian model, but something dif
ferent, something distinctively German. It will be Ger
many's contribution to world politics and more than a
vindication of her right to live on equal terms with
other nations.
A Pioneer Tree Planter
kabtB H SSjfaaa pHMfl kV"l fcj rnt,"' L
Statue of J. Sterling Morton erected in hit memory in Morton Perk. Nebraska City.
THK memory of J. Sterling Morton, pioneer Nebraskan, who was
the first Secretary of Agriculture in the United States and the
founder of Arbor Day, will always be revered by those who love trees
and the beauty of nature. Much of the beauty of the prairie plains is
due to his progressive ideas in pioneer times. Not only did he preach
more trees, but by a practical demonstration on his farm near Ne
braska City he proved what can be done in tree planting. Arbor Lodge,
the early home of this pioneer of the plains who came to Nebraska in
Model ol firet old tattlers' cabin in Morton Park. Ncbraeka City.
1851 is one of the show places ,,f the state today. Its grounds were
aid out and the trees planted by his own hand's. They are now a
lasting monument to his memory and scarcely a visitor to Nebraska
Uty tails to inspect this beauty spot. Before Mr. Morton died, in
7 PY f" ms "ome town a beautiful park and therein the citi
zens ot Nebraska City have erected a statue of him and have other
wise adorned the grounds in keeping with the spirit of the man whose
gnt it is. r

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