Other nations could learn from Germany's efforts to reconcile after WWII | Hub
This article investigates the political relations between Poland and the Federal The relation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Peoples' Republic of .. aimed at supporting the choice of this place of remembrance. . were a symbol of post-war epoch closure and the end of the continent's division. After Germany invaded Poland, in September, , the . This dynamic was enacted in a debate, on Polish-Russian relations, held at the “Poland is a typical post-colonial state,” the far-right writer Rafał Ziemkiewicz told me. A memorial in Jedwabne, claiming that the Gestapo had committed the crime. After World War II, Germany faced the need to reconcile with its enemies. were highly anecdotal, but no scholarly work on the German-Israeli relationship. . out to the East and made steps toward reconciliation with Poland in particular. , Brandt laid a wreath at the memorial of the Jewish ghetto.
On September 10,a reparations agreement between Israel and West Germany was signed in Luxembourg. The talks had been conducted in English and there were no handshakes or smiling faces at the signing of the pact, under which West Germany was to pay Israel for integrating Holocaust survivors and agreed to devise German domestic legislation to pay compensation and restitution to individual Jews.
The first reparations payments to the Israeli state as goods in kind began in and ended in ; payments to individuals continue to this day. By the end ofGermany had provided 66 billion euros in all forms of compensation, with the largest share going to Israel.
Some Israelis said it was akin to taking blood money, but the agreement brought in German goods and infrastructure that built and stabilized the Israeli economy. Gardner Feldman, who has been researching German reconciliation for more than 40 years, says nearly every conceivable dimension of political and social relations was engaged in this bilateral connection between West Germany and Israel.
At the same time, Germany was developing a similar relationship with France through cultural institutions such as the Franco-German Youth Office.
German-Polish Relations: A History Of Betrayals - SPIEGEL ONLINE
In the s, West Germany under Willy Brandt, who first was foreign minister and then chancellor, reached out to the East and made steps toward reconciliation with Poland in particular. Brandt said Germany had to build with Poland what it had built with France. On a cold wet day in Warsaw on December 7,Brandt laid a wreath at the memorial of the Jewish ghetto. The lasting image of that day was a photo taken when Brandt fell to his knees in front of the memorial and remained completely still for half a minute on the wet stone floor.
That same day, Brandt signed the Treaty of Warsaw, which committed Germany and Poland to nonviolence and accepted the existing border—the Oder-Neisse line, imposed on Germany by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference.
Here was a man who had resisted Hitler and owned no direct responsibility for Nazi atrocities, but took on the full weight of their actions.
Though West Germany had gone to great lengths to express contrition for the transgressions of the Nazis, German political leaders long avoided the concept of collective guilt and underlined that Germans had to atone for crimes committed by the Third Reich, not the nation. Brandt, however, was the first German head of government to adopt a clear stance that "no German is free of history. Germany's ongoing relationship with Israel is unique, Gardner Feldman says, but one can see similar reconciliatory themes, approaches, and patterns through Germany's relations with its other former enemies.
In her book, she argues that the "cornerstone, perhaps the very definition, of German foreign policy after World War II became, progressively, reconciliation.Tensions Growing Between Germany And Poland
Gardner Feldman examined all German chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel and found a common strain: Gardner Feldman speculates, "Maybe [Germany] looked at the most egregious examples or countries that could bring it the most benefit? Japan has rejected claims from individual Korean and Chinese victims. This statement led to the creation, a year later, of the Asian Women's Fund, which provided aid and support to women who were forced into prostitution. It was dissolved in March Gardner Feldman also mentions two statements by Japanese prime ministers: None was followed by robust, concrete action.
Some right-wing politicians have called for Tokyo to revise or rescind the Kono and Murayama apologies. Gardner Feldman observes, "Whereas the Germans from until today are still saying, 'Sorry' and, 'This is our burden from the past,' you have a Japan whose actions contradict the apologies they have uttered.
The shrine is particularly anathema to China, which was occupied by Japan before and during World War II, and Korea, which was colonized by Japan from to Various government ministers paid their respects at the shrine, and Prime Minister Abe sent a small masakaki tree.
Germany, meanwhile, has used sites of Nazi crimes, such as concentration camps, as learning and teaching tools and visible representations of atrocities. In Berlin, there are countless physical reminders such as words engraved in cobblestones that mark the arrests of Jews or where families lived before they were pushed out by the Third Reich. While Japan has largely forgone reconciliation, Germany has used its policy to claim a moral high ground and become a trusted power.
Hanns Maull, the foreign policy analyst, says that one reason Germany has become so trusted is the lengths it has gone to distance itself from its days as an aggressive power.
Military power, in particular, is taboo. Germany debates the role of force and has a very cautious approach.
Germans are willing, under certain conditions, to use military force but never to use it alone and only when there's no choice but military intervention. Gardner Feldman says no. Every new generation has to deal with this. Gardner Feldman says other nations might learn from this.
Other nations could learn from Germany's efforts to reconcile after WWII
She argues that Germany could help China and South Korea settle decades-long disputes with Japan over the ownership of islands in the East China Sea and Sea of Japan, as well as show the way for Japan to make amends. At the same time, Catholicism became the decisive element of Polish identity. Only a Catholic can be a true patriot, on this view.
Poland 's Patriotic Mystique The divisions are probably the most important explanation for the exceptional patriotism of the Poles. While all modern European nations invent their own symbols during this era, the royal Polish throne and regalia were taken to Russia, never to be returned. Polish flags and coats of arms were banned, and singing patriotic songs became an act of high treason.
The result, writes British historian and Poland expert Norman Davies, was a feeling of patriotism that exempted everything Polish from criticism. This sentiment recedes slightly into the background only in With the final collapse of the monarchies in Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany, Poland regains its place on the map.
The rebirth of the republic is celebrated frenetically by the population. But Germany views the loss of German-speaking territories in Silesia, Pomerania and Western Prussia -- part of the Poland by the Treaty of Versailles -- as a great injustice. Nazi Germany's attack on Poland on Sept. The regime of occupation was brutal: Following the elimination of the Polish intelligentsia, the Germans shipped thousands of Poles to Germany as slave laborers.
It was the largest act of resistance against Nazi rule. More thanpeople died, and the city was razed to the ground house by house. Poland had been destroyed, and the Red Army was stationed within the country, which Stalin wanted to turn into a Soviet satellite state.
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was prepared to recognize the provisional communist government and British resistance to the plan was weak.
Poland, Europe and Forgiveness as a Political Strategy after World War II
Poland fell into the Soviet sphere of influence. At the Potsdam Conference, half of Poland's eastern territory was separated from the country and made part of the Soviet Union -- the very territories granted to the Soviets as part of the Hitler-Stalin pact.
The new Poland was compensated by land in the west -- territory which had previously belonged to the Germans. More than 10 million Germans fled or were expelled. Poles from the country's former eastern territories were resettled and move into the homes of the expellees. The Communist rulers stoked Polish nationalism, but mostly they fanned the flames of anti-German fear.
The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate  transfer to the Soviet Union of the City of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above subject to expert examination of the actual frontier. The President of the United States and the British Prime Minister have declared that they will support the proposal of the Conference at the forthcoming peace settlement.
The British and United States Governments have taken measures to protect the interest of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity as the recognized government of the Polish State in the property belonging to the Polish State located in their territories and under their control, whatever the form of this property may be.
In conformity with the agreement on Poland reached at the Crimea Conference the three Heads of Government have sought the opinion of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity in regard to the accession of territory in the north and west which Poland should receive.
The President of the National Council of Poland and members of the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity have been received at the Conference and have fully presented their views. The three Heads of Government reaffirm their opinion that the final delimitation of the western frontier of Poland should await the peace settlement. The three Heads of Government agree that, pending the final determination of Poland's western frontier, the former German territories east of a line running from the Baltic Sea immediately west of Swinamunde, and thence along the Oder River to the confluence of the western Neisse River and along the Western Neisse to the Czechoslovak frontier, including that portion of East Prussia not placed under the administration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in accordance with the understanding reached at this conference and including the area of the former free city of Danzig, shall be under the administration of the Polish State and for such purposes should not be considered as part of the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany.
Emphasis added The Allies also agreed that: Orderly transfer of German populations. The Three Governments [of the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain], having considered the question in all its aspects, recognize that the transfer to Germany of German populations, or elements thereof, remaining in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, will have to be undertaken.
They agree that any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner.
There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble. A clean sweep will be made.