Thursday, January 19, 2012
The Case for Monarchy: Germany
Germany today has no anchor and flounders culturally and politically while gaining very little respect in the world. By being frozen in time the rest of the world has been encouraged to see Germans the same way. Ask a foreigner to describe German culture or what comes to mind when they think of Germany and they will probably come up with beer, lederhosen and Nazis. In a political context, most view Germany as the nation that always pays the bills, that will be there to bail you out if you get too deeply in debt (thus eliminating any incentive to behave responsibly) and yet this has engendered no great love for Germany. Most people tend to have little affection for their banker. Germany has also become known as one of those nations that decries nationality. The country has become more and more multi-cultural in the sense that there are now huge African, Asian, Arab and Turkish populations in the country and yet it has become more mono-cultural as the rich distinctiveness of the states is lost. Some of the old states have been lost altogether and for those that remain their uniqueness has become less and less pronounced over time. It is quite sad and all the more so because it doesn’t have to be this way.
Still, we are told over and over again that the monarchy represented the political culture which brought about the disastrous conflict, what is termed “Prussian militarism” which the enemies of the monarchy used to apply equal guilt to all the monarchies and later to justify the dissolution of Prussia altogether. However, a dispassionate look at the facts shows that the last German Kaiser was the least militaristic of almost all his contemporaries. From 1888 to 1914 Wilhelm II had never fought an actual war. To compare, in that same period of time, Great Britain had fought a war with Tibet over Sikkim, fought the shortest war in history against Zanzibar, fought a border war in northern India and the Second Boer War in South Africa. Consider also that during the reign of Wilhelm II the French Republic had a greater percentage of her population under arms than Germany did. Germany had the second largest navy in the world, second only to Great Britain, yet even then the British fleet was more than twice the size of that of Germany. The United States might have had an even more militaristic reputation. Again, from 1888 to 1914, the United States fought the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Banana Wars, another rebellion in the Philippines and an armed intervention in Mexico. The German Empire was actually one of the most peaceful of world powers.