Friday, January 27, 2017

Purity and Greatness

The Weimar Republic emerged at the end of World War I as one answer to upheavals faced by the German people. Of the options explored by the political types, one was a Soviet style system which upset the property owners, the other option was to give more power to the German Parliament which was an elected body and this too distressed German elites who were firm in their belief that the average German in the Street was far too irresponsible to take control of his or her own destiny.  Briefly the Weimar Republic, as a parliamentary democracy, had a golden age of growing prosperity and the stability which prosperity always seems to promise. This golden age lasted from 1924 until the rapid decline in the value of stocks, most of which were owned by just a few, which precipitated the financial crisis of 1929. By 1933 the Weimar Republic was over.

In economic terms the interlude following the Weimar Republic was characterized by increased government spending in a market economy. Infrastructure and armaments did very well. This combination and the motivations behind it usually have a logical conclusion, give it whatever name you want but the object of the latter is essentially the destruction of the former and anything left over too often becomes a museum artifact or the inspiration behind motor cycle gangs and some of the more deranged movie directors. In political terms the interlude that followed the Weimar Republic was characterized by a leadership determined to assert both its "purity" and its "greatness." They defined purity as the eradication of dissent both vocal and genetic. They defined "greatness" as the inevitable consequence of and reward for "purity." But that's all ancient history, isn't it

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