Thursday, October 13, 2011

German Atlanticism of times past: No snakes in this here Garden of Eden

Something I ran across while looking up British press responses to the work of Oswald Spengler: a review of Ohne Amerika Geht Es Nicht (roughly: 'It won't work without America') by Emil Müller-Sternheim.

OHNE AMERIKA GEHT ES NICHT. Von E. Muller-Sternheim. (Vienna: Amalthea-Verlag.)—This is a curious book. Imagine all the criticisms of the United States which have recently been put forward by various writers, and then imagine a decided, even enthusiastic refutation of all of them, and one would have some idea of this volume, which is dedicated to President Hoover.

As the title implies, the writer holds that without the active assistance of America Europe is doomed, not only in the economic sphere but in culture, art, morals—almost in every respect. The thesis is developed in a very lively fashion and, incidentally, contains criticisms of Malthus, Karl Marx, Ricardo and Oswald Spengler, who is treated as a representative of European snobbery. All the less favourable aspects of American civilization are passed over, and at the end one wonders whether there can be any snake at all in this Garden of Eden.

The American woman has a laudatory chapter to herself; American State-education is analysed, entirely to its advantage as compared with German. The Kellogg Pact and the League of Nations are described as supreme achievements of American statesmanship, and America is strongly defended against charges of “denationalization” of its immigrants, which had been brought against her by German critics.

As a reaction against superficial condemnation the book certainly is of interest, but one doubts whether even the most patriotic American would care to accept all Herr Muller-Sternheim’s assertion [sic] without qualification.

The Times Literary Supplement, 6 November 1930, 918. (Paragraph breaks added)  

The book certainly sounds interesting (not least for the dedication to President Hoover); however, ...minor quibble: I happen to know some rather patriotic Americans, and, pace the (unnamed) reviewer, I think they'd eat this sort of thing up 'without qualification'.


While we're dealing with the topic of American-style German love:

Olli Schulz und der Hund Marie, 'America-Ibiza Connection'

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