Yet all those cracks and clefts in the social organism might not have been dangerous if no grave burdens had been laid upon it; but they became disastrous when the internal solidarity of the nation was the most important factor in withstanding the storm of big events.
The German people lost the struggle for the freedom and independence of their country because of the half-hearted and defective policy employed during times of peace in the organization and training of the defensive strength of the nation.
During that process of disintegration which was slowly extending throughout the social order, the most positive factor was the German Army. This was the strongest source of education which the German people possessed.
There is only one word to express what the German people owes to their Army – everything! It was the Army that still kept a sense of responsibility alive among the people when this quality had become very rare and when the, habit of shirking every kind of responsibility was steadily spreading.
The Army trained the people to personal courage at a time when the virtue of timidity threatened to become an epidemic and when the spirit of sacrificing one’s personal interests for the good of the community was considered as something that amounted almost to weak-mindedness.
At a time when only those were estimated as intelligent who knew how to safeguard and promote their own egotistic interests, the Army was the school through which individual Germans were taught not to seek the salvation of their nation in the false ideology of international fraternization between Negroes, Germans, Chinese, French and English, etc., but in the strength and unity of their own national being.
The Army developed the individual’s powers of resolute decision, and this at a time when a spirit of indecision and skepticism governed human conduct. At a time when the wiseacres were everywhere setting the fashion, it needed courage to uphold the principle that any command is better than none.
This one principle represents a robust and sound style of thought, of which not a trace would have been left in the other branches of life if the Army had not furnished a constant source of this fundamental strength.
The Army imbued its members with a spirit of idealism and developed their readiness to sacrifice themselves for their country and its honor, while greed and materialism dominated in all the other branches of life.
The greatest merit of the Army of the old Reich was that, at a time when the person of the individual counted for nothing and the majority was everything, it placed individual personal values above majority values. By insisting on its faith in personality, the Army opposed that apotheosis of the power of numbers.
The Army trained what at that time was most sorely needed, namely, real men (uniting a people which was split up into classes). During a period when men were falling prey to effeminacy and laxity, three hundred and fifty thousand vigorously trained young men went forth from the ranks of the Army each year.
The young man who had been taught obedience for two years was now fitted to command. This was the great school of the German nation.
The rest of the world recognized a fact which many Germans did not wish to see, either because they were blind to facts or because, out of malice, they did not wish to see it. This fact was that the German Army was the most powerful weapon for the defense and freedom of the German nation and the best guarantee for the livelihood of its citizens.
There was a third institution of positive worth, which has to be considered apart from the monarchy and the Army. This was the unrivalled civil service in the old Germany.
German administration was better organized and better carried out than the administration of other countries. The other States did not have the wonderful solidarity which this organization possessed in Germany, nor were their civil servants of that same high level of scrupulous honesty.
The most outstanding trait in the civil service and the whole body of the civil administration was its independence of the fluctuations of government, the political mentality of which could exercise no influence on the attitude of the German State officials.
The wonderful might and power of the old Reich was based on the monarchical form of government, the Army and the civil service.
[Hence it is no surprise that Adolf Hitler essentially established absolute monarchy in Germany, transformed Reichswehr into Wehrmacht – the most powerful army in the world, militarized the whole life of Germany and extended government bureaucracy into the Party and the SS]
If we remember further that the abovementioned defects in pre-war Germany were outweighed by great positive qualities, we shall have to look elsewhere for the real cause of its collapse, and it did lie elsewhere.