Dorothy Thompson: Germany knocked out forever (6-29-45)

Youngstown Vindicator (June 29, 1945)

Dorothy Thompson1

Germany knocked out forever

By Dorothy Thompson

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany – Whoever has been over as much of Germany as I have in the last few weeks, covering part of Hesse and Wuerttemberg and a very large part of Bavaria with adjoining Austria, will agree with Gen. Jacob L. Devers that Germany is knocked out for 100 years.

I go farther and say Germany is knocked out as a great power forever.

If she cannot come back in 50 years, she can’t come back at all. The world will not stand still in this time. The nations that defeated her, in particular the United States and the Soviet Union, will not decline in strength, and since all the powers are relative, Germany never will be able to recapture anything approximating her position held either in 1914 or 1939.

No country can be a world power without manpower, industrial development of its great natural resources or free access to them, intellectual leadership, and a favorable geographic space situation.

Loss of population

All five of these are gone for Germany. Demographically she has been declining, like all the west, for generations, except for a brief artificial spurt under Hitler. Her losses in population in this war, though not yet even approximated, are staggering and include not only the war dead or totally incapacitated, but the great losses of children in bombings. It is possible she has lost, through productive years, the bulk of her prisoners in Russia. No German family has heard from them since January and it is believed they are to be held for Russian labor reconstruction.

Germany never again can draw on the rich manpower and natural resources of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, for they are in the Russian defense system. A subsistence or sub-subsistence standard of living and diminishing opportunities, which is Germany’s inescapable fate, will further decrease the ratio of births over deaths.

The entire urban civilization is demolished. There is not a city of more than 50,000 or 60,000 intact and most of these only can be razed and rebuilt from scratch, if at all. Their falls have carried with them factories, communications, universities, laboratories, shops, and museums. No words can describe the terrible spectacle of these crushed, burnt-out, abandoned crags and cliffs of broken mortar.

Lack of leadership

The generation from which intellectual leadership might come is decimated. Youth has been rendered stupid by Nazi training.

Finally, Germany’s geographical-space situation is henceforth impossible for a war of her own instigation. She no longer is surrounded on the east by weak independent states which could be eliminated one by one. She could never fight a war against the west without Russia and with Russia she would be a mere instrument and battleground. In a war against Russia, she would be the first country occupied. Germany, therefore, is finished as a menace.

But what the ultimate historic consequences of the total elimination of Europe’s once most powerful state will be, our statesmen haven’t yet, I think, thought through. Elimination of a great power by a combination of allies never redounds equally to the benefit of all. It always strengthens one relative to another or others. That is the danger inherent in wars which seek to eradicate nations from the earth – those terrible illimitable Carthaginian wars of the 20th century.