Part 10: In Closing
ermans settled not only in America but also in a number of other countries, preferentially in Canada, where some 100,000 people of German extraction live in Toronto alone. Germans also moved to South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil. Germans also contributed greatly to the development of Russia, as Leo Sievers describes in detail in his book Deutsche und Russen. His readers can easily conclude that without the numerous Germans - doctors, scientists, inventors, engineers, diplomats, civil servants and architects, not to mention the scions of German dynasties who became members of the czarist families - Russia would probably never have attained its later significance and extent.
In all these countries, Germans contributed with outstanding achievements. With the exception of the Soviet Union, where an insane political system crushed and devoured a culture that had evolved over the centuries, the fruits of German labor and German diligence continue to benefit their host peoples.
Only in their own country, the Germans have wasted their strength and their abilities more than once in internal conflicts, beating each other's heads in in bloody religious wars over abstract theories instead of applying themselves to their own unity and greatness with steadfastness and determination.
Friedrich Hebbel once wrote that the German possessed all the qualities he needed to gain Heaven but not one with which to assert himself on Earth.2
Instead of "gaining Heaven", raining blessings on half the world and reaping nothing but ingratitude for it, it would no doubt have been better for our people to develop a streak of realistic egotism and to ensure our own survival on this earth! To learn a lesson from the English, who did not set out in the world with the goal of serving the betterment of other nations! No, they wanted to remain English, not to assimilate themselves into other cultures but to self-confidently preserve their own language, customs and traditions!
Clearly the Germans, who managed to achieve such great things in foreign lands under foreign rule, lacked a leadership elite in their own country that understood how to direct the German people's creative potential wisely into channels that would benefit their own country rather than far-distant continents - in accordance with the old maxim that our Latin teacher always reminded us of before we would write a test: "Everyone for himself, and God for everyone!"
Of the 5,000 languages spoken in the civilized world, most are becoming extinct. In 1999 one third of the courses offered at the University of Greifswald were held in the English language. From July 31 until August 27, 1999, the Free University of Berlin offered a summer seminar about "Berlin, Germany and Europe"; the language of instruction? English! (DLF, 4.2.99, 14:50.) In entire faculties at German universities it is considered normal for doctoral dissertations to be written in English now. When a Bundeswehr officer reported on German radio about the developments in the Kosovo, some of his vocabulary was in English - with nary an explanation of the meaning. In their "German" publications, a number of specialized fields leave many words in English or go so far as to invent English-sounding terms. In Denmark there is a Danish factory whose Danish executives speak English amongst themselves. And the official language of the new Daimler-Kreisler Association: English!
Perhaps this is an inevitable development, like a spring thaw; but perhaps not - after all, the languages in Europe are not disappearing at nearly as fast a rate as they are in the United States; evidently there is still considerable interest in the preservation of our languages.
Language shapes thought. Personally, I would rather not switch to a language that has no word of its own for Heimat3 and whose speakers, as history has shown, behave accordingly.
Brachvogel, A. E., Oberst von Steuben; Eduard Kaiser, Klagenfurt.
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Hebbel, Friedrich, Tagebücher, v. 2, Vienna 1887.
Längin, Bernd G., Aus Deutschen werden Amerikaner, Eckartschriften, Vienna 1993.
Molo, Walter von, Ein Deutscher ohne Deutschland, Berlin 1950.
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Paine, Thomas, Das Zeitalter der Vernunft, Series knapp + klar issue 4.
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Schlesier, Austin J. App, Sept. 4, 1998.
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2We shall quote
Friedrich Hebbel (born on March 18, 1813 in Wesselburen, died on December 13, 1863
in Vienna) more completely here; on January 4, 1860 he wrote in his
Diaries: "It is possible that the German may yet be eradicated from the
world's stage; for he has all the qualities he needs to gain Heaven but not one with
which to assert himself on Earth, and all the nations hate him as the Evil One hates
Good. But if they should one day actually succeed in displacing him, conditions
will ensue in which they will wish they could dig him out of his grave again with
their very fingernails." ...back...
3Heimat - one of those
problematic words that are not easily translated. Partial synonyms or
approximations, depending on the context: home, homeland, native land, roots,
land of one's ancestors,... (trans.) ...back...
3Heimat - one of those problematic words that are not easily translated. Partial synonyms or approximations, depending on the context: home, homeland, native land, roots, land of one's ancestors,... (trans.) ...back...