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tv   Reel America Here is Germany - 1945  CSPAN  August 29, 2020 8:21am-9:13am EDT

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for many years, the american pastime has been the japanese pastime. based ballparks are jammed, and the fans root for their favorites with plenty of spirit. it could be brooklyn. ♪ but this american influence may be one of the most remarkable in the history books of tomorrow. japan's first steps on the road to democracy. a short time ago, japan was declaring aggressive war on democracies of the world. today, the japanese people are sincerely anxious to learn the ideas they fought against.
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they look forward to the day when they will become a peaceful member of the united nations. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪
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>> this was germany, a beautiful country. ♪ a historic country. ♪ a prosperous country. ♪ a modern country.
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♪ the german people, a clean and tidy people. ♪ an educated people. ♪ i musical people.
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a musical people. ♪ an industrious people. ♪ these people look all right. the mailman, the farmer, the cop, they all pretty much look like the folks back home. holding jobs. raising families. enjoying life. they certainly look like the kind of people we can understand. or can we? a quiet, decent people who prepared 20 years to bring war into the world.
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a religious people who burned churches, imprisoned ministers, persecute the faithful. a kindly people who accept blood purchase on grounds, concentration camps. a gentle people who tortured, starved, exterminate. these were men. they died in german concentration camps. ♪
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these too were men. they did not quite die. ♪ these bones were men, women, and children, sent to be exterminated in the german death factory. ♪ this is the scientifically-designed gas chamber. ♪
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this a furnace for burning the corpses. this the clothing of the victims, which the germans methodically salvaged. these, the children's toys, carefully collected for the use of german children. these are objects of art made by german guards. objects of art made of human skin. these were poles, murdered by the germans before they left lublin. these were italians murdered by the germans before they left rome. ♪ these were belgians murdered by the germans before they left town.
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these were americans, defenseless prisoners of war murdered by the germans. these are some of the reasons why the german farmer and the german mailman and the german cop can't be quite like the people back home. that's why we have got to look a little deeper into the german character, the character of the people who plunged the world into two wars in a generation, and each time claimed that they were victims of an attack. that is the puzzle we've got to solve if we are to save our children from the third ward, the puzzle of that clean, industrious people, fond of kids, fond of music, fond of tyranny, fond of aggressive, fond of gas chambers. >> what gave the germans that character? what makes them think, act, feel this way? hitler would have answered, "german blood." we don't think so hopeless of you. too many of our friends and
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neighbors have had german blood, that same blood that we have seen in great americans. ♪ for what makes them american is not any special precious sort of blood but the tradition we have inherited. it is tradition, not blood, that patterns the way we think and act and feel. our ancestors came here to escape tyranny. that's part of the american tradition. that's why no american can believe in any government that is not of the people, by the people, and for the people. they came to be able to pray in any way they wanted or in any church they wanted. that's why freedom of religion is part of our tradition. in school, we learned that none of us is any better than any other american, or anyone else in the world, for that matter. there is no privileged few but all men have equal rights. that's the tradition we were
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brought up in at home, at school, among our friends, at our jobs. that is the tradition that made us what we are. now, what is the tradition that has made this man? how does it differ from ours? that's what we have to find out. these germans were selected by nazi cameras as ideal german types. let's call one of them karl schmidt, a self termed member of the master race who goose stepped his way across an entire continent. his father did the same goose-step and followed the same road of conquest. and the grandfather of karl schmidt did the same goose-step, entered the same path of aggression. the same goose-step, the same will of aggression, the same lust for conquest. you knew their leader as hitler. your father knew the leader as the kaiser. your grandfather remembers bismarck. you faced a nazi menace.
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your father's generation was threatened by the huns. and your grandfather the prussians. three different names for three different generations of germans attempting to inflict their will on others by force. three generations following a tradition so different from ours. >> let's go back even further and see how this tradition began. ♪ 150 years ago, there was no single country called germany. instead, a loose conglomeration of 300 little states without a common history, religion, or literature. in america, even at that time, we were living under the democratic constitution we enjoy today. the british could look back on hundreds of years of parliamentary government. the french had made their revolution in the name of liberty, equality, fraternity. but the 300 little german states were still the property of autocratic princes and ruled without the consent of their people.
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not one had a constitution, not one had a parliament, not one had freedom of speech or of the press or of assembly. instead, a rigidly organized medieval society, with all power centralized in the hands of a feudal lord. a prime example was prussia, the most aggressive of the german states, where the junkers, the military caste of land owners, ruled their peasants with iron discipline. to perpetuate this futile militaristic society, the edward therussian king, great, established a rigid code of law, administered by a host of state officials, answerable only to him. this was the perfect system to prevent any rise of liberty among its subjects. it was also the perfect system
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to make possible ruthless aggression against the world. "i begin by taking. i shall find scholars afterward to demonstrate my perfect right." and he took. first he invaded prussia's brother country, austria, without a declaration of war. [gunshots] the result, victory. ♪ for seven years, he fought single-handed against austria, russia, sweden, and france. thus creating throughout the other german states the myth that prussian arms were invincible. ♪
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in 1786, frederick died, but frederick's fate and frederick's dream of conquest lived on. nurtured and developed by the prussian militarist, was a guard at each war is only one campaign in an unending war for prussian supremacy in europe. to this end, the organizer and the strategist established the prussian general staff. the theorist set down their gospel in his famous book, "on war."
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just as prussia has been slated to be the core of germany so , so germany can be the core of the future german empire of the west. the book became the bible of the prussian military. concord people should be left with nothing but their eyes to weep with. but even as the militarists were plotting, a wave of liberalism swept over europe. and ordinary men began to think for themselves to fight for themselves and demand what had long been accepted in england, america, and france, a constitution. the king of prussia asks, "never must a scrap of paper come between me and my subjects." a constitution, a scrap of paper. some citizens determined on liberty went to the barricades. the machinery of the prussian
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state went into action. the revolt died. the will to liberty was not strong enough within the people to defy the voice of authority. one result of which, men with a love of liberty began to leave prussia and the other german states. in the next 30 years, 2 million of them came to find freedom in the united states alone. while their cousins, remaining behind, were molded into ruthless automatons, ready to follow blindly the will of the leader. and that leader arose. otto von bismarck, appointed prime minister of prussia in 1862. a clever man, a shrewd man, but devoted to the prussian dream of conquest and a master of the prussian method of achieving it. the great questions of the day will not be decided by revolutions of majorities, but by blood and iron. and to go with it, ruthless discipline at home. "as soon as anybody can show me that it is sound policy, i shall be equally satisfied to see our troops fire at the french, the russians, the english, or the austrians."
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two years after bismarck became prime minister, he provoked a war against denmark. ♪ the result, victory. ♪ two years later, against austria. ♪ the result, another victory. ♪ four years later, the great test against france. an amazed world stood by as prussia, until then a minor power, dared to challenge the strongest nation in europe. the result, another victory. ♪
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this was the moment of triumph that changed the history of the world. the prussian dream of conquest was no longer a dream. the german princes saw the prussian eagle soaring triumphant in the european sky. now they clamored on the bandwagon and united under prussian leadership to form the german empire. and in the hall of mirrors in versailles, the heart of defeated france, bismarck saw its prussian king crowned german emperor, absolute monarch of a new emperor, founded on blood, iron, and conquest. its symbol victorious. emblem of victory.
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not the liberty bell, not the magna carta, not any symbol of freedom, but victoria, the symbol of conquest. thus, prussia had created germany. and the myth of prussian superiority had become the myth of the master race. and if the karl schmidt of that generation had any worry about the liberties that had been denied, they were now forgotten. in this moment of triumph, just to be a german was enough. in the newly created reich, industry flourished as never before. the merchant fleet grew larger every day. german harbors were jammed with commerce, and german stomachs filled with beer and sausage. germany had achieved unity, become rich, no other country threatened her. the world hoped for a peaceful, good neighbor.
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but the world had forgotten the prussian tradition that germany had inherited. a tradition not of peace, but of war and conquest. [gunshots] [singing] [german national anthem] and by now, karl schmidt of the second generation, the father of the karl schmidt we had to fight, was arrogantly singing "germany, germany overall." as he proudly watched his fatherland becoming the most aggressively nationalistic country in the world. industry was carefully controlled to accord with the policies of the great general. for in the new reich, bismarck had added a fourth pillar to the structure of a warlike state. frederick's militarists, landowners, and state officials had been joined by the big
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industrialists. a gigantic railroad system was laid out, more according to strategic war plans than the necessities of peacetime trade. one of the largest navies was constructed. the army was built up to staggering proportions. ♪ and the german officer was the idol of the nation, the personification of german ambition. in colleges, the sport of german youth was not football but the
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deadly jewel. the scar was the badge of honor. the more scars, the handsomer. did they not prove the man's arms? and competitively watching all stood the great general staff. , still directed by the prussians. secure in the knowledge that their power and knowledge was indisputable. germany was geared for war. all it needed was a new leader to give the word. and again, that leader was at hand. william ii, the kaiser that your father knew. not a shrewd, clever cynic like bismarck, but a vain and arrogant braggart, yet a leader in the german tradition. "we germans like to bear arms, and we like the game of war. i shall enlarge your borders." and what did karl schmidt's father say to all that? [chanting] a german spark is always ignited the fire. soon everything will be aflame. [chanting]
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through one international crisis after the other, the kaiser rattled his sword, loudly demanding germany's place in the sun. proposing international agreement for disarmament, but disarmament did not suit the plans of the german militarists, landowners, state officials, or industrialists. they wanted their own way, and their own way meant war. war was inevitable. it only needed an incident. ♪ [explosion] and how did this second-generation karl schmidt react to the prospect of a world war? berlin took on the air of a carnival. ♪
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blindly, joyfully, the people cheered the kaiser, eager to follow a leader under a new renewed march to conquest. thus in august of 1914, karl schmidt of the second generation, indoctrinated with 150 years of prussian tradition, marched off to set the world aflame. ♪ had he not been taught? did he not believe that whatever germany demands is right? [explosion]
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even when he marched through belgium, dismissing a solemn neutrality pact as a scrap of paper. even when german scientists developed poison gas in violation of international agreements, which germany had solemnly signed. even when, in violation of all the great codes of war, german u-boats deliberately sent to the bottom unarmed merchant ships without warning. thus what his father had done to france, to denmark, to austria, this second-generation karl schmidt attempted to do to the world. our own president wilson said, "i was, for a little while, unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government, that had subscribed to the human practices of civilized nations." ♪ but only when we realized we
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were directly threatened, when every protest had been ignored, and germany carried the war into our own waters, did we feel compelled to fight. [singing] ♪ [shouting] ♪ [gunshots] ♪
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[explosions] >> finally, under the combined attack of the allied, the german army started to crumble, to fall back, to run from battle. germany was at the mercy of the allied. general von ludendorff, the german chief of staff and virtual dictator, was forced to send a secret message to the berlin government. the offer of peace must be transmitted immediately. the army cannot wait another 48 hours. the allies could grant the armistice or fight on to unconditional surrender. the wartime french leader urged that the allies should march triumphant into berlin. our own general pershing said
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, "complete victory can only be obtained like continuing the war until we are forced under surrendering." but the world would not listen. so golden was the thought of peace that the armistice was granted. we celebrated. not only because the war was over, but because it seemed we put an end to german militarism forever. hadn't the german army been beaten? hadn't the german plan for conquest failed? [cheering] hadn't the kaiser run away to holland, and his war leader , ludendorff, seeking refuge in sweden? and wasn't germany now a republic, apparently like our own, based on liberty and equality? didn't that prove karl schmidt rid himself of the old german tradition? that's what your father thought when he celebrated in 1918. but let's see what really happened. when defeat was imminent, the men who had caused the war stepped conveniently into the background, leaving the weak opposition parties to take over.
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that was how, overnight, germany became a republic. it had elected representatives, all the appearances of democracy. but beneath the surface, the old german system when on as before. the state officials of the kaiser's empire were the state officials of the new republic. the industrialists of the empire ran the industries of the republic. even the same teachers presided over the same classrooms, preaching the same gospel of nationalism and german racial superiority. and above all, the general staff of the empire continued to function, even though secretly. old germany still lived, and karl schmidt, too, never really changed. in the first place, he never believed that his army had been defeated. during the four years of the war, he was told only of an unending ring of victory. news of defeat had been kept from him. when the fighting ceased, wasn't
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his glorious army still on soil? germany itself still on invaded? -- uninvaded? and because germany was granted an armistice instead of being forced to unconditional surrender, karl schmidt never saw allied soldiers marching through his capital. instead, the german army home again after the armistice. bands playing, colors flying. like the army of frederick the great, like bismarck's army. certainly not like a conquered army. why then did germany sign an armistice, karl schmidt asked himself. why then, a year later, would he called the shame treaty of versailles?
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why was germany, in his judgment , an undefeated germany, accepting the penalties of defeat? karl schmidt was looking for a scapegoat. he found one. the one the german war leaders had always planned that he should find. karl schmidt never blamed the men who had caused the war. instead, he blamed the men who would sign the peace. the ill-fated german republic meant a bunch of traders that would stab the fatherland in the back. and the general's staff, the great landowners, the industrialists, the state officials smiled contented. ly. not only did they escape blame themselves, but they had smeared the idea of democracy in germany. it was a blow from which it would never recover. karl schmidt would go back to the old tradition. the tradition of frederick and bismarck and the kaiser. the tradition of militarism and war. but wasn't the versailles treaty designed to prevent karl schmidt starting another war, even if he wanted to? by this treaty, the germans
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began to disband their general staff, to limit their army to 100,000 men, to hand over their fleet, to de-militarize the rhineland and coastal fortification. [explosion] they bound themselves never again to build an airport or submarine, and to enforce the treaty, allied troops would patrol, the cologne sector for five years, another for 10, another for 15. further, there was the league of nations, designed to prevent germany, or any other country, from starting a war of aggression. yet, only 20 years later, the the karl schmidts of our generation were on their way for another try smashing the world into submission. ♪
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how was karl schmidt able to rearm so quickly? like every country after the last war, germany faced hard times. but in germany, careful manipulation made its results much worse for the millions of karl schmidts. inflation made clever people rich and canceled the huge debts of the big landowners. it broke karl schmidt. then came the depression. that cost him his job. so hunger was added to his resentment and bitterness. this was the moment for which the unholy quartet had waited. now the militarists, the landowners, the state officials, the industrialists emerged from self-sought obscurity. their plans were ready. now they went to work. what is the cause of your troubles, they shouted. the treaty of versailles.
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"who signed the treaty?," asked the reactionary newspapers. the democrats. and why are you starving? to pay for reparations. who started the war? the crown prince and the french. who lost the war at hindenburg? the democrats, the communists, the traitors. karl schmidt listened. he was hearing the story he wanted to hear, the victim of a vast conspiracy, he told himself. the world was against him and once again he was being taught to hate. once again he was looking for revenge. and revenge was possible, because the world allowed him to tear up the versailles treaty , clause by clause. instead of enforcing it, we americans refused to sign it and withdrew our army of occupation after only nine months. the british, even though germany was consistently violating it, pulled out after five years.
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the french made one final attempt to enforce the treaty. marched into the region, but this made them so unpopular in a world drenched with heartbreaking german propaganda that they withdrew solidly behind the imaginary line. now, let's see what would have happened had the treaty been enforced. without a general staff, germany could not have planned world war ii. from a demilitarized rhineland, she could not have attacked france or the low country. , she couldairport not inflict. with an army of 100,000, she could not have attacked the soviet union. without submarines, she could not threaten our own atlantic lifeline. the treaty of versailles was not important. and as for the league of nations, we refused to join it. and other countries paid a it little more than lip service. so, once again, germans began to march. not in the open at first, but on disguised drill fields.
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, masquerading as patriotic veteran organizations. or as the so-called technical corps, ostensibly formed in case of desperate situations. or in vigilante groups claiming to protect the citizens against communism. or in schools, simply under the name of calisthenics but always , under the supervision of army officers. the old german tradition was on its way back. but to the victorious allies, the german leaders sang a different tune -- peace, friendship, and a piteous cry for help. >> germany's fate is the fate of the world. germany's district is the district of the world. prosperity of individual nations is the prosperity of all. >> i hope one day to come over to america and visit your beautiful country myself.
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>> in germany, political and economic situation today is extremely difficult. not only have we lost the world fact thatlso the germany's former enemies are oppressing here. >> and when the german leaders whined they were too poor to pay, we believed them. results? not only did they not pay one penny, but they received additional billions granted them in loans. it did not occur to us that they would use this money to build up their industry for another war. we began to sympathize with karl schmidt. why should he suffer because his father started a war? maybe the versailles treaty was not fair. maybe the french had been too tough. or maybe it was the british, or maybe wilson wasn't very practical. once again, we were seeing the
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pleasant side of the german character, this clean and tidy people, this musical people, this industrious people, this historic country, this beautiful country. but behind this peaceful façade, the germans prepared again for aggression. ♪ and as germany began to rearm, its leaders planned the deathblow for the german republic. true, they had already taken it over for their purposes, installing the agent von hindenburg as president.
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but it was still, in structure, a democracy. that meant liberals and unions and free speech and free opposition. and the german leaders knew, as frederick and bismarck and thesd without ruthless discipline at home. therefore that time had, for the republic to be eliminated. to achieve this they needed a tool to which to appeal to -- not an aristocratic landowner like bismarck or an emperor like the kaiser, but a fanatic with the power to arouse a mob. same old doctrine of his predecessors, the old the doctrine that had never failed
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to arouse the german people. himself jobless, uneducated, cowardly, resentful, hitler's gathered around him -- hitler gathered around him people like himself, people with inferiority complexes who wanted to shout for the crowd, people who wanted power but were too lazy to work for it. sheep anxious it to be lead, thoseddicts, perverts, germans who are liberally minded regarded hitler's as either a joke or a nuisance but the german nationalists well knew his possibility. they knew he was capability of administering the deathblow to the german republic, of forging the german people into a single mold. militarists, who saw
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in him a chance to build a mighty war machine, backed by the monarchists, backed by big business who saw in him there chance of economic domination, backed by thousands of it germans who saw in him the chance to strut as conquerors around the world, with the backing of all these groups, ared ahead. the old cry of the marxist raced to the tenants, they promised lower rents a, two landlords,hire -- to higher rents, but most of all they promised revenge on the world.
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audience ands they received more votes than any other political party. hitler's was installed -- germanwas installed as chancellor. from that moment the german republic was dead. nazis setlater, the fire to the reichstag. --ler's school -- helle hitler declared a state of in the newnd reichstag there was only one party -- hitler's party. in the new reichstag, there was no debate. deputies were stooges who were applauded, got paid, went home. abolished.s were instead the german labor front to discipline the workers --
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discipline into the workers and taught them what to think. music and literature were outlawed or destroyed unless it supported what german leaders were trying to sell. physicians and scientists, there professions were banned -- outlawed. added the professional gangsters to enforce his decrees. storman officer, the trooper became the idol of hitler. persecution was on the march. freedom of speech now meant concentration camps, torture, death. freedom of religion, riots into church burnings. freedom of opinion, the executioner. freedom of the press, the
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gestapo took care of that. now carl schmitt could be indoctrinated to like his father and grandfather before him at this time even more thoroughly, more efficiently with all the resources of science in the modern state. the german press became the nazi press. to naziirways open only voices. nazi papers, nazi books, nazi pamphlets, these were all the people could read. nazi dramas, nazi speeches, nazi news, these were all the people could hear. the art of germany, the sculpture, the painting, the drama all regimented to serve one purpose -- the indoctrination of carl schmidt. one voice must be heard by carl schmidt, one voice from the cradle to the grave, the voice hitler, hitler.
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scores of cameras were used to record hitler so people throughout the world could receive his message of hate. hitler was photographed from the front, from the back, from the right, from the left, from every angle hitler, hitler, hitler. hitler smiling, hitler's sobbing.- hitler [people chanting] tendernessst be no in you. i want to see in their eyes the gleam of the beast of prey.
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brutality is respected. i shall spread terror. [people chanting] germany -- today germany, tomorrow the world. [people chanting] that is how carl schmidt got his soul. that is how the general staff, the big industrialist, state , gangster landowners chieftains put their plans into effect and prepared carl schmidt for his generation's attempt to smash the world into submission. that is how carl schmidt was trained for conquest as his father was trained by the leaders of his generation and his father before him.
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each generation accepting and adding to the german tradition, the tradition of ruthlessness and medieval barbarism, the tradition of a master race, the tradition of a german superiority, a false picture of a world in german heads. these are some of the explanations for the murdered poland, the murdered italians in rome, the murdered theians abend day -- at -- murdered americans. in ourre the reasons why generation nearly 30 million men have had to die. because deep in the soul of carl schmidt has been planted the love of aggression and conquest. unless that passion is operated 10, 20, or 100 years hence a new
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generation of germans will find a new leader who will show them the way. how shall that be prevented? a sound beginning has been made. this time things are being done differently. itthe end of the last year, ended with negotiation. this time, unconditional surrender. carl schmidt knows beyond a shadow of a doubt he was defeated. at the end of the last year, german armies paraded through berlin. this time -- ♪ >> the legend of the german lies a shattered meth. german general staff continued to function after the last war. today, not only the general staff about the entire officer's car will be dissolved and they will be forever prevented from
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plotting another german attempt at world conquest. after the last war, german industry was unimpaired. today, much of it lies in ruin. operate willd to operate under control. the same state officials remained in office after the last war. today any nazi is forever barred . after the last war, the kaiser found refuge in holland and anyone else who thought they were in danger ran away. today proven war criminals must answer for their crimes. war, germanst education was untouched. today all not exceed -- all nazi doctrine has been destroyed. usetextbooks for german have been developed under our direction. was small area of germany occupied after the last war.
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today every square inch is under allied troops. after the last war, this was the government of germany. today, this is the government. we have come to germany not as liberators but as conquerors into this time we shall remain for 10 years, 420, if necessary 20, if necessary forever. we shall not leave until carl schmidt comes to realize that he himself is responsible for the past and to the future. we have a rid him of hitler's, the general staff, nazism -- the general staff, nazism, but we have not read him of his history and tradition. that he must do for himself. until he does he is still a potential enemy of civilization.
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only when he does can he take his place in the society of man. then and then only will the german farmer, the german mailman, the german cop be like the folks back home. then and only then can beautiful germany, industrious germany, culture germany joined the peaceful nations of the world. ♪ -- cultured germany join the peaceful nations of the world. ♪


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