Transcript: Modern West Germany | Feb 11, 1986

Theme music plays.

The title “Realities” appears on screen as fast clips show pictures of different cities, including Toronto, Washington DC, and San Francisco.

With Robert Fulford, Richard Gwyn, and Suzanne Grew-Ellis.

Clips show the traffic in different cities.

Then, Suzanne appears in a studio facing the screen. The skyline of Toronto can be seen through a wall window behind her.
She’s in her forties, with wavy gray hair. She’s wearing a blue sweater, a red silk neckerchief, and golden earrings.

She says THE GREAT GERMAN POET GOETHE
ONCE MADE THIS OBSERVATION
ABOUT HIS PEOPLE.
THE GERMANS MAKE EVERYTHING
DIFFICULT, BOTH FOR THEMSELVES
AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE.
TODAY, THAT OBSERVATION
SEEMS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
DIVIDED, GERMANY IS
DIFFICULT AND DIFFERENT.
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE TOPIC
TONIGHT AS OUR GUEST
HANS MAGNUS ENZENSBERGER
DISCUSSES THE CULTURE AND
ATTITUDES OF THE WEST GERMANS.
HANS MAGNUS ENZENSBERGER IS A
FAMOUS GERMAN POET AND WRITER.
HE IS INTERVIEWED IN LONDON,
ENGLAND, BY ROBERT FULFORD.

Theme music plays as a slate shows the title “Realities.”

Then, Robert Fulford and Hans Magnus Enzensberger appear in a hotel room overlooking the city of London.

Hans is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He’s wearing a brown tweed suit and a white shirt.
Robert is in his fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He’s wearing large glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and striped black tie.

Robert says WEST GERMANY, WHEN SEEN
FROM NORTH AMERICA
SEEMS, IN RECENT YEARS,
TO HAVE LOST ITS WAY.
IT SEEMS TO BE A FORMERLY
EXTREMELY CONFIDENT NATION.
ONE OF THE MOST CONFIDENT IN
THE WORLD, WHICH TODAY DOESN'T
SEEM NEARLY SO CONFIDENT.
PARTLY DUE TO THE ECONOMY,
PARTY DUE TO
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS.
BUT THERE'S A GENERAL FEELING
THAT GERMANY IS NOT THE
COUNTRY IT WAS THAT WE CAME TO
ADMIRE SO MUCH IN THE '60s,
AND WELL INTO THE '70s.
DOES IT SEEM THAT
WAY FROM GERMANY?

Hans says CERTAINLY, HOPEFULLY SO.
BECAUSE I THINK WHAT YOU CALL
CONFIDENCE, I WOULD RATHER
CALL OVERCONFIDENCE,
OR LACK OF UNDERSTANDING
OF PROBLEMS AHEAD.
THIS MAY HAVE BEEN DUE TO THE
POST WAR RECOVERY, WHICH WAS,
OF COURSE, A TREMENDOUS EFFORT
AND PROBABLY THE GERMANS WERE
SURPRISED BY THEIR OWN
CAPACITY TO PUT THIS DESTROYED
COUNTRY TOGETHER AGAIN.

Robert says THEY SURPRISED THEMSELVES,
BUT THEY SURPRISED THE REST OF
THE WORLD EVEN MORE.
I MEAN, THEY ASTONISHED EVERYONE
BY THE ECONOMIC MIRACLE.

Hans says YES, BUT THESE THINGS
HAVE A WAY OF GETTING DONE.
AND AFTER THEY ARE DONE, YOU
KNOW, THEN YOU'RE LEFT WITH A
COMPLETELY NEW SITUATION,
WHICH IN THE RUSH OF
NECESSITY, YOU HAVEN'T
HAD TIME TO THINK OF IT.

Robert says AND WHAT WAS THE NEW
SITUATION THEY WERE FACED WITH?

Hans says WELL, PERHAPS THAT WE ARE
GETTING LIKE THE REST
OF THE WORLD.
THAT WE ARE FACING COMPARABLE
PROBLEMS COMPARABLE TO OTHER
COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY
IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT.
SO BACK TO NORMALCY.
AND NORMALCY IS SOMETHING
TERRIFYINGLY DIFFICULT, WE FIND.

Robert says WHAT IS DIFFICULT
ABOUT IT IN THIS CASE?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Hans Enzensberger. Writer."

Hans says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, YOU KNOW,
THIS HAS BEEN A PROTECTORATE
OF THE UNITED STATES
AFTER THE WAR.
AND THE GERMANS HAVE TAKEN,
THE WEST GERMANS HAVE TAKEN
RATHER WELL TO THIS STATE OF
AFFAIRS INITIALLY BECAUSE IT
TOOK A LOT OF THE LOAD
OFF THEIR SHOULDERS.
THERE WAS ALWAYS THE BIG
UNCLE, OR BIG BROTHER OR
SOMEONE WHO TOOK CARE OF
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS FOR YOU,
AND YOU JUST LEANED BACK,
DID BUSINESS, MADE A LOT OF
MONEY AND FELT RATHER, YOU KNOW,
COMFORTABLE IN THIS SITUATION.
NOW THESE DAYS ARE OVER
BECAUSE WE ARE FACING
DIFFICULT CHOICES NOW IN TERMS
OF FOREIGN POLICY, MILITARY
POLICY, AND IT HAS COME TO A
SHOCK TO SOME PEOPLE, MANY
PEOPLE IN GERMANY, WHEN THEY
REALIZED THAT THEY ARE CAUGHT
BETWEEN TWO SUPERPOWERS,
NEITHER OF WHOM REALLY IS
PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH
GERMAN INTERESTS, OF COURSE.
THAT'S ONE SIDE OF THE THING.
ANOTHER SIDE IS THE ECONOMY.
BECAUSE THIS POST WAR BOOM
CLEARLY HAD ITS LIMITS.
IT WON'T GO ON FOREVER.
INDEED, WE'VE HAD, IN TERMS
OF GERMAN ECONOMY, A RATHER
SEVERE RECESSION.
BUT THAT BRINGS US CLOSER
TO OTHER PEOPLE, I THINK.
IT'S MORE LIKE THE
REAL WORLD, PERHAPS.

Robert says TO GO BACK A LITTLE TO THE
MATTER OF BEING A PROTECTORATE
OF THE UNITED STATES, THE
MARSHALL PLAN, BEGINNING IN
THE 1940s TO RECONSTRUCT
EUROPE, HAD ITS GREATEST
EFFECT ON WEST GERMANY.
THAT WAS ITS GREAT
SUCCESS STORY.
AS I READ COMMENTARY RECENTLY,
I GET THE FEELING MANY
GERMANS ARE NOT AS PLEASED
WITH THE MARSHALL PLAN TODAY
AS THEY WERE AT THE TIME, OR
THEY DON'T REGARD IT AS A
PERFECT GIFT.

Hans says WELL, IT'S PERHAPS NOT
AN UNMIXED BLESSING.
AND I DON'T MEAN THE MARSHALL
PLAN AS MUCH BECAUSE THIS IS
A STORY WHICH HAS COME
TO ITS END LONG AGO.
AND YOUNGER GENERATIONS WILL
PERHAPS NOT, GRATITUDE IS
SOMETHING WHICH HARDLY
EXISTS IN POLITICS ANYWAY.
ANYBODY WHO IS ASKING TO BE
REMEMBERED FONDLY WILL BE
DISAPPOINTED BECAUSE THE
PEOPLE WHO COME AFTER YOU ARE
NOT LIKELY TO
REMEMBER YOU KINDLY.
THEY'LL JUST FORGET ABOUT
YOU, OR THEY'LL LOOK AT SOME
WANTED RESULT AND THEY WILL
NOT BE PLEASED, AND IN THIS
CASE, PROBABLY THE MOST
UNWANTED RESULT IS THE
CONFRONTATION BETWEEN THE
UNITED STATES AND SOVIET
RUSSIA, ESPECIALLY EVER
SINCE WE HAD THE REAGAN
ADMINISTRATION, THE ARMAMENT
RACE HAS TAKEN ONE PUSH AHEAD,
AND WELL THE RUSSIANS ON
THEIR SIDE HAVE NOT BEEN
PRUDISH EITHER IN THIS
RESPECT BECAUSE THEY
INSTALLED THE ROCKETS FIRST.
THAT'S SOMETHING I SOMETIMES
HAVE TO TELL MY FRIENDS FROM
THE PEACE MOVEMENT BECAUSE
THEY HAVE THIS SORT OF...
SOMETIMES FORGET ABOUT THIS.
I WOULDN'T SAY THERE IS
ANYTHING YOU MIGHT CALL
ANTI-AMERICANISM, IN A BROADER
SENSE, IN WEST GERMANY.
IT MAY EXIST, BUT
IT'S A FRINGE THING.
HOWEVER, THERE IS A
REAPPRAISAL OF THE TERMS
OF THE ALLIANCE.
AND THIS, I THINK, IS GOING
FAR BEYOND PACIFIST MOVEMENT,
OR THE GREENS, OR
ANY MINORITY GROUP.
THIS IS SOMETHING WHICH EVEN
THE MAJORITY PARTIES HAVE TO
THINK ABOUT.

Robert says THE ECONOMIC REHABILITATION
WAS ONE HERITAGE, OR ONE THING
LEFT OVER FROM THE FIRST YEARS
AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR.
ANOTHER THING LEFT OVER WAS
THE SEPARATION OF WEST AND
EAST GERMANY.

Hans says YES.

Robert says HOW HAS OPINION IN WEST
GERMANY CHANGED ON THAT IN
RECENT YEARS?
I ALWAYS SAW A FEELING COMING
THROUGH FROM WEST GERMANS
THEY WANTED THE COUNTRY
UNITED ONE DAY.
BUT THAT
ONE
DAY MIGHT BE
THEIR GREAT GRANDCHILDREN'S
TIME, OR IT MIGHT
BE IN THE FUTURE.

Hans says YES.
YOU PUT IT OFF.
I MEAN, BY AND LARGE,
IT IS ON PEOPLE'S MINDS.
THAT'S INEVITABLE.
BUT I THINK PEOPLE ARE
REALISTIC ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND
THAT THERE IS NO CHANCE
OF GETTING THIS DONE
IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.
HOWEVER SOMETHING ELSE
HAS HAPPENED IN THE '60s.
THERE HAS BEEN THE
DETENTE POLICY.
AND THIS WAS MUCH MORE
IMPORTANT FOR GERMANY THAN
FOR ANYBODY ELSE.
IT MAY HAVE HAD GOOD SIDE
EFFECTS, OR PERHAPS LESS GOOD
SIDE EFFECTS FOR OTHER
NATIONS, BUT FOR US, IT'S
ABSOLUTELY A VITAL THING
BECAUSE THE DIRECT
CONFRONTATION IS MOST
DANGEROUS BECAUSE IF YOU ARE
LIVING EXACTLY ON THE EDGE OF
THINGS, AND THAT'S WHAT IS
OUR CASE.
THEREFORE, THIS DETENTE
POLICY WAS VERY POPULAR.
AND NOT EVEN THE CONSERVATIVES
COULD RESIST IT.
THEY HAD TO GO ALONG,
INITIALLY, THEY DIDN'T WANT
TO, AND NOW A SITUATION HAS
BEEN ACHIEVED WHEREBY THESE
TWO GERMAN STATES, THEY
ACKNOWLEDGE THE EXISTENCE OF
EACH OTHER.
THEY THINK ALSO IN TERMS
THEY UNDERSTAND THE OTHER'S
PROBLEM.
THEY TRY TO FIND A WAY OF
ACCOMMODATION ON A LEVEL
UNDERNEATH THE SUPERPOWER
LEVEL TO GET SMALL AGREEMENTS
ON PRACTICAL ISSUES.
AND IN THIS RESPECT, I MUST
SAY, EVEN THE COLD GOVERNMENT,
THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT
WHICH CAME INTO POWER AFTER
THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS WENT OUT.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS WERE
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
DETENTE IDEA.
BY AND LARGE, THIS ATTITUDE
HAS BEEN RESPECTED.

Robert says BUT AT THE SAME TIME THIS
ATTITUDE HAS BEEN RESPECTED,
AND DETENTE OR OSTPOLITIK,
WHATEVER, IS STILL A MAJOR
FACTOR IN WEST GERMAN LIFE.
THE LARGER DETENTE, DESIGNED
BY KISSINGER AND HIS
EQUIVALENTS IN MOSCOW,
THAT'S ALL COLLAPSED.

Hans says COMPLETELY BROKEN DOWN.

Robert says SO WHEREAS YOU HAVE
YOUR DETENTE GOING ON,
THE SUPERPOWERS HAVE
DROPPED THEIRS.
SO YOU ARE OUT OF PHASE.

Hans says BUT THERE YOU SEE THE
COINCIDENCE OF INTERESTS ON
ONE SIDE, THE UNITED STATES
AND WESTERN GERMANY, AND ON
THE OTHER HAND, EAST GERMANY
AND SOVIET UNION, WHICH WAS
MORE THEORETICAL, AS A
COINCIDENCE, BUT IT WAS MADE
TO SEEM LIKE A COINCIDENCE,
NOW, THERE IS A SHIFT.
AND THESE INTERESTS, QUITE
OBJECTIVELY, AND EVEN PERHAPS,
TO SOME EXTENT, APART FROM
WHAT YOU MIGHT SAY ABOUT IT,
YOUR OPINIONS YOU MIGHT VOICE,
IT'S A SORT OF DRIFT WHICH
HAS OBJECTIVE REASONS.
AND THEREFORE, WE HAVE
TO DEAL IT WITH SOMEHOW.

Robert says SO THE DRIFT, YOU MEAN, IS
THE DRIFT OF WEST GERMANY AWAY
FROM UNITED STATES.

Hans says YES.
I THINK THE SUPERPOWER'S
INTERESTS, AND THE INTERESTS
OF THEIR CLIENTS IS MORE AND
MORE TO BE SEEN NOT IDENTICAL.
AND THIS WILL CREATE TENSIONS
WITHIN ALLIANCES, WHICH WILL
MAKE, EVENTUALLY, FOR A
GREATER DEGREE, I'M NOT SAYING
OF INDEPENDENCE BECAUSE I
CAN'T IMAGINE WESTERN EUROPE
BEING INDEPENDENT OF AMERICA,
BUT I THINK THE PULL WILL BE
IN THE DIRECTION OF
MORE GIVE AND TAKE.
AND THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE
BY A MUCH LARGER DEGREE OF
CONSULTATION, OF MAKING
ALLOWANCES FOR THE OTHER
FELLOW'S PROBLEMS, AND IF YOU
DON'T DO THAT, IF YOU DON'T
DO THAT, THEN I CAN FORESEE
THAT THIS TENSION WILL
BECOME VERY STRONG.
THERE'S NO WAY OF SAYING WHAT
WILL FINALLY COME OUT OF IT.
I THINK IT IS VERY GRAVE FOR
ANYBODY WHO IS INTERESTED IN
KEEPING THIS ALLIANCE ALIVE.

Robert says REACTIONS IN WEST GERMANY TO
CERTAIN ASPECTS OF GEO POLITICS
IN RECENT YEARS HAVE
ALWAYS BEEN NOT PUZZLING, BUT
NOT EXACTLY WHAT WAS EXPECTED.
I THINK FOR INSTANCE OF THE
EVENTS IN POLAND IN 1980-'81.
THEY WERE DIFFERENT.
THE REACTIONS OF WEST GERMANY
WERE DIFFERENT FROM MANY
OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE
WESTERN ALLIANCE.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE
WEST GERMANY'S REACTION
TO THOSE EVENTS?

Hans says IT HAS TO DO PROBABLY WITH
THE DETENTE BUSINESS ON THE
ONE HAND.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, GIVEN
THE PAST HISTORY, THE PAST
PERFORMANCE OF THE GERMANS IN
POLAND, THERE IS A LIMIT TO
WHAT THEY WILL TRY TO
HAVE TO SAY ABOUT POLAND.
THEY WILL TRY TO KEEP
THEIR HANDS OFF IT.
SO ON THE ONE HAND, IT'S THE
DETENTE THING WHICH MAKES FOR
ALSO A TENDENCY IN SOME
DETENTE IS A MANY-SIDED THING,
AND SOME PEOPLE ALSO WOULD
UNDERSTAND IT, PERHAPS, IN
PLACATING THE RUSSIANS.
THIS IS NOT THE SENSE IT
ORIGINALLY HAD, AND IT'S NOT
THE SENSE I WANTED
TO GIVE TO IT.
BUT I MEAN THERE ARE
SUCH TENDENCIES PRESENT.
SO NOT TO RISK ANY PROBLEMS
WITH THE RUSSIANS.
THAT'S ONE THING.
AND THE OTHER THING IS PERHAPS
THAT GERMANS ARE UNEASY
ABOUT POLAND.
ABOUT MAKING ANY SUGGESTION
ABOUT THE POLISH SHOULD DO
BECAUSE THEY OCCUPIED AND
VIOLATED THE POLISH TWICE,
YOU KNOW, IN THIS CENTURY.
SO HANDS OFF.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED, HOWEVER,
IS THAT ON THE LEVEL OF --
ON THE POPULAR LEVEL, ON
THE LEVEL OF HELP, THE
MOBILIZATION WAS VERY MASSIVE.
AND I WAS SURPRISED.
THIS WHOLE BUSINESS OF SENDING
PARCELS WAS VASTLY POPULAR.
AND I THINK PROBABLY THE
GERMANS DID MORE THAN OTHER
PEOPLE IN WESTERN EUROPE.
WHEREAS THE FRENCH CAME UP
WITH SOME VERY STRONG RHETORIC.

Robert says SO THE GERMANS WERE ACTUALLY
HELPING ON GROUND LEVEL.
NOW, I WASN'T
CONSCIOUS OF THAT.

Hans says YES, YES, YES.
AND QUITE DELIBERATELY SO.
AND THIS WAS A
GRASSROOT THING.
THAT WAS QUITE INTERESTING.
ALSO, THEN, A THIRD FACTOR,
AND THIS MIGHT BE THAT THE
GERMANS WERE VERY
INVOLVED ECONOMICALLY
WITH THE POLISH SITUATION.

Robert says THEY WERE LENDING MONEY.

Hans says THEY WERE LENDING MONEY, AND
THEY HAD TECHNOLOGY WHICH THE
POLISH ARE BUYING.
AND PROBABLY THE INDUSTRIAL
INTERESTS ALSO HAD A CERTAIN
WEIGHT BECAUSE THEY
WANTED BUSINESS TO GO ON.
AND I WOULDN'T PUT IT BEYOND
IT OUR INDUSTRIALISTS, YOU
KNOW, TO ARGUE THIS HAS BEEN
SEEN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE
WORLD, LIKE IN SOUTH AMERICA,
WHY NOT HAVE A STRONG
HAND GOVERNMENT.
I MEAN, THAT IS SOMETHING
WHICH CAPITAL, WHEN THEY ARE
AFRAID OF LOSING THEIR MONEY,
THEY MIGHT SETTLE FOR A
MILITARY GOVERNMENT.
THEY DID IN OTHER
PARTS OF THE WORLD.

Robert says IT MIGHT BE MORE PLEASANT
THAN A GOVERNMENT WHICH
SOLIDARITY WAS A MAJOR FORCE.

Hans says YES.
THEY WON'T ADMIT.
THIS IS NOT OPENLY SAID, BUT I
WOULDN'T PUT IT BEYOND THEM.

Robert says HOW DO YOU COMPARE GERMANY'S
ATTITUDES WITH -- WEST
GERMANY'S ATTITUDES WITH
THE ATTITUDES OF FRANCE
ON THESE QUESTIONS?
YOU MADE ONE COMMENT THAT IN
THE CASE OF THE POLISH ISSUE,
FRANCE PROVIDED THE
RHETORIC, AND YOU PROVIDED
THE FOOD PARCELS.

Hans says WELL, THAT'S PERHAPS
OVERSTATING THE CASE, BUT I
MEAN IT IS TRUE THAT THE
FRENCH GOVERNMENT MADE VERY
STRONG COMMENTS ON THE THING,
AND ONE WEEK LATER THEY
SIGNED THE BIG GAS DEAL
WITH THE POLISH, YOU KNOW?
THEY ALSO CARRIED ON BUSINESS
AS USUAL, BUT THAT'S THE
FRENCH GIFT.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
IT'S JUST A GIFT OF THEIRS
THEY ARE NOT UNABASHED,
YOU KNOW, WILL USE THE MOST
FANTASTIC WORDS, AND THEN THE
REALITY, OF COURSE, IS
SOMETHING ELSE AGAIN.
I MEAN THERE WAS A GENTLEMAN
WHO TALKED ABOUT FREE QUEBEC.
YOU MIGHT REMEMBER, THAT WAS
ALSO A PIECE OF RHETORIC,
WHICH WAS NOT BACKED
BY A LOT OF ACTION.
FORTUNATELY.

Robert says NOT ANY, AS IT HAPPENS.

Hans says WELL, YOU SEE.

Robert says YOU'RE SPEAKING OF GENERAL
DE GAULLE'S SPEECH IN 1967.
WHERE HE SAID VIVRE
LE QUEBEC LIBRE.
WELL, THE FRENCH THOUGH HAVE
TAKEN, VIS-A-VIS THE SOVIETS,
AND VIS-A-VIS THE AMERICANS,
THE FRENCH INTELLECTUALS HAVE
TAKEN, FORGETTING THE
POLICY-MAKERS AT THE MOMENT,
THE FRENCH INTELLECTUALS HAVE
TAKEN A VERY DIFFERENT VIEW
FROM WHAT THE WEST
GERMANS HAVE TAKEN.

Hans says THAT'S TRUE.

Robert says AND I WOULD EVEN SAY THE MASS
OF LEFT-WING PEOPLE IN FRANCE
HAVE TAKEN A
DIFFERENT ATTITUDE.
FRANCE HAS NO COMPARABLE PEACE
MOVEMENT COMPARED TO GERMANY.

Hans says YES.

Robert says HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT?

Hans says THE BASIC REASON IS PROBABLY
THE PARTITION OF GERMANY.
BECAUSE IF YOU IMAGINE A LINE
ACROSS FRANCE, AROUND LYON,
YOU KNOW, THE NORTH PART BEING
ATLANTIC, AND THE SOUTHERN
PART BEING SOVIET DOMINATED,
THEN PROBABLY A QUITE
DIFFERENT ATTITUDE WOULD
ENSUE, AND PROBABLY A NOTE OF
CAUTION MIGHT PEEP INTO
DECLAMATIONS OF FRENCH.
I'M NOT SAYING THAT ALL THEIR
REASONING, I'M NOT TRYING TO
PUT DOWN THEIR REASONING
BECAUSE SOME OF IT, I'M SURE
ALSO WITHIN THE WEST
GERMAN LEFT, SUCH AS IT IS,
THERE MUST BE PEOPLE WHO
STILL HANG ONTO IDEOLOGICAL
BITS AND PIECES WHICH
THE FRENCH HAVE LIQUIDATED.
I MEAN, THE FRENCH HAVE LESS
ELUSIONS ABOUT COMMUNIST
PARTIES, PERHAPS, THAN THE
GERMANS, AND THAT IS DUE TO
THE FACT THE FRENCH HAVE, I
MEAN, WE HAVE, AS IT WERE, WE
HAVE EXPORTED OUR COMMUNIST
PARTY TO EASTERN GERMANY.
WHEREAS THE FRENCH HAVE GOT
A COMMUNIST PARTY AT HOME.
AT HOME.
AND THAT MAKES, OF COURSE, FOR
A GREATER DEGREE BECAUSE IF
YOUR FELLOW NEXT DOOR, YOU
KNOW, IF YOU HAVE THIS PARTY
NEXT DOOR ANNOYING YOU WITH
ITS SYCOPHANTIC VIEW OF THE
SOVIET UNION, AND ADORING
RUSSIAN ROCKETS OR WHATEVER,
THEN, OF COURSE,
YOU GET MORE ANGRY.
WE'VE GOT THEM AT A DISTANCE.
I MEAN, IT'S STILL ANNOYING,
BUT STILL, THERE, ALSO, WE
DON'T HAVE THE FEELING THAT IN
EASTERN GERMANY PEOPLE DO IT
OF THEIR OWN VOLITION.
THEY ARE PROBABLY OBLIGED
TO SAY SOMETHING NICE
ABOUT THE RUSSIANS.
WHEREAS THESE FRENCH COMMUNISTS
DO IT AS A FREE THING.
I MEAN, THEY JUST
CHOOSE TO SAY IT.
THAT'S MORE ANNOYING.

Robert says HOW DO THESE QUESTIONS, NOT
THE QUESTION OF A COMMUNIST
PARTY, PARTICULARLY, BUT THESE
PARTICULAR QUESTIONS OF
EAST-WEST POLITICS, HOW
DO THEY LOOK IN BERLIN?
I KNOW YOU'VE SPENT TIME IN
BERLIN, AND YOU'VE WRITTEN
ABOUT IT.
HOW DO THEY LOOK IN THAT CITY?
DO THEY LOOK DIFFERENT?

Hans says BERLINERS, THERE HAS BEEN AN
OLD GENERATION OF BERLINERS
WHO WERE VIOLENTLY ANTI-
COMMUNIST, WHO LIVED THROUGH
THE BERLIN BLOCKADE.
THE WHOLE PLACE WAS
PRACTICALLY UNDER SIEGE
WITH RUSSIANS.
AND IF THE AMERICANS HADN'T
BROUGHT IN THE FOOD BIPLANE,
THE WHOLE PLACE WOULD
HAVE GONE SOVIET.
SO THESE PEOPLE ARE VIOLENTLY
PRO-AMERICAN, VERY LOYAL, AND
VERY ANTI-COMMUNIST UP TO THE
POINT OF BEING RABID ABOUT IT.
BUT I THINK THE YOUNGER
GENERATIONS WHO ARE NOW
RUNNING THE PLACE, PEOPLE
WHO ARE NOW 40 OR YOUNGER,
I THINK ARE VERY SOPHISTICATED
IN THEIR APPROACH.
THEY KNOW VERY WELL WHOM
THEY'RE DEALING WITH.
AND THAT IS TRUE EVEN OF THE
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATICS WHO ARE
NOW IN POWER.
I MEAN, THEY MADE A GOOD DEAL
WITH THE EAST GERMANS A WHILE
AGO ABOUT THE TRANSPORT
SYSTEM IN THE CITY.
ON THIS LEVEL, I THINK THEY
ARE VERY SOPHISTICATED.
THEY KNOW WHAT YOU CAN GET.
AND IT'S MORE PERHAPS A
TRADER'S AND NEGOTIATOR'S
ATTITUDE.
BECAUSE CONFRONTATION WILL
CLEARLY NOT BENEFIT THE CITY
OF BERLIN.

Robert says SO THEY ARE GOING TO WORK
THROUGH IN AS SUBTLE A WAY AS
POSSIBLE, WORK
THROUGH YEAR BY YEAR.
AND THEY, TOO, OF COURSE
HAVE NO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE.
THEY DON'T PLAN ON BEING
UNITED WITH THE WEST AT ANY
PARTICULAR POINT?

Hans says NO, NO.
THE CITY HAS GREAT PROBLEMS.
IT'S SUCH A WEIRD SITUATION.
I MEAN, IT'S EVEN
WEIRDER THAN HONG KONG.

Robert says I GUESS IT IS THE STRANGEST
PLACE IN THE WORLD TO GO TO.
THERE'S NOTHING LIKE
IT IN THE WORLD.
AND I DON'T KNOW THAT
THERE EVER HAS BEEN.

Hans says AND SOME PEOPLE OF THE
INTELLECTUAL, OR THE WIDER
SENSE, THE ACADEMIC OR
ARTISTIC COMMUNITY, TRY TO
REAP SOME BENEFIT.
BECAUSE I THINK THERE'S HARDLY
ANY PROBLEM WHICH DOES NOT
HAVE ALSO A SPIN-OFF IF
YOU MAKE CLEVER USE OF IT.
AND THAT, PERHAPS, IS TRUE.
I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING
WHICH EUROPEANS COME AROUND
TO REALIZE.
NOT ONLY THE GERMANS, BUT IF
YOU LOOK AT THE WHOLE OF
WESTERN EUROPE, IT'S
INTERESTING THAT PERHAPS TO A
GREATER DEGREE THAN OTHER
PARTS OF THE WORLD, PEOPLE
THERE ARE AWARE OF THE
PROBLEMATIC SIDE OF LIFE,
OF POLITICAL LIFE,
SOCIAL ECONOMIC LIFE.
AND IT'S FASCINATING TO SEE.
I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE
GREAT STRENGTHS OF EUROPE,
THAT IN THIS PATCHWORK OF
NATIONS, EVERYBODY HAS SOME
PART PERHAPS OF THE SOLUTION.
NOBODY HAS GOT THE SOLUTION,
BUT I DON'T KNOW, THE ITALIANS
HAVE A WAY OF DEALING WITH
THE PROBLEM, THE GERMANS HAVE
ANOTHER ONE, THE
SCANDINAVIANS A THIRD ONE.
AND THAT'S WHAT FASCINATES
ME ABOUT EUROPE.

Robert says WHAT ABOUT WEST
GERMANY ITSELF, THOUGH?
WHAT IS, IN THIS PERIOD IN
WHICH THE WEST GERMANS HAVE
BECOME MORE LIKE THE REST OF
US, THAT IS THEY ARE SUBJECT
TO DIPS IN THE ECONOMY AND
UNEMPLOYMENT AND SO ON, WHERE
ARE THEY NOW IN RELATION
TO THEIR HISTORY?
WHAT IS SAID, WHAT IS
FELT ABOUT THEIR HISTORY
THROUGH THE 20th CENTURY?
IS THAT A
GUILT-RIDDEN COUNTRY?
IS GUILT AN IMPORTANT
PART OF THEIR PSYCHE?

Hans says PERHAPS A BIT
LESS SO THAN IT WAS.
IN THE '50s, THIS
WAS OVERWHELMING.
AND THERE WERE ALSO, STILL,
THESE ATTEMPTS OF SORT OF
LOOKING THE OTHER
WAY AND SO ON.
I MEAN, WHICH IS TYPICAL
EXPRESSION OF GUILT, IF YOU
LOOK THE OTHER WAY, IF YOU
DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT
AND SO ON.
BUT I THINK IN THE PAST,
IT'S NOW 35 YEARS OR MORE
SINCE THE END OF THE WAR.
AND THIS WHOLE THING HAS BEEN
REALLY WORKED THROUGH WITH
GREAT PAINS AND EFFORTS,
ESPECIALLY FOR THE OLDER
PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE
IN THE FIRST PERSON.
IT'S NOT LIKE SOMETHING YOU TALK
ABOUT WITH YOUR GRANDFATHER.
NO, BUT THE KIDS ARE
ASKING THEIR FATHER.
WHAT DID YOU DO?
WHY DID YOU GO
ALONG AND SO ON?
THIS WAS NOT ONLY PAINFUL, BUT
PERHAPS IT WAS A SORT OF, IF
YOU IMAGINE A THERAPEUTIC
SESSION IN WHICH 80 MILLION
PEOPLE TAKE PART, YOU CAN
IMAGINE THE SIZE AND DEPTHS
OF SUCH A PROCESS.
I DARE SAY THIS IS THE TYPE OF
THING WHICH WILL NEVER COME
TO, WHICH WILL NEVER BE
EXHAUSTED BECAUSE THERE WILL
ALWAYS BE SOMETHING LEFT TO...
BECAUSE YOU CAN'T, IT'S LIKE
AN EXORCISM, YOU KNOW?
THIS DEVIL WILL NOT GO
AWAY ENTIRELY FOREVER.
BUT WITH THE PASSING OF TIME,
I THINK THAT OTHER CONCERNS,
OTHER PRIORITIES PERHAPS,
EVEN, HAVE COME TO THE SURFACE.
AND YOU CAN'T EXPECT OF
SOMEBODY WHO WAS BORN IN '58,
YOU CAN'T EXPECT THE SAME
ATTITUDE, YOU KNOW?
HE WON'T BEAT
HIS BREAST PROBABLY,
BECAUSE HE WON'T UNDERSTAND.

Robert says BECAUSE OF WHAT HIS FATHER
OR HIS GRANDFATHER DID.

Hans says ALSO, I THINK BY AND LARGE,
THE GERMANS HAVE BECOME RATHER
DEEPLY CONVINCED OF THE
ADVANTAGES OF THE SYSTEM
THEY ARE NOW LIVING UNDER.
I THINK THIS GOES, THIS IS
NOT JUST A SURFACE THING.
I MEAN, THEY HAVE
NOW AN EXPERIENCE.
IN OUR HISTORY, WE'VE NEVER
HAD SUCH A LONG HISTORY OF
DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT.
IT NEVER EXISTED BEFORE.
AND I THINK IT'S SOMETHING
WHICH PROBABLY TAKES SOME
PRACTICE, SOME, IN ORDER TO
DEVELOP ALSO SELF-CONFIDENCE
THAT YOU ARE ABLE, YOU KNOW?
THAT YOU CAN HAVE A
SAY IN WHAT'S GOING ON.
AND THIS DOESN'T
COME BY BEING TOLD.
IF A TEACHER TELLS YOU THIS,
IT WON'T PROBABLY WORK.
BUT IF YOU, IN YOUR OWN LIFE,
HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE WITH IT,
I THINK THAT'S A BREAK WITH
GERMAN HISTORY, PROBABLY.

Robert says THAT IS A BREAK.
BUT WHAT ABOUT, AS YOU SAY,
THEY ARE NOT, A YOUNG PERSON
OF 23 OR 25 YEARS OLD IS NOT
BEATING HIS BREAST ABOUT WHAT
HIS FATHER.

Hans says NO.
HE WILL KNOW ABOUT IT.

Robert says THAT'S WHAT I WAS WONDERING.
HOW MUCH WILL HE KNOW ABOUT IT?
HOW MUCH IS IT REFLECTED IN
THE GERMAN CULTURE OF TODAY?

Hans says WELL, IT IS UNAVOIDABLE.
YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY AVOID IT
BECAUSE, WELL, I THINK,
IN THIS RESPECT, THE
INTELLECTUALS HAVE PROBABLY
DONE A VERY THOROUGH JOB.
BECAUSE IT WAS MAINLY THEY
WHO, IN THE '50s, WORKED AS A
SORT OF MUCKRAKER COMMUNITY
WHICH JUST DIDN'T GO ALONG
WITH THE ATTEMPTS TO SOMEHOW
COVER, TO INVENT ALL SORTS OF
COVERS TO THIS.
I MEAN, I REMEMBER THE TIME
WHEN WE WERE STILL AT WORK,
YOU KNOW, DRIVING FORMER NAZIS
OUT OF OFFICE BECAUSE THE
POWER ELITE TRY IN EVERY
PLACE, IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE,
WILL TRY TO PERPETUATE ITSELF.
SO WE HAD JUDGES AND
BUREAUCRATS, AND WE EVEN HAD
ASSISTANT MINISTERS, AND
PEOPLE LIKE THAT, WHO HAD
VERY BLACK RECORDS.
AND IT WAS PRESS, AND IT WAS
THE WRITERS, AND IT WAS A
TELEVISION PEOPLE WHO RAISED
HELL AND MANAGED, ACTUALLY, IN
QUITE A FEW CASES, IN MANY
CASES, TO GUARANTEE A SORT OF
MINIMUM HYGIENE IN POLITICS.

Robert says IN THE SCHOOLS, WHAT IS IT
LIKE THE RECENT HISTORY?
HOW MUCH OF RECENT
HISTORY DO YOU TEACH?
BECAUSE I TELL YOU WHY I ASK
THAT QUESTION, THE ONLY SCHOOL
SYSTEMS I REALLY KNOW MUCH
ABOUT ARE THOSE OF ENGLAND,
CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES.
AND SO FAR AS I CAN TELL, THEY
ALL TELL THEIR HISTORY OF AN
ON GOING SUCCESS STORY.
AND THEN WE GOT
A LITTLE BETTER.
AND THEN WE GOT
A LITTLE BETTER.
AND THEN WE IMPROVED
THIS INSTITUTION.
THEN WE GOT A CONSTITUTION,
AND THEN WE DID THIS.

Hans says YES.

Robert says AND THAT'S THE ONLY WAY I
KNOW YOU CAN TEACH CHILDREN.
NOW, OBVIOUSLY, IN WEST
GERMANY, YOU CAN'T DO THAT.
YOU CAN DO IT IN RUSSIA.
YOU CAN'T DO IT
IN WEST GERMANY.
SO HOW DO THEY GO ABOUT THAT?

Hans says I DON'T THINK THEY EVEN TRY.
WELL, ONE THING, OF COURSE,
WHICH MUST BE SAID THAT IN
PROBABLY MOST OTHER COUNTRIES
AS WELL, THE AMOUNT OF
KNOWLEDGE ACTUALLY ACCUMULATED
DURING SCHOOL TIME, I THINK,
HAS SEVERELY DIMINISHED.
I'M NOT SURE WHETHER THE
SYSTEMATIC BUILD-UP OF MEMORY,
HISTORICAL MEMORY WILL PASS
ANY STRICT TESTS IN GERMANY.
BUT TO THE EXTENT THERE IS A
STORY, OF COURSE IT'S QUITE
CLEAR THAT PROBABLY TEACHERS,
WELL, THEY ARE, I'M NOT SURE
WHETHER YOU WOULD -- THEY
WOULD PROBABLY LIKE TO BELONG
TO THE INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY,
SCHOOLTEACHERS HAVE A WAY OF
WANTING THIS.
AND THEY ARE TRADE UNION, FOR
EXAMPLE, IS RATHER LEFT WING.
SO THEY, BY AND LARGE, WILL
TEND TO SEE THEMSELVES AS
PEOPLE WHO WILL HAVE TO TELL
THE GERMANS ABOUT EVERY
PROBLEM THEY HAD
IN THEIR HISTORY.
SO THEY WOULD LEAN OVER
BACKWARDS TO GIVE AN IMAGE.
AND THE ONLY SUCCESS STORY
THEY CAN TELL IS REALLY THAT
OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC.

Theme music plays as a slate shows the title “Realities.”

Suzanne reappears in the studio and says
HANS MAGNUS ENZENSBERGER
IS A FAMOUS GERMAN POET
AND WRITER.
HE WAS INTERVIEWED IN LONDON,
ENGLAND, BY ROBERT FULFORD.
I'M SUZANNE GREW-ELLIS.
GOOD NIGHT.

Theme music plays as the end credits roll.

With Robert Fulford, Richard Gwyn, and Suzanne Grew-Ellis.

Music, Gene Martynec.

Producer and Director, Moira Dexter.

A Production of TVOntario. Copyright 1986, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Modern West Germany