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September 02, 2010

Comments

dz alexander

Thanks for that.
A great example of how institutions & their professional workers maintain their particular functions a virtues even unto the desrruction of everything else around them. Likewise the legal, medical, scientific, the church , and, of course the military. There's something about what one writer called "assignable expertise"or the "politics of not being political" that causes highly trained people to fail to ask basic ethical quesions about the wider implications of their work, How absurd, for example, for a bridge engineer to questions IF a bridge should be built.

You might find the Nazi-origin publishing career of Georg von Holtzbrinck interesting, since the firm now owns Scientific American, Nature and much else in publishing.
http://www.german-times.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12709&Itemid=121

David

@dz,

Thanks for the link. I think it was nearly impossible for anyone to live in the Third Reich without to some extent being a "Mitlauefer". Von Holtzbrinck was no exception.

hattie

Christine Müller, my professor at Reed College from whom I took history courses about Weimar and the Third Reich, said that the ability of Germans to stay organized, uphold instituitons, and carry out projects in even the most abnormal circumstances caused a lot of the damage at that time. You could say that the trains carrying the Jews to Ausschwitz always arrived on time.

Zyme

Christine, this is an interesting point. I think there is a German trait which you can find in all countries which once belonged to Germany too:

Under extreme pressure in times of a crisis, many people fall back to standard routines and sets of rules. They make an art out of carrying them out, which allows them to move their entire focus on this activity and remain relatively calm while others would be driven mad by the circumstances.

This trait works like an anchor in a sea of chaos.

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