Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Golden Quotebook (2): On Germany

For all their faults, the Germans are a remarkable people. They out-phoenix the Phoenix. That miraculous bird only rose from its ashes once every 1,460 years; the Germans did so twice in a century. If that ain’t a feat I don’t know what is. Now it is they who are called upon to save Europe, yet the role of Saviour does not come easy to them, witness their severe (dare I say ‘callous’?) attitude towards Greece. Perhaps Public Relations is the least of their present concerns. Yet they ought to remember the grave dangers to their reputation, as seen in the following poignant quotes from three intelligent Anglophones:

I have often thought that Germans make the best Americans, though they certainly make the worst Germans. 
[Karl Shapiro in Time Magazine, decades ago]

While something is refused to Germany, it is vital. If you say: 'Well, we will give it to you, and now our relations will, of course, be on a satisfactory footing', it loses all value from the moment that she obtains it, and it is used by her merely as a stepping-off platform for a further demand. 
[Austen Chamberlain quoted in Robert Rhodes James, Churchill: a study in failure 1900-1939]

The Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.
[Winston Churchill]

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