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Table of contents
- Reviews in My Networks
- Hyperion Records
- Natascha Drubek | Universität Regensburg - ymyzuzynog.tk
- Tensions in the Early Modern Era
I agree with Peter Fleissner, professor emeritus of Design and Assessment of New Technologies at the Vienna University of Technology, that any restriction by social, political and economic structures hindering the emancipatory development of people is an essential indicator for the transformation of the present information societies. Freedom is not a property of a worldless and isolated subjectivity, but a relation between human beings in a shared world that is concerned with their mutual respect and fairness also in their relation to the natural world to which we belong.
Both relations, to ourselves and to the world, are today mediated by digital technologies. They give rise to the belief that to be means to be digital and, particularly, that I am a human being only as far as I am in the digital world reifying or 'in-forming' my self as digital data and believing that I am eventually a digital being. I call this belief digital metaphysics that I distinguish from digital ontology, in which the digital understanding of being is acknowledged as a possible today predominating way of understanding ourselves and the world.
The difference between 'is' and 'as' is not only an ontological but an ethical one Capurro a. The ethical difference between who and what we are, or between our selves and our data, is one of Ariadne's threads Capurro, Eldred, Nagel The task of translating information in the sense I proposed at the Vienna Summit can be understood as one of Ariadne's threads of emancipation from the knowledge and power structures of the digital labyrinth. Looking for a language of "mutuality" Peter Fleissner , i.
This is not only a theoretical but also a practical task about different kinds of exercises of resistance and resilience at the macro- and micro-levels in order to transform ourselves and our societies into more free and fair ones in the digital age Capurro They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, as well as beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead persons.
In Shinto, kami are not separate from nature, but are of nature, possessing positive and negative, and good and evil characteristics. Though the word kami is translated multiple ways into English, no one English word expresses its full meaning. The ambiguity of the meaning of kami is necessary, as it conveys the ambiguous nature of kami themselves. Pfullingen , ff.
J denen die Expression zugeordnet bleibt als die Art der Befreiung. Unser deutsches Wort dichten, tihton, sagt das Selbe. F Worin das "mehr" beruht, konnten Sie nicht sagen. J Doch jetzt kann ich einen Wink folgen, den beide Worte bergen. F Wohin winken sie? J In das, von woher das Widerspiel beider zueinander sich ereignet.
F Und das ist? F Das ist ein wundersames und darum unausdenkbares Wort. Ich gebrauche seit langem nur ungern das Wort "Sprache", wenn ich ihrem Wesen nachdenke. J Welches Wort gebrauchen Sie? F Das Wort "die Sage". Es meint: das Sagen und sein Gesagtes und das zu-Sagende. F Vermutlich das Selbe wie zeigen im Sinne von: erscheinen- und scheinenlassen, dies jedoch in der Weise des Winkens.
J Der Weg dahin ist weit. Wo sie jedoch als Quell des Denkens springt, scheint sie mir eher zu versammeln als zu schweifen. Dergleichen ahnte schon Kant, wie Sie selber zeigen. J Das bleibt wahr. J Wie meinen Sie dieses harte Urteil? J Inwiefern? J Sondern? Aber ich kann nicht antworten. F Dies vor allem. Aber ich meine jetzt zuvor etwas anderes. J Wir stehen jedoch mitten in der Gefahr nicht nur zu laut vom Geheimnis zu reden, sondern sein Walten zu verfehlen. F Keineswegs. Sein Gesprochenes kann freilich nie in die Form einer wissenschaftlichen Abhandlung eingehen J weil dadurch die Bewegung des hier verlangten Fragens zu leicht erstarrt.
J Dann verstehe ich Ihr Bedenken nicht. J Dann entschwindet ihr Wesen. J Darin bewegen wir uns ohne Zweifel. J Mir scheint, wir bewegen uns jetzt im Kreis. J Was ist dann, wenn es so ist? F Dann ereignet sich der Abschied von allem "Es ist". F Als die Ankunft des Gewesen. J Aber das Vergangene geht doch, ist gegangen, wie soll es kommen? F Das Vergehen ist anderes als das Gewesen. J Wie sollen wir dieses denken? F und das Selbe bleibt wie die Botschaft He mentions that in Japanese they use mono and koto, where mono refers to things in there being while koto refers to what is happening.
The world is the whole of what is happening, not of the things. Libraries are full of mono. Nishida himself practiced Zen and tried to systematize the eastern thought in terms of the western philosophy to overcome the separation between subjectivity and objectivity. Capurro himself has deepened his interest in Zen Buddhism and Japanese thought e. Capurro b, c and promoted friendships with Japanese thinkers. The interaction between them is expected to bear fruitful outcomes in the development of information ethics. I think that one of the attractive characteristics of mobile phones for boys and girls is that they provide them with means with which they can communicate among themselves without being disturbed by their parents or family members.
The participants want to get connected all the time or they want to feel the potential connection with others by sending e-mails or by just keeping their mobile phones on Nishimura In my view, we need to create some sort of shared field among the participants in which various aspects of communication such as persuasion, transmission of information, greeting and so on can take place. These utterances and facial expressions have nothing to do with the content or essence of the communication, but at the same time they are indispensable when communication itself occurs.
We need a certain sort of meta-communication when we talk with each other or are engaged in interactive actions. Take for instance the following poem haiku by Matsuo Basho :. Of course, the phatic function is not dependent on speech in this case. According to Nishimura, and I think so too, we are now facing serious confusions at the level of meta-communication. For example, we can't live alone, but we have to live by sacrificing others to live a better life, or as Fromm pointed out, we need freedom and on the other hand we fear freedom and escape from freedom Fromm We dislike too close friendships.
We are facing a kind of confusion or collapse of meta-communication. Mobile phones are a token of a need for easy meta-communication. In this sense, we Japanese face the situation which might be called phatic overload. This might be referred to as distorted phatic overload which is motivated by simple greed, in one way, and by a sense of poverty of communication or human relations, in another. The intention of sending a message to a receiver is mostly represented as being the sender and the receiver originally separated from each other and connected by a medium.
His concept of information as possible selections from a repertoire of physical symbols is the opposite to the ordinary meaning of information as communication of something new. Warren Weaver remarked:. The word information, in this theory, is used in a special sense that must not be confused with its ordinary usage. In particular, information must not be confused with meaning. In fact, two messages, one of which is heavily loaded with meaning and the other of which is pure nonsense, can be exactly equivalent, from the present viewpoint, as regards information.
Shannon and Weaver , p. What is excluded is not only the shared world but also the moods in which human senders and receivers experience their common being-in-the-world itself. As Heidegger taught us, this emotional tonality is a pre-theoretical experience of embeddedness that precedes the separation between subject and object. This is the reason why I think it is important to develop an intercultural philosophical angeletics in order to be aware of this Western bias as well as to describe different ontic angeletic situations and forms of sharing the world.
They always want to know whether they are in communication or not and they always feel constant anxiety about not keeping in contact with the outer world. The phatic function is closely related with the use of mobile phones, blogs or SMS that provide them us with moods or illusions enabling them us to have a feeling as if we were always in contact with the outer world. In my view, these remarks show typical cases of Japanese ways of understanding the world pre-ontologically and existentially.
The following views reflect these ways of understanding the world, i. Words, people, events, things and experiences are related to one another as a fluid or active process of interchange of articulation and non-articulation of things. The traditional Japanese self-understanding is based on a place of secret inner minds which seem to be sustained by traditional emotional sensitivity mono-no-ahare. People can share the meanings of this traditional emotional sensitivity, but the sadness coming from it is confined to each person. This is a kind of fragile relationship between persons with fragile minds that underlies the desire to share the same meanings of existence in this world whilst at the same time keeping apart from each other.
This is an interesting topic for intercultural angeletics. To put this another way, we might say that Japanese people live in mental situations leading them to constant pursuit of the meaning of life and human relations as well as to meta-communication or shared cultural, existential contexts determining their life, human relations and ways of communication. This research, done in , is based on samples of Japanese university students.
His interpretation of these data can lead to misunderstandings in some ways. I try to interpret the data as follows:. Students with an orientation toward strong and constant friendship and with an orientation toward moderate, not strong but also not weak, i. Do you have a cold? In order to understand some problems related with Japanese phatic communication and with intercultural angeletics, we should take into consideration, using this as an example, the Japanese orientation toward or the pursuit of the meaning of good communication, good human relations and good human living.
I discussed the meanings of Japanese blogs, Japanese popular songs, the Japanese sense of privacy as subject matter for communication via SMS or blogs in my papers Nakada , ; Nakada and Capurro What is exactly meant, from the point of view of angeletics, by the original connection between a sender and a receiver?
And as you know, his studies on aphasia and agnosia are strongly associated with Jakobson's studies on language and aphasia Merleau-Ponty The phatic function might be considered to be the only function that birds have in common with human beings. This is very interesting too. Then we human beings and other creatures would have 'the original connection' in the dimension of the phatic function! But each function, understood as a basic mood, makes the world openness or ontological dimension, manifest in different ways, at least in the case of Dasein.
According to Luhmann, these three dimensions constitute the concept of communication. In this model there is an original and recursive relation between sender and receiver. This means, if I understand you correctly, that the phatic function is an essential element of communication because it enables a distinction to be made within the process of communication itself each time when a selection of a meaning takes place. Is my understanding correct?
Cybernetics has taught us that every receiver can turn into a sender. This relationship, called the transference phenomenon, takes place from both sides. We can distinguish roughly the following conceptions:. I shall try to explain this issue later. Each interpretation is based on a process of message transmission. Which means that hermeneutics presupposes angeletics. Hermes is first and foremost a messenger, no less than an interpreter and translator. Of course, a philosophical angeletics is no less ambitious than twentieth century hermeneutic philosophy.
We should also make a distinction between an ontic or empirical science of messages and messengers, and a philosophical angeletics. As an empirical science, angeletics is not necessarily reduced to the phenomenon of human communication but can include also all kinds of messages and messengers in the natural sciences. Let me further explain what I understand by angeletic philosophy and, correspondingly, by a philosophical angeletics, using other Heideggerian themes, without going into a detailed textual analysis or exegesis of Heidegger.
As Jean-Luc Nancy, following Heidegger, remarks, philosophy and particularly hermeneutics can be understood as the presentation of a message. The task of thinking is of the kind of being a messenger Nancy , ; Capurro This can be expressed in simple terms by saying that we human beings are finite beings and are aware of our givenness as well. Sheehan It is in original unity and difference with its Here.
The message is the world. Dasein announces its facticity with the phatic dialogical! Humans as the Here of Being are messengers of Being, letting beings be what they are. He writes:. The messenger must already come from the message. But he must also already have gone toward it.
Heidegger , , my translation RC. It is the opposite of the kind of messengers we call ambassadors Botschafter. There is an original unity and difference between Being and Dasein beyond or prior to any ontic separation of sender, message, messenger and receiver. I think that today this double-bind casting of Being is done from a perspective of the digital. Loneliness and anxiety are moods through which, as Heidegger taught us, we discover the truth, that is to say, the finitude of being-in-the-world-with-others. We receive and pass on — and sometimes try to bypass — the message of Being because we are originally the Here of its disclosure.
Although we mostly live immersed in the given openness of everyday existence, exchanging messages and maintaining communication through the phatic function, we have the potentiality to grasp a given historical disclosure of Being as a possible one, that is to say, to change its truth. An example of this at the level of an ontic region is the so-called paradigm change in science where the pre-ontological messages facts that are supposed to prove or falsify a theory are re-interpreted when the theory, with all its biases, pre-conceptions and pre-suppositions, its instruments, institutions, traditions, etc.
This opens the debate as to which are the ethical criteria for making a distinction between a messenger of Being and its opposite a charlatan , with all degrees in between. One important criterion for this difficult ethical task that is always endangered by manipulation and self-deception is whether the messenger maintains critically the openness of Being or proclaims an absolute truth.
Another criterion is whether other messengers also remain critical with regard to the alternative casting of Being as passed on to them, or whether they develop from there, say, a political ideology, a mere worldview or a theoretical dogma I thank Michael Eldred for an enlightening e-mail exchange on this issue. I've struggled with the problem why a lot of people are influenced by fiction or the imaginative representation of the mass media, even though they know the difference between the reality facts and the fictions copies of reality.
This problem can't be solved if we think that facts or messages of some facts are the first original and the mediated portrayal news, dramas are the copies of the first-hand realities. And now I know that we have to think about the presupposition that the message of Being is first and the human messenger is second. This is my personal understanding. Now, I feel that we are close to the core questions of mediated and aesthetic expressions as well as of communication itself. I wonder how we as messengers can send this kind of discussion to a broader range of possible receivers.
I wonder also how we can relate this kind of discussion to the problems of information ethics and robo-ethics in an academic or theoretical as well as in a practical way in order to address difficult matters such as youth's wrong-doings as an expression of the loss of identity, or the loss of sense of fundamental relations between human beings, the poverty of meaning in our minds and so on.
I am also thinking about comparing the phatic function in different cultures.speedodenutta.gq/ephesians-when-worlds-collide.php
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Some of my graduate students come from various countries. Hideo Kobayashi says that if we try to make good use of active wisdom, we have to get rid of selfishness. This means that the interpretation of some poems or novels can't be separated from the imaginative relations between authors and readers. I remember having heard a story about nodding robots. Even nodding robots enable people to communicate more easily, for example, when speaking on the telephone, even if the nodding robots are just showing fake agreement.
It is strange that some autistic patients can communicate with robots more easily than with human beings in some cases, according to studies on human-robot-interaction Feil-Seifer and Mataric In my view, we can explain these phenomena in such a way. Human communication consists of different levels and in many cases patients with, for example, agnosia, autism or schizophrenia,have difficulty dealing with or understanding information or meanings at the meta-level of communication. I gained this insight from Bin Kimura Kimura and Masakazu Yamazaki Yamazaki ; fake communication with robots might enable patients to deal with the meanings at the meta-level more easily because this sort of communication has a simple structure.
So in this sense, the distinction between fake and real is not so important. Hideo Kobayashi did not study Heidegger or Gadamer but he knew that these questions regarding the relations between texts and readers are important. From this perspective, Socrates is not a sender but a messenger of ideas that come to him from beyond. In the middle of the tale we read about Princess Asagao, daughter of Prince Momozono, brother of the Emperor, who has been courted in vain by Prince Genji, her cousin, from his seventeenth year onward.
Genji is now thirty-three years old. In Chapter 20 Murasaki Shikibu tells the story of the problematic relationship between Genji and Asagao. At the beginning of Chapter 21 she writes:. Lady Asagao expressed great displeasure at this lavishness and, if the presents had been accompanied by letters or poems of at all a familiar or impertinent kind, she would at once have put a stop to these attentions. But for a year past there had been nothing in his conduct to complain of. From time to time he came to the house and enquired after her, but always quite openly.
His letters were frequent and affectionate, but he took no liberties, and what nowadays troubled her chiefly was the difficulty of inventing anything to say in reply. Murasaki Shikibu , Princess Asagao is in trouble. Should she answer or not? Should she continue a formal and, at least for her, meaningless phatic communication? But, of course, it is Murasaki Shikibu herself who gives such an answer by writing this story. This connection between ethics and aesthetics seems to be characteristic of Japanese culture to the present day.
The irresistible amorist is a pessimist at heart, weighed down by a sense of misfortune, by the weight of an unhappy karma. At the age of thirty we find him haunted by the impermanence of worldly things, and on the point of embracing a monastic life. Throughout the story, even in its saddest episodes, there runs a thread of delight in beauty. All the love talk is interspersed with enjoyment of colour, shape, and perfume, and a continual exchange of poetic messages. Sansom , In this sense, we can say that the Here of Being or the structure of a culture is at best understood if it is conceived and lived as a place where messages pass through instead of being blocked.
This is one of the lessons of Chinese Taoism. One is the level of fixed moral rules and the other one is chaos, where such rules are invisible and can be violated Yamaguchi In his pursuit of love affairs, he violates, on the one hand, fixed mores and, on the other, through the connection between ethics and aesthetics, his life reproduces the cultural norms. We are very close to the core of problems from which our mutual understanding and some misunderstanding arose.
I think that our dialogue itself is a realization of an angeletic relationship and shows the importance of intercultural angeletics. Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache. Frankfurt am Main Orig. Das System an der Geschichte aufgezeigt. An Outline. Grundlegungsfragen der Internetethik. Munich , pp. Frankfurt am Main Goffman, Ervin: Frame Analysis. Cambridge MA In ibid. Pfullingen , pp. Tokyo In Thomas A. Sebeok Ed. Cambridge MA , pp.
Paris German translation by E. Weinmayr: Zwischen Mensch und Mensch. Darmstadt Kuhn, Thomas S. Lacan, Jacques: Le transfert. Livre VIII. Livre VII, Paris Luhmann, Niklas: Soziale Systeme. In Maria Botis Ed. Computer Ethics: Philosophical Enquiry. Athens , pp. Sudweeks, H. Hrachovec, and C.
Ess Eds. Stanford Shannon, Claude E. It is often also translated as "humanity towards others", but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity". However, this view is challenged and contextualized by Christian B. The society is still active at the beginning of the 21st century, however, now it plays only a ceremonial role. Members of the Ekpe society are said to act as messengers of the ancestors ikan. The economics of the society is based on paying tribute to the village ancestors.
Only males can join, boys being initiated about the age of puberty. Members are bound by oath of secrecy, and fees on entrance are payable. The Ekpe-men are ranked in seven or nine grades, for promotion to each of which fresh initiation ceremonies, fees and oaths are necessary. The society combines a kind of freemasonry with political and lawenforcing aims. For instance any member wronged in an Ekpe district, that is one dominated by the society, has only to address an Ekpe-man or beat the Ekpe drum in the Ekpe-house, or blow Ekpe as it is called, i.
Ekpe members always wear masks when performing their police duties, and although individuals may nonetheless be recognized, fear of retribution from the ikan stops people from accusing those members who may overstep their limits. Formerly the society earned a bad reputation due to what the British viewed as the barbarous customs that were intermingled with its rites. At least in the past, very large sums, sometimes more than a thousand pounds, were paid to attain these upper levels.
The trade-off is that the Amama often control the majority of the community wealth. The Amama often appropriate hundreds of acres of palm trees for their own use and, with the profits they earn, ensure that their sons achieve comparable rank, which has the effect of limiting access to economic gain for other members of the community. The Ekpe society requires that its initiates sponsor feasts for the town, which foster the appearance of the redistribution of wealth by providing the poor with food and drink. The Ekpe-house, an oblong building like the nave of a church, usually stands in the middle of the villages.
The walls are of clay elaborately painted inside and ornamented with clay figures in relief. Inside are wooden images to which reverence is paid. At Ekpe festivals masked dancers perform.
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Some of the older masks show horns and filed teeth. Non initiates and women are not allowed to come in contact with the masked dancers. As the religion has spread around the world, the name of this Orisha has varied in different locations, but the beliefs remain similar. Eshu is known as the "Father who gave birth to Ogboni", and is also thought to be agile and always willing to rise to a challenge.
Exu is known by various forms and names in Afro-Brazilian religions. It is, in general, made of rough clay or a simple mound of red clay. They are similar to those found in Nigeria. Ritual foods offered to Exu include palm oil; beans; corn, either in the form of cornmeal or popcorn; farofa, a manioc flour.
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Four-legged male birds and other animals are offered as sacrifice to Exu. He appears as a bawdy trickster to foil the colonialist Prospero in Act 3, Scene 3. Names and worship of Esu. Roots and Rooted. Retrieved 1 August Pelton University of California Press. Lopes, Nei Translated by Richard Miller.
He is the messenger of Olofi. He differs somewhat from Exu, who in this case is seen as his brother, by having dangerous and less aggressive characteristics. In Afro-Brazilian religion Elegbara is one of the titles of Exu. Adeoye, C. Ibadan: Evans Bros.
Nigeria Publishers. Not much has been published on the role that African philosophy can play in thinking about the challenges arising from the impact of ICT on African societies and cultures. Most research on ICT from an ethical perspective takes its departure from Western philosophy. Let us review very briefly some recent works on African philosophy that are relevant in a negative or positive sense to the subject of this conference.
The terms '"information" and "communication" are absent, not even listed in the index. I explicitly acknowledge modern reason without assuming that its manifestations are inviolable, particularly when they serve the purposes of colonialization. I locate ethical discourse between the particular and the universal. My aim, following the Kantian tradition, is universality, but I am aware, with Aristotle, that moral and political utterances are contingent, subject to different interpretations and applications based on economic interests and power structures.
We are all equal, and we are all different. It consists of the principles of sharing and caring for one another. What is the relation between community and privacy in African information society? What kind of questions do African people ask about the effects of information and communication technology in their everyday lives?
Olinger, Johannes Britz and M. They write:. The South African government will attempt to draft a Data Privacy Bill and strike an appropriate balance within the context of African values and an African worldview. The task of such an analysis would be to recognize the uniqueness of African perspectives as well as commonalities with other cultures and their theoretical expressions. This analysis could lead to an interpretation of ICT within an African horizon and correspondingly to possible vistas for information policy makers, responsible community leaders and, of course, for African institutions.
Both Britz and Peter John Lor, former Chief executive of the National Library of South Africa, think that the present north-south flow of information should be complemented by a south-north flow in order to enhance mutual understanding. Although Africa is still far from a true knowledge society, there is hope of success on certain fronts, such as investment in human capital, stemming the flight of intellectual expertise, and the effective development and maintenance of IT infrastructure Britz et al.
This should include leadership, followers, agree-upon principles and values as well as effective interaction among all these elements. A value-based reorientation implies personal awareness, an understanding of information, effective interactions between leaders and their communities without limitations of time and space, and mutual confidence in representative leadership. There is no such thing as a morally neutral technology.
This is not to say just that technologies can be used and misused, but to express the deeper insight that all technologies create new ways of being. They influence our relation with one another, they shape, in a more or less radical way, our institutions, our economies, and our moral values. This is why we should focus on information technology primarily from an ethical perspective. It is up to the African people and their leaders to question how to transform their lives by these technologies. African educational and research institutions should also reflect critically on these issues.
The space of knowledge as a space of freedom is not, as Jollife rightly remarks, an abstract ideal. It has a history that limits its possibilities. It is a space of rules and traditions of specific societies, in dialogue with their foundational myths and utopian aspirations. We are morally responsible not only for our deeds but for our dreams. Information ethics offers an open space to retrieve and debate these information and communication myths and utopias. The main moral responsibility of African academics is to enrich African identities by retrieving and re-creating African information and communication traditions.
Cultural memory must be re-shaped again and again to build the core of a humane society. This means no more and no less than basing morality on memory and communication, thereby establishing information ethics at its core. It is related to our myths and to our dreams. But not for your dreams! The Egyptian god Thot is a symbol of cultural memory as a social task.
He is the god of wisdom and writing as well as messenger of the gods, particularly of the sun god Re, and is associated with the goddess Maat, the personification of justice. I think that retrieving the African cultural memory with regard to information and communication norms and traditions is the main information challenge for African information ethics.
It should recognize the different strategies of social inclusion and exclusion in the history of African societies, including traumatic experiences such as slavery and apartheid. Since the emergence of the Internet, this challenge is discussed under the heading of the digital divide. But African information ethics implies much more than just the access and use of this medium. The problem is not a technical one, but one of social exclusion, manipulation, exploitation and annihilation of human beings.
It is vital that thought about African information ethics be conducted from this broader perspective. As readers will discover, this book has a long history. I began writing it clandestinely in during my imprisonment on Robben Island. Without the tireless labor of my old comrades Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada for reviving my memories, it is doubtful the manuscript would have been completed. The copy of the manuscript which I kept with me was discovered by the authorities and confiscated.
However, in addition to their unique calligraphic skills, my co-prisoners Mac Maharaj and Isu Chiba had ensured that the original manuscript safely reached its destination. I resumed work on it after my release from prison in Since my release, my schedule has been crowded with numerous duties and responsibilities, which have left me little free time for writing. Fortunately, I have had the assistance of dedicated colleagues, friends, and professionals who have helped me complete my work at last, and to whom I would like to express my appreciation.
I am deeply grateful to Richard Stengel who collaborated with me in the creation of this book, providing invaluable assistance in editing and revising the first parts and in the writing of the latter parts. I recall with fondness our early morning walks in the Transkei and the many hours of interviews at Shell House in Johannesburg and my home in Houghton.
A special tribute is owed to Mary Pfaff who assisted Richard in his work. I want to thank especially my comrade Ahmed Kathrada for the long hours spent revising, correcting, and giving accuracy to the story. Many thanks to my ANC office staff, who patiently dealt with the logistics of the making of this book, but in particular to Barbara Masekela for her efficient coordination. Likewise, Iqbal Meer has devoted many hours to watching over the business aspects of the book.
I am grateful to my editor, William Phillips of Little, Brown, who has guided this project from early on, and edited the text, and to his colleagues Jordan Pavlin, Steve Schneider, Mike Mattil, and Donna Peterson. I would also like to thank Professor Gail Gerhart for her factual review of the manuscript.
The only rivalry between different clans or tribes in our small world at Qunu was that between the Xhosas and the amaMfengu, a small number of whom lived in our village. AmaMfengu, who were not originally Xhosa-speakers, were refugees from the iMfecane and were forced to do jobs that no other African would do.
They worked on white farms and in white businesses, something that was looked down upon by the more established Xhosa tribes. When I was a boy, amaMfengu were the most advanced section of the community and furnished our clergymen, policemen, teachers, clerks, and interpreters. They were also amongst the first to become Christians, to build better houses, and to use scientific methods of agriculture, and they were wealthier than their Xhosa compatriots. There still existed some hostility toward amaMfengu, but in retrospect, I would attribute this more to jealousy than tribal animosity.
This local form of tribalism that I observed as a boy was relatively harmless. At that stage, I did not witness nor even suspect the violent tribal rivalries that would subsequently be promoted by the white rulers of South Africa. My father did not subscribe to local prejudice toward amaMfengu and befriended two amaMfengu brothers, George and Ben Mbekela. The brothers were an exception in Qunu: they were educated and Christian.
George, the older of the two, was a retired teacher and Ben was a police sergeant. Despite the proselytizing of the Mbekela brothers, my father remained aloof from Christianity and instead reserved his own faith for the great spirit of the Xhosas, Qamata, the God of his fathers. My father was an unofficial priest and presided over ritual slaughtering of goats and calves and officiated at local traditional rites concerning planting, harvest, birth, marriage, initiation ceremonies, and funerals. He did not need to be ordained, for the traditional religion of the Xhosas is characterized by a cosmic wholeness, so that there is little distinction between the sacred and the secular, between the natural and the supernatural.
While the faith of the Mbekela brothers did not rub off on my father, it did inspire my mother, who became a Christian. In fact, Fanny was literally her Christian name, for she had been given it in church. It was due to the influence of the Mbekela brothers that I myself was baptized into the Methodist, or Wesleyan Church as it was then known, and sent to school.
The brothers would often see me playing or minding sheep and come over to talk to me. One day, George Mbekela paid a visit to my mother. But she did relay it to my father, who despite — or perhaps because of — his own lack of education immediately decided that his youngest son should go to school. The schoolhouse consisted of a single room, with a Western-style roof, on the other side of the hill from Qunu. I was seven years old, and on the day before I was to begin, my father took me aside and told me that I must be dressed properly for school.
Until that time, I, like all the other boys in Qunu, had worn only a blanket, which was wrapped around one shoulder and pinned at the waist. My father took a pair of his trousers and cut them at the knee. He told me to put them on, which I did, and they were roughly the correct length, although the waist was far too large. My father then took a piece of string and cinched the trousers at the waist.
On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an English name and said that from thenceforth that was the name we would answer to in school. This was the custom among Africans in those days and was undoubtedly due to the British bias of our education. The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior.
There was no such thing as African culture. Africans of my generation — and even today — generally have both an English and an African name. Whites were either unable or unwilling to pronounce an African name, and considered it uncivilized to have one. That day, Miss Mdingane told me that my new name was Nelson. Why she bestowed this particular name upon me I have no idea. Perhaps it had something to do with the great British sea captain Lord Nelson, but that would be only a guess.
My later notions of leadership were profoundly influenced by observing the regent and his court. I watched and learned from the tribal meetings that were regularly held at the Great Place. These were not scheduled, but were called as needed, and were held to discuss national matters such as a drought, the culling of cattle, policies ordered by the magistrate, or new laws decreed by the government. All Thembus were free to come — and a great many did, on horseback or by foot. They were wise men who retained the knowledge of tribal history and custom in their heads and whose opinions carried great weight.
Letters advising these chiefs and headmen of a meeting were dispatched from the regent, and soon the Great Place became alive with important visitors and travelers from all over Thembuland. From that point on, he would not utter another word until the meeting was nearing its end. Everyone who wanted to speak did so. It was democracy in its purest form. There may have been a hierarchy of importance among the speakers, but everyone was heard, chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shopkeeper and farmer, landowner and laborer. People spoke without interruption and the meetings lasted for many hours.
The foundation of self-government was that all men were free to voice their opinions and equal in their value as citizens. Women, I am afraid, were deemed second-class citizens. A great banquet was served during the day, and I often gave myself a bellyache by eating too much while listening to speaker after speaker.
I noticed how some speakers rambled and never seemed to get to the point. I grasped how others came to the matter at hand directly, and who made a set of arguments succinctly and cogently. I observed how some speakers used emotion and dramatic language, and tried to move the audience with such techniques, while other speakers were sober and even, and shunned emotion. At first, I was astonished by the vehemence — and candor — with which people criticized the regent.
He was not above criticism — in fact, he was often the principal target of it. But no matter how flagrant the charge, the regent simply listened, not defending himself, showing no emotion at all. The meetings would continue until some kind of consensus was reached. They ended in unanimity or not at all.
Unanimity, however, might be an agreement to disagree, to wait for a more propitious time to propose a solution. Democracy meant all men were to be heard, and a decision was taken together as a people. Majority rule was a foreign notion. A minority was not to be crushed by a majority. Only at the end of the meeting, as the sun was setting, would the regent speak. His purpose was to sum up what had been said and form some consensus among the diverse opinions.
But no conclusion was forced on people who disagreed. If no agreement could be reached, another meeting would be held. At the very end of the council, a praise-singer or poet would deliver a panegyric to the ancient kings, and a mixture of compliments to and satire on the present chiefs, and the audience, led by the regent, would roar with laughter. As a leader, I have always followed the principles I first saw demonstrated by the regent at the Great Place. I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion.
Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind. It was at Mqhekezweni that I developed my interest in African history. I learned of these men from the chiefs and headmen who came to the Great Place to settle disputes and try cases.
Though not lawyers, these men presented cases and then adjudicated them. Some days, they would finish early and sit around telling stories. I hovered silently and listened. Their speech was formal and lofty, their manner slow and unhurried, and the traditional clicks of our language were long and dramatic. At first, they shooed me away and told me I was too young to listen.
Later they would beckon me to fetch fire or water for them, or to tell the women they wanted tea, and in those early months I was too busy running errands to follow their conversation. But, eventually, they permitted me to stay, and I discovered the great African patriots who fought against Western domination. My imagination was fired by the glory of these African warriors. The most ancient of the chiefs who regaled the gathered elders with ancient tales was Zwelibhangile Joyi, a son from the Great House of King Ngubengcuka.
Chief Joyi was so old that his wrinkled skin hung on him like a loose-fitting coat. His stories unfolded slowly and were often punctuated by a great wheezing cough, which would force him to stop for minutes at a time. Chief Joyi was the great authority on the history of the Thembus in large part because he had lived through so much of it. But as grizzled as Chief Joyi often seemed, the decades fell off him when he spoke of the young impis, or warriors, in the army of King Ngangelizwe fighting the British.
In pantomime, Chief Joyi would fling his spear and creep along the veld as he narrated the victories and defeats. When he first spoke of non-Xhosa warriors, I wondered why. I was like a boy who worships a local soccer hero and is not interested in a national soccer star with whom he has no connection. Only later was I moved by the broad sweep of African history, and the deeds of all African heroes regardless of tribe.
Chief Joyi railed against the white man, who he believed had deliberately sundered the Xhosa tribe, dividing brother from brother. The white man had told the Thembus that their true chief was the great white queen across the ocean and that they were her subjects. But the white queen brought nothing but misery and perfidy to the black people, and if she was a chief she was an evil chief.
Chief Joyi said that the African people lived in relative peace until the coming of the abelungu, the white people, who arrived from across the sea with fire-breathing weapons. Once, he said, the Thembu, the Mpondo, the Xhosa, and the Zulu were all children of one father, and lived as brothers. The white man shattered the abantu, the fellowship, of the various tribes.
The white man was hungry and greedy for land, and the black man shared the land with him as they shared the air and water; land was not for man to possess. I did not yet know that the real history of our country was not to be found in standard British textbooks, which claimed South Africa began with the landing of Jan Van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope in It was from Chief Joyi that I began to discover that the history of the Bantuspeaking peoples began far to the north, in a country of lakes and green plains and valleys, and that slowly over the millennia we made our way down to the very tip of this great continent.
I was assisted by Mr. Festile, the induna at the Chamber of Mines, who was once again playing a fateful role in my life. On his own initiative he had decided to offer me free accommodation in the mining compound. Few spoke English, and the lingua franca was an amalgam of many tongues known as Fanagalo. There, I saw not only flare-ups of ethnic animosity, but the comity that was also possible among men of different backgrounds. Yet I was a fish out of water there. Instead of spending my days underground, I was studying or working in a law office where the only physical activity was running errands or putting files in a cabinet.
Because the WNLA was a way station for visiting chiefs, I had the privilege of meeting tribal leaders from all over southern Africa. I recall on one occasion meeting the queen regent of Basutoland, or what is now Lesotho , Mantsebo Moshweshwe. I asked them about Jongilizwe, and for an hour I seemed to be back in Thembuland as they told colorful tales about his early years. The queen took special notice of me and at one point addressed me directly, but she spoke in Sesotho, a language in which I knew few words. Sesotho is the language of the Sotho people as well as the Tswana, a large number of whom live in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
The question embarrassed and sobered me; it made me realize my parochialism and just how unprepared I was for the task of serving my people. I had unconsciously succumbed to the ethnic divisions fostered by the white government and I did not know how to speak to my own kith and kin. Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savor their songs. I again realized that we were not different people with separate languages; we were one people, with different tongues.
Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
Since the turn of the century, Africans owed their educational opportunites primarily to the foreign churches and missions that created and sponsored schools. Under the United Party, the syllabus for African secondary schools and white secondary schools was essentially the same. The mission schools provided Africans with Western-style English-language education, which I myself received. We were limited by lesser facilities but not by what we could read or think or dream. Yet, even before the Nationalists came to power, the disparities in funding tell a story of racist education.
The government spent about six times as much per white student as per African student. Education was not compulsory for Africans and was free only in the primary grades. Less than half of all African children of school age attended any school at all, and only a tiny number of Africans were graduated from high school. Even this amount of education proved distasteful to the Nationalists. The Afrikaner has always been unenthusiastic about education for Africans.
To him it was simply a waste, for the African was inherently ignorant and lazy and no amount of education could remedy that. The Afrikaner was traditionally hostile to Africans learning English, for English was a foreign tongue to the Afrikaner and the language of emancipation to us. One morning, several days after my meeting with Bram and Joel, we were taken to the head office.
The head office was only about a quarter of a mile away and was a simple stone structure that resembled our own section. Once there, we were lined up to have our fingerprints taken, which was routine prison service business. But while waiting, I noticed a warder with a camera. After our fingerprints had been taken, the chief warder ordered us to line up for photographs. The warder was taken aback by my request and was unable to offer any explanation or produce anything in writing from the commissioner of prisons. He threatened to charge us if we did not consent to have our photographs taken, but I said that if there was no authorization, there would be no pictures, and that is where the matter remained.
As a rule, we objected to having our pictures taken in prison on the grounds that it is generally demeaning to be seen as a prisoner. But there was one photograph I did consent to, the only one I ever agreed to while on Robben Island. One morning, a few weeks later, the chief warder, instead of handing us hammers for our work in the courtyard, gave us each needles and thread and a pile of worn prison jerseys.
We were instructed to repair the garments, but we discovered that most of these jerseys were frayed beyond repair. This struck us as a curious task, and we wondered what had provoked the change. The commanding officer announced that the two visitors were a reporter and photographer from the Daily Telegraph in London. He related this as if visiting members of the international press were a regular diversion for us. Although these men were our first official visitors, we regarded them skeptically.
Firstly, they were brought in under the auspices of the government, and second, we were aware that the Telegraph was a conservative newspaper unlikely to be sympathetic to our cause. The two journalists walked slowly around the courtyard, surveying us. We kept our heads down concentrating on our work. The prison service regulations were explicit that each prisoner was permitted to speak only for himself.
This was done to negate the power of organization and to neutralize our collective strength. We objected to this role, but made little headway. We were not even permitted to use the word we when we made complaints. But during the first few years, when the authorities needed one prisoner to speak on behalf of others, that individual would be me. I talked to the reporter, whose name was Mr. Newman, for about twenty minutes, and was candid about both prison and the Rivonia Trial.
He was an agreeable fellow, and at the end of our talk, he said he would like the photographer to take my picture. I was reluctant, but in this case relented because I knew the photograph would only be published overseas, and might serve to help our cause if the article was even the least bit friendly. I told him I would agree provided Mr. Sisulu could join me. The image shows the two of us talking in the courtyard about some matter that I can no longer remember.
I never saw the article or heard anything about it. The reporters were barely out of sight when the warders removed the jerseys and gave us back our hammers. The men from the Telegraph were the first of a small stream of visitors during those early months. There were stories in the press about the inhuman conditions on the island, about how we were being assaulted and tortured.
These allegations embarrassed the government, and to combat them they brought in a string of outsiders meant to rebut these critical stories. We were briefly visited by a British lawyer who had argued for Namibian independence before the World Court , after which we were informed that a Mr. Hynning, a representative of the American Bar Association, would be coming to see us. Americans were then a novelty in South Africa , and I was curious to meet a representative of so august a legal organization. On the day of Mr. The American arrived in the company of General Steyn, the commissioner of prisons, who rarely made appearances on the island.
General Steyn was that unusual thing in the prison service, a polished and sophisticated man. His suits were always of a fine quality and a fashionable cut. Yet General Steyn oppressed us by omission rather than commission. He basically turned a blind eye to what was happening on the island. His habitual absence emboldened the more brutal prison officials and gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. Pifer's narrative confirms the typological process described by Fritz Schuetze, according to which American WWII veterans tend to have interpreted their war experience as transforming them into more capable adults.
The narrative explicitly juxtaposes Pifer's role as a bomber pilot in causing the human suffering and material destruction he observed on German territory with the increasing misery in the German camps. Although Pifer is, to this day, sure that the training he received in the Army Air Corps marks a change for the better in his life, he also clearly needed to ruminate about the effectiveness of the Anglo-American air war against German cities.
In this way, the book makes a surprisingly subtle contribution to current debates in the Anglo-American and German scholarly communities on Joerg Friedrich's book Der Brand from the perspective of an average American. However, the book is not conceived above all as a narrative of WWII experience. Overall, there is surprisingly little serious historical literature on prisoners of war, and in particular on the fate of non-Soviet prisoners of the Germans in the Second World War's European theater.
What literature is available is seldom discussed in general works on combat experience or the history of World War Two. Pifer's story fits very well into this effort because he reads his life narrative as the repeated surmounting of obstacles through sheer tenacity and drive--the structure of his autobiography flies in the face of popular misgivings about American soldiers captured by the enemy.
In contrast to the German veterans' movement, the public presence of which has shrunk almost to nothing over the past twenty years, the U.
Similar to the first efforts of Vietnam veterans to make public commemoration of that war's dead possible, Our Last Mission did not "originate in any drive to honor the nation-state," but rather seeks a way in which former POWs, in speaking out about their own life stories, can give these a communicable meaning, thereby reintegrating themselves into local communities. Whereas to that point commemorative practice had taken the war dead as its object, now, in Europe, America and Asia, the civilian and military survivors of the war were to be honored through commemorative rituals and structures.
Parallel to the opening of veterans' culture to new social groups, commemorative practice was wrenched out of the hands of official national culture and localized. Individuals and groups developed smaller-scale, more intimate forms of remembering in order to imbue past events with meaning for individuals living within local contexts. In the United States as elsewhere , this "personalization of memory" has led to the growth of memorial cultures specific to localities, to groups defining themselves by criteria of ethnicity, and to families.
Lawrence Pifer's narrative and its transformation into a book exemplify this new movement now dominating memorial practice. Pifer and Bunyak have moved the focus of attention away from the national significance of veteran status to its importance for one man representative of a group still suffering due to its experiences in a war that ended fifty years ago, often unacknowledged by those around them.
In this way, the personalization of memory, the growth of interest in family history, and the increasingly interactive, do-it-yourself quality of American public history have all contributed groundwork for this book. Despite this apparent reclaiming of history for the construction of smallest-scale social identities, the issue of the POW experience has yet to be resolved in the American consciousness, if we are to judge by Pifer's narrative.
It asks complicated questions about what place memories of the POW experience in WWII have in American society today, offering a plea for the personal dimension and the individual veteran's need for acknowledgement rather than positing the "dogmatic formalism" of ostensibly "timeless and sacred" official national memorial practice. Such "vernacular" narratives contain many details, nuances, and ambiguities reflecting the complexity of war experience and about the values according to which veterans fashion their own autobiographies around key experiences that cannot be reflected in official commemoration.
Although the complexity of the subject matter and its implications suggest the exceptional nature of the sixth grade class in which Bunyak's cousin used Our Last Mission , one could imagine assigning this book in high school p. In undergraduate courses, it could generate fruitful discussion on a number of topics such as combat experience and its autobiographical significance, commemorative practice in contemporary American society, the bombing of civilian populations in World War Two, and the larger issue of war and society. For scholars specializing in combat experience or autobiographical narratives as historical sources, the book's value as a primary source drops.
The lack of footnotes even when it is clear that Bunyak has relied on secondary literature to explain or generalize what her uncle experiences and the adaptation of the raw interview texts into a single reworked narrative that keep the book from meeting professional standards, of course ensure accessibility for the general public and specifically for veterans and their families, this book's two intended reader groups.
Nonetheless, scholars familiar with primary source ego-documents e. Krammer's wide-ranging foreword provides interested readers with a good deal of related literature and provocative associative thought. Overall, Our Last Mission makes a much-needed improvement over the standards of much of the memoir and even oral history literature available on both American soldiers' POW experience and Allied air warfare against Europe in World War II.
For enthusiasts of the history of aerial weapons technology, the book offers lots of technical information about the B itself and its use in training and combat. Bunyak has availed herself of a good amount of source material that allows her to reflect the professional interest Pifer still has in his calling as a bomber radio operator. In this way, the book both provides plenty of details for those who crave them while at the same time reflecting its subject's life-world accurately by making this insider knowledge accessible for uninitiated readers.
Natascha Drubek | Universität Regensburg - ymyzuzynog.tk
See for example: Juerg Hillmann, ed. Founded in , this organization's public statement emphasizes its mission to create a community within which former POWs can share their common experience and overcome their trauma. See the website: www. Fritz Schuetze, "Kollektiver Verlaufskurve oder kollektiver Wandlungsprozess. Within the retrospective identity-building process among German veterans, periods of imprisonment have often seen as more significant than their active combat experience. Albrecht Lehmann, Gefangenschaft und Heimkehr.
Joerg Friedrich, Der Brand. Deutschland im Bombenkrieg Berlin: Propylaeen, ; the follow-up volume of photographic representations of the air war's effects has been even more controversial. Der Anblick des Bombenkriegs Berlin: Propylaeen, Die neue Debatte um den Bombenkrieg Rowohlt: Berlin, Ruediger Overmans, "Kriegsgefangenschaft ein vergessenes Thema?
In addition to this extensive bibliographical essay written from an international perspective, for a summary of the contents of the most recent monographs, see Ilse Dorothee Pautsch, "Prisoners of War and Internees in the Second World War: A Survey of Some Recent Publications," Contemporary European History 12, no. This observation is confirmed by Lewis H. Carlson's experience with interviews he conducted with American veterans held in Nazi Germany, who, after so many years of silence, found the process emotional and agonizing.
Lewis H. In his foreword, Krammer provides an overview of many of the memoirs of and collections of interviews with American former POWs. Such misgivings were present even during the war itself, as evidenced by letters POWs in German camps for airmen received in which they were shamed for their captivity or even disinherited. Stelzl-Marx, p.
The following depiction of the development of commemorative practice has been taken from John Gillis, "Memory and Identity: The History of a Relationship, " in Gillis, pp. See, for example, George L. The publication of this semi-autobiographical text, prepared as it was by a trained historian, indicates that the practice of personalized public history has expanded archival practice to include vernacular narratives. Aleida Assmann has described the achivalization of a society's knowledge of the past as an official function of the state as in which it alone determines three characteristics: conservation, selection and accessibility.
For the difference between what he terms "vernacular" and "official" memorial practice, see Bodnar in Gillis, p. Commemorative practice in the form of mass-scale oral history projects are currently being conducted by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress's Veterans' History Project www. Citation: Polly Kienle. Dietrich Orlow. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, Reviewed by William G.
At a time when historians of Germany are pondering what to do about the classic narrative of the nation-state, Dietrich Orlow's recent solution is to write comparative history. The approach has often been applied to the era of dictatorships, with the "common destiny" of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy finding particular resonance. Surprising as it may sound, Dietrich Orlow is one of the first scholars to produce a detailed, archivally researched comparison between West German developments and those of its Western European neighbors in the decades after All of them entered the postwar era with class-based political programs; by the end of the s, all of them had mastered the transformation into less ideological mass parties.
This, presumably, is the "common destiny" projected in the title. Yet there is nothing monotonous about this tale of transition. Orlow's three cases develop along distinctive trajectories, reflecting differences in party structure, coalition choices, and of course the contrasting postwar experiences of the countries in question.
It was the Dutch PvdA that first abandoned Marxism. In a useful background chapter outlining the "parallel pasts" of the three parties, Orlow points out that the PvdA's predecessor had already started moving toward the mainstream in the late s. In an effort to break down the "pillarization" [ verzuiling ] of Dutch politics, Protestant theorist Willem Banning reached out to liberal Catholics with an ethos of ethical, Christian socialism. After liberation in , Banning led the reconstituted Labor Party to endorse a program that would remain remarkably consistent for the next two decades: pronounced anti-communism; an end to anti-clericalism; and advocacy of the welfare state.
The Dutch "pillars" remained stubbornly intact, but the PvdA would--with a few brief interruptions--proceed to govern comfortably in coalition with liberals or the Catholic People's Party for much of the s. In the person of Willem Drees, a cynical but pragmatic tactician, the Labor Party actually held the prime minister's post throughout the decade.
Orlow characterizes the party as hopelessly divided on major issues--above all decolonization and German rearmament. Helped by an immense literature on this topic in French, both analytical and autobiographical, the author does a superb job of illuminating the structural tensions within the SFIO. When the Socialists shared in power, who actually represented the party--the cabinet ministers, the parliamentary delegation, or the party bureaucracy?
The lattermost body, under the jealous guardianship of Guy Mollet, successfully asserted its primacy on most occasions. As prime minister of France in , Mollet could be as opportunistic as the next politician; but as general secretary of the SFIO, he clung stubbornly to the maxims of anti-clericalism and "socialisme pur et dur.
For most readers, Orlow's discussion of the SPD will prove less revealing. There are few surprises here. All the same, it is worth learning where the party stood within the broader spectrum of social democratic parties. Kurt Schumacher's pronounced nationalism aroused distaste within the SFIO and especially the PvdA; both of those parties showed considerably more enthusiasm for European integration.
Schumacher and his successor, Erich Ollenhauer, reacted negatively to every major European program of the decade the Ruhr Statute, the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Defense Community, and especially the plan to internationalize the Saar under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Despite obvious tensions among the three Social Democratic parties under consideration, Orlow demonstrates that their special feeling of kinship could have a significant impact on European outcomes. In late , when voters in the Saar rejected a plan for Europeanization a plan proposed, incidentally, by a Dutch Social Democrat , the SFIO gracefully acceded in that territory's return to Germany.
Two years later, the three Social Democratic parties played a pivotal yet seldom remembered role in founding the European Common Market. For its part, the SPD in Bonn--persuaded at last by the merits of integration--refrained from the kind of obstructionism that had hampered earlier European initiatives. Orlow's presentation thus serves as a helpful corrective to standard German narratives of the s, which tend to focus on the Christian Democratic or even Catholic Abendland roots of a common European identity.
In general, the author has less to say about the s, particularly in the case of the SPD. These were pivotal figures, to be sure, and the SPD's incremental rise to power was undoubtedly a reflection of their success in modernizing the party's program and structure. And yet this analysis provides little sense of the strains that were to erupt the moment Brandt assumed the chancellorship in Those new members streaming into the SPD in this period a clear contrast to the SFIO's wan membership base would soon push the party sharply to the left.
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Orlow's omission here is all the more curious since he describes the process so well in the Dutch case. A younger generation, the "Nieuw Links," made significant inroads into the PvdA after both its leadership council and the parliamentary group. This "new left" stressed quality-of-life issues rather than "beefsteak socialism"; favored government intervention to break down barriers to complete social freedom; and demanded a sharp rise in Dutch aid to the developing world.
More problematically, the "new left" sought to polarize Dutch politics by disavowing any further cooperation with the bourgeois camp. In Orlow's account, Joop den Uyl, a bridge-builder in the Dutch parliament, saved the PvdA from a potentially disastrous slide into complete unelectability.
On balance, Orlow's exploration of these three parties is successful enough that it leaves this reviewer wanting more--more, perhaps, than can be expected of a single painstakingly researched monograph. It may be true that, given the Continental integration of the s and s, Britain's Labour Party did not really fit the main themes of this study. Even so, it would have been helpful to learn more about British influence upon these fellow members of the Socialist International--particularly in the s, when the most ambitious Labour government of the century governed in London.
By focusing on the interaction of three parties, the author leaves the perhaps unintended impression that they each functioned as one another's principal conversation partners. Minor inconveniences detract somewhat from the book's readability. A chart detailing the various coalitions of the period would have been helpful, so that readers could keep track of when these parties came in and out of government. The author's organizational choices are not always clear; chapters 4 through 6 overlap quite a bit, but with just enough new material each time to require a look at each.
Those who wish to skip selectively through this work will have to rely heavily on the index. Orlow's prose flows along smoothly enough, but one might wish for more extensive quotations from the source material. One learns much here about the issues confronting the parties and the content of their responses--but not the tenor of their pronouncements. That being said, this is a solid comparative analysis that will serve historians of Europe well. It is an unfortunate coincidence that Knox's study and Orlow's appeared in the same year with such similar titles. It may be that the professional structure of the field "East Central Europe" lends itself more naturally to comparative projects.
Citation: William G. Bonn: Dietz, EUR Because the SPD in this agricultural region was relatively small, it has been understudied, in contrast to the Social Democratic movement in the large cities and industrialized areas of Germany. The book tells Mecklenburg Social Democracy's story in five chronologically arranged sections, each written by one of the study's three authors. Despite having multiple authors, the book's tone and style remain coherent and clear throughout.
The volume is handsomely produced, including evocative photographs of Social Democratic leaders, meeting halls and press offices, cultural events, and political demonstrations as well as facsimiles of banners, newspaper pages, and political flyers. One cannot be as uniformly positive about the book's content, methodology, and argumentation, as about its style, organization, and presentation.
Let me begin with the good news. The authors offer a thorough institutional history of a Social Democratic regional party across almost years of extraordinary fluctuations in its fortunes: birth under politically inhospitable conditions; rapid growth before World War I, followed by contraction during the war; flowering, then foundering, in the Weimar Republic; suppression by the National Socialists; re-emergence in the SBZ; forced merger in with the Communist party KPD ; second renaissance in As the footnotes and bibliography show, he and his co-authors energetically searched state and party archives, combed through the relevant Social Democratic publications, and plumbed the extensive German-language literature on the political history of the national SPD.
All this is situated in the context of national and regional political events. The SPD in Rostock and Schwerin became, he maintains, the political center of a vibrant sub-cultural milieu, comparable in variety and intensity of commitment, though smaller in size, to the movement in Berlin and other big cities.
Even more surprising, before and again in the early Weimar elections, the Mecklenburg SPD's Reichstag delegation polled quite well, including out in the countryside. The overall shape of the story up to will be familiar to scholars of the SPD, for the Mecklenburg SPD's political history does not appear to have deviated significantly from the national pattern.
The rebirth of the Mecklenburg SPD was robust and by late its membership had swelled beyond the numbers of the Weimar years. Former SPD leaders who had opposed the merger continued initially to occupy administrative posts in Rostock and Schwerin. As the Cold War camps hardened in and the Stalinization of the SED accelerated in , these men were charged with sabotage and imprisoned for, in several cases, years. The authors, then, have reconstructed a significant story from scarce sources.
As told, though, the story is a somewhat old-fashioned one, approached from a methodological perspective that is narrow in several ways. Every chapter focuses lopsidedly on party organizations, institutions, and leaders, and has little to say about the mentality, ideology, or even social composition of the membership of the SPD or its affiliated groups. He conveys, however, little sense of the content of its culture, of its social, mental or discursive Alltag.
What was its language of class? Which occupations and skill-levels were represented, and which not? As these questions suggest, analysis and argument are underdeveloped, relative to description. In the case of the social make-up of membership, the only variable that the authors systematically address is gender composition. No author explores why women shied away from the party earlier or why they now favor it. The shift in women's representation reflects, presumably, changes in East German women's political participation and in the SPD's message to women.
The authors do not, however, explore the message and language of the SPD's appeals to women or to any social group. Nor do they deconstruct the Social Democratic milieu's symbols, festivals or rites from either a gendered or other point of view. In the case of party institutions and leaders--the main foci of the book--the reader misses a critical evaluation of the organizational structures or ideological tendencies of the Mecklenburg party, especially before The representation of party leaders is not hagiographic but also not probing.
About the SPD press, we learn when newspapers were established and banned, who edited them and what the run was, but discover little about what topics were covered and how they were handled, where the Mecklenburg press stood within the spectrum of SPD politics or what kind of cultural world was reflected in its pages. Of the Mecklenburg SPD's stand on these questions, we learn only that the majority followed the national party's endorsement of war credits, although a Mecklenburg Reichstag member opposed the war.
More effective is the discussion of the crucial "agrarian question. Especially interesting is Mrotzek's description of a district party conference in that discussed efforts to organize rural laborers. He quotes from a speech in which the leader of the Rural Workers' League in Mecklenburg analyzed why Social Democratic influence among land laborers had declined in the s after surging in p. These passages are fascinating, as is his brief discussion of SPD rural work in the s, the revision of its agrarian program in in a more farmer-friendly direction and the "inconsistent" implementation of this program in Mecklenburg pp.
Again, though, one wishes for a sustained critical evaluation of internal determinants of the SPD's failure in the countryside. The effects of the Depression and mass unemployment, according to Mrotzek, made "the rural population" susceptible to the Blut-und-Boden politics of the National Socialists. The implication is that the SPD was helpless to counter that susceptibility. Certainly, some significant comparisons are drawn.
A conclusion, which the book does not have, might have provided such an overview. The source deficit goes far, no doubt, to explain these lacunae. One cannot help but wonder, though, if the authors might not have used the Mecklenburgische Volks-Zeitung , local pamphlets and posters, police reports or interviews with older Social Democrats to address some of these issues. The authors also do not cite an entire genre of secondary literature on Social Democracy and German workers that, for years, has creatively submitted the extant sources which are deficient for Social Democracy as a whole to methodologies ranging from statistical to discourse analysis.
This literature has, with some success, reconstructed and interpreted the social composition, gender relations, political debates, and cultural mentality of, depending on the study, the national SPD, one of its local or regional organizations, or a particular working-class milieu. Crew, Richard J. In sum, this book effectively introduces the reader to the rich institutional heritage, dedicated leaders, and tough political fiber of the Mecklenburg SPD. Every chapter includes information and observations that contribute to our understanding of Social Democracy as a whole.
The book's restricted methodology and interpretive reticence may, however, disappoint the scholarly reader. Citation: Donna Harsch. Enzo Traverso. The Origins of Nazi Violence. New York and London: New Press, Reviewed by Shelley O. Enzo Traverso's provocative essay, The Origins of Nazi Violence , locates the Holocaust in the material conditions and mental frameworks of the West that made the Jewish genocide possible p. Principally taking issue with Ernst Nolte, Francois Furet, and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, who, albeit by different means, place Nazi crimes outside Western history, Traverso argues that Nazism's uniqueness lay in its lethal synthesis of the West's various forms of violence p.
Traverso draws from the insights of Marxism generally and the Frankfurt School specifically, as well as Edward Said, Michel Foucault, and Hannah Arendt to place the Judeocide in a wider context than that of the history of anti-Semitism p. The Shoah, he suggests, was a logical outcome of Western pathologies, which the Third Reich combined and actualized. Traverso opens by zeroing in on the products of the French and Industrial Revolutions, the guillotine, the prison, and the factory, including the abattoir. The guillotine serialized killing, transformed the executioner into a bureaucratic employee relieved of ethical responsibility, and de-sanctified capital punishment.
While embodying the Enlightenment's hope of redemption, the prison, organized according to military standards, subjected prisoners to rigid discipline and constant surveillance, and transformed them into captive labor. Although factories, unlike prisons, employed free workers, they too adopted disciplinary and hierarchical practices, serializing and segmenting production, while alienating and dehumanizing workers.
The abattoir, the methodical, mass-produced death factory for animals, became a cultural reference point for the systematic destruction of human beings. Taken together, key institutions of the dual revolutions introduced modes of violence that featured moral indifference, bureaucratic efficiency, and the militarized mobilization of labor in which work grew increasingly meaningless to the worker. Industrialization encouraged the spread of European settlers throughout the globe and especially the conquest of Africa, wherein the mission to civilize through progress presupposed its other, the primitive, dark-skinned savage whose bleak future Darwinism and eugenics foreordained.
The extinction of inferior races, as much the result of administrative rationality as spontaneity, received its justification in the view that the savages would soon depart the earth as a matter of course, unable to adapt to a superior civilization and undeserving of normative ethical considerations. The belief that expansion would alleviate overpopulation, a crucial element in empire building, was not unique to Nazism.
Moreover, imperialism introduced another ingredient to the Western exercise of power, conquest, ethnic cleansing, and extermination as the route to regeneration. Finally, the mass conscripted armies of proletarianized soldiers, interventionist economies, and anonymous death of World War I derived from industrial and disciplinary techniques already in place and from imperialist practices: total war, that is, the elimination of the distinction between combatant and civilian, the racialized demonization of the enemy, concentration camps, and genocide.
Yet the consequences of the war, particularly the Bolshevik Revolution, crystallized into the moment when Nazism came to the fore. In addition to creating a climate that spawned a recognizably fascist philosophy of death in which warfare and extermination became ends in themselves, the war's aftermath witnessed a populist counter-revolution, most powerfully expressed in Nazism, which co-mingled anti-Bolshevism, anti-Semitism, radical nationalism, and imperial expansion.
Yet rather than promote a teleological version of European modernity with Auschwitz as its conclusion, Traverso is at pains to state that, although Nazi violence emerged from certain common bases of Western culture, Auschwitz does not represent the fundamental essence of the West p. Using Arendt's distinction between origins as opposed to causes, as well as Foucault's geneology, the author maintains that while Auschwitz illuminates its own past, the past cannot be linked to Auschwitz as straightforward cause and effect. Thus, Traverso stresses the uniqueness of Nazism even as he analyzes its Western roots.
The death camps of the Third Reich embraced the worst aspects of factories, abattoirs, and prisons, combining purposeless and humiliating work, assembly-line murder, and the evaporation of morality, the glue of human connection. Nazi Lebensraum took inspiration from British imperialism and the brutality of white settlers against Native Americans. Against Nolte, Traverso forcefully argues that imperialism was the real model for Nazi violence, not Bolshevism. But, he continues, the fusion of anti-Bolshevism and anti-Semitism that followed World War I occurred with special vigor in Germany, which, to a degree not previously seen, biologized both.
Despite the prevalence of anti-Jewish hatred in the West, only the Nazis joined the crusading spirit of Christian anti-Judaism with a biologically extreme anti-Semitism to produce mass murder on an unprecedented scale. Unlike previous colonial racism, the Nazi regime did not see the Jew as too primitive to avoid extinction, but rather as the enemy of civilization that it had to actively eradicate with every available technological, bureaucratic, and military means.
In fact, concludes Traverso, the Nazi regime sought not merely to conquer territories but to Germanize them by remodeling the human race. Thus, if Germany did not deviate from a putatively liberal democratic West, a la Goldhagen and other adherents of the German Sonderweg , it became the laboratory of the West, having synthesized nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, imperialism, anti-Bolshevism, antihumanism, and counter-Enlightenment feeling, all of which existed elsewhere in Europe but which either remained muted or never entered into toxic combination p.
One must admire Traverso's ambitious synthesis of theory and recent scholarship, which results in a coherent and effective effort to place Nazism in its European context without sacrificing its distinctiveness. Rather than understand Nazism as simply an expression of modern bureaucratic and scientific rationality, he is sufficiently sensitive to its political and social context as to appreciate its counter-revolutionary core. By placing the Final Solution at the center of Nazi imperialism, furthermore, Traverso's recognition of the bond between anti-Semitism and anti-Bolshevism highlights the moment at which a centuries-old hatred became genocidal without reducing Nazism to the history of anti-Semitism.
Traverso's effective discussion, finally, of the link between antisocialism and racism in the bourgeois dread of the dangerous classes, which emerged by the late-nineteenth century, begins to explain how the racism so mercilessly applied to native populations overseas and urban insurgencies in Europe, such as the Paris Commune, could be reconfigured to assault the Jews later. Nevertheless, Traverso is less successful in explaining why fascism at its most virulently racist emerged in Germany rather than elsewhere.
Traverso indicates that only in Germany did anti-Semitism become the central component of fascism, yet he does not develop his brief reference to the visibility of the revolutionary Jew after Eugenics, he notes, fell on especially fertile soil in Germany, yet his insistence that eugenics was a Western preoccupation as well begs some elaboration as to how Germany came to occupy a class by itself. If class racism helps to explain the historical pedigree of Jewish Bolshevism, why then did the Third Reich seek to redeem workers but destroy the Jews?
Why did the Nazi regime pursue Lebensraum in the east first, rather than the recovery and expansion of its overseas empire when the German imperial imagination, which incorporated both Lebensraum and Weltpolitik , set Germany apart from other European imperialist powers? Why, finally, did National Socialism synthesize the worst aspects of Western civilizations while other nations did not? Admittedly, the author's main objective is to stress Nazism's Western lineage against some tenacious historical conceptions. Yet as brilliantly as the author succeeds in accomplishing that goal, and as obvious as the answers to my questions could well be, Traverso leaves us wishing for a reconstruction of German specificity without the baggage of past teleologies.
Citation: Shelley O. Heidrun Edelmann. Reviewed by Alfred C. Heidrun Edelmann has written a conventional chronological biography of the first general director of Volkswagen, Heinz Nordhoff. It is the first scholarly study of Nordhoff and, for this reason alone, merits the attention of historians of post-war German business. Edelmann contends that Nordhoff was influenced by Catholic social teaching and by his impressions of American management practices. She argues that through the application of these ideas, he promoted labor peace in post-war West Germany, thereby contributing to the success of Germany's first democracy.
Edelmann uses an extensive range of documentary sources, primarily from the VW Archive. This weakens her account of the privatization of Volkswagen in particular. Surprisingly, she does not list those documentary sources that she does use in her bibliography. She does provide a complete list of the published materials that she consulted.
Edelmann's book provides insight into West German management attitudes toward profit and the social responsibility of firms. It also provides valuable clues as to why Volkswagen is inefficient and, for a good part of its history, has been unable to earn a profit. Heinz Nordhoff was born in a Catholic family in Hildesheim on January 6, He attended Catholic primary and secondary schools. In , he served in the German army on the western front and was wounded. After the war, he attended the Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg, where he received a degree in engineering in Schlesinger called for greater power-sharing among management and employees in the workplace, increased pay and shorter hours.
Through Schlesinger, Nordhoff imbibed Briefs's ideas. Essentially, Briefs advocated harmony in the workplace and the avoidance of social conflict in general. This could be achieved, in his view, through the sharing of power between owners, managers, and workers without jeopardizing private property. Firms would earn profits, but only to an unspecified socially responsible extent. Edelmann contends that Nordhoff adopted Briefs's ideas and applied them later at Volkswagen.
Reinforcing this influence, and setting a pattern for Nordhoff's subsequent business career, was his extensive involvement in Catholic student and social organizations. After completing his studies, Nordhoff began a business career that saw him rise rapidly. He obtained his first job as an engineer with BMW in He left that position in the following year and spent in the United States touring automobile plants, especially those of the Nash company.
Edelmann claims, without much documentary support, that Nordhoff was impressed by American management techniques during his stay. The company was soon acquired by General Motors. This acquisition exposed Nordhoff, once again, to American management practices and marketing strategy. Nordhoff ascended the management ranks quickly, occupying positions in customer service and liaison with the national government.
In Summer , he became chief of Opel's Berlin office charged with seeking government contracts. In May , Nordhoff was appointed to the management board of Opel. He added the position of chief of the Opel plant at Brandenburg in July Nordhoff also found a prominent place in Albert Speer's industrial management apparatus.
In the latter position, he was mainly responsible for helping Daimler-Benz prepare to produce the Opel Blitz truck in heavy demand by the Wehrmacht. Nordhoff's primary goal throughout the war was to protect Opel's competitive position for the post-war period. Once the United States entered the war, he expected Germany to lose. Discussion of Nordhoff's wartime activities raises the question of his relationship with the Nazi Party.
However, he did become a member of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront and the Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrer Korps. Membership in the first was virtually mandatory for someone in a leading management position such as Nordhoff, while the latter organization was relatively innocuous. More troubling are questions about Nordhoff's use of forced labor at his Brandenburg plant. However, it did use foreign forced laborers provided by Fritz Sauckel's organization.
Edelmann claims that Nordhoff ensured, as a result of his Catholic social beliefs, that the forced laborers at his plant were treated properly. However, the sources that she uses to support this claim are weak, consisting primarily of statements by character witnesses at Nordhoff's denazification hearings. In the same vein, Edelmann claims that Opel did not produce military hardware. However, given the importance of the Opel Blitz truck for the Wehrmacht's logistics, this assertion rings hollow.
Nordhoff's prominent position in the wartime economic structure caused him difficulty after the war. He received a preliminary clearance from the Allies in October However, soon afterward the U. Helped by the intervention of prominent GM managers from Detroit, Nordhoff was finally given his Persilschein in November By then, he had already embarked on what would become the most important part of his career. On November 20, , Nordhoff became general director of Volkswagen. The massive plant had been built by the Nazi government in the late s to manufacture the small people's car that had been designed by Professor Ferdinand Porsche.
The factory was actually used during the war to produce components for military aircraft and other items for the armed forces. When Nordhoff appeared in Wolfsburg, he was impressed by the fact that the facility was far larger than was necessary and by the poor quality of the few Volkswagens that had been produced under the supervision of the British occupiers. He decided to rectify these problems by increasing production volume and improving quality.
He automated the production line and reorganized management on a line and staff basis. He determined early that if Volkswagen operated at capacity, the West German domestic market would not be able to absorb all of its output. Therefore, the firm would have to export. During the s, Volkswagen was both a beneficiary and a motor of the economic boom that took place. Rather than tracing chronologically Nordhoff's activities during this period, it might be more enlightening to look at a few themes which crystallize his ideas.
Probably the most important was his application of his Catholic social concepts to Volkswagen. In this respect, Edelmann undoubtedly presents an accurate picture. Nordhoff held Volkswagen aloof from the national contracts that industries signed with the labor unions. Instead, he insisted on Haustarife , contracts agreed with the local union branch, in this case the metal workers. Instead of using this approach to pay lower wages, as one might expect, Nordhoff used this method to pay wages above the national average and to extend to his employees generous benefits.
He began immediately in by granting VW employees free lunches and by promising them job security in the following year. Later, they received free health insurance, death insurance, and sick pay; they were given access to the company's vacation hotel in the Harz and could obtain interest-free loans to build homes or overcome emergencies. Heavy laborers received free milk. Workers were granted relocation allowances when transferred, discounted sales on VW automobiles and, what was most appreciated, discounts on purchases of gasoline.
Beyond all this, as the company's sales mushroomed, the employees frequently received bonuses. Yet there was another side to this solicitous policy. Nordhoff was essentially an autocrat. He opposed codetermination when that issue was raised by the unions in the early s. He also opposed the forty-hour week. Another interesting aspect of Nordhoff's activities, which also throws light on his essentially undemocratic tendencies, was his relationship with Ludwig Erhard. On most fundamental issues, Nordhoff agreed with Erhard.
But he disagreed with the economics minister on many practical matters. Nordhoff thought that Erhard's liberalization of the German domestic market in was the critical factor that lead to the subsequent boom. In November , he supported Erhard against the general strike launched against the economics minister by the unions. When the question arose whether Erhard's economics ministry or the finance ministry should be made responsible for Volkswagen, Nordhoff stated his preference for Erhard. In , Nordhoff supported Erhard's effort to pass a law regulating cartels.
However, he opposed Erhard's efforts to influence his policies at Volkswagen. In , he rejected Erhard's call to cut prices, part of the minister's effort to prevent inflation. Most importantly, Nordhoff disagreed with Erhard over how Volkswagen should be privatized. When the Bundestag passed a law providing for the privatization of Volkswagen in , Nordhoff was pleased. However, he did not approve of the model that Erhard proposed for the implementation of this measure.
Erhard wanted Volkswagen to offer its stock at a low par value so that the firm's employees could buy some for themselves, giving them a stake in the company's future and allowing them to accumulate capital. Nordhoff doubted that most Volkswagen workers would be interested and was unsettled by the prospect that his employees would, in effect, become at least part owners of the firm and therefore become his employers. This opinion led Nordhoff to favor continued state ownership. Ultimately, as is well known, Volkswagen was only partially privatized, with the federal government and the state of Lower Saxony retaining substantial blocks of shares while a foundation was created to dispose of the firm's profits.
Nordhoff's record as manager was clouded by his inability to chart a strategy for the company's future.
Tensions in the Early Modern Era
Nordhoff did not overcome the problem of finding replacements for the air-cooled Beetle. He was interested primarily in maintaining a high volume of sales. Since demand for the Beetle remained strong well into the s, his stance seemed justified. Moreover, he was not interested in technological innovation for its own sake, a laudable trait that differentiated him from managers at other German engineering firms.
However, it should have been clear that a new model would be needed as public tastes changed, standards of living rose, and as competitors offered improved types. Yet, Nordhoff starved the design department of talent, failing even to give it a chief for years. Edelmann understates this problem by pointing to the and models as innovations.
In fact, they were just Beetles with larger engines, improved running gear and less Spartan interior appointments. Nordhoff was also unable to groom a successor, although he spoke repeatedly of the need to nurture young talent. One prospect whom Nordhoff brought along was Karl Hahn. However, Nordhoff became disenchanted with his favorite when Hahn attempted to introduce American marketing techniques to Germany. Indeed in , Nordhoff said glumly that it was unlikely that a successor for him would be found within the VW organization.
The managing board solved this problem for him by appointing Kurt Lotz one of its number in with the clear intention of grooming him to succeed the aged and sick Nordhoff. Lotz set the process in motion that resulted in the production of four cars with water-cooled engines, one of which, the Golf, became the immensely successful successor to the Beetle. A final theme is the lack of profitability at Volkswagen. Except for the s, when market conditions were especially favorable, Volkswagen has rarely earned a profit. In Spring , when Nordhoff became general director of the company, Volkswagen was losing money.
The problem reappeared in Although sales continued to increase, profits did not follow. The cause was exceptionally high labor costs due to Nordhoff's generous social policy. In and , when sales actually declined as West Germany experienced a mild recession, the company fell into a serious crisis.
Nordhoff and his lieutenants delayed reducing production and laying off employees. During , when demand for automobiles increased and sales of Volkswagens rebounded, Volkswagen still could not earn a profit. Its bloated, expensive workforce and its reliance on an antiquated model were the causes. Heidrun Edelmann provides the observer interested in post-war West German business history with a book jammed with information and leads, most of which she does not exploit. Her account helps us understand why Volkswagen, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, to this day can barely earn a modest return even when operating at full capacity.
Nordhoff's policies, continued by managers such as Daniel Goeudevert, have burdened the company with unbearable labor costs. Moreover, Edelmann's book offers us a glimpse into the reasons why the German economy as a whole has become uncompetitive. The highest paid workers in the world work the fewest hours annually of any workers in the world. No level of efficiency and innovation can offset these handicaps.