Europe's new Weimar surrender

HIstory eerily repeats itself, with appropriate changes.

Giulio Meotti

OpEds Site of Nice attack
Site of Nice attack
צילום: עצמי

When the Nazi troops walked in the boulevards of Paris, in 1940, it was a shock, but there was also an atmosphere of inevitability, surrender and submission. The Islamic terrorists were “invited” by a similar atmosphere of surrender to commit a massacre in Paris theatres and restaurants and in the Promenade des Anglais of the coastal city of Nice.

In the past year, the Islamic State butchered Europeans on a Tunisian beach, in a Paris’ theatre and in a Dhaka’s restaurant.

They target Europe’s disarmed decadence. Mental, before the physical, disarmament.
They target Europe’s disarmed decadence. Mental, before the physical, disarmament.

Then, the National Socialists exploited the vacuous Weimar decadence trying to replace it with pure and altruistic Aryan supermen. A Germany demoralized after the Great War, had sought solace in sensual oblivion, comedy, drama, theoretical philosophy and books with headlines like “Sittengeschichte des Lasters” (The history of perversions) and “Sittengeschichte des Schamlosigkeit” (The history of shamelessness).

We are now living the "New Weimar" conquest of Europe, its title taken from the name of the first German Republic  that was so dramatically dismantled by the violent rise of Nazism. That masterpiece of disarmed democracy was dedicated to a mutilated pacifism, like ours.

When the city of Weimar, in 1919, voted on its new democratic Constitution, Europe experienced the feeling of an era of freedom and peace. The so-called “Weimar Coalition” (Social Democrats, Catholics and Liberals) seemed to provide a political framework for a progressive era. The Constitution itself appeared as a model of balance between the branches of government.

Weimar’s imagery was full of anti-war art and the army itself became a symbol of a widespread feeling of national frustration. The cinema had Pabst and Murnau, the theater discovered Expressionism and Brecht, architecture got the Bauhaus, science saw Einstein and Planck, psychology witnessed the discoveries of Freud, literature had the Mann brothers, Doblin, Kafka, Rilke, Musil, philosophy was dominated by names such as Heidegger and Jaspers, sociology was renewed by Max Weber and music by Schoenberg.

Yet, all these brains and sensitive souls did not prevent the catastrophe.

A fragile republic founded after a disastrously lost war, an economic crisis with inflation, a pervasive sense of distrust, a very weak and pitiful leadership, subversive forces, fierce struggles for abortion, recognition of homosexuals and women’s rights, the politicization of everything, anti-Semitism…

Sound familiar?