I SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY FROM 1955 UNTIL 1977, MOSTLY AS A NAVY PILOT, and saw a lot of the world as a result. Aircraft carriers on which I served regularly visited European ports, as well as other ports around the world. I have also travelled extensively in the years since leaving the Navy.
After travelling around most of Europe, Germany emerges as my favourite country. During our visits there we found the German people to be pleasant, industrious, disciplined and civilized with many similarities to traditional Americans. They in no way resemble the stereotypes depicted in all the anti-Nazi movies, books and articles we have been subjected to over the years.
I am 74 as I write these words. My generation grew up virtually inundated with anti-German propaganda. We were taught, quite literally, to hate the Germans as a people. Yet, Germans I have met or befriended through the years seem no different from other Europeans, or even Americans, and they seem no more inclined to violence and militarism than anyone else; if anything, less. I have never detected anything that might be considered intrinsically “wrong” with the German character.
They are a highly cultured, highly civilized people in every respect. When studied objectively, even Germany’s leaders of the 1930’s and 40’s were not very different from other European leaders. They were only made out to be different by the relentless hate propaganda directed against them.
Germany suffered more than any other country by far as a result of World War II. Some 160 of her largest cities and towns were completely destroyed by the Allied bombing campaign and perhaps as many as 20 million Germans lost their lives as a result of the war. Yet, no one wants to hear their tales of suffering, and no sympathy has been allowed the defeated and disgraced Germans.