Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Downfall

In 2004 Oliver Hirschbiegel made a film called “Der Untergang”. (The Downfall).

This film is based on the story of Traudl Junge who became Adolf Hitler’s last secretary.

It shows the last days in the Führer’s bunker in Berlin in April1945.

It is a very interesting film.
Realistic, objective and convincing.

One of the issues that become clear in the film is the friction between politics and the army.
An army of a country is like a tool.
It is supposed to be active based on decisions coming from politicians.
It is never a general who declares war, but a team of politicians forming a Government.

In the first years of the Second World War the German Army was delighted by Adolf Hitler.

Because of his blunt and bluffing politics they were able to conquer quickly and easily the Rheinland, Tchecho Slovakia and Austria.
Before they realised they owned and occupied most of Europe.

However, soon it became clear that Hitler and his friends were cheap gangsters but also completely immoral, racist and insane.
For the army it was too late and although they have tried to assassinate the Fuehrer, (a.o.Von Stauffenberg) on different occasions, they were falling into a pit of total catastrophy.

Graf von Stauffenberg

This found its accumulation and climax in the fall of Berlin in April 1945 and the suicide of Hitler and many of his companions.
They didn’t want to be made responsible for their actions and preferred to die in their own illusions.

What is interesting to do is to make a parallel between the situation in Berlin in 1945 and the current situation in Washington.
In Iraq and Afghanistan wars are taking place that have been started by decisions of politicians.
The army has faithfully executed the orders although even at the time it was very well known that the reasons to go to war were false and corrupt.

Now the US Army is like a defeated organisation unable to reach a victory, depleted, weakened and demoralized.
They continue a lost cause only because the politicians need to protect their reputations.

What have been totally lacking in the USA are actions as were performed in the German Army between 1942 and 1945 of disconnecting from the command and authority of the politicians.
No US General while in service has openly protested the strategy of the politicians.

This is exactly the way it should go.
Once the military become an independent organisation and start executing political power, the population suffer and democracy falters.
Many examples illustrate this: General Pinochet in Chile, General Suharto in Indonesia, the Colonel Regime in Greece.

We are lucky no American equivalent to Graf von Stauffenberg has risen to the occasion.

The American Army must fight, fight only and keep their mouths shut.
Even if the decisions and strategies of their employers are wrong.
Even if it brings them into debacles of the worst kind.
Even if they become the protagonists of fiascos.
That is their job description and nothing else has legal and democratic value.

This may sound extreme but it is the way it is and should be.

And this explains why every person able to think in a healthy way will never join the army.


To learn more about the film "Der Untergang", click on:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you do not care for America, there is nothing forcing you to come back you know. That is the beauty of freedom.