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Foreign Minister Tells West Germans They Must Face Evil of Nazi Past

West German Foreign Minister Gerhard Schroeder told his countrymen yesterday that they could not shut their eyes to Germany’s past. Speaking at a Christian Democratic Union Party meeting here, he said: “West Germans must be the first to face the evil which–whether we like it or not–is linked with the name of our nation.”

But at another meeting here, during a political rally, Franz Josef Strauss, former West German Defense Minister, attacked the thesis of the “sole guilt” of the German people for the war crimes of the Nazis. He declared that West Germans must conquer the past and come to terms with their neighbors. He said this included bringing war criminals to justice but “war crimes and crimes against humanity were not committed only by the losers. The belief in justice is shaken,” he asserted, “if it is made to appear as though only one side committed crimes.”