Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

German Masses to Blame for Conditions in Reich, Language Meeting Told

December 29, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The German masses, and not their leaders, are responsible for present conditions in Germany, professor J.W. Eaton of the University of Michigan today told 2,500 persons attending the fifty-fifth annual meeting of the modern language association of America, at the McMillan theater of Columbia university. The promise of political freedom in Germany has been doomed to disappointment for centuries because of “certain deep-seated traits in the national character,” professor Eaton said. “Until some measure of political education and freedom does come, the German masses will continue to acclaim and support a leader who will undertake to translate their demonic ideas into actual practice and achievement. So long as he is successful, they will still believe that their ultimate goals are possible even though the facts of the world’s — and their own country’s — history are against them.”

“It is a view held by many that when the present abnormal condition of affairs in Germany has ended, the German people will again come to free expression,” professor Eaton said. This view, he held, is not justified by history. “The Germany of today did not spring fully armed into existence. The change from the scattered, easy-going, benevolent autocracies of the eighteenth-century Germany to the iron uniformity of the present, did not begin in the period before 1914, nor was it the result of the much maligned treaty of Versailles.” Professor Eaton pointed out how the Germany of today is the result of a long historical process.

Recommended from JTA