Was Germany's post-war economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder)really a miracle?
What if this is mostly a legend and the reality was something else entirely? Read Dialog International for a good summary of the main points of a German documentary on the subject and a link to the website where you can stream it.
I wish there were subtitles to this, because Americans would find its revelations very enlightening. Even a lot of Germans have not been in possession of the facts, or they have fallen for the spin on things, especially those who learned in their families that German economic recovery was mostly the result of German brains, labor and resolve. Actually, it was forgiving 1/2 of their war debt and buying their cheap steel and arms to fight the Korean War. And giving raises and handing cash out to people so they could buy things and have some incentive to work.
The big news to me is that after the war German industry was mostly intact. The city centers were extensively bombed, but that was not where the industry was. Under Nazi leadership it had been geared up to produce cheap products, ie weapons, etc. that were not meant to last. Volkswagen was organized along these principles but set up with U.S. technology. The VW was a cheap mass product using cheap labor. You may be on a nostalgia trip about VWs but they were always breaking down, overheating, etc. etc., which was considered to be part of their charm.
Also of interest is an interview with a member of the Jewish Rosenthal family. I have to watch the docu again to understand exactly how the people who confiscated their property, the company that made Rosenthal porcelain, were able to keep majority ownership of it after the war. The revered Chancellor Erhard, a person of weak moral principles, engineered a deal. He was paid a goodly sum for his services. Even the Rosenthal family did not learn about this until recently. What I have to find out is whether Erhard was chancellor at the time. Needs a little research.
The relevance of all this right now is that Germany, the big winner in post-war Europe, is not stepping forward to save Greece and Spain but acting very self-righteous about their troubles. As the docu points out, people postwar worked hard everywhere in Europe, and all of Western Europe prospered until recently, but some people and countries were better rewarded than others.
Now take a look at this mutant tangerine! I'm afraid to eat it because I might turn into a monster or start glowing in the dark or something.
And I'm really enjoying one of those Swedish/Danish detective dramas, The Bridge, recommended by Feminema. It features a beautiful blonde Swedish detective, partnering with a Danish guy who is in pain from a recent vasectomy. The blonde is autistic, or so we are led to believe. This series is full of the horrible humor that arises when awful things happen to people, so naturally it is very entertaining. Although I couldn't get into Breaking Bad, it is the same sort of thing. Maybe like Fargo.
I think the language situation is hopeless. I can't get Swedish or Danish in my ear at all. Can't even pick up phrases. And the subtitles aren't that great. But who cares? It's not like the story line is complex or anything.
Got a busy weekend ahead: A League of Women Voters meeting and a Nation Magazine discussion group.
Have a great weekend, everyone! And if you are not accustomed to the heat, take it easy.