The German Psyche

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The German Psyche

  1. 1. THE GERMAN PSYCHE <br />The German Mindset of the First World War<br />A topic explored by:<br />Amanda Huey<br />Carrie Thompson<br />Matt Novak <br />Gabe Nastac<br />
  2. 2. Aspects of <br />THE GERMAN PSYCHE<br />
  3. 3. Desperate for <br />Respect<br />Kaiser Wilhelm II<br />
  4. 4. The Beginning:Need for Recognition<br />“All the long years of my reign[…]my colleagues, the Monarchs of Europe, have paid no attention to what I have to say. Soon, with my great navy to endorse my words, they will be more respectful” (Kaiser Wilhelm II qtd. in Tuchman 6).<br />
  5. 5. “The same sentiments ran through his [the Kaiser’s] whole nation, which suffered, like their emperor, from a terrible need for recognition. Pulsing with energy and ambition, conscious of strength[…]They felt entitled to rule and cheated that the world did not acknowledge their title” (Tuchman 7). <br />The People’s “Need <br />for Recognition”<br />
  6. 6. Need for Respect leads to German Brutality <br />“We shall wipe it [Louvain] out, not one stone will stand upon another! Kein stein auf einander!- not one, I tell you. We will teach them to respect Germany. For generations people will come here to see what we have done!” (A German officer qtd. in Tuchman 380).<br />Ruins of Louvain Library<br />
  7. 7. In the events leading up to World War I, a desperate need to prove their greatness filled the Germans and particularly their Kaiser. They felt as if the world had somehow slighted them and did not show them the respect they believed they deserved. This anger contributed to their intolerant and overly aggressive mindset before and during World War I. <br />Conclusion<br />
  8. 8. Love of Order<br />
  9. 9. For the German: Order Comes First<br />“If there has to be a choice between injustice and disorder […] the German prefers injustice” (Goethe qtd. in Tuchman 377). <br />Belgian Cemetery <br />
  10. 10. Need for Order as an Explanation for Brutality <br />Tuchman explains the psychological reasons between the German hostility toward Belgian up-risers. She writes that the Germans value authority and believe strongly in the nobleness of obedience. They are “comfortable only in the presence of authority” and would therefore not appreciate or understand the heroism that the other cultures (such as ours) would see in a Belgian civilian sniper (Tuchman 378).<br />
  11. 11. “The German obsession had two parts: that Belgian resistance was illegal and that it was organized from “above” by the Belgian government” (Tuchman 376).<br /> This quote reveals more about the Germans and their need for authority and order. They could not fathom that the Belgians could be acting independently of the government, because the Germans would never do so. <br />German’s Psyche Unable to Comprehend Belgian Civilian Resistance. <br />
  12. 12. German Obsession with International Law <br />In the German’s eyes the Belgians had broken the traditional international law with their civilian resistance. The Germans used this to justify their harsh actions. <br /> General von Hausen left Dinant “scorched, crumbled, hollowed out, charred, and sodden” (Tuchman 376). Hausen blamed the razing of the city on the Belgian government “which approved this perfidious street fighting contrary to international law” (von Hausen qtd. in Tuchman 376). <br />Ruins of Dinant<br />
  13. 13. The German’s need for order is one of the most fundamental aspects of the German psyche. They value order above all other things and will do almost anything in the name of order or the preservation of authority. <br /> These beliefs caused the Germans to not understand the motives of the Belgian snipers and to react in outrage once they came to the conclusion that the Belgians had violated international law. However, they conveniently overlooked their own violations(ie: invading neutral Belgium). AbbeWetterle, Alsatian delegate to the Reichstag, once said, quite truthfully, “To a mind formed in the Latin school, the German mentality is difficult to comprehend” (qtd. in Tuchman 376).<br />Conclusion<br />
  14. 14. German Supremacy/ Entitlement<br />Thomas Mann<br />
  15. 15. German Supremacy/Entitlement<br />According to Mann, &quot;Germans being,[...]the most educated, law-abiding, peace-loving of all peoples, deserve to be the most powerful, to dominate, to establish a &apos;German peace&apos;&quot;(Mann qtd. in Tuchman, 369).<br />
  16. 16. German Outlook on the War<br />“The war was to be, wrote Thomas Mann, ‘a purification, a liberation, an enormous hope. The victory of Germany will be a victory of soul over numbers. The German soul’”(Tuchman 369).<br />
  17. 17. General Friedrich von Bernhardi and his book Germany and the Next War (written in 1910)also served to perpetuate ideas of German Entitlement and militarism. In his book, Bernhardi proves the “necessity” of war. As Tuchman states, necessity was “the favorite word of German military thinkers” (13). He also discouraged any sort of reconciliation with France saying that “France must be so completely crushed that she can never cross our path again”(Bernhardiqtd. in Tuchman 13).Some chapter titles in Bernhardis book include: “The Right to Make War,” “The Duty to Make War,” and “World Power of Downfall” (Tuchman 12).<br />General von Bernhardi<br />
  18. 18. Tuchman uses these quotes from Thomas Mann to show the feeling of German entitlement that ran rampant through Germany at this time. Later on she quotes Wells who calls the German attitude at this time “flagwagging Teutonic Kiplingism” (370).<br /> These feelings of German Supremacy were a result of the social Darwinist ideas that were emerging at this time. The Germans could easily rationalize their actions with the mantra of “survival of the fittest.” <br />Conclusion<br />
  19. 19. Exceptionally Brutal <br />General von Kluck<br />
  20. 20. Evidence of Brutality in Belgium <br /> “On the second day at Taminessome 400 citizens were herded together under guard in front of the church in the main square and a firing squad began systematically shooting into the group. Those not dead when the firing ended were bayoneted. In the cemetery at Tamines, there are 384 gravestones inscribed 1914: Fusillé par les Allemands[Shot by the Germans]” (Tuchman 373).<br />
  21. 21. Tuchman blames the German brutality in Belgium partly on Clausewitz’s “theory of terror” to effectively shorten war. Clausewitz believed that civilians must feel the terror of war and then pressure their leaders for peace. (Tuchman 371). <br />CLAUSEWITZ<br />
  22. 22. In this investigation we have explored the most important aspects of the German psyche of World War I. Desperate for recognition, Germany entered the war to prove her dominance. In conjunction with this, the German’s need for order and their belief in their own supremacy contributed greatly to their brutal actions in early WWI. Their mentality was formulated yet strangely irrational, combined with a knack for overlooking their own faults. The fore mentioned aspects of the German mind made it easy for them to act harshly and justify it. <br />Final Conclusion<br />

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