Post W W II
I am thinking back to what our education was like in Germany after WW II. We had hardly any school books. For a long time very few new books could be printed because of shortages due to the war. The stock of books in school libraries was also very limited.
A lot of the teachers did not return from the war or had not been trained adequately because of the war. The majority of our teachers were women teachers. I remember however two very ancient male teachers: They were most likely in their seventies. Modern history lessons were not allowed to be taught. We dwelled on ancient history, however no books on that subject were available. We were also taught physics and chemistry without having access to any books. Biology? Yes , it was taught, but again no books what so ever. As I remember, there were a few basic books for English, French and Latin from the school library.
What puzzles me now, is how in the whole of Germany there was a totally anti-militaristic mood. Germans had had absolutely enough of all the fighting. Germans were longing for peace and prosperity. Nobody wanted to experience any war activities ever again! War toys for children were forbidden. No German child in those days was encouraged to play war games, and the children who had seen with their own eyes what war was like, did not long to play with toy guns and the like.
Is this, how Germans prospered soon after the war, by neglecting to spend any energy on the build-up of war-machines as well as armies? As we know, the East German Republic went a rather different way and did not prosper the way the West German Republic prospered. Now I am asking myself, why spend huge amounts of money on the build-up of war-machines and armies? Should not an adequate police force be sufficient for every country? But here we are. The sale of weapons is as good a business as ever. Even ‘weapons of mass destruction’ are still being produced. And we have no guarantee that there is adequate control over who can use them at what time and under which circumstances. Why contemplate using them at all? I do not understand. Why build them? It does not make any sense to me.
When I was a teenager in postwar Germany, America stood for FREEDOM and Prosperity. We did not see the USA as a country who would need to fight wars. Why has the picture changed so much? Who’s fault is it? As a teenager in potwar Germany I and my whole family were desperately poor. But I believed in the good of people. I believed that people could live peacefully together, that people did not need to fight wars, that people could prosper. Somehow I still wish to believe all this despite the reality that tells me, people are a long way from achieving this kind of peace all over the world.