Der Spiegel (Germany): there is no politics without history

No other day has not left such a mark on our recent history, as 8 may 1945. On this day over the graves of more than 40 million dead in Europe fell silent guns. Terrible rule of the national socialists and the murder of Jews in Europe was brought to an end. May 8 was a day of liberation for millions deprived of all rights and persecuted, day of remembrance, a day of victory over injustice.

On this day the Germans paid for what was made possible on January 30, 1933, and that are unable to liberate themselves from national socialism. Among the ruins of German cities a huge number of people, full of fear and despair, looking to the future. It took 40 years before Richard von weizsäcker and on behalf of the Germans spoke of the “liberation”, knowing that at least a majority of West German society shares this view. This became possible thanks to the sometimes painful and accompanied by recurrence analysis of the crimes of national socialism after the Second world war.

This experience shows: from the history lessons — even of historical accidents. What German land should never cause war and crimes against humanity, is today an invariable core of German foreign policy. We are now a strong and unified Europe for human rights as a universal expression of human dignity, for based on solid rules of international cooperation, for the rejection of any particular German ways — all fueled by our knowledge about the unprecedented crimes of Germany in the twentieth century, which found its terrible expression in the Holocaust.

One who now wants to draw a line under this part of German history, not just mocks the victims. He makes the German policy unworthy of trust. Because self-criticism and self-consciousness are interrelated. To any other country, this does not apply to the same extent as our.

Politics without history is for us unthinkable. But does this statement in the opposite direction? How many politicians can make history? How close is the relationship between them, we feel almost at every international forum. And views on may 8, participants sometimes radically different.

In Russia and other former Soviet Union countries pay tribute to the heroes and celebrate with parades end date of the war. The Western allies on may 8 is also celebrated. Anyone who fought against the Nazi dictatorship, we are grateful to this day.

But in Poland, the Baltic States and some other countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe on 8 may we look with mixed feelings. The joy of the victory over national socialism is fraught for them with the beginning of another form of bondage and foreign domination — and the experience they share with a lot of people in East Germany.

Therefore, 8 may shows us with all clarity: the influence of history on what we — as people and as a nation. The more honestly to handle it. German past discovers the danger of revisionism, which replaces rational thinking national myths. Therefore, not because of imaginary moral superiority — we Germans need to take a stand when those who became the target of aggression, trying to make the aggressors and the victims — criminals. Continuing in the last months attempt such a shameful way to rewrite history demands from us a clear statement that in the face of irrefutable historical facts should not have been no need for Germany alone to blame for the outbreak of the Second world war, attacking Poland. And Germany alone is responsible for such crime against humanity as the Holocaust. He who sows doubt and imposes on other Nations the role of criminals, unjust towards the victims. He uses history for his own ends and divides Europe.