Background: The following excerpts come from a book published in 1942. A. E. Johann, a pseudonym for Alfred Enst Wollschläger (1901-1996) was a widely published German writer whose books continued to appear well after the war. A dozen of his titles were still in print in 1997. The book cited here was a “hit”: at least 126,000 copies were published in Germany, and a French translation appeared in 1944. He also had leading roles in several top German magazines.
The United States always fascinated Germans. It was the land of “unlimited possibilities,” of the Wild West, of millionaires. The book attempts to demonstrate that, although the U.S. is a land of great beauty and decent people, it is a corrupt capitalist state rapidly becoming a racial mish-mash. Most of the book deals with Americans who Johann met, who invariably have come to a bad end. He discusses sharecroppers in Louisiana, a ruined farmer, a homeless man once of the middle class, a professor who loses his position because he fails to meet the desires of those behind the scenes, etc. In each case, the American system has brought a good man down. His opinion of the U.S. takes a marked improvement in titles published after 1945.
The source: A. E. Johann, Das Land ohne Herz: Eine Reise ins unbekannte Amerika (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag, 1942).
Excerpts from The Land Without a Heart
p. 24: “For what was gone with the wind after the Civil War was the old America in which people were judged by their human worth and their real value, not by their fortune or bank account.”
p. 25: “Until the Civil War, the population of the United States was almost entirely of Nordic stock. But the needs of the feverishly growing American industry for cheap, submissive workers, preferably with limited English, led to a flooding of America with Eastern European and Jewish masses, drawn from everywhere. Driven by the most primitive mass instincts, they were only superficially capable of assimilation. The population of the United States, already seriously compromised by the Negroes, became a hopeless jumble.”
p. 27: “If one applies European concepts to the United States, one sees that within a few decades the anonymous, rootless power of capital crushed and destroyed the old nobility, the free and independent citizenry, and the independent farming class. If one may use a frequent and often misused word, human freedom itself was destroyed. The methods were different, but the results identical with what happened under Bolshevism, with the same ice-cold contempt for humanity.”
p. 166: Johann is discussing the Okie migration to California in the 1930ís. They came to a bad end.”With very few exceptions it was the best Nordic stock that met its bitter fate here: Americans from formerly good families of Irish, German, English, Scottish, Swedish, Norwegian, Norman, or Breton ancestry. And their fate is a terrible accusation against the American system, which reduces people to numbers and sees everything only from a single standpoint: profit. May the world collapse, may hundreds of thousands, even millions perish as long as the profits are good. What kind of world is it in which workers prefer to sleep in the fields rather than back in camp out of fear that otherwise someone else will steal their job the next morning! And all this for 60 cents a day...”
p. 198: Roosevelt on 11 October 1941 reports that half of those called for military service were unfit.”In Germany, which Roosevelt has threatened with destruction, since it presumably is hindering the American Standard, the American Century, the percentage of those rejected for military service has never exceeded five percent. It is understandable that Roosevelt hates the Germans. How dare they defeat him with a single fact: five percent vs. fifty percent!”
p. 199: “National Socialism within a few years made unemployment, that terrible specter of modern humanity, into only a nightmarish memory. Roosevelt, despite the new deal and billions of dollars, was never able to bring the unemployment figure under ten million.”
p. 202: “Chicago is filled with chaos more than any other American city that I know. It seems to me the very model of America, for America too is filled with chaos, terrible chaos, filled with excess, destruction and desolation.”
p. 263: The conclusion to the book: “It was not the goal of this book to discuss whether America can win the war, or whether it must lose it. But perhaps it has become clear and that was my goal that America does not deserve to win the war and spread its system over the entire world. There is nothing in the American system worth imitating, either for Germany or Europe. If Americanism conquered the world, it would mean the end of all human values and of genuine freedom the freedom to do something, not from something! of all the values for which Europe has fought and suffered for millennia, for which it has given all its strength of body and soul.
No European could exchange places with an American. America is a pitiable country and the Americans are a betrayed people, betrayed by their leaders, betrayed and deceived in a simply indescribable way by their self chosen leader Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He spoke of helping the common man, but filled his election campaign fund with donations from uncaring capitalists. He began by wanting to loose the capitalist chains, but became as much a tool of Morgan as any of his predecessors.”
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