Tag archives: Germany

United Germany’s World Cup: This is Bush 41’s Victory, Too!

by Robert Morrison

July 15, 2014

I finally found something about which I can agree with the liberal editors of Slate. They ran a story yesterday about the televised hug between Germans victorious goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, and that nation’s diminutive Chancellor, Angela Merkel. It’s a most appealing picture to see the young giant lean over, almost fall over, in a spontaneous gesture of affection for his country’s leader.

I was happy for Germany. This is a Germany we can cheer. And it is fine to remember that without the visionary leadership of George H.W. Bush, there would not have been an Angela Merkel in this photo. She was raised in East Germany. (So, for that matter was Germany’s current president, Joachim Gauck.) Chancellor Merkel and President Gauck are but two of the tens of millions of free Germans whose unification was staunchly supported by President Bush.

I distinctly remember the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November, 1989. And I was, I will admit, plainly irked that my president put out the word: “I will not dance on the Berlin Wall.” Why not, I thought then. Isn’t this a day to celebrate the triumph of freedom over oppression?

The senior Bush was forever being lampooned on Saturday Night Live for his commitment to “prudence.” But is prudence a bad thing?

Actually, it is the best thing for a statesman. When I studied American history in the years of the early republic—1797-1801—I could not understand how the Founders whom I so admired—Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Madison—all seem to have gone a bit crazy. Why were they clashing with one another like drivers in a Demolition Derby?

Well, the retirement of George Washington might explain it. He was the personification of prudence. And why did the United States survive the Civil War but find itself adrift before and afterward? Might it be that Presidents Buchanan and Johnson lacked that most notable quality of Abraham Lincoln: Prudence, with a capital P?

George H.W. Bush was almost alone among world leaders to want Germany reunited. West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl certainly hoped for German Reunification. His Socialist opponents certainly did not. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was hardly enthusiastic for the creation of a continental political and economic powerhouse. French President Francois Mitterrand, no doubt recalling Germany’s three invasions of his homeland in less than one hundred years, was decidedly cool to the idea of East and West Germany coming together. Lech Walesa of Poland was not beating the drums for a Germany reunited.

As for the USSR’s Mikhail Gorbachev, then riding a whirlwind in the Kremlin, he was the one who had decided not to send in the tanks. He would not order Communist border guards to shoot down spontaneous surge of East Germans toward the suddenly opened Brandenburg Gate in East Berlin. For not shooting his hostages, Gorbachev was being hailed by the Western media as a prince of peace.

If Gorbachev was really the wonderful reformer that Western journalists said he was, it was curious that all those vast crowds of West Germans did not flood through the suddenly opened Brandenburg Gate and throw themselves into his arms. There are no pictures of young West Germans hugging Mikhail Sergeivich, however, the way Manuel Neuer hugged Chancellor Merkel. A point worth noting on this festive occasion?

George H.W. Bush deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his honorable, visionary, and yes, prudent statecraft at the time of German Reunification. He stood tall for America. This quiet and modest man said simply that America must keep her word to the German people.

For forty-five years, U.S. Presidents—Democrats and Republicans alike—has said America supports German Reunification. We would be unfaithful to our word if we did not back our steadfast NATO ally in the hour of need.

The fact that President Bush was able to skilfully chart his careful course, to support a peaceful Reunification of Germany, to bring that new and democratic Germany firmly under the NATO umbrella, and to achieve all this with the Soviets’ acquiescence (if not with their enthusiasm) is a tribute to statesmanship of the highest order. If anyone had said in 1988 that he would accomplish this all without firing a shot (or costing the U.S. taxpayers a dime) it would have been thought a delusion.

So this is President Bush’s victory, too. Now, Madam Chancellor, may I respectfully speak to you about not persecuting homeschoolers?

The World Cup, Human Dignity, and the Unborn

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 1, 2014

Last week’s World Cup soccer match between Germany and the U.S. was a loss for Old Glory, which nonetheless advances in World Cup competition.

Of note to pro-lifers are the names and backgrounds of some of the German players, names that would have made the late and unlamented Fuhrer rather unhappy:

Shkodran Mustafi, a Muslim man of Albanian descent who was born and raised in Germany.

Jérôme Agyenim Boateng, born in then-West Berlin to a Ghanian father and German mother.

Mesut Özil, a third-generation German Turk and practicing Muslim known to recite the Quran before games.

Sami Khedira, son of a Tunisian man and German woman. Also a Muslim.

Why should people who care about the sanctity of life be interested in these men? Because within living memory, Germany’s Nazi government operated on the basis of severe racial and ethnic bigotry. “(Hitler) loathed Arabs (and) once described them as ‘lacquered half-apes who ought to be whipped.’”

It is therefore quite gratifying to see that the German national soccer team hosts four men Hitler would have considered sub-human. Why? Because as taught in Scripture and affirmed in America’s charter text, the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal: Arab or Jew, German or Ghanian, every person has been endowed by his Creator with the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The image and likeness of God exist in all people, whatever their complexion, hair texture, stature, or any external characteristic, racial heritage, or national background. That Germany now seems to have adopted this principle should be welcome news to all of us who care about that most sacred of human rights, the right to life.

Yet like America, abortion is all too available in Deutschland. As one commentator notes, “German abortion laws are not especially restrictive. Abortion is legal during the first trimester of pregnancy and available if medically or psychologically necessary in the later trimesters.”

Two nations with a rich, profound Judeo-Christian heritage affirm the dignity of everyone – except, ironically and tragically, when it comes to the unborn. As Senator Marco Rubio noted in May, “Science is settled, it’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception.” Don’t the smallest and most vulnerable among us, the unborn, deserve the same protection in law the rest of us enjoy?

Let’s keep working and praying for the day when not only Germany and America but all nations will acknowledge the simple but profound truth articulated by Senator Rubio. When they do, and when they enact laws that ban legalized bigotry not only on the basis of race or ethnicity but on the basis of size or place of residence (in the womb or outside of it), World Cup celebrations will suddenly seem very small.

Bach’s Bible

by Robert Morrison

April 9, 2013

I don’t speak German. I wish I did. That amazing language wasn’t offered in my Long Island high school or even in any neighboring school when I was growing up. The memories, the wounds of the Holocaust were still very raw. I remember parents of some of my classmates saying they would never buy, or even ride in, one of those new Volkswagens that were becoming popular in the early 1960s here.

When I was selected in 1987 as the first Washington representative of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I began to get clued in to the German heritage of the LCMS. As part of my responsibilities, I would visit many Midwestern congregations of this confessional church body. Older people in those congregations had grown up in the Missouri Synod at a time when German was used in all church services, in all LCMS parochial schools. They would speak Deutsche to me. I would politely answer them—in Russian.

The LCMS members had fought hard to protect their linguistic heritage. They even went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1923 to fight back against a xenophobic Nebraska state law that had banned teaching in a foreign language, any modern foreign language.

America had just emerged victorious from World War I and the anti-German sentiment was high. But the Supreme Court in the case of Meyer v. Nebraska sided with LCMS in what became a first important ruling on parents’ rights before the High Court. Shortly thereafter, the Court went further, in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters. In that Oregon case, a Ku Klux Klan-inspired referendum had outlawed all private education.

The Court said no, declaring: “the child is not the mere creature of the state.” Pierce is a more far-reaching case than Meyer, to be sure, but what was at issue in Meyer was not just the right of parochial Lutheran schools to teach members’ children in German, it was the right of those kids’ parents to seek the education that comported with their deeply held values.

This is a right not recognized by the modern democratic German government. So admirable in so many ways, the German government nonetheless persecutes home schoolers.

The Romeike (roh-MIKE-uh) family of home schoolers had to flee their native land and has sought refuge here in America. The Obama administration wants to deport this wholly innocent family from their Tennessee home. You can push back against this shameful attempt by visiting the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website. You can help by signing their petition.

Issues of faith and nation were to be seen once again in this amazing story of the Bible of Johann Sebastian Bach. When I would be introduced around Washington as the LCMS’s representative, I would often be teased with: “Ah yes, the Missouri Synod Lutherans—Bach, bier, und Bibel.”

I understood enough German to say, that should be “Bibel, Bach, und bier.” This YouTube video tells the amazing story of the miraculous discovery of Bach’s Bible and its preservation from the clutches of Hitler’s Nazis, as well as the perils of Allied bombing and Russian pillaging.

This much German we can all share: Gottes wort bleibt in Ewigkeit. “God’s Word stands Forever!”

October 3, 1990: The Day of German Unity

by Robert Morrison

October 3, 2011

It was Ronald Reagan, my hero, who stood at the Brandenburg Gate and cried out: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! But it was President George H.W. Bush who, two and a half years later, quietly and skillfully guided the process of German Reunification. So, today, 21 years later, we can take note of the national day of Germany, or, Tag der Deutschen Einheit. And give credit where credit is due.

West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1990 wanted desperately to unite his country with the East. It had been divided since the end of World War II. But Kohl was the only other world statesman who wanted this.

The Polish Pope, John Paul II, was all for ending Communisms iron grip, but he was not overly eager about the Germans coming together. Poland had suffered horribly at the hands of the old Germany. The Iron Lady, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, remembered the Blitz of World War II. She was cool to the idea of Germany becoming Europes premier economic and political giant. Frances Francois Mitterrand was unexcited about a new next-door neighbor reunified and rejuvenated. France had been overrun three times in a hundred years by Germany. He had reason to fear.

Back in the USSR, with the Communist regime spinning out of control, party chairman Mikhail Gorbachev was dealing with the inevitable consequences of his decision in November 1989 not to shoot as demonstrators danced on the crumbling Berlin Wall.

The German Democratic Republic (DDR) was the name of the rump state created by Stalin. It was never a democratic republic. And, as became obvious once the Wall came down, it wasnt German either.

TIME Magazine, of course, and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee would credit Gorbachev for the peaceful end of the Cold War. Well, they certainly couldnt give credit to Ronald Reagan and George Bush! As my friend Morton Blackwell says, is there any other example of giving credit to the hostage taker for not shooting his hostages?

Actually, there is. Its called the Stockholm Syndrome. Theres probably no better description of the mindset of Western liberalism than this bizarre situationwhere the hostages began to identify psychologically with their own captors.

Gorbachev came to power with 27,000 nuclear weapons trained on the West. Some of them doubtless would have hit Manhattans West Side, Washingtons Georgetown, and they may even have had one targeted on Marthas Vineyard. They had enough to spare.

So, when Gorbachev didnt shoot, he naturally became the darling of the Western elites.

If, as a candidate for President in 1988, George H.W. Bush had said he would like to see Communism collapse in on itself, the Outer Empire of Eastern Europe liberated, and the Inner Empire of the Baltic Republics, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Byelorussia go free, he would probably have been dismissed as dangerous, even delusional.

Its not at all clear that George Bush himself envisioned all that would come to pass on his watch. He was, however, prepared and coolly capable of pressing events to their proper and pacific conclusion.

Germany had been the source of incredible danger and terror for the entire worldbut only from 1890 to 1945. We should never forget the Rape of Belgium in 1914 or the Holocaust of 1942-45. Still, the German people had centuries of spiritual, cultural, and scientific genius to share with mankind.

With the single exception of unjustly persecuting home schoolers, Germany since 1945 has been a reputable modern democracy. Ambassador Klaus Sharioth publicly thanked America for sending 60 million young soldiers and airmen to defend his divided country. He said no nation in history had so generously protected another.

In 1989, I loudly opposed George H.W. Bushs policy of not dancing on the Berlin Wall. I thought Ronald Reagan would have publicly celebrated the great day. But President Bush was right and I was wrong. He surely deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for this signal achievement. And just as surely, he will never get it.

For a Peace Prize: George H.W. Bush

by Robert Morrison

October 7, 2009

We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. That year, 1989, deserves to go down in history with 1648, the end of the Thirty Years War in Germany, 1815, the fall of Napoleon, 1914, the outbreak of the Cataclysm we know as World War I, and with 1945, the end of World War II that led to the tragic division of Europe. The Heritage Foundation this week presented an important conference on the Fall of the Wall and its meaning today.

I want to focus on just one portion of that vital conference: the Reunification of Germany.

Ambassador Klaus Scharioth. the urbane and witty diplomat assigned to Washington by the Federal Republic of Germany, paid fulsome tribute to the United States for helping his country achieve reunification. He thanked Americans for the 60 million young servicemen and women who had helped to protect Germany from Soviet aggression for forty-five years. I was stunned to hear that amazing figure. That heroic and generous contribution by America is not something we need to apologize to anyone for.

Ambassador Scharioth also noted how the Hungarians and Czechs helped greatly to bring down the Wall. The liberalizing communist regimes in those countries had opened their gates to East Germans desperate to escape the Workers Paradise in the Soviet puppet state behind the Iron Curtain. The ambassador recalled the important work of West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who never wavered in his devotion to reuniting his beloved land. Most of all, Ambassador Scharioth credited President George H.W. Bush with steadfast support for bringing down the Wall and peacefully reuniting Germany.

The former President is famously modest, perhaps too modest. As a boy, his dad, Prescott Bush, used to quiz him on his report card. How are we doing in claims no more? The elder Bush, a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, was referring to the portion of his sons prep school report that gave a high mark to any young lad who claims no more than his share of attention. Young George always scored high in claims no more.

Consider the world of the 1980s. For some of those years, millions of people in the U.S. and Western Europe really feared that Ronald Reagan would stumble into World War III. They watched films like The Day After, a made-for-TV, made-for-terrifying-us-all movie that purported to show the after-effects of a nuclear war in Kansas.

Yes, by 1989, when George H.W. Bush took office as President, the fears of nuclear war had largely abated, thanks to President Reagans steady strategy of peace through strength. But there were still tensions. The Berlin Wall symbolized those tensions.

It took infinite skill and tremendous presence of mind to manage the end of the East-West confrontation that had been a daily fact of life since 1945. George Bush had that skill, that courage, that much-lampooned prudence.

If, in 1988, candidate George Bush had said: Id like to preside over the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the peaceful reunification of Germany, her incorporation into NATO as a free and democratic state, and I propose to do all of this without firing a shot, without alienating our allies or breaking relations with the Soviets, the reaction would have been one of stunned silence. The gray beards and chin strokers of the chattering classes would have pronounced Bush a madman. Alarmed, they would have said: Hes even worse than Reagan!

Yet, the magnitude of Bushs achievement is there. He managed all that so calmly, so prudently, that it seemed the most natural and unavoidable of conclusions.

Britains staunch Margaret Thatcher did not want Germany reunified. Francois Mitterrand did not want a new great power to challenge Frances preeminence in Europe. The Soviets did not want it. The Poles did not want it. Even the West German Socialists did not want it.

So, how did it happen? America supported her stalwart ally. President Bush backed up with American resolve Chancellor Helmut Kohls yearning for unity. And he did so for the most American of reasons: We had given our word to the Germans and the world for forty years. When the time came to end the division of Germany, the United States would be there. The time came in 1989.

For this, President George H.W. Bush clearly deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. They have been given for far, far lesser achievements. As we celebrate twenty years of peace in the heart of Europe, as we recall that two world wars were fought in the heart of Europe, we can all be grateful to the skillful statecraft, the personal modesty, and the honoring of promises that characterized the brilliant diplomacy of this very American hero.