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"Militaristic" Germany? As this recent Canadian newspaper chart shows, the notion that Germany has been a particularly warlike country is a myth. Of the 278 wars fought by Europeans between 1480 and 1940, Germany was involved in only eight percent. The most "warlike" countries were England, France and Spain. (This information is also given in A Study of War by Prof. Quincy Wright, cited in R. F. Keeling, Gruesome Harvest , pp. 131-132.)
If anything, Germans have suffered disproportionately as victims of war. During the devastating Thirty Years War, 1618-1648, at least one·third and as much as three-fifths of the German people lost their lives. Some historians estimate that this protracted conflict reduced Germany's population from 17 million to eight million. Many cities and whole regions were laid waste.
During the First and Second World Wars, Allied propaganda portrayed Germans as pathologically aggressive and "war loving." Today, American television helps to keep alive this hateful stereotype.
"Subject opinion to coercion: who will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature ... Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
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|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 15, no. 5 (September/October 1995), p. 32|
|First posted on CODOH:||Dec. 23, 2012, 6 p.m.|