Sündenregister: Deutsche, gestern und heuteVeröffentlicht: 24. November 2013
das ist der Titel eines Millionenbestsellers in England aus dem Jahre 1941.
BLACK RECORD. Untertitel: GERMANS PAST AND PRESENT. So hieß es damals im Original. Der Autor war ein gewisser Sir Robert Vansittart, vormals Staatssekretär im Außenministerium seiner Majestät. Er wurde später für seine außerordentlichen Verdienste auf Veranlassung der Premierministers Winston Churchill vom englischen König Georg VI. in den erblichen(!) Adelstand erhoben.
Der vollständige, originale Text dieser Schrift war bislang im Internet nicht verfügbar, er findet sich hier →Black_Record. Damit ist er Historikern, Lehrern und Schülern verfügbar. Denn eine Neuauflage hat es nach 1941 nie mehr gegeben.
Dabei handelt es sich bei dem Text, der in sieben Kapitel untergliedert ist und im Original gerade mal 57 kleinformatige DIN A5-Seiten ausfüllt, um die Niederschrift von Ansprachen die von der BBC gesendet wurden. Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung schrieb dazu im Jahr 2003:
Mit einem verbalen Rundumschlag gegen die Deutschen – als Vortragsreihe zwischen dem 14. November und dem 6. Dezember 1940 im „B.B.C. Overseas Programme“ auf der Nordamerika-Frequenz ausgestrahlt – machte Robert Vansittart im zweiten Kriegsjahr auf sich aufmerksam. … schon im Januar 1941 lagen die Vorträge in der Broschüre „Black Record. Germans Past and Present“ gedruckt vor und fanden reißenden Absatz. Binnen kürzester Zeit waren mehr als eine halbe Million Exemplare des Pamphlets über den „deutschen Charakter“ verkauft. Nach Vansittarts Auffassung kennzeichneten Neid, Selbstmitleid und Grausamkeit die „Deutschen im Plural“ …
Die Wirkung der BBC-Ansprachen als auch des gedruckten Textes auf die Stimmung des Landes zu jener Zeit kann nicht hoch genug bewertet werden. So schreibt der Sunday Express am 19. Januar 1941:
THOSE NICE GERMANS
Do you still believe that the Germans are a kindly people who are simply rebelling against the “ injustices” of a stern peace treaty? Do you think that Hitler is an isolated example of German brutality ?
Sir Robert Vansittart, diplomatic adviser to the Cabinet, shows in a new booklet, “Black Record” (Hamish Hamilton, 6d.), that the German never alters. This booklet, a series of broadcasts, is an invaluable record for the historian, the sentimentalist and the pacifist. It tells you the real reason why we are at war.
Ausführlicher und enthusiastischer äußert sich Philip Jordan im News Chronicle am 11. März 1941 unter der Überschrift: Diplomat is Best-Seller über Person und Werk:
BRITAIN has a new bestseller, out-topping most others. It is “Black Record,” reprint of Sir Robert Vansittart’s broadcast talks on Germany. More than 250,000 copies, the publishers told me yesterday, have now been sold. They say the demand shows no sign of dropping.
This information set me thinking of the days when the “Times” was implicitly advocating the secession to Germany of the Sudetenland and publishing a letter jointly signed by, among others, Barry Domvile, Lord Londonderry and Pitt-Rivers, saying, “We see . . the promise of a new era compared to which the tragic years that have gone since the war will seem like a bad dream”—the days just- before and after Munich, in fact.
I USED sometimes then to seek comfort in a large room at the end of the ground floor corridor of the Foreign Office. It contained no Munich-fancier.
It was a large, dingily opulent room with, two windows on St. James’s Park, two on the Horse Guards. Besides furniture, it contained two globes, and on an: expensive easel a map of Europe, from which nearly all the colours had faded, so that, with the exception of these islands, it looked almost as though the greater part of the Continent was one huge state.
I thought it an omen at the time.
THE room belonged—it still does—to Sir Robert Vansittart, Chief Diplomatic Adviser to the Government.
Let us admit that if his advice was not asked at the time of Munich, his own temperament may have had something to do with it. He does not suffer fools as gladly, perhaps, as a diplomat should. On the other hand the amateurs who then controlled our foreign policy didn’t suffer wise men gladly. The rest is history.
If all that seems past, it has something to do with the violent attacks made on him, for “ Black Record,” if it is his view of the German nation, is, by implication, his justification and a round condemnation of the Municheers.
WHAT is this pamphlet? It is an analysis of the German temperament, pointed with historical references ; and it concludes with suggestions as to how Germany’s perpetual desire to dominate the world can best be curbed in future. Its moral is that Goethe was right when he said that as an individual the German is a human being, but that as a race they are impossible.
It is written in exuberant language, extravagant, if you like. I grant that. It is only fair to say, however, that some of the attacks made on Vansittart’s thesis have been neither prejudiced nor violent. Many who have given much thought to the German problem disagree honestly with Vansittart; and have said so.
But nearly all the attacks— both from Right and Left—have been by implication D. N. Pritt asks the Minister of Information what use Dr. Goebbels has made of Vansittart’s material. The answer, of course, is “None.” The “Times,” finding nothing better to attack him about, attacks him for having spoken in public at all, which is irrelevant.
Let us leave it at that. But what sort of man is this who can perform the astonishing feat of making bedfellows out of Pritt and Dawson who edits the “Times ” ?
IF I were asked to whom I would most surely apply the word “civilised ” the face of Vansittart would come into my head and stay there. I could hardly describe him: he is too lively, even at 59, to be pinned down. You feel that he shouldn’t be indoors, that a tennis racket might appear suddenly in his hand, and that he wouldn’t serve a fault. Or that he’s only waiting for the right moment to sit down and dash on paper some thought that has suddenly taken shape behind two sharp, pale eyes.
In the years I’ve known him I have hardly ever seen him sit down, except at a meal. Walking about his room with a Turkish cigarette between his fingers, he will suddenly put his hands up to his elegant head, as though he had just remembered some desperately unhappy piece of news. But that isn’t it, at all, for when he takes them down again a second later he will be smiling. It’s just a habit.
He’s tall, broad-shouldered, and if he has the kind of face that has never known what hardship is, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t known something of great disappointments.
I DON’T know, but I guess that he would wish to be more remembered as a poet than as a diplomat. But he won’t be, of course.
If I envied any man I should envy the one who will come to write his biography in 60 or 70 years’ time. He will be writing the history of Britain’s most tremendous period; and looking at the photographs that will be available to him; he will wonder why, perhaps, this man had a face that was not bitter.
Vansittart behielt seine Meinung über die Deutschen weit bis über das Kriegsende bei. So antwortete er 1949, dem Jahr der Gründung der Bundesrepublik auf die Frage: „Could Germany eventually become a faithful ally of the West? And should the Ruhr be handed back to the Germans?”
Wie folgt ablehnend:
“The spirit manifesting itself in Germany these days fails to inspire confidence. It is extremely nationalistic and xenophobic. The Germans are obviously unrepentant”. (Evening News, 6. Januar 1949)
Es gibt eine ausführlich kommentierte deutsche Übersetzung des „Black Record“ unter dem Titel „Der Hetzer“ von Olaf Rose. ISBN 3806111596.