History UsefulNotes / ImperialGermany

3rd Dec '16 6:10:44 AM Saveelich
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A full third larger than modern Germany, it incorporated a large part of modern Poland[[note]]at the time Poland was still partitioned between Austria-Hungary, Russia and Prussia with Russia ultimately getting most of it[[/note]] (which itself lost all of its eastern territories to the Soviet Union after World War II and was compensated by territories taken from eastern Germany), Alsace-Lorraine[[note]]it was called "Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen", but technically the "Lorraine" part was only Moselle, which is only one department (roughly one fourth) of Lorraine, the remaining departments, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vosges and Meuse remained French[[/note]] (part of modern France), small slices of Lithuania. Belgium and Denmark, and what is now the Kaliningrad exclave of the Russian Federation. All had German populations at a time but in some places, primarily the Duchy of Posen (today Poznan in Poland) they were not a majority or "German in sentiment". [[InternetBackdraft Be very careful when you talk about this. It may spontaneously combust, and not only with Germans.]] Germans were kicked out of many places after UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and far more after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but in Germany and these places [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom it's considered polite not to mention this.]]

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A full third larger than modern Germany, it incorporated a large part of modern Poland[[note]]at the time Poland was still partitioned between Austria-Hungary, Russia and Prussia with Russia ultimately getting most of it[[/note]] (which itself lost all of its eastern territories to the Soviet Union after World War II and was compensated by territories taken from eastern Germany), Alsace-Lorraine[[note]]it was called "Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen", but technically the "Lorraine" part was only Moselle, which is only one department (roughly one fourth) of Lorraine, the remaining other departments, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vosges and Meuse remained French[[/note]] (part of modern France), small slices of Lithuania. Belgium and Denmark, and what is now the Kaliningrad exclave of the Russian Federation. All had German populations at a time but in some places, primarily the Duchy of Posen (today Poznan in Poland) they were not a majority or "German in sentiment". [[InternetBackdraft Be very careful when you talk about this. It may spontaneously combust, and not only with Germans.]] Germans were kicked out of many places after UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and far more after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but in Germany and these places [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom it's considered polite not to mention this.]]
3rd Dec '16 6:10:12 AM Saveelich
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-->-- '''"Heil dir im Siegerkranz"''' [[labelnote:*]] "Hail to thee in Victor's Crown"[[/labelnote]], anthem of UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}}, sung to the tune of "God Save the Queen".

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-->-- '''"Heil dir im Siegerkranz"''' [[labelnote:*]] "Hail to thee in Victor's Crown"[[/labelnote]], anthem of UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}}, sung to the same tune of as "God Save the Queen".
3rd Dec '16 6:04:42 AM Saveelich
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A full third larger than modern Germany, it incorporated a large part of modern Poland[[note]]at the time Poland was still partitioned between Austria-Hungary, Russia and Prussia with Russia ultimately getting most of it[[/note]] (which itself lost all of its eastern territories to the Soviet Union after World War II and was compensated by territories taken from eastern Germany), Alsace-Lorraine (part of modern France), small slices of Lithuania. Belgium and Denmark, and what is now the Kaliningrad exclave of the Russian Federation. All had German populations at a time but in some places, primarily the Duchy of Posen (today Poznan in Poland) they were not a majority or "German in sentiment". [[InternetBackdraft Be very careful when you talk about this. It may spontaneously combust, and not only with Germans.]] Germans were kicked out of many places after UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and far more after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but in Germany and these places [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom it's considered polite not to mention this.]]

to:

A full third larger than modern Germany, it incorporated a large part of modern Poland[[note]]at the time Poland was still partitioned between Austria-Hungary, Russia and Prussia with Russia ultimately getting most of it[[/note]] (which itself lost all of its eastern territories to the Soviet Union after World War II and was compensated by territories taken from eastern Germany), Alsace-Lorraine Alsace-Lorraine[[note]]it was called "Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen", but technically the "Lorraine" part was only Moselle, which is only one department (roughly one fourth) of Lorraine, the remaining departments, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Vosges and Meuse remained French[[/note]] (part of modern France), small slices of Lithuania. Belgium and Denmark, and what is now the Kaliningrad exclave of the Russian Federation. All had German populations at a time but in some places, primarily the Duchy of Posen (today Poznan in Poland) they were not a majority or "German in sentiment". [[InternetBackdraft Be very careful when you talk about this. It may spontaneously combust, and not only with Germans.]] Germans were kicked out of many places after UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and far more after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, but in Germany and these places [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom it's considered polite not to mention this.]]
29th Nov '16 11:05:29 PM m.crumpet
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* John Buchan, author of "The Thirty-Nine Steps" (which famously dealt with German espionage in Britain shortly before the First World War) also published the similar highly popular espionage thriller "Greenmantle" in 1916, based off of the Germans' RealLife attempts to engineer a revolt in British India during the war as part of their plan to defeat the Allies and secure domination of the Middle East, Central and South Asia. Despite the novel featuring the character of an archetypal brutish German in the form of Colonel Ulrich Von Stumm, the novel surprisingly also contains several sympathetic German characters. Additionally when secret agent hero Richard Hannay encounters Kaiser Wilhelm II in Berlin, the Kaiser is portrayed as a sensitive and reasonable man who is troubled by the war (in what is perhaps a fictional deviation from his often bellicose personality in RealLife.)




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* While most film adaptations of Frankenstein tend to set the story in some sort of generic possibly fictional German-esque Uberwald locale, the 1964 Hammer film The Evil of Frankenstein is explicitly set in the German Empire, complete with pickelhaubes on the constabulary.
25th Nov '16 10:59:33 AM Hadjorim
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Imperial Germany was a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, the ''Reichstag,'' and while in the United Kingdom around 50% of men failed to meet qualifications to vote, Imperial Germany had universal suffrage (though still only for men) Furthermore, Bismarck introduced an advanced welfare system for the sick, the old, and the infirm. And yet while it was technically governed by rule of law, its constitution was weak, and a great deal of influence was in the hands of generals, landowners, and industrialists. While parliament had the power to pass bills, all laws had to be approved by the Chancellor, who was not elected but personally appointed by the Emperor, and was responsible only to him. Thus the true power lay not with the people, but the Kaiser. Although not a full-on autocracy like pre-1906 TsaristRussia, none of this added up to democracy.

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Imperial Germany was a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, the ''Reichstag,'' and while in the United Kingdom around 50% of men failed to meet qualifications to vote, Imperial Germany had universal suffrage (though still only for men) men). Furthermore, Bismarck introduced an advanced welfare system for the sick, the old, and the infirm. And yet while it was technically governed by rule of law, its constitution was weak, and a great deal of influence was in the hands of generals, landowners, and industrialists. While parliament had the power to pass bills, all laws had to be approved by the Chancellor, who was not elected but personally appointed by the Emperor, and was responsible only to him. Thus the true power lay not with the people, but the Kaiser. Although not a full-on autocracy like pre-1906 TsaristRussia, none of this added up to democracy.
21st Nov '16 6:47:04 PM JulianLapostat
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* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: While many people rightly say that Imperial Germany fell short of Nazi Germany in scale of war crimes and means to implement them, as well as pointing out that German responsibility for starting the war was exaggerated, this has sometimes led many people to go further and significantly downplay some of Imperial Germany's crimes and, likewise significantly undersell their responsibility in unleashing the First World War which German historians such as Fritz Fischer and Hans Mommsen now conclude is mostly the fault of Imperial Germany's internal and external policies. While it was absurd of the Allied Powers to declare Imperial Germany "''solely'' responsible" for the war, they were certainly ''involved'' in its expansion from a regional dispute into a world war. Likewise a lot of the policies and goals of Nazi Germany's Ostfront goals were similar to Imperial Germany's policies, and more importantly they did implement policies of genocide against the Herero in Sudwestafrika, including use of concentration camps and death by starvation, measures similar to the FinalSolution.

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* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: HistoricalVillainDowngrade:
**
While many people rightly say that Imperial Germany fell short of Nazi Germany in scale of war crimes and means to implement them, as well as pointing out that German responsibility for starting the war was exaggerated, this has sometimes led many people to go further and significantly downplay some of Imperial Germany's crimes and, likewise significantly undersell their responsibility in unleashing the First World War which German historians such as Fritz Fischer and Hans Mommsen now conclude is mostly the fault of Imperial Germany's internal and external policies. While it was absurd of the Allied Powers to declare Imperial Germany "''solely'' responsible" for the war, they were certainly ''involved'' in its expansion from a regional dispute into a world war. Likewise a lot of the policies and goals of Nazi Germany's Ostfront goals were similar to Imperial Germany's policies, and more importantly they did implement policies of genocide against the Herero in Sudwestafrika, including use of concentration camps and death by starvation, measures similar to UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust.
** The Treaty of Versailles was seen in its time, mostly thanks to J. M. Keynes' book, as a "carthaginian peace" or a victor's justice forced unfairly on UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany. This was an explanation shared within Germany, [[StrangeBedfellows by Fascists, Nazis, Liberals, by Communists]] (such as UsefulNotes/VladimirLenin who cited Keynes' book in his pamphlets and notes) [[StrangeBedfellows and by liberals]] who agreed with Keynes based on his later fame as an economist. Decades later,
the FinalSolution.French economist Etienne Mantoux (who fought in LaResistance against the Nazis and died in battle) debunked Keynes' claims and analyses. Later historians such as A. J. P. Taylor, Fritz Fischer and Hans Mommsen argue that Imperial Germany was truly culpable for the first world war, and deserved to pay reparations. They also point out that the problems with the reparations was that it was ''too lenient'' [[https://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Guilt-trip--Versailles--avant-garde---kitsch-7942 and that Germany was in a position to pay]] and that the problem was that Versailles was a GoldenMeanFallacy that humiliated Germany politically yet left it in a militarily and economically secure position to act on its vengeance, while leaving the League of Nations no force and authority to enforce the reparations and conditions of the Treaty. It was also pointed out that the treaty was far milder than the reparations and conditions extorted by Germany against France during the UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia. As the economist Thomas Piketty pointed out, that far from being burdened with reparations, [[http://thewire.in/5851/thomas-piketty-germany-has-never-repaid-its-debts-it-has-no-right-to-lecture-greece/ Germany's history is one of unpaid debts, generous concessions and cancellations]] and Imperial Germany received an entirely unearned victim status for the stigma of Versailles.
20th Nov '16 12:29:49 PM SSJMagus
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The Imperial flag of Black-White-Red is used as [[NoSwastikas an alternative to their banned symbols]] by Neo-Nazis, but monarchists universally condemn this, and people who know anything about history point out that the Neo-Nazis are grasping on to a symbol they have only a minimal connection to in order to circumvent German hate-speech laws and try (and fail) to gain some measure of legitimacy.

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The Imperial flag of Black-White-Red is used as [[NoSwastikas an alternative to their banned symbols]] by Neo-Nazis, but monarchists universally condemn this, and people who know anything about history point out that the Neo-Nazis are grasping on to a symbol they have only a minimal connection to[[note]]The original Nazis considered Imperial Germany to be a a failure that squandered its power.[[/note]] in order to circumvent German hate-speech laws and try (and fail) to gain some measure of legitimacy.



* EveryoneHasStandards: Wilhelm II wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but he was thoroughly disgusted at UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's treatment of Germany's Jews and declared that Hitler's actions made him "ashamed to be a German!"

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* EveryoneHasStandards: Wilhelm II wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but he was thoroughly disgusted at UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's treatment of Germany's Jews and declared that Hitler's actions made him "ashamed to be a German!"German!" Wilhelm was an anti-Semite himself, but his racism involved simply wanting nothing to do with Jews, and he still considered them ''people'' who deserved to live their own lives. Wilhelm was even more disgusted when his son August Wilhelm became a Nazi, declaring him "completely lost to our family."



* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: While many people rightly say that Imperial Germany fell short of Nazi Germany in scale of war crimes and means to implement them, this has sometimes led many people to go further and significantly downplay some of Imperial Germany's crimes and, likewise significantly undersell their responsibility in unleashing the First World War which German historians such as Fritz Fischer and Hans Mommsen now conclude is mostly the fault of Imperial Germany's internal and external policies. Likewise a lot of the policies and goals of Nazi Germany's Ostfront goals were similar to Imperial Germany's policies, and more importantly they did implement policies of genocide against the Herero in Sudwestafrika, including use of concentration camps and death by starvation, measures similar to the FinalSolution.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: At their worst, the Imperial Army could be harsh and repressive. Their greatest crime might have been the deliberate burning of library of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, which contained many irreplaceable one-of-a-kinds. Hostage taking and executions of civilians in occupied Belgium and France weren't unknown, either. That said, their crimes were downright paltry compared to the Nazis. [[CriticalResearchFailure Some people aren't clear on this.]] [[VillainwithGoodPublicity On both sides of said issue.]] The Allies' propaganda during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI (notably the Rape of Belgium campaign, which blended fact and fiction profligately) and the total responsibility that was laid on them by the Versailles treaty didn't help, along with Wilhelm's openly belligerent rhetoric and attitude.

to:

* HistoricalVillainDowngrade: While many people rightly say that Imperial Germany fell short of Nazi Germany in scale of war crimes and means to implement them, as well as pointing out that German responsibility for starting the war was exaggerated, this has sometimes led many people to go further and significantly downplay some of Imperial Germany's crimes and, likewise significantly undersell their responsibility in unleashing the First World War which German historians such as Fritz Fischer and Hans Mommsen now conclude is mostly the fault of Imperial Germany's internal and external policies.policies. While it was absurd of the Allied Powers to declare Imperial Germany "''solely'' responsible" for the war, they were certainly ''involved'' in its expansion from a regional dispute into a world war. Likewise a lot of the policies and goals of Nazi Germany's Ostfront goals were similar to Imperial Germany's policies, and more importantly they did implement policies of genocide against the Herero in Sudwestafrika, including use of concentration camps and death by starvation, measures similar to the FinalSolution.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: At their worst, the Imperial Army could be harsh and repressive. Their greatest crime might have been the deliberate burning of library of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, which contained many irreplaceable one-of-a-kinds. Hostage taking and executions of civilians in occupied Belgium and France weren't unknown, either. This was particularly common as reprisal against Belgian sharpshooters, whose actions were blamed on civilian "[[LaResistance francs-tireurs]]" as they refused to believe that enemy snipers could be operating well inside the German occupation zone. That said, their crimes were downright paltry compared to the Nazis. [[CriticalResearchFailure Some people aren't clear on this.]] [[VillainwithGoodPublicity On both sides of said issue.]] The Allies' propaganda during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI (notably the Rape of Belgium campaign, which blended fact and fiction profligately) and the total responsibility that was laid on them by the Versailles treaty didn't help, along with Wilhelm's openly belligerent rhetoric and attitude.



** And a rather strange one: if the rule of succession in Britain had been absolute primogeniture (as it has been since 2013) rather than male-preference primogeniture (as it was in 1901, and indeed had been from at least the [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfTudor 16th century]][[note]]In theory, Britain had this rule as far back as the [[TheHouseOfNormandy 12th century]], but until the Tudors it had never been an issue as either the King had a son or had no children at all, except for right near the beginning with the rivalry between [[UsefulNotes/HenryTheSecond Henry II]]'s mother Matilda and King Stephen, which ended very peculiarly.[[/note]] until 2013), Wilhelm II would have become King of the United Kingdom in August 1901 ([[UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria Queen Vicky]] having died in January of that year and her eldest child, Wilhelm's mother [[NamesTheSame Victoria]], died that August). One rather wonders about the history of Europe since then if that had been the case... (Of course, no modern monarchy adopted absolute primogeniture until Sweden in 1980; there's some evidence that the medieval Kingdom of Navarre had this rule, but that was a very long time ago.)

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** And a rather strange one: if the rule of succession in Britain had been absolute primogeniture (as it has been since 2013) rather than male-preference primogeniture (as it was in 1901, and indeed had been from at least the [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfTudor 16th century]][[note]]In theory, Britain had this rule as far back as the [[TheHouseOfNormandy 12th century]], but until the Tudors it had never been an issue as either the King had a son or had no children at all, except for right near the beginning with the rivalry between [[UsefulNotes/HenryTheSecond Henry II]]'s mother Matilda and King Stephen, which ended very peculiarly.[[/note]] until 2013), Wilhelm II would have become King of the United Kingdom in August 1901 ([[UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria Queen Vicky]] having died in January of that year and her eldest child, Wilhelm's mother [[NamesTheSame Victoria]], died that August). One rather wonders about the history of Europe since then if that had been the case... (Of course, no modern monarchy adopted absolute primogeniture until Sweden in 1980; there's some evidence that the medieval Kingdom of Navarre had this rule, but that was a very long time ago.)
) Would Wilhelm (or King William V as he would've been known in Britain) have chafed under the system of constitutional monarchy (in reality he never seemed to understand that his cousin King George V had far less power over Britain than Wilhelm II had over Germany), or would such a system have spread to Germany as well?
20th Oct '16 9:13:36 AM Morgenthaler
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The other best-known characters of the period are, of course, the Kaisers. There were three[[note]]known collectively as "der greise Kaiser, der weise Kaiser und der scheiße Kaiser" - the senile Emperor, the wise Emperor and the shitty Emperor[[/note]]. The first was Wilhelm I, a conservative old Prussian stalwart with magnificent whiskers who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. His reign was dominated, politically, by Bismarck. Then came Friedrich III,[[note]]They were using the Prussian numbering[[/note]] for 99 days. A man of vague liberal sympathies (he quite admired Britain; he even married UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria's eldest daughter) he was struck down by cancer of the larynx and is a favourite of AlternateHistory. Finally and notoriously, Wilhelm II. A notoriously temperamental man with what we would now diagnose as ADHD and some [[FreudianExcuse major childhood issues concerning his arm defect]], he veered between liberal and conservative, strident militarism and sympathy for socialism, and later defeatism and dreams of victory - in other words, he was a picture of the rather-divided German nation as a whole in one man. He also had serious MommyIssues involving his relationship with Britain: unlike his father, who had a healthy respect for Britain, Wilhelm was at once awestruck and envious, hating his mother but also wanting to be British. He admired British power but at the same time resented what he felt was Britain's attempts to keep Germany "in the shade." He fell out with Bismarck and dismissed him, and the rest of his reign was a succession of brief and unmemorable chancellors with himself as the real centre of gravity until during the war he was rendered irrelevant by OHL (''Oberste HeeresLeitung'', Army High Command) who formed a military Junta centered around Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff and ruled the country 'on his behalf'. Interestingly ImperialJapan, with a constitution and government modeled on Imperial Germany's, also fell prey to [[KatanasOfTheRisingSun a much less stable and rational Army-Navy Junta]] in the 1930s [[SecondSinoJapaneseWar which got a few tens]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII of millions of people killed]].

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The other best-known characters of the period are, of course, the Kaisers. There were three[[note]]known collectively as "der greise Kaiser, der weise Kaiser und der scheiße Kaiser" - the senile Emperor, the wise Emperor and the shitty Emperor[[/note]]. The first was Wilhelm I, a conservative old Prussian stalwart with magnificent whiskers who had fought in the Napoleonic Wars. His reign was dominated, politically, by Bismarck. Then came Friedrich III,[[note]]They were using the Prussian numbering[[/note]] for 99 days. A man of vague liberal sympathies (he quite admired Britain; he even married UsefulNotes/QueenVictoria's eldest daughter) he was struck down by cancer of the larynx and is a favourite of AlternateHistory. Finally and notoriously, Wilhelm II. A notoriously temperamental man with what we would now diagnose as ADHD and some [[FreudianExcuse major childhood issues concerning his arm defect]], he veered between liberal and conservative, strident militarism and sympathy for socialism, and later defeatism and dreams of victory - in other words, he was a picture of the rather-divided German nation as a whole in one man. He also had serious MommyIssues involving his relationship with Britain: unlike his father, who had a healthy respect for Britain, Wilhelm was at once awestruck and envious, hating his mother but also wanting to be British. He admired British power but at the same time resented what he felt was Britain's attempts to keep Germany "in the shade." He fell out with Bismarck and dismissed him, and the rest of his reign was a succession of brief and unmemorable chancellors with himself as the real centre of gravity until during the war he was rendered irrelevant by OHL (''Oberste HeeresLeitung'', Army High Command) who formed a military Junta centered around Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff and ruled the country 'on his behalf'. Interestingly ImperialJapan, with a constitution and government modeled on Imperial Germany's, also fell prey to [[KatanasOfTheRisingSun [[UsefulNotes/KatanasOfTheRisingSun a much less stable and rational Army-Navy Junta]] in the 1930s [[SecondSinoJapaneseWar [[UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar which got a few tens]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII of millions of people killed]].
18th Sep '16 12:33:51 PM CombativeBoil
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** What Wilhelm refused to play along with was Bismarck intentionally provoking German socialists to revolt, and then militarily crushing them to eliminate their political influence in Germany. Hardly a case of "too dumb to fool." Maybe "too humane to puppet."
** It is especially curious considering Wilhelm's attitudes towards Socialism had a complete Heel Face Turn in later years. Once when a major strike occurred he is reported to have said "I expect my soldiers to shoot at least five hundred."
18th Sep '16 12:28:26 PM CombativeBoil
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* EvenEvilHasStandards: Wilhelm II wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but he was thoroughly disgusted at UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's treatment of Germany's Jews and declared that Hitler's actions made him "ashamed to be a German!"

to:

* EvenEvilHasStandards: EveryoneHasStandards: Wilhelm II wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue, but he was thoroughly disgusted at UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's treatment of Germany's Jews and declared that Hitler's actions made him "ashamed to be a German!"
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