Monday, March 11, 2013

Anschluss began 75 years this minute ...the countdown to WWII had begun

At 5am on the morning of March 12th 1938, the infamous Anschluss began.

At that minute -exactly 75 years ago- leading elements of the German advance team crossed the Austrian-German border, the signal start to the countdown to World War Two , which itself began less than 18 months later.

We can no longer ask the German adults who made the decision to invade Austria why they did it, nor can we ask the adults of the rest of the world why they meekly let Hitler break the Versailles Treaty by doing so.

They are all dead - only the children and young adults of that era are still around and even they are among our most senior citizens.

The origins of WWII have now passed beyond "oral history" into
the history of paper documents.

In addition, simple math reminds us that all of us alive today have spent far more time in the Post Modern Era ( post 1945) than we have in the Modern Era (pre 1945).

As a result we no longer instinctively have a feel for Modernist thought.

The intellectual gulf - far wider than just 75 years - between us postmodernists and the modernists of Anschluss

So a huge intellectual gap looms between us and the senior planners of Anschluss (and the senior politicians, bureaucrats and generals who planned the muted reaction to it) .

It is more than just the 75 years of time between us and the event itself.

In reality, it is the ideological chasm between our postmodernist sentiment and the sentiment of  long dead men whose mental universe was hardened when they were teenagers, more than 125 years ago.

Any 21st century history of WWII can not - I believe - be content any longer merely reciting a long of events : a sort of journalistic W4 .

It must provide the 5th W (why?) and explain it in terms we in the post-modern world can understand......

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