By Peter Schwarz
Global Research, January 24, 2016
World Socialist Web Site 23 January 2016
The historian Heinrich August Winkler has described the history of Germany as a “long road to the West.” By “West,” the Social Democrat means parliamentary democracy, human and civil rights—as they were defined by the American and French revolutions— class compromise and social balance.
After a long Sonderweg (special path), according to Winkler’s interpretation, Germany had finally arrived in the “West” through the Constitution of 1949, the nonviolent reunification of 1991 and the integration into the European Union, which finally led the European continent to peace.
Winkler’s conception of the “West” was always ideologically driven and involved a significant glossing over of reality. However, if recent events are assessed on the basis of his criterion, then Germany and Europe have rapidly travelled the “road to the West” in reverse over recent months. Almost overnight, the political culture has been violently transformed. The social democratic and liberal Europe has collapsed.
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