Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 13, No. 17. August 3, 1950
What of democracy in Germany? Dr. Kahn says there is nowadays "more talk about democracy in Germany and less belief in it than ever before." And that, he thinks, is equally true of East and West. To say that the Eastern Republic is popular is simply mockery, seeing the millions of refugees who are still pouring in from the East. Dr. Kahn ascribes the antipathy against the Soviets, prevalent in East no less than West, to the reports from the thousands of German ex-prisoners in Russia. The Eastern Government is as alien to the Germans as the Bonn regime; the former is a Communist regime forced on the Germans with all the trappings of mass propaganda, the latter is labouring under the shadow of its unfortunate Weimar predecessor. Already Dr. Adenauer (Federal Chancellor) has been called "Chancellor of the Allies." His reply is to be as nationalistic as he dare be. De-nazification, says Dr. Kahn, was and is a farce, for the simple reason that in Germany practically everybody was a Nazi—and the better trained experts were so without exception. Result ? They are in influential posts again, and not only in the West. In the West, it is true, pseudofascist groups are vociferous and less bridled; in compensation, the Eastern Republic is allowed to be officially more rabidly nationalistic. Economically, the West is at the mercy of Capitalism unbridled—social conditions are poor, wages low, collective bargaining logging far behind Western Europe. The shops are full, but only for the rich. This is not so noticeable in Eastern Berlin. There shops are emptier and people have to work for a currency only one-seventh to one-tenth the value of the Western Mark. Does that mean (it was asked, of the speaker) that in the East there is more social justice? Dr, Kahn was not convinced that that was the case. Poverty in the East is as rampant as in the West, and it is a mistake to think that inequalities there have ceased to exist. In either sector, some people live in affluence or at least in great comfort, while the mass of the people have little but hard work.