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Watcher on the Rhine- A Report on the New Germany

By: Brian Connell (432.1/36051)
Publisher: Land Warfare Studies Centre From the John Laffin Library

Have the Germans changed? Are they still a menace to Europe? How deep are the roots of democracy in the Federal Republic? What is the secret of Western Germany's astonishing recovery from wartime pulverization? These are among the many questions answered by Brian Connell in this pungent report on the new Germany of the 1950s.

A dozen post-war years of feverish reconstruction have made Germany the crucial factor in the European balance of power. But will the Federal Republic find satisfaction for its ambition in the Western alliance, or will the price of reunification with the Red satellite on its eastern border be neutralism or a Russo-German rapproachement? And what will happen when the octogenarian Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, who has brought the West Germans thus far, has to lay down his charge?

Brian Connell has ranged wide to seek the answers. His travels have taken him to Dachau and the eastern German lands administered by Poland from the burgeoning Ruhr to the Nazi cells of Lowe Saxony, from rebuilt shipyards of Hamburg to the refugee cluttered crofts of the Bavarian forest. And the warning he brings back is that parliamentary government may only have the strength of the economic boom which sustains it.

Brian Connell's research into personalities and motives, his account of every-day life and behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings illuminates many of the threatening features of Germany today: the refugees, the Ruhr industrialists, the neo-Nazis and the Communists. He spares no criticism, but does not withhold praise where it is due. The conclusions he draws in Germany's election year could not be more timely.

Brian Connell's experience of Germany goes back twenty years when as a student he watched the first parades of Hitler's armoured columns in Berlin. Since the war he has travelled widely as foreign correspondent for the Daily Mail and the News Chronicle and has broadcast frequently for the BBC in four languages. He has spent the last year in Germany gathering material for Watcher on the Rhine.

March 2009

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