An open letter to Bertil Haggman, which I hope will interest other Juengerites ********************* Dear Bertil: You mentioned that Juenger appears somewhere in DER STERN No. 28, but did not say where. I could not find the passage on the website edition of the magazine. Could you give the precise reference? Perhaps in the future when you encounter something interesting in the European press that relates to our hero you could post it for those of us far from the scene--in this case, California. I appreciated your remarks in the recent debate on the Cold War. Usually I jump into such a debate, but this time, suffering from the "Indonesian flu," I abstained. My view is that all those people whom Koestler called "anti-anti-Communists," all those people whose chief polemic was against the Cold Warriors of the West and not against Communism, not to mention all those outright supporters of the Soviet Union, were greatly dismayed by the collapse of the USSR and the universal acknowledgement that it was, after all, an Evil Empire. Yet very quickly they discovered a saving tactic: Since it fell so low, since its vaunted military might fell into shambles, since it was really a third-world and not a first-world nation, then they could say that the Soviet threat to conquer the world never really existed. Ergo, the Cold War was an invention of American McCarthyites, just as progressives and liberals had been saying all along. It's a clever sophism and the basis for revisionist studies of the period. Your answer neatly punctured the dream-bubble: "Well, you have probably not followed the detailed sifting through of the archives of the Nationale Volksarmee. Much material has been published on it and I would be happy to point you towards some of these reports. Basically the Warsaw Pact was preparing nuclear strikes in advance of the lightning attacks on the northern German plain. Occupation banknotes for occupied western Europe, street signs, stamps, medals for the officers with units first reaching the Channel etc. etc. All was prepared and stored for use in Honecker's state. The East German archives speak for themselves, including good evidence that Warsaw Pact troops in fact were ready to use tactical nuclear weapons against targets in northern Europe." I myself would indeed appreciate a few references to the published reports you mention. They will help me in my long-term study of Soviet defectors. Had I participated in the debate, I might have mentioned the 1996 publication of VENONA documents by the National Security Agency, demonstrating by decoded Soviet telegrams of the 1940's that the American Communist Party was deeply involved in espionage for the Soviet Union, that the Rosenbergs were indeed guilty and that the number of atomic spies at Los Alamos was considerable. Also, to take another example, the correspondence between Mao and Stalin, cited by Dmitry Volkogonov from Soviet files, demonstrates that the Korean War was plotted in advance by these two respectable statesmen as a means to weaken America. The Soviet threat was real, despite the weaknesses of its structure; it was on that basis that George Kennan premised the policy of containment in 1946, a policy he later modified, but the one that proved victorious. The threat may have been exaggerated by the Pentagon and other self-serving members of the military-industrial complex, but one should not conclude from this that the Cold War was the invention of mad-dog demagogues conducting a witch hunt for innocent, progressively minded people. Demagogues did exist, but they were hardly the terrors that the left likes to imagine. On the contrary, McCarthy and his ilk were the best friends the Soviet Union ever had, because they largely discredited legitimate anti-Soviet criticism. Of course, this view will never become the dominant one in America, because Hollywood was badly burned by the anti-Communist blacklist and has ever after produced films ridiculing McCarthyism, lampooning every type of right-winger and glorifying the grand old troopers who held firm to their "progressive" ideas. Where does Juenger figure in this development? I am not sure. It seems to me, as a newcomer to the Juenger canon, that by the time of the Cold War he had pretty much absented himself from the folly of nations and turned his view to the ages. That is how, in his GLASS BEES, he could foresee the present dehumanizing world of media entertainments, the mind-numbing opiate of special effects and media celebrities--and the media moguls, the Zapparonis, the Titans who run the show, but not without irritating labor problems and personal vexations. Other authors of the time, such as Orwell, were still caught up in the anti-utopia of political and social totalitarianism: the Soviet megalith, seemingly eternal. GK
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