America’s Weimar Moment

How embarrassing for George Will: The editors at the Washington Post have apparently published the rough draft of this week’s column, containing his research notes but not his analysis.

The opening premise is intriguing: “Come September, America might slip closer toward a Weimar moment. It would be milder than the original but significantly disagreeable.”

I look forward to seeing the finished piece.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. LaurenceB says:

    I happened to have read his article just before bouncing over here, and I had very close to the same reaction. Will’s piece was unsatisfactory – not in the sense that it was bad, but in the sense that it did not satisfy. Strange.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Is Will’s column some sort of instantiation of Godwin’s Law?

    I gather that I’ve misunderstood the stresses that the Weimar Republic was under all these years. I thought that it was in a state of economic collapse because of hyperinflation and low growth in productivity abetted by war damages the victors had imposed and political collapse because of insufficient institutional support for democracy.

    Now I’ve learned that it was because its political leaders had convinced the people that victory in the Great War was possible.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    I have to give George Will a certain measure of respect. He’s a total ^%$hole but he really does seem to believe in the things he professes and he seems to stand by his beliefs even when they are unpopular and inconvenient for himself. That’s a damn site better than the various political opportunists.

  4. Andy says:

    Is Will’s column some sort of instantiation of Godwin’s Law?

    People seem to have serious history issues with respect to the Weimar Republic, in that it is not the same thing as the Nazis.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    People seem to have serious history issues with respect to the Weimar Republic, in that it is not the same thing as the Nazis.

    Andy, you have apparently forgotten that the Weimar Republic (or, more officially, the Second Reich) set the stage for the Third.

  6. Anderson says:

    the Weimar Republic (or, more officially, the Second Reich) set the stage for the Third

    Dave, the “Second Reich” was the German Empire, b. 1871, d. 1918 … no?

    Why George Will, or anyone else, thinks it’s preferable for Americans to be blown up in the middle of a Shia-Sunni civil war, rather than getting out of Dodge and letting the Shias and Sunnis blow each other up … well, it’s a mystery.

  7. Bithead says:

    Perhaps it’s because they see the danger in such a conflict, having learned their lessons well, oddly enough, from Germany…. Namely, that the winner will come looking for fresh meat, once the losers vanquished, and that attempting to isolate one’s self from a conflict only leads to larger conflicts.

  8. Anderson says:

    Right, Bithead. I foresee the Caliphate’s extending its sway over the Mideast, North Africa, and Europe by 2010 at the latest, if we pull out of Iraq. Not to mention large swaths of Texas and New Mexico.

  9. Billy says:

    Anderson – you’re conveniently forgetting about the preemptive invasion of Germany before the Weimar Republic by the French based on German nuclear technology, and the years of insurgency that followed before the French political class got too weak to sustain the occupation and pulled out, setting the stage for Hitler to fly planes into the Eiffel tower with the help of Neville Chamberlain.

    It’s EXACTLY the same now. Don’t you see?

  10. Andy says:

    Andy, you have apparently forgotten that the Weimar Republic (or, more officially, the Second Reich) set the stage for the Third.

    Um, duh? (Besides the fact that you are indeed wrong about the Second Reich label. You should really read up on Weimar and why van den Bruck would never consider it to be a proper German empire.)

    But Weimar was not the Nazis. Godwin’s Law is about Nazis. It’s like saying Godwin’s law is satisfied whenever you mention the Allied Occupation, because well, it ruled Germany in a time period adjacent to the Nazis. Well, obviously that’s stupid. The law is about Nazis for reasons very particular to the Nazis, not about the preceding SPD.

    Case in point: The folks at Hot Air also completely misunderstand the difference between Weimar and the Nazis and drew some laughable conclusions about Jon Chait’s recent TNR article on the Beauchamp absurdity.

  11. Anderson says:

    Billy has busted me; I shrink away, abashed.

  12. Billy says:

    Victory is mine!