Spirit of Jaspers, “The Question of Individual Responsibility for the Actions of One’s Nation, The Question 0f American Guilt, November 30, 2017 (reprinted with permission).
Amid the ruins of his country following World War II, he German philosopher Karl Jaspers, in The Question of German Guilt (1947). analyzed in rigorous detail the many evasions and excuses then commonly heard in Germany in response to charges of guilt for what had occurred. Near the end of the book, he also warned,
And yet, we are oppressed by one nightmarish idea: if a dictatorship in Hitler’s style should ever rise, in America, all hope would be lost for ages. We in Germany could be freed from the outside. Once a dictatorship has been established, no liberation from within is possible. Should the Anglo-Saxon world be dictatorially conquered from within, as we were, there would no longer be an outside, nor a liberation. The freedom fought for and won by Western man over hundreds, thousands of years would be a thing of the past. The primitiveness (crudeness) of despotism would reign again, but with all means of technology…
The German fate could provide all others with experience. If only they would understand this experience! We are no inferior race. Everywhere people have similar qualities. Everywhere there are violent, criminal, vitally capable minorities apt to seize the reins if occasion offers, and to proceed with brutality.
 Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt (A.B. Ashton transl.)(New York: Fordam University Press, 2000), p. 93.
“(A)ll hope would be lost for ages.”
Words to ponder.
The Trenchant Observer