The German Genius (Watson 2010)

I have been reading through Peter Watson’s tome of ideas called The German Genius : Europe’s Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century (2010).  I finished it a few days ago, and I have a shit load of notes to transcribe.   The tome itself was like 900 pages.

Some quotes found before the main text and on the cover:

“The word ‘genius’ in German has a special overtone, even a tinge of the demonic, a mysterious power and energy; a genius – whether artist or scientist – is considered to have a special vulnerability, a precariousness, a life of constant risk and often close to troubled turmoil.”  ~ Fritz Stern

“The Germans dive deep – but they come up muddier.”  ~ Wickham Steed

“For those [Germans] born during and after the Second World War the cultural history of Germany before 1933 is that of a lost country, one that they never knew.”  ~ Keith Bullivant

“For countless Americans, Germany remains the ultimate metaphor of evil, the frightening reminder of the fragility of civilization.”  ~ Deidre Berger

“The German, at odds with himself, with deep divisions in his mind, likewise in his will and therefore impotent in action, becomes powerless to direct his own life.  He dreams of justice in the stars and loses his footing on earth … In the end, then, only the inward road remained open for German men.”  ~ Adolf Hitler

“People in England want something to read, the French something to taste, the Germans something to think about.”  ~ Kurt Tucholsky

“The Planet is in flames … Only from the Germans can come the world-historical reflection, provided that they find and preserve their German element.”  ~ Martin Heidegger

“The Allies won [the second world war] because our German scientists were better than their German scientists.”  ~ Sir Ian Jacobs, Military Secretary to Churchill

“We poor Germans!  We are fundamentally lonely, even when we are ‘famous’ !  No one really likes us.”  ~ Thomas Mann

“Hitler was ‘the inner mirror’ of every German’s unconscious … the loudspeaker which magnifies the inaudible whispers of the German soul.”  ~ Carl Jung

“No one is a Nazi, no one ever was … It should be set to music.”  ~ Noel Annan

“More Aryans than Jews were killed in the death camps.”  ~ from Historikerstreit, the “historians’ dispute” (Ernst Nolte – student of Heidegger)


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