In his lifetime, my grandfather, Frank Munk, published three books and numerous articles on the intersection of economics and political science. The Legacy of Nazism, published in 1943, was the second of those books. It was written just four years after the Munk family left Europe and arrived in the United States. In addition to the preface that follows, I have published four chapters from this book in order to capture the gist of his ideas as they relate to my grandfather's experience of the times.
These books are all out of print today so, for reference, I have transcribed a few chapters from each book that have elements relevant to our family history. The other two books were:
The Legacy of Nazism
"A sniping expedition into a large village" — the expression once used by Professor Pigou — might apply to this book. It may well be that it is too early for lasting occupations of the village. But it is high time for an exploratory foray, for a few commando raids on the whole problem of totalitarian economy and its aftermath. This book is such a raid.
Totalitarian economy is more than an isolated interlude: its effects will be felt for decades. It was born out of certain social and economic conditions: the decadence of genuine liberal competition, the end of laissez-fair, the vagaries of the trade cycle, the growing awareness of insecurity, unemployment, and frustration in both the classes and the masses. On the other hand, economic and social structure has undergone, and still is undergoing, such basal changes, under the combined pressure of totalitarianism and war, that there will be no return to pre-Nazi conditions. Nazism and its evil fruit will ultimately perish but the forces and counterforces they have generated will persist for a long time. It will not be the world — particularly the Europe — that we knew. Not only democracy but our entire civilization must, to use the words of William Allen White, go down to the tomb and arise.
The impact of the totalitarian earthquake is so shattering that many of us are unwilling to acknowledge it and to face the loss of so many familiar institutions. Some at least among the United Nations are unable to recognize that post-Nazi social organization will differ from older patterns. Too many people are afraid of winning. They are , indeed, apprehensive of defeat only slightly less than of victory. Fortunately, true leaders among the United Nations have a clear vision of the world they want to create after the war. "We are fighting for a new social and economic order," says Present Benes. "War accelerates tendencies and natural process. The consequences of the present war, whether we like them or not, will be far-reaching and, perhaps, revolutionary." And another close observer of the European underground, Louis Adamic, tells us emphatically that the ties which bind the world to tradition, legalism, or legitimacy are loose and it is moving towards revolution of one kind or another. A study of totalitarian Europe will reveal how far the process has gone already. It represents a development that may be channeled; damming it is a hopeless undertaking.
Our task is not so much to change pre-Nazi political frontiers, as to change social frontiers. Totalitarianism irrevocably and irreversibly destroyed the old equilibria of social forces. New forms will emerge when uprooted peoples, now swept by the total tempest of war like tumbleweeds before a story, will settle down again. Even Nazi institutions may be altered and used to serve new purposes.
To future generations, the totalitarian "years of the locust" will undoubtedly appear as the breaking point of one era and the threshold of another. Our task is to decide whether it shall be a break for better or for worse. No one will deny that our time is pregnant with options and opportunities.
The present book mirrors the challenge, as well as the shortcomings of our time, The author is painfully aware of the scantiness of documentary source materials, of the provisional character of his conclusions, of too great a distance in space, and too little distance in time, of change continuing unabated at ever faster speed. He feels very humble in the face of the great human and social tragedy which spurns adequate description.
Many volumes will no doubt later be written about the total interlude; whole libraries will be organized; collective research projects, indispensable to modern science and inquiry, will be sponsored and financed; findings will be published by universities and foundations; excellent and authoritative tomes will be written. But when all this has been done, Nazism and its economy will be a matter of the past, its problems of no more than academic interest, and the books will be only specialized publications to be studied and appraised by the detached scholar and pure theorist.
Because this book as been written and will be read while the conflict is still in full force, the reader may regard it as an intermediary report on a live and little comprehended subject. Policies must be formulated now, in the midst of change and even chaos. The future will not wait. If this work can contribute to a better understanding of the real problems, it will have fulfilled its mission. Studied and understood, it must be if the United Nations are to take over, administer , and reorganize successfully the legacy of Nazism.
I have profited by the advice and encouragement of many colleagues. Members of the Department of Economics and of the School of Business Administration of the University of California were uniformly kind and helpful. The following graciously read parts of the manuscript: Joe S. Bain, Jr., Norman S. Buchanan, John B. Condliffe, Howard S. Ellis, Ewald T. Grether, Charles A. Gulick, Frank L. Kidner, and Lawrence L. Vance. Their suggestions and criticism were extremely valuable. Professor Hans Kelen gave me the benefit of his wide knowledge in the field of political science. Dr. David L. Stevenson of the English Department of this University, Joan Stevenson, and Mrs. Geraldine Spence Eberhart helped me greatly in matters of presentation. My wife's contribution is too vast to allow of itemization. I received many stimulating ideas from discussions with my students. Thanks are also due to Mrs. Maryanna Railton for conscientious preparation of the manuscript. The Institute of Social Sciences and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research of the University supported the work with small grants for secretarial assistance. The author alone is, of course, responsible for the book as it now stands. The Institute of World Affairs very kindly gave permission to incorporate in Chapter XV, in an extended form, my paper presented at the Twentieth Session of the Institute in Riverside, California, in December, 1942. Collaboration with the staff of the publishers has been extremely pleasant, and their assistance most helpful.
Read these chapters from this book:
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