30 APRIL 1954, Page 25


The Answers of Ernst von Salomon. (Putnam. 35s.)

THIS is one of the key books of post-war Germany ; therefore, of The fundamental issue of responsibility is evaded. If we were bad, says Salomon (and even the majority of Nazis were not really bad), are you any better ? As for National Socialism, " perhaps all that can be done is to describe it as a phenomenon, as a by-product of life, and like life to be immeasurable by any standard and equally shapeless." That it might more accurately be described as a by- product of German right-wing nationalism is something Salomon does not discuss. He is, after all, only answering the 131 clumsy questions of the Fragebogen and there is no interrogation on this point. So, despite the ruined cities and the long, long tale of blood, Salomon remains a German nationalist ; he will never be a European. And the question that remains to be answered is also one the Frage- bogen does not ask. Does he speak for Germany ?