Heinrich August Winkler

German historian who taught at the University of Freiburg for almost 20 years. Member of the he Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) since 1962.


Forced democratization?

Some lessons from postwar Germany

The postwar “democratization” of Iraq has often been justified by a comparison to the de-Nazification of Germany after the Second World War. However, the Allied postwar operation cannot be called an unqualified success, writes Heinrich August Winkler: the division of the country was the ultimate result of the Allied powers’ very different ideas of democracy. In West Germany, at least, the successful transition from liberation to freedom rested on the democratic traditions of the Weimar Republic. If the postwar developments are instructive at all, they are in showing that those who want to help other countries can at most help them to help themselves, writes Winkler.