Germany has been attributed much of the guilt for the two European Wars but Germany has much to contribute to the world culture. Berlin was the capital city of Germany for centuries and a centre of German art and culture. It has the most vibrant and technical economy. In recent years, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany has shown compassion to the Syrian refugees. Berlin as the capital of German culture has about 138 museums and 400 art galleries and has been the centre of many inventions. German musicians have contributed some of the best classical musicians in the western world, including composers like Bethoven, Johann Strauss, Handel, Bach, Brahms and Clara Schumman. Hitler felt he was Aryan and supported Subhashchandra Bose in his efforts to depose the British rule in India during the period Second European War (1939-1945).
Berlin Wall divided the European world between communism and free enterprise in the post war period and this division was symbolized by the building of the wall 1961 dividing the city of Berlin and Germany as a country. Britain, France and US controlled the west and Soviet Union controlled the East part of the city of Berlin and East Germany. The wall divided the city and the country. Many innocent German families suffered considerable anguish during and after the war and this is narrated in this novel through the character of Ingrid. About 3.5 million Germans escaped from East Germany to West Germany for freedom from the brutal and communist Stasi rule of East Germany. The wall was constructed on 13th August, 1961 to keep East Germans in East Germany. Berlin as one city was divided into west and east. The wall was dismantled on 3r October, 1990, after the collapse of the communist regime in Russia which affected Germany. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum documents the pictures and artifacts of the immense misery suffered by the division of the city. Jahawarlal Nehru as the first independent India kept India non-alinged in the further European conflicts of the West with Russia.
Nazi ideology for territorial conquests in Europe was called ‘Lebens Raum’ which meant ‘Living Space’ which Hitler claimed for the reason to take over European territories to settle German people. Germany unlike other major European nations did not take the same interest as other Europeans in developing foreign colonies. Nazi ideology of racial superiority was evident in the enactment of the miscegenation laws of 1935 enacted by the Nazi parliament which declared marriage between Germans, who were considered Aryan, and non-Aryans including Jews to be illegal and severely punishable. There was no mention in the 1935 statute for status of Indians as being either Aryan or non-Aryan. Hitler supported Subhashchandra Bose during the second European war and helped him train 3000 Indian soldiers to fight the British. Subhashchandra Bose married an Austrian German, Emily Schenkel, under Hindu rites to evade risk of prosecution under Nazi laws.
A significant cause in Germany for the rise of Nazi party and Hitler was hyper inflation in the economy which resulted from the requirement of payment of reparations for the First European War by Germany to England and France. The prices of basic necessities rose from day to day. At the Treaty of Versailles in 1918 Germany was required to pay sum of 133 billion German Marks ( US $ 33 billion). Only about one eighth of the amount was paid by Germany by 1931. In many films, documentaries and narration of history which show Nazi atrocities and concentration camps, there is an omission to mention reparations as a significant reason for the rise of Nazi party and Hitler. In 1932 Hitler and Germany stopped paying the balance of the amount. The military tradition of requiring payments of reparations after the war has stopped. The world conflicts have morally moved to enhancement or establishment of religious or democratic ideology and we are entering the period of apology for the past wrongs of Empire building period.
Danzig was a city state for centuries in Northern Europe and was a self governing city state with about 10% Polish and about 90% Germans living happily together until Hitler took over the city in 1939 and annexed it to Germany. People of Polish origin suffered a great deal of discrimination by the Nazis after the takeover. After the second war city was renamed Gdansk and was given to Poland. The boundaries of Poland were substantially changed after the peace treaty. Poland was an innocent victim of the European conflicts but has paid a exceedingly heavy price by the loss of life and disrupted economy. Germany had made a pact with Russia and first Germany invaded Poland and many Polish died in the German concentration camps along with the Jewish. Russia then invaded Poland and also killed many Polish people. The Polish lost about 5 million people during the second European War and more than the major power of Europe except Russia. The plight of Poland has not been told by western history writers and documentary producers. The novel refers to the family of Ingrid who was half Polish and half German in Danzig which caused immense grief to the family.