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Carl Goerdeler's Great Memorandum for Europe March 1944

Carl Goerdeler, a former Mayor of Leipzig, was due to replace Hitler as German Chancellor assuming the success of the July 20, 1944 coup. Goerdeler was appalled the nation of Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe and Schubert was given over to the most primitive, destructive and primeval force for barbarism that Europe had witnessed since the Dark Ages. Prominent German people were active in resisting Hitler from 1934 onwards.

'The Aim' catalogued the mighty German guilt under Hitler who had 'thrown on the scrap heap the tradition of honour and integrity Germany had inherited' and committed actions which 'will forever be a stain on our history'. Next it railed against Britain's ability to see that the real threat for the future was Soviet Russia, and that this danger could only be met by a 'détente between Germany and the Western concentrate our whole strength in the east.' The main body of Goerdeler's work, however contained a detailed picture of Germany and Europe after the war. He foresaw a quasi-federal European Union comprising all anti-Bolshevik countries, in which national states would be free to organise themselves according to their own traditions. Russia could be included, but only after it had abandoned communism. In such a union, Goerdeler argued, Germany would have a natural position of leadership. 'Their central position, their numbers and their great efficiency ensure for the German people the leadership of the European bloc, provided they do not let themselves be corrupted by immoderate ambition and mad lust for power. It is stupid for them to speak of a master race; it is folly to claim for themselves the preservation of national honour and independence and yet refuse that to others. The leadership of Europe will go to the states that respect the smaller nations...what is needed is the British method of unobtrusive and well nigh invisible leadership.. leaving to each member, room for its own organic development..Goerdeler's Great Memorandum ends by asking the question which many Germans still ask themselves today: But can the German people do this?

Goerdeler was executed by Hitler's regime.

Source: Nein, Standing up to Hitler, Paddy Ashdown, William Collins, 2018

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