The Sword And The Conqueror Or The Conquered Essay

The Sword And The Conqueror Or The Conquered Essay

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The sword or the anvil. The conqueror or the conquered. The sword shapes destiny one blow at a time while the anvil is beaten just as destiny is beaten taking one blow after the other. Or that is what is said. It’s not true, though. The anvil is beaten, but just as each blow to destiny hardens it, so does each blow to the anvil. The anvil is a solid steady rock that survives beating after beating never wavering, and never faltering. One day the hammer may break itself with the power that it uses to shape destiny. The anvil though never breaks. The anvil is Germany.

Germany was one of the last countries formed in Western Europe. After the Thirty-year War and the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia that followed, Germany officially became a country. Unofficially, it was a loose conglomerate of hundreds of countries ruled by their regional princes. There was no sense of kinship or unity among the many different regions. It wasn’t until the Napoleonic Wars, that Germany felt the first stirring of Nationalism. Napoleon and the Congress of Vienne narrowed the hundreds of regions down to just 40 states. Unity it seemed was being forced on them whether they liked it or not. And they liked it because Nationalism had swept across the globe. Soon though it seemed that nationalism would fail, even with forced help, as the King refused to pick up the crown of the united Germany. Too afraid of the liberal thinkers that wanted to unite Germany.

When all hope seemed lost there came Otto von Bismarck. The ultimate statesman and politician. He was loyal to two things above all else. Prussia and the Prussian crown. A few brief military maneuvers and some brilliant diplomacy on the part of Bismarck and Germany became a state. Not just because the King of Pru...


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...o its military has 180,000 soldiers putting it 28th in the world but per capita, it falls to 105th.

This is because Germany realized that they are not the hammer. They don’t need the militaries that the US and China have. Instead, they are the anvil. The anvil that was defeated over and over again. First by Napoleon, then World War I, followed by World War II, and then the Soviet Union. But even though they were defeated they weren’t conquered. The people of Germany, from the beginning of Nationalism through to today have always considered themselves Germans. They may have been galvanized in the fires of war and the pain of defeat and the beating of the hammer and the sword of destiny did not go easy on them but in the end, they came through tougher and harder and with more of a sense of who they are than many other countries in the world, because they are Germans.

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