Teuton the Introvert

Germany was once the most powerful nation on the Continent. Now it is spiraling toward mediocrity.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2010

FREIBURG, A university town nestled in a valley at the foot of the Black Forest in southwest Germany, is where the philosopher Martin Heidegger, who wore a Nazi Party badge for the special occasion, delivered his notorious rector's address in 1933, exhorting German students to fulfill the Fuhrer's vision by supporting the "national revolution." The medieval city was heavily bombed during World War II and occupied by the French. After the Berlin wall fell and the remaining occupation force departed in the early 1990s, a motley crew of house squatters and hippies moved into the former French barracks. But within a few years, the local city council converted the space into a gleaming town for the middle class called Vauban. When you visit this eco-town, it quickly becomes apparent that Vauban resembles nothing so much as a tarted-up socialist paradise.

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