RETURN TO GERMANY
On 9 October 1948, at 7.30 am, Buchman and a team of 260 rolled out of Zürich for Munich in a cavalcade of cars and buses. As they entered Ulm some hours later the bells of the cathedral welcomed them for their first official reception. They reached Munich that night, and gave the first showing of The Good Road in the Theater am Gärtnerplatz two days later. Here, as elsewhere on the tour, they had to give several performances a day to accommodate even some portion of those wishing to attend. For many Germans it was, as one said, 'the reopening of our windows to the world'. Even when the words of the play were not under- stood - it was played in English, and the supply of headphones for simultaneous translation was limited - the symbolic effect was significant. Bergrat Knepper, a mine manager who spoke no English, called the play 'the great experience of my life' because 'it meant we were accepted again by the international community'.
Buchman was happy. In 1937 he had said, 'This is not the time in Germany, but that time will come.' Now, while saddened by the devastation on every hand, he felt that he was for the first time entering Germany with an adequately trained team, with appropriate tools in the plays, and with the freedom to work. He was happiest of all at reunions with old friends. En route from Munich to Stuttgart the whole party took a detour to Freudenstadt, the place where the idea of moral and spiritual re-armament had borne in on him in May 1938. The little town had suffered severely from the shelling, and the Waldlust Hotel, in which he had often stayed, had only just ceased being used as a hospital and looked drab. But the proprietors, the Luz family, were back and the old mother, her son and daughters and Rosa, the cook, had worked much of the night baking with their last supplies. There were songs and memories and promises for the future. Rosa went on a ride with Buchman down the valley. 'I've made coffee for thousands of people in this hotel, for kings, princes and a lot of famous people. Not one of them thanked me. But today', she said, 'I am able to sit in the best seat and drive in this car with this gentleman. 'Before leaving Buchman replenished the Luzes' store of coffee and flour, as he did when he visited Princess Margaret of Hesse a few days later in the three poorly-heated rooms which the occupation forces had allowed her. He had been sending her food parcels for months, and there was, his colleague John Cotton Wood recalls, 'a tenderness about his visits as though visiting an old aunt'.
The cavalcade rolled on and The Good Road was played to over-full houses in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Essen. Twenty thousand Germans got in to see it, and many more talked with the travellers outside the theatre and in the streets. Many meetings took place, including one where 'we addressed 1,500 men who ran the entire coal industry here'.1 In each place the German and Allied authorities worked together to over-come the tremendous difficulties of receiving so large a body of people, and the London News Chronicle quoted a Military Government official as saying, 'You (Moral Re-Armament) have done more in two days to interpret democracy to the German people than we have been able to do in three years.'2
When, on 26 October, the time came for The Good Roadto move on to The Hague, the Minister-President of North-Rhine Westphalia, Karl Arnold, and his Ministers, Heinrich Lübke, August Halbfell and Walter Menzel, pleaded with Buchman to continue a major action in the Ruhr, where eighty per cent of German heavy industry was then located. 'On every lip', said Halbfell, the Minister of Labour, 'is the question whether the ideas of Washington or Moscow will dominate this region.' A Cominform document, Protocol M, issued in January, had stated, 'The centres of mass-struggle in Germany will be (i) the Ruhr and its industrial capacity, and (ii) the means of transport in West and North Germany.' 'The coming winter', it added, 'will be the decisive period in the history of the German working class.'3*
(* James Byrnes, the US Secretary of State, described how he had had a few drinks late one night with Molotov during the Potsdam conference. After the third highball, he asked Molotov, 'I would like to know what you would really like in Europe.' Molotov's reply was that he would be ready to give up almost anything to obtain Russian representation on the Control Council for the Ruhr. (Forrestal Diaries, p. 347.)
Halbfell did not want the Russian or the American ideas to become dominant. He had begun to see a third way: 'Moral Re-Armament', he said, 'is our one big hope.'4
Buchman was ready. The Forgotten Factor, at Halbfell's request, had been translated into German at Caux. A cast had rehearsed under the direction of Phyllis Austin. Her French relatives had been murdered in Nazi gas chambers, and when she was asked to direct the play she 'felt physically sick'. But she decided to do it, and wrote later that in the doing of it 'a deep love of Germany was born in me'.5 Buchman was prepared to leave this production and a team of fifty behind him in the Ruhr while he went on to The Hague.
During a dinner given for him by the North Rhine-Westphalian Government, Buchman was approached by Dr Heinrich Kost, the head of the German Coal Board and Chairman of Directors of a mining company centred in Moers. 'Dr Buchman,' said Kost, 'your idea is right. We need it urgently. What do we do now? When Hitler was around, he told us what to do. If the Russians come, they will tell us what to do. What do you say we should do?'
'I can't tell you what to do, nor would it be right for me to do so,' replied Buchman. 'But I can tell you how to find out for yourself He told Kost that God would speak to anyone who committed himself to find and follow His plan.
Next day Buchman and Kost spent four hours together. They talked further about God's guidance, and listened together. Kost had one thought: 'Invite a German cast of The Forgotten Factor into the coal mines at Moers.' He asked how Moral Re-Armament was financed, and was amazed to find that there were no government subsidies or large industrial backers. It was all a matter of individual courage and sacrifice, Buchman explained. Kost was especially impressed that an American doctor in Virginia had cashed in his insurance policies and sent $40,000 towards The Good Road's tour in Germany, and that Allied servicemen had given their demobilization gratuities to help their former enemies.
The first performance of The Forgotten Factor took place on 23 November under the shadow of the ruined Krupps works at Essen and was introduced by the Lord Mayor, Dr Gustav Heinemann* and Minister- President Arnold. Arnold's government had voted 60,000 marks - about £3,000 - to the venture, but this was soon used up, and the play could only proceed from place to place as each town provided transport, accommodation and an inviting committee of labour and management. Many individuals gave generously, and not only in money. The wife of one of Arnold's cabinet ministers sang in the chorus accompanying the play. A dozen young Germans, some like Petersen new to Moral Re-Armament and others the children of people who had met Buchman in the thirties, took part as actors, scene-shifters and in visiting the miners in their homes. One man who had narrowly escaped death on the Eastern Front said that nothing in the army or the Allied prisoner-of-war camps had been as tough as his first months with The Forgotten Factor in that freezing winter of 1948. Meanwhile Dr Kost issued his invitation to Moers for late January 1949, jointly with his works council representatives, most of whom were Communists.
(* President of the German Federal Republic, 1969-74.)
In its first two years 120,000 people, mostly from the coal and steel industries, saw the play in the Ruhr. Buchman was only occasionally in Germany during those years, but he was in constant, often daily, touch with what was going on. Whereas before the war he would have been present throughout such campaigns, he now had to concentrate on thinking strategically about the work going on in many countries simultaneously. He tried to deploy to each area those best equipped by background and experience for it. To the Ruhr, for example, went a relay of British miners and of capitalists whose motives and practice had changed. Irène Laure and her husband Victor, a merchant seaman who had been a Marxist for forty-seven years, addressed two hundred meetings in Germany in eleven weeks, including ten of the eleven state parliaments. With them went two Frenchmen, one of whom had lost fifteen, the other twenty-two, relatives in Nazi concentration camps.
Much of the continuing work was done by two young Norwegians, one of the British wartime coal-miners and an upper-class Oxford graduate. Each at times lived with the miners in their homes. In all, Buchman sustained a team of over a hundred people, mostly under thirty years of age, in the Ruhr for several years - all working without pay, generally sixteen hours a day and living on food and in conditions far inferior to those obtainable in their own countries. Buchman's own contacts with German workers and industrialists were mainly during the long summer assemblies at Caux.
The battle for the Ruhr was, from the outset, a hot one. Not only Communists but many Socialists were suspicious. A Danish journalist with Buchman's travelling force wrote him, 'Very warm greetings from your friends Minister-Presidents Arnold and Maier, who quietly solved a ministerial crisis between them, as Maier said, "in the spirit of Caux".' She told how the SPD (Socialist Party) Executive had passed a resolution at this time warning their members against Moral Re-Armament. The Board Member who proposed it told us many members had protested against the resolution,' she continued, 'but he himself is at present an enemy ... He was a political emigrant since 1933, first in Prague and, during the war, in London. He said he got his strong antipathy against MRA from "political circles in London who hated the Oxford Group during the war"!'6
More and more Socialists sought the opinion of Dr Hans Böckler, the President of the new unified German Trades Union Federation. He had been convinced enough by the reports of those returning from Caux in 1947 to join Minister-President Arnold and others in sending Es Muss Alles Anders Werden to over a thousand leading people in North Rhine-Westphalia, with the request that they think out 'how and where you can use this weapon in trade union circles, with management and in town and country districts'. But as the controversy hotted up with the tour of The Forgotten Factor, he decided he must investigate the matter more closely.
In the spring of 1949 Kost summoned a meeting of 190 leading industrialists to hear a panel of Moral Re-Armament speakers at the Kaiserhof Hotel in Essen. Böckler and a Marxist lecturer from Düsseldorf named Heinz Grohs decided to attend. When they arrived and saw so many capitalists together, Grohs decided he could not stomach the sight and went out for a drink. But he returned, and Böckler told the speakers after the meeting, 'What impresses us is that you people say the same things and put the same challenges to management as you have to us.' They were also impressed by Kost's opening words to his fellow industrialists. 'Gentlemen,' he had begun, 'it is not a question of whether we change, but how we change. It is not for us to wait for Labour to change. Change is demanded of us.'7
Böckler asked for a further talk in his home, of which a Clydeside shipyard worker, by now working full-time with Moral Re-Armament, wrote to Buchman: 'Fresh from Kost's meeting and the way the changed management with us tackled the Ruhr barons, Böckler spoke from his heart. He spoke of the sacrifices of the people leaving jobs and home. He said, "Some people hold the doctrine that you have to change the system in order to change society. That is, of course, true, but it is only half the truth. People must change drastically like those men who spoke to us at Kost's meeting. Both must be done, and you fight for both, I am convinced of that." He added, "I want to make a statement that you can use."'8
At Caux, a few months later, Böckler met Buchman, and they became friends. It was after this that he produced his carefully weighed statement: 'If men are to be free from the old and the out-moded, it can happen only as they set themselves new goals and place humanity and moral values in the forefront. I believe that Moral Re-Armament can bring about a definite improvement for mankind in many areas of life. When men change, the structure of society changes, and when the structure of society changes, men change. Both go together and both are necessary. The goal which Moral Re-Armament strives to reach is the same as that for which I am fighting as a trade unionist.'9*
(* Other German trades union leaders who went to Caux at this time included Lorenz Hagen and Gustav Schiefer, President and Vice-President of the Bavarian Trades Unions; Otto Franke, Secretary of the Trades Unions in the French Zone; Ernst Scharnowski, President of the Free Trades Union Organisation of Greater Berlin; Erich Galle. Chairman of the Metal Workers; and Hans Frenz, Chairman of the Post Office Workers.)
When Böckler was forced by a stroke to retire some years later, Buchman visited him in his home in the outskirts of Cologne and found him depressed and fretful at his disability. Buchman told him of his own months of inactivity and how he had learnt not to worry, and to go at a slower pace. Böckler shook his head. 'But you have all your friends around you who carry on your work, so you can take the time to come and see me. Our people are not so friendly.'
The intensive work of the Moral Re-Armament team in the Ruhr seems to have contributed to a severe set-back to Communist plans there. Already in January 1948, under Protocol M, the Communists had decided that their expected take-over of the Ruhr would be won not in Parliament but in the factories and at the pithead. The exclusion of the Russians from the International Authority for the area, set up the following December, had confirmed them in this strategy. They concentrated on the election for the works councils in each mine, and, before the arrival of The Forgotten Factor, were said to hold 72 per cent of the works councils seats in the coal and steel industries. The British authorities recognised the situation. 'Much the most serious aspect - more than the possibility of sabotage - is the Communist penetration of works councils and trades unions,' concludes a minute based on a top secret Foreign Office report at the time.10By 1950, however, the percentage of Communist representation had declined from 72 per cent to 25 per cent and, according to Hubert Stein, an executive member of the German miners' union, this decline was 'to a great extent due to Moral Re-Armament'.11 The Minister of Economics for North Rhine-Westphalia, Artur Sträter, said at a public meeting in the Parliament building, 'We are battling with great difficulties in coal production. It is no exaggeration to say that through this ideology of Caux a great bottleneck has been broken.'12
Exactly how much the improved industrial relations and decline of Communist influence in the Ruhr should be attributed to Moral Re-Armament is impossible to assess accurately. Other obvious influences were the improving material position of the workers in the wake of both the Marshall Plan and the currency reform, the introduction of new technology, the news of conditions in the East brought back by prisoners of war and millions of refugees, and the progress of other political parties as they rebuilt their party machines. But it is hard to ignore the factor which both Stein and Sträter emphasise.
Many of the workers were interested not so much by The Forgotten Factor as by the meetings which took place, in those early years, in miners' halls, at union meetings and in beer halls where long, and sometimes fierce, discussions developed between workers and the MRA visitors. These visitors were not presenting any particular political or economic point of view. They gave evidence of an experience which, they believed, could free individuals from personal difficulties and unite homes, trade unions and industries to rebuild the country. An occasion at Moers was typical.
One cold evening in February 1949 Max Bladeck, the chairman of the works council representing 2,500 miners at No 2 mine of the Rheinpreussen Coal Company, called a meeting at the Heier Tavern on the outskirts of Moers. A member of the Communist Party for twenty-four years, he was a small man, every inch a fighter, with sharp eyes, an intellectual forehead and a chest racked by silicosis. He had brought with him some of the keenest debaters in the Party. 'Their aim', writes Leif Hovelsen,13who was one of a small Moral Re-Armament team at the meeting, 'was to sink us with all hands, and six of them opened fire, one after another. Their basic theme was: "The West European countries are preparing for a new war. Every capitalist is a fascist at heart. The system must be changed. For 2,000 years Christianity has tried to build a new world - and failed. There is no ideology above class." The "blitz" went on for an hour.'
'Then', continues Hovelsen, 'it was our turn. A Clydeside shipworker, a small, solidly built, energetic man, got up. "The working class has never been so powerful as today, yet it has never been so divided," he said. "We have learned to split the atom but we have not learned to unite men. People must be changed all over the world. Only so will a classless society come. But we don't have to wait for it till we are in our graves."
'A worker from East London followed. "If we British had lived up to what we talked about after the First World War, you men would have been spared the suffering you have gone through," he said. "God help the party or the nation which does not change these conditions. But we need a full dimension of change - new social relations, new economic relations, new- international relations, all based on personal change. To have any lesser aim is reactionary."'
'The next speaker', continues Hovelsen, 'was a Canadian employer (Bernard Hallward). "What has created injustices in the Western world is selfishness and moral compromise in men like me," he said. "I can see how the hard-boiled materialism of the right wing is reflected in the bitterness of the left wing." As the tall, slim employer, with many humorous touches, told the story of his own change, of his two factories, his workers and their hopes, his wife and his two sons, he carried everyone with him. The meeting lasted four hours; when it broke up all were agreed to meet again. The Germans came to see The Forgotten Factor and we noticed its ideas gripped them.'
As the Heier Tavern meeting ended, Bladeck said, 'Capitalism is the thesis, Communism the anti-thesis; what you have brought may be the synthesis.'14 After seeing The Forgotten Factor, he began to realise implications for himself. The process was precipitated by his daughter pointing out that although he spoke a lot about freedom and democracy from platforms, he was a dictator at home. This cut him to the quick, and soon afterwards he asked a young Norwegian MRA man to stay in his house. In the summer of 1949 he went to Caux, accompanied by his friend Paul Kurowski who, with twenty-five years of Communist Party experience, was conducting the training of Party functionaries in the district. At Caux, they had many conversations with Buchman.
'The atmosphere that surrounded this man was something completely new for me,' Kurowski recalled later. 'It was like a revelation. There was a peace, a love, a caring and a great humility. I had not met a man like this before. We talked about great forces that were moving in the world and he listened very patiently to my ideas. He never tried to convert me. He never tried to answer my anti-religious points of view. He just had faith in the best in me.'15 What struck Bladeck most was 'Buchman's freedom from himself. I felt that here was a man who really subjected his will to a higher Authority.. . . If Lenin were still alive, he would have found the answer to a question he once put to a bishop: "Bring me one man in the whole of Christendom who lives today as Paul lived, and I will have faith!" '16
Rumours of the change in Bladeck and Kurowski reached the Party hierarchy in the Ruhr, who then sent Willy Benedens, a Party secretary in Moers, to Caux to bring them home. He too was convinced by what he saw. All three echoed Kurowski's verdict: 'For twenty-six years I have sung the Internationale with all my heart, but this is the first rime I have seen it lived.'17
When Bladeck, Kurowski and Benedens returned together to the Ruhr, they were called to the Communist headquarters for North Rhine-Westphalia. There they recommended that the Party should make itself acquainted with 'Moral Re-Armament's world-revolutionising idea'. They supported their contention with quotations from Marx and Engels and made it clear they had decided to live a new life 'for logical and realistic reasons'. They did not want to leave the Party; they wanted the Party to take its next step of development, by facing up to the moral standards of absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. Their approach was rejected and they were expelled from the Party at a meeting attended by the chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalia executive, Hugo Paul.
On 6 October 1949 Freies Volk, the Communist paper in Düsseldorf, carried an article by Paul headed 'Unmoral Disarmament' which stated, 'The dangerous activities of the MRA apostles have up to now been underestimated by the district executives, yes, even by our Party provincial executive . . . MRA's work has created ideological uncertainty and confusion in some units of the Party, for example in the Meerbeck-Moers district, in the Rheinpreussen pit groups and in the Ford plant in Cologne.' The article outlined the case against Bladeck and his friends, and complained that when officials reasoned with them, they only kept trying to pass on this 'new ideology'. Finally, Paul stated, 'It is resolved that all comrades who seek contact with these men shall be expelled from the Party and unmasked as traitors to the workers' interests.'
Hugo Paul's article was part of a desperate attempt to maintain Communist influence in the forthcoming works council elections. On 31 October Bladeck wrote to Buchman describing the campaign and reporting the election results in the Rheinpreussen pits. 'My deepest thanks for everything,' he wrote. 'Our silver wedding went off well and we had the delightful surprise of a gift from Caux. Then came the battle with the Communist Party and at the time of the union elections in the mine there was the pamphlet distributed against us and against Generaldirektor Kost. It smeared us and MRA in the dirtiest way. So I put up a statement at the pithead which said why I went to Caux and what Caux was out for. The important thing is that, in spite of the bitter campaign against me, I got the biggest vote at the poll.
'In the other pits where Benedens, Burckhardt and Kurowski are union officials, they too increased their majorities and have all been re-elected officers of the union in spite of all the propaganda against them. The ideology of MRA has carried the day in the Rheinpreussen pits ... I am entrusted with many warm greetings from Generaldirektor Kost to you, dear fatherly friend. He told me that in his opinion this ideology is the most effective way of breaking through all the barriers which create national and international unhappiness today.'18
Similar developments were taking place around men in other parts of the Ruhr. In Alten-Essen, for example, the Communist chairman of the Hoesch pits began working with Moral Re-Armament after seeing The Forgotten Factor in 1948, which brought him into conflict with the town's Party chairman, Johann Holzhauser. In 1949, however, Holzhauser himself went to Caux and underwent the same change as Bladeck and Kurowski. Through him, change spread to a member of the provincial executive of the Party, Hermann Stoffmehl, who was Town Clerk of Alten-Essen. Stoffmehl announced that he now believed Moral Re-Armament was the uniting ideology needed by the world. If the Party would not accept it, he would not only leave the Party but take a third of the local membership with him.
When, two weeks later, the issue of Moral Re-Armament was put to a meeting chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the West German Communist Party, Heinz Renner, Paul and Stoffmehl faced each other. Each proposed a motion diametrically opposed to the other. When Renner put both to the vote, Stoffmehl won 400 votes and Paul 407. Finally, on 8 January 1950, at a special conference in Düsseldorf, the West German executive of the Party decided to reorganize the entire executive and secretariat in the Ruhr because it was 'tainted with an ideology inimical to the Party'. The Manchester Guardian, under the headline 'A New Communist Heresy: Moral Re-Armament', described the purge which had been carried out in the North Rhine-Westphalian Party and quoted the new chairman of the provincial Party, Josef Ledwohn, as saying that 'one of the most dangerous symptoms was the growing connections between Party members and Moral Re-Armament'.19 But the reorganisation of the Party executive did not stop the spread of the spirit of Moral Re-Armament through the Ruhr.
Over Whitsun 1950 miners and management in the coal industry decided to hold an MRA demonstration at Hans Sachs House in Gelsenkirchen to coincide with the World Youth Festival in East Berlin. Karl Arnold wrote to Buchman asking him to be there and Adenauer, now Chancellor of the Federal Republic, also wrote to him. His hand-written message began, ' "Start with yourself - that is the essence of your message,' and then referred to 'the great success which the team of Moral Re-Armament had achieved in the Ruhr'. He added, 'Moral Re- Armament has become a household word in Germany. I believe that, in view of the offensive of totalitarian ideas in the East of Germany, the Federal Republic and, within it, the Ruhr is the right platform for a demonstration of the idea of Moral Re-Armament.'20 Buchman accepted these invitations, and went to stay with Hans Dütting, the Director of the Gelsenkirchen Coal-Mining Company.
His speech in Gelsenkirchen was broadcast throughout Germany, reaching over the borders into the East. 'Marxists are finding a new thinking in a day of crisis,' he declared. 'The class struggle is being superseded. Management and labour are beginning to live the positive alternative to the class war. . . Is change for all the one basis of unity for all? Can Marxists pave the way for a greater ideology? Why not? They have always been open to new things. They have been forerunners. They will go to prison for their belief. They will die for their belief. Why should they not be the ones to live for this superior thinking?'21
They were remarkable words from an American of 72 and were authenticated for the audience of three thousand by the presence on the platform of Bladeck, Kurowski, Benedens, Stoffmehl and a dozen of their friends.* Few realised that the vision of Marxists pioneering a new thinking had first come to Buchman amid the orange groves of California before ever he returned to Europe after the war. Its immediate relevance was caught by the Essener Allgemeine Zeitung, which headed its stories of the day's demonstrations: 'Berlin a Wash-out' and 'Moral Re-Armament the final remedy'.22
(* Also on the platform were the Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Franz Blücher, and sons of Chancellor Adenauer and of Minister-President Arnold.)
The battle was not, however, won by headlines. Every week, every day, much personal work and sustained friendship were required. In the winter of 1951, for example, when Buchman was again in California, Bladeck's ex-colleagues went after him. They knew that he had a weakness for alcohol, and they managed one evening to get him drinking. They then sat him next to a particular woman on a bus on his way home and he publicly embraced her. At once, all over the Ruhr, the Party said, 'See what hypocrites these Caux men are.' They threatened to publicize the incident if Bladeck did not leave Moral Re-Armament. He was so bitterly ashamed that he wrote Buchman asking that none of his friends should call on him again. 'I have betrayed you,' he said.
Buchman cabled back: Man-like it is to fall in sin; Fiend-like it is to dwell therein; Christ-like it is from sin to rise.
'"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." The biggest sinner can become the greatest saint. I have faith in the new Max. Sincerely, Frank.'
'I had expected anything else, but not that,' Max told his friends later. 'I felt ashamed, but it gave me inner strength. I felt Frank's faith in my change, and also the challenge to me. I also felt in the sentence he sent me, "The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleans us from all sin", the deepest message of Christianity, and it came at the right time.'23
Up to that time Bladeck had experienced something of moral change. His thinking had become different and he had experienced on occasions the direction of a higher authority in his life. But he had resisted surrendering his will to God. He had thought he could alter his own life by himself; he began to discover that he needed Christ.
When the next works council elections came around Heinz Renner, now the West German Party Chairman, told an old comrade who had left the Party to work with MRA: 'We are determined to destroy Moral Re-Armament's power in the works councils and reduce it to a sect and nothing else.'24 In fact Bladeck and his friends in pits all across the Ruhr were returned with increased majorities. In 1951 Walther Ulbricht, the East German Party boss, took the West German Party to task at the Party Conference at Weimar for losses in the elections, especially in the Gelsenkirchen area. However, in 1953 the pattern was repeated even more dramatically in Nordstern, the pit of which miners used to say, 'When Stalin has a cold, we all sneeze.' Of the eight men listed by name in the Communist leaflets as MRA men seven were elected, and the Communist representation fell from eleven out of thirteen in 1951 to three out of twenty in 1953. That year the works council sent a birthday telegram not to Stalin but to Buchman.
In these next years hundreds of Communists left the Party. Scores of Marxists discovered, in their own words, 'a superior ideology', and many who had been without faith found one. These miners - 'men full of songs and dreams and poetry and a deep longing for a world in which brotherhood and peace would become realities in everyday life', as Hovelsen describes them - were to move out from the pit galleries to take their new discoveries to their fellow workers in the mills of Italy, the mines of Northern Sweden, the factories of the 'Red Belt' in Paris, the docks of London and Rotterdam, to Cyprus, India, Africa, Japan, Australia and America; and to challenge the policy-makers of Washington and the bankers of Wall Street to open their minds and hearts to the needs of the whole world. This was the new Germany of Buchman's dreams.
The battle for the Ruhr went on year by year, but it became increasingly clear that the Communist Party had lost. By July 1959 the Managing Director of the Nordstern mine, Fritz-Günter von Velsen, was able to say, 'Following the training and change of heart that many of us found in Moral Re-Armament, Communist influence has gone down and the power of the Party on a mass scale has been broken. In my own mine, where the men formerly elected 90 per cent Communist representatives, the atmosphere has so changed that people come from many countries to see what has happened.'25
Again, it must be stressed that by 1959 many factors besides Moral Re-Armament had been in operation, but Buchman's vision and the work of his teams were important enough for Adenauer to repeat then, as many times before, that for him the 'great success' of that work in the Ruhr was 'the test of MRA's effectiveness'.26
The changes in many of the hundreds of industrialists who went to Caux between 1947 and 1952 played a major part, as they revealed an alternative to class war and the Marxist view that no capitalist could rise above his material self-interest. Von Velsen was a case in point. A Prussian, with duelling scars on his face from his student encounters, he was a tough master. After a talk with Buchman at Caux he decided to take an objective look at his life. He remembered a young executive whom he disliked and whose removal he had engineered by going behind his back to head office. He apologised to this man, brought him back, and they became trusting colleagues. Von Velsen said to his secretary, 'If you see or hear me doing anything which offends the absolute standards of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, please tell me.' The change in him was a major factor in creating the new atmosphere at Nordstern.
Similarly, the alteration in Kost himself had affected many, not least his employees at Moers. When he introduced the first showing of The Forgotten Factor there, Bladeck and the others were amazed to hear him say, 'We need to put people first in our business and then build the business around them. In this way we can unite as human beings so that something happens not only in the business, but in the community and in the nation ... If, in addition, we let the forgotten factor of God shine in our plant and rule there, then we shall see that not the bookkeeper's pen nor the adding machine nor reason alone governs the undertaking, but that the hearts of men must beat for each other.'27
Hans Dütting, the Director of the Gelsenkirchen Coal-Mining Company, with whom Buchman stayed for the Hans Sachs House meetings, employed 27,000 men. He had gone to Caux in 1949 with the idea of getting a holiday and doing some mountain climbing, but when he returned he completely altered his business methods; 'We began to conduct our operations in such a way that we no longer had the slightest thing to hide. We began quite spontaneously to give our workers' representatives more information. The result was an extraordinary growth in trust between work force and management. Every month I have a special meeting with all chairmen of works councils, some twenty-five in all. Absolute honesty prevails. Each side knows that no one in that gathering is telling an untruth.'28 'Perhaps I myself gave the strongest push towards a change in our mutual attitudes when I spoke openly about a wrong decision I had made, which I then put straight with the help of the works councillors,' Dütting added.29
Paul Dikus, the works council chairman for Dütting's 27,000 workers, confirmed the change as early as 1950: 'A year ago, I believe both of us would have said we were mad if I had said that Mine-Manager Dütting and I would speak together on the same platform.' Then he referred to a meeting where Dütting told the works councillors the full figures of the financial situation of the firm and took them completely into his confidence. 'That was the meeting of my life,' said Dikus. 'Dütting told us things we have always wanted to know. He laid all his cards on the table. It was something entirely new. And look at all the other things that have happened - all the houses that are being built, all the new social amenities for the workers. I tell you it is the practical application of Moral Re-Armament.'30
The first employer in the Ruhr actually to provide for the chairman of his company's works council to 'sit on the Board as a member with full and equal rights' was Ernst Kuss, the head of the Duisburg Kupferhütte. He took this action, according to Müller-List, 'under the influence of Buchman' following his visit to Caux in 1949. His example inspired Dr Peter Wilhelm Haurand, who had attended Caux in 1948, to frame a crucial resolution in favour of co-determination which he brought before the Annual Congress of the Catholic Church in Germany at Bochum in September 1949.* This resolution was accepted by the Congress after some 'clarification' by Cardinal Frings, which strengthened Adenauer's hand as Catholics were so influential in his party.
(* Confirmed by Herbert J. Spiro in his authoritative treatise The Politics of German Co-determination (Harvard University Press, 1958, p. 59.)
At this time there were discussions between Adenauer and his old colleague on the Cologne City Council, Hans Böckler, about whether the trades unions would be willing to renounce public ownership in favour of Mitbestimmung- co-partnership or co-determination between labour and capital in industry. Böckler and his colleagues agreed. There was much controversy over the resulting legislation which, amongst other things, would give the workers equal representation on the supervisory boards of all large companies.31 This turned out to be 'one of the most serious tests not only for the government coalition but for the new-born Republic as a whole'.32 On the management side were many 'Ruhr Barons', dictatorial employers who had retained their positions throughout all the changes of regime. On the other side were workers' representatives who had suffered greatly under the Nazis or who had turned to Communism. Both groups were opposed to Mitbestimmung.
Men like Dütting and Dikus, in their new relationship, saw co-determination as a natural development. 'We find that on the basis of the same ideology we understand each other better and better,' said Dütting. 'As a result we are not worried about the working out of the... law... An employer who really applies the four absolute basic demands gives his workers more than any law could insist upon.'33 'We don't need to have any fear about the fight over the co-partnership law,' added Dikus.34
And so it turned out. 'When recently a new Labour Director for the Gelsenkirchen Coal-Mining Company had to be chosen under the new law of co-determination,'* Sydney Cook, one of Buchman's experienced colleagues in Germany, reported to him, 'the men's representatives, of their own accord, came to Dütting and asked him to choose the candidate jointly with them. When this was done, they presented their united proposition to August Schmidt, the national miners' President, who at once accepted it. When the new Labour Director - a worker - was himself told the news, he said to Dütting, "The first thing I want to do is to go to Caux. And secondly, I want you to help me choose the right subordinates."'35 Max Bladeck, then vice-chairman of the works councils of the Rheinpreussen mines, also asserted that long before the new law was introduced 'we had already partially introduced it at Rheinpreussen'.36
(* The Co-determination Law for the mining, iron and steel industries was passed on 21 May 1951, and similar provisions were enacted for most other industries, except family businesses with less than 500 workers, on 11 October 1952.)
So, both in the easing of relations between management and labour and also in preparing people to take a lead towards co-determination, Buchman can be said to have played some part in creating preconditions for Germany's 'economic miracle'.
In a different sphere, Buchman also had a part in the post-war resumption of the Oberammergau Passion Play. Early in 1949 he received a letter from the President of the Bavarian Parliament, Dr Michael Horlacher, who had been in Caux, asking him to become chairman of an International Committee of the Friends of the Oberammergau Passion Play for its fresh start in 1950. He had attended the first performance of the play after World War I, taking a number of Oxford and Cambridge students with him, and had been greatly impressed by it. The Bavarian State Tourist Committee had now heard rumours of vast financial resources available to Buchman as an American. When he met with the local committee in a smoke-filled room in a picturesque Oberammergau inn, the question seemed to be whether he would supply one million dollars or two.
Buchman looked around this roomful of solid, beer-drinking villagers. He told them how important he believed their play to be. Then he dropped his bombshell. 'Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto you,' he quoted, and went on to ask, 'Did this village take an oath to put on this play?'
'Is that oath still binding?'
'Yes,' they replied.
'Then is it God's will you put it on again?'
Less enthusiastically they agreed again.
'Then you must do it. If you rely on money, Oberammergau will be another outpost of materialism. If you rely on your oath and your courage and readiness to work together, you will succeed.'
The producer of the play, Georg Lang, was there together with his son, a Munich architect who had been to Caux. There was a long silence when Buchman had finished talking. Then the younger Lang said, 'That is true. I saw it in Caux. I have seen it work out at home. We must be true to our oath and trust God.'
The next day the Mayor came over to see Buchman. 'I am sorry we spent so much time on the business side of the play,' he said. 'I am convinced that what we need is one-twentieth of the spirit of Caux and we shall be successful.'
They set to work. The producer later told Buchman, 'Since the war many young men have come back disillusioned and unwilling to take their part in the play, because it demands so much of them spiritually and morally if it is to be done right. We owe you a great deal. We had come near to selling our birthright.' When the play opened, Buchman and nine friends were among the honoured guests.37
Perhaps Buchman's greatest service to Germany during these years was to stimulate responsible people in many spheres to take leadership and to represent a new Germany to the world. This drew people of character back into public life and gave the average German faith in the country's future, as well as gradually convincing Germany's neighbours that this future could benefit Europe as a whole.
As, according to Dr Hermann Katzenberger, Secretary of the Bundesrat, half the German Cabinet in 1951 were 'firm MRA believers',38 the effect was felt in many areas. Dr Hans Lukaschek, Minister of Refugees, for instance, stated that he was encouraged by his visits to Caux to have faith in the future and look on every person who came from the East, not as another mouth to feed but as an asset for the rebuilding of Germany. Consequently, he did not set up permanent camps for refugees, but integrated the millions of refugees from the East as rapidly as possible into the community. Dr Alfred Hartman, the first Director of Finance for the Anglo-American zones and later Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, also spoke at Caux of this need and of the inspiration they had received to tackle it.39 So did other important leaders. 'We stand before the task of solving the issue of "burden sharing" so that justice is done for all, and it must be done in such a way as to exercise a powerful magnetic power upon Germans in the East,' said Thomas Wimmer, the Socialist Lord Mayor of Munich,40 while Wolfgang Jaenicke, Secretary of State for Refugees in Bavaria, declared, 'I am leaving here with the firm conviction of spreading the ideas of Caux between the resident population and the displaced persons.'41
The work of such men and many others, under the leadership of Lukaschek, who was Minister from 1948 to 1951, and his successor, who also visited Caux frequently, led to the 'law of equalization of burdens' (Lastenausgleichsgesetz), passed in its final form on 14 August 1952. This provided that those in West Germany who still had capital or property paid a special tax amounting to half their wealth, after a tax-free minimum, so that the refugees could receive regular payments as well as some compensation. Such a massive redistribution of wealth, as Joseph Beyerle, Minister of Justice in Württemberg-Baden, had stressed at Caux, 'de- mands high moral standards from our population'.42 It had also required a group of leaders courageous enough to propose it and to enforce it.
Dr Otto Schmidt, Reconstruction Minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, wrestling with 'house-building, building policies, town planning, rehousing projects and so on - all of which fall within my portfolio', found 'the divine object of his task' in 'what Buchman says and practises again and again about the solving of social issues - that "when everyone cares enough and everyone shares enough, everyone has enough".' 'We cannot evaluate in detail what it means that since 1947 thousands of people in public life have been to Caux,' he added. 'If I look back on myself and my personal experiences of reorientation and the new vision for the whole of public life which I have found here, I believe I can say a great force has been at work on many people to give positive shape to the conditions of the free nations.'43
1 H. Kenaston Twitchell to Senator Alexander Smith, 21 October 1948.
2 News Chronicle, 5 November 1948.
3 Der Kominformplan fur West-Deutschland (Kurier, Berlin), 15 January 1948. Also published by the British Foreign Office, 26 January 1948.
4 New World News,September 1948.
5 Austin and Konstam, pp. 174-6.
6 Gudrun Egebjerg to Buchman, 4 December 1949.
7 Buchman, p. 172.
8 Duncan Corcoran to Buchman, 12 March 1949.
9 Buchman, p. 172.
10 'Communism in the British Zone', FO 371/64874. The report itself is still not available.
11 Hubert Stein, speaking in Oslo at a conference of European Socialists in the headquarters of the Building Workers' Union, 26 April 1953.
12 Artur Sträter, speaking on 25 November 1950.
13 Leif Hovelsen: Ali Verden Venter (Oslo, 1958). Hovelsen was confined in Grini, the notorious Nazi concentration camp in Norway, where he first met Moral Re-Armament. In his book and in an unpublished report, The Struggle for Post-War Europe: Germany between East and West (January 1962), Hovelsen gives an eye-witness account of these years. His book was published in English under the title Out of the Evil Night (Blandford, 1959).
14 Geoffrey Daukes to author, 19 February 1983.
15 Frank Buchman-Eighty, p. 119.
16 ibid., p. 117.
17 Hovelsen, Out of the Evil Night, p. 70.
18 Max Bladeck to Buchman, 31 October 1949.
19 Manchester Guardian, 8 February 1950.
20 Konrad Adenauer to Buchman, 28 April 1950.
21 Buchman, pp.177-84.
22 Essener Allgemeine Zeitung, 29 May 1950.
23 Frank Buchman-Eighty, p. 118.
24 Hovelsen, Out of the Evil Night, p. 110.
25 Hovelsen, The Struggle for Post-war Europe, p. 19.
26 For example, in a talk at Bonn to Ruhr miners who had taken their play Hoffnung through the Ruhr and were about to take it on a world tour, 4 November 1959.
27 25 January 1949.
28 Müller-List, 'Eine neue Moral für Deutschland?', Das Parlament, 31 October 1981, p.15.
29 ibid., p. 19.
30 ibid., pp. 20, 21.
31 Johnson, p. 584.
32 Müller-List, 'Kampf um die Mitbestimmung', Das Parlament, 25 April 1981.
33 Müller-List, 'Eine neue Moral für Deutschland?' p. 20.
34 ibid., p. 20.
35 Sydney Cook to Buchman, 28 March 1952.
36 Müller-List, 'Eine neue moral für Deutschland?', p. 15.
37 Martin's eye-witness account in MSS.
38 New York Times, 7 January 1951. A paper in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, according to Price (research report for 1981), puts the proportion at two-thirds.
39 Caux transcripts, 8 June 1948.
40 ibid., 3 September 1948.
41 ibid., 27 September 1950.
42 ibid., 27 September 1948.
43 ibid., 23 September 1951.