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National characteristics, German


ABSTRACT - There has been considerable argument since World War II over whether the concept of a national character, such as might distinguish the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, or any other contemporary national group, has any reality in fact. The present paper, operating on the assumption that there is a distinctive German character, one essentially different from that of the English, the Italians, the French, or the Russians, seeks to show, in terms of the processes of culture defined by anthropology, where German uniqueness lies. This, it is contended, rests not so much in factors of native psychology and social organization as it does in geographic position and in the German position in the stream of European history. The marginal position of the Germans, both in time and space, is a vital element in producing both excellence and excess.

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