Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Reinhard Mohn

A Sense of Community

Bridging the Gap between the Individual and Society

  • 1. edition 1997 (PDF)
  • Free of charge

As a result of National Socialist influences, citizens' rights to self-realization were very limited and clearly subordinate to the interests of the state in the years prior to the Second World War. With the demise of the Third Reich and its world view, a new orientation of the citizen to the state developed.

Under the influence of the Western allies, the right to self-realization became a focal point in our educational institutions thereby putting the claims of the state into a relative perspective. This new orientation within society was at first viewed critically by the population, but later willingly accepted as it promised more individual freedom and manifold personal advantages. The idea that citizens have a responsibility towards their fellow men and society - something which is taken for granted in other countries - was practically unheard of in Germany.