THE POWER OF LOVE
Since his return home from the war Helmut had never felt emotions of normal human warmth. The atmosphere in the maddened postwar years was chaotic. Life back in the homeland was different than he had expected. He knew that he too was different. The peace of which the politicians spoke didn’t regard returning soldiers like him. He was just a war-shattered, sex-hungry returnee from the East where among the young men inhabiting the cellars of the German-occupied part of Stalingrad cold and rats had reigned.
At the same time, the shortage of men in the homeland had created a likewise painful situation for German women. The women were alone and lonely. Each harbored love to share. And no men to whom to give it. The men were all away on the front somewhere. And few were the men who returned home whole. Human relations were convoluted.
Things in general had gone haywire in Central Europe. War costs everyone. War ravaged the homeland as it did all of Europe. The whole continent was in shambles. The distinct stench of charred wood and crushed stone of the bombed out cities, ubiquitous and omnipresent, permeated the life of people and existence. Permanent total war had its particular smells. Those smells would never be extinguished. Nonetheless, in the postwar life in the cellars of the demolished cities of the homeland the unbounded urge for promiscuity infected men and women alike … and flowered concomitant with the flowing beer and Schnapps.
In Stalingrad, Helmut had lived in dank dark and cold cellars together with other cold men … and together with the rats smelling their blood. Rats, huge and dirty. Rats crawling over him in the night.
Back home in the postwar lived life bloomed in the cellars too. Like in the East the above ground was destroyed. Time and again, full of drink and lust for life, he and one or the other of the lonely women fell into the grass behind the Leopoldgastätte. Into the wild grass. One into the other. Life hungry men and women without names reunited.
Me, who walked back from the East Front! I made it back. I got back whole. A whole man. I walked across Munich’s Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz today and felt on display. I was in demand. Had all the men fallen?
Lonely women and scarce men had created a volatile situation of rapture. The unleashed rapture lasted five years. Short years. Eternal years, it came to seem. The rapture would never end I thought then.
Then Ute came into my life. From the start I loved her name. Ute [pronounced oo-tay]. A meaningful name. Of constancy, intransigence and perseverance. Qualities not in great demand in that period of irrepressible frenzy for life, a time when personal willfulness seemed truant. Like the military sniper in Stalingrad says before he pulls the trigger: It’s nothing personal. I learned what that meant. Ute put an end to that impersonal life. She was the new German woman.
Grünwaldgrad, I called this district of Munich! Again I entered the Alter Wirt for a beer. She was sitting at the table just opposite. We looked at each other. Waves of magic and currents tinged with sensuality passed from one to the other. Her short dark hair, the smoothness of her face untouched by make-up. I knew she was different in every way. She was alone. But, I knew too, every aloneness is similar in its loneliness. In a Stalingrad cellar, a Munich basement club, or in the Alter Wirt beer hall. That beautiful woman knows aloneness, I thought.
It is Saturday afternoon in a late Munich summer. My day off. I carry two beers to her table. She smiles. Few words are spoken. Unnecessary words remain unsaid. I suggest a walk along the Isar. Munich summers are so short. We should take advantage of it. Ute instead wants to go to Schwabing. We drink. Zum wohl! And off to downtown we go.
Marienplatz is in Trümmerhaufen. The tram ride through the ruins and rubble of a once great city is a study of the cost of war. Frauenkirche, our Notre Dame, a shell hanging over it all. Main street leading to the Stachus is a walkway cleared of rubble. Lined by gutted churches, ghastly ghostly shells. The Hofgarten is just a façade, the silhouette of the half dome of the former Army Museum jutting up in the mist behind it. The Siegestor—the Victory Gate—is sagging in defeat.
The empty shells of the ‘Thousand Year Reich!’ We used to joke about it in the cellars of Stalingrad. A thousand years and never again a thousand, someone quoted Nostradamus. After the first winter in Russia the soldiers felt the end. When we didn’t break through on the Moscow and Leningrad fronts, German soldiers perceived their defeat. Russians felt it too. Maybe the Russians always knew it. It was just a matter of time and the Russian winter.
The tram stops right in front of my favorite Leopoldgastätte. A survivor, a relic of the past, like me. Gott sei Dank. Beer and Steinhäger. Zum wohl! Chugalug. Ute hardly blinks. We sit at my usual table near a big window facing Leopoldstrasse. I hate and fear the shadows recalling the dark cellars.
She tells me about her home. The swinging swaying overhead suspension railway—the Schwebebahn—runs up the Wupper Valley toward Düsseldorf, flying over the ruins of the industrial Ruhr. An air-train hailed as the transport system of the future … until the day they transported a smallish elephant in it. It fell into the River Wupper … and the Schwebebahn remained like a Futurist Installation.
I tell her about Stalingrad cellars and how they flew me out with the last transport from the encircled Sixth Army. General Paulus and 240,000 soldiers stayed fighting to nearly the last. Then they surrendered. But I broke through. Like a Galapagos turtle, I made it through and back to German lines.”
“Why you? And not other baby turtles? Chance?”
“Military intelligence was my job. The Abwehr. Too valuable to leave me there for certain captivity. After making me talk the Russians would shoot me like they did the SS men who’d tortured and killed their people. Problem was I didn’t know anything of interest to reveal. That would make the torture worse.”
“Now you’re here ... a hero. You made it back.”
“I’m not even a defeated hero. I walked to the West, Ute. Go west, young soldier, I told myself. But I stopped on the Elbe. And with what remained of our armies—with the old men and the boys—I fell back. And back and back. Until it was over. I made it through to the Americans. Got through again. They sent us POWs to America. Picked beans in North Carolina until they sent me back home. Back to München. I’ve always been lucky. Nearly always.”
“It kills me how you always made it through. Turtle man! And now? Why in Grünwald?”
“Got a job across the river. Electrical company!”
“Pullach, eh? The spy nest. Gehlen! Everybody there knows that. Or they know and don’t know. Ah, those spies! Late for spies now, no?”
“Never too late for spies, is it?”
“I read a film résumé that would interest you. The Gehlen Org story. Someone killed it while the two pages still lay on my desk. So it’s top secret, eh? There one day, gone the next.”
“Top secret! Gehlen Org is another Ami plot!”
I order more beer and Steinhäger. The Fräulein waitress smiles at us, lovingly. It was always in the air at the Leopoldgastätte. Sex ... and echoes of loves we once knew.
Ute Friedrich was a light-haired Rheinländerin, from the Rheinland, of 26 years. Were she a man, she would be a Prussian pig for Bavarians. But since she was a beautiful woman she was instead an Ausländerin, a foreigner. She said she felt neither. Her family had been well-to-do before the war. Property holdings in the Wupper Valley and interests in Düsseldorf. Not super rich but well-off. When her father didn’t return from the war, her mother gradually sold off property so that their life style remained about the same, providing Ute with a Schwabing apartment while studying Germanistic at Munich University. Now she lived in München-Pullach, had a three-year old daughter and was a screen writer at Bavarian Film Studio in Grünwald-Geiselgasteig.
“Helmut, Gehlen and Pullach seem to link us.”
“Link us? Does Pullach have something to do with it? Pullach is just a place?”
“Silly! Of the link we both feel … one to the other.”
“How are we linked, Ute? You have your life. You, a well-to-do career woman from the Rheinland, a film writer. And me, a Sudeten German from the cellars of Stalingrad. Are we linked? By Gehlen and Pullach, you suggest.”
“Cynic! I meant the war. Gehlen and evil and the war. And Stalingrad cellars. All that made you different. You don’t get out of such things unscathed.”
“Unscathed! Most certainly not. But Gehlen’s not the point.”
Careful, Helmut Hartmann, I warn myself. Links are links, so don’t ruin this before it even gets started because of my proclivity to pardon Gehlen personally because he too had betrayed the Nazis who had destroyed a generation. Several generations … only to make even greater concessions to his own egomaniacal opportunism and maybe to a greater evil in his remorseless urge for power. Ute knows the truth. She knows that Major General Gehlen sold out everything to the Americans. Although the transformation from sanity to madness of our generation had been swift, the change back to sanity is an endless process. Civilian life is not easy either.
“You know what I mean! An all-important what. Gehlen and Pullach mean cynicism. And furthermore it can make you incapable of love. Real love. We forgive too much in our times, don’t you think, Helmut? We forgive the Nazis. We the German people forgive ourselves.”
“Ute! Please. Ich bitte dich.”
I perceive the forlorn tone in my own voice. The despair that she could be right even though we both seem to feel enjoined to follow our instincts to let ourselves be enveloped in the succor of … of nascent love. So for a while we sit quietly. We sip our now stale beers, awkward and in uneasy indecisiveness, and casting surreptitious glances one at the other as if real love in these postwar-torn times were something unprecedented. Or something undeserved.
On the tram back to Grünwald she tells me about her past relationship with another student at the university. An American! By chance, an Ami. She was pregnant at twenty. He never knew. He left her life and never knew his daughter. And now we are speaking of love. Yes, I was thinking of the love so lacking in my life. Signs of our times. After the mayhem, now everybody is subconsciously looking for love. One of the few real life values left. It seems to us the only way back to normality ... to normality after the brief glories of victorious occupation of Europe to our cellar lives of impending defeat under the ponderous buildings of Stalingrad in the East … and the eternity in the cellars of our newly destroyed world. The normality that seemed unobtainable after a life imagined by madmen, a life built on unjustified illusions, then dismantled on the tremors of ravaged hopes … and which for many terminated in their irremediable death wishes.
But Ute knew the answers. She had never forgotten love and selflessness and the power to transcend tragedy.
Back again in the Alter Wirt in Grünwald. Coffee and Weinbrand on the table. An east wind has come up outside. Cold is coming. My cigarette lighter flicks a nervous flame. It always works. Thirty times in a row. It could do a hundred times straight. In the cold cellars of Russia we competed. Winner takes all. My Zippo always won. Won what? A slice of horse meat at the most ... or maybe rat meat.
“How did you get into all that?”
“All that what? You keep saying that.”
“Gehlen’s Intelligence unit. Stalingrad. The turtle that got through?”
“I was Sudetendeutsch in Czechoslovakia until they resettled many of us in Germany. So many of us here that we called it Münchenbad … after your Karlsbad. I always knew the spa by its Czech name.”
I thought: ‘Maybe it saved me too … to meet Ute Friedrich.’ I digressed to the spa just to postpone love talk and to try to say something sensible to a normal German woman. Karlsbad or Karlovy Var, as if that name were something to clutch at and cling to for a generation that went wrong.
I say: “I called it Karlovy Var as I learned it in elementary school in then Czechoslovakia. So did my mother. But for my fanatical father it was always the German, Karlsbad.”
“For mine, too”, Ute says, again looking at her watch. “Their generation! We went there summers but I hardly remember it. Mother said he just had to take the waters once a year. Always in good health too … yet he never came back from Russia. I think I was six the last time we saw Karlsbad … Karlovy Var.”
“You sound like me today, interviewing the returning POWs from Russia … who think they’re being interrogated. That’s my job … talking about the East. For the Amis, I know that. And espionage. Sometimes finding Russian deserters to send back to Russia as spies.”
“Should you be telling me all these things … must be top secret?”
“Oh, it is. I assure you. Top top secret. But talking about it makes me feel free—and generous—just to say it out loud. Back then, back before the real war in the East began—peace pact with Russia or not—our invasion of Russia was around the corner. Everybody knew it. Russian speakers were needed. So since I already spoke Czech they sent me to a top secret language school in Oberammergau for Russian studies. A whole year. I spoke like a Russian. So Gehlen and the Amis want me so I …”
“Helmut! Please stop! You have to stop … for now. My daughter. A babysitter. It’s late. I have to go home. To Pullach.”
“I’ll drive you.”
“No, no, I have my car. Uh, tomorrow, if you like. Here?”
“Why not where I live? The Schloss Hotel. Just around the corner from here. Great view of the Isar Valley. Good restaurant. Tomorrow is strawberry day. Strawberries and whipped cream!” Can’t imagine I’m even saying such things. Back then we lived in mud and ice and ate rats in the ghoulish cellars of Stalingrad. A realm apart from the rest … a befouled battleground that was our residence during the day. At night a kingdom belonging to the black rats and now it’s bizarre that in the Schloss Hotel I request the smaller berries, tastier and tenderer than the big enticing ones. And I want my shirts ironed just so. Man is truly schizophrenic ... and can get used to anything … for survival.
THE POWER OF WAR
I, Helmut W. Hartmann, Sudeten Deutsche, WWII Abwehr in the East, flown out of Stalingrad in January 1943 and now an agent in top secret Gehlen Org, recognize the two real societies of this post-war Germany: on the one hand, the overwhelming majority of the defeated and only partially repentant society, and on the other the occupiers, the Amis—not the French plural of friend—but the derogatory Amis-Americans. For we of the Gehlen Org know who really won the war: the Russians won the war. Not the Americans. The Amis occupied us but the Russkies defeated us.
But in me something new churns and takes form. Ute’s presence in my life has pointed out a new life direction. A new path. Something I’ve never before perceived. Never imagined. A feeling of potential fulfillment. Of totality. An almost unbearable sensation. After the everlastingly hopeless cold of Stalingrad’s cellars, I had never had an idea, not even the presentiment of the existence of such a feeling. Survival had seemed my one and only goal in life. Arrival in Munich as a resettled German from former Czechoslovakia: survival. War: survival. Rat-filled Stalingrad cellars: survival. Survival at all costs.
During the next nights we woke, heads together on the same pillow, mouths close, her breath, my breath. Moments when barely the shadow of memories remain, the fleeting perception of the suspicion of something of the past, a vague remembrance of cold and rats flashing across my mind before dissolving again into her breath. I had always affirmed to my comrades that something of our pasts—of our collective pasts—resists seclusion and solitude. That something always remains. And now, some mornings, on the balcony looking out over the Isar Valley toward Pullach, she sang, deep, guttural, no hint of melody, drunk on love and hopeful sleep deprivation and we never thought of sleep. No wasted time for us, yet we both believed we had an eternity ahead. And on our pillow I hadn’t seen ghosts or black cellar rats. Ute’s breath held them at bay.
Over breakfast she asked about Gehlen. Hesitantly, she asked. No secrets from you, I reassured her, in one sentence purposefully breaking all the rules of my profession.
“What kind of a man is he?”
“Mysterious,” I began, “but like a child. Or maybe a rat. Secretive by nature. Cynical. Believes in nothing but Reinhard Gehlen. At first his Foreign Armies of the East Intelligence, German Wehrmacht Intelligence in the East, of which I was part—tried to report the real truth to the Führer. But he didn’t want negative truth. Unfazed, Major General Gehlen began working for himself. Mentally he began preparing to change sides. Was he a Nazi? I suppose he was. But already in 1942-43—like many top staff officers—he knew Germany had lost the war. Just a matter of time, he and the others believed.”
“How did he know?”
“Ute, after the first winter, we all knew. Germany wasn’t ready for Russia. Germany would never be ready. We didn’t even have the right clothing. How could we beat the cold? The Russians just fell back … and waited. And they died for their land. Oh, how they died. By the millions. Civilians too. The SS men just killed anyone or everyone behind our lines. Did you hear about Zoya? No, of course not. How could you? A heroine in the Soviet Union. At eighteen she was a partisan behind our lines. When the SS hanged her, she said: ‘There are two hundred million of us. You can’t hang us all. They will avenge me. Stalin is with us. Stalin will come.’ And even the SS knew they couldn’t hang them all. You can’t defeat people like that … and the cold too.”
“We had a few people like her right here in Munich. Sophie Scholl. Guillotined her! Not far from here.”
“Good … but not the same thing. Komisch, Strange, whatever we Germans speak of, we always come back to such stories. Sometimes I wonder why and how I got through and survived. And all in one piece. Oh, Ute, stay close to me.”
Ute smiled her crooked smile that was becoming familiar. Her unique unbounded and incomprehensible smile. One corner of her upper lip raised slightly higher than the other. And then the flick of the tip of her rose-colored tongue . The things Ute does! But how I love that tongue flick.
“Anyway Gehlen began collecting data, saving maps, stashing away the true information about Eastern realities. At war’s end, probably even earlier, he found his new sponsor: the United States. By 1946, his Gehlen Organization, Gehlen Org, was set up in Pullach, across the Isar River from where we’re sitting now and where you live. It’s staffed by Nazis and infiltrators from the CIA who are more Nazi than the Nazis themselves.”
“Helmut, you are in the wrong profession.”
“Profession? It’s a job. I was never a Nazi. I got into Gehlen’s intelligence service thinking I was serving my country … well, sort of my country. At least my people. But I never learned anything else. Only war! That’s what my generation knows. War and more war. War and survival. We didn’t learn other things … Real life things.”
“You definitely are in the wrong job.”
“I know you’re right but I’ve never known anything else. Still, I’ve got to get out of here.”
“Good idea! That’s something to talk about.”
“Talk? They hear me talking like this, I’d not only be out of a job, but really … really out of everything. Did you know?—I mean, how could you know in your film studio dedicated to what’s fictitious, how could you know of a hit list of two hundred people right here in West Germany to be eliminated? Easy to get on that list. Deserters are the first. They kick me out of there, Ute, I might as well go back to Russia. You don’t just resign and leave them. You don’t get fired with a separation settlement. Very powerful people down there in our Pullach. Very evil people. And they made the CIA … as much as the CIA made the Gehlen Org! Violence is doubly terrifying when it’s in your own house. You become a prisoner in the prison you helped build. They emasculate you. They unman you. ”
“Can you write, Helmut?”
“Write what? Situation reports? Russian troop displacements? Reserve strength? Troop morale in the Russian Third Infantry Division in Stalingrad? Leadership of Russia’s Tenth Army? Oh, yes. Maybe even dispatches from the Eastern front. But write? Screen scripts? No way.”
“Journalism, I mean. War stories. The cellars of Stalingrad. Eating rats. You have so much to say. Life experiences. Your stories make my scripts banal. Insipid and puerile. And all without that suffocating atmosphere of hyperbole we use there in Geiselgasteig.”
“How? Where? And you don’t even believe it’s impossible to leave Pullach?”
“I believe you can. Leave, I mean. Others do. Even CIA agents leave and then write books. You can too. I’ve read about them.”
I don’t answer. But I know the rules. In peacetime I had just continued along the same old fucking rat-infested trajectory. Now, love flowers and changes everything. And so, the weeds must die, I think poetically.
“I will introduce you to an old friend at the Münchener Anzeiger. Then we’ll see. You have a life story to tell. Fiction too, if you like, based on your horrible life experiences. That kind of thing. For that you need magazines. I know a few. You might even go to Russia yourself instead of sending others … see what’s happening there now ten years later.”
“Nasty, Ute! Nasty,” I respond, for a moment my voice quivering. With … with what? Indignation? Hopefully not pride. “But you’re right and I’m wrong.”
“Welcome to a new world, Helmut. The real world.”
“Now I hope to get fired …and not unceremoniously assassinated.”
For all the wrong reasons I had thought there was nothing to be undone in me. Ute and love undid me in no time. A few words demolished me. Was I not a man of one piece? Of a morally rigid rectitude? I had few expressible convictions but admittedly an unspoken acceptance of things as they stood. There must have been in me a terror of the unforeseen disaster of Germany, a history which time could still turn around. Yet, before Stalingrad I hadn’t even perceived the dwindling sense of sublimity that our real history had always promised.
The first time I saw three-year old Hannah, I called her Hannichka. She laughed. So for me she has always been Hannichka. But I couldn’t see Hannichka when and as I wanted. She and Ute had to remain secret. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way but I knew if our relationship were public Ute would be investigated; mysterious people would question her neighbors and inquire about her at the film studio. I wanted none of that for her. No, Ute must remain secret. So I couldn’t just drop in after work—when there was an after-work. No, I had to drive my service car to Grünwald first. Park. Enter the Schloss Hotel. Have a drink. Wait a while until I knew the watchers were satisfied. Then change cars. In the hotel garage I have an old Opel. And then I could drive back to Pullach. What kind of life is that? Inconsolable thought. Caught between the anvil and the hammer. The flimsy glories of the plane tree-lined streets of my past were false images. Confining and dangerous to stay in Gehlen Org; suicide to leave. Escape was a chimeric hope to clutch at. For what was I except an old agent from the East, potentially, perhaps inherently a danger to the new masters.
On Sunday Hannichka and I left her mother breakfasting on the Schloss Hotel balcony and set out by tram for downtown. Destination Blumenstrasse and the Marionettentheater. As the Strassenbahn winds its way along rubble-lined streets, with, I knew, a kind of parallel life going on in the cellars, Hannichka frowns and comments on the fallen down houses. Destroyed cities strike children, while I think thank God she wasn’t under one of them. Good she didn’t see it all earlier. By now they’ve transported much of the detritus of former Munich to a still growing hill on the old city airport of Oberwiesenfeld from which you get a sweeping few of the razed city. On the street she holds my hand. Handwritten words on walls read Down With Hitler- Nieder mit Hitler. Church bells everywhere. Catholic Bavarians! The first thing they did after the bombs stopped falling was repair the church bells. Hannichka pulls my hand and looks up at me: “Glocken! Schöne Glocken.” I’m not Catholic. I’m not anything but I love the Glocken … at a distance when they’re soft and inviting. Not overhead, where they sound like artillery overhead about to strike.
“We’ll tell Mami about the pretty bells,” she reminds me.
At Sendlingertorplatz a legless old man is sitting on a board. Hanging on his chest is a placard with the message:
Forget the color white
The color of love
When I put two marks in the wooden plate, Hannichka asks what I bought. Liebe, I say. Love. She looks at me funny and holds my hand tight. A cool wind has come up. Rain is on the way.
Fischer, Seine Frau is playing in the puppet theater. The miniature opera house is packed with kids. The fisherman’s wife wants it all: Mayorship, Presidency, Papacy.
“Oh,” goes Hannichka when the witch flies across the boards to the far side of the stage to berate the fisherman. “Ist sie gemein?”
Mean? “I think so, yes,” I say hesitantly. “Maybe a little cuckoo, too.”
Hannichka looks me in the eyes seriously, nods, then smiles and taps her temple with a forefinger.
All the kids are yelling comments to the puppets moving so lightly, barely touching the boards. Pure grace personified. Speaking mostly Bavarian dialect. Hannichka understands. She would yell too the next time.
Soon we would learn most of the repertoire. Kasperl and his adventures, Hänsel und Gretel, operas for children. Hannichka cries and laughs and claps and I hug her, and it’s like hugging Ute.
Hannichka and Kasperl and the Glockenspiel convince me that Ute is right. This is real life. The war is over. I’ve got to get out of it.
“Ute, I have wartime friends in an Alpine village in Italy who still invite me there to the hidden valley called the Valtellina. They were saved by Italian Communists interceding in Moscow on their behalf and repatriated in 1946. We can leave it all behind us. I have some hidden funds. You have enough. We can live well there. You can write. I can try to write. Hannichka will live a normal life.”
“Will you feel safe there? That is the question. For you, for me, for Hannah.”
“Yes, Ute. We will vanish, for now. Our Europe is huge. Its expanses. From Gibraltar to Greece, from Palermo to Berlin, from London to Sofia. The Alps and the Carpathians. The plains of Serbia, the steppes of Russia. The world’s greatest cities are in our Europe. DeGaulle’s Europe reaches to the Urals of Russia. Those unimaginable distances … most marking our continent that our leaders failed to delimit … Napoleon wanted to. Then Hitler. Put it all under one roof. It never worked. We will be concealed somewhere in the immensity.
“Yes, my love, but huge in comparison to what? For a script I’m working on I had to study world atlases. I found that Europe is small. Actually, Helmut, we’re not even a continent. It’s clear and visible. You just have to look.”
“Not a continent! Then what are we? What is the meaning of those words ‘on the Continent’? You think we won’t be safe down there, across the Alps … inside the Alps in the Valtellina?”
“Oh, yes, we will be safe and secure. For now. Today distances are still great. But tomorrow things will change. Wide highways and fast trains and cheap airplanes will change everything. And other Napoleons and other Hitlers and DeGaulles will come along and try to get us all under one tent. They’re already talking about a union. Borders eliminated. One currency. Then you’ll see how tiny this tip of the Euro-Asian peninsula called Europe really is. And Helmut, who really cares about us Europeans? Oh, we’re quaint, all our incomprehensible languages and folksy ways and the taint, just a breath of danger attached. Foreign tourists love this bunch of once rich and divided countries with no voice in the real world. You think the so-called Cold War has anything to do with Europe? Europe is just the battleground, as usual. Oh, yes, it’s a question of power, you know better than I. But not of Europe. This is a war zone. A war between the Amis and the Russkies.”
“Then no one will even think of us hidden away in those southern Alps.”
Post Scriptum by the author: Helmut still sees Europe the way it had always been and as he thought it was supposed to be. He had lived a life in which the mad visions of a few became the delusions of many, the illusions of the masses and the tragedy of a people. Such was also the foreign image of Old Europe, which in reality was even more corrupt and colonialist-imperialist with an irrepressible predilection for war. Yet, tourists loved it that way, just as did some of Europe’s own intellectuals as well as artists of the world who felt Europe was the only place to be. That variegated multi-ethnic semi-continent of Europe was a world. The so-called Iron Curtain that fell to mark the start of the Cold War after WWII only reinforced the continental image of this incomprehensible Europe, with an enticing ideological taint of danger attached.
PSS: The CIA , I believe, then named Reinhard Gehlen the first chief of the Intelligence Service of the U.S. occupied German Federal Republic of West Germany, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND, 1956-68. During the Cold War period he was always a loyal executor of U.S. policies. He died in 1979.