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Germany built better armies, better motor cars, better this and better that, than any other country in the world. Its name had become a byword for quality, reliability and honesty until its major car manufacturer destroys those invaluable assets by being caught red handed in a massive fraud which not only has major financial consequences but has put at risk the health of millions of people by successfully masking for years, the true amount of pollution which VW diesel cars have been putting into the atmosphere.
The fines and compensation which will be heaped on VW, may well see its demise but the whole of German industry will also lose out because “made in Germany” has almost become a dirty word overnight. Which of their other manufacturers have been at it ? The one amazing thing is that VW got away with its plan to cheat on a massive scale. Now it has been caught It has given only a half hearted apology which indicates that it it is running scared of confessing its sins in full.
In order for the conspiracy to succeed, VW needed a whole department to design and manufacture the equipment, to purchase the required parts, to install it in the relevant vehicles, a project which would need its own budget. This was a major enterprise in its own right which could not have existed without close involvement and the knowledge and approval of those at the very heart of the company.
Even worse the German government knew of the fraud months ago and did absolutely nothing, albeit now, it has set up a low level enquiry.
The fraud became official VW policy and the project could not then be stopped without a countermanding order. The order was never given. There was no whistle blower, blowing whistles because that would have meant disobeying the original order approving the project. Germans do not disobey orders, they do not take the initiative without an order approving the initiative. There was no such order.
And that was how Germany lost the war – blinkers and refusal to act without the appropriate order
The sixth Army was the finest fighting force the world had ever seen. It laid siege to Stalingrad in the depths of a Russian winter but no order was ever issued for it to be supplied with winter clothing despite temperatures falling as low as minus 60C. Not surprisingly, (except to the German high command) the troops froze to death. Von Paulus never received an order to save his men, 300,000 of them, by breaking out of the Russian encirclement and heading for the relief column only 50 kilometres away. So he refused to take matters into his own hands and order the break out. He condemned his own army. In the end only 6,000 men out of the original 300,000 survived and returned to Germany.
Plus ca change.