Berlin Checkpoint Charlie: Moral Legacies from Pentagon-Strategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer

Posted in Democracy | 05-Feb-13 | Author: Henning - Hubertus von Steuben

Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann (left) presented his book about his long-time mentor Pentagon-Strategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer in the famous Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. The discussion about World 3.0 and the moral values of German-born Dr. Kraemer was moderated by Member of the World Security Advisory Board (WSN) Henning-Hubertus Baron von Steuben (right) who was written a chapter in the book. Former BND-President Dr. August Hanning (second from left), as well a member of WSN Advisory Board, discussed the situation in Mali, Algeria and Syria with former German Chief of Staff and Chairman of NATOs Military Committee General ret. Harald Kujat (second from right), greeted by Artion Hildebrandt, the son of the Founder of the Mauermuseum.

Germany-born Pentagon- Strategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer would have loved this event of the World Security Network Foundation (WSN) in the museum at the famous Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin: More than 100 participants were young people with an appetite for foreign affairs. They were sitting in the first two rows reserved for them as "Young VIPs" while several ge-nerals and ambassadors were sitting in the back of the audience of 200. Three well-know strategist, Dr. August Hanning, former President of Germany intelligence service BND and State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Interior, General Harald Kujat, former Chief of Staff Bundeswehr and Chairman of NATO's Military Committee and WSN President and author Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann discussed about "Pentagon-Strategist Dr. Fritz Kraemer and the World 3.0-Which Elements do we need for an effective Foreign-und Security Policy in the globalized World-Disorder?"

The first part started with a discussion about the actual situation in Mali and Algeria. General Kujat urged the Berlin government not to exclude from the beginning any option, including military support, which may be needed sometimes. Instead the military expert demanded, that the goals, who are to be persued with an intervention in Mali should be clearly defined and aligned with the European Union. A commitment in Mali could only be successful, if the military's support would also set a political process in motion, in which which the African neighbors like Niger, Mauritania and Algeria in the north as key countries must be included. Kujat did not see parallels with Afghanistan. The situation at the Hindukush should be considered as a special case.

Dr. Hanning, who knows the Mahgreb region well and had been in southern Algeria and the border area with Mali, described the situation which needs a clear Western strategy to avoid a vacccum there used by extremists. He agreed with the Federal Government's position and advocated a logistical support of the French troops in Mali.

Dr. Hoffmann asked for a clear planning and options, like a mussing 500 –pages- study of the EU about Mali and a precise and credible double strategy of power and diplomacy. He urged to improve foreign-and security policies by a fresh new approach World 3.0, which is the last chapter of his new book about his long-time mentor Dr. Fritz Kraemer ("True Keeper of the Holy Flame. The Legacy of Pentagon Strategist and Mentor Dr. Fritz Kraemer- orders in, (ISBN 978-9812110-5-4).

The second part discussed the options for the Syrian conflict (see the proposal by WSN in top 'Proposals') and how to end the slaughter of more than 60.000 civilians there. Regarding the trouble spot Syria Dr. Hanning admonished to show restraint. The conflict would be more complex than he superficially seems to be and justified in the relationship of the different tribes and the role of the ruling Assad dynasty. Solutions could therefore mainly be found within the country and in the Middle East region. Any intervention from the West would just create new problems.

Dr. Hoffmann demanded only to support those rebel groups, which had agreed before the implementation of the principles of the UN Charter.

The discussion then focused on the moral legacies of Dr. Fritz Kraemer.

I had the honor to know this notable man on a visit to Washington in the spring of 2002. We both took part in the inauguration of the Inspector General Joseph Schmitz (now like myself a member of the International Advisory Board of WSN) at the Pentagon with his protégé Hubertus Hoffmann.

What I noticed in the first moment was the extraordinary contrast of his personality: he seemed small, almost fragile and used a walking stick with his 95 years of age, but had in spite of its age-related frailty a tremendous physical presence - as he entered the room, he drew all eyes are on.

The audience treated him with respect, almost bordering on reverence. His outer appearance alone signaled the features of his character: rigidity, straightforward-ness, sincerity , but also openness and an often ruthless directness. A gnarled, sometimes angry old man. Behind his rough facade, however, he hided a high degree of sensibility and emotionality.

As such, "Old Fritz", as his friends called him in Washington DC, actually had something of the famous "Old Fritz". The similarity with the Prussian king Friedrich II. was absolutely amazing.

And this was not the only commonality. With his famous sentence "no state without virtue" Frederick the Great described over 200 years ago the function of the political and military elite role model. The confidence of the "ruled" in the integrity of the "rulers" - this principle was already in the Prussian absolutism as a basis of national community and an indispensable element of the state. It is missing now world-wide and not only in Syria or Mali or Afghanistan, a credibility gap between the rulers and the people.

Also today, a functioning democracy is based on the personal responsibility and the integrity of their elites and leaders. Leadership therein is not primarily defined as a privilege but as an expression of spiritual education, social responsibility and personal merits. Because this implies its democratic role model: uprightness and morality, the living of values, a Christian way of life and commitment to the com-munity.

Timeless ideals, embodied by two outstanding personalities of the American history. Both came from Germany. Both emigrated to America for personal reasons. Both lived in different centuries and committed to the same ideals:Dr. Fritz Kraemer fought as US-officer in WWII and military adviser in the Pentagon to the end of his life for freedom and human rights in America and the entire world. And for the fall of the Berlin wall. And thus followed 200 years later in the footsteps of another American hero:

Major-General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. He fought on the side of George Washington in the war of independence and made a decisive contribution to free the American colonies from the yoke of the British crown.

Two excellent men, who not only represented but lived their principles: honesty, honor, dis-cipline, sense of duty and service to their country. Prussian values, which preserved their importance until today.

Kraemer was always outspoken, if you liked his ideas or not. Today most people are smooth characters without character. They sail with the wind. Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann has described on Berlin TV the character of this great mind (watch the interview in German here).

Fritz Kraemer was the opposite of an opportunist. He condemned them. He said what he thought and did what he said. As such, he was not random but predictable. That's why they feared him. Don't we have too few Kraemer's today in our carrier-oriented materialistic societies?

Fritz Kraemer urged to look for men and women of excellence and give them life-long support. We need a fresh responsible elite in our democracies. They must assume key functions in our society. It is not about privilege or wealth, but about special responsibility.

We must constantly enrich our politics with fresh talents with good ideas and ideals, he demanded. For him too many politicians 'start as a grape and end as a raisin". During their long careers they have left part of their soul on every rung of the ladder of success, com-promising and sailing with the wind. He said: "Great tasks await us in this world, but small interests govern. We must actively change reality and the world for the better instead of passively adapting to a bad reality."

His moral legacies included: Be a person in your own right and do not mindlessly follow the masses as an opportunist. Speak what you think and feel. Believe in absolute values and a Holy Flame. Follow a code of honour. Say what you think and not what is expected of you. Be a little adventurous and courageous. (see Tillmann Dietrich, Who was Dr. Fritz Kraemer?)

Cleartext is the core message. Plus values. Combined with personal courage.

Fritz Kraemer was the opposite of an opportunist. We need to find young people all over the world to be come like him promoting peace and liberty in the globalized disorder to today and tomorrow.


Henning-Hubertus Baron von Steuben, Chairman of the Steuben Family Association, is a member of the International Advisory Board of the World Security Network Foundation and author of "Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben and Fritz Kraemer: Two Prussian-American Heroes Who Shaped the U.S. Army" in: Hubertus Hoffmann, "True Keeper of the Holy Flame"