Interview: Stephen Green

A former chairman of HSBC, lifelong Germanophile and committed Christian, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint talks about the future of the eurozone, empty cathedrals and what makes Chinese leaders anxious

The World Today
5 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

You write in your book, Reluctant Meister, that Germany has been striving to out-compete its neighbours since the end of the 19th century. Now it has achieved that goal, why is Germany a ‘reluctant’ leader?

In 1945, Germany suffered a complete moral and physical collapse, more total than any civilized nation has ever known, and thereafter a growing appreciation of the evil, and therefore the shame, of the Third Reich and the determination that Germany will never do anything like that again. That translates itself into a reluctance to find itself in any kind of overt leadership role, lest leadership be felt to be domineering. Any sense of a reversion to the so-called Führerprinzip is anathema to Germans. Yet the realities of geography and economics in modern Europe are moving Germany into a position where it is, for all practical purposes, the leader within the eurozone.

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