INT: When the GDR had kind of passed away, did...
SH: (Interrupts) (Laughs) All right, kind of passed away, ja.
INT: What did you actually think were the things worthwhile keeping and what was good about it?
SH: Well, I would say the social system, the sick benefits, the kindergartens, the cheap rents, the so to speak the second pay roll that people got. You know the wages were, of course, lower than in the West, but the things that you got as Neben rechter, as perks, they were so that they meant really a part of your life and today you must pay for them and therefore people... are dissatisfied too and today you have strangely a kind of longing is developing for the old GDR, for that part of its social achievements.
INT: Do you think there was a great opportunity missed regarding socialism?
SH: Yes, of course. Of course. The thing is this...
INT: Could I ask you to include the question into your answer.
SH: Ja. There was a great opportunity missed to establish the kind of socialism with a human face, a kind of socialism that in 1970 they wanted to build and couldn't build, because they didn't have the means to do it in the isolated Soviet Union then. And in Germany... At that time already, if you go back in history, they thought that socialism could not work alone in the Soviet Union and that the Germans must join it. Germans didn't, instead they went for National Socialism, Nazi. But now they might have had a chance to do it, after the experience of those years of the GDR, after those forty years, but you couldn't ask people now to do another experiment after that first experiment had gone wrong. Of course, I believe that at some time in the future, due to the contradictions in capitalism, due to the crisis they have, due to unemployment and, people will look again for an alternative and whichever name you will give to this alternative, it will have some of the features of that old socialism, only they will make it better, this is my firm belief. We can only learn from the mistakes of the past and try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
INT: What did it make you feel? What did it make you feel that lost opportunity?
SH: Well, I cannot blame history. History is something that comes, it is there. No, I cannot blame God for what he's done... for how the world moves, you see. It happened. But you don't have to accept it passively. You might be able to do something, so that when it occurs again, it'll be better than before. OK, I think that.
INT: I would like to ask you at the end a couple of questions that are very general, but looking at what we used to call the Cold War...
SH: (Interrupts) Cold what?
INT: The Cold War.
SH: Cold War.
INT: And one of the questions is what was the most dangerous moment in your personal opinion during those forty-five years of Cold War?
SH: Jesus! There were so many dangerous moments, I cannot pick a choice, it's impossible. Practically every weekend something developed that could have led to war and I think Czechoslovakia was a moment when things could have gone wrong, if the West would have replied with force to the invasion of Prague, or even on June '53, if the Americans had answered with their tanks when the Soviet tanks came to the Brandenberg Gate, then war might have come, so that was a great point of danger. I don't know Reagan with his insane ideas, he created dangerous points and if the Soviet leadership had replied in kind, that might have brought about another war and you mustn't forget that if localised small war, even with conventional arms, would have brought provisional advantage to one side, the other side might have replied with atomic weapons and then you would have had a catastrophe. So we always moved along a dangerous path at that time and I hope that now this danger at least is eliminated, but this doesn't mean that there are calm waters. New countries, new peoplewith atomic weapons might come to the fore and they might not hesitate to use that sort of stuff. We cannot sleep calmly and quietly yet.
INT: One other question which might similar mind-boggling, what kind of positive and negative effects did the Cold War have?
SH: Well, I don't think it had any positive effect, only the fact that we lived in great danger all the time and I had hoped after the World War Two that the Soviets and the Americans, which had been able to work as allies during the War, would continue to work as allies in peace and for the benefit of mankind. And I was shocked when Churchill gave his speech at Fulton, Missouri, but I had signs of the beginnings of the Cold War before that. That was the reason why I left my position as an editor of the American published German newspapers in 1945 and went back to the United States and got out of the army. Otherwise, if that had not been, if we had continued with the kind of unified democratic policy that was established during War, if we continued that after the War, I might have considered staying on in Germany as an American officer, which I was at the end of the World War.
END OF INTERVIEW