The Journal of Social Psychology, 1984, 122, 3-19.


University of New South Wales, Australia; and University of Bamberg, West Germany



Now that a valid measure of authoritarianism and a successfully balanced version of the California F scale are available, it seems a matter of interest to apply both to a sample from the society that gave the impetus for developing the concept of authoritarianism. Short forms of both scales plus short scales of ethnocentrism, neuroticism, achievement motivation, and social desirability set were applied to a random cluster sample of 136 people living in the Munich conurbation in Bavaria (where Hitler rose to power) in early 1982. When the Munich means were compared with means obtained from large-city-dwellers in other countries, the German respondents were found to have exceptionally low scores on achievement motivation and on the F scale, even though they saw high scores on the latter as socially desirable. Their scores on authoritarian personality (the Directiveness scale) were, however, within the normal Western range. Prejudice against "Gastarbeiter" (immigrant workers) was positively correlated with authoritarian personality, authoritarian attitudes (the F scale), and achievement motivation, but was negatively correlated with neuroticism. Mean scores on ethnocentrism were not high but to be especially tolerant was neurotic. Prejudice was not related to social desirability. Germany today is a somewhat "hippie" society -- quite tolerant, permissive, liberal, and rejecting of materialism. The present data are used to help build up a new cross-cultural theory of the genesis of achievement motivation. Possible explanations for the phenomena of Nazism are considered in the light of the new data.


When Adorno et al. (1) endeavoured to explain the emergence of German Nazism in terms of their construct of authoritarianism, they were apparently implying that one national population (Germans) had more of the attribute (authoritarianism) than did other populations. Their theory was, then, implicitly cross-cultural. A basic test of their theory, then, is to determine whether or not Germans currently are in fact more authoritarian than other peoples.

Heretofore it has been very difficult to carry out this apparently simple test. The original F scale proposed by Adorno et al. (1) as the main index of authoritarianism of personality was badly flawed by its Rightist bias, its openness to acquiescent response bias, and its lack of behavioral validity. In recent years, however, the emergence of two new scales has made it possible to circumvent these difficulties. The Ray (13, 19) Balanced F (BF) scale is a revision of the original F scale wherein half the items are F originals and half are F originals that have been revised to have meanings opposite to that which they at first had. It is thus completely balanced against any possible influence of acquiescent bias. Unlike other such scales, it also shows high negative correlations between its two types of item. The second scale is the Ray "Directiveness" scale. This scale is unlike the F scale (in any of its forms): it has no overall ideological bias and is valid as a predictor of actual authoritarian behavior (16, 20, 2'1, 31, 32). An application of these two scales to representative population samples in Germany and elsewhere should, then, enable us to test the basic aspect of the Adorno et al. thesis.


As both scales had already been administered (see Table 1) to random population samples of the largest or second largest cities in several other countries (Australia, U.S.A., South Africa), it only remained to administer the scales in Germany. As the existing data were from large cities only, it was deemed inappropriate to attempt a nationwide sample. Instead, West Germany's second largest city (Munich) was chosen for investigation. Munich is perhaps of particular interest: it is the city where Adolf Hitler rose to power.

In accordance with the sampling techniques that had already been employed elsewhere (18, 21, 22, 29), a random cluster sample of 100 people gathered throughout the Munich conurbation was attempted. Towards the end of the sampling, however, it was found that the working-class Muenchner was proving unusually difficult to interview. The sampling was therefore extended to a final N of 136 in order to ensure that the proportion of working-class respondents (manual workers) was similar to that obtained in other Western countries (i.e., approximately one-third of the sample). The final part of the sampling was, in other words, strongly concentrated in working-class areas. The interviewing was carried out by the junior author with two assistants in early 1982. The mean age of the sample was 33.7 years (SD 12.1) and an approximately equal balance between the sexes was maintained. On a four-point scale, mean education was 2.46 (SD 1.14). The mean fell between Realschule and Gymnasium.

The questionnaire contained the second short form (22) of the Directiveness scale (14 items) and the short form of the BF scale (19), also of 14 items. Other scales included were the six-item short form of the Maudsley Personality Inventory (4) Neuroticism scale, an eight-item short form of the Crowne and Marlowe (3, 6) Social Desirability scale, the 14-item short form of the Ray (17, 23, 25) Achievement Orientation (AO) scale and an especially-devised Ethnocentrism scale. The Crowne and Marlowe scale was included to check on the honesty of the responding and the Neuroticism scale was included as a basic check on the Adorno et al. theory that authoritarians are maladjusted. As Eysenck and Eysenck (5) have shown their N scale to be the basic factor in mental health measurements, the scale seemed well-adapted to the task at hand. The Achievement motivation scale was included because of extensive prior demonstrations (21, 22, 25, 30) that it is highly correlated with authoritarianism (except in India). It seemed important to see whether achievement motivation might also have a comparable explanatory role for authoritarianism in Germany. The Ethnocentrism scale consisted of a translation of the Ray (15) Attitude to Southern European Migrants scale. The scale was originally tested in Australia, but because both Germany and Australia have large populations of Mediterranean immigrants ("Gastarbeiter" in Germany), its potential transferability seemed high. As there are now very few Jews in Germany, it seemed that Gastarbeiter would be the most likely target of contemporary prejudice. All scales were translated into German by members of the Department of German at the University of New South Wales.


The translation of the scales seemed in general to have been successful. The reliabilities obtained for them were generally comparable to those obtained in English-speaking countries. The coefficients "alpha" were as follows: Directiveness .74, AO .79, N .84, Social Desirability .65, Ethnocentrism .70, BF scale .78. The positive and negative halves of the BF scale correlated a highly significant -.31. Two items in the Ethnocentrism scale showed nonsignificant correlations with the scale total and were therefore in need of replacement. As two extra items having specific reference to Gastarbeiter had been specifically included in the questionnaire as a resource for this purpose, replacement of the nondiscriminating items posed no difficulty. The revised scale showed a reliability of .75.

The means (and SDs) of the scales were as follows: Directiveness 28.54 (5.44), AO 28.91 (6.40), N 11.55 (4.08), Social Desirability 15.61 (3.82), BF 44.87 (13.75), Ethnocentrism 31.84 (10.86). In terms of the item mean used by Adorno et al. (1), the BF scale mean was 3.20. Since the theoretical midpoint of a seven-point scale is 4, the sample showed a clear overall tendency to reject pro-authoritarian statements. The BF scale mean obtained on the present occasion may most fruitfully be compared with the mean obtained in a 1979 random cluster sample of white Los Angelenos. The Los Angeles mean has been shown elsewhere (22) not to differ significantly from means in Australia and South Africa. By such a standard the Munich mean was extraordinarily low-a whole standard deviation lower.

As this result could hardly be more contradictory to the expectations engendered by Adorno et al. (1), a particularly searching test of whether or not the result might in some way be artifactual seemed called for. Could it be a social desirability artifact? Although the mean of this German sample on the Social Desirability scale was low by comparison with other samples, it was not significantly different from the mean observed in other Western countries such as Australia (33). Nor was the relationship between the Social Desirability scale and the BF scale divergent. The correlation was .247 in the present sample and .209 in a comparable Australian sample (29). The relationship between BF score and Achievement Orientation was also similar in the two countries (.278 in Munich and .262 in Australia). The relationship between BF score and Ethnocentrism could not be compared with the Australian sample but could be compared with the Los Angeles sample. It was .597 in Munich and .440 in Los Angeles.

The correlation with the Neuroticism scale provided some interest. It was -.292 in Munich and -.109 in Australia. Only the Munich correlation is significant. The implication is that German respondents who were especially rejecting of authoritarian sentiments were neurotic. A similar result was observed with the Ethnocentrism scale. Its correlation with the N scale was -.295. In this Munich sample pro-authoritarian and Ethnocentric responses were signs of good mental health. The average level of Neuroticism in the sample was, however, unremarkable. Although the German mean was low, it was not significantly lower than that in other samples (33). The correlation between the BF scale and authoritarian personality (as indexed by the Directiveness scale) was a nonsignificant .08. This contrasts somewhat with the usual weak negative relationship observed elsewhere: -.21 in Los Angeles, -.19 in Johannesburg, and -.24 in Australia (21, 22, 29).

It is in the demographic variables that greater potential for distortion of results exists. The German sample was of a similar mean age to the Los Angeles sample but had had significantly fewer years of education. Education correlated -.514 with BF score in Munich and -.162 in Los Angeles. Education is normally (34) a fairly reliable predictor of BF score (unlike occupation), but the magnitude of the correlation observed in the Munich sample is the highest yet observed, the next highest being the -.402 observed in Johannesburg (21). The sign of the correlation, however, is instructive. The implication is that lesser education tends to inflate BF score. This means that had the German sample been as educated as the Los Angeles sample, the German mean would have been even lower. Demographic effects, then, do not explain away the "problem" of the low BF mean in Munich. If anything, they magnify the "problem."

Although the mean score of the German sample on the BF scale was of considerable interest, it was not in fact the main means relied on to assess degree of authoritarianism. As it is surely deeds and not words that in the end count, the mean score on the behaviorally valid scale (the Directiveness scale) is of greater importance. Table 1 therefore lists the mean scores of all previous samples that have answered the present form of this scale. It may be seen that the Munich mean is notable only for its ordinariness. It is certainly not significantly different from the means observable in other Western countries.

The conclusion with the Achievement Orientation scale is rather different: A comparison of the Munich mean with the means tabulated in Ray (33) reveals that the German sample was by far the least ambitious of all samples so far interviewed.

Evaluation of the mean score of the Munich respondents on the Ethnocentrism scale is more difficult than for the other scales. The English-language scale from which it originated has been administered only once before -- to a sample of 178 respondents in two working-class suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Additionally, the Sydney respondents answered the scale with five response options per item (15), whereas the Munich Ss had seven response options. A new study did, therefore, have to be carried out to provide some base for comparisons. The new study was carried out in 1982 in the Sydney metropolitan area of Australia and has been reported in detail elsewhere (35). Suffice it to say here, therefore, that it was a random cluster sample of 100 Australians interviewed door-to-door. It included the Ethnocentrism scale in a form that was as far as possible identical to that used in Germany. The Australian mean was 41.48 (SD 12.98) for 12 items with an "alpha" of .81. The German mean on the same 12 items (with an "alpha" of .70) was 42.35 (SD 11.09). The two means on as far as possible the same questions gathered in as far as possible the same way in countries with as far as possible a similar minority "problem" were then virtually identical. There was nothing especially ethnocentric about the Germans. The mean in both countries was substantially on the tolerant side of the scale midpoint (i.e., less than 48). Respondents tended to approve of immigrants.


................................................................Mark I. ............Mark II..............Mark III
Sample.............................Statistic........(14 items)..........(26 items)........(14 items)

Sydney (Australia).............Mean...............31.36.................54.88...............29.69
See Ray (29)........................SD...................5.38...................8.75................6.16
Gathered 1976. N = 95......Alpha.................. .70.................... .77.................. .78

London (England)...............Mean................31.38
See Ray (18).........................SD...................5.17
Gathered 1977. N = 100.....Alpha................. .66

Glasgow (Scotland)............Mean................30.73
See Ray (18).........................SD....................5.48
Gathered 1977. N = 100.....Alpha................... .71

Johannesburg (S. Africa)....Mean..................................................................28.07
See Ray (21).........................SD....................................................................5.78
Gathered 1978. N = 100...... Alpha............,,.................................................... .75

Los Angeles (U.S.A.)...........Mean................................................................29.28
See Ray (22).........................SD....................................................................5.79
Gathered 1979. N = 101...... Alpha.................................................................. .73

Manila (Phillipines).............Mean...................................................................27.33
See Ray (28).........................SD.....................................................................4.64
Gathered 1980. N = 100...... Alpha.................................................................. .53

Bombay (India)................... Mean........................................49.86.................26.58
See Ray (31).........................SD............................................6.20...................4.48
Gathered 1981. N = 305...... Alpha......................................... .50.................... .46

Sydney (Australia).............. Mean .................................................................29.20
See Ray (24).........................SD......................................................................5.85
Gathered 1979. N = 207...... Alpha................................................................... .74

Bloemfontein (S. Africa)..... Mean........................................31.00 (a)
See Heaven (8).....................SD............................................4.64
Gathered 1981. N = 106...... Alpha.......................................... .64

Munich (W. Germany).........Mean..................................................................28.54
See text...............................SD......................................................................5.44
Gathered 1982. N = 136...... Alpha.................................................................. .74

(a) The mean for the full sample; that given in Heaven (8) is the mean for the Afrikaans-speaking subsample only.

Some further correlations in the data that may be of interest are the correlations of the Directiveness scale: .472, AO scale; -.001, N scale; -.116, Social Desirability; .267, Ethnocentrism; -.070, Age; -.261, Sex; -.197, Occupation; and .193, education. With a critical level of .180 for significance at the .05 level, the implications of the correlations are that authoritarians were ambitious, ethnocentric, male, better educated, and more likely to be in nonmanual occupations.

The correlates of Ethnocentrism were as follows: .305, AO scale; .173, Social Desirability; .638, BF scale; .176, age; -.159, sex; .165, occupation; and -.382, education. Prejudiced people were, then, authoritarian, ambitious, proto-Fascist in attitudes, ill-educated, and stable rather than neurotic.


It would appear that modern-day Germany may be the first country in which "hippie" values have substantially triumphed. The German sample of the present paper showed the lowest levels of materialistic ambition yet recorded and the strongest rejection of authoritarian values yet recorded. They strongly affirmed permissive and liberal values and ethnic tolerance. They wanted a relaxed, friendly lifestyle rather than a striving one and were in no way especially neurotic or dishonest. These findings do of course fit in well with what is already known from contemporary West German political life. The Bundesrepublik has an all-pervasive social welfare system that is second in its generosity only to that of Sweden, it leads the world in worker-participation in management and in the activism of its "Greenies" (environmentalists). The vast scale of its antinuclear movement also repeatedly makes world headlines. The prevalence of "dropping out" and alternative life-styles among its youth is also very well-known. Only from Germany and Holland do we seem to hear of pitched battles between squatters (nonpaying users of otherwise unoccupied houses) and police. The unionized soldiers of the Bundeswehr are also an extraordinary experiment by conventional military standards.

It is tempting to see this apparent turnabout from the values of Hitler's time as a dearly bought lesson that has indeed sunk in. Germans tried militarism and the disaster it brought them has caused them to reject all old-fashioned values root and branch. Two cautions against making this inference, however, seem in order.

(a) We cannot really be sure of the values Germans held in Hitler's time. Although there is little doubt that Hitler was the most popular man in prewar Germany (36), it must be remembered that the future Hitler held out for Germany was in part a return to a romanticized agricultural past that seems in many ways to be very much like what modern-day hippies aspire to. The contemporary German social-welfare system is also far from representing a radical change. Not only Hitler but even Bismarck -- the "iron chancellor" of Prussia in the late 1800s -- was an outstanding social-welfare innovator. Bismarck introduced the world's first system of worker's compensation and old-age pensions.

Hitler's "KDF" (strength through joy) movement was also designed to give workers vacations of a style previously available only to the middle class, plus many other benefits. The full name of Hitler's political party is also revealing. It was (translated): The National Socialist German Worker's Party. While the socialism of Hitler's National Socialism may be often forgotten today, there can be no doubt that it was very evident to the Germans who voted him into office. Even worker participation in management is an old Fascist (syndicalist) idea; and Singer and Wotton (37) describe Albert Speer (Hitler's architect and munitions minister) as an exponent of "some of the most advanced, participative and `humanistic' management theories being endorsed today" (37, p. 79). He called his theory of management "organized improvisation" and he believed in collegial forms of decision-making. He also practised a "loose or fluid manner of structuring organizations" (37, p. 83). Koomen (10) also shows that prewar Germany did not even have characteristically authoritarian child-rearing practices. He concludes: "Secondary analysis of data concerning periods before and after the war showed that before the war, only differences in parental control with regard to daughters could be demonstrated; parental control concerning sons appeared to be approximately the same in the two countries" [Germany and the U.S.A. (37, p. 634)]. In other words, there may be much in our conception of prewar Germany that is simply the product of war-time propaganda, Hollywood war films and the understandable political bias of Adorno et al. (1).

(b) Most of what is true of the liberal tendencies in contemporary German political life is also true of contemporary political life in the Kingdoms of The Netherlands and Sweden. Yet if Germany was a vanquished nation, The Netherlands was a victor nation and Sweden was neutral. To attribute the state of contemporary German attitudes to military defeat is therefore extraordinarily implausible. So to argue would be to say that in other countries, neutrality and victory had the same effect. Another explanation for the findings will, therefore, be proposed but some other aspects of the findings must first be treated.

The finding that Germans are exceptionally low on achievement motivation is a perhaps fatal blow to the theory proposed by McClelland (11) who has attempted to show that high national economic achievement is accompanied by high levels of achievement motivation in that nation's population. As Germany has been one of the two great wonders of postwar economic growth (with Japan) and as it is today one of the world's richest and most productive countries, McClelland's theory would clearly require the unequivocal prediction that individual Germans would be very highly economically motivated. The present German results, however, completely contradict McClelland's theory. It has also been found that especially poor countries, such as The Phillipines and India, have exceptionally high achievement motivation means among their populations. McClelland's theories would of course require Indians to have especially low levels of motivation (28, 30, 33). It has even been found that within a particular society (India) a prosperous minority (the Parsees) has lower ambition than its less prosperous compatriots (33).

How do we explain the complete reversal of the relationship predicted by McClelland? One could propose that we are dealing with no more than the familiar Hullian (9) axiom that deprivation increases drive. Germans are satiated with the material good things of life and, therefore, desire less of them. While this explanation works for Germans and Indians, however, it fails to account for the white South Africans and the Californians. These two groups are materially very affluent and yet have far higher levels of achievement motivation than Germans. The South African mean is in fact the highest yet recorded with the AO scale. Only the means observed in Bombay come near to it. Some further development of the Hullian theory therefore seems to be required along the lines of specifying which needs have to be satiated to bring about a lessening of material ambition. One possibility in this direction is to propose that security needs are the crucial ones. People who feel secure will be less ambitious, while those who feel insecure will be very ambitious. Not only do the overwhelming proportion of blacks in South Africa pose a security threat to South African whites but the continuing pressure from outside countries and memories of the British Imperialist War (known to the British as the Boer War) must also surely play a part. Additionally, it may be noted that South Africa differs radically from Germany in that the South African social-welfare system is fairly exiguous. Health insurance, for instance, in South Africa is something that one has to take out privately. Since a social-welfare system as all-embracing as the German one must do a great deal towards making the individual feel secure that his needs will be met, the low German levels of motivation begin to fall into place. Similarly, we can say that Britain also has a comprehensive welfare system but one that is much less generous in its disbursements. For this reason England and Scotland also show low levels of motivation, though not so low as the German level. India has no real public welfare system and its people are very insecure indeed regarding their personal livelihood. The result is, as predicted, high motivation among individuals.

In summary, we might say that countries with comprehensive social-welfare systems (England, Scotland, Germany) have low personal achievement motivation and countries without such systems (S. Africa, India, The Phillipines) have populations with high achievement motivation. The U. S. A. , with an intermediate level of public welfare provision, shows an n-Ach mean which is also intermediate. Even the low motivation of India's Parsees fits well into this picture. Although they have no government welfare system, Parsees have an exceedingly generous private welfare system. For something like two centuries, the large numbers of rich Parsees have tended to dispose of their fortunes by founding charities, in some cases for the benefit of all but more usually for the benefit of their own tiny community. As a result, a needy Parsee is now almost a contradiction in terms. Private welfare schemes do for Parsees what public welfare does for Germans.

As with all explanation in social science, however, there is always a jarring note somewhere; on the present occasion it is the responses of the Australian sample. Australians had a mean level of achievement motivation similar to the British means, even though Australia has a social-welfare system that is much less comprehensive. Health insurance, for instance, is contracted for privately as a matter of individual decision. It is true, however, that at the time the Australian data were gathered (1976) a minimum level of such insurance was universal and compulsory. People not insured privately were covered by a government scheme towards which they paid extra taxes. Australian unemployment relief payments are also low as a proportion of average wages (a single unemployed male gets about 25% of the average male wage). Against this, however, the payments have no time limit and seem fairly easy to get even if the only reason for not working is simple unwillingness to do so.

Overall, then, it seems that other reasons than the social security systems must be contributing to Australians' sense of security. Such other factors are not hard to find. Australia is generally a warm country in climate and under such circumstances poverty may be less distressing. Even if one cannot afford fuel, one is unlikely to freeze to death. Secondly, Australia is a remarkably safe and peaceful place. Only in one or two country towns is there ever any racial strife as the proportion of blacks in Australia is very low (less than 2% of the total population), and immigrants have long been welcomed as a matter of national policy. Australia has no terrorist groups or aggressive disgruntled minorities. Deaths from gunshot wounds per capita per annum are about 1% of those in the United States. Very few Australians even know what the word "mugging" means, let alone having experienced it. In general, then, it is not hard to understand that Australians might feel so secure that they have only low levels of achievement motivation.

The present theory, then, explains the levels of achievement motivation in existing survey research. It also has some explanatory role in other cases. Jews, for instance, seem to have a not undeserved reputation for materialistic ambition. If this can be substantiated, it fits in well with their history as a persecuted people. Persecution would seem to be a very good reason for feelings of insecurity. Thus again, insecurity leads to high motivation. It must be stressed here, however, that the insecurity referred to is not of the personality kind but of the situational kind. Germans, for instance, are not especially low on neuroticism but are especially low on achievement motivation. It is insecurity in one's objective circumstances that is hypothesized to lead to enhanced achievement motivation, not feelings of psychological insecurity stemming from adverse childhood emotional environments, etc. The relationship between achievement motivation and neuroticism was in fact negative (r = -.252) in the Munich sample.

If, then, Germans are not highly motivated towards material success, how do we explain their outstanding material achievements? In considering this question, it might be worthwhile to note that Germans seem to show high economic achievement within any economic system. Just as West Germans are more prosperous than most of the capitalist world, so East Germans are notably more prosperous than most of the Communist world. Within the Communist world, only semi-capitalist Hungary approaches the productivity of the still Stalinist Deutsche Demokratische Republik. There would seem to be something in the German character that is unusually predisposing towards economic productivity. A fairly conventional comment on the German character is that they are "workaholics": they are never happy unless they are doing something. This does suggest that they may simply for some reason tend to have higher levels of physiological activation. They cannot sit still for long, so they work to give themselves something to do. In general, then, it is not difficult to think of motives other than the desire for economic achievement that might cause one to work hard. National pride, group cohesion, perfectionism are only some of the many other motives that are theoretically possible.

This stress on the influence of national character must not of course be taken to mean that national character is always a decisive influence on levels of affluence. Hong Kong is just as Chinese as the neighboring People's Republic, yet the difference in affluence is great. It may well be that normally the economic system is the overwhelming influence in determining which nations are poor and which nations are rich.

Another question that arises from the present data is how do we explain that Germans are so exceptional in their achievement motivation scores and yet are not exceptional on their Directiveness scale scores when the two scales are in fact highly correlated? A similar but perhaps more severe problem of this kind arises in the case of the Phillipines. Filipinos have very low scores on Directiveness but very high scores on achievement motivation, yet the two scales are, again, highly correlated (28). To answer this question, one needs to look briefly at the reasons why the two scales should be correlated. It has been proposed (25) that dominating behavior towards others is both an instrument for the highly motivated person to achieve his goals and an achievement in itself. Dominating others may be both satisfying in itself and a tool in gaining other satisfactions. It has been proposed (2, 27) that authoritarianism (in the sense of a desire for dominance) is an inevitable motive in any social animal.

It must also be recognized, however, that almost all economic activity today involves a high degree of co-operative effort between individuals, and dominance may well be for most people not normally a good way to acquire the co-operation of others. For this reason, we have the situation recorded in the present results where, in spite of their close theoretical connectedness, achievement motivation and dominance share only 22% of common variance. Furthermore, there may be situational and cultural factors dictating how much dominance is permissible among co-operating individuals of any given society. Asians might be more repelled by individual dominance than Germans are. In practice, therefore, it may be that dominance functions as a fairly independent motive which people motivated towards material achievement sometimes have to suppress and sometimes may exhibit. There is ample room for variations in one not to be consistently reflected by variations in the other.

A most unusual property of the achievement motivation scale revealed in the present research was the prediction it provided of ethnocentrism. The equivalent correlation in the Los Angeles study was -.055 (22). The finding must however be considered in the light of the generally low levels of acceptance of ethnocentric sentiments among the Munich sample. One interpretation of the finding might be that people who are driven either by ambition or by the need to dominate are more likely to show independence of the prevailing social norms, and given the already low norm for prejudice, independence is more likely to be expressed as a regression to a more even-handed position. The correlation between neuroticism and ethnocentrism may be some confirmation of this interpretation. In Munich only neurotics tended to adopt a more tolerant attitude than the already tolerant one that is the norm. It might be suspected that underlying all these relationships is a social desirability effect. Perhaps neurotics are extraordinarily tolerant because they need approval and see tolerance as something that is generally a good way of earning praise. Plausible though this account may be, it seems not to be true. There was no significant correlation between the ethnocentrism and social desirability scales. There was no special admiration for tolerance of Gastarbeiter in Munich.

The correlation between the BF scale and ethnocentrism would appear to represent a quite different source of ethnocentric sentiment. Such correlations are not unique to Munich and are always found with any sample for whom the BF scale works at all (22, 26). As the F scale does not appear to measure authoritarianism in any sense (16, 32), any interpretation of the correlation depends on what one conceives the F scale to be measuring. Hartmann (7) and the senior author have argued that the F scale simply measures a type of old-fashioned conservatism (14). Why conservatives should generally be ethnocentric has been considered elsewhere (26).

We now must return to the finding that the Munich sample did not have especially authoritarian personalities and resoundingly rejected F scale-type sentiments. Since authoritarian behavior (as indexed by the Directiveness scale) had no significant social desirability loading and as BF scale score was positively correlated with social desirability (i.e., the respondents thought that a fellow Muenchner would tend to expect them to assent to F-scale-type sentiments), we cannot dismiss these results as an effect of dishonest responding. They are not simply the effect of Germans playing a part that they think now to be expected of them. In Germany today agreeing with F-scale items is a sign of positive mental health and socially praiseworthy attitudes; nevertheless, Germans cannot generally find it in themselves to do so. They doggedly persist in anti-authority attitudes despite social pressures to be more pro-authority. Informal observations would suggest that they simply see F-scale-type sentiments as "oldfashioned"-worthy but too dated for modern persons to assent to.

How, then, has Germany suddenly become so progressive? Perhaps that very question is the source of the problem. We must seriously consider the possibility that Germany has always been very progressive. One of the reasons why there were so many Jews in prewar Germany was that successive Prussian rulers had shown them more tolerance and given them better opportunities for economic advancement than they could find elsewhere in Europe. The enlightened attitudes of Frederick the Great are particularly well-known. There was a time when the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church was so hated in Europe that it was only in Protestant Prussia that they could find refuge. How do we explain the apparent willingness of Germans to accept authoritarian governments? Did not Hitler merely continue where the Prussian emperors left off? While this is true, it must be recollected that tyranny has been the normal human method of government. The democracies of the ancient world (Rome and Greece) were short-lived and although democracy has shown some resurgence in recent times, it is the method of government of only a tiny minority of the earth's population. The only countries that have been consistently democratic for the entire present century are the Anglo-Saxon countries, Scandinavia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and, with qualifications, France. One cannot even say that Fascist and Communist tyrannies are especially remarkable by reason of their brutality. The Czars of Russia conducted pogroms against Jews long before Hitler. All tyrannies resort to brutality when they conceive of themselves as being threatened. Thus, to say that Germans tolerate authoritarian governments is to say that they are thoroughly normal. It is only a few eccentric races on the fringes of Europe who seem unable to see the attractions of tyranny.

The difference that Germans tend to show, then, is in what they expect of their governments rather than how they expect those governments to be constituted. They very clearly expect advanced social welfarism and collective responsibility for individual needs. A national health scheme might seem incredibly liberal and progressive in the United States, but in Germany it has long been accepted as a matter of course. Even Hitler fell into this mold of the caring ruler as far as Germans themselves were concerned. However brutal his policies were towards those he saw as outside the fold, his policies towards "true" Germans were (at least until the war) very beneficial. Even today, Germans who remember well the Hitler years often find much in them to praise from a social-welfare point of view. Trevor-Roper's view (38) of Hitler as simply a traditional German ruler is therefore fairly easy to support. His persecution of the Jews was no more than any tyranny would do towards those it saw as its enemies. The holocaust was unusual only for its thoroughness: dislike and persecution of Jews is a European tradition, a fact demonstrated in the difficulties encountered by German Jews in trying to find other countries that would have them when they sought to emigrate from prewar Germany. Why Jews have been such a magnet for enmity is probably a compound of many causes. Their tendency to hold themselves apart from the host society while at the same time enjoying the best that the host society has to offer may be understandable to Jews themselves, but it is scarcely wise in an envious world. Another obvious factor is religious. Only very recently did the Pope absolve Jews of guilt for the death of Christ. The people who were thought of by Christians as murderers of the Christians' God were certainly bold to take up their abode among Christians. In turning to the Jews as a scapegoat, then, Hitler was simply taking a tried and true recourse by European standards. The appalling mistake of Versailles made the scapegoat necessary and once again the Jews paid the price for the sins of others.

In conclusion, it would seem that there is no reason to think that the liberalism of contemporary Germany is any insurance against a new outbreak of barbarism. Germans of the 1930's too were probably very liberal and progressive by the standards of their day. Liberal and progressive values are no insurance against authoritarian behavior (12, 16). If anyone thinks otherwise, they might for a moment reflect on the yet more liberal and progressive values enshrined in the Soviet constitution and espoused by Communists generally. There is no doubt of the brutality and oppressiveness of Communist regimes. Why should liberal values be inconsistent with governmental brutality in Germany when they are so obviously consistent with governmental brutality in Communist countries? It may be that it is liberalism itself that should be skeptically examined.


1. ADORNO, T. W., FRENKEL-BRUNSWIK, E., LEVINSON, D. J., & SANFORD, R. N. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper, 1950.

2. BURNET, F. M. Dominant Mammal. Sydney, Australia: Heinemann, 1970.

3. CROWNE, D. P., & MARLOWE, D. The Approval Motive. New York: Wiley, 1964.

4. EYSENCK, H. J. Manual of the Maudsley Personality Inventory. London: Univ. London Press, 1959.

5. EYSENCK, H. J., & EYSENCK, S. B. G. Personality Structure and Measurement. London: Routledge, 1969.

6. GREENWALD, H. J., & SATOW, Y. A short social desirability scale. Psychol. Rep., 1970, 27, 131-135.

7. HARTMANN, P. A perspective on the study of social attitudes. European J. Soc. Psychol., 1977, 7, 85-96.

8. HEAVEN, P. C. L. Authoritarianism among Afrikaners. Ethnic & Racial Studies, 1982, 5, 229-231.

9. HULL, C. L. A Behavior System. New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1952.

10. KOOMEN, W. A note on the authoritarian German family. J. Mar. & Fam., 1974, 36, 634-636.

11. McCLELLAND, D. C. The Achieving Society. Princeton, NJ Van Nostrand, 1961.

12. Ray, J.J. (1971) Ethnocentrism: Attitudes and behaviour. Australian Quarterly, 43, 89-97.

13. RAY, J.J. (1972) A new balanced F scale -- And its relation to social class. Australian Psychologist 7, 155-166.

14. RAY, J.J. (1973) Conservatism, authoritarianism and related variables: A review and an empirical study. Ch. 2 in: G.D. Wilson (Ed.) The psychology of conservatism London: Academic Press.

15. RAY, J.J. (1974) Are racists ethnocentric? Ch. 46 in RAY, J.J. (1974) Conservatism as heresy Sydney: A.N.Z. Book Co.

16. RAY, J.J. (1976) Do authoritarians hold authoritarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.

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21. RAY, J.J. (1980) Racism and authoritarianism among white South Africans. Journal of Social Psychology, 110, 29-37.

22. RAY, J.J. (1980) Authoritarianism in California 30 years later -- with some cross-cultural comparisons. Journal of Social Psychology, 111, 9-17.

23. RAY, J.J. (1980) The comparative validity of Likert, projective and forced-choice indices of achievement motivation. J. Social Psychology, 111, 63-72.

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27. RAY, J.J. (1981) Authoritarianism, dominance and assertiveness. Journal of Personality Assessment 45, 390-397.

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36. ROBERTS, S. H. The House that Hitler Built. New York: Harper, 1938.

37. SINGER, E. A., & WOOTON, L. M. The triumph and failure of Albert Speer's administrative genius: Implications for current management theory and practice. J. Appl. Behav. Sci., 1976, 12, 79-103.

38. TREVOR-ROPER, H. The Last Days of Hitler. New York: Macmillan, 1947.


In response to a request, the Items of the social desirability scale are below

"Ja" to items 35, 36, 39 and 40 gets a low score (1)
"Ja" to the other items gets a high score (3)
"Not sure " is scored 2
The scale score is the sum of the item scores

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