If you were tasked with coking up with the worst country in human history, it would be a challenge as the idea of countries is relatively new. That means the definition of country will have to be very general. It would include city-states and empires. It would probably have to include nations of people without clear boundaries. The Mongols left a big mark on the world and they did have an empire. The Roman empire had boundaries, but they changed considerably over time.
If you can accept that limitation, Germany is a good candidate for worst country in the history of man. Again, it requires conflating country with people. People often belong to more than one county. Jews, for example, are everywhere. In some countries they run everything (Israeli, United States) and in others they have little influence. Germans are decedents of the Franks, as are most French and the people in the low countries, so by picking Germany, we are picking a subset of Germans.
Let’s keep it simple. If you were making a list of the world’s most horrible countries, Germany is a good choice. Think about what sent the civilized world into the Dark Ages. It was Germanic tribes sacking Rome. In 410 AD, Alaric I led the Visigoths into the Italian peninsula and sacked Rome. Granted, Rome was falling apart at the time and the capital of the empire had been moved from the city. Still, the Eternal City was extinguished by Germans and what followed was a thousand years of barbarism.
At the other end of the Medieval period we have the collapse of the one uplifting and unifying force in Europe. That was done by, you guessed it, Germans. The Protestant Reformation was driven by a crap-eating German lunatic. That led to the next great devastation of Europe. The Thirty Years War reduced much of Europe to rubble. Parts of central Europe were reduced to cannibalism. This was the end of Christianity as the organizing force in Europe. Instead, nationalism became the religion of the elites and Christianity went into a long decline.
The growth of nationalism as the animating ideology of Europe led to wide-scale warfare on the Continent. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but nationalism gets the blame for the long period of warfare. Nationalism is blamed for the Great War that devastated Europe. It was started by, you guessed it, Germany! As Peter Hitchens notes in his great column on it in the Spectator, it permanently altered the landscape of civilization, leading to all that plagues us today.
To say that that the First World War was the greatest cataclysm in human history since the fall of the Roman Empire is to put it mildly. The war destroyed so many good things and killed so many good people that civilization has not recovered and probably never will. Long after it officially ended, it continued to cause millions of deaths and tragedies, most obviously during its encore performance of 1939-45. But it did not stop even then. Many of its worst consequences came during official periods of peace and are unknown or forgotten, or remain unconnected with it in the public mind.
The loss cannot be measured in cash because it was paid in the more elusive coin of faith, morals, trust, hope, and civility. The war is the reason why Europe is no longer a Christian continent, because too many churches supported it. Pointing to the poverty and scientific backwardness of the pre-1914 world is a false comparison. Who is to say that we could not have grown just as rich as we are now, and made just as many technological and medical advances, had we not slain the flower of Europe’s young men before they could win Nobel Prizes, or even beget and raise children?
The astonishing thing is that so many conservative, Christian, and patriotic people have yet to understand the damage this event did to their causes. It is at least partly because we can barely begin to imagine the world that we lost.
Stefan Zweig’s ambiguous description of a “Golden Age of Security” in his curious memoir of Austria-Hungarian twilight, The World of Yesterday, is one of the few attempts. But the civilization that Zweig portrays as stifling and repressed seemed to many who lived in it to be safe, calm, and free. His own mixed feelings, as he describes the woebegone departure of the Imperial Habsburgs from their domains, and the shocking sense of pain which beset him at the sight, are the truest thing in the book—a realization, far too late, of what has been lost forever and of what was now coming: unthinkable inflation, turning the modest life savings of the gentle into dust, along with the destruction of every known landmark and of all customs and manners, ending in the pit of tyranny, racial mass murder, and yet more war.
Of course, there’s no doubt why the war started.
Germany started the war because she wanted and hoped to gain enormous prizes through a swift victory, first over France and then over Russia. She encouraged Austria to be inflexible toward Serbia in the hope that this would happen, and the plan worked. It was not the first time that a country had carefully fostered a pretext for war, and it will certainly not be the last. Most readers in Britain and the U.S. will be able to think of recent examples.
There is a strong argument for saying that it was reasonable for Germany to want what she wanted, and that it was and is a great pity that no peaceful way could be found of reaching a sensible compromise over her legitimate demands.
There is an equally strong argument for wondering why the main critics of the Great War have been those of the anti-capitalist or socially liberal Left, while conservatives have tended to defend it, even to stand up for its dreadful generals and its unspeakable carnage, as some kind of necessity or patriotic duty.
The opposite should be the case. Those on the Left should defend it and rejoice over it. It was the fulfillment of their dreams. No single event has done more to advance the power of the state and of state socialism. Britain barely had a state before 1914. By 1918 it was one of the most tightly governed and bureaucratized patches of soil in the world. The Russian revolution would never have happened had there been no war in 1914. The great Christian and conservative empires of the world would probably all still exist. War also brought about the sexual, social, and cultural revolutions that are still convulsing what used to be Christendom.
The whole article is worth reading. He goes on to point out that it was Germany that financed Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The Germans, of course, gave us Marxism as well as Fascism. Those two account for 100 million deaths worldwide. They also gave us Critical Theory, otherwise known as Cultural Marxism. Who knows what the body count will be from that in the end. The EU is a German invention and is now run by Germans, which is allowing Europe to be overrun by barbarians.
The damage done by Germans is not limited to Europe. The United States, of course, has been greatly influenced by Germans. The largest ethnic group in the country are Germans and they turned the former British colonies from a classical liberal country into a social democracy. Well, many of the culprits spoke German. They all were greatly influenced by the Frankfurt School and fanatical anti-fascism, which has turned into anti-white bigotry.
In the worst country contest, I think my vote goes to the Germans.