Just as TV's ''Winds of War'' reminds 80 million American viewers of bygone German enemies, the news brings word of present German friends. These friends remember the generosity of Americans sending food packages to a devastated Germany after World War II. Now, in one of history's unpredicted reversals, grateful Germans are sending food packages to what seems to them an economically devastated Detroit.
Some Americans may be shocked that their own rich nation could give people abroad an impression that it is not fully taking care of its own.
Germans should know that the return of soup kitchens in the midst of America's plenty has prompted many Americans themselves to contribute to the hungry.
But, whatever the circumstances, the German upwelling of charitable reciprocity after almost four decades is the kind of footnote humanity needs. It testifies to impulses that can always survive the winds of war to freshen the breezes of peace.