Perhaps someone can explain the difference between the following two sentences:
1 - Es kann uns niemand den geringsten Vorwurf machen. 2 - Niemand kann uns den geringsten Vorwurf machen.
The first was written by Kafka, and confuses me. I believe it means the same thing as the second sentence (which would be perfectly straightforward) but I'm not sure. I've searched the available online dictionaries and this site for similar examples and have come up short. What effect or alteration in meaning does using this placeholder "es" create?
Here is the whole sentence in case a bit of extra context matters (I'm pretty sure it doesn't): "... wir müssen versuchen es [d. h., das Untier] loszuwerden. Wir haben das Menschenmögliche versucht, es zu pflegen und zu dulden, ich glaube, es kann uns niemand den geringsten Vorwurf machen."