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Date Posted: 16:32:19 10/13/04 Wed
Subject: Re: German Politics and Culture
In reply to:
's message, "German Politics and Culture" on 11:02:28 10/13/04 Wed
>I would like to know how Germany has changed since
>WWII. How do the politics lean? What long term effect
>did WWII have on German culture and politics? How do
>Germans view European Union and the rest of Europe?
Some thoughts from a very tired German who should be in bed already. Hope they make sense.
WWII was a strong incision in German history. Before WWII Germany was leading in science and culture. The significant scientific publications were written in German, not in English as today. The leading scientists came from Germany, like Einstein, Heisenberg, Planck. Many of them were Jews and were all dispelled or killed at the time of WWII. Germany had a long history of scientists like Gauss, Leibnitz, Mendel, Koch, musicians like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, philosophers like Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, poets like Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Möricke. Germany was known as the "Land der Dichter und Denker," the country of poets and thinkers, the land of humanism. In shorts, we Germans believed we were the most civilized, cultured and intellectual nation in the world. Therefore, we were very proud and nationalistic. Our national anthem started with "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" (Germany, Germany above all). This was probably meant in the sense that the poet loved Germany above all, but the Nazis interpreted it the way that Germany should rule over all.
Then came WWII. The problem was not the war. The problem was Hitler. The Germans had to realize that the whole nation had followed this small, ugly and devilish man like he had been the Messiah, that they had participated in and caused a completely senseless world war and most of all torturing and killing millions of innocent Jews, systematic mass murder as the world had not seen before.
Of course, this was a shock. It humbled us a lot. Nationalistic feeligns and ideas are now suspect in Germany. Aside from the phenomenon of Neonazis particularly in East Germany, the majority of Germans have no patriotic or nationalistic feelings as Americans have. Singing the first verse of the national anthem is frowned upon and maybe even forbidden. We have many foreigners in our country, we call it a "multi-culti" (multi cultural) society.
We view us as a core part of the European Union. We love and know our European neighbours. Germans like to make holidays in Spain, Italy, France, but also Holland, Scandinavia or Turkey. Germans like to eat in Italian or Greek restaurants more than in German restaurants; and Turkish fast food (doener kebap) has already got ahead of German (curry sausages) and American (hamburgers).
I have the feeling that my answer is a bit strange and I have to go to bed. But actually, your questions are difficult to answer, and I could write many pages.
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