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Happy Birthday Germany

The Federal Republic of Germany turns sixty on May 23, 2009. Spiegel International has photos documenting Germany's rise out of the ashes of war.

What comes to your mind, when you look back at Germany's development and achievements of the last six decades? And what advice do you have for the difficult times ahead? What words of wisdom does the birthday kid deserve and need?

Related posts on Atlantic Review:

Historical Comparisons: Fritz Stern Publishes "Five Germanys I Have Known"

Historical Revisionism in Germany? and Two More Americans Accuse Germany of Historical Revisionism

Germans said to be more afraid to kill than to get killed, German Military Returns to Traditional Standing in German Society, and Germans to the Front!


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David on :

Congratulations to the Federal Republic on this important celebration of 60 years of the Basic Law. 60 years ago, no one could have dreamed that Germany - its great cities in ruins and its people traumatized by war and fascism - could become an economic powerhouse and one of the world's strongest democracies. Postwar Germany owes its economic power and social stability to its commitment to the social market economy (Sozialmarktwirtschaft). Hopefully, it will renew its commitment for the next 60 years, even as it confronts the challenges of the economic crisis.

Pat Patterson on :

Le bon temps roulet! She's prettier than Heike Makatsch but in honor of the big Six-Oh!

John in Michigan, USA on :

Happy birthday!

SC on :

As the founding recedes ever further, study carefully the policies and actions taken by the leadership of this era. It's an uncommonly gifted lot that deftly managed a difficult transition from devastation to leadership in the evolving European project. Lessons to be learned there.

Pamela on :

Happy Birthday Germany! Joerg - from one of your links quoting Max Boot ------------ It is not so much that the Germans are afraid of getting their own troops killed, he said; they are more afraid of what their troops might do. They realize that counterinsurgency is a nasty type of warfare and that troops of any nationality are liable to commit some excesses. Germans, this American suggested, are deathly afraid that combat atrocities might revive old stereotypes about German militarism. Thus the Germans will continue to stress “soft” power while we (and, to a lesser extent, the Brits) perform the “hard” tasks. _------------------ Yeah. And you just have to get the fuck over it. I've posted this before but I'm going to post it again. One of the saddest things I have ever read was written to me by a German man by the name of Franzis in response to my kicking ass that Germany isn't doing squat in Afghanistan - or anyplace for that matter. He told me that Germans cannot go near violence just as drug addics and alchoholics cannot go to their drugs. I consider this a blood libel. Zyme and I have had a bit of a go at it - based on the German requirements for citizenship. That is also based on blood - or if you prefer a more sanguine term 'heritage'. Germany's cultural problem is not an innate nature towards 'violence'. It is the idea of blood heritage. Fix it.

SC on :

Pamela, I haven't read your back-and-forth with Zyme. What is unique to Germany with regard to citizenship requirements? Isn't focusing on this to miss the forest for this particular tree? What I've in mind is this: Hasn't ethnic disaggregation been something of a European leit motif for the better part of a millennium?

Volker on :

'Hasn't ethnic disaggregation been something of a Human leitmotif since the dawn of time?' There fixed it for you.

SC on :

Yes, and this point was made most recently by Muller, in "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism", Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008, 18-35. See also the exchange between Muller and his critics in "Is Ethnic Conflict Inevitable?", Foreign Affairs, July/August 2008, 138-150. However, in the initial article, and in the exchange between critics and author, Europe occupies pride of place for being well studied, well documented, and having, well, a rather consequential history. The context here - that is, in Pamela's comment and quote - is Germany and presumably its environs: a large tract of the forest if not its entirety, but sufficient to make a point. Hmmm . . . I heard that shooting first and asking questions later is somehow characteristic of Americans, Volker.

Marie Claude on :

my chinese coockoo is broken, what can you do for it ? LMAO

Pamela on :

I don't know who just wrote the amove comment using my name but it wasn't me.

Pamela on :

Thanks for deleting that Joerg, much appreciated. And for the record, I would NEVER ask Marie Claude to 'behave reasonably'. She adds far too much fun and spice just as she is.

Marie Claude on :

hi Pam, I missed the events, well the chinese coockoo didn't disturb me, I found his litterature quite surrealist, must be a dissident that needs our help LMAO

Volker on :

I don't see the problem with our laws of citizenship. If the U.S. wants to give everyone citizenship just because he was born there, while his/her mother was "visiting" the country, go ahead knock yourselves out. We don't want that and I don't see the harm in that. And btw. you can shove your "Fix it" up where the sun doesn't shine.

Zyme on :

Well that is an interesting point with the drug addicts. Not so sure whether it was valid throughout the second half of the last century, but it might be today. When I look at the generation of my parents I can hardly imagine that they would have been prone to committing atrocities in warfare. Today though from what I heard from fellow citizens serving abroad, they are more concerned about themselves than with those they are expected to help. When they are helping, they do this simply because they are ordered to, as many consider these efforts to be mostly futile. Whenever really comical stuff happens (like having to send back dangerous waste to Germany for proper management when Afghans would simply dispose it in the next unseen hole) you can be sure they are shaking their heads in disbelief and embarrassment too. But they do as they are ordered. Make no mistake though that they would highly prefer a real military leadership over this political stage play. But once they can act more freely, maybe they would even act on their own without proper orders. Hasn't the first bravery medal just been introduced? This happened due to a petition with broad support among lower ranking soldiers in the army, who mostly would have liked to see the Iron Cross itself reintroduced. From there you can get the idea. Also I think we are having a rather unique kind of rough humor, which often tends to downgrade foreigners or minorities, something unthinkable in the US for example. This also may ease the path from civilized behaviour to letting yourself completely go when under high stress (protecting captives under fire) or very bored (think of Abu Graib). Last but not least I have often heard that Third Reich military songs and daily rituals are very popular among the lower ranking soldiers when serving abroad, depending on how their superiors react. This in my humble opinion results not mainly from a nationalistic world view but rather in the fact that these soldiers would like our the public to value the military more highly. Nonetheless this might also scare our pretty politicians a bit.

Don S on :

Happy Birthday, Germany! The new Germany may not be perfect (and I have analyzed many of it's imperfections at length on other threads), but it's a helluva lot better than any unified German government in history, and that is an accomplishment to be celebrated. I'm with SC fullheartedly on that.

Marie Claude on :

Happy birthday too, hope we'll carry on to get along

Panya on :

HBD to Germany. Wow 60 is quite mature. In my view, Germany is a leader in many industries such as technology. Besides, they have had a strong economy no matter how the world wide economic situation is.

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