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What? Germans Sing Nazi Anthem in World Cup Stadium?

INSTAPUNDIT, one of the first political blogs with an average of currently 130.000 readers every day, recommended a well-meaning post about Germany on June 21st, but unintentionally spread misinformation:
BAD NEWS FOR AHMADINEJAD AT THE WORLD CUP: "Did you ever think you'd see the same people waving Israeli flags and singing Deutschland über alles?"
No, but I wouldn't want to get on their bad side...
Instapundit links to and quotes the Winds of Change blog, which quotes the British newspaper The Independent. This paper wrote in the second paragraph of its article about the opening match at the soccer World Cup Germany vs. Costa Rica:
When it came to the national anthem and its opening line "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles", so often accompanied by uncertainty and shoe-gazing, much of the 65,000-strong crowd rose to their feet and joined in, as did the national team.
This requires the following correction, a question and an explanation: Continue reading "What? Germans Sing Nazi Anthem in World Cup Stadium?"

German-American Relations on the Eve of President Bush's Visit

Ahead of President Bush's visit to Germany next week, The Economist is concerned that "America may expect too much help from Germany, whether on Iran, the Balkans or Russia." The respected British weekly acknowledges that Chancellor Merkel improved German-American relations, while "showing that she is no poodle, criticising Guantánamo and pushing the Americans to talk directly to Iran" and notices:
Most Germans are happy that the low point in German-American relations, when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder noisily opposed the Iraq war in 2002-03, is behind them. But they remain unpersuaded by Mr Bush's charm offensive. Some fear that Germany may again come to seem too close to America. A few fret that the Americans could lure Germany into a "coalition of the willing" against Iran.
The Economist points out that bilateral relations were not as bad as the Bush-Schroeder relationship suggests, because the CIA was helped by two German spies in Baghdad during the early days of the Iraq war.  The weekly calls Tony Blair a "lame-duck" and opines that:
Germany could take on Britain's role as America's favourite partner in Europe. The rapprochement partly reflects Mr Bush's pressing need for allies in Europe. To get the Germans on board, Mr Bush has even showed some comprehension, albeit awkwardly expressed, for their opposition to the war. "I've come to realise that the nature of the German people are such that war is very abhorrent (sic)", he said in an interview with a German tabloid.
Concerning Iran:
Slowly but surely Germans are shifting from idealism to realism, particularly over Iran. They are convinced that something must be done about the country's nuclear programme. The recent Pew poll of global attitudes found no country with a higher share of the population opposed to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons than Germany. "Germans know how dangerous a madman at the helm can be," comments Gert Weisskirchen, a foreign-policy guru for the Social Democrats. No party other than the Left Party would oppose "smart" sanctions if Iran rejected the western package of incentives for it to remain non-nuclear.
The German weekly Die Zeit looks at the state of U.S.-German relations as well.

UPDATE: The National Review labels Joschka Fischer as Nazi Propaganda Minister

Parts of the conservative media in the U.S. are still obsessed with Germany's former Chancellor Schroeder and his Foreign Minister Fischer, although both have been out of office for more than half a year. The National Review Online is not a fringe right-wing blog, but is considered one of the most influential conservative websites. Some say it is the most influential one along with the Weekly Standard. In the National Review's so-called "EuroPress Review" on June 30th, Denis Boyles describes Joschka Fischer as a Nazi propaganda minister, a terrorist, and an America-hater:
Reminded to do so by a piece in Captain's Quarters, I was reading Davids Medienkritick’s cheesed-off take on former German foreign minister and champeen Yank-bashing ex-bourgeois "terrorist" Joschka Fisher when a note from a German reader, Nico Klaric, arrived to tell me about this Spiegel item, also mentioned by CQ, about Fischer's low profile escape from Germany to Princeton just months after being given a prize for being a "leading European." Fischer, you may recall, was one of the more odious Security Council America-haters. His position had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq — where Germany had its own interests to protect. It had to do with the German electorate: As Schroeder's Goebbels, Joschka helped the left score huge political wins by fanning the flames of anti-Americanism until polls showed that most Germans considered American citizens to be "bloodthirsty."
All emphases and spelling mistakes of German names and words come from The National Review. The author is not even trying to substantiate these ridiculous claims, but practices name calling only. The blogs he is linking to do not substantiate his claims either. In fact they do not even make those claims. Therefore these blogs cannot be blamed for Denis Boyles' mistakes.

The irony
is that magazines like The National Review (which has millions of online and print readers) and tens of thousands of U.S. bloggers complain about Anti-Americanism, bias, and incorrect U.S. coverage in the European media. Perhaps Denis Boyles and the editors of the National Review should look in the mirror...
Like the National Review, many extremists on all sides describe their political opponents as Nazis, which is an insult to the victims of the Holocaust and the Second World War.
Are you aware that calling someone a Nazi is extremely offensive in Germany? Do you know that Joschka Fischer got a lot of praise from Israelis?
Nazi-obsessed folks should join the more than 1000 bloggers who have written about and linked to (photoshopped?) Cats That Look Like Hitler. That might be funny somehow, but calling Fischer the Nazi propaganda minister is not funny, but bad journalism and propaganda in itself. Continue reading "UPDATE: The National Review labels Joschka Fischer as Nazi Propaganda Minister"

Happy Fourth of July Music: American History in Three Minutes

Ragged Old Flag by Johnny Cash Need a three minute crash course in U.S. history? Listen to Johnny Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" (entire CD at Amazon.com, Amazon.de).  Pursuit of Serenity got the video, the lyrics and the relevant Wikipedia links built into the lyrics.
This blog is run by Marian Kafka Wirth, who woke up one day as a pro-American and documented this traumatic experience in one, two, three posts.
He also presents Bruce Springsteen playing Old Dan Tucker from his new CD "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions" (Amazon.com, Amazon.de). A CD that is worth its money.

Anniversary of the Fulbright Exchange Program

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the international Fulbright Exchange Program. (The US-German program is a couple of years younger.) Let's start with a quote from its founder, Senator Fulbright:
There is a multiplier effect in international education and it carries the possibility – the only real possibility – of changing our manner of thinking about the world, and therefore of changing the world.  For every university professor whose outlook has been broadened by study in another country, many thousands of students will gain some measure of intercultural perspective.  For every business person who has studied in another country, many associates are likely to gain some appreciation of the essential futility of nationalistic economic policies and of the way in which an international division of labor benefits all countries.  For every politician who, through study abroad, has gained some appreciation of the world as a human community, untold numbers of ordinary citizens, as well as their leaders, may be guided away from parochialism and narrow nationalism to broader, more fruitful perspectives.
The quote is from J. William Fulbright's book The Price of Empire (Amazon.com). The German translation is titled Im Zeichen des Sternenbanners (Amazon.de).
Tomorrow German and American Fulbrighters based in Berlin will celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ and a game watching party: The World Cup semi-final Germany vs. Italy. Happy Fourth of July everybody!

Carnival of German-American Relations is online

We received 31 submissions from 22 Bloggers for our third carnival edition.  The articles about many different aspects of German-American relations are very interesting, original and well written. The two carnival hosts have picked the submissions they liked best and present them on their blogs:
Davids Medienkritik has written an English carnival post introducing both English and German articles about transatlantic relations.
And Extrablog has written a German carnival post (English translation by Google) introducing both English and German articles about transatlantic relations.
Please read both carnival posts, since they introduce different articles.
Besides, check out our Carnival Submissions Blog, which presents abstracts of all submissions and helps you to discover some new blogs and learn about a wide range of fascinating issues, like Red Hot Cuppa Politics article about German Prisoners of War
in Texas and their reunions. There are many more interesting posts listed in the right column of the Carnival Submissions Blog.
The Atlantic Review would like to thank all bloggers for participating in our carnival and thank Davids Medienkritik and Extrablog for hosting and presenting the carnival. You are improving the transatlantic dialogue!
The next Carnival of U.S.-German Relations will take place on September 11th. You can already submit relevant article now. Just send a trackback to the Carnival Submissions Blog.

Contrasting Perceptions and Failing to Win Hearts and Minds

Having read the coverage of the EU-US summit in several U.S. and German papers, I got the impression that the German papers focus on the lack of concrete results, while pointing out that President Bush wants to close Gitmo, is more supportive of EU policies on Israel/Palestine, Iran, and on the environment. The U.S. papers, however, focused on the dialogue between President Bush and the European press.
According to the Voice of America, one journalist asked President Bush the inaccurate question why Europeans perceive America to be the greatest threat to global stability. And Raimund Loew, of Austrian Radio and TV, added: "So my question to you is, why do you think you have failed so badly to convince Europeans to win their hearts and minds?"  President Bush responded:
Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq. And I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us it was a change of thinking.
I see an irony here, but it is just my personal analysis: I believe President Bush not only explained why he is so unpopular in Europe, but he also reinforced his unpopularity. President Bush did not seize this chance to win hearts and minds in Europe, but actually lost a few more hearts and minds because of the way he responded.
Please, let me explain why and also elaborate on the poll and the press coverage of the summit and the German troops in Afghanistan:
Continue reading "Contrasting Perceptions and Failing to Win Hearts and Minds"