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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:
 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The excellent Done With Mirrors blog explains what "Deutschland über alles" originally meant and how the Nazis distorted its meaning:

"Von Fallersleben wrote his hymn when Germany was fragmented and yearned for unity, repressed by tinhorn tyrants and yearned for freedom. (...) The first line, Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt is not meant as a literal "over all," as in Germany "ruling over all in the world," but more of a "before all others." It's an urging to the Germans of the 1840s to put national unity above local loyalties and petty rivalries of religion and regionalism. To stop thinking of themselves as Catholic or Protestant, Bavarian or Rhinelander or Saxon, and start thinking as Germans. (...)
The Nazis ditched most of the symbolism of the despised and decadent Weimar Republic, but they kept the anthem, leaning heavily on the first verse and trimming off the third stanza, in which von Fallersleben called for a Germany built on Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit -- "unity, justice, and freedom." In fact, the Nazis tended to play the first stanza only and then break into the Horst Wessel Lied. The Allies also pumped up the distorted meaning of Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt as part of their propaganda, which is why so many people in the U.S. think it means what they think it means." Read more


(1) "Deutschland über alles" ('Germany above all') is not the national anthem, but the first stanza of the Deutschlandlied (Song of the Germans) written in 1841.
Because the Nazis misused and reinterpreted the first stanza, Germany's national anthem consists now only of the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied, i.e. the crowd was singing "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" ('Unity and rule of law and freedom').
In fact, singing the first stanza, "Deutschland über alles", is associated with the Nazis only. It is the Nazi anthem. More historical background in the column to the right: ==>>
This means Matthew Beard, the reporter for The Independent, did not listen very well and does not know much about the country he is reporting about. Winds of Change and Instapundit did not notice the mistake, but unintentionally spread it on the internet.

I find it unfortunate that three publications assume that Germany still uses the Nazi anthem and that tens of thousands of Germans would sing it in a soccer stadium during the World Cup.
Germany has changed so much since the Nazi era. Millions of World Cup fans from around the world enjoyed the friendly, peaceful, open-minded party atmosphere in Germany. There has been much less racism and violence and prostitution and sex trafficking than many observers assumed beforehand.
 
 
 
(2)  What does the INSTAPUNDIT  mean by
"I wouldn't want to get on their bad side." ???
Do you think we have an evil side that breaks out and attacks you when we get provoked? Are we like Hulk? Or like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? ;-)

(3) Winds of Change expressed surprise that Germans show solidarity with Israel.
Why wouldn't we wave Israeli flags to protest against Ahmadinejad? A
recent PEW poll found that a higher percentage of Germans than Americans express negative opinions of Iran and oppose the acquirition of nuclear weapons. Another PEW poll concluded three weeks ago:
Germans, in particular, have become much more sympathetic to Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians. Nearly four-in-ten Germans (37%) say they sympathize with Israel in the Mideast conflict compared with 18% who sympathize with the Palestinians. In March 2004, Germans' sympathies were evenly divided (24% Israel, 24% Palestinians).
The respected German paper Die Welt reported last weekend that Israel will receive two more German submarines, which cost one billion Euro, but the German government is paying 300 million. These submarines increase Israel's deterrence against Iran by strengthening Israel's nuclear second-strike capability, enabling Israel to destroy Iran even if Iran would launch a surprise nuclear attack on Israel first. Such an attack would not have an effect on the nuclear armed submarines, which are extremely difficult to locate and therefore provide a second-strike capability.  Haaretz wrote about the submarines last November, but the article isn't online anymore. Regime Change Iran has a copy. The Federation of American Scientists has more background.

Unfortunately, the U.S. press does not write much about German politics, and covers more bad news than good news, but that is typical of media coverage in general. Fortunately, Winds of Change wrote an overall positive post and INSTAPUNDIT helped to spread it, but some misinformation and prejudices die hard.

UPDATE: Instapundit posted the correction. Thank you, Glenn. If only the MSM would be that fast, especially The Independent, who started the whole misunderstanding.
Welcome Instapundit readers!, please have a look around at this blog about transatlantic affairs by three German Fulbrighters. Here are our must reads.

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GM Roper on :

Well done Joerg, clearing this up was and is important. Good job!

JW -Atlantic Review on :

I just saw more articles about European opinions shifting on Israel: An Haaretz blog writes [url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=726970&contrassID=25&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=1&listSrc=Y&art=1]Europeans learned to loooove Israel, sort of[/url] and links to The Israel Project, which writes: "New European Polling Shows Huge Drop in Support for Palestinians Hamas Rated as Overwhelmingly Negative Jerusalem - New public opinion surveys conducted among opinion elites in Europe show that support for the Palestinians has dropped dramatically, according to leading international pollster Stan Greenberg, Ph.D. Greenberg, who served as a key strategist for former President Bill Clinton, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, conducted the surveys in France and Germany on behalf of The Israel Project. In comparison with similar research conducted at the end of 2002, French attitudes have undergone profound changes. Three years ago, nearly half (47 percent) of the French respondents sided with the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The current poll shows support for the Palestinians has dropped by over half, to 21 percent, among those who did express a preference. The difference in support has moved to the categories of "don't support either side" or "support both sides equally."" [url=http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.672631/apps/s/content.asp?ct=2550995]Continue reading the Israel Project[/url]

JA Fournier on :

Forgive me for pointing out a point of language re the Rubric 'Topics We Wrote About'. In my English, this suggests you're done/departed, kind of puzzling, really. Has it something to do with the tendency in American English to use the Past Simple where the rest of us in the English-speaking world would use the Present Perfect? For me it should read 'Topics We Have Written About'. Cheers

joe on :

http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2006/0703/politik/0017/index.html?keywords=gaza;every=1;utf8=1;mark=gaza

Ralf Goergens on :

Joe, of xourse this article is much more significant than the sumarines we delived to Israel. It's also correct, as David Kaspar claims over on his blog that the German media as a whole is anti-Isarel, much as Kaspar tries to create that impression. Just recently I looked into the Bild Zeitung, where I found an article that said that Israel is right to act as it does. As it happens the Bild Zeitung has a much higher circulation than the Berliner Zeitung.

Holmwood on :

A good correction. However, a small one of my own. You accurately describe the [b]potential[/b] role of the new Dolphin subs in strengthening Israel's second-strike capability. However, it's a mistake to refer to these submarines as "nuclear", as you do here "Such an attack would not have an effect on the nuclear submarines, which are extremely difficult to locate" 'Nuclear submarine' is almost exclusively used to refer to a submarine's nuclear propulsive mechanism. In this case, the Israeli subs are fairly conventional diesel electric. While they might now (or in the future) be armed with nuclear weapons, they would remain diesel subs. 'Nuclear-armed submarine' or 'Nuclear-armed diesel-electric submarine' would be somewhat more accurate. Back to your original point: it's well taken that it's not "Deutschland über alles". I'm sure you can appreciate the confusion, however, and the fact that many mistakenly viewed it this way while simultaneously viewing Germany as a stable central component of modern Europe. Best, Holmwood

JW -Atlantic Review on :

> accurately describe the [b]potential[/b] role of the new > Dolphin subs in strengthening Israel's second-strike capability. Why potential? Israel received the first German built "Dolphin"submarine in 1999. It is widely believed that Israel has equipped or will equip the subs with nukes. Isn't that the most plausible reason for buying them? Have a look at the two links in the post. > 'Nuclear submarine' is almost exclusively used to refer to a > submarine's nuclear propulsive mechanism. In this case, the Of course, you are right. I will change it to "nuclear-armed".

pigilito on :

From the Economist article in a previous post is more evidence of Germany's support of Israel: "If there were a threat to Israel, Germany would help to defend it “without batting an eyelid,” says [policy guru] Mr Weisskirchen." Although like many observers, I always found Europe's embrace of the Palestinians to be without merit (doubtless many Europeans felt the same about America's relationship to Israel). Perhaps it is the new pragmatism said to be filtering through Europe.

The Monster on :

As an American of predominantly German extraction, I completely understand those who refer to a song by the opening line of its former first verse. When German athletes win Olympic gold medals, and the TUNE is played, no one can tell that the first verse is no longer part of the song. I suspect that there are some who do sing that verse. And we Americans tend to be a big confused when UK athletes win, because the anthem being played is the same tune as a patriotic song of ours.

Zyme on :

I recall what a few collegues who were soldiers in the german army told: Those old anthems and songs of the third Reich are quite popular among the troops when they are on mission in foreign lands. But they only sing them when there is no troublemaker around, who would whistle-blow them ;)

Anonymous on :

Anybody singing Hajji Girl? Your colleagues turned out to be wistleblowers... There always are wistleblowers. Abu Ghraib became public due to a wistleblower. If those songs would be popular in the Bundeswehr, I am sure it would be uncovered and it would be all over the news around the world. Did you see the NY Times article? Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts "A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator " http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/washington/07recruit.html Your allegations and the allegations in the NYT should not be exaggerated. Most soldiers are decent.

Zyme on :

Of course they are decent guys - that is why I know them :) Singing those old anthems is not such a big issue, since no one gets hurt. And the natives in foreign countries dont understand a word of it anyway. Those traditional songs were simply more encouraging before serious missions and an amusement while they had free-time.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

People on the Balkans would understand "Deutschland über alles." They or their parents had heard it before. :-(

Zyme on :

Even if they did, they would see it the way it was meant to: Fun or entertainment. Have you ever heard those old tunes? They have something thrilling on it. Just because you sing 'em doesnt make a bad man out of you :)

joe on :

Ralf, Yes you are correct about the sale of submarines to Israel being significant. I would also say the desire of Germany to sell advanced technology weapon systems to China also significant. Just as the sale of dual use technology to Iran is significant or the building of bunkers for Saddam was significant. What is a bit misleading in this discussion about submarines is the fact Germany has sold more than a 100 of these worldwide. It is a key part of Germany’s arms export industry. If anything the 300 million euros is more of a subsidy to German shipyards, as most of this money will remain in Germany. Still it is just a little over half of what Germany has provided the Palestinians. Direct subsidies to industries are not unusual in Europe. England is going to be asked to provide Airbus more than 500 million euros in launch aid. This will save about 13,000 jobs in the UK, as they will build the wings for this new aircraft. As to whether any of Israel’s submarines will have nuclear weapons capability is nothing more than pure speculation. I do remember the Greens taking the position that any future sales of submarines to Israel would come with the requirement that they would not be used as nuclear weapons platforms. As this pending sale was agreed upon during the last days of Gerhard’s government with the Greens, I wonder if this requirement was part of the agreement.

Anonymous on :

> Yes you are correct about the sale of submarines to Israel > being significant. I would also say the desire of Germany to > sell advanced technology weapon systems to China also So you put an actual sale on the same level as "the desire." Just as you consider the Berliner Zeitung commentary as some sort of criticism of this post, although there are many positive commentaries like in the Bild Zeitung. So who is misleading? > significant. Just as the sale of dual use technology to Iran > is significant or the building of bunkers for Saddam was significant. What dual? When were the bunkers built? At a time when the US was arming Saddam as well? Links please. > remain in Germany. Still it is just a little over half of > what Germany has provided the Palestinians. Source please. > Direct subsidies to industries are not unusual in Europe. While of course there are not subsidies in the US. > As to whether any of Israel’s submarines will have nuclear > weapons capability is nothing more than pure speculation. I don't be so naive.

Anonymous on :

> If anything the 300 million euros is more of a subsidy to German > shipyards, as most of this money will remain in Germany. Tell me about US military aid to israel, egypt etc.

joe on :

you can do your own research. And you can pretend all you want but the fact is Germany very much wanted to sell weapons to China. The single thing which prevented it was the US would stop sharing technology with Europe. Unfortunately Europe decided that its best course of action was to defer China sales. You also can do your own research on US aid to both Egypt and Israel. To help you with this, start with the Carter Adminstration.

Fuchur on :

That´s a stupid lie. Former German chancellor Schröder for a while made some half-hearted moves to lift the EU arms embargo on China, which still is in place because of the Tianmen Square Massacre. This was nothing more than a "publicitiy stunt" to improve relations with China. It certainly wasn´t an attempt to sell weapons to China: This would not be possible anyway because of German anti-proliferation laws. There never was any intention whatsoever to change these very strict laws. Besides, Schröder was completely isolated with his attempt, even in his own party. He was clobbered by all the media for this, without exception. (But actually, I´m quite sure you´re aware of all this. You aren´t interested in the truth, but you´d use any lie and misinformation to advance your petty anti-German agenda. )

Anonymous on :

"you can do your own research." If you want to change anybody's opinon, you need to back up your claims. Nobody is just believing your word, especially since it has become obvious that you are bashing Germany in all your comments. How's supposed to take your claims seriously?

Ralf Goergens on :

joe, Schröder was isolated in Germany with his desire to lift the weapons embargo on China. http://www.dwworld.de/dw/article/0,214,1552991,00.html The embargo wasn'r lifted because Schröder and Chirac couldn't overcome that kind of resistance in Germany and Europe. The bunkers were built for Saddam in the early 80's, during the Ira-Iraq war, when Saddam still was considered to be more or less on the West's side -after all, he was opposing the Mullahs. As to dual use goods: That's a pretty braod term, and as it happens there are plenty of Amercan firms that sell similar stuff to Iran: http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2004/0412/086.html As to the submarines: Israel has the technology to refit them with nuclear weapons, thereby gaining seond-strike capabilities. As to aid for the Palestinians: Germany is paying its share of the European Union's aid for them, that's all. Part of the Oslo agreements was that the EU would help the Palestinians build up their infrastructure.

joe on :

Anonymous I do not want to change your opinion. I want your opinion to be based on what you believe to be true, that truth being the results of your own independent research and personal analysis. I realize research and analysis is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose of this blog is to be critical. As to whether you chose or not to choose to take anything seriously that I might write is something you will have to decide. That what I might write does not agree with you or with others does not make it either wrong or less valid nor does it equally make it right or valid. But I can understand your confusion, given you really did not know when to take your former chancellor seriously or not. Equally in keeping with the spirit of this blog I am not bashing Germany. I am being critical and am pointing out some of your own and apparently not recognized hypocrisies. So please forgive me if I have in some way disturbed your egocentric cocoon.

Olaf Petersen on :

U-31: People should notice that Germany has two versions of this new submarine, a premium version for itself and a 'light version' for export.

Chris on :

Nice post. Try a Google search and note this as well: Klose, Miroslav - [ Translate this page ]Offizielle Seite von Miroslav Klose - alles über Miro. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-42,GGLD:en&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=miroslav+klose&spell=1

Chris on :

Google picks up something on his website that is a play on that openning line to the anthem.

joe on :

Fucher, If I am to understand what you are saying Gerhard did state he wanted to sell advanced technology weapons to China but he did not really mean it. He took this position in concert with Germany’s closest ally, france. Does this mean he was lying to the french as well as the Chinese or just to the french or just to the Chinese? Was this a covert effort on his part to undermine the french and Chinese? This seems to be a peculiar speech pattern that infects some on the left. Much like Kerry’s comment of voting for war with Iraq before he voted against it. It is unfortunate Germans do not realize words have meaning. This so called “joke” of wanting to sell weapons to China but not really meaning it took up a lot of time within the foreign policy community of both the US and Europe. And two of the main reasons he and his close ally Jacquo got no traction were the US would stop sharing technology with Europe and secondly it would have probably meant the end to NATO. It is unfortunate these sales did not take place. Equally by reminding you that Gerhard stated he wanted to sell advanced technology weapons to China that this is now some how a lie. As to your comment about being anti-Germany does this mean Germany is beyond criticism? If this is in fact, what you are saying then by all means I can understand why that would be your position. But it does beg the question; does it equally apply to your criticism of the US? When you criticize the US then are you really an anti-American? While the two questions above are of some interest, probably what is more important is how does one know when your current chancellor is being truthful and not being truthful?

Fuchur on :

Thing is: Old Gerhard [b]explicitly[/b] said that he did [b]not[/b] want to sell weapons to China. Words have meanings. 1. You wrote that "Germany" wanted to sell weapons to China. This is of course total BS in every way, since (as I said), Schröder was totally isolated in this case; even in his own party. 2. There is a (not really subtle) difference between "lifting the embargo" and "selling weapons". I hate repeating myself, but selling German weapons to China isn´t possible because of [b]German[/b] law, regardless of the embargo. By the way, there are lots of states to which Germany forbids arms sales, but only on a fraction of them is an embargo imposed.

joe on :

Fucher, You can choose to spin this anyway you want to spin it. The bottomline does not change unless all these people got it wrong. But then I am sure they did. Of course, I would expect you to believe lifting the arms embargo had nothing to do with future sales of arms to China. I am sure you have a television set you never watch either but you have it just in case you might one want to. Then again you as well as many of your fellow citizens also believed that Gerhard was going to reduce unemployment or as he stated should not be returned as chancellor. Yet he was returned as your chancellor. I guess that jokester Gerhard had a big laugh about all of this after all the time and effort spent to keep the embargo in place. And yes I am aware there are some nations which Germany will not sale arms to certain nation. I believe Taiwan is one of those. But then this is keeping with Germany’s one China policy. As for your laws, they seem to be pretty malleable. It is unfortunate Gerhard did not win this issue. http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,347129,00.html http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2004-01/24/content_300854.htm http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1528361,00.html http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/iraq/3051517.html http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,331590,00.html http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/tkacik200403250900.asp http://www.openflows.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/24/1824231&mode=thread&tid=14 http://www.fpa.org/newsletter_info2584/newsletter_info_sub_list.htm?section=Will%20the%20EU%20Lift%20the%20Arms%20Embargo%20on%20China%3F http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56977-2005Mar22.html http://taiwansecurity.org/AP/2001/AP-110301.htm

Bill on :

Ooohh... I can see that this comment thread just spun off into the ether far away from the original theme of this post. Germans finding their national pride again and singing their national anthem and waving flags during the WM 2006 was cool, didn't have anything to do with the Nazis. I know, I was here and have been here for a looong time (too long). On Germany's support for Israel and polls about German public support for the Israelis and so forth, Give Us a Break. There is still PLENTY of negative rhetoric in Germany (in the press, the electronic media, and on the street) directed against the State of Israel and especially re: the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The German media more often-than-not characterizes the Israelis as the main perpetrators of the ongoing violence due to their greed for Palestinian land, religious fanaticism, ominous backing from the U.S. government under heavy influence from a strong American-Jewish lobby, etc. etc. Next to the relentless media bias directed at successive United States government administrations and the people of the U.S.A., the Jews catch total hell here in Germany on-the-air and in the press. My claims can be easily confirmed by doing a little research using various media archives in Germany over the past 2-3 decades. The statement made in The Economist by Herr Weisskirchen that, "...if Israel were attacked Germany would come to their aid in a heartbeat (or whatever he said)" is totally bogus. Germany will NOT send troops into heavy combat to support their "friends and allies" under (almost) any conditions because the German people will not support such an action AND the political price would be absolutely devastating for any politician or political party that would even attempt to do such a thing. You can save the rhetoric about the Balkan troops (Kosovo, Bosnia, etc.) or Afghanistan (pleeease!) or the EUFOR mission to the Congo (..."we are here only to support MONUC forces in evacuating election observers and foreign nationals in case...") because in each case Berlin has guaranteed the voting public in Germany (on TV) that these are NOT combat missions but are either peacekeeping or reconstruction missions that may be somewhat dangerous. The German public is not ready to deal with a significant number of troop casualties and body bags coming home due to a military combat mission in another country other than Germany. Period. Lastly, let us not forget that Germany remains the largest trading partner to the regime in Tehran and this has been the case for many, many years. Practically every older Iranian exile that I know here in Germany curses (daily) the German government and business community for the financial support that they have extended to the Islamic regime in Tehran for the past 20 years or so. Explain to us how Germany can be Iran's most important commercial trading partner and at the same time be one of Israel's closest friends and allies? How do you pull that off... with diplomacy? Sadly, after watching the escalation of combat taking place over the past few days in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza we may all have the opportunity to see who is going to do what on behalf of whom in the Middle East. Wow. I'm way off subject here. Sorry.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

> There is still PLENTY of negative rhetoric in Germany (in the > press, the electronic media, and on the street) directed > against the State of Israel and especially re: the > long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I agree. However, don't you think the change in opinion polls is remarkable and newsworthy? The media can't be totally biased against Israel, because opinon polls changed in favor of Israel. You disagree? Talking about bias: Do you think the US or the German media is more biased in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? I think that for the last couple of decades the US media has in general been more supportive and uncritical of Israeli government policies than the Israeli media has been. I am not talking about the last few days, but about the last few decades. > the Jews catch > total hell here in Germany on-the-air and in the press. Now you are totally unfair. Please substantiate your claims. Basically you are accusing the entire media of Anti-Semitism. That is so ridiculous that I should not even respond to it, but I do appreciate your blog and your opinons. > such a thing. You can save the rhetoric about the Balkan > troops (Kosovo, Bosnia, etc.) or Afghanistan (pleeease!) or Why this condescensions? Would you make the same comments to the relatives of the German soldiers serving on the Balkans and in Afghanistan? Especially to those who lost their loved ones? > German public is not ready to deal with a significant number > of troop casualties and body bags coming home due to a > military combat mission in another country other than > Germany. Period. Why did you pull out of Vietnam and Somalia? Why do more and more Americans favor an immidiate or early withdrawal from Iraq? > Lastly, let us not forget that Germany remains the largest > trading partner to the regime in Tehran and this has been the > case for many, many years. Who's China's largest trading partner? And Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner? Who is financing the Saudi regime with billions of dollars every year? What are the Saudis doing with that money? > Iran's most important commercial trading partner and at the > same time be one of Israel's closest friends and allies? Good question! Germany thought that trade with Iran would lead to change in Iran. The so-called Wandel durch Handel doctrine. It has not worked. The time for sanctions has come. US policy on Iran for the last couple of decades has not achieved any positive change on Iran either. Now, please answer my question: How can the US be one of Israel's closest friends and allies, [b][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/153-The-US-Saudi-relationship-Oil-supply-at-the-expense-of-US-security-and-moral-values.html]while having such super-duper relations with Saudi Arabia?[/url][/b] Saudi charities exports anti-Semitic hate and finances terrorism around the world. The Washington Post reported recently that even the reformed Saudi textbooks teach hatred of Jews... > Wow. I'm way off subject here. Sorry. That's okay.

Don on :

This bring up an interesting issue. The source for the original story about the supposed nazi anthem signing seems to be the Independent newspaper from the UK, which is a little suprising but perhaps not too much. The Independent is regarded as one of the 'quality' papers of the UK but I personally don't hold it in high regard because it has a fondness for the cheap shot and trashy 'journalism' - as it clearly shows with this story. It is also the main outlet for the journalist robert Fisk, who has become a byword for a slanted journalist in the blogosphere(see fisked, fisking, etc). It also has a bad habit of running splashy covers without much in the way of stories to back them up. Disappointing - so I never buy it any more.

Don on :

The narrow point which Joerg makes in this post is that the national anthem sung at the games is not the same as was sung at the Olympicstadium in 1936. A larger point is that Deutschland is not the same as it was before 1945. This is pretty much incontestable. Anyone who has spent significant time in Germany will know that, and people who argue that Germany is nazi in any manner anger me - for the same reason that the endless comparisons between various US Presidents (or the US generally) and the Third Reich make me angry. It simply ain't so, and anyone who troubled themselves to do a little research would know it. I could go further and comment that Germany has gone to great efforts to make itself the anti-Reich. Sometimes to an absurd level. I was glad to see a little German patriotism sprout at long last at this World Cup because I think Deutschland has a great deal to be proud of. The shift in German attitudes concerning Israel and Palestine surprised me - not least because most of the facts an action seeming to drive this shift were obvious three years ago when German public attitudes wrere far more anti-Israel. That was the time when it seemed that a suicide bomb was exploding every day blowing up a Bar Mitzvah here, a pizza parlour filled with children, or a bus full of immigrant workers there. Nonetheless I welcome this shift. Though I'm a little apprehensive about whether it will prove to be lasting given that I don't understand what the underlying causes for the shift are.

Bill on :

Well, we're off-subject here Jörg as stated in my comment above, but I will respond to your questions. Actually, this is some good stuff for the next Carnival of German-American Relations IV. Re: German media and Israel Media bias is a big problem everywhere, so yes, U.S. news reporting about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (wars) is probably just as bad as it is here in Germany. Why I say that "...the Jews catch total hell here on-the-air and in the press..." is that it is true. The presentation of information about the conflict to the general public here (especially TV news) for many years has clearly favored the "suffering" Palestinians vs. the "greedy and unfair" Jewish state. Ask any Jew living in Germany today, they'll tell you the same thing. Do I find the results from the polls showing a shift in German public opinion newsworthy? Yes, of course. Remarkable? No. Media coverage of news is powerful stuff, and the world media networks have been focusing on acts of terrorsim, war in the Middle East, radical Islam and Jihadists, etc. for the past 5 years in such a way that there have been shifts of opinion all over the place, all over the planet. Re: German military expeditions in the Balkans and Afghanistan Yes, I would say the same thing to any German citizen as I wrote in my comment above, whether they lost a loved one in these conflicts or not. Very few German soldiers have died in Afghanistan or the Balkans due to hostile fire in combat, because Germany is not involved in combat operations. Accidents, equipment failures, and the occassional landmine or IED has been the cause of death for almost all German military casualties in these conflicts. To add to this, the German TV news crews active in Afghanistan (and Iraq) early on were so confident that Germany didn't belong to the group of "bad guys" in the eyes of enemy combatants that they were running around with big signs reading "German Press" or "Don't Shoot, We Are German" taped to their vehicles and clothing. It worked for awhile, until kidnappings and outright murder of civilians really got hot. Even now, with an increase in attacks by Taliban fighters particularly in southern Afghanistan, your Defense Minister has said that Germany will not be taking part in combat missions in those provinces. In the northern provinces where German troops have been concentrated for the past couple of years, there is little open warfare with the Taliban. That's why Germany was given those sectors, because they posed the least threat (that may be changing soon). Poppy cultivation and raw opium exports have just exploded in the sectors under German military control over the same period, showing that the German presence is always good for business. Re: the body count problem in Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq This is just too complicated a subject to deal with here, don't you think? No sane nation likes to see their young men and women (and innocent civilians) die on battlefields (emphasis on the word "sane"). But I will say this, I believe that many people in Germany (and elsewhere around the globe) have become far too comfortable with the idea that the U.S. military is "born to die" in foreign conflicts, while their own military (and citizens) can kick back and watch the action without any physical risk and minimal financial costs for themselves. Iraq is a perfect example of that and this philosophy could backfire rather badly for you guys here in Europe. After all, the U.S. does not share a common border with Iraq and Syria and Iran, but you guys will as soon as Turkey joins the E.U. Good luck, pal. Re: foreign trading partners I am neither a supporter of the cozy relationships between Beijing and Washington D.C. nor the unfettered free-wheeling trade between the PRC and the American business community, as you can read in some of my posts about the PR China's love affair with African governments at the moment. I don't even bother commenting on Saudi Arabia and America. But you're right, Wandel durch Handel (political change through trade) doesn't seem to work with everybody. Does it work with any nation? I guess this means that we are running out of options for peaceful regime change in despotic, dangerous countries like Iran. Of course, we could just kick back and do nothing and see what happens next. Hey, it worked with North Korea... ENDE - for now.

Don on :

Way off-topic indeed! But I agree with this point and think it would be a worthwhile discussion. Bill: "I believe that many people in Germany (and elsewhere around the globe) have become far too comfortable with the idea that the U.S. military is "born to die" in foreign conflicts, while their own military (and citizens) can kick back and watch the action without any physical risk and minimal financial costs for themselves." I think the EU and the UN may have fallen into the habit of thinking of the US military as mercenaries rather than an instrument of US policy and a tool of defense. Look at recent history since Gulf War I in 1990. I'm coming to the conclusion that 'renting' US forces to the coalition in 1990 was a massive mistake by Bush 41 because it led to a shift in perception and behavior by former allies like France and Germany. It allowed the EU to indulge in the illusion that it was unecessary for them to invest in their own armed forces. Thus we see a Germany which holds the idea that it should be a full partner in decisions where and how to use the US military - without paying the price of supporting those forces wither in treasure or in blood. And that is a huge problem and possibly the biggest wedge driving the two countries apart at this time.

Fuchur on :

@Bill [i]the Jews catch total hell here [/i] That´s of course total nonsense. One might argue that there´s a bias against [b]the policy of Israel[/b]. But discussing this really would lead too far. Suffice it to say that this isn´t a particularly German problem. [i]Germany will NOT send troops into heavy combat to support their "friends and allies" under (almost) any conditions [/i] Well, my dad stood on alert beside his plane during the Cuba Crisis. But maybe WWIII doesn´t count as "heavy combat" in your book. We make treaties, and we keep our treaties. Anything beyond that is fair game. [i]You can save the rhetoric about the Balkan troops (Kosovo, Bosnia, etc.) or Afghanistan (pleeease!)[/i] Well, no, I won´t. Our boys are doing a great and important job in Kosovo and Afghanistan. They deserve respect and not condescensions. The insinuation that only combat missions "count" is just nonsense. Somebody´s gotta do the job. If not a German soldier, then somebody else. Btw, where are all your other great allies? Britain´s still there, as ever. Everybody else is clandestinely packing up and leaving. Spain, Italy, Poland, ... The oh-so-useless Germans will remain in Afghanistan for a long time to come. [i]Very few German soldiers have died in Afghanistan or the Balkans due to hostile fire in combat[/i] Oh, I´m so sorry to hear that neither the number of German casualties, nor their way of dying appeals to your high standards... [i]Yes, I would say the same thing to any German citizen as I wrote in my comment above, whether they lost a loved one in these conflicts or not. [/i] I bet you would: "Listen, buddy, your son didn´t die in a combat operation. He blew up himself while trying to defuse an IED. So don´t make such a fuss about it!" Just make sure your teeth are well insured before you do...

joe on :

Fucher, Have another sip of that kool aid think you are hyperventilating

ADMIN on :

Please, don't try to provoke anyone. I see escalations in many comment threads on many blogs. We don't want flame wars in the comments section. Comments like this one don't add any value to this debate. The next one of this kind might get deleted. Every comment should offer some insight, a different perspective or some arguments or little known facts etc. Debate in the comments section may be very controversial on the issues, but shouldn't get personal.

joe on :

Huge misunderstandings take place on these issues such as German military contributions. There is a failure on the American side to really understand the meaning of the culture policy shift, which has occurred to allow the German military to do what it is doing. So most Americans I would say are ignorant of that and equally do not value both how difficult it was and the significance of it. What we see can be summaries as you are the largest nation in Europe, you are the richest nation in Europe, you have a very large military, we have been stationed in your nation for all of these many years prepared to die to protect you, you do not invest in defense and your contribution is not significant. Add to this the disconnects about the Balkans, the performance in the German elections, actions at the UN and the escapades in Brussels in the run up to Iraq and we have a sense of disgust. This is compounded when attempts to make the German contribution seem to be greater than it is. That makes you sound very defensive. The more likely outcome from the American side is to think even less of you. Instead of recognizing in this case Don’s points and then giving him more background in your counter point you jump to the defense. This tends to do nothing to advance anything. What really is going on is a difference in perceptions. It would be nice if from time to time someone would address those. Germany has made a start, a late start but a start, which is important. It is probably more important for Germany to have made this start than it is for America. This comes back to some degree of Germany only being a nation with everything that entails for less than 20 years. Before policy questions such as military deployments never had to be addressed by either your elites or by your citizens. So is Germany making a contribution – Yes. Is it significant – No. Is it still important – Yes. Would it hurt if they went home – Yes and No. Is it better for Germany to be there – Yes. Now for all I know Don may know all of this but I know a lot of your American readers probably do not. So you can take more time to better address these perception differences or you can do as I do at times and just fire for effect and when I do that I hope I hit my target.

Bill on :

Well said (er, written) Joe and thanks for your input to my comments Don. Hey, looks as if the German Bundeswehr (military) may be headed for the Middle East after all (southern Lebanon border with Israel). There has been a flurry of conflicting news reports over here for the past few days. First the German Defence Minister says no way will Germany be sending peacekeeping troops to the region, then he retracted that statement the next day and stated that it might - maybe - could very well happen. Lot's of debate and concern in the media and the public. But of course, this is way, way off-subject.

frank on :

yes , and now i'm singing the anthem of my country in nazi period , because i believe that is was a golden age !

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