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UPDATE: "Germany Rediscovers the US as a Partner"

"Chancellor Angela Merkel has reoriented Germany away from Russia and toward the United States. Expanded economic ties are just one area of renewed cooperation. But could Germany get burned like the British did?" is the teaser of Spiegel International's article "Merkel's Pact with America," which first appeared in the German print edition. Quote:
It is virtually unprecedented in German history for a chancellor to be so unreservedly aligned with the US. Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany, saw America as a guarantor of freedom, but also perceived it as an occupation force. Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt, both Social Democratic (SPD) chancellors, were pro-American but innately skeptical.
Merkel, on the contrary, wants to expand Germany's close ties with the United States and is on the verge of making a pact with America the cornerstone of her foreign policy. Indeed, the resoluteness with which she has pursued this goal stands in conspicuous contrast with her government's lack of political progress back home in Germany.
A new beginning in trans-Atlantic relations? Out of consideration for her SPD coalition partners, Merkel has elected not to shine the spotlight too brightly on recent improvements in US-German relations -- indeed, her political modesty is one condition for the policy's success. Should she toot her own horn, she would likely alienate the SPD, her party's partner in Berlin's governing coalition.
UPDATE: There is a lot of bad journalism at Spiegel. And this article is no exception. The Atlantic Review's reader and friend Bill points out that the old America map was not "an especially generous gift" as Spiegel claims. The US paid $10 mio for it, as Bill explains in detail. This is what Spiegel claimed:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will present an especially generous gift during her trip to the United States this week. At a Monday ceremony in the Great Hall of the US Library of Congress, she will hand over to the Americans something Germans would normally be barred from even taking out of the country: a piece of Germany's national cultural heritage. The item in question is a world map drafted by Freiburg native Martin Waldseemüller in 1507. It is a map which shows a rough outline of the new continent, and for the first time uses a name that the immigrants in the New World would eventually adopt for their own: America.


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Bill on :

Atta boy! The Atlantic Review shows up as the Nr.1 blog in Spiegel's Technorati trackback list for this story. Let's see if the Der Spiegel international edition staff begins to really pay attention to the lively dialogues and scoops on transatlantic news and issues that take place regularly at your blog or if they just continue to ignore your work and that of other top German bloggers as they have done for the past year or more. P.S. I still say that the Waldseemüller 1507 map of the world is a fake. Check the spelling on Amerika with a loupé... is that a "c" or a "k"?

Zyme on :

Maybe this is just the latin spelling? I think latin was the common written language in Europe at that time.

Bill on :

You know Zyme, I think that you may be right about that. Martin Waldseemüller probably denoted all geographical features of the map in Latin. Just to make sure, I dropped a line to the folks over at the new Library of Congress blog about our (my confusion)... let's see if they stop by the Atlantic Review to clear this matter up once and for all. Here is the question I posed to the LoC: "We’ve picked up on the story over here in Germany at the Atlantic Review blog. The 1507 Waldseemüller map of the world is a great gift to the LoC and the American people, but we are having a bit of debate over its authenticity. Did Martin Waldseemüller denote the continents and other geographical features on his map in Alt Deutsch (Old German) or in Latin? See the Atlantic Review posts on April 28th and May 1st for our comments about this acquisition. Atlantic Review P.S. I think that it is great the the U.S. Library of Congress has started a blog. Good luck!" Wait a minute. If the new continent was denoted in Latin then wouldn't it be called Amerikus? Americi? I didn't do so well in Latin studies at school...:-)

Bill on :

Wait a minute, this map was no GIFT!! The American people paid $10 million bucks (tax dollars + private donations) for this map. We've been robbed (again)! Here's the lowdown over at the Washington Post: U.S. Given German Map that Named America (AP) "German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, formally hands over the the Martin Waldseemuller 1507 World Map, right, inside the Great Hall at the Library of Congress, Monday, April 30, 2007 in Washington. The map, that was the first to formally assign the name "America" to the continent and is the only surviving copy, was purchased by the Library of Congress. The German prince who owned the map, the only surviving copy of the original print of 1,000, agreed in 2001 to sell it to the Library of Congress for $10 million. Congress provided half the money, with the rest coming from private contributors." Which German prince you ask? Why Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg von irgendwo in Süd-Deutschland (Baden-Württemberg). The continent refered to on the map as "America" was the South American continent, North America was designated "Terra Ulteri' Incognita" (English translation = No Man's Land). The Library of Congress threw in another $4 million for an old sea chart (the Carta Marina) and a couple of celestial atlases (celestial gores) made by Waldseemüller. No wonder Merkel was all smiles in Washington D.C., she was making big business for the Prince and the German people. Here's the original story on the map acquistion by the LoC published in the Washington Post Oct. 19, 2000: Rare Maps website (Washington Map Society) Here's National Geographic's article about the map's purchase and handover ceremony back in June 2003: Excerpt from the NatGeo article: In 1992 it was offered for sale, and the Library of Congress acquired it after making an initial down payment in June of 2001. The German state of Baden-Württemburg gave permission to export the map, since it was listed as "valuable national cultural property." It was relocated to the Library of Congress in 2001 pending completion of the sale. The map will be handed over officially in the presence of representatives of the governments of the U.S. and Germany in 2004, when a gallery devoted to its display is expected to be completed. The map was paid for by the U.S. Congress and private donations. Question: If the map was purchased by the U.S. government (Library of Congress) back in 2001 and 2004 and handed over in an official ceremony in 2004, then what was all of this showboating about in Washington last month? How many times can you officially hand over the goods? Was this just a show to make German Chancellor Merkel look good and to show the American people that the relationship between Germany and the U.S. is on the mend? No... you can't have the Waldseemüller map back. It's ours now, the American people have paid for it and we're keeping it. $14 million bucks! Let me check the dates on those old maps hidden down in my Keller...

Bill on :

Thanks for the update on the original post Jörg. Actually I was just having fun with you and the Atlantic Reviews's regular readers re: the Library of Congress acquisition of the Waldseemüller 1507 map of the world. Der Spiegel did get the story wrong but perhaps it was just carelessness on the part of the article's authors (yeah, right). As an American citizen and as an American with a longstanding relationship with the German people (not always pleasant and friendly, mind you) I am very proud to have this magnificent and rare 36 square foot antique map as a permanent addition to the collections of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. I'm very interested in history and antique maps and documents as you well know. What your readers and you may be really interested in seeing and hearing is the speech that German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave at the Library of Congress (auf Deutsch and in English) before members of the U.S. Congress and guests of the LoC. This is where she expressed her personal feelings about the transatlantic relationship between the German people and the American people and she made no bones about her foreign policy goals toward the United States under her leadership of both Germany and the EU Presidency. It's THE story that Der Spiegel and other news media missed or chose to ignore during Merkel's recent visit to Washington D.C. Checkout the 37 minute streaming video webcast available at the new Library of Congress blog. It is well worth the time (and bandwidth) to watch and listen to Angela Merkel and others speak about the Waldseemüller map and the transatlantic relationship: Library in the News 04/30/07 by Matt Raymond P.S. This map of course should provoke lots of questions and debate and provide food for thought about the "Dawn of the Modern Era" and European expansionism into the New World. Just think about it: if a copy of Waldseemüller's map had fallen into the hands of the Aztecs and the various indigenous tribes of South, Central, and North America they could have planned a helluva counter-attack to stem the European invasion of their lands. The world as we know it today would be a very different place.

Kevin Sampson on :

When Europe starts singing paeans to the US, it’s time to keep your hand on your wallet.

Zyme on :

lol :D

Don S on :

After many years of Europeans usually denigrating the US, working to frustrate much of what, and in many respects behaving as though the US was a rival or an enemy, another approach. I wish her the best of luck, but count me skeptical about whether merkel can succeed. Not because of Bush or the US (though alientated Americans like myself will be a minor problem for her) - but because of the obstacles posed by her countrymen and European partners. I think Merkel sees more clearly than most - working in a partnership of equals will work better than the policied of the past decade which at the the core were coercion of the US. Sometimes coercian masked by kinds words though often not. "We have decided what you will do; You have no choice in the matter". These policies were a dismal failure because the assumption that Europe could impose rules on the US was and is false. I agree that Tony Blair's fate should be a warning to Merkel, but not for the reasons many think. I think that so many Germans (and British) have drunk the poisoned kool-aid that they really believe their own rhetoric about the US being inherently evil and the biggest threat that they cannot do the rational thing and deal with the heretics on the other side of the Atlantic. Anti-Americans may not be in the majority but are a large minority - and their influence permeates every corner of the public space in certain countries (Germany, France, Spain, and even the UK). If Merkel can accomplish this grand rapproachment that will put her into the history books. But count me a skeptic. Not about her motives, rationality, or good will. But whether Germany can convince themselves that the US is not Satan.

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