Why are the right allergic to history
Posted by Joerg W in Transatlantic Relations on Sunday, July 9. 2006
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?"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:
No, but I wouldn't want to get on their bad side...
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:
(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 background in the box to your 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 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.
God,I feel sorry if his blogging standards are the ones he has in his classroom. Sloppy isn't the word.
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
posted by Steve @ 9:17:00 AM