For over Seventy years Germany has played by the rules, being married to a German I am constantly trying encourage a bit of British ‘rule bending’ like walking across the road without waiting for the little ‘Green Man’ and waiting to be asked for the ticket, and a little creative deception – I am failing and I feel bad as a consequence. Whilst it is stereotypical Germans due to tend like the ordered and the predictable; after the Second World War the Germans simply ‘got on with it’ – created a new nations despite overwhelming odds after their defeat, their country being occupied and broken in two – and lest not forget the 500,000 Germans that died fleeing from Communism and the effect of mass starvation as the ‘Iron Curtain’ drew across the East.
The German Constitution has, until recently, forbidden ‘a German Soldiers boot on foreign soil’ though admittedly it has contributed financially to US led wars such as the Gulf Crisis; Germany has done everything, and more, to be the ‘good neighbour’. Lets not forget that it was at the insistence of NATO that Adenauer re-created the Germany military.
On German reunification, in response to fears from France, America, Russia, and the United Kingdom it gave up its currency, the symbol of Statehood, to form the Euro – it was a gesture that the re-united Germany was going to be European.
Germany has danced to the tune given it, and more.
Suddenly due to over borrowing and the major Banking Sector crash Germany now finds itself as the leader of the Europe, being in stronger position than anyone else to weather the storm, it has invested in it’s people, it’s culture and manufacturing sector and through prudence; it rewards from the right-wing press is constant reference to the World War Two, always a good source of jingoism when times get tough in the UK – the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ or ‘darkest hour’ the ‘Fourth Reich’.
German detractors are like the school ground bully, they want to torment Germany and then have it do its homework; or is it just we are ashamed at the State of our own country and that it is just jealously? It seems the Tories just want to distract from the current problems by harping on the sidelines, why can’t we adopt the French and cooperate for the greater good? We tried extracting the ‘last pound of flesh’ in 1919 at Versailles (against the advice President Woodrow Wilson) which totally failed, in fact it planted the seeds for the Second World War – revenge doesn’t work, cooperation clearly does. The view of France, now Germany’s closest ally was ‘to bring Germany to its knees’ whilst Lloyd George wanted a ‘buffer State’ against Russia.
The problem for me is that this response is both ‘right-wing’ and just underscores the point when the British Empire began to disintegrate and we became ‘a small Island off the coast of Belgium’ – our last hurrah!
The really fundamental problem, apart from British history is littered with a lot of unsavoury episodes – leading a lot to call the Union Flag ‘the Butchers Apron’ – is that we need Germany to act, we need it to act and act fast.
Angela Merkel will be all to conscious of the result of financial meltdown and the effects it has on society, after all it was also Germany that suffered rampant unemployment and inflation in the interwar years.
So what do we want, a passive German watching Europe sink into the mire, or do want Germany to act, if it is the latter we need to stop the ‘Greater Germany’ non-sense and grow up!
The Myth of the Fourth Reich – great article, much better than my Blog 🙂