This is an interesting comment I came across to Davids Medienkritik blog, a German blogger about the extreme media bias of Germany. Far more anti-American than the American mass media, since German media companies don’t have to cover up their obvious anti-Americanism for political power.
I agree with many of your points of the events surrounding the second world war. Also, I would like to stress that I am grateful for your service to our country as a military man. Unlike my father, I cannot claim having ever made the same sacrifice. I am 35 years old, American, and have been living in Münich for the last 10 years.
However, I am not sure that your posting offers insight (for me at least) as to the worsening German animus towards the USA. I am fully confused by much of what I hear here in Germany, it is the exact reason why I read this blog on a regular basis: Germans do not get fair reporting and base their opinion on this (worse so, they seldom attempt to inform themselves with other sources). Furthermore, they are often motivated for reasons unbeknownst to share this opinion with me on a regular basis.
I take your point that the last two generations of Germans unduly have suffered prejudices for crimes committed by the previous NAZI government. I was deliberately very sensitive to the holocaust issue and second world war issue with Germans when I first moved here. I never brought it up with Germans and attempted to always avoid the point. It is for this reason that I find it rather hypocritical (or rather impolite) when Germans, whom I’ve never accosted, find it necessary for them to lecture me on the evils of my government. I’ve had a colleague in my office who told me that the USA had started the the Korean War in 1950. I am tolerant of differing opinions, but when his understanding of historic events matches the propaganda of Kim Il Sung, it is time to worry.
As far as our country is concerned, following the atrocities committed by the Germans and Russians, Poles whoever, we were the beacon of hope and justice (forget the Japanese). We took in 1/2 the Jews following the war, even the English didn’t want them. Furthermore, the English/French and Russians were feared far more by the Germans for reprisals. We helped to rebuild a country who we were in a bitter war with, and we held fast to stop the Soviet aggression (and it was aggression). Duly, this ability to forgive and support was also extended to the Japanese. I don’t think that there is any historical parallel with such generosity and solidarity. I have also lived in the UK where elder taxi drivers thanked the US for our involvement in both WW conflicts. I know of no significant memorial in Germany that gratefully commemorates American efforts in: the Berlin Airlift (only a concrete luftbrücke in Frankfurt airport – wow), the Marshall Plan (still un-repaid), NATO, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc, etc. It seems doomed to fade from German memory, particularily with attempts to describe Germans as victims of WWII. And that von Stauffenberg was a German hero, not an early adopter of Nazism.
I often meet poorly informed Germans, to those following the media-line, or characterise all Americans as gleichgeschaltet, to contempt and sometimes downright hostility. So, I sit here confused, perplexed and wondering why there is such open and wilful hostility towards my country. And particularly my country, the one who only ever helped to put things right and stood shoulder to shoulder with a now forgetful nation. Often, I wonder why we ever helped them in the first place.
Most importantly, I find it rather obnoxious for Germans to criticise the US in her Iraq actions, when these same complainers never offered alternatives. What was one to have otherwise done with Iraq/Saddam? What good is the UN if it is only a straw man? Isn’t it rather ironic that since the Germans know firsthand what dictators are like that they should choose to complacently sit back and do nothing? Worse so, to obfuscate the situation even more: they ignore Saddam’s crimes and stress America’s? Or even worse so, start to sell weapons to Chinese oppressors?
It seems to me that there is a great deal of double standards going on in Germany, one economically enjoys the international system effected under Pax Americana. And the other childishly attempts to hobble or thwart the same big brother. Perhaps this is motivated in an interest to exorcise the ghosts from WWII and raise their own self image. Whatever the case may be, I will never allow my son’s life to come to risk in the defense/support of this now contemptous country.
The italicized section is the emphasized portion I added. I agree with the ideas presented in that section because America’s moral and intellectual character is such that if you surrender, we will treat you with compassion and justice. We will not extort money from you, Japan can attest to that. We will not dictate your domestic or foreign policies, as Germany and Japan can attest to. Japan is allowed by the Constitution we helped to write, to rewrite their own Constitution to remove the part about military forces only to be used for Defense rather than preemptive attack or “power projection” like a Carrier would have.
And we are repaid by Germany with ignorance, prejudice, and sheer arrogance. The German Culture once had much to admire about it. Prussian virtues of discipline and order, of efficiency and loyalty. No, more. The Concentration reeducation camps of the German government has brainwashed the newer generations of Germans into pacifistic weaklings, they have become only a shadow of their former selves.
No longer are there any martial virtues in their population or military, no longer is there much if any civic virtues in their population either. And the civic virtues that are left, is being increasingly coopted by socialistic apathy. France was a hopeless case from World War I. Germany was not. But it looks like our actions in the occupation of Western Germany failed produce results beyond the average, which was to keep Germany from the Soviets. We did not destroy their character or their will to fight, or the virtues that made them better humans. No, they did that to themselves.
And that is sad, because I would have liked nothing better than to have had Germany at the side of the United States in the new Global War. We could have made much use of the German efficiency in bureacracy and Police methods to stabilize Iraq. We weren’t given such aid, of course.
“‘He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desert is small,
Who fears to put it to the touch,
And win or lose it all.’
Germany fears war like a national phobia, and in their fear have become cowards that have lost all sense of what it means to be human.
Germany is responsible for their actions “now”, forget about the past.
This news about potential Nazi disruption of US bases in Germany takes the Schwarz cake.
Perhaps these groups will finally realize that they have spread the seeds of anti-Americanism to the point that even Nazis can successfully exploit the sad phenomena. Soon the growing Fascist movement in Germany will be able to intimidate and threaten American families in Grafenwoehr.
And how can the US government and the US military put the wives and children of US soldiers in a community like this? They are planning to move in thousands more Americans and invest hundreds of millions in this area? Are you kidding me?
There had better not be any violence against family members of the American armed forces. If they want to see how fast Poland becomes our new European base, all they have to do is to push us.
Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will obey the law, they will not do a Hama on the town or the nation that have started promoting anti-American sentiments that lead irrevocably to anti-American violence. No, they are too disciplined, loyal, and honorable for that. The American people once they hear of such actual conduct by the Germans, however, is another story entirely.
You really really don’t want to see what the American people can make our government do once they are motivated in defense of their values. I do, but then I have always been inclined to favor the martial virtues over the civic virtues any day of the year.
It would be pleasing to see the Polish benefiting from American bases and the increased security and economy that would bring to Poland, a nation struggling as Iraq is struggling.
One thing that the American people with their civic virtues and the military with their martial virtues can agree on, and that is that loyalty should be repaid. Preferably a thousand fold. The Polish were there when we were at our most confused, the darkest times of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They did not doubt us, even when we started to doubt ourselves as the casualties and fatalities of American military personnel scrolled across the screen. They were called the bribed and the coerced, they were to shut up or face the “consequences”, but they held fast.
The Polish wanted VISA waivers like the French and the Germans had, to come to America. Although it took quite a while for our politicians to get to accomplishing that, I am pleased to say that it was accomplished. And I suspect the Polish expect no more of us, although they would be glad of the presence of American bases and economic stimulus. The Polish I believe, will be very surprised at the extent to which American gratitude can reach if properly motivated and channeled. It would be a Dishonor to treat our former enemies, the Germans and the Japanese, better than we treat our newest allies.
I neither can nor will forget the contributions of nations that are truely honest in their pro-American sentiments, when we needed it the most. And I believe many other Americans think the same.
Nations like Italy, that pay ransom to terroists so that they can put out hit contracts on Americans and Iraqis, are persona non grata.