This is another interesting observation from our friend DL in Heidelberg:
On March 30, 1945 - Good Friday - the American Army entered Heidelberg. Sixty years later the mayor of Heidelberg held an event in the city hall that was ostensibly a German-American celebration of Heidelberg’s good fortune to fall under what one Heidelberg University professor called the most humane military occupation in world history. The evening’s speeches, however, were remarkable for what was not said. The German and American dignitaries who spoke were full of praise about past decades of German-American friendship but not one word was spoken about the future. There were two reasons for this: Iraq and the fact that most of the American military will be leaving Germany.
One journalist who arrived late was heard to complain to a colleague that he missed all the “laughable” speeches. And the university professor drew negative comparisons to the American Army’s occupation of post-war Germany with the current situation in Iraq. Apparently he hasn’t heard about the drastic drop in attacks on coalition forces, or the Iraqi national army’s success in capturing and killing terrorists, or Sunni attempts to join the newly forming government. But he has to rely on German media for his information so he must be excused. Sadly the lines have been drawn and the future of German-American relations looks much like the mayor of Heidelberg’s event. Germans will keep their anti-Americanism in check when in the company of Americans and make small talk about the good old days.
Footnote: I provided the following observation as a comment to previous post in Davids Medienkritik: “Heidelberg has a split personality. It is staunchly anti-American in its politics and
population but it works hard to ensure this fact is not known by Americans. Heidelberg’s most famous example of political correctness was the “Wall of Shame.” During the early days of the war in Iraq Heidelberg’s citizens assembled an interlocking wall of wooden blocks on the town’s main square. Dubbed the “Wall of Shame” each block was inscribed with sentiments of peace such as F**k Bush. The wall stood for months but the city fathers had a problem. Heidelberg lives and dies on tourism. Especially American tourists. And some of these tourists were stopping to read what was written on the blocks. So a way had to be found to remove the wall without sacrificing political principle. The city decided to send the wall on a world tour where Heidelberg’s principles could be admired by a wider audience without offending free spending Americans. For you see, in Old Europe, every principle has its price.”