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The first two issues look remarkably similar to Barack Obamma's recent talking points!

Hi guys, re the perceived issues , unfortunately they are no less perceived by most Australians as well. These so called misperceptions are fairly well entrenched all over the world.Sorry to say it, but the USA has a serious marketing problem, the message isn't getting out there.Most people do not see any moral truth in America's actions around the world, right or wrong.
George Bush may be the free worlds greatest crusader, but he does unfortunately come across as an idiot.

You forgot one of the biggest. The Environment.

The perception that The United States and its citizens through their gluttony and energy wasteful habits are almost solely responsible for global warming and the complete destruction of mankind. If only the world did not have the USA, it would be such a wonderful place.

oh they're still talking about us?? [yawn]

Where is Germany exactly?

@Texas Blueblood

"Where is Germany exactly?"

The bottom side of the EU (pronoucned: EEEEWWWWWWWWW).

What does Gazprom's holdings look like? Did anyone ring the former german chancellor to ask?

The SPD's next campaign could be, "No war for oil! Nationalize the industry and steal it!"

The interesting thing is how these pet issues have changed over the years.
I grew up in germany with these stereotypes about america

1. Americans are lazy (compare this to the current stereotypes of america being a workers hell with no vacation, 3 jobs simultaneously and being exploited by the capitalistic system).

2. Americans are cowards and would have run away as soon as the russians would have farted across the iron fence (compare this to the current stereotypes of americans being warmongering militarist killers)

3. Americans are moraly deranged with too much sex, abusive words and atheism (compare this to the current one of being religious extremists and extremely prudish)

If one of these pet issues cannot be held up anymore due to facts or obvious developments they will find another one, don't worry.

What the germans and europeans don't know about the US fills whole libraries.

Well, the first nine points are features not bugs and the last 5 come under the heading of 'if wishes were horses then beggars could ride.' Nice of them to try printing something truthful though. Maybe one day....

"What the germans and europeans don't know about the US fills whole libraries."

You said it, my friend. Spot on. I'm familiar with many a country on this planet, and I've lived for some time in several. However, no where in the world have I found a greater disparity between what people think they know about the US, and what they actually do know, than in Germany. Hands down.

Of course, that doesn't really compute. Germany is filled with USA-Experts. Just ask them.

I didn't know where else to post this, but I really appreciate what you do, and I'm grateful toward you for both this blog and for sticking up for us Americans - where credit is due. I am interested in starting a blog ring of some sort to bring all people together whom are against Anti-Americanism. I am wondering if you can help me? Please come and check out my blog. I truly need support, and there's got to be more people like you out there. In my disclaimer area, there's a link where you can email me as well. Thank you, again, for all that you do!

I didn`t know that you go on with blogging! I just checked your weblog and discovered, how much I missed already! Your weblog was part of our daily life and we were sad, when you stopped blogging. I miss some of the former posters, perhaps they also don't know?!

@The Ticklebug: Great blog but I need more time to read more! But I will soon! I am always thankful for reasonable thoughts in this world full of misinformation.

The list pretty much sums up every clichè/prejudice there is about the US anywhere in the world. I wonder how that list would go, if things were reversed ?

1. All Germans a nazis
2. All Germans are communists
3. All Germans are islamists
...
10. Germans only drink beer
11. Germans only wear Lederhosen
...

Feel free to fill in the gaps.
Joke aside, the country where there are no common cliches about others still has to be founded.
National mainstream media everywhere tends to exploit that.
A friend of mine went to the US as an exchange student three years ago. He was greeted at the airport by his
guest family with the words: "How's Hitler ?"
Later on when they showed him their house they treated him like someone, who grew up in the jungle and new nothing else. When they got to their car (a BMW) and told him "This is a car, we can drive it to the mall and buy stuff",
he couldn't take it anymore and replied: "Where do you think this car was built?"

In my opinion this is a prime example how clichè and prejudice affect people - not just in Germany.

@ gforaker

That's a good one. I will add it.

@Unbel1ever
Ja, ja, the old "don't blame us as you are the same" defense.
First of all the stereotypes about germany that you have mentioned are shared by a tiny minority in the US whereas the stereotypes about the US mentioned above are shared by the majority of germans.
Second, these stereotypes mentioned above are integrated in the german everyday media coverage about the US and have become thereby "truth" in germany.

And then off course the neverending stories about the "friend who had been to the US" and was asked the most hilarious questions by his "hillbilly" guestfamily.
Funny, have been numerous times to the US and meet thousands of people but never met this kind of morons and funny also that every german with a negative mindset about the US has had at least one of thses "friends".

What unbel1ever doesn't realize is if that comment ever got out to the public, the host family would be stricken from the rolls as a host and would be chastised. Even today as the knowledge of how the majority of the German people feel about us is still coming out, the effort is to make the student feel welcome, on the off chance that the good will created would be carried home. The same is done with the Japanese and other nationalities who come here.

@garydausz & Mike H.
I did not want to imply, that all Americans are like the people my friend had to deal with. I only meant to point out what happens if prejudice gets the better of you. I do have three other friends who are or were in the US. They all had a great time with the people they stayed with and even became friends. My point is, if we all do hate the Americans and the American way as much as you claim we do, then why do we keep coming to your country ? In my opinion the main difference is that Americans tend to see people who are critical of the goverment as Anti-American. I you were the criticize Mrs Merkel, I would not be offended, but probably agree. I think it's disgusting that our former chancellor got involved with Gazprom - so would I go and tell an American he is Anti-German because he pointed that out to me ?
If you compare American and German media it's interesting to see that most of the news items are reported in exactly the same manner, however when it comes to Bush & friends the reports are quite different. I believe that whole Anti-Americanism issue will blow over soon after Bush is finally out of office.

No, don't backpedal, unbel1ever, that's exactly what you wanted to imply.
And it has nothing to do with, as you say, "being critical of the government."
Well, since we are all talking about stereotypes, let me say to everyone else that unbel1ever is a typical German: "The others are just as bad" is the standard first defence, but if practised often enough and with enough audacity, one is able to advance to the next level of German consciousness, being "We're better because the others are clearly worse." And his lame excuses offered up on this blog are the same lame excuses that this blog has pointed out about German media in the first place. Unbel1ever is a product of his environment, in other words, poorly named since he clearly believes all the propaganda fed him by the feudal masters' lackey state-controlled media. And yes, everyone has heard from a friend of a friend of a cousin of a friend of mine about some outrageous behaviour on the part of some ignorant Ami. It's simply legendary.
Germany is rabidly, incorrigibly anti-American by design. And anyone who believes, as unbel1ever would try to convince us, that this will end as soon as Bush is no longer President is either hopelessly naive, completely misinformed, a bald-faced liar, or all of the above. On second thought, he could also just be a product of modern German "education" and "information" -- which is essentially about the same thing.
Go crawl back under your rock, unbel1ever -- I've already experienced too many like you to have any patience with your pseudo-intellectual pseudo-arguments.

@Scout
Well, if your only arguments are insults, I really can't help you. I get the feeling your opinion about Germans is far more set than mine about Americans. I don't generalize, but you do. By the way, what US television stations nowadays broadcast (I do watch them do widen my horizon) about Bush is at least at the same level as the German media.
People have very short memories these days. Look how the EU - US relation improved as soon as Schroeder/Chirac were out of office. I believe that opinions can change when people see a new face. People who are rabidly, incorrigibly anti-reason get left behind. In the end we all have to work together. I pity those who can't overlook cultural differences. As far as the propaganda-education goes: When the war in Iraq first began in 03 an American general on a PR tour visited our school and told us about the reasons for the attack. While I understood his reasoning, I doubted that a military strike would produce the desired results. So, if our school system is full of propaganda, then why allow a US general to speak uninterrupted in front of the student body ? Today I live 500 m from the army base the general came from. In the past years I've seen more than one wounded soldier limping our streets and wonder if all that could have been avoided, if people weren't as stubborn as they are.

I also have a friend who shall remain nameless because what I attribute to him might not be validated by him if he became aware of it. I have a friend is an extremely general statement. Everyone has friends although some of them are more point makers than actual flesh and bone. And they have a propensity for saying exactly what I need them to say.

@Mike H.
Valid observation. If I had intended to make a general point with that statement, I would have refrained from such a formulation. However, I meant it as an example. The friend is very real, but I don't disclose names of people unasked in comments - especially when they're being read by people who potentially could exploit that information.

@Unbel1ever

"I did not want to imply, that all Americans are like the people my friend had to deal with."
If you didn't want to imply that what did you imply then by saying that?

"My point is, if we all do hate the Americans and the American way as much as you claim we do, then why do we keep coming to your country ?"
Well, no one ever said that here . Its not that all germans hate the US but far too many.

"In my opinion the main difference is that Americans tend to see people who are critical of the goverment as Anti-American."
No they don't but they tend to see people as anti-american that criticise whatever is done by their government just for the sake of it.
It seems that you didn't get the point of this blog at all. You should read what it is about before you start talking. This blog is not about defending the american government it is about the biased tendency of the german media to show everything american in a bad light.

"If you compare American and German media it's interesting to see that most of the news items are reported in exactly the same manner, however when it comes to Bush & friends the reports are quite different."
Please elaborate this point. Do you really think that german media is showing any news items in the same way as the american does, especially when it comes to items considering event in the US?
And do you also think that the news in the US are not critical about the current government? Which world do you live in?

Just today I saw a perfect example how german media is behaving these days. Its not been about the US but about the Dominican Republic (Weltspiegel/ARD). The issue has been about the construction of an underground train in the ecapital of that country which was clearly seen by the newsshow as unneeded (which might be quite true) and that the money could be used better on other issues in that country. To make that clear the documentary only had people speak that where clearly against it but not once did the documentary have only one person speak that would have showed the other side and maybe explain why they chose to build that underground. And this the way how media in germany works nowadays: clearly taking one side and only showing one side. Is that the way how germans want it? Vorgekaut?


"As far as the propaganda-education goes: When the war in Iraq first began in 03 an American general on a PR tour visited our school .."
Are you serious about that? An american general made a "PR" tour through schools in germany?


Herta Däubler-Gmelin is back in the news.
http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/article.aspx?id=1997

"Herta Däubler-Gmelin? If the name sounds familiar, that is because this is the same Herta Däubler-Gmelin who in September 2002, as Minister of Justice in the government of then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, famously compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. According to the original report of her remarks in the German daily the Schwäbische Tagblatt, Däubler-Gmelin likewise said that the American president should be in jail and dismissed the American justice system as "lousy."

Funny thing about her "Hitler" remark:

"After the War, Ludin would be found guilty of war crimes and executed. Ludin's principal deputy was one Hans Gmelin. A Nazi party member and squadron-leader or "Standartenführer" in the paramilitary SA, Gmelin was a jurist by training. He was one of the many jurists that the Nazis dispatched to the occupied territories and German satellite states in order to implement their "new European order." He was also the father of the future German minister of justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin."

It all about the daddy issues.

@garydausz
It's not true that everything American is shown in a bad light. Not even everything Republican. Like in the US the way things are reported varies from station to station. If you look for example at a station like Euronews, that reports everything matter of factly or my favorite part, when they just show images without any comment that's quite different from what you get on other channels.
As I said before, I do watch US television. So I do know what they report and of course there are shows that are very Bush critical - if there weren't I'd be frightened out of my wits.
You're right, when you call certain programmes biased. That happens frequently but by far not only when it comes to the US. Often inner-German problems get the same treatment. You just have to look at the "Killerspiele" (killer-games) discussion everytime a youth commits a noteworthy crime. It usually depends on the team that puts these shows together and when you watch television you learn to avoid work of certain people. It's the same in the US - just look at Michael Moore and his far-fetched conspiracy theories.

Yes, in 03 a US general did a PR tour. I don't know how many schools he visited overall, but I know of 11 in the region I lived in then. The talk was limited to the higher grades because there was not enough room for everybody.
He spoke for about an hour about the reasons behind the American actions. He damned the inactivity of the UN in face of the imminent terrorist threats all around the world. Something he emphasized with a world map that showed known "terrorist"-states as black. The world in black and white - literally. He then fell in the usual prevention rhetoric.
"If somebody's pointing a gun at you, you don't wait until he pulls the trigger" etc.
I didn't buy it. Iraq's WMDs were his central point of argument and as we know today they were more like Weapons of Mass Vanishing.

Herta Däubler-Gmelin’s comparing Bush to “Adolf Nazi” will not go away. Like a bad penny, it keeps turning up. Anyone who thinks that German-American treatment of each other are fair and reciprocal, such as unbeliever, needs to remember this.

What is even more annoying about her comparing Bush to “Adolf Nazi” was that it was an inept and ignorant comparison. First, the historical record will show that Bush’s subsequent decision to go to war was not taken in response to polls, as he has subsequently made decisions that in many quarters were unpopular. Second, “Adolf Nazi” did not go to war to shore up his popularity ratings. “Adolf Nazi” was very popular. “Adolf Nazi” had planned to go to war years ago. He did not go to war to shore up his popularity ratings, contrary to the ignorant utterances of Herta Däubler-Gmelin.

Maybe I am just a stupid uneducated Ami without the nuance of the cultured Germans, but I do not like having a German compare our President to “Adolf Nazi.” NOT AT ALL. The fact that this woman is still playing a prominent role in German politics is not something that sits well with me.

Now we find out that her father had a big hand in sending 70,000 Slovakian Jews to the camps. This woman, in a nutshell, symbolizes the issues between Germany and the US. In an attempt to expiate guilt over her father’s participation in atrocities in WW2, she attacks the US.

Germans need to understand: AMIS DO NOT APPRECIATE THIS AT ALL. That is a euphemism.

Gunter Grass attacking the US all these years, while hiding his participation in WW2 for 60 years.

Do we see a pattern?

Amis are not as stupid as some Germans think. We remember this. My brother-in-law immigrated from Germany as a child. Due to the politics in Germany, he refuses to to come back to visit. I can understand why.

"It's not true that everything American is shown in a bad light. Not even everything Republican"

Absolute Rubbish. Of course it is. And _especially_ all things even remotely conservative. I don't know what German news source you're referring to, because it simply does not exist. The laundry list in the original post is quite accurate. You cannot watch TV news or read a newspaper or a weekly (of any political persuasion) and NOT see some proper Ami-bashing on those points, and more. It's what they do. The audience / reader would be disappointed if it were not there.

Friends, Germany suffers from a sort of national personality disorder. They cannot begin to feel good about themselves until they have first torn others down, specifically, the Americans. The first step in German Problem Solving is always to demonstrate that "it's worse in America," "the Americans are worse off," and so on. It makes them feel better and distracts them from the seriousness of their own issues. If, for example, the news starts really ripping into the American Social Security System as being shamefully inadequate -- you can bet that they are just "conditioning" the Sheeple before they raise the the old age pension tax rates again. If they paint the bleakest picture of the American health system for weeks on end (and German news knows how to do this expertly...) then that means the Sheeple are going to have to endure another increase in the health insurance premiums soon. I've seen this sort of thing happen far too often in the last 27 years to believe it is only coincidence. Have you got a problem? Tackle it the German way: Slam everyone else first. Mercilessly. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true or not. You’ll feel better, or at least if you’re German, you’ll feel better.

@Scout
"You cannot watch TV news or read a newspaper or a weekly (of any political persuasion) and NOT see some proper Ami-bashing on those points, and more."
I just watched the news and the US wasn't even mentioned, so please don't exaggerate. Recently I've happened to zap into a really good political documentation about the pre-election campaigns in the US on Phoenix and in my opinion Senator McCain was shown in a better light than either Clinton or Obama.

@GringoTex
The woman is stupid, no doubt about it. She had to give up her office after her remarks about Bush.
However, she is entitled to her opinion. As long as she does nothing illegal, there are no means to shut her out of the policital process as long as she got a few supporters. If there were, we weren't a democracy an longer.
By contrast look at Donald Rumsfeld's remarks on "Old Europe", which greatly angered everyone in the addressed countries. Granted his remarks don't belong in the same category, but was he even reprimanded ?

@ Unbel1ever
The woman is stupid, no doubt about it. She had to give up her office after her remarks about Bush. However, she is entitled to her opinion. As long as she does nothing illegal, there are no means to shut her out of the policital process as long as she got a few supporters. If there were, we weren't a democracy any longer.

She should have resigned or been fired on the spot. She remained in her ministry position until after the 2002 election. That to me reflects very poorly on Germany. But then what else could be expected of Schroeder, who won the election by baiting the US. That such a woman, after making those remarks, can still be elected to office in Germany also reflects very poorly on Germany. That she can still be elected to office after such expressions of anti-Americanism shows me that anti-Americanism is tolerated and even encouraged in Germany. That a person with such a lack of understanding of German history - who in the “Adolf Nazi’ remarks told the public patent untruths about German history- can be re-elected also tells me something not very positive about Germany.

Are you familiar with what happened to former Senator George Allen’s political career after his macaca remark?

By contrast look at Donald Rumsfeld's remarks on "Old Europe", which greatly angered everyone in the addressed countries. Granted his remarks don't belong in the same category, but was he even reprimanded ?
I doubt very much that he was reprimanded. While some “enlightened” liberals may have decried the remark, most Americans approved of the remark. I certainly did. Because I grew up in a small town with many refugees from behind the Iron Curtain, and later worked overseas with more refugees from behind the Iron Curtain, I approved wholeheartedly of Rumsfeld’s remark. My exposure to the French in Latin America and the US in work, play, and living situations also influenced my reaction to Rumsfeld’s remark.

The fact that Rumsfeld’s remarks offended Chirac, Schroeder, and their supporters bothered most Americans not one bit. As regards their supporters, I recall the multitude crying out that Chirac, here shown in a photo w Saddam at a nuclear reactor, should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
They deserved to be offended. Chirac and Schroeder did not give quiet disagreements to Bush on the issue. They were quite vocal about it, and went out of their way to try to stop Bush. There was no point in making nice to scoundrels such as Chirac and Schroeder. I repeat: SCOUNDRELS SUCH AS CHIRAC AND SCHROEDER. Gazprom….Blood for Oil…

@unbel1ever
just give me one example of something positive about the US that had been shown on german media in the last 6 month. just one example.

You are giving Euronews (which is not a german production as far as I know) as a good example of a "matter of fact" reporting. SO tell me where there is still "matter of fact reporting" in german TV (especially in the public channels. When I grew up Tagesschau and Heute used to report neutraly (though sometimes boring) about a subject just presenting facts. Nowadays the news there are always reported with some stupid remarks that clearly show the opinion of the newsteam. Why? Is that the way germans want it?


"Like in the US the way things are reported varies from station to station. "
So give me an example of an american friendly station counterparting all the american bashin ones. just one.

"It's the same in the US - just look at Michael Moore and his far-fetched conspiracy theories."
Michael Moore is not representing the media in the US. He is just a writer/moviemaker.

Could you please tell me the name of that "General" that toured your schools? Couldn't find anything about it on the internet.

"By contrast look at Donald Rumsfeld's remarks on "Old Europe", which greatly angered everyone in the addressed countries. Granted his remarks don't belong in the same category, but was he even reprimanded ?"
yeah, that really is on the same level. Comparing someone with one of the greatest villains in the world and calling Europe old (isn't that something the europeans so proud about anyway)

@GringoTex
I'm not saying that Germany is perfect or anything - far from it. Currently I'm really angry about several decision that have been made by our government. I often marvel how someone who attacks our constitutional rights on a weekly basis like Wolfgang Schäuble can still be our secretary of the interior. He is also no stranger to nazi-comparisons. The answer to that question is answered relatively easy: Germany is an overaged society and outdated opinions still have a solid basis in those people who are 50 or more years old. My grandmother for example is passionately anti-American. I often had arguments about that topic with her over lunch, when I was still in school. She belongs to a generation whose opinions can't be changed any longer - not even with reason. She lost most of her family (aged 13) in the allied bombardement of Dresden in the last weeks of the war when her family had come to the city fleeing from their homes in today's Poland.
However, I also did not understand how Bush was reelected by the US people after he had lied to them about the reasons for the Iraq war (--> WMDs).
I'm also certain that most Americans agreed with Rumsfeld's remarks, as well as I am certain that quite a number of people agreed with Däubler-Gmelin's comment - yet, support does not make a statement right.
It's always nice when policitians get a little upset, because that's when they show their true colours. Rumsfeld, however, did not only offend Chirac or Schroeder - his attack was directed towards the people of those countries and this one statement opened the gates for all that kind of anti-American reporting we've seen.

@garydausz
http://www.arte.tv/de/Das-andere-Amerika/TV-Programm/1605494.html I don't know, wether you can read it, but Google should be able to help you translate in case you can't.

"Michael Moore is not representing the media in the US. He is just a writer/moviemaker."
I picked him just from the top of my head. Who is representative for US media ?

I'm sorry, I don't recall the general's name. It's been 5 years. I remember that it was a German sounding name and he said that some of his ancestors were German. If you're that interested, I'll write an e-mail to some of my former classmates. Maybe one of them recalls his name.


@ Unbel1ever

"It's the same in the US - just look at Michael Moore and his far-fetched conspiracy theories."

I am glad that you share my skepticism towards Michel Moore. I did an extensive analysis of his Stupid White Men, and concluded that Moore brings incoherent thought to a new level. Going by sales figures, Michael Moore is much more highly regarded in Germany than in the United States.

“Moore, a sharp-tongued filmmaker and author, has turned into something like a cult hero here, so much so that Publisher's Weekly compared his popularity to that of comedian Jerry Lewis in France. Three of Moore's books hit the German top-ten list at the same time. His attack on Bush, "Stupid White Men," sold nearly 1.1 million copies in German -- one-third of the book's global sales and almost double its sales in the United States. Moore's "Dude, Where's My Country?" also shot to the top of the best-seller list shortly after it was released, rivaling the latest Harry Potter release.”
Almost double the sales in Germany compared to the US would work out to about per capita sales of Stupid White Men in Germany being about 7 times what they are in the US. What does it say about Germany that Michael Moore, who cannot string together three sentences without contradicting himself, is more highly regarded in Germany than in the United States? Going by sales figures, 7 times more highly regarded in Germany compared to the US. Why is it that proportionally more people in the United States see through Michael Moore's bullshit and bluster than people in Germany? Why do proportionately more people in Germany fall for Michael Moore's bullshit and bluster?

@GringoTex
I also bought Stupid White Men - mainly because I was curious and so were many others. I was looking for a different perspective on US politics by an American. Of course I was disappointed with all the contradictions and nonsense in the book, but I did not know that before I read it.

Unbel1ever: you appear to think for yourself, which is good.We will not agree on all things, but we will agree on many.

Here is an interesting book review on American Exceptionalism .

Wilson noted that one of the best ways to understand American exceptionalism is to look at polls. Three-quarters of Americans say they are proud to be Americans; only one-third of the people in France, Italy, Germany, and Japan give that response about their own countries. Two-thirds of Americans believe that success in life depends on one’s own efforts; only one-third of Europeans say that. Half of Americans, compared to one-third of Europeans, say belief in God is essential to living a moral life.
For example, take religion. Americans have been self-selected for belief in the importance of religion. Many Americans left Europe so that they could practice their own religion without state interference. If they had been indifferent to religion, paying nominal allegiance to the state religion where they lived would not have bothered them. As it bothered them to pay nominal allegiance to a religion they did not believe in , because religion was important to them, they left Europe for America.

While I am not a churchgoer, I have no problem with those who go to church. My sister is a Buddhist. By contrast, I get the impression that in Germany many people are concerned about, even afraid, of people who attend Christian churches.

The restless, the unhappy, the discontented left for America. The contented stayed in Europe.

Proud to be American. If you chose to come here, or your parents or grandparents did, you will have a different attitude towards a place than if your family has been there for a thousand years.

@GringoTex
I for one don't care what anyone else believes in. I don't think many people around here care about that. However, I can't stand people who try to convince others, that their religious beliefs are the only true ones, or rub that fact in everyone's face. I tolerate religious people, so I think it's fair, that they tolerate that I don't believe in any particular religion. 911 showed where religious fundamentalism can lead and I believe that people in Germany are a afraid that the US might become something like a Christian fundamentalist state, that tries to impose it's values of Christianity onto the world by force an throw us back into the time of the crusaders. I don't believe that will happen, but fear is not rational. Those feelings are not eased by the news that toy with them. In Germany both main churches try to interpret the bible in a less literal way. Then some newscaster tells us, that a US state wants to teach creationism in schools -> fear.

As a German I can say that I am proud of my country only in certain contexts withouth being accused of being a nazi.
During the football, sorry soccer worldcup in Germany 2006 there was a tremendous wave of pride in Germany. Not because our team did good, but because we presented us to the world as the modern and open country Germany is for the most part. There were flags everywhere, I had never seen this before. However, at the same time there were people afraid of that development. Both World Wars were fueled to a great deal by the pride and nationalism of the Germans.
Since that time nationalism is generally frowned upon in Germany, despite all the things we could be proud of.
The German people has learned the hard way where overconfidence and pride can lead and I think you can see why Germans are suspicious of similar developments in the US - it simply reminds us to much of our own past.

@Unbel1ever
"http://www.arte.tv/de/Das-andere-Amerika/TV-Programm/1605494.html I don't know, wether you can read it, but Google should be able to help you translate in case you can't."
Habe kein Problem damit die Seite zu lesen.
Is more than 6 month old but lets not be picky. Did you see it. Was trying to find a copy but to no success. just because the introduction of the documentary sounds positive it doesn't necessarly mean that the content is positive.
Already the title "The other america" suggests that the maker of the movie (or the channel) sees it as the uncommon, smaller america as the term is generally used for that. I think I read a commentary in a blog about it that suggested it had a lot of little pointers to the still "negative" US.

"Then some newscaster tells us, that a US state wants to teach creationism in schools -> fear.
" Perfect example how germans are misled. First of all one state is not representative for the US and unlikely to germany the states are much more independent considering laws, education etc. I think that the danger of the US becoming a christian fundamental state is less than that of germany coming under Sharia Law. The divsion betwenn state and religion is much bigger than it is in germany. Think about Church tax or crucifixes in classrooms.

The problem in germany, in my view, is that the when it comes to opinions germans are extremists. They are weather extremly unpatriotic (almost to the point of anti-patriotic) or they are extremly patriotic to the point of "we are the best, the rest is nothing" (Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen). It is lacking the "healthy" patriotism of other nations.

If germans really think that overconfidence or pride have been the reason for the third Reich it would show me that they really haven't learned the right lessons about the Nazi era.

911 showed where religious fundamentalism can lead and I believe that people in Germany are a afraid that the US might become something like a Christian fundamentalist state, that tries to impose it's values of Christianity onto the world by force an throw us back into the time of the crusaders.

Yes, such as our destroying mosques in Iraq and killing all the Muslim priests in Iraq? (Some Germans have trouble with American humor. That was supposed to be sarcasm. Admittedly, many Americans, myself included, have trouble with German humor. Humor does not always travel well.)

The comparison between Islamofascists and the cacophony of religious practice in the US is not an accurate one. First, Islam has long combined church and state, which is the very definition of theocracy. By contrast, the Christian tradition has been from the beginning one of separation of church and state: Render unto Caesar. My fundamentalist Christian grandmother quoted that passage to me many times. The German government does not always follow this separation of church and state. For example, about 70% of church revenues in Germany come from church tax, which I believe is a voluntary tax. By contrast in the United States, here is what the First Amendment to the Constitution says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. There is no such church tax in the United States. I find it more than ironic that when church and state are much more separated in the US than they are in Germany, that Germans worry about the US becoming a “Christian fundamentalist state.”

I am reminded of the line, “the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” Similarly, I predict that Sharia law will descend on Europe before the US becomes a Christian Fundamentalist Theocratic State. Small towns in the heart of Jesusland in the Southwest will have 1,000 inhabitants and 10 churches. Such people are going to create a one-church theocracy? They can’t even get together for an interdenominational cookout! Moreover, they all strongly believe in “Render unto Caesar…”

That a substantial number of Germans would believe such nonsense about the US shows 1) an abysmal ignorance about the US, and 2) a woeful lack of critical thinking on the part of many Germans. One commenter here has often said that what many Germans believe they know about the US is much less than what they actually know about the US. Many Germans believed demagogues shouting that Germany was “stabbed in the back” in WW1, that Germany signed the Armistice in spite of Germany’s being in a winning position at the time. The “stabbed in the back” claim was not supported by the facts, yet many Germans believed it. Similarly, many Germans believe the claptrap that “US might become something like a Christian fundamentalist state, that tries to impose its values of Christianity onto the world by force and throw us back into the time of the crusaders.” It appears to me that there is a historical continuity between then and now, of many Germans uncritically accepting nonsense instead of critically evaluating such statements. That is a much bigger issue than nationalism.

Contrary to what many Germans apparently believe, lack of pride in one's country will not compensate for such lack of critical thinking. Lack of pride in one's country will not compensate for uncritically accepting what some authority figure says instead of thinking for oneself.

I raed 6 German papers every day just to get my blood boiling and increase my blood pressure in the morning.
It is amazing how little the avarage German knows about politics,laws and life in the USA. They have no clue that every State has it's own Laws and is basically governed independently other than necessary federal laws that cross state borders.
In the US we rule from the bottom up, not the top down like the EU.
Americans "Don't do anything about climate change". Wrong! We have always had and still do gave the most stringent emission controls in the world. In order for German cars to be marketed in the US, they had to develop better emission Engines that are not available in Germany. Where is the German asking why they can't get them for their own market? (It is Bureaucracy, by the way) In Europe they were very fast maketing Diesel Filters, to no satisfactory conclusion. Here we just deopped the soot particles from 300 to 15 on October 1st 2007 which benefits everyone. By the way, we didn't use filters, we used the refineries.
Germans still have the need to be the best in everything.till need the Government and the media to tell them what to do and think.
I just love the conditioning that goes on. Whenever a German has success, it is "UNSER", WIR etc.
Whenever there is anything nrgative, it is the English, Amis, Italiener, Franzosen, etc. Whenever there is something positive to report about a European it is "Europaer" just to have a little credit for Germany.
If Americans are so stupid, why do we gain over 75% of all the Nobel peizes? I guess, Bush paid for them?
I could write a book about the media and their manipulation of the German public. Like Goebbels credo: Shovel enough shit against the wall, someting will surely stick.
Someday it is going to backfire.
I do agree, get all soldiers out of europe
Take the $15 billion out of the Marshall Fund and use it internationally instead of making it available to German entrepreneurs.
Bring in the Fair Tax which will allow the American companies overseas to come back home.

Etc., Etc.

@garydausz
I just picked the first page that caught my eye on google. I actually watched part of the documentaries on Arte.
The one I saw followed a few US artists, who expressed themselves in very different unique ways. I really liked it.
I don't think that the title suggests in any way that it's about a smaller part of America - it's just a different angle. It appears to me you want do find something negative in everything. Are you sure that our anti-Americanism is more pronounced than your anti-Europeanism ?
I also said, that I didn't believe that crap about a fundamentalist US, you don't have to tell me about that.
The notion that Germany will become a Sharia-state is equally absurd. Most of the muslims in Germany are not only very friendly but pro-West and you said yourself, we do have crucifixes in our classrooms. In my experience they were mainly used for student's pranks and the one time a student in my school felt uncomfortable with the cross in his classroom it was simply taken down - he wasn't even a muslim but an atheist.
As far as segragation goes: I believe the US president frequently uses the words "God bless America". Which god does he mean by that ? If I were a muslim in the US, I might be offended as well.

"Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen" is a pre-WWI slogan, brought to life by a deluded aristocratic state.
My tenth grade history teacher used it as evidence for the illusions of grandour the "Kaiser" had 100 years ago.
If a policitian or any public figure today would utter something like that, he/she would not recover from it.

"If germans really think that overconfidence or pride have been the reason for the third Reich it would show me that they really haven't learned the right lessons about the Nazi era"
I didn't say it was the reason. I said it fueled both wars. I heard about the national pride in school, of course, but I learned most of it, when my grandfather told me his experiences in the war. He told me about the pride he felt and the cold splash of reality the day in Leningrad he got a shrapnel in his face that he took to his grave.

"Perfect example how germans are misled."
Misled ? As I recall all big US news agencies covered this as well, because I always read news concerning the US from both perspectives.

@GringoTex
The tax is indeed voluntary. If you don't want to pay it, you don't have to. While I'm not religious, I do pay the tax. Why ? There are many good institutions the churches finance to 100% from these taxes. These range from day-care for children to shelters for the homeless. I don't know how this is handled in the US, however if the tax wasn't here in Germany, every single one of these institutions would have to compete for charity. I think it simplifies matters. The state is in this case only a middle-man that takes care of the red tape. But if you don't want that, you don't have to pay.

"That a substantial number of Germans would believe such nonsense about the US shows 1) an abysmal ignorance about the US, and 2) a woeful lack of critical thinking on the part of many Germans"
I didn't say, that many believed it. I said, they feared it. That's an important difference. Fear is something you can't control. Your head tells you one thing, your gut another. The US today is defacto the only real world power. Today it seems friendly, but what about tomorrow ? The US already lead a preemptive strike against Iraq and was not bothered by the UN. As I take it from your comments you've also listened to your media, that tell you, that Europe is ready to fall into muslim hands. If president Bush got up tomorrow and told the nation, that France had to be invaded in order to liberate the French, because the rioting muslims in Paris' suburbs had taken over the French government, how would Americans react ? Would they question him, or would they once again believe and rally behind him, when he sends his troops to war under false pretense ? Have you never seen a movie that showed an unlikely but frightening scenario and worried that it could be real afterwards ? Well, we've seen the real deal happen to another country.
In 03 I was desperately clinging to the hope that Bush would finally present the proof that Iraq had WMDs. I watched Powell's speech in front of the UN on CNN where he presented his "evidence". I wanted to be convinced. I refused to believe, that any US goverment would risk something as wrong as war without good reason, because that would open the door to unspeakable evil. Yet, that's what happened. Now if the actions of the latest US administration stirred fears like that in your "allies", what do you think happened in the countries, that were actually enemies of the US or even in the Axis of Evil ?

It's interesting that you bring up the "Dolchstoßlegende". The propaganda many believed after WWI that the fighting soldiers had been stabbed in the back by the striking communists at home. That was one of Hitler's central arguments in his rise to power. In early 03 before the Iraq war began, I was discussing the Iraq issue with conservative Americans on a board called libertynewsforum.com . It still exists and while I don't post there anymore (mainly because I always get banned for having an un-American opinion), I read the comments with interest. After the war had begun, everyone there, who expressed a critical opinion was un-American, didn't support the troops or stabbed them in the back. You see the parallels there ? I've seen many such comments on US tv shows at the time. Did the Americans in this forum or the producers of the tv shows review their claims critically ? Or were the producers afraid to loose viewers, if they expressed a different view ? Did they even fear sanctions from the government, if not directly then indirectly via the network bosses ?

@americanbychoice
How much does the average American know about the political system in Europe ?
If you thoroughly read those papers, you will find that Germans are especially critically of themselves when it comes to ineptitudes.
If you're really so naive as to believe that there is still any way for the US to cut it's political and economical ties to Europe without taking a devastating blow you're as deluded as those Germans who want the Berlin wall back.

I try to keep an open mind, that's why I come to places like this, to exchange opinions. I try to understand the reasons for all the bad blood, because I strongly believe that the West needs to stand united to deal with all the problems the world has these days. We are not that different, despite what the media may want us to believe.

@americanbychoice: Spot on. I've had to reduce my intake of German news because of hypertension. Besides, it's come that far that I know what's going to be in there now anyway. The spin for the Sheeple's consumption has become largely predictable.
BTW: I'd be careful talking about the Nobel prizes. Yes, the science / medicine prizes are still fairly reliable and apolitical. However, in recent years, the Peace Prize as well as the Literature Prize have only become blatant anti-American propaganda fora. I've since tuned them out.

Ah, dear. The more things change, the more they remain the same. For the umpteenth time, I shall post this again.

Anti-Americanism rests on the singular idea that something associated with the United States, something at the core of American life, is deeply wrong and threatening to the rest of the world. This idea is certainly nothing new. Over a half-century ago, the novelist Henry de Montherlant put the following statement in the mouth of one of his characters (a journalist): "One nation that manages to lower intelligence, morality, human quality on nearly all the surface of the earth, such a thing has never been seen before in the existence of the planet. I accuse the United States of being in a permanent state of crime against humankind." America, from this point of view, is a symbol for all that is grotesque, obscene, monstrous, stultifying, stunted, leveling, deadening, deracinating, deforming, and rootless.
[ ]

The great romantic poet Heinrich Heine gave expression to this sentiment: "Sometimes it comes to my mind/To sail to America/To that pig-pen of Freedom/Inhabited by boors living in equality." America, as Heine put it in his prose writing, was a "gigantic prison of freedom," where the "most extensive of all tyrannies, that of the masses, exercises its crude authority."

A Genealogy of Anti-Americanism

The above is based on the book:

Reconstructing America: The Symbol of America in Modern Thought

Unbel1ever, I have a question about your grandmother, and her anti-Americanism. Did she hate the Brits, too? Arthur Harris (British) was the architect of the firebombing of Dresden. She was from Poland? How did she feel about the Germans when they invaded?

See where I'm going with this?

Anti-Americanism has been part and parcel of the European psyche since before the Revolution. It has never been based on any rational construct.

One of the funniest conversations I ever had on this board was with an 'alex' - who maintained that only people with Native American 'blood' have the moral authority to discuss the 'genocide' perpetrated on them by "white" Americans. (The Spanish treatment of the Aztecs was apparently a different moral conundrum.)

Imagine alex's surprise to find that I am descended from Shawnee. (There's even a book and television movie about that branch of the family: Centennial)

Well, it took about an hour, but alex finally responded with remarks about how 'intelligent' I seemed to be. One of the funniest DMK threads ever. Wish I had a link.

The point being that anti-Americanism has emphasized different perceived characteristics over time, but it has always served one purpose and one purpose only.

To make Europeans feel better about themselves. No amount of fact-based rational argument will change it. It is a pathology. And it comes in handy in other contexts. Ireland is going to vote on the *ahem* "Lisbon Treaty" soon. So what does one of the politicians tell them? That except as an economic bloc, the U.S. has always opposed the EU and that the US is opposed to the expansion of NATO. Two very blatant lies that are easily debunked by anyone who gives half a monkey's butt. But that politician trusted to one thing: You can never go wrong bashing America.

What Europeans should have learned from the blood bath they made of the 20th Century, they haven't.

Allowing yourselves to be manipulated by the media and gov't is generally a bad idea.

Using a mythical, dehumanized 'collective other' as a bogeyman results in human smoke..


I think Mr. Unbel1ever is a welcome edition to all of us Americans being pissed off about the German media. The question about the German media goes deeper, though. His assumptions are of course tilted toward skepticism with regard to the Big Elephant America, but still it must be said he is more fair in his attempt to reconcile German stupidity with American stupidity in the media than he is unfair. But he is dead wrong. If anything, the U.S. media is very careful about stereotypes being spread about Germany today. The German media is all over the place, though, with stereotypes, and they are no good and stem from very bad sources. It wasn't only the Nazis who were anti-American, though, it was a tradition long before the Nazis. Unbel1ever's hesitations about the Iraq war are standard boilerplate about the evil of war, and these are things that are age-old and have been part and parcel of all sentiments human beings have felt about the mayhem and violence and death that war entails. The problem, like I said, goes deeper. In Germany, there is a past that won't go away -- and one that the world does not allow the Germans to let pass away either. Even though the quote I am going to give comes from a man who was a Nazi war criminal, which is a term I employ as a general description but that doesn't satisfy encompassing the true horror of what these men and women were responsible for, there is a sentence that Hans Frank said when he was sentenced in Nuremberg in 1946: "A thousand years will pass and still Germany's guilt will not have been erased." The Germans have to live with being Germans and the burden of history that is part of the national baggage. The world certainly won't let them forget -- and rightly, too. Hitler utterly ruined any and all pride that is normal in his homeland for any thinking German. The Germans tend to project their very real complexes about their national identity, which they cannot shake off, onto America -- or Israel, for that matter. It is a pitiful sight to hear and see this in the media and almost EVERYWHERE in German life, but that's what happens. Much of what Unbel1ever says is well meant. There are many, or maybe too few, exceptions to this warped thinking and perception in Germany. One is thankful for these people, these Germans who have managed to go beyond the national complexes due to Nazism and the German past and the German crimes, which do not fade but seem to remain permanently in most everyone's mind. But most people cannot manage to get past these things. As for Unbel1ever's remarks about the Iraq war, I don't know what to say except that war was never liked by anybody who ever waged it, we all know Sherman's phrase, but he never deals once with the issue of why Iraq was attacked and why the Middle East definitely had to be shaken up and what an army and navy and the other forces are there to do -- and that it doesn't happen without all that war entails, unfortunately, and never has. The lives being lost are American and Iraqi lives. I don't know what the Germans are losing their heads about, actually, since they really don't want to have anything to do with this messy business. I still think German pacificism is not what it seems, no way, and is heavily ideological and aimed mainly at America and ... well, good old Israel. Nothing, almost nothing is what it seems when Germans do something internationally. Witness: the biggest trading partners in Europe for Iran is Germany. Where are we reading about it in the German press? Where is all the morality and outrage about that? Ach! What is the point of arguing. The "obsession" with Iraq and that clown Schröder, who got himself elected by stirring up anti-Americanism and running against George Bush ... well, in my opinion, having had a clown like Schröder as chancellor for some years is something the Germans should wonder about far more than why the Americans elected Bush. These things speak for themselves. Jesus, this gets tiring. I can imagine, by the way, what the German media broadcast was of "The other America." This is standard fare in the German media and publishing and exhibition world: what it means is Woody Guthrie, socialism in America, Bob Dylan, striking workers, civil rights workers in the late 'fifties and early 'sixties, Martin Luther King -- and all this in contrast to the Great Moloch America, which the Germans see as the other, the Real America. Like I said, it really gets tiring pointing this out.

@svetov
The Germans have to live with being Germans and the burden of history that is part of the national baggage. The world certainly won't let them forget -- and rightly, too. Hitler utterly ruined any and all pride that is normal in his homeland for any thinking German.

I agree that this is a huge problem, but I vehemently disagree that it is rightly so.

This is another episode of collectivization of guilt. And it is wrong.

I was here one day castigating the Germans for not doing more militarily in the war, and FranzisM responded with one of the saddest things I've ever read. Keep in mind the he is German born AFTER WWII.

He said (paraphrasing) that for Germans violence is like drugs to an incurable addict.

Blood libel, anyone?

I also remember the angst prior to the World Cup - Germans were beating themselves up asking if it was ok to enjoy themselves.

What is this crap? I'm not responsible for slavery. As a citizen, I do have a civic, if not moral, responsibility to help clean up the mess. But that is a far cry from guilt.

What I have just never understood is that Germans who carry this burden on their own backs somehow do not see that they are committing the same grave error against themselves that got them into that horror over half a century ago.

Bewildering, to say the least.

@Pamela. I've always enjoyed what you've written in the past, but this time it seems to me you have underestimated the extent of what a massive break in civilization it was when American troops came upon the German concentration camps in 1945, as well as the Russians, and when Eisenhower broke into tears when viewing them. I don't think you do justice to what followed, when the death camps and the rest of what the Einsatzgruppen and the euthanasia that went on in mental hospitals and the revelations of the scale of cold-blooded mass murder that the Germans -- or shall we say the Nazis -- perpetrated along with their Western, Eastern and Central European co-perpetrators slowly came to the consciousness of the world. What the Germans pulled off was way beyond things that happened in war. You underestimate what this still means. Whenever one reads or sees things related to this, one still cannot believe it happened, not to speak of why. It had absolutely nothing to do with the war in any military sense, only with the Nazi ideology and the mania and what can only be termed lunacy of Hitler. The Germans do indeed bear this burden. I don't quite follow your reasoning. It has nothing to do with collective guilt. That's just a word in this context. The facts speak for themselves, and the Zivilsationsbruch was there. It has nothing to do with accomplishments in music or philosophy or culture -- the Germans did do it, their allies helped them, that's a stone-cold fact you can't wipe away by saying they shouldn't feel guilty because those born after 1945 had nothing to do with it. Fathers and grandfathers did it and later either talked about it or did not. In no sense do the people born after those events of 1933-1945, but especially 1940-1945, not have a burden that extends to FAMILY connections. I think, Pamela, you are massively underestimating this burden and also how the rest of the world looks upon this country in Central Europe. I am not saying Germans are per se guilty. The word guilty is too small. The policies carried out by the Nazis were without precedent in their scope. Certainly Europe, not to speak of America, is well aware of the fact. I don't think you're seeing how deep this break with civilization was on the part of the German nation -- in fact, you're being almost glib in this regard. Now, don't get me wrong, I am always interested in your comments and find what you say sometimes downright inspiring in its insight and intelligent -- but this time I can't follow you, really.

@Unbe1iever
So, you didn't see the whole thing but use it as your point? Tells me a lot about how easy it is to find positive things about the US in german media...

"Are you sure that our anti-Americanism is more pronounced than your anti-Europeanism ?"
Oh, yes, I am. Ever been to the states? Check in the news if you find an "anti-european" stance and more importantly check with the people if you find one.
BTW, "you too" is a cheap argument.

"Most of the muslims in Germany are not only very friendly but pro-West and you said yourself, we do have crucifixes in our classrooms."
Really, how do you know? What are the latest opinion polls showing about that? How does the fact that you have crucifixes in your classrooms support this?

"As far as segragation goes: I believe the US president frequently uses the words "God bless America". Which god does he mean by that ? If I were a muslim in the US, I might be offended as well."

Is this your argument for an religiously unsegregated US? Or is it your point in showing a fundamental president? We are talking about the influence of religion on the state, comparing the US and germany and you come up with this phrase that is used by americans all the time since ever?
Geez, you are digging deep.
BTW, contrary to what many germans think it is a request, short for "May god bless america" and not an arrogant statement as in "God does bless america".
And if you were a muslim and you would be offended by that you would be stupid in many ways. The first would be that christians, jews and muslims do believe in the same god.


"My tenth grade history teacher used it as evidence for the illusions of grandour the "Kaiser" had 100 years ago.
If a policitian or any public figure today would utter something like that, he/she would not recover from it."

Unfortunately it is still set in the mind of too many germans. It is showing itself in the tendency of germans to see everything that is done in a different way than the german as incorrect and stupid.

"Misled ? As I recall all big US news agencies covered this as well, because I always read news concerning the US from both perspectives."
See, you don't even get the point. Yes, it is something that was covered in the US as well but unlike in germany it is not seen as a threat to the US to become a "fundamental state".
Thats how propaganda works: Take a small truth in turn in it into a big lie.
Thats the whole issue off this blog. It is not that the media here is really lying to the people (though sometimes it is very close to it) but that it is showing you a distorted view of the US.


"The tax is indeed voluntary."
What are you talking about? In order to evade the church tax in germany, which is automatically deducted from your income, you have to officially leave the church. Meaning you have to go to the respective offices and sign papers where you are stating not to be a catholic or a protestant anymore. Is that what you call "voluntary"?

"The US already lead a preemptive strike against Iraq and was not bothered by the UN."
Like the NATO did, including germany,at KOSOVO????
That you are using the Iraq invasion as an argument for your personal fear about the US already shows me the influence your media had on you. Did you actually read who was the big source for "supposed" Iraqi WMD program? DO you know for which country the BND works?
BTW, if it was a lie from the beginning why wasn't the Bush administration "making sure" that some WMDs were found?

"I've seen many such comments on US tv shows at the time."
Really? Made by the commentator or by people he interviewed or had as guests? If so, where?

"Did they even fear sanctions from the government, if not directly then indirectly via the network bosses ?"
This is the final proof how lost you are. Thinking that he US media is "controlled" by the government is so ridiculous. And the funny thing is that it comes from someone who is living in a country where political parties are allowed to be in possession of newspapers (DVGG) and where the public TV channels (of which there are plenty) are so politically influenced by the ruling government as they decide who is sitting in their upper echelons.

@Scout
Why is the Nobel Peace Prize anti-American ? Last year it went to an American, didn't it ? Or do you want to imply, that an American, who disagrees with the current US government is anti-American ? If that's the case you might want to split your country in two and call one half anti-America.

@Pamela
My grandmother equally dislikes Americans and British as well as Russians etc. for that matter. It's a trauma in her childhood, that is unlikely to be removed. She was a young girl in those days. She loved her home as she frequently talks about it. From a child's perspective, her parents can't possibly do something wrong. That's the way she remembers it. The Russians killed or wounded her brothers and suddenly came to her rural home, destroyed everything and made her leave. Then there came hunger, cold and the danger of being raped by a soldier. On top of that, half her family burns to death in Dresden. You can't reason with here about these things. You might say the Germans deserved what they got - they started the war - but from her perspective the others are the evildoers.

I don't feel guilty about what happened in WWII in the sense that it is my fault - it happened 40 years before I was born. However, I do feel a responsibility to make sure something like that does not happen again and especially not here. I am in the fortunate position to still have my grandparents to tell me about those times. That makes it less abstract. The next generation will learn about it probably only from the history books. That's why a real effort is being made to keep that memory alive. In my school every 9th grade took a trip to the KZ Buchenwald near Weimar. There's not much left there, but you get the sense an scope of what happened. You really can't describe what it feels like to stand in front of a burning chamber. I was really moved then and most of the girls broke into tears.
We have to live with the past and out of this comes the German tendency to pacifism. Btw. it's the same reason, why we frown upon people who like to have guns in their houses.

@svetov
Why is it an outrage, that Germany is the biggest trading partner of Iran in Europe ? Germany has been the largest exporter of goods in the world for the past years, so naturally it's the biggest trading partner in Europe for many countries. It's not like they were trading weapons.

@garydausz
"So, you didn't see the whole thing but use it as your point? Tells me a lot about how easy it is to find positive things about the US in german media"
You asked me to name anything, so I took the first hit on google. The "Arte-Themenabend" usually conists of 5-8 ours of movies, documentaries etc. about a certain topic. So no, I didn't watch the whole thing, but only one of the documentaries.

"Really, how do you know? What are the latest opinion polls showing about that? How does the fact that you have crucifixes in your classrooms support this?"
Well, I do live in Germany and encounter muslims in my everyday life. Especially those of my generation, who have been born and raised in Germany are for the most part completely assimilated. I know them as schoolmates, colleagues and friends. That tells me more about them than any poll - especially when you're familiar with the error margins those "polls" usually have. The cruxifices remark was directed to the notion that Germany will become a muslim country any time soon.

"BTW, contrary to what many germans think it is a request, short for "May god bless america" and not an arrogant statement as in "God does bless america"."
I know what it means.

"And if you were a muslim and you would be offended by that you would be stupid in many ways. The first would be that christians, jews and muslims do believe in the same god."
That's a very enlightened point of view, but unfortunately not shared by many in these groups.

"Unfortunately it is still set in the mind of too many germans. It is showing itself in the tendency of germans to see everything that is done in a different way than the german as incorrect and stupid."
That's completely wrong. There are so many things not only the government but German companies try to learn from others especially the US. It ranges from motivational Methods in a work environment, over the tv show, that's a 1:1 rip off from a US show, the girl who needs to dress exactly like to the reformation of our university system to match the US.

"Thats how propaganda works: Take a small truth in turn in it into a big lie."
How did it get turned into a big lie ? I don't believe that creationism is taught in all schools throughout the US.
I never said the US was going to be a fundamental state and I don't think that has ever been said on any news.
I said people feared it. Fear != Believe. I don't believe that earth will be hit by an asteroid in my lifetime. Do I fear it ? Yes.

"That you are using the Iraq invasion as an argument for your personal fear about the US already shows me the influence your media had on you. Did you actually read who was the big source for "supposed" Iraqi WMD program? DO you know for which country the BND works?
BTW, if it was a lie from the beginning why wasn't the Bush administration "making sure" that some WMDs were found?"
I know who they work for and that the BND is in German public opinion not much more than a joke.
Did I say I feared something like that ? I said there people who do, not that I did personally.
I find it very hard to believe that even the US administration would have been able to "make sure" these weapons were found - especially in the amounts they claimed were there. Someone would have found out and then they would not have been able to say "we acted on false intelligence information."

"Really? Made by the commentator or by people he interviewed or had as guests? If so, where?"
I mostly watched CNN domestic and Fox News at the time. The remarks were made by commentators as well as interviewed guests. I didn't learn their names by heart.

"This is the final proof how lost you are. Thinking that he US media is "controlled" by the government is so ridiculous. And the funny thing is that it comes from someone who is living in a country where political parties are allowed to be in possession of newspapers (DVGG) and where the public TV channels (of which there are plenty) are so politically influenced by the ruling government as they decide who is sitting in their upper echelons."
You misunderstood my remark. I didn't say they were controlled directly, but think about it. A network boss, who realizes that is main viewership is conservative, might lean on his producers etc. to show a more pro-conservative view in the news - especially when he is a conservative himself. That's why I do not have a problem with political parties owning newspapers here. You know beforehand to whose political point of view you're likely exposed. If those public channels are controlled by the government, then how come that the shows most critical of our politicians and the goverment e.g. "Neues aus der Anstalt" air on those channels ?

@ unbel1ver
As far as segregation goes: I believe the US president frequently uses the words "God bless America". Which god does he mean by that ? If I were a muslim in the US, I might be offended as well.
Which God? The Supreme Being. Not Thor, not Jupiter, but the Supreme Being. He who cannot be named. The song "God bless America" is 70 years old, and widely recognized. As the song says: Stand beside her and guide her. The phrase "God bless America" has been in common use long before 9/11. This remark illustrates the point that many Germans know much less about the US than they think they know. Irving Berlin was the songwriter for “God Bless America.” Berlin, who lived to the ripe old age of 101, was a Russian-Jewish immigrant to the US. So should Christian Americans be offended that Bush uttered a phrase from a song written by a JOO? So should a Buddhist such as my sister or Agnostic/Atheistic Americans such as myself be offended that Bush uttered a phrase from a song written by a JOO? Of course not! So why should Muslims or believers in the Great Shamrock, for that matter, be offended? If any Muslims or believers in the Great Shamrock are so offended, most Americans would say: let them be offended, while uttering some very offensive four-letter words in the process. Given the German/Frisian roots of the English language, I daresay that even Germans who speak not a word of English would recognize those four-letter words. (Germans, having put more effort into it, are much better linguists than Americans.)

I find it more than ironic that a GERMAN worries about an American offending someone by the mere mention of the Supreme Being, given that tact and discretion do not appear to be German strengths. Consider what Herta Däubler-Gmelin said about Bush, and consider these German Carnival floats about Bush, here Bush and Uncle Sam, and here a float about Muslims . In fact, I find it a hoot! Was your statement an example of German humor?

@Unbel1ever: Please don't put words in my mouth. I said that the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature have largely become blatent anti-American propaganda fora. Not that the PRIZE is for anti-Americanism, but if you examine all the texts, nominations, and citations and transcripts of the ceremonies, etc., it's more of the typical Euro-Elite Ami-bashing. And yes, you can award the prize to an American and still fulfil this mission, especially when that American is someone like, for example, Jimmy Carter.
Since you alluded to him, I need to say a few words. Jimmy may have easily been the worst President of the United States ever, but I can't say that he was 'anti-American' at that time. That would be ridiculous. Naive? Yes. Incompetent, misinformed, ingorant, and hopelessly above his head? Most certainly. But not anti-American.
That came later. The senile old boy can't leave the stage, although his 15 minutes of fame are over. He somehow is still trying to establish his legacy, and has judged the Israelis guilty in his own mind of somehow sabatoging his legacy. If they would only roll over and surrender then Carter could be a hero. Carter became, in my mind, anti-American when he started cuddling with tyrants, dictators, and what's more: terrorists. Carter lost all grasp of reality, and continues to jet around the world making a spectacle of himself through his bias against Israel, and yes, even the stated foreign policy aims of his own country.
If Bush and the State Dept had any balls at all, they would take his passport away -- especially after that last sorry stunt in Syria.

@unbel1ever
"Why is it an outrage, that Germany is the biggest trading partner of Iran in Europe ? Germany has been the largest exporter of goods in the world for the past years, so naturally it's the biggest trading partner in Europe for many countries. It's not like they were trading weapons."
This time I'll be concise. Germany is indeed trading weapons technology with Iran. Maybe you don't know. What did you think they were doing? See Benjamin Weinthal, The German Connection http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/927175.html. I don't know what you think Siemens was doing there. Along with many other companies. Haaretz is a left-wing newspaper, certainly without a big grudge to bear. It's true that a lot of the business is being done through middlemen. Should we think the mullahs are up to good? The Russians don't produce the technology, it's the Germans who do.

@unbel1ever.
There are areas of agreement. Your point of view on WW2 is to me a sensible one.

I don't feel guilty about what happened in WWII in the sense that it is my fault - it happened 40 years before I was born. However, I do feel a responsibility to make sure something like that does not happen again and especially not here. I am in the fortunate position to still have my grandparents to tell me about those times. That makes it less abstract.
We might disagree on how "never again" is best achieved. I tend to agree with Pamela on this. One of her points is essentially the same one that I made in an April 28 posting: think for yourself and do not uncritically accept what authorities or neighbors say. My brother-in-law experienced American bombing as a child in Germany, which made him somewhat hesitant about the US doing it again, having experienced its destructive power. At the same time, he was an Army officer, and is a staunch Republican who supports the Iraq effort. That US bombing is very selective these days is something he favors. As his stepfather was involved in the development of the Messerschmidt, both he and his stepfather realized that Germany was not a victim.

Regarding Germany's trading with Iran with regard to military applications, here are some links. The tunneling technology is to me the most serious, as Iran has put much stuff far underground, with the assistance of German technology.
Strategy Page
dw-world
Jerusalem Post
Shariafinancewatch

Correction: My agreement w Pamela was not April 28.

Contrary to what many Germans apparently believe, lack of pride in one's country will not compensate for such lack of critical thinking. Lack of pride in one's country will not compensate for uncritically accepting what some authority figure says instead of thinking for oneself.

Posted by: GringoTex | April 30, 2008 at 08:33 PM

@svetov
The policies carried out by the Nazis were without precedent in their scope. Certainly Europe, not to speak of America, is well aware of the fact. I don't think you're seeing how deep this break with civilization was on the part of the German nation -- in fact, you're being almost glib in this regard.

hmmm. I've thought long and hard how to explain to you the path I took to get where I am. My response is going to be given over several posts as I don't know how David/David/Ray are segmenting their pages.

First, I will stipulate that I cannot 'know' in a visceral, personal sense what happened. I was born in 1952. I will also stipulate that the evil perpetrated by the Nazis was nourished in and given birth from the womb of Germany.

It was a great evil. But in the annals of 20th century horrors, it was not unique. See Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Japan in China.

I know and have known quite a few survivors and children of survivors. My German language teacher in high school, Hilde Pinkus, from Munich - a survivor.

My dear girlfriend, S., who has done yeoman's work helping me find a rabbi and a synagogue, - the child of Hungarian survivors.

I am well aware of the impulse to wipe every German, Pole, Austrian, etc., off the face of the earth. As a child, I used to confront my father in outrage because the Allies refused to bomb the camps. None of what I viewed then as 'excuses' passed muster with me.

To be clear: I have no problem taking anyone, regardless of national origin, who shares any responsibility for furthering the aims of the Nazis, out to a wall and shooting them. They are stains. They poison my air when they exhale.

It is not possible to retrace here every step I've taken to get where I am. I could re-tell conversations, but that would be anecdotal and resolve to an argument with evidence not available to your own judgement.

So, I'm going to write about 2 sources that are available to you. The first is a book 'A Surplus of Mermory: Chronicle of the Warwaw Ghetto Uprising' by Yitzhak Zuckerman aka 'Antak'.

The second is Torah. See Genesis 18 beginning at 18:16. For the Bible readers out there, I'm using the Jewish Publication Society's edition, 1985.

Back later.

Note to Unbel1ver: I get it about your grandmother. Thanks.

This is a fantastic site. The opinions here could easily be those from any American blog and from any Left-Right debates.

Healthy debate is always good -- the key word here: Healthy.

Pamela: In case you aren't aware, many pro-gun Americans, including yours truly, tell the story of the Warsaw defense to enlighten our more closed-minded countrymen who favor strict gun control. One of the things that puzzles so many pro-gun Americans is why so many Jews favor strict gun control. If any group should know the value of firearms and the freedom to defend oneself from both criminals and a tyrannical government, it should be our Jewish brothers. I think American Jews are unique because in Israel if you tried to take away an Israeli's gun, you would have a serious problem on your hands.

Anyway, love this site, and God bless Germany and the U.S.A.

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