Looking around the blogosphere this week, we couldn't help but notice an interesting discussion taking place in the comments section of the blog "German Joys," a left-leaning blog written by Andrew Hammel, an American living in Germany. One of the comments was particularly striking:
"I lived in West Germany two separate times back in the 1980s and have been back -- to the reunified Germany -- for visits many times since then. Back then I recall that examples of anti-Americanism, both among regular Germans and within the German media, were easily found. As you probably know, since then, anti-Americanism among Germans and the German media has stayed fairly consistent over the years, sometimes waxing a little and sometimes waning. But, for many Germans, hating Americans has always given them a little lift as he or she gets through their day.
For Americans who aren't prepared for it, this fact of life for Germans can be a shock. The virulence, especially among the German media, is astounding. Both Stern and Der Spiegel are taking their usual nasty shots and America: here are the latest covers. Average Americans have generally a positive view of Germany and Germans, so if they are exposed to just how much hatred Germans have for Americans, they are truly puzzled.
You will NEVER find an equivalent cover, for Time or Newsweek, for example, that denigrates Germans. I challenge any German stopping by here to find and link to one here. To me, this hatred for Americans that animates the German media, and many average Germans, is one of the more shameful aspects of their national character, in many ways as shameful as their hatred of Jews. Both of these antipathies derive from the same national pathology that is rarely confronted in German society. It's an unusual German -- and thankfully I know a few of them -- who can blush when confronted with examples of their countrymen's irrational hatred of America."
Our questions to readers:
- Does the author go too far in claiming the anti-Americanism found in Germany is a part of the national character?
- Is some of this problem part of a larger phenomenon taking place in Europe and other parts of the world? To what degree?
- Is some of this ongoing problem peculiar to Germany? To what degree?
- Is there anything that can be done to get more Germans to be constructive in discussions of the United States or is this so deeply ingrained in society that it will never really change?
We look forward to your reactions in our comments section.