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It's a great thing that many negative stereotypes of Germans and Germany are going by the board. Unfortunately, I think it's too much to expect Der Spiegel to abandon its affinity for trotting out stereotypes. How would they fill their pages?

Aw, don't worry. I'm sure once the World Cup is over and the euphoria wears off, things will get back to normal. Especially, if Germany wins (which they very well could do -- they look stronger with every game).

"why do they stereotype Americans with such relish" Uhmm, cynical inferiority complex?

I thought the national anthem was the "Horst Wessel".

This seems to be a bit like a drunk declaring himself sober.

What is it with the constant Nazi references? Horst Wessel, is that supposed to be funny? Oh, and please don't use the "I didn't say Nazi, I only said offspring of the master race" excuse. Quite frankly, this is getting lame. How many times did I read in the comments in this blog that Germans should develop a healthier attitude toward their nation. Now that you see some signs of it actually happening, it's a)going to be over soon, or b)drunks declaring themselves sober. You sound like the left who can't appreciate anything coming from the US administration.

I've always admired Germany's discipline, orderliness, and hierarchical social order that respects age and wisdom.

I foolishly and naively believed that Germany's experiences had made them stronger, a greater advocate against human oppression. Therefore I thought that they would be bringing the strongest troop committments in Iraq, 2002.

Obviously, while I had learned something of German culture while studying, I had not studied their political situation. The Pax Americana has had some ... deleterious effects on what was once an industrious and noble people. After all, Germany's fate would have been far different had Von Stauffenberg succeded in his assassination. Remember, Stauffenberg had an entire cadre of loyal officers ready to commence the military coup. Stauffenberg had mistakingly heard that Hitler was dead, therefore he commenced the coup, exposing all the loyal officers to Hitler's purge. After that, the Wehrmacht was never again a route to save the nation of Germany from the Final Ravage that we saw so clearly. If he had succeded, Germany would have surrendered, and become much like Japan. With no Soviet division of Berlin because the Soviets wouldn't be there.

The Prussian virtues have been all but extinguished in the once mighty German nation. And for what, a fluke of fate, a coincidence of condition?

I thought the national anthem was the "Horst Wessel".

Ah yes, the "reductio ad Hitlerum" returns. How - edifying.....

@flux: What is it with the constant Nazi references? Horst Wessel, is that supposed to be funny? Oh, and please don't use the "I didn't say Nazi, I only said offspring of the master race" excuse. Quite frankly, this is getting lame.

Agreed. But flux, have a look if you please at Ray's splash page of Speigel covers and ask whether the "reductio ad Hitlerum" (and close cousins in crude stereotyping) are quite as dead in Deutschland as Germans may prefer to believe.

The "argumentum ad nazium" is in large part the product of rage toward the stereotypes displayed by those covers - and in any case hardly uncommon among Germans expressing their deepest feelings about the US and it's citizens.

How many times did I read in the comments in this blog that Germans should develop a healthier attitude toward their nation. Now that you see some signs of it actually happening, it's a)going to be over soon, or b)drunks declaring themselves sober. You sound like the left who can't appreciate anything coming from the US administration.

Yes there is quite a bit of that I'm afraid. But it seems to me that the weight of fire from Germany and Germans has been quite a bit heavier than the counterfire from US sources. By an order of magnitude or more. This due in part to the US habit of ignoring a lot of the bile spewing out of Europe, which in itself inspires bile aimed at American 'ignorance'/

Well. Now they have our attention (many of us). Certainly mine. Unfortunately - I don't like about 95% of what I see - because a lot of it is "argumentum ad nazium".....


Sir,

I'm of Southern German descent and a great fan of this website; the poor German people are being deluded by their "intelligensia". You and I and those like minded should start an United States magazine to be printed in all of the European languages that debunks all of the silly manipulated agitprop that is "de rigeur" in Europe (don't know a German idiom for it). We have to reach these people because they have it within them to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us if we can reach them. Their hearts are strong and good; they are just being polluted by the worst elements of their societies; the nabobs who have nothing to do but criticize anyone who exhibits any of the traditional virtues that make the United States a great country (cummulatively) and could make all of Europe a better place if properly identified and promoted.

If you help me get this ball rolling, I'll do my best to help, too.

The Objective Historian

@ TOH,

How can we help? Just let us know.

Not too long ago, but before 9/11, I traveled in Poland on what was called a Holocaust Tour. The tour group was small, consisting of only 8 people including the tour guide. One member of the tour was a retired English attorney who was then about 72 years old. I'll call him John. John's father had been a sailor in the Royal Navy. He died at sea in either December, 1939 or January, 1940. The Germans torpedoed his ship.

Whenever we entered one of the Nazi death camps in Poland, like Treblinka, John, who had an opinion on everything and was quite vigouous in expressing himself aloud, said that Germans today were "no different" from the Germans who killed the Jews during the Holocaust. He said this every time we entered another camps. "NO different," he insisted. I did not react openly to John's words. I thought he was still bitter about the loss of his father when he was only a child. I did say to myself, however, that John was wrong, that he did not realize, and problbly never would realize, that Germany and Germans had changed, that today Germans were different and that was that.

Today, however, in the year 2006 I know that John had been right all along. "No different" really does describe Germans today, and I sent a letter to England some months ago telling John that he had been right about Germany and I had been wrong. He knew Germany/Germans better than I did. German behavior, since the fall of the Soviet Union and 9/11, and the German press, as seen in this blog site and elsewhere, tell me all I will ever need to know about Germany and Germans. No different says it all.

@flux, here's an article that provides one reason for my comment to "just wait until the World Cup euphoria wears off and things will be back to "normal:"

Crisis at EADS fuels French scepticism on Europe
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13130-2229349,00.html

Here are a few very telling excerpts:

"With the French increasingly convinced that the European Union has become a vehicle for capitalism, the constitution was rejected. Opponents said that they wanted une Europe sociale — an ill-defined concept that involves union rights, harmonised welfare and taxes and tighter restrictions on free enterprise."

"The atmosphere worsened this week with M Forgeard and Arnaud Lagardère, EADS’s main private French shareholder, blaming Gustav Humbert, the German head of Airbus, for the chaos."

A "vehicle for capitalism" I guess is supposed to be a bad thing. The cure, according to many, is to restrict free enterprise. Yeah, buddy. That's worked everytime it has been tried -- NOT.

Of course, finger-pointing is to be expected when you do something as idiotic as appoint TWO bosses to a company (which, ironically, is actually a vast improvement to the management committee that used to govern EADS).

In my opinion, as long as this kind of thinking rules the day, proper solutions don't have a chance.

On a totally off topic issue (sort of), last week a German friend of ours actually used the phrase "conditions like in America" in an animated discussion of German business hours. For some background, Germany has some rather quaint business laws relative to other countries. They've become more liberal over the last 20 years or so, but they are still "conservative" relative to, say, the US. Anyway, during the World Cup the German government has suspended certain laws that require most businesses to close no later than 8 PM, and is allowing retailers to stay open until 10 PM (presumably, so that all the tourists in Germany for the World Cup can go shopping -- although, it seems to me that they'd be watching soccer at 10 PM, not shopping). Several of our German friends cannot understand why anyone would want to shop outside "normal" business hours and are against lengthening store hours, in general. There are many reasons cited, but they mostly boil down to "this is the way we've always done it -- why change?" And then the old expression "otherwise, we'll have conditions like in America" is tossed into the mix.

Unfortunately, I did not hear our friend say this or else I would have asked him to explain what that's supposed to mean.

So, I'll ask here. What is being implied when someone uses the expression "conditions like in America?" I assume they mean something bad by that, but I'd be interested to know if there is some "condition" (or conditions) in particular that folks are thinking of when they say this.

Can anybody help me out? What does "conditions like in America" mean?

@ruben

Well, if they are no different, maybe they should be bombed to smithereens again. If they are no different from 1940, then they are still at it, killing jews, homosexuals and Gypsies.

"No different from the Germans who killed the Jews during the Holocaust"? I'm sorry, this blind anti-German hatred is getting ridiculous. Not only that, but you are also comparing Nazi atrocities to a bunch of anti-German headlines.

This blog is doing a fine job of exposing anti-American bias in some of the German media, and they are and should be applauded for that. But there are other voices in Germany, as well. Did you know that one of the largest publishing houses in Europe (the newspaper "Bild" is read by about 12 million people, every day), the Axel Springer Verlag, has a preamble which every journalist working for them has to sign? Here is the original German text, and this is an English translation, from which I will quote only two points:

- To promote reconciliation of Jews and Germans and support the vital rights of the State of Israel.
- To support the Transatlantic Alliance, and solidarity with the United States of America in the common values of free nations.

No different, indeed.

@flux,
I am with you.. Germans have every reason to be proud of their country. the BRD has
been an incredible force for good in the past 60 years..

http://frum.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MjAzMzIzOGE5MTgwYjk0NDg4YjdjYmZiNWNhNDkyODc=

I am an American who lives in Germany. I would be lying if I said I didn't have my concerns about German society (For example, in Sep 2004 there was an election in Saxony. Over 30 percent voted for the parties of Hitler, Honecker u. Ulbrecht).
But on the whole I concur with the article I cite above.

No different? what a bunch of crap.
Many Germans, when I confront them with facts, admit maybe they don't know it all.
OTOH there are those who cling to their stupid stereotype of the dumb yank like a security blanket.

I know only few nations which make most people here happy by losing in the world cup:
No1 is the Netherlands, which is more of a traditional competition
No2 is France, which everyone dislikes who had to learn their language at school :)
No3 is the US, and there indeed is a deep disliking towards them. Maybe its like the antipathy americans had towards soviet sportsmen during the cold war.

You think Americans have it bad? Try and read, if you can do so without vominting, the vile racist filth spewed against Italians by a columnist named as Achim Achilles in DER SPIEGEL. Who, if you please, was trying to be funny. Listen, kiddies, if you want us to believe that Germany as a whole has learned anything since 1945, people like Achilles must be sacked on the spot, along with the moronic editor who allowed his sewage to be poured over the paper. Otherwise, we must conclude that Germany still thinks of itself as the envy of the world, that it must reinforce that vainglory by ignorantly insulting everyone else, and that DER SPIEGEL exists to console German ignorance and reinforce German prejudices. In other words, that what the Nazi government demanded as service is now performed by media people as happy free choice.

Not, of course, that it would not occur to the vile likes of Achilles swift-pen to write anything like that about Muslims. When they are displeased with you, they cut your throat, don't they? Americans and Italians are safe targets.

Oh, and by the way, Dave, you have it wrong. Achilles-the-scum was speaking, exactly, of Italian success in football, and he must have thought that to spew forth an avalanche of poison against the whole Italian nation would have pleased his "educated" readership and, more to the point, suited their reaction to an unexpected Italian victory. Evidently someone has not yet digested the humiliations of the semi-final in 1970 and the final 1982. And just for that, I hope Germany is trashed.

@ all,

I think it is absurd to claim that any nation is no different than it was sixty or seventy years ago. We have to bring just a little more context to the argument here. What we are dealing with on this site are anti-American elements in German media. What we were dealing with in 1940 was just not the same thing. Not even close. There may be some parallels with the propaganda back then and today's media (just look at the bloodsucker cover), but to say that Germany hasn't changed or improved is factually untenable. We need to give Germans some credit, they have come a long way. That doesn't mean that they still don't have a long way to go. We can all improve on our shortcomings.

@ Paolo,

this might be interesting for you: SPON apologises for publishing the Achilles-article and removes it

@Walter: that is beside the point. Anyone with any sensitivity to negative stereotyping would never have published that article in the first place. God knows I do not have much respect for the British or American media, but I think I can safely say that, as bad as they are, neither the BBC nor the NYT nor any other leading media outlet would have allowed itself such an outburst. All their built-in sensitivities to racist speech would have started beeping red alert. The same goes (apart from the hard right) for the Italian press. And it was not only the Italians who got it in the neck from our elegant German satirist: the Ukrainians were described as "woodchoppers" - which, considering that the finest goal-scorer in Europe is Ukrainian, is stupid and ignorant as well as utterly unfunny. I think DER SPIEGEL acts like the Danish imams, who, not expecting anyone in Denmark to speak Arabic, preached peace in Danish and war in Arabic. DER SPIEGEL, too, does not expect its insults against Italians and Ukrainians to be noticed outside Germany, because, of course, they do not speak German. (Quite, we are all illiterates.) And was that even an apology? It said nothing about Ukraine or Italy or Italians; the closest it got was to say that the article might perhaps have offended unidentified "Menschen", "persons" - individuals, not a group. This even carries the suggestion that there are over-sensitive "persons" over there who have to be appeased. Besides, the fact is that DER SPIEGEL has what the English call "form" where insults against Italy are concerned. They have done this sort of thing before. As they say in the army, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action; and DS has done it a lot more than just three times. No, this is a pattern, and the only difference is that this time it was so obscene that they had no defence at all. Even so, editor and columnist will continue, and you can bet your life and your last Euro that they will soon be hinting that they never said anything really wrong and that oversensitive Italians had problems with "the truth". For such is the truth to an organ (or should I say tool) such as DER SPIEGEL.

Well Paolo - what was it about in the article? Do you have a copy? I dont find it anywhere :(

@Dave: Do you suppose I kept it? I could not wipe it from my screen fast enough. It was a screed against Italian men, supposedly self-absorbed, mother-obsessed, cowardly and parasitic. I will not go further. To ask me of all people to sum it up for your convenience is not unlike asking a black American to read out the jocosities about "niggers" of a Southern racial theorist from the 1890s. The only consolation was the remark of an Italian woman reader on an Italian newspaper, who said that it suggested that Herr Achilles had found his Frau being over-friendly with an idle, parasitical, mother-obsessed Italian who had managed to show her some manners (notably lacking in Herr Achilles' writing) and a certain understanding of the use of private parts.

The Achilles article has been removed from the SPON webiste.

An Apology to our Readers

Satire can be poisonous, pointed, even exaggerated. But it should never be so clumsily executed as to merely be insulting. The column, "Eingölt und angeschmiert" (Oiled up and greasy), published in German on SPIEGEL ONLINE on Tuesday, unfortunately, was one of those instances.

In his writing for SPIEGEL ONLINE, Achim Achilles was commissioned to formulate a column that explores the boundries of political correctness. In almost every instance, he has succeeded -- demonstrating wit and charm. In this instance, however, that unfortunately wasn't the case. In several passages, his column crossed the boundary between good and bad taste. In others, he amassed clichés that, in their sum, led to considerable misunderstanding and anger.

The editor in chief and executive editors of SPIEGEL ONLINE apologize for the publication of an unedited version of the column. We had no intention of hurting the feelings of others in the manner that this column has done.

On Tuesday, the column was edited and an editor's note was attached in German and Italian providing an apology for the incident. Earlier today, we removed the article in its entirety from SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Sincerely,

The Editor in Chief and Executive Editors of SPIEGEL ONLINE


http://www.spiegel.de/sport/fussball/0,1518,423809,00.html

Paolo:
I found the text!

"Der italienische Mann, nennen wir ihn Luigi Forello, ist eine parasitäre Lebensform. Er ist nicht in der Lage, ohne fremde Hilfe zu überleben. Irgendwo saugt er sich immer fest. Und dann lässt er sich fallen. Gern auch auf dem Fußballplatz. Luigi Forello ist fortgesetzt damit beschäftigt, seine Hilflosigkeit zu zeigen. Das fängt schon beim Namen an. Wer nicht Luigi heißt, hört auf “Andrea” oder “Luca”.

Luigis vorrangiges Lebensziel ist das Vermeiden von Anstrengung. Liebstes Wirtstier ist “La Mama”, seine großbrüstige Erzeugerin, die ihm seine halbseidenen Socken wäscht und jeden Tag Nudeln kocht, mit dick Soße drauf. Wenn er ungefähr 30 Jahre alt ist, wechselt der italienische Mann die Köchin. Er heiratet, um sich fortzupflanzen. Die Folgen sind grausam. Eine ehemals strahlend schöne Italienerin verwandelt sich binnen weniger Monate in eine breithüftige Küchenmaschine - eine neue Mama. Das ist ihm aber egal, denn Luigi ist mit der Teilnahme an einem Autokorso beschäftigt, sofern sein klappriger Fiat es bis dahin schafft. Zum Essen ist er aber wieder da.

Beim Sport ist unser Luigi besonders tückisch, wie man jedes Jahr millionenfach an den Stränden der Adria beobachten kann. Er braucht Stunden, um seinen schmächtigen Körper und das Haupthaar einzuölen, seinen Rücken von Fellresten zu befreien und sein wenig spektakuläres Gemächt in eine viel zu enge Badehose zu stopfen. Dann stolziert er stundenlang umher, um schließlich maximal fünf Minuten beim Strandfußball mitzumachen. Er springt wie ein Wahnsinniger umher, imitiert brüllend Gesten, die er im Fernsehen gesehen hat, trifft den Ball höchst selten, die Knochen der anderen dafür umso härter.

Weil er schnell erschöpft ist, genügt ihm die leiseste Berührung eines Gegners, um melodramatisch zu Boden zu gehen. Noch im Stürzen wirft er einen Blick ringsum, ob im Publikum genügend Menschen sind, insbesondere Frauen, die ihn bemitleiden und wieder aufpäppeln. Schmachtende Blicke deutscher Urlauberinnen sind die Lebensgrundlage des italienischen Mannes.

Insofern geschah gestern nicht Ungewöhnliches. Fabio Grosso fiel im Strafraum und grinste noch im Fallen. Der nicht minder ölige Francesco Totti verwandelte dann den Elfmeter gegen Australien. Danach lutschte er am Daumen. Das ist normal bei italienischen Männern. Es war wie immer. Am Freitag werden die kickenden Holzfäller aus der Ukraine eingeölt und angeschmiert. So schlawinern sich die Italiener mal wieder bis ins Halbfinale. Dann, liebe Luigis, ist allerdings Feierabend. Wir haben da noch ein paar Rechnungen vom letzten Italien-Urlaub"


Well it plays with numerous prejudices, but what exactly did disturb you so much? It was probably meant to be funny, and most commenters to that text I read understood it that way.

@Dave: are you serious? Try for a minute and get your mind to understand what it feels like to have, not yourself - to be despised by the likes of Herr Achilles would be a positive boost to self-respect - but your people, your country, your friends and family, in those terms. Think of the vile things he says about Italian women and apply them to your mother. Think of your friends; think of those who work ten to twelve hours a day to keep their business going and feed their families (curiously, Italians work longer hours than Germans); think of the person you know, who has given up any chance of an independent life to look after his sick and mentally handicapped 87-year-old mother (for the remarks on that subject alone I could beat Herr Achilles with a baseball bat); think of the millions of decent people, not to mention those who died fighting terrorism and the mafia (to which Germany is a happy land of refuge, whose incompetent cops are the despair of their Italian colleagues); think of the people you know and love, treated like this, and you will need no further reason to state categorically that Herr Achilles is the scum of the earth.

Or else, never mind. As Louis Armstrong once said when they asked him to define jazz, if you gotta ask the question, you will never know the answer.

At any rate, it seems to me that the point is being ever so slightly forgotten here. My point, and the original blog entry's point too, is that if the Germans do not want to be stereotyped, they would do well to rethink their habitual and never-challenged treatment of lesser breeds without the law, such as Italians or Americans, as only marginally human. Otherwise they confirm that the arrogance of Wilhelmine and Nazi times has never gone away. British and American veterans who met and trashed the Hell out of German troops on the Western front told me of the fantastic arrogance of these men: you would think they had not been defeated, the way they carried on. One officer who had to surrender to overwhelming American power somewhere in Lorraine actually refused to hand the instrument of surrender to his American opposite number, because he and his men were too ragged and ill-dressed - never mind that they had just been driven out of France like whipped sheep and had only the choice between surrender and death. That officer's children and grandchildren all around still, and by the look of it they have populated the German media.

Paolo
the article would be very untasteful if directed towards italians, I agree on that. But it was meant to be written towards german readers, and to make fun out of traditional prejudices. The german audience enjoys a rather tough humor, we are no snivellers.

For the benefit of your own arguments you better do not rely on the behavior of germans in the last war to define those living nowadays: Just think a moment of how the italians behaved and you might get an idea of why many germans would have good reason to refuse trusting an italian.

Back then your nation refused to help us in the invasion of france and declared war only after it was safe, since the french were right before giving in anyway.
Then Italia started the invasion of north africa, and stood no chance against the britains. Bella Italia asked for help and germany helped. When your nation started the invasion of Yugoslavia, the italians got stuck and needed help - and the german army helped regardless of losing precious time on the preparations of an invasion into russia.
And what happened right after the first allied soldier got a foot onto the southern italian coast? Bella Italia surrendered and switched sides!

So again - you better dont rely on the last war when judging people or you really upset me.

Paolo, I agree that the Spiegel article is despicable. Not funny, not very good satire. However, the article was removed and the editors apologized. Now, to use this article as an example for an entire nation is ridiculous. I wouldn't, for example, use this article as an excuse to issue blanket statements about American " habitual and never-challenged treatment of lesser breeds", despite stuff like this:

"The three guys standing in front of us in the stands—all managers at a Washington Mutual bank in Orange County, Calif.—waited only 15 minutes after kickoff before they began speculating, via international sign language, about the sexual orientation of the Italian fans 30 feet away."

"The Californian dot-commer next to us started the second half by urinating into his hands, then throwing the result in the direction of the Italians... "I [had intercourse in a particularly uncomfortable manner with] your mother!" he shouted.""

"Mr. Dot Com, the urinator, faced the cheering Italian fans 30 feet away and, as they watched, gave a one-fingered salute and shouted, "If it wasn't for the [expletive] U.S. in 1945, do you [expletive] know what language you would be [expletive] speaking right now?""

flux, do you think Der Spiegel would have removed the article and apologized if there wasn't an uproar? I wonder how many of the complaints came from Germans? To compare vulgar comments and obscene actions from rowdy fans (probably intoxicated) at a soccer match to a journalist's article filled with offensive stereotypes is a bit off the mark. I find it hard to believe that articles by DS are published without any quality control--they just got caught. The apology and retraction mean little.

So, I'll ask here. What is being implied when someone uses the expression "conditions like in America?" I assume they mean something bad by that, but I'd be interested to know if there is some "condition" (or conditions) in particular that folks are thinking of when they say this.

Can anybody help me out? What does "conditions like in America" mean?

Posted by: Scott_H | June 28, 2006 at 09:47 AM,
_____________________________________________________________________________

@ Scott_H

Well, of course , it carries a negative connotation .

It reflects at best a condescending , at worst a contemptuous attitude toward every or anything American.

However it's not new : anybody faintly familiar with Nazipropaganda has come across it numerous times. Needless to say what it implied then...

Personally speaking , I once was at the receiving end of that saying: in 1968 I applied for a job interview in a suit with a beige coloured and striped dress shirt - only to be 'dressed down' with "conditions like in America" . To be fair , it was in conjunction with some of my more creative ideas.

Paradoxically , aren't Germans imitators of so many things American?

Isn't imitation the best form of flattery? Go figure...

Heinzy


@Dave: in case you did not know, nobody in Italy except Mussolini wanted to go to war to help Hitler, and against our former allies. It was within easy living memory that Italy had taken a major part in the coalition that had brought Germany to her knees (we do not talk about that, do we? When the Italian army destroyed the Austrian and annihilated a 700-year-old empire?). You may not be aware of this, but in September 1939 a whole regiment, with its colonel at its head, mutinied and marched protesting through the streets of Padova, shouting slogans against going to war for Germany. The country was ashamed and unwilling from the beginning. The fraternal Nibelungic alliance was not helped, either, by the standard German habit of stealing all the transport during a retreat and leaving the Italian troops to fend for themselves. Incidentally, in one such circumstances, in a place called Nikolayevka, the Italians were surrounded by overwhelming Russian forces - and broke out; which is something the Germans never managed, to the best of my knowledge, to do - to be surrounded by Russians was the same as to be dead. Finally and most importantly, when you have the nerve of speaking of Italian performance during WWII, you ought to mention the small matter of our partisans in the last three years of war. When Italians had the opportunity to kill Germans rather than allies, they took to it with gusto. You may not be aware that the key cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa were surrendered to Partisan troops hours or even days before the Allies got there. But in the meanwhile, the Germans showed their military qualities and gallantry by their usual butchery of civilians, as at Marzabotto (1802 dead), Sant'Anna di Stazzena (558 dead), the Ardeatine Pits (335 dead) and so on. You are real heroes when it comes to shooting unarmed civilians, or, as in Marzabotto, burning them down with firethrowers. And considering that a member of my own family was murdered in Dachau - an atrocity that has had effects down the generations on my father and me - you would really have done better not to revisit the ancient German nonsense about Italy. For I have been reminded why, in my childhood, we were taught to always hate and distrust Germans. And the more this discussion goes on, the more I become convinced that some of the old poison that made you the enemies of the world in two successive wars of aggression has not yet been ejected from German minds.

Oh yes paolo, that sounds like nobody besides Hitler wanted a war here, too!

What a lame excuse for such a bad performance. And I can understand the anger towards italians at that time - helping them in numerous situations but being let down once the situation becomes troublesome.
The spanish were cowards which refused to support us after we supported them in the civil war, but the italians were traitors at that time.

Ah I m tired of wasting my time^^

Ya know, when we get through fighting the big war, we still have 'The War to End All Wars' that we can fight. It's kinda boring to be hauled back to the present, thank the lord that the media is keeping us in a 40's state of mind. If we ever do get forced back to the present I'll have to pull a Rip van Winkle.

That was a wonderful story about Soldier Smith. Now back to the stereotypes. What are the stereotypes? lol. I don't know them, because in America, we're all just American. No matter where we came from. I hate to admit my ignorance, but then again, I kind of like it. I don't like to prejudge people. :)

BTW, I get the DER SPIEGEL through e-mail. I never knew! Oh my God. I may have to rethink this...nah. I can take it. lol. Great article.

@ Rosemary

Actually, cancelling your subscription to SPIEGEL might be one of the most effective ways to send them a message.

Paolo, I am an Italian who lives in the US. I think you downplay the Italian responsibilities in that disastrous war. We committed war crimes, for instance in Africa (although we have erased this chapter from our collective memory), and we gave a pretty active help in the Holocaust, so I am not sure we stand on a much higher moral ground than the Germans.

In any event I agree with you that the article about the oily and greasy Italians was offensive. Mostly because it is always from the usual suspects that this angry sarcasm comes, i.e. the Germans. I have lived in the US for many years and I have felt respected as an Italian 99% of the times. You do get the jokes about Mafia and the likes, but never with an intent of hurting you. You are judged by how you contribute to the American society, regardless of your nationality. I have felt a different attitude from the Germans I have encountered in Europe, and elsewhere in the world. It seems like their priority is to immediately remind you of your nation's shortcomings so that they can shine and reaffirm their alleged superiority. And obviously how could you write an article like that unless you knew it would be going to appeal to the tastes and feelings of most of your readers?
I hope my impressions are wrong.

It is not just Italy or the US that Der Spiegel has a problem being objective about. Its coverage of the UK is tendentious, contemptuous and on occasion outright racist. One such article was written by Matthuis Mattusek, who is now the magazine's cultural editor, but was previously their London correspondent. While in London he complained bitterly about the lack of British interest in Germany, constant references to the war, and the negative press the Germans get. Some of his concerns were justified, but would have carried much more weight if German press coverage of the UK - and especially that of Der Spiegel - was less one-sided and prejudiced. Had any UK newspaper - let along one that considers itself a quality newspaper - published the racist rant Mattusek wrote in the aftermath of last year's UK general election there would have been a diplomatic incident, with the German newspapers denouncing it as another example of the UK failing to come to terms with the present or whatever. Mattusek claims his article was 'funny', yet nobody I know that read it - whether British or German - saw it that way. Maybe Der Spiegel needs to learn about give and take.

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