June 18, 2006

"Now perhaps there's been a chance to reattach the original democratic, liberal values to the flag that come from the 19th century..."

How hard -- and rightly so -- it's been for Germans to wave their flag.
"To the old generation, the flag symbolized aggressive nationalism, or even some continuity with the Third Reich, even if the Third Reich didn't use that flag," said Paul Nolte, a professor of contemporary history at Berlin's Free University...

The new display of pride is almost strenuously nonnationalistic. There are even German cars that show the German flag on one side and some other flag — the Brazilian one seems popular, perhaps because Brazil is a likely opponent if the German team makes it to the [World Cup] finals — on the other side.


Cindy said...

My daughter is living in East Germany, and emailed this yesterday: "Another great side effect of the WM (Weltmeisterschaft = World Cup) is the upswing in German national pride. Normally, it is completely unacceptable to do things like putting German flags on your car or house or saying that you are proud of Germany. National pride of any kind is immediately associated with nationalism and Hitler. However, you can now buy German flags and German colored clothing in every store (I considered getting a German flag bathing suit from H&M) and at least half of the cars and houses have them. The difference is amazing and very refreshing. I think it should be like this all the time."

Of course, East Germany has additional Cold War guilt to overcome.

Simon said...

How bizarre. The postwar German flag is unrelated to the entirely different flags used in the imperial, Weimar or Nazi eras, so what they're really uncomfortable with, it seems to me, is not waving the flag, but asserting nationalism and national pride.

Abraham said...

Once all the Germans were warlike, and mean.
But that couldn't happen again -
We taught them a lesson in 1918,
And they've hardly bothered us since then.