The ability for Germans to feel a connection to their country is still hindered by history; there is still the sense that they are linked to racism.
German pride is a curious thing. What with the history of the country, there is still a sense that patriotism is a hard thing to legitimize following the events of the mid 20th century.
It is improving, no doubt- it is easier now to feel pride in one’s identity as a German, as the influence of time has allowed the potential perpetrators and supporters of the Nazi regime to give way to new fresher generations, each with a more positive outlook on how to move forward. That is not to say that the Holocaust or Second World War have been forgotten, or that guilt has been absolved; all German children are required by law to visit a concentration camp during their time at school. History is a fundamental part of the country’s education; there is a continuous effort to educate the population about the events of the 1930s and 40s.
But it must be said that Germany has transformed remarkably; arguably to one of the most progressive countries in the world. The racist and discriminatory scene had dwindled considerably until the recent emergence of PEGIDA, however regardless the right wing in Germany have been sufficiently marginalized in comparison to other countries on mainland Europe.
However the overall stereotype of Germans as Nazis has regrettably not vanished. There is still a general association of far right politics with the country, due to the events of the Holocaust. And thus a stigma of Germans as racist lives on, perpetuated by articles such as this, which make it seem unlikely that any Germans stood up to the Nazi regime.
The article suggests that “one of the most unlikely battles of World War Two took place, at Itter in the Austrian Alps”, between an alliance of Germans and Americans, united against the Nazis. This is ultimately patronising and stereotypical; it wows at the possibility that there were Germans who did not support the Nazi regime, and in fact fought directly against it.
These suggestions, declarations and criticisms constrict the possibility of a new rhetoric on the German people, a German people who are predominantly accepting of all races, religions and cultures. Just like the majority of countries. It is not to say that racism in Germany has been extinguished; it is ridiculously naïve and presumptuous to say that racism does not feature in any particular country. The fight must continue across the board.
Yet Germany receives the harsh treatment due to it’s past. There are many countries throughout Europe, where racist parties pose a real threat to the stability of the nations. The Front National in France have been steadily rising in the polls for the 2017 general election, with a high of 33 per cent of the vote being recorded in January. Of course this is a poll, which cannot be taken as fool proof. But the polls do set the tone; racism is on the rise in France, and the country is in need of some international focus to combat this issue.
Stereotyping is an archaic principle; it found its height in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has no place in the current climate, the current age. Stigmatisation of the German people is unfounded and damaging, the mould of associating Germany with racism does not belong in the 21th century.