World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

The old and the new in Nuremberg

paul_fletcher.gif NUREMBERG - Cultural excursions don't appear to have been a particularly high priority for fans at the World Cup - there is just too much football to watch.

But here in Nuremberg the situation is different because the area around the Franken-Stadion carries the indelible mark of history.

Quite simply, it is difficult to reach the ground without seeing some reminder of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, which used the stadium as a marching ground in the 1930s.

Next to the Franken-Stadion is the Zeppelinfeld - the huge field where Hitler held the Nuremberg rallies immortalised in Leni Riefenstahl's film Triumph of the Will.

zeppelinfeld_stad203.jpg It does not take a huge leap of the imagination to visualise the area as a military parade ground and, sitting on the steps from which Hitler delivered several significant speeches, history still resonates down the decades.

In the time I spent there, a lot of fans passed through, many having their photographs taken from the podium where Hitler delivered his speeches.

Some pulled silly faces or made bizarre hand gestures, others produced big camera smiles as though stood in front of Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty.

A few people kicked footballs around as they made their way along the huge steps, while the area was apparently hugely popular with England fans while they were here for the match with Trinidad & Tobago.

It is now used as a sports complex and every year hosts the Norisring car race. During the World Cup it is full of hospitality tents.

On the other side of the stadium is the Grosse Strasse, a huge avenue 60 metres wide that runs for two kilometres down to what would have been a huge parade ground - the Marzfeld.

The road is so wide that you can park your car in the middle. Everything created by Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, is on a huge scale.

Dominating the vista from the Zeppelinfeld is the stadium, while at the top of the Grosse Strasse is the Fans Fest.

Both the stadium and the Fans Fest are places of great colour, with a real emphasis on nations coming together to have a good time. The old, crumbling monuments are sober and grey.

It is almost a metaphor for the way in which this World Cup seems to be shaping a new impression of Germany and its people.

I get the impression that while the people of Germany are not in denial about events of the past they are keen to use the tournament to redefine how they are seen.

Tired old stereotypes are giving way to an impression of a modern country populated by a friendly people.

As the tournament's motto says - It's a time to make friends.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 04:23 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • el figo wrote:

Hi Paul,

May I quickly commend you on your take on the World Cup experiance. Its always a take so forgotten when all this glorius football is being played,however still one that deserves some sort of mention.

Hats off to you for your intelligent writing.

Elfigo

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  • 2.
  • At 04:27 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Joakim wrote:

I definitively think the steps Germany have taken during this World Cup is the right steps to take in order to make people realize they're not nazis.

However, I think it's mostly Germans that thinks the rest of the world still sees Germany as a fascist country, mainly out of shame for what those people in charge did and out of respect for all the victims. It is of course very nice to show such respect, but I believe that the rest of the world has forgiven Germany for what the people in charge did 60 years ago, most other people in Germany were led to believe that what they did was right using propaganda, just like in America today where the people are led to believe terrorists could attack any second. It was of course on a much bigger scale in the 30's and the 40's, but the idea of propaganda is the same.

My point with this is that I wish that the Germans would be a little more relaxed about the war. Using humour is a great way to ease all the suffering, and I think that the Germans lack of understanding the humour about the war as a way to deal with it is the reason why people believe Germans do not have any humour, because in this aspect, they don't.

Joking about the war doesn't necessarily mean that you're disrespectful to the victims of it, I think it's a natural way of handling with tragedies, and the Germans were also victims of the war.

So I do not think shutting your eyes and asking people not to imitate the Hitler-march from Fawlty Towers for example is the right way. Joking about Hitler and the nazism doesn't mean that you are a nazi, even if a German does it.

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  • 3.
  • At 04:56 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • F Runcie wrote:

I find it important to remind the world of what happened in Nürnberg, one of my favourite places in Germany. At the same time, I find guilt inappropriate for those who were not adult citizens, able to influence the course of events when they occurred. Yet what concerns me most is the complacency with which most of today's German political class reacts to so-called "neo-Nazi" elements, most notable in Eastern Germany, where a number of foreigners, and those suspected of being foreign, have been attacked.
Apart from that... many countries could take lessons from German democracy.

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  • 4.
  • At 05:32 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • neville scott wrote:

I took my two eldest sons to Germany for the three qualifiers and we stayed with German families in the 'Staying with friends' scheme. We were warmly welcomed and had a great time. However our time in Nuremberg made WW2 'seem as if it happened 10 minutes ago',according to my eldest. The German people we met were desparate for us to forget the war but seem unable to know how to accept it themselves. They lie the blame at our door for being incapable of forgetting rather than their's for starting it in the first place. We all thought that was unfair.

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  • 5.
  • At 06:18 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Tobias wrote:

I think you got something wrong there. No ons asks anyone to FORGET. It´s about recognizing that Germany today is not the Third Reich. That´s all and not too much to ask.

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  • 6.
  • At 06:31 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Stuart wrote:

Modern day Germans have nothing to feel ashamed of. They're forced to feel guilty about something they had no part in and end up overcompensating, and it comes over as insincere.
Some of the people doing the finger pointing ought to examine their own conduct in recent years.

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  • 7.
  • At 06:32 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Tobias wrote:

To Joakim:

I understand your idea of dealing with the war with humor. But it´s not just the war, it is also the Holocaust. And above all, we (Germans) are being raised with this topic. We are being tought that this topic is not to make fun about as it would insult the victims. When I was on a student exchange at school in France (at the age of 15), we constantly received Nazi salutes from the french pupils. They surely had a good time with it. For us there was no way of dealing with it, because humor was no option for us.

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  • 8.
  • At 06:36 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • alfred wrote:

I was 8 years old when Hitler made his Nuremberg speeches and recall them blaring menacingly from the radios. The then German Government had already cancelled our German Citizenship in 1934 because my parents were of the wrong religion.

I can testify Nuremberg is a nicer place today eventhough my new adoptive country which made us its citizens in 1948 lost to Ghana 2-1 here today.

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  • 9.
  • At 06:44 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Ed Bradburn wrote:

As a Brit living in Germany for six years I can honestly say that I find it a far safer and more "civilized" place than the Britain I left behind me -- and what it has turned into since.

Fair-minded, responsible and fun-loving are just some of the adjectives I would use to describe the Germans I know, as both friends and colleagues.

For those of you just in Germany for the Cup, welcome to a land without Asbos, closing time, CCTV (mostly), where the trains run on time and the motorways have no speed limits.

;-)


Ed (from Hamburg)

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  • 10.
  • At 06:52 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Bob wrote:

Guilt is a terrible paralysing emotion. It’s a harsh burden on all Germans. I personally know many jokes about the war and all of them were told to me by Germans.
Perhaps this has more to do with the emotional development of a minority than a 'german problem'.
Being Scottish it’s very clear to me that the English (Anglo-Saxons) and Germans are very similar, sharing many aspects of culture, humour and language.
Hopefully one day the English will be able to move on from this tedious faulty-tower-esque anti European vitriol.
Grow up guys.

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  • 11.
  • At 06:55 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Kathrin wrote:

Hi Paul,
I'm glad you're enjoying yourself in my home town Nuremberg!

To Phil:
From what I've heard on BBC the US fans in and around the stadium were booing because they didn't agree with the penalty the referee gave to Ghana. You're making it look as if this was a racist reaction from people in Nuremberg which I definitely don't think it was.

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  • 12.
  • At 06:57 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Theo wrote:

It seems to me sometimes as if it really is a bit of an English obsession to continually bring up the Nazis and WWII every time Germany is mentioned, and it really is a bit tiring, I find.

I've lived in Germany and now live in Switzerland and watch a fair amount of German TV and have numerous German friends and I don't think I've ever really had a conversation with any of them about the war or the Nazis. It just doesn't crop up in normal day to day lives. You know, the war ended 60 years ago and this occasion happens to be a football tournament, not a memorial service for a war almost a century ago.

To press the point, one could always make an obsession of English football hooliganism, couldn't one, no matter how much it has changed? Maybe a trip to a certain stadium in Belgium...

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  • 13.
  • At 07:00 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • john wrote:

I pity you people.

Such stereotyped small minds.

The article is terribly biased, just like the comments so I suppose it suits.

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  • 14.
  • At 07:13 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • angloteuton wrote:

Why should the Germans be expected to constantly lambast themselves about the war? Or even find it a source of amusement in order to 'get over it'? Their own way should surely suffice?
Besides, they have gotten over it; and the sole purpose of Nazi (formerly military) salutes and symbolism being forbidden in Germany is to prevent them from being hijacked by elements of the far-right (cf. National Front using the Union Jack in Britain). It is NOT an attack on the comic genius of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty!!
The Germans of todays' generation simply do not find it amusing to be constantly reminded of the mistakes that their great-grandparents may have made, in just the same way that no (conscientious) English person of todays' generation likes being reminded of the brutal British past of colonialism, or the fact that we were the prime exponent of worldwide slavery in its day.

Here's a good example:

Do I find it amusing when my British friend (of Jamaican ethnic origin) ribs me about how cruel my ancestors were to his ancestors? NO!!!

Does this mean I have forgotten about it? NO!!!

Does this mean I havent got a sense of humour? NOOOO!!!

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  • 15.
  • At 07:17 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Andreas wrote:

As a German when walking thru the streets of London should I also think of Bomber Harris and how he boiled hundreds of thousands of Germens to death at a time when Germany had already lost the war? No, I don't. I don't even think of bringing it up to anybody in the UK. What is with you English people and your obsession with something that happened almost a century ago? Can you not live in the present or future? Everything in your country is about your past. Just look at the silly dresses of the guards outside your ruler's palace...

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  • 16.
  • At 07:24 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Huw wrote:

I think it is important to remenber the war as a historical event... albeit one of the most calamatous in history...

It is refreshing to note that the Germans are facing up to their past and acknowledging this.... It is ironic that the war is an issue when concerning Germany..... but was not even an brought up at the last world cup when one of the hosts, Japan was also the aggressor in WW2... and perpertrated a holocaust in Asia....
Furthermore they have singularly refused to face up to the atrocities they perpertrated at that time..

Congratulations to Germany and here's hoping to a successful tournement.... "It's time to make friends" ... is absolutely right particularly when you have faced up to your past as the Germans have..

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  • 17.
  • At 07:33 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Hugh Pottinger wrote:

It never ceases to amaze how you English people are always at the Germans for what happened between 1933 and 1945, do you feel guilty about all the atrocities that your country commited in Africa, the West Indies, China and India. As a Jamaican living in a in Jamaica i happen to drive past two sugar plantations to and back from work everyday and they do not bring back memories of what your forefathers did to mine, maybe as a people we blacks tend to be more forgiving to outsiders that have made our lives a living hell

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  • 18.
  • At 07:35 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Paul B wrote:

To John:

I am afraid I cannot see where you are coming from at all. I fail to see how either the article or the comments on this blog represent stereotyped small minds. Indeed, in discussing how inappropriate the stereotypes are, surely we are going some way to deconstructing them.

Stuart makes a very good point when he says that the Germans of today have nothing to be ashamed of. Having been to Germany many times, and having many friends in Germany, i can honestly say that they are among the most friendly, amusing (no joke) and civilised people i have ever come across. Unfortunately, it is a sad but inevitable fact that these people will feel guilty about things which happened when they weren't even alive.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that the majority (at least) of the English fans are recognising and appreciating the hospitality of their hosts. This kind of friendship is part of what football is all about.

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  • 19.
  • At 07:36 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Richard Morley wrote:

Surely the wonderful spirit that Germany has put into the management and public facilities of this WC should lay the past to rest at last. Modern Germany has less in common with the Nazis than many modern dictatorships and corrupt regimes. It has turned football from a hooligan nightmare into a wonderful family event. Millions of rival fans walk the streets arm in arm enjoying the experience of just being there. It is a triumph of German society.

Seig Heil Germany I say; All is forgiven and forgotten.

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  • 20.
  • At 07:37 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Paul B wrote:

To John:

I am afraid I cannot see where you are coming from at all. I fail to see how either the article or the comments on this blog represent stereotyped small minds. Indeed, in discussing how inappropriate the stereotypes are, surely we are going some way to deconstructing them.

Stuart makes a very good point when he says that the Germans of today have nothing to be ashamed of. Having been to Germany many times, and having many friends in Germany, i can honestly say that they are among the most friendly, amusing (no joke) and civilised people i have ever come across. Unfortunately, it is a sad but inevitable fact that these people will feel guilty about things which happened when they weren't even alive.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that the majority (at least) of the English fans are recognising and appreciating the hospitality of their hosts. This kind of friendship is part of what football is all about.

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  • 21.
  • At 07:37 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Paul B wrote:

To John:

I am afraid I cannot see where you are coming from at all. I fail to see how either the article or the comments on this blog represent stereotyped small minds. Indeed, in discussing how inappropriate the stereotypes are, surely we are going some way to deconstructing them.

Stuart makes a very good point when he says that the Germans of today have nothing to be ashamed of. Having been to Germany many times, and having many friends in Germany, i can honestly say that they are among the most friendly, amusing (no joke) and civilised people i have ever come across. Unfortunately, it is a sad but inevitable fact that these people will feel guilty about things which happened when they weren't even alive.

Nevertheless, it is good to see that the majority (at least) of the English fans are recognising and appreciating the hospitality of their hosts. This kind of friendship is part of what football is all about.

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  • 22.
  • At 07:38 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • neville scott wrote:

Why, when we still talk about the battle of Hastings, Waterloo etc, should we be expected to forget about a war that our fathers suffered or died in, mine included. To refer to 'great grandfathers' is ridiculous. Some of those who fought in the war are still alive and paying every day for a war they were dragged into.
Of course Theo won't have a conversation about the war because the German people want us to believe it was in 'the olden days' of black and white TV. And why are the Nazi's always referred to as if they were aliens who dropped in from another planet and hypnotised a nation into behaving in such a monstrous way?

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  • 23.
  • At 07:57 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Daniel Sjostrom wrote:

Well, I'd just like to say that I'm Swedish, and I don't associate Germany of today with the Nazis. Never have, before or after my many visits. To me it's almost like associating Italy with the Roman empire. It's in ruins, forget it. Interesting piece of history -- but nevertheless history. I mean, the spanish inquisition happened but I'm not slagging off catholics today because of that.

I live in England now and I'm perplexed how they can still go on about it. They even go on about the first WW still. Why, oh, why? Get over it. Recall why the EU was created in the first place, and consequently why war within Europe today is quite unthinkable. This is the new era. Has been for decades.

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  • 24.
  • At 08:04 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • BigMac wrote:

In respons e to Phil - the report I saw was:
"45 mins + 2: GOAL Ghana 2-1 USA
Stephen Appiah scores from a penalty to give Ghana the lead before half-time. Oguchi was adjudged to have fouled Razak Pimpong. The decision from referee Markus Merk was met with jeers from the USA supporters - it was debatable to say the least. "

Maybe the booing was to do with the dodgy decision and not a reflection on Nurembergs past...

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  • 25.
  • At 08:04 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Jose wrote:

I think it is relevant to speak about the war and the Holocaust even in the middle of the World Cup. The trivial would have trumped the crucial if being in Nuremberg Paul had not written about it. This does not contradict the view that most of contemporary Germans are very nice people as the fans visiting Germany are witnessing today. But while the Germans should not feel guilty about the crimes of the past, they and us should be always alert about the dangers of new expressions of the Nazi past. The growing Neo-nazism, which is a reduced political force yet, and the more extended phenomenon in the German society of the rejection of foreigners, particularly those coming from the Third World. I just read in another blog about Germans shouting to Ecuadorian fans phrases like "foriegners out of the country". And to be fair, in Japan's World Cup we should have spoken about their crimes, but also about those of the USA: the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And if the World Cup was to be held in London, we should speak of bomber Harris and the hundreds of thousands of German civilians killed. We should speak not only about the crimes of the losers of the war, but also of those committed by the winners.

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  • 26.
  • At 08:16 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Theo wrote:

To Neville:

Neville, firstly, I'm of Jewish ancestry, so if anyone should be making remarks about Germany, it should perhaps be me. I don't because I've lived in Germany, and while I'm certain that there are a number of bitter old men and youngish thugs who hate the Jews and blame them for Nazi Germany's demise, I've never actually met one. In fact, I've certainly heard more bad jokes about Jews in Switzerland and the UK than I have in Germany.

And while I may have had family that were murdered by the Nazis, I certainly have ancestors that were murdered by the English a century ago. But I don't blame the current crop of David and Victorias for it, since it really was a wee while before their time (apart from which, who cares really? It's in the past)

And, Neville, of course people remember and discuss historical events (and not only English ones either), but there's a time and a place for everything. This isn't it. This is a football tournament. Let's get back to enjoying the soccer. Hastings will still be there afterwards.

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  • 27.
  • At 08:17 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • christopher wrote:

Some of the above comments seem to suggest, we germans would like it best if we could just forget about our country's dreadful past. I honestly think nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact most Germans are well aware of the fact that history must never be forgotten.
Neville, you wrote about your son having the impression as if WW2 happened just 10 minutes ago while beeing in Nuremberg. Could it be that this was just because this city does not try to hide anything about it's Nazi-past?

I know Nuremberg quite well as I live here for about four years and I must say that I am very impressed with the way they deal with history. The "Reichsparteitagsgelände" (the area around the Stadium) is a good example for that. On the one hand, they kept the Nazi-buildings there to be a constant remainder and even built a so called "documentation centre" (kind of a museum) which by the way is well worth visiting.
On the other hand, they simply use the area for all kinds of events which are quite the opposite of what would have been intended by the Nazis -- most evidently the World Cup. An area which has originally been built to promote racism and hatred is now used to celebrate football as a language which unites peoples from all over the world.
I think there's no better way of dealing with the matter.

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  • 28.
  • At 08:26 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Markus wrote:

Just wanted to mention the fact that in German football racism on the terraces is very rare, except for a few lower-class clubs mostly in East Germany (compared to Italy or Spain it is literally unknown). Therefore it is very likely that the "boo-ing" during the Ghana-USA game came from American fans (there are plenty in Germany - many of them soldiers who are stationed here) who were - understandably - upset with the dodgy decision of the (German) referee...

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  • 29.
  • At 08:31 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Alan Dryland wrote:

In the old films, the caricature German soldier would say to the captured English soldier, "For you, Tommy, ze vorr is over".

Having been to Nuremberg last week, I think it fair to say that 61 years after the actual fighting stopped, for the English maybe at last the war really is over. Wouldn't it be ironic if, after decades of violence and stupidity, football were the
catalyst.

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  • 30.
  • At 08:34 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Jinen Kothari wrote:

Would'nt it be quite something if the Germans and English teams squared off at some stage in Nuremberg ?

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  • 31.
  • At 08:54 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Rolf Habich wrote:

Re post 27 (Theo)
Dear Theo, thank you, thank you, thank you! You must be a good man and a wise man!

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  • 32.
  • At 09:20 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

Christophers comments are quite interesting.

When growing up in England (I'm black from a Jamaican background) we weren't taught about colonialism and Englands part in the slave trade. We also weren't taught about the English rule of steel over India too. I think the "brush it under the carpet" attitude is very English when English History is in question.

WWII was full of atrocities, definately by the Germans. But the middle east is still not looking good and you can't pile all the blame on Adolf for that.

Lets not forget the Lusitania where the Brits knew that the Germans had targeted the ship, but where not warned in a vain attempt to enrage the Americans enough to join in the war.

I think the solution to ignorance is always education (even if its hard). How can future generations learn if we are not aware of previous generations mistakes?

English people are fantastic people (I am one after all). We just suffer a little from ignorance and false pride in an lost empire built on bloodshed. We wouldn't be that proud if we knew that we slaughtered Women and Children in India (Jalian Walabag), but at least we wouldn't be so ignorant.

History shows that all races are responsible for such atrocities our task is to ensure that future generations do not go down that path.

Football is only a game. A great game, but only game.

Great debate

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Let me just say at this point that in no way is it my intention to try to work out the German psyche regarding the legacy of the Nazi era.

But I will say this - in no way do I see the German nation as being in denial.

In Nuremberg the area around the stadium has information points in German and English documenting what happened there and detailing the Nazi's plans for the area.

There is a square called Victims of Fascism Place.

I just found the whole area so atmospheric and moving that I thought I had to write about it. After all, blogging is surely discussing your experiences?

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  • 34.
  • At 09:41 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Raymond wrote:

I go to Germany on a regular basis as it is one of my favourite countries, and I have done some travelling in my time!

I am in awe at Germans' sense of community, their methodical thinking and pragmatism. I love the orderly behaviour of (most) people and salute their democratic freedoms, something the British government could learn from...

I believe this World Cup is a turning point for this country, as the press, even the more closed-minded London hacks, have stood back in admiration for this happiest and most colourful World Cup in living memory. Why a turning point? Germany is no longer the ex-fascist country we should only see as stuffy and conservative, the image of its recent ex-Chancellors. It is the country leading the way in Europe without waving its finger (something the French should think about...). It is still the benchmark land of technology, innovation and education. But most importantly, it is the country which put on the most extraordinarily amicable World Cup with the happiness and safety of every guest in mind.

And due to this, a new industry is about to boost the German economy: tourism. The world has seen what it has been missing by doggedly staying on the Autobahns on their way to their conferences, the Alps, Krakow and Prague, and now they will consider a break by the thousands of lakes, a citytrip to Berlin, Stuttgart, Hamburg or Munich, a skiing holiday in Bavaria or a walking holiday in the marvellous Black Forest.

I myself am taking my wife to Freiburg im Breisgau and I hope others will bring their families to this panoramic and as-yet undiscovered land in the very heart of Europe.

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  • 35.
  • At 11:06 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Thomas wrote:

greetings from Munich,

hopefully all of you have a great time in germany! We enjoy this world cup very much und thank all the people of the world who are coming to germany and help us to do the last step to become a "normal nation".

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  • 36.
  • At 11:11 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • John wrote:

Hi Paul,
Here in the States we see the England fans delighted and cheerful. We see them dressed as medieval knights in posession of the St George's Cross flag which, at this moment in time, seems to be a display of support for their soldiers who are fighting in our George's crusade war for oil. I have seen on American television great hoards of English fans roaring and screaming at otherwise respectful Germans: "We won the war...we won the war!" I hope that at the first hint of defeat all of you cheery chappies don't turn into the nasty thuggish England boys of a few years ago.

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  • 37.
  • At 11:15 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Zesty wrote:

Hey Paul,

Being a Pom in the US, I am indebt and gratitude to the BBC and your Blog site... to keeping me informed, human and not to get so serious as to the lack of regard for real FOOTBALL!!!! alias soccer, as is here in USville.

If you hear some of he stuff I hear on the sports channels you would split your sides, I am not whether the comments by the sports commentators as entertainment factor are more entertaining that the actual game play.

The team are out on that one.

Here are a few comments heard during the matches shown here on US TV.

1. "yes I think he has the ball Dave, yes I think your right Jim, he seems to be running towards the goal, now this guys is tall, yes Jim, he seems to be kicking it Dave, yes that right Jim", Talking about Crouch.

2. "I think that was a fowl Jim, yes I think you right Dave, didnt he fowl the guy Jim, yes I think your right, what classify's as a fowl Dave?!"

3. "I think the USA Soccer team will easily get through to the second round, lets have a few words from the team!!!!"

In the middle of the match between England and Sweden, the following was said!:

"FIFA what does that stand for Jim, I dont know Dave, I dont even know what NASCAR stands for!!!"

Well as you guys in the UK enjoy real commentary, please remember its like watching football with the muppets voice overs here !!

Zesty Live for Pauls Blog live from the US !!!

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  • 38.
  • At 11:20 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Andrew R wrote:

I object to the insinuation that all British people are obssessed with the war, and Germany's role in it.

I'm British, and I in no way think Germany still has to be viewed through the spectrum of what happened 60 years ago.

I think people (of varying nationalities) who appear to think ALL Brits are obssessed with World War Two are every bit as bad as those Brits who really are obssessed with it.

Enough with the lazy national stereotypes, for god's sake.

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  • 39.
  • At 11:32 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • martin wrote:

I'm sure that Germany, like all countries has not dealt with its past perfectly, but Britain has a record (the Opium Wars, many massacres and invasions under the Empire) that is not taught in schools and seems to be suppressed. Here's a quote from HG Wells:

"The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years."

These things are not discussed enough and there is too much of an attitude that, eg, Britain brought the railways to India (without realising this was to export more easily from India).


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  • 40.
  • At 11:39 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • renate wrote:

One poem of Bert Brecht starts with the line:
May others speak of their shame,
I speak of mine..
As a German coming from a Jewish background having lived in Britain for the last twenty years I think i am in a position to tell you that it is not Germany which today has to rehabilitate itself in your (British) eyes, but you, the British have to open up your eyes and realise that the world is so much wider than a few English-speaking people. That many British are so surprised that Germany is a livable and lovable country is only due to the fact that they have lived in splendid monolingual isolation for a very long time.

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  • 41.
  • At 11:54 PM on 22 Jun 2006,
  • Kenneth Vermudez wrote:

According to the motto of the FIFA WORLD CUP '06 spectacle -"it's a time to make friends", Germany wants to change and somehow not stay but not forgotten to the past the country has made to the whole wide world.

For me, Germany has changed a lot and let's face it, friendship is more important than hatred, and the whole world should know that. Germany was once wrong, and we should forgive them.

We already heard a million times when Germany said 'sorry' to its people and to those country that made war with its land. We shouldn't be selfish to admit that we too are also 'sorry' for rating them as racists. The word racists corrupts us all, if we do not set our minds to accept them as who they are - Humans like us.

Right now, this sport is all about Humanity. It's like in the Olympics. Let's use this to spread the word that Unity is strong and we should maintain that. We are already affected by current and past events that still resist to make their mark. But we must change our attitude and live football. This is the very chance to get together and make peace. We should do this not also for ourselves but for our children's future. They shouldn't face the consequences past people have made. It is pity if the future generations know how to be racist.

We are humans for crying out loud. We drink the same water, we breathe in the same air, we share same form and we live in a same place, Earth. We should cherish this moment forever and ever, for if we do not look for love of each other, humanity is doomed forever. Let's make friends now!

'Love one another as you love yourself. Love your enemies. Hate not who they are but what they do. Hate the thing that corrupts us, the attitude of hate. Love forever and ever.'

I wish this message can read people's hearts.

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  • 42.
  • At 12:00 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

Renate,

you said: "That many British are so surprised that Germany is a livable and lovable country is only due to the fact that they have lived in splendid monolingual isolation for a very long time. "

What on earth gives you this impression? Why would you think many British are surprised that Germany is 'liveable and loveable"?

We've known this for years.

I think you need to take a long, hard look at yourself if you are talking about national stereotyping!

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  • 43.
  • At 12:06 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Mark McCoy wrote:

Fair play to the vast majority of modern-day Germans for their WC hosting and enthusiasm.......and to those from these shores, who are not so anally retentive to keep mentioning a conflict that didn't involve 99% of us today, which happened to occur between 1939-45.

Apart from the fact Europe was bailed then out by our friends in the USA & Russia, there's been plenty of genocide & tyranny worldwide in more modern times, lest we forget! Which is somewhat more important.....

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  • 44.
  • At 01:05 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Chris Webb wrote:

For crying out loud, get over it! This all happened 60 years ago.

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  • 45.
  • At 02:12 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • alfred wrote:

Please allow me to referee this blog-match betweeen England and Germany. I can be impartial since I'm an old ex-German with happy childhood memories in Berlin, who lost some relatives in the holocaust and whose greatest growing-up hero was Winston Churchill --- without whom Hitler might have won WW II. OK, here are the rules:

1.National stereotyping = foul.
2.Historical revisionism = yellow card.
3.Stupidity = red card.

Now, some of you might recall what Winnie had to say about the Germans:
1."The Hun is always at your throat or on his knees."
2."An immense responsibility rests upon the German people for (their) subservience to the barbaric idea of autocracy --- that in spite of all their brains and courage --- they worship power and let themselves be led by the nose."

I salute and applaud the modern Germans --- they are at no one's throat and certainly not on their knees, and they are a thriving democracy --- a monument to 'Der Alter' Adenauer and the Allies' post-1945 de-nazification program. They are still paying indemnification to KZ victims, their families, and the State of Israel. They are the Rock of Gibraltar in united Europe. And the 2006 World Cup tops it off nicely.Bravo!

Perhaps I'll visit Berlin once more before crossing the river Styx.
Alfred

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  • 46.
  • At 02:35 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Kim wrote:

British media has run several stories about "Germany finding its new identity" since the World Cup started. The angle seems to be that "germans are now able to be patriotic without being nationalistic". To some degree this is condescending.

I think this in many ways says more about British media than it does about Germany. It is the British perception of Germany that has changed during this World Cup, rather than Germany itself.

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  • 47.
  • At 02:43 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Ed Manning wrote:

Why are the British obsessed with Nazi history when they go to Germany? Simple. In the St Peter's Fields in Manchester on August 16 the cavalry charged the crowds. 11 people were killed, and it is called a massacre. In most countries that just would not register. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were not even killed but transported.
We are used to living in a peaceful country, and therefore to go somewhere like Germany is like visiting a museum of mass death. The German’s live with it everyday, but for us it still has the power to shock.
I think modern Germany not a bad place at all, the greatest monument to those who died to liberate Europe is modern democratic free Germany, when you knock it you insult those who died to liberate it.
There is more to life than football, as there is more to Germany than its Nazi past, but we must never forget. Saying that it is wrong to blame modern Germans for the sins of the fathers, any more than I feel the need to continuously feel guilty about colonialism.

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  • 48.
  • At 04:09 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Andreas wrote:

Dear Neville,
I think you missunderstood something. Noone in Germany (and especially not there) wants you to forget the war. If it were so you would not see the 3dr Reich architecture in Nuernberg, you could not visit concentration camps as museums and there would be no holocaust momument in the heart of Berlin.

The point is that you should learn from it. To see how a democratic country can be turned into a dictatoship. To realize that this is not only something that happened to germany 60 years ago but something that can happen to any society under similar conditions. Putting the blame on the Germans (and "germanness") in general is a very easy and comfortable solution (the solution of WW1 if you will). But also a very damaging oversimplification of things.

Todays Germany certainly has a resposibility. The ones guilty of the crimes committed have been prosecuted.
There are still people that voted for the NAZIs and I would say they carry a share of the guilt. But the guilt of escalating the situation and of not fighting an oppressive regime does not exclusively belong to the Germans. The NAZIs could not have got their votes without the "support" of the winners of WW1.

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  • 49.
  • At 05:21 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

I notice yet again the obsession with events of 61 years ago is raised, and the response from many people is to say "don't stereotype me, I do not hold those beliefs".

If the media a country has is a reflection of the population of that country then the UK definately has those beliefs.

In the lead up to the World Cup every media outlet from the lowest tabloid through to the so called quality spreadsheets as well as the electronic media appears to have highlighted events from 61 years ago. In some cases they have used this as "motivation" for supporters.

The rest of the world, while not forgetting the past, is not obsessed with looking in the rear view mirror at a world which no longer exists (if it ever did in some cases). They prefer to look forward at the life of tomorrow. Perhaps one day the media and comentators of the UK will start to do the same. And perhaps with a little less belicose view of its place in world history.

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  • 50.
  • At 05:54 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Aaron wrote:

This debate seems to show differing philosophical attitudes to history.

Firstly, I think there's a whole world of difference between teaching World War II, which directly affected Germany and Britain, compared to teaching colonialism.

What kind of school system could manage to teach about the 60 or so countries that came about from the fall of the Empire? Who is so arrogant as to say the Indians deserve more focus than the Maori? If we did try and teach the multitude of evils that the British Empire committed we'd never even learn about Britain!

On the other hand, WWII did directly effect us and everyone else in the world, and the events still resonate in fields like politics and international affairs. There's a difference between blaming Nazi Germany, German ideologies, the German people, and the German state. We do not distinguish easily. I certainly think that average Germans of the past are to blame for Nazism; but nobody today. I love Germany, I speak German, and think it's wonderful. However, the national identity - "das Volk" - is what people are scared of. Certain Britons fear it because it started WWII, and Germans fear it because it started WWII (note the mutual worry). Unfortunately, the mysticism of the Volk is intermingled with the entirely valid patriotism of Germany. Germans are and should love their great country; unfortunately, many older Britons associate it with what happened under the Nazis.

However, the World Cup is demonstrating that today, there is little to fear. Germany is vibrant, Britain is healthy, we're in alliance and everything works. Each country and each person has their own way of processing events that did happen within a lifetime, and everything is valid as long as mutual empathy is held.

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  • 51.
  • At 06:58 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • matty wrote:

it's all getting a bit boring isn't it...this whole debate...maybe I can end it

I am a history teacher and soccer/football coach living in the Bahamas who is enjoying this world cup tremendously...I think the German people are some of the friendliest and fun loving I have ever met...I have met some wonderful Americans...and I love the goodness of the English people in my home town of Hull...

However, people from these countries have also offended me on many occasions through their ignorance and petty prejudices.

My point is that there is good and bad in everyone,and every nationality has its faults,or should I say has its "faulty people". I don't think Germans today should be blamed for their past...I don't feel any guilt about the Atlantic Slave Trade,even though I (as a white englishman) teach slavery to predominantly "black" Bahamians.

I think most of the problems stems from the media who keep bringing these issues up,in a very condescending way. Inferring that "the Germans are really Ok when you get to know them". I doubt that any German wants to just forget about what happened in their recent past (as intelligent people and a forward thinking nation they would be more inclined to learn from their past)and I think that more Brits are understanding the crimes that were committed under the guise of Colonialism.

My point is that perhaps for afew weeks we should just focus on the game...

Sport is wonderful as it brings people together,allows people to mix...and when that happens we begin to notice that we have more similarities than differences.

To conclude...

1.Most Brits do not still go on about WW2

2.Many Brits are ignorant about Germany and its people (and many other countries...half my own family think the Bahamas and Barbados are the same place)

3.Most Germans appear to acknowledge the crimes of past regimes and have learned from their own history but yet the media (particularly the British) keeps bringing up "just how well they are doing now"

4.Nobody should feel guilty for crimes that were committed by their nation or race and shouldn't be pressured into thinking that they should. I don't give a dollar to a black begger because I feel guilty about slavery...I do it because I have a spare dollar and because he needs it more than I do.

5.The world cup is simply incredible in so many ways,it only happens once every four years and most people will never watch the team they support win in a final.So why don't we all just sit back and enjoy it,we couldbe dead by the time the next one comes along. Lets leave the history and politics out of it and just have fun,I think thats what most people want and that does not mean that we have to pretend that everything is right in the world...but for a few weeks maybe some of us could get as close to heaven on earth as possible.

I forone am trying to switch off frompolitics and history and focus on the beauty I see before me,then in a few months I'll go back to teaching my kids about slavery and Adolf Hitler and trying to get my soccer teams to play 3-5-2...at the moment I am just loving every minute wishing I could be more of a part of it...I'm sure deep down that is everyones dream who loves this wonderful game.

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  • 52.
  • At 07:07 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Stephen wrote:

Does the British media accurately reflect the attitudes of its people?

The British media relects accurately the attitude of the British media but I think it is wrong to assume you can make a stereotype judgement of British people based on what they write (blog 50).

However I do agree with Blog no. 47 that all of the talk about the war reflects more on British media than it does on Germany. And it would seem the media is finally adapting its stance. Lets hope this World Cup marks a watershed in the way Germany and its past is reflected in tabloid, broadsheet and television.

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  • 53.
  • At 08:26 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Jimbob wrote:

"Guilt is a terrible paralysing emotion. It’s a harsh burden on all Germans. I personally know many jokes about the war and all of them were told to me by Germans.
Perhaps this has more to do with the emotional development of a minority than a 'german problem'.
Being Scottish it’s very clear to me that the English (Anglo-Saxons) and Germans are very similar, sharing many aspects of culture, humour and language.
Hopefully one day the English will be able to move on from this tedious faulty-tower-esque anti European vitriol.
Grow up guys."


Scottish Bob! Being English it's very clear to me that a large element of the Scots would gladly take the Nazi route. Ask the little New Zealand lad who was beaten for wearing an England Shirt, likewise the handicapped man in Aberdeen for the same reason. The blatant racism that I endured when I attempted to live in Scotland leads me to question the audacity of your final paragraph

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  • 54.
  • At 08:57 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Geoff wrote:

I'm surprised by some of the postings because I don't find that Germans have difficulty discussing WWII or the Holocaust, provided that the discussion is an intelligent one. On the contrary, I have often been surprised by my German friends' openness to discussing these and related issues.

Having spent a significant amount of time in Germany, one of the things that I have come to admire most about the German people is their ability to face up to the evils for which their country was responsible, even if they personally had no hand in those wrongs.

How many countries can you name that erect numerous memorials to remember the victims of their own state-led atrocities? We Americans are particularly bad when it comes to acknowledging the ways in which our country has been responsible for horrific acts, such as slavery. Likewise, during several years in which I lived in Britain, I was appalled by the lack of notice paid to the evils of colonialism. In some ways, I don't think that many people in the US or the UK fully appreciate the gravity of their countries' past acts.

It is important that we acknowledge these lessons of history so that they never repeat themselves, but I don't think poking fun or cracking jokes is a substitute for intelligent dialogue. With regard to such topics, humor seems to be nothing more than a way to avoid talking about an issue with which we are still uncomfortable. So I think that we can all learn something from the Germans' example.

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  • 55.
  • At 09:11 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • ChrisK wrote:

I agree with Stephen that it is the media in the UK that is starting to modify it's stance.

The World Cup is as good an excuse as any to start making tabloid readers amongst others aware that there is more to Germany than WWII and that Germany is actually a rather wonderful place.

I worked for a few years in Germany in the late 90s and know well the predjudices people in the UK held then - people simply could not believe I would want to move there and that I could start a family there.

With the World Cup coverage perceptions of Germany are changing for the better.

I do hope that if England lose in the coming stages of the World Cup their fans will bow out gracefully and return home with stories of a great time in Germany.

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  • 56.
  • At 09:21 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Barry Cire wrote:

as a Scot and a European ..
I honestly do not beleive this absolute twaddle ...quick question Paul ? ..are you English ..because it is another well known fact in Scotland and elsewhere that you lot have an never ending facination for the war ....although it was you and Ameica that won it yourself.
Unbelievable .. with today America flaunting ever known achieved Human right with there actions and Britian sitting back watching and abetting ...you can only think of writting about the NAZIS ..no wonder Germany and other European countries dispair of this kind of comment ...here is a suggestion ..why not write about the murderous actions of England in early Africa or Ireland ? ..

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  • 57.
  • At 09:52 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • karmone wrote:

Great article Fletch.

We've all got unsavoury histories - there's alot of shameful things the English have done in the past; the Scots were instrumental in building and running the Empire (and educating the leaders of the land of asbos and co-conspirators in the war for oil) and breeding sectarianism; what about what the Irish have done to each other?; what the US did in central America, Vietnam etc, Slavery; Russians in pogroms, Aussies with Aboriginal people; Japan at war, France in Empire; Rwanda; Uganda; ...

Shall we get on with football now?

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  • 58.
  • At 09:56 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • neville scott wrote:

Let me ask those who believe we should all forget the war, 60 years ago/great grandfathers/living in the past etc..............would the Germans be so ready to forget the war if they had won and had most of Europe under fascist dictatorship?

Also, can someone inform me as to why the Nazi's are referred to as if they weren't really ordinary Germans but a race apart?

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  • 59.
  • At 10:17 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Lance wrote:

The continuing British fascination with the war is relatively easy to explain.

Germany were the defeated nation. After the war their country was divided in two and both occupying powers made it a priority to educate young Germans about the wrongs of their past. This education was so successful that even today Germany and the Germans are somewhat inhibited by their past. However they have closure. After 1945 they were allowed to start again and Germany of 2006 has very little connecting it to Germany of 1939. Their political system, social systems, education system and mindset has moved on.

Compare this to Britain. We were the victorious nation. We were in the right. There was no need for a national self-analysis. However this means that we don't have closure. We haven’t been told to move on from 1945 therefore we haven't. This led us to feel a certain kind of perplexity in the 1960's and 1970's when West Germany re-emerged as an economic power while we were still getting our act together. How can the defeated nation be doing better than us? As we have never had to question our past but try to make sense of the present we become a little confused. Therefore it is natural we go back to the war to try to make sense of things for ourselves.

Our lack of self-analysis as a nation is, I think, reflected in the fact we can build a statue to someone like 'Bomber' Harris whose status as a war hero is ambiguous at best. A self-analytical Germany wouldn't even think about building a statue to Herman Goring even though his role in the bombing of foreign cities is as 'heroic' as Harris.

I agree with Stephen (post 54) that now could be a watershed in terms of British media coverage of Germany but I think our fascination with World War II will continue long after July 9th 2006 simply because we don't know any better.

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  • 60.
  • At 10:40 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Joakim wrote:

A very interesting discussion this, and some very wice words from you Matty.

That is exactly what I meant with my first post, no one should feel guilty of what their ancestors did. Having several German friends, that is definitively not the impression I've got. I get the impression that they feel guilty just talking about the war, even though we've moved on forward, forgiven, and see Germany as any other nation in this world.

I'm very fascinated about the war, being a pacificst i try to see all documentaries and movies about as i can trying to understand what it was that caused the war to start and continue as long as it did - and I still don't know why that is.

That way, after seeing that short black haired guy with the funny looking moustasche, hilarious pants and the silly walk so much, I find him to be one of the most bemusing characters ever. He's real comedy nowadays. That he admired and wanted everyone to be tall, blonde "arians" (when arians really are almost black) doesn't make it much worse from a comedic way of seeing it. I do not believe joking about that is joking about the holocaust, something so terrible that it should never be forgotten and not be joked about, but joking about hitler and the war itself, why not?

I see the episode of Fawlty Towers with the Germans as the funniest comedy show ever. While it jokes about the war and Hitler, it never once mentions the holocaust. I wish the Germans could be joking about Churchill, he was a pretty bemusing character as well.

My experience with Germans however, is that you cannot even speak about the war, which I think is sad. It's of course very different from person to person, but I have not yet encountered that. I tell them this, but it seems to be buried deep inside - which I however can understand from growing up in a nation trying to deal with one of the most terrible things that ever has happened, only equalled by the A-bombs and some massacres in Africa for example.

I just hope they can understand that at least I make a difference from the war with equally bad sides, and the holocaust.

A war, which as in any war, only had great losers.

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  • 61.
  • At 10:55 AM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • George wrote:

Neville - the reason people comment on the Nazi's as though they were a race apart is because they bear no resemblance to the country that Germany is now. Do you expect people in Germany to relate on a personal level to what went on before a lot of them were even born? To be able to identify with a regime so foreign to everything they have grown up with??

We can remember and respect whilst accepting that Germany today is a totally different place

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  • 62.
  • At 12:09 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

To Bob (the Scot), I find it amazing that you wish to use this debate to air your anti English sentiment. I am born and bred English, and have worked in Europe for 14 years, and the stereotype of the English as being vitriolic anti European is about as accurate as the Scot who eats nothing but Porridge, Haggis and fried Mars Bars. As an Englishman with mixed Irish and Welsh Grandparents, and married to a Scot, (and to paraphrase) it is about time that “some” Scots move on from this tedious Braveheart-esque anti-English vitriol.

Take a leaf from your Celtic cousins, and replace the vitriol with humour and sarcasm.

The Angles and the Saxons were both Germanic tribes, which may explain the link by the way.

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  • 63.
  • At 12:10 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • neville scott wrote:

Can anyone tell me how quickly the Germans would have forgotten the war if they had won?

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  • 64.
  • At 02:59 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Christopher wrote:

Neville, I'm sure you know that it's impossible to answer that question in a blog comment. That has been subject to controverse discussions for 6 decades.

Let me say just this: I am german, (born in the 1970s) and I am wholeheartedly glad, nazi-germany did lose the war. Just to imagine them having won gives me the creeps.

In fact, I personaly don't know any other german who feels otherwise.

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  • 65.
  • At 03:06 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • chris wrote:

My dear Jimbob.
You mentionend above about the Scottish that they would like to go the Nazi route. (Perhaps they have been suppressed to long by the english, in the past?)


You wrote:
The blatant racism that I endured when I attempted to live in Scotland leads me to question the audacity of your final paragraph.

I question Yours:

I think that is a little bit easy. Probably the Yellow Press in England did not even bother to mention that in the last year several german children, beeing on an school-exchange in England, have been beaten-up and had to go to hospital and police, because some fellow englishmen (children as well as grown-up's) heard them talking german or realised somehow they are german.
Beating them up because they were germans, sounds like me nothing different from Germans beating up Jews 70 years ago! It is RACISM!

Before you accuse others(scottish) to become Nazi's start looking at your own nation and realise that feeling superiour to others could be the first step of getting a racist. And suppressing and humiliating other people(s) will at some point provoke reaction as you could see the last 70 years in northern ireland where the catholics are provoked by the protestants with their marches from the orange order every year!
Anyway do you believe that the british empire was buildt up with love, why did then the USA have to fight a war for independence.
Greetings from the Netherlands

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  • 66.
  • At 03:10 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

My dear Jimbob.
You mentionend above about the Scottish that they would like to go the Nazi route. (Perhaps they have been suppressed to long by the english, in the past?)


You wrote:
The blatant racism that I endured when I attempted to live in Scotland leads me to question the audacity of your final paragraph.

I question Yours:

I think that is a little bit easy. Probably the Yellow Press in England did not even bother to mention that in the last year several german children, beeing on an school-exchange in England, have been beaten-up and had to go to hospital and police, because some fellow englishmen (children as well as grown-up's) heard them talking german or realised somehow they are german.
Beating them up because they were germans, sounds like me nothing different from Germans beating up Jews 70 years ago! It is RACISM!


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  • 67.
  • At 03:41 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • volker wrote:

To Scott

How should anybody answer this question.....
In Fact Germany lost the war. And all the other nations lost in this war too. You cannot win a wor. Never...

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  • 68.
  • At 03:42 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • volker wrote:

To Scott

How should anybody answer this question.....
In Fact Germany lost the war. And all the other nations lost in this war too. You cannot win a wor. Never...

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  • 69.
  • At 05:37 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

To Chris from the Netherlands, you are absolutely correct in noting that the beating of German Schoolkids in England is Racist. It is despicable, shameful and indefensible in any way.

However, it IS different to Germany 70 years ago. The simple fact is that the social climate combined with the massive globalised nature of today ensures that society as a whole is more understanding, respectful and less suspicious of foreigners.

Of course, these thugs are an exception, but there will always be exceptions, and they will remain a minority, which is not something you could say about Germany of 1936.

Yes, of course Britain does not have an exemplary history, indeed I would suggest that very few countries, The Netherlands included, could make such a claim, but what is important is how history is used, and understood in order to avoid making the same errors in the future. Something which Germany can be rightly proud of.

I am afraid that the Irish situation is a little more complicated than the nasty Protestants making silly marches in order to irritate the poor Catholics. There is good and bad, right and wrong on both sides, as well as an enormous amount of Ulstermen and women who want nothing more than to forget all about “sides”. I am afraid that it is this level of ignorance than can often fuel such trouble and encourage such blatant sectarianism.

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  • 70.
  • At 06:15 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • alfred wrote:

To Volker: Though you are correct to say that Scott's question is unanswerable, you are VERY mistaken to believe that neither side can win a war. The winners get to write the histories, draw the maps, change the place names, and --more importantly -- get to specify what the next generation will be taught. Consider:

1. The winners in ww2 succeeded in DE-nazifying Germany; had Hitler won, London and Washington would have been NAZIFIED, instead.

2. Had the Kremlin won the Cold War, rather than the Americans, a lot more of the planet would be communist by now.

3. If the Hebrews had beaten the Romans and broken the siege of Jerusalem, they would not have lost their country and be exiled to the four winds.
Alfred

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Thanks Fletcher for sharing your historical experience with the fans.
Germany is full of historical incidents and places and with the modern idea of German people Germany is happen to be the best place where one can find a combination of historical or old and modern ideas and things.

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  • 72.
  • At 06:47 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Jerry Way wrote:

Sorry, I disagree totally with you goody,goodies. Germans stood by whilst their armed forces exterminated millions of people. Forget the war? Forget it!!

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  • 73.
  • At 08:19 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Karsten wrote:

On comment no. 46:

I think the angle of these stories isn't that wrong. I've never seen so many German flags on houses, cars and peoples faces as in the past two weeks. The german flag was something for a gouvernment building and not for 'personal use'. And there is some discussion here, if the new flag-waving patriotism is appropiate.

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  • 74.
  • At 08:31 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • chris wrote:

Hi Mike,
with my comment i only intended to make clear that jimbob should not talk about ALL THE scottish the way he did, where similar things happen(d) in England, and then i gave some other negative examples to show that also the english can find those black spots in their past, as everybody else (i know that the dutch were active in the slave trady from africa to america)

I only wanted to state that beating german school children or english now or jews 60-70 years ago are and were crimes, in all the cases nothing more or less.

I did not want to compare the english system or society or anything else with that of HISTROIC Nazi Germany sorry if it could be understood that way, was not intended.

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  • 75.
  • At 08:32 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • chris wrote:

Hi Mike,
with my comment i only intended to make clear that jimbob should not talk about ALL THE scottish the way he did, where similar things happen(d) in England, and then i gave some other negative examples to show that also the english can find those black spots in their past, as everybody else (i know that the dutch were active in the slave trady from africa to america)

I only wanted to state that beating german school children or english now or jews 60-70 years ago are and were crimes, in all the cases nothing more or less.

I did not want to compare the english system or society or anything else with that of HISTROIC Nazi Germany sorry if it could be understood that way, was not intended.

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  • 76.
  • At 08:57 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Markus wrote:

Jerry Way, you are right. Many of my ancestors obviously stood by and did nothing to prevent the Holocaust. Whenever I was trying to talk to my late grandfather about that (he was 20 when the Nazis took over and apparently he was not a member of the NSDAP, at least that's what he told me...), he couldn't give me an answer on how that could have happened. Being a second generation post-war German I am as disgusted about these events as you seem to be. Additionally, I and the other Germans live with the shame that our grandparents or great-grandparents were responsible for this unbelievable crime.

Nobody asks you to forget about the war. You can not possibly travel in Germany without being reminded of the Nazi era. But you can realize that this time is history. This has nothing to do with forgetting. Still, I feel that being called a Nazi nowadays just because I'm German is unjustified, unfair and - worst of all - racist.

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  • 77.
  • At 10:46 PM on 23 Jun 2006,
  • Michael M wrote:

neville scott wrote:
Can anyone tell me how quickly the Germans would have forgotten the war if they had won?

You're raising an interesting question: Would the Nazis (the party that had taken Germany under total control in the 30s) behave as nasty as some the British do now? Would they rub it in everybody's face, and sing "10 British Bombers" in a London pub?

Thanks god there is nobody who can answer the question. Maybe they would. I even reckon that would be typical Nazi behaviour. But in what a bad light does this make some of the British appear...

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  • 78.
  • At 12:00 AM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • Zesty wrote:

Hi Paul,

Football thru the ages:
As seen though the eyes of a historian.

Egypt 1 Greece 0 Striker:AL
Greece 1 Turkey 0 Striker:TR
Italy 1 Egypt 1 Striker:AL/CS
Isreal 1 Italy 0 Striker:JC
Italy 1 Spain 0 Striker:CS
Italy 1 France 0 Striker:CS
Italy 1 Germany 0 Striker:CS
Germany 1 Italy 0 Striker:unknown
Italy 1 England 0 Striker:CS
Scotland 1 Italy 0 Striker:unknown
England 1 Italy 0 Striker:unknown
Germany 1 England 0 Striker:unknown
Denmark 1 England 0 Striker:HH
England 1 France 0 Striker:KR
France 1 England 0 Striker:WC
England 1 Denmark 0 Striker:KG
England 1 Spain 0 Striker:CN
France 1 Belgium 0 Striker:NB
England 1 France 0 Striker:WA
England 1 US 0 Striker:KG
US 1 England 0 Striker:PR
Germany 1 Holland 0 Striker:AH
Germany 1 France 0 Striker:AH
Germany 1 Denmark 0 Striker:AH
Germany 1 Italy 1 Striker:AH/M
Germany 1 Spain 1 Striker:AH/F
Germany 1 Sweden 0 Striker:AH
Russia 1 Germany 0 Striker:ST
Japan 1 US 0 Striker:HH
US 1 Japan 0 Striker:HR
England 1 Germany 0 Striker:WC
US 1 Germany 0 Striker:HR
Russia 1 Germany 0 Striker:ST

Of course there have been plenty of games played away, and played at home.

The bottom line is that in the history of man, man will find away of winning at everything it wants to achieve, until it unfortunatley it ahnialates its self and then it will be simply:

Gaia 1 Humans O Striker: ME

Lets hope from hear on we can keep it on the pitch.

Zesty reporting from across the Pond for Paul's BBC Blog.

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  • 79.
  • At 12:44 AM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • Rolf Habich wrote:

Hey, boys and girls (well, maybe significantly, there seem to have been no ladies on this blog thus far),so hey boys, can't we low-key all this a little bit?

And, most of all, become aware who has been trying to programme our emotions?

Less abstractly: Does any one here really see how much he (well, or she) has been manipulated my the media thus far? And I am not only referring to the last two weeks.

You think that's academic? Let me be personal. I am a (German) retired teacher of English. Implies some liking for the language, the country, the people, the culture, right? Right.

Now I do well remember the European Football Cup in England in 1996. When in the knockout round it came to England vs Germany, one of the unspeakable English tabloids had its front page filled with a giant slogan that ran something like "Herr we go! Fritz, for you se (sic) Cup is over!" (Quoted from memory.) Along with that went a picture of some German with a "Pickelhaube", I suppose. Maybe there were a dachshund, or a bratwurst, or both, too. (Now if that latter recollection is wrong and you would nail me on that you would be right and yet wrong , since in that case that would be a connotational side effect of that set-up. Collateral damage, so to speak.

I could not believe the hatred. Us dopes, and they treating us like that. And, honestly, it created hate.

Needless to mention the glorious gratification when humiliation followed: that historic penalty shootout. England out.

Ever since I have not wanted to go to England (Scotland yes) again.
"Let the the SUN burn on them till they sizzle in their jingoism!" Something of that sort.

And this although I have a number of English friends who are among the finest, most amiable, most-cherished people I know!

Get my point? Well, I'm not quite sure. My point is - my stupidity. Note: MY stupidity!

It was m e who allowed the morons in Fleet Street, the wretched slaves of a down-under-madman-gone-berserk, the scum of the journalist world, to pre-determine m y attitudes and reactions - im spite of dear Arthur, dear Jenny, dear Stephen - and all the others!

Let's talk football! Let's talk about lamentable Owen, about resilient Ronaldo, about upcoming Lahm, about Ayala, Crespo, Messi (oh dear, I'd better stop - they have too many)! Let's start to acknowledge and openly and officially admire players of other teams - criticism in due proportions not banned - wouldn't that be something that would make us all, or most of us feel much better? AND FREER!
Give it a thought. Please.
Anyway, wish you a happy World Cup.

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  • 80.
  • At 11:50 AM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • Ruediger Moeller wrote:

I think one reason for the british ww2 obsession may be the fact, that the slaughtery usually was hundreds of miles away at some other continent (colonialism). In contradiction ww2 suddenly brought the slaughtery to their homes (partially at least).

Something similar happened to the USA with 9/11. After being involved in killing hundreds of thousands of people all across the world (vietnam, afghanistan, south america, ...) suddenly the killing happened at home. Quite a different feeling compared to some abstract numbers of killed poeple mentioned in the news ..

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  • 81.
  • At 03:30 PM on 24 Jun 2006,
  • Pam wrote:

Great blogs - check them daily - you conjure up a great picture of the whole World Cup experience, helping those of us not there appreciate the atmosphere (and I thoroughly enjoy the amusing little every-day things - sausages, dirty socks, etc!).

Guess the issue of WW II was always going to be a topic at some stage. Germany and WW II will always have an historical association, but the time for blame, shame or triumph is well past. Perhaps some reflection by visitors - when visiting such places - and then on to enjoy a beer and the next game.

Keep up the good work guys!

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  • 82.
  • At 05:20 PM on 26 Jun 2006,
  • tonika wrote:

I was born in Nuremberg and I have lived there over thirty years. If the war had ended only a few minutes ago, your son would have seen a completly destroyed city. a most tactless an stupid remark.

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  • 83.
  • At 11:34 AM on 30 Jun 2006,
  • Chris Jones wrote:

I will be supporting Germany against Argentina and MAYBE and England germany Final!!!!

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  • 84.
  • At 09:06 AM on 07 Jul 2006,
  • Chris wrote:

Whenever Miroslav Klose gets the ball my mates and I can't help ourselves from bursting into a chorus of Phylis Nelson's "Mooooooove Closer". I think the German fans should adopt this immediately!

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