German Language Blog

50 Jahre deutsch-französische Freundschaft Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Culture

These days, Germany and France are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their friendship. Conditioned by history, this is anything but self-evident! My grandfather used to be a prisoner of war in France after World War II. I myself used to live in France for a while and have a lot of friends over there. That´s how things changed the last decades. And meanwhile it surely is a positive example of forgiveness, rapprochement and  friendship between two countries.

On January 22nd 1963, the so called “Elysée-Vertrag” (Elysée contract) between Germany and France has been signed. The paper finally heralded the German-French friendship as a basic concept for permanent peace in Europe after two World Wars.

It was a political avalanche in a good way that President Charles de Gaulle released on September 4th 1962:

Instead of a primarily planned state visit to the hereditary enemy that should be short, cold and reserved, he changed his first attendance in Germany into a triumphal procession of friendship. Accompanied by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the 71-year old toured Germany six days without a rest.

Whether in Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Duisburg or Ludwigsburg… everywhere the “fathers” of German-French friendship were received by a jubilating crowd.
To demonstrate his respect for his hosts, he delivered all of his speeches in perfect German, though with a strong accent. But his message was more important: While East and West were facing hostile in the middle of the Cold War, de Gaulle assured that the “Erbfeindschaft” (hereditary enmity) between German and French people finally has been overpowered. The French Head of State praised his host country effusively for its effort, its will to develop and its commitment to democracy.The beginning of a close friendship between Germany and France, that has never been broken since then.
On September 9th, he took his famous “Rede an die Jugend” (speech to the youth) in Ludwigsburg.

Der Elyséevertrag (The Elysée contract)

The highlight of the approximation took place in Paris, when the “Elyséevertrag” has been signed a few months later on January 22nd 1963. In this German-French contract of friendship, the former opponents committed themselves among other things to work together in matters of foreign affairs, security policy, cultural and educational policy and youth policy. The arrangements came into effect on July 2nd 1963.

After all you really can say that this paper brought together the probably most important neighbouring countries in the heart of Europe.

Here´s a little article about the anniversary ceremonies:

So what about your countries? Are there similar friendships or relationships to other countries that might have been different in the past? Let us know by using the comment fields.

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About the Author: jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.


  1. EP:

    Although on the one hand, given the terrible historical background, it’s definitely impressive how these two countries could have become as close as they have become. On the other hand, however, I’m a bit surprised that they haven’t become closer in all these years. There’s still quite a distance between them, I feel. And I think it has most to do with the lack of a common language.