LearnGermanwith Us!Start Learning!
Whenever there´s a discussion about Germany, German language or culture, it often ends up on one topic: World War 2. And, to be honest, I ask myself why World War 2 is still such a big deal today? And I want to explain why…
I was born in 1976. My parents were born in the 1950´s. Meanwhile I have children on my own. So as you can see, quite a few generations already grew up since the war ended (1945). But still, World War 2 seems to be one of the most obvious associations with Germany.
I don´t want to trivialize anything that happened during this horrible period of dictatorship. And to be honest, if I wasn´t German, maybe I would have the same opinions, prejudices and negative attitudes as many people in the world do. What I want say is that I think it´s totally understandable.
But actually I am German. So I´m always confronted by reminders of WWII:
And I think, “Why does this matter after such a long time has passed?” If you compare this situation with the USA for example, where a lot of houses are decorated with stars and stripes and almost everybody is proud of his country etc., being afraid to show national pride sounds quite absurd.
In the summer of 2006 the world championship of soccer took place in Germany. This was the first time in my whole life that I had the feeling that everybody in Germany stood together as one country and the colors black, red and gold (the colors of the German flag) were seen everywhere. Though they were just soccer games, you could feel that the attitude of people was beginning to change. And I thought to myself: What a big step in only four weeks! I guess the good weather also was a reason for everybody to be in a good mood…so everything was just perfect and absolutely peaceful.
But as the championship was over, this good feeling disappeared as well.
Let me repeat that I don´t want to trivialize things. I also know that Germany as well as the rest of the world has to reprocess the war again and again to understand and to realize what happened and first of all, that it would never happen again!
But fact is: So many years went by since 1945, contemporary witnesses are less numerous, and the world has changed since then, as has Germany. We are a multicultural, open minded and understanding nation. So let´s get over it! (Which doesn´t mean to forget it or not mourn the tragedies that occurred.)
I guess it could be hard to imagine what I want to express with this article. It´s not about the war itself or historical facts about it. Neither about the question of being guilty or innocent. It´s just about the image of Germany in the world and the feelings of German people associated with this complex topic.
It would be nice to read some comments of you, telling your feelings, attitudes and examples of confrontations with the war topic. So maybe altogether that would explain the situation much better than just my words. I am open to discussion, as long as it is polite and respectful to others.