Has Germany Learned Its Lesson?

Just finished reading Crab Walk by Gunther Grass, the crux of which is that anti-Semitism (the Jewish not Arab variety so spare me the semantics) is deeply ingrained in the German psyche and bubbling up despite the fact that there are only perhaps 80,000 Jews in Germany today. The irony of the book is that the main character murders someone for completely ludicrous reasons as is later discovered. Worse, the excuses and rationalizations, etc for the murder are even worse. I will not say more so as not to ruin it for anyone intending to read it.

Is Germany to be a “troublemaker” perennielly? I read another treatise recently which said Germany’s excessive “pacifism” today should not be seen as a sign of change but merely a new “dogma” which the nation latched onto just as happily during Luther’s Reformation, Bismark’s imperialism, Hitler’s Nazi movement, and East Germany’s communism. The point the author was making is that dogmatic adherence to “isms” is second nature to the Germans. While today thankfully it is “pacifism,” tomorrow it could be something else more dangerous. Any opinions on this?

Also, in a second article, the author went into the character of Joschka Fischer during the 1970s. He may have been responsible for the death of a policeman, who was beaten to death by radical Marxists. Today, he is the foreign minister of Germany.

Sounds ridiculous. With the exception of the Nazis the isms you mention were hardly exclusive to Germany. The Nazi movement was an abberation and one not likely to be repeated, the fact that Germans today are ardent pacifists hardly makes me more nervous about it.

Sorry but the whole point of the book was that Nazism was NOT an aberration in Germany. While the isms that you describe were in fact present in other nations, I think that the treatise was pointing to the very “enthusiasm” with which the Germans take up these isms. While all of Eastern Europe fell under Soviet communism, no one took up the politics of it with greater enthusiasm as East Germany did. My understanding of the reading (the treatise not Gunther Grass’s Crab Walk) is that during the Reformation while there were religious conflicts everywhere, the most vicious and destructive ones took place in Germany. Again, no where was nationalism/militarism more virulent than Germany (the author attributed the Danish-Prussian, Austro-Prussian, Franco-Prussian, WWI, WWII all to this militant nationalism).

I guess to view this treatise in that light, you would have to buy into the theory that all of these conflicts were started by Germany.

kind of reminds me of Greenbay Packers Mr. White who made a very ridiculous but funny statement that each race should do what it’s best at:
white people in business, black people serving the ministry of god and so on. in this case, germans who latch on to isms easily (ie easily indoctrinated) make good soldiers. lol.

I don’t think so. The thing is that there wasn’t really a ‘Germany’ during the Reformation. It was a fragmented ‘Holy Roman Empire’ of compteting kingdoms, pricipalities and duchies. Most of the Reformation conflict in ‘Germany’ was more political than religious. The real religious extremism came in Switzerland, the Netherlands and of course in Catholic Spain and France in reaction to the Reofrmation. The St Bartholomew’s Day massacre, Europe’s greatest exercise on mass blood-letting beofre the 20th century, took place in France, not Germany.

Imperialism was definitely not limited to Germany. They perhaps took it up more fervently than other European powers, becauase they came late into the game and had more ground to make up.


Not to mention that Communism wasn’t choosen by Germany / Germans, in fact it was forced upon the East German sector (the former GDR) by the Russian administration.

Germany does have it’s problems with Neo-Nazis and some (older) people still see Jews as someone they rather wouldn’t have around, but also 2 Million Turks - the biggest foreign group - in Germany cause tension occassioanlly due to lack of integration - something not really wanted by either side.

In regards to Anti-Semitism: With all due respect but I also feel upset if the Jews accuse the German government of doing nothing to prevent some idiots from smearing “Hakenkreuze” (swastikas) on tomb stones, accusing all Germans of being Nazis and thus creating hatred between the two.
I mean it’s a bit difficult to protect all Jewish institutions 24 hours a day and it’s only a small group who carries out those mindless acts, the same way I can’t hold all the Turks responsible if e.g. one Turk kills a German.
Personally I can handle that and perhaps close an eye or two, but there are people who react otherwise when provoked this way. I strongly believe that Germany has learned it’s lesson and that the government does enough to protect the Jews, but racist tensions also exist in other countries / against other races and thus I don’t see there is any systematic racism agains the Jews present in Germany today, especially not by the younger generation.

I understand all the points that were made so far in this post, but I guess I would really like to get someone’s reaction to Gunther Grass’s point. I believe that he is highly respected for his insight into the German psyche.

I was hoping for some discussion along these lines rather than the rote responses: generalizations are bad, we are all the same, it’s not nice to say that… etc. Please take the post in the spirit that it was offered rather than going after all the “letters” where it is wrong to discuss such a thing.

Also as to the Reformation etc., just how many total people were killed in conflicts in Spain, France, what is today Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands? Are there any figures on this. Again, the subject of this treatise is that no where were these conflicts more destructive then in GERMANY and yes, while it was the Holy Roman Empire then, I would like to focus on the area of GERMANY today so as to be able to link this to Gunther Grass’s assertion as well.

(Mispost to wrong thread)

Good point. But I still feel that satellite is unreliable in Taiwan and cable is where the future lies.

[oops. this was responsive to Joesax.]

That’s probably got something to do with Nietzsche, too.

I do not understand your point. Care to explain the connection between the enthusiasm and the Nietzche?

The Nietzche??? I will remember that for a long time.

How many Germans have you met?

Not many, it seems.

Your harping on Germans as being an evil “race” is racist and has no place in this forum.

I am assuming that English is not your first language so please refer to the earlier postings. I will try to explain this again in simpler terms to get my point across. The point is not to attack Germans in a racist manner but to discuss the points raised in Gunther Grass’s most recent novel “Crab Grass.” Gunther Grass is a well-known German writer. He also wrote the “Tin Drum.” In “Crab Grass,” the novelist implied that anti-Semitism was still present in Germany. The author (writer) then took his point to somewhat absurd lengths in an ironic manner to expose a hidden truth or to reveal (show) a point that he was trying to make.

Anyway, sorry about the confusion. I should have explained myself better. Again, I hope that this is easier to understand now and looking forward to receiving your comments.

Fred, you’re very clever to couch your posts as intellectual queries rather than using the blatant techniques of other Segue apologists of racist nationalism. But there’s no getting around the fact that you started one thread on why everyone hates the french and another on whether germans are inherently evil, and when posters balk at your topics you insist on pushing them. What’s next?

Why are the Chinese so incrutable?
Would you let your daughter marry an African?
Are the Irish all drunks or is it just a myth?

I don’t believe you’re really interested in intellectual discussions as you suggest; I believe you’re interested in slyly perpetuating your prejudices. Otherwise what would be the point in your persistent picking at such scabs?

Mother Theresa:

I believe that only two of these threads that I started among quite a few could be labeled the way you have said. I suppose you could choose to look at it that way, but then I doubt very much that you read any of my posts within either thread? If you go back and read what my point was in the first “French” thread, I was curious about what I saw as an incredible backlash in the States against France and the French. If you do not believe that it is there then…

Also, I just finished reading Gunther Grass’s “Crab Walk.” I found it powerful in its indictment. Just because this is a sensitive subject, should we avoid talking about it.

I understand your point, but I do not think that I have ever said in any of my posts that the French or Germans are bad.

Have you read “Crab Walk?” I recommend it. I also recommend that you read ALL my posts then determine the tenor of the conversation that I would like to have about this. While many nations in Europe have experienced the same kinds of things that Germany did in the 20th century, I do not see anyone secretly fearing France, Poland, Italy or Sweden will be a problem. There remains underlying worries in Europe about only two nations that I can tell: Germany and Russia. True?

Also regarding anti-Semitism, it existed throughout Eastern Europe in particularly virulent forms. No one is denying that. It did take the Germans however to organize and execute the Final Solution. While the Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, etc. may have actively and willingly participated, they did not initiate anything on their own and on such a grand scale. These are the kinds of things that keep people (obviously Gunther Grass as well) concerned. Or would you suggest that Grass (a German) is racist against Germans?

Again, apologies if my message is not getting through. Everyone seems to have such a politicized view of these issues that they automatically go into knee jerk mode. Again, please please please do read my earlier posts and then determine whether or not your judgment was in fact fair.

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]Would you let your daughter marry an African?

MT, Would you let your daughter marry a Republican from South Carolina? :laughing:

It is a very intriguing point that Gunther Grass makes. You might include the “purism” or beer purity laws only recently and with much anguish revised.

And though I am probably way out of my depth here, having not read the book and being a natural born idiot, it seems to me that anti-semitism is on the rise in Germany, as well as other parts of Europe. But is this part of some inherint German “ism” - and confuiconist style character quirk (bending like blades of grass in the wind, going with the flow, go along and get along, not making waves, fickled not pickled) - I do not know. Individualism seems to be a very German trait though. So I think far fetched to expect any repeat of history here.


Chou Do Fu

If MT were to not allow it, he wouldn’t be racist, he’d just be smart.

HoHoHoHo. You very funny Pussycat.

Fred, I have read your posts and you seem like a bright guy. But what’s the point in discussing such bs? I attended a conference last week where I met a lawyer from France. He was a very nice guy and it makes no difference to me that he’s from France. Same for the French guy I worked with at my prior job. And I’ve met Rascal and Iris who are a couple of very nice Germans. . . as is my dad. So I don’t see what good can possibly come in discussing whether an entire class of people are inherently defective.

Sure, you state that you’re only speaking of official french govt policy, or whatever, but the fact is you incite yahoos like blueface to come out of the bushes with their racist jokes, racist comments, and other vile prejudices. So why incite them? While we all should be familiar with Gunther Grass and Tin Drum, you may be the only poster here who has read his latest work. Your thread is clearly less likely to lead to an intelligent discussion of the book than a bunch of knee jerk responses, as you suggested, but many of them are purely racist. Isn’t there enough racism, nationalism, and hatred in the world already? Why create more?