T Nation

Patriotism in Germany after a Nazi Past?


i work at an international airport on the weekends and i meet a lot of people from across the world. and usually whenever i meet a german my first thought is " Fucking nazis". its not really directed at the person, its more so directed at the country itself and its past.

my question is. is their a strong sense of patriotism in germany, similar to like america. especially in the generations after world war 2. Since adults and especially youth learned about germany’s recent past with with the nazi empire and the holocaust. compared to other countries their dark history was pretty recent.

also do you think the military vets were respected their. sort of like american vets. And yes i know most soldiers weren’t the evil ones who were massacring jews and etc.

youth in germany learn a lot about germany’s brutal past and in fact go on field trips to concentration camps and etc. they are literally learning about the era that their parents and grandparents lived in. german youth are learning about how back in the day german men were torturing and murding jewish people, performing experiments on people. Just brutal stuff. learning about that stuff could really effect a person’s opinion on their country.

i started to think about this today.asked a couple of my friends about this and they honestly didn’t really ever think about it. so i wanted to ask yall


You know slavery, segregation, jim crow, etc. was sort of a thing here right?


The scars of the Third Reich can easily be seen in German population, and patriotism/nationalism has been a difficult subject for them.

But like other guy above posted - no country is clean in their past. Russia, US, Western European countries etc. have done horrendous things. I’m not downplaying Nazis, but they aren’t the only bad guys.


You can extend that beyond Western Europe to the whole world.

It’s a mistake to look only at the evils in history, it’s depressing and leads one to the wrong conclusions. If you’re looking at the Nazis for example, I think it’s unhelpful and unhealthy to think about “those people” as if they were something completely different than yourself. They were human beings just like yourself.

If you had been born then the odds are you would have gone along with their program. The majority of Germans weren’t Nazis, but they offered no active resistance.

The germans who hid jews were a very small minority. There were an even smaller number of Nazi officers who attempted unsuccessfully to kill Hitler. They put their own lives and the lives of their families at risk; I mean, imagine having to watch your entire family get tortured to death. Look at those beautiful human beings, and try to model your own life after theirs.


I completely agree.


You need to get out more.

As @maverick88 mentioned above, should every black person who sees you (assuming you are white based off the avatar) think “slave owner”?

I’ve met many amazing German people, and like most, they have pride for their country. A lot of them also knew a ridiculous amount of languages, I don’t know many Americans who can speak 4+ languages but that wasn’t unusual for the German travelers I’ve met.


Every German I’ve met speaks better English than high school dropouts in the US.

They do have German pride. They are the most productive nation in Europe and they know it.

Their relationship with Americans is interesting. They make jokes about lawsuits, opiates and shootings if you get to know them. My colleagues always joke about West Virginia being “almost heaven”.

They respect people who work, but their society is very stratified. If you’re not a PhD or Masters holder then you’re lesser (at least in Germany).


When a person takes a good, hard look at their past mistakes, it is the first step towards becoming a better person. I suspect that principle applies to Germany more than any other country I can think of. Japan also conquered other countries and committed war crimes and then came back from defeat as an economic power, but they aren’t a leader in Asia the way Germany is now a leading country in the EU, because too many Japanese have resisted this self-reflection and so their government keeps saying and doing things that tick off the other regional powers.


I don’t think Germans having pride in their country is nothing even close to Nazi-ism. They are not perpetually lying about everything to make themselves elevated above others, which is what the Nazi’s did.
But Germany has a lot going for it. For instance, they are a engineering juggernaut and make huge contributions to engineering around the world.
They make great beer. They have wonderful food and culture. I have no problem with a people having pride or being patriotic. I would expect most people not in a ‘shithole’ probably have some nationalistic pride. And even forced ex-pats from a hostile regime in their home country, do still seem to have some pride in the mother land.

The problem is when everything you think and know about your country is a lie, simply to make yourself feel good about where you are.


I don’t really have the time to write up a detailed, coherent response, so I’ll just throw out some random thoughts and observations. There is no black-and.white answer to this so notice that whatever I say, there are going to be a ton of Germans who see things very differently. Views on whether or not Germans as a whole are too patriotic, not patriotic enough or whether we are somehow prohibited from having patriotic feelings vary greatly. So as I said, these are just some random observations.

  • Openly displayed patriotism of the flag-waving variety is certainly not as widespread as in the US, but has become more common in the last decade or so. The football world cup of 2006 is generally seen as a bit of a turning point in that regard.

  • Immediately after the war, society as a whole (talking about west germany here, not the GDR) tried to forget about the war as soon as possible. Many people who lived through the war later claimed they didn’t know anything about the war crimes and the holocaust, whether that is realistic or not for a majority of the population has been a topic of much debate. In many, many cases this is clearly just an excuse to evade any guilt.

  • The public only really started to process German war crimes in the late 60’s, when the first post-war generation started to question their parents’ actions. A (I suspect rather typical) example would be my mother. She was born in 1949 to parents who had been staunch nazis. At home, she never heard anything bad about the time until '45. At school, nearly all of her teachers were former nazis themselves. History classes covered the time from the ancient Babylonians until WW1, twice. Not a word about the third reich. Only when she went to university did she learn about what happened and as a consequence, turned to the hard left politically. Quite a shock for my grandfather, you can imagine. Him I never got to know, he died before I was born. When someone says anything about the holocaust my grandmother will usually say something to the effect of “That was so long ago, when will people give it a rest”, which is quite typical for people of her generation. They never faced up to the guilt they had amassed. Denazification became a joke as soon as the allies turned it over to German authorities.

  • About military vets being respected, do you mean WW2 vets? Well, they certainly weren’t celebrated. As I said, people wanted to forget as soon as possible. The first post-war years were a struggle for many because of lack of housing, fuel and food and after that they were busy enjoying the economic miracle of the 50’s and 60’s.

  • Back to the situation today, many Germans who lean more towards the right hand side of the political spectrum will often try to create the impression that German patriotism is somehow supressed or artificially kept down by whoever they consider their political oponents, be it leftists, “the establishment”, academics, foreigners or god knows who. Quite often, these are really racist nationalists whining about the fact that their racist nationalism is called out for what it is, but I guess these are conflicts you can observe in most countries.


Germany under Merkel is cucked. Their only hope is AFD.


Losing to Italy, again, then watching France and Italy play in the final in your own country will do that.


Life can be poetic sometimes


They make the best damn chainsaws and headphones in the world.

You might not think that is something to be proud of until you end up with some shitty poulan or homelite, but by then it is too late. You are in chain saw hell. Germany has saved millions of people from chain saw hell.

And Sennheisers are just a joy. There is nothing else that needs to be said about them.


Good dogs too.


I have a 20 year old pair that sounds as good as the day I bought them. They need new foam, but the headphones are still great, sound amazing.

EDIT: That’s of course in the days before “Beats” came out and drove headphone prices through the roof. You used to be able to get some top notch Koss or Sennheisers for $30 and get studio quality sound without batting an eyelash.


Sounds like the car competition between the two countries and Germany. Every time Ferrari comes up with what they think will put the 911 out for good, Porsche up’s the anti.
The new GT2 has 700 horse power! 700, in a rear engine’d 911.
One has to keep in mind that Porsche are notorious liars about their cars power. If they say their car has 400 HP, it usually has 450 or more. They are trying to pretend that they can out engineer everybody by making a car just as fast as a Ferrari with less power. So it’s real possible that 700 HP means 750+ HP…


They shed too damn much. I HATE dog hair. I mean I really hate it, like little else. It gets everywhere and makes your whole house smell like dog…


That’s why god invented women.


I wear the dress in the family…