how do the German people of today think about the World Wars/Nazis? Watch

bloomblaze
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Hello everyone

Since my teens, I have always been interested in Germany/the German speaking countries.

I studied German language to GCSE level, did well in it, and loved it; it is a very logical language.

I think Germany today seems to be an impressive country to say the least, I would consider developing my German language to fluency and looking for work in a German speaking country someday. The German speaking countires seem to be doing well economically and Germans are known for their culture of 'efficiency'.

One thing about German life/culture which I never knew the answer to and I was always kind of afraid to ask is this:

how do the German people of today think about the World Wars/Nazis?


do the people of Germany today consider WW2 and Hitlers actions/ideologies as wrong, or do they think that Germany's actions were justifiable?

are there people today in Germany who support Hitler/his ideology (ie all the stuff about the 'Ayrian race etc)?



Thanks if anyone can give me an insight
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TommehBoi
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I would very much doubt that there are many people that think Hitler's actions are justifiable. I think it's even illegal to do the Nazi salute in Germany.
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Camilli
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I don't speak German or spend much time there, but I know that at least one German high school had its big essay for a history class basically try to analyze why Germany fell into the soup to the degree that it did in the 30s and 40s.

On the other hand, I have heard of whispers by conservative Bavarians who will still say that it would have been better if the US teamed up with Hitler and helped him Stalin what for. Presumably not all of them are motivated by murderous anti-Semitism, although they'd have to tolerate some degree of it to think this way.

Others will doubtless have more detail and actual knowledge. But I'd bet that the takeaway is that (a) most Germans feel pretty terrible about the Hitler regime, and that (b) opinions will vary a bit by region, class, religion, and so on.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by TommehBoi)
I would very much doubt that there are many people that think Hitler's actions are justifiable. I think it's even illegal to do the Nazi salute in Germany.
That would suggest that there are still quite a few closet Nazis.
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TommehBoi
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(Original post by felamaslen)
That would suggest that there are still quite a few closet Nazis.
Without a doubt. However, the general consensus of German society today is not pro-Nazism.
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Temporality
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(Original post by bloomblaze)
Hello everyone

Since my teens, I have always been interested in Germany/the German speaking countries.

I studied German language to GCSE level, did well in it, and loved it; it is a very logical language.

I think Germany today seems to be an impressive country to say the least, I would consider developing my German language to fluency and looking for work in a German speaking country someday. The German speaking countires seem to be doing well economically and Germans are known for their culture of 'efficiency'.

One thing about German life/culture which I never knew the answer to and I was always kind of afraid to ask is this:

how do the German people of today think about the World Wars/Nazis?


do the people of Germany today consider WW2 and Hitlers actions/ideologies as wrong, or do they think that Germany's actions were justifiable?

are there people today in Germany who support Hitler/his ideology (ie all the stuff about the 'Ayrian race etc)?



Thanks if anyone can give me an insight
Great question op. I have recently been to Germany and think it is a most wonderful country. The people are very kind polite and welcoming as well as rather laid back and non judgemental the art and architecture is simply outstanding and some of the best in the world and there are fascinating quirks to be found on almost every corner. They are also a financially and politically reliable state right now. They really had to work their way up after post war humiliation and they certainly have worked their button off to change their torrid past.

Now recently when I was over there I was discussing the exact question you have proposed with a well educated german man and woman. They were both lovely people and the family I stayed with treated me with the utmost care. Like most german people they found the actions of their ancestors abhorrent but they said they could not assume personal responsibility for their actions. This is fair enough. It was not their doing.

They also explained two reasons for how this treacherous act could have ever occurred on such a large scale. Firstly that the german people had and perhaps still have an overwhelming incapacity to 'no'. The people did not have the 'power of the people' and nor a tendency to question and self examine. They were essentially submissive automatons, puppets to fascism.

The second point the man raised was how the only way he could possibly understand the subjugation and torture was that human beings failed to acknowledge the humanity of a group of other human beings. They were to those working in the concentration camps like rodents and vermin to be exterminated because of the toxic plaguing they were allegedly causing. An objective eye knows this is antisemitism but the indoctrination against Jews was all too thorough. It was put into children's books what evil monsters the Jews were. They were utterly demonised and made scapegoats for the failings of society. The killing of Jews was scene as a route to a societal utopia and so in removing this so called 'vermin' the Germans would have viewed themselves as doing a service to society. Germans were disregarding people as people, viewing them as vermin beneath them, and in doing so they lost their own humanity...
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GenialGermanGent
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(Original post by bloomblaze)
I studied German language to GCSE level, did well in it, and loved it; it is a very logical language.
Are you kidding? It's one of the least regimented language out there and mostly consists mostly of illogical exceptions.

(Original post by bloomblaze)
...and Germans are known for their culture of 'efficiency'.
No, that is an image of Germans the Brits created for themselves. Nobody else thinks that. Us Germans don't think we are efficient.

(Original post by bloomblaze)
how do the German people of today think about the World Wars/Nazis?


do the people of Germany today consider WW2 and Hitlers actions/ideologies as wrong, or do they think that Germany's actions were justifiable?
What kind of answer do you expect? Do you think we would have become the supreme economic powerhouse of Europe by being deluded and backward-minded? Of course starting WW2 and Hitler's actions were wrong. The treaty of Versailles favored those extremist actions, but in no way justified them.

(Original post by bloomblaze)
are there people today in Germany who support Hitler/his ideology (ie all the stuff about the 'Ayrian race etc)?
Do you read the news, follow election results? Of course we have neo-nazis.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by TommehBoi)
Without a doubt. However, the general consensus of German society today is not pro-Nazism.
Yes. They have fascists today but this time they generally take the form of Islamic fanatics. Old fascism is on the fringe where it belongs.
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username1414877
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I'm a German Immigrant. We still have idiots who support Hitlers ideology and there is also a huge tension between the East and the West. The racism in the West is very concise and the people there are very reserved when it comes to immigration. To be honest as a not German I'd really avoid the West.
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DErasmus
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Pro tip. Don't ask them. They get it a lot.
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perfectsymbology
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Most Germans are cool with it but they'll get mad if you try to rub the defeat in their faces.
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Copperknickers
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They think the same as every other country in Europe, that the Nazis were abhorrent and insane, excepting the small minority of Neo-Nazis (you'll find more Neo-Nazis in Russia, Poland and parts of the UK than Germany though).
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Sir Fox
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German here to throw in my 2 cents.

(Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
No, that is an image of Germans the Brits created for themselves. Nobody else thinks that. Us Germans don't think we are efficient.
I'm a German who has lived in 4 countries now (and travelled many more) and the hell, we are efficient, at least compared to most other societies. Now, let me make it very sure first that I do not intend to generalise - not every German is super efficient and it's not like we are somehow genetically superior in our planning skills Yes, we whine about Deutsche Bahn being late all the time, we complain about the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the Elbphilharmonie and Stuttgart 21, but from my personal experience there is a lot more than just a grain of truth in this stereotype.

Example? A certain tidiness. I've lived in student flats in several countries with people of all sorts of nationalities (British, Indian, Malaysian, Chinese, Australian ...) and in every single one of these flats I had to do the brunt of the cleaning and tidying up in order to keep the flat at a certain level. Now, I don't have OCD and I don't disinfect everything I touch, I'm just talking about basic cleanliness. Compared to that the flats of every single of my friends studying in Germany is sparkling clean. Most Germans I know here in Scotland have made the same experience.

Anyway, not the thread's topic

Do you read the news, follow election results? Of course we have neo-nazis.
True, but it's really not that much of a problem compared to other countries. Our most prominent right-wing party, the NPD, has never managed to enter the federal parliament and has only managed to get into a couple of small state parliaments (usually in the Eastern states of the former GDR) - even there they have never (to my knowledge) gained more than 10%. Usually they hover around the 5% mark in the East and at less than 1% in the west.

This is in stark contrast to recent developments in countries like the UK or France where in the European election UKIP's and the Front National's success resulted in political earthquakes.

It's quite hilarious to see how nowadays Germany seems to be one of the most liberal and least right-wing countries on the planet, while the former Allies are experiencing a shift towards the right of the political spectrum.
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Jubz1
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Modern Germans, even then, hate Nazis than most of us
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GenialGermanGent
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(Original post by Sir Fox)
I'm a German who has lived in 4 countries now (and travelled many more)
Same here.

(Original post by Sir Fox)
...and the hell, we are efficient, at least compared to most other societies.
We may be, but we don't really strive to, it's not our goal - which is what the Brits insinuate. Also, I think we're more organised and structured than anything else, efficiency is just the logical result of that.

(Original post by Sir Fox)
Example? A certain tidiness.
I had the same experience in student halls and flat shares in several countries, but that has nothing to do with efficiency.

(Original post by Sir Fox)
True, but it's really not that much of a problem compared to other countries. Our most prominent right-wing party, the NPD, has never managed to enter the federal parliament and has only managed to get into a couple of small state parliaments (usually in the Eastern states of the former GDR) - even there they have never (to my knowledge) gained more than 10%. Usually they hover around the 5% mark in the East and at less than 1% in the west.
You're rambling. That wasn't the original question. My point was that we have enough neo-nazis and far-right minded citizens to propel these parties into regional governments which translate to a significant amount.
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Sir Fox
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(Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
You're rambling. That wasn't the original question. My point was that we have enough neo-nazis and far-right minded citizens to propel these parties into regional governments which translate to a significant amount.
What do you consider 'significant'? Most people who voted for the NPD are just disillusioned with the main parties, 'Protestwähler' or ultra-conservative people. Some far-right, yes, others just a bit more to the right than most conservatives. Have you ever seen a neo-nazi demonstration involving more than 500 or so people? I wouldn't call the number of proper neo-nazis (i.e. those who really want the return of proper national socialism) 'significant'.
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Sir Fox
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Okay, back to the original question:

The average German has been taught about the horrors of WWII/national socialism in school at least a couple of times. Not only in history classes, its memory is present on all levels of society and life. Memorials, museums, articles in the newspaper and books. We have parents/grandparents who have experienced the time themselves and tell stories.

As a result the average German thinks that it was a horrible time in our history and that we should do everything in our might to never let anything like that happen again.

The "Don't mention the war!" thing isn't that big of a thing either, at least not with young people. You shouldn't make distasteful jokes or comments, but you can easily have an interesting conversation about WWII and the holocaust with most Germans. Just be a bit careful when talking to members of the older generations who have most likely had some personal experience living in the 3. Reich.

All my grandparents have lived through it and dealt with it in different ways. My paternal grandfather (93 years old) was old enough to be drafted, first helping out as an anti-aircraft gunner, then being shipped to Bornholm in the last days of the war to fight the Russians. Luckily the island had been taken over before they arrived and they turned back. He never really talks about these times, except for one time when I interviewed him for a school project.

My maternal grandfather was younger (6 at the time the war started, 12 when it came to an end) and as a result did not take part in the hostilities. His family was living in the Eastern provinces of Germany (Pomerania) which now belong to Poland and Russia, and had to flee. He saw some pretty horrible things, but instead of keeping to himself he is more open about it. We often talk history and politics, including his experiences.
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perfectsymbology
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Bad things to say to a German (if you're British)

"How do you feel about us beating you in both world wars and the 66 final eh?"

Good thing to say to a German:

"You're pretty tolerant for a German guy/girl"
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GenialGermanGent
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(Original post by Sir Fox)
What do you consider 'significant'? Most people who voted for the NPD are just disillusioned with the main parties, 'Protestwähler' or ultra-conservative people.
That's simply incorrect. There are other parties that these people vote for.

(Original post by Sir Fox)
Have you ever seen a neo-nazi demonstration involving more than 500 or so people? I wouldn't call the number of proper neo-nazis (i.e. those who really want the return of proper national socialism) 'significant'.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=X...number&f=false

40,000 (surely more these days) IS a significant number.
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GenialGermanGent
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(Original post by perfectsymbology)
Bad things to say to a German (if you're British)

"How do you feel about us beating you in both world wars and the 66 final eh?"
A good reply to that (if you're German): 'Oh, I don't care about the wars, that was a long time ago. But how do YOU feel about playing second (or third) economic fiddle to us in Europe, us owning pretty much all of your automobile industry, you getting no or ****ty jobs after graduating while German graduates easily get good jobs, and us having scored more goals against Brazil than you lot managed in the last two World Cups combined? But yeah, please go on about the past, it's all you have.'

Then I usually glass that Briton
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