Deutsche Welle: Germany’s propose to inculcate patriotism in the hearts of Germans

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Germany’s Center-right opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) submitted a controversial motion to the German parliament last week on a sensitive issue in the country since the end of World War II, When can Germans once again feel proud of being German?

The party called for declaring 23 May of each year a national day in the country to celebrate the adoption of the country’s constitution, or what known as the “Basic Law” in 1949, in addition to the launch of the new federal program for strengthening patriotism, which will include plans aimed at:

  • Enhancing the presence of national symbols throughout the year, especially the German flag in public places.
  • Listen to the national anthem more often during public events.
  • Enable the Bundeswehr (German Army) to hold many public ceremonies and parades to emphasize the ties between the armed forces and civil society and to promote patriotism.

The CDU has pushed as hard as it can to come up with these ideas in phrases such as modern patriotism that calls on immigrants to adhere to the values ​​enshrined in the Basic Law in an issue that has remained on the political sidelines.

The CDU hopes to raise the issue of patriotism to confront its rivals in the elections who represent the far right, specifically the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party.

A sense of patriotic pride would counteract the growing polarization and divisions within our society.

The problem of patriotism in the country lies in the fact that it is as old as the Federal Republic, while the sense of wounded pride after World War II still felt in Germany until the present time.

A 2021 INSA poll showed that 61% of Germans believe that schools should foster a more positive relationship to cement children’s attachment to Germany, but Germany’s history teaches that patriotism is a deep issue.

In this regard, Martin Sabrow, professor emeritus at Humboldt University in Berlin and former director of the Leibniz Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, asked a very important question: “Who can, without hesitation or discouragement, declare his attachment to the German nation?”

“There is a Holocaust memorial in the government district in Berlin that commemorates the six million Jews killed and the millions killed in the war… It’s strange that we do not have a turbulent feeling about our nationality,” he added.

It’s noteworthy that there are deep-rooted reasons that make patriotism an indirect issue in Germany as its anywhere else.

The colors of the German flag, which are black, red and gold, seen by many as having a politicized history and did not contribute significantly to uniting all Germans in the same way that 50 white stars and 13 stripes achieved in the US flag.

The black, red and gold colors waved for the first time by the elements of the Prussian Army Corps that were fighting to liberate Europe from the French Empire led by Napoleon Bonaparte, who occupied large parts of Germany at the time.

The tricolor ingrained in the German Confederation flag in the early nineteenth century, while the national assembly adopted the same flag in the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848 as national identity, freedom and individual rights intertwined with a wave of anti-monarchy.

However, these colors were no longer acceptable with the increase in power of Prussia and the return of the monarchy, while black, white and red became the colors of the new German Confederation or the new German Reich in 1871.

In 1919, the National Assembly, which met in Weimar after the collapse of the German Empire, identified the colors gold, black and red again as the flag of the newly founded Weimar Republic, but the Nazis abolished this flag again in 1934.

Even with the war over, the colors of the German flag remained a controversial issue, according to professor Sabrow.

“There was a disagreement with the German Democratic Republic,” he added, referring to the second German state that was established in October 1949, four years after the end of World War I, or East Germany after the division of the country.

“They were actually the first to nominate the colors gold, black and red and then West Germany did the same,” he said.

This indicates the level to which it can be said that this mixture of colors lacks traditional foundations until the various political camps recognize it.

Over the past two decades, the Germans have become less concerned about raising their country’s flag when cheering on German national teams, while the 2006 World Cup organized by Germany was seen as a source of pride, as the German flag was raised from the balconies of homes and inside cars, and the country united behind a team that includes players of different cultures. different.

Even in the past few years, supporters of the anti-Islam German extremist movement PEGIDA and the populist right wing Alternative for Popular party have raised the German flag during their protests.

“The Christian Democratic Union party seeks to restore national pride and pride from the supporters and movements of the extreme right, but by re-establishing the tradition of constitutional patriotism, and that patriotism isn’t rooted in national identity, but in the values ​​stipulated in the “Basic Law” or the German constitution, according to analysis opinion,” according to political analyst Uwe Jun of Trier University.

In his interview with DW, political analyst Uwe Jun, who is a lecturer at the University of Trier, added that the CDU says that the basic law that laid the foundations for a stable democracy in Germany should be an occasion to celebrate.

Nevertheless, Jun is unsure whether raising the flag will have the effect, the CDU hopes to win votes for the populist right-wing AfD party, which is strong in current polls.

“It will be a difficult task given that many of the AfD voters are voters They don’t trust centrist parties like the CDU.”

In turn, Professor Martin Sabrow, agrees by saying “I think such attempts are useless because it’s not possible to impose such a connection on a modern society”.

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