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German Press Review: Germany Past, Present and Future

The passing of ex-U.S. President Ronald Reagan was marked on the front page of many German papers on Monday. But most editorials looked at the weekend's D-Day anniversary and Germany’s FDP party congress.

Almost without exception, German papers ran front page pictures of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan who died at the age of 93 at the weekend. Inside, the editorials dealt with the aftermath of the weekend’s D-Day celebrations which marked 60 years since the allied forces landed on the north coast of France in the turning point of World War II.

Handelsblatt showed pictures of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder walking through a British war cemetery, before laying wreaths for the war dead of Commonwealth nations and at the grave of an unknown German soldier.

It wasn’t easy for Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Süddeutsche Zeitung observed. He was the first German leader to participate at D-Day anniversary celebrations. Schröder commemorated all the victims of WWII and thanked those who helped free Germany and the rest of Europe. But the paper pointed out some people probably won’t like his sentence: the allied troops’ victory wasn’t over Germany but for Germany, however the daily agreed with the chancellor's comments.

The spectacular ceremony on the Normandy coast highlighted the fact that old hate between nations can be overcome, and the Neue Presse in Hanover observed that the wounds have truly healed and people trust each other again. The paper believed the European way of thinking has always been peaceful.

The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung especially noted how much of a ‘show’ was made of the anniversary. It went on to say that previous celebrations focused on the past whereas this one was more about the future. Sixty years on there is a new Europe and a solid transatlantic partnership. The paper hoped that things would remain this way and that Europe could continue to celebrate together on June the 6th.

Other German editorials looked at Germany’s Liberal Free Democrats’ party congress in Dresden on Sunday.

The Schwäbische Zeitung commented on the FDP’s calmness and compared the congress to a church service. Party members looked like brothers and sisters, the paper observed, and leader Guido Westerwelle was charged with a new energy.

The Märkische Allgemeine also noted that the Liberals have rarely looked so peaceful. Despite the lack of any major debate at the congress, there were no signs of personal rivalry in the leadership, which was due primarily to the fact that there were no nominations to deal with, and also because there wasn't an alternative view from delegates to challenge that of Westerwelle. Instead his skillfully delivered key note speech fit well into today’s debate about reform, the paper observed. But the daily was doubtful that things are really going to change. It went on to say that if the FDP doesn’t do well in the upcoming European and regional elections in Germany, the old quarrels will flare up all over again.

  • Date 07.06.2004
  • Author DW Staff (nda)
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/59Y7
  • Date 07.06.2004
  • Author DW Staff (nda)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/59Y7