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Is the Past Past When it Comes to the Nazis?

DW readers called on Germany to get some pride after a confidence campaign blundered into the Nazi past.

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You are Germany, says the campaign

The followi n g comme n ts reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comme n ts have bee n published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for le n gth a n d appropriate n ess of co n te n t.


The "Du bist Deutschland" campaign intends to boost German spirits, and remind herself of the greatness of her people. It is useless trying to compare it to other not-so-great moments of her history as if doomed to walk upon the same path. History has clean white pages ahead, same letters and same phrases can be used, but stories always change. "Du bist Deutschland" speaks in present tense, meaning what and who you are NOW, not yesterday. It is under this light that Germany should see herself. When you do, you'll certainly find something beautiful and say without hesitation: Ich bin Deutsch. The world smiles at you, smile at yourself too. -- Israel De La Luz Be, Mexico

For me the use of this slogan by Nazis is not important at all, the important point is that Germans feel better about their country, because Germany is a great country. -- blaueradler

The Second World War is over. Get over it. Germany is a great country, it is needed in the world, and every German should be proud of it. -- Richard L Harrell, Houston, Texas, USA

Um 1935: NS-Kundgebung auf dem Ludwigsplatz

The Nazis rallied Germans wirth the same slogan

I do not think it really matters if the slogan that is used today was similar to the one during the Nazi era. That was over 50 years ago! While there are some that may remember a slogan that was like the current one, I'll bet a majority of Germans (now) did not grow up during that era, and have no recollection of it! Another point is that Germans need to LOOK FORWARD to the future instead of looking in the past. No matter what you say now, chances are that it was said in an earlier era, Nazi or otherwise. If you keep on comparing what was said now and then, you really put a limit on your possibilities. -- mtnjorge

Personally, I hope the photo is a fake. If not, the planners have a lot of explaining to do about not researching the motto for possible negative connotations. Good luck with the concept. I trust Germans will no longer be told they are Europeans first and Germans second. Additionally, Germans may come to appreciate that we Americans are so proud of our nationality. No pride in country = diminished pride in community and oneself. -- vivlaray

I hear that the National Socialists also spoke German, occasionally ate bratwurst, and even -- shudder to think -- enjoyed a good Bavarian beer from time to time? Perhaps modern Germany should shun all of those as well to underline the distinction between themselves and the Nazis? Seriously, the National Socialists' entire agenda was based on (a warped sense of) German pride. If there's a way of expressing national pride in words, chances are good that they used it at some point either in speech or in writing. While I can appreciate and fully understand why modern Germany wants to disassociate itself from the Germany of damals (then), I also believe that it can be overdone. Those who see echoes of Nazi propaganda in the current "Du bist Deutschland" campaign are really looking for hairs on an egg. -- Doug

The logic behind the complaints against the "Du bist Deutschland" campaign would suggest that using the term "Deutschland" itself was fascist… Nonsense! Germany has grown beyond the nasty National Socialist period and should be allowed to have pride in itself once again. Never forget the past but please do not dwell in it either. This is the sentiment of a non-German whose forefathers suffered under previous German aggression. -- Bosser

I would like to applaud your efforts to kindle the spirits of the Germany populace and think that the program is commendable. Germany is still haunted by the Nazi past and should do their best to shake off the fetters of the past and be proud of the present. -- Jack Bares, Minnesota, USA When I first became aware of the slogan, I thought it was as hollow as wheels must roll for victory. Somebody must have millions of euros to blow in vain. -- W Schulze

I see that the Germans need all that it takes to lift up their spirits in such a time when skepticism flourishes. Germans must throw away the curse of collective guilt many foreign nations want them to stick to. In a period of high unemployment, a shaking economy -- though we foreigners all know that German economy compared with others is still strong -- and budget deficits and many other social problems, Germans must be excused for using every propaganda in lifting the spirits of their skeptical compatriots. To those non-Germans who want to nag about every aspect that has Nazi background, I pose this question: Isn't it high time that you reconcile with your German brethren? -- MS Bishir, Libya

This new campaign to lift German spirits through nationalistic pride will get out of hand just like it has in the US. Adolf Hitler used nationalistic pride to boost peoples spirits and it was taken too far. In the US following 9/11 nationalistic pride has people calling everything that's foreign a terrorist and nations that wouldn't go to war with us "weasels." The people of Germany should as all the other nations of Europe be proud of peace, European Unity, and how they treat their own people. Faith in one nation is a waste, but faith in a union with other nations is not only a sign of peace but shows the ability to compromise and work together. -- Barry Boomer

"Du Bist Deutschland" is something to be proud of. Be proud of what Germany has survived. Be proud of all Germany has accomplished. Take this slogan back from Hitler who badly misused it. Make it the symbol of a proud new Germany. A Germany where all her people are proud to work together. A Germany where business can prosper and work to improve her. A Germany where the lessons of a dark history are worn on all its citizens' hearts, yet not besieged by its grip. A Germany at the forefront of efforts to bring about peace, prosperity and social justice, not only in the EU, but around the world. -- John Wollenzin, Canada

"Du bist Deutschland" is a perfect slogan for the German people. It says each individual German is responsible for making Germany what they want it to be. If enough Germans had understood the real meaning of that slogan in the 1930s, perhaps Hitler and his Nazis would never have risen to power and been able to inflict the horribly destructive calamity of WWII on the world -- and on the German people. Change the name of the country and it would be a good slogan for the people of every country in the world. It would be a good slogan for all of humanity. -- prospecjim

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  • Date 26.11.2005
  • Author Compiled by DW staff (ncy)
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/7Wc2
  • Date 26.11.2005
  • Author Compiled by DW staff (ncy)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/7Wc2