Sunday, 17 June 2012

Xenophobic against Germans? Me?

Yesterday i saw a Tweet that caused a mixture of offence and general humour and I thought I would share it with you and present the defence.

Firstly I should outline the cause.

In yesterday's blog post I wrote the following :-

i) The need of the Nation outweighs the need of the Locality but would be open to a case by case basis and discussion at an arranged forum with the electorate.
ii) In Wartime - I don't mean like Iraq or Afghanistan I mean if the German army are holidaying in Calais preparing to paddle over the channel sort of wartime.

iii) Serious "National Emergency"

The text in point ii) is referring to the last serious war the UK was involved in that threatened the Islands with invasion. It could indeed be read as a xenophobic comment against the Germans (as an all conquering war like nation) and the French (as the eternal victims of the German aggression) but only if you ignored what the rest of the sentence was saying and just as importantly the person saying it.

However, lets put it into some sort of context, apart from the fact I was writing about World War Two.

According to my Grandfather's research; during the Crusades a young "hedge" knight pulled a spear from himself and defended a wounded man in battle. The German warrior was knighted as Sir Samz and granted lands in Rainham, Essex, his coat of arms depicted his bravery in the form of a Black Lion pulling a blooded spear from his chest on a field of yellow.
Over the centuries the Z became an S and the family fell from glory but remained in Essex and it wasn't until the late 70's my branch left London and moved to Gillingham.

However there was always a strange attachment to the ancestral home. Going back generations, anyone who turned their hand to learning the mother tongue found they had an unnerving disposition to pick it up as if they had always spoken it. Even now I can speak and read German (though my understanding is a little shaky) with an inexplicable Bavarian/Austrian accent.

There has always been a love for Germany, her music and culture within the last few generations. My Grandfather went to Germany Pre War and fell in love with the people and Country. Then in '45 he went into Austria where he acted as a translator for interrogations, even interrogating a man with the same name as his father, Walther Sams. My father similarly went to Germany and loved it but it was my Grandfather whose stories caught my attention and wonder.

At the age of ten I began to support the German Football team and even cheered with genuine joy when Germany won the penalty shoot out over England in Euro '96 in the same way as I wept under my flag as we crashed to a 5-1 loss in qualification for Japan/South Korea in 2001 to England. I proudly wear my DFB shirt and as you can see by the picture a German flag adorns my Avatar on Twitter.

But its not all football.

I'm steeped in German Literature, Von Goethe's "Sorrows of young Werther" is my favourite novel and I also enjoy the poetry of Schiller and Goethe. I also enjoy Austro-German composers, my first love being Mozart but also martial music like Preussen Gloria and Koniggratzer and am even partial to a bit of Rammstein especially the ballad Ohne Dich. I won't bore you with my love for wurst and other foodstuffs and beer or German history, only to say that if you read my posts on the Luftwaffe in Africa you can see that they are written with genuine love for the subject and a removal of the usual "Anti Nazi/German" slant you often read in amateur history. I've borne much abuse for studying the German military and Luftwaffe in particular and branded unfairly a Nazi but I can assure you that I am no National socialist just someone with a great interest in the German Airforce and its equipment. I could not work where I work if I was a Nazi!!!

What I can say is that when I stood in the Rhineland looking up at the Statue of Germania and when I hear Deutschland Uber Alles my chest and heart swells with a national pride in the same way that I'm sure most normal Englishmen feel when they hear God Save the Queen. My love for Germany is unquestioning and xenophobic comments about the nation and people is so far from my mind that I couldn't possibly make a genuine one.

Anyone who has known me for more than a day will know this, as will readers of this blog who can see it in articles like:
German Solution to English Football or Is this form of racism allowed in National Newspapers or Over using the N word, will know that anyway.

So, I'm not quite sure which tree Councillor Osborne was barking up with that comment but... well if you've read this Tris just follow the other links and read the admiration for Germany and the scorn I pour on those who have attacked her with real Xenophobic comments and come back to me....

Apologies are welcome in the comment section lol ;-)


  1. Very interesting post!

    But I thought the anthem is called the 'Deutschlandlied'. OK I know the old title is useful shorthand. But it might help combat knee-jerk anti-German British instincts if we avoid using the inaccurate title for the anthem.

    The words 'Deutschland Uber Alles' are I believe no longer sung to the tune (and as you will be able to explain in much more detail) dont in any case actually mean 'Germany top of the pile internationally' but 'Germany before selfish local interests'.

    1. Absolutely, it is to remind the citizens that Germany should be the first thing above all other issues.

      You are indeed right the first three verses aren't sung as they are considered to be too confrontational and war like which a modern Germany is trying to escape from. However if I wrote Deutschlandlied many people would look blankly at the screen ;-)

      Interestingly the anthem was written for Austria but the Austro-hungarian Emperor turned it down!