Germany: still old and busted

Davids Medienkritik highlights a poll of young Berliners conducted by German daily Die Welt.  The survey examines residents’ knowledge of and attitudes toward the former communist-run DDR (East Germany).  Perhaps the most striking results are those for 15-17-year-olds—admittedly a demographic that, throughout the Western world, tends to ignore historical knowledge in favour of pop trends and leisure.

Most unsettling are the positive or neutral responses by a majority of East-Berlin students polled (and sizable minorities of West-Berlin students) to the propositions that the DDR was not a dictatorship and that the Stasi was just an intelligence agency like any other. This represents a dangerous ignorance of one’s own national history as well as a frightening willingness to condone or overlook the crimes of the former East German regime.

Davids Medienkritic, “Welt Online: “America Built the Wall – Kohl is from the East“, November 11th, 2007.

I agree.  Hard to believe that a little over two hundred years ago, Prussia had what was regarded as the best education system in Europe.  Now it looks like Germany was marginally better off when it was a collection of 1,800 minor statelets ruled by inbred relatives of the King of Spain.  Is it too late for the North Atlantic Council to undo the Trizone unification?

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2 Responses
  1. Gorthos says:

    But’cha know, maybe the kids choose to ignore it because I am quite sure they spend their days being told in subtle and direct ways, that they have been an evil nasty race of folk since 1914. After a while, the constant finger pointing wears thin and one swings the other way.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    I would hope that your interpretation is correct, Gorthos. I really do.
    On the other hand there’s Japan’s example, which is to whitewash the entire imperial project and certain unpleasant truths (i.e. the Rape of Nanking, the entire Manchurian occupation, death marches, POW abuse, etc).
    Japan’s history books read like they were minding their own business when suddenly the United States waged a war of aggression across the Pacific and dropped two nukes on them for no reason whatsoever.