Germany: Who Are You Now? | Connecticut Public Radio

Germany: Who Are You Now?

Jul 15, 2014

Credit MomentCaptured1 / Creative Commons

Two snapshots: The first from the publication American Bazaar, right after the German World Cup win. "In the city of Leipzig, a solitary car scuttled along, with the flag attached to the roof. Waving the flag has yet to catch on. Jan Hoffman, who works in Frankfurt, was in New York when 9/11 happened.  'I had never seen so many flags in my life. Here, there are hardly any, although we won football's greatest tournament. It is as if we must still give ourselves permission to wave the flag.'"

Second snapshot: Former European Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, talking about economics, not soccer: "I can only advise German politicians to take a close look at the psychology of this game and never forget that Germany will always be viewed an assessed differently than any other European country."

Rand Cooper.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

On the surface, there's no obvious connection between Germany's victory in the World Cup and the planned republication of Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler's long-banned manifesto. But on this show, we'll ask Germany watchers about the country's long-standing post war discomfort with triumphalism, and whether there's a change in the air.

Are Germans now able to experience pride in their ethnicity and their country the way other people do? To celebrate a big world sporting victory with full enthusiasm, the way others do? Regarding the war and the Holocaust, this is a critical moment, when living testimony is giving way to the collective abstractions of history. Do Germans finally feel that they have moved out of the shadow of that history? How do they teach their country's history to their school children?

This hour, how Germans view themselves, and how the world views Germans.

Comment below, email, or tweet @wnprcolin.


  • Rand Cooper is an author, essayist and freelance writer and former resident of Germany
  • Peter Ross Range is a journalist and author who has been involved for decades with Germany
  • Jürgen Matthaus is the Director of Applied Research Scholars at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies
  • Catherine Stupp is a freelance journalist in Berlin, Germany