Germany And The Germans – Essay Example
Germany and the Germans Germany is a nation burdened by the guilt of the passed by generations. The silent cries and sufferings of millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust of World War II still echoes in the hearts of every peace loving German. It was to put to rest this sense of guilt that German Parliament decided to fund the building of a memorial for the Holocaust. The lines written by Hughes Mearns (as cited by Fulbrook, 1) for an amateur play reflects the emotional and intellectual agony of the Germans in relation with the Holocaust. The poem goes: “as I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there; He wasn’t there again today, I wish, I wish, he would stay away” (as cited by Fulbrook, 1).
It was the effort to concretize a German national identity that went fatalistically astray in the hands of Hitler and ended up in the Holocaust (Fulbrook, 1). Banking upon this notion of identity, Jews were massacred in millions at that time so as to maintain the racial purity of the Germans. After the end of World War II and after the defeat of Germany, the strong sense of identity of Germany as a nation was fragmented by the formation of two Germanys, East and West Germany (Fulbrook, 18). As the two Germanys went to opposite sides in the global feud between the rightists and the leftists, both tried to give a self-picture of being the better Germany to the outside world (Fulbrook, 2). Again after reunification of Germanys, there have been feverish predictions that the evolving new national identity of Germany is a threat to world peace (Fulbrook, 6-11). But the truth is that Germany is yet to come to grips with the bifurcation as well as the unification wounds. But signs of unified Germany emerging as a major player in the European Union have also started to surface.
Goethe and Carl Marx were Germans. Thomas Mann, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Schiller, Hermann Hesse, Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Friedrich Engels, Theodor Adorno, Werner Herzog, J.S.Bach, R.Wagner…the list of German cultural personalities shows the contribution of Germany to humanity. The Germans have to forget the disgraceful past of Holocaust even while promising the national self that such inhumane history will never be repeated. And they have to draw inspiration from the rich legacy of culture, humanism and intellect shaped by the stalwarts of Germany named above and many more.
Fulbrook, Mary, German National Identity After the Holocaust, London: Wiley-Blackwell, 1999.