The Germans: Ze English do not understand us!

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Bugsy, May 19, 2007.

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  1. Here are the Krauts having their bi-annual (or is it tri-annual) whinge at the Brits because they feel they're misunderstood:,1518,483490,00.html

    There's also a very interesting discussion going on about this here (albeit in German - obviously):

    Here's a translation of the Spiegel article in the first link:

    Huns, Miele, Hitler

    Why the British still cannot abide the Germans, even 62 years after the end of the war

    There are things that are not really sensible, but still very popular in England. Drinking lots of beer in a very short time is one of them, as is going for walks in winter without socks. The madness of including the national football team in the world elite 41 years after the last final in an international cup should be mentioned here and, of course, the fact that the Huns, in the age of Usama bin Laden, are still the favourite number one enemy.

    The Huns, that’s us - the Germans. And the antipathy against us is an ethnic pleasure which is as much a part of the island as the notion that Victoria Beckham is a woman with class.

    The Hun appears on afternoon TV, in computer games and, of course, before important matches in football stadiums. Sports reporters do make excuses, but they are powerless against the headline editors, and when one of these editors, as happened in 1996, comes up with the headline "Achtung! Surrender! - For you Fritz, ze Euro 96 Championship is over", then it gets printed. “The British press orientates itself on the tackiest tastes of its readers”, says Professor John Ramsden of London’s Queen Mary University, who wrote a book last year about the special relationship between the Germans and the British entitled: "Don't Mention The War".

    The resentment against the Germans after the war was boosted as the enemy, defeated on the battlefield, rose to new power by dint of the “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle). According to the cliché, the Hun drives his Mercedes to Spain, where he resides in the better hotels and occupies all the deckchairs.

    The frustrated British, who lost their empire and then the economic viability of their industry, ask themselves the question: "Who won the bloody war anyway?" - Wer hat eigentlich den verdammten Krieg gewonnen? A mindset in England which sometimes shapes attitudes right up to the elite in power is: “If you haven’t got the Hun at your feet, he’ll soon be at your throat”.

    This deep mistrust led to Margaret Thatcher opposing German reunification. But the EU was not treated much better either. Nicholas Ridley, Thatcher’s State Secretary for Industry, said the European currency union was nothing more that “a German conspiracy to swallow Europe, one might just have well have gifted it to Adolf Hitler on a plate”.

    Statements which cost Ridley his job, but were later justified by Thatcher in her memoirs.

    The anger changed to spiteful glee in the Nineties, as the teutonic economic machine started to falter and England, deregulated by Thatchers and Blair’s reforms, became a driving force behind globalisation. A shamelessly jeering finger was pointed at the “new sick man of Europe” – the sad poltroon who looked about to miss out on the 21st Century.

    At the same time, the British were showing off their new wealth. Life in England today is often similar to a large-scale plastic surgery operation: “Better Appearance” – “Better Homes” – “Better Food”, demonstrated in endless TV broadcasts. Understatement, the charms of stoicism – formerly primary British virtues – are suffocated by the new and universal desire: "Loads of money".

    It is thus small wonder that any interest in Germany displayed by young people is just about zero. Only one percent of British high-school graduates choose German as a foreign language.

    Even young people in England seem to have difficulty in freeing themselves of clichés: Germany is “the most boring, most unattractive and poorest country in Europe”, even Bosnia is preferable as a holiday destination, as a survey conducted a few years ago showed.

    An organised field trip was scheduled to concentrate the attention of British teachers on the modern, pacifist, social Federal Republic- and away from the favourite British focal point: the Third Reich. The teachers remained unconvinced. One admitted: "Nazis are sexy. Evil is fascinating“.

    It is this impenetrable wall of prejudice and disinterest that modern Germany has been trying to overcome for almost 60 years.

    Although, in the meantime, many British people can afford a Porsche, Mercedes or BMW and can throw in a Miele washing machine too, only a very few can see their way clear to feeling any warmth for the basic German character. The mercilessly efficient but humourless engineer may have superseded the SS soldier of late – it is just that most British people would presumably opt out of going for a beer with him.

    Instead of "Heil" and "Jawohl", most British people spontaneously think of the Audi slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik"

    But there is no cause to lose all hope. Last year, during the World Cup, many British people admitted to having had quite an entertaining time. “On the whole, the Germans are not so bad”, “The Times” graciously concluded.

    One letter writer confided to a BBC website: “The World Cup opened many peoples’ eyes to the fact that the Germans aren’t miserable, boring people”.

    Not miserable, boring people. As a continental European, one can hardly demand more benevolence from the island’s inhabitants. A travel-guide to France, which the British like to buy before they board the high-speed train to Paris, is entitled: "A Year in the Merde".

    So what is the general British attitude to the Krauts? Are they still regarded as the "ewiger Feind" (perpetual enemy)? Or are they just as another race in Europe, without all the nasty Nazi connotations of the past?

  2. Naaah, that's the French......
  3. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    Personally every German I've had any close contact with (apart from the one that fractured my skull with a piece of wrought iron, but he may have been Austrian) have been fantastic people. Easiest country I have ever hitch hiked in...they get my vote...even if they did bomb our chippy....
  4. The problem I think that the Germans have is that they're too bloody modest...

    Us British of course, make excellent cars - most people aspire to own a Rover, don't they? Oh sorry, they've gone bust. Perhaps they'll just have to make do with an Audi, a BMW or a Mercedes - a close second to the enduring quality of the Rover and with a poor re-sale value, I grant you but that's how it is... Volkswagens, for that matter, are crap - no Brit would ever own one...

    German consumer goods in the kitchen also come a poor second - no Brit would be seen dead with a Bosch or Miele fridge or dishwasher because they're renown for their shoddy workmanship and frankly, are aren't worth owning...

    Then there's German motorways. Crap. OK, so they might have the best network in Europe - but what does that count for?

    And their trains! Always late, lacking investment and never on time...

    Lufthansa, for that matter, has a shite reputation and British Airways is streets ahead of them...
  5. .
    If we "hate" Jerry so much, how come we buy so many of his cars??
  6. You mentioning Lufthansa, Adj. That reminds me of a time when we (my wife and I) had no choice but to lug our three-month-old daughter with us on a flight to the UK. The Lufthansa stewardess resolutely consigned the passengers abaft the forward bulkhead to aft seats (in spite of their bitter protests) and thus gave us more room to administer to our daughter.

    When we changed flights at Amsterdam, the BA stewardesses, in contrast, told us that we'd have to make do with the situation in the pit. Well, what a fückin' surprise! BA - British fückin' Airways and all that! I never flew with them again"

  7. I am happily living in Germany, and if I have my way will stay here until my 22yr point, when I will promptly move to Canada.

    as a previous poster has said, most Germans are spot on in dealing with squaddies, the only people to let the side down is us, in the main its the 17-24 bracket, first time in a foreign county, we won the war attitude.

    There are times when I am embarrassed to be British out here.

    whenever my family come over they all comment how nice it is, and how friendly the people can be.
  8. Better to be German than French!
  9. I love Germans, they like to flatten grass with you - well my 7 years during the 80's they defo did...........
  10. Ze English do not understand us - No I bloody well do not.

    I've still not got my head around the "pants on last when dressing" thing.

    Never will.
  11. Germany and Germans are great, I can't wait until I move out there in July. I'm really looking forward to travelling around and seeing as much as I can. I'd do my best to learn some of the language (I already know a bit), but I don't know how easy that will be, surrounded by Brits.
  12. During a nasty winter in Munster, our workshop heating system broke down. We were freezing. The MPBW (Make the Poor Bastards Wait) which was staffed by mostly Germans were called in. In trooped 3 German technicians into the boiler room, and in about 3/4 minutes after they were back out. We were all smiles ,until we learn from one of the Germans that the boiler room was too clod for they to work in. :D
    Who says the Germans do not have a sense of humour, even if it could have cost one of them a 2 lb Hammer, Engineers in the back of the head.
  13. The Germans had the last laugh on us. Towards the end of the war the goole old REME, was instrumental in the revival of the Volkswagen assembly line. The British had the option of taking over the VW operation, but refused as they could ,"not see this type of car catching on."
  14. MPBW also known as Ministry Public Wonders & Blunders!
  15. I can present myself as a subject expert on Germans, I married two of them, and buried one. They have a sense of humour, they like a drink, they love football, they don't like chavs or pikeys. In short, they aren't much different to us. Why should they be, we are just the Germans who could afford a boat. They have one great weakness though, they are to trusting. They trust implicitly: the press, politicians, priests, civil servants, short any kind of authority figure. This means that for the past 1000 years they have been royally shafted by their own kind, a situation that will continue. The taxation system in Germany
    The mistrust of the Germans is not unfounded, the German hierarchy are not content with shafting just their own. They have a roving eye which focuses far too frequently on former German territories in the East. The Poles are very edgy about this, with good reason!
    The war in Bosnia was deliberately precipitated by the German recognition of Croatia as a separate state, which they speedily armed with ex DDR weaponry.
    In short, you can go for a bevy with a German, but don't ever vote for one!