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Old February 17th, 2012, 10:07 PM   #1

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A polarising view of how soldiers are viewed in Germany


When soldiers return home to Australia, they usually receive a heroes welcome (besides Vietnam). From what I know, soldiers in the US receive similar homecomings. It was strange then to read how German soldiers returning from tours in Afghanistan are having completely opposite experiences.

Read it here: No Parade for Hans - NYTimes.com
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Old February 17th, 2012, 10:46 PM   #2

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Glorifying the military is rather taboo in Germany due to the experiences of WWII.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:09 AM   #3

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It seems that Germany is ashamed of anything to do with the military. I think they have gone so far as to try to wipe away any signs of its military past. Where as other countries have memorials to the heroes of the past, such as Trafalgar Sq, the Germans have from what i can gather renamed them. There used to be Moltke bridge in Berlin, but that has been renamed.

They have tried to wipe away anything to do with the military, but grudgingly accept that they need to have one. And in my view, this is partly our fault. We heaped all the blame on Germany and made them feel so ashamed. And its such a shame that this nation, once so proud of its military, is now acting like this.

Though to be fair, the attitude in the UK to servicemen, while not as bad as Germany, is nothing like it is in the USA.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bish View Post
It seems that Germany is ashamed of anything to do with the military. I think they have gone so far as to try to wipe away any signs of its military past. Where as other countries have memorials to the heroes of the past, such as Trafalgar Sq, the Germans have from what i can gather renamed them. There used to be Moltke bridge in Berlin, but that has been renamed.

They have tried to wipe away anything to do with the military, but grudgingly accept that they need to have one. And in my view, this is partly our fault. We heaped all the blame on Germany and made them feel so ashamed. And its such a shame that this nation, once so proud of its military, is now acting like this.

Though to be fair, the attitude in the UK to servicemen, while not as bad as Germany, is nothing like it is in the USA.
you summed that up well Bish, it is a terrible shame that a country once so proud of its military can now be ashamed of anything to do with it. one german member on this forum said that germany is a very pacifist nation at the moment as the war guilt still remains and that we shouldn't expect them to involve themselves in any major war. i'm not any fan of stalin but i think he was right when he said after the war that "Hitlers come and go, but germans will always remain"
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Old February 18th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
you summed that up well Bish, it is a terrible shame that a country once so proud of its military can now be ashamed of anything to do with it. one german member on this forum said that germany is a very pacifist nation at the moment as the war guilt still remains and that we shouldn't expect them to involve themselves in any major war. i'm not any fan of stalin but i think he was right when he said after the war that "Hitlers come and go, but germans will always remain"
I can understand it to a point, but i think Germany has gone to far. We all have things in our past that we are not proud of. Ok, Germanys recent past is worse than most. But we Brits are still proud of stuff our troops did in the name of empire and conquest. Germany not only seem to be ashamed of the regime, but of the soldiers who were fighting, and dieing, for their country. And this has carried on to the present.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 06:31 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Son of Cathal View Post
It was strange then to read how German soldiers returning from tours in Afghanistan are having completely opposite experiences.

Read it here: No Parade for Hans - NYTimes.com
That's pretty damned shameful.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 06:44 PM   #7

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That's pretty damned shameful.
Indeed, and it gets worse as seen a few years ago when the last WWI veteran died:
Last German WWI veteran dies - World news - Europe - msnbc.com
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Old February 18th, 2012, 06:47 PM   #8

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That's pretty damned shameful.
i agree! it's ridiculous to blame german soldiers today for the sins of their great or great great grandfathers.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #9

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Hmm I never perceived it as bad as the article describes it.
I have been on the train with soldiers quite often and never witnessed any hostility towards them.
I have to agree we are not ones to go up to soldiers and they "Thank you for your good service" or something like that. It's not part of our character and I think no soldier in uniform expects to hear it.

Quote:
I think they have gone so far as to try to wipe away any signs of its military past. Where as other countries have memorials to the heroes of the past, such as Trafalgar Sq, the Germans have from what i can gather renamed them.
That's not exactly true we are quite good with memorials when it comes to stuff that happened BEFORE WW2.
Everyone has probably seen a pic of the victory column in Berlin

Click the image to open in full size.

Just to name one.

Our army is certainly respected by the majority and we do take some pride in it but the foremost feeling of many is that we'd rather have those people home and not fighting wars somewhere.

Any deployment of troops is very unpopular with the public especially if the reason's for the deployment are not easily explainable.
Germans love their army and police especially for their humanitarian acts.
For example if we can send troops to another country to help with flooding or other natural disasters, or to provide medical service. We are also quite proud of our GSG9.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #10
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I might get flak for this, but the near hero worship that all military members receive in the U.S. can disturb me at times. I respect the armed services immensely, but I am worried we have moved too far towards the idea that the soldier can do no wrong.

Americans seem very conscious of the awful treatment that Vietnam vets received, and that seems to to have tipped the scales to the other extreme.
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