Questions about the Germans and German speaking peoples

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,245
here
#1
I remember reading a WWII book in which a German general was critical of another general because the general was Swabian. I remember much the same scorn being mentioned because a certain commander was from Pomerania. Sadly, I don't remember any of the names in question.

I thought these details were interesting, but I really had no frame of reference. What is significant about people from Swabia? Or Pomerania?

I've heard that Southern Germans and especially Bavarians are more laid back, is that true?

Why do Prussians have a reputation for militarism?

What about Germans in Switzerland, Austria and other German speaking lands outside of Germany?

Are some areas more Catholic than Protestant? Why?

Are some groups more industrious than others? Which ones?

What are the most interesting aspects of Germany and German speaking people in your opinion? Is one area or group known for anything you especially admire or dislike? Maybe one region makes great wine. Maybe another is known for it's cuisine or architecture.


I would appreciate anything you think pertinent or helpful, however anecdotal or random, please share.
 
Aug 2016
338
Poland
#2
Anonisms between regions of Germany are quite strong even today and in 30s on 20th century there were probably much stronger.
For example Bavaria was quite brutally conquered by Prussia which was remembered quite long and also it is catholic in opposition to protestant north. Some Bavarian politicians till today threaten from time to time that they will make secession.
With my own hears I heard many times in other regions of Germany "how stupid Bavarians are" and that they "have pictures of Pope" as exemplification of this stupidity :)
Your guesses are right: the cusine of Germany varies a lot depending on region and south produces wine.

As far as I remember Guderian was from Pomerania.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,698
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#4
Anonisms between regions of Germany are quite strong even today and in 30s on 20th century there were probably much stronger.
For example Bavaria was quite brutally conquered by Prussia which was remembered quite long and also it is catholic in opposition to protestant north. Some Bavarian politicians till today threaten from time to time that they will make secession.
With my own hears I heard many times in other regions of Germany "how stupid Bavarians are" and that they "have pictures of Pope" as exemplification of this stupidity :)
Your guesses are right: the cusine of Germany varies a lot depending on region and south produces wine.

As far as I remember Guderian was from Pomerania.
Actually one of the German regions best known for wine is the Rhineland (with sorts like Rhine Riesling etc).


I too have heard about some Germans disliking Swabians a lot although I don't know why. One of my German professors in university (he's from the North) told us in class that his professor was Swabian and he could hardly understand him because of his very thick Swabian accent, which lead him to believe the professor was stupid.


To answer the OP, the South is generally Catholic and the North Protestant, which caused hot blood in the past but then they learned to live with each other.

I don't thin Bavarians are less industrious than other Germans, Bavaria is one of the richest Bundeslands after all. Bavarians have a very strong regional identity, they keep on using their dialects (yup, there's more than one Bavarian dialect) and call all other Germans "Preißn" (Prussians).

As for Pomerania, Idk. Perhaps because it's a region where a lot of people are Germanised Slavs by heritage? That shows in place names and people's family names. Although was usual in Prussia too, as well as Brandenburg, Saxony, Silesia, Posen and elsewhere where Slavs lived or used to live. The -itz in names of people and villages was considered very Prussian for some reason.

People from Hamburg are thought to have no sense of humour whatsoever, their mood is mostly like the weather up there - grey with fog and clouds.

Then you have the Austrians. They're a special bunch with whom we Slovenes have a love and hate relationship. Austrians too use their dialects a lot and although most of them are closely related to Bavarian, they're not the same, don't ever tell that to an Austrian. They're known to be pesimistic, dislike Germans and don't shy away from passive agressive insults. Especially the Vienese are supposed to have a sharp tongue. From my experience they hate to repeat themselves. Due to their dialects talking to them can be a pain in the bum and if you ask them to repeat what they said a couple of times they can get agitated quite easily. Carinthians are thought to be very nationalist and into the right, but there are elements in Austrian Styria that are the most right wing nationalists in the country. If you go to a city like Graz or Klagenfurt, don't be surprised if you see men walking around in Lederhosen, it's nothing unusual.
 

clement

Ad Honorem
Jun 2011
2,141
California, USA
#5
I don't thin Bavarians are less industrious than other Germans, Bavaria is one of the richest Bundeslands after all. Bavarians have a very strong regional identity, they keep on using their dialects (yup, there's more than one Bavarian dialect) and call all other Germans "Preißn" (Prussians).
Yet Bavaria also has a substantial population of transplanted Germans from eastern regions and central Europe who were expelled in 1945. Actually, one of the explanation for the state's prosperity (while it was not especially rich even in the 1950s) was that it welcomed many companies and people from other regions, including Berlin, at the end of WW II.

They're known to be pesimistic, dislike Germans and don't shy away from passive agressive insults.
I think this is overblown. Austrians have a reputation for being snobbish and more formal and traditional than Germans, and both people like to make fun of each other but in the end, they are quite conscious of their cultural ties. I also think that Austrians tend to believe that Germans are a bit condescending to them because of their strong economy which is not justified since Austria has about the same GDP per capita than Germany and a higher quality of life (though I would make the argument that if you took only South Germany, it would be significantly richer than Austria).
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,074
Dispargum
#6
Northern and southern Germans have different accents so that if one person moves to the other region it is easy to identify that person as an outsider. They even have different words for the same thing. In north Germany the word for Saturday is Sonnabend, litterally Sunday eve. In south Germany the word is Samstag - Saturn's day from the same derivation as the English Saturday.

Hitler, being Austrian, had an accent similar to the south Germans. In Berlin, most of the civil servants and senior military leaders were north Germans, specifically Prussians. Hitler always felt like he didn't fit in and that the Prussians were laughing at him behind his back. Rommel was a Swabian, and one reason Hitler liked him was because they were both outsiders in Berlin with similar accents.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,576
#7
I thought these details were interesting, but I really had no frame of reference. What is significant about people from Swabia? Or Pomerania?
Swabians? This might interest you:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwabenhass

Generally there's a French phrase about "A German quarrel" referring to weird, esoteric family quarrels that outsiders can make no sense of. It's a pretty apt description of the German constant internal bickering between the north and south, Protestant and Catholic, east and west, and all the different "Länder".
 
Apr 2010
1,030
evergreen state, USA
#8
As an American G.I., I too noticed various of all of the above comments. I heard more than once, in Bavaria, the term "Sau Preiss" or similar, meaning Prussian pigs, or to that effect. Bavaria has a more conservative school system than neighboring Hessen. I overheard discussions about that by my former German in-laws in Hessen, who had friends in nearby NW Bavaria.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,698
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#9
@Chlodio, Rommel and Hitler didn't have all that similar dialects though since Rommel would speak with a sort of Alemannic accent and Hitler with a variation of Central Bavarian. Hitler's native dialect is closer to what Bavarians would speak across the border while the dialect of Rommel's home region is in the same groups as Swiss German. Neither of them being uptight Prussian nobles could of course create a common ground.
 

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