The 10 characteristics of the Germans (2023)

The 10 characteristics of the GermansMay 4, 2017once again

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America, as they say, is a nation based on ideas, not ethnic identity. Immigrants who want to become citizens must pass a test on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and civic engagement.

But other countries are based on ethnic and cultural identity. How can immigrants from other societies integrate? What exactly is the cultural identity into which these aspiring citizens must integrate? This can be hard to pin down.

The German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, gave him a chance. He proposed 10 principles of Germany's identity.

he is getting a lotcriticismfor this of the rivals of his Christian Democrat party, headed by Angela Merkel. The left accuses him of being anti-Muslim, nationalist, too Christian, etc.

There wasNewsabout it, but they do not give the 10 principles! I found them in a very bad translation and I offer them to you after the jump.

How about? Do they confuse what "should be" with "what is"? Do they present the dark side of German history as if it weren't really German after all, or do they deal with that part effectively? Does this list provide a foundation for "enlightened patriotism" or is it a new version of the German nationalism that World War II gave us? Do they describe “modern” German culture or do they also apply to past German culture that made positive contributions to Western civilization? Do any of these apply to German-Americans as well? Is this type of exercise useful or useless?

Could there be a similar list that defines American identity, or would it be an offense against American diversity? If there could be such a list of American cultural tenets, what would it look like?

By Thomas de Maiziere,BMI - News - Leitkultur for Germany - What is it really?:

  1. We give importance to some social habits, not because they are happy, but because they are expressions of a certain attitude: We say our name. We hold hands. At demonstrations, we have a ban on the garrison. "Give your face": this is the expression of our democratic coexistence. In everyday life, it is important for us whether we look at our conversation partners with a friendly or sad face. We are an open society. We show our face. We are not Burqa.
  2. We see education and education as a value and not just as an instrument. Students learn, sometimes even misunderstanding, what they don't really need in their later professional life. Some argue, therefore, that the school should be better prepared for future occupations. But this does not correspond to our understanding of education. General education has a value in itself. This awareness is shaping our country.
  3. We see performance as something everyone can be proud of. Everywhere: in sports, society, science, politics or business. We demand performance. Yield and quality bring prosperity. The idea of ​​performance strengthened our country. We also provide assistance, we have social security systems and we offer help to people who need help. As a country we want to do it, and as a country we can afford it. We are also proud of this achievement.
  4. We are heirs to our history, with all its ups and downs. Our past is shaped by our present and our culture. We are the heirs of our German history. For us, it is a fight for German unity in freedom and peace with our neighbors, the convergence of the countries in a federal state, the fight for freedom and compromise in the depths of our history. It also includes a special relationship to Israel's right to exist.
  5. We are cultivation. Hardly any country is so shaped by culture and philosophy as Germany. Germany has greatly influenced the cultural development of the entire world. Bach and Goethe "belong" to the whole world and they were Germans. We have our own understanding of the importance of culture in our society. It is evident that the song is being played at a political ceremony or a school anniversary. At the inauguration of a large concert hall -naturally- the President of the Republic, representatives of the government, parliament, jurisprudence and society are present. Hardly any country has as many theaters per inhabitant as Germany. Each county is proud of its music school. Culture in a broad sense, our perspective on it and what we do for it is also ours.
  6. In our country, religion is putty and not a wedge of society. The Churches with their tireless dedication to society represent this in our country. They represent that cement: they connect people, not only in faith, but also in their daily lives, in kindergartens, schools, nursing homes, and active community work. Such a mass for our society arises in the Christian church, the synagogue and the mosque. This year we commemorate 500 years of the Reformation. For the separation of the Christian churches that Europe has paid, Germany has a high price. With wars and decades of conflict. Germany is characterized by a special relationship between State and Church. Our state is neutral but friendly to churches and religious communities. Church holidays shape the rhythm of our years. Church towers characterize our landscape. Our country is Christian. We live in religious peace. And the basis of this is the absolute primacy of the law over all religious rules in the state and society.
  7. We have a civil culture in the regulation of conflicts in our country. The commitment is constitutive of democracy and of our country. Perhaps we are a more consensus-oriented society than other Western societies. The principle of the majority is the protection of minorities. We were annoyed by the fact that some things went wrong. For us, respect and tolerance are important. We accept different ways of life, and those who reject them are outside of a great consensus. Violence is not socially accepted in demonstrations or anywhere else. We do not associate ideas of honor with violence.
  8. We are enlightened patriots. An enlightened patriot loves his country and does not hate others. We Germans can be. “And because we improve this land, we love and protect it, and as dear as we can seem, like you to other peoples,” says Bert Brecht's pedophile. Yes, we had problems with our patriotism. Sometimes it turned into nationalism, sometimes many did not dare to confess to Germany. This is all over, especially in the younger generation. Our national flag and our national anthem are an evident part of our patriotism: unity, right and freedom.
  9. Our country had many chances to fight. Some of them were associated with basic decisions. One of the most important is that we are part of the West. Culturally, mentally and politically. NATO protects our freedom. It connects us to the US, our most important friend and external European partner. As Germans, we are also always European. German interests are usually better represented and realized through Europe. On the other hand, Europe will not prosper without a strong Germany. We are perhaps the most European country in Europe: no country has more neighbors than Germany. The geographical position has shaped us for centuries with our neighbors, before in the difficult, now in the good. It influences our thinking and our politics.
  10. We have a collective collective memory of places and memories. The Brandenburg Gate and November 9, for example, are part of these collective memories. Or win the world championships. Regional is added: carnival, folkloric festival. The autochthonous roots, the markets of our cities. The affinity with places, smells and traditions. The country mentality, recognizing the sound of the language, belongs to us and shapes our country.

[Read the accompanying essay by Maizière. . .]

Illustration “German Mosaic” by Stolichanin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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