About the Germans (6)

Heute in „About the Germans“…

„Stolz, Amerikaner zu sein“. So titelt der Economist eine Geschichte über deutsche Einwanderer in den USA. Die Amerikaner mit ihrer Angst, wenn jetzt so viele Einwanderer kommen (nicht aus Deutschland natürlich), dass die dann gar kein Englisch sprechen. Die Deutschen haben den Amerikanern aber doch auch keine Angst gemacht…

This fascinating short paper by Miranda Wilkerson and Joseph Salmons looks at just one town in southeastern Wisconsin, called Hustisford.

Almost a quarter of Hustisford’s population was monolingual in German in 1910. Of that share, a third were born in America. Of the German monolinguals born abroad, a majority had been in America for more than 30 years, having immigrated during the height of the German wave. In other words, in small-town America a century ago, it was perfectly possible to grow up, or to live there for decades after immigrating, without learning English.

Was this because Germans were isolated, in pockets in town or perhaps on the outskirts? No; Ms Wilkerson and Mr Salmons‘ map shows them interspersed among Anglo-Americans. Were they simply undissolved lumps in an Anglo-American pot, though? No again: the scholars find many mixed households, and English and Irish names among the parishioners at German churches. Perhaps the Germans still felt somehow really German, not American? Here, the story is nuanced; German-Americans were certainly proud of their German heritage, but a 1917 cover of Die Deutsche Hausfrau, a ladies‘ magazine, featured prominent flags and the lyrics to the „Star-Spangled Banner“—in German translation.

„How not to treat people with more than one passport“, wieder The Economist.

Besides being unjust and creating two classes of citizens, the law is a nightmare to administer, says Ulrich Kober at Bertelsmann Stiftung, a think-tank. Because countries like Iran do not let citizens renounce their citizenship and others make it costly or difficult, German law in theory grants exceptions. But the rules are not clear, reckons Kay Hailbronner, a lawyer. To make the decisions even more arbitrary, the 16 German states process the paperwork, and each uses different forms.

What better way to irritate those citizens whom Germany’s politicians say they want to integrate? Mr Kober thinks Germany should simply allow dual citizenship.

„Is Germany’s muzzled military moving into a new era?“ fragt das TIME Magazine. Es geht um Mali und Afghanistan, Türkei und den Kosovo. Und ein paar andere Länder. Und die Bundestagswahl.

With German elections anticipated at the end of September, one could reasonably expect a revival of nonintervention politics, the kind that helped then Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder win on an anti–Iraq War platform in 2002 when his fellow Social Democrats went as far as comparing President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy to Hitler’s lead-up to World War II. Merkel and de Maizière have made it clear that the government will send only support personnel to Mali, not combat troops. While this is an important distinction for German politicians, Islamist insurgents have shown in Afghanistan and elsewhere that they don’t differentiate between the two in choosing their targets. The elections will certainly be a test of the thesis that Germany has become comfortable with the necessity of foreign military adventures.

Was bisher geschah:

About the Germans (5)

About the Germans (4)

About the Germans (3)


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