March 09, 2003

Pernicious Trends in Deutschland The

Pernicious Trends in Deutschland

The Times reporting from a high school several blocks from the old Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

Sample sentiments from the students: "Before the 1991 gulf war, some prominent Germans of his generation bucked antiwar sentiment by likening Saddam Hussein to Hitler. Now, for some young Germans, the comparison that Susie voiced in her English class works better. President Bush is "a second Hitler," she said, and the attack on the World Trade Center was the equivalent of the Reichstag fire. However outrageous such a link seems to Americans and the German justice minister was fired last fall for voicing a less virulent version it evoked little disagreement from Susie's classmates. On the contrary, several chimed in with conspiracy-laced challenges to the official version of events. Of the Sept. 11 attacks, Franzeska, 18, said, "There are a lot of rumors that the Americans did it alone."

For good measure, there is a also a sense of heightened WWII muckraking underway in Germany. Not Holocaust denial and the like--but rather increased attention to U.S. bombing tactics in towns like Dresden. Watch for more irrational America-bashing and Dresden reminiscenes as the unemployment rate continues to tick up from about 10.5% in the coming months. Contra the former Justice Minister's statement that the U.S. is using the threat of war in Iraq to distract from domestic concerns (she went on to say, predictably, that Adolf used similar scapegoating techniques) it is precisely the Administration she served (before Schroeder relunctantly fired her) that is using an American bogey-man to survive politically. The price of Schoeder's shameless politicking includes poisoned (that word again!) world-views like those of the Berlin students quoted above.

UPDATE: More bad-mouthing of Dubya from German government officials here.

Posted by Gregory at March 9, 2003 02:46 PM
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