USA/World: What do you think about Germany? And the other way around...

idk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
1,836
Location
SW Germany
Car(s)
Hyundai i30N Performance
Hello,
I'm starting this inspired by this THREAD and what i wrote in THIS

Every country has its "Image" in the world. So I think a fair/open discussion about "common" prejudices each side has which can be civilly explained by the other side.

This is the most "international" forum where I'm registered in and at the same time the forum with the most "open" and reasonable people that I know (and I mean it!). So it really could be a gain... maybe everybody could learn sth. :)


Okey, I start:

USA:
Why all that patriotism? Is that "normal" or "sick"? How comes? I've been watching several documentaries about the USA (or some places in it) where the people interviewed claimed that something there was the best in the world. This goes from bean-soup in Texas to cars in Michigan with a lot of things in between. I think thats kind of arrogant but as far as i can judge these people really believed in what they said with all(!) their heart.
How can you be that nation-confident? I really can not understand it... but we are raised to be... somehow ashamed of our identity here. So it's the exact opposite to America. But how comes? WW2 is the reason for us. But for USA?
What do you think about that? Please explain :)
Don't forget... what do you think about us? What do you associate? No matter where u come from.. Czech, Australia, USA... feel free to tell!
 

TC

aka TomCat
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
11,436
USA:
Why all that patriotism? Is that "normal" or "sick"? How comes?
I think its just that people enjoy feeling proud of things. They feel proud when their friends or family accomplish things. They feel proud when they get a promotion at work. They feel proud when they win an award for (insert whatever). And they like to feel proud of their nation.

I've been watching several documentaries about the USA (or some places in it) where the people interviewed claimed that something there was the best in the world. This goes from bean-soup in Texas to cars in Michigan with a lot of things in between. I think thats kind of arrogant but as far as i can judge these people really believed in what they said with all(!) their heart.
How can you be that nation-confident?
I hate to say it, but you almost have to look at it from a football fan's point of view. You have your team and you support them. You know they're not perfect. They may not have many championships. They may not even be that great. But when someone asks you who the best team is, you don't hesitate to answer with Your team.

I really can not understand it... but we are raised to be... somehow ashamed of our identity here. So it's the exact opposite to America. But how comes? WW2 is the reason for us. But for USA?
What do you think about that? Please explain :)
Don't forget... what do you think about us? What do you associate? No matter where u come from.. Czech, Australia, USA... feel free to tell!
Maybe it is the shame factor. If you feel your country has done something shameful, it prevents you from being as proud of where you come from. The current Iraq War is having that effect on Americans right now. Approval ratings of our leaders is abysmal. Lots of Americans are upset with how the War is being handled, when it's going to end, and all that. It's a big subject in the upcoming election.

As far as Germany goes. I think it's a beautiful country in the heart of Europe that produces some of the greatest cars to ever roll on tarmac. The whole Nazi Holocaust thing rarely enters my mind. But then again it did happen 40 years before I was born. :p
 

Vette Boss

Forum Addict
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
5,250
Location
United States, Britain, in time
Car(s)
2006 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 VR6
I know the rest of the world perceives America as a bunch of wildly patriotic, beer-guzzling rednecks who listen to country and western and enjoy a bit of inbreeding on the side. This, however, is only partially true in one region, the deep South. Most of the nation isn't really that way at all, the majority of people here are pleasant to be around and quite intelligent. Some people are just isolated from other culture, through choice or not. The average family here probably doesn't earn enough to travel very far, certainly not to Europe.

America was founded on pride and independence, we're genetically bred to think we're the best out there. We think we saved the world from communism.

I'm actually a first generation American, my parents are English. I can see from that perspective how it is easy to make jokes and generally dislike the place. It's different for me, I've been given everything I need from America, so despite my skepticism and moaning, I'm quite happy here. One thing I do wish, more Americans (especially right-wing Catholics) would be more willing to accept different people, they are often quite rude because I use UK English, which I was taught to use as a child.

Phew. I wasn't planning to go on that long, sorry for my long winded post. :p
 

jetsetter

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
7,257
Location
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
Car(s)
1997 BMW 528i
America was founded on pride and independence, we're genetically bred to think we're the best out there.

I am one who thinks so. When one considers history it is apparent that the United States is one of the greatest nations in history. A unique construct unlike any other.
 

TC

aka TomCat
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
11,436
I'd also like to point out that "The Best" is a very subjective and personal thing.

That's like saying, Whats the Best Car? An impractical roadster? An expensive exotic? A gas guzzling muscle car? A slow boring mini-van? A top heavy SUV? An incapable family sedan?

Best at what? Because no one car (or country) is perfect.
 

jetsetter

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
7,257
Location
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
Car(s)
1997 BMW 528i
I'd also like to point out that "The Best" is a very subjective and personal thing.

That's like saying, Whats the Best Car? An impractical roadster? An expensive exotic? A gas guzzling muscle car? A slow boring mini-van? A top heavy SUV? An incapable family sedan?

Best at what? Because no one car (or country) is perfect.

This is why I never said "best". I said "one of the greatest" and "unique" and these are true.

This leads me to my next point. A little nationalism is not a bad thing. Seems that many in Europe think that if you show nationalism one will sprout a swastika and start goosestepping.

The Britons had an empire unlike any other. That a country so small could become so power is amazing and a unique occurrence in history seldom repeated. For this Britons feel pride in your country's accomplishments. Do not let others make you feel guilty. There is nothing wrong with reflection but guilt is not helpful.

(I just received in the mail a copy of The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk. With texts like these I intend to expand my knowledge about the great country of Briton and its actions throughout history.)
 
Last edited:

Firecat

Politically Charged
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
5,730
There is a fine line between patriotism and nationalism. And I agree with your that the latter is not always a negative. Surely the founding fathers had a great deal of nationalism.
 

Zuhaib

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2003
Messages
855
Location
San Francisco, CA
Car(s)
19 BMW X3
I am a bit confused at the question, are you asking how the rest of the world/US view Germany or in general how does the rest of the world view each other?

As for the US view of Germany, well it depends on who you are asking. I think for the most part Americans view of Germany is what we got from post war Germany, the technology in automotive and industry. You see adverts here trying to promote things as "Made in Germany, because you know they make great stuff" (Thats from the ShamWoW! Ad, or something like that).
At the same time, you still get a constant reminder of Germany from WWII in popular culture like movies, music and etc. We love to remind yourself of WWII as we considerate as one of our finest hour in world history.
While I doubt most Americans still think of Germany filled with Nazi goose stepping around at night, It still at times is seen thru the lens of World War II.

To answer your question about USA,
Well our patriotism and nationalism comes out pretty strong because of our recent place in world politics. One can argue about US place in the world today, but during the Cold War the US stood alone in term of the western powers. So that gives us an ego towards the rest of the world. As for our love with our self is also again to blame during the post war/cold war boom we had. We had an great economic boom that help make a lot of our companies world wide house hold names, so why care about anything non-American?
Also our history of being a nation founded for the most part by another very proud country (England) and our isolation meant we never had to deal with others in industry and society.
 

Interrobang

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
8,149
This leads me to my next point. A little nationalism is not a bad thing. Seems that many in Europe think that if you show nationalism one will sprout a swastika and start goosestepping.[...]
I think there is a big difference between nationalism and patriotism. A Phrase coined by former German President von Weizs?cker sums this up quite perfectly, I think. Patriotism is to love ones country, nationalism is to despise someone elses country - I want to be a Patriot. (analogous translation)
 

Momentum57

worships the 2010 Prius like a god
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,482
Location
Denver, CO
Car(s)
It's A HONDA! Clarity Plug In Electric
When I was in Germany the one thing I noticed was the extremely subdued personal nature of the average German. Its like you would have to hide your face if people knew that you could be cordial. I dropped some acid and had to hide in a gas station just to escape the bad vibes you people give off.

The opposite is the American view BE GREGARIOUS YELL LOUD AND LET THEM KNOW YOUR HAVING A GOOD TIME. Guess that is why we have Las Vegas only a nation of the gregarious would but up an entire city in neon.
 

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,295
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
When I was in Germany the one thing I noticed was the extremely subdued personal nature of the average German. Its like you would have to hide your face if people knew that you could be cordial. I dropped some acid and had to hide in a gas station just to escape the bad vibes you people give off.

The opposite is the American view BE GREGARIOUS YELL LOUD AND LET THEM KNOW YOUR HAVING A GOOD TIME. Guess that is why we have Las Vegas only a nation of the gregarious would but up an entire city in neon.

May I ask where exactly in Germany you have been and what "acid" you dropped? Maybe you simply were rude and did not know about how to behave right in another country?

Apart from that, there is not the Germany. Germany is made out of several regions with different histories, traditions, mentalities and even languages. A North German Frisian is closer to the Dutch or Danish in mentality, than to a Bavarian.

Sadly, though, the main image of Germans in the world is made up of two particular regions: Bavaria and Prussia. The first one is considered the nice and funny side (with beer, Lederhosen and funny hoompa music), while the second one stands for the militaristic and overly serious Germany with no humor and lots of regulations and stuff.

The truth is: Even inside of Bavaria and what's left of former Prussia it is not the case. Not even by a long shot. Stating this today would be as silly as saying the USA only consists of Texans and New Yorkers.

What is funny is that strangely the ones who try to hold up the "romantic" picture of the traditional (southern) Germany and its folklore, are descendants of German immigrants in the USA. They do stuff over there that is so overly stereotypical, that TV shows here who deal with traditional German folklore are showing it in their programs - because we haven't got anything like that anymore.

Reality is that folks over here listen to the same music, eat the same food, watch the same movies and read the same books as on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Although the variety to choose from is probably a lot bigger. After all, Germany is not as "secluded" as the USA. It is located in the center of Europe and has open borders to nine neighbouring countries.

The mutual influences are vast. Germany is the no. 1 transit country of all kinds of products and goods from East to West, North to South and also is the gate to the former Eastern Block countries.

It is impossible in such an environment to hold up German stereotypes ;)

Besides, If I'd really had to, I could make a huge list of things that Germans (or Europeans in general) find disturbing about the habits of people in the USA. But what's the use? After all, it's the differences that makes it exciting, not the congruities.

And only a complete and utterly stupid fool would wish for the Americans to be more German or the Germans to be more American.
 
Last edited:

LeVeL

Forum Addict
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
13,266
USA:
Why all that patriotism? Is that "normal" or "sick"? How comes? I've been watching several documentaries about the USA (or some places in it) where the people interviewed claimed that something there was the best in the world. This goes from bean-soup in Texas to cars in Michigan with a lot of things in between. I think thats kind of arrogant but as far as i can judge these people really believed in what they said with all(!) their heart.
How can you be that nation-confident? I really can not understand it... but we are raised to be... somehow ashamed of our identity here. So it's the exact opposite to America. But how comes? WW2 is the reason for us. But for USA?
What do you think about that? Please explain :)
Don't forget... what do you think about us? What do you associate? No matter where u come from.. Czech, Australia, USA... feel free to tell!

I think part of it is actually a lack of world education. Someone once asked me if there are cars in Russia :rolleyes: How can you expect someone like that to be able to compare nations? To be honest, most Americans don't know much about the rest of the world and don't travel enough outside their country so naturally they feel that the US of A is the "best" country out there (remember the guy that thought Russia invaded the state of Georgia?). At the same time though, there are reasons why others (me included) consider the US to be the greatest. They tend to have a strong economy and a strong military; college education is undisputably the best in the world; corporate life in America is great (ie we have giants like Microsoft, for example); the US is the closest to true capitalism. Then there is the fact that an immigrant in Europe will have a much tougher time "fitting in" and especially rising socially/financially than he would in the US. America is definately not perfect, far from it in fact, but there is currently no better system (and Im not sure if there ever will be). All I know is that I love it here and wont be moving again for a long time.

As far as Germany is concerned, Im pretty sure you are not all nazis :lol: (a lot of people still believe that; I know some people that refuse to buy German cars for that reason). I like Germany :) Hope to visit some day
 

Suedschleife

Subtitling God
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
802
Location
Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Germania
I have to say most negative stereotypes about Germans I encountered where in jest, very few people I met actually considered them as facts, now the stereotypes about being a westerner on the other hand...

This sums up my position on patriotism better than i ever could. I haven't had a problem finding people anywhere who somehow manage to translate their country's/favorite sports team/ancestors achievements into their own self-perception "we invented....", yet simultaneously distance themselves from any lapses of the same entities "they lost...", what a neurotic world.
 

_HighVoltage_

Captain Volvo
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
9,964
Car(s)
1998 Volvo S70 T5M
I've been many places, seen a lot of things. In my expercience, most Americans don't have negative attitude towards Germany. And nor do most European countries. Yes, we've all been affected by WW2, but we've gotten over it...except Britain. I may be wrong, but the Brits may be the only nation in europe who leap at the opportunity to make fun of Germany (watch any Brit TV show or movie, there is always a reference to Ze Germans).
The Europeans view of America - most often based on stereotypes (rednecks, round people, inbreeding, pick-ups, country etc.) However what we (Europeans) fail to realize is that although there is just one name United States of America, there is a very clear distinction between most states - they are like different countries. This summer I went to NYC and I realized that not all Americans are like West Virginians (all the stereotypes mentioned above are valid for WV - been here for 3 years and that's 2 years and 11 months more than I would like to spend here)
 

BlaRo

Little Nudger
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
18,177
Location
Brooklyn
Car(s)
Moto Guzzi V7 Special, Saab 900 Turbo
I love Germany, I've always wanted to spend a month visiting the entire country top-to-bottom. I love the beer, I'm infatuated with the culture, I drool over their cars, and I think it's beautiful land there. I'm also fascinated by history, whether or not it includes the ugliness of WWII or the glory of the Prussian Empire.

So, there. :D

USA:
Why all that patriotism? Is that "normal" or "sick"? How comes? I've been watching several documentaries about the USA (or some places in it) where the people interviewed claimed that something there was the best in the world. This goes from bean-soup in Texas to cars in Michigan with a lot of things in between. I think thats kind of arrogant but as far as i can judge these people really believed in what they said with all(!) their heart.
How can you be that nation-confident? I really can not understand it... but we are raised to be... somehow ashamed of our identity here. So it's the exact opposite to America. But how comes? WW2 is the reason for us. But for USA?
What do you think about that? Please explain :)
Don't forget... what do you think about us? What do you associate? No matter where u come from.. Czech, Australia, USA... feel free to tell!

Patriotism is ok in small doses, until people like jetsetter come along yell AMERICA, FUCK YEAH. You do realize that movie was tongue-in-cheek, right? :rolleyes:

That's the thing I don't get about Europe, it's that they're not only against even a bit of patriotism, they're ashamed of their country's past like you said. Apparently patriotism is the domain of racists and white supremacists over there, which is the other extreme of how it's perceived here. I think you should be proud of your long and storied histories, where the cobblestones in your street are older than America itself.

Patriotism in moderation is ok, it's good to be proud of your country (coming from somebody whose father immigrated here in his 20s and is pretty successful now). It's when you become blinded to it and claim that America is impervious to any wrongdoing and that we're the greatest nation in the world, our industries are the world's finest, our economy isn't in the shitter, that anything we do is intrinsically linked to the country itself, etc., that it becomes over-the-top, and that's what most Europeans perceive American patriotism as.
 

MacGuffin

Forum Addict
Joined
Mar 29, 2008
Messages
8,295
Location
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Car(s)
'17 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
I think part of it is actually a lack of world education. Someone once asked me if there are cars in Russia :rolleyes: How can you expect someone like that to be able to compare nations? To be honest, most Americans don't know much about the rest of the world and don't travel enough outside their country so naturally they feel that the US of A is the "best" country out there (remember the guy that thought Russia invaded the state of Georgia?).

You are right with that of course. But those uneducated people exist everywhere. In fact there has been a lot of talk for about a decade or so here in Germany about a certain decline of education and knowledge of the younger generation. There is a book that deals with this phenomenon, called "Generation Doof" ("Generation Daft") about the problems and failures of the young generation, which is very intersting and funny to read - but also very true.

The feeling of superiority, however, that grasps some of the American citizens, is not limited to the poorly educated ones.

There have been cases where an American father abducted his child from its German mother after a divorce, where she had been given sole parental responsiblity, brought it to America and the American judges did not step in, assuming that the best place for a child to grow up are the Unites States of America anyway - no matter how well the father is suited to do his job as a sole parent.

Those may be isolated incidents but it is absolutely unimaginable that a judge over here would decide on that basis.

So I assume that there is a certain feeling of superiority over other nations in a lot of Americans and not only in the less educated ones. Probably mostly in those, though, who never went abroad, never learned another language and never cared much about what's going on in the world outside of their own country.

At the same time though, there are reasons why others (me included) consider the US to be the greatest. They tend to have a strong economy and a strong military; college education is undisputably the best in the world; corporate life in America is great (ie we have giants like Microsoft, for example); the US is the closest to true capitalism.

Well, how do you explain the current economical problems then? ;) And why are the USA so bad at exports? Container ships are going to the USA fully loaded but going back almost empty. I can hardly think of an industrial product produced there, which is wanted in the rest of the world - except some of the computer stuff but I think a lot of that is also made abroad these days.

From what I observed, there has been a steady decline of the "low tech" and everyday technology in the past decades (which has been a traditionally strength of the German small and medium-sized companies by the way, which still are the strongest part of our economy, not so much the big industries like car industry).

And then there's the infrastructure, which seems to be rather rotten. I experienced roads in very poor conditions in the USA and power losses seem to happen on a regular basis. And don't let me getting started about house insulation or eco-friendly fridges and air conditions and stuff. I work for the German branch of American Express and we also receive e-mails from our American colleagues. The best thing they could come up for a round mail on this year's "Green Day" or whatever it is called, was a tip of how to iron your clothing in a way you save energy...

There are some areas where the USA are undisputedly miles ahead of the rest of the Western world - no argueing about that. But there are also many, many areas where they are miles behind.


Then there is the fact that an immigrant in Europe will have a much tougher time "fitting in" and especially rising socially/financially than he would in the US.

I don't think that's true. While integration is often labeled a problem here and subject to a lot of debates, the truth is that the majority of imigrants does fit in rather well and that there is only a certain part, which is not willing to really intigrate, thus causing problems. And those problems are almost only concentrated on the big cities. I have many colleagues who come from immigrant families (Turkish, Libanese, Polish, Russian) and they have all adapted very well.

America is definately not perfect, far from it in fact, but there is currently no better system (and Im not sure if there ever will be).

That is an assumption and it represents the very feeling of superiority I mentioned above. But believe me, my friend, when you compare the upsides and the downsides in a neutral analysis, you will come to the conclusion that there is more than one best place to live ;)

As far as Germany is concerned, Im pretty sure you are not all nazis :lol: (a lot of people still believe that; I know some people that refuse to buy German cars for that reason)

Those people probably don't realise that their behaviour qualifies them as racists and doesn't make them any better, than your average Nazi.

I like Germany :) Hope to visit some day

You will be welcome here :)
 

anti-net

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
1,274
Location
UK
How can you be that nation-confident? I really can not understand it... but we are raised to be... somehow ashamed of our identity here. So it's the exact opposite to America. But how comes? WW2 is the reason for us. But for USA?
What do you think about that? Please explain :)
Don't forget... what do you think about us? What do you associate? No matter where u come from.. Czech, Australia, USA... feel free to tell!

I think Germans been ashamed of there history is going to change with time, generations of people that weren't around during the Nazi's will begin to see it as a dark time in Germany's long and bloody complex history but will be able to over come it. Britain basicly created the third world, installed many a dictator (and even knighted a couple) but it was a long time ago, no one around then is still alive. Germany will be the same, this is been seen in there culture where there now studying in depth the holocaust and the Nazi party and understanding what happened. No German is going to be proud of WW2, and I think Germans should be taught the raw facts of the holocaust and the rest of the evil during WW2. Germany may have a rough history, but Britain had a huge rule in the slave trade and an evil empire to go with it.

As for not been proud of my country, I am sort of, but were not quite as brash about it. I won't hang a flag up in my room because its just a flag.....no more, no less, a pattern which has been chosen to identify my country. Been British is much more than a flag, its moaning, its queuing, its drinking large amounts of alcohol, its been proud of your country one minute and then calling it crap the next! Its despite voting a politician in on a land-slide, hating the bugger the next minute, its taking the piss out of other countries for been "strange" despite the fact that Britain is full of nutters and eats pigs blood covered in fat.

I am also quite proud of been European, Europe has been at the centre of most of the trouble in the world but it's now united (for now) and at peace (for now) and I'm proud of that (for now)....but in time Europe will collapse again unless the EU is reformed, its not transparent enough and its full of corruption, there are too many unelected officials making decisions and to many Yes-Men....but hey, shit happens
 

jetsetter

Forum Addict
Joined
Dec 11, 2005
Messages
7,257
Location
Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
Car(s)
1997 BMW 528i
And why are the USA so bad at exports?

Because the companies are forced to pay their workers actual wages.
 
Top