Europa über alles?
December 20, 2007 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt.
Deutschland, Deutschland Europa, Europa über alles, Über alles in der Welt!
posted by orthogonality (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The other links try to put into context the main link's explanation of the historical heft of this quiet transition:
For centuries Poland was Europe's marching ground - when it was not dismembered and wiped off the map entirely by some combination of Germany, Austria and Russia. The Kingdom of Poland battled the Teutonic Knights as far back as the Middle Ages and memories of Hitler's Blitzkrieg storming into the country in September 1939 are still alive in the minds of the elderly and the imaginations of the young.
posted by orthogonality at 5:58 AM on December 20, 2007


So...the borders between Germany and other countries are going to functionally evaporate, pretty much?

I like this way of going about it much better than das dritte Reich's attempt.
posted by pax digita at 6:22 AM on December 20, 2007


Well, if you trust the Germans. Don't get me wrong. I like Germany. I like Germany so much, I wish there were still two of them. Ah, who am I kidding. We Americans are the good Germans now, and we'll be paying for it as long as the Germans did.
posted by orthogonality at 6:31 AM on December 20, 2007


It's déjà vu all over again.

I kid. I love the Germans too. Heh heh. I am so glad that the German government will be monitoring my online communications in order to keep us safe from evil doers.

Klopf klopf!

Hallo?

Aufmachen!!

*gulp*
posted by chillmost at 6:39 AM on December 20, 2007


They're just saving the Russians a little time when Putin decided to re-occupy the Eastern Bloc.
posted by briank at 6:41 AM on December 20, 2007


er....decideS, not decideD...
posted by briank at 6:42 AM on December 20, 2007


What's happening with the borders disappearing in the EU is very interesting from an economic perspective, political perspective etc.
But not because of any imaginary connection with nazis.

If that's the only point that you can make about this you're pretty ignorant about european matters.
posted by jouke at 7:11 AM on December 20, 2007 [7 favorites]


re: shifting geographies, i was reading lem's autobiography and was struck by how lvov is now lviv (and, also, btw as a reminder of geographic impermanence -- all is vanity, etc. -- i'm reading lyonesse now ;)

oh and bruces had this to write about the EU back in the day:
In April, while the US was loudly conquering Iraq, the world's weirdest empire quietly swallowed 10 countries. In the ancient shadow of the Acropolis, the European Union expanded from 15 nations to 25, opening its gates to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the island of Malta, and the schizoid mess that is Cyprus. Someday, "Europe" might extend all the way to Japan.

What's the EU's secret for transcending nationalism? Infrastructure. April's 4,900-page Treaty of Accession is all about railroads, smokestacks, trademarks, livestock, fertilizer, cosmetics, glassware, footwear - everything it will take to level the playing field across a consumer population of 450 million people. Life is bound to improve for the new members, from Polish newspaper editors who once feared for their lives to black-lunged Czechoslovakian miners. Celebration is in order, and mankind should rejoice.
(cf. and this bit of triumphalism)

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 7:14 AM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Interesting post; I want to come back to it later, but for now, I just have to complain about the ridiculous translation of the hymn in the first link:

From the Maas to the Memel
From the Etsch to the Belt


WTF is that supposed to mean to an English-speaker? It should be:

From the Meuse to the Memel,
From the Adige to the Belt.

(Not that that helps with Belt, which is incredibly obscure.)
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on December 20, 2007


I don't get your point. Totally agree with Jouke. You do know that the original intent - although not forgotten - was precisely to join the constantly at war France and Germany in an economic union to promote peace, don't you? You, being the citizen of a country that is an union of states, should understand that better than anyone.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 7:42 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Not that that helps with Belt, which is incredibly obscure.)

It probably refers to the Fehmarn/Femer/Femern bælt/belt and not the Littel Belt. And what do you mean obscure? 'Belt' is just a word meaning 'sound'.
posted by Catfry at 7:54 AM on December 20, 2007


I'm so glad that the Prussian Fatherland is starting to return to it's rightful hands!
posted by Pollomacho at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2007


There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


flagged as offensive
posted by muckster at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2007


I blame Martin Luther.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:25 AM on December 20, 2007


I loooove the EU, even though it's big and kinda undemocratic, because it's been an unmitigated success , in that now a war between France and Germany is unthinkable. Not that long ago they were perpetually at each other's throats, messing things up all over the place.

All other perpetually-at-each-others-throats countries take note. If you make your interests common, no more conflict.

Also, it's an empire people are trying to get into instead of out of.
posted by tiny crocodile at 9:55 AM on December 20, 2007


Nice, you Godwined the EU.
posted by Artw at 9:56 AM on December 20, 2007


Also, it's an empire people are trying to get into instead of out of.

Yeah, I guess that's why that constitution vote worked out so smoothly. Yes, it's all happy handholding with completely shared interests in the EU.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:34 AM on December 20, 2007


And what do you mean obscure? 'Belt' is just a word meaning 'sound'.

I mean obscure to English speakers. I would have thought that was obvious, considering we're talking about an English translation. Yeah, I'm sure it's not that obscure to Danes.
posted by languagehat at 10:57 AM on December 20, 2007


Yeah Pollomacho, tell that to Bulgaria and Turkey.

It's not perfect, often it's crap, but there's no wars, is all I'm saying.
posted by tiny crocodile at 11:05 AM on December 20, 2007


ein reich! ein volk! ein Greater Prussia!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2007


You do know that the original intent - although not forgotten - was precisely to join the constantly at war France and Germany in an economic union to promote peace, don't you?

Which original intent? Bismarck would be pleased...Disraeli perhaps less so...
posted by geos at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2007


So it's not just xenophobic Brits who can't think about Europe without mentioning the war. What a shame.

Anyway, I think it's utterly fantastic - another achievement of European unity to set against the (equally natural) arguments about detail that occupy the Brussels class.

And since we started with German national anthems, here's Billy Bragg's lyrics for the European national anthem:

See now like a phoenix rising
From the rubble of the war
Hope of ages manifested
Peace and freedom evermore!

Brothers, sisters stand together
Raise your voices now as one -
Though by history divided
Reconciled in unison

posted by athenian at 11:39 AM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The EU is doing so well that even uber-neocon Charles Krauthammer had to admit it.

Postwar Europe has experienced the most precipitous decline in religious belief in the history of the West. Yet Europe is one of the freest precincts on the planet. It is an open, vibrant, tolerant community of more than two dozen disparate nations living in a pan-continental harmony and freedom unseen in all previous European history.

posted by telstar at 2:38 PM on December 20, 2007


geos, she's talking about the E.U.: Jean Monnet, not Bismarck or Disraeli.

Also, it's an empire people are trying to get into instead of out of.

Yeah, I guess that's why that constitution vote worked out so smoothly. Yes, it's all happy handholding with completely shared interests in the EU.


Eh, strawman bollocks. The constitution wasn't turned down because the French, of all people, or the Dutch wanted to leave the Union. You could say there are two main interlocked problems in the EU:

The first one is the extent of the Integration and (secondarily) the Enlargement* of the EU. The Treaty of Rome defines the aim of the signatory states as "an ever closer union among the people of Europe". There is a camp that would prefer to follow through till the EU resembles a country, with common policies, an authorised President and a Foreign Minister by foreign, don't read American. The other camp would like to strengthen the free market aspect but not pursue the rest.

Keep in mind the EU doesn't exist in a vacuum. France (!) didn't ratify the European Defence Community for fear of Germany in the 50s. The UK applied 3x to enter the EU despite being vetoed 2x. The negotiations in the EU sometimes produce brilliant results and others a collective slap of the forehead (see the election of, the third-tier choice, Jose Manuel Barroso or the bargaining gains of Poland from the Lisbon summit). When the EU appears to be swamping, the integration of willing states is usually proposed.

The second problem is the quality of the representative democracy in EU, as tiny crocodile already mentioned. There is a growing disenfranchisement as people aren't heard, while more rights get ceded from the sovereign states to EU. The French non was largely a "fuck you and listen to us". And then the bright minds in charge decided to pass a constitution-lite, without caring for the causes of the aforementioned fuck you. That's the kind of BS Europeans should be concerned about, rather than taking easy shots at Bush-voters**. There is a systemic aspect too, as the executive European Commission is simply untouchable by the voters and the directly elected European Parliament co-legislates with the council of ministers.

*The Enlargement is nowadays mainly a derivative problem. The 2004 enlargement without any advances in integration or at least administrative practices (never mind examining the criteria for further enlargements) left some hard feelings, curtailing jubilations for the entry of Bulgaria and Romania and leaving Croatia to suffer the side-effects. other than that the EU doesn't want to touch the western Balkans with a 10ft pole and Turkey, with the issues of cultural identity it brings on the table, its American "back-up" and the criteria it has to fulfill, is another matter altogether.

**If you think a non-united Europe will have any clout, feel free to inform me why.
posted by ersatz at 3:24 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


geos, she's talking about the E.U.: Jean Monnet, not Bismarck or Disraeli.

But I think it's interesting, in comparison to the 19th century, to see how things work out without the British empire.
posted by geos at 3:44 PM on December 20, 2007


muckster writes "flagged as offensive"

Look, I'm not saying that Germany and possible German nationalism are the only interesting things about the EU and Schengen.

But yeah, when you (when I, anyway) hear about the German-Polish border, you (well, I) do tend to think of the Tuetonic Knights, Prussian Junkers lording it over Slavic serfs, the creation of modern Poland after WWI, the 1939 German invasion, and the forcible flight/resettlement of Germans from East Prussia at the end of and after WWII.

So, yeah, in one way I'm being Basil Fawlty. But I'm also celebrating that the EU (the physical and political center of which is Germany) has reached "bis an die Memel" this time quietly and peacefully, as a voluntary union Groß-Mittel-Europa that encompasses several languages and peoples, rather than as a purely German Großdeutschland.

To truly recognize what an achievement that is, one needs to appreciate the history of less optimal solutions that led up to it.
posted by orthogonality at 7:16 PM on December 20, 2007


Plus, I like the geographical references in Das Deutschlandlied, precisely because in four words is concentrated so much history, both the long yearning of the German-speaking peoples for union, and the fears of the the rest of the continent about how that might be achieved and what it might mean. There's so much history freighted up in those two lines of a song, so much to celebrate and so much to despise.
posted by orthogonality at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2007


@Telstar
"Postwar Europe has experienced the most precipitous decline in religious belief in the history of the West. Yet Europe is one of the freest precincts on the planet. It is an open, vibrant, tolerant community"
First he should not mistake impotence for tolerance, which is Europes problem. If some muslim immigrants commit terrible crimes the newspapers aren't even allowed to dislose their immigration background. You may call this tolerance, I call it a scandal.
Second, Europe it is not vibrant, it is a sleepy culture with an overaged population

of more than two dozen disparate nations living in a pan-continental harmony and freedom unseen in all previous European history.

What is freedom? Freedom of speach? I doubt this. Keep the money you earn? With tax rates of 50%? The US offers much more freedom, personal und economical.

A European living in the US
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:26 PM on December 20, 2007


Hey, this is Europe. We took it from nobody; we won it from the bare soil that the ice left. The bones of our ancestors, and the stones of their works, are everywhere. Our liberties were won in wars and revolutions so terrible that we do not fear our governors: they fear us. Our children giggle and eat ice-cream in the palaces of past rulers. We snap our fingers at kings. We laugh at popes. When we have built up tyrants, we have brought them down.

And we have nuclear - fucking - weapons.


by Ken MacCleod
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:02 PM on December 20, 2007


A European living in the US

I hope to god I don't ever get brainwashed enough by staying here to sound like an expat of that type.
posted by Artw at 9:58 PM on December 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


yoyo_nyc: You're spouting blantant falsehoods. Please stop. Newspapers not being allowed to disclose criminals' etnic backgrounds is false, 50% tax rates is an exaggeration (and you don't really pay much less in the US, the US government is just totally inept in using it, helped along by corrupt politicians), and what freedom of speech do you feel that you're lacking in Europe in general?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:03 PM on December 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


It is a blatant falsehood that papers can't disclose criminals' ethic backgrounds.

And, even it if were true, it would have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU. Presuming, yoyo_nyc, that you're talking about the UK (frankly, you sound like a brit), the law relating to privacy and defamation is mostly a mixture of:

- English common law (centuries of proud English tradition!)
- The Human Rights Act 1998 - an act of the British parliament which imported the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

You may not know this, but the ECHR and the EU are two completely separate things. The Data Protection Act was enacted on foot of an EU directive, I'll give you that. But I don't think that's what you're talking about.

You should check out the EU's page on Euromyths.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:57 AM on December 21, 2007


@tiny crocodile
@ Joakim Ziegler
It is definatelty true for Germany.
Try a speach from Hans Olaf Henkel as a starting point if you speak German:
http://forum.stirpes.net/politische-diskussionen/14924-der-deutsche-migrations-skandal.html

@ Joakim Ziegler
"50% tax rates is an exaggeration"
Nope, it is actually an understatement.
Do you know how much percent of teh GDP in Germany is eaten up by the gouverment?
It is about 50%! It is only about 36 % in the US. Please don't put broad statements here about something that you don't understand.

@tiny crocodile
"and you don't really pay much less in the US, the US government is just totally inept in using it, helped along by corrupt politicians"
I do pay less taxes. Politicians are corrupt, this is true, but CHANCE is comming.
Euromyths? Thanks, I prefer not to read propaganda that is financed by money taken by coercion.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:12 AM on December 21, 2007


oh god, yoyo_nyc: please shut the fuck up and stay on your "european nationalist forum". Why does a xenophobic german migrate to the US in the first place? Less of those criminal muslims?
posted by kolophon at 6:31 AM on December 21, 2007


yoyo_nyc: we need someone with your clear-eyed views on personal greed over at the thread on socialised healthcare. We were just hearing about a teenager who died because an insurance company wouldn't pay for a liver transplant. I'm assuming that you're in favour because - hey - you'd rather die than live off coerced money, right?

As we're on the topic, the OECD suggests that the tax wedge (all tax payable on work including income tax and workers' and employers' national insurance contributions) is 28.9% in the US, 33.9% in the UK, 44.4% in the Netherlands, and over 50% only in Belgium, Germany, France and Hungary.

The total tax take of all European OECD members in 2005 was 38.3% of national income, while the total tax take in the US was 25.5% of national income (Source OECD revenue statistics via). In Germany, the total tax take was 34.7%.

Now, what was it you were saying... Please don't put broad statements here about something that you don't understand.
posted by athenian at 11:07 AM on December 21, 2007


@athenian
"Germany, the total tax take was 34.7%."

Not true, if taken sales tax (20%!!!) and other takes into account. And here we have not even talked about semi-governmental institutions (GEZ, IHK) etc,


Now, what was it you were saying... Please don't put broad statements here about something that you don't understand.


Officially the "Staatsquote" - what the government eats up of the GDP is given with ca. 47%
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staatsquote

Sorry to disappoint you. While google is good, I recommend some economics books, not only mainstream, but also Mises, Hayek...
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:00 PM on December 21, 2007


@ kolophon
"please shut the fuck up and stay on your "european nationalist forum".

Wrong assumption. I am a libertarian and consider myself open minded.

"Why does a xenophobic german"

I don't see myself as xenophobic either. My girl friend is from Africa if it matters... But what is true: I am not a fan of political correctness. Why not say openly that the immigrants from Muslim countries are a problem in Germany and other European countries? The main reason is the class that immigrated. Mostly uneducated people from rural areas (Iranians in Germany are a different story since the elite immigrated).

"migrate to the US in the first place? Less of those criminal Muslims?"

Yes. Better jobs, lower tax and other things. Most of Europe is a sleepy culture. London might be different. Concerning the "criminal Moslems": Hans Olaf Henkel
http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=3375093&capId=598807&previousCapId=416620&previousTitle=UBS%20AG
recently made a speech about this and said that we have to talk openly about this.
If you can understand German: http://www.cicero.de/97.php?ress_id=6&item=2117
One out of three young Turkish people in Germany have already committed a crime!

Rumors are that Mr. Henkel changed his mind about the whole immigration thing after his son was severely beaten up on the street but I don't know if this is true.

In Berlin 50% of the Turkish population lives on social aid. This is a fact!

Am I against Turkish people? No, not at all. I have met a lot of nice people from Turkey here in the US. But they were educated and not from rural parts in Turkey. In giving out generous welfare aid the European social systems just attracts the wrong people. What makes things worse is that crimes don't get punished enough in Europe since you have tot have "cultural understanding".
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:23 PM on December 21, 2007


yoyo_nyc: You're linking to a magazine where half the front page stories are criticism of muslims, and that publishes articles by Francis Fukuyama? I think you need to try a bit harder than that. Actually, looking more closely at your sources, you seem to be linking several times to the same magazine, is that the only one that's twisted and neocon enough to fit your views? And Mises? And Ron Paul? Seriously? Get out of here.

And don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm European, from Norway, one of the countries in Europe with the highest tax rates and most developed welfare state, and I now live in Mexico, which has a, shall we say, more American system. I know which system I prefer (I like living in Mexico for other reasons, but that's not particularly relevant).

And, in your calculation of "tax rates" (which suddenly changed to what part of the GDP the government "eats up"), in the US, did you include what you have to pay for basic services that you're not getting from the state? Because if you want to get a basic pension fund plus a health insurance of decent quality, that's going to cost you.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:58 AM on December 23, 2007


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