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Nice going, there, Switzerland!
June 18, 2008 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Oops! Swiss national broadcaster SRG turned back time on Monday when, while broadcasting an Austria/Germany soccer match, it offered subtitles accompanying Germany's national anthem that mistakenly included the "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" lyrics, a verse popular under Nazi rule but ignored since the fall of the Third Reich. The melody, Das Deutschlandlied, comes courtesy of Joseph Haydn, who penned the ditty in 1797.

You can head over to the toobs to see a handsome old 78 player offering up a warbly instrumental version of the tune. Even those who've never heard ol' Joe Haydn's version, however, might still find the melodic hook a little familiar. Oh, and I'd mention that those lyrics are by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, but you knew that, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Anthem gaffes seem to me to happen more often than they perhaps should . . . that big a captive audience must be awfully tempting for sound techs with repressed grudges or mischievious streaks . . .

A potentially disatrous but in the end well taken one was the English opera singer who sang "My dear, my penis is a mountain" in place of the proper words of the Croatian national anthem a few years back.
posted by protorp at 7:32 AM on June 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


A potentially disatrous but in the end well taken one was the English opera singer who sang "My dear, my penis is a mountain"...

Heh
posted by DU at 7:45 AM on June 18, 2008


More (and hence less) on the mountain-penis situation, from Language Log, where Mark Liberman described the story as reported by the BBC as "one of a class of stories that mainstream media types view as 'too good to check'."

Hatt baby hatt hatt baby.
posted by cortex at 7:46 AM on June 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Would it have been kind of amusing if, during the recent NBA Championships the Lakers had played 'California Uber Alles,' by the Dead kennedys? I'm just saying.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yes, it would have.
posted by smackfu at 8:08 AM on June 18, 2008


Well I think we can see now just how neutral those Swiss are.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:08 AM on June 18, 2008


An only tangentially apt comment from The Kids in the Hall
posted by wabbittwax at 8:15 AM on June 18, 2008


Not the first such gaffe. (It must be noted that Spain had a conservative government at the time. The current socialists would probably be more amused than outraged if the same mistake was repeated.)
posted by Skeptic at 8:24 AM on June 18, 2008


This always warms my heart.
posted by chococat at 8:34 AM on June 18, 2008


...they then refered to The Reichstag as "Uncle Hitlers Hut".
posted by Artw at 8:41 AM on June 18, 2008


This totally reminds me of the time when I meant to sing "The Lord Is My Sheperd" at my cousin's funeral, but accidentally broke into "Too Much Booty In The Pants."
posted by Debaser626 at 8:42 AM on June 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hatt baby hatt hatt baby.

Don't get fresh.
posted by languagehat at 8:45 AM on June 18, 2008


And then there's the (possibly apocryphal -- my reading pre-dates the internet) incident that was supposed to have occurred at a national US political convention where the less-than-historically-sensitive band leader triggered an orchestral welcome to the Georgia delegates to the convention by conducting a rousing rendition of "Marching Through Georgia".
posted by Mike D at 8:59 AM on June 18, 2008


Another ficional national anthem gaffe.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 9:02 AM on June 18, 2008


As a schoolboy, our school stopped having us sing the hymn, 'Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion city of our god', because the words *always* came out as 'Deutchland, Deutchland uber alles, Uber alles in der Welt'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:09 AM on June 18, 2008


Don't mention the ueber alles. Switzerland did it once, but I think they got away with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 AM on June 18, 2008


And, what a soccer match it was.
posted by found missing at 9:17 AM on June 18, 2008


watch your step
posted by ddaavviidd at 9:22 AM on June 18, 2008


And then there's the amusing gaffe where the US Air Force adapted the nazi slogan for its own.
posted by signal at 9:22 AM on June 18, 2008


signal: Über Alles may have nasty nationalistic connotations, but it is hardly a "Nazi slogan". The Nazis had plenty of slogans of their own ("Meine Ehre heisst Treue", "Kraft durch Freude", "Heil Hitler", and so on), they really didn't need to appropriate those two words from the national anthem for one.
posted by Skeptic at 9:32 AM on June 18, 2008


From the Wiki: It was originally also thought of as a simple drinking song, which explains the reference to German wine and women in the second stanza.

Heh. Poor neglected second stanza; was always my favorite.

I was forever suspecting that Herr von Fallersleben had a few too many (and probably got laid too) before writing those lyrics.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2008


Everyone should quickly check their own nation symbolism and anthems for eagles, dodgy occult symbols, imperialist overtones etc…
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on June 18, 2008


I don't have the link handy and am not an expert, but I have read that that whole "ueber alles" bit meant Germany, the nation, over its component states, like Bavaria or Saxony.

If you imagine a Texas populated by a whole lot more of the most annoying "never shuts up about how great Texas is" Texan and then multiply by 50, well, it's not hard to imagine Francis Scott Key writing a national anthem that suggested you just shut up and salute the damn flag because I'm sick of listening to you and if I hear one more word about how great Rhode Island or where ever the hell you're from is, I'm going to beat you within an inch of your life!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:42 PM on June 18, 2008


Everyone should quickly check their own nation symbolism and anthems for eagles, dodgy occult symbols, imperialist overtones etc

kurt vonnegut said ours was "gibberish sprinkled with question marks"
posted by pyramid termite at 1:02 PM on June 18, 2008


The next line in the "über alles" verse is "from the Maas to the Memel, from Etsch to Belt."

Deutschlandlied borders vs current borders.

That verse wants to invade Poland, and keep going.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:09 PM on June 18, 2008


Isn't Germnay 200 years old this year? Are they having a bicentenial or something?
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on June 18, 2008


Ah... my dates are all out... History of Germany
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on June 18, 2008


That verse is about East Prussia which, when the words were written, had been German for over 500 years.

Since then, the German population was ethnically cleansed. From East Prussia about 2 million Germans were expelled.
posted by sien at 1:41 PM on June 18, 2008


Oh yeah, sien, totally agreed - it was a statement of fact when the verse was written. It isn't now though.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2008


i_am_joe's_spleen: Agreed.

The CNN summary contains an error.

The first verse was not 'ignored' after the defeat of Germany. It was banned by the Allies. Calling censorship 'ignoring' is Orwellian.
posted by sien at 4:07 PM on June 18, 2008


In the spirit of national anthem mishaps, I give you John Redwood (Secretary of State for Wales 1993-95) totally failing to sing the Welsh national anthem.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:10 PM on June 18, 2008


Some more stories: Australia has made a couple of embarrassing fuckups at events, most recently an 'IT error' that stopped them playing the Ghanaian anthem until half-time of a soccer friendly.
posted by jacalata at 7:33 PM on June 18, 2008


Everyone should quickly check their own nation symbolism and anthems for eagles, dodgy occult symbols, imperialist overtones etc…
posted by Artw at 8:43 PM on June 18 [+] [!]


The beloved dirge of my motherland which is "God Save the Queen" actually has an almost never sung middle verse, which evokes the days when Brits could say what they wanted and put whatever humorous characters they liked on the back of marmalade jars:

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.


Furthermore, there's a fourth verse (never official, but widely sung in the late 18th century) which captures English sentiment from a time long before such piffle as provincial devolution reared its uppity head:

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

posted by protorp at 1:19 AM on June 19, 2008


Makes me feel all patriotic.
posted by Artw at 8:08 AM on June 19, 2008


Play La Marseillaise! PLAY IT!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:36 PM on June 19, 2008


The Australians also messed up the Spanish national anthem in 2003, by playing the old Republican one. The right-wing government at the time made a huge fuss about it, it's nowhere near as bad as reciting Germany uber alles.

BBC story at the time

The old Republican hymn

The Republic it belonged to

The reason it changed to this, which is the same anthem today, only today it has no lyrics. At all.
posted by adricv at 12:19 PM on June 20, 2008


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