Germany’s collective blame phobia

Source: The Local

People don’t always make the best choices, even if their aims are honest. Realizing this can be painful but it doesn’t debase our common morality. We have to try to do what’s right without presuming that our choice would automatically be so.

The Germans collectively made themselves so guilty for what happened between 1933 and 1945 that they’ve been trying to avoid being blamed for anything else ever since. They can’t stand to leave any trace of their existence and are compelled to calculate their choices decades in advance. It’s a particular form of German angst that was long confused with a general fear of concrete catastrophes. But aversion to nuclear energy, environmental destruction, global warming, war, contaminated food, and even having children are all based on the same fearful foundation: How do I avoid contributing to calamity?

This question at first sounds honourable enough. In times of war, in Afghanistan for example, the Germans hardly care what happens to their own soldiers, but are intensely worried about what their troops do to others. While the military brass in America, Britain and France usually have to justify their own heavy casualties, the biggest scandal in Germany revolves around a botched air strike called in by a German colonel that left scores of Afghan civilians dead. Other nations consider this a particular form of self abuse – the Germans love to flagellate themselves.


1 reply

  1. A very interesting analysis. In fact few acts of German nation as united body have made it conscious of this particular phenomenon. But is extremely encouraging that nation is aware of it which is a great sign of a respectable nation. To large extent it can be contributed to the national leadership to whom nation follows with loyalty. This reminds me a meeting which was held few years back in Göttingen University with the 4th supreme head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In that meeting a very learned scholar accepted the fact that German Nation has tendency to follow its leadership in letter and spirit and in most cases its leadership astray ed from the right path thus bringing a bad stigma to whole nation. He gave few examples including of Hitler. The supreme head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community drew the attention of participants once to follow the divine leadership bestowed upon him by God and it will eliminate for ever the fear of going astray ed. This invitation to whole German Nation is still valid from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

    German nation has extreme good qualities. Nation gets united once convinced and follows its leadership with sincerity and loyalty. Now whether its leadership remains on right path or not is a million dollar question. One suggestion could be the establishment of a national council of very balanced intellectuals to whom strategic policy decision could be referred before implementing. This could further ensure all the prose and cons of important strategic policies adopted by German Leadership.

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