You ask why the sensitivity, and the answer is because they do not accept the biblical injunction of visiting the sins of the father onto the sons. If they were not alive they are not guilty. It does not matter whether the practice was terminated by an internal civil war or an external invasion. They object to the practice, all too common in America, of attributing to Germans who were born subsequent in 1945 the stigma of racism. Evidently it does not occur to those making the charge that there must be some racial reason for guilt to run with the DNA from generation to generation. Who is the racist?
Never mind the fact that they presume that all liberal stereotypes about white Americans to be true.
To the degree that they stereotype Americans perhaps we should blame ourselves. Look at the American television through a foreigner's eyes and describe what you see. Look at American movies the same way and tell me whether you see any stereotypes. Finally, ask yourself whether we succeeded only too well in the object of the occupation. Never mind the Morgenthau plan which was to turn Germany into a de- industrialized farm, consider only the intention to remove racism from the German psyche. When they see racism they react the way we wanted them to and the way we conditioned them to do.
We programmed the Germans post-World War II to react against racism. They see us as racist. They see us as imperialistic and warmongering partly (repeat "partly") because we gave them a set of values which leads them to that conclusion.
We do not have any parallels here; there was never a civil war fought in Germany to extricate those who were hardcore adherents to the elites of either second or third reichen, and the slavery culture had to be forced out of Germany from without
Evidently you are unaware of the Soviet republics around Berlin and in Bavaria post-World War I and the military struggles to put them down. If you are familiar with the post-World War II history of Germany, you will see a society not just sullenly obedient to the Western occupation but eager to restore actual democracy. If you look at the transition from the American occupation here where I live to self-government at a time when people were starving and beaten, you will see a history of enlightenment and genuine democracy as they succeeded in creating one of the great and prosperous democracies of the world.
Might seem ironic that such sensitivity arises in light of the European Unions ever closer union and solidarity rhetoric.
My interaction with Germans tells me that they mostly don't really think about the implications of the European Union except as it affects their pocketbook. I ask them, "where is the capital of Bavaria," and they will gladly tell me that it is Munich. When I suggest to them that perhaps it is in Berlin they concede that's possibly so. If I then suggest to them that the capital is really in Brussels, they look startled. If I suggest to them it might be where the world court is located, or the European Court, where the United Nations, or the WTO is located, they scratch their heads.
If I tell them that we fought a civil war to find out whether the capital would be in Richmond or in Washington, they begin to understand what I am talking about. But if we judge them because on the one hand they are too left-wing with respect to American foreign policy or American race relations and in the next breath indict them for what their fathers did in the Holocaust, we might feel good, but we advance our understanding not 1 mm.
Thank you very much for your elucidating and friendly words:-)
Unfortunately, most Germans have, as you implied, but a dim idea of the US, her political system or her history and her self-image derived from both.
Thus, they somehow always seem to hold Americans against their ideals.
Some of these Germans really should remember that politics is the ‘art of the possible’, e. g. one should not expect the impossible, such as conforming 100% to one’s ideals.
After all, we are only human :-)
You actually believe that such people are interested in democracy? Then why the deliberate blind eye to the Soviet-like EU government in Brussels? Why also the sudden interest in restoring the monarchy at what is now called the federal level?
As for US media in other countries and how the perception of the USA may be so framed, blame Hollyweird.
You’re completely wrong that racism on their part is due to US conditioning; it goes back centuries. Only a liberal would so reason. Unless by what you mean, it is the premature cancellation of de-Nazification on the part of the Allies, the USA in particular? because then I’d agree in a contemporary sense, to a degree that is.
As for the “stigma of racism”, when you have half the population in a survey compare the IDF to the Waffen SS and also believing that Israel is conducting a “war of extermination” against the “Palestinians” (which seems to be working in reverse since the population of “Palestinians” continues to grow), perhaps the stigma is prematurely withdrawn?