do not mention the war

German Invasion in London

In Anglo-German Relations, Media Analysis on September 16, 2017 at 08:40

Or so it may have been seen by observers who had no knowledge of the Europa League between Arsenal and Cologne last night. Indeed 20000 football fans dressed in the red and white of their team and marching through London, singing, drinking, does look impressive. Understandably, police and Arsenal were somewhat surprised to see the number of people arriving. In a response the editor of Cologne fanzine effzeh, Arne Steinberg calls this underestimation naive. Right he is. Just because other clubs don’t come with such a huge following, doesn’t mean Arsenal and the police should have been prepared. Moreover, Steinberg expresses his gratitude.

‘For Cologne fans it was the biggest night of our lives. Thanks for having us’

<h3>Throwback Thursday</h3>

This is in strong contrast to other papers such as the Daily Mirror where John Cross spoke of a throwback:

It was a sorry throwback to the shameful spectre of football’s hooligan days of the 1980s.

Violent yobs, drunken fans and a night of shame at the Emirates as 20,000 Cologne supporters went on the rampage.

Cross seems to forget here that English fans often behave in the same manner when going abroad. The same goes for Robert Peston who has had his European solidarity tested:

For some people a football match is still all about the war, without actually mentioning it:

The German newspaper Revier Sport which covers all sports in the Rhine/Ruhr area spoke of consternation. Consternation because out of 15000 peaceful supporters 50 behaved as though the old times are not over yet. In fact, Steinberg also mentioned these people but argued that this should not distract from the fact that the majority behaved well and came to enjoy themselves and support their team, FC Cologne who have not played in any European competition for 25 years. This is a very long time which explains the festive mood they were in.

Two days before Dortmund came to play a Champions League tie against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. There was nothing despite the Dortmund support being numerous and well seasoned as they are regulars on the European stage.


Yearning for the Strong Man

In History on September 11, 2017 at 07:00

The German poet, writer and novelist Gerhart Hauptmann was not associated closely with the NSDAP or national socialism, despite himself applying for membership in the party in 1932.

Hauptmann born in 1862 in Silesia did not come to writing easily. He tried working agriculture which exhausted him physically. In 1882 he went to take lessons in sculpting at Breslau University but was forced to leave after a year due to inappropriate behaviour. Stints in Rome and Dresden failed equally. Slowly he began work as a writer and it was this profession that has given him fulfilment and provided him with an income. From 1890 Hauptmann worked as a writer and was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in recognition of his achievements in drama.

When the First World War broke out, he signed the Manifest of the 93, which denied the claims by foreign sources that German soldiers committed criminal acts during the occupation of Belgium. The manifest also denied that Germany was the culprit for the outbreak of war.

However, he later became critical of the war and in 1918 he was one of the many public figures speaking out in favour of a German Republic.

This is even more surprising as a year before, in September 1917 he said that

‘Subconsciously we are yearning for a man, a strong man.’

His wish was to come through in 1933 when Hitler seized power and led Germany into a another disastrous war within 25 years. He was not a member of the party and the Nazis did go out of their way to dissuade him from emigrating. In that they succeeded but their ideology has not found its way into his writing.

It is nonetheless astonishing to see such a quote attributed to Hauptmann.

Hundred years later it seems that people are still yearning for a strong man ignoring history and its grim lessons.

Note: The quote by Gerhart Hauptmann is taken from Peter Vansittart’s book Voices From the Great War.

The featured image for this is a portrait (German: Der Dichter Gerhart Hauptmann) of Gerhart Hauptmann from 1912 by the German artist and painter Max Liebermann; via WikiCommons

The Wurst Nightmare

In Anglo-German Relations, Football on September 5, 2017 at 15:00

Remembering the early autumn of 2001 when Germany were beaten by England in Munich and I had no clue how to react to English banter.

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