A year ago I kicked off a series of posts that I called “my Germany mix”. The idea was and is to highlight just a few of my many, many articles on Germany that might be a bit more timeless than usual in journalism.
Last year’s post was about the Nazi past and the unique remembrance culture that Germany has built to cope with that legacy.
In this post, I’ve selected four pieces that illuminate different aspects of the German mentality today (thus also shedding some light on where certain stereotypes come from).
This article started as a spontaneous and almost frivolous blog post I wrote for our culture magazine, called 1843. Then, to my and my editors’s surprise, it went viral. Must have hit a nerve.
To me it comes down to a twin-pathology in German culture: a difficulty in grasping non-literal meanings and a compulsion to lecture other people. See for yourself.
… this being his theory, which has become a classic of political science, of two types of ethic: Gesinnungsethik and Verantwortungsethik.
If those long Germanic words sound daunting, the piece (a “Charlemagne” column in The Economist) hopefully is not, and indeed could turn out to be quite fun.
… for the monk who posted his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg exactly 500 years ago still shapes German ways of thinking in astonishing ways.
This is another “Charlemagne” column. Could be interesting especially to those of you from a different religious tradition, given that even the little differences go a long way to forming our minds.
This term means something like “wholesome world” or “idyll”, but it’s often used sardonically. In any case, postwar Germans for decades clung like their garden gnomes to a particular utopia in their minds. Now, buffeted by the nasty world outside, that Heile Welt is gone. What comes next?
This, too, was a “Charlemagne” column.
Still to come in this series:
- Angela Merkel
- the awful German language