Happy Birthday, Germany
Posted by sanityinjection on May 22, 2009
Today is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. The country will observe two days of celebrations in Berlin including a street fair tomorrow. The event began with a ceremony today and a speech by German President Horst Koehler:
Because of the extreme consequences of German nationalism in the past, Germans today are often reluctant to display too much pride in their country. However, this is an occasion that Germans should be justly proud of. Built on a foundation destroyed by war, the FRG has gone from a nation of displaced refugees to become a prosperous, stable, peaceful and widely respected state. In his speech, President Koehler was careful to thank Germany’s western allies for their assistance in the country’s development, singling out the United States for its role in midwifing and defending the young government during the Cold War.
That is not to say that Germany is without its problems. The former communist east continues to lag behind the rest of the country economically. Anti-Semitism and ethnic bigotry remain, although arguably not at greater levels than in Germany’s neighbors. However, these issues merely underscore the point that Germany has become a “normal” nation. Today’s Germany is a stabilizing influence in Europe and the world.
Germany’s role in world history can never and should never be forgotten. But it is right that its great progress should be remembered also. Other nations may not have the indelible stain on their past that Germany does – but how many of them have made so much progress and accomplished so much in the last 60 years?