Archive for the ‘Germany’ tag
I’d heard these names a few times, but couldn’t have really told you what they meant. Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern do a good job explaining what they did, but I’ll go ahead and take their concluding paragraph to tell you why you should care:
One truth we can affirm: Hitler had no greater, more courageous, and more admirable enemies than Hans von Dohnanyi and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Both men and those closest to them deserve to be remembered and honored. Dohnanyi summed up their work and spirit with apt simplicity when he said that they were “on the path that a decent person inevitably takes.” So few traveled that path—anywhere.
Timothy Snyder offers some new details on the age old question of “who was worse?” Doing the morbid calculus with new data leads to a result that turns the conventional wisdom — Hilter the eviler, Stalin the deadlier — on it’s head (I wouldn’t pull this but that I understand that not everyone likes to read NYRB articles):
All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million. These figures are of course subject to revision, but it is very unlikely that the consensus will change again as radically as it has since the opening of Eastern European archives in the 1990s.
Who says reality 200 years ago has nothing to do with today?
“The divide between the (more free-market) PO and the (more populist) PiS almost exactly follows the old border between Imperial Germany and Imperial Russia, as it ran through Poland! How about that for a long-lasting cultural heritage?!?” How about: amazing, bordering on the unbelievable?
Blake Hounshell points to a handful of images of the DAX — Germany’s stock exchange — in decline that all feature the same woman. The Independent even interviewed her.
World opinion diverges enough to shock Blake Houshnell. While the greatest number of people appear to believe that it was Al Qaeda, Israel and America also won big votes. Israel was most often blamed by Arabs, with Egypt showing 43%, Jordon 31, and Palestine a (mere) 19.
Curiously, Mexicans were the second most likely — at 30% of those polled — to blame the United States. Turkey (36%) was the first, Palestine third at 27, and Germany fourth at 23.
Strange Maps highlights a study of the genetic commonality of Europeans. Finland’s a striking outlier. Other observations:
- The extent of genetic variation is greater north to south than east to west. This may be a result of the way Europe was colonized by modern humans, i.e. from the south, in three successive waves of migration (45,000 years ago, where before there had only been Neanderthals; 17,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age; and 10,000 years ago, with the advent of farming techniques from the Middle East).
- Yugoslav genetic variation is quite large (hence the big pink blob), and overlaps with the Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, Czech and even the Italian ones.
- There is surprisingly little overlap between the northern and southern German populations, each of which has more in common with their other neighbours (Danish/Dutch/Swedish in the northern case, Austrian/Swiss/French in the other one).
- The Swiss population is entirely subsumed by the French one, similarly, the Irish population almost doesn’t show any characteristics that would distinguish it from the British one.
Ryan and Leo were born on the same day to the same parents. But one looks “black” while the other looks “white.”
This idea, like all great ones, seems like something a seven-year-old dreamed up:
Dietrich Stein, of the Ruhr-University of Bochum, wants to free up the roads by diverting the Ruhr’s freight underground. If his plan succeeds, the road network at the surface will be duplicated by a system of tubes below, inhabited by small vehicles that steer themselves automatically from factories to shops or even to individual homes.
Germany has no medal for military valor, and hasn’t had one since the end of World War II.
The traditional Iron Cross is tainted by association with the Nazi era. Hitler awarded his version of it—complete with a swastika stamped in its centre—to thousands of those who committed atrocities across Europe. But advocates of the Iron Cross argue that the honour predates the Third Reich by 120 years. It is also a familiar sight on German military vehicles and planes around the world.
A petition to parliament to revive the Iron Cross last year gathered more than 5,000 votes—and some attention from the far right. The Central Council of Jews in Germany objects strongly to its revival. A more gentle approach is being tried by the Association of Military Reservists. Ernst-Reinhard Beck, its chairman, says the important thing is not the Iron Cross, but the principle of a bravery medal to bring German troops into line with the soldiers from other countries serving alongside them.
The government has accepted in principle the need for a gallantry award, but balks at an Iron Cross. Instead officials are working on a proposal that would add a “bravery” category to the bronze, silver and gold levels of the existing Ehrenzeichen (badge of honour), which is usually given for long or distinguished service. Defence sources say the idea could be approved by President Horst Köhler by the end of the year. But what would the Red Baron think of it?