The Right want to seize control of the history of the German freedom movement. This attempt, we must strongly disagree with – but without the Patriotism to revive.

By Norbert Free

Maybe it was never different, and yet one has the feeling, as were the pace and timing of the political operation, the resonance space is also important public Speeches ever closer boundaries. Richard von Weizsäcker’s speech to the 40. The anniversary of the end of the war in Europe on 8. May 1985 was months and months of conversation. And no more need for the former forms of Distribution like in the digital world: The millions of shipping of the text, in the the Federal President acknowledged the surrender as “liberation day”, signaled an attention to the spoken and printed word, which has become rare.

the current half-value time of historical reflection, messengers, the last few weeks, plenty of illustrative material. Where, for example, a discussion had taken place about the Speeches that were held for the centenary of the return of the end of the First world war in 1918? Where the engagement with the public representation of the most complicated memorial date of the German, of 9. November, in this year, for the eightieth Time, the “Reich crystal night” marked? Something like a common leitmotif running through the speeches of the Federal President, the German Chancellor and the French President outright: namely, criticism of Efforts on resurgent nationalism in their own country, in Europe and beyond – and that, this development calls for an “enlightened” Patriotism to oppose.

column by Norbert Free

Norbert Frei, born in 1955 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is Professor for modern and contemporary history at the University of Jena. He is head of the Jena Center 20th century history. Century. All of the columns from it, you can read here.

Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism, found Emmanuel Macron on the morning of the 11. November, as he is in front of state guests from all over the world at the Arc de Triomphe for the armistice on the Western front thought. In the afternoon, in her opening speech to the Paris “peace forum”, the Donald Trump ostentatiously out of the way was gone, sekundierte Angela Merkel thinking with warnings of a growing “national blinders” and “national self-glory”. Ten days later, in the Bundestag, the Chancellor Macrons formulation to handle almost literally, and all those who criticized “the belief that they could solve everything alone, and would only have to think to yourself: This is nationalism in its purest Form. This is not Patriotism; for Patriotism is, in the German interest also include others with, and to accept Win-win situations.”

Of the P-word at the most pronounced use of the Federal President. In his speech on the proclamation of the Republic on July 9. November 1918 pleaded Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a “Patriotism with soft tones and mixed feelings”. The formula seeks, as it were, a double justification of Romabet the second German democracy. Because their identity is not to think “without the catastrophe of two world wars, without the crime against humanity of the Shoah”, to explain “not only ex negativo”. Steinmeier: “You can’t justify our country without the extensive roots of democracy and aspirations for Freedom, it has given over the centuries.”

Thus, the Federal President continued, Gustav Heinemann, and whose dedication to the places of memory of the German democratic history. This deserved, according to Steinmeier, “the heart more blood, and, Yes, even more financial resources”. That was, as (almost) much of the speech, not least with a view to the AfD said, the trailer way staged last spring, significantly, a “March of patriots”, the hambach castle.

Black-and-Red-not heard of Gold the nationalists

the aim of the Right to usurp the history of the German freedom movement and to reduce them to the Völkisch-Nationalist, requires a clear contradiction. With a face lift of neglected memorials is not done. Steinmeier’s idea of a “democratic Patriotism” extends no further than Heine’s in front of almost half a century of sympathy for the Revolutionaries of 1848/49 expressed. She seeks to wear the fact that the historical-political constellation in Germany and Europe for some time, serious has changed, and to move more threatening: namely, the self-critical confrontation with the Nazi past and the memory of the Holocaust in the Federal Republic of of the right in question, what has contributed to the formation of a stable democratic culture is crucial. On the other hand it is not managed, the murder of the European Jews as a negative founding myth of a United Europe.

Instead, we observe almost everywhere a return of nationalism, to bring in this country, now an “enlightened Patriotism” in position addiction to Merkel over Steinmeier to Robert Habecks Green.

in view of the unclear effects of such semantic (return follow)conquest strategies questions remain: Was the “constitutional patriotism”, by Dolf Sternberger in 1979 the language and especially Jürgen Habermas, later popularized, actually, a bad idea? It takes the old P-word, in order to establish a new political common sense? And you go not semi-rhetorical amusement Park, Right?

this is Not to deny, however, that their demagogues were much to long freedom. 2015 Günther Jauch felt it right, Björn Höcke in his talk show to invite the draped prompt lehne, a black-and-red-and-gold Banner on his chair. Jauch, had paralyzed – but none of his other guests was courageous enough to back the colours of democracy in the middle of the Studio. So much presence of mind must be in the future. The Federal President has called the reason for this is: “today human rights and democracy in contempt, who the old nationalist hate re-fuelling, has certainly no historical right to the Black-and-Red-and-Gold!”