How about: "We're all good Germans"?

Germans are down in the dumps about themselves. Terrible economic growth may be the main reason, but then there is always the weather, the food, and uncomfortable questions about what Dad or Grandpa did during the war. Or maybe it is just living next door to the French.

So the German government did what any ineffective bureaucracy would: it hired an advertising team to dream up and promote a feel—good slogan, spending over thirty million dollars to propagandize its own citizens.

But apparently, somebody forgot to do the research on who else used the slogan. You might think that with a certain nationalistic strain in the background, one would be fairly careful about picking a slogan about how great Germans really are. Then again, the national anthem still is based* on the music from "Deutschland uber alles" come to think of it.

The Telegraph of London (via the Washington Times) reports:

A multimillion—dollar campaign to boost Germans' low self—confidence has backfired after it emerged that its slogan was coined by the Nazis.

The $34 million "Du Bist Deutschland —— You Are Germany" —— campaign was devised to inspire Germans to stop moaning and do something good for their country.

Beethoven, Einstein and the sports stars Franz Beckenbauer and Michael Schumacher have been cited in advertisements encouraging Germans to take more pride in their homeland.

But a historian from Ludwigshafen has provoked an uproar with his discovery that the same "Du Bist Deutschland" cry was used at Nazi rallies in the 1930s.

Stefan Morz uncovered photographs of a 1935 Nazi convention in which soldiers display a banner reading, in Gothic script, "Denn Du Bist Deutschland (Because You Are Germany)." The slogan was topped with the head of Adolf Hitler. Leading Nazis such as Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels attended the event.

I would encourage the new Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to have some good instincts, to re—think the whole slogan business. I realize that as the leader of a coalition government, she doesn't have much real power to change things much. And the fundamental problem of crushing taxes and a social welfare state that people like (tax—supported spa cures!) doesn't look solvable, even if it is wrecking the economy.

There are just too many comic possibilities when one starts to think about slogans for Germany.

*hat tip to knowledgeable reader Hans Ridder, who noted that the German national anthem retains the music but has jettisoned the words "Deutschland uber alles."

Thomas Lifson   11 26 05

Germans are down in the dumps about themselves. Terrible economic growth may be the main reason, but then there is always the weather, the food, and uncomfortable questions about what Dad or Grandpa did during the war. Or maybe it is just living next door to the French.

So the German government did what any ineffective bureaucracy would: it hired an advertising team to dream up and promote a feel—good slogan, spending over thirty million dollars to propagandize its own citizens.

But apparently, somebody forgot to do the research on who else used the slogan. You might think that with a certain nationalistic strain in the background, one would be fairly careful about picking a slogan about how great Germans really are. Then again, the national anthem still is based* on the music from "Deutschland uber alles" come to think of it.

The Telegraph of London (via the Washington Times) reports:

A multimillion—dollar campaign to boost Germans' low self—confidence has backfired after it emerged that its slogan was coined by the Nazis.

The $34 million "Du Bist Deutschland —— You Are Germany" —— campaign was devised to inspire Germans to stop moaning and do something good for their country.

Beethoven, Einstein and the sports stars Franz Beckenbauer and Michael Schumacher have been cited in advertisements encouraging Germans to take more pride in their homeland.

But a historian from Ludwigshafen has provoked an uproar with his discovery that the same "Du Bist Deutschland" cry was used at Nazi rallies in the 1930s.

Stefan Morz uncovered photographs of a 1935 Nazi convention in which soldiers display a banner reading, in Gothic script, "Denn Du Bist Deutschland (Because You Are Germany)." The slogan was topped with the head of Adolf Hitler. Leading Nazis such as Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels attended the event.

I would encourage the new Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to have some good instincts, to re—think the whole slogan business. I realize that as the leader of a coalition government, she doesn't have much real power to change things much. And the fundamental problem of crushing taxes and a social welfare state that people like (tax—supported spa cures!) doesn't look solvable, even if it is wrecking the economy.

There are just too many comic possibilities when one starts to think about slogans for Germany.

*hat tip to knowledgeable reader Hans Ridder, who noted that the German national anthem retains the music but has jettisoned the words "Deutschland uber alles."

Thomas Lifson   11 26 05