Germany’s Day of Destiny
While 9/11 has shaped US foreign policy and national identity significantly, German identity and foreign policy has been shaped even more by 9.11. — that’s how we write “November 9th.”
This is what happened on November 9th in Germany:
1848: Germany’s first revolutionary dreams were killed.
1918: Proclamation of the Weimar Republic.
1923: Hitler first attempted to take over the government.
1938: The so-called Reichskristallnacht took the brutal persecution of Jews to the next level and would end in the murder of millions of people.
1989: The Berlin Wall fell.
2007: Chancellor Merkel meets with President Bush on his ranch in Crawford. The Associated Press writes that Iran is likely to dominate the talks. Let’s see what secret worldshaking decisions they will make (To clarify: I am not so superstitious as to believe that Merkel is going to agree on some kind of path to war with Iran.)
Today, a few German papers (example Bild) feature the kids who were born in November 1989 and now turn into adults. The Tagesspiegel writes how the unified Germany is coming of age. German foreign policy has changed tremendously in the last 18 years. Some US observers have criticized Germany’s previous Chancellor Schroeder for an adolescent behaviour. One think tanker wrote that “German foreign policy needs to grow up.”
Regarding gratitude for President George H.W. Bush’s strong support for German unification see the Atlantic Review post: Day of German Unity and German-American Day