Skip to comments.Germany plans Veterans' Day for fallen soldiers (First since 1945)
Posted on 04/06/2012 11:11:25 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
Germany is breaking one of its major post-war taboos by announcing there will be an annual Veterans' Day to remember fallen soldiers.
The country's defence minister has unleashed a storm of criticism from opposition politicians and pacifists who object to the army being honoured given Germany's bloody past in the 20th century.
German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière has proposed May 22 as an annual Veterans Day to honour former soldiers living and dead.
This would mean honouring those troops of both world wars who acted as aggressors - and in the case of the Nazis in World War 2 - often as criminals.
'Against the background of our operations and the questions they pose our society, it is time to speak objectively and openly about our veterans' policy,' de Maizière said.
The centre-left Social Democratic Party is against the move. 'I'm sceptical whether there can be a day that really reaches society,' said SPD defence spokesman Rainer Arnold.
'If the defence minister wants to do something for former soldiers, he should get some money and improve their social security, instead of invoking some cheap 'ideal honour',' said Left party defence spokesman Paul Schaefer.
The Green Party was equally scathing. Their defence expert Omid Nouripour called the Veterans Day nothing but a 'fig-leaf' for a minister who is 'avoiding his core duties'.
He condemned the Veterans' Day as 'superfluous', unless it was used to open a debate on military operations abroad - and also honoured development workers and diplomats abroad.
Germany's first foreign military mission since World War II took place in 1991 during the second Gulf War.
Since then, 300,000 German soldiers have been in action abroad and more than 100 have been killed. More than 5million German servicemen fell in WW2, and 2million in the First World War.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Were it not for the Treaty of Versailles...
Yup, we all remember the Dolchstoßlüge. Which far too many still believe, even worse.
Hollywood played a huge role in having us stereotype the German soldier as jack-booted cold-blooded killers, when most were not members of the Nazi Party, but were obligated to defend the Fatherland. Many had family in the U.S. and had no ill feelings against Americans or the British. Some risked their lives trying to turn the people of Germany against Hitler. Like the German soldiers that were part of the White Rose.
A tribute to those who resisted evil - The White Rose
I once had a comrade, he marched at my side...
Nope. We that lived under German nazi yoke believe that only good German soldier is the one we killed, took off his boots and rifle and left covered in leafs on a side on the road.
A touching tribute to the gefallene Kriegsopfer.
Thanks for the reminder. I worked for an ethnically German Swiss guy who emmigrated to the U.S. after the war. He was in Europe on a business trip in the 1960’s, he rented a car in Germany and later drove to Brussels. He was trying to find a parking place and saw a lot with what appeared to be a number of open spaces, but the attendant kept waving him off. He asked what the problem was and the attendant said he didn’t park Germans’ cars.
He also told me that in Belgium the American war cemeteries were meticulously maintained and the German war cemeteries were overgrown and left unattended.
Guess we can look forward to some snappy marching.
In Heilbronn, you could buy black and white postcards of the city after the raid, taken at ground level. For about a half mile, not a single brick or masonry stone was standing on top of another. The metal stairs leading up to the old town hall survived more or less intact. The store where I purchased the postcard was opposite the town hall, more or less in the spot where the photograph was taken, and by that time, the town hall and the rest of the town had been almost entirely rebuilt.
I remember bivouacking near the tiny town of Rimbach, near the Oder River. It was a town of about 2000 inhabitants, in the center of the town was a small graveyard. It has a memorial to the war dead from two world wars, about 200 individuals, if I recall correctly. (I counted the number of columns and the number of rows.) German war memorials were not martial in tone, but solemn and dignified.
My point was that for most modern Germans, “Memorial Day” is not a celebration of martial ardor, but a solomn and dignified memorial of lives tragically destroyed.
Which proves that the War cabinet was right. If the Japanese lost the War, the people would repudiate them, hence the cries of “Better 100 million dead than surrender!”
Thank you very much.
However, on the topic of German military and other cemeteries abroad, which have been mentioned, they are nowadays provided for by the VDG, a private organization.
@Olog-hai: The Dolchstoßlegende still being believed today?
Very sorry, but what color is the sky where you are?
Thank you very much for your kind words about war memorials. Yes, most are solemn and dignified...
Interestingly, this Veteran’s day was meant to honor the dead of the German Army since 1956 only, especially those lost in Afghanistan.
Strangely, the Daily Mail does not mention this little detail...
However, most of the DM reader’s comments with lots of green points were very humane and mild.
Bless the hearts of all those who wrote and rated them.