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View Full Version : Something uplifting to study for German history?



Mystic Muse
2011-03-17, 11:02 PM
I'm doing some studying of German history in school. After that poor choice of a video series ,which was entirely my fault, I would very much like to study something uplifting about Germany. Can anybody think of anything in particular? Being able to watch it on Netflix is a bonus, but not required.

LaZodiac
2011-03-17, 11:05 PM
I'm probably going to get shot for this, but aside from EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED AFTER THE FACT, Hitler's ability to make Germany like itself more is incredibly uplifting. Things went down hill soon after though.

Other then that I've got nothing, sorry.

Zain
2011-03-17, 11:28 PM
Some of the innovations in car design could be a good topic, although I'm not sure if that's in the time frame your looking for.

Kneenibble
2011-03-17, 11:38 PM
Berlin was an absolutely fabulous city to live in the 1920s. There's a popular documentary on it whose name I will post tomorrow when I remember it.

Serpentine
2011-03-17, 11:41 PM
Being able to watch it on Netflix is a bonus, but not required.So... Are you looking for a documentary about German history, or a German film, or a German film about German history, or what? :smallconfused: And what part of German history are we talking, here? All of it, or a particular part?

Trog
2011-03-18, 12:02 AM
How about that time in the early 1900's when...

No wait... Too grim.


Well then maybe the early 40's when... uh

No wait... Bad idea.


Or how about when the Wall fell and...

No wait... Hasslehoff.


Boy, this is harder than Trog thought. >>;

Seonor
2011-03-18, 12:21 AM
After you have seen WW II read something about Aktion Sühnezeichen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_Reconciliation_Service_for_Peace_%28ARSP%29 ) (thats the english wikipedia entry, if you can read german the german entry (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aktion_S%C3%BChnezeichen_Friedensdienste) and this (http://www.badische-zeitung.de/ausland-1/der-grossvater-honoris-causa--42261789.html) short article about their work are better). There are more organizations like them but they are the oldest afaik. Also the Kniefall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kniefall).
If you want something with a direct connection to the USA, there is alsways the Luftbrücke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_airlift#The_start_of_the_Berlin_Airlift).

If you want something uplifting which has almost nothing to do with WW II the Mauerfall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauerfall#The_Fall) is always good. I was five at the time and it is one of my earliest memorys of really watching news. The pictures of the people in Berlin and the reaction of everyone around me were something special. The work of the civil rights groups and the demonstrations that lead to it are also good.

The history of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_%2790/The_Greens) or the SPD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Democratic_Party_of_Germany) is also not bad, depending on your political views.

Earlier there were the 1848 Revolutions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848_in_the_German_states). Not succesfull, but the german flag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_flag) (black, red, gold) was established as a sign for a democratic, unified Germany (thats one of the reasons the nazis used the black white red design).

Sorry that the links are mostly to wikipedia, but it is 6 am in the morning here.
If you can read the german entrys, they are mostly better.

Edit: Sorry, but I have no videos at the moment. Perhaps after some sleep. Do you want english or can some of them be german? Would make it easier and since you study germany there is the possibility you know some of it. Or you are stydying it in school and I misunderstood your post.






I'm probably going to get shot for this, but aside from EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED AFTER THE FACT, Hitler's ability to make Germany like itself more is incredibly uplifting. Things went down hill soon after though.

Other then that I've got nothing, sorry.

No. Hitler used the resentments after WW I and the fear and hate of specific groups (I'm not going to make a list here, it would be long) as tools to form his third Reich, there is nothing uplifting about that.
Since this is probably not within the forum rules I'll leave it with that, but I couldn't just let it stand there without any comment.

rakkoon
2011-03-18, 03:14 AM
Would live concerts of music groups count?
Rammstein, In Extremo, Saltatio Mortis,...
You can translate the lyrics and find out where they got the inspiration for their costumes :smallsmile:

Amiel
2011-03-18, 03:28 AM
Germany was the birthplace of Beethoven; who went on to become one of the most admired and celebrated composers in the world.
His hearing was deteriorating to the point of deafness when he composed his magnum opus, Symphony No. 9 and Ode to Joy, and received five standing ovations at its premiere (an unheard of thing).

Lord of the Helms
2011-03-18, 06:04 AM
What period are we talking about here? The most uplifting thing in our history is definitely the fall of the wall and reunification in 89/90, no question. After that, recent examples include reconstruction after the war, especially how far we came in a relatively short time (from insanely tight rationing on the brink of starvation to a booming up-and-coming economy in need of foreign workers to fill all the jobs in a decade in a half), the Spiegel Scandal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiegel_scandal) and what it meant for freedom of the press (sadly and insanely, the villain of the story remained active in German politics for decades later, though), Willy Brandt's eastern policy, and Germany's European policy, specifically the foundation of the European community as an extremely effective means of securing peace in Europe.

Or do you need older history?

I'd call the Reformation a somewhat uplifting topic, if you don't focus on the farmer's rebellion (the sadder side) too much. The rise of Prussia under the camp and probably gay badass general Friedrich the Great to one of the leading powers on the continent, fighting France, Russia and Austria (and...Saxony. Okay, they can't all be great powers) to a standstill, is pretty impressive.

From the Napoleonic Wars, the Lützowsche Freikorps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%BCtzow_Free_Corps) is pretty uplifting, being one of the first symbols of the unification movement and the origin of our national flag.

Teddy
2011-03-18, 06:48 AM
No. Hitler used the resentments after WW I and the fear and hate of specific groups (I'm not going to make a list here, it would be long) as tools to form his third Reich, there is nothing uplifting about that.
Since this is probably not within the forum rules I'll leave it with that, but I couldn't just let it stand there without any comment.

You know that he did other things than instigating and playing on a fear and hatered of specific groups, right? The German economy when he got the power was literally nonexistent, but he managed to rebuild it. That's one of the main reason to why he became as popular as he became.

Hmm, I'm walking dangerously close to politics here... Hopefully not too close, but I'd prefer to not write more about this.

To the OP:
The German history has indeed been a bloody one (as is the history of any European country, really), and what wasn't has been greatly overshadowed by what was. But as Kneenibble said, in the interwar years (up to the Great Depression), Berlin was the cultural capital of Europe. Might be worth looking into.

Eldan
2011-03-18, 07:22 AM
How far back do you want to go? Some of the early kings and emperors were pretty cool.

Klose_the_Sith
2011-03-18, 07:29 AM
Study Felix von Luckner or Emil Paul von Lettow Vorbeck

...

Well *I* find their stories uplifting, anyway :smalltongue:

Mauve Shirt
2011-03-18, 08:11 AM
WWI Aviators! Oswald Boelcke, Baron von Richthofen, etc.
... Well, their stories are more uplifting than trench warfare.
Oh, I didn't even notice that pun.

Pika...
2011-03-18, 08:16 AM
Just don't go the "First printed book route", because there will always be someone like myself in class who will point out the Chinese had invented the printing press centuries earlier. :smallamused:

Telonius
2011-03-18, 08:35 AM
Music and literature are a good place to start. Goethe, Schiller, Hesse, the brothers Grimm, Bach, Beethoven... Lots of math and science as well. Einstein, Daimler, Diesel, Gauss, Planck, and Roentgen (we call them "X-Rays" because no English-speaking person can pronounce "Roentgen Rays" properly) to name a few.

I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned one of the best contributions Germany has made to the world. They didn't invent it, but I think it's pretty much unanimous that they perfected it: beer. There are a quite a few documentaries about the Reinheitsgebot, you might want to check those out.

Pika...
2011-03-18, 08:44 AM
I'm a bit surprised nobody has mentioned one of the best contributions Germany has made to the world. They didn't invent it, but I think it's pretty much unanimous that they perfected it: beer.

That is debatable. Alcoholism is a big issue in Europe. More is drunk there per person than anywhere else.

Fifty-Eyed Fred
2011-03-18, 08:45 AM
That is debatable. Alcoholism is a big issue in Europe. More is drunk there per person than anywhere else.

I thought you were going to say "That is debatable. Germans drink lager."

Pika...
2011-03-18, 08:47 AM
I thought you were going to say "That is debatable. Germans drink lager."

Sorry, you might be right.

Either way I would not know. I am allergic to the stuff, and happily so! :smallbiggrin:

Don Julio Anejo
2011-03-18, 08:50 AM
You could write about Friedrich Barbarossa and the third crusade...

Oh, wait.

German history is pretty depressing...

Klose_the_Sith
2011-03-18, 08:58 AM
You could write about Friedrich Barbarossa and the third crusade...

Oh, wait.

German history is pretty depressing...

What? But I love Barbarossa :smallwink:

Kneenibble
2011-03-18, 09:07 AM
Just don't go the "First printed book route", because there will always be someone like myself in class who will point out the Chinese had invented the printing press centuries earlier. :smallamused:

They had moveable type earlier yes, as did Korea. That's not the same thing as a printing press.

Black_Pants_Guy
2011-03-18, 09:44 AM
I consider pre-1900's Germany to be the true cultural center of the world, providing many boons to Industry, Art, Science, Cuisine and Philosophy. You should improve your google-fu.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2011-03-18, 10:15 AM
Weimar! Turn of the 19th century, that's where all the thinkers and writers hung out in Germany, in the city of Weimar. Or you can look at Bismarck. Pretty interesting time there.

Oooor, you can go further back and look at the Holy Roman Empire. Pretty intense politics there!

Lord Herman
2011-03-18, 12:10 PM
I'd second the German Reunification. It was a very optimistic plan that could have gone horribly wrong, but didn't. Not that there weren't any problems along the way - eastern Germany is still somewhat behind economically to this day - but I can't think of any unification that went as smoothly as that one.

Other than that, you could look at German cultural achievements. Germany (and the Holy Roman Empire before it) has had some amazing composers, philosophers, and scientists.

Don Julio Anejo
2011-03-18, 12:41 PM
What? But I love Barbarossa :smallwink:
Well, he did die crossing a river... And then had to be sent back to Germany in a pickle jar.

RTGoodman
2011-03-18, 12:49 PM
There's a lot of really interesting history around World War I naval stuff. Especially the High Seas Fleet's last big "Screw You!" to the Brits by scuttling the entirety of their own fleet after it was interred at Scapa Flow.

If you want to go back REALLY far, you can talk about Charlemagne. Specifically, the Carolingian Renaissance, which helped Western Europe get out of the early medieval Dark Ages. Lots of important figures around there like Alcuin, and topics like the foundations of early schools, the creation of great works of art and literature, and so on. And as a bonus, there are lots of primary sources available (in English) that can help you out, including Einhard's "Life of Charlemagne."

Mystic Muse
2011-03-18, 12:51 PM
There's no period in particular I have to study. If it's significant enough, I'm sure I could do something fairly recent.

I'll look up the reunification.

Lord Herman
2011-03-18, 02:27 PM
<snip>

If you want to go back REALLY far, you can talk about Charlemagne. Specifically, the Carolingian Renaissance, which helped Western Europe get out of the early medieval Dark Ages. Lots of important figures around there like Alcuin, and topics like the foundations of early schools, the creation of great works of art and literature, and so on. And as a bonus, there are lots of primary sources available (in English) that can help you out, including Einhard's "Life of Charlemagne."

Charlemagne is certainly an interesting figure to study. I'm not sure you can talk about German history in his time, though. He did found the Holy Roman Empire, which later became a German empire of sorts, but Charlemagne's empire was as much French as it was German, if one can even apply those terms to the peoples of his time.

That said, it's a fascinating person (and period) to study - I recently listened to an audiobook about Charlemagne (http://www.audible.co.uk/aduk/site/product.jsp?p=BK_ACON_000027UK), and it gave a very enlightening view of the origins of European countries, feudalism, and the concept of the divine right of kings.

Bouregard
2011-03-18, 03:12 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_von_Bismarck

I always found Bismarck to be someone to look up to... he may have done some questionable things but thats true for almost anyone.

It's kinda shocking how such a genius treaty system was destroyed within years and promptly resulted in the first world war.

Asta Kask
2011-03-18, 03:20 PM
Goths sack Rome 410?

It was fun for the goths...

Telonius
2011-03-18, 03:52 PM
Arminius at Teutoburger Wald would be a bit more fun, if you cast the Romans as sneering Imperialists instead of civilizing overlords. (With English accents, of course).

Gnoman
2011-03-19, 01:34 PM
There's always the German resistance and the officers or industrialists that showed boldness far beyond what you could expect resisting the SS.

H Birchgrove
2011-03-20, 07:00 PM
What? But I love Barbarossa :smallwink:

Don't tell that to the Poles. Or any Slav, really.

H Birchgrove
2011-03-20, 07:15 PM
Wilhelm Busch, artist who for example created the illustrated stories of Max and Moritz, one of many proto-comics.

Heinrich Heine, the poet who created or defined Ironic Romanticism.

Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest and influential philosophers ever. A bit boring as a person though (which increases my sympathy for the man, go figure).

Richard Wagner, re-defined opera and re-interpreted myths and legends through it. Say what you want about his politics, but his music and drama are still good.

Alphaville, one of the greatest pop groups ever.

Klose_the_Sith
2011-03-20, 09:51 PM
My suggestions of Felix von Luckner or Paul Emil von Lettow Vorbeck still reign supreme in terms of badassness and cool factor :smallwink:


Don't tell that to the Poles. Or any Slav, really.

Why? Barbarossa was too busy in Germany and Italy to bother with them, despite some sentiments of forming a Greater Germany existing at the time. He didn't personally do anything.

Teddy
2011-03-21, 08:47 AM
Richard Wagner, re-defined opera and re-interpreted myths and legends through it. Say what you want about his politics, but his music and drama are still good.

It's a bit sad how Wagner's political ideas always seem to be brought up whenever he's mentioned. As horrible as it might be, antisemitism was the norm in the 19th century.

Telonius
2011-03-21, 09:15 AM
Another possible angle - early German film. There are some real gems there. I know more than one person who's turned in a final paper tracing Metropolis through Dr. Strangelove and Star Wars. Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed is a fascinating (not to mention beautiful) early animation using only silhouettes, made in 1926. You could do a lot on a report on that one - its place in film history, women's position in German society (Lotte Reiniger was the head animator), how it fits in with the "orientalist" interest in Europe at the time.

Incompleat
2011-03-21, 11:47 AM
Oooh! Oooh! Make it about Otto Lilienthal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Lilienthal).

His work on gliders was the main inspiration for the Wright Brothers' work - his devices were goofy and barely functional, of course, but that's what made him all the more impressive for jumping off of hills with them. More than 2500 times.

As was to be expected, he eventually messed up and broke his own spine. His last words?

"Kleine Opfer müssen gebracht werden!" ("Small sacrifices must be made!")


http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/3959/ottolilienthal.jpg

http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/1868/lilienthalinflight.jpg


Forget about Kamina, this is the face of ultimate human awesome.

LCR
2011-03-21, 12:29 PM
I don't think you'll find much.
Nothing in the history of any country is only uplifting. Many things were suggested in this thread and you could easily find as many negative aspects to them as there are positive (especially Bismarck and the German reunification).
If you want uplifting, stick with personal biographies. I'm rather fond of both Erich Kästner as far as German literature in the first half of the 20th century goes and he was probably one of the funniest and truly insightful writers of his time. It's not a video, but I'd suggest his autobiography "When I was a little boy" (sadly, not available in English). It ends quite abruptly, though, coinciding with the start of the first Wold War.

On second thoughts, if you want uplifting, you might want to stick to fiction.



On a related note, I don't think this topic is all that appropriate for this forum. I've already touched on it in the first part, but most suggestions here are debatable to say the least, yet the board rules do not allow for political discussion.

H Birchgrove
2011-03-21, 09:58 PM
Why? Barbarossa was too busy in Germany and Italy to bother with them, despite some sentiments of forming a Greater Germany existing at the time. He didn't personally do anything.

I may have to read more about him, I guess; what I've read about him stated that he made Germany "get rid of" Slavs (except for the Sorbs) and ruled at the same time as the Teutonic Knights, who are NOT popular in Poland.

He may very well have done great things for the Germans though.

H Birchgrove
2011-03-21, 10:06 PM
It's a bit sad how Wagner's political ideas always seem to be brought up whenever he's mentioned. As horrible as it might be, antisemitism was the norm in the 19th century.

Which made Friedrich Nietzsche's verbal slapping of him so very heart warming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nietzsche_contra_Wagner

But you're right of course.

Klose_the_Sith
2011-03-22, 07:03 AM
I may have to read more about him, I guess; what I've read about him stated that he made Germany "get rid of" Slavs (except for the Sorbs) and ruled at the same time as the Teutonic Knights, who are NOT popular in Poland.

He may very well have done great things for the Germans though.

The thing about Barbarossa is that there wasn't very much he could do. The man was as much of a diplomancer as anything else, seeking to reconcile the noble class of the Holy Roman Empire with the Holy Roman Emperor while at the same time fighting off constant uprisings at home and abroad.

It is true that he *wanted* to institute a system of English Feudalism, thus tightening the Empires grip on it's lower classes and probably spelling very bad things for the Poles/Slavs in the event of German conquest, but such a thing never happened through his will or in his lifetime.

As I said, there were anti Pole/Slav viewpoints common to his time, but he wasn't responsible. The man was almost too busy feuding with his uncle (IIRC) to make time for his ultimately botched crusade! :smallwink: