The Third Reich’s Effects on Modern Germany
To understand what Germany is today, one must understand the generational effect that the Third Reich not only had but continues to have. As Kempe says, “A historian would be hard-pressed to find a country where a mere dozen years of history, between 1933 and 1945, has cast such a long shadow.” Even though the Third Reich lost its power more than half a century ago, its effects on German culture and politics still stand firm. The effects can be seen in Germany’s idea of national pride and identity, race relations between Germans and German Jews, and Germany’s relationship with the international community of Europe that it fought a horrific, long, and bloody war against.
One of the single most important aspects of Germany during the Third Reich was the idea of what it meant to be a German. In Defying Hitler, Haffner describes Germany as a sporting nation. He speaks of the national pride that Germans exhibited and the emphasis and importance that were placed on the sports. Post Nazism, the pride that Germans took in their sporting accomplishments has vanished. Germans could not embrace their sporting heroes such as Boris Becker, Steffi Graf, or their World Cup soccer championship team as national icons because, “History (the Third Reich) has made Germanness as much a personal drama as national identity.” (Kempe 25).
Nazism believed that not all races were equal. This belief stated that Germans were threatened by Jews. The belief was that the Jews were purely evil and therefore were a direct threat to the German race. The Third Reich concentrated all of its power to eliminate the perceived Jewish threat (Tipton 451). In Fatherland, Kempe makes the point that the Third Reich had a definite side effect on German’s relationships with German Jews. He says that none of his German friends have a natural relationship with any Jews. He describes how ghosts take up chairs at the table making it hard for a...
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