Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Devil has all the best tunes

Understanding the far right in Germany takes a paradigm shift in thought. Imagine an earnest group of young folk musicians from Cumbria with a repertoire dedicated to the courage of their grandfathers at Tobruk, ballads celebrating the advance of the Royal Tank Corps at El Alamein and sweet guitar riffs backing songs about their love of their folk customs. This approximates the narrative behind much of Germany's far right; that the Wehrmacht was the finest war-machine ever created, that German soldiers in WWII performed nobly and with outstanding courage against overwhelming odds, that their grandfathers were true heroes. It's as if Nick Griffin were suddenly to produce a Spanish guitar and began to strum chords declaring "I'd like to share something I wrote recently ..." . To us, where the liberal-left seem to have a monopoly of the performing arts, it seems strange indeed.



All this of course is 'wrong' and contrary to the official post-war narrative of guilt and liability established in Germany. Right-wing parties in Germany however have been pulling a worrying number of votes - up to 15%, and enough for the Government to set up a Commission to counter the growth of the movement. In seeking to re-write Germany's recent history, to give meaning to those five million Wehrmacht dead, these young people can perhaps be understood. And the German government will have a hard time of it - there's nothing so hard to suppress as a song, and the Devil always has had the best tunes. 

13 comments:

Greg Tingey said...

The "devil" does not exist, any more than BigSky Fairy does ...

However, even more than here, in Germany, the glorifiers of this sort of thing are going to have a problem.

A village (in Nordrhein-Westfalen) I visit regularly, had just under 1000 inhabitants at the 1938 census.
Death-toll in WWII? approx 150.
Take out women, leaves 500, take out children, aged 16 or under by 8/5/45 & people over 50 on 3/9/39 ... how many left?
That's something approaching a 50% casualty rate - never mind wounded ....

Anonymous said...

Greg - the reality behing "nostalgia" is that it is frequently practised by those who never lived in that place or time. So even as your village in Nordrhein-Westfalen has lost 50% of those who would remember it well, there will be much more than that number who will "remember" it and its villagers in place of those who died.

The rise of nationalism in the UK and Germany (and any other EU country for that matter) is a direct result of the rise of the EU state.

Coney Island

strawbrick said...

Before passing comment perhaps we could have an English Translation of the lyrics?

And why are the modern day soldiers (from the USA) included?

john in cheshire said...

My interpretation of what you are saying is these people are socialists. As for the terms right-wing and far-right, I have no idea what is meant by them. They may be to the right of international socialism but they're still socialist/fascist/marxist/communist in beliefs.

Greg Tingey said...

JIC
You are mad
Fascism is the "left/right" opposite of socialiam or marxism.
However, fascism & marxism are similar in that they are grossly authoritarian (at right-angles in the "political plane" to the L-R axis)

TUCO said...

I see my way of thinking of left and right in polotics is a long way off Greg Tingey,s veiw.I look at it this way far right would be i,ll be responsible for myself i,ll not ask the state for anything and you don,t offer just stay out of my day to day buisness and we,ll get a long fine.Far left the state owns your very existence you will join the others or go to prison and we,ll be watching to see you conform.

Greg Tingey said...

The far right-authortarian states own your very existence, too ....

anon 2 said...

Well, there we are then. Nobody can tell left from right any more!

So it can't possibly matter whether the left hand knows what the right hand's doing.

Raedwald said...

Strawbrick - yes, good point.

Unknown Soldier

Unknown Soldier
(I)stand today before your ivy covered grave
You think not even one recalls your ordeal/pain
No one comes here anymore
No one misses you anymore
Oh,it hurts
If I am at your stone this way loyal soldier
(It is) more than a nameless grave

I hear the voice,speaking softly to me
"You comrade,please do not betray us!"
We have given everything and paid with our lives
Now is the time to take our oath!
To take in the spirit of the weapons
I know you will manage!
And have no fear, you are not alone!
No matter what happens, we will be with you!“

I swore to you,as true as I stand here
I wear/carry the flag, wherever I go
Never will I betray you, for no gold in the world
I fight for you unbroken hero
I fight for you, unknown hero

And whoever tells a lie,using your name,
your deeds tarnished by greed
meets the sword from an invisible hand
A guardian of the dead sent by Wodin
A guardian of the dead in black clothes
(chorus)

Comrade you see, we stand up for you/are with you
The strength we need ,will come/be lent to us from Wotan
You gave so much for this country
It was the belief, that connected you
It was the belief, that connected you

And when I come back to your stone
I tell you of our success
Then it is done/accomplished and we are again free
Your grave flourishes/blooms again and that’s why it/a thought came to me
Your grave flourishes/blooms again, because now we are free!
(chorus)
http://lyricstranslate.com
http://lyricstranslate.com

anon 2 said...

Oh very interesting, Raedwald. Thank you.

Lot of pagan in there ... along with the (Oswald-type) wooden cross.

Overall though, I'm not surprised this is out there. Surely they'll soon start singing victory songs? It can't be long before everyone realises that, at this stage, they have won all the wars of the twentieth century. They rule: British slaves pay for the privilege of 'getting along with their betters.'

Anonymous said...

Some sort of totalitarian reaction seems quite plausible these days. Young men being unemployed and preference given not only to females but to foreigners and homosexuals.
Horst Vessel coming soon?

Greg Tingey said...

Both anon's need their heads examined.
None of their statements bears any resemblance to actuality ...

cuffleyburgers said...

Well, the wehrmacht was a magnificent fighting machine and the German soldiers fought with great skill and bravery.

unfortunately their heroics went to further the insane ambitions of a clique of madmen, and were marred by large numbers of disgusting atrocities against civilians and prisoners.

Can it be that there's something in the German national psyche (if such a thing exists) that makes them more prone than some others to groupthink? that would explain why they were such fantastic soldiers but allowed themselves to be ordered to do appalling things.

Germans you meet are generally such decent intelligent people.