I certainly didn’t expect to spend the start of 2020 wading through nearly 700 pages about the 1892 Hamburg cholera epidemic, but I’m glad I did. Death in Hamburg, British historian Richard J. Evans’ social history of the epidemic, is a page-turner, his passion for the topic nothing short of infectious.
Geography Archives: Germany
While prices and recipes for asparagus, dates and restrictions for re-opening dominated the media and many conversations, a far more significant matter found little attention. Ever since 1955 an estimated twenty American nuclear bombs have been stored underground at the U.S. Air Force base in Büchel in Rhineland. A German politician recently proposed spending $3 […]
With COVID-19 figures flattening downward, Germany is limping back to some kind of normalcy. Auto and bike shops, book dealers, barbers and most shops less than 800 m2 can now re-open (with customers 5 ft apart). Bigger shops and department stores are squabbling: “Why not us?”
Berlin, like many of your hometowns, is a ghost city. Except for those offering groceries, medicines or medical care, everything is shut tight. Luckily, no-one here has to stay inside, we can stroll around outside but, aside from families, we may not “assemble” in groups of more than two (if any cops are around).
The right-wing menace, its violence and threat of a genuine fascist take-over, is far from ceasing with the happy ending of a Grimm fairy-tale. Thuringia is where the Nazis gained their first foothold in 1930 and the AfD leader here today, Bjorn Hoecke, is the most vicious and dangerous man in Germany.
While millions this week stared at Iowa and Washington with worried amazement, confusion or anger, Germany, too, had its own messy confusion–which turned into a frightening alarm signal!
Troop movements today promise anything but peace. Every two years military maneuvers encircle Russian borders; every nine months a new brigade of 4500 U.S. soldiers was flown over to “gain experience”. This year it will be a division of 20,000, joined by soldiers from 18 countries, 37,000 in all.
No-one on Berlin’s main eastbound traffic artery could miss one of the two murals, five stories high, 2745 square feet in area, in shiny bright, red, green, yellow and blue colors up to the gabled rooftop of an older, isolated apartment building.
Looking out my window at the wide Karl Marx Allee boulevard below, I have seen many a big May Day parade march by in the old GDR days, and many a passing bicycle race or Marathon. Recently, for the first time, I saw a slow, endless column of green or yellow tractors.
A stern, history-based evaluation awakens doubts that, despite the paeans in the world media, the fall of the Berlin Wall was not purely a peaceful revolution, a choice of freedom by the masses, another successful victory for freedom and justice as in past centuries.
Germany is really riding a rollercoaster these days, but this is no amusement park; there’s lots of suspense but rarely joy – and quite a few politicians are very unwell! Not only politicians!
Even thirty years have not accustomed all ex-GDR citizens to seeing youngsters in the streets with their ragged dogs and paper cups for charitable donations, concert violinists begging money with Mozart in cold subway stations or, on icy nights, homeless huddled figures in sleeping bags on the stations’ concrete floors.
In 2018, one of the longest dry spells on record left part of the Rhine in Germany at record low levels for months, forcing freighters to reduce their cargo or stop using the river altogether.
The months ahead will show how many degree traces of the revolutionary spirit—exemplified by two recent events in Berlin—will somehow find their way into the Berlin and German political scenes.
In Saxon and Brandenburg, the leading parties held their lead and headed off the threat by the AfD. But in both states they were painfully weakened.
The three states in Eastern Germany now facing elections (two of them on Sunday) will be forced to decide on coalitions; no party will be strong enough to rule alone, most likely not even in two-party tandems.
The call to stop the production of coal and cars often sounds like a threat to jobs. But German trade unions have realized that the green transition needs to happen—and they’re fighting to make sure it’s bosses, not workers, who pay for climate justice.
Before the Berlin Wall was torn down we all made sarcastic jokes about its official designation by East German (GDR) party leaders as “anti-fascist protective barrier”. But hearing racist ranting by AfD leaders now hoping for victories and seeing gangs of marching thugs with barely–paraphrased Nazi slogans we must wonder if perhaps that scorned terminology […]
On June 2nd Christian Democrat Walter Lübcke was shot dead in front of his home. Stimulated by fascist blogs, one of them that of a prominent adherent of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the murderer, a dyed-in-the-wool fascist, had been plotting the attack ever since hearing Lübcke’s fierce reply to vicious anti-foreigner catcalls at a public event […]
In late June, some 5000 protestors camped out, as part of the “Stop Air Base Ramstein Campaign,” drawing attention to Germany’s increasing militarization via NATO. They demanded the U.S. Army base at Ramstein—where the top generals direct troop movements in Africa and the Near East, and deploy drones to murder anyone the Pentagon decides is […]