In need for positive self-confidence
Germany's struggle to become a nation
The latest chapter in the story of Germany on it's way to a true nation
deals with the Catholic Church and the re-establishment of communication towards a bishop, which denies the Holocaust during WW2.
Obviously the mood within the German society is generally not as good as it seems to be in other countries: German people smile less, have difficulties to make friends, don't like to talk to strangers so much and are generally not behaving very well in traffic. Thus there is a huge effort needed to improve Germany's self-confidence.
There are basically two reasons for the strange mood, people from other countries often find " The Germans" in: It has never really been a nation like England and France (as Dietrich Schwanitz said) and due to the Holocaust. The killing of 6 million Jews was a crime so immense, that the guilt can hardly be ended.
To illustrate the pure number: If you multiply 365 days per year with over 16000 (!) years you will reach the number 6 million.
Despite the fact that the guilt will never disappear, the people below 80 years of age who live in Germany nowadays are not legally responsible for the crimes of their fathers and mothers. But their task should be to make sure that that part of German history is not repeated. The generation of 68 did a very good (maybe a too good) job to put this into the heads of everyone born in the 70s and 80s.
But today (2009) the question is: How to go on ?
The Catholic Church strangely provides an answer now: Pope Benedict 16 has re-established communication with the society which was built around Pope Pius 12, who was the head of the Church during WW2. Not only that a large number of authors have accused Pius for not intervening against the Third Reich, but also some of his own followers deny the Holocaust in general. (See recent TV interview with swedish SVT in Nov 2008). The main problem is now that people in Germany might conclude now, that the is a new option to fulfil their desire of more self-confidence: By being a member of a catholic church, which denies to be in any way connected to the Holocaust.
© D. Baumann, Feb 2009