Making German Patriotism Great Again
German attitudes toward their nation’s past and future are changing. Mainstream parties want more flags, national pride and military parades. A clear majority want a revived German patriotism and more pride in Germany’s past.
Germany’s fringe-right party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), is more popular than ever, polling at 20 percent for the first time ever. Every other party views the AfD as an unacceptable coalition partner. But many commentators are saying it’s just a matter of time before someone bends and the AfD is invited into government.
At the same time, the AfD is generating less outrage than ever—not because its leaders no longer say outrageous things. Instead, the German public has stopped reacting to them.
In 2017, rising AfD star Björn Höcke attacked the idea that Germany should be sorry or atone for its Nazi history. This attitude, he said, is a “stupid coping policy.” He complained that “German history is handled as rotten and made to look ridiculous” and called for a “180-degree reversal on the politics of remembrance.” Germans should stop commemorating the Holocaust. He called Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe “a monument of shame.”
“The AfD is the last revolutionary, the last peaceful chance for our fatherland,” he said. The enthusiastic crowd shouted, “Deutschland, Deutschland.”
The crowd may have loved it, but Höcke went too far. More moderate members of the AfD tried to have him thrown out of the party. Party leader Alexander Gauland gave a similar speech the next year, praising Germany’s “glorious history that is much longer than 12 years.” In the face of an outraged public, he gave a half-hearted apology.
If the AfD is more popular than ever, does that mean it’s changed its tune or moderated its beliefs? The opposite.
Last month, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla gave an interview to the right-wing blog “Sezession.” Asked about Germany’s war history, he said: “I find it fundamentally problematic to always link commemoration with the question of guilt.” Germany’s view of its history has to change, he explained. “Historical guilt should no longer determine the way we act,” he said.
Instead of outrage, it was just crickets.
Chrupalla’s co-leader Alice Weidel is one the party’s more moderate voices—one of those who tried to force Höcke out five years ago. In April, she appeared in a campaign speech, boasting that the party was on the brink of breaking into government. She walked around the stage arm in arm with the AfD’s local candidate: Björn Höcke.
The party has united around this far-right vision of German history. But even more concerning, the mainstream Christian Union parties are embracing it too.
The Christian Democratic Union (cdu) announced plans for a Federal Program of Patriotism last month. It wants more flag-waving and anthem-singing—and more ties to the military. Deutsche Welle explained that “the cdu is hoping to wrestle the issue of patriotism from its electoral rivals on the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).”
Plans would include a new national day to celebrate the constitution on May 23 and another celebrating Germany’s reunification on October 3.
The German parliament would also get an upgrade with more pictures of great Germans and symbols of German history to boost the “patriotic self-assurance” of lawmakers.
In a society where globalists want to eliminate national identities and merge people into a colorless mass, it’s easy to cheer anyone who wants to stand up for their own nation. But many of the most powerful warnings of danger comes from Germany itself.
“Who can, unreflectively and without inhibition, profess their connection to the German nation?” asked Prof. Martin Sabrow of Humboldt University Berlin. “There’s a Holocaust memorial in the government quarter with steles that commemorate 6 million murdered Jews and however many millions of people killed in the war. It would be strange if we didn’t have a queasy sense of nationality.”
The AfD’s revisionist view of history says that Germany was unlucky to have a bad few years under Adolf Hitler, but apart from that, there’s no particular danger in Germany’s past.
Many of those who have fought hardest against this view are Germans. Fritz Fischer probably did more than anyone else to comprehensively prove that Germany was responsible for starting World War i. In response, his office was firebombed. The government tried to stop him from leaving the country, and Franz Josef Strauss, one of Germany’s most influential conservative politicians, denounced him in parliament.
Heinrich August Winkler, former chair of modern history at the Humboldt University in Berlin, wrote, “In light of the role that Germany played in the genesis of the two world wars, Europe and the Germans cannot and should not desire a new German Reich, a sovereign nation-state, anymore. This is the logic of history ….”
Immanuel Geiss, longtime chair of recent history at the University of Bremen, said that Germany’s history meant that it must “make do with the status of lesser powers in Europe” and forget about “all patriotic dreams of a German Reich.” If Germany did not allow this history to restrain it, then it “would inevitably lead to a third phase of German power politics, hence leading to a third world war initiated, once again, by Germany.”
Except for Winkler, all these men are now dead, and a new generation of historians have center stage.
The Bible adds a more deadly warning to that history. Revelation 17 describes an empire that rises and falls seven times—pictured symbolically as a beast with seven heads. Aspects of the empire change, but each head continues what went before.
In reviving German patriotism and changing their view of history, German leaders are creating a positive view of this empire. The flag-waving and military parades are visible signs that it is rising again.
This changing view of history is part of a European-wide trend. In 2018, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:
Europeans are doing something they have never done since the vile and murderous sixth head: They are publicizing the Holy Roman Empire! They don’t publicize what Adolf Hitler did; too many people remember that bloody history. Instead they cloak it in the tradition of Charlemagne. And yet it is the same story! Not as many people died in the First Reich because they didn’t have the same military technology then. But it is the same ambition! …
Germany has repeatedly reemerged as a devastating military power. We are seeing that beast rise again today! Look at Europe: Germany is once again at the helm! A rearmed and militant Germany will prove to be one of the United States’ biggest nightmares!
Few now are concerned with the revival of German patriotism. But the Bible sounds a powerful warning. We’re seeing the same empire rise up again. God allows it—it is all part of His plan to correct a sinning world. But that empire will bring even more destruction than its previous resurrections.
You can read more about this empire and the role it plays in God’s plan in our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.