The cumulative viewership of this year’s World Cup is estimated to be 32 billion people. That is an average of every man, woman and child on Earth watching roughly five of its soccer matches. As the host nation, Germany has the world eating from the palm of its hand. The publicity value to this “reformed and democratized” Germany is priceless. For an entire month, Germany is the center of attention.
The World Cup will pass, but we must not turn our attention from Germany.
Earth-shattering changes are taking place in this nation. Germany is moving into its new, and final, glory days; the World Cup is simply the beginning. Time will prove the significance of the trends emerging in the Fatherland.
Cataclysmic events always have small beginnings. World War i was sparked by a single assassination. World War ii was conceived in the mind of one man more than a decade before it erupted. September 11 began as an idea.
Most Westerners, including Western leaders, underestimated events occurring within Germany during the 1930s. World War ii was the end result.
Germany’s history demands that we not trivialize two trends presently taking root in the nation. It is within these developments that we can see the seeds of a global crisis.
The Revival of German Nationalism
The first important trend is the resuscitation of German nationalism. This trend is particularly evident in the growing popularity of nationalist political parties in Germany. With debate over Muslims and immigration raging (see sidebar, page 4), the ranks of Germany’s right-wing parties are swelling.
About a year before Angela Merkel became Germany’s chancellor, she gave a strong speech against multiculturalism and ethnic integration. Think tank Stratfor made this telling comparison: “Merkel’s statements echo the sentiments of a certain earlier German government [that of Adolf Hitler], and the re-emergence of right-wing parties there could portend another shift in the country’s policies toward foreigners” (emphasis mine throughout). The world should beware when Germans embrace nationalist political parties.
Stratfor continued, “… Merkel’s statements, combined with the increasing support enjoyed by other nationalistic, right-wing parties, are ominous” (Dec. 7, 2004). Why is this ominous? Because Germans are shifting toward political parties that are “reminiscent of Hitler’s.”
Earlier this year, a German politician ignited controversy when he said there are “no-go” areas in Germany that non-whites visiting for the World Cup should avoid because they would “possibly not leave these areas alive.” Spiegel Online wrote that the resulting tornado of media coverage and public attention “merely served to strengthen the right-wing thinking of many eastern Germans” (May 30). Stickers reading “No-Go Area” now sell on the Internet and are being purchased by Germans seeking to send a message to dark-skinned folk in their suburbs.
As sentiment against immigrants sours, Germans are turning toward right-wing political parties trumpeting stricter immigration policies, such as the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (npd). These parties are attracting many poorer, uneducated Germans, particularly former East Germans. The npd has “quietly but consistently made itself indispensable to reunification’s victims—to welfare recipients and even to the frustrated middle class” (ibid.). It has established neighborhood groups, cultural clubs and information centers across the nation to inject its right-wing messages into the minds of the populace.
This information comes from a respected German news source.
Unlike pre-World War ii times, the right-wing recruiters today, according to political scientist Dierk Bostel, wear suits and dress shoes rather than leather jackets and combat boots: “The wolf is presenting itself in sheep’s clothing,” he says (ibid.). True, Germany’s far-right parties are still small; but their growing popularity highlights a change occurring in the German mindset.
As Germans increasingly desire political parties with more conservative and nationalistic values and beliefs, the nation’s larger political parties are taking on a more conservative and nationalistic slant. Watch for politicians such as Edmund Stoiber, leader of the conservative Christian Social Union, to become more popular.
German nationalism is steadily reviving. A review of history tells us that, in times past, this seemingly small trend has had global ramifications.
Embarrassed by its central role in two world wars, Germany has tended to de-emphasize its own history. German historians now believe this educational void has precipitated an identity crisis, especially with the young. Too many Germans, they believe, simply don’t know “who they are.”
This is why a new permanent exhibition in Berlin is considered important. Opened on June 2, the first national historical exhibition since World War ii “aims to plug gaping holes in the nation’s memory of its 2,000-year past with a treasure trove of relics that include Hitler’s globe and Napoleon’s hat” (ibid., May 26). Organizers of the exhibition hope it will stir the German people to tap their historical roots and rediscover their identity. Hans Ottomeyer, director of the German Historical Museum in Berlin, says the exhibition will provide the German people with a “visual memory” that will help restore the country’s lost sense of national identity. The history of the 12 years of the Third Reich (1933-1945) makes up the largest single part of the exhibition.
Note that it is Germany at its most gruesome and horrific that is being given the most attention.
One of the highlights of the show is the 5-foot, 7-inch-high globe that stood in Hitler’s office during World War ii and symbolized his plans for global domination. Hitler’s charred desk, dragged from the rubble of Nazi headquarters more than 60 years ago, is also on show, as well as numerous other Nazi artifacts. The exhibition capitalized on an interesting trend: As Spiegel noted, “In the last few years, German interest in World War ii and its aftermath has been growing” (ibid.).
Given the evils perpetrated the last time German nationalism waxed strong, it is naive to ignore the serious implications of this trend in Germany today.
Leader of Europe
The second trend is that Germany is emerging as the clear leader of Europe.
To many respected analysts, the project for European unity is failing. The evidence seems, on the surface, to be copious: French and Dutch voters rejected the constitution in national referenda; the European Union’s leading nations are unable to conform to a common economic policy as defined by the Stability and Growth Pact; agreement has not been reached on the integration of new countries. At the heart of the problem, as Chancellor Merkel put it, “Europe is not very popular among Europeans” (Deutsche Welle, May 11).
However, like any institution of significance, the EU will find the solution to its problems in its leadership. And it is Germany that has historically filled Europe’s leadership void.
In January 2007, Germany, under Merkel’s stewardship, will assume the EU presidency. On May 11 this year, in her first speech on European policy to the Bundestag (Germany’s parliament) since becoming chancellor, Merkel talked about a vision for Europe.
She confirmed her unconditional support for the troubled EU constitution: “We absolutely need the constitution to ensure the European Union is effective and capable of action. … We must reflect how we can bring the constitution project to a successful conclusion” (ibid.). The EU Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, has asked that no decision be made on the constitution until 2008, but for the German government, it is not a question of if the constitution will take effect, but how it will be done. Merkel said it is simply a matter of “finding the correct time to act.” Never mind the millions of EU citizens who rejected the constitution.
Merkel also addressed European enlargement. Contrary to other prominent politicians, her comments echoed those of her Bavarian counterpart Stoiber, who has always maintained that Europe needs clearly defined borders. She pointed out that a “body that does not have any borders cannot act cohesively” (ibid.). The real issues are whether or not Muslim Turkey should be accepted into the EU, and just where the EU’s borders should be. Whether the arguments that German politicians make involve borders, cultural unity or absorption capacity, the end result will always be the same: No Muslim nation will be allowed to join the EU, with its decidedly Roman Catholic roots.
In perhaps the most striking statement by a leading European politician to date, she added: “Europe has to show that it can mold world policy according to its own values.” This is not simply a statement of European unity, nor a revealing of European economic and social policy under German leadership. It is an articulation of a breathtaking ambition: that European values—more specifically, German values—should shape the world.
Few international politicians have raised a peep in protest. A revived German ambition to shape the globe should have students of World War ii shouting from the rooftops. German militarism has been destroyed twice in the last hundred years; after World War ii, the Allied powers resolved to “ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world.” Now, just 60 years later, will a German-led Europe be allowed—even invited—to reshape the world?
Merkel’s drive to lead Europe out of its problems and set the pace of discussion for its future has caught the attention of Britain’s minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon. In a May 17 speech delivered at Humboldt University in Berlin, Hoon called for the implementation of Germany’s vision for Europe and a new alliance between the two countries.
Merkel’s cogent policy statement appears to be magnetically drawing together disparate voices on the future of Europe. Hoon, representing Britain, can be included among them. His Humboldt speech was the political shadow of Merkel’s policy statement, as he echoed her nearly every major policy point. EUpolitix.com commented on Hoon’s discussion of “Britain and Germany’s shared views on energy, the wto trade talks and foreign policy,” as well as his praise for Merkel: “While we may not always agree on all of the solutions,” he said, “we need her kind of vision and leadership in Europe” (May 19).
What makes Hoon’s speech remarkable is that it signals the UK acknowledging who the lead horse in European affairs is: Germany.
For years, Europe was led by a Franco-German alliance. That failed with the French public voting down the federal project in last year’s referendum on the European Constitution. Germany, separated from its partner, now comfortably leads the charge, and Britain is willing to seek an alliance. But note: Germany is leading—Britain is following.
In its January 16 forecast, Stratfor told us that there is a “new trend” to watch in Europe as “traditional European power balances begin to reassert after a 60-year absence.” These analysts are telling us to watch Germany: It is reasserting its “traditional” influence over Europe.
From the end of World War ii to the chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder, Germany was in a “geopolitical deep-freeze,” according to Stratfor. “[E]verything Schröder did was couched in terms of the European interest (which meant mostly French interest). Europeanism was the only approved outlet for German nationalism.
“But now there has been a clean break.
“Angela Merkel is now in charge of Germany, and despite presiding over an unwieldy and uncomfortable coalition government … she already has emerged as the center-point of European affairs” (ibid.).
Europe is beginning to once again revolve around German leadership. Berlin is “returning to its traditional role as the core European power.”
This is one of the most significant trends you could watch. Historically, the geopolitical structure of Europe has depended upon Germany’s strength or weakness. As Stratfor put it, “When Germany is weak … other powers are able to rise and assert their interests. But when Germany is strong, it dominates the heart of the Continent and relegates its neighbors to powerlessness—until such time as they ally to crush it” (ibid.).
History followed this pattern at three major points—periods known as the three German “Reichs.” “Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire (the first iteration of what is now ‘Germany’) dominated Europe until it fell in Europe’s religious wars. Its death is what allowed Britain, France and Russia to rise as major powers. Imperial Germany played a similar dominating role from its rise in 1870 until its fall in World War i, when Weimar Germany’s weakness allowed a French and Russian renaissance. And of course Nazi Germany’s rise again put all eyes on Berlin, and its destruction led to the superpower standoff—and, eventually, to the rise of a ‘united’ Europe” (ibid.).
German aggrandizement should make our hearts beat faster. Stratfor predicted that “2006 will mark a new turning point as Germany begins to ascend for a fourth time”!
These analysts see that the Fourth Reich is rising before our eyes!
As has happened before, a strong Germany will drive Europe’s unification. But make no mistake: This superfederalist Europe will predominantly serve Germany’s interests.
It is imperative that we watch these two trends in Germany. First, watch for the revival of German nationalism. Second, watch for Germany to become the definitive leader of Europe. Both are trends unfolding right now, and they will only intensify.
The Bible tells us that there is another hugely significant trend we should monitor: Watch for relations between Germany and the Vatican to flourish.
Both history and Bible prophecy tell us this is inevitable. The seeds of this relationship are already germinating.
In May this year, for the first time ever, the German government spoke out in favor of a reference to God in the EU constitution. “We live in a world in which we want to understand and communicate with other religions and cultures,” EUobserver.com quoted Angela Merkel as saying. “This includes knowing your own roots and being aware of them, which is why God and the Christian belief should be included into the EU constitution, she indicated. It is the first time Berlin has spoken out in favor of a Christian reference in the EU constitution and could potentially reopen one of the most bitter debates surrounding the drawing up of the document four years ago” (May 26).
A German pope now heads the Roman Catholic Church. This has stirred a revival of Catholicism throughout Germany. Earlier this year the news agency Zenit reported that there “seems to be a rebirth of the faith in Germany” and that the “number of students of theology and of adult baptisms is increasing, as is that of Catholics returning to the church” (May 4). The number of Germans leaving the church is also decreasing.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur pointed out that “the most important politicians of the country, from Merkel to President Horst Köhler and the former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, spoke of their ‘pride’ over Ratzinger’s election, despite the fact all of them are Protestants” (ibid.). Germans are falling in love with the new pope.
Relations between Germany and the Vatican are blossoming. This is a trend of gigantic proportions. This church-state combine has historically been a ruthless and formidable force. To learn more about this history, please request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
A prophecy in Daniel 8 specifically foretells the rise of a German leader in our time who is deeply influenced by the Catholic Church: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up” (Daniel 8:23). Other prophecies show this almost certainly must be a German leader. He doesn’t lead just one nation. He leads a 10-nation superpower (Revelation 13 and 17). This political combine shall “destroy wonderfully,” or mightily (Daniel 8:24).
“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many …” (verse 25). This man is a master deceiver and swindler. He will know how to unite a modern Europe with many differing views. Though he is a dangerous bully, Europeans won’t see him as he truly is.
Any political or economic crisis could strongly unite the 10 nations very quickly. The final prophesied version of the Holy Roman Empire could be here in a few short years—even months.
Watch Germany. As Germany goes, so goes the European Union.
But look at the good news—the best news we could ever receive! Verse 25 of Daniel 8 concludes: “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” This evil and profoundly deceitful superpower will attempt to fight the returning Jesus Christ, and Christ and His army will win. They will usher in a new civilization that will last forever. There will be peace, joy and abundance forever.
This is the most important news we could ever hear! ▪