The intense negative reactions to the Cyprus bailout program, including the constant comparisons made to Germany’s Nazi past, appear to have taken many Germans by complete surprise. Most simply cannot understand why people do not like them just because they are big and strong.
Germany has contributed more than 220 billion euros, or $280 billion, pledged through loans and financial support packages for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, all negotiated with those countries’ euro zone partners, for instance. And yet unfair allegations continue to be made.
Nor were Germans alone in insisting on reforms from those European partners seeking financial assistance. The Netherlands, Finland and Austria are frequently mentioned as countries that hold a similar position, yet Germany always ends up being the target of anger.
“We just don’t get it,” one German politician was quoted as saying. “It’s as if they don’t like us just because we are big and strong, because of our affluence and our power. It’s as if they resent our very existence because of this and because of the new soft hegemony we are now practising in Europe. They feel that we are materialistic, hedonistic, egotistical and shallow. I don’t know, in the end they’re just envious and jealous.”
“I mean,” he then continued. “It’s not is if we were some sinister dominating powerhouse like the USA or anything, spreading its corruptive capitalistic influence too widely around the globe the way it does, smothering the rest of us with it’s commercial and materialistic view of life and the world. We’re just well-intentioned Germans, remember?”
“Germany acts in solidarity so that crisis countries will have a perspective in the future. I wish that those people at the top — the president of the E.U. Commission and the E.U. president — would defend Germans against unfair allegations.”