Letter: How Britain reveals its affection for the Germans

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Sir: Although I find periodic British 'Kraut-bashing' as dispiriting as Kenan Malik does ('A Britain still at war with Germany', 6 June), I believe he is wrong to state that the mentality that this represents is 'a disease that is rotting Britain from the head down'. There is a not inconsiderable body of everyday evidence to suggest that many people in Britain are receptive to an image of Germany that has nothing to do with the prejudiced views of Alf Garnett.

In the Eighties, a large British television audience tuned into two German-made mini-series: Das Boot, which followed the misfortunes of a U-boat and its doomed crew, and Heimat, a saga concentrating on a German village from the end of the First World War to the 1980s.

More recently, viewers of Coronation Street were treated to the spectacle of old soldier Percy Sugden overcoming his hostility to the Germans when one of his former Wehrmacht adversaries turned up at the time of the El Alamein anniversary.

Mr Malik also claims to have spotted an anti-German chauvinism running through the D-Day commemorations. Would it not have been appropriate to say a word in favour of British broadcasters, who have made sure that the Germans themselves are being seen and heard at this time?

Yours faithfully,


Senior Lecturer in German

University of Bath

Claverton Down, Avon