Letter: Myths about the Germans

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The Independent Online
Sir: The opinion poll referred to in Will Bennett's article "Children vote Germany as `most boring' " (10 June) to shows a high level of ignorance of one of the most important states within the EU. To suggest that Germany is the most boring European state is a travesty of the truth.

Germany is, and always has been, a most stimulating European state but its historical and contemporary achievements have been overshadowed by constant reference to the Nazi period. As someone who trained as a teacher of history in Scotland I found that the history curriculum was often heavily weighted against Germany, in that we taught children that the Germans were a warlike people while little or no reference was made to Germany's economic or cultural achievements.

Given the findings of the poll perhaps we should now be reviewing the school curriculum and reducing the amount of unintentional anti-German material taught to children. We should also give greater thought to the portrayal of Germany on television in this country.

Recent anti-European outpourings from British politicians, a band of recognised "Little Englanders", have had a definite anti-German tinge and this feeds into the minds of the children of this country.

The public impression of the Germans would seem to cling to apocryphal images of humourless Teutons who steal the best sun-loungers at the swimming pool. This is a stereotype that requires urgent amelioration. Given the influence of Germany within the EU we can afford neither to ignore nor offend Germany.

Much has to be done in this country to improve the image of the Germans and of Germany. If our children hold such views of one of our closest allies and friends, what do their parents think?

STUART PHILIP

Department of Politics and

International Relations

University of Aberdeen

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