West Germany: Battle Over the Old Words

Battle Over the Old Words

At the end of World War II, the victorious Allies banned Germany's national anthem, Deutschland, Deutschland uber Alles (Germany Above All) as too nationalistic. In 1952 West Germany revived the last of the anthem's three stanzas, which extols "unity and justice and freedom."

But when they return to fall classes, children in the West German state of Baden-Wurttemberg may learn all three verses, despite some strong opposition. Said a Ministry of Education spokesman: "Why should children who were born long after the war be burdened with the guilt of their ancestors?" The restored verses include lines calling for Germany to unite...

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