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Germany ‘top of the pops’

What a turnaround! Next year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, heralding a dark half century during which Germany became, quite rightly, the bogeyman of Europe. And now we have a report from the BBC putting the same nation at the top of a poll of 16 nations, a poll measuring their positive impact on the world.

The survey took account of the views of some 26,000 people, asking them to rate the 16 nations (and the European Union) on whether their influence was “mainly positive” or “mainly negative”. Germany came out top, with 59 percent rating it positively. Followed by Canada, UK, Japan and France, with the USA in eighth place, above China and South Korea. Iran was bottom. Even countries like Spain and France, where elements of society have been vociferous about Germany’s economic policy, showed increased respect for Germany when polled.

However there’s not so much respect being shown on the Comments section underneath the article on the BBC’s website, where a large number of contributions have had to be censored, presumably for offensive content.

Of course, here at Schloss Wunderbar we’re not surprised by the news. We knew it all along. But it is worth pondering the possible reasons.

Firstly, it must be about careful diplomacy. There may be some loud voices raised against Germany’s economic policy, particularly in southern Europe, but the silent majority likes the leadership shown. Somebody had to take a firm stand.

Further afield, Germany has stayed clear of the likes of west African wars, or the Middle East conflict, and although it has contributed manpower to peacekeepers in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has kept its political profile low.

Secondly, it must be about jobs. The strength of the German economy, combined with the government’s continued and well-publicised interest in recruiting skilled people from overseas, means that many in less-comfortable countries view the nation as a possible source of well-paid employment.

And finally, it must be about all the stuff we talk about on this site. When you go to Germany as a tourist or on business, you discover good value hotels, (relatively) friendly people, well organised transport, fine landscapes, interesting architecture….I could go on. They just seem to have got it right. And more and more people are recognising that fact.


Read the BBC story.

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