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American love affair with Germany deepens

The Local · 18 Apr 2012, 17:50

Published: 18 Apr 2012 17:50 GMT+02:00

The survey found that over half of Americans (55 percent) have an "excellent" or "good" overall impression of Germany, up from 41 percent in 2009.

Germany has not been so well-loved in the States since 2002, when New York consultancy Frank N. Magid Associates began polling American perceptions of Germany for the German Embassy in Washington.

The survey also found a growing respect for Germany's political role abroad. A majority of the 1,517 respondents, some 58 percent, said that Germany played an important role in international politics, up from 43 percent in 2009.

The American attitude to Germany's military operation in Afghanistan has also improved markedly in the past three years. Some 32 percent now saw Germany's contribution there positively, compared with 23 percent in 2009.

Only Britain ranked ahead of Germany as the United States' most important European ally, while 47 percent believe Germany promotes peace and democracy in the world.

But less than half - 44 percent - said Germany had done a good job in taking responsibility for the Holocaust of World War II.

Nearly a quarter of the respondents said they had visited Germany at least once, while almost a third claimed they had "good knowledge" about Germany – up from 28 percent in 2009.

Of the Americans that had been to Germany, 58 percent came back with an improved impression of the people, up from 51 percent in 2009.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:55 April 18, 2012 by OwnerM
Just confirming this article. I'm from America - German people rock!
11:59 April 18, 2012 by pepsionice
So that Germans understand this completely.....around sixty percent of all Americans believe in Bigfoot as well. And almost half of the American population have some belief in UFOs and aliens.
12:01 April 18, 2012 by Flugplatz Jim
As an American living here, I can tell you that for me, Germany is the best place in the world. I came here as an American military member back in 2000 and was here on 9/11. The support from the local community and generosity shown towards all Americans living here was unbelievable. I had already thought that Germany was great but that just cemented it for me. Many of the best times in my life were in Europe, with most of them happening here in Germany, including the birth of my daughter. I think many Americans see that Germany and many other European countries try to take care of themselves first and wish that our government would do the same. In some ways, Europe's stance today is what the US had before the world wars. I wish that we would go back to those days, life was simpler and more rewarding. I guess that is what I prefer about life over here, the slower pace. People make time for family and friends and aren't in such a rush on a daily basis.
12:28 April 18, 2012 by mos101392

Good point!

They would have a different perception if they lived here and paid the same taxes/prices for everything.

In addition, the reason they appear so friendly is due to the billions of American tax dollars that is used to rent the numerous bases throughout Germany, billions of tax dollars to employ German citizens, billions of tax dollars to pay the inflated rents German landlords charge their American guests.

I wonder how Americans would then feel about Germany if they knew Germany was to blame for a big chunk of the American deficit?

Just sayin !!!
12:48 April 18, 2012 by raandy
Other than the inevitable politics I would agree.

Before coming to Germany for work, I was a liveaboard sailorr in the Caribbean on my own boat for 8 years. The area is sailed by all of the European countries.When putting my boat on the hard in a marina I was placed in an area with mostly Germans. They all spoke fair to good English, were good sailors and easy to get along with and,no pretenses I soon preferred them over the English.,although I found the Australians,Canadians,South Africans and New Zeelanders easy to travel with also.
12:53 April 18, 2012 by DOZ
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:43 April 18, 2012 by frankiep

"Germany is to blame for a big chunk of the American deficit"?!?!

So, it's Germany's fault that the US government is spending itself towards a spectacular bankruptcy? Really? Had to shake my head in disbelief when I read that statement.
13:52 April 18, 2012 by Mike Umland
@pepsionice your perception as to what the American tax dollar pays is really wrong.

I do however agree with you in regards to the inflated rents that the American pay their landlords. You would think the German Government would step in and make it illegal. You would think our partnership stands for something. I know the landlords in the states wouldn't take advantage of the German's if they were living in the states.
14:38 April 18, 2012 by jg.
A fair proportion of Americans have some family history in Germany - for them, Germany may be the "old country" and not so much the UK or Eire.
14:49 April 18, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Two thoughts:

1) It always great living someplace else, where you are not "invested" in the system. By invested I mean you do not pay all the taxes, you cannot vote, you won't serve in the military, etc. You just "skim the cream" from the top.

People are people... except for extremists.

2) USA's tax dollars, vis a vis the USA's defence budget, basically defended Western Europe since 1945. Indeed, Europe could not even start the tiny war against Libya, without the USA. But, to be fair, the USA has wanted it that way since 1945, to better control military issues regarding NATO. Also, defence is only a small % of USA's taxation.
15:17 April 18, 2012 by Rittervon
it's funny. Only here could you start with a wonderful article that says Americans love Germans more and more, then have it turn into a discussion about Bigfoot, Aliens, rent, NATO, taxes, deficit. lame. I say "lame".

Can't we just enjoy a nice story from The Local that informs us how those of us living in America just love Germans and Germany?

Just think'n :-)
15:49 April 18, 2012 by OwnerM
@Ritlervon - I agree with you! I'll state this again, as an American who does not believe in Big Foot, or UFO's or Aliens, German people rock!
16:09 April 18, 2012 by Al uk
Didn't someone once say that 99.9% of statistics are made up?

1517 respondents is hardly the USA.
16:31 April 18, 2012 by Kappelmann65
I'm American, and I was surprised by the stupid statement that Germany is responsible for our debt. The stupid decisions that we make are responsible for our debt. Like getting involved in two wars in the Middle East that we didnt need to get involved with. We probably will be even dumber and get into a third with Iran. What a waste of money! Also, deciding that big multinational American corporations can have so many loopholes that they dont have to pay taxes.

German or taxes in most European countries are probably much higher than American taxes but they get alot more services than Americans get with their tax dollars. I would be willing to pay their rates if I got more out of it, not just an massive army fighting unneccessary wars.

I think Germany is great! I love the country and its people. I go on vacation twice a year there and usually spend a total of three to four weeks their a year.
16:49 April 18, 2012 by inccmdr
I am married to a former German and German translator and have had the priviledge of visiting. I am impressed by the people and the culture. I like the larger cities but I love the smaller towns. Ich Liebe Deutschland!
17:08 April 18, 2012 by FleeingBlighty
I'm an American and have been here in Germany for 8 years and hope to stay here for as long as I can. @Flugplatz Jim I can totally relate to your comment. My oldest daughter was born here (what up Bitburg!) and I have so many wonderful memories that have been made here. I honestly feel so lucky to live here. My family and I have tried to move away twice and each time we just missed it way too much.

To the poster that mentioned inflated rent charged to us, I am very happy to pay it considering the houses are usually exceptionally clean, freshly renovated, and in nice villages. Not the filthy rentals with moldy tubs and torn up carpets available in another country I have lived in.

So yeah. All meine Liebe für Deutschland
20:25 April 18, 2012 by bramblebush
It must be the liberal half of the US. The conservative half hates everyone, including themselves....
21:47 April 18, 2012 by Staticjumper
I¦#39;m still in contact (Facebook) with over 100 veterans who served in my unit near a small village in the Rheinland Pfalz in the early ¦#39;80¦#39;s. To a person they all loved serving in Germany. Of course, like other posters have pointed out, we were not subject to the German tax system (and in fact were even exempt from the mehrvertsteur) or maybe our views would be a little different. Of all the Americans that served in Germany that I have talked to the only ones who had a negative or neutral opinion, where the ¦quot;barracks rats¦quot; who never left base. As for the rent, I don¦#39;t blame the Germans for knowing the system. One of the first questions a landlord would ask a potential renter was their rank was and how many dependents they had. Magically, the rent would exactly match the maximum authorized allowance for that soldier. No extra money out of the soldier¦#39;s pocket.
21:51 April 18, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
People are people...

we all get along, as long as we want to, and there is sufficient oompa music and bier.
22:10 April 18, 2012 by t69tsb
I love Germany, Germans and all things German. I am not a German. But I agree with the article, Germany rocks. As an American I agree we do share more incommon with germans than other non english speaking countries. But even more we share common interests and culture than any other society. I like the way germans think and work. Hard work, gets results. Im from Rocky Mount NC. I work in Fayetteville, NC and I own four german cars. But no German wife..lol
01:28 April 19, 2012 by lenny van
Which is worse - living in Germany or America. Which is better living in the U.K. or Canada. I have lived in all four countries as a native i.e. sending my children to state schools, buying and selling homes, working for local companies, etc.) long enough to qualify for a passport in each. There is no doubt how I would rank these countries.

I agree with t69tsb that about how Americans much Germans and Americans have in common. It is impossible to maintain one's integrity and survive one's integrity in either country.
03:07 April 19, 2012 by hanskarl
Generally, more Americans are reconnecting with their heritage than in past years. Friends often heard from their first generation German Americans neighbors that their children had no interest because all these older Germans lived for were their Vereinen. Their kids wanted nothing of it as they were "westernised." But the Grandchildren are/were very interested, especially in the German triangle (Milwaukee to Cincinnati to St. Louis) where the population density is the highest.

Sites like ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com energised the research for ones European heritage and are quite extensive. Many German companies either hae branches in the US or own companies in the US. Many first generation German Americans started businesses that were very successful. Even those who arrived up into the 1960's have done well. There is lots of info on this and it is very true that Americans are connected to Germany in various ways.

But David Hasselhoff as a hot commodity? Please......... I'll take Katie Melua any day of the week for vocalization and musical ability along with sobriety.
03:34 April 19, 2012 by PfalzFreund
I happily served in Deutschland for 5 years and loved the people and culture. Yes, I was exempt from the taxation but the society was great! German Beer, German People, German Food. Jawohl!!!
04:30 April 19, 2012 by ProgandaLady
Judging by the all the hate directed towards Ami's in this comment section, I don't get the feeling is mutual.

Fact is, Ami's spend a far smaller fraction as time thinking about Germans and Germany, compared to the Critical Theory applied to the Ami's from Germans.
11:51 April 19, 2012 by raandy
ProgandaLady good point ! and true.
16:26 April 19, 2012 by dramoscotch21
I absolutely adore Germany. The scenery is beyond beautiful-it is like a postcard everywhere you go. The food, the culture, and the way of life is amazing and wish more Americans understood what it was all about. I love Germany but so much of Europe. When I moved here, I felt like I had moved "home". Everything here fits who I am. The people work to live, they don't live to work like Americans. It is inevitable that we will have to move one day and I almost dread it. Things here are not near as commercialized as the States and it is great! You can drive outside a big city and have some countryside instead of strip malls between it and the surrounding villages. Living in German village has been one of the best experiences of my life. Ich liebe Deutschland!!!!
20:38 April 19, 2012 by EstoniaKat
70 million Americans claim some kind of German roots. German almost became our national language.

Despite the dust-ups of the 20th century, ties bind, and there's a cultural similarity, especially being born in the Midwestern U.S. (which was mostly settled by farming Swedes and Germans). When I go to Germany, it feels almost like home.
22:25 April 19, 2012 by Katinkaxx
"Judging by the all the hate directed towards Ami's in this comment section, I don't get the feeling is mutual."

I doubt that there are many Germans posting here (apart from some crazy masochists like myself, that is). Incidentally, on another website, a poster linked the comment section of the Local as evidence of how racist "the Germans" were. Again, I find it highly unlikely that German Neo-Nazis would come to an English-language website to spew their venom.

"German almost became our national language."

Actually, that's only a (very persistent) myth. ;-) Quote:

"There is a popular legend that German almost became the official language of the United States. This notion has been popularized by German authors of travel literature since the 1840s. According to the so-called "Muhlenberg legend," a vote was taken in the Pennsylvania state parliament sometime in the 1790s on whether German should be the official language. Apparently the Speaker of the House, a German-American by the name of Frederick A. Muhlenberg, cast the decisive vote for English and against German. In reality, this presumed proposition was never brought to the floor and a vote was never taken.

The historical origin of this legend might have been a failed attempt in Congress in 1794, based on a petition of German residents of Augusta Co., Virginia, to have "a certain proportion" of the laws of the United States printed in German as well as English. A year later, the petition was denied by Congress by a vote of 42 to 41. "

01:56 April 20, 2012 by wendy wombat
I don't live in Germany or the USA but love Germany where I and my gorgeous German husband lived for three years. However I wish it were true that there is a love affair between the US and Germany, but sadly in my opinion that isn't the case in the English speaking world including the good old US of A.

My opinion is only based on reading the news from UK, US and Australia as well as seeing many, many films over the years continuing the anti German theme of WWII and listening to people's opinions. I hope the negative vibes I feel from all this will change eventually but I can't see that happening without a concerted propaganda effort by Germany/Germans to show Germans as kind, cultured people living in a beautiful country, who enjoy music, books, family life and such. There needs to be something to redress the negativity brought about by old or reinvented Nazi stories still being written about or shown on TV in the English speaking world.

I know that anyone who meets individual Germans usually likes them, enjoys their company etc but its the big picture that needs to change.
02:28 April 20, 2012 by lenny van
As I wrote yesterday, the answers to the question, "Which is worse- living in Germany or in America?". America is the correct answer. The answer to the question "Which is better - living in Canada or in the U.K. The U.K. Tis the correct answer. It doesn't surprise me that so many Americans prefer living in Germany to living in America. Its a matter of nolo contendare because the competition is so poor. For info, my roots are German and I was born and raised in the in the U.S.A, I really miss the people in the U.K. because, like normal, humble people, they honk before a possible event to let you know they are there. The Germans honk after the event because they have to let you know ithat you might have made a mistake or held them up for more than 1,3 seconds.
03:07 April 20, 2012 by Jeff10
The sterling reputation of German-engineered products might be one explanation.
10:42 April 20, 2012 by mos101392

For the most part I agree with you however I only just learned that "Made in Germany" products... Germany law states that only 10% of the product must be made in Germany for it to read "Made in Germany". So only 10% of that new Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Volkswagen, has to be made in Germany. The other 90% can be made in China where the workers earn much less than their German counterparts....less taxes too.

@insight101 You are 100% correct! As an American "still" living in Germany...and have been for some odd 25+ years, I know, just coming for the Oktoberfest might seem Germany is the land of milk and honey but they would have a different opinion if they lived here and saw for themselves what was left in their bank accounts after paying 19% sales tax for "EVERYTHING", church tax, if you have a tv or radio in your home you pay a tax, (and yes, even without cable) At average 1500 euros to get a drivers license, cost of fuel, tax for the former east Germany, (which by the way has by far surpassed w. Germany in modernization). The list goes on. Most important of all, if they moved here, they would miss their American prime beef because it is not allowed here, (they say because of the harmones but it's about the money, has to be, because cigarettes are also harmful but Germans smoke American tobacco like they eat Schnitzel)....Germans are pig lovers by nature.

Don't get me wrong, there are also good points about living in Germany too. (it's not a "GUN CULT" society.
19:05 April 20, 2012 by Northern Delight
I'm really glad that there are so many positive comments here about Germans and Germany.

I'm German but living in the UK now and I'm from a generation who still felt the need to say sorry for being German and I'm so relieved that people are beginning to see Germany in a different light.

So, just thought I'd say 'Thank You' for all the nice comments.
21:32 April 20, 2012 by Houghton-Germelman
I am a bit biased because I am in part german-american. Even so, I have lived in many U.S. States and worked in Germany and Japan and my life in Germany was the best. When ever I traveled in Europe I was always treated better in Germany and relieved to return. I think that the independent, pioneering spirit that built this country reflects a commonality and a personal responsibility attitude is much the same.
03:56 April 21, 2012 by swissjalapeno7
I'm American and I think German are pretty chill.

When I go to europe this summer, I will definitely check out all Germany has to offer.
19:06 April 26, 2012 by lucfuture
@mos101392 While that is true, the fact is most German goods are made with a high percentage of German labor and material. If you look at new BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes you will see that most of the cars contain about 70% German parts. The rest is Japanese (mainly electronics) and other eastern European countries with cheaper labor. China is never even listed so it must be less than 5% of the cars total parts content. My point is, we have no reason to have less faith in that "Made in Germany" notice. It has never failed me and I don't think the Germans ever want to tarnish their reputation because it would be disastrous for their export driven economy.
07:58 April 29, 2012 by ErickDDiaz
Yes!!!!! love Germany more over when Germans wear Plad shorts , white Socks with sandles.
00:19 September 25, 2012 by flint1194
It's hard to find someone in my part of Michigan that doesn't have a German last name. A lot of us were German 100-200 years ago (or at least our great, great grandfathers were).
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