Revealed: What Germans really think about American relations

Revealed: What Germans really think about American relations
US President Donald Trump. Photo: DPA
What do Germans and Americans think about relations between their countries? According to a new survey, both have very different opinions.

Germans and Americans have strongly differing views on the quality of relations between their two countries, a new survey has revealed.

The poll found that three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans see relations with Germany as 'good', while only 34 percent of Germans surveyed had the same opinion.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center and the German firm Körber-Stiftung, which jointly conducted the poll in September, found that 17 percent of Americans described relations as 'bad or very bad' – compared to 64 percent of Germans.

Compared to last year, however, the number of those who assess relations positively has improved on both sides: in the 2018 survey, this figure was five percentage points lower for Americans and 10 percentage points lower for Germans.

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However, in 2017 – the year Donald Trump took office as US president – significantly more Germans gave the relationship between the two countries a more positive rating than today.

Graph: Statista.

At that time, 42 percent of respondents gave relations the thumbs up. In another Pew survey in 2018, only 10 percent of Germans said they had confidence in Trump.

In the current survey, 42 percent of Germans said the USA was the Bundesrepublik's most important or second most important foreign policy partner. Only France came up with a higher figure (60 percent).

In contrast, only 13 percent of Americans consider Germany to be the most important or second most important partner. Germany ranks fifth after Great Britain (36 percent), China (23 percent), Canada (20 percent) and Israel (15 percent).

A whopping 69 percent of Americans want to see more cooperation with Germany, according to the survey. For Germans, the figure is only 50 percent. More Germans were in favour of expanding cooperation with France (77 percent), Japan (69 percent), Russia (66 percent), China (60 percent) or Great Britain (51 percent).Angela Merkel and Donald Trump. Photo: DPA

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What do people think about US bases in Germany?

There are major differences in what citizens think about the importance of US military bases in Germany. A massive 85 percent of Americans surveyed consider these bases to be important or very important for US national security.

Significantly fewer Germans – 52 percent – think these spots are 'important or very important' for the national security of the Federal Republic.

Trump regularly criticizes Germany's defence spending, which he says is too low, and accuses Berlin of lagging behind the NATO goals it has set itself. However, only 35 percent of the Americans questioned shared the opinion that the European allies should increase their defence spending.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of Germans say the Bundesrepublik should invest more in defence. A total of 35,000 US soldiers are stationed in Germany. There are also 17,000 American and 12,000 German civilians employed by US troops.

For the survey, more than 1,000 people in the USA were interviewed by telephone between September 17th and 22nd. In Germany, the survey was conducted from September 9th to 28th among 1,000 participants.


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