Come to think

After writing the post about the new lyrics for the Spanish anthem yesterday, a few thoughts were buzzing around in my mind:

  • When is it time to change a national anthem and why it is so difficult to do so?
  • Who should decide on national anthems and how – the government, the people, the member of parliament, by referendum, constitutional change, vote?
  • Would 1990 not have been the perfect moment for Germany to get a new one?
  • Why are so many anthems related to military and so pathetic?

Considered properly, the Germans should be the last to make jokes about other nationalities’ anthems. Both German anthems – the Deutschlandlied and the East German – have a very particular story. From the Deutschlandlied, only the last verse is song due to the past, the East German anthem (Auferstanden aus Ruinen) was actually quite nice but played only instrumentally from the 1970th up to 1989 because it mentioned an united Germany a fact disappreciated by the SED.

To be honest, the only anthem I really like is the European one but unfortunately, it is not an official symbol. Again it would be debatable if it has to be as making the European anthem de jure the anthem of the European union means to follow old, national steps instead of going beyond. Though, I do not know how this beyond could look like but it may be worth thinking about it.

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2 responses to “Come to think

  1. I agree with you that an anthem should not be pathetic! Nevertheless I think an anthem is the proper place for a dose of pathos. I shudder at the thought how updated versions would sound. I guess we would end up singing all the same bland platitudes with minor adaptations with regard to the topography (no wide seas for some of us) made by the local tourist board.
    I always fail to understand in which way German women or German wine reflect dark periods of the German past. Perhaps it would be considered inappropriate to use them as inspiration for noble deeds nowadays? BTW, Auferstanden aus Ruinen comes up with a foe of the people, the Deutschlandlied doesn’t. As an outsider I don’t have to chose but I have no doubt about my preference.

  2. Well, in the Deutschlandlied, the issue concern less German women and wine then more the borders (Maas, Memel, etc) which may evoce some dark souvenirs of the past among our neighbor countries.
    I just think that the beginning of the Auferstanden aus Ruinen (sic) fits quite well the recent German Past. Anyway, I do not really have a preference but in my opinion 1989 or 90 would have been perfect to get a new one. With a bit of pathos if is has to be…

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