What makes you proud to be German today?
Germany's economy is booming, the unemployment rate is lower than ever before, and Germany's national soccer team won the World Cup in 2014 yet again.
And yet, 25 years after the fall of the wall and German reunification, the subject of national pride remains a difficult one; or at least that is how it seems. Are you allowed to be proud about being German today in the year 2015? And if you are, what is it that makes you proud?
The majority of German youth is actually proud to be German. This was discovered by a survey of the opinion research institute Forsa on behalf of the foundation Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft ("Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future"), and this was also shown by the #Deutschland25 discussion about Tabea, the young national soccer player for the ladies' team.
The national pride of Generation25 is based on six points that occur again and again: reasons which do not just define the discussion, but also span through generations.
The first reason goes: "Germany is a fine and beautiful country." Or as Nico, 28, writes: "The culture, the people, and the wonderfully beautiful country in which we live."
The second reason for the national pride of Generation25 is the diversity experienced in Germany, as described, amongst others, by Muhammed, 14: "What makes me proud is the diversity in our country."
Safety and freedom are also mentioned time and again as a reason in the commentaries. Felix, 15: "In Germany we have the most important freedom, which we only have in a few countries: freedom of opinion".
A large majority also mentioned the good education opportunities and social security as factors for their positive impression.
Svenja, 17: "The fact that every child has a right to education, and that we are adequately informed about our history in school."
Generation25 is especially proud of the reunification. This is surprising, since no other reason was so well-formulated and so regularly mentioned. You would have thought that Generation25, especially the younger ones, would have had barely any connection to the falling of the wall.
Tim, 11: "I am happy to live in Germany, especially after the falling of the wall.A unified Germany is better than a divided one."
The historical events of the 20th Century are important for informing German national pride today:
Martin, 18: "Unity. After so many years, we were able to demonstrate that the Germans belong together after all. East? West? That doesn't matter any more!"
The minority of discussion participants who are not so proud to be German, or not proud at all, mostly gave the reason that nationality is meaningless and that all people are equal. Philipp, 15: "Everyone around the world needs to give up their pride in their nationality.It's time to be proud of what you YOURSELF have achieved."
The positive arguments predominated, however. The responses have shown that patriotism and national pride are actually enjoying a comeback in Germany. The influence of soccer cannot be underestimated in influencing these developments. Becoming world champions and the world cup tournament in Brazil in 2014 have certainly contributed to a re-assessment of the feeling of pride.
Yet this new generation born after the fall of the wall is increasingly searching for its "own" identity, and these youngsters no longer want to be defined by historical events. Generation25 is living in the here and now and brings with it a refreshing positivity, which is infectious.