Wednesday, July 28, 2010

die deutsche Einigung

[ The German Unification ]

One of the most exciting aspect of living and traveling through Germany is witnessing and experiencing the great variety of different cultures [and accents!] that exist within the country. The changes can be subtle from village to village, or drastic, like leaving the orderly area of Hochdeutsch in the north, to the loud and robust Bayrisch [Bavarian] Bundesland in the south - which to some might as well be considered its own nation.

It goes largely unrealized how many different smaller groups and peoples eventually came together to make up present day Germany. As I learned on a trip with my PPP area representative, Klaus, the unification collaborated actual kingdoms - and once again, history just as I had hastily studied in high school was standing before me.

Appropriately erected in Thüringen, the center of Germany, a statue of Emperor Wilhelm I memorializes the great unification of the land at Kyffhäuser. It commemorates the end of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany and the transition to the Prussian dominated German Empire starting in 1871. Four Königreiche [kingdoms] formed a new German Empire, including Prussia, Bavaria, Sachsen and Würtenburg - including a long list of Grand Duchies, Duchies and Principalities to further prove the area-centric nature of European cultures.

[ The center of Germany - a humbling look over the horizon of so many groups unified under its unique and complex history. ]

Throughout this year I have witnessed an abundance of history. I have seen history from the second world war in Bonn and Berlin, as well as the history of German prose and language in Weimar. My trip to the Kyffhäuserdenkmal was a reminder to me that Germany may be young in national terms - 1871 marks just under 150 years - however the smaller groups that consisted of some of the strongest kingdoms and societies in European history have fought against each other, and joined together over centuries creating a unified Germany with yet so many unique and diverse cultures and communities within it.

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