Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Three-Hundred Strong

I like using a map to illustrate a point.  Most people....even Germans for that matter....never quiet grasp that it was just a couple hundred years ago....that Germany was really three hundred cities and city-states, and everyone mostly drifted around to fighting little wars for petty things...or for religious reasons....or for revenge.

You could have your own kingdom....enjoy the fruits of a small area of forty by forty miles....and then one day....have some idiot knight arrive with six hundred guys, and are homeless or dead.

None of this was long-term acceptable.  So around 1789....a meeting occurred.  Discussions centered on the benefit of larger states and more stability.

The German word that got tossed around in this discussion....was Kleinstaaterei.

It generally means....a political system in need of a kick-in-the-pants because reform or change isn't working at the city or state federal action is the only way to make it work.  From this 1789 was deemed that all these city-states and small empires....weren't helpful for the bulk of the German population.

In the modern might occasionally hear kleinstaaterei uttered on a chat forum via TV.  It usually means the guy is being critical that some expected reform that ought to be done within a state....isn't happening.  The only fix or the mind of the critical to bring on a national reform package and just force everyone to accept what is not acceptable at a local level.

If it sounds like a US issue as is.

So, don't go always thinking that Germany has always been one big happy family of sixteen states, and that it's a totally united country in the big picture.  It's three-hundred communities....bound in this modern era....and just accepting of things that normally wouldn't be acceptable in their own neck of the woods.

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