It's one of the questions that won't occur on Germany's state-run Channel One (ARD) or Channel Two (ZDF). It might be interesting to speculate upon how this all came to be in the first place. And no, it wasn't that German 'guilt-thing' that intellectuals like to attribute things over to.
1. They never saw it coming. Well, here's the thing, in an average year....they handle 200,000 refugees trying to enter and their entire system is geared toward that number. So when it edged up to 300,000 in one year (the very beginning of the episode)....no one said much. The next year....up to 450,000 and it barely got noticed. So toward the fall of 2014....it was now apparent that numbers were escalating. Reacting? The Berlin crowd still felt they could handle that number. The 850,000 number? It probably challenged them but they were thinking they had this capability. At 1.5 million.....it's hard to say they saw this coming from the summer of 2014.
2. The Berlin crowd leading the country aren't the same competent group who lived for several decades in Bonn. This has been brought up in a couple of forum discussions over the past decade. There is some feeling that Berlin has isolated the realistic side of political figures and transformed them into some cult-like group. They have no real connection back to regular people or how things work in the other 99-percent of Germany.
3. The population spiral. It's been defined and discussed a hundred times over the past decade.....the population of Germany is shrinking. By 2040....it could well be near 65-million (not the 80-million of today). Some people might have been able to convince themselves that this would help to buy them some growth and avoid the 65-million number.
4. The willingness to look through the Islamic threat and try to think of the bulk of Muslims being friendly. If you look at half the population in Germany.....they have work relationships and neighborhood relationships with Muslims. They see them daily and are readily convinced that their friend and their religion aren't a big deal. A large segment of the Green Party today (probably over ninety-percent) definitely feel pro-Islam. If you asked them about the contradictions of the Quran....on one page being the recommendation to keep peace and on the next page to assault or kill non-believers.....well....it's just not explainable in their mind.
5. The acceptance of multi-cultural values. For probably forty years within the German education sector....they've tried to establish a value with students.....from youngest years to university graduates....multi-culture is great and something to strive for. If you walked into a pub and brought this up with a dozen people....roughly half will say multi-culture values are a failure or joke. The rest will say they support this value but it's having problems.
6. The efforts of the news media to make the Syrians into victims. I would readily agree that there's been a significant amount of audio and 'chat' back in 2013 and 2014 to portray most Syrians as victims. A fair segment of German society believe in this status of victimhood assigned to Syrians. Helping them makes sense. Helping the poor Albanian unemployed guys who walked up to find work? Well....no, they aren't victims. The same problem exists with various nationalities who aren't Syrian.
7. Cheap help. Let's face it.....a quarter of all small business operations in Germany see this opportunity to bring in fresh employees and go for the cheapest wage situation possible. You can pay minimum wage for probably ten years and the guy will likely accept that.
8. Some belief in transformation. There are some intellectual types in Germany who think this will be a transformation moment. More eventual votes for non-conservative parties and the new residents will all side eventually to liberal parties (SPD, Linke Party, Green Party, etc). The fact that most of the refugees desperately want to establish themselves in urban areas.....will affect major city politics in places like Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Koln, Hamburg, Berlin, etc.
9. A belief that this attitude would shift across borders and help to get refugees in other European countries. This concept? An absolute failure. Other than some support in Austria.....there's virtually no one else in Europe who wants asylum-seekers in their country.
10. The Merkel factor. Merkel has made herself into a legend as chancellor. No real scandals, no stumbles, no mistakes, no economic problems. Merkel probably saw this as a great opportunity and could not foresee any problem......but never could see the end of this idea. Go ask how she feels over potentially two million in 2016, and she will just grin....admitting that she hopes it won't go that far.
11. The incredible economy. If Germany had suffered through the past three years with economic problems....no one would have signed up for this direction. The fact is that they've been on a full decade with great numbers and the population being mostly positive about their life and future.
Where this leads onto? It's hard to say....except the Paris attack and the March 2016 state elections (three) now could put the Merkel government into some spiral. For someone looking long-term.....you really can't go past March and those election results. They will lay out the future of Germany for the next decade.