Multiculturalism in Germany.....also starts off with "once upon a time". Depending on who tells the story, it gets weaved into a positive story for about two minutes, and then they hit some point where the rest of the story can't be told, or it's some woeful tale that dissolves to the point where the story-teller is looking at the floor...mumbling about a lost fantasy.
I've waited for a long time for some German mind (Helmholtz, Kepler, Humbolt, Einstein, etc) to sit down and give some wit and brilliance at a televised political chat forum on German state-run TV on the history and spiral of multiculturalism in Germany. It's yet to happen.
So, let me offer some observations.
Since the period of enlightenment, Germans have been open-minded and looking for inspiration, wisdom, and culture from other lands (for long period, that meant bringing in people from France, Russia, England, and Italy).
When they said multiculturalism in the original period....what they were talking about was great music, opera, art, literature, science, and technology. Having some great adventurous Brit come and give a two-hour talk over his expedition to deepest Africa at the University in Frankfurt....was a great positive of multiculturalism. Hearing a recital of some Austrian composer....was a great positive of multiculturalism. Having a display in Koln of great Japanese erotic art....well, it was a great positive of multiculturalism.
Around the summer of 1914, it can be said that a bump in the road occurred and for five years....multiculturalism was defeated....mostly non-existent.
After the war, for a decade....various characters were in some stage of rebuilding the charm and character of multiculturalism. By the mid-1930s.....it was put on ice.
After WW II....for roughly a decade or two.....multiculturalism was something you talk about as ancient history....as German museums were being rebuilt, and opera houses were being reassembled "brick by brick".
It is in the 1960s that you can see and appreciate some return to the multicultural world. Universities are inviting guest lecturers from Russia. Art exhibits are being shown from various collections. Germans are chatty about such-and-such singer from Italy or Spain who is warming their heart. Opera is coming back. Journalists are hyping up exhibits, shows, and the latest in literature from South America or Asia.
All the way through the 1980s....there's these wonderful things being delivered to German society with multiculturalism. There are few questions asked or suggestions of braking on the topic.
So the movement of migrants starts to occur. There is rapid acceptance of Italians, Greeks and Spaniards in Germany. To some degree, even the Turks brought in for the industrial jobs are readily accepted.
My humble view is that around the 1990s....as you looked at various urbanized areas of Germany....the term "ghetto" started to be used. Intellectuals refused to use the term, but cops and regular people did use it.
In the last fifteen years, what can be said is that a number of cultures and societies moved into Germany who had no art, no literature, no music, and no science to share. The intellectual crowd and politicians still conveyed the term multiculturalism, but it was a fraudulent connection to the term.
Since the hyped up period of immigration, refugees, and migrants (2013)....more than half of German society don't buy into multiculturalism anymore. Even the Chancellor noted about two years ago, that it's now a failure. Intellectuals won't go and admit it much.....but it's not hyped by the press quiet as much anymore.
As long as multiculturalism could deliver art, music, literature, and science.....it had sense to it. Without those things, it makes no sense.
In the sense of a fairy tale, this is where you'd like to say that Snow White woke up and married the prince, but in this case....Snow White realized the Prince was a loser....got on her horse, and took off to the next kingdom for another potential prince.....ending there at that point, without any real solid conclusion. It's a sad way to end such a story, but that's one of the limitations of being an intellectual....some things just don't work out.