This week, one of the AfD folks (one of their top ten but on down the line) got into the news for a speech at some private group, which slammed 'Holocaust guilt'. I won't give the guy's name because it'd just hype him more. Most of the AfD leadership came out over the past three days and tried to encourage to walk the speech back and try to lessen his comments. News journalists and the Berlin crowd hyped negativity over his suggestion to lessen 'holocaust guilt'.
Generally, here in 2017.....seventy-two years after the war....'Holocaust guilt' continues on here in Germany. If you are a student in school....after the sixth grade, you probably will average eight hours a year of lecture or movie-coverage on the actions of the Nazi Party and the Holocaust. Some schools will run class trips to concentration camps or memorials, to get some points across. If you attend any university....you will get some further hours on the topic.
Some Germans will note that it seems like that the bulk of German school history classes are the Roman period, and from the 1930s on.
The necessity to continue the 'Holocaust guilt' theme? There are various mass killings which have occurred over the past 2,000 years, and this is one of the few that mandate a necessary guilt.
After WW II ended, a whole generation were on the blunt point of blame for what occurred. Some were just witnesses....some were German Army members who were lucky to survive the war.....and some were kids during the period. This generation is mostly passing on today.
The Germans born in the 1945 to 1960 period? They are less so attached to the 'Holocaust guilt' because they didn't vote for the Nazis or serve in the Army. They've gotten a healthy dose of moral lessons in their life and there's a mix of people who think the necessity of this moral lesson is dwindling.
The Germans born in the past thirty years? For them, this is ancient history and they are having more of a problem in accepting this 'Holocaust guilt'.
If you look around, other parties have a hint of some type of guilt. The British? They should have colony guilt.....but for some reason, it's limited to mostly Brit intellectual types. The French? They probably should have the same issue. Italy? They ought to have Libya quilt for the forty-odd years they were trying to run things. The Japanese? They probably should have China and Korea guilt, and do often try to present such a guilt image in public.
Then you come to the US and Russia. The Russians ought to have various levels of guilt, but it's almost on a zero scale that such exists.
The US? The Germans will kindly point out slave guilt, Indian guilt, Hawaiian tribe guilt, Caribbean Island or Latin America guilt, Vietnam guilt, and nukes over Japan guilt. You can probably add Iraq quilt, global warming guilt, global cooling guilt, oil usage guilt, sugar guilt, fake news guilt, Afghanistan quilt, the 2008 economic crisis quilt, lack of health insurance guilt, and Bush guilt. Today? Probably you can add Trump guilt.
For German intellectuals, it's one of those topics that they'd like to bring up in forums to hype people up and cast a shadow on the US. Some American intellectuals will show up for these shows and try to accept as much guilt as possible to make their German host happy....but the transfer of guilt across to the general public....rarely ever happens.
With the exception of Japanese internment camp guilt and some admittance of guilt there....with money paid out.....American guilt doesn't usually go too far.
Over the past year, the VW diesel cheat-crisis came up, and the Germans are mostly standing there.....with the Americans, and they hate this moment where VW diesel guilt has to occur. They hate this. Added to this....the Deutsche Bank got caught cheating on some stuff, and there's some guilt trip to that.
Bluntly, the Germans would like for some moment to occur where a massive amount of guilt would transfer over to the Americans and some settling of a 'score' would occur. Frankly, I have my doubts that such a squaring of accounts will ever occur.
How long will 'Holocaust guilt' continue? I have my doubts that it can sustain itself past the 100-year point. That's roughly three generations who will have passed in their period. The odds of another Hitler figure arriving? Germany, after WW I ended, was fragile, weak, and drifting. It took four years for Hitler and his thug gang to be a regional problem (at least in Bavaria). In thirteen years....they were electable. The method of the 1919 peace treaty helped in many ways to bring Hitler into the scene. The odds today? I'd almost give it a zero chance.
So when you hear about some big blow-up with the AfD this week and relating to Nazis....that's what this story is all about.