I’m a student from Marseille in France and in the course of my studies I am in training in an international context in Germany, more precisely in the center of aktuelles forum nrw. I decided to write this article on the relationship between France and Germany, because I think it is important to study both countries with a look of exterior, knowing that I am not of French origin or Germany.
I was born and raised in Mongolia and arrived in France at the age of 12.
Before arriving in Europe, I had the same picture of the two countries and have achieved fast it had a large difference between the two neighboring countries, and a large difference in the various countries. Both countries are having different pictures of the other.
Starting with a historical context, Germany and France had a complicated relationship since World War II. To avoid another war and to stop the revenge of the reconciliation many efforts have been made.
Trade with Elysee in 1963 formalized this merger. The “Unification of Europe” and the Franco-German couple have always developed the motor of European construction.
Most affected are young and they like the relationship between France and Germany very well, but the general view is very different.
• The French: Treat in the eyes of the German
The Germans often have a positive image of France by values such as French cuisine (baguettes, croissants, French wine, cognac, champagne …) and the City, Country: Paris, Eiffel Tower and other sights in Paris.
The young German perceives “The French” primarily as a bon vivant and gourmet. It is reminiscent of a lifestyle light, rather carelessly.
In a broader context of the German love France and French, for them, Paris is a city of lovers, the French language is beautiful and sweet …
The historical and political aspects play a subordinate role.
• The Germans: Treat in the eyes of the French
The image of the Germans from the French is characterized more by political and historical aspects. Young French often evokes World War II, including Nazi association and of course the Hitler regime.
For many young French, the Germans are perceived primarily as part of a historical and political responsibility. In general, the image of German for French is more of a disadvantage for them, the German are cold, racist and the German language is very slightly favored.
The school would not like to teach German and I had to log off in a different school to learn German because it had no opportunity to learn German in every college in France. There were not many high schools and now we are just two pupils on a technical university. And I think there is not enough support teaching German in France, while in Germany it’s easier to learn French.
It is striking that the image of Germans from the French is not very clear. In addition, the French way of life is very different in opposite to the German way in the view of the Germans.
Most young Germans have traveled to France, but the French do not often travel in Germany and elsewhere, people have a higher age. So the Germans are more attracted by France.
More knowledge about the respective countries is much lower on the history and culture. The only source of information about the neighboring country is the television and the school. This explains the lack of knowledge about their neighbors.
This trip and my stay of 6 weeks had helped me to see things more clearly. J had the same image that the French get from the Germans. It was very interesting for me to learn something about the thoughts and feelings of the Germans.
The Germans have a positive image of French but generally the French didn’t have a good impression of the Germans. The reason of this contrast is the war and above all, Hitler! How can we change this situation?
Sure, it’s different to know that these are two different countries and every culture, tradition and lifestyle that makes a country unique. The two countries have an obligation to improve the friendship and this relationship is fragile, we need to promote contact between the two countries and encourage youth to discover and have an open ear.
Tuja Erdenebelig, France/Germany, June 2011