Regular Meeting September 2019
Our annual Membership Meeting with reports and discharge of the preceding Board took place in September.
On September 11, we had the pleasure of listening to the talk “German American Friendship?” delivered by Dr. Ingrid Countess zu Solms-Wildenfels. Dr. zu Solms is the honorary chair of the Steuben-Schurz-Society, whose mission is to strengthen the German American friendship. She began by highlighting the historical relationship between Germany and America. During the 19th century, around 50% of immigrants to the USA were of German descent. Their customs and traditions helped to shape the nation and the American mentality, and German influences can still be found in American culture today. During the Third Reich many German Jews – such as Henry Kissinger – emigrated to the US, millions of Germans became American.
Over the course of the 20th Century, as a result of its role in World War I and II, America became a global superpower and would go on to shape world history for decades to come. In Germany, the Marshall Plan and the” Luftbrücke” were of particular importance in the effort to rebuild the country after the devastation of the war. The close collaboration between Germany and the United States in the post-war period formed the foundation of a special relationship based on shared political views and goals and interpersonal relationships – the principle of people to people. The American way of life became the idealized dream for many.
The 4+2-treaty of 1990 marked the end of the post-war period and was significant diplomatic contribution to the peace process in Germany. US troops left Germany and the relationship changed and developed.
Countess zu Solms concluded that while the “rose-colored glasses” of the post-war period may have been replaced by a more nuanced and realistic view on the German American relationship since, the two countries continue to share common political interests. A collaboration between Germany and the USA remains as crucial now as it was after the World War II. Irrespective of world politics, however, the most important element is still the interpersonal relationship and friendship between the people of Germany and the USA.