Political analyst, journalist
The recent festivities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the nazi Germany once again showed that the British and the Germans differ in their evaluation of many events of the not-so-remote past. The so-called "mass" or tabloid press in Britain extolled as best it could the role England played in the destruction of Nazism. More serious newspapers, however, underlined that the weightiest contribution to the victory of the allied forced was made by the USSR and the United States.
Full realisation of their active participation in World War II is nowadays the most significant factor of national self-consciousness in both Russia and Britain. Britons are proud of the contribution they made for the common victory, but, undoubtedly, that is not something that Berlin is prepared to praise.
Quite understandably, modern history does not look the same to Russians, Americans or the British. For Germans the 20th century history is first of all linked to their defeat, the sense of national shame, and either openly acknowledged or negated feeling of their historical responsibility and historical guilt.
Many Germans think the British are "just dotty" about World War II. In a recent article in "Der Spiegel" magazine the German Ambassador to London Matthias Matussek has given another proof of such an this opinion. According to him, the British are naive to think that they went to war because they had to defend the Jews from total destruction (even Prime-Minister Tony Blaire mentioned this in one of his interviews on the eve of V-Day). However, what is known as "the crystal night", an euphemism for the mass repressions against Germany's Jews that followed the murder in Paris of the nazi diplomat Ernst von Ratt, did not become a pretext for a declaration of war with Hitler. More than that, many in the British political elite were pro-German and anti-Semitic. "There were especially many devotees of the Hit ... Read more