Angie, Trains and Inheritance

Well, Germany has a new Chancellor. Good for them. It’s about time. I was starting to miss all the parliamentary bickering on evening TV.
Es versteht sich ganz klar, dass der Herr Minister Blahblah sich unverschämt verhalten hat! Das ist eine veranwortunglose Politik! Meine Damen und Herren, Sollen wir alle bloß zuschauen als unser Land untergeht? You can learn some really snotty things to say in German by listening to politicians.

I am reading a book called “Germany- Unraveling an Enigma” by Greg Nees. It is all about Germans and why they’re that way. It’s pretty interesting. It has helped shed some light on a few of the puzzling things that go on here like Germans being very direct and opinionated almost to the point of rudeness. Even beyond sometimes. Don’t hold it against them. It is all about Klarkeit and Sachlichkeit. Some of the observations are quite obvious now that I see them in print.

One of the most interesting things in the book is how the medieval Germanic tradition of the father distributing his inheritance equally among his sons has had a long lasting effect even on German culture today. This led to the dividing up of the kingdoms and duchies and to squabbling between the brothers. Many small isolated city-states then arose and often warred with each other for various reasons but having the main effect of hindering the German tribes from getting their shit together and forming a centrally controlled sort of kingdom.

England and France would use this to their advantage and get smaller kingdoms to attack each other in hopes that they would destroy themselves and save them the trouble. They’d be all:
“Yo Hans, your brother Hermann in Franconia is pissed cuz you got more gold than he did. Said he was gonna come over there and kick your ass.” To which Hans would say, “Oh Yeah? Well, I’ll show him.”

Then they would say something similar to Hermann and hilarity would ensue.

This impeded Germany’s participation in the Colonial and Industrial Age until it was winding down. Although, when it came to industrialization, they caught up fast.

It wasn’t until almost 25 years after the Thirty Years War in 1871 when Otto von Bismarck from Prussia stopped all the hatin’ and brought his peeps together and created the German Empire.


Fo’schnitzel, Mein Nitzel.

The most interesting side-effect of these little city-states all over the place is how it has affected Germany’s present day railway system. It seems to be a bit more decentralized compared to England (pdf) or France.

Yeah, I know some of that is high school history, but now you know the connection between ancient Germanic inheritance laws and the great rail accessibility to German cities and I bet you didn’t know that 5 minutes ago, you’re welcome.

Anyway, I’m about halfway done with the book. I’m in the middle of “German Communication Patterns – The Fine Art of Complaining”.

Heh. That chapter wrote itself.