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Thread: Why German Speaking Countries Don't Unite Into One Big German Country?

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    Why German Speaking Countries Don't Unite Into One Big German Country?



    Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. All these 4 countries speak German as their first and official language. they are bordering each other. They once used to be one country, yet they are divided. Always thought about that..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oasis View Post
    Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. All these 4 countries speak German as their first and official language. they are bordering each other. They once used to be one country, yet they are divided. Always thought about that..
    All of those countries were part of the Holy Roman Empire divided by small Kingdoms. As seen on these maps
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy...er_Staufer.svg

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oasis View Post
    Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. All these 4 countries speak German as their first and official language. they are bordering each other. They once used to be one country, yet they are divided. Always thought about that..
    History happened?

    First, Switzerland has not one official language but four (in addition to German, it has French, Italian and Romansh).

    For Austria, the story is decisively more complicated. Austria used to be part of the Holy Roman Empire (until the Napoleonic Wars, when the HRE was dissolved), and at that point already it was a major power in its own right. When Napoleon dissolved the HRE, Austria declared itself as its own 'empire'. More importantly, Austria (or Austria-Hungary after the compromise) was a multi-ethnic empire, and while speakers of German had the plurality (read: they were the largest single language group), by a large margin they had no majority. To the aspiring thinkers in Germany who wanted to unify the German states after the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century (culminating in the failed 1848 revolution), this was a bizarre problem, and they came up with two concepts to solve this: either a 'little' Germany (German Kleindeutschland) that excluded Austria, or a 'greater' Germany (German Großdeutschland). The actual unification of Germany under Prussian yoke in the early 1870s was a case of the former. Then World War One happened, and in the end Austria-Hungary was dissolved. The German-speaking rump state (which became modern-day Austria) was forbidden by the winners of World War One (the Entente Powers) from joining Germany. Then in 1930s the Nazis rose to power in Germany, and in the late 1930s, thanks to the dilettantish negotiations of the British (under Neville Chamberlain), Hitler was able to annex Austria and he proclaimed a "Greater German Empire" as a result. Then, after also annexing the German-speaking parts of Bohemia (the so-called "Sudetenland"), Hitler started World War II by invading Poland. After World War II, Austria was restored as a separate state, and it has been separate since. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and negotiations of a reunification between east and west Germany began, there wasn't even a debate about Austria joining Germany. Realistically, if you disregard the period from just before to the end of World War II (1938-1945), Austria has been a separate state that developed separately from the rest of Germany for over 200 years.

    And now, cynically, let me ask you a question: why does the United States not rejoin the United Kingdom?
    Last edited by Taranis; 11-09-16 at 21:47.

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    Country: Belgium - Flanders



    Austria was ruled by the Habsburgers. I don't know how they got in power there.
    Flanders was at some point inherited by another branch of Habsburgers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis
    Then, after also annexing the German-speaking parts of Bohemia (the so-called "Sudetenland"), Hitler started World War II by invading Poland.
    Between annexing Sudetenland (October 1938) and invading Poland (1 September 1939) he also occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia (15 March 1939) creating the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia and the Puppet-State of Axis Slovakia, annexed Klaipeda from Lithuania (23 March 1939) and started to demand the revision of borders with Poland and the annexation of Free City Danzig (April 1939). All of those were blatant violations of the Munich Agreement from 1938 in which Hitler had promised that after getting Sudetenland he was not going to advance any further territorial demands. Not to mention the Stalin-Hitler Pact (23 August 1939) in which Eastern Europe was de facto partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union, just like Spain and Portugal had once partitioned America at Tordesillas in 1494.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomenable View Post
    Between annexing Sudetenland (October 1938) and invading Poland (1 September 1939) he also occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia (15 March 1939) creating the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia and the Puppet-State of Axis Slovakia, annexed Klaipeda from Lithuania (23 March 1939) and started to demand the revision of borders with Poland and the annexation of Free City Danzig (April 1939). All of those were blatant violations of the Munich Agreement from 1938 in which Hitler had promised that after getting Sudetenland he was not going to advance any further territorial demands.
    My apologies for abridging that earlier, but I cut it short because I felt it would have gone too far off topic when we're talking about the Austrian narrative. I'll agree with you however that all of those instances could have been reason enough for Britain and France to declare war on Germany - and its Neville Chamberlain's fault in particular that that didn't happen. Instead, they just gave more fodder to the monster Hitler. But as I said, its not all that relevant to this discussion about Austria. My point was that the Anschluss was - at large - an anomaly in the history of Austria.

    Not to mention the Stalin-Hitler Pact (23 August 1939) in which Eastern Europe was de facto partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union, just like Spain and Portugal had once partitioned America at Tordesillas in 1494.
    I do not think that those treaties are comparable in any way. The Americas were at that point a barely explored lands of uncertain extend (so the portugese and spaniards had no real clue about how many peoples would be affected), which is something you cannot say about 1930s-era Poland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    History happened?

    First, Switzerland has not one official language but four (in addition to German, it has French, Italian and Romansh).
    German is the first language for the greater majority of the Swiss people. Besides, they speak german in the national parliament, don't they? I don't think having regional languages other than german would prevent them from joining Germany. In Canada there are 2 official languages and many other recognized languages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oasis View Post
    German is the first language for the greater majority of the Swiss people. Besides, they speak german in the national parliament, don't they? I don't think having regional languages other than german would prevent them from joining Germany. In Canada there are 2 official languages and many other recognized languages.
    The language situation is far more complicated than that. You could say that the Swiss Germans are effectively bilingual: their everyday language is Swiss German (which is not per se mutually intelligible with Standard German, though Swiss German is to some degree mutually intelligible with the south German dialects). In contrast, the official language in the media is Standard German (although with a Swiss accent, which Germans love to confuse as Swiss German, but it is not the same). Theoretically, Switzerland could go ahead and separate is ties with Germany for good and make Swiss German the sole language of German-speaking Switzerland. However, they don't do that because of Swiss- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, because (as I've been told first hand by a Swiss French, so take that with a grain of salt ) these wouldn't put up with learning Swiss German. The way things are, they can go ahead and learn Standard German as a second or third language, and they can also use it in Austria and Germany, which they deem as much more useful. Hence you have the strange situation of bilingualism.

    Second, far more importantly, Switzerland is by European standards a relatively old country - and so is Swiss identity. The original Swiss Confederacy formed in the late 1200s, and Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire was fixed by the end of the Thirty Years War - around 150 years before the begin of the Napoleonic Wars.
    Last edited by Taranis; 11-09-16 at 19:52. Reason: typos

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    We could argue that Dutch is a variety of German (Deutsch) as well. AFAIK similar dialects are spoken on both sides of the border. There is a "West Germanic dialect continuum" and the transition from German to Dutch is fluent and gradual. The reason why we distinguish Dutch from German is because the Netherlands have had a long history of independent statehood, and they created their own literary language (Standard Dutch).

    Some people say: "a language is a dialect with an army". I would add: "and also with a book". Written culture is important.

    When it comes to Austrians - they use similar variety of German as Bavarians, and are culturally close to Bavarians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oasis View Post
    Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. All these 4 countries speak German as their first and official language. they are bordering each other. They once used to be one country, yet they are divided. Always thought about that..
    Why are you so keen on German speakers unification, but don't mention other language unifications like Great Union of Spanish speakers in South and Central America for example?
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    Austria was ruled by the Habsburgers. I don't know how they got in power there.
    Flanders was at some point inherited by another branch of Habsburgers.
    Austrians are just old bavarians speaking an old bavarian dialect

    the original German was low-german from North-Germany..................but it seems to have been replaced by High-German ( alpine or south german ) as the main tongue

    Franconian, and coastal Rhenish ( which can be associated with frisian ) might have a say in this
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    german

    German is the official language of Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. In addition, it is one of four official languages in Switzerland, and one of three commonly used in Luxembourg. There are over 120 million native speakers of German, primarily in Europe, though it is spoken regionally by native speaker minorities in 40 countries. As an international language of business, scientific research, publishing and tourism, it's estimated that German is spoken as a foreign language by an additional 80 million people worldwide. (source: vistawide.com/german/german.htm)

    Continental_West_Germanic_languages.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Why are you so keen on German speakers unification, but don't mention other language unifications like Great Union of Spanish speakers in South and Central America for example?
    As a matter of fact, I thought about that, too. We could certainly discuss that in another thread..

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    I am from Austria and I have never met a fellow citizen in my life who would have a desire to join Merkels Germany, no matter from which political direction she or he comes.

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    I think people should unite based on haplogroups. MN1GA

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    You should rather ask a different question: why is Protestant German-speaking area and Catholic German-speaking area united, if the same didn't work out among Catholic Serbo-Croatian speakers and Orthodox Serbo-Croatian speakers in Yugoslavia?

    Natural affinity of Catholic Bavaria is with Catholic Austria rather than with the rest of Germany.

    Percent of Catholics by county in Weimar Germany (Figure 1):

    https://www.semanticscholar.org/pape...3e541e87517794


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