Germany ‘should be proud’ of war efforts
UNITED STATES: Germans should be proud of what their soldiers achieved during two world wars, the top candidate of the far-Right Alternative for Germany (AfD) said ahead of the September 24 election.
The anti-immigrant AfD is at 12 per cent in opinion polls, meaning it could become the third biggest party in Germany’s lower house behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD).
‘‘If I look around Europe, no other people have dealt as clearly with their past wrongs as the Germans,’’ 76-year-old Alexander Gauland said in a speech to supporters posted on YouTube.
The Nazis ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945, during which time they killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
‘‘People no longer need to reproach us with these 12 years – they don’t relate to our identity nowadays,’’ Gauland said.
He said the battle of Verdun during World War I belonged to German history, as did Erwin Rommel, the World War II field marshal celebrated as the ‘‘Desert Fox’’, and army officer Claus von Stauffenberg, who led an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944.
Gauland said Germany needed to reclaim its history.
‘‘If the French are rightly proud of their emperor and the Britons of Nelson and Churchill, we have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars.’’
In January, Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD’s chief in the eastern state of Thuringia, provoked outrage for describing the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin as a ‘‘monument of shame’’ and for demanding a ‘‘180 degree turnaround’’ in the way Germany seeks to atone for Nazi crimes. – AP