Germany’s history in the 20th century was impacted by the presence of racial thinking that eventually led to its defeat in WWII as well as the murder of millions of innocent people. Since the conclusion of the war, Germany experienced an economic boom that increasingly used the talents of immigrants. It is not surprising some German politicians still play the race card in campaigning in order to draw upon latent hatred towards the foreigner. Roland Koch, the conservative Cristian Democrat governor off Hesse, told a newpaper reporter this week, “I am very much a supporter of integration.” However, during the past two weeks he has been telling audiences, that Germany has “too many criminal young foreigners” and it is “not a couontry of immigration.”
Prior to WWII, German had never experienced the immigration patterns so common in America. Today, its immigrant population is fast approaching 20% of the population and due to higher birth rates among new arrivals that figure will dramatically increase in the coming years. It is common among German political leaders to focus on the concept of “leitkultur” which conveys a sense there is a dominant German culture which all must accept.
The original post WWII immigrants were termed “guest workers” but they have remained and their children were born in Germany even though most frequently they could were not considered German citizens. This recently underwent changes. Most reports indicate children of immigrants do not become as successful as other Germans. They have lower successful education attainment and work in lower pay jobs. Unfortunately, Germany lacks a political leader who will take a stand in favor of immigration and affirmative action programs to help poor people. The rhetoric of hate and divison is most often used in the political arena than one of integration and acceptance of cultural differences.