For decades, this claim would have needed no further explanation, since it was an accurate description of the German-American friendship.
After all, since the end of World War II, the transatlantic partnership has brought Germany an unprecedented period of peace, freedom, and security. To this day, Washington is our closest foreign policy partner outside the European Union. For many of us, the U.S. is also a place of personal hope and aspiration.
On the other hand, there is a sense that it is no longer a given that Germans and Americans are wunderbar together. It is as if the Atlantic has widened, politically speaking. We can feel that the U.S. and Europe are drifting apart. The nearly complete overlap of our values and interests that defined the transatlantic relationship for more than two generations is waning. The causes for this historic shift are multifaceted, and the responsibility for it can be found on both sides of the Atlantic.
Therefore, it is high time to reassess our partnership – in a rational, critical, and self-critical manner. We have to readjust it – not to leave it behind, but to renew and preserve it.
We do not want to do this separately, each on our own, but together. This is why, for the first time, we will carry out a Deutschlandjahr in the U.S. Our aim is to create the opportunity for developing a new, shared perspective on transatlantic issues – in critical and self-critical, honest and creative ways. And we want to provide opportunities for people to experience how close we actually still are.
We want to have new conversations with Americans about the nature of our relations, and what we could make of them – not only in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, but also in other parts of the country, where the coasts are far away and Europe is even farther. If we could achieve this, then we would, indeed, be wunderbar together.
The Year of German-American Friendship (“Deutschlandjahr USA”) is a comprehensive and collaborative initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented by the Goethe-Institut, and with support from the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
The Federal Foreign Office
The Federal Foreign Office represents Germany’s interests to the world. It promotes international exchange and offers protection and assistance to Germans abroad.
The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, active worldwide.
The Federation of German Industries (BDI)
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) is the umbrella organization of German industry and industry-related service providers. Together with its 39 trade associations and 15 regional representations, it represents the interests of more than 100,000 companies with around eight million employees.