My namesake in Scotland, A Scottish Pensioner, asks in her blog why Germany is paying Southern Europe's bills, and why the German people are content to do so.
I posted a reply, but decided that perhaps I should amplify what I said and why I reached my present viewpoint.
I was born before WW2 and lived through it as a child. My father had strong views on the Germans and no doubt he has strongly influenced my thinking.
I always knew that my father spoke German, but until recently with the publication of the 1911 census, I didn't know that my grandfather was Swiss from the Canton of Berne and so German would have been his native tongue. My father served with the Machine Gun Corps in the trenches, and after 1918 served for a while with the army of occupation, and although only a gunner, somehow he managed to see a lot of Germany during that time.
Subsequently, having come home and qualified as an accountant, he secured a job with the UK subsidiary of Bayer gmbh, the major German pharmaceutical and agri-chemical company, in a senior position. Between the wars both he and my mother visited Germany numerous times and made quite a few friends there.
Nevertheless, although he got on well with Germans as individuals, he always felt that the Germans wanted to dominate everything, believing that only their way of doing things was best. He never believed in the idea that the Germans were coerced into by the Nazis into war, but always argued that they wanted it, firstly as a matter of pride, having been beaten in 1918, and secondly because many, particularly in Prussia, felt that they had the right to rule.
There have been other previous European leaders who would have liked to dominate Europe, the main on being Napoleon, and indeed he did manage to rule large parts of the continent. However the difference between him and both the Kaiser and Hitler seems to be that whilst the French accepted what Napoleon was doing, he never had the real support of the French people, unlike the Germans who were enthusiastic supporters of what their leaders were trying to achieve.
So coming to the present and the original question as to why Germany is paying Southern Europe's bills. I would argue that a large part of the German people still want to dominate Europe and that they still feel their defeat in WW2. They still believe that they are the natural leaders of Europe and that their their way of doing things is the best. However they now have politicians who realize that they are no longer going to be able to achieve their goal by military means but can achieve virtually the same objective by financial means.
The EU has provided them with an ideal platform for their objectives. Before the Euro, Germany was keen on regulation and standardisation, with their representatives, of course, being the main instigators of the rules. With the advent of the Euro, they had the strongest economy and the strongest currency, and as a result have been seen as the managers of the new currency (in spite of what the French might think!). By insisting on low interest rates, they tempted the free spending southern European countries into borrowing well beyond their means. Whilst previously these countries would have managed their currency by allowing quite substantial inflation to reduce their debts, this now became impossible, and to prevent them going bankrupt, Germany put up considerable sums of money, in effect, to buy their debts, provided that the government did what it was told in financial terms.
So Greece did as it was told, appointed an EU/German approved prime minister, called off a referendum on the Euro and now has something like half its population unemployed and on the bread line. Italy was instructed to do something similar, but things have not gone as expected and they called a general election with the result that a party run by a stand-up comedian has the balance of power. And today, Cyprus has effectively declared that it will be bankrupt by May, and in order to get EU help has been told to levy a tax on all savings accounts.
To me, Germany's aim of dominating these countries by financial means is beginning to pay off. Germany will pull all the financial stings and the puppet governments will jump. Germany, in due course will want its money back and when they can't pay will make other demands. Domination will be just as effective as if their army had walked in. The countries will be unable to resist, individuals will have any savings stolen to pay the debts and to all intents and purposes they will become German colonies.
Their only failure was that Britain didn't join the Euro, although it was a near run thing. But we are in the EU and dominated by German inspired rules and regulations designed to benefit their economy. As an example, try to buy some old fashioned Sodium Chlorate weed-killer. You can't - it has been banned by the EU on health and safety grounds, although the only problem, as far as I can ascertain, was that the IRA used it for bomb making. What do we have instead? Well most of the replacement products on the shelves at my local garden centre are made by Bayer and imported from Germany,
I rest my case.
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