In the wake of World War II, the United States was much kinder to German citizens than they dared hope.
That left a lasting impression on the Germans, writes New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg in a new piece about how betrayed the Germans feel.
“America was seen as the guarantor of the liberal democratic order, an order in which Germany, abandoning its aggressive history, would come to thrive,” she writes. “And so for many Germans, it’s a profound shock that the president of the United States now attacks that order, while appearing to fawn over Russia.”
Even more than other Europeans, Germans tend to see Trump’s efforts to undermine NATO as a “funeral” of sorts, she writes.
“Germans have grown accustomed to the fact that the United States would always be their friends,” said Klaus Scharioth, Germany’s ambassador to the United States during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. “And it’s like when a very good friend leaves you. It hurts. I would say of all European countries, the Germans psychologically are the ones who are wounded most.”
He has not alone.
“That was the dream of everybody in the world, that one day we would all live in democracies,” said Cem Özdemir of the center-left Green Party. “One day, we would all live in a world that is fair and just. If the guy in the center of this world is evil, evil has won.”
“The trans-Atlantic relationship is not going to survive eight years of Trump,” said Marcel Dirsus, a political scientist at the University of Kiel. “What comes next is anyone’s guess,” he said.
Rubin writes that the disillusionment is felt most acutely by the Germans who “do believe in the best of American values” but where the U.S. now “can’t be trusted.”
Read the full piece here.