What do Germans think of Americans today?

96 posts in this topic

Posted

An American friend asked me what the Germans think of Americans. Pretty broad question, but maybe we could limit it to your thoughts of American people in particular and not American institutions. First hand experiences would be best. It also might be interesting if you mentioned where in Germany you're from. I'm sure some nerves might be touched, but I would prefer any rebuttals to also be German. Thanks for the insights.

-8

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Posted

Too bad I'm not allowed to reply, I could have told you what my German co-worker thinks.

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Posted

Yeah, I could have told you what my German ex-lovers thinks, too.

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Posted

Yep, and I could tell you what my German husband and our German friends think, but you have limited yourself with the rule of this thread.

good luck getting the info.

*crickets chirping*

[p.s. I'm sure there are plenty of TT Brits just dying to answer your burning question, if you'd like to ask them instead. :lol: ]

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Posted

So let me get this straight: you want answers from only Germans, or from anyone as long as they're not American?

Seems to me that a forum for Germans might have been a more appropriate place for this topic, if the former.

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Posted

I get the general impression that there are a lot of mixed feelings. A lot of young people get obsessed with New York and the people there. But, being in Berlin, I also get the feeling that Americans are not well-liked, and anything that has affected their "Wohlstand" can be blamed on the Americans, (i.e. the capitalist pigs that they are, leaving humanity to rot all for the price of a bigscreen tv).

People make jokes all the time about Americans (of which Canadians are considered a part, even when you point out that difference... in one ear out the other, though America is taken to mean North America, I have finally accepted), silly accents in German, superficial, and loud.

I try to avoid speaking English in the S-Bahn because I don't wanna be looked at. Unless she's hot.

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Posted

Yeah...about this...errrr, good luck. :rolleyes:

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Posted

My understanding is that TT is "the English-language community website for Germany" and " communication platform for English-speakers throughout the country" "where English speakers can .regardless of nationality..engage in general banter about anything and everything."

I had hoped there might be a few English speaking Germans in the group willing to voice their opinions. Sarcasm and venting aside, if no German responds, no conclusions can be reached. Let's give it some time and see if any outspoken natives 'engage' in the future.

-15

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Posted

Canadians are considered like Americans?

Unless if, for some reason, you speak German with a French accent ;)

Confusion guaranteed!

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Posted

I think what HS7 means is that to most Germans, Canadians are indistinguishable from their southern neighbors, ostentatious Canuck flags decorating tourist backpacks notwithstanding.

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Posted

What do Germans think of any nationality. Answer: not much. Get off the big university campuses and a few other enlightened places and they are on the whole a pretty insular, intolerant people.

-4

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Posted

What do Germans think of any nationality. Answer: not much. Get off the big university campuses and a few other enlightened places and they are on the whole a pretty insular, intolerant people.

My first instinct on reading such a blanket-type comment is to jump to the Germans' defense..

Then, on about 1-3 seconds' reflection, I have to admit - that's about right..

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Posted

The best parts of American culture are:

The founding fathers and the constitution writers (english)

the music (mobo)

The media and academia (Jewish)

The cuisine (italian and latino)

17% of Americans are said to be of german origin. Maybe their the problem.

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Posted

Just keep those TV series coming, and we are happy with you :)

Glad we're good for something.

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Posted

Glad we're good for something.

I thought the general impression was asked for, I prefer British series... :D

But seriously, many Germans are exposed to American culture via TV, tabloids and music. On TV it is mostly The Simpsons, ER,CSI, Law and Order, Stargate. The tabloids are more interested in scandals, and sometimes the more amusing aspects of American morals, and in music it seems to be Gangsta Rappers, while the Pop and Rock seems to be mostly British. Of course this could be me not understanding the youths anymore...

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Posted

  • Americans love to carry firearms, everywhere. And are shocked if someone dares to use them.
  • Americans seem not very educated. We occasionally get reports about the lack of pointing out Canada or Mexico on a map, something that is no problem for the average fifth-grade German. We know there is a difference between Canada and the USA, btw.
  • Americans get the creeps when seeing naked flesh on TV, but have no problems showing extreme violence to there under-age kids.
  • Americans are obsessed to find their European ancestors, even from five or six generations back. And are disappointed if we don't remember our Great-Great-Great-Grandfather.
  • Americans think they have seen Germany, when they were in Bavaria and the Black Forest. I wonder if you are shocked if you go somewhere in Germany and there is no Oktoberfest and no people in weird leather pants.
  • Americans are over-sensitive to past sins of their politicians, like not inhaling certains stuff in ones youth. We even had a foreign minister that was fighting our government in his youth. And who knows what he was smoking in his time. ;)

Right. Are you saying that this is what Americans are really like or what Germans think they are like? I do think this above paragraph probably accurately describes the general opinion (uneducated or narrow-minded) Germans have of Americans, but my humble opinion is that most of this is bullshit.

As for Americans thinking they're seem all of Germany after having visited the Black Forest and Bavaria, first off, you left out Berlin. Berlin = very important. Second, I think this is true for every single tourist coming to Germany from a country outside Europe. Third, I am pretty sure most Germans would think the same after having visited NYC. ;)

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Posted

to be honest, i don't think tourists should count at all in assessing what's being talked about here. as a tourist you get such a short-lived impression of a people, which ironically, is something i would note about north american culture - people think they can "know you" inside of a very short amount of time, which i've learned in germany is knowing very little at all.

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Posted

Which, if I may be allowed to offer a viewpoint from some of the Germans I have spoken to during my years in Germany, is one of their complaints about Americans. They're super-freundlich, but they don't really want to be your friend. It's all very shallow.

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Posted

Technically I agree, though if the question is what Germans think of Americans today, I think many do base their opinion on tourists, TV shows and movies, as that's simply all they can base their opinion on if they've never been to the States. I think if you want an accurate idea of what Germans in general think you have to take the good with the bad. Obviously, a German who has spent time in the States will have a more accurate picture of what Americans are like, but I think the majority of Germans hasn't been to the States. I suppose the OP is just asking for opinions. Opinions are not facts and if someone says that Americans are like this and this, it doesn't mean they really are like that. It's all just how that person perceives them (myself included).

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Posted

...one of their complaints about Americans. They're super-freundlich, but they don't really want to be your friend. It's all very shallow.

I've often wondered why people from southern Europe and South America don't get labeled as being shallow. Just us 'Mericans. Mariposa, you lived in Barcelona for a while, right? Pretty darn friendly people down there, as well as the rest of Spain. Would you call them shallow?

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Posted

Ermmm, I didn't find the Spanish and Catalan people as friendly as I found Americans (there, it's out). But no, I would not call them shallow for being friendly. But I don't really think southern Europeans and Americans are all that similar. Maybe that's what makes a difference to most people. But I would also not call Americans shallow for being friendly. I just think Germans assume when someone is that friendly the person is actually interested in them (because that's what it would be like here, I suppose), when in the States that is the norm, and that is just how you treat people regardless of who they are (especially in the South). Cultural misunderstanding, I guess. As for why southern Europeans aren't labeled that way, I don't know. But, as I said, I didn't find them nearly as friendly as Americans. Might be a Catalan thing though. That's just my opinion though and one I just formed, so if anyone has more insight into the workings of a German mind, please do share.

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Posted

No, that's interesting. I've always wondered why that was, and as suspected, it's something deeper than first impressions. I guess when a German sees a smile and has to answer the question, "How are you doing?" All while wondering where the gun is... yeah, I can see how that would be perceived as fake.

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