Deutschland by Rammstein: An Analysis

Heyyy best arrows in the Game here. Coming in with some media analysis about a
very controversial piece of media that was released by one of Germanys most successful
cultural exports a couple of months ago. Of course I’m talking about the band which
singlehandedly taught the world the German words “Du hast”, Rammstein. In the wake of the band releasing a snipped
of their music video for the song “Deutschland” or “Germany” there has been quite a lot
of condemnation hurled in their direction. An Israeli ambassador calling it shameful
and demanding immediate removal. Former head of Germanys Jewish council said
the band was exploiting the suffering and murder of millions for entertainment purposes
and the governments commissioner for anti-Semitism said the band had crossed a red line. Despite that, the song immediately became
a number 1 hit and its music video is close to eighty million clicks on YouTube. So, let’s talk about it and maybe we can
make sense of it all as we go through the video and decipher what’s shown, what it
might mean and at the end we’ll talk about if this reaction is warranted. But please, while you’re watching this,
keep in mind that everything I say in this video is completely right, uncontroversial
and not up for argument. The video opens showing roman soldiers walking
through a forest with the title card reading “Germania Magna” which was the Roman term
for the region in north-central Europe and home of the Germanic tribes. We see the soldiers walking up to a tree which
has several bodies hanging from its branches and encountering a black woman cutting of
the head of another Roman soldier. At first, I thought this scene was a depiction
of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. When the Romans sought to bring the regions
that would later become Germany under their control, they suffered a disastrous blow at
the hands of Arminius, who was taken from his tribe as a little boy, received roman
military training but later returned to Germania Magna, uniting previously hostile Germanic
tribes against the Romans. Obviously an immensely important point in
German history, there are a bunch of memorials dedicated to Arminius and this historical
moment is often seen as the birth of the “German people”. Besides the thick forest, another indicator
that this scene is referencing this battle are the roman soldiers hanging from the trees,
because legend has it that after the battle, a roman was hung from or nailed to every tree
in the Teutoburg Forest. And while this battle might be an influence,
the year 16AD doesn’t quite fit so it might also show the campaigns of Germanicus who
sought to bring the region under Rome’s control from 14 AD to 16 AD. But since these campaigns also failed, the
takeaway pretty much remains the same, namely the uprising of the Germanic people against
the Romans. The black women the Roman soldiers encounter
is not supposed to represent a literal person in the context of the video but is supposed
to serve as the personification of Germany itself. She takes on the role of “Germania” which
has been a stand-in for Germany for hundreds of years. Some of you might be wondering why Germania,
the personification of Germany is portrayed by a black woman, which are a minority of
Germans. Well, trust me when I say it will become clear
when we look at the lyrics in a couple of minutes Our next historical setting is some sort of
cellar in which two guys are beating the hell out of one another with brass knuckles. Judging from the clothes and hairstyles, I
think it’s safe to say this is supposed be set during the Weimar years. The setting specifically might speak to the
large amount of violence in this period and the whole scene resembles the “dance on
the volcano” image we have of the Weimar years as a period of swing and cultural progress
on one side and social upheaval and violence on the other. Now violent political clashes weren’t unusual
even before that period but in the 1920s it took on a whole new quality. For instance, in 1920, a group of reactionaries
executed a successful coup in Germanys capital and seized control of the parliament. And while the coup only lasted 100 hours in
total due to a nationwide general strike, it kicked off a chain of violence much more
grim than your average political altercation. As a response to this coup something called
the Ruhr Red Army had risen up in West Germany but after the initial right-wing coup was
defeated by the general strike, this armies goal shifted to revolution. What followed was the now reinstated government
sending in armed forces to put down this rebellion, with over 2000 Germans being killed in the
process. And not just due to fighting but mass executions
afterwards. This kind of violence is much better described
as regional civil wars than just violent clashes between opposing sides. As Mark Jones writes in his book “Founding
Weimar: Violence and the German Revolution of 1918–1919”: “At this stage of history, violence was
politics, and politics was violence; Any attempt to present the two as separate historical
chapters would misjudge the basic character of this epoch.” The violent clashes defining Germanys inter
war period especially early on didn’t just involve fists or milkshakes. It involved machine guns, it involved artillery
and mass executions. In fact, the first bomb dropped onto Berlin
wasn’t dropped by the Allies in World War 2, but during the Berlin March Fights in 1919
by government forces fighting revolutionaries. This scene communicates a level of political
violence that would very much shape Germanys way forward. Next up we have an office with the band being
dressed as party higher ups of the SED regime during east Germanys time as a socialist dictatorship. The lead singer is dressed up as Erich Honecker,
in his time general secretary for the central committee of the socialist unity party. Later in the video we see them partying, popping
champagne bottles and generally acting very unrestraint. And this imagery is quite common in artistic
portrayals of east Germanys ruling party. The DDR was from beginning to end plagued
by a lack of consumer goods like toilet paper for instance, which was notoriously scarce. Heating material in the winter, Drinks in
the summer and so on. Partially this was due to reasons out of the
ruling parties influence like having less trading partners available than their western
counterpart, but also due to sheer incompetence or political decisions like prioritizing heavy
industry over the production of consumer goods. In nineteen fifty eight the party even started
a program titled “a thousand little things” promising to deliver all the stuff that was
lacking like can openers, razorblades. You know all those little things. The stated long-term goal of these programs
was to raise living standards to a level that would eventually exceed living standards in
Western Germany. While this goal specifically was never met,
there were ways to get around the problem of lacking consumer goods. One of these ways was to rise through the
ranks of the ruling party which came with a lot of benefits like a greater variety of
food being available to you or skipping ahead in waiting lists to get a car. Portraying the ruling party of the DDR in
this way is often used to show the hypocrisy of a leadership chastising the West for perpetuating
an unjust class system, while at the same time disregarding the notion of equality when
it came to themselves. The members of the band all grew up in East
Germany and lived under this regime so that might explain why they not only included this
imagery in their video but also included this set of lyrics in the song: You (you have, you have, you have, you have)
Cried a lot (cried, cried, cried, cried) Separated in mind (separated, separated, separated,
separated) United in heart (united, united, united, united) Most likely a reference to Germanys forceful
separation and the suffering connected to it. Lots of people couldn’t see their family
members anymore or were murdered attempting to flee the East. In their song Radio from the same Album they
are even more explicit in their critique of the DDR and the song revolves around censorship
and escaping a largely closed off society via the radio, with which you were able to
catch signals from the West. And while we’re on the topic of East Germany,
there is a shot later in the video showing riot police sitting on a tank in front of
a giant Karl Marx head. And in case you don’t know, this head exists
in real life in the city of Chemnitz formerly known as Karl-Marx-City. What the tank and riot police are supposed
to reference in combination with this monument is open to interpretation, but one possible
event would be the East German Uprising of Nineteen fifty-three. As a response to a raise in work quotas, which
basically means more work for the same salary, construction workers went on strike not only
demanding to drop the quotas but broad democratization and political freedoms. As more and more workers joined the protest,
the government decided to deal with these demands by violently suppressing the uprising,
turning to the Soviet Union for military aid. Soviet tanks were deployed, military and police
opened fire on protestors and dozens were killed. Next up we have the band being led through
a prison while receiving physical abuse and money raining down from the ceiling. And while the scene takes place in a former
DDR prison, the clothes of the inmates and Germania being dressed in what seems like
a parade uniform of the Garde-Dragoner Regiment alludes to the early Weimar years again. Up until 1923, incarceration and the treatment
you received in the criminal justice system were supposed to serve deterrence. Under the new social democratic government
this changed and physical abuse as well as confinement in a darkened cell were abolished. Despite this new approach, the concept of
“resocialization” didn’t really seep through to the actual prison guards and the
abuse of inmates continued throughout the Weimar years. 1923 was also the year of the hyperinflation
which might be referenced by all this cash raining down. Inflation was already quite rampart in the
German Empire since you can’t really fight a world war with pocket change but when it
really hit the fan was when French and Belgian forces occupied parts of the Ruhr area due
to Germanys inability to pay demanded reparations. Naturally, this sudden occupation outraged
the German public and the countries leadership called for passive resistance. Workers in the area went on a general strike
and did everything possible to sabotage the efforts of the occupiers. BUT those workers still had to be paid, which
the German government couldn’t, so they created even more money out of nothing which
led the inflation to explode. By the end of the year, people had to carry
their money in wheelbarrows when going to the store because a single egg, for instance. cost 320 billion Reichsmark. A very scary time as you can imagine. Here is how the German correspondent of the
British daily mail described the situation and luckily, I could avoid faking a British
accent for this quote: ‘In the shops the prices are typewritten
and posted hourly. For instance, a gramophone at 10 a.m. was
5,000,000 marks but at 3 p.m. it was 12,000,000 marks. A copy of the Daily Mail purchased on the
street yesterday cost 35,000 marks but today it cost 60,000 marks.’ It got so bad that if you were to sit down
at a café and order a coffee, while you were sitting there the price for that coffee might
have gone up from 5000 to 8000 marks. The impacts of this inflation are impossible
to list but naturally due to many people no longer being able to afford basic necessities,
crowds began to riot, loot food stores and violence, again, ran rampart. However the biggest impact of this inflation
is one that wasn’t immediately visible because when people lose faith in the economic system,
they also lose faith in the political system. “Hyperinflation became a trauma whose influence
affected the behavior of Germans of all classes long afterwards. It added to the feeling in the more conservative
sections of the population of a world turned upside down, first by defeat, then by revolution,
and now by economics. It destroyed faith in the neutrality of the
law as a social regulator, between debtors and creditors, rich and poor, and undermined
notions of the fairness and equity that the law was supposed to maintain. It debased the language of politics, already
driven to hyperbolic overemphasis by the events of 1918-19. It lent new power to stock fantasy-images
of evil, not just the criminal and the gambler, but also the speculator and, fatefully, the
financially manipulative Jew.” In addition to that, with this economic crisis
the novelty of the Weimar system had significantly worn off and the people who were in favor
of this new republic had less and less in their arsenal to argue for preserving it. The next scene we’re going to look at is
the one that caused the earlier mentioned controversy. We see the band dressed as inmates of a Nazi
concentration camp, lined up at the gallows awaiting their public execution. And there are some details worked into this
scene that are easy to miss. If we take a closer look at the uniforms of
the bandmembers we can see that the bass player of the band is marked as gay, the person next
to him as a Jew and the lead singer wears a combination supposed to identify political
prisoners who are also Jewish, so a Jewish socialist for instance. Judging from the rockets in the background,
this scene most likely takes place in the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora, which is
the site where the V2 rocket was built. The V in V2 standing for “Vergeltung”
or “Retribution”. The weapon in itself wasn’t really of any
use, to the Nazis except for propaganda purposes and more people actually died during its manufacturing,
than the rockets killed when reaching their destination. Why Rammstein chose this specific image of
a public execution clearly set at a V2 manufacturing site is anyone’s guess but it might reference
a great injustice connected to this camp specifically. The manufacturing of the V2 rocket at Mittelbau-Dora
happened via a company called Mittelbau GmbH which’s general director was a guy named
Georg Rickhey. Obviously, this wasn’t an ordinary company
but one that was deeply build around the exploitation of concentration camp inmates and thus co-responsible
for the over 20.000 deaths connected to the manufacturing of the V2 rocket. After the war was over, nineteen people were
put on trial for what happened at this site, one among them, the general director of the
Mittelbau GmbH Georg Rickhey. During the trial a former inmate testified
that he remembered Rickhey to be present at a particularly cruel mass execution of thirty
inmates in March 1945. It wasn’t simply a mass execution though
but a mass strangulation. Rickhey denied this and also any involvement
in implementing the cruel and inhumane work practices at the site, something uncovered
documents would later prove to be a lie. He ended up being acquitted without an explanation
given and well, go back to where he was living before the trial. Which happened to be United States. He was one of many German engineers, technicians
and scientists brought to the US. in something called Operation Paperclip. Here you can see former NSDAP and SS member
Kurt Debus who became the first director of NASA sitting between John F. Kennedy and Lyndon
B. Johnson. I’d love to tell you that later in his life
Georg Rickhey faced justice for his involvement in the death of thousands but sadly, nobody
knows what happened to him after returning to the US. Probably took on a new identity and you know,
lived his life. Later in the video the roles are reversed,
and we get some cathartic violence with the inmates executing a couple of Nazis via shooting
them in the face. Now before we talk a bit more about this part
specifically, let’s look at the last scene where we see the band dressed in 70s clothing
clashing with the police and kidnapping our Germania figure. Pretty unambiguously a reference to the RAF,
the Red Army Faction which was a leftwing extremist terrorist organization active in
West-Germany in the seventies. The group understood itself as communist,
anti-imperialist city guerrillas and was responsible for the death of over thirty people and also
causing one of the biggest crises in modern German history known as the German Autumn. This period started with the kidnapping of
German industrial leader Hans Martin Schleyer in September 1977, during which three police
officers and his driver were killed. The goal of the terrorists in this case was
to negotiate the release of some already arrested members of the organization but the German
government at the time, did not budge and was not willing to agree to an exchange. Tensions increased when about a month later,
members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked a German airplane making
the same demands among other things and threatening to execute all eighty-six hostages onboard
the airplane if denied. Quite the turbulent time for this young republic
and needless to say, the political climate got heated up with left-wing politicians being
accused of harboring terrorist sympathies and a general feeling of unsafety among the
population. The German autumn ended when counter-terrorist
special forces stormed the captured Airplane, freeing all 86 hostages, the earlier mentioned
incarcerated members of the RAF killing themselves when hearing of this development and Hans-Martin
Schleyer being executed by his captors. Now there are a couple of things more one
could talk about like a scene where presumably a witch is burned at the stake with Nazis
burning a bunch of books right next to it. There is a medieval battle scene in which
Germania resurrects the fallen knights while a zeppelin passes by and there is a scene
at the end where Germania gives birth to a bunch of Leonbergers which is a German dog
breed. But these are really more open to interpretation
than the ones we discussed so you can comment your own speculation about them. Before we now try to get at what this video
and the song lyrics are supposed to say, we’ll have to take a look at the politics of the
people starring in it. But for the uninitiated the question in the
back of your mind is probably “is Rammstein a Nazi band?”. And this accusation is something the band
has been feeling the sting of since its founding. It reached its height when the band used footage
from Leni Riefenstahls Nazi propaganda film about the summer olympics in 1936 in their
music video for the song “Stripped”. But even if you’re unaware of this controversy,
there are several things that might make you question their political leanings like the
rolled “R” or the hyperclear pronunciation of the lyrics. Things often associated with the very specific
speech pattern in Adolf Hitler’s speeches. There is also the band logo imitating the
shape of a Balkenkreuz, often used by the German armed forces. Besides these things, the whole video to Deutschland
is dripping with national romanticism which usually wouldn’t cause such a scandal depending
on its context but when combined with imagery from the third Reich, things get murky. There is the risk of presenting the pretended
superiority of the Nazis as rooted in reality or make them seem tempting like with these
shoots. It looks more like a movie production than
a reflection of reality. Or just look at this picture used for the
promotion of the song. Now the band is kind of notorious for not
giving many interviews and almost never speaking about their political leanings but in an interview
with Rolling Stone they had this to say when asked about the controversy of using footage
from a Riefenstahl film: “The intensity of the reactions really surprised
us. Back then we sincerely thought this will find
a way of working itself out. We are from the east and grew up as socialists. Back then we were either Punks or Goths. We hate Nazis! (…) We come from an entirely different culture. In the past we fought with these right-wing
idiots and we would do so today”. Well, that seems pretty unambiguous, Rammstein
says punch Nazis, there you go. After this controversy Rammstein sought to
clean the table in releasing a song called “Links 2 3 4” or “Left two three four”
with a marching beat and the lyrics “They want my heart on the right side, but
when I look down it is beating left”. If we look beyond what is shown in the video
to Deutschland and combine it with the actual lyrics, we can clearly see Rammstein’s opposition
to Nationalism and right-wing views shimmering through. Probably the best example is their decision
to choose a black actress to portray the personification of Germany. During the third Reich, German society understood
itself as a community defined by its ethnicity as well as a shared past and destiny. All employees and officials in the public
sector had to own a certificate proving their membership of the Aryan race sometimes tracing
their roots back to the seventeen hundreds. Now of course a document like this isn’t
handed out anymore since there is no requirement to become a German that’s connected to your
skin color. But is that really true? If it was, there wouldn’t even be a question
of why Germania is portrayed by a black woman. Why shouldn’t that be the case? You can be black and be as much a German as
everyone else. Maybe you even caught yourself asking the
question why a black women is in this music video. Looking at the pattern of the lyrics, the
song starts out with the lead singer saying the first part of a sentence and a choir repeating
the first word of what is about to say next. Here is an example:
The lead singer says the word “you” with the choir repeating “you have” directly
after, and then the lead singer continuing the sentence with “have cried a lot”. We’re always led into the next part of his
sentence this way. However, shortly before the first chorus,
the choir following what the lead singer says don’t lead into anything and seemingly just
finish his sentence. With that we get the sentences:
You can, I know,
We are, You all remain, Now Rammstein’s lyrics are meant to be ambiguous
but this part specifically combined with their choice to cast a black women as Germania which
is also on the cover of the single, seems to get at the underlying attitude in Germany
of what a German is. Namely that the values you hold or how much
you might benefit the country, only comes secondary to what you look like in determining
if you’re a German or not. At least sub-consciously Its something not
really openly said but I assume a lot of Germans who are also people of color will have encountered
this one way or another. That’s doesn’t mean that this attitude
is never openly mentioned. For instance, after our last federal election
the speaker of Germanys far-right AfD party on a panel, during which he vehemently defended
his party from accusations of racism, complained that he doesn’t see enough Germans in our
inner citys.
How would he know who is a German citizen and who isn’t? I guess I don’t have to spell it out for
ya. While the Nazis “blood and soil” rhetoric
is long gone and Germany on the whole is sensitive to exclusionary language, blind spots like
judging someone by their skin color are ever present here, as well as in other European
countries. And by the way, the German government still
accepts the Ariernachweis as an official document to prove German nationality, which is kinda
messed up. The risk of making the Nazis seem tempting
with the earlier mentioned shots is also undercut by casting a person who the Nazis would have
intense disdain for. In a different part of the song we see the
band distancing themselves from Nationalism in a manner that is pretty cut and dry compared
to their other work: Germany – your love,
is a curse and a blessing, Germany – my love,
I cannot give you, From the right, German anti-Nationalism is
often framed as a kind of self-hatred due to an underlying guilt left over from the
third Reich. And despite research showing the opposite
to be the case, they seemingly can not fathom someone viewing their country of origin in
a nuanced manner and not strictly positive. If we go beyond the basic understanding of
a fifth grader though, the position espoused by Rammstein and parts of the German left
is obviously much more thought out than “Germany is bad”. The truth is that Nationalism as a political
force is only really powerful, if there is an enemy to wield it against. Theoretically Nationalism should be inclusive. You know, regardless of skin color we are
all part of the same Nation, upholding the same values etc. but obviously it doesn’t
work that way in reality. Nationalism goes hand in hand with the exclusion
of others, be that an outside force like a colonialist overlord or a subset of the population
not deemed to be truly part of the in-group. At the end of the second verse, we get the
lyrics. “Germany, Germany above everyone” which
is a reference to the first verse of the Deutschlandlied which reads
“Germany, Germany above all”. Now again, in intention, these lyrics are
not meant to show superiority over others. It was written back when the German state
didn’t exist yet and this line was supposed to express the long existing desire for a
German nation state. A translation more faithful to its intent
would be “Realizing Germany (as an idea) is more important than anything else”. Doesn’t have the same ring to it unfortunately. Similar the German sentence “Ich liebe dich
über alles” is not meant to tell a person their superior, but that they are more important
to you than anything else. Rammstein changing the lyrics to “Germany
above everyone” gets much closer to how the first verse of the Deutschlandlied ended
up being understood and used. It shows that the exclusion of others is very
interwoven with Germanys history. After the takeover of the Nazi-Regime they
scrapped the second and third verse which calls for Unity, justice and freedom and only
kept the first verse and combined it with the “Horst-Wessel-Lied”, the anthem of
the party. If there is anything to take from Germanys
long and multi-faceted history it’s that right-wing Nationalist movements, only ever
lead their countries into misery and destruction. And of course, any self-espoused Nationalist
these days will deny this, trying to frame Germany as a historical anomaly but we can
see this trend play out from Italy, Romania, Japan or in the language used by self-espoused
Nationalists today. At a certain point in time, Nationalism was
useful since Germany was a country in which just as much religious division as class division
existed. It is also something to easily overdose on,
unfortunately. All that said, if this is supposedly the message
of this Rammstein song, why all this controversy? What is it about this scene that caused such
an outrage? Well, nothing to be honest. This scene as part of the video is largely
uncontroversial in the broader German media landscape and it makes sense for it to be
there. Because all these quotes I read to you in
the beginning were uttered before the actual release of the song. Shortly before the song came out, the band
released a little snippet from the video for promotional purposes showing only the scene
from the concentration camp and nothing else. It wasn’t clear at that point in time, that
this scene is part of a broader tour through Germanys history. Which is not to say the band is beyond criticism
though. Releasing just this part without providing
further context was obviously a marketing gimmick, because the band and label behind
them knew the reaction and media storm it would cause. And while Rammstein is still a successful
band, they hadn’t released a studio album in over ten years, so this was an easy way
to get their name out there again. Which is an effective marketing strategy,
I guess. But its also a shitty and above all lazy thing
to do. The band has always played with nationalist
aesthetics because in large part its shock-rock and in Germany that’s obviously what you
would do and of course the band is free to do that. This marketing trick specifically just feels
very cheap, while not saying anything. I think this is the part of the media analysis
in which I should talk about what this piece of media means to me personally but honestly
something like national identity was never something I thought about much. But it is without a doubt a topic much more
complex in Germany than other countries considering how recent the Third Reich ended. What I feel like a lot of people miss regarding
this discussion is that wondering about what “Germany” is, what values it should uphold
and even if it should exist at all are thoughts that are older than the country itself. Germany being involved in a conversation about
National identity on the regular might seem like a product of the second world war and
the atrocities committed during it, but honestly different versions of this conversation are
seen all throughout Germanys history. Not only the question of if a united Germany
should exist but also how should it exist? One of the reasons the first revolution on
German soil failed was because there was so much disagreement on what this new country
should even be. Should it be a monarchy or a republic? Should we have a Kaiser? Should Austria be included or not? Then, a few decades later the German nation
state is formed but not due a revolution from below but by military force with serious disagreements
about if the Kaiser should be a “German Kaiser” or “Kaiser of Germany”. A few years later the big questions rile up
the country again like should we be a great power or a world power? Should we be part of the West or not? Then after the devastating defeat of the first
world war should we really be a republic or isn’t that something fundamentally un-German. What about all those Germans now living in
lost territories? Take over of the Third Reich, proclaiming
that excluding Austria was a mistake and that they are actually Germans. On top of that Germany’s role in the world
is and allegedly always has been the one of a Manichean struggle against the Jewish race. Third Reich is defeated, Germany is split
in two with the Western side accusing the east of being nothing but a soviet satellite
state and the east accusing the West of being the fashist successor of Nazi Germany and
round and round it goes. As Rammstein’s video shows, there are so
many different facets to Germanys history, that its impossible to make out a single national
character. Being unsure about national identity and Germanys
place in the world is and has always been, part of this country. One thing that has proven successful in avoiding
another catastrophe is being honest with Germanys missteps on the question of what Germany should
be and not shying away from the disastrous consequences. As Rammstein does in their video, recalling
Germanys past without leaving out the ugly parts is not is not only necessary for our
own sake but also for Europe, a project we share with others. Thank you for watching everyone. I hope you liked this little venture into
media analysis because there might be more to come. But, I’m not sure about that yet. A massive thank you to my patrons especially
because this took so much longer than initially anticipated. We should be able to go back to the regular
schedule now though. Something else I wanted to mention is that
I often get the question if I feel like my channel gaining some popularity is an indicator
of a shift in the political landscape on YouTube and it very well might be. I’m actually not sure about that but what
I know is that I and a couple of other creators have the big advantage of a viewer base which
spreads their videos far and wide. So, the driving force behind this trend is
actually just you folks, as far as I’m concerned. I’m always amazed at the places my content
ends up being spread to so from me to you, a sincere thank you for helping me out here. Couldn’t do it without ya. Also thank you to Big Joel and and Hbomberguy
for lending me their voices for this one. Check out their channels via the video description. Links as always down below, join the Patreon
for extra content and other cool stuff. Check out the social media links etc etc.
and I hope to see you the next time. Until then, have a good one.

100 Replies to “Deutschland by Rammstein: An Analysis”

  1. Fascinating. But you should know that real fans learnt a lot more German than just Du hast. None of my German can ever be used in polite company but if I ever need to tell a German speaker to get down on all fours, I'm all set.

  2. By the way: The little Ariernachweis has the same definition as beeing German without a migrant background, a term regularly used by the extreme right.
    Are there similar terms in other countries?

  3. Overall, it's a good analysis but I think you may have read a little too much or too little into a few of the details.

    A few examples:
    The opening scene showing Germania as a druid, confronted by Roman soldiers, is most likely a reference to the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and its aftermath, but what's particularly interesting about this is that Arminius and his betrayal of the Romans, while often cited as one of the first formative events of Germany by German nationalists, really has nothing to do with German history – the fact that the video cuts off, then jumps forward several hundred years and visually distances itself from that period (hereafter never going further back than knights in armor representing the middle ages), may be worth noting.

    The fistfight representing Weimar probably has more levels than just the political one. The 1920s were a time of hypocrisy and excess (and not just in Germany), which is not just represented by the two fighters but also by the gambling and betting taking place around it and the joy with which Germania and the others looks onto the spectacle.

    The gallows scene (actually, the entire concentration camp section) seems to represent the Nazi rule in general, rather than Mittelbau Dora specifically. The V2 here seems to be the link between forced labor (as took place in Mittelbau Dora), the desperate attempts of the Nazis to (really or at least in propaganda) fight back the Allies, but also technological advances, which draws a connection from this scene to the space scenery (which connects back to the Nazi period with the represented u-boat) and references the role of German scientists such as Wernher von Braun after the war. The image of the V2 may even allude to the threat posed by nuclear missiles after WW2, again the result of Nazi "Wunderwaffen" research.

    Ruins as seen in the WW2 scenery are prominently featured again in a later scene, where Germania (dressed in pre-industrial fashion) wanders around them (all alone), looking confused, lost, and terrified by what she sees. This contrasts both her role in the execution scene where she first (literally) turns a blind eye to the Nazi crimes, then is shot alongside two other Nazi officers, AND her GDR counterpart who is dressed modernly and in socialist uniform (highlighting that the GDR didn't see itself as related to or responsible for the Third Reich in any way).

    And I think one of the clearest statements of the band against Nazis can be found in the video itself: the cuts between the pugilist, the prison inmate, and the Jewish political prisoner as Lindemann sings "Deutschland, Deutschland über allen" – the people suffering under the violence of Weimar (to which the Nazis contributed more and more as they rose to power), the Prussian and Nazi police state, and the Holocaust. They don't glorify violence in the video at all (unlike some uneducated statements in the press suggested when this video came out). In fact, what stands out to me as the most powerful image of the video is Till Lindemann as the Jew, about to be hanged, crying a tear as the lyrics speak of being unable to truly love Germany – th entire execution scene is somber and quite powerful.

    The knight scenes seem to be more symbolic of the middle ages in general than of specific events, just like the space age imagery and Germania giving birth to dogs seems indeed extremely open to interpretation (so much so that I genuinely don't know what they intended with this beyond provocation).

  4. Fantastic video, I can see and hear the great effort you've put into making this video. More in-depth analysis is needed more when emotive reactions grip the discourse.

  5. There is huge undercurrent in the video around Germania which is worship of Black Madonna in medieval Europe, black woman standing as counterpart for Virgin Mary. She stands for sexuality, averice, earthiness, ugliness, materality, all those aspects of feminity which were cast out from Virgin Mary but people had to be able to relate to somehow. I suppose strongest hint is monks feasting over her body (red characters locked under the table), which turns into wild baccanalia because they repressed their own sinfulness as usually happens with fapping: week of no-fap turns into three-times-a-day-neurotic-fap-with-a-sore-wiener. If you repress something heavily enough it comes thru back door with battering ram.

    Roman soldiers rushing at Germania is sort of mark of patriarchal assault against matriarchy: Linking her as the Great mother, oldest known divinity widely worshipped in Europe and Middle-east which later on was replaced by more masculine divinities such as Yahve, Odin, Wotan, Zeus and so. But she remained in the background in various forms.

    Biggest clue of her being Black Madonna is she giving birth to dogs. Dogs usually stand as instinctual beasts as opposed to intelligence and will which are more human traits, here Germania gives birth to Germany's lowest instincts as opposed to Virgin birth of Jesus. Whole scene is so full of symbolism that to me it's obvious and whole scene links her to Great mother as well. There is Great mother idea of warrior rising from dead to fight for their Germania to die again, Ouroboros as endless cycle of death-rebirth. here pointing at endless cycle of violence and averice of Germany (and humanity as a whole). Rammstein's vision is ugly yet full of life, that is what Black Madonna was worshipped for. Virgin Mary was holy and pure, almost unbearably superhuman, Black Madonna stood for all the rest.

    Ofcourse there is big role with Italy and Rome as well with this video… i can think from top of my head: Rome, Catholic Church and fascism. Rome/Italy for me seems to stand more for conscious, will and higher ideals, while Germania stands for unconscious, insticts and baseness. If one really wants to make things stereotypical: masculinity and femininity, but i'd be very careful with that idea.

  6. Germania being portrayed by a woman of color also serves an aesthetic reason. She always wears something gold and something red: Her colour scheme is black-red-gold. Reminds you of something? It's the german flag! 🇩🇪

    Apart from that, amazing video!

  7. Isn't the portrayal of germania a black woman in gold armor and gold teeth with red eyes, clothes and beams around her simply because of the use of the colors gold black and red in the german flag?

  8. If one doesn't believe in National identity, how can one say what fits into one or not? I really don't trust that you would believe that deep within anyway, concerning "anyone being X Nationality". But saying so doesn't feel as bad as ceding ground the other way.

  9. There's another level of analysis you're missing about the song "Radio" beyond a simple portrayal of the DDR's state censorship and the ray of hope provided by Western radio broadcasts. The Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek who is very close to Rammstein's ideological orbit (essentially the house intellectual of the Neue Slowenische Kunst art collective whose musical wing, the band Laibach, is possibly Rammstein's single most important musical and aesthetic influence) has claimed that illicit availability of Western media was actually a helpful safety valve for the old Eastern Bloc regimes in maintaining control for as long as they did, since it directed people's political hopes toward the fantasy of escaping to a utopian society somewhere else, and thereby helped divert their political hopes from the possibility of tangibly changing the society they actually lived in. (Ironically, this also strongly resembles the classic Marxist critique of religion: by goading people into believing that they'll get "pie in the sky when they die" in Heaven, the ruling elite tries to dilute the political potency of people's demands for a better life here and now on Earth.)

    Signs of this critique are clear in at least a few places in the music video for the song "Radio". First you have what seems to be a popular street uprising, complete with visual allusions to the iconic "Liberty Leading the People" figure from the French Revolution, but then it turns out to just be a consumerist mob descending on an electronics store to loot a bunch of radios; Žižek himself has talked at length about the role of consumerist looting frenzies as a diversion from more substantive political protest, a type of scene also depicted more explicitly and at greater length by the Bosnian leftist band Dubioza Kolektiv in their video for the song "Himna Generacije" ("Hymn for a Generation"). Then you have the scene where East German riot police show up at the recording studio to break up the band's radio broadcast, but it turns out they're swinging their riot clubs through holograms of the band members, and soon they launch into a choreographed dance routine on the outro chorus; one could interpret this as Western music finally capturing the hearts and minds of even the regime's own hired thugs, but a deeper interpretation is that the regime itself is tolerating and tacitly endorsing the broadcast, and they're only superficially play-acting to trick people into thinking they want to shut it down.

    The coup de grâce though is in the last few seconds, where the video cuts from black-and-white to color and the band is shown leaving the studio: the banners flying outside the studio are colored in vintage communist red-and-yellow, but instead of a hammer and sickle, the logo on the banners is the star circle of the present-day EU flag. To me the message here is that on a deeper level, the band isn't really singing about the DDR at all, and much like Žižek often does in his philosophical lectures, they're using the more obvious (especially in hindsight) ideological repression of the Eastern Bloc period as an analogy to help understand the less obvious (especially in the moment) ideological repression of the modern capitalist West. So maybe the song is actually trying to tell us that we shouldn't think of ourselves as so much less ideologically restricted than those poor communist Easterners tuning their radios to Western media as a form of escapism, because maybe our computers and smartphones tuned to social media or Netflix or YouTube are playing the same escapist safety-valve role for us right now today.

  10. We need greater tuetonia to be born, a unification of all tuetonic people under our own gods from amerika, englaland, Scandinavia and any were our people dwell.

  11. Danke für die Analyse. Ich konnte mir das Video nicht allzulange antun, nicht wegen der Nazi-Bilder, sondern wegen dieser ganzen Effekthascherei: Super schnelle Schnitte, viel zu viel Sprünge zwischen den einzelnen Epochen und übertrieben starke Symbolbilder, sodass man am Ende gar nicht mehr richtig deuten kann, was das alles zu bedeuten hat und sich eher ekelt. Ja klar, Rammstein ist für seinen schock-Rock bekannt, aber eine nummer kleiner hätte es nach der langen Zeit in denen deutsche Musik eher aus soften Liedern, gesungen von jungen Männern, bestand.

  12. Poes law is the problem. The band putting themselves in the position of holocaust victims is incredibly tasteless and is very easy to read as an expression that they feel victimized by "pc" culture or "the left are the reeeeal racists" or any other typical right wing talking point. Its like how the band Slayer, who also use ironic fascistic imagery, wrote a song called "Guilty of being Right" mocking those who accused them of being right wing and it only made those same people believe it even more and take it as a defense.

  13. I'd also point out that Germania, when portraied in a nazi uniform, has a blindfold on her LEFT eye. That's a symbolism, right? I think it is.

  14. Hurray! — both for your analysis, and for using the word "reactionaries" correctly. You are unique, sir.

  15. Deutschland has about 80 million views on YouTube and Germany a population of about 80 million. Coincidence ? I think not!

  16. I've watched this video a few times, and I never once got the impression they were being exploitative or insensitive or anything like that. There's no disrespect. They're talking about their relationship with their homeland, a mix of pride and shame, love and hate, joy and pain. There are things to hold Germany up for, and things they should hang their heads for. Same as any country, though Germany has had a rocky road for one of the leading modern economies of today. How could they just leave out the Nazis? That would've seemed.. Like they were trying to pretend it didn't happen. It did. And they are ashamed of it. That's why they made themselves the victims. They sympathize. I just don't get the criticism. It's a mini movie of Germany's history. Can't just cut out the parts people would rather not think about. That would be wrong. I think it's beautiful and sad and it was moving. I love it. Rammstein has always been pushing the boundaries. I don't think this is one of those times. They're expressing their mixed feelings about their heritage in art. That's it.

  17. Is this bait? 1:03

    Rorschach test (correct me if I am wrong that it was this test); you say that Germany is over all Germans, while Sargon says Germany over everyone else in the world.

  18. Hold on three arrows, I should watch the clip first. Then I'm going to listen Ein Lied. Then Engel… Then Benzin… Sorry chap, I'm gonna watch your video later. See you in a few hours.

  19. The seven core tenets of nationalism:

    1. If an area was ours for 500 years and yours for 50 years, it should belong to us – you are merely occupiers.

    2. If an area was yours for 500 years and ours for 50 years, it should belong to us – borders must not be changed.

    3. If an area belonged to us 500 years ago but never since then, it should belong to us – it is the cradle of our nation.

    4. If a majority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must enjoy the right of self-determination.

    5. If a minority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must be protected against your oppression.

    6. All of the above rules apply to us, but not to you.

    7. Our dream of greatness is historical necessity, yours is fascism.

  20. This german fear(or angst) from money inflation is annoying. This angst brought greek and other EU Citizens the horrible austerity politics.

  21. I almost wasn't able to tell that you are German, but your pronunciation of the German words was just too perfect. I think you can take that as a compliment.

    I've seen a couple of analysis videos on Deutschland, but yours was by far the most in-depth yet on-point one. Although this video seemingly doesn't represent your work here on Youtube, I've left you a sub and am looking forward to explore your less recent videos.

  22. Fun fact: The Hungarian Puskás Ferenc Stadium is being rebuilt. A few weeks ago they tested the sound system. There were some technical difficulties. The first one: this song was playing on loop. The second: it lasted from afternoon till the next morning. The noise complaints in the area were numerous. "When I listen to Rammstein, my neigbours do, too." Well, they took it to a next level.

  23. See this is why I got a hard time trusting social democrats, as much as I like Three Arrows and usually find their videos informative, sometimes we get that sneaky gadje history.

    Hans Martin Schleyer was an SS Officer and faced no justice for his crimes, when the RAF shot him they did the world a favour. But the red liberals decided to name streets and sports arenas after him like he's the West German equivalent of Martin Luther King Jr. It's pretty distasteful to see history get whitewashed like this. I'm Romani, so in my culture and history we got a different perspective, and it's these small bubbles of white identity politics within social democracy that ends up killing us on a daily basis through segregation, police violence, ghetto economics and repression. Little bit disappointed is all I'm saying. I try not to generalise adherents of a specific ideology, and I often respect TA's perspective, but wow, this is weak. Try being Roma for a day, and then see if you still want to coddle the SS.

  24. I watched it, got the references, and can neither agree with those who praise it nor those who think it's offensive – I actually thought it was borderline boring.

    Or maybe the internet just made me so dead inside they'd have to at least throw babies into a blender to shock me, Idk.

  25. i don't know man, this is all very deep, but the word "uber" is in the lyrics quite a bit, so have you thought that maybe this song is just the soundtrack to a really epic ad for uber in germany?

  26. I see what ya did there with The Busiest Music Nerd's "Best teeth in the game" thing and I appreciate it very much 😂

    The US has been overdosing on nationalism for well over 100 years. If your hair is a little too dark or curly and you tan a little too easily you're suspect. The "blood and soil" aspect of US nationalism is undeniable and so extreme that it even extends to a host of Europeans (Especially Italians, Sicilians and Greeks) and people with accents (Especially Russians). It's pathetic and embarrassing.

  27. hmmm… the band members claim that they "grew up" under the East German regime. The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, so for them to have grown up in East Germany, they would have had to be born in 1984 or so (assuming you believe that the first five years of your life is equal to "growing up"). So if they were born in 1984, that would make them 35 now. None of them looked 35 to me. Sounds like a lot of Schmäh to me.

  28. ayy that teuto rep! as a native bielefelderin/wertheranerin, I've been playing in the forest as a child and visiting the hermannsdenkmal one or two or 3000 times😅

  29. Old media fake protests: 500M views, Three Arrows correct analysis, 83K views. The truth is a minority pursuit these days.

  30. Awesome, loved your commentary! A lot of context I could not pick up on, not being German. I found it quite interesting your point about the discussion of what Germany is or whether it should even exist has existed all through its history. Makes total sense what you are saying. Such a stark contrast to my own home country Norway. It has existed as a unified country for more than a thousand years but under rule by other countries for hundreds of years. Hence nationalism in Norway has a very different context from Germany. I see this clearly with German friends in Norway. Germans seem to have an immediate revulsion towards any form of nationalism.

    While in Norway nationalism has a leftist origin. Nationalism is very different when a suppressed people are trying to assert themselves as opposed when you are the dominant and powerful one. For Norway much of our modern history was about resurrecting Norwegian identity. It is interesting how history can make people who are in principle were similar have some very divergent views on a number of issues. I am always surprised when spending time in Germany how many things are similar to Norway and how there are a lot of similarities in mentality. Although on the continent I think Norwegians are probably most similar to the Dutch. But even the dutch I think have had issues historically deciding whether they are a form of Germans or not.

  31. I always found their music to be a bit on the surface level, but this interpretation of the video is pretty profound..

  32. Germany being a black woman was also an aesthetic choice. She was often shown dressed with gold and red, so when you look at her you see the colours of the German flag, red black and yellow. There's no white on the flag.

  33. I've always found hilarius how both Israel and the EEUU had acused South American countries like Argentina, Brazil or Chile of being nazi footholds when we are clearly the only ones honest enought to admit that we took nazis…forgetting that we also took jews refugees as well

  34. De-mystifying nationalism is the best action to take to mollify it's social toxicity – thanks for providing this analysis from your perspective. Watching the original music video I do get it's 'cheap marketing gimmick' aesthetic but may be that's the point of the video itself though – if ultra-nartionalism is kept at branded mystical set myths and trite easy to swallow rhetorical rubrics then it's easier to spread – the makers of the video seem to be deconstructing this as a reality and as you say presenting the various threads of German history as complex narratives of a lived reality by human beings – rather than the legacy of ideologies alone.

  35. I think this is an interesting video to discuss and very interesting questions to ask on national identity. I would argue that in America, we very well should have as much a struggle with national identity as is widespread in Germany. Some of our crimes happened at the same time as the third reichs, some of ours happened after and some are ongoing. I think perhaps, people discussing national identity in a nuanced manner like this is v uncommon in lots of places.
    Also, I wouldn't have thought Rammstein would've needed to rely on freaking outrage marketing but hey! That sucks

  36. On Rammstein being a cultural export; My dad was telling me how the first time he traveled overseas as an adult he was asked if he had any family that fought for the Nazis during the war, and I replied that the first thing I usually get asked when people either hear my overly Germanic name or overhear me speaking with other Germans is "What do you[Germans] think of Rammstein, mate?".

  37. On Rammstein being a cultural export; My dad was telling me how the first time he traveled overseas as an adult he was asked if he had any family that fought for the Nazis during the war, and I replied that the first thing I usually get asked when people either hear my overly Germanic name or overhear me speaking with other Germans is "What do you[Germans] think of Rammstein, mate?".

  38. On Rammstein being a cultural export; My dad was telling me how the first time he traveled overseas as an adult he was asked if he had any family that fought for the Nazis during the war, and I replied that the first thing I usually get asked when people either hear my overly Germanic name or overhear me speaking with other Germans is "What do you[Germans] think of Rammstein, mate?".

  39. On Rammstein being a cultural export; My dad was telling me how the first time he traveled overseas as an adult he was asked if he had any family that fought for the Nazis during the war, and I replied that the first thing I usually get asked when people either hear my overly Germanic name or overhear me speaking with other Germans is "What do you[Germans] think of Rammstein, mate?".

  40. On Rammstein being a cultural export; My dad was telling me how the first time he traveled overseas as an adult he was asked if he had any family that fought for the Nazis during the war, and I replied that the first thing I usually get asked when people either hear my overly Germanic name or overhear me speaking with other Germans is "What do you[Germans] think of Rammstein, mate?".

  41. I took it as a look in the dark past of Germany and how to move forward from that past. That yes the past is there but we must learn from it lest we fall in to repeat it once again.

  42. Here's my 2 cents why Germania is a black woman:

    Not to be color blind or anything but she's beautiful af tbh and that's why she plays Germania.

    Also she looks badass in that armor. Love me some women in armors. Not that fantasy loincloth and bras made out of metal shit but REAL armor with plate, gambeson and stuff. You know what I mean. She looks like a fucking space marine. That's my kind of woman.

  43. you conclusion is pretty Sound, i might just ad that it isn't just nationalism which is a problem, it's tribalism itself. yes, both look quite the same, but the later one is imho. way more impactfull.

  44. Hello. I am an antifascistic anarcho-communist – I've always loved Rammstein. They are very, very clearly being ironic. "Deutschland über allen" is basically "oh wow, look at Germany, it's sooo great, right? Wow, so great /s". I walk around in camo pants and boots, bomber jackets and look angry all the time, but because of the context of my whole attitude and the space I am in nobody has ever accused me of being a Nazi and eagerly welcome me into very, very Left-leaning events. This is kind of the same. Without context or insight, you'd think they were Nazis, but if you just looked a little bit deeper than "Third Reich imagery bad", you'd understand. It's not dripping with national romanticism, it's making fun of it!

  45. 22:34 "At a certain point in time nationalism was useful, since Germany was a country in which just as much religious as class divisions existed."

    I would hardly disagree with this point. The fragmentation of Germany was always its strength compared to the giant Tsardom of Russia, or the super centralised state of France. The country that is praised by Göthe, had small cities everywhere, every bigger city had its own university, its own culture, its own common ways of living.

    What good was the unification of the Reich for the German people? One national anthem? One national currency? Fewer border control? The German Reich was born though war and its main achievement was centralisation of power, that enabled the Kaiser to pursuit his dreams of a high sea fleet and big standing army, that lead to another big war.

    What I see in the black Germania is the depiction of "Entfremdung". That the common German doesn't even know, what it means to be German. That there are no real Germans at all and that it doesn't matter what skin colour Germania has, if there are no people of her. The origin of the word Germans came from the German tribes. The first Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were (as the name indicates) Emperors of Rome, not of Germany, even if most of there land was in the German area. Later the Reich was called Holy Roman Empire of German Nations. Still no Germany, still only a bunch of different German tribes. And if you ask me, nothing has changed even today. It is still a country of many different "tribes" and these tribes would be better off ruling themselves. I also dislike the powershift to the EU. For me it looks like the same catastrophe of the Kaiser Reich. A giant Nation of people who aren't of the same culture, who don't share the same interests, and it looks like this giant nation will get a common and huge military and will be ruled by a German. We all know where this story will end.

    So, more power to decentralisation of power. Let's hope this will be the motto of the 21st century.

  46. Rammstein has been surrounded with controversy ever since the band's founding in 1994.

    The name alone was taken from the Ramstein air show disaster in 1988, allegedly.

  47. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate the level of thought & effort that goes into pretty much every Rammstein video? Very few artists go to these lengths, always next level.

  48. If you go simply by numbers of people killed by a corrupt government and their warmongering benefactors, the third reich doesnt even rank on the top 5. It is laughable how people get triggered by a music video while war crimes are commited every day in the world. Sad truth is human lives are not valued equally.

  49. Also a general rules of thumb for Americans here:
    If it's from Germany or Austria, but not checked if it can be prosecuted by prohibition law, in court because of the prohibition law, or in prison yet despite controversy, it's probably not nazi.

    Austria and Germany do not mess around when it comes to such things.

  50. Rammstein is the reason I speak German today. Started learning in middle school on my own so I could learn the songs' meanings. Then properly studied in German, and then went on vacation to Germany. All because of Du Hast and that album Sehnsucht.

  51. Pretending that it is weird to ask oneself why Germania is a black woman is very hypocritical. Because the majority was and is white. If the national symbol of Kenia was depicted as a white woman you would probably also raise an eyebrow..?

  52. der rummel hat keine 5 min gehalten, wahrscheinlich beim zweiten durchschauen gemerkt dass man auch den ton hören sollte….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *