Germany Recalls Myth That Created the Nation

<< < (5/5)

Deramus:


Hermann, portrayed as a blond, musclebound warrior, featured in more than 50 operas and plays during the 18th and 19th centuries. Nationalists turned the Germanic leader into an icon to help them forge unity in the face of such perceived enemies as the Vatican, the French and the Jews.

Deramus:


The excavations have revealed evidence of a complete defeat of the Roman army and some 10,000 to 12,000 of Rome's finest legionnaires were slaughtered. Archaeologists have found many small items such as buckles, hinges, connecting parts of body armor and chain mail -- things torn off when the Germans were stripping the Romans as they lay dead or wounded. "You can only imagine this kind of brutal stripping of the dead when the defeat was total, when no Romans survived,” says Wilbers-Rost.

Deramus:


The likely path the Romans took through the forest has been marked out with metal plates at Kalkriese. The popular myth was that Hermann united the German tribes and drove the Romans out. The facts tell a different story though, say historians.

Deramus:


Some 100,000 people visit Kalkriese and its adjoining museum each year. This year, the 2,000th anniversary of the battle, is likely to see a sharp increase in visitor numbers because there has been intense media coverage of Hermann and the battle.

Deramus:


The people of Detmold are proud of their association with Hermann. The Hermann Monument on a hill near the town remains a big tourist attraction. But the myth of Hermann has paled since World War II and is set to go on waning. What remains, historians say, is the experience of how history can be invented and turned into propaganda.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page