In the German country report, Dr Luuk Molthof and Magali Mohr explore the relationship between national identity and pride, on the one hand, and open society attitudes, on the other. Using original qualitative and quantitative data, they demonstrate why and under what conditions German patriotism need not endanger Germany’s open society.

Germany’s past has made Germans acutely aware of the dangers of nationalism, and celebrations of Germanness are still largely taboo. But this taboo is coming under pressure, as many Germans seem to want to move past feelings of guilt and shame. Some fear national pride may boost Germany’s far right and endanger the country’s tolerant and open society.

In their analysis of the Voices on Values survey and interview data, the authors show that despite the sensitivity around the subject, Germans – both the general public and political elites – feel a latent sense of national pride. By comparing national identification and pride levels with attitudes towards an open society, the report demonstrates why more overt expressions of German patriotism do not need to endanger the open society. Revealing that a majority of respondents take pride in attributes associated with support for an open society, such as the Grundgesetz (German Basic Law) or the German welfare state, the authors therefore encourage German politicians and civil society leaders invested in the open society to actively engage in the conversation about national identity and pride.

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