Two States-One Nation?, by Giinter Grass
His country’s most famous writer, Günter Grass is nothing if not consistent. For decades, as this collection of essays, speeches, and interviews shows, he minimized, warned against, and poured scorn on the idea that the Germans ever could or should live in one nation-state again. “Reunification is a word devoid of meaning,” he told the Bonn press club in 1967. Of course, as soon as the Wall came down, it was clear that reunification would follow. And indeed, this has come about even faster than its champions hoped for. But the events of the last year do not seem to have changed Grass’s viewpoint at all.
The author of The Tin Drum has always stressed two reasons why his countrymen, unlike any other ethnic-linguistic group in the world, must not elect one parliament. First, a united Germany was and is bound to be a menace. Grass put it this way in a speech to a Social Democratic party congress after the storming of the Wall: “No one in his right mind and cursed with memory can allow so much power to be concentrated in the center of Europe again.” Second, a united Germany means the Federal Republic with its Deutschmarks swallowing the so-called Democratic Republic, which is a shame, since Grass believes East Germany had its own distinctive character and achievements well worth preserving.
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