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The leading German historian Michael Stürmer is the third in Radio Four's series 'Letters from Germany' to write about his country's shifting image in the light of the current European economic crisis.Michael, a chief correspondent with Die Welt and at one time a speech writer for Chancellor Helmut Kohl, takes the broad view of Germany's position as seen from his towerblock Berlin office.
The European Economic crisis has been broadly portrayed as a tale of north versus south with the north, and particularly Germany, portrayed as either the frugal, hardworking nation forced to prop up its profligate southern neighbours, or as the heavy-handed bully forcing those same neighbours into yet more penury. With each developing twist, starting first in Greece and then Spain, Portugal and Italy, Germany has been the 'other' side. Pressure has built and attitudes have become stark and, much to the horror of many in Germany, old and ugly stereotypes have been unleashed. It reached something of a watershed during Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent visit to Athens with Nazi flags there to greet her.
In this series Radio Four invites a range of leading German figures, a writer, a politician, a churchwoman, a historian and an economist, to write a letter putting forward their notion of national identity and the version of Germany they believe should inform the views of their British and broader European partners.