Was ist bloß los mit den Deutschen

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Saskia Brauer and Gernot Brauer
Sport and national reputation
The 2006 FIFA World Cup and Germany’s image worldwide
Introduction
Two recent international sports events in German-speaking countries have attracted
widespread international interest, not only among sport fans: the 2006 FIFA World Cup
Germany (hereinafter referred to as the World Cup) and the 2008 European championship in Austria and Switzerland.
During the planning phase of the World Cup, Germany was conscious of the fact that
global sports events on that scale cannot but have an effect on the international image
of the host country. Major sports events can therefore be used as a means of improving
a nation’s global image. This is exactly what Germany intended and went on to achieve.
Now, in 2008, the year of the European championship in Austria and in Switzerland, we
present an analysis of the influence it was hoped the World Cup would have, and what it
did, in fact, achieve.
In this paper, we report on how Germany was perceived by World Cup viewers and selected interviewees before the tournament began, how the World Cup was expected to
contribute to changing Germany’s image abroad, and how that changed in the course of
the championship. In so doing, this report discusses the meaning of the term image1
and Germany’s reputation in other countries. The report outlines the kind of stereotypical expectations people coming to Germany had as far as the country and its inhabitants
were concerned, how such stereotypes developed, and what potential there was to
change them. The analysis shows that today’s mass sports events are ideal platforms for
significantly improving the reputation2 of a country on a global level.
In the following chapters, this paper gives an overview of how the German government,
the World Cup Local Organising Committee and other stakeholders sought to make use
of the event for public relations purposes. On the basis of media reports from all over
the world, it analyses the views journalists had of Germany when they started their reports and then shows how the image reflected in those reports changed in the course of
the tournament. These findings are then compared with data compiled by the Fédéra1
2
Grunig 1992a. We cannot go into a detailed scientific discussion of image here.
Fombrun 2001, 2000, 1996, 1990.
2
tion Internationale de Football Association3 (FIFA) and the German tourist board4 (DZT),
based on international research they had commissioned on four continents (except Australia). Those findings are then complemented by research carried out by one of the authors of this paper in Australia. This additional research was initially intended to evaluate
whether the messages from Germany would reach as far as down under and secondly,
whether the reports from the Australian media would differ from those of the fans who
actually travelled to Germany for the World Cup.
The core questions addressed in this paper are: what were the main elements of Germany’s image before the World Cup began – as reflected by the media and the people
interviewed in Australia – which of them remained more or less unchanged during the
event, and which were altered and possible reasons why. In short, the answer is: 1)
Sporting events on the scale of the World Cup are capable of significantly changing a
country’s global reputation 2) Planned and intensive communication in the course of
such an event is an effective tool for developing a positive national image globally.
Contents
1.
1.1
1.2
1.3
Sport and national reputation
National images
Germany as a brand
The meaning of sports in history
1.4 The mass phenomenon of football
page
3
3
4
7
9
2 The 2006 World Cup
2.1 The World Cup – an overview
2.2 Preparations for the World Cup
12
12
12
3
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
16
18
18
21
24
3
Germany’s image in the media
Places and people
The national character
History and politics
Reasons for the change
FIFA ordered research prior to and after the World Cup. A minimum of 500 persons were interviewed in
September/October 2005 and July 2006 in 12 countries across four continents; in China, Germany and the
United States a minimum of a thousand were interviewed (FIFA 2006). Australia was not included in that
survey.
4
The German tourist board (DZT) analysed the strength of the German image abroad and its relevance
for tourism. Its research prior to and after the World Cup concentrated on Germany’s image as a travel
destination and on knowledge of the host cities. The DZT research was carried out in seven countries that
had qualified for the World Cup (Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden), but
not Australia. A thousand people were interviewed in each country.
3
3.5 Improved reputation
3.6 Remaining concerns
27
28
4
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
Germany’s image as seen in interviews in Australia
Places and people
The national character
History and politics
Germany’s image among descendants of early settlers and immigrants
28
30
32
34
35
5
6
Conclusions
Annexe and references
36
39
1
Sport and national reputation
1.1 National images
Images do not develop at random. This is true for businesses and their brands as well as
for countries and their people5. Images can be developed and promoted strategically,
and image policy is therefore a reality. But images can also develop without planning
and against the will of the person, brand or country in question. Germany is a good example of this: owing to its history during the two world wars, the country was widely
regarded as bellicose. The Holocaust cast a shadow over Germany’s image for generations. For decades, however, booming exports generated a positive “made in Germany”
image, with German-made goods generally being regarded as technically reliable, and
the people manufacturing them seen as efficient. An image of Germans as orderly and
efficient did not, however, automatically guarantee their acceptance internationally.
Business corporations strategically use their brand policies to establish and strengthen a
brand image in their market segments. They do so by organising promotional events, as
they know that anything a customer has experienced personally will have a much bigger
impact than something they have just seen, heard or read about in the media. Similarly,
national image can be strengthened if as many people as possible have first-hand experience of the country. In this context, huge sporting events are the best platform for establishing and developing national images.
In order to change an image, it is important not just to paint a façade, but also to alter
the substance. An image is a simplified, over-explained and evaluated construct6. An
5
6
Davison 1973.
Bentele 1999: 159 using Bergler 1991; Bentele 1992.
4
image may or may not represent the truth, and in addition to simply being wrong, it
may even be forged. According to the American scientist James Grunig, an image can be
created out of nothing7. He refers to Edward Bernays who suspected that most images
were merely smoke and mirrors. The former US president Ronald Reagan, who as a former movie actor knew how a mock reality could be created using paper and paint, once
said: “Facts are stupid things8.”
Therefore scientists prefer to discuss the reputation of a person or a body rather than
just its image. A reputation requires a person to form an opinion on the basis of direct
experience; positive experience leads to a good reputation. This, according to Dozier, is
something completely different to what image-makers do9.
The same applies to national images/reputations10. National images are usually built on
a shared history and heritage, a mutual culture, a national economy, and a legal and
ethical framework including obligations of the individual for the general good11. In this
respect, every nation believes it is different from all others. Citizens feel they belong together and develop a degree of solidarity. They believe that they and their compatriots
have more features in common than that set them apart. This often results in a sense of
pride that means that the people of a nation want to share their sets of rules with others
– voluntarily or by force – the latter in a missionary effort to bless the world with what
they believe or to protect others from suffering. In such cases, they consider their own
nation to be better than others, and believe that others would be wise to accept that12.
Thus national stereotypes are developed.
Such stereotypes mould the collective memory of a nation to a certain extent. Collective
memory has both communicative and cultural dimensions. The communicative element
survives as long as people share memories with their companions. Such memories cannot last longer than about three generations – the lifetime of an individual. The cultural
memory of artefacts and written documents, however, survives for centuries.
1.2
Germany as a brand
Various researchers13 paint a pretty similar picture of what is said to be typically German
– a strong work ethic, discipline, a strong will14 – but characteristics such as creativity
7
Grunig 1992b: 1.
Time Magazine, August 29, 1988.
9
Dozier 1992 a, Peetz et al. 2003, details on the global dimension of reputation in Morley 1998.
10
Anholt-GMI 2006, The Pew 2006, Kunczik 1990 a,b, 1989.
11
Anderson 1983: 1.
12
ibid.: 20 f.
13
Müller 2004, Stierstorfer 2003, Olins 1999, Süssmuth 1996, Mahle 1995.
14
Typically German features are said to be hard work, industry, technology, traffic and sports equipment,
and also media, art, architecture and design. Schnepper 1990.
8
5
and flexibility are not commonly cited. Germans, they say, need to be effective and efficient, whereas other nations can compensate for a lack of efficiency with their brilliance.
In their daily routine, they add, Germans have a rather rough way of going about things,
which is noticeable even when they speak to each other. They tend to be quite tall but
more heavyset than elegant. Stereotypically German symbols are sausages, beer and
garden gnomes.
German stereotypes differ in specific countries. In the United Kingdom, for instance,
Germany’s image is largely moulded by its history15 and is further influenced by educational experiences, buildings, cities, food and drinks, and sport. To a lesser extent, the
German image is shaped by the country’s economy, especially the good reputation of
German cars. Only having cited all of these elements do the British refer to the German
mentality, which is seen in quite a positive light (nice and pleasant, effective and well
organised), and politics (a peaceful foreign policy, committed EU membership, a good
environmental policy). British people generally believe Germany to be a powerful and
influential nation.
There are both positive and negative aspects to this. As far as the negative side is concerned, British people first mention Germany’s role during the two world wars, especially
during the Nazi era. In addition, they consider the following to be typically German: bad
food, bad football, impolite, quite rough behaviour, a lack of humour, and arrogance,
sometimes even racist attitudes and far-right behaviour16.
Internationally, Germany’s image corresponds more or less to that of Bavaria. “For many
foreigners, leather trousers are as typically German as the Oktoberfest, the only German
event known throughout the world.”17
However, there are signs that a different, more modern national image is being propagated through fashion and advertising campaigns, for instance. At international competitions in these fields, German participants in 2006 won more medals than ever before18.
At the European Art Directors Club awards, for instance, German advertising came out
on top, with one in three medals (42 out of 125) going to a German participant. German
entries were similarly successful at the Cannes International Advertising Festival and the
New York Design, Print and Outdoor Advertising Festival. According to Johannes
Newrkla, president of the Art Directors Club of Europe, this was due to the humorous
15
In a British newspaper, the German ambassador Thomas Matussek said that there was too much focus
on Hitler and not enough on modern Germany. German history since the Second World War was virtually
ignored in British schools, he said. His boss, Germany’s minister of foreign affairs, at that time Joschka
Fischer, added in a BBC interview in 2005 that the traditional German military goose-step could best be
learnt from British TV, because “in Germany in the younger generation – even in mine – almost nobody
knows what it is like anymore.”
16
Goethe-Institut 2005a.
17
Olins 1999: 63.
18
Innovations-Report 2006.
6
and self-deprecating tone of the entries. The Germans, he said, had learnt to poke fun
at themselves, and that turned out to be the basis of their success.
Bernhard Willhelm, a fashion designer born in Ulm, Germany, has presented tongue-incheek collections incorporating national symbols. Similarly, Eva Gronbach, a fashion designer based in Cologne, who previously worked for Yamamoto, Galliano and Hermès,
has started to incorporate national symbols and colours into her designs, while Hugo
Schneider and Uli Dziallas presented dresses in black, red and gold, the colours of the
German flag. In 2001, Jette Joop, a jewellery designer, named her collection I love Germany.19
This is much more than just a game. If a brand is the dynamic result of the interaction
of image and culture, underpinned by a vision20, then the “Germany” brand can do more
than just repackage folk symbols or the colours of the national flag as fun consumer
goods. A brand must go beyond that: it has to mirror a country’s self-awareness and
transmit a national vision playfully but consistently. Such a vision is a complicated mixture of deeply rooted elements with little or no potential to be changed, and others that
are more flexible21, and is therefore difficult to take full advantage of.
With only a few exceptions, Germany is a strong brand. The examples mentioned prove
that people have successfully attempted to reinterpret it for a new generation and thus
allow it to evolve further. This is possible in areas other than advertising and fashion as
well: for instance, in the field of sport. Such changes can, according to the experts22,
have a substantial impact and pave the way for new kinds of business. Instead of a
purely masculine and technology-oriented profile, a more realistic and diverse image of
Germany could be communicated, which would allow many more producers to present
their national heritage as a promotional factor23.
Even though countries are basically brands similar to internationally well-known products, supported by diplomacy and national advertising campaigns, only a few countries
have adopted strategies to develop their national brand in the same way that corporations do with their products24. Of course there are flags, anthems and other symbols,
but all that is old-fashioned25. Industry has shown that acceptance and brand loyalty are
supported and secured through mass events that allow the public to see and feel for
themselves.
All quotations: ibid.
Olins 1999: 48.
21
ibid.
22
Kunczik points out that it is almost impossible to differentiate between PR messages released globally by
governments and those released by economic or social organisations such as UNESCO or the World Bank,
Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund or Amnesty International (Kunczik 1997: 27). Kunczik did not explicitly mention the field of sports, but similar rules apply.
23
ibid.: 67.
24
Schweiger 1990.
25
Olins 1999: 23.
19
20
7
This is true in terms of both positive and negative perceptions. People from many countries had previously viewed Germany on the basis of its military past, but those impressions were later supplemented by their experiences of German-made products. More
recently, sport has formed the basis for better understanding among peoples. Sporting
events are an almost perfect means of reaching and exciting thousands if not millions of
people. The World Cup in Germany proved this more than any other event in history.
1.3
The meaning of sports in history
At various times in history, sports could be popular in one country while neglected in
another. Great importance was attached to sport in ancient times, when the Olympic
Games originated. Greek statues represent an athletic ideal that has persisted to this
day. However, for many centuries after that sport was overlooked, and it only regained
importance in the 19th century.
Modern sports philosophy developed in England, where physical fitness and athletic
competitions were in keeping with the ethos of efficiency and the competitive rules of
Manchester capitalism26. Nevertheless, even in the 20th century sports were condemned
as a form of modern barbarism27. In the 1930s, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno described sporting competitions as totalitarian mass events in which people were
used like machines28. Only after the fascist era were sports accepted as a social movement everywhere. The importance of sport to social networks is clearly illustrated by the
fact that one in three Germans today is a member of one of the country’s many sports
organisations.
In ancient times, political rulers sponsored sportsmen29. Later on it became the responsibility of the media to promote both politics and sports. The first newspaper to publish
sports reports was the British Morning Herald in 1817. Just four years later, the first specific sports publication, Sporting Life, appeared. In Germany, the Berlin Stock Exchange
gazette was the first daily to employ a sports editor.
Sport was rediscovered by politics in the early 20th century. This was a result of the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896. Within a short time, the Games had developed into
platforms for national competition and political leverage. Even before the First World War
began, the German government had allocated a substantial budget for the Olympic
Games planned for Berlin in 1916. Because of the war, they were postponed for 20 years
26
Elias 1971, citing Müller 2004: 70.
The American sociologist Thorstein Veblen, citing Ott 2003: 16. This belief was most likely caused by
the mass sports events held in totalitarian regimes in the early 20th century.
28
ibid.
29
Krüger 1996: 70 ff.
27
8
and by then were under even greater political influence. The 1936 Olympic Games supported national identity to the same extent as sports generally do30.
A 1930s newspaper article from Paris clearly documents the marriage of sports and politics: “Opposite on the stadium grandstand a red swastika flag was just risen by a German fan – lonely among only half-filled rows. The French were bewildered – this was
their first glimpse at a ‘new German’. But then herds of them entered the stadium en
masse. After a short moment of silence, they started singing their Teutonic songs: disciplined, precise. We, the French side, were not amused. After a moment of surprise we
started trying to shout over them, but we didn’t succeed.”31
Given that sports events are a major source of national pride, they were carefully regulated and controlled after the Second World War. The Elsass/Alsace province on the
French-German border, which for some time belonged to France and in the 1920s and
1930s to Germany, was returned to France after 1945. Newspapers there continued to
be printed in German, but the sports section had to be in French only, because everyone
knew the degree to which sport could incite nationalist feelings32.
Seven years later, in 1952, a French-German match was held for the first time since the
war. The precautions were so elaborate that France decided not to play its national anthem in the stadium in order not to encourage the French fans to behave nationalistically, and the Germans were cautioned by a German newspaper not to sing their songs either33.
Two years later, in 1954, another sporting event, this time the World Cup final in Berne,
Switzerland, roused nationalist sentiment when Germany beat Hungary. This victory, the
first since the end of the war, restored a degree of self-confidence to the Germans. Internationally it meant, as the French writer Raymond Aron put it, “the return of that
country into the community of the civilised world”34.
Having won three World Cups so far, Germany is one of the great footballing nations.
Only in 1930 and in 1950 did the country not take part in the World Cup tournaments.
The victory in Berne over Hungary was followed 20 years later, in 1974, by a victory over
the Netherlands in Germany. In Italy in 1990, Germany beat Argentina to become champions. At the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Germany finished second behind Brazil.
30
Krüger 1997, 1980, Seitz 1997, 1987, Settekorn 2006, Skibowski 1999.
François Boyer, citing Müller 2004: 99, more details in Bassewitz 1990, Preisinger 1999, Kozminski/Kropf/Roessner 2006.
32
Wahl 1995: 349.
33
Sonntag 1998: 242.
34
Pfeil 1998.
31
9
While sport can undoubtedly go a long way towards supporting international understanding, it can also do the opposite. In the late 1960s, World Cup qualifiers caused
such tension between Honduras and El Salvador that on 14 July, the French national holiday, a short war broke out between the two counties, lasting four days.
On the other hand, sport has quite often supported mutual understanding and consequently peace. In the 1970s, table tennis contacts between the United States and China
paved the way for political relations between both sides as well. During the Cold War,
“ping-pong-diplomacy”, as it was known, led to talks of much greater importance.
In the 1970s, France passed a piece of legislation known as the loi Mazeaud aimed at
making sport the responsibility of the government. The first paragraph of the law stipulates that the development of the practice of physical and sporting activities is a fundamental element of culture and is therefore a national obligation35.
In many socialist countries during the Cold War sport was used to compensate for a lack
of diplomatic acceptance and economic power. That was certainly the case in East Germany. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, East Germany, politically still
somewhat isolated, were so successful that they won one medal for every 70,000 inhabitants – compared to one medal for every 1.8 million Americans – an achievement that
was communicated as widely as possible36.
More recently, sport has not lost any of its fascination. In the 1990s, shortly after the
Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia had broken apart, one of the first
activities of the newly established states was to apply for membership of world football’s
governing body, FIFA – even before applying for membership of the United Nations. In
1998, FIFA had 198 members – 12 more than the UN37.
1.4 The mass phenomenon of football
Football is the world’s number one sport. It has its roots in England, where it developed
as a leisure activity for youngsters from upper-class families at private schools. Today,
football is popular among all classes and both sexes. The World Cup was even broadcast
in the United States, a country where it was little known before38. The 1994 FIFA World
Cup™ was the first to be broadcast worldwide on radio and television.39 The 1998 and
35
36
37
38
39
Caillat 1989: 14.
Institut International de Géopolitique 1999.
Müller 2004: 20.
Merkel 1994.
Daehmen 1999.
10
2002 finals were watched on TV by roughly a billion people worldwide40. In 1998, people on
all five continents turned on their TVs 37 billion times to watch the tournament41.
The broadcasting of the Olympic Games has been the subject of analysis for quite some
time now42. Interest in the games is huge everywhere. But since 1998, the viewing figures for the World Cup have far exceeded those for the Olympics43. No other political,
cultural, or sporting event anywhere in the world is as popular. This is immediately evident in Germany, where every second German over the age of 14 says that he is excited
about football.
As a result, access to football events in Germany is considered a basic right44. Under the
fourth amendment to the German law on the national media, dating from April 2000,
public television channels are obliged to broadcast free of charge not only summer and
winter Olympic Games, but football world and European championships as well, especially any events involving the German team and – even if the German team is not participating – the opening match, semi-finals and final, plus a series of other sporting
events defined by that legislation45.
Before and after the 2006 World Cup, FIFA carried out international research to find out
how popular football was at that time. The research was conducted in the countries due
to take part in the tournament: in Europe (Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Russia), in
America (Brazil, Mexico, USA), in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) and in South Africa.
The research consisted of personal interviews with people selected statistically. Sports
journalists, sports marketing and advertising people were excluded, as the research
team assumed they would be interested in football anyway46. FIFA did not include Australia in that research.
The result was pretty clear: football was the number one sport everywhere except for in
the US. It was as well known as the Olympic Games but even more people were interested in it. It had more die-hard fans than any other sport had occasional supporters47.
More than two-thirds of those interviewed were most interested in their national team,
but even foreign teams were considered interesting and would be cheered on enthusiastically if successful. During the 2006 World Cup, the French, Spanish, Brazilian and Japanese gained a lot of popularity, especially in Germany, France and Italy.
FIFA 2006.
ibid.
42
Real 1986.
43
50 instead of 35 billion hours, FIFA 2006.
44
Kurbjuweit 1997: 1.
45
Breith 2002: 4 f.
46
FIFA 2006.
47
After the World Cup, only one in five people said they had little or no interest in football. One in three
was not interested in athletics, while more than half were not interested in sailing. Prior to the World Cup,
49 per cent of people watched football on TV, while after the event it was 55 per cent.
40
41
11
Given that football is capable of mobilising masses of people, it is natural that it should
be of significant economic importance. In the UK it is big business48. By the late 1990s,
its annual turnover was already estimated at EUR 250 billion49, or the equivalent of the
annual national budget approved by the German parliament. The sport accounts for
about 1.5 per cent of German GNP – about EUR 30 billion – and it employs almost 2.5
per cent of the German workforce. This is not surprising if the following figures are taken
into account: football is played in Germany by 150,000 teams nationwide, organised into
approximately 26,000 local football clubs with around six million members.
Let us now compare the situation in Germany with that in Australia, since this report will
go on to detail Australian findings. On the fifth continent there are two kinds of football:
Australian rules football and soccer. Australian rules football has some similarities with
rugby and is very popular in Australia50. Football as it is known in Europe is called soccer51; soccer players and fans are therefore called “Socceroos” in Australia.
For many years, soccer in Australia was perceived as the sport of European immigrants,
mainly from Italy and Greece. Due to geographic and climatic conditions, soccer is more
often played in the southern parts of Australia than in the sub-tropical and tropical
north. It is most popular in the southern cities of Sydney and Melbourne, especially
among young people, but it is rarely played at a professional level. In 2006, someone
involved in Australia’s football industry said: “Most teams are badly managed.”52
But things have changed. In Brisbane and Sydney, soccer has now overtaken Australian
rules football in terms of popularity. Greater acceptance of this European sport is largely
down to television broadcasts of football by the Australian channel SBS. SBS journalist
Les Murray was the driving force behind this initiative. The national team’s qualification
for the 2006 World Cup in Germany constituted a breakthrough for soccer in Australia.
As elsewhere, a simple rule applies in Australia, too: the more popular a sport is, the
more investment it attracts. In 2006, soccer in Australia received sponsorship of about
150 million Australian dollars for a period of seven years. Only a few years earlier, at the
beginning of the century53, such a figure would have been completely unrealistic: “It’s
gone through the roof.”54 Australian rules football, however, still attracts much higher
support: A$780 million over five years.
48
Blain 1993, Boyle/Haynes 2006.
Vassort 1999:9.
50
There are 16 clubs, ten of them in the state of Victoria. Soccer attracts six million spectators every three
years, and is thus the most popular sport in Australia.
51
There are eight clubs. Since 2005 the Football Federation Australia (FFA) has organised an annual national championship.
52
Mark van Aken, press officer of the football federation of Victoria.
53
In 2004 just a few thousand Australian dollars were spent on soccer.
54
Mark van Aken, press officer of the football federation of Victoria.
49
12
Not only has financial support for soccer increased, but fan figures have as well. Almost
three quarters of the Australian population watched the 2006 World Cup on TV – at least
for as long as the national team was involved in the tournament. Polls estimated 13 million television viewers. SBS had bought the broadcasting rights for the World Cup. In
connection with its football show it broadcasted a total of 64 reports on the host country
and its culture, one for each match played in the tournament. These reports featured
city profiles, architecture, landscapes, the German lifestyle, and, as was to be expected,
beer (from Munich and Cologne).
2 The 2006 World Cup
2.1
The World Cup – an overview
All 64 stadium events were sold out. The average capacity of 52,491 spectators per
game was the second highest in the 76-year history of the tournament55. This means
that 99.98 per cent of the seats available were sold and taken up. But the World Cup
was not just a sporting event: it was the biggest global media event of all time. Some
3.3 million people travelled to Germany to watch their team play. Not even the biggest
stadiums were able to accommodate such crowds. Public viewing outside the stadiums
exceeded all expectations. According to DZT research, 76 per cent of foreign visitors
travelled to Germany specifically for the public viewings. Designated fan zones were set
up to accommodate them. Because of their huge success, they were further expanded
during the course of the tournament and even shortly before the final. Eighteen million
people experienced the World Cup in fan zones, bars, restaurants, street-side cafés, beer
gardens and summer festivals. There were public screens everywhere. Televisions around
the globe were turned on 33 billion times to watch football ruling a country for a month. It
was the biggest television event of all time and a real opportunity not only for sports
fans to follow their favourite teams but also for Germany to show itself to the rest of the
world in a new light.
2.2 Preparations for the World Cup
The organising bodies in Germany – the federal government, the tourist board and the
Local Organising Committee – approached this huge sporting event as a chance to
polish, modernise and generally improve the country’s existing image. They intended to
present a more modern and more positive Germany56 and therefore developed a plan
55
Chronik 2006: 79.
The modern brand for an organisation works similarly to a national brand. Both have to reduce complex
interrelations to a minimized set of symbols. Both carry meanings which are communicated directly by the
symbols. Both are means of mutual understanding. Both have to address different target groups. (Olins
1999: 29)
56
13
consisting of four main targets: perfect organisation, good working conditions for the
media, a programme tailored to the expectations of the fans and a very detailed communications and marketing strategy. The Local Organising Committee was accredited
with the Ministry of the Interior, and its staff started work some three years ahead of the
World Cup.
The government set political and administrative targets in terms of Germany’s accessibility at borders. It undertook to speed up visa procedures in a service-oriented way, to
ease regulations for foreign visitors as far as work permits, customs and taxes were concerned, and to guarantee the safety and security of all officials and fans while in Germany. Further, the government intended to generally raise interest in Germany, create a
sense of anticipation, position Germany globally as a host country and bring to life the
slogan that had been decided on early on: “Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden – A time to
make friends”.57
In short, this meant that before foreigners had the chance to form opinions about Germany, Germans themselves had to consider whether they would have to change their
behaviour. Therefore the organising bodies began by addressing their fellow citizens as
well as people all over the world who might consider travelling to Germany for the event
and fans who would watch it on television. Special programmes were established for
broadcasters. Germany was supposed to come across as an “inviting, tolerant, modern,
innovative and efficient”58 country both at home and abroad.
The tourist board and other agencies organised events for investors and promoted Germany as a travel destination59. These initiatives were intended to foster long-term investment and tourism. Various social, cultural, economic and scientific partners got involved. The projects launched included a welcoming initiative “Welcome to Germany –
Land of Ideas”60, the “Walk of Ideas”, the “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” event series, the FanClub, an international media service and coordinated action with “Invest in
Germany – Land of Ideas”. In 2005, the tourist board ran investors’ seminars covering all
the main World Cup cities. German embassies were involved, as were German chambers
of commerce in various countries. This global campaign was established as the main
communications platform for Germany around the world. The alliance established for
that purpose continued its activities after the tournament was over.
The German tourist board’s marketing and sales strategy was part of those activities.
The tourist board had incorporated the 2006 World Cup into its strategy as early as 2001
and made extensive use of the internet. The main DZT webpages were
www.deutschland-tourismus.de and www.germany-tourism.de. In 2004, a third website,
57
58
59
60
Bundesregierung (ed.) 2006: 9.
Bundesregierung (ed.) 2006: 9.
Financed by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Bundesregierung 2006: 28.
14
www.socceringermany.info, was launched by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
its affiliated departments in nine languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and
Russian.
A third component of the preparations was the country’s arts and culture programme61,
which consisted of some 50 projects aimed at communicating Germany’s cultural diversity, openness and uniqueness. The programme cost approximately EUR 31m and was
supervised by Nationale DFB Kulturstiftung GmbH, the German football federation’s cultural foundation.
The programmes were targeted at the 3.5 million foreign visitors coming to Germany for
the World Cup. We cannot go into detail here, but further information is available from
the websites mentioned.
Finally, the organisers developed a national service and friendliness campaign to be implemented by the tourist board for visitors coming to the country for the World Cup62 .
Its motto was “Germany is rolling out the red carpet”, illustrated by a logo showing a carpet with the national colours black, red and gold. While the activities mentioned earlier
were aimed at people from abroad, this campaign was targeted at the German population,
primarily the media, the tourism sector and other people who would most likely come into
contact with foreign visitors, such as airport staff and taxi drivers. The campaign was
aimed at preparing Germans for their role as hosts of the World Cup and motivating people all over the country to offer the highest levels of hospitality and service. The aim was
to optimise foreign visitors’ experiences of the country, with a resultant improvement in
Germany’s image. The campaign was also aimed at positively influencing the long-term
behaviour of Germans towards foreigners, which it was hoped would result in greater
tourist numbers. Thus, the campaign was explicitly intended to promote tourism. The
tourist board ordered promotional materials such as leaflets and organised training programmes, primarily targeted at the 12 host cities.
The primary objective was for each visitor to be given a warm welcome, assisted in finding their way around and made to feel comfortable. Ten thousand DZT-trained “service
ambassadors” were put to work in areas likely to draw international visitors. A further
one hundred thousand people were trained to be especially friendly, to answer questions
on the tournament and improve their intercultural skills63. A coordinating body for fan
projects (Koordinationsstelle Fan-Projekte, KOS)64 developed a programme for welcom61
Even if some people argue that brand and image are the same thing, it makes more sense to understand a brand as the dynamic result of the interaction of image and culture, supported by a vision. (Olins
1999: 48)
62
The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Techology (BMWi) financed the campaign with three
million euros.
63
Bundesregierung (ed.) 2006: 10.
64
Sponsored by the Federal Ministry for family, the elderly, women and youth (BMFSFJ) and the German
football federation (DFB).
15
ing visitors based on friendly hospitality, confidence, and open-minded, intercultural behaviour. All fans and visitors, regardless of their origin, were to be welcomed tolerantly
and with respect and prejudices were to be discarded65. Quite a few high-profile people
in the fields of sports, politics and culture made positive comments about Germany. The
media were provided with the best possible working conditions: a temporary 40,000m2
broadcasting centre was set up in Munich and additional media centres were set up in
each host city.
The plans proved successful when put into practice. All of the information provided
about Germany and the World Cup was tailored to the needs and expectations of the
fans. A total of 17 “fan embassies” were set up, at least one in each of the host cities.
Furthermore, dedicated mobile fan stations served the fans from different nations. The
German organisers collaborated with fan helpers from 11 countries66. In addition, the
organising committee trained and put to work 800 volunteers. Additional support came
from various associations – particularly football associations – all over the country.
Teams consisting of many thousands of people distributed to German and foreign fans a
132-page fan guide in German and English containing specific information on Germany
and the World Cup. Five hundred thousand copies were distributed free of charge67.
These teams also assisted more than one million fans with day-to-day problems. Their
duties included distributing additional information material such as films and flyers, organising give-aways, answering questions and accompanying delegations from countries
participating in the tournament, including groups of journalists.
The federal press office was responsible for maintaining the government websites. A
daily bulletin was released for government and cooperation partners. Fans had access to
information in four languages on the internet68. The integrated FAQ tool (frequently
asked questions and answers) was heavily used. The questions touched on a wide variety of topics. Every fourth question (23.8 per cent) was about tickets, every sixth (17.5
per cent) about the rules and security regulations in the stadiums, every twelfth (8.2 per
cent) about the training schedules of the football teams involved, about another eight
per cent about accommodation, and again eight per cent about the public viewing areas
at the many fan zones. About 3,500 people daily accessed information on that website,
and in total there were 1.5 million page views69. After the tournament, the federal government posted a review and final report on the World Cup on its website70.
The project “Football Unites – jointly against racism” was part of the fan and guest service programme.
It was run in cooperation with the European fan organisation FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe),
and financed by the Local Organising Committee.
66
The organisation Football Supporters International (FSI) supported the members of the German fanand guest-serving programme.
67
Bundesregierung 2006: 64.
68
http://fanguide2006.fifaworldcup.com/de.
69
Bundesregierung 2006: 64.
70
Bundesregierung 2006: 10 f.
65
16
The main factors underpinning the success of the whole endeavour, however, were not
websites, brochures, flyers or films. As important as those instruments were, what mattered most and what was decisive for the atmosphere throughout the World Cup was
the fact that football fans were treated with respect at all stages. They were not a security risk, they were guests. By sticking to this basic rule, the fan care programme for the
2006 World Cup was an overall success.
What’s more, the World Cup generated EUR 57.3 million in taxes for the federal government. However, it should be noted that this sum amounted to between just one and two
per cent of the amount invested in the planning and preliminary phase of the tournament. The federal government had spent EUR 3.7 billion on improving rail and road infrastructure, which was vital for the event but also, of course, for the country in general.
Three hundred and seventy kilometres of motorway were constructed or widened and
EUR 803 million was invested in the suburban commuter rail systems. Millions of euros
were also spent on traffic telematics. The huge screens at the fan zones all over the
country were not cheap either. But all those investments contributed to Germany’s modernisation and its image as an up-to-date, safe and hospitable country. Even the labour
market benefited: for a limited period of time, the World Cup created jobs, and therefore
income, for 85,000 people71.
3
Germany’s image in the media
This completes our overview of the planning phase of the World Cup. We shall now concentrate on the World Cup itself and on how it affected Germany’s image and why it had
such a strong impact. One answer is: a number of sports are first-class media subjects72. The 2006 World Cup was a global media event73, with some 30,000 accredited
journalists reporting to 215 countries.
The majority of the media reports released worldwide covered the football matches directly. Such reports have not been analysed for the purposes of this paper. This paper
refers to reports on Germany in general or on sections of tournament reports that touch
on the host country74. The information is taken from 52 international media reports75
from all continents and from eight German media compilations of international reports –
so 60 reports in total. If all the sources cited by the German media are counted separately, this paper draws on 78 different sources commenting on Germany in the course
Leibfried 2006: 187.
Krüger/Scherenberg 1993, Crolly/Hand 2002.
73
Hafkemeyer 2003, Anschlag 2006, Helios Media 2006, Leibfried 2006.
74
The clippings were compiled by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (institute of foreign relations) in
Stuttgart. They consist of articles in English and German print media and internet versions of such print
media released during the 2006 Word Cup (9 June to 9 July 2006) and the week after.
75
A list in alphabetical order is attached.
71
72
17
of the World Cup76. The sample was picked on 15 July 2006 and subsequently analysed
in quantitative and qualitative terms. The analysis does not claim to be statistically exhaustive or representative, but simply aims to portray Germany’s image as reflected by
selected media sources shortly prior to and during the World Cup.
In part four of this paper, we shall compare these findings with the results of interviews
conducted in Australia. Australia was selected as the location for the research because
FIFA and the German tourist board had excluded Australia from their research activities
concerning the 2006 World Cup and, secondly, it was assumed that if the World Cup was
found to have had an effect on Germany’s image down under, on the continent farthest
away from Germany, the same was most likely to be the case, and to an even greater
extent, in countries closer to Germany.
The media reports and the interviews have been analysed deductively, that is, following
structural categories. The categories are:
 Places and people, with the sub-categories (A1) landscape/cities, (A2)
food/drinks, (A3) habits/customs, (A4) VIPs/well-known persons;
 National character, with the sub-categories (B1) organisation/efficiency, (B2) reservedness/openness, (B3) earnest/friendliness, (B4) technology/made in Germany;
 History and politics, with the sub-categories (C1) history, (C2) war, (C3) patriotism, (C4) internationality;
 The World Cup, with the sub-categories (D1) sports events, (D2) functional aspects (planning/organisation/daily routine), (D3) emotional aspects (atmosphere,
fan fests) and (D4) personal experiences (language/getting around/making oneself
understood/meeting people/hospitality).
These categories were used as the framework for the quantifying content analysis.
The results presented can be considered trends, but as mentioned previously, they are
not intended to be definitive or statistically representative. The analysis incorporates
statements found in the reports and in the interviews.
The trends are clearly visible. In order not to complicate the findings unnecessarily, no
contingency analysis77 was carried out.
76
An overview is attached as an annexe. Two identical reports printed in two different newspapers were
counted just once. An article by Germany’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, published
in a Lebanese daily was not analysed as it was a purely German statement without commentary from the
country in which it was published.
77
A contingency analysis ascertains whether parts of a text (i.e. key words) are used more often in a given context or if they are somehow interconnected (Mayring 2003: 17). In addition to describing the pattern of meanings, such an analysis can point out which elements of that pattern are particularly interconnected.
18
3.1 Places and people
Are there clichés about places and people in Germany? No doubt, yes. When foreign journalists started to report on Germany as the host country of the World Cup, it did not
take long for German stereotypes to emerge. “All I ever knew about Germany”, the
Polish journalist Nick Lipski wrote, “was beautiful cars, fantastic roads and pretty houses,
excellent beer, a basic feeling of order and taste, nice people and quality, wherever you
looked” (source 2a)78. “The Germans really have much to be proud of,” the British journalist Christopher Lamb wrote, “their country, their industry, their reunification, beer,
football, Lufthansa and much more”(source 2c).
But do not be fooled by such general statements; although typical, they are not made all
that frequently. Places and people (category a) were rarely mentioned in the selected
media analysed, and landscape/roads/houses was mentioned just once. Food and drinks
also featured marginally; only the Brazilian paper O Globo wrote that football would now
(for the duration of the World Cup) rule a country of beer, sausages and potatoes
(source 10). Eisbein, again said to be a typical German food, was mentioned just once,
amounting to a frequency of 1.6 per cent. One article mentioned Black Forest gateau
(55), described to readers as the best-known German cake, and four articles talked about
beer; that amounts to 6.6 per cent of the sources. A couple of Australian newspapers
systematically tried to bring the host country to the attention of their readers: the Geelong Advertiser, for instance, ran a series of articles telling readers that visitors to Germany could admire wonderful works of art, stroll medieval market places, and taste
some of the world’s best beers (51).
The stereotype of German precision technology (37), however, cropped up rarely, as did
German cars, Lufthansa and punctual trains79. The fact that these elements are mentioned
surprisingly little suggests that the journalists saw little need to illustrate the “clear identity”
(19) of the German national character by giving examples.
3.2 National character
According to the reports published during the World Cup, Germans were primarily said to
be well organised (as mentioned in 18.3 per cent of the sources), and even “organisational world champions” (3.3 per cent)80. Other descriptions were in a similar vein: thorough, disciplined, clean, orderly, work-oriented, effective, efficient, and even “clinically
efficient” (4). Some of these assessments are obviously not meant as praise if considered alongside negative remarks made in the same context: Germans were perceived to
78
The numbers refer to the list in the annex.
Mentioned in just 1.6 per cent of the clippings analysed.
80
Germany as a brand is an established reality. With some exceptions it is a powerful brand. Germany
does not need to convince the world of its organisational skills. (Olins 1999: 33)
79
19
be hard, even “steely hard”. Such descriptions appeared in about five per cent of the
sources. Taken individually they do not seem significant, but put together a clear characterisation becomes apparent. The country’s military and hostile image of the past was
recalled in a number of sources (3.3 per cent each). Just one source, on the other hand,
made the connection between the German national character and knowledge and culture (23f).
While order and effectiveness may be qualities that garner respect, they are not necessarily the basis for the people of a nation being liked. This is apparent from adjectives
which, although they did not appear frequently, seem typical of the German image at
the beginning of the World Cup: rarely hospitable (35f), ill-humoured, dull (30), grey
and melancholic (12), inflexible, formal (30), bureaucratic, stick to rules, inaccessible,
arrogant (4), largely demoralised, pessimistic, anxious, and miserable (41). One media
report simply said Germans were petty worriers (40).
This unamusing bunch of clichés is echoed by words like boring, humourless, and overearnest, which appear in every tenth report (sources 4, 8, 23, 33, 35f, 41). Words such
as cold, autocratic, loud, arrogant, unfriendly, unpleasant neighbour and poorly accepted
internationally appear in only 1.6 per cent of the sources. Typical comments included:
“when Germans want to laugh, they hide in the cellar”, or “it is an unpleasant feeling to be a
German”. Altogether, these kinds of statements appear in about ten per cent of the sources.
The journalists Roger Cohen and Jerry Lampen (source 8) reproduced the German stereotype, using words like dullness, love of order and formality, and were immediately cited
by The New York Times (30). As well as the cliché of a cold, humourless, supercilious
nation (8), there was also a report about German pedestrians obediently waiting for the
light to turn green before crossing the street, despite the fact that there are no cars
about (35e). Who in their right mind would want to travel to such a country for the
World Cup?
In keeping with this unflattering portrayal of the Germans at the beginning of the World
Cup, the media saw little self-confidence among the Germans and a lack of trust in their
own behaviour (3.3 per cent each in the sample). The expression “clogger” is relatively
harmless (source 23 h), since it simply refers to a lack of elegance when playing football.
In the first days of the World Cup the media reported that they had discovered many of
the clichés to be outdated. Almost all of the journalists in the sample reported an unexpectedly cheerful atmosphere, a desire to have a good time and party. “Our stereotype
of the Germans,” wrote Jim White in the London Telegraph81, “was that of a person
sticking rigidly to rules, or a humourless bureaucrat”. “What tens of thousands of visitors
pouring in from across the globe discovered is how obsolete that image is. Instead they
were confronted by a nation insisting that nothing got in the way of a good time” re81
In Switzerland the stereotype appeared to be quite similar: “loud and arrogant” (35g).
20
ported the Telegraph (31). Even the Russian newspaper Iswestija said: “In just one
month Germany was able to overcome its image as a boring, reserved, and inhospitable
nation. Germans surprisingly turned out to be open-minded, friendly, hospitable, and
ready to have a good time.”(35f)
The quantitative analysis supports these findings in many ways. The media talked about
a new feeling of belonging, and they said the Germans they met were nice, sensitive
and warm (as found in 13.3 per cent of the sources). They talked about bonhomie and
found they were addressed by the people in the streets and in the stadiums in a tolerant, friendly, even brotherly manner (15 per cent). The people they met, they said, were
friendly (19.9 per cent), even lovely or cheerful (8.3 per cent) and behaved in a relaxed
and happy manner (5 per cent). The “new” German of the 2006 World Cup was seen as
unaggressive (19.9 per cent), spontaneous and flexible (5 per cent), one source even
used the world self-deprecating. The then British prime minister Tony Blair summed it up
in a statement released worldwide: “The stale clichés of before have been replaced by a
new positive image of Germany”. (37)
In a shrewd analysis, Miles Clery-Fox, a British correspondent for the Telegraph, wrote:
“In all of those 11 years, not once did I hear anyone say they were proud to be German.
[…] Their infamous steely character sits awkwardly alongside a reflective, probing insecurity. […] There’s the familiar, clichéd image of the German on the beach: pushy, sunlounger-hogging and opinionated. […] What was lacking was international human acceptance. While delighted when you listed the things you liked about their country they
were just as quick to slate their own perceived dourness, their petit bourgeois ways and
lack of a sense of humour.” (31)
Will the Germans continue to be viewed as hard-hearted, over-earnest people who love
order and discipline above all else? Will foreign media continue to refer to the typically
German form of their communist history when reporting from East German cities? Will
they differentiate between regions in the north and the south, the east and the west in
any way as far as lifestyles and rules are concerned? Or won’t anything change with the
cliché of the beer-drinking German, asked the scientist Jochen Müller before the World
Cup began82. The answer was obvious.
In the words of Jack Leslie, head of one of the largest PR agencies in the world, Germany displayed a perfect blend of effective organisation and Mediterranean cheerfulness, a
very different image to how it was perceived before (49). Even the German chancellor
Angela Merkel reported from an EU Council meeting how much many of the participants
had enjoyed seeing the Germans happy. “If that’s going to continue then fine, our country will take full advantage.”
82
2004: 544
21
The slogan “Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden/A Time to Make Friends” proved to be not
just a magical incantation but a description of reality. The Austrian artist André Heller,
who organised the friendliness campaign and came up with the slogan, cited many of
the people he had spoken to who were literally shocked: “All of a sudden we like the
Germans” (56). Similarly, the leading Swiss newspaper reported: “Everybody in Germany
is astonished and the world even more so. Such a level of happy patriotism and excitement in black, red and gold (the German national colours), paired with open-minded
hospitality – no one would have given the hosts of the World Cup credit for that.” (7)
3.3 History and politics
“The Germans are conscious that they are probably the most unpopular nation in Europe, for obvious historical reasons,” wrote Glenn Moore in the The Independent (32)
and the Belfast Telegraph (44). Every fourth report touched on Germany’s Nazi past,
every eighth directly on Hitler. “Since the fall of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich […] to
Germans the simple phrase ‘I am proud to be German’ is considered a neo-Nazi statement,” said the US website charlotte.com(6). On the other hand, the history of the Weimar Republic (1918–1933), the German Reich (1871–1918) and the era before were only rarely mentioned, as little as Germany’s history since 1945, with the exception of the
Berlin Wall and the reunification.
A few details from the statistical review: Even given the fact that the terms “Teutons”
(derogatory for Germans), First World War and “spiked helmet” (a symbol of Germany’s
Prussian past) were used just once each (1.6 per cent) and the word “Huns” (derogatory-militaristic for Germans) not at all, the nationalist crimes of the past were mentioned
in six reports (10 per cent), Germany’s history in general in nine articles (15 per cent),
the Holocaust in five (8 per cent), and the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz once each. Reference was made to the Second World War in 11 of the reports (18.3
per cent), while Germany’s role as a peace-keeper was mentioned just once. The German newspaper Tagesspiegel quoted British citizen Mark Perryman saying: “There were
two world wars and there is only one World Cup.” (42)
Germany’s post-1945 history plays only a marginal role in the articles analysed (the
“time after 1945”, former East Germany, and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich were
mentioned only once each). On the other hand, the fall of the Berlin Wall was mentioned
five times (8.3 per cent) and reunification ten times (16.6 per cent).
To counter the old stereotypes of how Germany is seen internationally, the German academic exchange program DAAD had organised an essay competition for students in the
UK entitled “But don't mention the war” the year before the World Cup. This quotation
refers to a famous episode of the legendary British comedy series Fawlty Towers, in
which the irritable British hotel owner Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, offends his
22
German hotel guests by constantly mentioning the war. Every child in Britain is familiar
with this line. Cleese, a master of the German military goose-step, was a patron of the
competition. He said “I'm delighted to help with trying to break down the ridiculous antiGerman prejudices of the tabloids, and clowns like Basil Fawlty, who are pathetically
stuck in a world view that’s more than half a century out of date.” (see 4, 45)
Germany released recommendations prior to the World Cup with a view to avoiding any
incidents referencing the Nazi era. In that connection, Phillip Hudson said in the Sydney
Morning Herald : “Soccer fans travelling to Germany for the World Cup have been
warned by the Federal Government not to mention the war or use the Nazi salute.” In a
recommendation to the thousands of Australians planning to travel to Germany for the
World Cup, the journalist added that Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had
warned that it was offensive and illegal to parody aspects of the Nazi era (55). According
to one report, 60 years after the war the Germans would view signs of demonstrative
national pride with suspicion and to show the national flag would be a faux pas (11).
The French daily Le Monde published an article a couple of days before the World Cup
began about a boy at a stadium being asked to move out of the way so that a tourist
could take a photo without obstruction. The tagline read “Welcome to Germany.” Around
the same time, the football official and trainer Guy Roux was quoted as saying: “As long
as the Germans don’t start to wear spiked helmets again, it might work.”
All of a sudden this seemed no longer to be relevant. “Germans rediscovered mass displays of national pride suppressed for decades because of the country’s Nazi past” (CNN,
22). One month after the Le Monde report, the French daily Le Parisien set aside half a
page for the German-French member of the European parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit to
explain the “German World Cup phenomenon” to the French. For many French people,
the World Cup in Germany was something of a culture shock: they had never expected
such a happy mixture of nationalities (35). In Britain, The Times declared that, 60 years
after the war, the Germans were “ready for a new brand image” (18).
Germany’s image changed, but not in the way expected by foreign and domestic observers. The most obvious change was the sea of flags in black, red and gold displayed
all over the country throughout the tournament. As a result, the subject of the national
colours was mentioned in more than half of all reports analysed (57 per cent). In 1989,
the year of reunification, there was still something edgy, dangerous even, about waving
the national flag. “Such was the reluctance of ordinary Germans to show pride in their
country that it has sometimes seemed as if the neo-Nazis were the only enthusiasts for
national symbols,” commented The Times (28)83. But now things were different: “In the
83
A couple of reports clearly differentiated between the national colours black, red and gold and the older
flag – black, white and red – which had officially been used up to 1918 (but for longer by nostalgic people; people from far right continue to use those colours to this day). Apprehension regarding the far right
was mentioned quite frequently in the media reports. These fears were openly addressed in 12 reports,
23
bright sunlight of this World Cup season, the flags, cheers, and robust singing of the
national anthem by the buoyant crowds have become […] resurgence of unbridled patriotism on a scale unseen in Germany since World War II” (The Boston Globe, 5).
“You can’t turn your head without seeing flags of all sizes hanging out of windows,
shops and cars,” abc news reported (11). And The Times said: “Neither the 1972 Munich
Olympics – stained by the murder of Israeli athletes – nor the 1974 World Cup was like
this. Nor was the moment the Berlin Wall tumbled.” (28)
Almost all of the international journalists agreed: the outpouring of national pride had
influenced Germany’s image. More than a third of all reports analysed (35 per cent)
talked about this new pride, almost every second (43.3 per cent) reported a new kind of
patriotism, another five per cent a new national face. Together, this amounts to 80 per
cent of all reports. The Russian newspaper Iswestija, for instance, said: “The World Cup
was the first eruption of patriotism in Germany in 16 years. The last one was when the
country reunified, but people calmed down after that and there were no lasting signs of
national belonging” (35f). The Croatian paper Jutarnji List reported the birth of a new
form of German patriotism, which was totally free of any feelings of shame or guilt
(23p).
The British news agency Reuters quoted the German researcher Klaus Schöppner: “With
this World Cup the Germans have, in the eyes of the world, managed to overcome the
previously overriding feeling of guilt for the Second World War.” (17) A British tabloid that
had shown the national football team player Paul Gascoigne with a spiked helmet on its
front page during a football tournament a few years previously this time printed a photograph showing German policemen dancing with British fans on the streets of Frankfurt
(4).
The New York Times summed it up as follows: “This flag-waving German self-discovery
has, in a sense, been the overriding outcome of a World Cup […]”. It added that “preconceptions about Germany — its dullness, its love of order, its formality, its lack of exuberance — were perhaps the biggest casualties of a tournament played in a festive
spirit, and marked by freewheeling generosity […]”(35). The German TV news channel
N24 commented on a sample of international media reports, saying: “The clichés of
many foreigners about Germany seem to have lost ground.” (10)
but consistently classified as being of no relevance. A few reports pointed out that neo-Nazis never use
black, red and gold but black, white and red flags and further that during the Nazi era again the black, red
and gold flag was replaced by a red banner with a swastika. The campaign Say No To Racism (14) was
mentioned and applauded in a couple of reports. These articles reported with surprise and relief that there
was practically no neo-Nazi presence at all.
24
This change in mood was not just perceived by the media, as is evident from a comparison of media statements and comments from political sources. For example, the German
embassy in London declared: “After a successful World Cup, patriotism is bringing the
country forward”84. According to the German consulate general in New York, Germany
experienced an inclusive nationalism85 or as the German embassy in Paris put it, “patriotisme bon-enfant86”.
There was widespread international agreement in this regard. United Nations SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan commented that the world need no longer worry, as nobody had to
fear German patriotism again (24), the German president Horst Köhler expressively
spoke about “good patriotism” (43), while the regional parliament of Hessen passed a
resolution expressly and unanimously welcoming the flag and the anthem as natural
symbols (7).
Journalists Roger Cohen and Jerry Lampen, however, wrote that: “German normality is
not yet normal enough to be ignored” (Reuters, 8); a statement reprinted by the New
York Times (30). The leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the changes as a new
kind of normality but also as “part of a modern German myth” (12). In an interview,
Charlotte Knobloch, who had just been elected as chairwoman of the Council of Jewish
Communities in Germany, called for more patriotism – words which, as the International
Herald Tribune commented, would have been “unthinkable from such a source only a
few years ago.” (25)
Very few observers criticised what happened. The Dutch journalist Eric Brassem, for instance, wrote “The Nazis never even used black, red and gold.87 The Germans should stop
harping on about the flag.” (23l)
3.4 Reasons for the change
Germany’s hosting policy was of utmost importance. In every fourth media report
(23.3 per cent), Germany was referred to as hospitable. The official slogan “A Time to
Make Friends” was cited in 18.3 per cent of all reports around the world.
One journalist described this slogan as an attempt “to overcome the image of the efficient, but inhospitable German”. In 18.3 per cent of all reports analysed the slogan was
directly quoted in German or English. The English-language Yemen Times even pub-
84
85
86
87
German embassy London/UK. In: Bundesregierung 2006.
German consulate general New York/USA.
German embassy Paris/France. ibid.
Dutch media repeatedly called the flag black-red-yellow rather than black-red-gold.
25
lished it in German: “‘Zu Gast Bei Freunden’. Germany is re-branding its image in order
to be known as a friendly nation” (21).
Thus Germany managed to distance itself from its former image of being efficient but
unfriendly. A Times correspondent described “happy, efficient hosts”; the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported having met “model hosts far beyond football” (23-o), and
the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger shared similar views (35-g). The organisers of EURO 2008
took this as the standard to emulate in their countries.88
The atmosphere made people feel they were in the middle of a nationwide party: “as
if carnival, the Love Parade and Oktoberfest were on the same day,” as the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung put it (7). India eNews reported a “carnival atmosphere […]
giving a back seat to Germany’s legendary efficiency, which had originally been expected
to be the most positive aspect” (26). London’s Telegraph referred to a “40-day fiesta
overwhelming the country”, the British Independent reported “warmth and friendliness”
and the New York Times referred to “bonhomie […] in the scarred land”. A Canadian
journalist even wrote about a “sea of love” (45), in which “the Germans will be out to
party, taking full advantage before returning to reality”. “After all, this is Germany, not
the Caribbean,” noted Israel’s leading newspaper Haaretz. (12)
Descriptions such as caring, passionate, enthusiastic, humorous, happy, funny and
cheerful appear in every fifth media report, while expressions such as fiesta and having
fun are mentioned in every sixth. The words atmospheric and colourful appear in every
twelfth report and the key words party and fun in more than every fourth. This amounts
to nearly hundred per cent; thus, almost every report referred to the outstanding atmosphere during the tournament.
Germany’s former minister for foreign affairs Joschka Fischer was quoted in the Lebanese Daily Star saying that the World Cup was reminiscent of a “a Shakespearean midsummer night’s dream, with a touch of Woodstock” (34). The Parisian weekly L’Express
also described the World Cup as a “Woodstock for sport” (23b). In the American newspaper Christian Science Monitor, Andreas Tzortzis wrote that Germany’s image had made
“immense progress” because the slogan “A Time to Make Friends” had been taken as
seriously as the football (39). Reporters for the Italian Gazzetta dello Sport, Italian television channel RAI 2, the New York Times and the Canadian daily Ottawa Sun noted especially that the fiesta-like atmosphere did not evaporate when it became clear that
Germany would not win the tournament. As a result, the German tourist board’s re-
88
The country’s role as host has “changed the image of the country all over the word in a positive direction,” said Friedrich Stickler, the president of the Austrian football federation (source 18). His Swiss colleague Ralph Zloczkower said the result was “overwhelming” (ibid.).
26
search showed that 91 per cent of foreign visitors felt welcome in Germany, while 93 per
cent considered the World Cup to be an outstanding event89.
A new generation crowded the streets and stadiums. These were not the same people
responsible for the Nazi era. “The number of Germans with memories of the war are
dwindling and younger generations have begun to display an entirely natural relationship
to their nation and their national flag,” said Reuters (17), and the Boston Globe cited
analysts noting that “Germany is undergoing a political-demographic shift, as the leaders of
the so-called ’68-Generation’ […] are yielding center stage to a younger breed” (5).
These evaluations are consistent with the results of research carried out by the wellestablished German institute for public opinion research in Allensbach. According to its findings, 58 per cent of Germans were surprised to see their fellow-citizens waving national
flags all of a sudden. Just 37 per cent, or one third, accepted this as a normal phenomenon
during a World Cup. Elderly people could hardly believe their eyes. But “the majority of the
young generation had difficulty understanding why this came as such a surprise to others,
since it was mainly the younger generation that made its enthusiasm so openly seen and
felt. Fifty-eight per cent of younger people personally carried or used a national flag or the
national colours. The flags were felt to be a sign of good-natured, cheerful patriotism.” (43)
A new-found normality was reported worldwide. Associated Press seemed to be surprised that “Germans rediscovered mass displays of national pride suppressed for decades
because of the country's Nazi past” (22), but for Israel’s leading newspaper Haaretz this
change signified no more than just “feeling like a normal country” (25). “The Germans
are learning to love themselves”, wrote the London Times, and the US channel ABC News
ran the catchline: “Proud to be a Kraut.”(11)
The results of an opinion poll conducted by the Allensbach Institute corroborated the
media reports: 79 per cent of Germans, in other words four out of every five, accepted
“any identification with their own country as something absolutely positive not affecting
relations with other countries in any respect.” Compared to other nations, Germans consider themselves “rather less patriotic”. Nevertheless, when asked by the Allensbach interviewers they responded: “The way Germany presented itself during the World Cup
and the way it surprised itself with its unprejudiced and cheerful patriotism strengthened
and increased pride in the country.” (43)
In 1990, during the short-lived wave of national enthusiasm that followed German reunification, political events had for the first time been accompanied by a sea of black, red and gold
89
Average marks between 1.3 and 1.8 (in Germany the best possible mark at school is 1.0, the worst
possible is 6.0) underline the general atmosphere. In the course of a second survey, students at a southern German private college, the Reinhold-Würth-Hochschule at Künzelsau/Heilbronn, interviewed 5,000
foreign guests to ascertain whether the World Cup concept had worked. 95.5 per cent of respondents
answered that the atmosphere in the host country was good or very good (source 13).
27
flags. The basic attitude of the German population towards national symbols, however, had
not altered significantly. According to the Allensbach Institute, such displays of patriotism by
many East Germans in West Germany still caused unease. Just 22 per cent of all Germans
at the time were sympathetic to these signs of a new patriotism, while 43 per cent met
them with discomfort (43). Five years later, in 1994, 44 per cent of Germans were still
convinced that German history would largely prevent Germans from expressing national
pride and using national symbols. In 2006, however, no more than 22 per cent were of
this view, whereas the majority, 58 per cent, strongly disagreed with it. For them the burden of the past did not affect them personally.
3.5 Improved reputation
According to the media reports analysed, the World Cup undoubtedly improved the image
of the host country. The power of sport to change the general public’s image of a country
has been discussed for quite some time. Jim White wrote in the London-based Telegraph:
“No one has proven this view more clearly than the Germans” (31). The US TV news
channel CNN saw the World Cup as “a boom for the German image” (22). A long-term
analysis will eventually have to be conducted to determine if that boom has just “polished” (26) the image or if the new experiences of German behaviour will bring about a
lasting change in the perceptions other nationalities have of Germany. For the time being,
the results of the analysis presented in this document can be summed up in four focal
points:
Cliché change: Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time, Joschka Fischer,
called his country a “young, cool, relaxed, and carefree Germany, cosmopolitan, friendly
and in good shape” (34). Such statements by politicians are often tactical, but he meant it.
And the world agreed. “Germany makes mark with fun as well as football” wrote the China
Daily (33). The cliché of the hard-working but boring, efficient but miserable German
faded; a new, more colourful image developed.
Global distribution: “In all, an estimated two million foreign tourists flooded into Germany during the month-long event, double the one million expected,” reported Associated Press (51). Roger Cohen and Jerry Lampen summed up for Reuters: the “flag-waving
German self-discovery” had been registered by “perhaps one-sixth of the people on the
planet”. An “estimated 32 billion people” watched a “reformed and democratised Germany” (8) on television. In other words, every person on earth – children, adults and older
people – tuned in five times which, acording to the Philadelphia Trumpet, was nothing
short of “priceless” (3).
28
Sustainability: Some 1,200 people had been interviewed before the event90, with predominantly positive results. Their experiences during the World Cup intensified those
positive impressions. The news agency Reuters commented: “The positive impressions
fans take home may be more important than the result of any game” (8). The BBC added that the way the World Cup was organised would change the country’s image for
years (4). The Guardian described the change the country had undergone within the five
weeks of the World Cup as “irrefutable and lasting”. (35-b)
Germany as a travel destination: “Forty-three percent of World Cup visitors were in
Germany for the first time, and 91 percent overall felt welcome in the country,” reported
AP (51). “Anyone who was in Germany over these four, sun-drenched weeks would be
more than willing to go back,” said the Telegraph (41). The German tourist board told the
media that more than 90 per cent of the foreign visitors would recommend Germany as a
travel destination – a news item broadcast worldwide and even picked up on by a New
Zealand newspaper, which reported: “the vast majority of those who visited Germany for
the soccer World Cup would recommend the nation as a travel destination.” “It’s been the
holiday of a life-time,” said 51-year-old Australian Michael O’Neill, for instance 91. What
remains to be seen for the German tourist industry, however, is whether this favourable
impression will last.
3.6 Remaining concerns
Not all reporters went along with the widespread acceptance of the newer, friendlier German image. The Boston Globe, for instance, questioned whether, due to Germany’s dark
past – the Nazi era, the destruction of Europe, the Holocaust – “the roar of national pride
is provoking some anxiety as well.” Another journalist cautioned that given the evils perpetrated the last time German nationalism waxed strong, it would be naive to ignore the
serious implications of the trend (5). The Germans themselves no longer shared such
concerns (43).
The Philadelphia Trumpet referred to a new “German aggrandizement” and the country
ascending for the fourth time in history. The Italian La Repubblica asked its readers what
impression they would retain from the World Cup, and they answered as follows: “The
German crowds for instance. A disciplined wave of fans. It was as though they were operated by remote control” (36e). The social scientist Ardrej Markowitz took another view:
Three-quarters of the people interviewed had come to Germany specifically for the World Cup, and almost half (43 per cent) were visiting for the first time. Sixteen per cent had combined the trip with a holiday, while ten per cent had visited relatives or friends. Almost half of the respondents stayed for more
than a week, and almost a third (26 per cent, mostly people from overseas) stayed two weeks or more.
91
www.woche.com.au. According to DZT data (DZT 2006 a,b,c), about two-thirds of those who came
visited not just stadiums but tourist attractions as well, and more than half of the visitors made shopping
trips. Americans and Australians in particular combined the World Cup trip with a holiday. The cultural
programmes offered by the host cities, which were quite expensive, were of little interest, however. Art
and culture, on the other hand, turned out to be a popular reason to come back at a later stage (source
13).
90
29
“This is all harmless, probably healthy, and will most likely be over as soon as the country
either loses a game or the World Cup is over” (6). However, even after the German national team lost, the good humour among the crowds lasted, and there was a smooth return
to normality after the tournament.
4
Germany’s image as seen in interviews in Australia
As mentioned before, an analysis of interviews carried out in Australia in the second half
of 2006, in the months after the World Cup, was intended to answer two questions: Did
the media reports correspond to the opinion of the average person on the street or had
journalists over- or under-emphasised certain aspects? And, secondly, had the message
concerning the atmosphere in Germany really been communicated around the globe?
News items about Germany were rare and short in Australia prior to the World Cup. On
the subject of the World Cup, the Australian newspapers reported principally on the
German government’s hosting and, in particular, security preparations, because terrorism
and national security were important subjects in Australia at the time. In the interviews,
however, these subjects were mentioned by only one person.
Shortly before and after the World Cup, Australian newspapers printed quite extensive
reports and recommendations on Germany as a travel destination, since Australians are
keen travellers. Some of the papers also published short articles on German cuisine. The
TV channel SBS broadcast 64 films – one for every match – on the German landscape,
architecture and culture, including beer. Those television programmes have not been
included in this research, as it is based on print media and personal interviews only.
However, it would certainly be interesting to expand this research to analyse worldwide
television broadcasts.
The parameters for the work carried out in Australia were defined in a research design92.
The main purpose of the research was to analyse which aspects of Germany’s image
were represented in the media and among the general public, which of them remained
stable, and which changed in the course of the World Cup and to what extent. It was
possible to discern trends on the basis of press clippings and interviews, which will be
described in detail.
Before conducting the interviews, the sampling93 and accessibility94 of the sources had to
be established. The interviews were based on a manual95 rather than a questionnaire.
92
A research design is a means of defining what the research is intended to achieve. It combines the theoretical framework, the main question and the research, generalisation and reporting targets with the
methods used and the resources available. (LeCompte/Preissle 1993).
93
The sampling has to ensure that all the relevant aspects of the case are incorporated (Merkens 2007:
291, for details in extremely critical cases, refer to Patton 1990) and that people who are positioned at the
central points of a network are interviewed because information is normally related to functions and to the
30
Using the manual, the interviewer was able to respond flexibly to the persons interviewed. Manual-based interviews are the most common form of this qualitative kind of
research. Some of the interviewees were experts – promoters of Germany working for
the German embassy, the chamber of commerce or the tourism authority, Australian
football officials, journalists, and people who were heavily involved in German-Australian
relations, such as managers of German clubs in Australia. But the average Australian
man and woman on the street were also interviewed, in both urban and rural areas (Airlie Beach, Broome, Bunbury, Cairns, Cooktown, Darwin, Melbourne, Mission Beach, Sydney,
and Turnberry).
When defining the interview parameters, the research team decided to maximise the
variety of interviewees rather than their number96. When deciding who to interview, particular attention was paid to people who would contribute as much as possible to the
overall picture97. In other words, a qualitative approach was adopted and a variety of
aspects analysed. Arguments supporting or refuting a change in the perception of Germany in Australia were of particular interest. The interviewer therefore talked to people
who were expected to confirm that Germany’s image had changed, as well as those who
were expected to deny that it had98. The original interview transcripts are confidential,
and will therefore not be published.
To ensure that the findings of the analysis would be comprehensive99, intersubjectivity
had to be guaranteed100. Therefore the source material was documented, and all audio
recordings were transcribed101. The material was then analysed systematically, following
certain rules102. Again, categories were defined. To ensure that the findings of the analysis of the media reports and the interviews were comparable, the same categories were
knowledge available there; also, it can be collected more easily from people who have central positions
within a network. (Merkens 2007: 294)
94
The Australian interviewees were selected not just on the basis of their accessibility. Social and regional
considerations were also taken into account.
95
Helfferich 2005, Mey 2007, Bortz/Döring 42006: 311. The method is based on journalistic experience.
This is allowed, because Denzin (1997) has compared qualitative research to investigative journalism.
Journalistic research focusing on social backgrounds rather than just on isolated facts is closely linked to
qualitative opinion research (Moser 2007: 215).
96
To make a theoretical generalisation, the number of people or situations analysed is less important than
the difference in the cases included in the research design (maximum variation). (Flick 2007; 260)
97
According to Mayring, who says that analysing cases is a suitable field of expertise because of the open,
descriptive interpretation method. (Mayring 2003: 21)
98
The quotations were selected in such a way that not only the most obvious quotes that matched expectations were used. Contradictory quotes were also chosen insofar as possible to give the reader a more
balanced view. (Bortz/Döring 2006: 330)
99
For the analysis methods see Schmidt 2007.
100
Therefore criteria are required which make the decision-making part of the research easier so that
others conducting similar work would end up with similar, comparable results. (Merkens 2007: 286))
101
Boehm et al. 1990; Ehlich/Switalla, 1976; Ramge 1978.
102
An intersubjective research design avoids intuitive answers that would be useless as they would be
neither objectively nor intersubjectively provable or reliable. Normally a short description of the cases is
given. For the research compiled in this document, lists of categories containing all the elements of all
statements were established, but as they are very detailed it was not possible to reproduce them here.
31
used for analysing both sources. There follow summaries of the individual statements
and a number of illustrative quotes. As mentioned earlier with respect to the media
analysis, these summaries are not intended to be representative of the German image in
Australia as a whole, but rather to highlight trends.
4.1 Places and people
During the World Cup, the international media transmitted an image of Germany that
was largely based on overcoming the burden of the past. Places and people, on the other hand, appeared to be of little relevance. This, however, turned out to be quite different in the interviews. From an Australian perspective, Germany is, of course, very far
away, for a start, and is therefore, generally speaking, not of huge interest in the country. Germany is just “too far away”, as one young Australian put it. Nonetheless, an image of Germany obviously exists.
Again, history was an important feature of the interviews, but the focus was on earlier
history rather than the events of the 20th century. Germany is seen as a country where
people can experience the legacy of a time before Australia had even been settled by
Europeans.
For people on the fifth continent, Germany is not just a part of Europe103, but for those
interested in Germany as a travel destination, it is primarily a country where “old things”
are to be found. This historical heritage, such as castles and old towns, was mentioned
expressly in every fourth interview. Asked where these historical monuments could be
seen, the Australian interviewees referred to city they knew best: Berlin.
As expected, besides the capital they also mentioned Bavaria, its capital Munich and the
world-famous Neuschwanstein castle, as well as Hamburg, the rivers Rhine and Mosel
and, more generally, “many good campsites” and “nature and culture and major events”.
Unlike in the media reports, the subject of food and drink featured strongly. In this respect German beer clearly dominated – it was mentioned in 60 per cent of all interviews,
and two interviewees specifically mentioned the brand Beck’s. Beer was referred to more
often than wine, Eisbein (pickled pig-trotters) and Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), Schnitzel, sausages with mustard, and coffee with cake. German food was generally characterised as healthy.
In keeping with this folkloric image, in the category relating to regional traditions, habits
and customs, the Oktoberfest104 was mentioned most often (in 40 per cent of the inter103
It is not considered as attractive as Paris, London or Rome.
The success of Bavaria is so stunning that Germany’s image is largely based on this province, which is
just one of 16 in the German federation. Similarly, much of Germany’s image is based on German cars,
104
32
views), far more than any other Bavarian-based stereotypes such as clog-dancing, followed by the Black Forest, journeys on the river Rhine passing the Loreley rock, German
brass bands, singing festivals and sailors’ songs (the latter adding a northern dimension
to the largely Bavarian clichés) and the Love Parade in Berlin. Generally speaking, German festivals seemed extremely popular, with every second interviewee mentioning
them.
The range of well-known Germans mentioned was as narrow as expected. As one of the
interviewees put it, well-known Germans come from just two fields: music and sport. In
sports-mad Australia, sports people are by far the most popular. The Formula 1 driver
Michael Schumacher was mentioned in every third interview, and the tennis players Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, mostly referred to just by their first names, in every fourth.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel was mentioned only in every eighth interview, and
the composers Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner were mentioned just once. “Only a small
segment of our society is familiar with German culture,” said one interviewee.
4.2 National character
Initially, the researchers wondered whether the interviews would yield very different results to the media analysis as far as Germany’s national character was concerned and
whether the “sea of flags in black, red and gold” would again determine the overall perception. That was not the case at all. On the contrary: a factor that had played only a
marginal role in the media reports turned out to be a regular feature in the interviews.
From an Australian perspective, Germany is a country that is enormously well developed,
densely populated and not only clean and disciplined (12 per cent), but well organised
and driven by technology (19 per cent each) – characteristics that are in stark contrast
to the wide open plains of Australia and daily life there.
This image, which was repeated constantly during the interviews, is clearly influenced by
the slogan “made in Germany”. The most popular aspect of this image were German
cars. Every fifth interviewee mentioned them, without naming any specific brand105;
every third, however, referred to BMW or Mercedes, every fifth Volkswagen, one Audi,
and another Porsche.
In addition to the car industry, technical goods contributed largely to the image of Germany, as underlined by the following figures: 12 per cent of the interviewees mentioned
German technical brands like Siemens and Miele, and six per cent mentioned Bosch.
although a massive variety of technical goods is exported. For many foreigners, Bavarian leather trousers
are typically German, and the Oktoberfest held annually in the Bavarian capital Munich is the only German
event practically everybody abroad has heard of. (Olins 1999: 63)
105
As this image is dominated by the automobile industry, at least in the eyes of consumers, it does not
present any emotional dimension; it is predominantly masculine and therefore pretty limited. That limits
the possibility of the country presenting its multi-facetedness to the world. (Olins 1999: 35)
33
German technical museums were also mentioned. For those who had travelled to Germany themselves, the train system was especially impressive, since a similarly dense
train schedule would be unthinkable on their continent. The same can be said for the
well-established communications system. Australians also praised the non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials used in Germany. All these aspects strengthen the image
of a high-tech country.
Some of the adjectives most commonly used by the Australian interviewees to describe
Germans and Germany were: punctual, orderly, safe, dependable, busy, well educated,
good workers, pragmatic, creative, modern, precise, professional, methodical, reliable
and successful.
However, Australians are unlikely to get enthused about a country that is well organised
and where everything runs like clockwork. “In Germany, everybody is running around all
the time”. But criticism was generally qualified: The people living there are “just ordinary
people, aren’t they?” They have “good qualities, you can rely on them, the impression
they make on Australians is generally fine”. Germans are considered to think and behave
positively. Negative connotations of the German image rooted in the country’s Nazi past
no longer play a significant role. A German immigrant even said: “The German image in
Australia has always been fine.” Most Australians, she added, were impressed by Germany. According to German immigrants, this generally positive view is attributable to the
activities of German institutions in the fields of politics and culture, in particular the Goethe-Institut, German clubs, choirs, and the Australian Oktoberfests.106
In the same way as the media, the Australian interviewees rejected the outdated107 cliché of the dull, grumpy German during the World Cup. “Yes, the reputation of Germany
has changed”, one of the Australian journalists who had reported from Germany during
the World Cup said afterwards. “My Australian countrymen considered Germany to be a
miserable country. They could not imagine it being a cheerful place. But then the media
reported that there were lots of happy people in the streets, enjoying the atmosphere.”
These reports had made a lasting impression on people.
A German immigrant living in Australia for 50 years said something similar: “the Germans
appeared less uptight, more relaxed”. Australian fans who travelled to Germany, he added,
had been welcomed “positively and openly”. Some interviewees still described the German
106
The majority of interviewees of German origin were definitely dissatisfied with Germany’s visibility in
Australia: “Germany doesn’t present itself, it ought to have a tourist office in Australia (there is one, in
fact, but it is obviously not well known, as more than 50 per cent of those interviewed did not know about
it, and therefore said “it is not working”). These interviewees expect better marketing of Germany. The
country should raise its profile and better advertise its tourist attractions. Every third interviewee considered the language barrier to be a problem, however.
107
The national image consisting of two main components – technology and folkloric heritage – has grown
obsolete. So long as the image does not adopt more lively, up-to-date facets, Germans will continue to be
perceived as controlled, arrogant and dangerous. (Olins 1999: 37)
34
national character as “grim, not happy”, “not very enthusiastic”, “too serious, not really
friendly”, even “killjoys”, but, on the other hand, with respect to the military past, someone
said: “Aways talking like a commander – that is a subject for jokes.” The historical cliché of
the militaristic German is just laughed at. Nineteen per cent of the interviewees described
the German national character as basically friendly, and one even used the word joy.
Had this change occurred just because of the World Cup? No, said one of the professional
observers and shapers of the German image in Australia. Any other event on a similar scale
could have yielded the same result. But this is questionable. First of all, it is difficult to envisage an event on a comparable scale. Secondly, sports-mad Australians are, with very few
exceptions, interested in everything from Germany the “sports nation”. The image of the
country on the fifth continent has developed especially due to the fact that it was a sports
event that caused the flow of communication. Prior to the World Cup, Germany was, in the
eyes of the average Australian, “just a country with a strong footballing tradition”. After the
World Cup that impression was based on reality. According to a couple of interviewees, the
Germans played “daring” football, “like a breath of fresh air”.
According to Australian observers, another national sport could have been similarly successful in developing Germany’s image. But only sport would have the power to bring
about a change in the mood of the general public on the fifth continent. All of the Australian interviewees agreed that Germany raised its profile among Australian people because the Australian team took part in the World Cup – and played quite well. Only then
did the public take an interest in the host country. Before the World Cup, Australians
viewed Germany as a country of tennis and, in particular, motor racing, referring, for
instance, to the Hockenheimring race track and the Grand Prix. Germany was “good for
all kinds of racing, especially for motor racing.” It should be recalled that the most popular German in Australia is Michael Schumacher, coming ahead of “Boris and Steffi”, the
former tennis champions.
Most interviewees said the World Cup had been organised as perfectly as they had expected from Germany. Just one of the Australian interviewees criticised details. Australians generally viewed Germany as hospitable, although they did not place as much emphasis on that characteristic as the media. Basically, the Australians who had travelled to
Germany for the event had very positive things to say about their experiences. Here is a
summary of some of their impressions: “The Germans are able to do more than just
work, they are able to party. They can do fiestas. There were lots of happy young people enjoying their life. It was great, exciting, we just had a lot of fun. Everybody felt
good. We had a great time. It was the best ever. I couldn’t believe it. It was just perfect.
The fan fests were crowded. They were bursting with visitors every day.” Others said:
“The Germans have shown their best side. Everything was great: the weather, the at-
35
mosphere. During the World Cup, the Germans were so hospitable, their friendship was
felt in every city 108.”
4.3 History and politics
The militaristic and Nazi facets of the German image played only a marginal role in the
Australian interviews. Some of those interviewed even said that Germany’s image had
always been fine, and that most of their compatriots were enthusiastic about Germany.
Every third interviewee, however, mentioned the war, every fifth specifically the Second
World War, and the same number again mentioned Hitler. The Holocaust was mentioned
in twelve per cent of the interviews, twice as often as the Berlin Wall or reunification.
But all the interviewees said that Germany’s historical legacy was overemphasised. Neither old nor young interviewees attached any importance to concerns regarding a nationalist revival. Neither immigrants nor descendants of early settlers mentioned the national flag or national anthem – unlike the international media reports.
A reason for this difference might be the fact that political matters are discussed among
the Australian public to a lesser degree than in many other countries and much less than
in the media. Great importance is not attached to politics. The majority of the interviewees said they were apolitical and had little or no interest in political issues. The older
generation of German immigrants has been living in Australia for such a long time now
that they consider that the political reasons for their immigration prior to 1945 are no
longer important.
4.4 Germany’s image among descendants of early settlers and immigrants
It is interesting to compare the views of Australians whose ancestors lived on that continent for generations (having predominantly come from Great Britain, a country that did
not have good relations with Germany for a long time) with statements given by immigrants, as characteristic differences emerge. The descendants of early settlers said their
image of Germany had changed in recent years, especially if they had travelled to Germany, for instance to attend the World Cup. New and positive elements had been incorporated into their perception of the country and thus replaced old clichés. Immigrants
from Germany, on the other hand – even those who had arrived on the continent decades ago – said their perception of Germany had changed little. Even those who had
been forced to flee from Germany always had positive memories of their country of
origin. It is not possible to determine from the interviews whether this was caused by
some kind of transformation, nor does it matter. What counts is very simple: being for-
108
All quotations except the last from the interviews; the last one from: Heinz, C.: Rückblick auf WM bei
Empfang des Generalkonsuls. In: http://www.woche.com.au/_inhalt/indexcnd.htm, August 20, 2006.
36
mer German citizens, they are perceived in their neighbourhoods as experts on Germany. Thus, they have a significant influence on Germany’s image in their adopted country.
What has changed, however, is how these immigrants from Germany perceive changes
“for the better” in the image of their country of origin among Australians. Individual experiences and reports from others merge: ”My personal experience as a German in Australia has been positive, only once have I had an unpleasant reaction from people
around me.” Immigrants say that whereas in the past war propaganda was largely responsible for the image of the then enemy country, industry is now most influential.
“Good experiences with German products have never changed.” Germany is seen as a
country of discipline and quality – common elements of Germany’s image. Summing up
what they feel is Germany's image among Australians, immigrants say that their countrymen have discovered you can rely on Germany. Quite a few acknowledge that it was
a difficult process to get to that point, and therefore add: ”As humans and as workers
we were accepted. Politically we might have thought differently. But we were accepted
and respected, even if perhaps not quite liked.”
Among the immigrants, Germans are seen firstly as good and diligent workers. Among
descendants of early settlers, Germans are characterised as “earnest, serious”. Immigrants think first of German brands, while Australians refer first to German food and
drinks (beer), historical buildings and German history in general. Immigrants note how
Germany presents itself in Australia and the impact that has, whereas descendants of
early settlers do not. Many interviewees expressed the desire for increased visibility and
awareness of German habits and lifestyles. At the same time, however, they point out
that the average Australian is more interested in landscapes than in lifestyle and culture,
since Australians are used to travelling to the outback and are attracted to discovering
the open spaces of a country. That has an added advantage: there is no language barrier.
When asked in the interviews to comment on German history, Australians compared
Germany with Vietnam or Singapore, which had managed to dispel the negative associations caused by their histories. They do not attach too much importance to historical
burdens and therefore consider that the Second World War is over-emphasised. Their
knowledge of the German lifestyle, on the other hand, is underdeveloped. According to
one of the interviewees, Germany is “an open, liberal society”. Therefore further strategic development of the national image is clearly important. The World Cup proved that
such an event not only mobilises the masses but provides the opportunity for the host
country to distance itself from out-dated clichés by offering new experiences that can
replace former impressions.
5
Conclusions
37
The analysis shows that football, as a mass sporting phenomenon, can bring about
changes in the perception of a nation due to its emotive power and worldwide viewership. “Football is a big thing,” quite a few of the Australian interviewees said. This is true
in terms of its influence on the reputation of a nation as well. Not least in Australia,
Germany is felt to be a “sports nation”, a country of football. The World Cup has proven
that sport can be an important ambassador, and at certain times the most important
ambassador, of a country. Carefully targeted sports diplomacy is therefore vital109. The
sport manages to bring nations closer together. “It fosters relations, develops everything
somehow.” Even political sources said sports may be “the greatest healer of wounds.”110
According to the Vienna newspaper Die Presse, prior to the World Cup many people did
not realise “that football isn’t just a game for the team on the field, it is a societal game”
(36b). At least temporarily, football would be in a position, the paper added, not only to
change perspectives of a society but the image of a country as well. “The World Cup
achieves what previous decades could not,” reported www.charlotte.com (6).
According to the German government, the World Cup strengthened the positive perception of Germany in those countries where it already had high levels of acceptance, and
added new dimensions to the image. In countries where people were rather sceptical of
Germany, stereotypes had at least been questioned. The overall conclusions reached by
the German government are similar to the findings of the analysis of media clippings
and interviews detailed in this paper: virtues said to be typically German, such as order,
thoroughness, cleanliness, punctuality and a sense of security continued to apply, but
were complemented by elements previously associated with Germany to a lesser extent:
cordiality, openness, hospitality, joie de vivre, and fairness. Old-fashioned clichés like
dullness, lack of humour, hostility and emotional coldness had, according to the government, been dispelled.
According to the German government, the country achieved a positive response globally
due to a combination of preparation and luck: its successful plan to be a good host, the
quality of the German football team carrying away the crowds, and the enthusiasm of
the mainly young spectators on the fan miles. All this resulted, as the government put it,
in peaceful patriotism. 111 Germany managed to create a new national brand and to restructure the previously distorted image just as described by Olins. Instead of a purely
masculine and technology-oriented profile the target is to communicate a more realistic
and diverse perception of what the country is all about. As a consequence, a significantly higher number of producers of goods and service-providers were able to make use of
their national origin as an image factor. 112
109
110
111
112
Quotations taken from the interviews.
Ibid.
Bundesregierung 2006.
Olins 1999: 67
38
To prove that the change had been recognised all over the world, the German government cited a number of statements from German embassies. They said the World Cup
was “the best PR activity ever in the history of the Federal Republic”113. They considered
that the World Cup did “more than a million political press campaigns” could have done
for the country's reputation 114. “Since the fall of the Berlin Wall”, the final report of the
German government says, “probably no event has influenced the German image as intensively and as positively.”
Of course such general remarks cannot reflect the variety of individual perceptions. Therefore it might be interesting in concluding this report to briefly look at attitudes in Great
Britain. The military goose-step and the Nazi past, even the totally outmoded spiked
helmet that has not used for the last century, continued to constitute elements of Germany’s image in the new millennium.115 However, Germany’s image seems to have
changed significantly, especially in England.116 German diplomats in London were being
congratulated. The German embassy in the British capital said: “The perception of Germany has changed massively.” And even in a very distant country, New Zealand, the
embassy wrote: “The World Cup was of inestimable value to the German image. We
could not have hoped for a better result.” 117
However, it is true that some countries were immune to the changes in Germany’s atmosphere. According to the German government, reports from Poland and Italy showed
that traditional German clichés had not been dispelled there118. Yet in spite of these isolated negative perceptions, the overall result was very positive. The findings in the analysis of the international media reports and of the interviews conducted in Australia not
only corroborate the government’s conclusions, but also provide arguments to better
understand why the changes occurred. As stated before, the intention was not to provide statistically valid figures, but rather to identify trends that are clearly visible. 119
It is clear that football can have a significant impact on a country’s national reputation.
113
German embassy Abu Dhabi. In: Bundesregierung 2006.
German embassy Stockholm/Schweden. ibid.
115
Wendt 1994.
116
German embassy London/UK. ibid
117
German embassy Wellington/New Zealand. Ibid.
118
Bundesregierung 2006.
119
It is possible to carry out a more detailed quantitative survey on the basis of the material used for this
study, the FIFA and DZT research, and the reports of the German federal government. Other researchers
have also undertaken similar work. An English doctoral thesis has been written on this subject at the Austrian university of Klagenfurt, but was not yet available when this report was being finalised. A short study
was released by the German Innovations-Report (http://www.umfragen.info/online/umfrage/archiv/2007/02/18/studie-nachwirkungen-der-fussball-wm-2006-in-deutschland)
114
39
Media analysed (in alphabetical order)
abc/ USA, Associated Press/ USA, Belfast Telegraph/ Northern Ireland, Blick/ Switzerland, The Boston Globe/
USA, Business Day/ South Africa, Alastair Campbell/ Great Britain, CanWest News Service/ Canada,
www.charlotte.com/ USA, China Daily/ China, The Christian Science Monitor/ USA, CNN/ USA, Daily Mail/ Great
Britain, The Daily Star/ Lebanon, Deutsche Welle, Deutschlandradio/Germany, Diário de Notícias/ Portugal,
L’Express/ France, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/Germany, La Gazzeta dello Sport/ Italy, Geelong Advertiser/
Australia, O Globo/ Brazil, The Guardian/Great Britain, Haaretz/Israel, The Independent/Great Britain, India
News/ India, International Herald Tribune/ USA, Iswestija/ Russia, Jyllands Posten/Denmark, Jutarnji
List/Croatia, Libération/France, Mirror/ Great Britain, Le Monde/ France, El Mundo/ Spain, N24, web paper,
Neue Zürcher Zeitung/ Switzerland, The New York Times/ USA, The New Zealand Herald/New Zealand, NRC
Handelsblad/ Netherlands, Ottawa Sun/Canada, El Pais/ Spain, People’s Daily/China, Die Presse/Austria, RAI
2/Italy, La Repubblica/Italy, Reuters/ Great Britain, Der Standard/Austria, Sydney Morning Herald/Australia,
Tages-Anzeiger/Switzerland, Der Tagesspiegel/Germany, The Telegraph/Great Britain, The Times/Great Britain,
Toronto Sun/Canada, The Scotsman/ Great Britain, Der Spiegel, SWR, taz/Germany, De Telegraaf/Netherlands,
Trouw/Netherlands, The Trumpet/ USA, De Volkskrant/Netherlands, yahoo Sport, Washington Post/ USA, Yemen Times/Yemen, Die Woche/Australia.
Media reports analysed statistically
1 SWR online, posted 20 July 2006
2 Deutsche Welle World online, posted 22 June 2006, containing articles by (a) Nick Lipsi/ Poland, (b)
Jim Ritchey/ USA, (c) Christopher Lamb/ UK, (d) Veril Scott/ USA etc.
3 thetrumpet.com, Philadelphia/USA, posted 23 June 2006
4 taz, Die Tageszeitung online, posted 22 June 2006, containing an article from Dublin regarding the UK
5 The Boston Globe online, USA, posted 24 June 2006
6 www.charlotte.com, USA, posted 25 June 2006
7 Neue Zürcher Zeitung online, Switzerland, posted 25 June 2006
8 Reuters online, UK, posted 28 June 2006
9 The Scotsman online, UK, posted 28 June 2006
10 N24 online, posted 29 June 2006, on the US reflecting on the World Cup
11 abc News online, USA, posted 11 July 2006
12 Haaretz online, Israel, posted 13 July 2006
13 netzeitung.de, posted 3 July 2006
14 Ottawa Sun online, Canada, posted 7 July 2006
15 Toronto Sun online, Canada, posted 7 July 2006 (same content as 14)
16 Washington Post online, USA, posted 4 July 2006
17 Reuters online, UK, posted 5 July 2006
18 yahoo Sport, opened 11 July 2006
19 Mirror online, UK, posted 6 July 2006
20 People’s daily online, China, posted 6 July 2006
21 Yemen Times, Yemen, posted 11 July 2006
22 CNN online, USA, posted 11 July 2006
23 Deutsche Presse-Agentur, as published by Kölner Stadtanzeiger online, posted 7 July 2006, containing
statements from: (a) Le Monde/ France, (b) L’Express/ France, (c) El Mundo/ Spain, (d) Diário de Notícias/ Portugal, (e) Tages-Anzeiger/ Switzerland, Blick/ Switzerland, (g) Neue Zürcher Zeitung/ Switzerland, (h) Daily Mail/ UK, (i) Independent/ UK, (j) Alastair Campbell/ UK, (k) Volkskrant/ Netherlands, (l) Trouw/
Netherlands, (m) Telegraaf/ Netherlands, (n) NRC Handelslad/ Netherlands, (o) Jyllands Posten/ Denmark,
(p) Jutarnji List/ Croatia, (q) RAI 2/ Italy
24 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung online, Germany, posted 10 July 2006, containing statements by: (a)
UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan, (b) German minister of foreign affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, (c)
president of the federal republic of Germany Horst Köhler, (d) SPD secretary general Heil, (e) president of
Zentralrat der Juden Charlotte Knobloch
25 Haaretz online, Israel, posted 2 September 2006
40
26 India News online, posted 9 July 2006
27 International Herald Tribune online, USA, posted 16 June 2006
28 Times online, UK, posted 20 June 2006
29 ipsnews online, posted 16 June 2006
30 The New York Times online, USA, posted 9 July 2006
31 Telegraph online, UK, posted 7 July 2006
32 The Independent online, UK, posted 11 July 2006
33 China Daily online, China, posted 10 July 2006
34 The Daily Star online, Libanon, posted 10 July 2006, containing an article by ex-minister for foreign affairs
Joschka Fischer
35 Deutsche Presse-Agentur, as published by Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, posted 10 July 2006, containing: (a) The
Times/ UK, (b) The Guardian/ UK, (c) El Pais/ Spain, (d) Standard/ Austria, (e) Libération/ France, (f) Iswestija/
Russia, (g) Tages-Anzeiger/ Switzerland
36 Volksstimme online, posted 11 July 2006, containing: (a) Der Standard/ Austria, (b) Die Presse/ Austria,
(c) Tages-Anzeiger/ Switzerland, (d) Neue Zürcher Zeitung/ Switzerland, (e) La Repubblica/ Italy, (f) La
Gazzeta dello Sport/ Italy, (g) De Telegraaf/ Netherlands, (h) De Volkskrant/ Netherlands, (i) The New
York Times/USA
37 Business Day/ South Africa, posted 11 July 2006
38 The New Zealand Herald/New Zealand online, posted 11 July 2006
39 The Christian Science Monitor/ USA, posted 12 July 2006
40 Deutschlandradio online / Germany, posted 13 July 2006
41 The Telegraph online/ UK, posted 2 August 2007
42 Der Tagesspiegel online, posted 16 August 2007, containing an article by Mark Perryman, UK
43 FAZnet posted 16 August 2006, containing an article by Renate Köcher
44 Belfast Telegraph online/ Northern Ireland, posted 10 July 2006 (identical to 32)
45 CanWest News Service online/ Canada, posted 8 July 2006
Further media reports, not used statistically
46 The Advertiser, Adelaide/ Australia, 8 March 2006 (Sports section: ”Yorke back”); 10 March 2006 (News
section: “Thugs out”); 11 July 2006 (World Cup The Final - Fireworks, flags and tears of happiness”); 12
July 2006 (Sports section: “World Cup final - Four years to clean up”)
47 The Age, Melbourne/Australia, 14 June 2006 (News section: “All aboard the Aussie express – focus –
history-making soccerroos“)
48 Associated Press, 7 September 2006
49 Canberra Times/ Australia, 1 May 2006 (“Canberra looking to Bangladesh, Germany and Belgium to recruit
skilled workers”); 17 June 2006 (“Turn on, tune in, then drop out”); 18 June 2006 (“Truth stretched all the way
to Germany”)
50 Courier Mail, Brisbane/ Australia, 8 May 2006 (Section World: “Berlin priests and imams have a ball”)
51Geelong Advertiser/ Australia, Big Weekend Edition, 3 June 2006 (travel tips)
52 Herald Sun, Melbourne/ Australia, 9 June 2006 (Section The Eye: “Up for the Cup”)
53 MX/ Australia, 13 April 2006 (News section: “Nice one”); 20 April 2006 (News section: “What the?”); 8
May 2006 (Sports section: “Nice one”); 30 May 2006 (Sports section “Start spreading the news, Germany Kahn do it”); 2 June 2006 (Sports section: “The kickoff's so close we can almost taste it”)
54 Northern Territory News, Darwin/Australia, 19 May 2006 (Sports section: “Brazil outright favourite...”)
55 Sydney Morning Herald/ Australia, 17 May 2006 (News section: “Fans warned: we have ways of making you shut up”); 10 June 2006 (News and Features section: “Ready for kick-off - The only true World
Cup”); 7 October 2006 (News and Features section: “Angela's ashes”); 28 November 2006 (“Black forest
cake - history of a dish”)
56 Spiegel online, 10 July 2006
57 Sunday Age, Melbourne/ Australia, 5 March (Section Extra: “The cannibal camp”)
58 Sunday Magazine, Perth/ Australia, 16 July 2006 (Section Sunday Magazine: “HOT 100”)
59 Sunday Mail, Brisbane/ Australia, 2 July 2006 (Section Escape: “Christmas with real trimmings”)
60 Sunday Times, Perth/ Australia, 3 September 2006, p. 40
61 Sun Herald, Sydney/ Australia, 3 September 2006 (Section Insert: “10 Tenors album launch...”)
62 Die Woche/ Australia, 20 August 2006 (reception of the German consulate general in Sydney)
41
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Cartoons taken from:
Bohne, F. (o. J.): Der Deutsche in seiner Karikatur. Stuttgart.
Searle, R. (1966): Haven’t we met before somewhere?: Germany from the inside and out. New York.
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