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Thread: Better Regional Segmentation of German States

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    as you may know, many states of Germany have been created after World War 2 quite artifically, and without much sense for historical, ethnical or cultural correctness.
    The states of the FRG have not been 'created' after the war, just several smaller states have been merged into bigger ones, in order put the states on a more viable economic basis, and thus strengthen federalism. Borders between states as such have been seldom changed thereby, and if, it were always border adjustments. Today's borders between the states, by and large, are the same since 200 years, they were redrawn after 1803 by the Reichstag, and shortly thereafter modified by Napoleon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    These states don´t make much sense, like for example Nordrhein-Westfalen
    Nordrhein-Westfalen makes a lot of sense. Economically, it encompasses the whole Ruhrgebiet, religiously it unites a distinct catholic population, and historicaly it was, for its greater part, already a political union in the 'Niederrheinisch-Westfälischer Reichskreis' (=Lower Rhenish–Westphalian [Imperial] Circle), from 1500 till 1806, for 3 centuries. If you go farther back into ancient time, of course the Westfalens had been, once upon a time, together with the Niedersachsens. Yet today they do not have much in common.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    oder Baden-Württemberg.
    Baden-Württemberg just would have to be renamed into Schwaben, and a fringe of its nothernmost districts be detached from it, then it would be the most perfect of all German states.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    Wrong, identity starts at home, and all levels of identity must go hand-in-hand, where none is more important than the next: The local/regional level, the national level and the pan-Germanic level. Different questions need answers at different levels at different times.
    This is theory, read out from grandmother's fairy tale book. It sounds beautiful, yet it isn't true.

    The truth is, if you create conditions which do please people too perfectly, then people will kick your ass as a reward.

    Already now we have the talk -- right here on Skadi -- of some people who would like to 'unite' 'Bavaria' with 'Austria' and then give all others the finger. Of course, these people would like to keep the Allgäu, and western Tyrol, and as many other 'Bavarian' stretches as possible. But if you really would deprive these professional Bavarians of really all non-Bavarian lands, then, well they would quit Germany forever, already out of hatred and wrath.

  2. #12
    Mein Glaube ist die Liebe zu meinem Volk. Juthunge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnenerbe View Post
    As far as I can tell, Gau by Gau and Kreis by Kreis, the borders were very much drawn according to the local cultural, ethnic and linguistic borders.

    Of course it is not possible to draw a perfectly matching administrative map, since ethnicity, language and culture have overlapped in many different ways over the centuries, but they definitely did it according to the main ethno-cultural trends.
    I doubt that, while preparing for war, they were much concerned with aligning regions to cultural traits. Apart from Baden and Württemberg, which were already mentioned, Tirol-Vorarlberg and Bayreuth for example also contain two separate cultural/linguistic components. The former being Bavarian and Alemannic, the latter Bavarian and Fraconian. Essen und Düsseldorf are also hardly deserving of their separate regions on cultural grounds.

    This looks much more like they tried to group regions based on roughly comparable sizes of economy and population, without disrupting the historic regions too much. But at least dejure the original lands of the Weimar Republic still remained in place, while de facto the Gaue held the power. So who knows what was planned for after the war.

    As for the Kreise, this document from 1938 for Württemberg, for example, says:
    Um die staatliche Verwaltung in ihrem Unterbau einfacher und wirksamer zu gestalten und zugleich die auf den Gemeinden sich aufbauenden Selbstverwaltungskörper noch leistungsfähiger zu machen, ist es notwendig geworden, die seit über hundert Jahren bestehende, durch die Entwicklung des Verkehrs und der Wirtschaft vielfach überholte Einteilung des Landes neu zu ordnen.
    There’s no mention of cultural traits, merely of enhancing administration as well as of infrastructural and economical reasons. I don’t think it would make much sense to break it down that detailed for cultural reasons alone anyway, the differences between Kreise certainly aren’t big enough in that respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnenerbe View Post
    Well, the Third Reich had that problem solved, since it was a centralized state, not a federal state. A central authority + organic, ethnic regions = definite stability. That way, people are true ethnic nationalists in the organic sense, while being managed from above for all practical reasons. It's the best of both worlds (centralization and localism).

    This is the same thing I would like to see for the whole of Europe: giving "independence" to each and every Ethnic Region (defined through carefully studied ethno-cultural and historical boundaries) but only within the frame of the European Union that would collectively take care of continental transportation networks, infrastructures, industrial standards, defense, etc.

    The EU should definitely team up with all the ethnic regionalists to bypass the nation-states by supporting their independence and in return give them a fast-track integration to the EU as an independent, federal state.
    [...]
    I agree with a combination of centralisation and localism, in principle. But that should definitely happen within a homogenous nation state, as otherwise all that has been build in centuries, be it racially, culturally, mentally or economically, would be for naught.
    We would merely see infighting between the different German(ic) regions in that scenario. For example, if Bavaria agrees with Tuscany on some subject but Frisia with Masuria etc. That’s the death blow for any ethnicity.

    Of course, a lot of current states don’t entirely correspond to homogenous nations, even when excluding foreigners. But where necessary, this could still be solved with full or merely internal autonomy, based on the specific case. There’s no reason to trash nation states entirely.

    That some kind of, purely, economic, military and diplomatic continental union between European nation states is necessary to counter big blocs like China, India etc, is absolutely clear.

    But the current EU is a far cry from what I envision. I’d also like to see a much stronger/closer cooperation between (Celto-)Germanic states than with the rest of Europe, for example. This doesn't only make sense from a racial-cultural perspective but also economically, as we have the strongest states within the EU anyway.

    But in any case, do you really think the EU has an interest in ethno-culturally homogeneous regions? I have no doubt, that this isn’t the case.
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    You don’t really have to have a separate region of your own to have a distinct sense of belonging. People will always cluster together with others they connect to and share mental traits with, regardless of internal borders. Unless of course, they’re actively pressured by the state to lose their sense of belonging to their separate regional identities.
    Wouldn't this also be argument against the nation state? A state can be multi-ethnic (multi-national); people will still cluster together with those ethnically close to them as long as the state doesn't actively pressure them into losing their ethnic identity. If a region is politically unified, it has a stronger chance of preserving its regional identity, just like a nation has a stronger chance of preserving its national identity if it's politically unified in a nation state. The state can even have a formative power in regards to identity (the idea behind italian fascism). This can be the case with regional identities as well. Limburg is a good example, probably being the Dutch provincie which emphasizes its regional (limburgian) identity the most, even though the provincie in its current form only exists for 150 years.
    Of course this principle follows the logic of a continuum. The more centralized a state is, the smaller the role of the region can be regarding the preservation of its regional identity. When more power is in the hands of regional or local governments, it can do more to preserve or even form the regional or local identities. Anyway, I believe centralization plus abolishing the regions that coincide with regional identities will in the end destroy the regional identities. Compare France to Spain for example. Many regional languages of France are even completely extinct. In Spain, on the other hand, regional identities are still very strong. I agree, this also shows the innate danger for any nation state, i.e. seperatism.


    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    But that shouldn’t really be the case in an ideal nation state, were the identity of the separate components of the same people should be respected, as long as it doesn’t surpass that of belonging to the whole people. If the sense of separatism gets so strong as to disconnect a regional group from the whole, then some sort of action is well warranted.
    I agree with the principle you describe, yet I'm not sure if that is in fact, historically, the ideal of the nation state. The nation state often went much further in creating a nation out of a multitude of identities. This often had to do more with power than with identity (through education etc.). Think of the Germanization of Slavs by the Prussian state for example, or the way the French state tried to made French people out of the Flemish, Germans, Bretons and Basques.

    Complete centralization goes hand in hand with atomization. On the other hand complete regionalization could even make ethnic politics almost redundant. Tiny regions would make politics so local, that any cultural imperialism becomes impossible even in a multi-ethnic state. Linguistic borders would be simple practicle boundaries. But there would be a complete lack of unified action. And it is quite hard to convince your enemies to follow your example, so in facing a unified enemy, one would be completely powerless. This is one of the reasons France and Russia have long opposed a unified Germany in Central Europe. So I understand your following concerns:

    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    I know well from Germany history, what a too strong sense of separatism can do to a nation. It’s a dilemma connected to the heightened Germanic sense of freedom and individualism, which can wreck havoc on a nation if applied under the wrong circumstances.

    Actually, it’s especially necessary to have the makeup of regions/federal states oriented mostly at economical and managerial circumstances. If that goes hand in hand with cultural and linguistic criteria, all the better. But the former always has to take precedence. Because there’s no use in a poor but regionally “pure” federal state, a few more economically successful federal states have to pay for.

    What kind of bad blood within a people this causes, we can see in Germany, where Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hessia and Hamburg have to support the rest nowadays. That’s what it was like since the beginning of the BRD, except that Bavaria switched into a “payer” only in 1988 and NRW switched into a “taker” in 2008.

    Obviously a lot of economic problems within Germany can’t be solved by merely regrouping the federal states, as there are much deeper problems than that. But dissolving Berlin, which alone uses up 40% of all the money spent, would be a very good start and probably one everyone outside Berlin could agree on unanimously.

    That being said, the current federal states of Germany obviously neither orient themselves at current economic circumstances nor at cultural or historic ones. They’re unsuited for all goals equally and should’ve reformed since long.

    Much stronger centralism would be needed anyway, especially in regards to education. It’s a joke and unfair, that the level of education varies so much within a nation. In regards to the Abitur/A levels, it’s almost a whole grade/mark between the best and the worst educated federal state.
    It's probably not either A or B, but some middle road. And I don't have the solutions for the very real problems you present. But I do want to point out that the managerial and economic organization of politics on a regional level stands in opposition to the national organic conception of politics you adhere to. An organic state will always have to incorporate its parts organically into the whole, otherwise it becomes just another mechanized and rationalized state, even though the law of the blood has replaced the law of the soil.

    Perhaps another thought related to this, that I just want to add for the sake of the discussion. Would it be possible to have one ethnicity that produces multiple states that exist besides one another? In the German example of Austria and Germany we are inclined to say 'no' immediately, because they are states of (relatively) comparable size and significance. But if we take a very different example, that of the catalonians; would an indepent Catalonia have to incorporate Andorra? Hardly anyone even thinks of it, so it's a reminder to think differently about the concept of the nation state. Why wouldn't one ethnicity be able to create multiple states?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge View Post
    If someone could show me the "map of a more meaningful and logical Germany" from the initial post, I would much appreciate it, by the way.
    Unfortunately I can't find it on their website either (where they now only display the official map of Germany). Would indeed be nice to have a look at it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Juthunge
    As for the Kreise, this document from 1938 for Württemberg, for example, says:
    Thanks for this source. It shows that what I've read about the ethnic and cultural foundation of the regions in the Third Reich probably isn't true. The way Bavaria has been divided also shows it was foremost a tool of centralization.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    Wrong, identity starts at home, and all levels of identity must go hand-in-hand, where none is more important than the next: The local/regional level, the national level and the pan-Germanic level. Different questions need answers at different levels at different times.
    This is beautifully sounding theory. It sounds beautiful, but in practice, in real life, in the real world, it does not work. More precisely, it works detrimental.

    Why, for example, should all Alemans -- after all their lands and sub-lands had been eventually (re-)united, care any longer about the whole of "Germany"? On the contrary, if this had been "luckily" accomplished, the "intellectually leading groups" soon would start thinking out a new written standard language, "Alemannisch", as distinct from the existing standard German as possible, to be taught in school to all little Alemans, and to be used obligatory in the media of "Alemannia". You can change the name for any other German, or Germanic tribe.

    I know that people think: "If only we had small local autonomy -- as in Switzerland! -- and then we could control our "immigration" ourselves!!!"

    You see the real Switzerland in the real, not the fantasy world, and the number of aliens is not smaller but bigger than in the "unsovereign" FRG. And there are even Switzerlanders who blame the bad Germans (they are bad because they are bigger) for the chaos in their own "sovereign, autonomous" tiny cute homelands.

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